Page 1

28 Dec 2012-3 Jan 2013

Vol. 2 No. 19  Pages 24  ` 7

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

Thrown To The Wolves

{ Abhishek Behl and Maninder Dabas / FG }


ith widespread outrage over the recent gang-rape, which hammered the collective consciousness of the nation, it was expected that the law enforcement agencies and the Administration in the Millennium City would become alert and sensitive – and visible. Gurgaon has a history of rowdy elements becoming more 'active' during the festive seasons, so it was imperative that the police took urgent proactive measures. However, there seemed to be little learning on the ground. On Christmas Eve, two teams of Friday Gurgaon moved across the City, from 7 pm to 2 am. What we found was shocking. Beginning from Palam Vihar, and throughout the City, there was little police presence, even as the City descended into darkness. The Gurgaon Police post at the Bijwasan border was locked, with empty barricades standing mute witness to on-off police presence. Moving from Palam Vihar to the Vyapar Kendra in this posh locality, one could see a number of commuters – including women standing and waiting for the shared autorickshaws, which are a law unto themselves. Rachna, who works in Ansal Plaza, said that the police presence is negligible in the area. The major problem they face is men, on bikes and in cars, offering them a 'lift', while they are waiting for public transport. “We often have to wait for the autos, as they ply randomly. Even inside the autos the men keep on staring, and trying to touch us – but one has to bear it,” she says. She, and even a group of men standing near the Celebrity homes apartments, wants the transport department to extend the City bus service upto Bijwasan. From Palam Vihar the team moved to Ansal Plaza, another hub of commercial and social activity in the area, that usually has a police gypsy stationed in front. But on Christmas Eve it was surprising that not even a single uniformed man was visible on this stretch of the road, even as drunk revellers made merry outside the 'thekka' on the main chowk – that also has the popular Columbia Asia Hospital in the backdrop. Tivra, a resident of Sector 23, who works in the Hospital, says that this liquor shop is a major nuisance in the area.

FG chose Christmas Eve to test out the City’s preparedness on security. We felt it would send a clear message, and also serve as a timely learning for the New Year’s Eve preparations. Unfortunately and surprisingly we found virtually no police prescence on the road. A few PCR vans were parked on the sides, out of sight, with the policemen ensconced within. We found enough revellers drinking openly in front of liquor vends. At one location an adjacent eating joint had a sign that said: ‘Govt. approved Restaurant & Drinking Place’ – completely against the law ! We found traffic violations galore, even where PCR vans were parked. We found many roads without streetlights; and others dimly lit. Most importantly, we found many people, especially the youth (men and women), most willing to talk, feeling frustrated and angry, and wanting to see urgent action. There was surprisingly no ‘buzz’ on Christmas Eve. Have many people decided to not step out on big occasions? We hope not. Alongside, we have brought you the voices of many hapless victims, who have experienced unbelievable attacks on their bodies – and their minds. Some have left the City; others are now under psychiatric help. If you have not felt anything yet, do not wait, for it will surely come soon. We may not have seen a gruesome killing, or shootings. What we experience is a daily attack of snatchings (jewellery, cash, belongings), carjackings, and misbehaviour with women - mainly on the roads, and many in broad daylight. The numbers are increasing by the day. There is a brazenness to the attacks. The culprits, the criminals, seem not to care. It is a situation waiting to explode. FG is happy that, pursuant to our drive, there has been a marked police th presence from the 25 . But till when?

Lewd comments are passed by those consuming liquor here. “We try and avoid this stretch, as there normally are people holding beer bottles and plastic glasses,” she says. She carries a can of pepper spray while moving out in the evenings, and suggests that girls and women should be alert at all times. The lack of policing, she says, boosts the confidence of the criminal elements , and it can literally be felt. With no cops in this critical stretch, which connects Gurgaon and Delhi, it would not be difficult for a miscreant to snatch a bag, or commit a serious crime, and make good his escape across the border. The next stop was the Gurgaon – Delhi Border, leading to the other side of Bijwasan. Once again there was no 'naka' or checking here – that too on Christmas Eve, at a border post, when Delhi is on fire. Palam Vihar can be described as the 'soft underbelly' of Gurgaon, from where anti-social elements can plan their moves easily. The presence of a couple of unauthorised colonies, and villages where surveillance is zero, also helps the criminal elements. From here the team moved to the Old Delhi Gurgaon Road, and again found no presence of the police. It was getting darker already. This, in a City that takes pride in working 24 hours a day – notwithstanding the infrastructural shortcomings. The next area, as per plan, was the crucial stretch connecting Old Delhi Road to Iffco Chowk, and the MG Road stretch till Sikanderpur. To our surprise there was not even a single cop—either belonging to the traffic police or the local police station—who was visible in the area. The only presence was in the manner of a PCR van in front of Sahara Mall, serving to save the uniformed men from the biting cold. The police men could be seen huddled inside, speaking to each other. With the police taking a backseat on the roads, the liquor vends were having a field day, as drunk revellers stationed their cars in front of the shops and used these as public bars. Bottles of premium liquor could be seen on the bonnets; interestingly, there were not the stereotypical villagers, but corporate executives in 'suits and boots' raising a toast on the roads. Not a single policeman was spotted between Sikanderpur and Cyber City, between 8 to 10 pm. It was expected that the police would at least be present at Shanker Chowk, and the area around Ambience Mall – but unfortunately no such 'luck'. Contd on p 6 

We Shall Overcome

The Wolves Roam The Roads { Shilpy Arora / FG }


ess than 24 hours after the Delhi rape incident we spoke to Nitya Khanna from Ektra, a City-based NGO, that works for the welfare of women. She was distressed. It reminded her of a scary incident that took place in 1990, in front of her college. “I was stopped by four men in front of my college. I some-

how managed to escape. After the incident, I decided to work for women's rights in the City. Unfortunately, after almost 20 years, it seems nothing has changed. It seems our efforts, and years of fighting against apathy towards women's problems, have been futile,” said Nitya. Chitra (name changed), who studies in one of the renowned private colleges in the City, has been living in

her apartment at Sector 56 for the last two years. A couple of months ago, when she went to the nearby HUDA market to buy grocery, some boys chased her in a car. “They slowed the car,whistled, and passed obscene comments at me, and invited me in vulgarly. When I did not respond, one of them got out of the car and tried to pull me into the vehicle.  I bit him on his hand and man-

aged to escape. It happened in broad daylight,” said Chitra. Today she lives with her cousin brother in Delhi – the incident made her leave the City. “A mere reminder of that incident shatters me completely. What if they would have pulled me into the car?,” said Chitra, in a trembling voice. Sunanda (name changed), a resident of old Gurgaon, who was waiting for her son’s

school bus, was molested by three bikers. They came in fast, one of them caught one end of her saree, and pulled the saree off her. The incident took place in the middle of the road. Sunanda felt humiliated. Today, even after five months, she doesn’t step out of home. “She is taking a treatment for a mental Contd on p 7 

Coming Up

28 Dec 2012–3 Jan 2013

RNI No. HARENG/2011/39319 Postal Regn. No. GRG/35/2012-2014 VOL.–2 No.–19  28 Dec 2012-3 Jan 2013




Atul Sobti

Sr. Correspondent: Abhishek Behl Correspondents:

Maninder Dabas

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

Anita Bagchi Shilpy Arora

Sr. Designer:

Amit Singh


Virender Kumar

Sr. Circulation Execs.: Himanshu Vats Syed Mohd Komail Circulation Execs.:

Pankaj Yadav Sunil Yadav Manish Yadav

Accts. & Admin Mgr: Deba Datta Pati Asst. Manager Media Marketing: Bhagwat Kaushik Sr. Exec Media Marketing:

Vikalp Panwar

Ad Sales Exec :

Amit Agarwal

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: 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 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.

FG Invites Citizens n Are you interested and concerned

about civic and social happenings and issues around you? n Are you motivated to do something positive for society? n Are you interested to also write, and express what you see, hear, feel? If yes, write to us at, with a brief background of yourself, with contact number(s). 2–8 March 2012

Vol. 1 No. 28  Pages 24



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RNI No. HARENG/2011/39

For The Other Half


{ Abhishek Behl / FG }


It lives in two urgaon is a paradox. the Naunequal halves, whereinthe Great as tional Highway-8 acts Wall. The core Divide – like the Berlin the new subbut of the City is rotting; – with malls, gated urbs shine like stars and clubs setting colonies, golf courses never before seen a standard of life


he third in our astrology series – featuring Libra, Scorpio and Saggitarius.

...Pg 16

Tantric Art


e feature Shobha Broota, a 68year old ‘young’ and energetic artist.

...Pg 17

Master Recipe

Prakhar PaNdey



in India. forces that It is this flux of extreme balance – the is threatening to unraveland helpful for a balance that is natural and for civiliwith; great cities to evolve attain glory. sations to develop and urban core, the Gurgaon’s rotting within the City, concretised villages hinterland that and the vast rural is under once comprised Guru-gram, – under and 210 Panchayats threat of being submerged Nagar, Manesar); Millennium a of the new identity that cover 291 villages. a week with in ‘New GurgaFriday Gurgaon spent City, with its capital Meena, checkthe role of the State on’. It is here that Deputy Commissioner will is executed – ensure that the forces comes into play; to ing how the State’s that has known all the populace. of development touch in this historic area, since the Commissioner Gurgaon Deputy some form of governance of Being is the point man of Guru Dronacharya. power, P.C Meena, who in the Dis- time capital seat of the State Administration close to Delhi, the by Gurgaon is much has also been influenced trict, concurs that District the District and social developments The itself. City political more than the viz. Gurgaon the includes 3 sub-divisionsPataudi; 5 teh- taking place there. Contd on p 8  ,and (North and South) Pataudi, Farukh Sohna, sils (Gurgaon,

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asterchef Top 5 Vijaylaxmi shares a Recipe exclusively for FG readers.

...Pg 18

little, for so long, with so We have done so much,do anything with nothing. to we are now qualified

Let’s Be Civil


avan Choudhary, Managing Director of Vygon, speaks on the need for residents to become responsible citizens. ...Pg 21

Regular Features Food Take

...Pg 6

Cinema Listings & Helplines ...Pg 7 eek That Was

{ Hritvick Sen / FG }

service worth its lmost every significant call-in. Whether it salt has a telephone information is food (or liquor) delivery, civic and reservations, services, bookings on cells... there is a line facilities, grievance call in. But when there which people can or a fire – there is an accident, a robbery that people dial is only one type of service Services. in a hurry. Emergency themselves count people Most haven’t had a fortunate that they for they had to ask which in situation who work in these help; but for the people people is helping distraught


100 – Police Emergency main Police


Control Location: The Mini-SecretarRoom (PCR) in Gurgaon’s lines chirping, phone iat. Wireless sets staff they’re set down, ringing as soon as papers – the very rushing about with air hums with activity. who is the Inspector Rishipal, the Operations, says senior in-charge of given day, we receive seriously, “On any a 3,000 calls.” In between 2,500 to from which he can closed glass cubicle he manages the day-tosurvey all activity, PCR. “We have stateday operations of the equipment, and I can of-the-art servers and has one of the safely say that Gurgaon the country.” in st advanced PCRs

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R eviews

28 Dec 2012–3 Jan 2013


No Bang In DaBangg { Vijay Kumar }


f you did not know what to expect when you walked in to watch Arbaaz Khan's home production and maiden directorial venture, Dabangg 2, it is likely you would come out of the theatre clapping loudly. If you had a clear expectation of what was in store, you would just come out clapping. If you watched the movie because you missed seeing the original Dabangg, then it is likely that you will come out loudly chiding yourself for having watched it. The songs are hummable, and Sajid Wajid have composed tunes that are melodious. Unfortunately, all song situations seem forced. The novelty of the item numbers seems to be wearing away fast; something that was bound to happen as a result of overexposure. As a result, Kareena Kapoor's gyrations in the Fevicol number produce less oomph than the 'Munni' number. All the actors―Salman Khan, SonDABANGG 2 akshi Sinha, Vinod Khanna, Arbaaz directed by : Arbaaz Khan Khan and Prakash Raj―are adequate. cast: Salman Khan, Sonakshi Sinha, Sonakshi's face continues to radiate Arbaaz Khan, Prakash Raj freshness, although she is already five films old. But Salman Khan looks jaded. genre: Action, Comedy The movements no longer entertain; they are laboured, and the spontaneity is withering away. Abhinav Kashyap, who directed Dabangg, had infused it with slickness, in the midst of the melodrama, action and comedy. Unfortunately Arbaaz Khan has a tame story, and adopts a linear approach, sans any innovation – and riddles it with clichés. The only truly entertaining part is when Chulbul Pandey makes a prank call to his father (Vinod Khanna). Imagine a mega-sized fire-cracker which has been soaked in a damp environment, and then lit: the Bang in Dabangg 2 is nowhere to be heard. u


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28 Dec 2012–3 Jan 2013


Celeb Watch


Lorraine Music Academy Trains Young Musical Achievers

ecently students from the Lorraine Music Academy achieved remarkable results. “We are very proud of all students who study music with a passion. Our students are good at academics and many other activities like golf, cricket, chess, etc. We would like to particularly honour Dhruv Malhotra, studying at Heritage School, Gurgaon; Jayant Gopalan, studying at The Sri Ram School, Aravali, Gurgaon; and Namanshree Jain, studying at Doon School, Dehradun, who have set some records by working hard and passing Trinity College of Music, London grade examinations at a very young age,” says Lorraine Fiona Aloysius. Dhruv passed the Grade-8 Pianoforte examinations at the age of 13; Jayant passed the Grade-8 Pianoforte examionations at the age of 14; and Namanshree Jain will be clearing the RockSchool Grade-8 examination at the age of 15. Dhruv, Jayant and Namanshree continue to study music and excel. They have performed at various events and concerts in aid of LAMP Trust which has a mandate to promote Music, Performing Arts, Literary Arts and Visual Arts. Lorraine Music Academy exists to serve the community through education, workshops, recitals, concerts and public performances.

