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16-22 May 2014

Vol. 3 No. 39  Pages 24  ` 10

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

Time to pause...and Renew play as per the rules. Experts opine that to transform this City there is a need to do away with the outdated planning systems and put more focus on tackling urban poverty, devolve and delegate of powers to the urban local bodies, and bring the different civic agencies in Gurgaon under either the MCG or a Gurgaon Development Authority (GDA). While the implementation of the Scheme has


{ Abhishek Behl / FG }

write to us at letters@fridaygurgaon


urgaon, which can be described as a city with a superstructure but no infrastructure, could have avoided this ignominy had the successive governments in Chandigarh shown the political will to bring this historic city under the umbrella of the (Central) Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) - which was launched by the Union government in 2005 to rebuild Indian cities. Citizens of this much-vaunted ‘Millennium City’ would be surprised to know that almost all that ails the City - including inadequacy in water supply, roads, flyovers, drainage and waste disposal - can be financed through the JNNURM route, provided the requisite urban governance reforms are carried out by the State and the concerned city (to ensure long term sustainability of the urban local bodies). A city needs to form a medium-term City Development Plan (CDP), which should align with the citizens’ interests and priorities; thereafter project proposals need to be prepared in accordance with this CDP. The aspiring city also needs to draw up a timeline for implementing

the urban sector reforms. Although Gurgaon did not technically qualify under the JNNURM criteria (of having 1 million residents) in 2001, it could still have come under the Scheme by applying under the Special/Heritage category - since this City has ancient roots. However, allegedly none of the politicians wanted to introduce these urban reforms (as per the 74th. Amendment), since they felt they would impinge on the authority of the State government. It would also not have been easy to set up a Builder-Raj or play with EDC funds; or allowed HUDA and private builders to retain land and continue to have hold over and even ‘maintain’ areas that should have long ago been handed over to the municipality (MCG). Obviously other States thought and acted differently. This City has for some time now been viewed as the ‘cash cow‘ of state, and revenue generated from here is used by Chandigarh in whatever manner they want, says Sarvesh Sharma, an urban governance expert. “Both Gurgaon and Kurukshetra could have been included under JNNURM, had their been adequate motivation, as both are significantly historic cities,” says Sharma. In his opinion Gurgaon can still take benefit from the Scheme if it is prepared to

Saru chhe! The 2014 Lok Sabha Elections have proved one thing for sure…a Gujju can go to any length to get a US Visa!

been slow, and it has missed deadlines, it is one of the largest city-modernisation schemes ever launched. JNNURM provides substantial funds for the development of a city's infrastructure. Arun Maira, Member, Planning Commission, who has been closely involved with this Scheme, writes that JNNURM should be considered Contd on p 7 


16-22 May 2014

RNI No. HARENG/2011/39319 Postal Regn. No. GRG/35/2012-2014, VOL.–3 No.–39  16-22 May 2014


Atul Sobti

Sr. Correspondent: Abhishek Behl Sr. Photographer:

Prakhar Pandey

Sr. Designer:

Amit Singh

Circulation Execs.:

Sunil Yadav Manish Yadav

Sr. Exec Marketing:

Vikalp Panwar

Dy. Manager A/cs & Admin:

Civic / Social...

United at Fresco Unitech Fresco, a condominium being developed by Unitech, has raised the banner of revolt. Like their counterparts in some other apartment complexes across the City, including Unitech World Spa, the residents have decided to take over the maintenance and services of their complexes from the builder. After suffering poor services and maintenance for years, they decided on Sunday to pass a resolution to this effect. They have failed to get any help from the builder. Unitech Fresco has 16 towers (housing close to one thousand apartments), of which only 9 have been ‘completed’ and possession given to the owners, though the project was launched in 2005. A number of owners who had come to attend the apartment owners’ association meeting expressed strong resentment over the long delay in the delivery of their apartments and asserted that moving away from the builder was the right decision now. The complex needs to be properly maintained.

...P 8-9

Shiv Shankar Jha

Consulting Art Editor: Qazi M. Raghib Editorial Office

Over the last two years the necessity of Organic Foods has been hotly debated. The issue took centre-stage when a September 2012 ‘meta-analysis’ of existing research studies carried out by Stanton raised doubts about the ‘accepted’ significant difference in the nutritional profile of Organic vs. ‘conventional non-organic foods’. Ever since, arguments have flown fast and thick on both sides of the aisle.

Sohna Road, Gurgaon 122001, Haryana, Phones: +91 124 421 9092/93 Emails:

For two decades I have performed on stage to the applause of an encouraging audience and the scrutinising eyes of eminent critics. However, I have often contemplated on this ‘connect’ with the people who take out time to watch a live Dance performance. No dancer can survive under the arc lights of the stage without this live audience; every dancer performs primarily for them.

...P 19

...P 18 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,

Global... Caring for Big Cats

Global... A ‘noble’ mission to kill

Rhani is licking the fingers of Olaf Neuendorf tenderly. The 20-year-old Rhani is not some cuddling kitten, but a tiger weighing 120 kilograms. Neuendorf has known the animal ever since it was a few weeks old, when he had nursed it with bottles of milk. Rhani greets him with a low purring sound. All the same, the 53-yearold attendant is not going inside Rhani’s compound, but instead is letting Rhani show affection through the bars.

It’s 7am at the harbour of Cairns, Australia, and the crew of the Venus II is loading laptops, vegetables and rain jackets. They will be at sea for 10 days, sailing directly along the Great Barrier Reef, 50 kilometres offshore. On board are skipper Jared and 10 divers. This is no fun run. Their mission: to kill as many Crown-Of-Thorns Starfish (COTS) as possible. “COTS are a plague.

...P 22

...P 20

NOIDA – 201301, Uttar Pradesh

G-Scape ....

Plus Other Stories.... Social

Stretch Yourself........................................................P 11 Kid Corner

Activities/Events/Exhibitions/ Seminars.......P 13-14



The Becoming of a Sage........................................P 15 Comment

SMS NR to 08447355801

Bon Vivant... The Dancer’s Audience

Wellness ... Why Organic?

213, Tower A, Spazedge, Sector 47,

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.

C ontents

...P 24

Editorial.......................................................................P 16

C oming U p

16-22 May 2014

Workshop A Cooking Workshop for teenagers. Learn how to cook simple continental recipes, and pick up a few cooking techniques. 

All the profits go to charity. Date: May 17 (Saturday) Time: 
9:30am to 1:00pm (followed by lunch)

 Prior Registration necessary. Call: 
09250361909 Mail:

Spark Summer Camps 2014 My Club Spark has been awarded the Best Personality Development Institute across Delhi/NCR at the Education Excellence Awards 2013 & 2014. Date: May 
19 to 31, June 2 to 14, June 16 to 28 (option for 2 weeks, 4 weeks and 6 weeks

) For children aged 2.5 to 7 years: Li'l Spark for ages 2.5 to 3.5; 
Tot Spark for 3.5 to 5 year-olds; 
and Kid Spark for the 5 to 7 year-olds. For children aged 7.5 to 17 years:
 Young Spark for ages 5 to 12 years; and 
Teen Spark for 12 to 17 year-olds. 

 Maximum 7-9 kids per batch

. The focus is on improving confidence, forming thoughts better and communicating them effectively, and improving life skills. Address: Spark Pre-School, 1106, Street no 19, G Block, DLF Phase 1, Gurgaon. (opposite Qutab Plaza Market

). Registrations: C-18, Sushant Lok 1, Gurgaon (opposite Hotel Marriot Courtyard/ next to Vyapar Kendra

). Explore: , myclubspark

Flow India’s Workshops challenge the child’s imagination. 

 With 5 days in a fun indoor space, the week is concluded with a visit (accompanied by parents) to a museum - such as the Crafts Museum, Sanskriti Kendra or the National Museum. 

 A weekly written report to the parent(s) tracks the child’s
 social, cultural and emotional development
 ; language and communication skills
; cognitive reasoning
 ; physical and kinesthetic learning
 ; as well as the child's self evaluation of his/her Age Groups: 5 to 7 and 7 to 11 year-olds. Fees: INR 7,900 per week per child
 Contact: +91-9910533747 or

Synchrony is the annual event organised by the Alumni Cell of IIM Ahmedabad (IIMA) and the local Chapters to provide an opportunity to the first year students (Fachchas) interning in each city to interact with the alums. Synchrony 2014 in Delhi is planned on 17 May 2014. The Event is being held at a pub in Gurgaon. It is open for all the first year students, the incoming batch, the alums and their partners.
 All inclusive cover charges:
 Rs.500 per head for those who register online at fg96h6xuE22oJlGdc2okZ7XQ/viewform 
 Rs. 600 per head for Walk-ins. 
 Please contact us for more details.
 Sunil Kala 93126 06119
 Salil Aggarwal 98100 64535
 Rahul Aggarwal 98119 81098 
Tanzeel Ahmed 81281 59727

If you wish to be featured in ‘Coming Up’ (for listing your forthcoming events in Gurgaon), please mail us at


Summer Camp ipsaa offers a month of exciting weekly and monthly activities. Young minds can explore their creativity in a host of different mediums. 

 Date: May 19 to June 14 
 Time: 9:30am to 12:30pm, 
Monday to Saturday Activities for 3 to 9-year-olds: 
• Creating stories 
• Encouraging reading 
• Learning pottery 
• Channelling creativity with painting 
• Growing with movie magic
 • Healthy baking 
• Pyjama party
 • Fun trip. For children above 9 years there is ‘creativity and expression through theatre’, where they can explore their inner creativity. Renowned Indian theatre personalities will guide the children through these unique experiences. Object Theatre - May 19 to 24. Choiti Ghosh is an Object Theatre practitioner, actor and puppeteer. Inspiration and creativity through theatre - May 26 to 31. 
With Padmavati Rao – a storyteller, theatre practitioner and educationist. Enjoy texts through theatre – June 3 to 13. 

With Ratnabali Bhattacharjee - an actor who wants to make theatre joyful for children. Dream in theatre –May 19 to June 14. 
With Arun Kumar Kalra, Parul Kala, Rajesh Gandhi and Atima Kala, who have over 25 years of experience in theatre between them. Enrol now. 
Limited seats

. Pick & drop facility available

. Call: 0124-4594700 or 882-606-9994 Mail:

is looking to recruit

Correspondents If you are a Journalism graduate with at least 3 years experience, and based in Gurgaon, please send your CV to


Culture-Scape Frozen Words – Exhibition by Sreejata Roy The Japan Foundation invites Sreejata Roy to exhibit her experience from her Artist – in – Residence program at Tokyo. She will focus on an interesting aspect of modern gadgets - wherein they alienate people from their immediate surroundings and the social world. Date:  May 22 to July 18 (closed on Sundays and Public Holidays) Time: 11:00am to 7:00pm Venue: The Japan Foundation, New Delhi Entry Free Opening Talk will be held on Wednesday, 21st May at 18:30

Regular Film Screening Enjoy the screening of Japanese Films at The Japan Foundation office. Passion for Nation Theme of the Month : 'High School girls, Again – A solo exhibition by Gopal Cool fun in the Sun Krishna adma Vibhusan Pandit HariMallich Prasad Chaurasia ,World Title of the Film : Linda Linda Linda May 13th to 19th Renowned Flautist,Date: visited the VIDYA School. He is a Date:  May 17 at 2:00pm, May 22 at 6:30pm Time: - 7pm patron and supporter of the 11am School. Panditji delivered a Venue: The Japan Foundation, short Lecture-Demonstration New Delhi Venue: AlFACS and informally interacted with the students and the audience.

Pandit Vidya



H appenings

16-22 May 2014

Show Fashion


‘new kind of nude’ has hit the streets with the launch of Triumph’s Body Make-Up. The Collection was launched at the Triumph Fashion Show in the City.

Dance Drama


enowned Kuchipudi exponent Meenu Thakur presenting Bhamakalapam, the story of Satyabhama, the second consort of Lord Krishna.

Dream Rap


lobally acclaimed EDM (Electronic Dance Music) pioneer Redfoo of LMFAO, along with the La Freak Crew, dished out infectious chartbusters at a high voltage performance at the Kingdom of Dreams. “This has been a dream to perform in India, you guys are the heart of the party. India knows how to party and I love Bollywood!” said the singer as he greeted the crowd in his trademark ‘Rapper’ gear. 

Heal & Hearty


n evening of spirituality, with luxury & glamour, hosted by Tushar Kumar, CMD, GTM group and Vivek Oberoi. The Event was also graced by the presence of Suresh Oberoi and Shakti Kapoor.  The evening was powered by a special concept based on Wellness, by Life & Business Coach, Ramon Llamba, and a fashion show by Mannoj & Vandy Mehra - showcasing their Collections.


ankalp 2014, presented by the Pandit Mahesh Prasad Cultural Foundation

Wah Raag!


industani Classical Music performances by Mohammed Amjad Khan (Tabla) and Zubair Niyazi (Vocal) at the Epicentre.

