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8-14 November 2013

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

Vol. 3 No. 12  Pages 24  ` 7

Plastic & Cosmetic { Shilpy Arora/ FG }

write to us at


63-year-old woman walks into a posh skin clinic for lip augmentation. She would like to have ‘pounded’ lips, just in time for the wedding of her daughter in the US. Another middle-aged woman, mother of two, wants to ‘get a life’ again, for which she wants to undergo Abdominoplasty – a surgery that gives shape and youthfulness to sagging abdomen. Not just adults, several teens are also knocking on the doors of the Clinic - for Liposuction, Nosecorrection and Smile-lift surgeries, to name a few. It seems that many now want to look good – or better; money is not a hinderance. Due to the increased awareness and acceptability of Cosmetic Surgery, people of all age groups are now ready for it. High disposable incomes and greater (global) cross-cultural awareness has added to its popularity. The demand for such surgeries is so high in the City that most of the big hospitals are thriving on them. Hospitals such as Medanta, Artemis and Max together perform over 8,000 cosmetic surgeries in a year – of which more than 50 per cent are performed on Gurgaonites. “We are getting enquiries even from small towns. Middle-class families

yet cuts real

from small towns are going for procedures like Breast-reduction, Abdominoplasty and Liposuction,” says Dr. Ravi Kashyap, a specialist in Aesthetic procedures at Paras Hospital. He puts forth an example of 17-year-old Suhani, from Zirakpur, who wanted to get Gynaecomastia (Breastreduction) surgery done. “She wanted

Contd on p 6 

The Right Bill

News Alert The Bandhwari Waste treatment Plant has now been non-operational, following a fire, for almost a week. The company running this plant was to double the capacity by December, as only half the waste of Gurgaon and Faridabad is possible to be treated daily. Instead, now almost 4,000 tons has accumulated, untreated. Hundreds of tons of waste is lying in the open, and is now seeping into the ground every day! This is our Millennium Planning....

to get rid of her heavy breasts, that had started to grow when she was just 10. She was often teased by her peers. Despite coming from a conservative family, her parents allowed her to go through with the surgery. Suhani and her family were so depressed that for them cosmetic surgery was a necessity, rather than a luxury,” recounts Dr. Kashyap.

Cosmetic Surgery evolved from a plastic or reconstruction procedure. Some 5,000 years ago, Sushruta, a famous physician from India, was credited with conducting the first plastic surgery in the world. Sushruta performed Rhinoplasties – reconstruction of the nose – on people whose noses had been cut off, as it was a common punishment for criminals at that time. When Sushruta once performed a surgery on a British soldier, the West came to know about this practice. Plastic surgery has long been used to correct birth defects or to repair skin and tissue damage, caused by a disease, illness or injury. Plastic surgeries, today termed ‘Cosmetic Surgeries’, can be performed on anyone who wishes to look different (that is, to change certain aspects of his/her body). Now, even for a job interview, let alone a wedding, everybody wants to look good. A pleasant face seems to be the perfect way to impress the world. Farida (name changed), a resident of Sector 45, believes that she owes her job at an ad agency to the eyelid surgery she performed two years ago. "The surgery not only made my sleepy eyes look bigger, but also made me look

{ Shilpy Arora/ FG }

write to us at


ith an aim to provide a dignified life and integrity for women in the country, the National Commission for Women (NCW) has recently proposed the ‘Bill of Rights’ for women. The Bill prohibits all forms of violence, exploitation and cruelty, as also any inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, against women. It also provides a woman the right to express and experience complete sexual autonomy, with respect to all relationships. Charu Walikhanna, a member of NCW, who is the force behind the initiative, says, “The Bill is an attempt to take

forward the Justice Verma Committee’s work to address not only violence against women, but also issues of discrimination. Women are important, powerful and yes, even beautiful, members of the human race.” Every developed country has a Bill of Rights for women. While the US implemented the Bill in 1968, the Women’s Rights’ Bill was introduced in the UK some 150 years ago. Some of the main recommendations of the Bill are: Funding for contesting elections: The Bill says that the State should provide financial support to all women candidates contesting elections at the regional, state

or national level. It is believed that such funding will help female contestants, particularly those from Dalit, Adivasi and other socially backward sections of society. The Right to refuse forced marriage: Forced marriage is viewed as a Human Rights’ abuse by the United Nations. However, in India, there is no law to protect women from forced marriages. The Bill provides a distinction between a forced marriage and an arranged marriage. As per the Bill’s recommendation, a marriage should only take place if both the bride and groom agree to tie the knot and only seek assistance of their parents - or a third party such as a matchmaker - to make arrangements for marriage, or to be a Contd on p 7 

02 RNI No. HARENG/2011/39319 Postal Regn. No. GRG/35/2012-2014, VOL.–3 No.–12  8-14 Novermber 2013


Sr. Correspondents: Abhishek Behl Shilpy Arora

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Run Couch to 5K @ Leisure Valley, Sector 29 Date: November 9


trial run for the evening batch of the 'Couch to 5K in 10 weeks' programme, by Coach Ravinder Singh. The Programme is designed to get just about anyone off the couch and running 5km in ten weeks. An initiative of GurgaonMoms and Run Divas, anyone who doesn't find time to exercise is free to join. SMS: 9311017010, Whats app: 9873047122. Email:

nother installment of the Open Mic Series, moderated by Nicky Chandam. Perform your own work, in any of the languages of the National Capital Region. Poetry, fiction, diatribes, songs – all are good. You get two minutes, and the microphone.


Dr Ceasar Photography Workshop
on Wildlife Photography. The Workshop is open to all photography enthusiasts and amateurs, at an affordable cost. 

Session 1: 9 am – 12 noon Photography Basics;

Session 2: 1 pm – 4 pm – Post processing basics.

This will be followed by an one hour interactive Session (Q & A).



ind out how you can turn your idea into a successful online business and discover the secrets to eCommerce success from the people behind Shopify, the leading eCommerce solutions provider in the world.

Art The Japanese Wife and Other tales @ Art Alive Gallery, 120, Industrial Area, Sector 44 Date: Up to November 25 Time: 11:00 am to 7:00 pm


Open Mic Series Open Mic 22.0 @ Epicentre, Apparel House, Sector 44 Date: November 9 Time: 6:30 pm

Workshop Wildlife Photography Workshop @ Panasonic Experience Center, IFFCO Chowk Date: November 10 Time: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm

Workshop eCommerce Workshop @ Crowne Plaza Hotel Date: November 8 Time: 2:00 pm to 4:30 pm

rtworks of the renowned painter and printmaker, Rini Dhumal.


C oming U p

8-14 November 2013

Dance Salsa Dancing @ Bahi, South Point Mall, Golf Course Road Date: Sundays Time: 8:00 pm onwards

t's time for all the beauties to come out of their shells and party like never before. Capturing the heart of all the ladies will be DJs KD and RMG. The DJs will be treating all the ladies to a peppy mash of tunes that will get them on the dance floor. Sway to the mix of soft rock, pop rock, glam rock and rock 'n' roll tracks.

Music A Musical Evening @ Epicentre, Apparel House, Sector 44 Date: November 15 Time: 7:30 pm onwards


musical evening of ghazals, geet and bhajans by Savita Devi and her disciples.


articipate in this meet-up for Salsa Lovers, for a night of dancing and fun! It's a Social Dancing night and those who love to do the salsa are welcome. Also on offer are salsa lesson for beginners.

Nightlife High Heels Night @ Vapour, MGF Mega City Mall, MG Road Date: Tuesdays

Theatre Big B @ Epicentre, Apparel House, Sector 44 Date: November 10 Time: 7:30 onwards


ritten and directed by M. Sayeed Alam and Niti Sayeed, ‘Big B’ is a comedy that is based on Munshi Premchand’s celebrated short story, ‘Bade Bhai Saheb’. The play is about two 'Inglish' speaking students and revolves around history and hockey, geography and 'gilli danda'. Suitable for 15 years and above.

Music Jus`Jazz @ Mapple Emerald, NH 8 Date: November 8 Time: 6:30 pm Concert The Toilet Concerts – I @ Zorba, 166, MG Road Date: November 15 Time: 6:00 pm


ASH For India presents the 'Toilet Concerts', a series of concerts across Indian cities to promote sanitation & hygiene. The first Concert features over 3 hours of music by Susmit Sen Chronicles, Shubha Mudgal and Harpreet.


azz Addicts presents its annual Jazz Festival, Jus` Jazz 2013.
Saxophonists Houston Person from the USA and Igor Butman from Russia will lead their groups. Butman's band also features vocalist Fantine Primoula. IF YOU ARE NOT GETTING FG COPIES REGULARLY


NR to 08447355801

C oming U p

8-14 November 2013


Delhi's Artscape

WORKSHOP  THEATRE  NIGHTLIFE  MUSIC  ART Story Telling An Evening Of Stories @ Epicentre, Apparel House, Sector 44 Date: November 14 Time: 7:00 pm


xperience storyteller Jaishree Sethi performing her funny, touching and odd stories. The objective is to showcase the power of this traditional Art form. The Event will include an interactive story presentation through drama, role play, riddles and songs.

Music Classical Recital @ Epicentre, Apparel House, Sector 44 Date: November 13 Time: 7:30 pm onwards


light classical recital by Madhumita Acharyya Biswas, disciple of Sabita Acharyya.

Art & Crafts New Acquisitions & Select Objects from the Reserve Collection of Sanskriti Museums @ Sanskriti Kendra, Anandagra, MG Road Date: November 10 to December 8 Time: 11:00 am to 6:00 pm (Mondays closed)


beautiful display of shadow puppets, Jaina temple hangings and Indian terra-cotta. There will also be periodic performances of shadow puppetry and craft demonstrations.

Discussions Short Stories by Edgar A. Poe and O. Henry @ Costa Coffee, Cross Point Mall Date: November 10 Time: 11:30 am


ead, indulge and be there to talk about two noted writers – the inventor of detective fiction, Edgar Allan Poe and the short story specialist, O. Henry.

TO SUBSCRIBE You would have sampled Friday Gurgaon during the year. Here is your chance to get FG at your doorstep every Friday, at a very attractive rate. 52 issues (1 Year), for Rs 200 (Two Hundred) Only – a Saving of Rs 164 on cover price. To Subscribe SMS FGYES to 08447355801 Send an email to Pay Online at Delivery will be through your newspaper vendor. Circulated only in Gurgaon.

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Reinventing Classical Tones @ Pearl Art Gallery, Buliding No - 185/k/3, Basement Karan Palace, New Friends Colony Date: Up to November 16 Time: 11:00 am to 7:00 pm


heck out the eye-catching Exhibition, Reinventing Classical Tones by Kerala mural artist Sadaanandan. A worshipper of art and the organic world around him, the artist is obsessed with tradition, heritage and modernity.

The Eye Of The Father And The Son @ Instituto Cervantes, Building No. 48, Hanuman Road, Connaught Place Date: Up to November 24 Time: 11:00 am to 7:00 pm


he Exhibition showcases the artwork of Hugo Cifuentes, who is considered the ‘Father of Ecuadorian contemporary photography’, although he dedicated most of his life to drawing and painting. He is also considered to be one of the most important Ecuadorian plastic artists of the 60s and 70s. Diego Cifuentes, his father, was a complex and complete artist, working in different artistic genres.

Postmortem (after Gagawaka) By Vivan Sundaram @ Vadhera Art Gallery, D-40, Defence Colony Date: Up to December 4 Time: 11:00 am to 6:00 pm


agawaka: Making Strange, (2011) was Vivan Sundaram’s venture into fashion, where sculptural garments were made from found objects and trash. In Postmortem (after Gagawaka), mannequins and garments are stripped bare. Vivan Sundaram splices open inanimate figures; the operation table is a basic ply-board bench converted into coffin, closet, frame and support. A series of Postmortem procedures leads him to post-surrealist propositions.

Retrospective @ Kiran Nadar Museum Of Art, DLF South Court Mall, 145, Saket Date: Up to November 30 Time: 11:00 am to 7:00 pm


rtworks of line-based artist, Nasreen Mohamedi.


8-14 November 2013

THE WEEK THAT WAS  Ch. Devi Lal’s 100th Birth Anniversary is celebrated at Kurukshetra. Gurgaon MP Rao Inderjeet Singh attends the rally.  A car avoids hitting a scooterist but ends up running over some people; one woman dies.  The man who was injured in the Sector 29 shootout, dies.  A guard is killed in a hit-and-run case.  A 19-year-old taxi driver commits suicide; the manager of an 'ahata' commits suicide.  An 18-year-old girl is kidnapped from Rajendra Park, but is thrown out of the car when she starts shouting; a 16-year-old girl is kidnapped from Badshahpur.  A team leader and 3 others of an MNC consultancy firm are booked for molesting an office colleague.  Badshahpur Toll Plaza staff is beaten up by INLD workers, when they refuse to allow the workers free passage to a rally.  A retired IAF officer and his wife are beaten up and robbed at home, by 6 armed miscreants.