Healing Bhajans


Soul Natyam


oted Bharatanatyam dancer Savitha Sastry staged a performance titled 'Soul Cages', at the Epicentre. The ballet captured the cycles of life and death as a journey, through the classical Indian dance form. The audience was mesmerised by this unique performance.

oted bhajan singer Anup Jalota enthralled the City residents with a soulful performance at a City hospital. The enraptured audience included caregivers, and children suffering from autism and Down’s syndrome.

Road Respect


n the wake of the festive season, Gurgaon Traffic Police―along with sponsors―flagged off a campaign to create awareness among the citizens of Gurgaon, on Responsible Drinking. The Campaign, titled ‘Respect The Road’ – Don’t Drink and Drive', is aimed at educating the public.

Taking The Cake


aking enthusiasts gathered to contribute to the ‘Largest Cake' making event at a store in an MG Road Mall. Bakers donned their chefs' caps to prepare the masterpiece cake. There was thorough detailing and planning – right from sourcing and selecting the ingredients, to flavour and toppings. It took the whole team about 5 hours to craft the ‘Largest Cake’ – weighing 100kg.

06  Contd from p 1 A large number of commuters vouched that they had not seen any men in 'khaki'. This was not only shocking, but raised a question as to what modus operandi the police force uses to prevent crime, as well as infuse confidence among the residents. We decided to move to the Golf Course Road, and the areas around HUDA City Centre, DLF Phase III, Sushant Lok. What the team found interesting was that, more than the police, private security guards were present in the area – but they only had 'dandas' for policing. Their Standard Operating Procedure is to call the police when they see a major crime or problem. “We act as the eyes and ears of the police, and they have told us that whenever something happens, inform us,” said a guard on anonymity, while standing at one of the major chowks on Golf Course road. With such police presence (absence), just a little streetlight in most areas, and fog on the road, the citizens cannot feel safe. On the entire stretch of the Golf Course Road, not even a single cop could be found, between 11 to 12 pm. There was a silver lining. We found a young police officer on the Sector 56,55 roundabout, sitting in the police car and overseeing a checkpost. Pradeep Dangi, SHO Sector 56 was almost the only police official that Friday Gurgaon met on that cold night. Dangi said that the Police has increased surveillance and patrolling, particularly after the Delhi incident. When told about the actual situation that we has seen, he expressed surprise. “We are working to curtail crime, and the checking of cars has been increased, particularly during the night,” he said. From here the team went to Golf Course Extension Road, till Badshapur, and found no police presence enroute. It was almost pitch dark all the way. At the Badshahpur Chowk a police check post was ready and waiting – perhaps tipped off in advance. Around midnight now, the stretch from Badshahpur Chowk to Rajiv Chowk was free of the police – except a police car parked near the dumpers that carry stones from Mewat and other areas. There was an animated discussion on-going. Coming back from Rajiv Chowk to Subash Chowk, and to the HUDA City Centre, one could witness only deserted roads, locked police pickets, and private security guards holding sticks. From HUDA City Centre to Signature Tower, Atul Kataria Chowk, Sheetla Mata Temple, Sector 4/5 and back to Palam Vihar, the story was the same. Police check posts, policemen on bikes, or PCR vans were rarely seen on the roads of Gurgaon – from 7 pm to 2 am! The question is, where had the police gone, if it was not on the road? Has policing also become a 9 to 5 job? Maybe we should check that the next time... Gurgaon is also a Cyber City, which works at night too. It is important that there is police

28 Dec 2012–3 Jan 2013

C ivic/S ocial

Thrown To The Wolves

presence on the ground, and is visible. It sends a message to the lumpen that they are being constantly watched. An incident like the Delhi case can happen anytime here, because surveillance is poor, transport facilities still primitive, and the concept of surprise checks non-existent. The notion of crime prevention is still to take seed in this City. We should perhaps be thankful that condominiums and gated complexes, with their private security, have helped curb household crimes considerably. One wonders what would have happened without this.

What the Residents say

During the course of our trip across the City, which almost turned into a search for the elusive Gurgaon Police, Friday Gurgaon met many people, at different places, who made important observations about safety and security in this City. In and around Palam Vihar the residents were of the opinion that poor patrolling, lack of streetlights, and poor transport facilities, combined together to create an unsafe environment, particularly for women. Manvi, who was having tea in front of her office, along with her husband, said that women across the National Capital Region were facing trouble – though Delhi was safer than Noida and Gurgaon. “In Delhi we have lesser gated complexes and malls, and there are more street shops in 'mohallas'. People know each other better. In the Metro, buses and shared autos, the people try to get 'cozy' with you; and unless one shouts and screams there is no safety,” she says. She adds that families must teach boys/men to respect girls/women, at homes and outside. The mindset of the police also does not help, as in several instances they do not take eveteasing seriously, said some of the girls. “Sometimes even the policemen indulge in passing lewd remarks. They laugh at the helplessness of the girls, and jokingly tell them not to move around during the evenings,” says Vanita, who works in an IT company. The police, the women say, is still working with a warped mindset; most of the uniformed men are not able to accept women moving out of the house alone, let alone working during the night hours. Samita, a resident of Kolkata, who met the FG team at the Jwala Mill Chowk, opined that women face harassment all the time. “If you are moving with your husband or a group of friends then it is a bit safe. But alone, on Gurgaon roads, is pretty dangerous – particularly if you do not have your own vehicle,” she asserts. However, even if you have a car it is not a given that you will be safe, claims Ayesha Dahra, a corporate professional, who came to the City in 1995. Ayesha said that there have

been instances where she has been stalked by cab drivers and drunk men, as the patrolling by the police is ineffective. More importantly, she says, the 'confidence' of the criminal elements, that they can get away with the crime, makes them more dangerous. It is not only the working women, even school-going girls claimed that they feel unsafe moving about in the City. A group of students from Shriram Aravalli School felt that it is important for the Gurgaon Police to send a strong signal that criminal activities will not be tolerated. “The government should not wait for another Delhi-like incident to happen. There has to be more action on the ground,” they asserted. “While the police must act, it also should be realised that there can not be a guard for every woman in the City,” said Pallavi, a BPO executive. She says that there needs to be a change in the mindset of the people, especially men, that indulging in eve-teasing is morally reprehensible. At Shanker Chowk, which sees a lot of women asking for lifts from private cabs, it becomes obvious that unless the City soon primes up the transport service, there is a tragedy waiting to happen any day – again. Neelam, who daily uses cabs from this Chowk, to her home in Delhi, admitted that she often feels vulnerable. Sometimes the co-passengers are drunk, or the cabbies start telling 'double meaning' jokes. “I wish transport facilities within and outside the City are improved,” she said. No doubt the Rapid Metro Service will improve the situation next year, but still the provision of a secure women's compartment in the Metro, and even security cameras, has not been able to check the lumpen elements in the City and streets, averred commuters.

Liquor Vends invite trouble

The culture of opening liquor vends in every imaginable open space, with blaring lights, adjacent food-joints, and even music, has become a bane for the residents. The government takes pride in claiming a 'thekka' every 500 metres! Obviously liquor is the new water, and food really doesn't matter. The tendency of people to drink in the open, in cars, and on the pavements (whatever little the City has) has contributed to the insecurity of the residents. And social status has nothing do with obnoxious behaviour, said many women who were interviewed by FG. Alka Gurha, a resident of Sohna road, said, “On the 2 km stretch of Sohna Road where I live, there are no PCR vans and no street lights – but there are 5 to 6 liquor shops. What can we expect? Forget women, even my husband dreads to venture out after dark. We also hear of minor girls be-

ing raped by their own brothers and relatives, which is a very disturbing trend. It has to be dealt with strongly, at a social level. Why are we mass-producing lumpen goons, who roam around the City, and have 'fun' at the cost of women? Parliamentarians who say that they are disturbed, because they are also parents of girls, have no clue of what it is like to travel in public transport – where every second man is rubbing his thighs against yours. They are playing politics over a grave issue like rape. Not a single person has offered to part with his VIP security. Stricter laws, speedy justice, gender sensitisation, accountability and more policing is what we need.”

A tale of broken promises

Like infrastructure, the security apparatus in Gurgaon has not been able to scale up. The Police still functions in a different time zone, and the general dictum is “Sawari apni jaan aur maal ki khud zimmewar hai”. Despite promises by the government that the number of police men will be increased, and the entire City will be brought under electronic surveillance, nothing has happened on the ground. The 'camera' project, which the Chief Minister had himself announced in November 2011, is still in a limbo, while more such announcements have been made. The decision of the Administration, imposing strict rules to facilitate women who work after 8 pm, is followed more in the breach. Only 49 commercial establishments have registered themselves to date with the Labour Department! Apart from major roads, the street lights in most areas are not functional in HUDA sectors; while the private builder colonies also do not fare well. Mayfield Gardens, Ardee City, South City I, and several parts of old Gurgaon, had little street lighting. The footpaths are still a dangerous zone to fall in, during evening hours. Snatchings are common, and so is eve-teasing, as drunk men move around freely – knowing that the police would not act,” says Sonia Vaid, who met us at MG Road Station. Gurgaon’s changing Urban milieu: In the last couple of years the profile of urban crime has changed; it is happening more on the roads and in public places. The response mechanism, say experts, has been simplistic. People have started believing in more gated communities, and private spaces. Another problem is the sterotyping of the criminal as the urban moneyed Jat or Gujjar, or the domestic helpers, who are now routinely under scrutiny. This is despite data suggesting that the majority of the crimes, particularly those against women, are committed by people known to them, or by friends and family. The concept of gated community also leads to a feeling that only 'outsid-

ers' indulge in crime. But this is a dangerous observation, say experts, as it is basically a form of escapism from the problems of a repressive society. Sex and sexual crimes are taboo, and it is often considered better for a family if such crimes are not reported to the police. This often allows the culprits to get away scot-free, suggest experts. The time has come to bring these aspects of life in the open, create public spaces, and common discourse, if the cities have to become more safe, observe civil society watchers. Anna Steele, a British national presently staying in Gurgaon, says that sexual violation is common, and is not taken as seriously as it needs to be. In this patriarchal society men hold positions of social or legal power over women. Sexual violence expresses itself through rape most commonly. It is common even amongst married women, and also within the family structure – through control and domination. Why has the latest Delhi rape shocked us all so much? Why does this shock us more? We can transform these destructive incidents by reflecting on our own behaviour, instead of pointing a finger as if it is always someone else that is to blame. Who are the criminals: In a study conducted in Tihar Jail by a US based Indian researcher, it was observed that the changing urban character of Indian cities—like Delhi and Gurgaon—also leads to more crime. The study revealed that more youngsters are migrating to Delhi and NCR, and there is less parental control and supervision on them. Secondly, the study observed that the culture of consumerism in the cities is tempting people to act illegally. The attractive advertisements, the desire for material goods, and poor supervision, have goaded many into crime. A number of Tihar inmates accepted that the desire to acquire money, make quick gains, the ill effects of alcohol and drugs, and sexual drives—in combination—lead to pretty devastating results. The Study points out that acute poverty, failure of the police and the judicial system, and lack of education, supervision and discipline in the formative years is responsible for much of the deviant behaviour. It was also observed that anger, jealousy, a feeling of revenge, and enmity towards the society, were also primary forces motivating criminal activity. Looking into these issues, it is quite obvious that in Gurgaon, instead of creating islands of exclusivity, we should also try to create an institutional mechanism that could deal with these issues, and help in 'letting off the steam' of these deprived individuals. Crime is not the prerogative of only the poor, must also be understood. Emile Durkheim once famously described crime as an inescapable phenomenon, which can never be eradicated from society. If we can’t get rid of it, at least we should try and learn to live with it. u

28 Dec 2012–3 Jan 2013

C ivic/S ocial


Any Woman, Any Where, Any Time  Contd from p 1 disorder, in which the patient has disturbance in thinking and behaviour,” said her doctor. Shockingly, the family hasn’t reported it to the police, as they don’t trust the system. “The police will make her recall the incident over and over again. It can make her condition even worse. I just want her to recover as soon as possible, so that we can live a normal life,” said her husband. Sunanda comes from a 'traditional' family, where reporting such cases to the police is considered a matter of disgrace. But even those who have raised their voice and filed complaints are not a better lot. There is the case of a 15-year-old girl, Kavita (name changed), who uses the City’s bus service to commute to school. One day she was returning home in a bus. When a man standing behind her misbehaved, Kavita raised an alarm. The co-passengers just remained mute spectators. The bus driver didn’t stop. “Nobody came forward to help us. I deboarded at the next bus stand, and went straight to the police station. The police appallingly said that these incidents are common, and filing a complaint will only bring disgrace to our family. I, however, filed a complaint. But we never heard back from the police,” said the father of the victim. “The Police have to understand that it all starts with eve-teasing. A regular eve-teaser is more likely to rape a girl, than a person who has never molested a woman in public. Increasing cases of rapes are the result of the continued ignorance of eve-teasing. Be-

sides this, sometimes a victim of eve-teasing can suffer acute depression, and even try to commit suicide,” said a psychiatrist, Dr. Ananda. The problem is not only for those who use public transport; girls who use drive cars are equally frightened. “Believe me, cars are no better. I have faced enough. Now, when it gets late, I make a bun and wear a cap, to fake my look as a boy,” said Richa (name changed), who owns a software company. She recalled an incident on MG Road, when she was stopped by a group of bikers at 9 pm. Now she makes sure that she, as well as her female employees, leave office before 7 pm. Richa, who has spent many years in the Middle East, advocated the Islamic law of punishment for rapists and sadists.