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


16-22 May 2014

Tap on each of these for sub-categories

Kid Corner Check out what Gurgaon kids are up to

prakhar PANDEY

Global Exclusive Global news and features, from 'dpa'

Archive Check out all the earlier issues, sequentially G-Scape All our Photo-features


Coming Up Plan your weekend 'dos'

Video/Photo Gallery of Events covered by FG

Poll Cast your vote, see the Result


Check out the entire paper - 24 pages

After reading FG on paper or online, you can also comment on the various articles/stories, on FG Website

or on facebook


16-22 May 2014

THE WEEK THAT WAS  The govt approves the State’s Agriculture Policy, with a planned growth rate of 4%. A lumpsum composition scheme for developers is approved by the State.  A 3-year-old girl, on her way to playschool with her father, is crushed to death by a speeding mini-truck, near Sector 10A.  4 people are crushed to death when an overhead concrete water tank collapses near Sector 90.  A 17-year-old girl student is found hanging in her school toilet. A boy whom she was in touch with online has been tracked down – in Amritsar.  The body of a 32-year-old jeweller, who was missing, is found near Leisure Valley Park.  An unidentified body is found in Devi Lal Park, Sector 22; the person is alleged to have been killed (honour killing) by a relative.  Poisonous sewer gas kills a labourer who had gone in to clean a sewer in a residential colony off Sohna Road.  A youth’s body is found in Palam Vihar – a friend is accused; a charred body of a man is unearthed in Sector 23; a body of an infant girl is found in a plot near Rajiv Chowk.  A security guard is run over and killed on Golf Course Road; a Roadways bus runs over and kills a biker; a man is mowed down by a private bus; a 7-year-old girl dies in a road accident in Sector 10.  A 25-year-old youth is electrocuted in Civil Lines.  A 19-year-old girl from Saraswati Vihar commits suicide; a man under detention

    

attempts suicide in the Sadar Police Station lock-up. A man is accused of raping his 13-year-old stepdaughter, in Chakarpur Village. A person is held for molesting and taking nude photos of a 7-year-old girl. A 15-year-old girl is kidnapped. A property dealer is arrested for abducting his partner. A Rapid Metro container at Golf Course Road catches fire.

 A brave woman snatches the revolver of a robber in Sector 15, Part II; she is recognised and felicitated by the Police Commissioner.  2 wanted criminals are held – they were allegedly involved in about 50 robberies.  A security manager has been blamed for the increase in thefts in DLF II and II; Sector 56 and Sushant Lok C Block residents are anxious at the increase in robberies.  2 women chain snatchers are held near Sheetla Mata Mandir.  A man is cheated of Rs 15 lakhs by a woman who enticed him by giving good returns on lesser amounts to start with; a person loses Rs 25,000 in an ATM fraud case.

 DC and Police start crackdown against (about 100) unauthorised swimming pools in the City – after 2 young kids almost drown in a school’s pool (which has now been sealed).  Basai Water Treatment Plant will hopefully get underground cable connection to facilitate uninterrupted power supply.  Kherki Daula toll plaza starts use of cards (RFID based) for payment of toll.  DC stresses that the burning of crop harvest leftovers must be stopped, as it is harmful to health (leading to lung-related diseases), destroys friendly pests and also causes other fires.  HUDA water pipeline bursts near Atul Kataria Chowk, leading to a cave-in of the road.  DLF City RWA sets up its own Phase-wise people’s bodies (federations) for its 5 Phases, for ensuring better maintenance and security – under the Societies Act. Each Federation would have 7 members.  The toll operator of the Faridabad Highway quits, claiming that he has not been paid for months.  Rapid Metro introduces free Wi-Fi service on its routes.  Wrestler Sushil Kumar attends the Rural Raahgiri on Sunday; MCG takes over the running of Raahgiri in the City.  Buddh Purnima is celebrated across the City.

Friday Gurgaon is also available at:

 Residents of Surat Nagar protest and stop the MCG demolition team from razing any structures; separately, shopkeepers protest and stop MCG from doing the same on New Railway Road.

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)

Corrigendum This is to clarify that Bridge at the HUDA Gymkhana Club is played on Wednesdays (not Sundays). Contact: Mrs. Rinku Singh (9818582626)

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'. OR View it at the FG Facebook page at


16-22 May 2014

C over S tory


Time to pause...and Renew  Contd from p 1 as a marathon rather than a quick fix; it is meant to help in the evolution of the technical as well as socio-political systems of a city. Faridabad, with a population of over 1 million in 2001, came into the ambit of this Scheme. However, the lack of municipal reforms and of transparency in the municipal works there, has ensured that Faridabad’s residents have not been able to receive all the benefits they could (and should) have. Thankfully some high quality buses were introduced and some infrastructure projects undertaken, with JNNURM funding. Faridabad’s City Development Plan (CDP) was made by involving all the stakeholders, including the municipal officials, residents, RWAs and industrial bodies. The CDP, says Sarvesh Sharma, outlines the vision and strategy of the Municipal Corporation of Faridabad (MCF) and details how the Corporation, together with stakeholders, intends to achieve its vision. The CDP helps in the translation of missions into actions and actions into outcomes. MCF defines its mission as: ‘Commitment to develop the city in a planned manner and be a efficient service provider through a commitment to achieve distinction in the provision of civic amenities, and be a Municipal Corporation that is well governed - with modern, simple, responsible, approachable governance to all its citizens’. Under JNNURM the MCF has perceived its role as the principal service provider of all municipal services. MCF also intends to involve the private sector in helping manage services efficiently and in a costeffective manner; MCF would also act as a facilitator for the provision of services (by others) that promote socio-economic development. While the mission and vision in the CDP for Faridabad is clear, the Municipality has not introduced adequate municipal and urban reforms, its accounts are not transparent and Property Tax remains an unresolved issue. Bhawani Shanker Tripathy, an Urban Development expert, says that the lack of reforms, accountability and transparency is the reason that Faridabad has not made great headway with JNNURM, and adequate funds have not been allotted. Tripathy says that Gurgaon could have benefitted immensely from JNNURM, for building the required infrastructure in the City. “MCG can get the MRTS and the Metro to ‘old’ Gurgaon by using these funds

from the Centre. The drainage and sanitation systems, underpasses and flyovers could all be built with this Central help,” he says. Tripathy however cautions that the Scheme is not a one-way street, as the State government has to ensure that the municipality has access to adequate funds, and has the capacity and ability to manage and deliver services in a large and growing city (like Gurgaon). “To avail the benefits of JNNURM, the State government will have to introduce Property Tax in the City, and unfortunately that has already become a political issue,” adds Tripathy. The fact is that, even till now MCG has not evolved (or maybe not been allowed to) into a proper city management agency, despite having an elected Mayor and 35 Councillors. Most of the City is still under HUDA, the private builders and HSIIDC. MCG primarily has control on about 40 Village Abadies; and here too it has little control over the land falling under its jurisdiction. The State government is the final arbiter for the use or disposal of the ‘now premium’ land. Some experts say that even if JNNURM were to be approved for Gurgaon, there is little that MCG can do, because it is not empowered. There is virtually no delegation of authority to this body, which has a Budget of almost Rs 1,000 crores (though this amount hardly gets collected or spent). The State government has not even initiated the 18 steps that are required, under the 74th Amendment, to strengthen the urban local bodies in letter and spirit. The presence of multiple

agencies - like HUDA, HSIIDC, PHE, PWD and DTCP – just complicates the matters further. This has meant that, in Gurgaon, the creation, management and maintenance of crucial (civic) infrastructure becomes a unique challenge. Add to this the lack of political will, an overbearing builders’ lobby and an intransigent bureaucracy, and we have a heady cocktail. So what is the urban development formula for Gurgaon? It is clear that the City has failed to learn much from it's past mistakes. Even in Gurgaon II (the new Sectors, 58 to 115) one sees similar haphazard planning and violations of rules. Bhawani Shankar Tripathy says that by starting now, Gurgaon can move towards becoming a sustainable habitat. Tripathy suggests that MCG should be vested with the sole responsibility and powers to perform all functions provided in the 74th Amendment of the Constitution, in letter and spirit. HUDA needs to hand over all its areas and all resources (including funds and manpower) that are being deployed to manage them, to the MCG. DTCP (Town & Country Planning department) function for the City also needs to be brought under the MCG. In return the MCG is expected to work in a more participatory manner by also effectively involving citizens in planning and development, better manage the planning, operation and maintenance of assets and services, build the required assets, build the capacity of its officials and systems, and benchmark its performance against identi-

The JNNURM scheme has been instrumental in building infrastructure and civic facilities in many cities across India. The biggest success has come through the creation of bus fleets in many cities. In 2009, the government decided to support the deployment of 15,000 modern buses in 65 'mission' cities. This key initiative has brought about a major change in local mobility in a city like Indore, which now has 104 city buses with the JNNURM logo. Similarly, Surat has a fleet of 125 buses and Jabalpur's fleet of JNNURM buses has transformed its urban commuting. The hill city of Shimla has also recently got 75 modern buses under this Scheme. Ahemadabad, Pimpri-Chinchwad, and Ishakhapatnam have decided to implement dedicated bus corridors. The National Urban Transport policy has also given a direction on how States and cities can improve public transport under the JNNURM umbrella. The objective is to increase the share of public transport from 22 to 60 per cent.

fied and agreed development indicators. An important step that the City needs to take in the context of JNNURM would be to assess the Development needs of Gurgaon and consequently prepare the City Development Plan and the Local Development Plans. Tripathy says that no agency has bothered to carry out a survey to assess what are the real needs of the City and its residents; all the policies are made while sitting in Chandigarh. “A Development Needs Analysis needs to be undertaken, which will lead to the development of the CDP (City Development Plan. We need to employ a bottom-up approach to understand our DNA; this can only be done by an adequately prepared LDP (Local Development Plan) at each ward level, by directly engaging all stakeholders/ citizens,” he asserts. Another important step that could be taken to ‘renew’ Gurgaon would be to holistically review the Gurgaon-Manesar Master Plan 2031, which today is the only ‘planned’ document for the City. In reality, critics argue, the Master plan has been totally driven by the builders and the Real Estate industry. In this context, Tripathy suggests that the control of the City's land must be vested with MCG, which could be balanced by adequate regulatory supervision by the State government. Sarvesh Sharma opines that there is need to develop a land data base with the help of a GIS system, and then ensure that rules and regulations pertaining to land are enforced in letter and spirit. The City Administration also needs to focus on the urban poor, by providing living spaces,


health care and basic civic services – which is also mandated under JNNURM. There is a pressing need to ‘measure’ just how much Gurgaon can ‘hold’, and then monitor its growth, so that it does not grow beyond it's carrying ‘capacity’. This will help in creating optimal habitats and save the new urban developments (and even the villages) in Gurgaon II. The villages in the existing sectors have turned into urban ghettos and are ‘overflowing’ with migrant labour. They are urban disasters waiting to happen. These villages will in particular prove to be major roadblocks to the transformation of Gurgaon into a genuine Millennium City. It is also time that the State and its bureaucrats start considering citizens as fellow stakeholders. MCG needs to adopt a participatory development approach and should engage with RWAs, NGOs and activists. The State of Haryana has a unique opportunity of developing one of its cities (Gurgaon) into a world class city, which then becomes an engine of growth for the entire State. JNNURM offers a very credible platform to effect this change, to help renew the City. If the attitude of the State does not change, the coming elections will surely make them see the writing on the wall. As for the builders, the long-due resident protests and court proceedings (as well as court orders) have started. If the builders do not take heed, they too would need to be evicted. Achche din aane wale hain...u


16-22 May 2014

{ Abhishek Behl / FG }

write to us at letters@fridaygurgaon


nitech Fresco, a condominium being developed by Unitech, has raised the banner of revolt. Like their counterparts in some other apartment complexes across the City, including Unitech World Spa, the residents have decided to take over the maintenance and services of their complexes from the builder. After suffering poor services and maintenance for years, they decided on Sunday to pass a resolution to this effect. They have failed to get any help from the builder. Unitech Fresco has 16 towers (housing close to one thousand apartments), of which only 9 have been ‘completed’ and possession given to the owners, though the project was launched in 2005. A number of owners who had come to attend the apartment owners’ association meeting expressed strong resentment over the long delay in the delivery of their apartments and asserted that moving away from the builder was the right decision now. The complex needs to be properly maintained. Manmohan Suri, President of the Fresco Apartment Owners’ Association, said that they have decided to take over the maintenance because of the poor state of af-


United at Fresco

fairs for the past several years. “We are being sold power at a higher rate than what is being prescribed by the government. The quality of construction is not good, and there is seepage in the entire complex. Despite

our repeated requests the maintenance agency appointed by the builder had failed to act which has forced this decision,” said Suri. Before passing the resolution the owners raised a number of