 Over 20 workers, including children, are hurt as a truck overturns in DLF 1.  There are 2 cases reported of speeding cars overturning and falling into a ditch, at a U turn on the Faridabad highway.  A Tata 407 and cash are stolen by the driver of the car; a taxi driver runs away with an Innova of the owner.  An allegedly mentally challenged person enters the NSG compound, and is caught.  Rs60 lakhs worth of foreign illicit liquor is seized in Sector 4.  A Civil Hospital doctor asks for Rs 10,000 as bribe for treating a patient.  Volvo Bus service is to start from T3 Airport to Gurgaon (and return), with a Haryana Roadways counter opening at the Airport.  The Ajmer Jan Shatabdi train will now stop at Gurgaon station: at 10.47 am, on the way to Nizamuddin, and 4.37pm on the way to Ajmer.  Almost Rs 20 crores worth of crackers are burst this Diwali, in Gurgaon Dist.

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Haryanvi Made Easy Get a taste of the local lingo There is a bus strike today. Aaj busso ki hartal hai

SMS NR to 08447355801

T PIC be the change you wish to see


How will I reach office? Main office kyukar jaaunga There are very few autos on the road. Road pe ghanna kam tempu se They will charge a lot of money to go anywhere. Tempuwala ghanna peesa maange hai kitte bhi jaan tey Maybe I will try walking to office. Main payen jaane ki koshish karun I just hope it doesn't rain now. Bhagwan kare me na hove bas Maybe I will just take a holiday from work. Yun karun aaj kaam tey chhutti le lun

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

What is your view on the Aam Aadmi Party? Write in to us at

8-14 November 2013



Giraffe Heroes India Program

Giraffe Hero is a person who sticks his or her neck out on a sustained basis, for the public good, at huge personal risk. The Giraffe Heroes India Program is an offshoot of the non-profit Giraffe Heroes Project that was started in USA in 1984, by Ann Medlock. The aim of starting this Project was to discover unknown heroes of the society, commend them as Giraffes for sticking their necks out & get their stories told on radio, television & in print. Giraffe stories would tell the people that there was headway being made on the problems of the world, that there were individuals who had solutions & the courage to act. The stories would move people`s souls & get them involved in the resolution of public problems that mattered to them. The idea of telling heroes’ stories, to inspire others to action, has deep roots. People have been telling the stories of heroes for thousands of years, as a way to communicate their culture's values. Ann Medlock started the Giraffe Heroes Project to do the same thing for our times. She knew that stories go straight to the heart and stay there, bypassing the objections that the mind can sometimes throw up. Ann also knew that the giraffe metaphor and imagery was a great way to get people’s attention and engage their interest. The Project began publishing Giraffe News, and Giraffes were being featured in major media such as Time, Parade, USA Weekend, Readers’ Digest, People, The New York Times, Glamour, CBS, PBS, CNN, ABC and the Voice of America. The exposure attracted resources of many kinds, and the Giraffes’ stories inspired others to action - from setting up a soup kitchen in Tucson to saving a wetland on Long Island. Giraffe speeches were inspiring and coached audiences all over the world on how to stick their necks out for the causes they believed in. The Giraffe Heroes Project has now honoured over a thousand Giraffes and reached over a quarter of a million kids in schools all over America, and inspired even more people through Giraffe speeches, books and the Website. In 2009 the Project launched Giraffe heroes International (GHI), a subsidiary designed to manage all of the Project's burgeoning international work. By 2011, GHI was operating in the UK, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Egypt and Nepal. Now Giraffe Heroes India (GH/India) aims to bring the Giraffe vision, strategies and tools for

change to the 1.3 billion people on the Indian subcontinent – making it potentially the largest Giraffe global affiliate launched to date. Like all Giraffe operations, GH/ India will tell the inspiring stories of the country’s heroes, motivating others to become heroic too. GH/India will also offer practical tools that the citizen activists need to succeed, as well as Giraffe civic engagement programs in schools - helping young people build lives as courageous and compassionate citizens, serving a vibrant India. Vijay Saluja, GH/India’s new Director, hosted Giraffe Heroes International Director John Graham for twelve days in May 2012, and the two worked together on setting up the new venture. Saluja, like the Directors of Giraffe Heroes Sierra Leone and Giraffe Heroes Nepal, is a Giraffe Hero himself. Saluja was honoured in 2004 for his courageous 20-year stand against the mismanagement and unfair and unethical practices in the New Delhi City Government, where he worked in a senior position. That experience makes him perfect to direct an operation whose purpose is to move more citizens to stick their own necks out, working to help solve important public problems - ranging from poverty, corruption and discrimination against women to injustices still remaining from India’s traditional caste system.

Call for Nominations

Do you know of a hero in India – someone who is sticking his or her neck out for the common good, helping solve a significant public problem? Giraffe Heroes India wants to hear about such heroes. In telling their stories all over India, Giraffe Heroes India will inspire many more Indians to get active too, helping create change where it is needed most. There are three main criteria for this honour – the action must be for the common good, it must involve significant risk and it must be sustained (over time). To send a nomination, you can use the instructions and form on the website It may be sent at the following address or email-id: Vijay K. Saluja, 823, Nav Sansad Vihar, Plot 4, Sector 22. Dwarka, New Delhi-110077, India or

India’s strength is the upcoming power of youth because youth are not useless – rather, they are usedless. Nischai Vats , 12th E , Blue Bells Model School.

India’s Strength is we children.

We will walk on the path of Truth and Non-violence, explore the new horizon with the wings of confidence. And we will adopt the rich heritage of India. Taksheel Buddhadeo, Class 2, Amity International School, Sec-46

India’s strength is Unity in diversity. Peace and hard work by all, love and respect towards all, knowledge and power, natural resources, rich cultural heritage, largest democracy, traditional rituals and religious people. We children are full of hope and confidence. Jaysheel Buddhadeo, Nursery, Amiown, Sec -27

Congrats Kids! Last week we had asked you to complete a slogan, 'India's Strength is'..... We feature the Best 3 slogans.

06  Contd from p 1 beautiful. It surely landed me this job," she smiles. She obviously believes less in her competence – or maybe the recruitment criteria have changed. The age profile of patients coming for various cosmetic surgeries shows many youth now coming to this party. Dr. Kashyap informs, “Some 10 years ago we used to get only middle-aged people, for Wrinkletreatment or Liposuction. Now children as young as 15 want the frown lines on their forehead to be corrected!”

Revolutionary Surgeries

Broadly, there are two types of Cosmetic Surgeries: non-surgical (?!) procedures such as Skin Care, Laser Treatment, Fillers and Botox; and surgical procedures such as Liposuction, Breasta u g m e n t at i o n / r e d u c t i o n , Hair-transplant and Rhinoplasty. While Botox is a nonsurgical procedure to reduce wrinkles and age lines, Liposuction is a surgery to remove fat from the body. Apart from these common cosmetic procedures, people also go for the latest surgeries such as Palm-line(s) correction, Foot-(face)lift, Dimple-creation and Limb- lengthening. From Wrinkle-removal to the smoothening of rough toes, Cosmetic Surgery offers a promising change in almost every aspect of a human body. Here are some of the special ones: Palm-line(s) alteration: As Palm-reading is still a popular means of fortune-telling, doctors have figured out a way to change fate! “Change your palm, change the reading and change your future,” smiles Dr. Khanchi, Head, Department of Asthetics and Reconstruction Surgery, Casa Skin Clinic. He informs that it takes just 15 minutes to alter five to ten lines on the palm. Interestingly, people prefer to get Palm-line(s) alteration done from a doctor who has a basic knowledge of palmistry! Permanent Face-mask: It is a revolutionary procedure, which promises to develop a special mask for you - with big eyes, long eyelashes, a highnose bridge, and a narrow chin and cheeks – all coveted facial features. It is a product of Bionic-skin technology, which can produce a humanskin-like mask. This Mask is extremely thin and breathable through its pores, and thus can be put up on anybody’s face to change his/her features forever. Surgeons use Cell-blending glue,

C over S tory

8-14 November 2013

Plastic & Cosmetic yet cuts real

can turn out to be a boon for such people,” says Dr. Rajbeer from Medanta. Although it is a rare procedure performed by only a few doctors in India and costs more than Five lakh rupees, it is a revolutionary surgery that can help increase height up to 10 inches.

which seamlessly binds the mask to the human skin. “Once we cover the face with the Mask, the person doesn’t feel that he/she is wearing anything. It is made with materials that provide the highest level of comfort, allowing the person to talk, easily make facial expressions and even sleep with it,” informs Dr. Khanchi.

Is it as simple as it appears?

Iris Colour-correction: A common way to correct eye defects, the artificial Iris implant procedure is now also used to change the colour of your eyes permanently. The artificial Iris is so thin, non-toxic and flexible that it can easily be folded and inserted into the eye with the help of a surgery. “It is a short, safe and painless procedure, to change the colour of eyes permanently. The surgery takes about 15 minutes for each eye. In case of any complications, such as Glucoma, the iris implant can easily be removed,” says Dr. Jaya Bahadur from Eye Care. Foot-(Face)lift: The Surgery is performed mainly to reduce fat on the toes. It promises to shape and narrow the toes and enhance the appearance of the feet. It is popular among women, who want to fit into high heels and wear tight-fitting shoes. Moustacheimplant: Just like Hair-transplant, Moustache-implant is also getting popular. The procedure uses a technique called Folliclehair extraction, in which doctors remove clusters of hair from an appropriate area of the body and implant them along the lips and cheeks, to magnify a moustache and/or a beard. The process takes around five hours and can cost over Rs. 50,000. Dimple-creation: It is very common in India. Doctors inform that it is one of the most simple and painless cosmetic surgeries. “An absorbable suture is passed through the inside of the cheek and catches the under surface of the skin. When this suture

is tied to the cheek, it causes a dimple in the cheek,” informs Dr. Khanchi. People can go for any type of dimple – a dimple present even without smiling, a dimple that appears only while smiling or a dimple that appears only while moving the face! Limb-lengthening: A patient at Medanta had grown over five inches with the help of Limb-lengthening surgery, which is said to increase the height of a person artificially. “There are many patients suffering from dwarfism in our country. Limb-lengthening surgery, though new in India,

Before one decides to go under the knife, it is important to realise that Cosmetic Surgery should be performed only for the right reason. Dr. Khanchi says, “People think that Cosmetic Surgery is like going out for a vacation. Like any surgery, it needs to be taken seriously. In fact a person should be given at least two counselling sessions before he/she undergoes such a surgery. It is important to tell him/her about physical, emotional and cultural side-effects that may take place later.” Not every person seeking cosmetic surgery is well suited for it. People, especially teenagers, should attain emotional maturity and an understanding about the limitations of Cosmetic Surgery. For example, a recent study found out that Liposuction may slim one body part but it could lead to deposition of excess fat in another body part. Talking about the side-effects, Dr. Kashyap says, “In Liposuction, fat cells are destroyed to remove fats from one body part. But, if a person has tendency to put on weight, fat cells sometimes start depositing in other areas, such as the upper abdomen, back and arms – which makes them look abnormal.” Similarly, changing one feature with surgeries like Botox sometimes impacts the appearance of other features. Pounded lips may make a normal-sized nose suddenly appear obtrusive. Moreover, overuse of Botox injections can sometimes paralyze some facial muscles. Furthermore, a person should be well-aware about the post-surgical procedures.

Putting forth an example of a patient who had undergone a simple procedure for his eyes, a doctor (who doesn’t wish to be named) says, “More than 30 surgeries were performed after the simple non-surgical procedure went wrong, as he was unable to blink.” It is important to realise that a person who is already insecure about an aspect of his/her appearance, will suffer terribly if the surgery goes wrong. Many people also get addicted to cosmetic surgeries. For instance, after Botox surgery to erase small lines, generally people want Collagen to fill out the deep lines between the nose and mouth, and then go for a complete face-lift. Then, after the face-lift, they want to address sun damage, Smilelift, Eye-lift and much more! It seems that people are just not happy with the way they look – or maybe they are asking, or being told by, too many other people. Doctors inform that people who are always pre-occupied with their appearances and dislike their bodies, may be suffering from Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD). “When patients come to us with weird demands, we take up counselling sessions with them to evaluate if they are undergoing stress or any mental illness. If they constantly find fault with their body, it might be a case of BDS, and so we refer these cases to psychiatrists,” says Dr. Kashyap. When children look into the mirror, they find their faces cute and lovely. But when they grow up, they are exposed to ‘conventional’ notions of beauty and find their body to be too bulky or curvy, lips too thin, breasts too heavy, nose quite flat and chin too wide. It all comes from the ‘society’, which still upholds the need for all to be beautiful. It is the responsibility of parents and teachers to tell youngsters about the seriousness and often harmful effects of Cosmetic Surgery and motivate them to cultivate and prize inner beauty instead. There is a need to realise that ‘natural’ features are what give a person an identity. Remember, no Cosmetic Surgery can make a person perfect, even if it results in a prettier face. Everybody will grow old one day, no matter how beautiful they are today. Only self-belief can assure a better life. Those who ask for Cosmetic Surgery could end up constantly comparing themselves with others. Will they ever be satisfied? The side effects may also come at an inopportune time. u

8-14 November 2013

The Right Bill  Contd from p 1 part of the marriage ceremony. Compensation for any injury or loss through criminal offence: According to the Bill, every woman has the Right to reparation and rehabilitation, as compensation, for any criminal injury to her person or loss incurred by her. An amendment to the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) has already proposed this recommendation, but it is still pending in the courts. Right to have private defence, to the point of killing a man: The Bill provides the Right to women to use a weapon, and even the Right to kill a man, if they have reasonable apprehension of being grievously hurt - for example, in an acid attack or a gang rape situation. This is in addition to the existing Right to kill a person involved in an assault on women with the intention of committing rape or gratifying unnatural lust. Right to refuse nonconsensual sex even after marriage: Though marital rape is the most common crime in the country, the accused