Worse than Delhi

There has been a heavy influx of 'land' money across Gurgaon. Sudden wealth, combined with a feudal and patriarchal system, has resulted in boys feeling even more 'powerful'. Now they don’t feel the need to earn. “These boys have got expensive cars and bikes. Most don’t respect women. For them it is okay to take advantage of women,” said a City-based social worker, Shilpa. Deepa Krishnan, from Run Divas, added, “Haryana has progressed only economically. Our families still focus on teaching daughters only about their code of conduct in public. The need of the hour is to teach our sons to respect women.” The easy availability of liquor, all across the City, is a major issue. Take the area around IFFCO Chowk Metro

FG Invites Citizens n Are you interested and concerned

about civic and social happenings and issues around you? n Are you motivated to do something positive for society? n Are you interested to also write, and express what you see, hear, feel? If yes, write to us at, with a brief background of yourself, with contact number(s). 2–8 March 2012

Vol. 1 No. 28  Pages 24


RNI No. HARENG/2011/39319

For The Other Half


{ Abhishek Behl / FG }



he third in our astrology series – featuring Libra, Scorpio and Saggitarius.

Tantric Art


e feature Shobha Broota, a 68year old ‘young’ and energetic artist.

Master Recipe

It lives in two urgaon is a paradox. the Naunequal halves, whereinthe Great as tional Highway-8 acts Wall. The core Divide – like the Berlin the new subbut of the City is rotting; – with malls, gated urbs shine like stars and clubs setting colonies, golf courses never before seen a standard of life in India. that forces extreme It is this flux of the balance – is threatening to unraveland helpful for a balance that is natural and for civili...Pg 16 with; great cities to evolve attain glory. sations to develop and urban core, the Gurgaon’s rotting within the City, concretised villages hinterland that and the vast rural , is under once comprised Guru-gram – under and 210 Panchayats threat of being submerged Nagar, Manesar); of a Millennium the new identity that cover 291 villages. a week with in ‘New GurgaFriday Gurgaon spent City, with its capital er Meena, checkthe role of the State on’. It is here that Deputy Commission will is executed – ensure that the forces to play; into comes ing how the State’s ...Pg 17 that has known all the populace. of development touch in this historic area, the Commissioner governance since of form Gurgaon Deputy some of a. Being is the point man P.C Meena, who time of Guru Dronachary ion in the Discapital seat of power, the State Administrat close to Delhi, the much is Gurgaon been influenced by trict, concurs that the District has also ts itself. The District social developmen more than the City the political and s viz. Gurgaon includes 3 sub-division Pataudi; 5 teh- taking place there. Contd on p 8  ,and (North and South) Pataudi, Farukh Sohna, sils (Gurgaon,


Prakhar PaNdey


Please Visit Us At emen Emergency Servic P Ask Your Newspaper Vendor For Friday Gurgaon. M

asterchef Top 5 Vijaylaxmi shares a Recipe exclusively for FG readers.

...Pg 18

little, for so long, with so We have done so much,do anything with nothing. to we are now qualified

Let’s Be Civil

avan Choudhary, Managing Director of Vygon, speaks on the need for residents to become responsible citizens. ...Pg 21

Regular Features Food Take

...Pg 6

a Listings & Helplines

{ Hritvick Sen / FG }

service worth its lmost every significant call-in. Whether it salt has a telephone information is food (or liquor) delivery, civic and reservations, services, bookings on cells... there is a line facilities, grievance call in. But when there which people can or a fire – there is an accident, a robbery that people dial service of is only one type Services. in a hurry. Emergency themselves count people Most haven’t had a fortunate that they ask for


cy Line 100 – Police Emergen main Police Control

Location: The Mini-SecretarRoom (PCR) in Gurgaon’s lines chirping, phone iat. Wireless sets staff they’re set down, ringing as soon as papers – the very rushing about with air hums with activity. who is the Inspector Rishipal, the Operations, says senior in-charge of given day, we receive seriously, “On any a 3,000 calls.” In to 2,500 between from which he can closed glass cubicle he manages the day-tosurvey all activity, PCR. “We have stateday operations of the uipment, and I can

station. One will always find a long queue at the nearby CNG station – opposite the road from the liquor vend. “Men drink the liquor in the cars, after which eve-teasing becomes a nice and easy way to have fun,” said a 24-year-old woman, who works in Galleria Market. No girl can cross that stretch without fear – even during the day. There are only a few areas with adequate street lights and footpaths. The illegal encroachments on the roads by roadside vendors, and illegal parking, makes it very difficult for women to walk on the roadsides. Shikha (name changed) who works as a domestic help at the Park View, said, “I have stopped wearing a saree, as many times the ends of my saree have been picked up by boys riding motorcycles. The problem is that there is no space on the road for you to walk. The City seems to belong to only those who have cars.”

What can be done?

The pity is that in our country a rape victim suffers more than the rapist. The victim not only remains scared and scarred—maybe for the rest of her life—but is also regarded 'unfit' for marriage. Further, moral policing, and arguments as to why she was raped, exacerbate her agony. Early in 2012 the Gurgaon Police first came out with a precautionary, that said women should not work after 8 pm – it shows the weakness of this 'force'. “It is apparent that the police are of no use. One has to learn to protect oneself. I suggest that girls learn self-defence, and carry a bottle of pepper spray

and an alarm with them,” said Deepa. Richa, from GirlCott, however, said, “What selfdefence? In the Delhi case even a male escort was unable to protect her. We have to give more teeth to our law, for the speedy settlement of rape cases, and the provision of severe punishment.” Richa has had a terrible experience. She was caught by four men and assaulted on a road. “I always thought self-defence was the best way to escape such incidents. But after that incident, I realised that a woman—why, even a man—is fairly helpless against a group of people,” she stated ruefully. Measures such as altering the mindset of men will take decades, and we cannot wait any longer. We have to look for some short-term solutions, such as severe punishments that go beyond what are sanctioned by law. “Our laws are not strong enough; even thefts, murders,

and other crimes have not diminished, despite the same punishment over centuries. As the situation in term of rapes is worse, the punishment should be even more stringent,” said Tanya, a social worker. She also pointed out that legalised prostitution can help decrease the sexual violence against women. Dr. Ananda agreed with Tanya, and put forth studies conducted in the US and the UK. These studies claim that a major decrease has been observed in the rate of rapes, after prostitution was legalised. Gurgaon of course does not have any 'official' 'red-light' areas yet. Many women in the City regularly face stalking, are chased by vehicles, and eveteased. The current nationwide protest is a clear indication of the anger of the people of India about the way women have been treated for decades. It is time for the public to help change the rules of the game. u


28 Dec 2012–3 Jan 2013

C ivic/Social says Shekhar. Smita adds that her father is bringing a new series of a game as a surprise for Shekhar’s parents.

Kiddie Party

Ringing In The New { Shilpy Arora/ FG }


or many people the New Year Eve means going to a party or just watching TV at home. While this is 'regular' fun, but there are a few who ring in the New Year differently.


Dr. Aruna Sachdeva, 56, who had always relaxed at home on New Year’s Eve, decided to throw a Scrapbooking party last year. Since her son and daughterin-law leave for their own party, she had planned this with her husband. She invited a few friends over, and made the arrangements. “Scrapbooking refers to documenting holidays, choices, and opinions. And New Year's Eve is the best time to reflect on the past year,” says Dr. Aruna. When asked about what arrangements need to be made, she says, “You just need basic stuff, such as photo albums, a few scrapbooks, and colourful sketch pens. My husband made a small presentation, that we displayed on a projector at midnight.” She is planning an encore this year.

Pet Party

Some people just want to cuddle up with their pets! Aanya, a 30-year-old software professional, who lives alone

{ Maninder Dabas/ FG }


any Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs), formed by people living in private builder colonies, have been at loggerheads with their builders over the issue of maintenance and other services, for quite some time now. They feel that the builders don't pay attention to their needs and problems. However, whenever these RWAs are asked to take over the maintenance of a particular area or apartment, they baulk. Most of them believe that taking over the maintenance would be suicidal, since most of the builders still haven't finished their construction; and even if they have in some places, the quality of construction is sub-standard. Once the RWAs take over, the construction and maintenance would become their responsibility. Refreshingly, at World Spa, the RWA took the gamble, in order to make the lives of its residents better. “We have been running our apartment complex for the last nine months, and we have been able to manage multiple situations quite

in the City, throws animal-themed parties for her friends and their pets. “As I live alone, I don’t feel safe going out to a pub or a hotel. So I invite some of my colleagues and friends who have pets. My house has a big backyard, where one can keep pets. We allow creatures of all types, from fish to ferrets, to attend the Party,” says Aanya. She also conducts a competition, wherein pets need to perform a set of stunts, and the winner is given the title of The Beast of Honour. She has set strict regulations for the competition. “A pet can participate in the competition only once. This time we will honour the winner with a gold crown,” smiles Aanya.

Feel Privileged

Aanya’s best friend, Sumit, celebrates in an entirely different way. For him, New Year's Eve means spreading joy among the underprivileged. “Being a single man, I think the best way to celebrate the Eve is to spend some time with the less fortunate people of society. Last year I took 60 children of Sansheel Foundation to a small resort in Manesar. It was a theme party. The theme was "outer space", so the children came dressed as stars, the moon, and planets. Rajiya, who was dressed as Pluto, launched the Event, by unveiling four little girls from a

small box. The girls then put on a dance performance. We also invite magicians to entertain the children,” says Sumit. When asked about the celebration, Azeem, an underprivileged boy, says, “Last year, when Sir (Sumit) took us to a beautiful place, I realised that New Year’s Eve could be so much fun. Before that I used to remain at home only. My family members still don’t have any idea about this concept of New Year’s Eve.” Azeem is a 12-year-old who studies at Sansheel Foundation.

Bonfire and a Hot Pool

Shekhar Advani and Smita Advani, a newly married couple, have different plans. They are going to attend a bonfire party at a resort in Neemrana. Apart from the basics, the Package includes a Hot Pool party, and a Casino party.   “We have taken six days off. This is our first new year together, and we want to make it memorable,” says Shekhar. Amazingly, he has arranged a gaming party—‘Xbox Party’—for his parents.  Shekhar’s 60-year-old father loves video games. “For my dad there is nothing like chasing cars and beasts on the computer. My mother enjoys it too. We therefore arranged a small ‘Xbox Party’ for them at one of the popular gaming cafes in the City,”

World Spa Shows The Way well,” said Major General (retd) J.S Bahri, the President of World Spa RWA. Running an apartment complex is no bed of roses, and it takes a lot of hard work to meet the expectations of people living there. Maintenance is such a critical endeavour, that even the biggest real estate companies like Unitech and DLF often find it difficult. “Indeed we had challenges, and frankly we couldn't have done this without the support of our residents. Our first challenge was to make the builders finish the unfinished works, as per the initial contract. The builder was not willing to carry out the repair of all the important machinery – such as lifts, ACs, gensets etc., despite a valid Annual Maintenance Contract (AMC). We pressurised the builder, and ensured our requirements were met. There were many other areas which required substantial improvement, and we had to spend money from our pockets to get those thing done. So we collected Rs. 10/sq.ft from each resi-

dent – this exercise fetched us almost one and a half crores rupees. We utilised this for carrying out other developmental works – such as developing the green belt, a playground for the kids, lighting in the common areas, improvement of the lobbies, and replacement of the old switches. Till now we have done a fair job, and now we don't have to knock the builder's door every time we face an issue,” added Bahri. “Of course, the 'substandard' construction is also an issue that worries us a lot – especially in the basements; and since we have taken over now, it's our responsibility to fix the problems. We have found 132 seepage points, where improvement needs to be done. As of now we are focusing on changing the face of our lobbies. We have 15 lobbies in each Tower, and we are working on giving them a new look altogether. We have also placed CCTV cameras within and outside the apartment complex,” added Bahri. If the majority of the real estate com-

Ritu, Director of Tailor Bird, who runs a 24x7 creche in the City, says, “Unfortunately, infants are seen as a major 'issue' when couples plan their New Year’s Eve. That is why they leave their kids with us. It is so disheartening to see the young children away from their parents on New Year’s Eve. This time I am planning to keep the crèche closed for two days. I know a lot of parents will raise an issue,” says Ritu. Dr. Dayal, Director of KidsMania, says,“Most of the couples in the City don’t live with their parents. It is very unsafe to leave your kids alone at home. Through your newspaper I would like to tell all the parents to leave their kids either with a family member or in a crèche,” says Dr. Dayal. She ensures that the kids have a good time at the crèche on New Year’s Eve. Every year she arranges special cupcake parties, game evenings, and sometimes museum visits for the kids. A 10-year-old, Natasha (name changed) mischievously says, “I get bored with my parents. I prefer celebrating with friends” – and smiles.

