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2-8 August 2013

Vol. 2 No. 50  Pages 24  ` 7

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

They Have Got It Made { Shilpy Arora / FG }

write to us at


The 5 to 9er


yoti, 18, works as a maid. Like everyone else, she looks forward to Sundays, when she enjoys a good brunch with her family. Sunday evenings are normally spent with her boyfriend, mostly watching a movie at PVR. If her boyfriend insists, she doesn’t mind having a couple of pegs (of scotch) at a bar. She makes sure her eyebrows are properly shaped, and arms waxed. “I ensure that there is no unwanted hair on my face or arm. Paying a weekly visit to the salon is a must,” she says. Jyoti’s family migrated to the City some 20 years ago, in search of jobs. She remembers her mother working as a domestic help for a meagre amount. Today, despite being in the same profession, she earns 10 times more; and more importantly, she enjoys

Contd on p 7 

Of Villages To Slums PRAKHAR PANDEY


0-odd villages of Gurgaon have been transformed, mainly over the last decade, into concrete jungles. The locals - except the earliest who got the least - have happily given up their rustic lifestyle, and even their homes, for loads of money. Their villages today resemble urban slums – neither the happy villages of yesteryears nor facility-rich modern colonies. They are stuck in between. And have been swamped by migrants of all hues and professions, from across the country. The Administration does not recognize the migrant population, for the purpose of provision of civic services; and so the slums just get larger and filthier. The locals are making money and merry – with incomes from rent and multiple facilities and services given to the migrants; the latter have no stake in the land, and see no need to be civic minded. It is no wonder then that crime has increased. As usual, the Administration’s excuse is that the City just grew too fast, and the village resources and life had to be compromised. What is more alarming is that another set of about 40 villages are now being ‘readied’ for the same – in the new sectors - 58 to 115 – of Gurgaon. The Master Plan 2031 has no plan for the civic and social integration of these villages with the City. There has been no learning. A few villages have already been concretised and invaded – the slumisation has begun. In a decade we would have a 100 slum-colonies festering within our cosmopolitan City. Added to this would be the 100-odd ‘unauthorised’ colonies, the number for which increases every few years, as the Administration turns a blind eye to the shenanigans of its favourite realtors. With these achievements, we would by then have finally outdone our mentor, Mumbai, in at least this criterion of development!

Contd on p 8 

Call 1077 for waterlogging problems

respect at her workplace. She often enjoys perching herself on the sofa, while discussing the household chores with her employers. The 14-year-old daughter of Sunny Malik, Jyoti’s employer, treats her like a friend. “We are very impressed by Jyoti’s strength and determination to work for our family. We treat her like a family member. We attended her birthday party last month. She is so smart that even with her meagre resources she managed to throw a good party,” says Malik. He plans to send her for English-speaking classes soon, as it seems to be the growing requirement and trend among the ‘modern’ domestic help. Jyoti’s story, and that of many like her in this City, showcases the sweeping change in how maids and domestic help are treated now – at least in this City.

02 RNI No. HARENG/2011/39319 Postal Regn. No. GRG/35/2012-2014, VOL.–2 No.–50  2-8 Aug 2013


C oming U p

2-8 August 2013




Atul Sobti

Sr. Correspondents: Abhishek Behl Shilpy Arora Sr. Photographer:

Prakhar Pandey

Sr. Sub Editor:

Anita Bagchi

Sr. Designer:

Amit Singh

Circulation Execs.:

Pankaj Yadav Sunil Yadav Manish Yadav


treat for all the ladies. Go with your gal pals and party hard. DJs Rahul and Prashant present an eclectic mix of party tracks to groove on. Enjoy a fun-filled 'girls only' night.

Dy. Manager Accounts & Admin: Shiv Shankar Jha Asst. Manager Media Marketing: Bhagwat Kaushik Sr. Exec Media Marketing:

@ Epicentre, Apparel House, Sector 44 Date: August 6 Time: 7:30 pm onwards

Glamour Bazaar Vikalp Panwar

Snr. Executive Ad. Sales:

Homage to Shamshad Begum

Abhishek Gautam

Consulting Art Editor: Qazi M. Raghib Editorial Office 213, Tower A, Spazedge, Sector 47, Sohna Road, Gurgaon 122001, Haryana Phones: +91 124 421 9092/93 Emails:

@ Radisson BLU, Sushant Lok I Date: August 10 Time: 9:00 pm



xhibitors pan-India will be showcasing different products – Home Decor, Trousseau Wear, Western Apparel, Footwear, Bags, Gifts, Lifestyle Accessories and much more – all under one roof.

Art For Concern

DJ Night

@ Epicentre, Apparel House, Sector 44 Date: August 7 & 8 Time: 11:00 am to 8:00 pm

@ Vapour, MGF Megacity Mall, MG Road, Sector 28 Date: Up to August 31 (Saturdays) Time: 9:00 pm onwards


n Art Exhibition showcasing works of acclaimed artists of the country. Featuring works of Akbar Padamsee, T. Vaikuntam, Suhas Roy, Jogen Choudhary, Jayasri Burman, Sanjay Bhattacharya, Dhiraj Choudhury and Sudip Roy.

treat for all Shamshad Begum fans, the musical evening is a tribute to the versatile playback singer. Simrat Chhabra, along with other eminent singers, will perform her popular songs.




elebrate Saturday evenings with DJs RMG and Kaydee, who belt out some of the best funky beats that will surely have you asking for more.





Want an Event to appear on the Coming Up page?


Write to us at anita.bagchi@fridaygurgaon .com

Friday Gurgaon (Weekly) edited, published and printed by Atul Sobti on behalf of Arap Media Ventures Pvt. Ltd. from 213, Tower A, Spazedge, Sector 47, Sohna Road, Gurgaon 122018, Haryana.


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

The Friendly Demon

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.


@ Epicentre, Apparel House, Sector 44 Date: August 4 Time: 5:00 pm & 7:30 pm

Jazz Lab

@ Cocktails & Dreams, Speakeasy, Sector 15, Part II Date: August 3 Time: 8:30 pm

To Advertise E Please Contact

7838003874 9999444818

njoy an evening of jazz, funk, neo soul and fusion collaborative music by the Group Project, featuring some of NCR’s most prominent musicians. The Group Project performs original pieces as well as arrangements of familiar tunes. Featuring: Rohit Gupta – 
Keys, Abhishek Mangla – Bass, Shubh Saran – Guitar, Reuben Narain – Drums,
Vasundhara Vidular and Chayan – Vocals, Rie Ona – Saxophone and Adhir Ghosh – Guitar.

Shankar Sahney & DJ Akshit Live @ Peppers, The Bristol Hotel, DLF Phase I Date: August 4 Time: 9:00 pm


et ready for an evening of pure dance music with Shankar Sahney. He will be accompanied by DJ Akshit and Rapper Nikita to ensure you don’t leave the dance floor.

Femme Tuesday

@ Buzz, South Point Mall, Golf Course Road, Sector 53 Date: Ongoing (Tuesdays) Time: 9:00 pm onwards

comic Japanese fable, directed in English by Feisal & Radhika Alkazi and Mona Chawla. The Play is about the scary, naughty, friendly yet polite forest demons of Mount Kami, who encounter bandits, samurai warriors, runaway brides and escaped poets.

Soulful Sufi

@ Kingdom of Dreams, Assam Lounge, Sector 29 Date: Up to August 4 Time: 11:00 am onwards


beautiful riot of colours on canvas, by the talented artist Sunayana Malhotra. The paintings are an expression of joyous carefreeness, inspired by Sufi Qawallis.
Sunayana is associated with many leading interior designers.

2-8 August 2013

C oming U p





'In Quest of the Last Victory'

@ Rendezvous, J Block, Near Shikshantar School, South City 1 Date: August 2 Time: 10:30 am


ttend an inspiring and motivational Workshop and Book Reading session by achiever Navin Gulia who, despite complete paralysis of the body, continued to have aspirations and made every effort to accomplish them. The Session will include Navin in conversation with Meena Iyer, CEO and Founder of Lifeskills Consulting.

The Wonder of Early Years @ Kinder Care, J Block, C 15/12, Arjun Marg, DLF Phase 1 Date: August 3 Time: 10:00 am to 12:30 pm

Contemporary Arts Week

@ Epicentre, Apparel House, Sector 44 Date: August 7 Time: 7:30 pm


s part of the Delhi Contemporary Arts Week, the evening will showcase dance pieces by artists Jaspreet Singh Walia, Sangeeta Banerjee, Amit Sharma and Kaizad S. Gandhi.


Workshop for parents on the Waldorf Style of parenting, which will include discussions on the importance of Free Play and the stages of development of young children. The Workshop will be facilitated by Ute Meuser, who specialises in fine arts, handwork, and kindergarten and primary grade education.

Naatya Sandhya

@ Epicentre, Apparel House, Sector 44 Date: August 9 Time: 7:30 pm onwards


n enchanting evening of graceful classical dances – featuring Mohiniyattam performance by Shruti Vishwas (Bangalore), Bhartatnatyam recital by Sangeeta Chatterjee (Ghaziabad) and Kathak recital by Richa Srivastava (Mumbai).

INDIAN & WESTERN MUSIC learn from proper teacher

(Gold medalist in music from shanti niketan)

(voice trainer)

B Gitar, Tabla, Casio, Piano Instruments



Hindustan Clasical song, Ghazal All type Bhagan, Filmi Songs

Please Contact: (Ajoy Paul)

9971855249, 0124-2578335

Natak Kompany Workshop

@ Mogly’s Gurukul, Plot NO. B 9/22, DLF City Phase 1 Date: Up to August 24 Time: 11:00 am onwards


Theatre Workshop for kids that will culminate in a Krishna Leela stage performance. Participants will learn to enact poems, songs and dances in this Workshop.
Age Group: 5 to 10 years.

Western Dance Workshop

@ Nirvana Patio, South City Part 2, Nirvana Country, Sector 57 Date: Up to August 31 (Saturdays & Sundays) Time: 10: am to 11:00 am


Workshop for the little ones, to help them develop dancing skills. Conducted by Zennia, the Workshop will teach various forms of dancing – like hip-hop, contemporary, jazz & freestyle. The Workshop is open for kids aged 4 years and above.



NR to 08447355801


2-8 August 2013

THE WEEK THAT WAS  The Punjab & Haryana High Court, responding to a PIL, asks the State to ensure that the residents’ civic issues are addressed. Next hearing is on October 22nd.  CM inaugurates The Centre of Excellence of the Central Board of irrigation and Power, in the City. He says that Haryana needs 36 Million Acre Feet (MAF) of water, but only 14 million is available.  Chief Judicial Magistrate and his family are booked for alleged dowry harassment and torture of the CM’s wife, who died (allegedly killed) recently. Meanwhile a fourth bullet shell has been found, and now the CBI is in charge of the case.  DC asks MCG and HUDA to provide a week’s notice while requesting for police force for enforcing various actions of theirs.  District Council Chief Kavita Yadav is ousted by a majority vote of 7 out of 10 Councilors.  Centre approves airports at Hisar and Karnal in Haryana.  The City will march for justice alongside the family of Geetanjali Garg, the wife of the CJM, who died – allegedly was killed – recently. Her husband, the CJM, has been held for questioning, as a suspect.  An 18-year-old labourer dies at a construction site near Ambience Mall; a youth residing in Greenwoods City commits suicide.  1 is killed and 10 are hurt in a cylinder blast at a factory of Alicon Castalloy in Manesar; a truck hits a Qualis on NH8 – 1 dies and 7 are injured.  Police catch a man alongwith an 18-year-old girl, whom he had kidnapped and raped; a priest is held on the charge of molesting his minor daughter; a Delhi man is held for the alleged rape of his live-in partner of 2 months.  A worker is held for the death of a Maruti GM in last year’s workers’ protest.  Buzzin bar, which was involved in serving liquor to underage students, is closed.  A man is duped of Rs 42,000 in an ATM fraud case; an NSG Commando is also

Haryanvi Made Easy Get a taste of the local lingo 1. Today I have turned 18. Aaj main 18 ka ho liya.

duped of Rs 38,000 similarly; a Delhi University student stabs a friend over a Rs 10,000 loan; a youth knifes a person and loots Rs 50 from him.  A 4-member gang from Gujarat, targeting bank clients, is busted – had committed 5 robberies in NCR; a Tavera driver is tied up and car taken away; a luxury car is looted near Jharsa Chowk.  Multiple robberies in City – one involving Rs 8 lakhs worth of jewellery and cash in Sec 57.  A Bhondsi village is tense after altercations between religious groups over alleged cow slaughter.  MCG House Meeting of July 31 put off – expected on August 7th. MCG Chief asks for doubling of capacity of the Bandhwari Waste Treatment Plant, and assures requisite power supply.  MCG penalizes sanitation agencies for poor work.  NHAI floats a tender for repair of NH 8 and service lanes; MG Road re-carpeting to start, as well as work on service lanes.  CSE is working on an integrated water use management plan for HUDA.  Prem Nagar residents protest inadequate water supply for 3 months now.  An End Polio Rally takes place at Rotary School, as part of an inter-state event.  About a thousand Honda workers observe anniversary of 2005 violence, when 62 workers were booked.  Directors of Landmark Apartments Pvt Ltd are booked for allegedly cheating about 50 apartment buyers. A Landmark Mall project was also reportedly stopped recently.  A private DNA Forensic Lab is set up in the City.  Final trials of Rapid Metro in progress; 5 more Volvo buses join the intercity fleet.  Kawadias and rain are enough to cause jams at the Toll Plaza, requiring that the toll gates are kept open (free) for a few hours in the morning, on 2 days in the past week.


be the change you wish to see


2. I will be able to do so many things legally. Ib main kaanunan ghanni cheejen kar sakun hun. 3. I can vote and I can drive. Main vote de sakun su aur gaddi chal sakun hun. 4. I can even get married. Main byah bhi kar sakun hun. 5. Let us go to a bar and celebrate. Chal ahate me chaaley aur mauj maaren. 6. Why don't they let me enter the bar? Manne ahaate ke bheetar jaan kyun na dere? 7. What? I can't drink legally? Key? Main kaanunan pee na sakun hun? 8. We will celebrate after 7 years. Ib tey 7 saal paachey mauj maarenge.

Dear Readers, Each week we will feature a question/topic to get your views/ suggestions. Selected views will be published in the subsequent issue(s) of Friday Gurg. This week's Topic is:

How would you help the underprivileged? Write in to us at

NCR Chamber Of Commerce


delegation of NCR Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Gurgaon met Dr. E M Sudarsana Natchiappan, Hon’ble Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion, Govt. of India and handed over a memorandum. The Delegation, under the Chairmanship of H P Yadav, President of NCR Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Gurgaon demanded the declaration of one of the districts in Haryana as a Tax Free Zone (as is there in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh). While discussing about the most backward district, Mewat, the Delegation demanded that it be declared as a special Industrial area and Tax Free Zone. The Delegation also suggested that along with ITIs and other multiple training Institutes we need to involve the Industrial Associations and Chambers to train people with modern tools and technologies. To increase employment opportunities the Delegation suggested the establishment of Public Sector Undertakings in the District. The Delegation suggested the revival of the 15% capital investment subsidy scheme for new entrepreneurs, to attract investors. Development of the food processing cluster zone will help farmers in getting better prices, ensure local employment generation and reduce the migration to metropolitan areas. The Chamber also emphasized on the creation of a Special Task Force for better industrial relation between employers and employees. The Chairman of the Steering Committee, Ravinder Bansal from Delhi, Executives Council Members Baldev Raj Sachdeva from NOIDA, P Anand from Gurgaon and Karunesh Mittal from Faridabad were part of the Delegation.