{ Abhishek Behl / FG }

write to us at


hile almost all RWAs are criticizing the new Societies Registration Act for making things more complicated for residents, and in a way helping the builder community in the City, the newly-elected President of Sushant Lok Phase 1 RWA, A.K Nagpal, supports the Act for bringing in more transparency and accountability in RWA elections. The Sushant Lok RWA elections were conducted as per the requirements of the new Societies Registration Act 2012. Nagpal says that 30 Collegiums were constituted in the Colony, as per the new rules, and each of these has a representative. The President, General Secretary and other members of the Executive were elected indirectly by this Collegium, which has ensured that no block or pocket in Phase 1 dominates the RWA. “Earlier the RWA President was accountable to the general public at large but in reality answerable to no one. Under this new system every block has a representative and residents can now approach them for their local problems,” says Nagpal. In his

generally remain hidden. Many times wives don’t speak up, in order to protect their husbands. Apart from psychological effects, marital rape often leads to physical abuse, leading to broken bones, black eyes, bloody noses, wounds - and even HIV. Women therefore should have the Right to refuse nonconsensual sex in any form and situation, as it is an attack on their Human Rights. Right to refuse any medical treatment: It is an extension of the Right to reproductive privacy. The Bill provides absolute freedom to expectant mothers and says that women do not have an obligation to rescue a foetus. They can refuse surgery or any other medical treatment for themselves as well as the unborn. Setting up sexual harassment committees in all institutions: Despite the public outcry against the increasing number of rapes and gender crimes at workplaces, there is no provision of internal complaint committees in educational institutions, offices, government institutes and hospitals. As NCW has been receiving many complaints

of sexual harassment, even from prestigious institutes and MNCs, the Bill recommends protection at the workplace through the formation of internal committees for women. It also proposes a heavy penalty if the recommendations are refused or ignored by any institution. “We receive many complaints from working women. Women often lose their jobs if they raise their voice. This is the root cause of sexual abuse taking place at the workplace and educational institutions,” says Charu. Although such cells/committees were mandated by a Supreme Court ruling in 1997, most of the private organisations have been ignoring it. No rights to Khap Panchayats: The Bill proposes to take away the ‘rights’ of Khap Panchayats, and any other bodies or groups, to prosecute the cases of criminal offence against women. “For years, rural women in Gurgaon have been struggling to exercise their basic human rights. For this, we need to stop the interference of Khap Panchayats,” says Nilanjana, a women’s rights’ activist in the City. Despite such welcome recommendations, some groups, including women activists, feel that proposing

Lok President opinion all RWAs in the City should adapt soon to the new system, as it will help bring in real democracy in the functioning of the RWAs - which are assuming important roles in the functioning of colonies as well as in liaising with government officials. The major issue confronting the residents of Sushant Lok is the poor maintenance work conducted by Profac (the Agency undertaking this role today). “There is an ongoing dispute with the M a i n t e n a n c e Agency, as they are demanding higher

charges from the residents, who are not ready to give this till the Agency promises to improve the quality of service,” says Nagpal. The basic infrastructure in the Colony is also very poor; Sushant Lok Phase 1 is known across the City for its poor roads and massive waterlogging. “And the roads are never repaired,” he adds. Like the majority of the developer colonies, the required power infrastructure is also lacking, and the developer has been asked by the DHBVN authorities to pay money for setting up the required

C over S tory

new recommendations and laws is not the way to go. “The need is to implement existing laws effectively. A Rights-based approach has already been proposed by the Justice Verma Committee earlier this year. I don’t think rushing in a new Bill makes sense. It seems to be a politically motivated step, given the onset of the general


elections in 2014,” feels another women’s right’s activist. It’s time the right people got their act together, and ensured women their Rights – of their person and gender. It is a shame that 66 years after Independence women are still fighting for their Liberation (and many for just security).u

long, and they are now planning to take up the matter with the authorities. The contractors just leave the construction material and debris in the vacant plots after completing their project, thus creating a mess across the Colony. The labour living in the shanties also encroaches the common areas. Nagpal adds that “We will also try to ensure that water is used in a judicious manner. The RWA will create awareness about this issue, particularly during the summer. The authorities must be complimented for improving the supply over the past one year, as earlier the residents of this area were suffering badly,” says Nagpal. The matter of a Community Centre, which is in a pretty bad shape, would also be taken up with Ansals. A right for all residents to usage of the Club, which is presently prakhar PANDEY run on a commercial basis, is also on the agenda of the newly-elected Committee. “While we would like to work constructively with the builder and the authorities to resolve all outstanding issues, we might also think of taking over the maintenance - as has happened in (Ansals) Palam Vihar - if things do not improve here,” concludes Nagpal. u

facilities. Nagpal says that a 33 KVA sub-station was to be set up long back, but is still pending. Another major task of the newly-elected RWA would be to improve the security in the Colony, which has been witnessing thefts, robberies and snatchings regularly. Nagpal says that the first initiative would be to take up the matter with the local police, and see how the Neighbourhood Watch scheme could be made more effective. “We will involve the residents, especially senior citizens,” he says. Apart from this the RWA will also ask for an increase in the number of security guards and patrols in the Colony. “Phase 1 is a large area and needs more men to secure it,” he says. The issue of private contractors and builders encroaching upon vacant plots has also vexed the residents for

08 { Shilpy Arora/FG }

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rpitha, a homemaker based in Sector 28, never knew that a Masters in Anthropology, from the Oxford University, could be completed in a year. She discovered it last year when she logged on to the website of the University. “I had never heard of an annual online course from such a reputed university, that too for just $ 169 (Rs. 10,000 approx.). It caught my attention. I paid the fees through Paypal and enrolled for the course immediately. Shockingly, nobody got back to me for a month, and when I enquired I came to know that no such course is offered by the University of Oxford,” she said. Aprita had been a victim of online fraud. She had logged on to a hacked page of the Oxford University website, which provided her with fake information. There are many young women in the City, who prefer to study or work online. The Internet-savvy population finds it easier to attend courses online or work as freelancers. With this expansion of online courses and work-fromhome options on the Internet, online scams have become common. Distance Learning online courses are designed with the intention to provide Degrees to those who cannot enrol in traditional classes and need the flexibility to receive instructions at home. Unfortunately, most of the applicants to online courses are unaware about the procedure for filing applications and often fall prey to online fraud. Not only students, but online job seekers have also been victimized. “I often take up freelance writing assignments on the Internet. There are many sites where one can easily make Rs. 20,000 to Rs. 30,000 per month, by spending just six hours a day. But in the last one year I have been a victim of online fraud more than three times. There is no verifying agency and no authorized trademark that you can trust. It seems that online fraud is an integral part of this business,” said Vasudha Gandhi, another victim of online fraud. In Internet job scams, the fraudsters generally try to collect the personal information of the applicants and extract money from them. Jayanti Sharma recounted her terrible experience with a US-based data entry firm. After a telephonic and video interview, she was given an appointment letter, signed by the MD of the company. She

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Stay On Course Online

checked out the website of the company, which seemed genuine. The company didn’t ask for any money; they also promised to make payment by cheque. All this made her believe that the company was genuine and she took up the job immediately. Jayanti was told that she would receive $ 480 (Rs. 30,000 approx.) a week. For the first two weeks Jayanti received the payment on time. But at the end of the third week she received a cheque of $3,000 along with an email, saying that mistakenly the company had sent her $3,000. The company then requested her to transfer the excess money to an account of a third party. “I transferred $2520 (Rs. 1,50,000 approx.) to the account of a third party. The original cheque (of $ 3,000) from the company then bounced, and thereafter they never responded to my calls and emails,” she said.

Common signs of online scams

If a college asks you to deposit the entire fees at one go: Legitimate colleges and universities generally accept fees in instalments or on a persemester basis. Also, make sure you receive the study material as soon as you deposit the first instalment. If a company asks you to buy software or an online tool to perform a particular task, it could be fake. Remember, fake employers generally pay the amounts for the first few weeks to gain your confidence, and even ask you to pay for software and services later. If a company contacts you for an interview: Fake companies send emails saying that they found your resume online and offer you a job right away. Ruma Chandra, an IT professional and an ethical hacker in a Cyber Cell Department, informed, “Sometimes online fraudsters entice people by saying that they are interviewing the finalists for a job. Whenever such an email reaches your inbox, just ask yourself when was it that you posted your resume online? Did you post it on any international

job-seeking site? Websites like and don’t give away information to anybody. It is advisable to ask the company about the site on which they have viewed your details. Go through the job requirements carefully. Generally, the job requirements specified by scamsters are very simple and anybody with access to the Internet can perform them. If a company does not ask for your academic qualification or job experience, it could be a fake organization. If it is a genuine job, the requirements should be specific. Similarly, in case of online courses, make sure that the pre-requisites for the course are specified. “No website or counsellor can help you get direct admission to wellknown universities,” said Tarun Gupta, a Career Counsellor based in Sector 14. He also provides counselling for online and Distance Learning courses offered by foreign colleges. Most of the times scamsters use Yahoo IM to interview job seekers and students. “The issue with Yahoo IM is that anybody can change the settings and hide his/her identity. It is better to use Skype or Google Talk,” said Ruma. Besides, don’t give away confidential information regarding your bank account, credit card or PAN number.

Never take up the following jobs:

Data entry jobs - many online sites promise to pay over $100 (Rs. 6,000 approx.) for simple copy-paste of data from one sheet to the other. But when people log in to perform their task, they are asked to pay a certain amount. “If you are doing it from your PC, these sites may hack your computer and trace your bank details. Next time when you log in to your bank website from the same computer, there are chances that you may lose money!” cautioned Ruma. Starting an online business - If a website prompts you to

open your own business and get rich, think twice. These are ads, not employment opportunities. When people log in, they end up paying for guides to start their own business. Posting Ads - It is a very common job offered by various websites onsocial media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Blogspot. The websites promise to pay for the posting of ads. The truth is that people are not paid to post, but are paid only if members in the social media platform sign-up for the link. “All these things are written under Terms & Conditions (at the website), which we don’t read and normally tick blindly,” said Ruma.

Always report a scam

Unfortunately, there is no effective mechanism in India to report online scams. Although one can call up a toll free number – 18002096789

- provided by Indian Cyber Crime Department, the number remains unavailable most of the time. It is therefore advisable to report an online fraud to Google as well. Ruma felt, “Google is the biggest search engine. If it keeps check on fraud websites and blogs, it can help to prevent online scams to a great extent.” One can simply log on to com/safebrowsing/report_ phish/ and post the URL of the fraud website. While the Cyber Crime Cell and Google phishing pages can’t help recover the losses of victims, these reports can definitely help save future victims of the online scamsters. “Recently Indian authorities have prosecuted online scamsters, even those from the US and the UK. Therefore always bring cyber scams to their notice,” said Ruma.u

See the Light { Christopher Daruwalla }


s I get back to the humdrum of work, recharged by the time spent with family, my ears are still buzzing with the sound of crackers and of those who complain that Diwali on a Sunday should be banned! And then there is the all-enveloping smog. Diwali is the festival of lights, of good over evil, of family reunions and of renewal of ties. Every year we participate in the re-enactment of an ancient event. We become part of a large theatrical celebration. We clean our houses, symbolic of change and purification. We do Puja, and pray for peace, goodwill and prosperity. And then we go out of our homes and burst crackers like there is no tomorrow! If we feign ignorance about the impact on pollution levels and continue to do the same, there will be no tomorrow. Some enlightened souls even continue ‘cracking’ the next day, to get their festive fix of sulphur and smoke. The drama of life is never logical, is it? Even in most blockbuster movies you find the same elements playing out – of an illogical element in a sane world, which is creating chaos that needs to be undone (usually by a hero whom we are all rooting for). But who is the hero here? Who is it that can reverse the damage that we create year after year? There is no one – because it needs all of us. Unfortunately, we have not accepted this - yet. It’s great to hear about schools taking the initiative, ‘Saying No to Crackers’, ‘Saying No to Plastic Bags’, but the learning needs to start in every home. Let us remember that half the workers at firework factories are children, and a good number of them are maimed or burnt in the frequent factory fires. In a country where there is widespread poverty, I am sure that the Gods will bestow more on people who think of their fellow man and Nature. Diwali marks Lord Rama’s return after his exile in the forests; he had spent 14 years with Nature, living by its rules and norms. Would it not be fitting that we took a leaf out of the Ramayana and considered the festival of Diwali as an opportunity to give back to Nature - rather than take from it?u The Author is Founder and Creative Director of Actors World – an actor, writer and director, he has trained from the London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art [LAMDA]. He is the Representative North India for LAMDA - Graded exams in communication and performance.