The traditional way

Although in Tamil Nadu the new year falls on the first day of the month of Chaitra (March-April), various Tamil associations and groups in the City also celebrate December 31st in a traditional manner. As South Indians believe that Lord Brahma began the creation of the universe on New Year’s Eve, they decorate their homes with mango leaves and ‘rangoli’, and visit the temples. Similarly, the Assamese community, which also celebrates New Year in the month of April, throws a small party on December 31st. “We invite artists to perform folk dances at home. We also offer traditional Assamese delicacies to our guests. It is just like throwing a pre-Bihu party,” says Bhumidhar, a resident of DLF Phase IV. The Sikh community celebrates New Year in its own way. A 22-year-old student, Samarjeet Singh, spends New Year’s Eve at the Gurudwara. “Unlike other communities, we don’t just offer prayers at the Gurudwara. We cook food—‘langar’—and serve it among the poor people. We also take New Year resolutions in the Gurudrawa itself. This way it becomes a promise made to God,” smiles Samarjeet.u

panies are to be believed, the maintenance of their colonies are causing them great losses each year, and this deficit is increasing rapidly – since most of the residents don't want to pay 'adequate' charges. So how can an RWA function on its own, without incurring losses? “I think it's a myth. Most of the colonies in Gurgaon are paying the same amount (Rs. 2.5/ sq.ft) that people are paying here. Almost all the apartment complexes have less space and more flats than World Spa, so I don't know how they are having losses in maintenance. I would like to give you an example: Belaire has 600 flats in just six acres of land, that also includes open spaces and other common areas. Here at World Spa we have 365 flats in 20 acres of land, which means we have less number of residents and a larger area to maintain – and still we are not incurring a loss. Apart from the Rs. 2.5 per sq.ft, we charge for the electricity for common areas, as per the bill. I don't think running an apartment complex is such a herculean job, provided you have the complete faith and support of your fellow residents,” explained Bahri.u

28 Dec 2012–3 Jan 2013

C ivic/S ocial

{ Shilpy Arora / FG }


iven the widespread corruption, and the apparent lack of governance, people do feel justified in being critical of the system. However, it would be even more helpful if people tried to first understand the system better – including their own rights and responsibilities. “We were shocked when, during one of our campaigns at a college in Delhi, we came to know that most of the students didn’t know how to apply for a voter card. If you don’t vote, by what right do you criticise the government?” asks Vinita, Founder Trustee of an NGO, ‘We, The People’. With an aim to spread awareness on the responsibilities of citizens, ‘We, the People’ conducts events across the country. Recently the NGO launched a ‘Citizen Café’ in the City. Common procedures like the filing of RTIs, and applying for voter cards, are the first steps to an informed citizenship. The initiative invites people to understand, take ownership, and then take actions, as responsible citizens. Started by Vinita in 2010, the initiative now has over 600 members in the country. “We all usually play the role of bystanders in the ‘great opera’ of Indian democracy. We only complain that nothing works. But do we know what we can do as ‘ordinary’ citizens of India?, How can we interact with the government? How can we challenge the law? Through ‘We, The People’, we make people think, put them in touch with other citizens, and move them to action,” informs Vinita.

What is Citizen Café?

Citizen Café is a meeting space for dialogue, reflection, and learning, on the role of a person as a citizen. It brings together citizens from varied backgrounds – businessmen, teachers, students, social activists and bureaucrats – to reflect over the importance and relevance of the Constitution. Over a cup of coffee the participants discuss constitutional rights, duties, and the structure

Be The Change... of the State. After attending the recent Citizen Cafe meet at Galleria market, a 15-year-old student, Aanvi says, “It was an unusual exposure to Indian politics – beyond the classroom. Everybody had their own opinion, and there were differing views on ‘being secular’. All of them were ‘right’ in their own way. I am glad that I took part in the discussion. Now I

feel more encouraged to act my part.” An active participant at Citizen Cafés, Sharma, 69, believes that these days people have a feeling of helplessness. They know something needs to be done, but don’t know what to do. “Citizens Cafés are very useful in spreading awareness. Their motive is not to make another ‘Anna Hazare’ or ‘Arvind Kejriwal’, but to tell people to act on things they generally ignore. It was good to see so many people at the Galleria Citizen Cafe. It shows people are really interested in getting involved,” he says. Sharma is also a social activist, working on governance reforms. Explaining the motivation behind the initiative, a volunteer informs, “Knowing your rights and responsibilities also makes it easier to use various facilities provided by the State. It helps you understand the system better. These Cafés help us understand that we have the ability as an individual to make a differ-

ence.” The Citizen Cafés are part of a pan-India initiative called Constitution Connect; more than 20 of them are taking place across seven cities.

Success stories

The Citizenship Programme, which a free training session to make citizens aware of the use of the RTI Act and filing of complaints, is credited with many success stories. At this Programme in Mariamma Nagar, Mumbai, a group of citizens decided to focus on slum rehabilitation. They learnt about the Slum Rehabilitation Act, and understood the procedures for its implementation. They later used the RTI Act to check the implementation of Slum Rehabilitation Schemes in their area. With the help of complaints and petitions they were able to ensure better implementation. Datta Pedamkar, a participating member of ‘We, The People’, played an active role, and used the RTI Act and complaints to drive action from an ‘unresponsive’ administration. Another example is of a group of young citizens in Hyderabad. They worked on the non-compliance of meter fares by auto rickshaws. Through the Citizenship Programme, the group acquired information on the laws that governed transport and traffic. They later met the concerned officials, filed complaints, and ensured that fare cards were put up in every auto-rickshaw; and checked implementation via a compliance drive. The group also conducted an awareness campaign, asking citizens to act responsibly, and not pay more than the authorised fare. When asked about the success stories in Gurgaon, Vi-

As on December 27, 2012 All Prices in Rs/kg.

Food Take

nita put forth the example of Lata Yadav, who lives in Sheetla Colony. “She was a part of the Citizenship Programme conducted in the colony. Lata then filed complaints about a huge garbage dump in her colony. It was not being cleaned regularly by the concerned department. After several complaints, she led a group of women to the Municipal Commisioner’s office, and refused to leave till the officer accepted her complaint and agreed to take action. Within 15 days a truck was sent to the colony to clean the garbage dump. Today, Lata strongly believes that change is possible only if citizens are willing to raise their voice,” says Vinita. Lata also


showed leadership in getting her ration card made. She understood all the rules, followed them, and filed her application at the Food and Civil Supplies office. She refused to pay any bribe, and asked for the timely delivery of her ration card. Her card was delivered on time. “I have learnt to make the administration work, based on these rules. If we play by the rules— yes, it takes time and courage—we do get results,” says Lata, who has also helped 12 women in getting their ration cards issued. As a result she has been requested to be a part of the ‘Ration Vigilance Commission’ by the Food and Civil Supplies Department. These success stories belie the popular belief that individual action does not bring results. “Through ‘We, The People’, we want to tell the people that individual citizenship is not a myth. A person can bring about any change – even alone. Our aim is to make each citizen understand his/her role, and encourage him/her to bring about positive change – however big or small it may be,” states Vinita.u

Haryanvi Made Easy

Get a taste of the local lingo 1. It is becoming very cold.

Aaj tey ghanaaye jaada ho raa hai. 2. I need to buy woollen clothes now. Manne ibb jaada ke laate kharidne

chaahu su.

3. Which market should I go to? Manne kon se bazar main jana chaiye? 4. You should come with me.

Tu bhi mere galla chal.

5. I don't know the Gurgaon roads. Manne Gurgaon road ka naa pata.

THE WEEK THAT WAS ♦ Residents in colony near IAF Depot turn violent when MCG staff and police come to demolish structures/houses. Policemen are attacked, and vehicles are burnt.

Area/ vegetables

Palam Vihar


Reliance Fresh

Sector 23

DLF City Phase 5

South City 1

Sector 54

♦ People/shops/firms will be ‘challaned’ for use of polythene after January 1.

Potatoes (old/new)








♦ All-women PCR vans are being deployed in Haryana - 5 in the City, with 10 policewomen alongwith each PCR.

































































♦ 7 drunk men are held on MG Road, for creating a ruckus and misbehaving with women. ♦ 2 children are found abandoned near the railway station. ♦ 3 labourers, who were buried for some time beneath a mud pile, are taken to hospital in a serious condition. ♦ An ASI Police is caught taking a bribe of Rs 60,000. ♦ A woman is arrested for using a fake debit card/ATM cards; she claims an NRI as accomplice.

♦ A woman loses Rs 2.5 lakhs in a net banking fraud. ♦ A gold chain is snatched from an elderly man, while he is on a morning walk. ♦ A security staff is booked for stealing Rs 2 lakhs. ♦ Robbers hold up a truck on NH 8 and steal the contents – iron rods. ♦ HUDA is preparing a Parking Plan for the new year, across ‘New’ Gurgaon. Over 30 sites have been identified, including 2 in Sec 29. ♦ MCG pulls down hoardings in ‘Old’ Gurgaon. ♦ Power supply is tripping up, even in winter. ♦ People impacted by the Northern Peripheral Road (NPR) are being offered alternative housing; the residents have said they want only land, in a specific sector near their current residence. ♦ Ahmedabad Rajdhani will now stop at Gurgaon. ♦ It is finally wintertime, woollens time.


28 Dec 2012–3 Jan 2013

K id C orner

X’Mas Eve In Harmony


he Third Observance—an association that works with NGOs to rehabilitate street kids—held a campaign on Christmas Eve, wherein clothes were donated to street children at Harmony House – an NGO that shelters homeless kids. The children danced and sang songs, while some volunteers (Santas) distributed goodies and gifts to the little children.

Blue Bells Helpers


he tiny tots of Blue Bells Preparatory School engaged in a role-playing activity. They had to play the roles of community helpers. The students came dressed as milkmen, postmen, teachers and doctors. They also had to talk briefly (with the help of props) on the roles they were essaying.

Sharing-Caring Medhaamites


CCA Christmas


hristmas Day celebrations were held for the Prep and Primary Wing of CCA School, at the School premises. A Cultural Programme was organised, that included Christmas carols and dance performances by the junior and senior students. The students enjoyed the celebrations and danced to the special songs. The tiny tots were awed by the wonderfully decorated Christmas tree. The Principal, Nirmal Yadav, was present at the Event.

Compiled by Shilpy Arora, email:

he students of Medhaam Pre-school celebrated the true spirit of Christmas—sharing—as they visited a neighbouring Aanganwadi school to celebrate Christmas. The Medhaamites, armed with presents and goodies, spread the Christmas cheer amongst the children at the Aanganwadi. All the kids were delighted when Santa paid them a visit!

28 Dec 2012–3 Jan 2013

Kid Corner


Swiss ‘Sursangam’


wiss Cottage School celebrated its Annual Day with a Programme titled ‘Sursangam’. The Event began with the traditional lighting of the lamp. A presentation on the School’s achievements was also given by the Principal. Students from Class I to XII participated in various performances – like qawwali, Kashmiri dance, dandiya, bhangra, Rabindra Sangeet, Haryanvi and Garhwali dances, and short plays. The Chief Guest—Vijay Singh Lochab, ex MLA, Delhi—distributed prizes to over 200 students, for both scholastic and nonscholastic achievements. The Principal Col. C.R. Jakhar, Chairperson Raj Dagar, and the School Trustee Virender Dagar were also present at the Event. The students as well as the teachers enjoyed the colourful Programme.

Ryan Scholars

Parliamentary Ryan


he Student Council of Ryan International School, Sohna Road, got an opportunity to witness the Parliament Winter Session proceedings. The students were shown various areas of the Parliament. They also interacted with a few politicians – Kirti Azad, Sandeep Dixit and Shahnawaz Hussain. The children returned to School with an enriched learning experience.

Literary Flourish


he Ryan International Group of Institutions hosted the World Scholars Cup-India Round, with the theme “A World in Flux”. 15 students represented Ryan International School, Sec 40. Over 500 students—across 40 schools panIndia—participated in this literary extravaganza, wherein students were provided opportunities to practise team work, connect with diverse disciplines, and discover and display their skills and strengths. They participated in various events – a team debate, persuasive writing, scholar’s challenge and scholar’s bowl. Anju Banerjee, Chairperson and Managing Director, EDCIL (India), and Sara Deverall, Country Exam Director, British Council, India, were present at the Ceremony. Ayushi Rai of Class VI was felicitated with a Gold medal. Snehil Shandilya and Mansi Hande were listed in the ‘Honorable Mention’.

Beauty of India Delhi for Majersty Bangalore for Beauty Bengal for Writing Punjab for fighting Naga for Hills Ahmedabad for Mills Madras for Cooking Kashmir for Looking Gujrat for Wealth Madhya Pradesh for Health Kerala for Education Uttar Pradesh for Population Bihar for Mines Himachal for Wines Maharashtra for Learning Andhra Pradesh for Working.

Niharika Deshwal Grade I-A, Swiss Cottage School

Artistic Strokes

Ojas Jhunthra, Grade II D, The Haritage School

Sapna, Grade VIII A, Swiss Cottage School

Muskan, Grade VI B, Kendriya Vidyalaya


28 Dec 2012–3 Jan 2013

K id Corner

Kids Brainticklers

Ozzimals: Color this picture

Animal Crackers


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?