The DLF Association

esidents of the posh DLF Qutab Enclave have also come forward to complain about the hapless situation in which they find themselves. Their Residents Welfare Association (QERWA) has alleged that while maintenance and security remain vital issues for their helpless residents, the DLF-created and backed Association feels that there are no such problems. They believe that it is more concerned with generating income from various sources and not paying any heed to the day-to-day problems being faced by the residents of DLF. QERWA, the oldest Association in the Builders’ Licensed Colonies, was registered in the year 1986, under the Societies 1860 Act, and has now re-registered under HRRS Act 2012. It has asserted that 'if the private licensed builder DLF Limited and/or its subsidiaries do not maintain the colony, or if the colony is handed over by DLF to the Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon (MCG) or any other body, then the Colony will be maintained by the Association on a pro-rata basis at the lowest possible cost and also in respect of all other facilities which they as citizens of India and residents of the DLF Qutab Enclave Complex are entitled to enjoy as per their bye-laws'. Mukesh Kumar, Vice President of QERWA DLF Ph-III says, “An additional maintenance charge is levied by DLF as per the Agreement dated 3rd February, 2004, be-

tween our Association QERWA and DLF Universal Ltd, as endorsed by the Supreme Court. It is as per this Agreement that DLF is providing the facilities to the residents. In between, DLF created its own organisation called DLF City Welfare, which never registered under the Firms & Societies Act and never conducted any election. DLF rather created a President and Secretary, just to show that they represent the Colony. Now, under the new HRRS Act 2012, Phase-wise Federations may be registered by DLF as a token gesture. In an area only one Association can be registered with the same object of maintaining the colony. This registration has been made by the residents under the DLF Qutab Enclave Residents’ Welfare Association about 28 years ago." The main objective of DLF QERWA, says the Association, is to look after the welfare and safeguard the interests of all house owners, plot holders and other residents of the DLF Qutab Enclave Complex - consisting of Phase I, II, III, IV & V - in all matters relating to civic amenities (such as security, water, electricity, roads, parks, sanitation and health, transport, telecommunication, plantation of trees, taxes and maintenance of complete complex). QERWA has been continuously working for the welfare of the residents of DLF City, adds General Secretary, QERWA, Sumit Bhaskar.

questions related to the legality of the takeover, the role of the apartment owners association and the funds that would be required to take care of the maintenance activities. Apprehensive residents also asked whether the Association had devised a proper plan in case the builder withdrew services. Reassuring the residents that all issues related to maintenance after the takeover had been accounted for, Suri told them that all owners and residents would have to stay united, to ensure that the builder no longer takes them for granted. Advocate Pooja Aganpal, who is the counsel for the apartment association, said that they have formed an appropriate strategy to handle the matter; a decision has also been taken to amend the byelaws and bring them in line with the Haryana Apartments Ownership Act 1983/1987, and to get the Association registered appropriately. “We have decided to de-register the Association from the Registrar of Societies, as this Association is not a charitable body but a profit-generating entity as per the Apartments Act. This will also ensure that multiple RWAs are not created, as these can create a lot of trouble for the owners,” she asserted. Suri said that resi-


dents were forced to take over the maintenance because there is no transparency in the billing system and the power is supplied at inflated rates. “We wanted the charges to be changed from a pre-paid to a post-paid system, so that we could check and ask questions - but this never happened. The builder has a bulk domestic connection, but is charging the consumers at the retail price, which is against the regulations,” he asserted. The residents also said that the electricity consumed by the projects department of the builder is also added to their cost. Aganpal said that the Association had also filed a caveat in the court to ensure that the builder is not able to stall the process of the take over of the maintenance. “We have taken all legal precautions before starting the process. We will also soon request the builder to transfer the interest free security deposit, so that the residents can maintain the complex in a proper manner,” she said. The Association said that common areas in the complex are being misused and the club has remained only part functional, despite 50 per cent of the residents already living in this complex. Lawyer Aganpal said that the security has also been poor, as security guards themselves had allegedly mo-

C ivic/S ocial

16-22 May 2014

lested some kids. The security cameras installed by the agency are also not working properly. The massive seepage in the entire complex is also harming the structure. The poor maintenance of the lifts has meant that most of the time they are not in good working condition. This could lead to a disaster one day. The Association asserted

that despite repeated complaints no action has been taken by the maintenance agency. The labour that is working in different projects of the builder is also living in the complex, rued the owners. Aganpal said that there are major legal loopholes in the project, as no Occupation Certificate has been obtained for the nine towers that have already been occupied by the residents. She also said the Association plans to approach the authorities in DTCP, HUDA and the District Administration. “We have got overwhelming support from the residents, and the Association has decided to take this decision with majority consent,” reiterated Suri. Sachin Gupta, from the Federation of Apartment Owners Association, welcomed the decision of the Association but said that the road ahead was full of challenges and there was a need to be careful. “The builders have large resources and do not like their

‘authority’ being challenged,” he said. The Association does not want to get into a confrontation mode, and said that they are exercising their right and feel competent to manage the affairs of their complex; and as per government rules the builders have to leave the project after a fixed time. While the existing residents are ruing the poor maintenance, construction and services, a number of apartment owners who have paid almost 95 per cent of the total due, and booked flats in 2005/2006, alleged that the builder has been delaying possession on one pretext or the other. Kamal, a buyer from Delhi, said that he has been paying instalments as well huge rents while waiting for his flat - which somehow seems to be in perpetual construction. Another buyer said that he bought an apartment in 2006 and was promised delivery in 2009. “What should we do if the builder is not ready to make good its promises? I have paid my hard-earned money to buy this flat but got nothing till now.” The buyers alleged that their funds had been diverted by the builder to create land banks, and to invest in other schemes, which had hampered their project. u

Making the Administration Accountable


here is a strong resentment in the Residents’ Welfare Associations in Gurgaon over the failure of various builders to deliver on their promises - for the delivery of apartments, for provision of facilities and services and for good maintenance (apart from ‘legal/procedural’ issues as per Rules & Acts). A delegation of RWAs called on the Deputy Commissioner Shekhar Vidyarthi, and asked him to intervene with the Town and Country Planning Dept., so that the deficiencies in the complexes and the services are rectified by the builders. The Delegation comprised RS Rathi, President, Gurgaon Citizens Council, and office bearers of RWAs from Ardee City, Suncity, Sushant Lok-I, Sushant Lok-2, Sushant Lok-3, DLF Phase-IV, DLF Qutab Enclave and South City-I. They presented details of non-completed internal and external development works, including the absence of vital community facilities, in various private builder-licensed colonies. They requested that these pending works should be compared with the list submitted by various developers to the Department of Town and Country Planning (DTCP). It is pertinent to note that this  information is now being collected by the Department of Town and Country Planning from various licensed builders, since it has to be submitted by May 20th (the next hearing date in this Case) to the Punjab & Haryana High Court, as per the Court’s directions. This information should anyway have been with DTCP, and it should not have needed a push from the Court to take action on gross deficiencies across the City, and across builders. Clearly DTCP has a different agenda. The Deputy Commissioner listened to the woes of the residents and asked them to be present in the next meeting, to be held on May 19th, with the Senior Town Planner and the builders.  Further, a protest letter, against the registration of more than one Residents’ Welfare Association (RWA) per colony (in the plotted areas of private builder-licensed colonies), was also presented to the Deputy Commissioner. In this respect the Deputy Commissioner agreed to convene a meeting with the District Registrar of Firms and Societies after the 22nd of May, in which this matter could be discussed in detail.


Tackling Labour Unrest


ncreasing labour unrest in southern Haryana is really a cause of concern for industrialists in Haryana. Such agitations have been increasing in this Region (Gurgaon, Manesar, Bawal). Industrialists and workmen are both suffering because of this. The Chambers and Industrial Associations had sent a joint letter to CM Hooda. In continuation to this a meeting was organised with Dr. Anuradha Lamba, Dy Labour Commissioner Circle -1 Gurgaon. V P Bajaj, President of Gurgaon Industrial Association (GIA) said that industrialists are concerned with demonstrations inside the factory premises. This may lead to damage of plant & machinery, products and other related materials - and even humans working inside. Such agitators are obstructing others and not allowing people to work. Industrialists are of the view that the local administration and police are not co-operating in resolving such issues. Further, some workers, in support of other unions, are creating problems by sitting inside the premises/factories, which is an illegal trespassing/encroachment. H P Yadav, President of NCR Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Gurgaon emphasised that the Government should form a ‘Haryana Industrial Peacekeeping Squad’, for the prompt handling of such crises and frequent ongoing labour unrest problems. President of Udyog Vihar Industrial Association, Animesh Saxena, suggested that for resolving such issues the local Chambers and Industrial Associations should be involved. He said that the State should realise that large scale migration of Industries to other nearby states will lead to big unemployment and revenue problems. Everyone however agreed that workers play an important role in industrial development and are the backbone of the industries. J.S. Saroha of GIA said that considering the present scenario, amendments in the provisions of Factories Act 1948 need to be made at the earliest. B R Sachdeva, Chairman, Expert Committee of NCCI, suggested some training/educating programmes for trade union leaders and a change of rules/ revamp of the Trade Union Act 1926. The workers should also be made aware of the Labour Welfare schemes being run by the State under Labour Welfare Fund Act. Presently most of the workers are unaware of it. A S Sharma, from the Expert Committee of NCCI, concurred. Dr. Anuradha Lamba, Dy Labour Commissioner Circle -1 Gurgaon, clarified that the Labour department always tries to ensure cordial relations between Industrial workers and Management. She assured the representatives that all suggestions would be forwarded to senior officials of the Haryana Government for needful action.u

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S ocial

16-22 May 2014

Make Your Today Better As down goes the sun to set A tired and fatigued day pines for rest Seeking the cool hand of night like soft falling rain To remove my worries, to wash away all pain Who picked me up? Is it not you my God? Who held me close to the bosom as a mother would hold? Dreams of the day’s ups and downs, the success I achieved, mistakes I made.. Came crowding my head It is you again who smoothed my wrinkles, removed my pain As you spoke of the lesson of life to be brave again “Let life not defeat you, you were born to win” Said you as to your chamber of deep sleep you led me in Came dawn…a new day struck.. Lovingly you called “Awake Get up son! Another day, another opportunity should not go waste Try, Try again An honest effort never goes in vain” Strength returned, ahead lay the unfinished road I picked me up with your support my God Gratefulness swelled in my heart as I meekly mumbled “How can I repay you?” my heart asked You smiled at my foolishness and gave me your best lesson “Carry your bag and move on Remember this of me if you want to repay Forget yesterday and gift me a better today Make your today better than yesterday.”    

Dil ka maamla Sardi ka mahaul tha Dubke rahte the din raat Khao piyo aur mauj karo Fiqr ki na koi baat Aise mein is dil ne ek din Baja diya alarm ECG machine se Nikla ek lamba sa form

Sri Bimal Mohanty   

Tedhi medhi lakiron par Likha tha dil ka haal Doctor lage ghabraye hue Hum to the khushhaal Hospital mein rehna bhi Ek tajurba hota hai Khaas taur pe bogus patient Jab koi bharti hota hai Lete lete palang par Milta hai badhiya khana TV dekho, akhbaar padho Biwi bhi na kare na na

A 2-in-1 ‘Pure Hinglish’

Sundar, sundar nursen aakar Letin BP aur temperature Unhen kya pata ki yeh ‘patient’ Ghoor raha hai maze le kar Dil hamara sachh mein uchhala Maari kayi chhalaang Jab ek sundari aa kar boli ”Chaliye karwa doon snaan” Biwi ne us nurse ko Teekhi nazron se dekha "Chalo utho khud snaan karo" Kaha kar tauliya hum par phainka Rae sabhi tandruston ko hai 'Lal' ki Apne dil par rakho kaabu Par kabhi kabhi yun mauka paakar Maze maar lo babu ! Ashok Lal,

A matter of the heart It was chilly cold winter I used to remain tucked in a comforter Eating hot pakodas and samosas Was a tasty daily matter Then one day this heart rang an alarm From ECG machine came out a longish form The zigzag lines were telling the tale of my heart Doctors looked scared and got up with a start Staying in hospital is also fun Specially if you are admitted For simply no rhyme or reason The IVs, pipes and needles scare you a bit But you must get used to them And keep control of your wit Beautiful nurses come regularly

To check your BP and temperature They do not know the patient has an ogling nature,, My heart was thrilled and jumped several leaps When one sweet thing came and said "Sir, shall I give you a bath?" My wife looked at her with piercing eyes And threw the towel on my face Go and have a bath yourself, said she This hospital is not such a nice place. Says ‘Lal’ to every one "Have control on your heart my friends” Sending patients to hospitals on holiday Is now becoming a trend ! Ashok Lal,

16-22 May 2014

Stretch Yourself

{ Anita Jaswal }


ou can turn depression into motivation on both the Yoga Mat and the Potter’s Wheel. So feels Tamanna Singh, a young free-spirited woman who has broken free from the conventional template. She has degrees in Journalism & Mass Communications, Public Relations & Corporate Communications. She quit her PR job and started freelance writing, as wel as designing collages and souvenirs and print modelling. But it was her Yoga certification from Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Dhanwantari Ashram, Neyyar Dam, Kerala - that changed her life’s direction. “There was that little tugging sensation in my heart. Something was pulling me to change, to shift direction, to embrace my calling, to finally do what I was put here to do. When I first starting practicing Yoga I had no idea how much

it would influence my life. After a few months of regular practice you start to realise that Yoga even affects your life off the mat in a most positive way. When you create a space in your schedule and add Yoga to your daily or weekly routine, you are saying that ‘this is important and I need this’. What happens on the mat is amazing, but it is just the tip of the iceberg. As the body gets stronger and your ability to concentrate increases, you learn to tune in to your body’s rhythm. The stability of the Yoga practice anchors you in difficult times. And then I stumbled onto Pottery. Throwing the clay on the wheel not only released my artistic talents, but I felt accomplished and relaxed. Pottery is a great way to relieve your everyday stress and find your inner peace. It is an amazing and uplifting experience! As the wheels spin and the clay be-