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Environment - friendly { Abhishek Behl / FG }

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very morning Kavita, 13, a resident of Nakhdola, makes sure that all the herbal gardens in the village are watered and manure is put into every pot. She ensures that plants are exposed to enough sunlight in the winter, while they are kept in the shade for some time in summers. She is well-versed with not only the cultivating process, but also the benefits of these medicinal plants. “Complete germination of this plant is achieved within 10 days. Adding manure during the germination can have negative effects, but if manure given after the germination, it is good. It is important for everybody to know about the cultivation of this plant, as it can be used as an alternate to diesel!” says Kavita, while talking about the Jatropha plant. Thanks to the efforts of a Citybased NGO, Uthaan, rural and urban youth in the City has been learning about various medicinal plants. Started some nine years ago, Uthaan works in the field of environment conservation. It promotes vermiculture, organic cultivation, herbal planting, animal welfare, green movement and conservation of non-renewable resources in urban as well as rural areas. To promote the cultivation of medicinal plants, Uthaan has distributed over 30 rare species of medicinal plants in schools and villages. “An important medicinal plant, Guggal, had become extinct due to the indiscriminate cutting of trees. But now, we have been able to bring it back to the City, and have distributed its samples across the City. We promote Guggal as a herb that can help in alleviating joint pain and cholesterol,” says Sanjay Kaushik, President, Uthaan. Despite most people being aware of the benefits of local medicinal plants, some prefer to plant foreign trees, which don’t grow fast in the Indian climate and often need large amounts of water. This can impact the underground water table. The NGO promotes the cultivation of Indian medicinal plants such as Buch, Gwar-patha, Reetha, Arjun, Meetha-neem, Sarpgandha, Tulsi, Agave, Beal patra, Bamboo, Saptparni, Gudhal, Peepal, Gudmaar, Champa, Teak, Mint, Poplar and Senjana. The NGO also educates cultivators on how to protect these trees from insects. “We have planted many Aloe vera plants around the medicinal plants so that they are not attacked by termites,” says one of the villagers. In urban areas, the NGO has formed Eco-guard

{ Krishan Kalra }


s President of the All India Management Association (AIMA) for 1998-99, it was my responsibility to organise the ‘99 Annual Convention’, the biggest event in every president’s tenure of one year. It is also a sort of test of how successful the incumbent has been. One of the important tasks is to find a Convention Chairman – normally the head of a well-known large company – who would also, normally, sponsor the Event. After much deliberation I had narrowed the shortlist to a couple of Delhi-based industrialists; on top of the list was Dr. Parvinder Singh, the then CMD of Pharma major Ranbaxy. Parvinder was very well known, was articulate, had a tremendous presence

Clubs in schools - like Amity International, DPS, Ryan International and American Excelsior. Members of these Clubs set-up a medicinal plants’ herbarium in their schools’ premises and also motivate other people to plant these at home. “We provide more than 20 species of rare herbal plants in pots to the schools. The cost of these plants is taken care of by the co-ordinator,” informs Kaushik. The NGO has also established a vermiculture unit in the City. Interestingly, this unit produces manure with the help of earthworms, in farms. “Earthworms are live factories of natural fertilizer. They eat and digest almost all biodegradable wastes and thus provide vermicompost - an organic manure,” informs Kaushik, who is also a horticulturist. Schools students are invited to visit these vermiculture units, to watch a live demo of vermiculture activities in the farms. Students are also taught about other agricultural activities, such as sowing of seeds, weeding, transplanting, harvesting, picking and tractor riding. “It’s a picnic-cum-learning experience for the students, as they are given the opportunity to perform all these activities themselves. The NGO has also started a novel concept, wherein each school is allocated a separate field, named after the school, and its students then take up farming activities in that field - from sowing to harvesting and taking the crop back home. “It’s certainly a great learning process for the students,” feels the Director of Excelsior American, Shalini Nambiar. Moreover, students of member schools are involved in plantation activities in the school as well as in their respective localities. To ensure a good survival rate of plants, the families of the students are asked to adopt five to six saplings within their locality.


Uthaan is credited with launching solar-electric

rickshaws, Soleckshaws, in the City. The NGO joined hands with the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR), Ministry of Science and Technology, and rolled out the revolutionary idea. A Soleckshaw is easy to drive and offers a pleasant riding experience to the passengers – being equipped with shock absorbers. “It is a fast, balanced and eco-friendly means of transport, and offers a smooth ride. Being low-floored, it is also easy to step in and to alight. I always prefer a Soleckshaw while commuting from the Metro station to home,” says Vasundhra, a senior citizen. Soleckshaws offer their passengers a mobile charger, a newspaper and mineral water. The objective is also to provide a better livelihood to the poor rickshaw pullers. “When I used to see rickshaw-pullers sweating and pulling the rickshaws, I wanted to provide them a better solution. We therefore came up with the Soleckshaw,” says Kaushik. Currently the Soleckshaw service is available in Sushant Estate, Maple Crescent and the Sushant Lok area. Initially the rickshaw pullers faced issues like a charging station facility, but now RWAs are offering them this and also helping them in establishing a fare chart.

Awareness of Energy Conservation

This is one of the success stories of Uthaan in the last two years. The NGO, in coordination with Petroleum Conservation Research Association (PCRA), has been spreading the message of fuel conservation among women and children. Many seminars and workshops have been conducted for women in different sectors in the City, and also in villages. Uthaan volunteers teach them about conservation of LPG, Petrol and Kerosene, as also water harvesting and the benefits of using solar equipment. They are also encouraged to plant trees. So far the NGO has planted nearly 56,000 saplings in the City, and has ensured a survival rate of 85 per cent. “When I moved to the City I found that the authorities were struggling to bring down the pollution levels and people were quite ignorant about environmental issues. That is what made me set-up Uthaan, to initiate care and concern amongst the people for the critical need of environmental conservation,” recounts Kaushik. He adds that apart from just encouraging or ensuring plantation drives, there is a need to spread awareness about the proper cultivation and protection of trees. The efforts of Uthaan are clearly helping protect our green cover. u

In the Face of Death and was heading the country’s largest pharmaceutical company. A true leader, he had proven his mettle by achieving scorching growth. Krishan Chugh, past president of AIMA, knew Dr. Singh well and offered to fix a meeting. We were asked to call on him one afternoon at his Aurangzeb Lane house. On the appointed day – in March – Chugh, AIMA DG Khurana and I reached there. We were received by the CMD’s executive assistant and made to sit in the tastefully appointed living room. Soon, Dr. Parvinder Singh walked in, wearing a dressing gown. I was a bit surprised that he’d do so at a formal meeting, but soon dismissed the thought; he was probably taking a siesta.


He greeted us warmly, offered tea & snacks, and after some polite talk, wanted to know everything about AIMA and the Convention. I switched on the laptop and made a power point presentation; the origins of AIMA, some very distinguished past presidents, our activities, sponsors of previous conventions, how people like Yogi Deveshwar had been convention chairmen earlier, our plans for the 99 Event etc. Finally, I proposed that we were very keen that he be the Chairman for our Convention in September. “Mr. Kalra, you are asking me to make a commitment for an event six months from now, when I am not sure if I would even be alive after

six weeks.” The man had spoken in an even tone, without any emotion… very stoically, very matter of fact. We were all left speechless. Finally Chugh broke the ice, “Parvinder, why are you talking like that?” “Mr. Chugh, I’m suffering from terminal cancer and perhaps don’t have more than a couple of months. There is so much to do before I go. I am sorry I can’t accept the Convention Chairmanship. We will of course take a sponsorship. Now, another cup of hot tea, anyone?” Some more chit-chat & then Dr. Singh graciously saw us off at the gate. There was no trace of self-pity, no seeking of sympathy, no regrets… just the desire to complete some of his unfinished tasks. In July of that year, the great man passed away. u


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8-14 November 2013

A Colourful Girl { Anita Jaswal }

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I dream my painting and I paint my dream Vincent van Gogh


very artist has a story worth telling – a story the rest of us can learn from. Tulika Mohan’s story is a pure, soulful adventure - a way for her to combine her love for creativity, colours and other artsy mediums. This 15-year-old showed a propensity for colours from a very young age; her target was to use all the colours of the crayon box on one sheet! The gifts she wanted were bigger and bigger boxes of crayons - ranging from a 24-colour pack to the 60-colour professional pack. Her favourite colour was simply ‘Colourful’! Her inspiring use of colour and her ability to use different types of brushstrokes are just two remarkable facets of her story. She excels at adding a high level of detail and her artworks explore the complex and miraculous mysteries of the human mind and spirit. Though she was always creative, her first public recognition came when she was 10 years old. Since then there has been no looking back and she has received lots of prizes and achievement. A proud moment was when she exhibited Colours In Progress

at IHC in November, 2012. She sold all 16 of her paintings, raising Rs. 1,30,000, which she donated to her favourite charity, Friendicoes – an NGO that works for the rehabilitation of abandoned pet and street dogs. “I’ve been attracted to colours ever since I can remember. They help change the opinion and outlook of even the ordinary. When I was younger I used to sit in the middle of boxes of crayons, revelling in their scent and the effect they made on paper. I have been learning for 4 years now, discovering

{ Alka Gurha }


omeone once said, ‘News is what somebody wants to suppress - all the rest is advertising’. As you read the magazine section of a national daily, where they tell you about Gurgaon residents looking for maids with passports, a sinking feeling envelops you - like the dust haze embracing the NCR around Diwali. Reading magazine supplements brings out the disgruntled activist in me. It makes me want to march down to the office of the editor, to ask, ‘Who is gifting diamonds at festivals? Where do these people live? And how the hell do they manage to splurge on a vacation for their maid, when most of us are struggling to buy vegetables?’ The fact that I live in Gurgaon and that the above-mentioned people are not

what all one can do with a blank canvas and learning different techniques. My inspiration is music, and most of my compositions originate from the lyrics. I enjoy using a palette knife; it makes broad sweeping strokes on the canvas, and intensifies the colours. Over the years I’ve evolved as a person, through Art; from making colourful striped flowers at age 3 to putting blobs of paint and water on the canvas in the hope of creating something new. But my obsession with colour hasn’t changed,” says Tulika. At the age of 8 she won the

All India Camel Contest in her age group, which gave a new fillip to her interest. She started taking professional Art classes at the age of 10, under upcoming artist Joyattam Dutta Roy. She has moved from oil to acrylic and from brush to palette knife over the   last four years. Very individualistic in her approach, Tulika enjoys experimenting and creating visuals that dwell in the realm of the 'unreal' - an explosion of colour, drama and perception that is uniquely bold and riveting.   A student of Sanskriti School, Tulika enjoys reading and acting, and has been pursuing the Speech and Drama certificate program from the Trinity Board of Examinations, for the past 8 years. Some of her recent achievements are: July 13: Trinity College Grade 6, Speech and Drama - won an Exhibition Award for topping India; September 2013 - 1ST Runner up in Project Enable; research Article published and released by the Ministry of HRD at IHC; Assisted in the production of a middle school play based on the freedom struggle of India; Award for excellence in academics - having been an A grade student right through. What makes her paint? Is it because she took to colours when she was a kid? Why did she

Gurgaon Times celebrities, exacerbates it for me. At a time when inflation is battering us black and blue, publishing front-page stories about the privileged is just not done! But in Gurgaon you learn to live with the feeling that you are a nobody unless you wear a Herve Leger, carry a Fendi or flaunt a Tissot. No, don’t get me all wrong. Gurgaon’s newly-minted residents are also rooted in culture. My newspaper tells me that they celebrate all festivals - from Holi to Halloween - with fervor, albeit with a futuristic twist. While the women religiously fast for their husbands on Karwachauth, they prefer to break the fast by using an app that turns their smart phone into a chhaani. Likewise, there is always a reason for Gurgaonites to party. Social creepers are buying expensive Evil

Queen costumes and skull-shaped diamond earrings to celebrate Halloween at a private beach. I am assuming the maid with a passport will accompany them. I confess. I am pure jealous. I am human. Who wants to be a struggling writer, when you can be a household cook and enjoy a paid vacation on the beaches of the Seychelles? Every morning, after reading the newspaper supplement splashed with advertisements, the urge to get intoxicated and to numb the feelings of emptiness and inadequacy overwhelms me. Luckily, there is a 24/7 online home delivery service for wine and liquor – that is, if you can decide between a kilogram of onions and a bottle of booze. Is there any point in cribbing and whining? I have come up with two

hoose to paint, over many other options available to express? Says Tulika, “To quote Vincent van Gogh, the only time I feel alive is when I’m painting. There are a multitude of emotions that an artist goes through when creating a painting or a sculpture. The joy of seeing one’s vision translated with one’s hands, the despair of a wrong brush stroke, the anxiety of using a new colour, the confidence of a repeated brushstroke, the tension of a measured stroke, the strain of fine brush work, the stressful judgment of seeing the big picture, the want to create a balance, the stray hair of the brush on canvas, the pace of emotions within…and above all, Colours, are a part of me. I have an eye for colour. I'm fond of colour combinations and contrasts. I feel I can express what the colour wants to say. I don't hate any colour. I am even attracted to dull colours, and know well how to use them. And my soul speaks....for me, painting is like breathing. I enjoy going on a storytelling journey, expressing what I see through my eyes and mind. This is my own unique world and I paint what I feel. Teachers and artists have influenced me, but my work is my own unique voice. To take a break, I do theatre and stuff, but I always go back to painitng and Art.” Art washes away the dust of everyday life from the soul. Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time. To become an artist, all you need - to paint - is a few tools, a little instruction and a vision in your mind. “I don't paint dreams or nightmares, I paint my own reality.”  -Frida Kahlo u

options. For minimum impact, I am contemplating reading the national daily with a glass in my hand. As I read my paper and snuff the wine, I can imagine myself dressed as a billboard, hopping on to my chartered plane and celebrating the festivals in style. The other, better option is to read the main newspaper. It tells me that there is a slowdown in the festive spirit, as price rise has hit Diwali sales. It also tells me that Gurgaon’s top cop suffers from dengue and that two people were stabbed to death in a call centre. Bad is never good until worse happens. One kilogram of onions hitting a century is better than one onion hitting a century. To hell with the maid with a passport - there is more joy in ordering a pizza and watching television with the family. And news? Well, as they say, ‘No news is good news’. All that is left is advertising. u