Two Wise Men

Dogs of C-Kennel


28 Dec 2012–3 Jan 2013

{ Maninder Dabas / FG }


hen I reached the city’s gates, I carefully reconnoitered its towers and walls, and then returned to the side of the Hauz Khas. This is a reservoir, which was constructed by Sultan Feroz Shah, and is faced all round with stone and stucco. Each side of the reservoir is more than a bows–shot long, and there are buildings placed around it. This tank is filled by rains in the rainy season, and it supports the people of the city with water throughout the year. The tomb of Sultan Firoz Shah stands on its bank.” (Timur-i-Lang) (He had earlier drunk the blood of over one lakh innocent people of Delhi). Ruins of the past are indeed the bedrock of its identity, but today Hauz Khas is much more than a village having a pond and a madrassa. Over the last three decades Hauz Khas has seen unprecedented change, and now it’s one of the most sought after residential areas in Delhi, inhabited by the classes. The entrance to the Village is quite chaotic, before one reaches the old compound. This consists of the tomb of Feroz Shah Tuglaq, a madrassa, and a huge pond, followed by large gardens – including the Deer Park. There is a buzz around; Hauz Khas is today a centre for fashion, arts and history. “This is one of those places in Delhi that offers something for both the quiet ones and the Bohemians. Here one can see people from different nationalities ‘brainstorming’, while sitting in terrace cafés facing the old and beautiful Hauz Khas, ‘love birds’ sitting in the ruins, and others exercising their sartorial brilliance at many of the fashions outlets here,” said Latika Sharma, an owner of a cloth shop. The Hauz Khas pond was excavated during  Alauddin Khilji’s reign (1296– 1316), in the second city of Delhi, to meet the water supply needs of the newly built fort at Siri. It was originally known as Hauz-i-Alai, after Khilji. Feroz Shah Tughlaq (1351–88) chose its banks to make some incredible structures, including a tomb for himself. The madrassa, built by Tughlaq Sultan,

‘Khas’ Colony was one of the biggest centres of Islamic teachings in the world. It is said that the first Director of this madrassa, Jalal alDin Rumi, knew fourteen sciences, and could recite the Quran according to the seven known methods of recitation, and had complete mastery over the five standard collections of the Traditions of the Prophet. A very well researched essay titled “A Medieval Center of Learning in India: The Hauz Khas Madrasa in Delhi”, authored by Anthony Welch of the University of Victoria, British Columbia, refers to this site as “far and away the finest spot in Delhi, not only in the ingenuity of its construction and the academic purpose to which it was put, but also in the real magic of the place”. Said Satish Mehta, a small restaurant owner, “Be it the old times or today’s modern world, Hauz Khas bears the same meaning. I haven’t seen any other place in Delhi where people from different faiths and races assemble together in such large numbers. Even the foreigners here feel very comfortable. The cafes, restaurants, book shops and art shops are the main source of attraction, apart from these historical monuments.”

The Global Village

“To me, Hauz Khas is the Paris or Venice of Delhi. This place is full of art and artists, and people love to come here to see the eclectic mix of the old and new, modern and traditional, eastern and western culinary and sartorial traditions. If anyone wants to see the true merger of various cultures of the world, come to the Hauz Khas Village. Tourists and locals mingle comfortably in the cafés. Writers, painters, professionals, students, fashion tycoons, and even celebrities from Bollywood often come. Hauz Khas Village means ‘comfort in chaos’,” stated Vikrant Singh, who owns a garment shop. As Mitushi Khurana, cultural co-ordinator at Alliance Francaise de Delhi, explained, “We have been doing events with a café, Out Of The

Box, for the past three months, as part of the ‘Funkophonie’ series. Now, Fete de la Musique, coming up, will be a big event.” The Café boasts a terrace that overlooks the ‘lake’, and has in the past hosted performances by Kailash Kher, and bands like Soulmate, Them Clones and Half Step Down. Apart from cafés and fashion outlets, the Village has several book-stores-cum-cafés, serving exotic coffees. “This place is peaceful. One can also see artists and writers ‘at work’,” said Ankita, a working professional sitting at Kunzum Cafe, which also functions as a book store.

Where strangers become friends

Shweta, Anurag and Arnav didn’t know each other before they met here in Kunzum Café. “We met here in this Café. Our discussions on various issues, and this coffee, brought us together; and now we three are fairly regular here,” said Shweta, who is a law student. Both Arnav and Anurag too believe that Hauz Khas Village, and this Café in particular, has something special to offer. “The biggest USP of this place is peace. Although the area is densely crowded, one can still have solitude. You can find many stories such as ours. This is a place to interact, as well as to enjoy the solitude while sitting in a crowd,” explained Anurag, who is a Mass Communications student. Arnav, an IIT Hyderabad student, chose solitude – lost in a world inside his ear-phones.

A heaven for food lovers

A Nepali restaurant; exciting panAsian cuisine; an English tearoom sitting cheek-by-jowl with a South Indian eatery; an eat-and-pay-whatyou-like photographer’s café; a string of new, eating-out concepts – all edgy, some rather experimental (and nothing like the fine-dine places of Khan Market and Vasant Vihar) feed into Delhi’s latest fad: eating out. So when 24-year-old Anisha Maker decided to set up her first-ever restaurant, Lah,


she chose the Village. “This is a place where you could do something new and different, and it doesn’t have to be sophisticated or high-priced in the predictable Delhi way. We can be quirky, because the crowd that comes here is different,” she explained. One of the newly launched, interestinglythemed restaurants, Lah offers a diverse pan-Asian menu, at surprisingly affordable rates. Take a walk around the Village and you will stumble upon small, quaint places serving culinary delights. Arnav Banerjee of Kunzum Café, sees a pattern that is absent in other urban villages. “Places like Shahpur Jat and Mehrauli haven’t developed like this because they are too spread out and fragmented. Hauz Khas Village is compact. It lends itself better as a market. “This is the place for the true classes, and not the materialistic ones,” summarised Arnav. 

An example of avant-garde vision

The Hauz Khas pond and monuments, built in the 14th century, have much to teach us even now – and especially in water deficient Delhi. The purpose of Hauz Khas was to provide the City with water in times of distress. The architects designed the pond such that all the water in the rainy season flowed into this pond; and to make this possible, the terrain was dug all over the ridge area. Even now this terrain is functional. 

Apathy and encroachment

India has a rich heritage, since we are one of the oldest civilisations on earth. But we don’t believe in preserving our past, or learning from it. In the last three decades rapid urbanisation has taken place in Hauz Khas, and now there are concrete buildings all around the old village. The old stone walls of the village can barely keep the encroachers out. In some places there is no difference between the contours of the Hauz Khas compound and the newlybuilt houses that have been turned into café-cum-hotels. “I don’t know how the government allowed these houses so near the old compound. Somehow I feel that the government should have preserved the old area,” said a small tea stall owner – an old timer. u


28 Dec 2012–3 Jan 2013

Ageing with Dignity { Dr. Rajesh Bhola }


t takes a full life to finally figure what really does matter – hopefully. When we are children, what matters is growing up. When we are in high school, we want to get into a good college – fast become an adult. Then there is career, family, children – and our aspirations for them. What matters is never static. One of my close friends working in the Air Force shared with me his view on greying. He started getting white hair in his beard long ago – maybe in his late 30s. He tried hair colour for a couple of months, but the process left him impatient. Now he has psychologically adjusted to the thought of supporting glossy grey hair. At an evening party he expressed in a lighter vein, but very meaningfully, that: “I rather like the way it is now. A white beard gives me more ‘authority’, and a lot of people look up at me as a kind of Santa Claus figure. That’s fine with me. Ageing helps us let go of inconsequential stuff, so that we can concentrate on adding depth and value to our character.” Life should be lived like it is. It includes youth and old age, meeting and parting, birth and death. A life that we can be happy to live is not one in which we try to have only one half of each of these pairings. It is a package. You cannot have one without the other. The glow in teen age implies wrinkles in later age. Beautiful men and women also grow infirm and old. The ad and film world tries to make us believe otherwise – tries

to promote a concept of ‘everlasting youth’. It makes us feel ashamed of our ‘infirmities’. We start hiding our grey hair. We start rushing frequently to beauty and well-being salons. In our society we see so much denial of ageing. We also like to be self-sufficient. From early in life we struggle to assert our independence, to “do it ourselves” – and that desire and drive for self-sufficiency never ends. As we age and experience changing physical and mental abilities, changes that require our adaptation and adjustment—and possibly the assistance of others—our innate desire is still for autonomy. Dependence produces feelings of frustration, anger and bitterness. No matter how old we get, no matter what the circumstances of our ageing and dying, I believe that within our relationships with other people, and through our unique experience of being alive, flashes of insight, moments of transformation, glimpses of spiritual enlightenment will come our way. I encourage people to stay open to the fullness of experience, whether sorrowful or joyful, and the wisdom that will yet come to them; for through those deeply-felt experiences, their life will be changed, and made richer. It is noble and sublime to face the inevitable, and accept the reality of ageing – upholding the dignity of self, learning patience, and bestowing love and compassion on others.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.

In Libraries’ Good Books

{ Anita Jaswal }


here is the small book shop today? That fine, restful place, where a book lover can spend his/her time, rummaging and finding treasures. A bookshop is where you can happily spend half a day, unearthing forgotten childhood favourites, reliving your ‘mis-spent’ youth, and browsing the large stock. Fortunately, Amit Sarin has opened KoolSkool at Qutab Plaza. Amit Sarin and Ritu Vaishnav started out as library suppliers – supplying books and audio-visual content to school libraries. “We realised fairly early that there were a lot of good books, great authors, and new publishers in the children’s book market – that the schools weren’t even aware of. We also realised that there were a lot of books out there that were packaged well and marketed aggressively, but were average—or even very poor—in terms of content. We really didn’t want libraries to waste their limited budget on books that were either outdated, boring or uninspiring. We wanted libraries to give their students access to a wide variety of Indian and international publications. We decided to do as much research as possible. In the process we discovered that most inter-

national publishers bring only a limited collection to India. A lot of their brilliant publicaJIT KUMAR tions for children never make it here. So we began importing books that we believed our children should have access to. Much to our delight, schools with a good degree of book awareness loved our collection. We were invited to display our collection for parents as well. Gradually we moved to advising schools on what they should have in their libraries, and how they can build or upgrade their libraries within their budget – to cater to all kinds of readers. Our work has brought us in touch with the best librarians and teachers from nearly all reputed schools in the NCR. We are also dealing with nearly every reputed children’s publisher in India, sifting through their collection, and picking the books we feel kids will love. KoolSkool came up because we wanted not just school libraries, but even parents, to have access to the best in children’s books – all under one roof. Our philosophy is simple – we want to give children access to the widest possible collection of great books, from across India and around the world. The idea is to turn reading from something that children have to do, into something that they would love to do. And it’s easy to do that, provided you can match them with the right book. “In just a few months the response has been very encouraging. We make an effort to read as many books as possible. It helps that we both have very different tastes. There are a lot of other interesting plans for the future as well,” says Amit. In a sea of identikit commercial multiples, it is difficult to come across independent bookshops; and to find one with such a distinct sense of purpose is good news. KoolSkool is definitely a bibliophile’s mecca – the stock is intelligently presented, service is prompt and courteous, and the staff erudite. The shop is an invaluable resource for the professional writer, a treasure trove for the present-seeker, and a paradise for the browser. This is the Wonderland that Alice was looking for! u

Bon Vivant Children’s World I stuffed my bag with crisp notes And went to a leading store. To buy me lots of happiness – By dozens or by scores. The shopkeeper was very sorry For he supplied no such ware. But he sent me to a wise man, And told me, don’t despair Said the wise sage softly What you seek is very dear, For neither joy nor happiness Is for sale any where. But you can surely earn it With service to mankind. And if you share the children’s world Much happiness you will find. For joy is gurgling laughter, Mirth a pair of sparkling eyes, Sheer-bliss is school girls giggling Unvanquished are growing boys. I sank upon my bended knees, And reached out for a child And bartered all my knowledge To win from him a smile! Shobha Lidder Writer Journalist, Teacher Trainer, Social Activist, Reiki Master, Pranic Healer

Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow... Now that your are leaving Now that we part  Let’s again remember  Everything from the start  Another Friday today  So was it then  The day we shared, the day we found  Love together, we were crowned  By and by, through the days  Our feelings raced independent  Showing love, care, affection  Both of us became dependent  Days to weeks and weeks to months  Love grew deep with each passing day  Little gifts, that key ring, that pen every month  Sweetest words everyday  That was, until today  Parting for the time being  Parting for a few days  Parting with pain in heart  Dear, lets part with grace  These few days I am sure to miss you  These few days I’ll wish for your soon return  Right here, just the way I am  With an aching heart  A hope to meet again Aakanksha Sharma  XI - E, Blue Bells Model School 

28 Dec 2012–3 Jan 2013

Health & Vitality... Naturally!

A Trace Of Zinc { Jaspal Bajwa }


s winter takes hold, virus attacks—ranging from the common cold to the more sinister flu—batter incessantly at the walls of our immunity. Once the ‘weak-link’ is located, it does not take long for the vicious cycle to start. A mere sniffle very soon blossoms into a raging cold or a flu; pill-popping is resorted to, without a second thought. Why do we wait for things to reach such a compromised state in the first place - can the problem not be fixed at the root? It is in this context that the role played by zinc needs to be examined. It was only in the 1960s that we understood how critical a role this trace mineral plays. It is now recognised that zinc is necessary for the body’s immune system, cell division and growth, sense of smell, wound healing and carbohydrate breakdown. Yet this trace mineral is proving to be increasingly elusive. We are faced with depleting supplies in the soil, and hence in our foods. And to make matters worse, it is easily leached out during the cooking process. Studies show that even a mild zinc deficiency can increase the risk of infection – as it is crucial for the development of white blood cells, which seek and destroy bacteria and viruses. Zinc is essential not just for keeping our immune system strong, but also for building proteins, triggering over 100 enzymes, carbohydrate breakdown, cell division and growth, and creating DNA. A deficiency in zinc can lead to stunted growth, diarrhoea, sexual debility, appetite loss, hair loss, vision loss, skin problems and depressed immunity. Zinc even plays a vital role as a neurotransmitter, helping the cells in our body

{ Alka Gurha }


hy do health experts prefer brown rice over the traditional white rice? More importantly, how is brown rice different from white rice? Brown rice is the whole rice grain, with just the first outer layer (husk or hull) removed through milling. As a result, rice retains its fibre and germ content – which contain healthy nutrients. Brown rice is also called ‘unpolished rice’; this is how rice looks before it goes through the process of polishing. White rice is actually brown rice that has been milled, to remove the bran.