H appenings

2-8 August 2013


Let’s Party Tonight!


‘Tomorrowland Party’ was held at Cafe Ludus. Guests let their hair down and danced the night away to the funky music playing in the background. It was a night of fun, friends and frolic.

Eco-Friendly Sachin


ce cricketer Sachin Tendulkar was spotted at an Event, ‘Toshiba Bat For The Planet’, in the City. He awarded students on eco-friendly ideas. Besides presenting the Awards to the enthusiastic youngsters, Sachin also obliged some awed fans with his autograph. Also present at the Event were Dr. P.C Jain, Chairman, IGBC, and Gaurang Pandya, Managing Director, UTC Climate, Controls & Security Products, India.

Save Your Ears


chool Of Inspired Leadership (SOIL), in association with the NGO, Earth Saviours Foundation, organised a “Do not Honk” campaign at the HUDA City Centre Metro Station traffic signal. The objective of this Campaign was to increase awareness among the people about the harmful effects of unnecessary honking. “It has been reported that around 70% of noise pollution in the City is caused by just pointless honking,” said Ravi Kalra, Founder of Earth Saviours Foundation. Kapil Thakur, Social Innovation Programme Manager at SOIL, said, “People on the road have simply stopped bothering. Gurgaon should be a City free of noise pollution. I have pledged that I won’t honk; I will try to lead by example.”

Dance Kala Tribute


ward-winning Dance Director, Anamica Goel, with students from her Dance & Drama Institute, Kala Vatika Dance Studio, presented a grand Show at the National Media Centre. The mythological Dance Drama was based on the lives of Ganesha, Shiva and Krishna, and was a tribute to Hinduism. The students, with their splendid expressions and rhythmic movements, won the hearts of the audience.

Girls Have Fun!


owzatt!, at Galaxy Hotel Shopping and Spa, created a relaxed space for their lady clientele, with pulsating music, an unlimited supply of refreshing beverages, delectable hors d’ouevres and an idyllic setting for fun. DJ Anna spun throbbing house music, setting the stage for the ladies to let their hair down.


H appenings

2-8 August 2013

Young Donors


Blood Donation Camp was organised under the aegis of Delhi Doctors’ Association, at IBS Business School in the City. The Camp was jointly inaugurated by Dr. O.P Gupta, Senior Advisor and Campus Head, IBS and Dr. K.K Kohli, Hony. Secretary, Delhi Doctor’s Association. The Camp succeeded in generating awareness amongst the students, who participated in the activity with remarkable enthusiasm – 124 students donated blood.

Kerala's a Hit


City got an opportunity to discover the culture and traditions of Kerala, at ‘Kerala Superhits’, a cultural event organised by Kerala Tourism. The audience enjoyed the evening as they took in the vibrant dances, the delicious food and the flavour of Kerala.

Apparel Conclave


pparel Training & Design Centre, India’s largest vocational training provider for the apparel Industry, under the aegis of AEPC, hosted the ATDC Skill Conclave. Key panelists from the Ministry of Textiles,  All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), Directorate General of Employment & Training (DGET), National Skill Development Agency (NSDA), Planning Commission, Apparel Export Promotional Council (AEPC) and the Apparel Industry were present to deliberate on ‘The Importance of Skill Development in Shaping the Future of Apparel Sector: Perspectives, Challenges & Opportunities’. While inaugurating the Conclave, Dr. K.S. Rao, Minister of Textiles said, “Modernise or perish” needs to become the motto of the apparel industry.  I do hope that the ATDC Skill Conclave will throw up more ideas for the industry to adopt. The Conclave witnessed a convergence of the thoughts of leaders, academicians, students, garment manufacturers, influencers, eminent dignitaries and bureaucrats.

Eye Maya


A Master-Stroke


ith an emphasis on stroke prevention, awareness and rehabilitation, Columbia Asia Hospital inaugurated a 24/7 dedicated Stroke Unit, to deal with stroke patients, their emergencies and post-stroke rehabilitation. This Unit will be equipped with a specialised team of doctors who will be available round the clock to receive stroke victims. The Unit will also organise a Stroke Clinic once a week, which will offer consultation with neurologists and a free neuro rehabilitation session.

irmaya Charitable Trust organised an Eye Camp for the students and teachers of the Govt. High School, at Sector 14. A complete eye check-up was administered to the children; about 70 children were found suffering from eye problems. Free spectacles and eye drops were also distributed to the children in need. The Camp also promised free treatment at the Dr. Ahooja Eye & Dental Hospital, for the children.

Future of Fashion


Webinar was hosted by the Institute of Apparel Management on ‘Sustainable Fashion Future’. The Webinar was attended by Dr. Darlie Koshy, Rahul Mehta, Anupama Pasricha, Dr. Rajendra Kr Gupta and Somesh Singh.

If there is an Event that you would like featured on this page, mail us the details at:

2-8 August 2013

C over S tory

They Have Got It Made  Contd from p 1 The underpaid, overworked and ‘obedient’ maid of the past, who used to work quietly and accept ‘hand-me-downs’ from her employers, has transformed into an empowered and confident worker, who commands and demands a high-salary, perks, expensive gifts and weekly offs. While some people think that this change is empowering the domestic labour force in the City, many view it as a concern - both for the owners as well as maids. Everybody in this City wants a good and reliable maid. But getting a ‘good’ maid is extremely difficult - and retaining them is another battle. That is why, once a family feels that their maid is honest and capable of doing all household chores, they try to keep her happy at any cost - and sometimes, or most-times - give in to their ‘odd’ requests. A resident of Windsor Court, Sonjay Dutta, tells about an interesting demand of their 25-year-old housemaid. “We have a young maid who takes good care of our house and children. Sometimes she comes up with odd demands though. She asks for a bottle of beer every week. On her off day she likes to have alcohol with her friends. I have given in to her request because I really need her,” he says. Dutta is not alone. Employers are ready to do anything to keep their maids happy. The maid of Ranjana Srivastava, a City-based lawyer, flies to her hometown at least once a year. Ranjana is very cautious of ever lecturing her maid. She says, “There are days when the washroom is

not cleaned properly, or when she puts too much sugar in our tea - but I don’t point out her mistakes. Even if I am very angry, I control my rage. I cannot afford to lose her.” Says Chitra, a software developer, “Sometimes I really don’t understand who is getting the better deal. Despite offering my maid a good salary and taking care of all her expenses, she throws tantrums; she takes leaves when I really need her.” Many times Chitra is forced to do all the household chores herself. Her husband sometimes has to give-up on his morning walks, when the maid refuses to work or goes on leave. The story of Kapila, an NRI based in Princeton, leaves one bemused. She cleans her house before the maid comes in, so that the maid doesn’t complain that the house is ‘too dirty’! “I live in constant fear that she would leave if she ever felt overburdened with work,” says Kapila.

But they truly deserve it

Gone are the days when domestic help were subjected to poor living conditions, low wages and abusive language. Today the maids want to feel equal to their employers - and they feel that they truly deserve it! Rashida Khan, a young maid working in a household in Nirvana, raises an important point. “I wake up before dawn and do all the cleaning and dusting; I make sure that the milkman has delivered the packs of milk, the sweeper has picked up the dustbin and the newspaper vendor has delivered on time; I take care of the children, the elderly and

The 5 to 9er

the pets throughout the day. I make sure that everything is in place. I also have to perform the duties of the parttime domestic help if they are on leave. For all this, don’t I deserve at least a weekly off and a trip to my hometown once a year? Don’t I deserve some good time with my family?” questions Rashida. Her younger sister studies in a good school. Rashida dreams of making her an engineer. “Sometimes I don’t feel like getting up so early in the morning; at other times I don’t seem to have the energy to work. But when I see my sister, I know that I have to get up and go,” says Rashida. She wants to ensure a good career and an enjoyable childhood for her sister. She often takes her to the nearby Omaxe Mall for a movie. She makes about Rs. 15,000 a month, of which at least Rs. 5,000 are spent on shopping and movies. Rashida’s family in Lucknow doesn’t know that she works as a maid in the City. “I know there is dig'Today, when a working woman of the City is able to enjoy the freedom from the rigours of domestic chores, the credit surely goes to the ‘other woman’ – the maid. So even if the maid takes weekly-offs, watches too much TV and uses your cosmetics in your absence – let her. For she welcomes you to a tidy home, takes care of your children and pets—and the elderly— and offers you tasty meals. She is well worth her price tag and her tantrums!

nity in all kinds of work, but I still feel ashamed that I am sweeping and cleaning toilets. At times my sister offers to help, but I don’t want her to get into all these things,” she says. Rashida is what her employers describe as one of the City’s ‘modern maids’. Nancy (name changed), who hails from Assam, is fluent in English. Her salary is (therefore) more than Rs. 20,000 per month. She also enjoys a good rapport with many, and has a large friends’ circle. “Now-a-days people prefer to have English-speaking maids. It is believed that we maids are more organised and can take good care of guests. I feel great when guests at my employer’s place call me ‘dear’,” smiles Nancy. She however complains that her employer doesn’t allow her to attend college. “They fear that after completing my graduation I will take up a better job,” she says. However, she is attending computer classes on the weekends. While pressure from her family to get married is building up, she tries to ignore it. “I want to study further and first take up a good job. The best of boys will fall in line for me then!” she smiles.

The flip side

The changing nature and lifestyle of maids is turning out to be of concern not only for the employers, but for maids too. Today most of the maids earn better than their husbands. They also enjoy better living conditions than their male counterparts. All this leads to high expectations from their partners – as also compatibility issues. Shilpa, a resident of Sector 52, recalls an incident. She says, “I was shocked


when a maid in my neighbourhood, who was married and had three kids, ran away with a driver from the society. She had become ashamed of her husband, who was a rickshaw-puller.” The expectations of these young maids are getting higher; and not just from themselves, but for their family members as well. They want to have all the material comforts, just like their employers. “As they spend almost the whole day in an air-conditioned home, they too want to have ACs at their homes. They see our children playing computer games and want their children to be able to do the same. There is nothing wrong with this, but they need to understand that they have limited resources, and should try and live within that,” feels Shilpa. “If not, the growing desires could lead them to commit petty crimes.”

The way forward

As more women in the City opt for the demanding rigours of a full-time career, the dependency on maids is increasing. Without a maid, it is difficult for a woman to work 12 to 14 hours a day. It is unfortunate that, unlike western countries, an upper-middle class and even middle-class household still tends to run on ‘maid-power’. Sheela, who runs a maid agency in Sector 56, rules out even the thought that people in India can manage without maids. She rather suggests to people to try and better understand the needs of the maids. “Give them a pay hike regularly, as well as a special bonus and new perks. Show them that you really care. Be lenient, and go the extra mile, to keep them happy always; they will then give you their best,” she advises.u

{ Abhishek Behl / FG }

write to us at


istory may yet repeat itself... the State rarely seems to learn from it. The massive dose of urbanisation that has been unleashed by the Haryana government in Gurgaon II (new Sectors) is likely to affect at least 80 villages, whose land has been bought by private builders. While construction is booming and many colonies and towers have come up in a short period, there seems to exist no plan (again) to integrate these villages and their residents with the changing urban landscape. There is little or no provision for housing the thousands of industrial, construction and other support workers who are going to power this urbanisation, and sustain it later on. Fears are being expressed that villages in Gurgaon II will also turn into urban ghettos (as in the current 40 odd villages in current Gurgaon sectors). The State appears to have learnt little or nothing from the poor state of affairs in villages like Mollaheda, Dundaheda, Chakkarpur, Sikanderpur, and even Kapashera on the Delhi border. These villages have neither been able to retain their rustic touch nor transformed to become a part of the City. The Gurgaon Manesar Master Plan 2031 also offers little in terms of accommodating the significant migrant worker population that will be required to run the new offices, factories, malls and residential colonies. While the rural population in Gurgaon, which has sold land at high rates to builders, is happy with the turn of events, the inhabitants of villages like Mollaheda, Carterpuri (in current Gurgaon sectors) describe themselves as ‘victims of 1984’ - the year when land was acquired by the State, to develop Udyog Vihar and HUDA sectors.

Urbanisation of Babupur

Babupur is a village close to New Palam Vihar, near Bajghera – on the Delhi border. It is a small habitation with an original population of 1,000; but today the number of construction workers and other staff living on rent here is almost five times that. However, despite this increase, Babupur is still a village with wide and clean streets, open vistas of greenery inside the village, old havelis and newly constructed mansions in front of which villagers still get together and play cards. The onset of migrants is slowly changing the bucolic nature of the village, admits Harish Yadav, who says that there is acute pres-

2-8 August 2013

Of Villages To Slums sure on scarce resources like water and land. “With the increase in population we need more drains and sewage pipes, to ensure cleanliness,” says Yadav. But this is unlikely to happen soon. Ram Chander, another resident, says that the land here was not very productive as the water table had gone down. The salinity in the water also ensured that only mustard crop could be grown once in a year. While villagers agree that the sale of land has improved their economic status, they admit that without agriculture, their dependence on rent for eking out a comfortable living will increase. Harish says that a number of villagers have started building additional rooms to give on rent, but reiterates that the village will do everything to ensure that it does not end up as another urban ghetto. Sanjay, who owns a massive house, says that tenants are being given rooms only after police verification, and the Panchayat has told the police to expedite the process. Babupur has three traditional ponds, and the village common land is still with the Panchayat, as MCG has not taken over this village. Locals say that they will protect the open spaces and johads, but experience says that this is easier said than done, given the huge premium on land. Some local residents, after witnessing the municipal working in neighbouring Jahajgarh village, vouch for the efficacy of their Panchayati Raj institutions. “I think urban local bodies in Haryana neither have the ability nor the teeth to bring about development. Our Panchayat may be slow, but it delivers and listens to us – unlike the MCG,” says Yadav. Local residents assert that unlike other Gurgaon villages all efforts would be made to preserve the ponds, as they are crucial for maintaining the water table. Another negative fallout for the villages that have come under MCG is that the common lands owned by the Panchayats can no longer be parcelled out as small plots to BPL families under State-run schemes. Recently, BPL families in Babupur were able to get small plots in the village, but similar families in neighbouring Jahahgarh have been denied the plots. Yadav says that the arrival of MCG does not augur well for the rural populace in Gurgaon. The village folk have always valued the ideals of rural life and brotherhood, despite living on the border of Delhi and

Gurgaon. The arrival of builders and wealth has however led to some strains within the community, as sharp political polarisation has been witnessed in the last couple of years, with many villagers having become more aspirational. However, most of them agree that the arrival of new tenants will mean more income for them, which is crucial for survival. The government meanwhile has little contribution to make to the Village, apart from giving a grant to the Village Panchayat for development. Aside from this there is poor monitoring of construction and other activities in villages, which ultimately leads to the formation of urban ghettos. Around 600 to 700 acres of land in this Village have been acquired by builders like Chintels, Sobha and ATS, and the Village is already surrounded by real estate projects. Once built, the exits to the village will be choked, and it would be difficult for emergency vehicles

apart from creating a new set of ineffective Councillor politicians, the majority of whom are affiliated to groups within parties – and most aspire to be the next local MLA. The tussle in the ruling Congress, and the vice-like grip of the contractors and babus, has also ensured that MCG remains ineffective. The new Municipal Commissioner, P.C Meena, promises to change things for the better. Meena, who was earlier the DC, told Friday Gurgaon that the present job has given him an opportunity to focus on delivery of services and the creation of infrastructure in MCG-controlled villages and ‘old’ City areas. “We are aiming to boost the civic infrastructure in all the villages in ‘old’ and ‘new’ Gurgaon. New water pipelines, sewage lines, lanes and drains will be set up. Wherever land is available, parks will be set up, so that people can continue to have open and green spaces

to enter – as has happened in Mollaheda and Dundaheda, where HUDA sectors have surrounded the villages. Already the number of shops selling mobile phones, grocery, gas cylinders and other stuff has increased in this Village, and a market for ‘outsiders’ has developed on the road that goes to Palam Vihar. Experts say that the time is not far when this Village, and numerous others, will be sacrificed at the altar of urban growth – as the government continues to fail to learn from past experience. There are several villages like Babupur in Gurgaon that will be undergoing the same process of urbanisation soon. The need of the hour is for the government to make a timely assessment of the situation, and plan for the future, rather than waiting for events to overtake it. A repeat of current Gurgaon (I) would be catastrophic.

in the villages,” he asserts. Asked about the uncontrolled concretisation of Gurgaon villages, Meena admits that this has happened in the past, but says that unauthorised and unplanned construction will not be allowed in any area under the MCG. Meena maintains that the increase in population in villages is happening because there is an economic opportunity being thrown up by urbanisation. “The villagers earn rents and set up shops and other businesses. This is a reality,” says the MCG Chief.

