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13-19 December 2013

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

Vol. 3 No. 17  Pages 24  ` 7

A Real Supreme Shock { Abhishek Behl / FG }

owner, however, has no other right except the right of ‘user’. Therefore, Community centres, nursery schools, shops etc., being part of the approved (by DTCP) layout plans, can be used by the apartment owners; and, being part of the larger colony, are intended for independent use of all the apartment owners – as ‘users’.

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CM Hooda says that the Congress should support the AAP (Party) in Delhi !? Is this the shape of things to come in Haryana? A preventive or pro-active move…or plain scared? FG is happy that the ‘Pehle AAP’ headline (Editorial of May 17-23 issue) is now a common greeting. Aap vote karo.

hile the entire country is drowned in the loud protests against the Supreme Court’s decision to ban/re-criminalize same-sex relationships, a very critical decision, which can possibly cause a paradigm shift in the entire real estate sector – to the detriment of customers - has seemingly gone unnoticed. This decision will particularly hit the residents of Gurgaon, where a large number of Group Housing Societies have been set up by private builders, and there is a constant tussle – in virtually every colony - on the ownership of Common Areas & Facilities. In a landmark decision, a two judge bench of the Supreme Court set aside a judgement by the Punjab and Haryana High Court, which had accepted the plea that apartment owners in Group Housing Societies had undivided interests in the Common Areas and Facilities within a ‘housing complex’. The petition in the Supreme Court was filed by DLF, against the High Court decision that was in favour of the apartment owners of Silver Oaks complex, in DLF Phase 1.

Apartment Owners are only Users As per the Supreme Court decision, the ownership rights on the land earmarked for schools, hospitals, community centres and other community buildings, as per the Haryana Urban Land Development Act, vests with the colonizer. All the same, the right to enjoy those facilities, referred to in Section 3(3)(a) (iv) of the Development Act, whether shown in the Declaration or not under the Apartments Act, cannot be restricted or curtailed; an apartment

Colonizer to construct, at his own cost, the Community Facilities The Supreme Court judgement also says that the Colonizer is legally obliged, under Section 3(3)(a)(iv) of the Act, to construct, at his cost, the Community and Commercial facilities stipulated therein; and an agreement has to be entered into by the Colonizer with the DTCP, under the Development Act, by which the Colonizer is prohibited by law from recovering the cost of provision of those facilities from the apartment owners. That is why Clause 7 of Section 3(f) of the Apartments Act has not made it obligatory, on the part of the Colonizer, to include the ‘Community and Commercial’ facilities in the Declaration. If the Colonizer includes the same within the Declaration, then Section 6 of the Apartments Act will kick in, and Contd on p 8 

What a Closing…aur Saal abhi baaki hai ! The Ides of December ’13 are upon us…

Arvindji, here is what the Delhi voters seem to have said. ‘We prefer BJP to rule; we prefer AAP as principal opposition; we do not want to see Congress for some time. Most important, we want urgent resolution of our civic and social issues – we want action on food prices, water and power, corruption and women’s security’. There is a way out of the political impasse. You do not need to, nor should you, try and rule Delhi. You need to, as you rightly say, put the ‘janta’ first. However, as the principal and the principled opposition, with a clear difference, you should negotiate the way forward with the BJP. It’s time to show them how a party can be a very different, constructive opposition. Promise them that you would not bring down their rule; and ask for your top 3 agenda items in return, in a given time frame (maybe Lokpal, water & power and …). This will be of immense help to those who voted for you, allow your team to start impacting the delivery of civic services and position you as a mature politician who can play the game differently. Walking away into a repoll could go both ways – and probably end in extremes.

Mamma, please read Baaba’s lips. Yes, he does not talk much, but he clearly does not want to be PM – he wants to be Party President. He believes that it is your leadership style, and your coterie, that needs to change. Till now he has rebelled against only the PM; the next press show will probably be against you. Do you really want to see that? So, here is the answer – a little bitter, but perhaps palatable (or can be made so). On January 1, announce your stepping down as President of the Congress Party. It’s time for ‘banvaas’ and a simple healthy life after 14 years at the top. The Congress Family would surely select and appoint Baaba as the next President. And now the tricky part…but a winner. Announce the President of India as the Congress nominee for the post of PM. Yes, Pranabda – the most deserving and the most likely to even assure a win. He would be acceptable to all (almost), he can ensure a good development agenda, he would be able to get commitment from all sorts of allies and he would also handle the BJP (even Modi) in the most effective manner. The handling of AAP, of course, is a different matter – no one seems to have a clue. Yes, Pranabda will not be a yes man. But look at what that has led you to; you are staring at defeat and political oblivion… and a possible witch hunt. Pranabda may listen only to his conscience and his team, but he is still a loyal Congressman – and he anyway knows it all. He’s been there, done that – implicitly and complicitly.

This Sunday’s election fever is going to seem like a tea party in front of the Nirbhaya wave, come the 16th. The ruling party, Baaba and Mamma would again talk of taking charge and taking drastic action – only to fizzle out…again. The PM remains the hidden hand. They have lost the plot. It would perhaps be left to the Aam Aadmi Party to show the way forward, even here. It seems that it is only we, the people, who will finally have to protect ourselves and our families. There was a thought that, once we had urgently done enough for the safety and security of women, we would perhaps be worthy of praying at a memorial of Nirbhaya - definitely come her anniversary. However, while her Nirbhaya spirit still beckons, we have failed her…worse, forsaken her. We have been unworthy of her sacrifice. The fast-track wheels of justice moved painfully slow, even in this rarest of rare cases. There is still no sense of closure on Nirbhaya. The failure to pass the Lokpal Bill pales in comparison to the continued and virtually unchecked assault and rape against girls and women. They are still scared to go out alone at night; we continue to live in the Dark Ages.


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13-19 December 2013

RNI No. HARENG/2011/39319 Postal Regn. No. GRG/35/2012-2014, VOL.–3 No.–17  13-19 December 2013

Editor:

Atul Sobti

WORKSHOP  THEATRE  NIGHTLIFE  MUSIC  ART

Sr. Correspondents: Abhishek Behl Shilpy Arora

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Art

Group Art Exhibition @ Beanstalk, Sector 15, Part II, NH 8 Date: Up to December 14 Time: 11:00 am onwards Group Exhibition of Contemporary Gond paintings by Ramsingh Urveti, Narmada Prasad Tekam & Venkat Singh Shya.

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Christmas Celebrations

Spiritual Retreat

Happiness of Being @ Acharya Tulsi Meditation Centre, Sector 62 (Opp the Heritage School) Date: December 13 to 15 Time: 3:00 pm Retreat that will explore simple teachings and practices in a beautiful natural setting in the company of like-minded friends. There will be sharing and dialogue, and opportunities to be with yourselves. 
The Retreat will be reflecting on the teachings of Nisargadatta Maharaj, Ramana Maharishi and other contemporary teachers. For 
Registration: Contact Vinit at +91-9810160004 (or) email at vinit.taneja@tresonance.com

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Nightlife

Ishq Sufiana Live @ Lemp Brewpub & Kitchen, Star Mall, Sector 30 Date: December 13 Time: 10:00 pm njoy the soulful voice of Kamal Khan as he belts out his popular numbers – Ishq Sufiana, Wallah re Wallah and Naina. Get ready to rock the evening with Khan.

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@ The Westin Hotel, Sector 29 Date: December 14 Time: 10:00 am to 12 noon azu Saka, a renowned Japanese Piano Teacher, will perform a Debussy, Edward Grieg and Christmas pieces. 18 of her students will be accompanying her at this Concert.