A half cup serving of brown rice has roughly 100 calories. One cup of brown rice has 2 grams of fat – including omegas-3 and fatty acids. Brown rice also has negligible cholesterol, and just 10mg of sodium – so you can be sure you’re getting just nutrients. Just one cup of brown rice will provide you with 88 per cent of the daily value for manganese. It also contains Vitamins K and B6, thiamin, niacin, and pantothenic acids, and essential minerals.

W ellness 15

absorption. Oysters contain more zinc per serving than any other food (76.7 mg per serving). Other good sources of dietary zinc include beef (8.9 mg), crab (6.5 mg) or pork shoulder (4.2 mg). Yoghurt (1.7 gm), eggs and milk are good sources too. Most cheeses contain 1 to 2 mg of zinc per serving. The best vegetarian sources are various nuts (almonds, cashew), seeds (pumpkin,sesame), toasted wheat germ, bran products, lentils, blackeyed peas, tofu, wheat germ, whole grains, leafy green vegetables (spinach, chard), mushrooms (crimini, shiitake), asparagus and breakfast cereals.

Tip of the week

In some foods, where contact with water is high, losses of zinc can be as high as 50 (navy beans) to 75 per cent (wheat flour used for baking). Certain techniques can be used to increase bioavailability. For example, soaking beans, seeds and grains before cooking, then allowing them to sprout, breaks down the phytates that can inhibit absorption.

to communicate. It is probably involved in more body functions and enzyme reactions than any other mineral. Although we only need a tiny amount of zinc (about 15-20 mg a day), getting enough can prove to be a challenge, especially compounded by low bio-availability. Only about 12 to 59 per cent of the zinc we consume is absorbed, depending on stomach acid concentration and other problems in the digestive tract (irritable and inflammatory bowel disorders, or decreased pancreatic output). Loss of zinc through chronic diarrhea or profuse sweating can also contribute to deficiency. In general, animal foods are high in zinc, and also offer higher

Supplements can actively be considered as an option for ‘at-risk’ populations – like the very young or the very old or people suffering from gastrointestinal diseases (such as Crohn’s disease), liver or renal disease, diabetes and other diseases. Upto 30 – 50 per cent of alcoholics can have low zinc status, because ethanol consumption decreases absorption and increases urinary zinc excretion.

Nature’s Wonder Food of the week : Black Eyed Peas, Cow Peas, Lobia or Vigna unguiculata Black-eyed peas can be cooked as a ‘dal’ (lentil), or can be consumed from a can. An excellent source of calcium, Vitamin A and folate, black eyed peas are also high in potassium, iron, zinc and fibre. Although called a pea, it is actually a white legume with a small black dot – resembling an eye. Black-eyed peas are low in fat and sodium, and contain no cholesterol. One serving of black-eyed peas contains only

Brownie Points Health Benefits of Brown Rice

Brown rice is rich in fibre, present in the brown bran layer of the grains. Eating a serving of whole grains, such as brown rice, at least 6 times a week, is an especially good idea for post-menopausal women with high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or other signs of Cardio Vascular Disease (CVD). High fibre content foods have numerous health benefits – they reduce the possibility of heart disease, help avoid abrupt spikes in sugar level, aid in digestion and reduce constipation. Brown rice also contains other nutrients like B Vitamins, manganese, selenium and iron. The fibre in brown rice helps satisfy your appetite, and therefore decreases your chances of overeating.


When you make brown rice, ensure that you allow the rice to soak in the water for around 25 to 30

Take equal quantities of bitter gourd juice with coconut milk, and drink this mixture for a few days. This is very helpful to treat worms in the stomach.

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7838003874 9999444818 7827233023 70 calories. Black-eyed peas are a good alternative source of protein, providing about 6-7 gm per half cup. One of the main health benefits of black-eyed peas is their high fibre content (4-6 gm per cup). Black-eyed peas are especially rich sources of potassium - important for the proper function of all cells, tissues and organs in the body. Black-eyed peas provide over half the daily requirement in one serving (1148 milligrams). Black-eyed peas also provide 5 of the 15 milligrams of zinc that is recommended each day. u Registered Holistic Nutritionist (Canadian School of Natural Nutrition) For education purposes only; always consult a healthcare practitioner for medical conditions

minutes – before turning on the heat. This helps to soften the grains. Cooking the brown rice with too much of water makes the grains stick together and feel like a paste. On the other hand, using too little water to cook brown rice will make the grains too stiff, and will also not bring out the full flavour of brown rice. If you have never eaten brown rice before, and wish to make a start, a good option would be to mix one portion of white rice and one portion of brown rice when cooking.


White rice has a longer shelf life. Brown rice develops a rancid flavour if stored unrefrigerated for more than 5 to 6 months. This is due to the natural oils in the bran layer becoming stale with time. You should ideally consume the brown rice within 3 to 4 months from the packing date. Refrigerating it in a tightly sealed plastic bag can increase the shelf life to around 5 to 6 months. Remember that brown rice is more expensive. For those who are convalescing or have weak digestion, please stick to white rice, as it is easier to digest – because of its lack of fibre. u


28 Dec 2012–3 Jan 2013


Do Solemnly Swear...To Protect And Preserve...


he youth, despite being frustrated and angry, chose to just march to Rajpath. They are waiting to hear some answers – and to see action. They believe that it is time that the daily mistreatment of women – from the womb to old age – comes to a halt. Alongside, the angst, hurt, frustration and anger, pent up for decades, has spilled out. Women have found their voice. Brothers and fathers and friends have marched alongside. They did not flinch from the police excesses. They have not gone away.




our grandstanding on despair of residents against the burgeoning system of Integrated Townships, euphemism for neo-feudal system or revival of jagirdari /fiefdom in Haryana is indeed a breeze of fresh air. Going through The 3 G Projects, you seem to come yet closer to the travails of aam admi at large and a commuter in particular. Dr (Col) SC Talwar


riday Gurgaon has been a good reading experience and an informative newspaper. As an interested party may I request you to escalate through the paper about some of the trains starting from Delhi towards Rajasthan does not stop at Gurgaon being a very important station which causes problems to lot of people at Gurgaon. Example of such train is Saria Rohilla – Bikaner Express starting around 7.30 am in the morning Sarai Rohilla does not stop on the way to Bikaner at Gurgaon. Kamal Sharma

forces get a feel of this new Force. The team should ask for a concrete action plan – who will do what, by when – on women’s safety. The Women’s Protection Bill should then be tabled, and passed by March 8th. (Women’s Day). Justice Verma has asked for the opinions of the public, on how to strengthen the law, to help minimize the issues of sexual assault (mail to justice.verma@, by January 5th.)

It may be worthwhile to compare the crusade FG’s current recommended list is : against corruption with this march against rape (and for women’s security). Corruption it is mainly a 1) Members of society have to get involved, matter of money; the attacks on women can literally have to become part of the solution. We should set be a matter of life and death. up Citizen Security Forces (CSF) that would have a We have tolerated each for more than decades. Risclear mandate to protect women. To start with, their ing prosperity made us a little immune to corrupnumbers should be half the strength of the current tion. That it didn’t happen nearby/near police force on the road. This Force would enough, made us insensitive to rape. While have the powers to warn, and recommend Women’s Protection, we may need a white paper to know the ex- though almost an end in arrest, of any man found misbehaving in tent of corruption, the answer to the extent any way with a woman. itself, should lead to a of insecurity in women is known to every more meaningful Womhousehold – definitely between the moth- en’s Liberation – maybe 2) Cases of eve-teasing, molestation ers and daughters. It happens every day, via some Reservations. or any misbehaviour towards women and impacts every family. For the men, igshould be able to be registered on-line It is surely written that norance (deliberate or otherwise) seems to the soft-power of wom- – mentioning who did what, when be bliss – till it hits home. And even then en - like software- shall and where. The guilty should be tracked prevail. the first reaction is to sweep the matter undown by the CSF, their names entered in der the carpet. Much like the corrupt cash. a database, and then taken to the police station for an official warning/booking. A Bill on Women’s Protection is urgently called We need to start naming and shaming those involved. for. Women’s safety is too dear and personal a matter. Any hostility shown towards the accuser should It directly impacts half of India. With growing mean police custody/jail. urbanization, and with more women having started to work, and move out of the homes, the incidents 3) The number of eve-teasing, molestation or would only increase. misbehaviour cases reported/lodged should not be The Women’s Protection Bill should not end up like taken as a negative, while assessing any p o l i c e the Lokpal Bill – stymied by vested interests. Income, station/officer. Let every case be lodged freely. The caste, religion or location (urban/rural) should not time to compare and assess will be maybe 2 years become a hold-up point. It would be a thick-headed down the line. suicidal party or leader that would stick his/her neck out against the Women’s Protection Bill. The 4) Special courts for crimes against women, and standard setting up of committees, like for the the fast-tracking of such cases, are of course a must. Lokpal, will not cut ice. Even the judiciary is positively inclined to this. However, in the current system the girl/woman goes Anna has decided to focus on corruption and through hell in trying to even prove that something Lokpal. Kejriwal has entered the political world. We horrible happened with her – forget proving that a wish both the very best. particular person is guilty. Reliving the nightmare This movement, for women, needs a person(s) ad nauseam, as part of the FIR/investigation, is whom the youth can rally around. The integrity bad enough; then follows the frustration from the and credibility of the person would be paramount. legal system – the ‘tareek pe tareek’. It is time for a Knowledge of the police and the legal systems would fundamental change. For any case filed for rape, the be a good advantage. Being a woman should be a bonus; identified man should be held guilty till he can prove it is difficult for a man to truly understand some very himself innocent. Yes, some rare flimsy, and even unique women experiences – childbirth, eve-teasing, false, accusations may take place. That would need molestation, rape… to be managed; and men should feel this heat a little Kiran Bedi comes to mind. at least – for once. But the benefit— physically and She needs to step up to the plate – but, step away psychologically—to millions of women, would be from any politics. life-changing. It would restore a peace of mind that Her credibility cannot be compromised in any has gone missing for a while now. way; the stakes are too high. She seems to have the experience, the resoluteness, 5) There is a strong case for prostitution to be the daring and the passion to take this on, alongwith legalised across cities, and channelled better. the youth - and succeed. ps - Of course we also need to see the police Let Kiran Bedi and her team give a call to the youth everywhere, recognize the brave citizens who even all across India, to come on Sunday January 20th to today protect women against the odds, light up all our a large ground at their respective State’s capital city. streets, and use technology (eg. CCTV) – see FG Vol 2, NCR people should come to Delhi. Let all political No 18 (Dec 21-27). u

28 Dec 2012–3 Jan 2013

B on V ivant

Declutter Your Space

17 Jit Kumar

{ Bhavana Sharma }


ometimes you may get a feeling of restlessness in a particular room in your home, or feel that a certain spot is giving out “bad” or “cold” vibes. This happens because of clutter in our homes, and diseased energies – which we are perhaps totally unaware of. Often, we lose track of the unnecessary things that we need to dispose. Negative energies can ruin even the most meticulously designed houses. Removing clutter can spread positive energy around, and even enhance the look. Spruce up your New Year with interiors that suit your mood and personality. Here are some tips: Kitchen: The kitchen, by nature, is associated with the element of fire, and thus symbolically passes through the centre of the apartment. Hence it is imperative that it be free of clutter.

Cupboards: Whether it is clothes or products, we can surely arrange our stuff better; it is essential to keep the room tidy – and clever storage is the way to go. Get the Look: Give your wardrobe a lick of paint, and add stone crystal door handles (these can be easily sourced from local markets). Choose a creamy shade, and use it for the walls, furniture, accessories and flowers. This will make your home look more open, and give it a breezy feel. Storage: Do you have tangled wires, piled up paper, and a lonely desk as the only piece of furniture in your store room? This could be uninviting, and you need to organise this mess.

Get the Look: Clean your kitchen interiors to maintain positive chi. This is applicable to both visible areas (eg. countertops), as well as areas that are usually hidden. Mix salt and water while mopping the floor. Store colourful dishes on open shelves, and display a book on the coffee table, if you have one. The best colours for the kitchen are yellow and white – this combination is excellent for digestion and well-being. Bright orange cabinets will add to the element of warmth and happiness. Dining Area: A lot of us neglect this space, by having huge cupboards that could be storing unwanted crockery. These could be broken vases, glasses, mirrors or other appliances. They take up space, and add to the clutter.

Get the Look: Get cupboards with proper storage and readymade modular desk units, that can demarcate the stationary in place. Labelled storage is the key to keeping things tidy and organised. Walls: Is the flow of chi in the foyer of your home becoming stale, with too much of clutter kept alongside the walls? This space needs to be reorganised, so it can bring happiness to the occupants of the home. Get the Look: Put up a picture of a palm tree (preferably framed in bamboo) on the wall, and place diffuser sticks of lavender or orange on the side. When lit, the aroma will inspire and lift the chi of all the other rooms as well. Laundry: We often have all our laundry stuff thrown all over. We need to keep our laundry organised – out of sight, but within reach.