C over S tory ties, one room tenements, and one room flats that have come up in the ‘new’ Gurgaon villages like Chakkarpur. The profile of the migrants is also different, as better paid professionals, workers in malls and BPO employees live in villages like Chakkarpur, Nathupur and Sikanderpur. In comparison, Dundahera, Mollahera and nearby Kapashera have more textile and factory workers, who came here with the setting up of Maruti and Udyog Vihar. While the population of all these villages is in the lakhs, civic facilities are negligible, and pollution is widespread. Mollaheda has close to a lakh people living in a space meant for a few thousand original inhabitants, says Rahul Yadav. The entire Village has been surrounded by HUDA sectors and the ‘old’ Delhi-Gurgaon road, and has no clear exits. There are no open and public spaces in the Village, and the pond has been lost. “The water supply gets mixed with sewage, as the pipes are old and rusted – and leak. The lanes and drains are in bad shape. Even if we build them anew, these cannot withstand the pressure of such a huge population,” says



What the MCG says

The MCG till now has failed to bring about any major transformation in Gurgaon,

The plight of the urbanised villages

While the villages in Gurgaon have completely lost their rural character, they have not been able to become a regular part of the City. Original inhabitants and ‘outsiders’ live close to each other in the villages, although the migrants outnumber the locals significantly. Migrants from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Bengal—and even Bangladesh—live in shan-

Yadav. The villagers are also perturbed over the increasing crime in the area, and say that the huge floating population is the reason for regular ‘snatchings’; and petty crime has also increased. “We do not deny the role of local boys, as well as outsiders, in creating trouble. Unfortunately there is no space in the Village where the youth can play, spend time and socialise,” says Satvir Singh. Gyasi Ram of Carterpuri village says that the death of agriculture in Gurgaon villages has led to the emergence of a ‘rent economy’. “We have nothing else to do. The youth are not highly educated and do not get jobs. This is the reason that the villagers compromise and let the migrant labour live in their homes,” he adds. However, the local villagers also accuse Gurgaon-based corporates of discriminating against their Wards, as companies prefer to recruit outsiders. Subedar Keshav Ram of Dundahera, whose land was acquired

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2-8 August 2013

by the State in 11 different awards, alleges that the victimisation of the locals started early, and it was Maruti that laid off workers from their villages, after an agitation. The trend continues, say the villagers, and this is the reason locals prefer to open shops and rent out rooms, instead of searching for jobs in companies. Ram also rues the fact that the government has done nothing for villagers whose land was acquired in the sixties and seventies. Shree Bhagwan, a resident of Dundahera, says that while the government has done little for villages, and its policy of uncontrolled real estate development has spelt disaster for the local people. Pointing to the massive Special Economic Zone (SEZ) that has suddenly cropped up in Dundahera, Shree Bhagwan says that an industrial plot has been allowed to be converted into an IT Park, because it was owned by a former union minister. “It is because of this SEZ that life has become very difficult for us. The traffic is huge, and people are unable to move around because of this,” he says. Like Mollaheda, traditional village ponds have been lost to unauthorised construction as well as unplanned roads. There were three ponds, but all have been lost now, says Bhagwan. The Village has been surrounded by factories and roads from all sides, making it difficult for people to enter and exit. Chakkarpur Village has almost 200 residential towers - 4 to 5 storied buildings with 20 to 40 one-room flats each. A large number of owners live in the Village, while 30 per cent have moved out to nearby DLF and HUDA colonies, says Ch. Zile Singh, who owns a huge market in the Village. There are more than 1,000 shops in the Village, selling wares to both poor and rich patrons. The Village markets even cater to the individual tastes of the ‘outsiders’, and many shops have boards in Bangla and other regional languages. The pressure on land, air and water is immense in this Village as well. Ch. Zile Singh says that urbanisation in villages is a trade-off between economic growth and social and environmental concerns. “The source of income has improved, and the original inhabitants have also prospered,” says Singh. No doubt the locals have improved their lot, but still the benefits of this wholesale urbanisation have not been established. The rate of crime in and around Chakkarpur and urbanised Gurgaon villages has increased, admit the village elders. In fact the Gurgaon Commis-

sioner of Police had to recently hold meetings with villagers, asking them to rein in the village youth who are increasingly being found creating mischief. The majority of the villagers demand that the Lal Dora area should be expanded by the State government, as it was last revised in 1950s. Zile Singh says that families have multiplied, but the area has remained the same, which is primary reason for unplanned growth. “If more land is brought under Lal Dora, then the villages can expand evenly,” adds Rahul Yadav of Mollaheda. He also wants more health facilities, expansion of government schools, post offices and opening of banks in the villages. A major reason why the infrastructure has not been augmented is that the migrants are not ‘counted’. The villagers fear that once the migrants get Voter I-cards they will soon have their own Councillors, which could marginalise the locals politically – and maybe economically later on. “Why should we have a Bihari Councillor?” asks a local.

The life of the migrants

The urbanised villages, or urban ghettos, in Gurgaon offer rented accommodation to migrants for anywhere between Rs. 1,500 to 2,500 for a small room. Better flats in ‘new’ Gurgaon can have a rent up to Rs. 5,000. Shops can be rented for between Rs. 2,000 and 5,000, and these are run by both the locals and outsiders. These villages also witness regular bazaars, which are mostly run by outsiders. Vegetables and other assorted materials are sold in mandis run on vacant spaces in and around villages. There are chicken shops, hair cutting saloons, Bengali clinics run by ‘quacks’ and tea stalls offering their services to migrants at a rate that suits them. There are shops for bicycles, rickshaws, coolers, scrap metal dealers and grills. Despite such a large population, the public institutions are missing; the villages have poor access to health centres, police, rations shops, schools and other forms of government. MCG only provides very basic sanitation facilities, and residents have to depend on private tankers to transfer sewage. In the absence of any social space, the villagers have developed a sub-culture of ‘hanging out’ randomly in the streets, tea stalls and around homes. Mostly a group of five

to six men or women meet to chat. Some of the shops also allow drinking of liquor and beer ‘under the counter’, while street cricket is also witnessed. However, despite living closely, an atmosphere of anonymity still prevails; there is little sense of community among the residents. The workers’ quarters in Mollaheda have been given on contract to a local by the owner, who comes only to collect the rent. There are 30 rooms in the building, with a shop on ground floor, from where the workers can buy daily items and ration. The rooms were mostly inhabited by workers of Maruti, but the recent slowdown has forced many of the workers to go back home, due to lack of work. A local says that workers will return once the slow down ends. In some of the rooms, textile workers have been staying for long – they mostly belong to Bihar and Bengal. They live together but do not have the time to discuss much. They meet at the wash-

room in the morning, where they share information about jobs and several other things. The women do not go out for work and take care of the children. The majority of the workers sleep outside, as the concrete rooms get heated in the summers. Life is unbearably difficult for people living here, as washrooms are few, water shortage can lead to fights, water often gets polluted and the living area is very crowded. The migrants from poor states have little option, because urban areas give them better chances in life than villages. Their kids can be educated and eventually get a job. The villages might have fresh air and more room, but they offer little economically.

Summing up

Sociologist Biswas says that Gurgaon epitomises the popular perception of ‘hi– technology’, ‘development’ and ‘a way of living’, but the reality is unplanned and unchecked growth, insufficient infrastructure facilities and mindless encroachments on nature. He also says that Gurgaon urbanism remains an ad hoc arrangement of a disjointed conclave. Summing up the social dichotomy of Gurgaon, Saurabh Tiwari, Assistant


Professor at Amity, writes in a paper that there is an absence of true public places in the City, where the interaction of different classes can occur, leading to a true democratic and equal society – which India claims through its Constitution. He further says that Gurgaon today can be seen as a Sarai, for it is de-territorialised. The population that has migrated and is trying to find permanence in this dynamic City, can move out fast if given an opportunity. There is no feeling of permanence of association. It is more like a ‘consumption culture’, where one just uses an object without being associated with it. Gurgaon has not been able to provide that association, as it was, and still is, projected as a ‘foreign city’ in India. Those who feel associated see it as a change or a new style of living. The new urbanism of Gurgaon pretends to be a planned development, but it is rather majorly informal, spontaneous and reactive. To prevent a repeat in Gurgaon II, experts and villagers both say that the State will have to strive hard to create separate facilities for migrants, and empower the villagers to earn more, so that they can be freed from the shackles of the ‘rent economy’, which is ruining the villages of Gurgaon. u See page 23 

Playing With Lifts { Abhishek Behl / FG }


he residents of Ambience Lagoon, a premium condominium complex off National Highway 8, are worried over the precarious condition of lifts in the residential towers. Residents allege that the builder’s tripartite agreements with maintenance agencies have expired. As a result the residents now are now facing problems due to the lack of maintenance of the lifts. Despite the Haryana Apartment Ownership Act stating that the maintenance in Group Housing Societies should be handed over to the RWAs, Dr. Subash Talwar says that there has been no such move in the complex. “When we discuss the problems with the lifts, the colonizer washes his hands off, inspite of receiving maintenance funds from residents as directed”, he says. Residents say that there have been many shocking incidents that have been ignored, and there is a ‘chalta hai’ attitude. After the pathetic state of the lifts was highlighted at various fora, Chawla says that the state government assigned the job of checking the lifts to the Chief Electrical Inspector - as Haryana is yet to have a Chief Inspector of Lifts. Residents say that corrective action should be taken at the earliest, otherwise it could lead to an accident in the near future. Chawla says that there is provision for the installation of Automatic Rescue Device (ARD) in the lifts, which can prevent an accident in case the power goes off. Meanwhile, an RTI (filed by Aseem Takyar) has revealed that 426 lifts in the City – including in many prominent buildings and malls - were installed without the Automatic Rescue Device. An ARD costs around Rs. 5 lakhs, and in case of an emergency this device helps take the lift to the nearest floor and allows people to move out. If a lift is not fitted with ARD it can lead to the lift stopping between two floors - making it difficult to open the doors, and/or leading to an accident. The State government had made the installation of this device mandatory, but the authorities have not been able to get the builders to act. While violations are plenty, very few builders have been penalised for violating this order - thus putting many lives at risk. Earlier this year the government had directed the Inspectorate of Lifts and Elevators to publicly name the violators. u



Home Designer-Ware

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he arrival of upwardlymobile and globallyaware families in Gurgaon has brought in a shift in sensibilities and tastes. For them, it is not enough to just review the number and size of the bedrooms and the drawing/dining; the bathrooms and kitchens are the new differentiators. These areas have moved from ‘function’ to ‘design’. The mantra today is indulgence and comfort, believes Santosh Nema, President, Marketing, Hindustan Sanitaryware Limited (HSIL), a leading sanitary ware maker in the

country. Sitting at his Gurgaon headquarters, Nema says that the new-age customer wants more design-oriented products, which not only serve functional needs but also are aesthetically superior and gel with the house and overall style. The exposure to western lifestyles, increasing wealth and easy finance has also made it possible for people to experiment more – thus creating new opportunities for sanitary ware manufacturers. The customer wishes to make a lifestyle statement through the ‘special rooms’ – and is more than willing to pay handsomely for it. As people are re-doing their bathrooms and kitchens every

{ Anita Jaswal }


n Air Force war veteran, an ace aviator with over 3,200 hours of flying to his credit and a globetrotter is today settled happily in his role of an Agony Uncle and a singer to boot. That is retired Wg Cdr Dinesh Bharat for you. Born in Mansehra in the North West frontier of undivided India, to a doctor father and a mother who was a teacher, Bharat always dreamt of serving his country - and above all spreading happiness. “I always wished to become a great soldier for my country. There were two ways that I wanted to leave this earth - in my 90s or on the battlefield. And I also intended to help spread  joy,  happiness  and love, through music that was created from my heart.” It was destined that he join the Indian Air Force, after his family was uprooted from their home in 1947. He reminisces with pride on his sorties - in MiG-21s and Sukhoi-7s - during the 1965 and 1971 wars. Triumph and tragedy were equal stowaways in those days of battle. “War is energy. It is a collective human energy of fear, power, devastation, struggle and victory - and a willingness to condone killing, to ‘solve problems’. By its very nature it counteracts what the human spirit embodies: Life, Love, Beauty, Joy and Freedom. We go to war to preserve and defend freedom; but we

five years, it has also created a solid new replacement market. “People used to earlier fix their sanitary ware and then forgot it for life – but not anymore. More home buyers are using the services of interior designers and architects, which helps them make better and more informed decisions. They wish to use products that are international in design and quality,” says Nema. HSIL has a number of international and Indian designers working to develop world-class products specifically to serve Indian customer requirements.