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Art & Literary Festival GliterARTi

@ Cyber Hub, Cyber City Date: December 13 & 14 Time: 11:00 am onwards n Art and Literary Festival that celebrates Gurgaon as an artistic and creative City with an intellectual and cosmopolitan population. The 2-day Fest includes Paintings, Cartooning, Photography, Sculptures, Books, Authors and discussions by experts on leadership, realty, travel and food. Also on offer are Street Art, Graffiti, Photography, Story Telling, Poetry and Street Plays at the Phase II, Phase III and the Micromax Maulsari Rapid Metro Stations. For details contact: 9810422292/9810056252

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Nightlife

Dirty December Club Nights @ Club Rhino, South Point Mall, Golf Course Road Date: December 14 Time: 8:00 pm ance all your worries away at this swinging Night Club. Sway to the beats of the best of DJs playing your favourite numbers.

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Grand Christmas Mela @ HUDA Gymkhana Club, Sector 29 Date: December 14 Time: 3:00 pm to 10:00 pm Christmas Mela presented by Delhi Bible Fellowship. Get into the Christmas cheer with carols, games, goodies, snacks and Santa! The Programme features a dance drama with over 100 dancers, actors and singers. There is also a Christmas Carol singing competition for the churches of Gurgaon. Visit: http://dbfgurgaon.org/
for more details


Nightlife

Country & Oldies Live @ Drift, Epicentre, Apparel House, Sector 44 Date: December 18 Time: 8:00 pm atch Samir Saxena belting out golden oldies and country music. Enjoy the evening as you go down memory lane.

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Christmas Pageant Theatre

The Very First Christmas @ Intellitots, Sector 57 Date: December 15 to 22 Time: Weekends-10:00 am to 11:00 am; Weekdays-5:00 pm to 6:00 pm Christmas musical drama for kids aged 6-12 years. Get your kids to participate in these classes and watch their performance on the final day. Contact: Avanti @ 9810355310

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Open Mic series

Caferati Open Mic 23.0 Epicentre, Apparel House, Sector 44

Date: December 14 Time: 6:30 pm 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.

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Theatre

9 Parts of Desire @ Epicentre, Apparel House, Sector 44 Date: December 16 Time: 8:00 pm

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njoy this English Play directed by Lillette Dubey. This is a story of nine Iraqi women – spanning the decades between the first and second Gulf wars and the 'occupation'. The Play delves into the many conflicting aspects of what it means to be a woman in a country overshadowed by war.


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Workshop

Body Science @ Easy Space Business Centre, Sohna Road Date: December 15 Time: 10:00 am Workshop on Body Science for parents, conducted by Parwarish Institute of Parenting. The Workshop will help parents enhance their channels of communication with their children, with regard to sex education. 
Prior registration is required. Call: 9711145288/
9971409086/
 9899298936 
to register

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Enchanting Relations

Delhi's Artscape

@ Square One Mall, Saket Date: December 14 to 24 Time: 11:00 am to 7:00 pm (Mondays Closed) An Exhibition of recent works by artist Asit Kumar Patnaik.

Workshop

Personal Branding @ Hilton Garden Inn Gurgaon Baani Square, sector 50 Date: December 18 Time: 10:00 am Workshop for women entrepreneurs, professionals, homemakers and business-at-home women, to help them 'Explore and Achieve'. An initiative by 3 women entrepreneurs―Sandhya Pathak, Nidhi Jagtiani and Sunita Biddu― this Workshop will teach the art of forming powerful first impressions and powerful dressing, and how to build a strong online presence with social media as a tool. For Registration, call 9871623335 and 9811737062.

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Workshops A series of Workshops for kids aged 6 to 16 years. @ Vardhman International, 1032-Q, Sector-38 Date: December 21 to January 15 Time: 10:00 am to 7:00 pm Workshop: Engineering for Kids Age Group: 6 to 16 years programme that teaches children about simple machines and different kinds of bridges, gears, pulleys and inclined planes.

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Workshop: Renewable Energy. Age Group: 8 years and above obby classes to teach children the different applications of Renewable Energy. The kids get to perform various experiments using imported kits. Some of the practical sessions include topics like Windmill, Solar Power, Hydel Turbine, Solar Power and Remote Water Heater.

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Lifebloom India 2013 @ Zorba the Buddha, MG Road Date: December 14 to 18 ake this Event your destination for self-evolution. This five day experiential Event will bring together people who are passionate about changing lives. Discourses will be given by 8 international thought leaders – Amalia Ghiban, Portugal, Donna Pearl Cotterell, USA, Elke Wollschon, Germany, Jacqueline Keggins Shaulis, USA, Maria Davis, Australia, Nicola Simpson, UK, Pascal Narpon, France and Sebastian King, Australia.

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Workshop: Electronics Age Group: 8 years and above A hobby course to make the children fully aware of the different components used in the different types of electronic circuits. Practical experiments, using imported kits, will be conducted on Electric Light and Switch, DC Motor & Switch, Musical Door Bell, Laser Gun, Race Games and more. Workshop: Electronics Age Group: 5 years and above During the 6-day Robotic programme, students will design, construct, programme and operate fully functional  robots. Each day they will build and programme a new robot.
 For more details, contact: Vijender Jain, M-9818327437, 8750052475

We Are Ours

@ Khoj Studios, House No. 17, Block S, Khirki Extension Date: Up to December 17 Time: 11:00 am to 7:00 pm 'We Are Ours: A Collection of Manifestos for the Instant' is an Exhibition of 27 manifestos created by contemporary artists. This Exhibition aims to explore the ideas that lie between the artist and the history of Art, its institutions and its socio-cultural origins. The participating artists include Hema Upadhyay, Hetain Patel, Jitish Kallat, Mithu Sen, Nikhil Chopra, Ranbir Kaleka, Surabhi Saraf and Bharti Kher.

86th Annual All India Art Exhibition

@ AIFACS, 1, Rafi Marg Date: Up to December 30 Time: 11:00 am to 7:00 pm An Exhibition of Paintings, Drawings, Graphics and Sculptures.

Strokes

@ Convention Foyer, Lodhi Road Date: Up to December 15 Time: 11:00 am to 7:00 pm A solo show of paintings by Sanjay Soni.


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WORKSHOP  THEATRE  NIGHTLIFE  MUSIC  ART Dinner & Musical evening

Concert

Food

Theatre

Jug Jug Jiyo @ Epicentre, Apparel House, Sector 44 Date: December 17 Time: 7:30 pm atch the Hinglish Play directed by Smita Bharti. It is the story of the lives of two childhood friends―Samyukta and Simran― who are widows, living and sharing a small house in a small town. Samyukta runs a morgue and Simran runs her son’s life. Samyukta’s daughter Sia and Simran’s son Siraj, who are childhood sweethearts and have a live -in relationship unknown to their mothers, pay a visit to them. As the night unfolds, a small confrontation between Sia and Siraj starts unravelling the lives and the past of the mothers.

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Dance

Odissi & Kathak Recital @ Epicentre, Apparel House, Sector 44 Date: December 14 Time: 7:00 pm ala Uditaayan presents an Odissi recital in the style of Kelucharan Mahapatra and Kathak recital in the style of Jaipur Gharana, by the disciples of Mamta Tandan.

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Art

Parallel Postulates @ Nature Morte, 443 Udyog Vihar, Phase IV Date: Up to January 4 Time: 11:00 am to 7:00 pm n Exhibition of new works by artists Anita Dube, Aakash Nihalani, Martand Khosla and Mona Rai. The Exhibition is organised around the continued interest in geometry, mathematical constructions, diagrammatic structures and abstraction. The artists approach the subjects from various directions, in a wide array of mediums.

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Kebabs of the World Festival @ Cafe G, Crowne Plaza, Sector 29, NH8 Date: Up to December 15 Time: 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm avour the symphony of delectable vegetarian and non-vegetarian kebabs from countries like Afghanistan, Greece, Iran, Pakistan and India. Also on offer are special cocktails and mocktails to complement the savouries.