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{ Abhishek Behl}

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Notably Fake

ince the time of Mohd. Bin Tughlaq, the king of the Slave dynasty, who introduced copper currency in India, the governments of the time have been confronted by the menace of fake currency – the minting of fake money. Fake currency was aided by unscrupulous jewellers in the days when there was only metal currency. Today it is being pushed by ordinary criminals as well as organized crime syndicates, said to be backed by powerful foreign intelligence agencies. As per Indian officials, millions of rupees in fake currency are pushed into Indian markets every month and this sinister activity uses multiple networks –

and upgrades the security features, to make it is difficult for counterfeiters. To ensure that the original notes cannot be copied easily, the notes are printed on a special security paper (that has a special cloth added), which makes the notes very crisp. It is difficult for most counterfeiters to get such top quality security paper for printing fake notes. When a new note in your hand does not feel crisp, it should be checked for its authenticity. The RBI started to issue serially numbered notes in 2006. Each note bears a distinctive serial number along with a

from Bangladesh, Nepal and sometimes even the border states. The booming economy of Gurgaon, and the large floating population in the City, makes it an ideal place for fake notes to be pumped in. Recently, a private bank reported a large amount in fake currency that had made its way to its currency chest. With fake currency moving in and around Gurgaon in a big way, it is imperative that the citizens remain extra careful while handling cash. Experts say that it is not difficult to spot fake notes, provided one is aware and vigilant. Officials of the Gurgaon Gramin Bank (GGB), which has been a financial partner in the transformation of Gurgaon from a suburb into a Millennium City, say that one only needs to learn about the various security features and unique identification marks used by the RBI on an original note - to distinguish it from a fake. A spokesperson of the Bank points out that the Central Bank regularly changes

prefix. In addition, the Bank has adopted the Star series numbering system, for replacing defectively printed notes. The GGB spokesperson says that fake currency is mostly seen in denominations of Rs 500 and Rs 1000, as it becomes unviable for operators to profit from dealing in smaller currency notes. The cost of printing and supplying fake notes is also a major reason for counterfeiters preferring to print currency notes of higher denomination only. GGB officials say that a major security feature in a bank note is the Intaglio (raised) Printing, which helps an individual feel what is written on the surface of a note. Each note has: the portrait of Mahatma Gandhi, the Reserve Bank seal, the Guarantee and promise clause, the Ashoka Pillar emblem, the Governor’s signature and an identification mark for the visually impaired persons. All these are printed in improved Intaglio. A person needs to move his/her hand on the note to feel the printed words and symbols.

An important mark to know about the genuineness of a note is the ‘see through register’. As per bank officials, half of the numeral of each denomination (Rs 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1000) is printed on the obverse (front) and half on the reverse. If a person sees one side of the note, the accurate backto-back registration makes the numeral appear as one when viewed against the light. In case the ‘see through register’ does not show accurate numerals, then the note is suspect. In addition, the portrait of Mahatma Gandhi, the multi-directional lines and

an electrotype mark appears in each denomination, and can be viewed better when the banknote is held against the light. For the visually impaired, a special Intaglio feature has been introduced to the left of the watermark window, on the obverse (front) on all banknotes - except the Rs.10/- banknote. This feature is in different shapes for various denominations (Rs.20-Vertical Rectangle, Rs.50-Square, Rs.100-Triangle, Rs.500-Circle, Rs.1000-Diamond) and helps the visually impaired to identify the denomination. Most of the fake bank notes that are printed by counterfeiters do not have these security features. Bank officials say that the fonts of the fake notes also do not match with the original, and a close observation will clearly tell the difference. Officials say that the font size of the numeral 500 and 1000 in Rs.500 and

What are soiled, mutilated and imperfect banknotes? (i) “soiled note:” means a note that has become dirty due to usage, and also includes a two-piece note pasted together - wherein both the pieces presented belong to the same note, and form the entire note. (ii) Mutilated banknote is a banknote that has a portion missing, or which is composed of more than two pieces. (iii) Imperfect banknote means any banknote that is wholly or partially obliterated, shrunk, washed, altered or indecipherable - but does not include a mutilated banknote. Can soiled and mutilated banknotes be exchanged for value? Yes. Such banknotes can be exchanged for value. Where are soiled/mutilated banknotes accepted for exchange? All banks are authorized to accept soiled banknotes for full value. They are expected to extend the facility of exchange of soiled notes even to non-customers. All Currency Chest branches of commercial banks are authorised to adjudicate on mutilated banknotes and pay value for these, in terms of the Reserve Bank of India (Note Refund) Rules, 2009 How much value would one get for soiled banknotes? Soiled banknotes are exchanged for full value. What types of banknotes are not eligible for payment under the Note Refund Rules? The following banknotes are not payable under the Reserve Bank of India (Note Refund) Rules 2009: A banknote for which the area of the single largest undivided piece of note presented is less than or equal to 50% of the area of the (entire) note, for denominations of Re. 1, Rs. 2, Rs. 5, Rs. 10 and Rs. 20; and less than 40 percent of the area of the (entire) note, for denominations of Rs.50, Rs. 100, Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000.


Rs.1000 denomination banknotes is reduced, as compared to (Mahatma Gandhi) MG series banknotes issued in these denominations earlier, in the year 2000. Another important feature of Rs.100, Rs.500 and Rs.1000 denomination banknotes is that they have machine-readable windowed security threads, with colourshift from green to blue when viewed from different angles. It fluoresces in yellow on the reverse and the text will fluoresce on the obverse under ultraviolet light. The thread also changes colour, from blue to green, when the angle of the note is changed, and it is one of the most important ways to decipher the genuineness of the note. The colour of the numeral appears green when the banknote is held flat, but will change to blue when the banknote is held at an angle. Dual coloured optical fibres can be seen under a UV lamp. The new notes also carry the Year of Printing on the reverse. Apart from increasing the security features in bank notes, RBI has also directed banks to accept fake notes from customers over the counter, and ‘pay’ them back in full. The banks are going to get 25 per cent of the amount mentioned on the fake note, from the RBI. To ensure that this facility is not misused by counterfeiters, RBI has also asked the banks to monitor the movement of fake notes and register complaints with the RBI and local police stations, in case more than five fake notes are received from a person. RBI has also said that the detection of fake notes should only take place at the back office or at the Currency Chest. GGB bank officials say that suspect notes are passed over to the Chest, for detailed checking through machines. The fake notes are kept separately, and information about the same is given to the police. The new rules have been formulated to motivate people to surrender any fake currency that they might have come to possess by chance; most people do not report this, fearing a ‘loss’ if they surrender the same to the police. Officials say that all steps are being taken to ensure that the movement and use of fake notes is curbed in Gurgaon. They also ask the citizens to be more vigilant while accepting cash, and look for the various security features, to ensure that they are not duped. u


8-14 November 2013

S pecial F eature ASHA PANDEY

Jungle Book India


K id C orner

8-14 November 2013

Artistic Strokes

The Holidays are over... but your creativity isn’t. For children – write a poem, an article, a fictional story or even a real life experience. See it published in Friday Gurgaon – make your teachers and parents proud! For teachers/administrators/coordinators – here’s a chance to pen down your experiences, teachings and learnings. Send us your contributions (300-350 words).

Paintings stories poems

For information, Call us at 0124-4219092/93 Or email at

Harshit Chaudhari, Class V, Manav Rachna Int.

Kids Brainticklers

Hemangi, Class X, Excelsior American School

Sonia Kaushik, Class IV-J, AIS-46

Anushhka Thakur, Pathways Aravali

8-14 November 2013


K id C orner



Educating Educators


n educational Conference was conducted by Indus World School, which was attended by Lalita Trehan, Ms. Nidhi Trehan and Mousumi Dutta from AMPS. The Workshop focused on Play Schools and Childcare Centres and gave an update on the various markets and legal and educational aspects. The various Sessions also provided tips on survival and growth strategies, 21st century education and the imperatives for pre-school education.

Diwali Dhamaal

D It’s Quiztime!


anav Rachna University, in collaboration with a leading newspaper, organised a Quiz at MRU Campus, Aravali, Faridabad. Shubhankar Biswas from Ryan International School participated in the Quiz. Cheerleaders sang the School Rap Song, Dhoom-Dhoom Chak, to encourage Shubhankar. Ryanites won the award for “Best Banner”.

iwali was celebrated in the Junior Wing premises with great splendour. A special Programme was presented by the students of Montessori IV. The Programme started with a narration on the significance of Diwali. This was followed by a song and a dance performance. The teachers received creative bookmarks made by the students.

Diya Decoration


Scholarly Ryanites


amneet Chawla, Sanjukta Malkani, Diksha Sagar, Arnab Sagar, Divyansh Mehta, Mukund Vats, Akshat Khare, Mayank Arya, Anuj Gupta, Abhimanyu Rao, Vansh Gupta and Mansi Patil participated in the Mumbai Round of the World Scholar’s Cup, with the theme, ‘The World Within’. Students participated in Team Debate, Collaborative Writing, Scholar’s Challenge and Debate Showcase. Vansh Gupta and Mayank Arya won Bronze medals at the Event.

Diya decoration activity was held for the students of Classes I and II. The children decorated colourful diyas with sequins, mirrors and glitter. The creativity of the students was appreciated by the teachers.

Language Rules


he teachers of AMPS—Saroj Mehra, Daizy Verma and Suman Dureja—attended a Workshop on “Effective teaching in Hindi Vyakaran”, at Shalom Hills International School. The Workshop emphasised on various effective techniques of making ‘Vyakaran’ (basis of Hindi language) more interesting and conducive to the students. The Workshop was conducted through group activities and role play methods.

Kicking Do


aishogun Karate Do India (Shotokan) held a grading session to check the Karate and Kickboxing skills of its members. Students who participated in this test were Sanya Kehar, Sriya, Arnav Gupta, Aayushi Bharti, Manan Singh and Akshat Bharti.

Lotus Soccer


otus Valley International School held an InterSchool Soccer Tournament, in which many schools participated. The Tournament started with the Principal, Anita Malhotra, expressing her views on the significance of Sports. After a series of qualifying rounds, the Finals were held between the Host School and Suncity World School. Suncity World School won 5-4.


8-14 November 2013

Ryan Care


n the occasion of Diwali, Ryan Global School shared some festive moments with underprivileged children. The dos and don’ts of Diwali were discussed with them. The children were overjoyed. The day ended with a sumptuous lunch.

K id C orner


Delightful Diwali


he School celebrated Diwali with great fervour. The corridors were festooned with craft work by the students and decorated diyas. A special Assembly was organised by the Primary and Montessori Wings. The children were briefed on the importance of celebrating the Festival. Dances were performed by the children.


Spactacula Highlanders


Montessori Ramleela


he Montessori Wing of Ryan International School, Sector-40, reflected on the significance of Diwali by enacting scenes from the Ramayana in ‘Ramleela’. The five-act drama conveyed the essence of the Festival and the true meaning of triumph of good over evil. The students were appropriately dressed for their performances, portraying different characters like Rama, Laxman, Sita, Ravana, Vanar Sena, Hanuman and Kekeyi. The students got an opportunity to learn about the epic and to showcase their talent in Dramatics.

he students of Scottish High International School put up a scintillating performance during their Annual Day function. The grand occasion, with four shows, displayed the intrinsic talent of the enthusiastic participants, in dance and drama. ‘Cine Spectacula’, as the Event was titled, took its viewers into the golden era of Bollywood, revisiting hundred years of Indian cinema. Heady, magical music and foot tapping, thrilling dances by the young students had everyone mesmerised. The light and sound effects added sparkle to the extravaganza. The School Chairman, Kartikay Saini, addressed the gathering and spoke about the School’s great challenges. The School Report was read by the Director, Sudha Goyal. Awards and achievements of well-deserving staff and children were also a part of the Show. Children from the underprivileged section presented a dance sequence based on the religious song, ‘Tu hi Ram hai, tu Rahim hai..’

Up Ryan's Alley


he School participated in the Inter Ryan School Competitions held at Ryan, Vasant Kunj. The participants competed with Schools of Delhi and NCR to win the Folk Alley Competition – A Folk Song Competition. The young Ryanites sang a Punjabi Folk Song to an awestruck audience and walked away with the First Prize. The winners were Harshita Singh, Ritika Kumar, Diya Dheer, Tanya Anand, Manya Sharma and Gauri Sharma. The Ryanites also participated in the “Colours of India” Competition, where students exhibited the social and geographical significance of Gujarat's famous freedom fighters. The participants― Sara Maheshwari, Esha Dahija, Simran Sehgal, Shreenidhi Joisa, Siddhaya Kothari and Akshansh Khokkar―won the Runners-up trophy in this Competition.