Nema’s greatest passion is flying small planes. He holds a private pilot licence and regularly visits Ahmedabad to indulge in his passion. Companies constantly need to offer innovative designs, as per current trends and styles. When asked about the experience in Gurgaon, as it has a booming real estate industry, Nema says that the Millennium City residents are very well-informed about their choices, and know what they want. “The major builders in the

City are using our products and we have designed packages for them catering to every class of apartment. Cities like Gurgaon offer immense growth as the real estate sector is very strong here,” he says. Unfortunately the lack of sewage facilities in many potential parts of country is a major handicap for the sanitary ware industry. “We can’t provide drainage pipes and outlets for sewage in these areas,” he says. HSIL is working with the government to develop a system that would process the sewage itself, and there would then be no need to provide sewage pipes. “Research is on-going, and we are working to make it happen soon,” he says. As far as the challenge from international companies, which are making a beeline for India, is concerned, Nema says, “Our products are made in India and made for India. Being at the back end of the real estate industry for a long period has given us key insights into the needs of the customers,” he claims. A strong service portfolio is also what separates us from others in the market, says Nema. HSIL has also launched a slew of green and eco-friendly products, keeping in mind the pressure on resources like water. Nema says that his Company is the first in the country to launch Water Efficient Product Star Rating, which is stamp of quality and good technology. Sensor-fitted appliances, which understand

Spreading Wings Of Happiness lose some of it inside there. C’est la vie!”, he philosophises. As a war veteran he is proud of his service, and believes it has helped him appreciate life more. “One of the good parts of war is…going home. It also made me realize how lucky I was to have come back intact.” The support and


{ Abhishek Behl / FG }

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2-8 August 2013

strong ties of the Air Force family, and his wife and three children, helped in making the re-integration easier. “To me the Air Force was not just a job - it was a way of life. It has given me so many opportunities - like flying several types of aircrafts and meeting many wonderful people. I think people in the Air Force are some of the bravest in the world. I loved living on the Air Force base; its one big family!” After retirement, Dinesh Bharat got involved in making an online portal for the Air Force Association (AFA). Some of the retired Air Force veterans felt the need to have an association, in order to address some specific needs of theirs – that were not being addressed by Official or Governmental bodies. “Armed Forces Veterans need support to hone their entrepreneurial and technical skills, in order to make inroads into corporate careers. What the AFA can do is help in things like job placements for the needy, free legal aid and information on welfare benefits.” Wg Cdr Bharat became the unofficial human resource counsellorthe Agony Uncle - addressing all queries and guiding people towards solutions. “The Association is an umbrella under which the IAF Veterans can find a comfortable shelter for the rest of their lives. These are the small dreams

the customer usage, and save on water and power, are also being promoted by the Company. Nema wants the government to treat sanitary ware as a necessity rather than a luxury product. “There is need to reduce the excise and VAT rates, which will give a major boost to the industry,” demands Nema. When asked whether the benefits would be passed on to the customer, he replies in the affirmative. As far as his own management style is concerned, Nema says, “I prefer people taking the lead; then can make mistakes, but must learn from them. Our Company works in a very transparent manner and the environment is very friendly,” he adds. Having lived in Gurgaon for the last four years, Nema likes the cosmopolitan culture and multiple shopping and eating options. His only complaint is that Gurgaon, unlike other India cities, does not have local markets and shops, and people have to travel long distances to buy even small things. The lack of streetlights and functional lanes and drains also needs to be addressed. “The infrastructure has not matched up. The roads, power and water supply systems need to be augmented, to do justice to the tag of Millennium City,” he says. However, he admits that residential societies here are even better than those in Mumbai, and the quality of housing is very good. u

as of now; we have a long way to go.” Wg Cdr Bharat and his wife, Lali, an active law practitioner in the Saket District Court, are residents of DLF Phase II - and the ‘life’ of many a social gathering. Their mantra in life is ‘to be happy, and to promote happiness’. And Bharat does that through music. Whether it’s on stage, in the car, the shower or walking down the street, he loves to sing. “Singing expresses emotions, tells stories and provides a sense of connection with people. It can not only entertain us, but also inspire us, teach us, comfort us, guide us and evoke just about every emotion in the spectrum....and above all it makes you feel happy, and helps spread happiness. Life’s too short to be anything but happy! Dinesh Bharat signs off: “Being happy is a simple choice. When we are happy, everyone around us is happy, and we attract positive circumstances into our lives. Life flows easily and effortlessly. We invest so much time in meaningless things that bring us little satisfaction, when everything we need to fill us with joy is within us. There is no better time than the present to unwrap your own gift. Wherever you go, throughout your life, continuously spread your happiness - not only with your partner, but with friends, family and strangers. So, sing with me - “We’re gonna spread happiness; we’re gonna spread freedom...”u

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2-8 August 2013


Folks, Preserve Our Music { Shilpy Arora/ FG }

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usic truly knows no boundaries - so believes a young entrepreneur, Sangeeta Bagchi. With her unique project, ‘Beats of India’, that helps market Indian Folk Music abroad, she has made a difference in the lives of hundreds of folk musicians – and profited from it. She sells the recordings of Indian Folk Music to foreign music companies, and shares a part of her profit for the development of the villages where the artistes reside. Her recording studio is about 16 km from Ambala, in the midst of lush green farms. She brings her equipment from the Capital and resides with musicians for months; not just to record folk songs, but also to document the stories of the evolution of the songs, their meanings and their

that has its villages named after various ragas. “Haryana was once very rich in folk music. In fact, Haryanvis were the first to create music using papaya and mango seeds,” informs Sangeeta.

The Journey

Born and brought up in Kolkata, Sangeeta came to Delhi some 10 years ago to study, and ended up spending time in the nearby villages, learning folk music. In 2011, Sangeeta came up with the idea of training poor children in music. She also provided them with regular education free of cost. Initially, it was difficult to get students,

forward to buy them. That is how the idea of selling music recordings abroad came to my mind, and I formed ‘Beats of India’,” she says. Sangeeta has recorded in over 15 villages. In Haryana she runs her project in Dharamgarh, Khatauli and Rajpura. In Khatauli she has established a senior secondary school for girls. “There was a coed primary school and a senior secondary schools for boys. As girls were not allowed to move out of the village, most of them couldn’t study after Class 5. With the help of funds generated through the music recordings, we laid the foundation of a girls’

response in Romania. It seemed people were familiar with our folk music. They liked the tempo of the music, though of course they didn’t understand the language.” He also informs that the famous Romanian dancer, Cojocaru, who was the Chief Guest at the Event, danced to a Rajasthani Folk Song and entertained the audience. “It was a memorable day for all of us,” says Amit. ‘Beats of India’ plans to regularly send folk music artistes abroad. “Some companies are ready to sponsor the trips of the artistes, the stage set-up - literally everything. We are in talks with a US-based company for the performance by a Rajasthani troupe,” informs Amit.

For years, our Folk Music has helped us express ourselves - such as for greeting guests, meeting friends, finding lovers or celebrating good news. Many times the compositions of folk singers are themed on social awareness – against evils such as dowry, female foeticide and drug addiction. Folk music can play a significant role in social transformation. It has not been given its due recognition. Sangeeta suggests that schools in the City should provide an opportunity for experienced artistes to come and teach their students, which will also help preserve the varied folk art forms with a new generation.u

A Matter Of Principle..and Conscience { Vijay K. Saluja }


school. We later received support from a few multinationals,” she says. ‘Beats of India’ also supports four music schools – one in Delhi, one in Saharanpur and two in Rajasthan. The children are trained on harmonium, tabla, sitar, violin and flute - apart from vocal.

Taking Folk Music Abroad

relevance today. She says that the village has more than 160 talented musicians! “For generations, these artistes have been mastering the skills of Swang, Khoria and other Haryanvi folk forms. Unfortunately, they have lived a handto-mouth existence, and so have had to take up other professions to earn their livelihood. They are increasingly moving to cities, for work. We are working to save this age-old tradition, and alongside provide them an opportunity to earn in the village itself,” says Sangeeta. She says that immense importance has been given to folk music in Haryana. It is the only state

as their parents would prefer the children going to work. However, she soon built a good rapport with the families. “I started my journey from Najafgarh Village in the Capital. As I started the music classes, I realised that there is tremendous talent in the villages. Many children have a gifted voice. Some of the elderly can play instruments for hours. I therefore decided to move around in the nearby villages of Haryana and UP. I then uploaded some of the recordings on YouTube, to share them with my friends. Surprisingly, a Hungarybased composer came

With different ragas and styles, the folk music of India is diverse. It undoubtedly has the potential to make a mark abroad, and there is keen interest in Spain, Germany, UK and Canada. “Interestingly, there are a lot of similarities between some world music forms and our folk music. For instance, the Flamenco gypsy Spanish music resembles Rajasthani music. This helps foreign music labels integrate Indian folk music with their local forms,” informs Sangeeta. Of course there has been a good market for Punjabi songs in the US, UK and Canada for some time. Moreover, Indian Classical Music has been well-appreciated for decades. Amit Saxena, Marketing Head, Beats of India, recounts his Romania trip and says, “We were amazed with the

he suspension of Ms Durga Shakti Nagpal, a young IAS officer posted as Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) in Gautam Budh Nagar is like punching another big hole in the `steel frame` of the Govt of India. The reasons for her suspension, as reported in the media, need to be looked into by the concerned authorities in the Centre and State dispassionately & immediately, for suitable corrective steps to be taken. The suspension should be revoked, so that she continues with her enthusiasm, morale & zeal in discharging her duties without fear & external pressure, and in the interest of public good. Further, suitable measures need to be built into the existing administrative system, so that upright & motivated officers - whose numbers are unfortunately dwindling - do not think of leaving, because of a lack of protection/security while undertaking their assigned duties as per the laid -down rules (as is expected from them as responsible public servants, by the citizens). Unfortunately, because of the undue external factors - political, unethical seniors - some of the bright & the righteous have already left. Whose loss it is? Just think - if the bright, committed, dedicated and passionate officers keep on leaving, or are sidelined in the administrative system, then who will perform the onerous duties of delivering public good? Suspension of such upright officers is a prime reason for the increase in scams, which are surfacing with great regularity – and on massive scales. Corruption of huge proportions in almost all the govt departments, urban local bodies, housing boards and development authorities has become the order of the day. This has also led to delays in decisions on many vital projects of the cities/country, resulting in huge cost & time over-runs, besides causing big hardships & harassment to the general public & delaying the benefits. There is an urgent need for introspection by the concerned authorities in the govt The Prime Minister must personally ensure the making of a policy for dealing with the issues faced by honest, committed, dedicated and enthusiastic officers. After all, he too has been there. Young officers like the Nagpals and Khemkas are the true assets of the govt. Injecting a strong dose of values & ethics in the curriculum of the training formats/schedules of the bureaucrats will go a long way in bringing about the right attitudes & mindsets - an essential prerequisite for delivering public good. Then the Courts will also not get clogged with so many matters related to the services of bureaucrats. In this instant case of Durga, it will help if the courts take suo-motto action to look into the matter.u Director, Giraffe Heroes India Program

12 { Shilpy Arora/ FG }

write to us at *If you have a library and a garden, you have everything you need – Marcus Tullius Cicero, a Roman Philosopher*


yagi, a resident of Sector 4, will surely agree. He remembers the good old days when the City was very ‘peaceful’. “It was a pleasure to be able to walk around a local park while reading a book. Unfortunately, that charm of a small town has gone. Now there are too many people, buildings, vehicles and noise,” says Tyagi. However, he is happy that there is one place in the City that can brighten his day. It is the Bhagwan Parshuram Library situated in ‘old’ Gurgaon, near St. Crispin School. He first visited this 23-year-old Library in 1992. In 2002 he became its librarian, and has ever since been helping in many ways. “I love reading books and have always wanted to spend time with them. By doing this work I feel that I am providing a worthwhile service to society. It is my endeavour to ensure that every book, old or new, comes of use to someone and is not destroyed,” he says. Of the 5,000 books in the Library, more than half have been donated by Brahmin missionaries, past and present members of the Library and

Booker's Best Friend some visitors. “Our collection includes a wide genre of books; we also buy some occasionally,” says N.K. Vats, one of the members of the organising committee. Fond of reading, Vats has added the “Mythology section”, with books on Hindu gods and goddesses. The Library has many regulars, while others drop in from time to time. Despite being a single room Library, it has become a social venue. However, young girls often complain about the set-up of the reading room in the Library. “Passersby often peep in and pass lewd comments,” says a student, who prefers to sit on the staircase to read her books. While the Library was initially set up for Brahmin missionaries, the members of the organising committee very soon decided to promote it among all sections of society. Over 150 students, most of them IAS and IPS aspirants, visit the Library every week. Rajat Dhankar, an aspirant for the IAS, says, “All types of books are available here. I visit this Library to read books that will help me for the CAT (Common Admission Test).” Rajat’s whole family seems to be in love with the Library. While his grandfather comes here to read books

The Law & Beyond Abortion { Vidya Raja }


C ivic/S ocial

2-8 August 2013

ocs worried about rising teen pregnancy, self-abortion in Gurgaon: This was the headline last week in a leading national daily. While India is notorious when it comes to aborting the female foetus, this new trend is equally - if not more - alarming. While there are no concrete statistics, research indicates that almost 6.7 million abortions are conducted annually, of which only around 1 million are performed legally – the rest are committed under questionable circumstances and conditions. It is a scary scenario. This is despite having a progressive and forward-looking law that supports abortions. Initially the Indian Penal Code and Criminal Procedure viewed abortion as a crime - wherein the person getting the abortion done, as well as the person conducting the abortion was culpable. It was in 1966 that the Shah Commission recommended legalising abortion, to help curb the female mortality rate occurring due to botched-up abortions. The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act (MTP), which was passed in the year 1971, put India on a ped-

One of the regular members, Shyam, gives credit to the Library for the success of a young IAS officer, Iqbal, who used to spend hours here. “We call him our ‘star reader’. Coming from a poor family, he couldn’t afford to buy the books to prepare for the IAS examination. His parents were not even in a position to pay any membership, so the Library waved the fee. The librarian and committee members had given tremendous support to Iqbal. He was successful in the exam and is now posted in the Capital. He stills visits the Library to meet Tyagi,” says Shyam. on Hindu mythology, his father prefers to read a Hindi daily and discuss the news and views with some fellow members. Interestingly, Tyagi has introduced “chat sessions” in the Library. Members assemble for two hours everyday to read newspapers and then have an exchange of opinions. “Many members also bring along friends, who ultimately become members,” says Tyagi. He specially encourages the reading habit among children, and al-

estal - since we were one of the first few countries to recognise abortion as the right of a woman. Medical termination of pregnancy must be carried out by Registered Medical Practitioners only. The process of applying for a licence to run an MTP centre is also clear. The Act requires the following conditions to be satisfied before granting the licence: - Doctors conducting the termination must be registered with the State Medical Council, and have the following experience: six months of house surgery in gynaecology and obstetrics, experience at any hospital for a period of not less than one year in the practice of gynaecology and obstetrics (or having assisted a Registered Medical Practitioner in the performance of 25 cases of MTP in a good hospital or an approved training institute). n All the instruments & equipment required for an MTP Centre must be available. n The MTP register is to be treated as a secret document, and the information in it can be divulged only if asked for by the Chief Surgeon, a magistrate or a judge looking into a case. These registries are to be maintained for a minimum period of 5 years from the date of the last entry. n The Act also clearly lays down the circumstances under which a pregnancy can be terminated: if it causes, or is likely to cause, physical harm to the health of the woman; if it causes, or is

ways requests his members to come with their kids. Besides, the Library organises various events in nearby government schools and colleges, to promote the reading habit among the youngsters. Many times the Library has organised book donation drives and writing competitions in the schools. Winners have been awarded with a free membership of the Library. The annual membership fee is Rs. 100. “It is the leading library in

likely to cause, risk to the mental health of the woman; If the pregnancy is the result of rape; if there is a chance of the child being born with deformities or a severe handicap; if the pregnancy is a result of a failed contraception technique; if the continuance of the pregnancy is likely to cause risk to the woman’s health, given her foreseeable environment. Commenting on the steady increase in abortions, Dr. Jaba Chauhan said, “Like most things the increase in incidence of abortions also has two sides to it. On the one hand it can be attributed to the improved technology to screen for life-threatening conditions, and hence is proving to be life-saving for the women; on the other hand, it is also used almost as a tool to rectify the mistake of accidental pregnancies, which are on a rise due to early and unprotected sexual exposure.” The only way to curb this increase in abortions amongst teenagers is to ensure that sex education is made a part of the school curriculum. Dr. Chauhan also said, “Increasing awareness about the dangers of unprotected sex, and education about barrier contraceptives, might help in reducing teenage pregnancies. But unfortunately in our country none of these practices are adopted.” Despite abortion being made legal, women still resort to adopting methods that are not only illegal but can also be life threatening. Abortion