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Full Volume with Mika @ HUDA Grounds, Leisure Valley, Sector 29 Date: December 15 Time: 7:00 pm atch entertaining singer Mika 'live' at this Concert. Mika, known for his songs like Pyaar ki Pungi, Khaali Peeli, Gandi Baat and many recent hits, is going to heat up the chilly evening.

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Christmas Carnival Collection Corner @ Epicentre, Apparel House, Sector 44 Date: December 14 to 15 Time: 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm hare your old books, toys, games and clothes this festive season with needy children. The Collection drive is organised by the NGO Palna.

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Christmas Treats @ MoMo 2 Go, Courtyard by Marriot, Sushant Lok I Date: Up to December 25 his Christmas season pamper your taste buds with irresistible Christmas cakes, chocolate Santas and special Christmas puddings.

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Food Festival

Venue: Grand Mall, MG Road, DLF Phase I Date: December 22, 23 and 24 Time: 12 noon onwards ome and enjoy different cuisines, cakes and drinks at more than 10 food stalls. Children can showcase their creativity by participating in Painting and Craft competitions.

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Christmas Special Lunch @ The Westin Hotel, Sector 29 Date: December 20 Time: 10:30 am A Christmas special with Complex Pastry Chef Mohammad Qureshi. This session of the Westin Culinary Academy is all about cheers, happiness and spreading the joy of the festive season. Chef Qureshi teaches you how to prepare some simple but delicious sweet holiday treats – rich Christmas Cake, Christmas Choux Croquant and Lemon Macaroons.

A Musical evening with a Difference @ K-3, Community Centre, DLF II Date: December 21 Time: 7:00 pm onwards rogressive Residents' Association of DLF II presents a musical evening featuring live performances by reputed singers. In addition to the music, there will also be a special dinner, lucky draws and exciting prizes. Last date for dinner passes is December 18. Contact: O.P Wadhwa at 9810024312/Vishnu Bhargava at 9868118889

Cafe Quiz

Caffeine Quotient @ Barista Lavazza, Grand Mall Date: December 21 Time: 12 noon to 2:00 pm his first-of-its-kind quiz contest at cafes in India will give Barista Lavazza customers an opportunity to participate in an entertaining quiz contest, which pits individual tables against each other. Entire families can participate as a team, as can office colleagues/neighbours or a group of friends...or better still, strangers can team up with each other!

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Nightlife

B.L.O.T @ Courtyard by Marriot, Sushant Lok Date: December 15 Time: 8:30 pm onwards ingfisher Ultra Soul Flyp presents India’s leading audiovisual performers B.L.O.T. (Basic Love Of Things). Helmed by Gaurav Malaker and Avinash Kumar and supported by a network of artists, the Band focuses on creating a typical Club experience – ascribing music, film and art.

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World Cinema

InuYusha (Japanese) @ Epicentre, Apparel House, Sector 44 Date: December 15 Time: 2:00 pm atch the film screening of the anime InuYasha, based on Rumiko Takahashi’s series of manga (comic strips) in the Weekly Shonen.

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H appenings

13-19 December 2013

Style n the City

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tyle Goddess, a lifestyle and fashion Exhibition by Sunayana Bhinder Chibba & Shalini Arora Kochhar, was held in the City. On display were a number of stalls by various designers. There was also a Fashion Show by Charu Parashar.

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DJ Frenzy

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J Aqeel got Gurgaonites in a frenzy as he played popular numbers at a local nightclub, with his trademark mixing. The crowds went crazy at the popular Bollywood numbers.

Music Craft

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om Craft, a leading name in electronic and club mixes, gave Gurgaonites a taste of his music. Just like anywhere across the world, he was an instant hit with the crowd.

Respecting Genders

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wareness building & creative initiatives to sensitise people at work. 'Winning with Diversity & Inclusion’ and ‘Respecting Others and Succeeding Together’ are the guiding principles that represent a holistic strategy being set by PepsiCo India, to promote a culture wherein each individual is valued for who he/she is and brings his/her whole self to work. As part of the effort to promote and encourage inclusion at the workplace, a ‘Nukkad Natak’ was the vehicle chosen to explore and expose conscious and unconscious gender bias in individuals and society. Praveen Someshwar, CEO - Foods, PepsiCo India, said, “Creating awareness is a necessary first step, because many of these mental prejudices lead to non-inclusive behaviours. This medium is very effective and powerful in creating awareness and attitude change.”

Sarva Gramin

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raveen Kumar Jain, Chairman of the Sarva Haryana Gramin Bank, addressed a Press Conference. Jain said that the Bank, with its Head Office at Rohtak, now covers 21 districts of the State. It will continue to serve the rural areas and focus on inclusive banking, which has been its mandate.

Transport Museum

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ndia’s first Heritage Transport Museum was inaugurated at Taoru,by Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda. Also present at the occasion were vintage car collector Tarun Thakral, and Jyothi Rath, the architect who has designed the Museum building.


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13-19 December 2013

THE WEEK THAT WAS  SC overrules a HC order on ownership of ‘common areas’ in the DLF Silver Oaks case.  DC says that the Administration and Corporates should collaborate for the welfare of Gurgaon. He proposes a PPCA (Public Private Community Approach), whereby the govt. can help corporates to spend effectively for social causes under Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives. Ernst & Young have been asked to prepare a Report.  Rapid Metro is to be formally inaugurated on December 15th. On that day the CM will also lay the foundation for the Rao Tula Ram Govt. Commerce College, in Sector 51; it is to be modelled on the Shri Ram College of Commerce, Delhi.  Voter Enrolment Drive is planned between December 13th and 27th.  Police conduct mock-drills for response preparedness in Civil Lines (PWD Resthouse) and DLF II (Leela Hotel).  The deadline for the payment of Property Tax has been extended to December 31st.  A 28-year-old executive riding on a cycle is killed by a speeding car - the car driver is arrested; a student is run over by a roadways bus – his fellow IT students violently protest and damage many other buses; a security guard is killed by a speeding car, near Jharsa flyover.  A girl commits suicide after being constantly taunted on her height by prospective in-laws; a 15-year-old girl from Kadipur Village is kidnapped and raped, in Badshahpur; 6 abandoned girls, who had come from Bihar and were staying in a local village, are handed over to a Bihar Police team; a law student is arrested for hitting and molesting a woman professor, who had disallowed him from taking part in an exam after he turned up late.  A man is beaten up in a road rage incident near the Faridabad Toll Plaza; a builder is booked for harassing a flat owner; drunken

youth brawl with bouncers at an MG Road mall.  Almost Rs. 10 lakhs worth of jewellery is stolen from a house in Shishpal Vihar; bikers snatch a bag with Rs. 40,000 in it, from a person who had gone to deposit the money in a bank in Sector 4; a man is booked for a Rs. 39,000 ATM fraud; a domestic help is robbed of her gold chain, at knifepoint, in Sec 29.  CJM and Secretary, DLSA, Suruchi Atreja Singh, raids Sector 29 CNG pump, and unearths many irregularities  Auto owners have been given 15 days, by the DC, to ensure that the drivers are duly verified by the police; policemen give helmets to bikers caught not wearing them.  200 house owners in Sector 14 have been sent encroachment notices.  Gurgaon Police sets up a special cell for armymen – the Defence Personnel Cell. Currently there are special cells for: Women, Senior Citizens, Cyber Crime and Economic Offences.  HUDA stops almost a hundred families from occupying the EWS flats built in the Ashiana Colony in Sector 47. Over 500 flats have been built, of the over 1,000 planned.  Pharmacies in South City and other areas are raided on a tip-off that they are keeping and supplying illegal drugs, or supplying Schedule H drugs over the counter (without a doctor’s prescription).  Residents vehemently protest the disposal of waste at Vyapar Sadan site.  A 50-bed HUDA Polyclinic comes up in Sector 31; the Civil Hospital ICU is shut down.  Following the decision on Ansal and Amity Universities, ITM University will also come under RTI.  New Bus services are to start, for Haridwar and Mussorie.  Feeder buses from/to Rapid Metro stations may soon be stopped, due to very poor demand and usage.  A Transport Museum comes up near Gurgaon. It has 2,500 antique items displayed in an area of almost 100,000 sq. ft.