A Cracker of a Protest


hirty four students of Senior Sri Ram School (Moulsari Branch) staged an anti-cracker protest at Galleria Market, DLF Phase IV. The aim was to highlight the negative impact of ‘crackers’ on the environment, from the initial stage of manufacturing to the bursting. The campaign was led by Aarushi Joshi, Secretary of Environmental Initiatives. The students staged a Nukkad Natak to explain the ill effects of crackers. They took rounds of the market and made people aware of the impact of the indiscriminate use of crackers on the environment - in terms of air and sound pollution, as also the resultant garbage. Some of the placards carried by the students read: I get an Asthma Attack every Diwali; Cracker use is environment abuse; Paryavaran bachao patake mat jalao.

W ellness

8-14 November 2013

{ Jaspal Bajwa }


ur Immune system is a vital defence shield to protect the body from infections. , Unfortunately, there are times when our defenders turn hostile. With symptoms as wide-ranging as inflammation, musculoskeletal pain and fatigue, as many as 25-30 disease conditions are now clubbed under ‘Auto-Immune Diseases’. These include Type 1 Diabetes, Psoriasis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Celiac, Lupus, Uveitis, Multiple Sclerosis, Myasthenia Gravis and Vasculitis. In recent years these diseases have been on the rise. Since they are underdiagnosed, various estimates suggest that between 5 to 10% of the population is at risk. Relatively more vulnerable are the younger age groups, the women and the elderly. What exactly is causing this revolt by our Immune-building defenders? Some would say it is a complex mix of genetic and environmental factors. A rapid expansion of knowledge in this field is however pointing a finger at the role played by our dietary choices and lifestyles, and environmental pollutants. Conventional drugs for Auto-Immune Diseases seem to adopt a sledgehammer approach. These include analgesics, non-steroidal antiinflammatory drugs, corticosteroids and diseasemodifying drugs. Without fully understanding the inter-relationships and sideeffects, a shotgun approach can smash down many different Immune responses, leaving patients even more vulnerable than before. Not only is the absorption of key vitamins (like B12) affected, but also changes in energy and protein metabolism may, over time, lead to waste and the loss of muscles. As free-radicals seem to play an important role in triggering the latent disposition to AutoImmune Diseases, it is pertinent to understand the role our foods can play to decrease inflammation and oxidative stress, while simultaneously promoting Immune balance. The focus should clearly be on identifying and eliminating pro-inflammatory foods and nourishing our body with ‘real’ foods that deliver essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Most recent studies have established a clear link of such diseases with a deficiency of critical nutrients like Vitamin D3 and Essential Fatty Acids (Omega 3 fats). This has led to renewed interest in promoting a diet that is rich in green leafy


Health & Vitality... Naturally!

Auto-Immune Busters practitioners had been recommending some of the following: common herbs like Echinacea, to boost immunity and help fight colds and flu; blood purifiers like Sarsaparilla, for gout, arthritis, fevers, digestive disorders, psoriasis and other skin diseases; Yucca plant extract, to help decrease stiffness and pain in muscles, as also for skin-related AutoImmune Diseases; Chlorella or Spirulina, to ease lupus; and four herbs from the Amazonian forests – foremost being the bark of Cat’s Claw (Uncaria Tomentosa), along with camu-camu fruit, maca root and graviola. As with all herbal products, the purity of ingredients and the bio-availability of the essential substances can vary significantly; hence, care must be exercised in sourcing these products, and they must be dosed them under expert guidance. u Registered Holistic Nutritionist (Canadian School of Natural Nutrition) For education purposes only; always consult a healthcare practitioner for medical


Tips vegetables, fatty fish and other high quality fats - like flax seed oil. Another up-andcoming area of health research focuses on balancing the gut microflora. Disruption of the intestinal ecosystem equilibrium has been linked with many diseases, including Auto-Immune Disorders; not surprisingly, probiotics induced gut-health is being called the “next frontier”.

Tip of the Week

Any foods that fuel the inflammatory response in our body must be avoided; these include foods high in refined starches, sugars, saturated fats and trans fats. On the contrary, the inflammatory response can be cooled by periodic detoxes, and by consuming seasonal fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, extravirgin olive oil, avocado and high Omega 3 fatty fish. Green tea, dark chocolate, red wine in moderation, spices and herbs are also very good in promoting Immune balance. Nature’s Wonder Foods of the Week In recent years, research

by ShahnaZ Herbal Cosmetic Queen Padma Shree Shahnaz Husain is the CEO of the Shahnaz Husain Group – India’s leading company in the field of natural beauty and anti-aging treatments. has been focusing on a targeted response mechanism. Researchers at the Harvard Medical School seem to have identified a specific kind of Immune cell (Th17), which regulates Auto-Immune inflammatory responses in a wide range of diseases - such as inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, Type 1 diabetes, eczema and psoriasis. This has resulted in them taking a deeper look at an ancient Chinese herb that comes from the root of the blue evergreen Hydrangea (chang shan), for the treatment of fevers and malaria. One of its key constituents (halofuginone) appears to work selectively, stopping the production of “bad” T-cells, without harming any of the good ones - leaving the Immune response intact. In earlier years, herbal

Q. My 6-year old daughter suffers from bad prickly heat. SH

The powders available don't seem to help. What can I do? Prickly heat is caused by perspiration. Ensure that your daughter wears only cotton clothes, which allows the sweat to evaporate. You can add a little sandalwood paste to rose water and apply on the areas with prickly heat. Humidity should be controlled or avoided. Cool showers may be taken during the hot and humid season.

WINNER Garima Ghai

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


8-14 November 2013

C omment

Aao Bachchon Tumhen Sikhayen...


s Children’s Day approaches, and with youth being a big future of India, it is perhaps time to reflect on what values, beliefs and attitudes we should be inculcating in our children today. It is a more aware and interconnected world that we live in, up to the villages. This has raised the aspirations of many, as also provided new opportunities. A majority of girls and women, across society, are now involved and engaged outside of their homes. There is change in the air… So what should be life’s commandments for our children?


Read & Write forever…the pen is mighty and right. Study hard, yet smart…and yes, Jacks & Jills, play also. Nurture a hobby and pick up new skills…it’s never too late to learn. English is our language now…learn it here, and go teach the English. Know when to switch off from cyber space…to your space. Stop surfing just the surface; it’s time for ‘Data In Knowledge Out’ - DIKO In GIGO Out. Be open to, and engage with, diversity – of people and of Nature. Start with fellow Indians; go check out Bharat next holidays. Sure, it won’t be a cruise….but everywhere is home. Celebrate all Festivals; celebrate the Outdoors. Practice your religion in the silence of your heart…for that is where God dwells. Boys & men, learn to treat girls & women as equals, in your hearts and minds; if your Mom and Sis are different and the best, so are the others’. True friends are as thick as family. Beauty is not skin deep…it goes all the way to the heart.

Love will surely strike once…and you may even be bestowed 3 strikes; always be ready for the home run. Parents, especially when they are old, are never a burden. Your career…including your luck…is in your hands. Aspire and desire as much as you want… don’t grab. Money does make you happy…for more than a while….till you look elsewhere. You don’t have to keep up with the Joneses… let the Kumars keep trying. Every man or woman does have a price...till you meet the invaluable. Jo dikhta hai woh bikta hoga…tumhen naheen bikna hai, my dears. Do care for the downtrodden, with your heart as much as your wallet. Apne liye jiye to kya jiye. Don’t waste food…resources are drying up, and many still go hungry. Be honest…let your heart beat as it should. You can be content with substance; that ‘s your style. Always mean what you say…don’t play politics. Fight not to settle scores, but to right the wrongs. You will make more than 3 mistakes in your life. To err is human; to err not again, is divine. Take responsibility for your actions...especially the mistakes. But…don’t be in a hurry to grow up ! This above all – to thine own self be true And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man. ‘Shakespeare’. See - don’t just look at - your eyes in the mirror, sometimes…and meet their gaze.u

S piritual

8-14 November 2013


Navigating Rough Times { Dr. Rajesh Bhola }


ike all other sports, sailing also involves the knowledge of certain techniques. When the wind pushes the sail, the water generates a counter force, to push against the fin. When the sail is fully blown, it curves. Much like the wings of an airplane generating an aerodynamic lifting power, the curved sail generates a lifting force that points - instead of upwards sideways. The combination of the counter force and the sideways aerodynamic force creates a driving force, to propel the whole sail and board into the wind. Similarly, while sailing on the high seas of life, we may come across all types of winds blowing over all types of waters. The great thing in this world is not as much on where we stand, as in what direction we are moving. To reach the port of enlightenment, we must sail - sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it; but sail we must - and not drift, nor lie at anchor. A sailor feels safe when he is out of sight of land. It is the beach that worries him. Sailors do not welcome storms, but there is a calm that underlies their spirits. Whatever adversity we may face, we should find a way to generate a counter dynamic force, to help us sail into the wind of adversity. The moment when the fins of the yacht are fully pressed by the gutsy wind and the yacht is on the verge of turning upside down, is not the time to start learning self-defence. We should identify the forces we may need to sail into this adverse wind. Gradually we learn how to sail different waters. Sailing, learning from past events and then trying again, helps us become more comfortable in different conditions. There is no thrill in ‘easy’ sailing, when the skies are clear and blue; there is less joy in merely doing things that any one can do. There is some satisfaction on reaching a destination that we never thought we would make. The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails. He that will not sail till all dangers are over must never set out to sea. At times we may be unable to complete a

regatta, while at another times, despite imperfect conditions, ready to grind it out, we may be able to finish many regattas in our lifetime. Mark Twain aptly remarked that, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you did not do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, Dream, Discover.” It is indeed true that one of the most spiritually nourishing activities is sailing. When we step onto the deck of a sailboat, we step out of the world of dayto-day pressures and stresses. Here the crew and boat are pitted against the weather, the sea condition and natural or

The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails. created hazards. When a boat leaves a harbour, the crew must deal with whatever it finds on the water. It can be fog, thunderstorm or high winds… or idyllic sailing conditions. There is no quick refuge. But since there is a singleness of purpose, life is ‘simpler’. The crew works as a team to sail the boat efficiently, to ensure safe and yet have fun. There is good food, good conversation and good camaraderie. The natural world offers good healing. There are beautiful sunsets... wind in the hair and sun on the face…new places and new ports. On the oceans we meet with seemingly curious dolphins and enormous whales. We realize that we as humans are only a part of Creation. During the course of the voyage we not only learn to face trials and suffering but also the need to express our deep gratefulness for what we have.

When times are good, people take prosperity for granted and begin to believe that they are invulnerable. In times of uncertainty, people realize how powerless they are to control their own destiny and how difficult it is to sail through. If we begin to see that everything we have, or counted on, can just be taken away, it becomes much harder to take it for granted. So a crisis can make us more grateful, and in those moments of despair, this gratitude helps us cope. Consciously cultivating an attitude of gratitude builds up a psychological immune system, which can cushion us when we fall. Gratitude changes the pangs of memory into a tranquil joy. Grateful people are more resilient to stress whether from minor everyday hassles or major personal upheavals. The contrast between suffering and redemption allows gratitude to break through. It works this way: think of the worst times in your life - your sorrows and your losses; and then remember that here you are, able to remember them, that you made it through the worst times of your life. You got through the trauma and the trial, you endured the temptation, you survived the bad relationship and you have made your way out of the dark. This process of remembering how difficult life used to be and how far we have come up, helps nurture gratefulness. The point is not to ignore or forget the past, but to develop a fruitful frame of reference in the present, from which to view experiences and events. There is another way to foster gratitude: by confronting our own mortality. Grateful coping might involve seeing how a stressful event has shaped who we are today and has prompted us to re-evaluate what is really important in life. A few days back I asked two of my friends, who had been admitted to a local hospital with life threatening and highly debilitating attacks of dengue, to re-create their experience and reflect on what they felt and how they expressed those feelings. In the face of such diseases, people often find life extremely challenging, painful and frustrating. I wondered whether they would find anything to be grateful about; in fact, at such times, resentment may overshadow gratefulness.