‘old’ Gurgaon,” beams Vats. Although he believes that a library doesn’t need to be big or beautiful, he wants to keep adding books. “While more people are turning to the Internet for reading, I hope that ‘physical’ books will continue for a long time,” he says. The organising committee also plans to set up a small computer centre in the Library, where children from poor families can acquire basic computer skills. The members therefore have sought support from Administration as well as the corporate sector. A Library is more than a repository of books. It is a place where like-minded people can come together and interact. Unfortunately, the City doesn’t have a really good, modern library. While the Public Library is in a shambles, most of the modern bookshops (doubling as libraries) in ‘new’ Gurgaon charge exorbitant amounts for membership. Moreover, members are not allowed to read books in the shops. It is also time to reinvent libraries as public spaces, which can host multiple functions such as art exhibitions, and meetings in small assembly areas. They should also offer free and easy access to digital content. This would help in enhancing the importance of books in our lives, and keep them relevant for decades.u

pills, called Mifepristone or RU-486, are easily available in pharmacies. A fairly well-known chemist in an upmarket Gurgaon neighborhood even offered to have the pill home-delivered. Introduced in 2004, these abortion pills have resulted in many botched-up cases of termination. According to the Act, only doctors with a link to an established clinic are allowed to prescribe the pills, so that in an emergency the patient can be moved to a hospital at once. Even this rule is rampantly flouted. Varun Kumar, who has studied public health and policy, when asked about whether policy makers are completely cut off from the ground realities said, “Unfortunately that is a correct assessment of the situation. In most cases there is a huge disconnect between what is presented and what the people actually need.” Termination is a legal right, and yet there are so many who turn to quacks, and to illegal methods of termination, reflecting on the ignorance and the stigma that is attached to abortion in this country. It took the death of Savita Halappanavar for Ireland to wake up and review their stand on abortion. What will it take for India to ensure the proper implementation of the Act? u The writer is a qualified legal professional who has practiced before the Madras and Karnataka High Courts

K id C orner

2-8 August 2013

Student Report S

tudy on Education Prospects of Children of Migrant Construction Laborers in Gurgaon - the ‘New’ City.

Objective of the Study

A Survey was carried out on 30 migrant families at various construction sites, covering Sectors 42, 43, 44, 46, Sushant Lok and DLF Phase –V, in order to ascertain the level of learning and education of the children of school-going age. The objectives of this Report are as follows: n  To highlight the present scenario in the education of EWS family children in the ‘new’ city of Gurgaon, with special emphasis on migrant construction labourers; n  To explore the underlying reasons; n  To find a way forward. In construction, 95 per cent of the workforce is in the unorganized segment, and about 73 per cent of the total workforce is unskilled. It is important to understand the difference between organized and unorganized employment as the terms of employment differ widely, and therefore determine the quality of life of a construction labourer. The migrant construction labourers in the unorganized sector live in hazardous conditions; they are not entitled to any benefits - e.g. maternity, medical, childcare and educational - arising out of employment, due to the lack of a definite employer – employee relationship.

Findings of the Survey

While workers other than construction workers generally live in urban villages e.g. Chakkarpur, Nathupur, Sikanderpur, Kanhai, Sukhrali and Wazirabad - the construction workers move from one site to the other. A Survey was carried out at various locations in the ‘new’ city of Gurgaon, to ascertain the learning and education activities of the children of migrant construction workers. The Survey findings indicate that mostly the children of migrant workers in construction sector do not go to school, due to the reasons graphically represented below:


Migration impacts children in various adverse ways, depending on the age group: for the very young child, it makes exclusive breast-feeding almost impossible, delays weaning, denies immunization, and causes malnutrition, morbidity and even mortality; for the pre-school child, it blocks access to ICDS and supplementary nutrition and health, and compromises emotional and cognitive development; for the older child it denies or delays school entry,

causes dropouts, ‘promotes’ child labour, leads to emotional insecurity, denies a peer support network and increases the chances of early marriage and sexual abuse of girls. Despite the existence of adequate laws, the migrants remain outside the purview of welfare, development and education, owing to the following reasons: n  Sluggishness by State Governments in framing welfare schemes and their consequent implementation. n Absence of co-ordination between various departments of the state government. n  ‘Invisibility’ of the migrants, owing to lack of documentation. n  Lack of awareness amongst the migrant population about their entitlements.


n  Speedy implementation of the BOCW Act - The most important instrument to combat the problem is the proper and speedy implementation of welfare schemes under the Building and Other Construction Workers Act, 1996. n  Creation of awareness amongst the migrants, in collaboration with the development sector, about their entitlements. n Contractors/sub-contractors who employ migrant workers should be made liable to register the migrant workers with the Welfare Board. n There should be schemes like a crèche, transport facility to school and back and issuance of identity cards for the children of construction workers. n  Migration should be mapped, to render visibility on the status of migrants. Data may be collected from research institutions, NGOs, railway authorities, panchayats etc.

Identity and Entitlements

A mechanism should be in place to register migrants at their destination, on the basis of the identity proof issued at

source, so that a migrant is able to access the benefits under various government schemes, e.g. n ICDS – Integrated Child Development Scheme n ECCE - Early Childhood Care and Education n  SSA - Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan – (universalization of Primary Education) n  RTE - Right to Education n  Rajiv Gandhi Creche Scheme n Crèche schemes under the Build-

ing and Other Construction Workers Act, 1996 n  PDS - Public Distribution System The identity, evidence or proof should be based on the individual and not on his/ her residence.

Interstate Migrant Workmen Act, 1979

– Interstate Migrant Workmen Act, 1979 provides that a contractor employing migrant workmen is required to obtain a licence and issue a passbook to the migrant workmen that will record the details of employment. If this law were enforced, then the passbook would act as an important document for the migrant workmen to render them visibility and to help claim their entitlements. Additionally, the law may be amended to revoke such licence if the contractor fails to register the migrant workmen with the Building and Other Construction Workers’ Welfare Board. Integrated Approach at State level – Inter-state committees should be established to track migration and settle the identity issue, e.g. representatives of the Labour ministries of Haryana and MP may form a committee to track migration and settle the identity issues through exchange of information on migration. Integrated Approach at Department level - Inter-department committees may be established for migrants, in order to ensure that the migrants are able to access benefits under various schemes, e.g. Labour, Health, Education and PDS. Education options - For the migrant children, mobile schools, mobile teachers, bridge courses, summer camps, residential schools, flexible school admissions, issuance of certificates and equipping schools to receive returning children are necessary enablers. As per RTE, the private schools have been mandated to reserve 25%


of the seats at the entry level; at the moment there are many questions and doubts with regard to its implementation by the private schools. The government may want to incorporate an alternative, whereby the private schools will be required to cater to the migrant children in the neighbourhood construction sites, by means of mobile schools and mobile teachers - as an alternative compliance. A minimum number may be assigned, depending upon the depth of migrant population. Enhancement of Government School infrastructure – Apart from complying with the RTE mandate, the quality of education in government schools should be enhanced by means of n  Periodic evaluation of learning outcomes at various levels in Government schools, by external agencies. n  Private school teachers may donate a minimum number of teaching hours to the neighbourhood government schools. n The corporates or management institutes may provide motivational courses and workshops as part of their CSR, to the teachers and SMCs. Enhance the role of NGOs to help implement law and highlight gaps and non-implementation. The Development sector can play a major role in bridging the gaps at various levels. For example - strengthening the SMCs, conducting workshops for teachers in government schools, creating awareness amongst the migrant families about their entitlements, supporting children’s education, counseling migrant families before relocation and after relocation… u Shreyas Sinha Grade XII, Pathways, Aravali

The Millennium Mothers { Preeti Rawal }


urgaon has now evolved into a modern, cosmopolitan and a beautiful little city - a Singapore in the making, say some. Modernity, however, has brought with it its share of worries – including those for the ‘modern’ Moms. While there are of course the traditional ‘business rich’ who have shifted from Delhi and abroad, the City has a distinctly ‘MNC culture’. The ‘MNC wives’ are mostly well-educated, and those who work are very ambitious – and all are of course well-off. The wives believe that they are enlightened and broad-minded. However, there seems to be some conflict with their ‘embedded (earlier) mindsets’, and consequently they are not able to ‘handle’ their ‘new millennium’ children very well. They seem to be losing their sense of duty towards their children and, given their adopted lifestyle, are not spending quality time with them. They are trying to compensate by overwhelming the children with expensive goodies and gadgets. It is high time that such women wake up and realize that their kids need them desperately. Little children go through a myriad of emotional journeys, which has now been escalated by a high level of day-to-day competition with their peers. So, even more today, they need their mothers by their side. If they are ignored, they slowly become spoilt, and lose their path. On the other hand there are mothers who are very keen and eager, and at times anxious, about the progress of their kids. These mothers are normally closely knit, mostly not working and ‘hands-on’. They want to give the best to their kids and bring them up as smart, intelligent and independent adults.   All mothers should meet-up occasionally and openly discuss the issues they are facing with their kids, to find workable solutions that would benefit everyone. This should lead to a more positive and progressive atmosphere in Gurgaon. It will not only bring a smile to the faces of the kids, but also usher in happiness for one and all.  u


K id C orner

2-8 August 2013

Artistic Strokes

Kids Brainticklers

Peehu Singh, American Public School

Shivani Ahuja, Class 6, The Shri Ram School, Aravali


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

Vani Sharma, Lions Public School

K id C orner

2-8 August 2013


Chiranjiv Bharti School, Palam Vihar Dance To The Top


hiranjiv Bharati School, Palam Vihar (Primary Wing), won the first position in an Inter-School Dance Competition, organised by Chiranjiv Bharati School, Sushant Lok. The students performed a dance that showcased the rich tradition and culture of Assam. Gaurav, from KG, also showcased his talent in the Competition ‘Vibrant Colours’, and came first. The Headmistress, Shoma Lahiri, congratulated the team and the teachers for this scintillating victory.

Playing Shakespeare


n Inter-house English Play Competition, organised by the English department, was held at the School premises. Plays from all genres were presented. The plays ‘Merchant Of Venice’ (presented by Ganga house) and ‘Julius Caesar’ (presented by Saraswati house) proved to be scene stealers. Kunal Lochchav, playing Caesar, and Harsh Lahiri, playing Shylock, jointly bagged the Best Actor award. Arushi Awasthi bagged the award for the Best Actress. Principal Sangeeta Saxena praised the English department for orchestrating a great Show.

Author Inspired


yan International School, Sec 40, invited renowned author Rishi Kumar for an interactive session with the students. The author met the young readers and shared his experiences with them. He spoke about the valiant efforts of the Indian Soldiers to protect our nation and how, as a writer, he got an opportunity to express this emotion through his writings. The author was inspired by India’s victory at Siachen to write his book, “Siachen –The cold war & Battlefield Siachen”. The School Head, Peeya Sharma, motivated the students to read more, and express their views on the many gallant and brave deeds of unsung heroes, on the School wall.

MRIS Swimming Champs


lobal Tiger Day celebrations were held over 3 days at The Millennium School. The students presented a nukkad natak (street play) at DLF City Center Mall, to generate awareness about the need to protect tigers. Through the skit, the children drew the attention of people to the alarmingly low population of tigers in the country. The skit also highlighted the causes of increasing pressure on tiger habitats – like agriculture, industrialization, degradation and fragmentation of natural habitats, forests and natural grasslands and poaching. Mesmerised audience members were all praise for the students and the Play, and admitted that it was the duty of all members of society to carry the message forward. School Principal Vineeta Mittal said, “Unfortunately, due to our carelessness, tigers are now on the verge of extinction. If we don’t protect them right now, we might just lose them forever. Today’s activity was an attempt to get our children to take charge of the situation and disseminate the message further.”


6 students of Manav Rachna International School, Sector-46, made a mark at the Haryana School Educational District Swimming Competition. The Meet began with Puneet Tokas coveting 3 Gold medals in the under-19 Boys category. Victorious performances by Kuldeep Singh, Ankur Chauhan, Kshitij Pandey and Hanish Chaudhary got 2 Silver and a Bronze, 2 Gold and a Silver, a Gold with a silver, and a Bronze medal respectively, in the under-17 Boys category. Harshit Sharma won a Gold and 2 Silver medals in the under-14 Boys category, along with Kartik Allari, who won a Bronze.

Scholarly Ryanites


yan International School, Sohna Road, organised the Scholar Badge Ceremony, wherein the students were awarded and judged in the following categories: Excellence in Academics, Star Performance in Sports, Dramatic Skills, Oratory Skills, Diplomatic and Governance Skills, All rounder, Avid Readers, Singing, Dancing, Scientific in Inclination, Maths Wiz Kid and Technology Savvy. The Ceremony began with a prayer, followed by a dance performance by the students. The Guests of honour were: Nagaraju Routhu, Sreedip Biswas, S Ramesh Rao, Dr. Subhash Yadav, Dr. Rakhee Yadav, Saket Anand and Mukul Sharma. School Principal Dr. Mouna Gupta was also present.

The Millennium Tigers

Shepherds’ Rain Dance


he tiny tots at Good Shepherd Preparatory School decided to welcome the monsoon with a rain dance. The little ones started out with raincoats and colourful umbrellas, to protect themselves. Soon they realised it was more fun getting wet. Off came their protective gear and soon they were splashing and dancing in the rain. Some kids also attempted playing games in the rain!


C omment

2-8 August 2013

No Prime Minister vs. Yes, Prime Minister


he battle lines have been drawn. The BJP (and supposedly the NDA) have virtually declared a Prime Minister-in-waiting. The Congress (and hopefully the UPA) say they will decide come the time. But the Man cometh not; he prefers remaining a Baba for now. The current Man is meanwhile nursing 3rdtime ambitions ! That is the lie of this land today.