Draft Development Plan: Faridabad-Ballabhgarh Complex - 2031

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he State Level Committee of Town and Country Planning Department, Haryana, under the Chairmanship of the Chief Minister, approved the Draft Development Plan of Faridabad-Ballabhgarh Complex – 2031. The Plan has been prepared for a projected population of 41.44 lakh persons, with an urbanizable area of 34,368 hectares. Of the total area, 14,418 hectares has been kept for Residential, and 5,805 hectares for Industrial, purpose. Similarly, 1,882 hectares has been kept for Commercial purpose, 4,403 hectares for Transport and Communication, 1,340 hectares for Public and Semi Public uses, 427 hectares for Public Utilities, 5,532 hectares for Open Spaces, Parks and Green Belts, and 561 hectares for Special Zone. 180 Sectors have been envisaged, with a Sector density of 300 Persons Per Hectare (PPH) in the urbanizable areas, whereas 4 Sectors have been proposed with a density of 600 PPH. Further, to facilitate the provision of housing for low income groups, 8 pockets of 25 hectares each, in 8 Sectors -– have been planned with a density of 1125 PPH. There would be sufficient green buffers between Industrial and Residential areas. All the town level infrastructure facilities have been earmarked in the Plan. The width of outer periphery Roads has been proposed as 90 meters, with 30 meters wide green belts on both sides. All the Sector-dividing Roads have been proposed with 60 meters width, alongwith 12 meters wide service roads on both sides. Similarly, some major Roads have been proposed with 75 meters width, having 30 meters wide green belts on both sides. A Golf Course would also be constructed on Delhi Road. A number of Projects, including the Eastern Peripheral Expressway, Orbital Rail Corridor, Dedicated Freight Corridor and Metro Rail will boost the development of the town(s). An additional link has also been proposed to Noida, which will be part of the Faridabad-NoidaGhaziabad connectivity. The CM directed the concerned officers to prepare a scheme for the recycling of water and for rejuvenation of the Bhatkal Lake. He also approved the proposal to reserve 10 Residential and 2 Commercial sectors for Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA). Chief Parliamentary Secretary, Rao Dan Singh; Principal Secretaries to Chief Minister - S.S. Dhillon and Dr. K.K. Khandelwal; Deputy Principal Secretary to Chief Minister, R.S. Doon; Additional Chief Secretary, Revenue, Krishna Mohan; Principal Secretary, Town and Country Planning, Mr. T.C. Gupta; Principal Secretary, Urban Local Bodies, P. Raghavendra Rao; MD, HSIIDC, Tarun Bajaj and other senior officers were present in the Meeting to finalize and approve the 2031 Plan. u

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{ Shilpy Arora / FG}

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he business of Banking is about providing financial services efficiently; and when this is accompanied by facilities that offer convenience, it is most welcomed by the customers. An Automated Teller Machine (ATM) is clearly one of those facilities, which helps banks in retaining their customers and gaining a competitive edge in the market. Due to their easy accessibility and convenient service, ATMs are today the most dependable spots for conducting simple financial transactions. But safety has often been compromised at ATM kiosks. A recent attack on a woman in Bangalore has put a spotlight on these spots. Of the 500 odd ATMs in the City, allegedly 34 per cent don't have security guards and more than 70 have not even deployed CCTV cameras. Although the City police have been holding meetings with bank officials and sending out strict guidelines to banks to ensure safety in and around ATMs, residents still point out many loopholes in the security system. Recounting her personal experience, Rita Thakur, a 27-year-old IT Professional, says, “A couple of months ago I was chased by a gang of drunken boys, after I withdrew cash from an ATM kiosk in Sector 17. These boys saw me taking out the cash and started following me. One of them shouted at me to stop. I somehow managed to run away. It happened in broad daylight at 3pm, on a busy street of Sector 17.” There are more than a few people who feel that ATM kiosks lack security and many are located at lonely places. Generally ATM kiosks face challenges such as the absence of trained security guards, lack of a secure access system and non-functional CCTV cameras. As an ATM is a bank’s property, it is important that banks work with the police to secure customers and the ATMs. Banks should ensure that trained security guards are deployed at all the ATMs. Unfortunately, most of the times the banks are not aware if the guard deployed at an ATM kiosk is fully trained, as banks generally outsource the security and management services for the ATMs. The guards are hired by private security agencies. “In 2009, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) allowed non-banking third parties to offer banking services. The step was taken to help banks

prakhar PANDEY

Watch Your Cash & Back

Your Safety Is In Your Hands

in managing their services efficiently. But this has seemingly made it difficult for banks to keep a check on their security. Many ATM guards are recruited without a rigorous check by these agencies, and are not even trained,” says Umesh Agarwal, a financial expert based in Sector 46. The recent directions of the City police, asking banks to deploy guard at all ATM kiosks, has ironically made the situation even worse, as agencies have hired many people overnight, to avoid threatened closure. As per the Private Security Agencies (Regulation) Act, 2005, security guards must undergo training of at least 100 hours in a classroom and 60 hours in the field. In total, a 20-day training programme should be offered to the guards. But most of the security agencies claim to impart just a threeday training programme. A guard at the ATM kiosk of DLF Phase 1 says, “I am often teased by drunken men, who sometimes sit inside the ATM kiosk to play cards. I don’t know what to do.” It is clear that the mere deployment of guards at ATMs is not going to help. There is a need to provide them adequate training and arms. However, officials of private security agencies feel that it is extremely difficult to

1) Before arriving at the ATM, keep your ATM card ready in hand. 2) Keep a constant watch of the nearby area. If you are using an indoor ATM, where a card is needed for entry, make sure you do not let anybody else in. 3) Select a well-lit ATM that is visible to a passerby and not blocked by any barriers - such as trees, sign boards or buildings. If possible, select an ATM that is patrolled by a security guard. 4) Keep your PIN a secret. While entering your PIN at an ATM, stand between the machine and people waiting in the queue. If required, shield the keypad with your hand or body. 5) Don’t forget to collect your card and transaction record. Avoid counting or displaying large amounts of cash. Put the cash immediately in your wallet/purse. 6) Before leaving the ATM kiosk, make sure you have logged out of your account. procure gun licences. He says, “We manage 60 ATM kiosks in the DLF area. It is impossible for a private group to get a licence for 60 guns. Arm procurement laws need to be modified to help security agencies to obtain sufficient arms, so as to offer better services.” Sulekha Chakrobarty, a representative of an ISO-certified security agency, informs, “A security agency can only employ guards aged between 21 and 45 years. The guards must have cleared the Senior Secondary examination and have submitted their credentials in advance to the police station. Moreover, it

is mandatory for private security agencies to register themselves with the labour department and apply for a licence from the police.” A bank should check if their security agency adheres to all these norms. There have also been instances when guards have used the ATM area to conduct illegal activities, especially in the back rooms. In 2010, a guard was arrested in Sector 4, as he was offering the back room for the use of ‘couples’. Many times the guards lounge around, without their uniform, in the back rooms, and this makes women customers uncomfortable. Many experts therefore feel that merely posting armed security guards at ATMs is not going to solve the problem. It should be mandatory to install a CCTV camera at the right location in an ATM kiosk. Many banks, like Punjab National Bank (PNB), have provided in-built CCTVs in their ATM machines, so that the footage of all the users can be taken from the front. Such cameras immediately capture the images of the face, and most importantly the eyes, of the visitor. If a camera is installed at the top of the machine or on the right or left side, it might help a burglar to hide his/ her face. ATMs must also have suitable arrangements for entry and exit. Most of the ATM areas of State Bank of India and Standard Chartered allow entry only when a visitor swipes his/her debit card, and the door is automatically locked for as long as the visitor remains inside the kiosk. Sulekha says, “The biggest concern is that entry to ATMs is not secure. Besides, an ATM kiosk should have a switch that can act as a door lock once a person enters to make a trans-