Be Grateful Be grateful to all those who abandoned you Hurt you, or cheat you Those that let you down in the face of calamity Those who said they were family But were none; some worse than adversaries They were so mercenary Be grateful to all those who let you down Did not appreciate you, they did frown And doubt whether you were true Friends are far too few The rest are all time-servers, the friends in fair weather; And so when all these ‘well-wishers’ Desert you, defeat or deceit you Indeed they leave no choice for you But to turn to your inner self, your true best friend The stable soul, to discover so much Love, Peace, Bliss, Power, Strength Wisdom, Truth & Contentment A safety zone Which only you can discover…alone The victories of the inner world are in just being Being aware Of how rich you are, the treasures you have So…give what you wanted to get. Shobha Lidder Writer Journalist, Teacher Trainer, Social Activist, Reiki Master, Pranic Healer

Could they remember a time when they felt a deep sense of gratitude to someone or for something? Both had much in their lives that they were grateful for. Our goal is not to just relive the experience, but rather to get a fresh, redemptive perspective on it. Emotional venting, without the accompanying insight, does not produce change. David Thoreau compares sailing with the journey of life: "The sail, the play of its pulse - so like our own lives: so thin and yet so full of life, so noiseless when it labors hardest, so noisy and impatient when least effective." There is no sailor whose boat has never

capsized. To say this is not to diminish the experience, but to emphasize its universal aspect. The Art lies is being in command again. It is difficult to predict the arrival and the lifting of rough times; we should learn to endure all weathers. We must appreciate that there is many a seascape in the open ocean of life.. u Dr. Rajesh Bhola is President of Spastic Society of Gurgaon and is working for the cause of children with autism, cerebral palsy, mental retardation and multiple disabilities for more than 25 years. He can be contacted at


B on V ivant

8-14 November 2013

One-way (Mars) Ticket I

t is normal to be worried about possible homesickness before embarking on a long journey. But Stephan Guenther has more reason than most to be concerned. His trip of choice would be a one-way ticket to Mars. “I have been fascinated by space travel for as long as I can remember, it’s part and parcel of what I am,” says the 44-year-old pilot and flight instructor. “I have always wanted to go into space.” When Guenther learned that the not-for-profit Mars One Foundation was looking for “one way astronauts” to help establish a permanent human settlement on Mars by 2023, he had no hesitation in applying for the position. “The launch is scheduled for 2022, because the orbits of Earth and Mars will see the planets come so close to each other that the flight time will be only eight months,” he explains. Over 100,000 people have applied to be a part of the Dutch Mars One project, which is run by engineer Bas Lansdorp. Only 40 will be selected. And of that 40, just four will participate in the first trip to Mars – never to return to Earth. The Foundation is working with the University of Twente in

the Netherlands, to try and develop the information, bio- and nanotechnologies necessary to make the Project a success. “They need a completely new type of person who has to be trained scientifically, technologically and from a character point of view, for life on Mars,” says Guenther. But why does Guenther want to leave his idyllic home in the small town of Leichlingen, near the western German city of Cologne, for a lonely life on desolate Mars? “The human race has to discover space. We have to also look beyond our A model of the proposed spacecraft for a trip to Mars. horizons.” The German has also with temperatures view it is absolutely possible to been heartened by the dropping to mi- fly to Mars and establish a colorecent news that NASA’s nus 100 degrees ny,” believes Guenther. “HowevMars rover Curiosity celsius. Oxygen er, the psychological and human has found that surface will have to be pro- factor could be a problem. This soil on the Red Planet duced on Mars.” contains about 2 per is where the selection process Because Guen- will be difficult.” cent water by weight. ther always wanted That means future Mars From 2014/15, the 40 to go into space, he successful applicants will explorers may be able specialized in tech- train for eight years in teams to get all the water they nology and physics of four, with only one group need out of the Planet’s while at school. He flying out to the red planet. red dirt. However, de- Stephan Guenther, a software engineer has an American The Mars One Mission Plan spite this, Mars could who has registered Commercial Pilot’s envisages cargo missions and not be considered anyfor a one-way licence and develops the preparation of a habitable thing other than a hos- trip to the planet software for flight settlement by robots, prior tile environment. Mars, at his home simulators, includ- to human landings. Five “The atmosphere is so in Leichlingen, ing space shuttle unmanned thin that your blood Germany. launches will launches and moon take place before the first would boil immediately, without the protection of a walks. He has even completed astronauts launch into a course in communications space in 2022. The Mission space suit,” says the father of training, to improve his ability design takes into account three children. “There are seasons that are to work in a team. “I think that the expansion of the human much more severe than on Earth, from a purely technical point of colony, whereby a new crew Rolf Vennenbernd

{ Yuriko Wahl-Immel/ Leichlingen, Germany/DPA }

A Dream Road { Ruchika Makhija } ‘The Romantic Road’ is Germany’s best known and most popular holiday route. This 500km long stretch passes through beautiful countryside and towns. Every year an increasing

number of people make use of the ‘Romantic Road’ for sightseeing, and to explore the historical cities. On the way from north to south, the landscape changes from river valleys, fertile agricultural land, forests and meadows to dramatic mountain

scenery. The Romantic Road thrives on the harmony of culture and hospitality, on the unending series of new vistas in polymorphic landscapes, and on towns with impressive buildings that have preserved their appearance over centuries. The best way to experience this journey is to simply hire a car and start from Heidelberg (see picture). This town lies on the banks of the River Neckar. It is a jewel among German travel destinations - the landmark being a huge ruin of ‘Heidelberg Castle’. Though deserted and eerie, it still looks royal and very beautiful. After crossing this picturesque town one goes to Rothenberg, the bestpreserved medieval town in Germany. To break the journey, try spending a night in the 1,000-year-old Castle Colmberg. Proceeding further south would lead you to one of Germany’s oldest cities,

will arrive every two years. The volunteers will have to source oxygen and hydrogen from ice and water beneath the planet’s soil and grow plants in greenhouses, which will later take over the oxygen production and feed the first settlers. Solar panels will provide the necessary energy. Not least because of financial concerns, it remains unclear whether the Project will be a success. The Mars One Foundation hopes to earn much of the 9.6 billion dollars it estimates the Project requires, through the sale of media rights. However, even if this were possible, critics say the budget is unrealistically low. The German Aerospace Centre (DLR) estimates that such a project would cost around 100 billion dollars, though its numbers include the cost of a return ticket for the astronauts. There are no plans for a return flight in the Mars One Project, precisely because that would require an enormous budget and the development of completely new technology, says Guenther. It is also not clear whether the human body could survive such a return flight. The chosen astronauts will lose around 30 per cent of their muscle and bone mass during the eight-month flight to Mars in gravity-free conditions. This degeneration will only increase once they have landed on Mars. Critics of the Project find the lack of any possible return from Mars ethically questionable. u

Q, please


Augsburg, where you can enjoy a genuine medieval candlelight dinner in an old vaulted room. All this while you would be driving alongside beautiful vineyards, clear waters and rolling hills, and finally reach the majestic Bavarian Alps. The destination is the romantic fairytale Castle Neuschwanstein. Nestled in the Bavarian Alps, this Castle was built for Louis II of Bavaria - often referred as the Mad-King Ludwig. This fairytale Castle has been featured in various movies and has been the inspiration for Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle. This 60-year-old Road certainly takes you well back in time….as in a dream.u

here is literally jubiliation today, in the news channels, about the successful launching of Mangal Abhiyan [rocket etc] by India but the following questions come to my mind:   How & in what way is India, specifically its poor, going to be benefitted, & in what time frame?   What sort of benefits would they be?  How much money has been spent so far in this Mission?   How much more money will be spent, including on the establishment, in the next five years or so?  Should not our priority be to remove poverty, improve infrastructure/housing/ quality of life/safety, arrest corruption & check scams etc.?   Should not this research work be left to rich nations?  Will some learned persons educate me on these aspects, please? u Vijay K. Saluja

8-14 November 2013

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{ Julia Brakel/ Addis Ababa/ DPA }

lost my real and natural way of laughing, due to the stress I experienced during my medical studies. I wanted it back,” says junior doctor Filmon Mengesha Kihshen. “The course will also help me in my work in future, when I am trying to help patients struggling with feelings of depression and anxiety,” adds the 28-year-old. Insurance company employee Jagema Wami is another convert to the teachings of the laughter school. “Belachew Girma has had an enormously positive effect on my life,” says the 38-year-old father of three. “The laughter course was not only lots of fun, it has also made me much more confident when dealing with customers.” It seems counter-intuitive that Africa’s first laughter school should open in one of the continent’s poorest countries, but Girma is convinced that it is exactly in situations that seem hopeless and unmanageable, that people need to nurture their joy for life. The laughter therapist also regularly


aughter is certainly the best medicine for Belachew Girma, the unofficial World Laughter Master and founder of the first laughter school in Africa. Girma has not only managed to laugh continuously for an incredible three hours and six minutes, the 46-yearold Ethiopian now uses his unusual talent to help others learn how to deal with life’s slings and arrows in a more positive and constructive manner. Having set his first unofficial world record at the Impossibility World Challenger Games in 2002, Girma has since beaten his own best mark twice, with the current record standing since 2008. In 2011, Girma opened a laughter school in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, where students can enrol in a onemonth laughter course, to help rediscover their natural state of happiness. “I decided to go to the laughter school because I thought that I had

Girma, the unofficial World Laughter Master, has managed to laugh continuously for an incredible three hours and six minutes. 

gives free classes to orphan children, in an attempt to raise their self-esteem. Looking at Girma today, it is hard to believe that he has endured the tragedy of losing his first wife to AIDS as well as his business to fire and flood accidents two years later. Girma used alcohol and the local drug ‘khat’ to try

to numb the pain and even contemplated suicide at one point. “It was a difficult time for me, when I felt lonely and socially isolated,” he explains. “The Bible and a book about human psychology were the catalysts for me - changing my life, by helping me give up on my addictions, face life with new courage and rebuild my self-

Blogger Exposes All

{ Haiko Prengel/ Berlin/ DPA }

Stephanie Pilick


hristian Heller has overcome any inhibition he might have had about living his life in a virtual glasshouse, where every part of his private life is exposed for all to see. The revelation that the US National Security Agency (NSA) requires large Internet companies like Google to hand over vast amounts of personal data transmitted by individual web users, has not changed his view. Heller is more than happy to reveal online all his innermost secrets, including his personal diary, bank details and accounts of his sex life. The 28-yearold is carrying out what he describes as a “post-privacy experiment”, and believes he is going on the offensive by voluntarily revealing his most intimate activities on the web. For several years Heller has meticulously noted his complete daily routine and published it on his website, , under the title ‘PlomWiki’. “It has given me great pleasure,” he explains. “My philosophy is that the more useful the information is, the more public it should be made.” Many of the Berliner’s notes can be best described as banal such as recounting what he has eaten that day or giving details

Julia Brakel

Laughter World Champion

Christian Heller in his Berlin apartment. He blogs about every detail of his life including sex, eliminating all privacy as a demonstration of his belief in the ‘post-privacy’ era.

about what academic article he is currently working on. Heller agrees that not many people actually read his blog entries, although he does not bother checking the access statistics for his website. The experiment is merely replicating reality. The admission by the US government that it has been secretly collecting information

on non-US citizens for nearly six years, has made clear that data protection is more an illusion than a reality. Though government surveillance appears widespread, people also have to accept some degree of responsibility for what is happening as a result of their - in many cases unabashed willingness to

share private and intimate details with others on social networks. Heller belongs to a movement that believes that we are now living in a “post-privacy” society and asks whether in the digital age - considering the amount of data available and technological advances being made - the concept of data protection should not be simply consigned to the dustbin. “Post-Privacy Living Well without a Private Life” is the title of Heller’s book. It tackles the theory that privacy is now a thing of the past. The blogger also gives talks and writes articles about humanity’s “digital consciousness.” Campaigners for strict protection of data contend that Heller’s thesis is naive and even dangerous. They argue that the potential for oppression that could come with round-the-clock surveillance is underestimated. “Press reports about the state of surveillance allow us to guess the degree to which data flows can be controlled, censored and manipulated,” the German Federal Data Protection Commissioner, Peter Schaar,

confidence.” A daily bout of whole-hearted laughter is now an intrinsic part of Girma’s routine. He is convinced that laughter is not only psychologically beneficial but that the therapy also reduces pain and prevents the progression of illness - a view that is partly backed up by scientific research in the area. “One of the consequences of laughter is that the level of stress hormones is reduced and blood cells that strengthen the body’s immune system are able to increase,” explains psychotherapist Michael Titze from the Academy of Individual Psychology in Switzerland. Titze is considered a pioneer in recognizing the medicinal benefits of laughter, which leads to the release of pain-killing hormones called endorphins. Girma now travels across the globe, hosting workshops and giving demonstrations about how he has managed to change his life for the better through laughter. He is happily married again and the proud father of five children. u wrote in a review of Heller’s book. Making the best of the situation, because invasive surveillance is now possible with modern technology, is not an acceptable position, he argues. Instead, a way has to be found, which will lead to the creation of a democratic information society. “This entitlement encompasses the legal as well as technological design principles that will protect the rights of Internet users - including the right to privacy and control of personal information - in the 21st century,” says Schaar, a privacy advocate with a government salary. Advocates of transparency are also critical of the post-privacy philosophy, arguing that while information about public tenders and spending should be transparent, private data needs to be protected. Heller believes the post-privacy debate is an important part of understanding and moulding how humanity will live together in the future. Transparency could also be used to control the power of the State, he argues. Society needs to become more tolerant, as the impending “massive exposure of characteristics” will bring to light not only your neighbours’ secrets but many other things that are still considered taboo. “Privacy will no longer exist,” says Heller, with almost complete indifference.u