It has become increasingly clear that the Congress, and even the UPA, is most happy with an absentee or invisible Prime Minister. The Party President fills in well, thank you - she is still in her prime. In fact the Party seems to make a virtue of this arrangement – and the coalition partners are able to make merrier within it. The battle plan of the Congress/UPA is therefore to continue with this configuration – of No Prime Minister and Yes Ministers. The NDA believes that it has the best General, who leads from the front. He seems good at setting direction, ensuring implementation and reviewing progress. Having been in ‘vanvaas’ for almost a decade, the BJP (and NDA) now believe that they have a leader who will deliver them victory. They are ready for the Big Fight. They offer the very opposite of the Congress; the BJP war cry is Yes, Prime Minister (Modi), versus the opponents’ No Prime Minister. If Rahul does not willingly come forward as the PM-

designate of the Congress, it can only mean that he is waiting to be the next Party President. What a shame, and what a difference from his father, who boldly took the responsibility (and thus the accountability) of a PM. One thing this country does not need is the continuation of the dual-executive authority of the Congress. It has made a mockery of the accountability of both the power centres. It has reduced the darling of the middle class, the doyen of the Indian Reform Movement, to a pitiable head minister past his prime. He has even lost his economics mojo. He would probably leave the economy in as dire a situation as he inherited it as a finance minister – maybe not in terms of having to pledge our gold, but in terms of presiding over an economy where investment has stopped—as has employment—in the organized sector. He is leaving the nation open for a downgrade, with the twin deficits (Fiscal and Current Account) continuing to be out of control. He is leaving Urban India in a worse situation than what Rural India was when he took charge. Inflation is no longer a ghost – it is the elephant in the room. Our PM Nero is fiddling, and yet we just let him off by saying we are terribly disappointed in him. Maybe the shoe will be on the other foot come next year. It may be a BJP/NDA PM and FM that would have to re-kickstart the economy after a Ratings Downgrade. u

The Govt collects taxes on income and expenditure, more from the well-off (except farmers and politicians-in-disguise as farmers), and this is surely one way of redistribution or inclusion. Unfortunately, public funds have made their way to private hands – and rarely have been used for public outcomes. Even now, it may be better to introduce a one-time ‘Inclusion Surcharge’ – voluntary or otherwise – on the well-off, to fund the provision of food, health and education of the poor. The only caveat should be that the State should not be involved – in receiving the funds or utilizing them. Poverty needs to, and can, go within the decade. It is a tragedy that we have discussed poverty for decades now, with little visible change. Two decades have elapsed even after ‘liberalization’ and high growth. And yet we, including Sensible economists, continue to believe that the right thing to do is to continue to dole out doles that rarely reach the poor.



our paper is serving a commendable job in the formulation of a stable and strong society leased on Indian culture and virtues. It has been tackling all the current day to day problems faced by us in our life. In your issue of 19-25 July, 2013, topics relating to ‘livein relationships’, divorce, shiksha to poor children, slow moving traffic like cycle rickshaws were dealt with in

detail. It has provided thought to all of us how to regulate these problems in future. However, one term— ’Accountability’— I wish to deal in detail: This word has disappeared from the dictionary of the Administration. A lively example would elucidate it. The residents of Sector 14 were allocated plots in the end of nineteenth century by HUDA authorities inclusive the east of Mega Park land named as ‘Netaji Subhash Park’ or ‘HUDA Park’. Recently administration allotted 1,500 sq yrds land of

this Park to the proprietor of CNG Petrol Pump without consulting the residents, presuming the park land to be their own. Resident’s approached the concerned authorities but to no avail – no redressal. Desperately, residents highlighted this problem before the people and administration by holding a peaceful demonstration at the roundabout of Rana Pratap Chowk in April ‘13. Simultaneously Court was also approached for seeking a Stay, which has now been granted.

The answer should be as Elementary as Maths. Our, and the govt’s, focus should always be on HCF – the Highest Common Factor, rather than LCM – the Lowest Common Multiple. The idea is to gradually take everybody up, towards the highest – not bring everyone down, to the lowest.

However, the Police filed an FIR on 14-15 residents, as per their ‘choice’, out of over 500 people who had protested; this FIR is still hanging on those unfortunate people’s head. How much will residents suffer? R.S Jain


outh City 1’s Gate No 2 is situated at the opposite side of the traffic flow from the Huda City Centre Metro station to Signature Tower. The cycle rickshaws, motor cycles and occasional small cars, in a hurry to reach the Station, choose to go against the traffic

flow. The oncoming traffic has to struggle to avoid hitting these traffic violators. Further, many vehicles (mostly buses) parked on the extreme left lane add to the woes of the traffic on both sides. The Administration could open the service lane to this traffic, and some sort of merger arrangement can be devised by the Traffic authorities at the cross roads. Fortunately the main Station junction has been improved, and it has helped in reducing the chaos there. Prabha Prabhakar Bhardwaj

W ellness

2-8 August 2013



Health & Vitality... Naturally!

by ShahnaZ

Phenomenal Lychee

Herbal Cosmetic Queen Padma Shree Shahnaz Husain is the CEO of the Shahnaz Husain Group – India’s leading company in the field of natural beauty and anti-aging treatments.

{ Jaspal Bajwa }


olyphenols are powerful antioxidants derived from plant foods. Some people have called these “lifespan essentials”, as there exists a strong belief that Polyphenols can help in the slowing down of the aging process. Fruit and beverages such as tea, red wine, dark chocolate and coffee are the principal sources; several vegetables, leguminous plants and cereals are also good sources. Some Polyphenols like quercetin are quite common, whereas certain others are very specific – for example, ‘Flavones’ in citrus fruits. In recent years there has been considerable interest in Polyphenols, as it is believed that the presence of phenolic acids, flavonoids, stilbenes and lignans can play an important role in improving heart health, strengthening the immune system, boosting energy level and preventing diabetes and cancer. Until recently, there were a large number of

Q. My eyes lose their twinkle by the time I finish with my work (it

involves staring at the computer for long hours). How do I get them fresh again?

SH Anyone who spends long hours reading or working on a computer should

food and beverage products (nutraceuticals) containing Polyphenols and Peptides, which had jumped on to the bandwagon … resulting in premature and tall claims. While the benefits of eating fresh (ideally organic), local, seasonal fruits and vegetables can never be in question, spending too much on expensive nutraceuticals may perhaps be held back till the evidence of ongoing trials comes in.

Tip of the Week

Peeling of vegetables and fruits, as well as cooking, can easily destroy Polyphenols. As an example, when onions are microwaved or boiled, between 65-80 per cent of the quercetin

content is lost. If organic produce is available, then eating it raw or as salads might be the best way to retain the goodness of Polyphenols. Steam-cooking of vegetables, which avoids leaching, is also a less damaging way.

Nature’s Wonder Food of the Week – Lychee or Litchi … translated from Chinese as ‘gift for a joyful life’. The Lychee fruit, native to China and rest of Asia, is enjoyed during the monsoon months. It has been traditionally used for pain relief, stomach problems (diarrhoea), coughs and gland problems. The peel of the skin is used to fight viruses. A study published in the “Journal of Nutrition” reports that the Lychee probably has the second-highest concentration of Polyphenols of any fruit tested - the highest being strawberries. The April 2011 issue of the “British Journal of Nutrition” reported that the Lychee fruit’s oligonol acts as an antioxidant, by protecting the body from the inflammatory process caused by free radicals, and prevents excess fatty

take time off, periodically, to rest the eyes by closing them for a few minutes. Eye fatigue and puffiness can be relived with contrast washing. Wash with warm water and follow this by splashing the eyes with cold water. Improves blood circulation to the eyes and relieves congestion. Eye exercises help to relieve tired eyes and are especially beneficial if you work on the computer for long hours. Put your hands over the eyes, with the base of your palm resting over the cheeks and the fingers on the forehead. Your palms create hollows over the eyes. Look into the darkness for a minute. This is very relaxing. Press the base of your palms gently on the eyes. Release the pressure and repeat. Do this three to four times. Look out of the window as far as you can see. This itself is a very good exercise for the eyes.


Amrita Jain

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

deposit build-up in the liver. Not surprisingly then, Lychee is considered to be a ‘super food’ by many. It is low in calories, high in fibre, high in Vitamin B complex and Vitamin C, and loaded with minerals. A one-cup serving of Lychee contains 136 mg of Vitamin C, which is 226 percent of the recommended daily

The Lady - Finger { Alka Gurha }


he humble Okra, or Bhindi - also known as “lady finger” - is a highly nutritious vegetable. Botanically, this perennial flowering plant belongs to the Malvaceae family, and is named scientifically as Abelmoschus esculentus. Okra is cultivated for its fibrous fruits, in the tropical and warm temperate regions around the world. The Plant bears numerous green coloured pods, measuring about 5-15 cm in length. It takes


about 45-60 days to harvest the fruits.

Nutrition and Health Benefits

The seeds of Okra are the source of good vegetable protein. Okra is also enriched with Vitamin C and amino acids - like tryptophan and cystine. A half cup of cooked Okra contains nearly 14 mg of Vitamin C and 460 IU of Vitamin A. Okra is good for healthy hair and for preventing dandruff. If you have bouncy hair, boil water and add okra in it for a few minutes; allow

it to cool to room temperature and squeeze half a lemon on it. Use this solution as a final hair rinse, after shampooing. The iron content in Okra helps in preventing anaemia. Vitamin K inside assists in body-fluid coagulation. The pods also contain healthy amounts of anti-oxidants - such as beta-

carotenes, xanthin and lutein. Dietary fibres in Okra help avert and ease constipation. Okra is an excellent laxative, as it treats irritable bowels, heals ulcers and soothes the gastrointestinal track. The soluble fibre absorbs water and ensures bulk in our stools. thereby preventing constipation.

intake (and more than the 96 mg from an orange). Lychees are also a good source for minerals, especially red blood cell friendly copper, as well as heart-health & muscle building potassium. u Registered Holistic Nutritionist (Canadian School of Natural Nutrition) For education purposes only; always consult a healthcare practitioner for medical conditions

It helps lubricate the large intestine. Soluble fibre in Okra helps in reducing serum cholesterol; the mucilage binds cholesterol and the bile-acid carrying toxins. Since Okra comprises no calories, and has dietary fibre, it is a good food for those looking for weight loss. Okra is also said to be helpful in fighting diabetes; the fibre helps in stabilizing blood sugar level by delaying sugar absorption from the intestines. For maximum benefit, do not over-cook or fry this vegetable. Though consuming uncooked Okra is ideal, as it offers optimal health benefits, most people find the cooked variety more palatable. u


Fourth Battle Of Panipat { Krishan Kalra }


’ve no intention to shock readers with the title of this piece. The historic town of Panipat has indeed been witness to only three battles and, God willing, there should never be a fourth one - that is if we are talking of battles and wars in the conventional sense. But on the economic front, this sleepy town - about 100 kms north of Delhi on National Highway 1 – is indeed engaged in a major offensive. Panipat was always famous for it’s “Pancharanga Achaar” (a pickle with five ingredients). The town’s other claim to fame, since long, has been its handlooms; its artisans produce beautiful carpets & fabrics for upholstery & curtains. It’s common for Dilli-wallahs to undertake the 2-hour each way drive to pick up these exquisite yet inexpensive materials especially whenever someone is moving to a new house or apartment. But what we witnessed on a recent mission is nothing short of the Fourth Epic Battle. The energetic and visionary entrepreneurs of the town are fighting the onslaught

{ Aditi Bhola }

of cheaper Chinese imports, and the impending closure of the MFA ‘quotas’. In 2004 we had moved to a new home in Gurgaon. The LoH (Lady of the House) decided that we should visit the hic-town to shop for the material for our new curtains & sofas. Knowing that I didn’t have a chance in hell to say no, we set out one Saturday morning. What an enlightening experience the trip turned out to be. Not wanting to hop from shop to shop in the sweltering heat, we had made some enquiries & found the name of a certain “International show room” where “you would find everything”. What we walked into, 2 hours later, opened our eyes wide. The showroom was nothing short of a mega mall. It was at 3 levels, with a floor area of perhaps 30,000 sq. ft. – complete with shelves & rolls full of fabrics, scores of sales personnel, and separate sections for upholstery, curtains, sheer materials, towelling, bed spreads, pillows, cushions, blankets…. There were hundreds of designs & prints, myriad colours, prices ranging from a low of Rs. 30 per metre to Rs 800 and more. Towels were

being sold by weight - Rs 200/ kg for plain & 250 for stripes & designs. There were hordes of people walking in & out, computers whirring away, and assistants moving around bearing water, soft drinks & tea/coffee. People were buying a mere metre or two, as also in the hundreds of metres. Prices were fixed, but conveyed verbally by sales staff – offering a fixed 6% (wholesale?) discount to every one! Around us were hundreds of bales lying ready for shipment – to both domestic & international destinations; as also hundreds of incoming bails waiting to be opened. The accountants were checking and re-checking bills & materials; there was only cash dealing - no cheques or credit cards. The place was bustling with activity. This is Indian’s homespun answer to the international chains of malls & megamalls, supermarkets & hypermarkets. Under one roof you can see virtually any thing that is woven – catering to every requirement, taste and pocket. We were told that there are many such shops in Panipat. This town is even today fighting an economic battle of epic proportions to keep the national flag flying. u

Living In Illusion

Live in crowds, tribes and communities of racial unities Talk and chatter, and argue no end Of the state of the state, and lend Their views as bona fide scribes They are an authority on everybody’s lives In the porch are docked the best cars They grow the most amazing flowers These people are busy, busier than the bees God knows where they are going or gone In their action-packed routine are carbs & proteins In the hope of forever looking like teens There is always someone to outdo or outshine For the poor and the lesser-privileged where is the time Though sometimes in their empty coffers they put a dime No time to stop and listen to the tale of the failed No time to stop and smile at the cuckoo nesting her child No time to sit on mother earth and play with the dust From whence they came, and will go at the end of the show. What a waste of a lifetime...for the egos we fought Lord elevate us beyond the mind Have us not waste this lifetime In petty, illusionary temporary pastime Shobha Lidder Writer Journalist, Social Activist, Teacher Trainer, Reiki Master, Pranic Healer

Adult Graphics


his issue (third in a series) focuses on the graphic fiction available for the mature and adult readers. A quick recap: graphic novels are a ‘maturer’ version of comics. They are aimed at adult readership and appreciation, offering intellectually stimulating and artistically vivifying themes and concepts. The harbingers of this form were Will Eisner and later Art Speigelman. The latest I have read is Ram V’s series of horrorthrillers, Aghori. What enticed me to read it was the reviews and the cover pages of this graphic fiction. Aghori offers a flavour of almost every social vile pesting the current humanity. Mention necromancy - you have the protagonist. Do you like plots with murders, treachery and instigation? There is no dearth of them. If zombies interest you, be ready for goosebumps. Believe in hell? The protagonist takes