Watch your thoughts, for they become words; watch your words, for they become actions; watch your actions, for they become habits; watch your habits, for they become character; watch your character, for it becomes your Karma

The Heat is On { Sujata Goenka }


he month of May brings on the summer heat. It is the season for travel, as schools shut down. Residents of the City are getting ready to escape the heat. The holidays are booked in advance. The children look forward to travel either to their grandparents or to new holiday destinations. Some children have been booked into camps, as their parents cannot take a break. While these camps are expensive, today’s parents are more than willing to shell out that kind of money. One trip that I know of was to the Swiss Alps. The children learnt skiing and other winter sports. Some parents are looking to send their kids to workshops. These Workshops are a boon for the mothers, who otherwise would have to desperately try to somehow keep their children occupied for two months. Gone are the days when children would spend hours reading or painting. Indoor games, like hide and seek, are no longer in vogue. Long hours, over days, at jigsaw puzzles and Lego are passe’. Now the children want more – and different - every day. Both kids and parents do not feel comfortable in the outdoor sun now. Outdoor games in summer are passé too. However, Chess has recently gained popularity. One interesting option I read on a social network is a Storytelling Workshop. It will entertain and also

gins to form, both your mind and body are synergised with your surroundings. The melding of clay and the creation of Pottery requires a high level of concentration. Many people report an improvement in mood or reduced depression and anxiety, after a few sessions of Pottery,” says Tamanna. Marjory Bankson had said, “Working with clay is a way to get our hands dirty and our minds clear ...We were all mud-loving children once”. Clay Pottery goes through many transmutations, which are analogous with Yoga, during its creation. The stretching, kneading and contortions that you experience with Pottery is not dissimilar to what Yogic practitioners put themselves through with their asanas (postures), in the pursuit of agility and good health. Tamanna is a staunch believer of Karma Yoga, which means selfless service. It teaches you to act without egoist expectations in all  endeavours  of daily life. A Karma Yogi (volunteer) does not expect any fruit from his/her actions. “Teaching Yoga for free at the Sivananda Centers in Gurgaon is my way of passing on my teachings and knowledge to help the students attain better health - both mental and physical,” she says.u

help in learning a new skill. Another option offers to explore the inquisitive nature of your child. This Program has an affiliation with an institute in USA. The child will have fun and learn science as well. An unusual activity for improving Handwriting caught my attention. I actually read the advert twice. Unfortunately the computer is slowly making handwriting obsolete. The Workshop is for writing and language. I wonder how many would take this up. These are all for the younger ones. The older ones opt for languages like Spanish and French. The usual cooking, dance, and arts and craft classes are of course in abundance - for all ages. The idea of engaging one’s child for nearly two months is a daunting task for parents today. Today children need a lot more stimulus. They get bored easily and are constantly seeking new activities. The joint family system, where there were so many children under one roof, has vanished and the extended family support no longer exists. So unless you want your child to be stuck in front of the telly or on a computer all day, alternative plans need to be desperately sought. The demand is so great that ‘classes’ are mushrooming everywhere, to fit every pocket. Every summer the domestic help also do a vanishing act - the harvest season calls them home. This leaves the mothers working overtime in the kitchen too, as the children eat more when staying more at home. By the end of the summer it is the Mothers who need a Holiday! u

S ocial


Raahgiri falling apart?


s Raahgiri losing its charm? This Sunday we witnessed little enthusiasm from the residents of Palam Vihar and the neighbouring sectors. The Zumba podium had invariably been the main attraction for the Raahgiriites. But this time there was a ‘Dance War’ among the participants. There were no sponsors. There was a street play by Adi Theatre and Films. They made us feel conscious about the environment by focusing on the extensive use of plastic and its littering. The long queues for the cycles, which till last Sunday had made people test their patience, were missing. Instead of giving cycles free on a first-come-first-served basis, there was now a charge – of Rs 50 per hour. MCG staff had been given the duty to ‘operate’ Raahgiri. It would be desirable if MCG were to have the same zeal for undertaking its assigned responsibilities more seriously – rather than making a simple, joyful and playful citizens’ initiative into an ‘administrative game’. There is plenty to be done in this City. The officials knew that this event had been taking place for months, but they probably did not imagine such a positive response. The Gurgaon Police were present, but not in the strength that was seen earlier. Children were skating alone and getting their own cycles; even parents didn’t seem very enthusiastic. The only group activity being successfully conducted was a Taekwondo session. Where there had been a flood of people once, was a desert this time. u Sureena Dalal

Let’s Snap Out Of It { Sujata Goenka }


hat’s it with this City’s Administration? Last season, before the rains, the MCG dug up MG Road, leading to traffic snarls during the monsoon. It’s been a year almost, but the half-hearted repair work is still awaiting completion. The rain this year will now lead to new craters….and work will restart. Meanwhile the Administration has woken up to another project; a flyover is being built after work on the nearby Rapid Metro has been completed. Electricity is provided randomly in the summer months - just like the water, which arrives for an hour in the morning and evening. However, just when the water arrives and one breathes a sigh of relief, the electricity decides it is time for a break. The result is that the overhead tank is always near empty. All day you pray that both the water and the electricity will at least appear simultaneously in the evening. If it does, you send a small prayer of thanks to heaven. Meanwhile, the water level is fast falling, with the people being forced to use ground water, due to the shortage in supply. The ever-growing random structures and facilities in the City are a major cause of concern. The Administrators do not seem to believe in any planning. While the Rapid Metro is a good thing, it covers just a short distance. It is more a private railway route. It would have been more appropriate to have run a decent bus service. Due to NH8, the people need to travel longer distances just to cross the Highway – from one side to the other. Footbridges were finally built after a lot of lives were lost. They are neither friendly for the senior citizens nor for the ‘challenged’. The malls, which were the signature tune of this City, are crying foul. They are always on ‘generator mode. Ironically, the people who face the maximum power outages are those who seek refuge in the cool interiors of the malls. They do not come to shop. The latest is the failure in gas supply. The much-hyped Cyber Hub, the new pride of the City, was left ‘dry’ as the gas supply vanished on a Sunday. Why did the government grant permission for so many multi-storied buildings, when they had no intention of providing water and electricity to the people who were sold these dream houses; or even paved roads for their premium cars? Many people who moved here thinking it would be a dream come true have been given a rude awakening. u


16-22 May 2014

R ealE state

K id C orner

16-22 May 2014


Ryan Global School, Sector 40

Ma Tumhe Pranaam


other’s Day is a day for us to show our appreciation for Mothers. Students of Ryan Global School paid tributes to their Mothers by celebrating a special day dedicated to them. Invitations were given to the Mothers to participate in a ‘Floral Arrangement Competition’ and ‘Cooking without a Flame’. The students and their Mothers formed teams. The students dedicated their poems to their Mothers through a Poem Recital. The Mothers were moved with the love shown by the children. The young Ryanites also sang a sentimental song with the theme, ‘Mother we love you’. The Dance, ‘Mom, the magical Bond’, mesmerised the audience. Talent Tap and the Ramp Walk were the other attractions of the Day. The Mothers showcased their talent in singing, dancing, extempore speeches and the Ramp Walk – where they whirled on the stage and struck poses for the audience. Esteemed guests Dr. Deepti Kalayankar (B.A., M.S, M.Sc. Dietetics and Food) and Dr. Ekta Khatri (M.Sc. Food and Nutrition) graced the Celebration and felicitated the winners. Mother’s Day celebration is a part of the values that are nurtured under the 12 Vision points of the School given by Chairman Dr. Augustine F. Pinto. The Program concluded with a Special Assembly and Special Prayers for all the Mothers.

Rallying for Mother Earth


arth is most beautiful, and the only planet that supports life. It is our prime responsibility to keep Mother Earth clean, green and pollution free. To show their concern, and share their thoughts on this with others, the Montessori children of Ryan Global School held an Earth Day Rally. They visited the nearby areas and raised slogans for the cause; they also distributed beautifully handcrafted paper bags and requested people to use them (instead of poly bags). The children thoroughly enjoyed the activities. Chairman Dr Augustine. F. Pinto believes that every Ryanite must play a positive role in keeping the Environment clean.

Long Live Mother Earth


other Earth has blessed us with many valuable gifts, and trees and plants are one of them. Focusing on their importance, a Plantation Drive was organised for the Primary Students of Ryan Global School. The students donated plants and requested people to plant more trees, to help Mother Earth (and us all) live a better tomorrow. All the children participated with great enthusiasm and made their own small ‘clean and green’ contributions.

If you wish to be featured in ‘Kid Corner’ (for publishing your school’s activities and achievements), please mail us at Calling all Educationists, Administrators, Co-ordinators, Teachers and Principals – here’s a chance to pen down your experiences, teachings and learnings. Send us your contributions (400-500 words) at


K id C orner

16-22 May 2014

MRIS Sector 46

Rubik’s Cubers


n order to sharpen the mathematical skills of the students, a competition was held on Rubik’s Cube for the students of Classes IX and X at Ryan International School, Sohna Road. 30 students took part and showcased their talent on a 3x3 cube. The Competition was conducted over three rounds. The First position was secured by Ankur Prakash of XE, the Second position by Suhas Grover of XA and the Third position by Leo Varghese of XE. Principal Dr. Mouna Gupta felicitated the winners, appreciated the efforts of the students and inspired them to undertake more of such competitions in future.

Painting Blues


oddlers of MRIS 46 celebrated Blue Day, to reinforce the colour blue. They brought blue coloured toys from home for a ‘show and tell’ activity and also enjoyed painting with sponges.

Paragon Assembly

‘It is better to conquer yourself, than to win a thousand battles’ Buddha, the Enlightened One



magination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine, and at last you create what you will – George Bernard Shaw. The enthusiastic students of MRIS 51 took great pride in inviting their parents for the very first ‘Paragon Assembly’. During the two-day event the students presented a harmonious ensemble of the places that they had learnt about during their Unit I of Paragon - like Ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Europe and the Indian Civilization. The classes looked spectacular, adorned with self-created murals, scribes, ancient cities, clay pots and Egyptian mummies.The children dressed up according to the themes and performed Egyptian and European dances, and spoke about the teaching and learning strategies of Paragon. The entire event was well appreciated by the parents and the Paragon Excellence team. Kudos to all the children for putting up a great show!

n the occasion of Buddh Poornima, students of Grade III of MRIS 46 shared some teachings of Gautam Buddha by enacting a small skit, They reiterated the need for each of us to embrace peace and love in our lives.

Star Spellers


RIS 46 ‘Spellers’ made their alma mater proud yet again with their stupendous performance at the National Round of the MaRRS International Spelling Bee. Aditya Sharma of Grade IV secured the 6th rank in Category II and Krrish Sharma, Aditya Singh and Aniket Ghosh were declared Budding Stars.