action. SBI has been offering people with a ‘swipe entry’ and an ‘automatic lock’ from inside the kiosk. This is the easiest way to ensure that nobody enters the kiosk behind your back.” There is also a need to ensure the security of the cash. Many times the ATM- cum-debit cards are ‘cloned’ at ATM kiosks, due to the lack of security measures. There have been instances when button cameras have been placed on the ceiling of the ATM, which can record the PIN when it is entered by a customer. Sometimes simple card readers are used to connect the computer keypad to the CPU. This can record the PIN when people withdraw cash. It is therefore important to also install a device with a high-quality voice recorder. Further, installation of loud emergency alarms or switches, which send strong signals to police stations or the public, can also help. Moreover, ATMs should have a clean glass sheet front, to increase their visibility. Unnecessary advertisements should be removed, so that people outside the ATMs are able to see what is happening inside. Overall, a comprehensive and multi-level security arrangement is required at ATM kiosks. RBI should make comprehensive security at ATMs mandatory. Such security may increase the cost of operating an ATM, but it has become essential. The Banking sector should also look at strengthening the infrastructure for a cash-free society, which can perhaps eliminate the need for people to regularly go to ATMs. “We should emulate countries like Kenya, which use mobile payments and transfers for conducting the day-to-day financial transactions,” says Sulekha. u


08

13-19 December 2013

C over S tory

A Real Supreme Shock

 Contd from p 1 consequently the apartment owners would be entitled to the undivided interest in respect of the Community and Commercial facilities provided therein - without bearing any part of the cost incurred by the Colonizer in purchasing that relevant land and the cost of construction. The judgement states that, in the view of the Court, the Colonizer (DLF) could not have included the Community and Commercial Facilities, referred to in Section 3(3)(a)(iv) of the Development Act, because the same is meant for the benefit of the entire colony (DLF Qutab Enclave), and not merely for the flat/apartment owners in one part of the Colony - since they form only a part of the layout plans duly approved, which include the plotted areas as well as the Group Housing Societies. The judgement also states that the Sale Agreement (DLF with Buyer) mentions the exact extent of area sold by the Colonizer to an apartment owner, and obliquely refers that there is no mention of sale of the Common Areas. The Supreme Court judgement says that the Naharchand Laloochand judgement does not at all deal with Community and Commercial Facilities in Group Housing Societies, with reference to the provisions of the Development Act. Also, it says that the present case is not concerned with the question of stilt parking, but rather ‘pointedly concerned’ with the Facilities provided under Section 3(3)(a) (iv) of the Development Act. The Supreme Court has also addressed the contention raised by the apartment owners, that a judgment in the DLF Qutab Enclave (supra) is not applicable in view of the Haryana Development and Regulation of Urban Areas (Management) Act, 2003, which came into force on 03.04.2003. The Apex court has said that the Act does not seek to transfer the obligation of carrying out the external development work upon the Colonizer. In other words, the amendment has no effect on the Judgment of the Supreme Court Court in the DLF Qutab Enclave (supra) case. Setting aside the High Court order, the Apex court has maintained that, in a given case, if the developer does not provide Common Areas or Facilities - like corridors, lobbies, staircases, lifts and fire escape etc. - the Competent Authority can look into the objections of the apartment owners; but a statute has given a discretion to the Colonizer to provide or not to provide, as per Section 3(f) (7) of the Apartments Act, the facilities referred to in Section 3(3) (a)(iv) of Development Act. The Apex court has made it clear that no objection could be raised by the apartment owners, and they cannot claim any undivided interest (or right of management) over those facilities, except their right as users. In the instant case the apartment owners have also raised no grievance that they are being prevented from using the Community and Commercial Facilities referred to in Section 3(3)(a) (iv) of the Regulation Act. Broader Implications of the Case: Col BK Dhawan, President Emeritus of Silver Oaks Apartment Complex, which had filed the case against DLF, says that they are studying the judgement, as it could have great ramifications on the entire real estate industry in the country. “We are disappointed with the decision and will file a review in the Supreme Court, as this judgement is based on the Development Act”, says Dhawan. The implementation of the judgement will make the Haryana Apartment Owners Act 1983 otiose (redundant), says Dhawan. It will also mean that property worth billions, comprising schools, clubs, community centres, health centres etc., which are claimed by the apartment buyers as (collectively) theirs, would be controlled, owned and managed by the colonizers now. Even the land that is meant for these purposes will be owned by the colonizer, and he also

has the right to specifically mention the Common Areas that are specifically for the use of buyers. Dhawan says that this decision in effect negates the very idea of Group Housing Societies as a social welfare. In these Societies, maintenance has to be carried out by residents, by generating income from Common Areas - which include structures like shops, nursery schools, hospitals and clubs. If these facilities are to be owned by builders, it would mean that apartment owners would have no source of income for maintenance - which defeats the very purpose of Group Housing Societies. “As per the Sale Deed, Sale Agreement and brochures, the apartment buyers have paid for such Common Areas, as also Internal Development Charges”, he says. He also points out that the failure or complicity of the government authorities has led to a situation where apartments are not being transferred to buyers under the right Act in Haryana. The apartment owners have therefore decided that they will fight the case further. It is being further said that since this judgement will be applicable across the country, it will give builders a perpetual right to stay in a colony, which is against the spirit of the Haryana Apartment Owners Act, 1983. Even the Competition Commission of India (CCI), which had delivered a landmark judgement against DLF, had said that builders should leave a housing complex lock, stock and barrel, after completion of the project. Dhawan says that this has rarely happened, and in light of the Supreme Court decision, the colonizers (or any builder) can now create third party rights over Common Areas. This may also impact the peace and security of an apartment complex, which indeed is ‘gated’, contrary to what the Supreme Court has judged, says Dhawan. He also says that the Supreme Court decision is based on the Urban Land Development Act 1975, which is primarily meant as a sanctioning act for colonies; apartments are regulated by the Haryana Apartment Owners Act 1983 (HAOA). Under HAOA, property - means all structures - inside an apartment complex would be governed by the byelaws of the complex. Section 22 of HAOA further says that in case of damage or destruction of the property, it shall be deemed to be equally owned by the apartment owners - in proportion. Plotted colonies are governed by a different set of rules. Sanjay Sharma, MD, Qubrex, has followed this case closely, and in his opinion this decision could

mean a major loss for apartment owners/buyers. He is also critical of the way the Federation of Apartment Owners has handled the case, as it has failed to create adequate awareness about the import of this issue among the general public and apartment owners/buyers. “The Federation has taken an isolationist and elitist approach to fight this case, which has led to this decision. There was need to build a movement around this issue. This (SC judgement) is definitely a reinterpretation of the High Court judgement, and we need to see whether it will be applicable to every Group Housing Society - or is it a specific decision for the case involving the Silver Oaks complex. The RWAs in Gurgaon will have to control the damage caused by this decision, and also study the full import of it on the applicability of the various Acts”, says Sharma. Will the judgement also lead to the creation of perpetual rights for builders? Amit Jain, Director General of the Federation of Apartment Owners, says that they are studying the decision in detail and would prefer to comment on it later. Meanwhile, thousands of apartment owners in Gurgaon, and across the country, who are already sandwiched between the builders and the State, would need to get ready to fight a new round, to change the way the real estate industry is functioning in the country. Buyers say that the failure of the authorities to implement even the current laws already gives a great leeway to the builders, and the extant decision of the Supreme Court will only help to make them undisputed lords of the colonies - where their writ will run even larger, at the cost of hapless buyers. In this scenario, there is not much expectation of relief therefore from the new Real Estate Regulation Act, if and when it does come. Maybe the buyers need to take a different tack….as per the new mood in the country. After all, in a democracy, it is the aam aadmi who should be Supreme. u