B on V ivant

2-8 August 2013

you deep into it. Talk of social ills, Ram V has touched upon them all. Be it the traumatic childhood of an orphan, prostitution, girls’ infanticide, formal pasted-plastic-smiling corporate parties or badcompanies, Aghori covers them all. A series of 3 books, each progressing the main story, Aghori is driven by a single protagonist

called Vira (Vikram Roy), and his journey to find his ‘abandoned’ son. Till the end, this graphic novel has its pages filled with twists and turns - and some voilent and disturbing pictures too. The creative trio of Ram V, Vivek Goel and Gaurav Shrivastav makes me eagerly wait for their upcoming Aghori Book 4, scheduled for release on September the 13th. If you find this form irresistible, I suggest you runway the canonicals first. Take up the Pulitzer Prize winner Art Speigelman’s ‘Maus, A Survivor’s Tale’ and Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis. Persepolis is about growing up in terror-prone Iran and the cataclysmic events during the Islamic Revolution. The language is wise and funny - and evokes laughter and tears. Persepolis paints the story of a teenager telling a tale of the one victory at the cost of losing many a life. The survivors are worst hit, because they have to live with the nightmares of the brutality of war. Perhaps their adversities would make them stronger.u

S piritual

2-8 August 2013

Shed Your Conditioning

{ Dr. Rajesh Bhola }

write to us at


n 1902, Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov accidentally discovered ‘conditioning’ while observing the behaviour of his dogs. He noticed that while his dogs would salivate whenever he entered the room with their food, they later did so even when he entered emptyhanded. He further discovered that any object or event that the dogs associated with food would trigger the same response. A neutral stimulus would become a conditioned stimulus. He devoted the rest of his career to studying this type of conditioned response.  Strangely, human beings also love leading their lives in a highly conditioned manner. Our conditioned behaviours map fairly well how we construe the major dimensions of human functioning: physiological, cognitive, emotional, behavioural, relation to self and others, and spiritual. We love sleeping in the same couch or bed everyday – we are uncomfortable anywhere outside of that. We love wearing only certain types of dress. The liquor-happy rush for the evening dose, taken mostly with stereotyped snacks and the same mix of water and/or soda. Generally we love remaining in our comfortable, familiar box, and are shy to try something new. The moment

we are out-of-the-box we feel as uncomfortable as a fish out of water. Can we think and live differently? Freedom from conditioning can transform our lives. However, if some new enlightenment is to occur, an interruption in the ‘normal’ flow of conditioned behaviour is necessary. There has to be a gap for light to enter. We can get freedom from conditioning when we deeply see the state of our lives and decide to do something about it. This means seeing how we have been acting in a programmed way and then ensuring that this conditioning does not continue to dominate us. This does not mean that the old conditioning disappears from a person’s mind immediately. An enlightened person is not free from conditioning; rather, he/she is alert to conditioning. A criminal may continue to feel an impulse to harm others, and an addict may continue to feel the urge for the drug – for many months and years. Of critical importance is not that we get an impulse, but rather whether to act on it or not. This is the time, the gap, when and where new light can shine. The harm that we do flows from our conditioning; most

The knowledge of conditioned behavior can be applied to the treatment of individuals with substance-abuse problems of alcohol, smoking, drug use and other addictive behaviours. of it we have done before we realize what is happening. We get carried away. Going along in our ‘not-seeing’ way, acting like robots, we think we have to do the things we do - even when we know perfectly well that they are harmful. Out of our fears and cravings we build an identity for ourselves. This identity becomes coercive. Many begin to feel trapped in their lives. The enlightened person and the destructive person are not fundamentally different in nature. It is just that the destructive persons have

not realised that it is possible to break the cycle of conditioning. If they are able to come out of their conditioned reflexes they can be enlightened too. This is where meditation can help. While meditation is often simplistically represented as a “relaxation” technique, it is better construed as a means for promoting self-awareness and general self-regulation, for decreasing emotional reactivity and for enhancing insight and the integration of perceptual, cognitive and behavioral aspects of human functioning. These enable us to get freedom from conditioned behaviour by gaining wisdom. The concept of wisdom is increasingly being examined as an emergent process that occurs when the immediate, generally self-protective reactions of the conditioned mind are suspended, and the integration of more complex processing is allowed. This type of wisdom can therefore occur within any domain of functioning, and need not entail any intellectual processing (as is often implied in Western concepts of wisdom). Often, while meditating, we experience a sense of ‘knowing’ that we have identified a true or wise

Hark, The Angels { Bhuvana Shridhar }


ngels are powerful and spiritual beings, who can help us in all spheres of our lives - especially when we are looking for divine guidance. The English word “angel” is derived from the Greek word “angelos,” which means “messenger.” Angels cannot be equated with God but truly are the mediators or the messengers from heaven. They are extensions of God’s infinite love. They flow and move around us and never judge us. These beings are unrestricted by space and time. When we seek their help, we experience magical synchronicities, healings and inner peace. Do you get a feeling sometimes that God is trying to send you an important message? You should try to understand the cosmic and celestial signs around us. Let us discover how we can connect with the angelic realm.

How Do Angels Appear

These friendly ‘light beings’ may visit us in disguise, and oftentimes people who have encountered them in their heavenly form have described them as really beautiful. Other signs may include feathers, coins, butterflies, birds and any repetitive visions that remind you of an angelic

Your guardian angles and archangels are always with you, though you are unaware of their presence. They are keen to help us with every aspect of our lives - only if we call for them. Experts have designed easy-to-use angel cards, having gorgeous artwork and a message or answer from them. With angel readings we can receive trustworthy guidance and loving messages, which tell us about their divine light and blessings.

Calling Your Angels

You can meditate and connect with the other world, by opening your mind so that you can hear, see and receive messages. Of course angels do not interfere with our free will; they convey their messages in a subtle manner and help us with anything - be it finances, relationships, careers or children. They

compassionate, but years of social and self-conditioning have obscured those qualities. We have learned to act and think in self-centred ways for so long that selfishness now seems natural. Like Pavlov’s dogs, modern man too salivates – but on greed, delusion and endless craving. Because our habits of self-centredness are so deep and ingrained, their disciplining needs to be gradual and gentle. Let us set ourselves free from the conditioned behaviour of being self-centric, and return to our true selves - of being kind and compassionate to all fellow travellers.u Dr. Rajesh Bhola is President of Spastic Society of Gurgaon and is working for the cause of children with autism, cerebral palsy, mental retardation and multiple disabilities for more than 20 years

Connect with Archangel Metratron, who can help you accomplish your priorities, and help manifest your dreams into reality.

To enhance intuition

Types of Angels

What the Angels want you to know

perspective of a problem. Mindful meditation is a therapeutic tool and a path to wisdom for every domain of human functioning. If meditation is conceived as a way to disengage ourselves from the wheel of conditioning, from the bounds of endless conditioning - while allowing a full engagement with life ‘in the moment’ - then we should use it to examine how we react to different stimuli. Our fundamental nature, as persons, is to be wise and

For motivation & energy levels

presence. It has been said that Guardian angels watch over people during their entire lives on earth, and help people with their life's purpose. They fall into basically two categories: the angels, and (above them) the archangels. God gives archangels the most important responsibilities, and they do their work both in the heavenly dimension and in the earthly one. The other angels carry out simpler tasks assigned to them and help us in our daily lives.


continue to support us unconditionally.

To evaluate life

Connect with Archangel Jeremiel, who can evaluate your life so that you can clearly decide on appropriate changes. He can help you review what needs to be transformed, healed and released.

Call upon Archangel Haniel, who is associated with the full moon and intuition, to guide you in the right direction. You can even call on Haniel to help you connect better with the other angels.

To connect with nature

Connect with Archangel Ariel, because he is so close to mother earth and will help you with your dayto day material needs of home, food and clothing.

To let go of the past

Call upon Archangel Raziel, who will open the doors of opportunities for you. Raziel will help you follow your gifts and talents.

Connect with Archangel Raziel, as he offers sage advice about past life memories. Call upon him to mediate to find the answers you are seeking. You can choose to let go of the past and move on fearlessly.

Connect with Archangel Micheal for protection, as he oversees everyone’s life-purpose. He will give you courage as you make important and necessary life changes.

Connect with Archangel Jophiel, who will help you experience beautiful emotions and take personal responsibility for situations like addictions, temptations and debts.

To experience secrets and mysteries

For strength and protection

Creating harmony in relationships

Connect with Archangel Rahael, who can help with significant relationships - including those of romance, business and family. Call on him to love and nurture yourself, or others.

Removing personal life addictions

To be focused and to concentrate

Connect with Archangel Uriel, who will help you with mental functioning - including focus and concentration. You will be able to spark new ideas and manifest them into reality.u Author, Tarot Reader

20 he room where diamonds get their glitter resembles a junk shop - strewn with tools and old-fashioned gadgets, a dusty push-button telephone, a tiny tube television and a toaster. Amidst the clutter, Master Diamond-cutter Pieter Bombeke, an amiable, balding man in his early 60s, wearing large, amber-coloured eyeglasses, sits at a whirring polishing wheel - with some precious stones. His broad smile is nearly lost in his grey goatee and moustache. “This stone was cut in the 18th century,” he estimates, pointing to a small diamond he grips in a pair of pliers. “It has lustre but no fire.” Bombeke deftly lays the tool on the rotating wheel, repeatedly. Each time the diamond loses a little mass and gains in form. “Every stone is different,” he says. In the nondescript hallway outside his workshop hang three video cameras. Behind almost every door in Antwerp’s venerable diamond district, valuable gems are being cut, polished, inspected or traded - a business worth billions of dollars annually. Bombeke learned his craft here in the 1960s, when the Belgian port was still a key diamond cutting and polishing centre. The 57- or 58-faceted “brilliant cut,” now typical of most diamonds, was created in Antwerp in 1919. The City has long since lost its lead in the labour-intensive business of cutting and polishing stones. “We’ve seen a decrease in the number of diamonds that are cut or polished here,” says Caroline De Wolf, spokesperson for the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC). Wages for cutters and polishers in countries such as India and China are substantially lower - “a competition we can’t win.” Diamond-trading, in which

{ Sid Astbury / Sydney / DPA }


BC Bullion was so busy when the gold price took its biggest percentage hit in 30 years, that the staff skipped lunch and worked long into the night. At rival gold dealer Jaggard’s, eight doors down on Sydney’s Pitt Street, it was the same. However, the queues clogging corridors were not sellers, but buyers. The April tumble to a twoyear low only reinforced the abiding appeal of a quasi-currency that is tangible, portable, easy to hide and worth the same anywhere in the world. “The recent pull-back is a fantastic buying opportunity,” said ABC economist Jordan Eliseo. “We’ll see much higher prices this decade, as more investors choose precious metals as the place to store and protect their wealth in the current environment.” Jerry Zheng, Regional Manager of Sydney Gold Traders, spoke more of the emotional attachment that kept people coming back for more. “Notes you

Antwerp Losing Shine?

Antwerp remains pre-eminent, has also seen a shift. Jewish dealers in skullcaps and side locks, once the norm, are now in the minority, due to the growing influx of Indians and other Asians. The Diamond District, which covers several city blocks bisected by Hoveniersstraat, or gardener’s street, abuts the train station and has its own police station. There are many surveillance cameras, and also emergency telephones, at 100-metre intervals. Entry is restricted by bollard gates. The gems themselves are hidden behind ageing facades of grey concrete. “We’re still No. 1 in wholesale,” De Wolf declares. “Eighty per cent of all rough diamonds and 50 per cent of all polished diamonds are traded in Antwerp - a rather large number for a single street.” Some 1,800 companies are active in the District. According to the AWDC, Antwerp dealers exported 26.7 billion dollars’ worth of diamonds in 2012. Prices have risen since the global financial crisis bottomed out in 2009. Demand on the world market is high, mostly due to relatively low diamond

output and the economic upswing in large developing countries. In India and China, in particular, diamond sales are up. “A growing number of consumers (in those two countries) are adopting the Western practice of giving gifts of diamond jewellery to celebrate engagements, weddings and anniversaries,” reported the Boston-based business consulting firm Bain & Company recently. De Wolf notes, “A lot of people there can afford diamonds for the first time in their life.” This has changed the business. For example, while Americans like large diamonds, even if they are of lower quality, Asians want perfection. For Antwerp, this is both an opportunity and a threat. The diamond dealers’ world is a special one. Deals are still concluded with a handshake and the words “mazal u’bracha” - Hebrew for “good luck and blessings.” Trust is crucial. On a wall at Antwerpsche Diamantkring, one of Antwerp’s four diamond bourses, are the names of dealers blacklisted for violating the industry’s code of ethics. Only bourse members may view the wall. Looking out at lively Hoveniersstraat from the open-plan offices of the AWDC, the Diamond District’s smallness is evident. “It makes deal-making easier,” De Wolf said. “And it makes it easier for us to provide a high level of security.” Not surprisingly, traders were shocked at February’s spectacular heist of diamonds, which were being transported from Antwerp. A heavily-armed gang cut through the perimeter fence at Brussels airport, broke into the cargo hold of a Swiss airplane waiting for take-off to Zurich, and took rough diamonds valued at 50 million dollars. “It’s hard for us to

All That Glitters Is Gold can print more and more, but gold is limited to what they can mine,” he said. “It’s easy to turn to cash. Gold gives people a security feeling, a safe feeling.” The true believers are happy to forego earnings from stocks and bonds. They look long-term, with some storing up wealth for a generation as yet unborn. “The price can move from day to day, but nobody can debase it,” said Eliseo. “It’s not a one-way investment from a price perspective, but it’s the only asset out there with 5,000 years of history, that tells us it can never go to zero.” To many investors, holding gold is a waste of money. There is no return on an investment that is all about avoiding risk and reward. Some see gold’s vaunted ultimate-hedge tag as specious, now that central banks have abandoned the gold standard and reneged on their promise to swap paper currencies for ounces of gold. Those arguing that the gold

understand how such a robbery took place,” the AWDC said at the time. Several suspects were later arrested. Visitors, who take a short ride up in a lift and pass through a security door system, can see gemologists bent over magnifying glasses and microscopes, under small lamps, in an AWDC Laboratory. Silent and focused, they grade diamonds according to the “four C’s”: Carat, Clarity, Colour and Cut. What they type into their computers determines the price of the gems. Every diamond is graded three times—and even more times if the results are not identical—in the Laboratory before a diamond certificate is issued. A 0.95-Carat diamond (a Carat equals 0.2 grams), which has a “triple excellent” cut - perfect symmetry and has been perfectly polished, sells on the Internet for about 19,000 dollars. A diamond that is slightly different in only a single category costs about 2,000 dollars less. Tradition, expertise and quality are what Antwerp sees as its trump cards vis-a-vis the international competition. Bombeke expresses confidence. “All the logistics are here,” he says. “Co-operation is good among the customs, tax authorities, insurance companies and transporters.” He works alone, so as not to reveal his craftsmanship secrets. Bombeke proudly talks about his special cuts: diamonds with an unusually high number of facets, or unusual light reflection - such as a Star of David or a Mercedes Star. While simple cuts can be done anywhere in the world, he says, “people always still come to Antwerp for the difficult models." u

Sid Astbury

{ Sebastian Kunigkeit / Antwerp, Belgium / DPA }


G lobal

2-8 August 2013

A big nugget of gold in the hand of Martin Marks, an Australian amateur gold prospector who found it.