Get The Look: As you clean out the storage areas of your dining room, leave in place only those items that you use every day, or those which are family keepsakes. You can also revamp the look of your dining space, by placing large framed square or rectangular mirrors side by side on a wall near, or opposite, a door or window. Sofas: Are your sofa covers retaining the worn out, negative unwanted energies? Get the Look: You can opt for removable washable covers for your sofas and chairs, to keep them sparkling clean Get the Look: Equip a small cupboard to hold all your laundry supplies. Divide the space in the cupboard into sections, so that it is easier to manage. If we want to take pride in our home, we need to develop the positive habit of removing clutter. u Author, Tarot Reader

Take Time To Smell The Flowers... { Anita Jaswal } Take up the spade with song. Nurture early on. Be fervent while you plot. Chart the spot. Prune with certainty and care. Growth stops there. Patience, patience, time to grow. Reap what you sow. We all love gardens – be they big, sprawling gardens, intimate roof terraces, courtyard gardens, or cosy balcony spaces. Gardens and gardening can also contribute to the well-being of us all. Sarita Chadha, a resident of Beverly Park 1, a Reiki Master, and trained ‘Space Clearing’ practitioner, has always been serious about creating and maintaining green and healthy landscapes. She is passionate about promoting naturalistic and sustainable planting designs, based on science and evidence. She has visited many countries to study and understand the styles of gardening – the Zen influence in Korea and Japan; form and figure in China; exotic and lush greenery in Singapore, Bali and Thailand; the formal layouts of the French; the romance of the English; and the well laidout blooms in Dutch gardens. Her family-run enterprise offers a range of services – selecting appropriate plants, installing wooden pergolas, sourcing metal, stone, ceramic or wooden garden features and artefacts, designing small water bodies, mood lighting, and supervising the actual plantation. Sarita, along with her husband Ravi Chadha, a Feng Shui practitioner, specialises in designing and installing up-market residential gardens, and creating customised landscapes for the urban environment. With very little space left in the City for home gardens, she has taken gardens up the elevator, into balconies and terraces. “We do concept gardens, designer balconies and terrific terraces. A little herb or veggie patch will look as fabulous as it tastes, at a sunny spot, with flowers bursting from every corner. We assess the space, and get to know the customer’s prefer-

ences and lifestyle, before conceptualising the entire project. A true test of a garden is that it should be aesthetically pleasing, and should be able to uplift one’s body, mind and soul.” Sarita shares an interesting aspect of gardening: “Gardening gives me an opportunity to connect and communicate with nature, and express my gratitude and respect to Mother Earth, the sun, soil, plants, flowers and insects. Many times I have been asked by people to tend to their plants, which have withered for no apparent reason; or asked for help in relocating a 20 year old plant. That is when I use Reiki, at every stage of gardening. While tending to the plants lovingly, working in harmony with nature, having my hands down in the soil, I let Reiki flow freely into the garden. Reiki is a great way to enhance your garden, because it helps plants to flourish. By having my hands in the Reiki filled soil I find myself grounded. With the intention of releasing unwanted thoughts, my mood improves with the pull of each weed. As I am in the Reiki-filled garden, the Reiki works on me as well. I leave the garden feeling good, and back in alignment!” Sarita also stresses the need for flowers and greenery around us. Chemicals from building materials, furniture, and even air fresheners, can make the indoor air toxic. Houseplants emit oxygen, and help remove chemicals— like formaldehyde, a common indoor vapour—helping you breathe easier. Sarita has inherited her green fingers from her mother and grandfather, and combined that with an innate talent for creating lovely lush colourful spaces. She says, “I have always felt these lines were written for me... “...In the middle, Of this garden of gold, Stood this one, Single red stem rose, The rose means so many things, From the ones you receive on your wedding day, To the one you get on Valentine’s Day, But this single rose standing here today, Represents the love my grandpa gave.” u


28 Dec 2012–3 Jan 2013

{ Srimati Lal }


igh-pitched, kaleidoscopic, and of a vividlyOperatic tenor, the fine art of the Indian Film Poster comprises a unique painterly genre, which is a remarkable amalgam of the Classical with quintessentially-Desi  Kitsch. Having been recognised as an intrinsically-Indian Popular-Art form with vast mass appeal, over the past decade, this painterly idiom has been extensively chronicled by India’s leading academic institutions, art-auctioneers and museums. The subject is taught at Jawaharlal Nehru University, and at the Sarai

Institute. Aesthetic as well as sociological interest in this eye-catching art-oeuvre  is fast developing as a credible embodiment of the Indian ethos. Two recent Gurgaon-based cultural events drew one’s attention to the original art form of the Desi Poster. An exhibition of Indian Film Poster-Art is currently on display at the Galaxy Hotel --- and a fascinating play entitled ‘Ten Years With Guru Dutt: Abrar Alvi’s Journey’  was presented on 22 Dec. at the Epicentre. It is directed by Saatvik,  with the collaboration of noted film journalist Sathya Saran, who recently released her book by the same name. The art-direction of this interesting 90-minute bilingual Hindi-English play incorporated the

use of actual classic film posters --- from Pyaasa and Sahib Bibi aur Ghulam --- as the backdrop to a gripping human drama of warring actors, actresses, script-writers and musicians. The Film Poster Exhibition offers some timeless posters, designed and calligraphed by Satyajit Ray – including his early 1950s Masterpieces Apur Sansar, Debi, and Teen Kanya. Due to the film hoardings’ direct connection with commercial and publicity-oriented networks, the laborious handpainted art involved in its design and creation was overlooked for several decades. In the words of Prof. Shashikant Pandey, Film Studies Professor of the Asian Academy of Film and TV, “The prolific, humble and hardworking painters of Indian film posters have, sadly, remained faceless.” However, with the advent of digital printing, that has fast rendered such film-paintings extinct, the hand-painted film poster has gained credibility and respectability as an art form. It is now viewed as a serious cultural imprint --- an art form worthy of heightened international gallery-display, art-collection, and academic study. In the words of Prof. Ranjani Mazumdar of JNU, “Collectors of artefacts and art-objects, posters and photographs, paintings and old books, recognise the power of nostalgia within modernity. The artcollector engages in the process of diversion precisely to enhance the aesthetic power of a Collection. The hand painted film poster today is a collector’s art-item

A rt

28 Dec 2012–3 Jan 2013

--- a commodity enclosed and rarified, a product of nostalgia, ‘entrepreneurial genius’, popular memory and modernity.” From the art-critical standpoint, I have observed three distinct genres of the Indian Film Poster. The first is the hand-designed art-posters created by our aesthetic thespian Satyajit Ray, who was also a prolific literary illustrator, with an advertising and design background. His extremely elegant cinematic poster-designs stand at the highest rung of this oeuvre. Ray usually employed a Minimalist Bengali ink-palette of stark kaajal-black, milkywhite and sindoor-red in his posterdesigns, with the occasional sepia tone. The maverick director-artist carefully drew graphic linear recreations of his film’s protagonists, and juxtaposed these portraits with his own amazingly-stylised calligraphy. This art is best exemplified in Ray’s exquisite poster for Debi --- here, the Durga-like face of a young Sharmila Tagore looms hauntingly over Ray’s Bengali calligraphy in red, where the word ‘Debi’ is written to evoke an actual Bengali Puja-mandap. Similar portrait-

and calligraphy-oriented stylistics may be observed in Ray’s posters for Teen Kanya and Apur Sansar. The second aesthetic rung of the Indian Film Poster is exemplified by the subdued, relatively-subtle artworks for Alternative Indian Cinema --- which encompasses a fairly wide social gamut, from films such as Guru Dutt’s Kaagaz Ke Phool,   Pyaasa, and Sahib Bibi aur Ghulam, to pathbreaking artistic films by Shyam Benegal, Saeed Mirza, Govind Nihalani and Gautam Ghosh – such as Ankur, Albert Pinto ka Gussa Kyun Aata Hai, Ardh Satya and  Paar. These radical directors employed more sophisticated urban designers, to create elegant and muted poetic prototypes for their hoardings, usually applying a manner of ArtPhotography --- as opposed to the highkeyed multicolour palettes employed in mainstream ‘blockbuster’   Indian film posters. This latter comprises the third rung of this art form. It is a well-known fact of Indian urban legend that the late modern artist M.F Husain began his painterly career

creating handpainted hoardings for Bollywood’s brash Bombay blockbusters. Husain painted India’s screen-gods and goddesses, painstakingly perched for hours upon bamboo poles on the dusty sidewalks of Bombay’s streets. Some prolific film-poster artists include: D.Bhosle, Diwakar Karkare, Tilak Raj, Ram Kumar, C. Mohan, J.P Singhal, Bhede ji, Prithvi Soni, and Param Art Studio. Tilak painted such classics as Aankhen and Junoon. Karkare painted the posters for Sholay, Deewar, Naseeb and Dus Numbri. Bhonsle painted the Guide  poster. Most of these artists, from humble backgrounds, had some basic Art-College training in classical Figurative Art and Oil Painting, which stood them in good stead while bringing to life all the melodramatic, saccharine, romantic, tragic and comic nuances of the Indian khichdi blockbuster. India’s original film posters were all meticulously hand-painted and printed as Lithographs --- a beautiful process that is very rare today. Aside from auction-houses such as Ossian’s, other art-portals such as the Delhi-based Cafe Dreams have, for-


tunately, preserved huge collections of such original posters. Of special interest for the aesthete are early Mythological film-posters, such as Sri Krishna Vivaha, Maya Bazar and Nav-Durga, and also quaint classics such as Nadia’s Hunterwali Ki Beti, Sher-E-Baghdad, and the inimitable showstopper melodrama Sholay.  The style of the quintessential mainstream Indian film-poster combines bold strokes, depicting the human figure in its most heightened emotional moments, painted with a shocking masala-palette involving every possible hue. Such artworks inevitably attract viewers due to their sheer chutzpah, human drama, and uninhibited emotional content. This is an art form that boldly documents unique details of popular culture. With the increased credibility of the ‘Urbankitsch mode’ in all manners of creative expression, the Indian Film Poster has, at last, found its rightful spot. It is appropriate for such Art to be carefully preserved under gallery arc-lights. u Artist, Writer, & Curator


28 Dec 2012–3 Jan 2013


In A Galaxy Of Its Own { Abhishek Behl / FG }

shopping experience, says Biswas, as it has a mall selling traditional handicrafts from ith several new five across the country, designer star and middle level outlets selling great clothes, hotels coming up in and other shops catering to the last couple of years, the the hoi polloi of the City, and hotel industry is witnessing guests from across India as well a transformation – with rates as abroad. With the economy becoming more competitive, going into a slowdown, Biswas and quality of service and food admits that there may be a price becoming the differentiating war as Indians in particular factor. Pradipta Biswas, are very price sensitive. It is General Manager, Galaxy to safeguard the leadership Hotel, believes that the position that Biswas is betting hoteliering industry in big on food and beverage, as he Gurgaon has matured, believes that this, coupled and reached a point of with banquet service, will saturation. As a result, ensure that revenue streams Biswas predicts a do not remain dependent correction of almost 25 on accommodation. “We to 30 per cent in the room have one of the best rates, especially among banquet halls in the City, the five star hotels, in the that can accommodate a next one year. He also feels 1,000 guests, and this is that the major challenge also a USP of our Hotel. for this industry will be the Galaxy offers great food, retention of manpower, and good rooms, and quality the harnessing of talent, to restaurants. There is ensure world class service something for everyone, and to customers. “I believe that we are creating more spaces hotels in Gurgaon will have to for the benefit of our guests,” concentrate on bringing out he adds. the best in their staff. Galaxy When asked why the Hotel believes in investing hotel industry has reached in manpower, training it and a saturation point in the empowering it. This is the City, Biswas says that the reason the staff has stayed growth of both IT and loyal,” he asserts. He feels manufacturing has almost that the hotel industry is come to a standstill. “Not primarily about people— PRAKHAR PANDEY many new factories are whether it is customers or employees—and it is important the first micro-brewery in coming up, new IT companies that both are kept satisfied. Gurgaon, serving freshly have not opened, while hotels in large numbers have come A hotel, feels Biswas, is about brewed beer. comfort, and this has been his The existing restaurants up,” he says. The major challenge for unending quest at Galaxy, as are: The Monk, Axis, Terroir, well as hotels he has served Howzatt, Beanstalk and Ultra the hotel industry here is the previously. “We were the first Premium, that represent the poor supply of power, which boutique hotel in India to offer best in Gurgaon’s contemporary affects the bottom line of every customised service to the guests. dining. “We are planning to hotel very badly – even during The quality of food and beverage add a Lebanese restaurant, the winters. “We have to run service in Galaxy is world class, a Japanese outlet, and one a generator even during the and so is the accommodation in called Godfather – dishing winters, and this is a major the rooms. We do not compromise out cigars, dimsums and expenditure for any hotel in The government on quality, and this helps us get related stuff. The objective is Gurgaon. repeat customers,” says Biswas. to give an international food will have to improve the power Galaxy has almost 80 per cent experience to the family, with supply if it wants the growth to continue,” he says. He further repeat customers, and guests multiple options,” he adds. at some of the leading five Galaxy also offers a great says that during his long career in the industry he has found that the majority of the guests have the same expectations, irrespective of the geography or culture. His quest has always been to give his best to the customers. “I Friday Gurgaon has completed a year. want the employees to give their hundred per cent while serving Time to Renew your Friday Gurgaon Subscription. guests; the rest is in the hand of destiny,” he says. At Galaxy  the 52 issues (1 Year), for ` 200 (Two Hundred) Only – goal would be to create a system a Saving of ` 164 on cover price. that delivers the best quality to customers, while adding to the hotel’s bottom line, and creating more lifestyle options that are in tune with the image of the Hotel. Personally, he says, the summers are very harsh in Gurgaon, while the winter season has given him some respite. He sees every new job as a new experience, where things can be learnt and unlearnt, and one evolves into a complete professional. To welcome the New Year, he says, Galaxy has launched an unlimited beer package at Rs. Special offer for rest of NCR: 899 plus taxes, and an unlimited ` 300 for 6 months (delivery through courier) dimsum package. Come and enjoy with us, and see the difference, he asserts. u star hotels in Gurgaon visit the Hotel spa, because of its top quality service. Owing to its popularity, the hotel is expanding its operations, and will add another 220 rooms. The central location of the Hotel, its proximity to ‘New’ Gurgaon, as well as the National Highway 8, makes it ideal for the business traveller, as well as for those looking for good food and fun. Galaxy has multiple restaurants, and more will be launched soon.   The Hotel pioneered



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28 Dec 2012–3 Jan 2013

{ Imke Hendrich / Berlin / DPA }


Germany’s Only Wine Bank like, using a chip card. When the door opens, the lights come on automatically, and electronic lounge music begins to play. The vault, which dates to the 16th century, is a few steps down. After visitors pass two walk-in cellar niches and countless bottles of wine, the heart of the wine bank—where the tasting takes place—beckons. A bar several metres long, made of grey slate, sets the scene.