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13-19 December 2013

{ Abhishek Behl / FG }

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ust 10 kilometers from Gurgaon, Hayatpur Village is located amidst green fields, which will unfortunately soon become a thing of the past - like many villages of the City, which have been transformed into concrete ghettos because of haphazard urbanization. The land in Hayatpur has also been sold to builders for private development, and the day is not far when it will be sandwiched between new development and no development. However, residents of the Village, led by Sarpanch Shiv Narain, assert that they will not allow Hayatpur to be eclipsed and turned into an urban ghetto. “It is for this reason that we embarked on a cleanliness drive in the Village, got drains built and lanes constructed”, says Shiv Narain. The efforts made in the last 2 years have not been wasted, as Hayatpur was awarded the Nirmal Gram Puruskar from the Haryana government, for being one of the cleanest villages in the State. The Sarpanch says that the Award vindicates the commitment of the people and the Panchayat towards the Village. His major grouse is that the government is now not allowing them to spend any money for the development of the Village. “The Panchayat has around Rs. 7 to 8 crores of its own money, which it got when the Village common lands were sold or acquired by the builders”, he informs. If this money is allowed to be spent by the local officials, then the Panchayat would be able to set up a sewage system in the Village; this is presently a major problem for the residents. Hayatpur has around 500 homes and the population of the Village is around 5,000. The Sarpanch

Proud to be Nirmal Gram

says that he is dependent on the Panchayat Secretary for spending the money, and often bills remain unpaid. Presently, the Panchayat has employed some sanitation workers, but it wants to hire more workers and do more for sanitation. “We are restrained despite our good intentions and proven work. The government ‘red tape’ is the biggest problem impacting development in villages”, he adds. Sarpanch Shiv Narain says that he has spent money from his own pocket to carry out some development work. “You can take a round of the Village and see how much work we have done. Our goal is to make Hayatpur a model village”, he asserts. The Sarpanch is peeved with the government officials who, instead of empowering the Panchayats, are turning them into ineffective institutions. The builders who have bought village land including - DLF, Vatika and others - have also not taken any responsibility to boost the services, facilities or infrastructure in the Village. The Sarpanch says that although it is the responsibility of the developers to support the local villages, they have shown no such intention – and that is why he has stayed away from them.

'Light a Cycle, Save a Cyclist’ { Odette Katrak }

C

yclists in the dark on Gurgaon’s roads pose a real threat to their own safety as well as putting other motorists at risk of sudden accidents, given that they are barely visible. Over 3-5 lakh cyclists and cycle-rickshaws use our roads; a very small percent of them have proper reflectors/reflective tape, which is an essential Road Safety requirement. The ‘Light-a-Cycle, Save-a-Cyclist’

C ivic/S ocial

initiative, to make cyclists visible on dark roads, is being co-ordinated by a few concerned citizens from the NMT-Gurgaon group. In a pilot run, reflective tape kits will be available at a stall during Raahgiri Sundays; the Stall will be located at the Galleria end. Thereafter the Group hopes to take this initiative across Gurgaon and cover all cyclists and cyclerickshaws. Here is how you can help: A. Sponsor The cost of the Reflector Kit

“We would anyway prefer to use our own money to develop our Village”, he asserts. Nila Ram, a resident of the Village, says that the priority is to build a sewage system and a dispensary in Hayatpur. “I am happy that the Village has got the Award. The Village School has been ‘plastered’ recently, the Old Age Home has also been given a facelift, and some work has been undertaken on lanes and drains. All of us are proud of these developments”, he says. The Village residents say that since Hayatpur is in a low lying area, there is need to develop a system to check waterlogging, which affects the area in a major way during the monsoon. The need for a veterinary hospital is also acutely felt, as most of the villagers still maintain a cattle stock. Shivpal, a resident,

says that both men and animals have to be rushed to Gurgaon for treatment, which is a major issue. The villagers are wary of the government and developers/ builders. “First the government takes away the land, and once the private colonies come up the villages are left high and dry. The Panchayats become defunct and their voice is scuttled, as powerful outside forces then decide what happens in the ‘new urban villages’”, says Sarpanch Shiv Narain. He is also critical of the Gurgaon-based politicians, who he says are worried only about winning elections and making real estate deals. The villagers who have sold their land to builders say that they will ensure that development work is taken up in Hayatpur. “We want the government to upgrade the infrastructure around the Village, which

is Rs 30, which will be applied professionally by 3M personnel at the Stall. People visiting Raahgiri with their families would make payment and apply the Reflectors on their cycles. The Group is also looking to the public to contribute generously to fund the reflective tape application for underprivileged cyclists.

can get in touch with Chetan or Odette (chetan_agarwal1@ hotmail.com, okatrak@ gmail.com), and share their convenient time.

B. Volunteer at Stall The Group is also looking for help at the Stall. Those who would like to help, in time slots of 1-2 hours from 7 am to 12 noon on any upcoming Sunday,

C. Get Your Maids/ Drivers/Guards/ ‘Malis’ To The Event D: Core Group Support Those willing to help in the co-ordination (do not necessarily need to be present at the Stall) and can assist in decisions on taking this Project forward, please email Chetan or Odette. u

09

prakhar PANDEY

is surrounded by developed areas”, says Ram Gopal. Private developers and industry may not want to adopt the Village, but they need to help in building the sewage system and repairing the roads, which will be used by the new residents as well. Shiv Narain says that the government has made thousands of crores of rupees through stamp duty, fees for change of land use and ‘development charges’. The lands of many villages have earned them enormous surplus, but they have forgotten about any civic or social development of the villages. “ We are not going to let this happen in Hayatpur. We have seen what has happened in ‘main’ Gurgaon villages; we will not allow it be repeated here”, he asserts. The residents also question the functioning of HUDA, and ask what it has done for the 16 villages for which it had appointed a ‘consultant’. Shiv Narain says that lakhs of people are today living in villages in Gurgaon, which has upset the character of these areas; the villages in the new sectors of Gurgaon must learn from this sad experience. Hayatpur, he says, has resolved to keep its character and cleanliness intact – with or without the government.u

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hile apartment buyers in Gurgaon cannot run away from signing the skewed sales agreements that are heavily biased in favour of builders, they can save themselves a lot of headache if they approach the courts in case there is even a whiff of dispute with the developer at a later stage. Legal eagles say that if there is any anticipated trouble with the developer over any issue, particularly the maintenance – including threats by the developer to cut off essential services - then the buyers should move court at the first instance; this would be preferable to approaching a government agency for resolution. Not doing so could lead to bigger problems, as have been faced by Dinesh Kumar Jain, a resident of Sohna Road, who had bought a property from a known developer in this upcoming part of the City. Jain was part of the RWA that was not ‘aligned’ with the builder, and which was demanding accountability from the builder on the expenditure incurred for maintenance. Jain says that the power connection to his apartment was switched off on November 6th, and it was only after one month and a court case that his power was re-connected, after he was forced to pay the maintenance fees. Interestingly, Jain’s lawyer, Pooja Nagpal, says that the bills for power and maintenance were raised separately by the builder and there was no delay or dispute on the payment of the power bill. Nagpal also says that power and water are essential services and a builder or any other agency cannot cut them off, as this action violates the fundamental rights of a citizen. In Jain’s case, the delay of 12 days, during which he approached different authorities including the police, for getting his connection restored, proved to be a crucial drawback - legally. A local court in Gurgaon held that the dispute between the apartment buyer and builder should be decided by an arbitrator as per the contract of sale between the two parties. As per the signed sales agreement, the builder has the right to appoint an arbitrator to settle any dispute. Lawyer Pooja Nagpal says that they are going to challenge this order in the High Court, as the interpretation of the law requires a larger context. “Another fact that came out is that the builder has set up his own maintenance agency and also created another RWA, which is full of his own supporters. The Agreement is totally skewed and it also allows