ABC Bullion economist Jordan Eliseo holds a gold bar in his hand at the Company office.

price is in a downward spiral, point to the central bank selling. Australia, the world’s second largest producer after China, dumped a stack of bars on the market in the 1990s. The Bank of England did the same. Enthusiasts take the contrary view, predicting gold will head up, because newly emerging economies—like China, India and Brazil—have tiny reserves of gold relative to that held in the central banks of the United States, Germany and France. “They say gold has had its day,” said Sandra Close, a Director of Melbourne-based gold mining consultancy Surbiton Associates. “But what do you replace it with? You could store Mars

bars, but it gets hard.” Global production is stable at around 2,500 tonnes a year, and the total inventory is estimated at around 150,000 tonnes. Central banks hold around a quarter of the stock, and half of the rest is held as jewellery. What is left is mostly held by private investors. Australia and Britain sold bullion in the 1990s, at around a third of the going price today. If central bankers can get it so wrong, how can amateurs hope to predict the market? Close warned, “You have large holdings by individuals that we just don’t know about.”

But what to make of a gold price that, April’s setback aside, has been on the up and up since 2005. Eliseo sees the drivers of this ascent as very low interest rates, nervousness over the health of the global economy, and central banks printing money to gain competitiveness and stimulate growth. “Those factors are more prevalent now than they were at the start of the bull market 10 years ago,” he said. But if prospects look so good for gold, why is prospecting for it in the doldrums? Australia’s Newcrest Mining, for example, has seen its share price halve over the past two years. Gryphon Minerals, one of the smaller producers, is trading at a quarter of its value a year ago. Charlene Lim, Sales Manager at Sydney’s Bullion & Coin Club, said her customers brushed off the recent fall. “The shortest time period you hear of is five years,” she said. “They’re not too fussed about how it’s crashing. Those are what you might consider as the true buyers.” u

G lobal

2-8 August 2013

Stargazing In Manhattan

World’s Top Shoe Owner Killed

{ Jan Willems / New York / DPA }


{ Los Angeles / DPA }


Jan Willems

he bright lights of New York may lead you to think that the Big Apple is not the ideal location for stargazing, but every Tuesday between April and October, amateur astronomers gather at Manhattan’s High Line to observe the stars, planets and moon through telescopes. Opened in 2009 and built on a section of the former elevated New York Central Railroad, the High Line is a park in the Chelsea area. Its organized summer activities range from dance parties to nature tours. Once dusk settles in, the Amateur Astronomers Association of New York (AAA) lets passers-by stargaze through high-powered telescopes. Jason Kendall is an academic astronomer, and is explaining the heavens to around 40 people present on this balmy evening. “Can you all see the tall, narrow building on the other side of the Hudson?” he asks. “Put your fist out, as if you are placing in on top of the building. Go two fists up and one to the right and you’ll find Venus,” he says. The sun has only set about half an hour ago, but already the

Jason Kendall (centre, with laptop), a Professor at William Patterson University of New Jersey, lectures on astronomy to enthusiasts in Manhattan’s High Line Park. (File picture)

planets and stars have begun to emerge in the sky above. It seems hard to believe that stargazing is possible in one of the most light-polluted places on Earth, and where Times Square shines like a beacon and sky-scrapers remain illuminated throughout the night. Kendall produces a photo of Manhattan at night taken from the International Space Station. The island is a golden band of colour, with barely any black spots. “It’s for this reason that people are no longer able to see the Milky

Presenting...The Urbee 2 { Minneapolis/ DPA }


n American company has produced the entire bodywork of a new hybrid-engined runabout, using an industrial 3D printer. Dubbed the Urbee 2, the elon-

gated egg-shaped prototype buggy is the brainchild of engineer Jim Kor. He worked together with RedEye, an on-demand 3D printing company based in Minneapolis. The two-seater car is fashioned from large single pieces of ABS plastic, using

{ Jessica Binsch /Berlin / DPA }



ndre is using a felt-tip pen and a big sheet of paper to explain encryption. What is odd about this is that he’s resorting to handwriting at, of all places, a computer conference. Andre’s note explains how encrypted emails work, with both sender and recipient needing two keys each: one public and one private. “The public key is, so to say, the padlock that only the private key can open,” he explains. Anyone without the right keys only sees a stream of meaningless numbers and letters from the email. He’s surrounded by small groups of people typing away at a repurposed ping pong table, amid backpacks, a maze of cables and drink bottles. Using a pen helps make the point: digital is much more vulnerable than making marks on paper. About 60 people are gathered at this “cryptoparty” in Berlin,

At High Line Park in New York City, would-be-astronomers gaze at the heavens through telescopes. (File picture)

Way here,” he explains. AAA member Kendall teaches astronomy at New Jersey’s William Paterson University, and is also part of the Explainer Programme at the American Museum of Natural History in the Earth and Space Division. Kendall’s passion is to teach others about astronomy, and he believes “extreme urban stargazing” is an excellent way to achieve this. “Every religion and culture has its own history of the stars,” he says. “If you separate people from the night sky,

you separate them from their spirituality.” As he stands in front of his telescope, surrounded by a dozen eager stargazers, Kendall discusses what it means to see something as wonderful as another planet. “Those who have seen Saturn with their own eyes - not in photos or on TV - will remember the moment for the rest of their lives. It’s a wow moment,” he says. “All at once everything falls into proportion. You get a sense of your own place within the universe.” u

no nuts and bolts, unlike those used on cars made of traditional sheet metal. The finished body unit is also much lighter and has a low drag coefficient. “A future where 3D printers build cars may not be far off after all,” writes Jim Bartel, VP of RedEye On Demand on the Company’s website. The engine and chassis of

the Urbee 2 are made of metal. A 10-horsepower engine slots in next to a compact electric motor, in order to provide power for longer journeys. The Urbee 2 has already garnered 14 orders at 50,000 dollars apiece, say the makers. A production date for the Urbee 2 has not yet been announced. u

Cryptoparties to learn encryption. They want to learn how to be able to move online without being followed; which websites to avoid, and what’s safe to put in an email. It wasn’t so long ago that a group like this would have been viewed as a collection of conspiracy theorists. Hackers began hosting such meetings a year ago – at first only drawing interest from hardcore computer users and activists in crisis regions. But, ever since fugitive whistleblower Edward Snowden released information about a widespread US surveillance programme focused on the rest of the world, regular computer users have been curious how they can surf without someone looking over their shoulder. In Germany, where memories are vivid of snooping by the Nazi Gestapo and the Communist Stasi, the

cryptoparties draw crowds. “A lot of people are understandably concerned and want to find out how they can protect themselves,” says Katharina Nocun, General Secretary of Germany’s Pirate Party, which focuses on internet freedom and has tried to make political hay from the issue. Everyone should be able to exchange information securely online, she says. Malte Dik, who organized the Berlin party, agrees. He says the party is helping build a connection between the hackers who create the privacy tools and those who use the technology. He’s not just opposed to government listening, but businesses trying to track users’ surfing history. “There are a million reasons,” he says. Encryption and anonymization are like digital fitness. “Everyone should know about them.”

woman who was said to have the world’s biggest collection of shoes has been found dead in her backyard swimming pool, and her ex-boyfriend has been arrested on charges of murder, according to reports in the US media. The Riverside Press Democrat named the womas as Darlene Flynn, 58, who had a record 15,000 pairs collection of shoes according to the Guinness Book of World Records. u

Australian motorist charged for driving without a steering wheel { Sydney / DPA }


n Australian charged with dangerous driving was using a spanner to steer, because his car was missing a steering wheel, Adelaide police said. The 38-yearold, who was driving while disqualified, was also charged with failing to stop after an accident. Minutes before being pulled over on Monday, the driver had crashed into another car and blown two of his tyres. u

There are still rough spots. Organized meetings can be anathema to the anarchy favoured by hackers. Sometimes no qualified hackers show up to share their insights. Stephan Urbach, who has helped activists in Syria and Egypt communicate secretly with the outside world, says the assistance is welcome. He has helped people who face life-endangering situations. He notes that the encryption programmes can be fiddly to use, but says everyone should figure them out. “We really need to encrypt more,” he says, noting that encrypted messages are still so unusual that they send up red flags. “It’s just about making clear that we’re not going to let ourselves be monitored any more.” While complete secrecy is never possible, people can still make life more difficult for the snoopers, organizers say. “With little effort you can get an insane level of security,” says Dik. u

22 “The Pope Is With You” { Hanns-Jochen Kaffsack / Rio de Janeiro / DPA }


rancis is a pope who practices what he preaches – humility. During his current visit to Brazil, he has once again drawn the world’s gaze with his human touch, visiting addicts in a hospital, and conducting a walkabout through one of the favelas to the north of the City just hours later. His message is the same everywhere: “The pope is with you” – said with a smile. Francis is clearly happy to be among the world’s poor and suffering. No one is excluded from the papal presence. They may be talking in Rio about a “Love Story” between Brazil and the Argentine pope, but in fact the 76-year-old Jorge Mario Bergoglio is merely continuing, on his first trip abroad, what he has preached and practised in Rome. He exudes modesty and a head of the Catholic Church who is open to contact in Rio, as he is in Rome. Immediately upon being elected pope, the head of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics had washed the feet of prisoners. Since then he has called repeatedly on his priests to leave their comfortable armchairs to explore the outer reaches of society – to go where the “good Samaritan” can find work helping others. Francis has made use of his trip to mark World Youth Day, to walk through areas where the poor live. He blesses the altar in the Sao Jeronimo Emiliano Chapel, enters the home of a favela family and then throws himself into the cheering throng on a makeshift football pitch. Brazil is too big to knock on every door to ask for a “cafezinho”, he jokes, as he faces the crowd, clearly at ease. Then the Jesuit pope turns to more seri-

ous matters, uttering the oft-forgotten or suppressed and uncomfortable word of ‘solidarity’. “The pope is with you,” he assures the crowd, who clearly want to believe what the man from Rome has to say. Francis has made plain his aim not only to reform the encrusted Roman Curia and the way it does business, but also to change the world. Here in the favela he is evidently in his element, emanating good humour and optimism, while at the same time getting the hard core of his message across. After attacking injustice and social exclusion, he issues the clear message that, “Only God can still the hunger for happiness.” But, in the meantime, the “culture of egoism and individualism must be torn down, so that the grumbling stomachs may be filled, as they make the world “unliveable.” While playing the role of champion of “a church of the poor”, Francis is also conducting some church politics, expressing his opposition to liberalizing drug use, to counter the “dealers in death” (the drug cartels). He spreads the message of the unique significance of the family, and the need to safeguard life itself, issuing a message to those who are well off or in authority “to never tire of working towards a world of greater justice and solidarity.” His message to young Brazilians, who recently rebelled against the system, is to struggle actively for a better world. “Don’t ever give up, don’t lose your confidence, as the world is capable of change,” he says. Such utterances go down well in Brazil, and across the wider world. It’s still too early to tell whether Francis will be able to reform the church, but the Argentine pope has certainly helped to burnish its image a little. u

Fight Against Leprosy Not Over: UN { Bangkok / DPA }


G lobal

2-8 August 2013

he effort to eliminate leprosy is far from over, as more than 200,000 new cases are reported each year, warned the United Nations. Although successful treatment is now available, there were 232,850 new cases reported in 2012, mostly in Asia and Africa – an increase of 6,224 cases over the previous year. “We cannot lower our guard,” said Samlee Plianbangchang, Regional Director of the World Health Organization in South-East Asia. “We could eliminate small pox. Why not leprosy?” The introduction of multi-drug therapy in the early 1980s has effectively cured 16 million people over the past 20 years, bringing the national prevalence rate down to less than per 10,000 people worldwide by 2005, WHO officials said at the start of a three-day meeting on

the disease in Bangkok. But Samlee said there was a disturbing increase in the number of new cases showing visible disabilities, and in the number of women testing positive for the disease. The number of highly endemic countries has decreased from 122 in 1985 to less than 20, but the new cases are getting harder to reach. Public health authorities need to target those populations, such as people living in urban slums, border areas and ethnic minority areas, Samlee said. He also noted that prevalence rates were likely higher than average in remote areas of countries such as India, Indonesia and Myanmar. “Globally it might be down, but in India it appears to be more than one per 10,000, especially in the remoter areas of the country that are hard to reach,” said V. Narsappa, a former victim who is now chairman of the National Forum Trust, India. u

A Pope Joke { Rio de Janeiro / DPA }


ope Francis joked with journalists aboard his flight from Rome, ahead of his scheduled landing in Rio. Francis greeted each of the 70 journalists on board. He joked with a Brazilian journalist about Sao Paulo’s Cardinal Odilo Pedro Scherer, who had been seen as a top contender in the March papal election (in which Francis was chosen). “God is already Brazilian. Do you also want to have a pope?” Francis joked, according to the newspaper Folha de Sao Paulovon, which had a reporter on board. His comment was a play on the words of one of his predecessors, John Paul II, who in 1997 told the people of Rio, known as the Cariocas: “If God is Brazilian, then the pope is a Carioca.”u

Pope Sand Sculpture { Helmut Reuter / Rio de Janeiro / DPA }


t is usually scantily-dressed bathing beauties that inspire sand sculptors on Brazil’s famous Copacabana beach. But with “pope fever” sweeping the nation in anticipation of Pope Francis’ arrival to preside over World Youth Day, Rogean Rodrigues wanted to create something else. “Bathing beauties would not be appropriate, with the pope coming,” Rodrigues told dpa. So he carved a life-sized image of Francis out of sand, spraying it with preservative, painting the papal robe white and hanging a rosary around his neck. The sculpture is a hit among tourists, who line up to have their photos taken with it. The 31-year-old Rodrigues is a wellknown fixture on the scene. For 20 years he has created huge sand castles on the beaches in Rio and many other South American and Caribbean countries. “I began as a small boy,” he said with pride, paging through a notebook with newspaper articles about him and his sand art. At Easter, he carves huge bunnies, and at Christmas it’s Papai Noel (Santa Claus). Just recently, it was Rio’s legendary open-air Maracana-Stadium in miniature, complete with original

colours, stadium seating and playing field. One visitor, Daniella, said she had found out about the sand replica by a posting on Facebook. She and her mother sat themselves at the pope’s sandy feet to have their photo snapped. Argentinians above all - loyal to Francis’ homeland - seem to dominate, waving their country’s light blue flags. Nuns and monks dressed in full costume, despite the hot weather, crowded the Atlantic promenade. The orange World Youth Day t-shirts imprinted the landscape. More than 1.5 million people were expected to flock to the Copacabana Beach for the large welcome ceremony that highlights World Youth Day. The same number was expected for the traditional Way of the Cross procession on Friday evening. Francis will also preside over the final celebration of World Youth Day in Guaratiba, 60 kilometres west of Rio. World Youth Day is pumping bonus revenues into Brazil. The sculptor can however understand the impulse of people trying to touch the pope’s sand hand. He himself would like nothing better than to shake the real hand of Francis. “He’s going to come right by here. Maybe he will stop here,” the sand sculptor of Rio said.u

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