S piritual

16-22 May 2014

The Becoming of a Sage { Dr. Rajesh Bhola }

your spiritual needs by living in total harmony with the self. Sages are men of peace, but hile we may be living in a yet carry within themselves the highly material world, formidable qualities of warwe should never give riors. It is not about weapons up on learning. We learn our and traditional warfare. Great lessons by reflecting on our warriors are those who can experiences; they present avoid conflict and never us with great opportunihave to be violent. As warties to first understand riors they learn the art of and then confront and subduing their adversaries overcome our obstacles. without humiliating them. With constant learning They also have the courage to we become wiser. A truly conquer themselves. They are wise person is a master of able to face impossible odds and two worlds, the world within the worst adversaries with grace and the world outside - and and courage. However, they are is not a slave of any. Such pernot pacifists. When left with no other sons are bestowed with wisdom option, they fight skillfully and dispasand humility. The sagacious have sionately - but do not rejoice in victory. Nor a unique perception of reality. Their do they fear defeat; it does not carry the sting of character is one of spontaneity, receptivity, a problem-centered approach, detachment, a humiliation, as they do not have an ego that can be hurt. fresh perspective, a democratic attitude, a unique The sages do not fall for the misconception that it is the value system and a capacity to cope. Recognising, fruit that makes the tree good; they know that the fruit is cultivating and fostering sage-like attributes is part good because the tree is good. The sages realise that you of the process of human transformation. Human have to start with yourself first; it is what you are that existence is a metaphysical reality wherein people turns a deed into something good. They are not enamreturn to the original condition of Nature, after re- oured of being ‘men of action’, in a vain effort to prove solving life's agitations, disorders and strife by at- their virtues. They would rather be men of no influence, taining personal tranquility. The intent of religions carefully avoiding self-centered action, and would obey those natural, spontaneous impulses that spring is also to help people attain an inner state of perfrom genuine compassion. For this reason, fection or tranquility. they do not make a show of charity. Sages When one becomes enlightened, one's A shun any kind of charity that is in the entire personality merges with Nature or hidden act of service of power and profit, and which reality, and a state of perfect harmony mercy is an act of comes to fruition in the glare of limeis experienced. To become free from pure compassion; it light. Sages are loners. ‘Ordinary’ negative feelings - such as fear, anxiety, men hate solitude, but sages eminsecurity and frustration - or from inis the living proof of brace their aloneness, realising hibiting ideas or imaginations, it is necthe victory of the spirit they are at one with the whole uniessary for people to experience themover the ego - which verse. They are indifferent to their selves without division. Such people is the essence of own popularity. They are timeless. are also able to transcend the effects of an enlightened They live outside the collective para‘karma’. The enlightened, self-actualised digms and ideologies controlling and maperson – the sage - is detached yet compassociety. nipulating society at any given time. They sionate, enjoys life yet does not cling to it, is move in society without becoming immersed a perfectionist yet indifferent to success or failin it. They stand aloof from the conceptually fashure, is a man of honour yet avoids reaping it, does not strive yet achieves, and has the innocence of a child yet ionable. They do not become part of socially acceptable possesses incredible inner strength. These paradoxes prejudices. They know that everything changes…and yet are in harmony in a sage. Sages live in close harmony nothing changes. They do not invest their faith in manwith the natural rhythm and flow of life. Their closeness made concepts and therefore have no faith to lose. Sages to Nature is organic and spiritual. Even in the midst of do not first work out if something is acceptable to socicity life they remain intimately close to the instinctual ety… before they act. They live spontaneous lives. They and natural in themselves, and their innate goodness simply follow their natural urges; and yet these urges are guides them; they never become a part of society's fur- so virtuous, so in total harmony with the self, that they tive scramble to reach an imaginary pinnacle. In a milieu allow them to live lives of the highest moral and ethiof envy and greed they remain, if not untouched, then cal order. Of course the sages will inevitably break at least unstained by the destructive negative emotions rules or laws - where they stand between them and around them. They give themselves up to whatever the compassion. The more unjust the society they live moment brings. In harmony with their natural environ- in, the more will the sages come into conflict with ment they live effortlessly, in the knowledge that hap- those laws. In a world satiated with pomposity, the sages’ igpiness cannot be bought or won or accomplished - for it is not a prize, a commodity, an aim or a position. Sages norance of their own virtues is their most endearrelish every moment of life there is to enjoy, and suffer ing quality. In a pretentious world of self-aggranwith grace when their inevitable turn arrives. They live disement, where status rules supreme, the sages by the principle of calmness in victory, tranquility in de- long to remain unnoticed. In a society clamouring feat and serenity when confronted by the inevitability of for public honour and fame, they remain mainly suffering. They do not rely on externals to provide them out of sight.u with spiritual strength, for they know that dependence Dr. Rajesh Bhola is President of Spastic Society on external factors - such as status, wealth, popularity, of Gurgaon and is working for the cause of children hedonism, success, knowledge and relationships - is the with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, mental retardation reason why modern man crumples so easily in the face and multiple disabilities for more than 25 years. He of defeat, failure or loss. Sages truly understand that can be contacted at life itself acquires meaning only when you satisfy



Bet on Virtues { Shobha Lidder } What makes you think that those you Run down will elevate you That those you hurt will love you That those you chide will abide by you That those you reject will admire you That those you abandon will seek you That those you leave behind will find you That those you humiliate will appreciate you That those you admonish will praise you That those you deprive will revive you That those whose lives you make hell Will bless you That you will hold the whip handle eternally… You can never get away with atrocities Or ‘atyachar’ done on a weak being Whatever you do will be well returned to you In multiple proportions Like a seed growing into a tree The receiver will become the doer Like the active-passive The grammar of universal balance The quality of mercy is twice blessed Once when you are giving And…when it is reflected back Virtues are the best To bet on Writer Journalist, Social Activist, Teacher Trainer, Reiki Master, Pranic Healer




NEWSPAPER To Advertise



16-22 May 2014

C omment

Hai Ye Gurgaon Meri Jaan EDITORIAL Atul Sobti


urgaon bags the prize for being the only constituency nationally to have a repoll ordered by the EC (in 8 booths). The credit goes more to Yogendra Yadav, AAP, for his persistent follow up. Unfortunately the EC seems to have not chosen all the ‘right’ booths – and not enough of them. Yadav rightfully calls repoll after exit poll a joke. A new FIR (8th) is filed against Minister Sukhbir Kataria and others, in the ‘bogus votes’ case – pertaining to the 2009 State elections. This is justice in Haryana. The term of the State govt. may get over before a case that questions its very legitimacy is concluded!

Letter To The Editor Dear Sir, Presently organ donation does not seem to be a viable and practical proposal. Inspite of a person wishing to donate his body parts it is only possible at Brain Death. Such a situation is rare and possible only when a person is lying on ventilator in ICU at private hospitals and the attending doctor certifies his imminent death. At this stage if the guardians agree for this noble deed, the body parts like heart, liver and kidney can be transplanted to a needy person (at the hospital or nearby). In the absence of any government regulations, hospitals are free to charge exorbitant money from the donee, keeping the guardians of donor in the dark, which is a very unfair practice. As such in these cases the hospitals should keep the guardians of donors in touch and a transparent deal should be made among donor, donee and the hospital. Moreover hospitals should form a policy of charging minimum fees so that the donation can also be available to the weaker sections of the society. Regards, R.S. Jain H.No 129, Sector-14 Gurgaon

The State holds up the entire country. The Punjab and Haryana High Court issues a Stay Order on the National Talent Search Examination (NTSE) Stage - II, which was to be held on May 11, 2014. It is already conducting hearings on allegations of 'cheating' against an institute in the State, during the NTSE Stage I exams. The High Court has ruled that the stay on land acquisitions, grant of fresh licences and approvals for Change in Land Use (CLU) will remain till the Haryana Sub-Regional Plan is approved by the NCR Planning Board. The Haryana govt. seemed to be in a tearing hurry to have the Sub-Regional Plan approved by the current Urban Development Ministry through the NCR Planning Board – perhaps knowing that the Centre was shifting. At issue is the proposed construction on ‘green’ areas, by allegedly trying to rule that term (green) itself vague/non-specific. The continuance of the stay has stayed scamming for now. The Town & Country Planning Dept. is checking with builders on the status of completion of apartments and complexes,

as well as facilities and services in various areas/colonies of the City! It needed a High Court directive on this count for the Dept. to know what it should be anyway knowing. It needs to diligently check the progress against the approved plans of various projects, and penalise defaulters. Clearly the Dept. has been running a different agenda. Till date they have only extended ‘completion’ dates – no project in this City has been issued a Completion Certificate to date! To rub salt in our wounds, and as probably a pre-State election ploy, the State has given builders one more year (five versus four, versus two just earlier) as the initial licence period – with 2 more years grace! Was there anyway a need, given that even 20 years is not enough? Or were some ‘favourites’ getting into trouble? The operator of the Bandhwari Waste treatment plant is finally terminated, after ‘negotiating’ for more than 2 years – which makes it virtually from the start. But guess what…the Administration does not have a back-up plan! They are now thinking of copying Punjab…or maybe floating a global tender! Meanwhile the 150,000 tons of waste (and counting), lying in the open, seeps right back into the City. The Administration has just realised that most (nearly 80%) of its earmarked land for Public Utilities and Facilities has been encroached upon or is under litigation! No wonder there are only buildings in this City. After all this is Real Estate country! Lift a stone and find an agent…if not a ‘builder’. The CM says the State Assembly polls will be held as scheduled, in October this year – and not earlier. He needs to enjoy his last few months. And also ‘make some more hay... and tidy up’?u

16-22 May 2014

C omment

Robot Journalism dawns { Nico Pointer/ Berlin/DPA }


hen the earth rumbles during the night in California, with one of the area’s regular earthquakes, Los Angeles Times reporter Ken Schwencke doesn’t have to rush to file a story any more. That’s because his newspaper has a Quakebot, which writes up a quick, first version of the story, with basic details - like the strength of the tremor. The first such reports have only just been released to the public, and it seems that some readers have seen no difference. In the Californian case the computer picked up information online from the US Geological Survey. It only took seconds for the computer to drop the data into a template. “This lends itself to situations where you can use the same text building blocks, and it’s only the data that changes,” says Berlin-based Social Media expert Frederik Fischer. He says that writing software is slowly going to become a normal part of the media landscape. After all, journalism has long made use of automated reporting in niche areas such as weather, stock markets and sports. US firm Narrative Science is one of the

providers of such services - of creating documents from data. US magazine Forbes already uses their services for its financial reports. In Germany, Stuttgart-based Aexea also promises to create high-quality documents with its ‘news machine’. Thus, during a basketball game, the computer wouldn’t just look at the points total, but also at the past game reports. “It could look at whether the top scorer had disappointed,” says prototype designer Frank Feulner. The company says that it could even generate specific articles for fans of certain teams or players, without too much trouble. Feulner says he has already received feelers from publishing companies. A study by the Swedish university, Karlstad, found that computer-generated news was more boring to read, but not to the extent that readers noticed that it was not written by a human. This means that computers might one day take some hard work off a human reporter’s hands. Or even replace him/her? After all, Quakebot never gets tired and never takes vacation! “If technology will help them to see savings, then they’ll do it,” says Fischer about the publishers. Still, there are limits to the technology.

Quakebot can neither take a picture of the destruction, or ask for expert opinions or seek out witness reports. A computer programme would certainly never have uncovered the Watergate scandal. “It’s nonsense that a robot will fill up the newspaper,” says Fischer. Computer linguist Manfred Stede, from Germany’s Potsdam University, agrees. “The added value of journalism is that it assesses facts and doesn’t just pass them along,” he states. Schwencke, who also created Quakebot, still checks his robot’s output before publishing it. He told online magazine Slate that, when he was shaken out of bed by an earthquake one morning, the story was already waiting for him at his computer. But it was Schwencke who pushed the button and sent the story out. u

A very risky profession in Somalia { Antonio Pampliega/ Mogadishu/DPA }


eporters Without Borders has put Somalia at the top of its list of dangerous places in the world to be a journalist - a position it shares with strife-ridden Syria. In 2013, seven Somali journalists were murdered. The situation was grimmer that year only in India, which had eight journalist deaths, and in Syria, with 10 professional journalists and 35 citizen journalists killed because of their role in gathering news. In 2012, the numbers had been even graver: 17 journalists were murdered in Somalia. "Somalia is one of the worst places in the world to practice journalism. Our mission is not only to denounce political corruption but also to speak up about al-Shabab (an al-Qaeda affiliate) or reveal the business deals of the warlords. We are an easy target," Abdirahim Isse Adow, 51, Director of Radio Mogadishu told dpa. Radio Mogadishu is the veteran among the radio stations in Somalia and one of the oldest stations on the African continent. It stood up to al-Shabab when the Islamist group (in 2009) ordained a ban on music in the entire country. "We were the only radio station that continued to broadcast music, and that made us one of the prime targets for the terrorist group," said Adow. He has lost several colleagues over the last few years - all killed as they left work or when they reached the front doors of their homes. "The government cannot provide bodyguards for the 600 journalists in Mogadishu," he said. "And everybody knows where we work and where we live." Over the past 15 months, five Radio Mogadishu reporters have been killed, making the radio station the most attacked medium in Somalia. That is the reason several reporters with Radio Mogadishu carry pistols. "They are tired of living with fear," said Adow. "Ninety per cent of the assassinations are committed by al-Shabab and their allies." Mohammed Abdiwahab has worked as a photographer for an international news agency since 2008. In that period, several of his friends have been murdered. He has himself received telephone calls with death threats. Despite the pressure he is under, working for a foreign media company, this 28-year-old intends to continue practising his profession. "I am not considering leaving my country. I want to stay and work for the people," he said. "Journalists have become a necessary tool for the country. Somalia is growing and this is partly thanks to the work we journalists do," he said. Many journalists are not as lucky as Abdiwahab. Some make very little money; some receive no payment at all and are essentially volunteers. "They do this because they love this profes-

sion above all," said Abdiwahab. Abdimanan Yusuf Mohamed, Director of HornConnect Broadcast Service, said, "The people need to be informed and that is why more media outlets have appeared over the last few years. We are essential if the country is to put the 23 years of civil war to rest, and to then prosper," he said. HornConnect Broadcast Service, established in 2010, provides news services to all the foreign correspondent television bureaux in Mogadishu. At its offices one can see the BBC Arabic correspondent sharing a work-table with counterparts from Russia Today or Press TV. In 2012, HornConnect for the first time broadcast elections live to the entire country. "We know we can die at any time, but until then we will continue to work and we will be professionals. We will not let the fear of death affect our work. We are fighting for Somalia and for what was stolen from us 23 years ago," he said. Since the fall of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991, there has been no stable Somali government. Journalists have been at the mercy of al-Shabab, other militias, corrupt politicians and warlords - all of whom are only too ready to stamp out criticism. "Al-Shabab for example, has set a gag law on journalists; and if you rebel, you may pay for it with your life. Their aim is to control the media and reporters, in order to manipulate the Somali people," said Mohammad Ibrahim, 37, Secretary of the Somalia Journalists' College and a columnist for The New York Times since 2006. Ibrahim, who has been threatened numerous times, charged that the Somali Police and government are passive when it comes to crimes against journalists. "Assassinations are not investigated. No one is arrested. Nothing is done to prevent more journalists from being killed each year in Somalia," he said. Ibrahim spoke of his companion Fatuma Abdulkadir Hasan, who was arrested by the police after she revealed on a radio programme that two work colleagues had sexually attacked her. "Freedom of expression simply does not exist in Somalia," he said. "In addition to the constant threat from al-Shabab, there is also the fear of exposing the gross corruption and shady dealings of big businessmen. A single wrong word can cost you your life," said Radio Mogadishu reporter Swaal Moalim Mohamud, 23. He had no doubt that the killers of many of his fellow journalists were following orders from people above. "They felt that my colleagues were making trouble and somebody decided to get rid of them," he added. Despite all the threats and the many dangers they face, hundreds of Somali journalists still have the courage to show up at work day after day - to continue to report the truth. u



W ellness

16-22 May 2014

Health & Vitality... Naturally!