Braving An Uphill Battle portant to approach the court and that the builder to extend, for obtain a stay, as has happened in a period of five years, the conthe case of a number of colonies. tract for maintenance”, alleges Colonel BK Dhawan cites the Pooja Nagpal. “The arbitration example of Ardee City Residency, clause is being used to supersede the law of the land and where the RWA has obtained a the Haryana Apartment Ownstay order from the court, after ers’ Act (HAOA)”. Nagpal says the builder threatened to cut off that in case of non-payment power. “The best option for an of maintenance, the builder apartment owner would be to can lay a charge on the apartapproach the courts, as it is not ment and can start a process easy to get help from any civic for recovery, but switching off ‘authority’”, he says. He also says essential services is not lawthat as per the Haryana Apartfully allowed. It is to be noted ment Owners’ Act, maintenance that if a contract is in violacan be charged only by the RWA, tion of public policy, then the and not the builder. He also sugarbitration clause cannot be by the builder. The episode has gested that Jain could file an apenforced, says Nagpal. impacted the health of the family. plication in the High Court and Having paid the amount of Rs. His daughter suffered from low implead the builder in a case that 1.55 lakhs to the builder, after the blood pressure and his wife had is being heard by the High Court court decided in favour of arbito be hospitalized for two days. on the same issue. Advocate tration, Jain says that there is Prior to making the payment, Nagpal says that a delay in aplittle hope that his predicament, Jain had bought a small power proaching the court could give a and of so many others, would be backup unit, which ensured that chance to the builder to press his resolved. Jain has also lost faith power for two lights was always case, which might lead to trouble in the authorities and the system, available. When he tried to get a for the homeowner. She also including his own RWA, which power extension from a neigh- says that but for the delay of did not come to supbor, the cable was cut by the 12 days, there was no default port him in the hour of RWA, he alleges. Lawyer Pooja by Jain. However, despite his need. However, Jain Nagpal says that residents faith in the system and will What the Builder says says that he will conwill have to come together to fight against injustice, the Mohd. Arshad, AGM (Estates), Vipul tinue to fight against if they want to fight against problems at home forced him Ltd, says that the matter has been rethe injustice. He says the might of the builders. “I to buckle under the pressure solved, with the apartment owner paying that his problem with am ready to fight these cases created by a powerful builder. the maintenance charges. “Mr Jain had the builder started as free of cost if people need my Jain says that the health probnot paid the bills for power as well as soon as he questioned help”, she says. Gurgaon-based lems and tension caused in the maintenance charges for the last three the sales agreement activist HS Oberoi says that it is family, coupled with no supand the maintenance patently wrong to switch off es- port from neighbours and the years, and that is why power was disconpractice. “One day the sential service like power; and RWA, ultimately made him nected”, says Arshad. He further says maintenance agency even in disputes the apartment realize the futility of fighting that all decisions with regard to mainasks for one rate, and owner cannot be made to live in the system - which it seems is tenance are taken by the maintenance a few days later the such conditions. In fact a number meant only for the powerful agency and the RWA sitting together, rates are changed. I of Gurgaon-based activists say and the rich. and every issue is discussed threadbare. asked them to give that to escape the problems being Or maybe there is an AAP us accounts of the created by the builders it is im- silver lining coming up…. u expenditure and the details of works done and the people employed for security”, says Jain. Citing discrepancies in the maintenance accounts, Jain alleges that during the Commonunday the 8th December, 2013 will go down in the history of India as the ‘Awakened wealth Games, despite a majorSunday`. Since the morning of this Day, the trend of election results for Delhi, the capiity of workers having gone back tal of India, indicated the march of awakened Delhi citizens - esp. its youth - towards a to their homes, large payments cause of `Bettering Delhi. Delhi has become an unlivable city for a majority of its denizens. were shown for works that never They live with a dismal shortage of basic services and infrastructure, and live out a poor happened. It was after these quesquality of life. tions were raised by Jain and his Over the years there has been no effort to contain its population and spread in a balanced and group that the builder started judicious manner. After all, there is an optimum size even for a healthy and properly developed, creating problems for him. maintained and operated city. The NCR concept was conceived and planned for this purpose…but Jain says that his son died in who cares? Despite two Delhi Master Plans, there has been little effort to faithfully implement the 2012 and his entire family has same. Not only has there been a huge implementation deficit, there have been multiple comprobeen quite disturbed. In Novemmises in what has been done. All the major and minor transport corridors are in a big mess. Most ber 2012 the power to his resicolonies, even approved ones and the newly-constructed by DDA (what to talk of unauthorized dence was disconnected; howcolonies, slums, Jhuggi-Jhonpri (JJ) clusters, urban villages and urban extensions) are in a big ever, since he approached the mess. Allowing people to build an extra floor on the existing houses by increasing FARs in the existpolice and made complaints to ing colonies, without giving adequate thought to the available basic services and infrastructure, is higher officials, it was reconnecteither a stark reminder of the bankruptcy of the thought processes of the urban plan formulators/ ed. This time, however, despite implementers or is a sad story of the collusion of the concerned local authorities with greed. The his complaints in different quaroverall damage to Delhi’s vast spaces has become either irreparable or very expensive to ters, it became impossible for correct, demanding huge resources of money and time. him to get justice. On November There have been big scams in various developmental works – the prominent being CWG, 6, 2013, the power to his residence Connaught Place Redevelopment Project, River Yamuna Cleaning Works. The new diswas snapped by the maintenance pensation - whoever takes the charge of Delhi – will need to work with care, commitment, agency; and despite complaints proper thought and passion, to make things better for Delhiites, who will now not be fooled to the police, nothing happened. by false and empty promises. u Jain thereafter approached the Vijay K. Saluja National Human Rights CommisDirector-Giraffe Heroes India Program, (ex-Chief Engineer (Civil) - NDMC sion, to get relief against this act prakhar PANDEY

{ Abhishek Behl / FG }

C ivic/S ocial

13-19 December 2013

Awakening on a Rest Day

S


13-19 December 2013

Movements of the Soul { Anita Jaswal }

T

he Dance: a minimum of explanation and a maximum of sensation - the poetic baring of the soul through motion. For Pooja Goel, ever since she can remember, her life has been all about Music and Dance. “I grew up in a fairly conservative family. There was little appreciation of Dance and Music – let alone them being seen as creative expressions. I was told that there could be no ‘career’ or any ‘future’ in the Performing Arts–of Acting, Dancing or Singing. However, for me it was hard to resist the allure of these Art forms. I thoroughly enjoyed stage plays at my school and was always enthralled by Dance performances. Though I graduated in Microbiology, Dance and Music were always in my heart and soul. There is a freedom that comes with Dance. Whatever emotion you may experience – say love or anger - you can fully express through Dance, using every part of your body…and your soul. I am seldom bored; to live in the moment, I just begin to Dance. It was only after her mar-

you like jazz or waltz, jive or salsa. What matters is that your heart loves to Dance. Dance to the rhythm of your heart, and you will feel happiness like never before. When you Dance, your purpose is not to get to a certain place on the floor; it's to enjoy each step along the way. Dance truly defines me and makes me who I am; it makes me happy and I'd be lost without it. When I dance I don't change into someone else; I just turn into a different form of myself - the purest me there is. When I Dance I become part of the Music and the Music becomes part of me. Another reason why I Dance is because it makes me feel young and I feel as if many spirits are moving with me. My horse spirit gallops fast as I move forward on the stage and my eagle spirit “Nobody cares if you soars through the can't dance well. Just stage as I move in get up and dance. different ways. I feel happy and so do my Great dancers are spirits.” great because of their With sheer passion.” Wayne Dyer 
 determination, Pooja has learnt

riage that Pooja could fully realise her dreams and became the person she had always longed to be. She gives the credit to her daughter Apoorva and husband Ajay Goel. “Ajay has encouraged me to follow my passion and is the first to praise, console or protect me - as needed. He has believed in me. My daughter has inspired me to pursue my calling. Nothing can replace the happiness that I felt when I first held her. She is my joy, my life  and my pride!” On Dance, she says, “It does not matter whether