First Climate Refugee? { Cheryl Norrie and Christiane Oelrich/ Wellington/Bangkok/ DPA }


oane Teitiota’s homeland is under threat. The island nation of Kiribati, some 4,000 kilometres north-east of New Zealand, is feeling the strain of overpopulation, underdevelopment and the consequences of a warming climate. The storms on Kiribati’s 33 low-lying islands are brutal. The floods can be devastating. The coral beneath Teitiota’s house in Kiribati is gradually being eroded away, even as sea levels rise. “There’s no future for us when we go back to Kiribati,” Teitiota, 37, told a New Zealand Appeals Tribunal in October. Teitiota is in the midst of a long battle to be recognized as a climate refugee: the first person in the world to be granted refugee status on the grounds of climate change. A previous ruling went against him in June. However, this week the Auckland High Court is due to decide whether he has grounds to appeal that decision. If the ruling - expected this week - goes against his client, Teitiota’s lawyer, Michael Kidd, says he will take the case to higher authorities. “The other option would be to appeal it up to the Supreme Court, and even

if the Supreme Court says ‘no,’ you can go to the Human Rights Committee of the United Nations,” Kidd said. Teitiota, who has twice been refused refugee status, moved to New Zealand six years ago on a guest worker visa. He first worked in construction jobs. “He stayed on after his visa expired and is today an illegal worker,” Kidd said. Teitiota currently lives in Auckland with his wife and three children, the youngest of whom is 18 months old. He ekes out a living doing farm jobs, such as picking strawberries, his lawyer said, but his debts have now reached four figures. Meanwhile, his native country is also struggling. A New Zealand government report on Kiribati concluded that it was

Pianist Lang Lang to motivate Children to Dream

extremely fragile economically, socially and environmentally. The Report by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade points to serious health and social problems due to a lack of functional sewerage, limited access to drinking water and coastal erosion. “You get flooding on a regular basis, where at least half the island is under water,” Kidd said. “Most plants don’t like salt and, in fact, half the coconut trees have died in Kiribati and those are a staple.” Despite the difficult conditions in Kiribati, Bill Hodge, a constitutional law expert and Associate Professor at the University of Auckland, said he didn’t hold out much hope that Teitiota would be granted refu-


commitment to advocating for the youth and congratulated the pianist, who is only 31 years old, on his illustrious career. “Through his playful spirit and profound talent, Lang Lang connects people, not only through his music, but also through his passion to build a better world through education,” Ban said. Lang joins the ranks of 11 other UN Messengers of Peace advocating on behalf of the United Nations. These include musician Stevie Wonder and actors Michael Douglas, Edward Norton and Charlize Theron. u

gee status. He said the 1951 Refugee Convention was designed to protect individuals who had a reasonable fear of persecution because of their gender, religion, ethnic origin or race. “This guy doesn’t quite fit because he hasn’t been persecuted as an individual and there is no harassment inflicted upon him because of his race or gender,” Hodge said. He argues that there needs to be a new convention that covers global warming and rising sea levels and possibly desertification. The lack of such a convention hasn’t dimmed Kidd’s optimism that his client has a chance of making history as the world’s first climate refugee. “I’d like to think the judge will sit down and say: Okay, well, perhaps the Refugee Convention is outdated and we could tweak here, and tweak there, and bingo, Teitiota would be allowed to stay - primarily because of his children.” Kidd believes that the case rings one more alarm bell that the planet is undergoing catastrophic change. “Kiribati as a place will cease to exist and just simply disappear beneath the waves,” he warns. “Unless people stop what they are doing and also recognize the problems that Mr Teitiota and people like him have ... within 100 years I think this planet will be unliveable and I don’t want to leave that sort of situation to my children, grandchildren and greatgrandchildren,” he said. u

Sylvester Stallone exhibits Paintings { St Petersburg/ DPA }


rtwork by Hollywood film star Sylvester Stallone went on exhibit Sunday at the Mikhailovsky Castle of the Russian Museum in St Petersburg. Featuring work produced over nearly 40 years, the Exhibit of 36 Stallone paintings is to run until January 13. Stallone’s painting was impressive, powerful and dynamic, the Interfax news agency quoted Museum Director Vladimir Gussev as saying. “They show how aggressive our world is,” Gussev said. “It is apparent how art has developed; it is an honest and interesting exhibit.” Stallone, 67, the star of the Rocky and Rambo movies, was cited as saying that he turned to painting, which predated and continued after his stardom, when he found no other way to express his emotions. u

Pope Francis attracts more than 10 million followers on Twitter

Slovak Flying Car completes first Test Flight { Bratislava/ DPA }


{ New York DPA } N Secretary General Ban K i - m o o n designated worldrenowned Chinese pianist Lang Lang as the newest UN Messenger of Peace. Lang, who has been a goodwill ambassador for the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) for years, said as a UN Messenger of Peace he would focus on global education. “I hope to motivate children to have dreams,” Lang said. “We must give (children) the necessary tools to reach their goals in life and make their dreams come true.” Lang, who played a piece by Chopin at the Ceremony, said he would raise awareness on the importance of universal education, to help the 57 million school-aged children who currently do not have access to schooling. Ban welcomed Lang’s

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Slovak designer has just completed the first test flight of the Aeromobil Version 2.5, the latest pre-prototype of a flying car he has been honing to perfection for 20 years. A YouTube film of the maiden flight from an airstrip in Slovakia is shown on the Company’s website. The car first drove along regular highways, then took to the air. On the ground, the Aeromobil’s insect-like wings are folded straight back along the fuselage and the engine drives the front wheels. In the air, a three-blade propeller provides propulsion. There is room for two people in the snug cockpit and there are two steering wheels – one for driving on the ground and a smaller wheel for flying. The vehicle weighs a mere 450 kilograms without fuel and passengers on board. The latest prototype is driven by a Rotax 912 light-aircraft power plant - a four-cylinder engine turning out about 100 horsepower. Designer Stefan Klein says the current Aeromobil is very close to the 3.0 production version, which he hopes will go into series production soon. Earlier versions were more boxy in appearance and less technically sophisticated. A graduate of Slovak University of Technology, Klein headed research projects for Audi, Volkswagen and BMW. On its home page Aeromobil says the flying car fits into a standard parking space and can refuel at any regular service station. “It is fully accustomed to road traffic and as a plane it could both take off and land at any airport in the world,” reads the blurb. Klein is not the only engineer working towards the world’s first commercially viable flying car. US-based Terrafugia is currently developing a fixed-wing model reminiscent of a small spaceship. u

{ Rome / DPA }


ope Francis broke the 10 million mark on Twitter, Sunday, after more than doubling the number of his followers since his election in March. “Dear followers, I understand there are now over 10 million of you!” Francis wrote on his account, @Pontifex. “I thank you with all my heart and ask you to continue praying for me.” His immediate predecessor, Benedict XVI, had about 3 million followers at the end of his papacy. Benedict began the papal Twitter feed in December. Francis, however, has way to go before he catches up to Twitter’s most-followed, who are primarily pop music stars. Justin Bieber counts more than 46 million followers, Katy Perry nearly 46 million and Lady Gaga more than 40 million. US President Barack Obama is the fourth-most-followed Twitter user at nearly 39 million. u

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US Spying puts Cloud Security at Risk { Christoph Dernbach/ Berlin / DPA }


he amount of data accessed by the US National Security Agency (NSA), and its British equivalent GCHQ, could be much greater than previously thought and have consequences for cloud computing and Google’s Android smartphone system. If the latest revelations published by the Washington Post are accurate, huge cloud networks from companies like Google and Yahoo were secretly accessed by the two surveillance agencies, using the unencrypted links behind those companies’ massive servers. The private data of hundreds of millions of people is believed to have been compromised by “Operation Muscular” under which the Agencies reportedly intercepted data flows from the fibre-optic cables used by the two companies. In Britain, GCHQ gained access to data via its Tempora programme. Both agencies have cable- and network-tapping capabilities, collectively called Upstream, which have the ability to intercept

anything that travels over the Internet. According to the Report, Operation Muscular is a secret programme that is unlike PRISM, which relies on court orders to obtain data from technology firms. As the NSA intercept occurs outside of US territory, the Agency has much more latitude than within the United States, where it would require court orders. The capability to access these data flows could have huge implications for Google, as it means that the NSA is able to capture information in real-time from Google users – including Gmail, Google Docs and Google Maps data. Smartphones that use the Android operating system could also be severely affected, as they are barely able to function without using Google services. The NSA is also storing the online metadata of millions of Internet users,

even if the person is not of interest to the British and American security agencies. Metadata provides a record of almost anything a user does online, including browsing history, email activity, and sometimes even account passwords. The amount of data collected is so huge that it cannot be stored for a sustained length of time, which is why the NSA has developed special filter programmes that archive a percentage of the data for a longer period. “We are outraged at the lengths to which the government seems to have gone to intercept data from our private fibre networks, and it underscores the need for urgent reform,” Google’s Chief Legal Officer David Drummond said in response to the revelations. Drummond added that Google has long been concerned about the possibility of this kind of snooping,

How Obama keeps his Mobile Comm Secret { Washington/ DPA }


uring his first White House campaign, Barack Obama’s BlackBerry 8830 seldom left his side. He used the mobile email reader constantly to run his successful election race. That dependence made it all the more shocking when White House security told him he’d have to give it up upon assuming office. The beloved BlackBerry had become an unacceptable security risk. At Obama’s insistence, however, those barriers were eventually overcome: he routinely makes calls and frequently sends emails via his BlackBerry. Yet the ease with which he communicates disguises the vast security infrastructure that had to be set up to secure the President’s wired ways. White House photographs show Obama using a BlackBerry 8900 or other model from the Canadian smartphone manufacturer, which set

up a kind of closed net infrastructure for the President. Like other secured mobiles, Obama’s are also protected with encryption software. People speaking to Obama must use similar systems or have their conversations with him re-encrypted. As for landline conversations, Obama uses specially designed devices from Telecore and Cisco. But US security agencies don’t rely entirely upon encryption to keep presidential communications secret. Even without cracking the code, hackers

could still pick up Obama’s location by figuring out the mobile’s position in relation to broadcast towers. That’s why the President always has a secure base station in his region assigned to him, which his mobile uses exclusively. The station is then connected to the outside world via satellite. The President’s email inbox is also a sensitive area. No attachments are allowed, to protect it from viruses. Only the smallest circle of people even knows the address. Obama complained to US broadcaster ABC about the communications restrictions in the summer of 2010. At that point, only 10 people knew how to reach him by email. “I’ve got to admit, it’s no fun because they think that it’s probably going to be subject to the presidential records act, so nobody wants to send me the real juicy stuff,” Obama said on ABC’s The View programme. “It’s all very official. ‘Mr. President, you have a meeting coming up and we’d like to brief you.’” u

which is why the Company has continued to extend encryption across more Google services and links. There were barely any public protests or complaints by Internet companies in the United States after the initial Snowden furore during the summer. However, the latest revelations, together with reports that the United States had spied on leaders of 35 countries, are bound to give impetus to groups such as Stop Watching Us, which drew thousands to a demonstration in Washington at the weekend, to protest NSA spying. Stop Watching Us is a coalition of more than 100 public advocacy groups that wants the US Congress to end mass surveillance. According to Informationweek, Google has accelerated plans to encrypt all traffic flowing between its data centres, in the wake of the leaked documents offering new details about the NSA’s surveillance capabilities. However, a sceptic public will need to be convinced that these measures will restore trust, that data stored by Google and Yahoo is truly secure from prying eyes. u

Britain lifts ban on filming in Courtrooms { London/ DPA }


ritain partially lifted a ban on filming in courtrooms recently, allowing cameras to broadcast from the Court of Appeal, one of the country’s highest courts, for the first time. “This is a landmark moment for justice and journalism,” said James Harding, BBC head of news. “It is a significant step on the way to helping millions of viewers gain a greater understanding of how our judicial system works.” The BBC and Sky were among the broadcasters that have campaigned for years for the lifting of the ban. Broadcasters will be allowed to film lawyers’ arguments, judges’ summing up, decisions and sentencing – but witnesses, victims and defendants will not be shown. It will also be possible to broadcast some cases live, though with a 70-second delay, to allow for the removal of things that might break broadcasting rules or court-reporting restrictions. “Seeing justice being done will no longer be restricted to those members of the public who have the opportunity and time to go to court,” said John Ryley, the Head of Sky News. u

Student trumps experts to find baby Dinosaur fossil { San Francisco, California/ DPA }


cientists have reported the discovery by a 17-year-old student of the fossil of a young dinosaur that lived around 75 million years ago in western North America. Two experienced paleontologists walked by the almost complete fossil skeleton before 17-year-old student Kevin Terris uncovered the remarkable find at the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

(GSENM) in southern Utah, in 2009. “I initially wanted to know what type of bone part was sticking out of the stone,” explained Terris, who called over Dr Andy Farke to examine his discovery. Farke initially believed the bone looked like a piece of dinosaur rib and thought it would not be worth the effort to extract. But when he turned over a nearby small stone, he was shocked to find a skull of a Parasaurolophus, a duck-billed planteating dinosaur. “I was thrilled when we uncovered the skull,” said Terris.

The dinosaur has been named “Joe” by scientists, and was less than 2.5 metres long and under a year old when it died. This makes it the youngest, smallest and most complete fossil skeleton yet known for this genus of dinosaur, according to an an article published in the science journal PeerJ. Parasaurolophus was a herbivore and part of a diverse family of Cretaceous dinosaurs known for their range of bizarre head adornments. This type of adult dinosaur is well-known for a long and hollow bony tube on the top

of its skull, but Joe already had a low bump on top of its head. This came as a surprise to scientists, as other Cretaceous dinosaurs only began to grow their head adornments when they were at least half fully grown. Paleontologists believe the tube could have been used to communicate or for visual display. Computer tomography indicates that the young dinosaur created much higher tones than an adult, albeit in a similarly low frequency range. u

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