Why Organic?

{ Jaspal Bajwa }


ver the last two years the necessity of Organic Foods has been hotly debated. The issue took centre-stage when a September 2012 ‘meta-analysis’ of existing research studies carried out by Stanton raised doubts about the ‘accepted’ significant difference in the nutritional profile of Organic vs. ‘conventional non-organic foods’. Ever since, arguments have flown fast and thick on both sides of the aisle. Perspectives have predictably been coloured by the interests of various parties involved. Against the backdrop of a rapidly accelerating Organic, Natural & Whole Foods industry (high double-digit annual growth rates), questions have been raised on whether this movement is ‘over-hyped’. Others questions whether we were losing sight of the ground reality of feeding rapidly increasing populations. A secular view states that the nutritional value of both Organic as well as non-organic food is equally impacted by where and how the food was grown, stored and shipped; as also how it was cooked, served and consumed. Just a label stating ‘Organic’ does not cut much ice. Protagonists of the Organic or Natural Foods movement are quick to point out that a single ‘meta-analysis’ (like the Stanton report) has scope for error, depending on which research studies were included in the sample. More importantly, ‘nutritional superiority’ alone is not what is at stake. This kind of a study had clearly not included in its scope the important differences in contaminants or the possible environmental consequences of Organic versus conventional production practices. The pendulum may have swung too wide in favour of industrialised production methods, which have severe limitations - such as a worldwide contamination of the food chain and ground water resources, compounded by reduced nutrient and flavour profile of foods. This is thanks to an over-reliance on low-cost, profit-enhancing intensive food production and processing methods. The emerging shift in favour of Natural / Organic / Whole Foods has the potential for multiple benefits to society as a whole. We must not overlook benefits of sustainable production and delivery systems for consumers, farmers, communities and the environment. Some important benefits are: n Lower risk of exposure to pesticides and other powerful chemical additives, which can disrupt production of essential hormones in the body, leading to impaired fetal and child development n Significantly higher levels of certain nutrients in Organic Foods - such as Omega fats, Vitamin C, dry matter, some minerals (like phosphorus, iron, magnesium) and higher antioxidant levels (such as phenols and salicylic acid) n Potential to eliminate agriculture’s significant contribution to the evolution of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, due to the over-use of pesticides and antibiotics in the quest for rampant increase in yields and margins. These ‘superbugs’ have renewed the spectre of infectious diseases, as there are no known antibiotics that can control them n Organic farming methods clearly lead to reduced nutrient pollution, improved soil organic matter, lower energy use, reduced pesticide residues in food and water and

enhanced biodiversity. Over time, unbiased analysis together with modern science will probably demonstrate that Organic fresh, whole foods can and should be an integral part of healthy diets. They will be an important investment in helping improve the ‘quality-of-life’ of society at large. Organic Food production systems may end up playing an important role in meeting the multiple challenges faced by our Planet. These would in all probability require a holistic PPP (Public Private Partnership) approach, which can simultaneously address issues concerning Food security, nutritional quality, safety as well as sustainable agricultural and animal health-promoting practices.

Tip of the Week

Labelling laws have been slow to evolve (e.g. in the US, it is only in recent years that it has been clarified how the ‘100% Certified Organic’ seal is not the same as describing a product as ‘Organic’. Hence, before paying a premium for tall marketing claims on the front panel (like ‘Sugar Free’, ‘Slimming’, ‘Natural’ or ‘Organic’), it is wise to be guided by the information on a food label. The ‘Ingredients’ list, where what can be said (or not said), is now attracting a lot of attention by multiple watchdog agencies. The general rule is, ‘the shorter the list (not more than 4-5 ingredients ) and the more it is free from un-pronounceable chemical names … the better the food is likely to be’! It also helps to check the antecedents of the manufacturer, grower or importer (i.e. how respected is the source). The values they uphold and their commitment to Quality and / or sustainable agricultural practices can be a good guidepost. Nature’s Wonder Food(s) of the Week : Teff or Eragrostis tef Consumed for thousands of years in Ethiopia, this super ‘ancient grain’ has been slowly gaining popularity in other parts of the world. It is probably the smallest grain in the world and is often lost in handling; in fact its name (Teff) is based on the Amharic word for ‘lost’ (‘Teffa’). In Ethiopian diet it is the preferred staple to make engera (injera), which is a flat fermented pancake. Teff grain can be grounded and had as porridge, used to brew alcoholic beverages or used as a thickener. Teff is nearly gluten-free, and contains as much as 11% protein, 80% complex carbohydrate and only 3% fat. It is an excellent source of essential amino acids, especially lysine – which is normally deficient in grain foods. Teff is rich in calcium, phosphorous, potassium, iron, copper and other essential minerals. Teff is gaining popularity as an alternative grain for persons with gluten sensitivity. It is finding use in planned diets for persons with Celiac disease, as also in blood sugar control management for diabetics - due to its high fibre and complex carbohydrate content.u Registered Holistic Nutritionist (Canadian School of Natural Nutrition). For education purposes only; always

Checklist of Super-foods  


ummer comes with a host of issues, including very high UV Index, hot winds and exposure to air conditioning for long hours. The high UV Index causes photo-damage, while the hot winds and long exposure to air-conditioning units cause dehydration of the skin. This combination can be disastrous for the skin and can have long lasting effects. While looking after the skin regularly is important for combating this damage, what we consume also affects the skin. Here are a few ‘super-foods’ that have beneficial effects on the skin - they can make the skin glow, give it a soft texture and also reduce the signs of ageing. 1.  Carotene-containing fruits: Fruits and vegetables that are yellow-orange in colour - like carrots and pumpkins, and greencoloured vegetables like spinach are very rich in beta carotene. Beta carotene is pro vitamin A and had been shown to reduce the signs of UV damage on the skin. A high dose of beta carotene can also reduce the signs of photoageing - like fine lines and wrinkles - on the skin. 2.  Lycopene-rich foods: Tomatoes, papayas and watermelons (found abundantly in the summer season) are rich sources of the anti-oxidant lycopene. Lycopene gets preferentially concentrated in the skin, where it absorbs the UV light and can protect the skin from potential UV damage. Such food is better absorbed by the body when it is in the pureed form and studies show that eating 1/2 to 1 cup of tomato paste or pureed tomatoes can potentially reduce UV damage by up to 30%. 3.  Green Tea: Green Tea has a high amount of catechins and proanthocyanidins, which have significant anti-oxidant action. Green Tea can slow down the signs of ageing and the proanthocyanidins can also help reduce skin pigmentation. The extra fluid intake also helps keep the skin hydrated. As an added benefit, keep the used green tea bags in the refrigerator and place them on the eyes at night. Not only is it relaxing, the anti-oxidants released locally on the skin, and the cold temperature, can help to reduce any puffiness under the eyes. 4. Pomegranates: This fruit is widely found in summers. It is a rich source of dietary fibre and an anti-oxidant called punicalagin. The anti-oxidant helps reduce free radical damage and hence slows down the ageing process. The dietary fibre aids digestion and helps lower cholesterol. It may also aid in weight loss and in shedding flab. Also, pomegranates help reduce stress levels, and thus positively impact the ageing process. 5.  Red Wine: Red Wine is rich in resavertrol. This works as a powerful anti-oxidant and slows down the ageing process. It also is healthy for the heart. Studies have shown that regular consumption of small amounts of red wine can reduce the risk of cardiac events. 6. Fish: Cod is very rich in selenium. This essential mineral is required for production of glutathione in the body. Glutathione works as an anti-oxidant and also prevents pigmentation of the skin. Eating cod regularly may be an alternative to taking glutathione supplements. So, this summer, eat your way towards a healthy skin. After all, ‘we are what we eat’.u

B on V ivant

16-22 May 2014

The Dancer’s Audience

{ Meenu Thakur Sankalp }


or two decades I have performed on stage to the applause of an encouraging audience and the scrutinising eyes of eminent critics. However, I have often contemplated on this ‘connect’ with the people who take out time to watch a live Dance performance. No dancer can survive under the arc lights of the stage without this live audience; every dancer performs primarily for them. The enjoyment of being on stage and the calls for an encore melt away the hours of fatigue and transform the physical pain to ecstasy. The recognition and felicitation that is received

helps eclipse the struggles and the travails leading up to the performances. In fact the live audience can make or break a performance on stage, for they can discern and distinguish between an average performance and an outstanding one - despite most of them having no technical knowledge or understanding of the nuances of Classical Dance. Critics can of course change the course of a dancing career - with just a stroke of their pen (keyboard now). Some have helped create legendary dancers out of once-ordinary performers through their constant, constructive feedback. Gone are those days when the lone photographer, armed with a box camera and perched on one

{ Krishan Kalra }


here’s this story about the Air-India booking agent at Heathrow who couldn’t understand where the old lady wanted to go. For the fifth time she repeated that she wanted to know their flight timings to ‘The Hague’ (pronounced Haig) - but our man from Haryana just didn’t know this place. Finally she asked for a piece of paper and wrote it down. It was only then that our Jaatbhai grinned from ear to ear and said, “Oh Hague (Hagew), why didn’t you say so?” The good lady found out her timings…but she wasn’t going to leave it at that. A true Samaritan, she wanted the nice young man to learn the correct pronunciation, and so repeated it. Our friend was gracious enough to thank her. Anxious to display his new-found knowledge of English pronunciation and grammar, he found an opportunity pretty soon. An unsuspecting customer, who was getting a bit on his nerves, was summarily told, “Sir, don’t arg (argue), I know my job!” The trouble is with the language itself. Actually, it’s quite idiotic at times. At least in this department the Americans are sensible; not for them the ‘silent’ letters and those having multiple sounds. Phonetics is the key to Americanese although even they have not found the proper

knee in front of the stage, would click photographs with blinding flashes, and the grainy black and white pictures would be published in the next morning’s newspapers – which would instantly turn young performers into neighbourhood celebrities. Also hard it is now to find that breed of eminent journalists, clad in saris or kurta-pyjamas, copiously taking notes on writing pads. Technology has made giant inroads into all their careers…and lives. I still remember the day when Facebook made its debut in India and the faithful Orkut users abandoned their online networking site within a few months. I felt technologically challenged and uneasy at

the need to ‘self-publish’ on the Net. I realised that each performance or recital would now be scrutinised by an unknown audience on the World Wide Web, many of them living outside India. No matter how much I liked to stay incognito, my previews, reviews and pictures were splashed on the Internet before and after each performance; and the ‘likes’ on Facebook, ‘comments’ on my blog and ‘follows’ on my twitter handle made me realise that the live audience stretched far and wide - all of them ‘imprisoned’ inside my 17 inch-computer monitor. Every dancer has embraced technology, and publicity and visibility seem to have overrun real achievements and accomplishments on the stage. Today it is about posting selfies on blogs and social networking sites, sending out e-invites from a smart phone, uploading pictures of previous recitals on YouTube, and posting pictures of workshops and lecture-demonstrations on websites. The advantages have been manifold and the publicity reach has also become virtually unimaginable. The virtual e-audience vastly outnumbers the live audience, and is multiplying by the day - to unprecedented numbers. Thousands of ‘friends’ applaud each performance from the cool environs of Scandinavian Helsinki, Oslo or Stockholm when tropical India is blazing at 40+ degrees in peak summer. However, the abundance of material available on the Internet has also driven away