Expensive wine shelved in the Wine Bank.

Glass-door cabinets hold fresh wine glasses and corkscrews, and a wine refrigerator keeps the white wine at optimal drinking temperature. Every evening, about 20 people come here to spend a few lovely hours together. The wine bank is nearly booked out. There are only about five compartments free, and the wait list for other spaces is long. The clientele ranges from students (from a nearby college), to cooks, and sommeliers from the region. Businessmen from numerous companies in the area also like to do business in the wine bank, said Ress. A small black sign, hanging on one of the walk-in cellars, has the words ‘Berg Rottland’ written on it. This is the highest part of the Ress vineyard – which was founded in 1870. “This belongs to an American IT manager, who is a fan of Rheingauer Riesling wine,” said Ress. This particular customer comes to Eltville only five or six times a year. Ress can’t say what the IT manager pays to store up to 3,000 bottles of wine, because

Felix Frieler

ermany’s only wine bank—in Eltville, outside Wiesbaden, on the Rhine River – is a repository for wines, and a second wine cellar for most. Inside the vault, with its arched ceiling, there’s a mouldy smell, and a dim, red light that creates a feeling of warmth and well-being. It is the perfect ambience for the treasure stored there. Everyone who has rented one of the 223 wine compartments, or one of the three walk-in cellars, can enter the vault any time they

G lobal 21

This strong metal grating keeps thieves out of a private vault.

the contract is confidential. But he does explain that small compartments are available for 49 euros (64 euro) per month, while larger ones cost 199 euros per month. The concept of the wine bank—which opened about three years ago—appears to have gained acceptance. “The wine bank is a mix of the traditional and modern – a cellar vault that is made hip through music and lighting,” said Ernst Buescher, of the German wine

institute in Mainz. The wine bank lies in close proximity to the financial city of Frankfurt. The storage conditions in the wine bank are indeed ideal: 16 degrees Celsius, with a maximum humidity of 70 per cent. Moth traps are set to catch insects. They are unwelcome because their larvae can eat through the corks. “But above all else, it is about demonstrating that you have the style and wealth to use it,” admits Buescher. u

Celebrity Names For New Species { Sandra Trauner / Frankfurt / DPA }


jellyfish named after musician Frank Zappa, and an ape named after comedian John Cleese: whenever a new species is found, it needs a name. In recent years the scientists, who do the naming, have increasingly been using celebrity names, in taxonomy. There is a type of horsefly named after singer Beyonce, (apparently because of a likeness to her backside). A blood-sucking parasite is named after reggae musician Bob Marley, and a spider is named after actor Harrison Ford. The prominent namesakes don’t have to be asked for permission, said spider researcher Peter Jaeger, of Frankfurt. He has personally named spiders after David Bowie, and other prominent people. All have reacted positively so far, to having their names used in binomial nomenclature – which is the

formal system of naming species of organisms, by giving each a two-part Latin-inflected name. Jaeger said one German entertainer wanted to accompany him to Laos, to see the spider named after him. He said that using prominent people’s names serves a higher purp ose. “It’s about sending a message that the species is endangered,” said Jaeger. “I find it good when science comes down from its ivory tower.” Normally, only a handful of fellow scientists read the list of newly discovered species of spiders. Hundreds are discovered per year, and they must be described and named. When a spider receives the name of a prominent person, it’s more likely to get publicity. Ever since the Swede, Carl Linnaeus, first published his rules of taxonomy in 1735, the person who discovers a new species gets to name it. The full name must follow a particular scheme: genus first, followed by species. Thus a Bolivian orchid, named after Mikhail Gorbachev, former leader of the Soviet Union, is the Maxillaria gorbatschowii. New types of plants also need names, and roses are a classic example. There’s hardly a known name that hasn’t been immortalized as a rose. However, these usually are hybrids. Someone who wants

the ultimate accolade must lend their name to a genus, which often comes up for naming much less. This was an honour bestowed on Lady Gaga in October, when US scientists named a genus of fern with 19 different species, after her. The scientists at Duke University in North Carolina discovered amazingly similar characteristics between the singer and the fern.

For example, in a particular phase of life, the genus has an undefined gender, and it resembled Gaga’s famous costumes. Beyond that, Gaga— the letters GAGA—is spelled out in its DNA sequence. Private people can also be immortalized, but there’s a price. In exchange for about 2,600 euros (3,400 dollars), the association Biopat offers the right to name an organism. Orchids are the most popular, along with butterflies, frogs and bugs. The money is used for environmental projects in the organism’s land of origin, or for the good of science. u

A Russian’s Expensive Chocolate { Paul Winterer / Berlin / DPA }


t is probably the most expensive filled chocolate in the world –with a dark chocolate coating made from the most exclusive cocoa beans, and a cream filling with exotic ingredients from three different countries. Pack the delight in 18-carat gold, and seal it with a 7-carat diamond— worth an estimated 300,000 euros (385,000 dollars)— and the result is an unparalleled Christmas gift. A jeweller in Holzkirchen, south of Munich, has been commissioned to prepare the gift for the girlfriend of a rich Russian man.

“This request surprised me,” said Andreas Eybel, referring to the order he received from the Russian. “Something like this doesn’t happen to us every day.” The candy-maker declined to say any more about his customer. Eybel tinkered for days with the recipe for the “praline”, as he calls the items. The customer had only one condition: the chocolate had to be grand cru, 65-per-cent cocoa made exclusively from beans grown in the island state of Vanuatu in the Pacific, said Eybel. The recipient of the special gift loves that kind of chocolate most of all. The cream filling is 33.5 percent fat, with pureed pineapple from Costa Rica, saffron from Spain and white chocolate coat-

ing made with cocoa from the Dominican Republic. Champagne—Dom Perignon, vintage 1986—tops it off. “We produced a total of five pralines of this series, to warrant the transport,” said Eybel. He can rest assured at least one will arrive in perfect condition – and it is well-insured. The chocolate will sit on a creation made of 18-carat gold, said jeweller Egmont Ernst, who was responsible for packaging the treat. The foot of the jewellery can be screwed off, and used to store the edible part. The diamond, set in gold, is suspended over the sweet. “It can be worn as a ring after the praline is consumed,” said Ernst. u


28 Dec 2012–3 Jan 2013

A Cardboard Bicycle A

t first glance the bicycle looks like it was transferred from a crude computer graphics programme into real life. Its frame, spokes and pedals are a stark white colour, and don’t look particularly elegant. Only the wheels’ black rubber tyres and the brown saddle contrast with the rest of the bike. Sitting on the bicycle is 50-year-old product designer and cycling enthusiast, Ishar Gafni. He is pedalling leisurely through the streets of his home city Hadera, in central Israel. After years of research, Gafni’s product—a bicycle made from cardboard— is now ready for mass production. Gafni, a production engineering developer by profession, has tinkered for years to develop this bicycle. He is a huge bicycle fan, and owns several expensive models made from carbon fibre. One day, when

he was shopping for spare parts, the idea came to him to design a bicycle from cardboard. “I met someone who knew someone who had made a canoe from cardboard,” he recalls. Gafni was spellbound by the idea. He lay awake at night, and stopped talking with his family during meals. It went so far that his wife thought

A special varnish ensures that this cardboard bicycle does not turn to pulp when ridden in the rain or through puddles.

Nimrod Elmish

{ Ulrike Schleicher / Hadera, Israel / DPA }

their marriage was in danger. “She ordered me to finally construct the bicycle. Otherwise, she said she would go crazy, says Gafni.” It was the Japanese art of folding paper that inspired Gafni. Origami uses square pieces of paper to form three-dimensional objects – without the aid of glue or scissors. But the 50-year-old still needs

Next Computer Wave To Smell And Taste { Andy Goldberg / San Francisco / DPA }


he smartphones we now hold are far more powerful than many of the personal computers we relied on just a few years ago. But in just a few years, today’s cutting edge technology could appear as outdated as a typewriter, if some of the annual predictions made by a team of IBM scientists come to pass. Each year, the researchers of the technology giant share some of their predictions, based on research conducted in the Company’s labs. The predictions are contained in a report called 5 in 5, which focuses on five major advances that are likely to become commonplace within five years. Bernard Meyerson, IBM’s Chief Innovation Officer, said this new era of computing will “produce machines that mimic and augment the senses” – ushering in what he calls the “era of cognitive systems.” This will entail computers mimicking the five classic human senses, and using vast computational ability to create valuable experiences and services. Computers will be able to understand the 500 billion photos that are taken every year, according to IBM’s

John Smith. Computers could be taught to recognize signs of disease and illness in MRIs, X-Rays and other medical images. They could analyze pictures on social networks to predict people’s interests, or help emergency responders analyze the impact of storms – and other natural phenomena. “In five years, computers will be able to sense, understand, and act upon these large volumes of visual information, to help us make better decisions and gain insights into a world they couldn’t previously decipher,” Smith said. By then, phones will also be augmented with haptic—or tactile feedback— technologies, that will communicate physical sensations and textures, according to IBM. This could revolutionize how people shop, how farmers manage their crops, and how doctors treat remote patients. Computers will mimic human hearing, by analyzing sound and frequency patterns to, for instance, predict weakness in a bridge before it buckles – not to mention improving the still fairly basic translation services, that are now found online. Dimitri Kanevsky, an IBM “master inventor,” believes that computers will, within

five years, be capable of analyzing different baby sounds, to interpret how babies feel. Phones could automatically cut out background noises, and could translate speech into ultrasonic waves, that would allow a voice to carry far beyond its normal distance. Computers will also be able to “taste” – analyzing individual preferences, and using information about chemical compounds, bonding structures and other data to create new recipes that are healthy and tasty. “If you can optimize flavour while meeting nutritional constraints, you can mitigate health issues,” said research scientist Dr. Lav Varshney. Phones that could smell may provide even more important functions. “Soon, sensors will detect and distinguish odours: a chemical, a biomarker, even molecules in the breath that affect personal health,” says Hendrik Hamann, a Research Manager at the company. “The same smell technology, combined with deep learning systems, could troubleshoot operating-room hygiene, crops’ soil conditions, or a city’s sanitation system – well before the human nose knows there’s a problem.” u

machines and tools, during his production process. He saws, pierces, presses, and moulds the material into the right shape. It took many attempts to create the current model. “It’s strong, has a long lifespan and is cheap,” Gafni says with pride. Production cost is nine dollars, while customers are not supposed to pay more than 19 dollars. The bicycle, which weighs only 9 kilograms, is intended to go into mass production,

G lobal and provide mobility mainly to poor people. “For example in Africa,” says Gafni, “there is an element of social responsibility in the invention and Gafni and his partner, Nimrod Elmisch, say the bike could be made in a workshop for the disabled. They are looking for partners in Europe, the United States and South America to help make that a reality. “We estimate that it will be manufactured within the next year,” says Elmisch. The cardboard bicycle has been attracting global attention via the Internet. The enthusiasm, especially on websites with close ties to environmentalism, is huge. The idea is simple and brilliant, but there are two burning questions. What happens with the cardboard when it rains? And what if it catches fire? These issues were the two biggest challenges Gafni had to face. But thanks to the topsecret bio-organic mixture of his varnish, the bicycle can withstand a shower. The research phase took almost seven months – while experimenting with parts bathed in hydrochloric acid. The unexpected side effect of the varnish: “It’s also fireproof.” u

Be ‘Clean’ Before You Enter

{ Alvise Armellini / Rome / DPA }


isitors will be “dusted off, cleaned and cooled off”, before entering the Chapel hosting the world-famous Sistine Chapel frescoes, the Director of the Vatican Museums announced. Antonio Paolucci has for years warned that smog, dust particles and rising temperature levels—brought in by swelling numbers of tourists—represent a grave threat to the Chapel, which currently receives around 20,000 daily visitors. “We will cover the 100 metres before the entrance with a carpet to clean shoes, we will install suction vents on the sides to suck dust from clothes, and we will lower temperatures to reduce body heat and dampness,” Paolucci told an Italian daily, Corriere della Sera. Dust, heat, dampness and carbon dioxide are great enemies of paintings,” he said. Changes will be introduced in 2013, Paolucci indicated. A new image gallery, and a pavilion housing a “virtual tour” of the Sistine Chapel, are also in the works, he added. “We have the money, we are making headway with the works.” The Vatican celebrated the Chapel’s 500th birthday this year. Michelangelo laboured for four years—mostly lying on his back—on the Genesis frescoes decorating its ceilings. During 1536-1541 he also painted the Last Judgement on the altar wall. The Chapel, where Popes are selected, is also home to 12 Renaissance frescoes – by Sandro Botticelli, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Cosimo Rosselli and Pietro Perugino. The last major renovation lasted 20 years, and was completed in 1999. u


28 Dec 2012–3 Jan 2013

See Cover Story Prakhar Pandey

G -scape

Friday Gurgaon 28 Dec, 2012-03 Jan, 2013  

Friday Gurgaon 28 Dec, 2012-03 Jan, 2013

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