Queen’s Angrezi replacements for champagne & cologne. At least they don’t call them – like our friend from Phagwara – ‘champagny’ and ‘cologny’ (just as in ‘mahogny’)! Talking of words with misleading phonetics, Germans are great ones with their Vs sounding like Fs – Volkswagen is Folkswagen; and some of their Rs as Ts – Wurzburg being Wutzburg. The French of course are beyond redemption - calling ‘Champs Elysee’ as ‘Sha(n)s Elleesay’. By far the greatest enemies of the English language are our brethren from the land of the five rivers (‘mind na karna Sir jee’). I am one of them. We have great ‘ply-ur’ meeting you, are ‘fedup’ when we don’t want more to eat and ‘all in the family way’ when we are with someone very close to us. Some of our invitation cards are real howlers. A two-year-old kid announces his own ceremony with ‘nears and dears’ for the impending ‘sacrifice’ of his golden locks so that you can see his ‘moon like face’, and also invites all ‘uncles & aunties’ to an evening of ‘sharaab and kabab’ with ‘gaana & nachna’ - so that you can ‘bless’ him and his parents. Brother-in-laws and sister-in-laws (instead of brothers or sisters-in-law ) are used even by the educated. Bongs are a class apart, even when it


the journalists from live performances, as it has become easy to gather information from a work-cubicle; and any additional information can be obtained by calling up the dancers or organisers. The journalists, photographers, dancers and the audience seem to have all realised that technology is better accepted than loathed; and to be fair, all of them have attempted to strike a balance between technology and their physical presence in the auditoria. But the dwindling numbers of a live audience does take away the sheen from a dance performance. It is of course discouraging for any dancer to find half-empty seats - a far departure from people standing in the aisles, with each seat occupied. However, one does see some faithful connoisseurs of dance in every performance – including the odd foreign tourist who seeks to explore the cultural map of India, or the ageing critic or journalist who still writes on the old writing pad. The dancer still performs exclusively for this live audience and acknowledges their presence. Just as Test Cricket and its live commentary by experts, along with passionate spectators, is the classiest form of the game for the purists, a Classical Dance performance performed live in front of dance critics and a discerning audience embodies true class in Dance.u The Writer is a renowned Kuchipudi Danseuse and Choreographer

comes to speaking English. I’ll never forget the time when good old Mr. Mukherjee was telling us about his assets; he kept referring to the ‘bhilla’ he had – I asked all the stupid questions about tomcats till it dawned on me that he meant a ‘villa’. Sindhis speak their own brand of ‘hinglish’ – ever heard of the ‘Premier 118 Nee’? For that matter, so do the Andhra saars, Bihari ‘phrainds’ and Oopi (UP) wallas ‘ishtylish snakes’ (snacks), ‘Maruti Hajaars (1000s)’ and ‘Bith your good bishes Sir’. Each is spoken with a distinctive homegrown dialect and diction; often providing bewildering and rip-roaring fun for the uninitiated. Such parodies are not restricted to India. Remember the American kid who was sulking at a London bus stop: “These damned London buses they never run to skedule,” he said. “Young man,” interjected a red-faced propah Englishman, “I am sorry about the delayed bus, but where did you learn your English? That should have been schedule.” “Sorry sir, but I have studied in your shools,” replied the young man. Who takes the cake however is my Panju colleague, a senior guy with a couple of Masters’ degrees. I’ve tried to correct him for 10 years but have almost given up. For him, the Dutch capital is Amesterdam.u


16-22 May 2014

Stephanie Pilick

Feeding the World - ‘Tomato Fish’ Project


Caring for cast-off Big Cats { Catherine Simon/Ansbach, Germany/ DPA }


{ Andrea Barthelemy/Berlin/ DPA } hen Werner Kloas, with a gleam in his eye, speaks of ‘tomato fish’, he doesn’t mean anything as prosaic as tinned fish in tomato sauce. What he has set his sights on is an ecological way of feeding the world. 
 Kloas and colleagues are working on a project called ‘Tomato Fish’, which is aimed at perfecting a closed, sustainable, ‘Aquaponic’ system - in which fish (Tilapia) and plants (Tomatoes) are cultivated in tandem. Aquaponics is a marriage between Aquaculture - also called fish farming and Hydroponics (a method of growing plants in water rather than in soil). A professor of Endocrinology at Berlin’s Humboldt University, he oversees the Aquaculture department at the Leibnitz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB). At an IGB greenhouse on tranquil Lake Mueggel in south-eastern Berlin, water flows into nearly head-high fish tanks, and long rows of tomatoes stick out of tubs. The tanks and tubs are linked by pipes and hoses. Humming in

G lobal

Werner Kloas, Biologist, shows a fat Tilapia fish at the Aquaponics test facility near Berlin. the background are wastewater treatment units and bacteria filters. It is so warm and humid that the moisture in the air condenses on the glass roof, which is also part of the recycling concept. When Kloas removes the protective netting from one of the tanks, dozens of tilapia immediately swarm to the surface, to be fed. “Our fish grow stressfree,” he says. “There mustn’t be too many in a tank…nor too few. They’re gregarious.”
Fresh water flows into the fish tanks, and waste water, along with their excrement, is drained off. 
 “The wastewater contains toxic ammonium,” Kloas explains, “but with the help of bacteria this is converted into a nitrate, which is an ideal plant fertilizer.” The treated, nutrientrich water then flows into the tomato tubs and swirls around their exposed roots. The thriving tomatoes give off clean water vapour through transpiration, which condenses in a cold trap on the roof, then trickles back into the system via pipes and re-enters the fish tanks as fresh water. Aquaponics has

Werner Kloas, Biologist, shows a tomato grown at the Aquaponics test facility near Berlin - the Leibnitz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB). Aquaponics is a marriage between Aquaculture and Hydroponics.

been around for decades. It is practised around the world, in some places even in commercial facilities. “We’ve developed our system to the point where it’s highly efficient and hardly requires additional water,” Kloas says, noting that all but 3 per cent of the amount needed daily is constantly recycled. “For a kilogram of outdoor tomatoes in Almeria, Spain, 180 litres of groundwater must be used; with Aquaponics you need just 35 litres and a fifth of the area.” The food for the fish protein-rich mosquito and fly larvae - is also sustainable and inexpensive. Further, when waste heat from biogas plants or solar panels is used to heat the greenhouse, as at IGB, the production is emissionfree. 
“Fish mature fast and provide valuable, easily digestible protein,” Kloas points out. 
 Should the Aquaponic researchers succeed in cultivating Arapaima - a freshwater fish native to Amazonian rivers and lakes that quickly grows to a length or more than 2 metres and weighs well over 100 kilograms - the system will be even more efficient. “Our technology can make an important contribution to food security in the 21st century,” Kloas remarks. A basic Aquaponic system with specially coated rainwater tanks and a pump, costing about 1,000 euros (1,400 dollars), could provide 200 kilograms of fish annually, he says. Under the direction of IGB, the economic viability of the ‘Tomato Fish’ process will undergo large-scale testing by experts in Germany, Spain, Belgium and China. In February the European Union allocated about 6 million euros for the project. 


hani is licking the fingers of Olaf Neuendorf tenderly. The 20-year-old Rhani is not some cuddling kitten, but a tiger weighing 120 kilograms. Neuendorf has known the animal ever since it was a few weeks old, when he had nursed it with bottles of milk. Rhani greets him with a low purring sound. All the same, the 53-year-old attendant is not going inside Rhani’s compound, but instead is letting Rhani show affection through the bars. You can never be too careful with big cats, Olaf says. Even if they appear so peaceful - like this old tiger granny - a predator cat is, and will always remains, unpredictable. There is no zoo that would allow a person to come so close to a tiger as this receiving station for predator cats in Ansbach, in Germany. This animal asylum is unique. Tigers, pumas and other animals that previously had been in the hands of illegal animal traders or circuses, wind up here. Currently 22 animals - among them six Siberian tigers, a puma, a lynx, two foxes and two monkeys - are living in this roughly 6,000-square-metres compound bordering on a forest. Neuendorf says that zoos have refused to take in the tigers because they were not pure-bred and so are unsuitable for breeding purposes. All the male tigers at the facility have been casDaniel Karmann

Olaf Neuendorf, 53, animal carer and head of the Ansbach Animal Asylum, gets friendly with tiger Igor. Anubis, a female lynx, yawns - at the Ansbach Animal Asylum in Germany, a refuge for big cats.

trated, in order to prevent them reproducing. Zoos and refuges also have limited pace. In a spectacular and controversial action at Copenhagen Zoo, four healthy lions were ‘put down’, to make space for a new breeding male lion. Such a fate does not await the animals here, where the aim is to provide a happy retirement to the cast-off creatures. Rhani is the longest tenant at the shelter, while newcomer Kalaharia, a female desert lynx, arrived just a few weeks earlier. The cat was confiscated from a private home. The lively female white fox, Finja, was recovered from an illegal shipment of puppies. At one point the Ansbach shelter even housed a cheetah that had been kept as a pet in a Munich home. Ever since Neuendorf and his sponsoring club, Raubtier und Exotenasyl (Sanctuary for Predators and Exotic Animals), took over the shelter in 2009, the refuge’s financial footing has been kept steady. Animal protection activists are called in to help every time the police or customs intervene over an illegal animal shipment, when a circus is disbanded, or people are found keeping endangered-species animals in their backyards. “On the Internet you can easily buy a tiger or a puma. It costs 3,500 to 7,000 euros (4,800-9,600 dollars), and a dealer doesn’t even have to carry out a check on whether you are permitted to own one,” complains Neuendorf. Once, even a polar bear was offered to the sanctuary, but the offer was turned down because the facility was not adequately set up for the animal. The upkeep for the animals is expensive. The Ansbach sanctuary puts the cost at about 6,000 euros a month - a tiger needs up to 8 kgs of meat per day. The shelter is financed by donations, the dues paid by club members, sponsorships of individual animals and the proceeds of a monthly open-door event.u

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A Citadel of Learning

One of the battered old tenements that makes up the Républicas, the Leftist section of Coimbra.

The University occupies a hill above the City of the same name. It is Portugal’s oldest seat of learning.


f all Portugal’s universities, Coimbra is the grandest, with ancient buildings proudly sited on a hill. It is also perhaps the most conflicted - with many students fiercely defending centuries’-old initiation rituals and their devotion to song, whereas others denounce the pomp and traditions as outdated. In 2013, Coimbra and its extraordinary customs were declared a part of the world’s heritage by UNESCO. “Coimbra,” sings Hugo Martins, “you are most enchanting in the hour of farewell.” Tourists try to sing along with him, while a screen behind the musicians

shows images from the Queima das Fitas, the great celebration that marks the end of the academic year in May. That’s when thousands of students gather around the old cathedral of the university city to hear their Fado singers perform on the steps. Fado is a very Portuguese music genre: the students wear black robes and leggings and sing bittersweet songs about love - usually as they walk city squares or streets in the night. Only men are allowed to perform it. Martin

is only 22 but he has performed here three times already. Like generations before him, he sings about the beauty of Coimbra, and of love’s yearnings. “Ninety per cent of the songs here are about love,” says Martins, who is doing a degree in International Relations. In the capital Lisbon, people sing about the hardships of daily life, but here the themes are completely different. The musical genre was inLeather-bound books line the walls inside the Biblioteca Joanina at the University of Coimbra in Portugal.

Hugo Martins (centre) sings a Fado song to a strings’ accompaniment (foreground). Coimbra and its Fado are recognized by UNESCO as a world heritage.

Students stream out of one of the buildings of the University.

vented by students in the early 19th century and is one of many traditions at the oldest university in Portugal. Established in 1290, for centuries the University educated the elite of what was then the Portuguese empire. Until 1911 it was Portugal’s only university. It remains the most prestigious in the coun-

ARPT Centro de Portugal

{ Florian Sanktjohanser/Coimbra, Portugal/ DPA }


Florian Sanktjohanser

16-22 May 2014

A student apartment in the Républicas, where leftists nurse an anti-authoritarian heritage that opposes Coimbra’s old splendours.

Posters against war, the IMF and other pet hates of the Left, plaster a street door in the Républicas of Coimbra. try. Tiago Boavida leads tourists up the steep steps of the Rua Quebra Costas, through the Moorish archway of Arco de Almedina and past the old Romanesque cathedral of Se Velha, where the students gather every years to sing on the first night of Queima de Fitas. In the Sala dos Capelos, the University’s ceremonial hall, the old traditions seem part of the air. Portraits of the kings of Portugal hang on the walls. It would be disconcerting to be answering questions about your doctoral dissertation under their stern gaze. Even more awe-inspiring is the Biblioteca Joanina, where the shelves hold thousands of leather-bound books bearing gold lettering. Crowns, crests and paintings are all around. Tourists who stop off here marvel at the surroundings and rich traditions. But some of the 35,000 enrolled students are not so happy. Those who live in the Republicas are most hostile to this academic splendour. “The Republicas are so called because they see themselves as autonomous territory,” explains Boavida. Rafael, a resident of the Republicas Corsarios das Ilhas and originally from the Azores, shows Boavida and the tourists around his shabby room. There are slogans against the International Monetary Fund, McDonald’s and, of course, the Praxes. The Republicas seems like relics, islands of carefree student life. Boavida leads the way down to the Botanical Garden, where in the Summer students learn in the shades of the palm trees. Students are busking In front of the new library. At the Rio Mondego, young people sit under umbrellas outside the bars. From here one has a magnificent view of the venerable University, illuminated by the evening sun. In Coimbra, even for the tourist, the hour of departure really does hurt.u

22 { Christiane Oelrich/Cairns, Australia/ DPA }


Felix Kaestle

t’s 7am at the harbour of Cairns, Australia, and the crew of the Venus II is loading laptops, vegetables and rain jackets. They will be at sea for 10 days, sailing directly along the Great Barrier Reef, 50 kilometres offshore. On board are skipper Jared and 10 divers. This is no fun run. Their mission: to kill as many Crown-Of-Thorns Starfish (COTS) as possible. “COTS are a plague. They are eating the coral reefs bare,” says expedition chief Daniel Schultz, 36. The 2,300-kilometres-long Great Barrier Reef, along Australia’s eastern coast, is under assault - from disturbance by shipping and the expansion of ports, fertilizers washed into the sea from onshore plantations, and from cyclones and climate change. An invasion by the voracious Starfish could be the final blow to the Reef. The marine research institute, Aims, warns, “COTS pose a significant threat to the longterm survival of coral reefs.” The Institute estimates that, in 2013, one-third of the 3,000 coral reefs in the marine park had been attacked by the Starfish (Acanthaster planci). While they

have been around for long, in the past they had population peaks only every 80 years; now they appear every 15 years - according to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA). The key factor for this change is water quality. When flooding on the land washes large quantities of nutrients out to sea, it helps many more Starfish larvaereach maturity. Thereafter, they have virtually no natural enemies. One Starfish can devour 10 square metres of coral per year – and there are hundreds of thousands of Starfish out among the reefs. “While the normal Crown-Of-Thorns Starfish’s body has a diameter of 30cm, we have already seen some that are 40 to 50cm wide,” says Schultz. Its arms, up to 23 of them, bear long barbs that have poison in them. Most fish give the Starfish a wide berth. Captain Jared on this day is heading to Green Island, a snorkelling and scuba diving paradise, about 45 minutes off the coast from Cairns. Schultz says, “Near here our 10 divers once found 7,700 Starfish in a single day.” Each diver is carrying poison in a plastic container attached to a belt, along with two poles – each roughly one metre long. On one of the poles, the tip is connected

Daniel Schultz

A ‘noble’ mission to kill

Andreas Faigle, an intern, cleans the interior of the Riesenhof mobile chickenhouse. The truck shelters the poultry when the birds are grazing.

{ Brigitte Geiselhart/Ravensburg, Germany/ DPA }


chickenhouse on wheels? It’s a clever idea that is helping bring a sunnier outlook to the mentally ill. “The patients get involved in the ‘work’; they can identify with their tasks, with nature and of course with the hens - and the eggs they lay,” says Andreas Gronmaier, Production chief of an organicfarming company, Riesenhof Gaertnerei of Ravensburg. Every few weeks the chicken-

house - actually a long tractor-trailer truck - is driven to a fresh location, always an open-air pasture, to involve mental health patients in the process. Riesenhof is a workshop unit whose focus is on psychiatric care and on helping patients integrate better with society. At the chickenhouse the patients care for the poultry, collect the eggs, keep the area clean, and help out when it’s time to move. In good weather the chickens are moved around every two weeks; in the winter or during prolonged rainy weather, they

A diver from the Venus II injects ox bile into a Crown-Of-Thorns Starfish, to kill it via a tube to the poison container; the other pole has a hook, in order to hold the Starfish. The diver then jabs the pointed tip into the Starfish and injects the poison. “We have to inject in the upper part of its arm, round about the ‘bicep’,” says Schultz. It was Jairo Rivera-Posada, a researcher at the James Cook University who revolutionised the fight against the COTS. He discovered that a single jab of ox bile could kill a Starfish. The old method involved injecting each and every

Christiane Oelrich

16-22 May 2014

Three divers, including Georgia (left), wait with canisters of ox bile aboard the Venus II, to begin a day’s work of killing Crown-OfThorns Starfish. The creatures can be reliably killed with this ‘poison’.

Daniel Schultz, Team Leader aboard the Venus II, stands behind a container of ox bile used to kill Crown-Of-Thorns Starfish.

G lobal arm of a Starfish with sodium bisulphite. “Using the old methods we could kill at most 70 during a 40-minute dive. With the new method we can cover more than 300,” says Schultz. The youngest among the ten divers is Georgia, 19. “I love animals,” she says. “Sometimes I feel sorry (for the starfish) but I know that their elimination serves a higher purpose.” In a healthy eco-system they indeed do help. They eat the rapidly-growing corals, which can grow as much as 30 cm in a year. The COTS help create room on the coral branches for the slower-growing species,” Schultz notes. But when the eco-system is ailing, then it can quickly be thrown out of kilter by a COTS attack. The Reef doesn’t have enough time to recover before the next Starfish wave, for want of anything better to eat, gobbles up the slower-growing corals as well. The GBRMPA finances the hunt for the ‘killer’ Starfish, while the missions are organised by the coral reef tourism association, AMPTO. “Cleaning up the reefs where tourists are snorkelling and diving has the highest priority,” says Schultz. When all the COTS at a reef under attack are killed, a ring of 100 metres all around it is also cleared up. “What we are doing may be tedious, but it’s certainly not just a drop in the ocean,” says Schultz.u

A rooster as a morale booster? are moved once a week. It’s not only beneficial for patients; it’s a great life for a bird. “The hens are always getting fresh grass,” Gronmaier notes. For hen Chantal, the ‘Chickenmobile’ is the perfect home: a warm place to sleep, and next to it a ‘scratching’ room - where she can withdraw in bad weather; and when she wants, she can hop out and enjoy fresh grass. The mobile henhouse is a far cry from the mass poultry methods of the industry. Chantal keeps company with three other

hens and three roosters. But chickens as therapists? Michael Ziegelmayer, of the Professional

Hermann (left) and Armin (right) collect freshly laid eggs. Hermann summons hens to the temporary fence near the Riesenhof mobile chickenhouse.

Association of German Psychologists, observes: “Caring for animals sets up an elementary and easily understood stimulus. You feel needed, you have responsibility, and it doesn’t require any complicated explanation or strong arguments.” The mentally ill often have problems developing work habits in places where the only satisfaction is perhaps learning the skill of operating a machine or getting paid at the end of the month. Those are fairly abstract rewards for someone who can easily lose focus. “What is important is to guide them to develop daily habits and to integrate them into a social group,” Ziegelmayer stresses. “The knowledge that they are dependent on others poses an immediate challenge to them,” he says. Ulrich Krueger, Director of the mental health aid organization, Aktion Psychisch Kranke, says that working with animals is still a rare approach for helping people with psychological disabilities - but it is particularly motivating. The aim in the rehabilitation of patients should be to find the right kind of activity, the right amount of pressure, and a suitable environment. u

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16-22 May 2014

Sneaker sales get a long leg up! { Caroline Bock/Berlin/ DPA }


he humble sneaker has made it to haute couture, with French fashion house Chanel sending its models down the catwalks wearing trainers. Diehard sneaker fans even have a name for this – Sneakerheads; and they’re quite prepared to spend a night sleeping in front of a shoe store, to be the first to get their hands on a limited design. These days new sneaker models are not simply ‘sold’ in shops; they are ‘released’ - like a music album. At the end of March. sportswear maker Nike held an ‘Air Max Day’ and invited 150 guests to a sneakers’ show at its Berlin store. Rival sportswear maker Adidas is also conscious of the sneaker’s importance. The first sneaker trainers were sold about 100 years ago by the companies Keds and Converse. Actor James Dean wore them in the 1950s and later they became a mass-market fashion item in the 1970s and 80s. In the 1990s a new generation began

wearing them and was preoccupied on whether it was best to own a pair with Adidas’ three stripes, the Puma logo or Nike’s swoosh. A place of pilgrimage for Sneakerheads in Berlin is the Voo Store, which sells designer fashion and accessories. The Store’s buyer, Herbert Hofmann, recalls how Scandinavian women began wearing sneakers with silk dresses a few years ago. “That trend really took off here in Berlin,” he says. “You can now go anywhere you like wearing sneakers. You will be allowed in everywhere.” A few of the designs are in co-operation with big brands. Raf Simons worked with Adidas to create the ‘Response Trail Running Sole Shoe’, retailing for 442 dollars in Berlin; Riccardo Tisci designed an avant-garde looking pair for Nike, with a similar price tag.

World’s first self-cleaning car { Berlin/Tokyo/ DPA }

Designer Michael Michalsky says trainers can be comfortable and fashionable at the same time. “They radiate sportiness, coolness and energy,” he says. “It’s the perfect shoe for wearing on an average day in the city.” Designers love sneakers because they allow them to unleash their creative powers with colour, shape and materials. “You can’t work so flexibly with any other type of shoe. Sneakers stimulate a designer’s creative buds.” ‘High Top’ sneakers are among the trend designs at the moment; Michael Michalsky thinks the ‘Running Shape’ sneaker is one of the more elegant trainers on the market; Nike’s ‘Retro Running’ harks back to the classic years of sneaker design. Following on from the fashion for brightly coloured clothing, Voo’s buyer Herbert Hofmann thinks that white and simple design are going to be the next trend. Hofmann wears a pair of sneakers named after the former tennis professional Stan Smith - which Nike has just brought out again after a short break. “Sales have shot through the roof,” says Hofmann.u


apanese carmaker Nissan has come up with what it claims to be the world’s first selfcleaning paintwork that can repel mud and everyday dirt. The technology could make washing a car redundant. During a test run, a Nissan car driven around mud-streaked tracks returned ‘spotless’ - with no dirt particles clinging to its shiny surfaces. The repellant coating has been developed by US company UltraTech International. Applied to the paint surface, it creates a microscopic layer of air between the paint and the environment. Nissan said that trials under all weather conditions have proved promising. A decision on offering the paint as an aftermarket option has not yet been made. German chemical firm Evonik is meanwhile working on a scratch-resistant paint surface, which would reduce the micro-scratches that often result from the revolving brushes used in commercial automatic car wash facilities. Several car companies have shown interest, said the Essen-based company.u

Grand Prix of Classic cars { Hanover/ Germany/ DPA }


ar collectors and Classic motor-sport fans from across the globe will come together in Monaco, from May 9 to 11, for the ninth running of the biennial Grand Prix de Monaco Historique. Formula One cars from 1920 to 1978 will take part in seven different competitions, along with the race cars driven by former F1 pilots - including Arturo Merzario of Italy. The Event is organized by the Automobile Club of Monaco.u

A toolbox on a stick { Benjamin Krueger/ Hanover, Germany/ DPA }


ut too much software on your computer and you run the risk of slowing it down. That’s especially annoying if the problem is caused by rarely used programmes. But there’s a solution: start such programmes from a USB stick. Such portable apps don’t need to be installed, and interact only minimally with the operating system. Although they don’t have to be on a stick, it’s a logical place to carry them. Portable apps don’t take up much in the way of computing resources, since they aren’t registered with the operating system. They leave no trace. And, since they’re portable, they can be used on any computer. “Portable apps are most often used during service by administrators,” explains Joerg Wirtgen of German computer magazine c’t. But they’re a good way to carry the programmes you need with you, especially if you use computers at Internet cafes, libraries or universities. Candidates for ‘carrying around’ include: applications that compress files (7-Zip), photo editing (Gimp) or a basic suite of office programmes (OpenOffice or LibreOffice). It might even make sense to carry around an application commonly found on just about every machine. Bringing your own ‘Tor Browser Bundle’ with integrated Firefox means you can surf anonymously from any computer. Another plus: carrying around an email reader programme means it’s not necessary to set up a new client on each machine. Thunderbird Portable lets a person have his mailbox anywhere. The mobile version even supports the Enigmail expansion, for encrypted messages. “That solution is much more secure than calling up web-client

emails on someone else’s computer,” says Michael Lamberty from the Institute for Internet Security. “You never know if spyware is active on strange computers. He also recommends KeePass Portable, which manages access data like passwords and stores them in an encrypted file that can only be opened with a master password. Portable apps also have an important role to play when it’s time to fix a computer. Diagnostic programmes, tools for cleaning up a registry or restoring data are all handy to have on a separate stick: keeping them there can spare a user a lot of problems when a computer crashes. There are many places to find portable programmes. “ probably has the biggest and best maintained selection,” says Wirtgen. It usually has the portable version of the most popular programmes as individual downloads. Other options are Lupo PenSuite or LiberKey. If you have a favourite programme, just perform an Internet search under its name along with the words ‘portable’ or ‘stick’. “It’s astounding how many applications have this kind of option,” says Wirtgen. Experienced computer users can probably create their own portable apps, though not every programme lends itself to this approach. Anti-virus software has to be able to work its way well into the system if it’s to do its job properly. That’s not an option with a stick. Other applications might not work as portable apps due to licensing issues, which require a close connection to the system. Anyone who wants to try to see if their favourite programme works as a portable app should go to Cameyo. The free service scans the installation of a programme and tries to create a virtual environment that mimics a portable version of the programme. However, there are no guarantees.u


Self-destruct messages { Berlin/ DPA }


his message will automatically self-destruct after reading’; those words brought a thrill to many a spy film during the Cold War as viewers watched agents’ messages bursting into flame after they were read. Now you can do the same – at least digitally - with a new service from the website, offered by Delano Mandelbaum. The Service was conceived for people who want to send passwords or other sensitive data by email – for the eyes of the (intended) recipient only. It’s easy to use. Just type your message into the text box and click on ‘Create a secret link’. That generates a web address, which you then send to the recipient. The link can be followed only once; after that it will lead to error messages. No account is needed to use the service. Messages will only be available for seven days after being sent. However, for those who set up an account, they can send secret messages that will stay for 30 days, and they will also get a password - for added security. The service is free.u

Website works out your TV series viewing time { Berlin/ DPA }


f you have watched every episode of the cult US TV series Mad Men, you have spent three days and 13 hours of your life on it. If have seen all of the Sopranos and Breaking Bad, the total is nine days and 17 hours. There is a website that calculates how much time TV bingers spend watching their favourite shows. At, all you need to do is type in the show’s title and the site works out the length of time it takes to view a season or more. You can also add the time of other TV series you have watched – all the more to admire your totals.u


16-22 May 2014

G -Scape Asha PANDEY

Friday gurgaon 16 22 may, 2014 the change you want to see

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