The Law & Beyond Parole { Vidya Raja } “Sometimes I feel like a normal person. Sometimes I forget I’m on Parole, that I’m not really free.” This statement perhaps sums up how actor Sanjay Dutt feels about his life. On March 21, 2013, the Supreme Court sentenced him to five years in jail under the Arms Act, for the possession of illegal weapons during the 1993 Bombay blasts. Since Dutt had already served an 18-month jail term, his sentence was reduced to three and a half years. Dutt surrendered himself in May 2013 and since then has applied and been granted Parole on two occasions. The first time, citing (his) ill-health, and this time citing the ill-health of his wife, Manyata Dutt. What is ironical is that another 1993 Bombay blast convict, Zaibunissa Kazi’s Parole application, to visit her ailing mother, was refused. What is the basis for granting or denying Parole to a convict? This article will throw some light on the system of Parole in India. Parole is the conditional release of a prisoner after (s)he has served a portion of his/her sentence. Parole can

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different styles of Indian and Western Dance. She also plays the Electronic Keyboard. With the aim to teach and learn, she runs Talent nurture@ dare to dream in Gurgaon and Delhi - with the motto, ‘If you’ve got the talent, we are here to nurture it’. “Young children often have difficulty communicating their feelings, due to their smaller vocabularies and inexperience with new emotions. By encouraging them to Dance and move to Music, we can look for clues to how they feel. With Dance, emotions are accessed and then released through expressive movement and a positive transformation takes place within, facilitating the overall well being of the child. Dance helps children become more aware of their bodies and learn the motor skills of co-ordination and control. Increased self-awareness and improved physical skills promote confidence and a sense of self-esteem; attributes that would aid them in success at school… and through life. Dancing is truly magical – you feel a vitality, an energy, a life force. There is a quickening of the heart that is translated to action through an expression that is unique…to only you’, feels Pooja.u

3. Convicts who have been involved in crimes against the State (Sedition) 4. Convicts who have (earlier) escaped from jail 5. Convicts who are not citizens of India 6. If the convict is convicted of murder after rape 7. If the convict is convicted of rape and murder of children 8. If the convict is convicted of mulFor a convict to seek Parole, (s)he tiple murders. There is an element of subjectivity must fulfill the following conditions: in deciding who does get Parole 1. Should have served a minimum of and who doesn’t, and this creates an one year of the sentence 2. The conduct in prison must be good opportunity for some elements to abuse 3. A period of six months should have this facility, which has been provided There are two kinds of Parole lapsed between the last Parole and the by the Constitution as a humanitarian gesture to a prisoner. I must also that can be applied for – Custody Pa- one applied for 4. During a previous Parole the con- mention the case of former State Police role and Regular Parole. A Custody Parole is granted for a period of not vict should not have committed any Chief S.P.S. Rathore, whose application for Parole, on the grounds of having more than six hours, in an emergency crime 5. The convict should not have violat- to monitor the agricultural crop at his situation – as in the marriage, serious illness or death of a family member, or ed any conditions during the last Parole. farm, was denied by the authorities. The Parole period, under normal So, while we are up in arms against the some other such situation. It is the duty of the Jail Superintendent to verify the circumstances, should not exceed system for the ‘ease’ it has shown Sanjay Dutt, we must also applaud the system existence of the circumstances men- one month. for the stand taken in Rathore’s case. tioned, before granting Parole. A ReguThere are some convicts who are The urgent need of the hour is for lar Parole is granted under one of not eligible to apply for Parole, due Police officials to acknowledge that the following circumstances: 1. Marriage or serious illness of a to the nature of the crimes commit- the Parole system is being misused, ted by them. They are governed by and ensure that Parole laws are family member properly enforced in prisons across 2. Critical condition in the family these conditions: 1. Convicts whose release can pose a the country. u on account of an accident or death of a threat to national security family member The writer is a qualified legal prothe Event has2.been successful, also admit lack ofwho volunteers makes before it difficult Convicts whoseorganizers release might lead that the 3. Delivery of a child ofWhile the convict fessional has practiced the to look conduct such regularly. “Most the people of here have come to enjoy, pass time and fun. to interference or of tampering eviand there is no one else to after the events Madras and have Karnataka There is also a needdence to imbibe message of driving safe, helping cyclists and walkers and giving space to in anthe ongoing investigation spouse High Courts be granted on medical or humanitarian grounds, to enable the jail inmates to maintain a relationship with their families, save them from the (negative) effects of a continuous prison life, and help them retain some self-confidence and an interest in life. It is important to understand that Parole is not a right granted to the prisoner; it is merely an act of grace extended by the jail authorities to the prisoner, in lieu of good behavior; it is merely a provisional release from confinement. The release on Parole does not change the status of the prisoner. It is deemed to be a part of the imprisonment.

4. Serious damage to life or property of the convict, due to a natural calamity 5. To file a Special Leave Petition in the Supreme Court against an order passed by the High Court 6. To maintain family and social ties. In cases where an appeal is pending before the High Court, Parole will not be granted, since appropriate orders can be sought from the High Court.

fellow citizens”, says an organizer.


12 { Abhishek Behl / FG }

write to us at letters@fridaygurgaon.com

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he new Chairperson of the Gurgaon Zila Parishad, Asha Chauhan, says that equitable distribution of funds and all round development in the rural areas of Gurgaon would be the priority for her in the remaining term of the Office. Chauhan, who is Councillor of Ward no 4, was elected after many councillors expressed no confidence in the outgoing Chairperson, Kavita Yadav. Chauhan says that the primary reason for disaffection among the councillors was that funds were not being distributed equally and there was no monitoring of the development work, which had led much anger among the villagers. “This is the reason why we clamoured for change at the top, and forced a new election,” says Chauhan. The Zila Parishad members had to fight a hard battle to ensure that there was change at the helm. Chauhan says that a deal in which land belonging to the Zila Parishad had been awarded to a private party, had

13-19 December 2013

Zila Mein Nayi Asha also come under the scanner and forced the councillors to take a very serious view. However, she now says that every decision will be based on consensus and take into account the welfare of the rural areas. The grants that come from the government (around Rs. 2 to 3 crores) will be spent wisely, she says. “A number of government schemes, such as PMRY, need to be effectively implemented. We have also taken up projects related to streetlights and the availability of potable water. In some cases the power bill for tubewells could be paid by the panchayats”, she says. There would be no discrimination under the new dispensation, and the major problem of Zila Parishad funds not reaching the people will be resolved. Chauhan says that there is a lack of monitoring of the projects taken up by the Parishad, particularly in far-off areas. The primary goal would

be to improve sanitation and sewage conditions in the villages – to create awareness about these facilities and also set up the same where these are not available. In the recent past work had almost stopped in villages, but this will be restarted. “Recently we found that a tubewell in Khera Khurrampur Village was not functional, since the power bill could not be paid. This is a major problem, as there

are many panchayats in Gurgaon that do not have the funds to pay for power bills. We plan to intervene and resolve this problem”, she says. Another major issue is that, though some panchayats have the money, they are not able to use it, for want of permissions from the government. The new Zila Parishad Chairperson says that this issue would be taken up with the government, and also with the Administration, to ensure that development can take place. “We will request that the limit for spends should be raised”, she says. To resolve the people’s problems in rural areas, the Parishad had organized a camp to listen to and understand the problems that are peculiar to the rural population. There are plans set up public toilets in the villages. “Work under NREGA would be given to people to build these toilets. This will help in creating jobs and

C ivic/S ocial building the required infrastructure”, says the Parishad Chief. In her opinion, the panchayats also have to play an active role in bringing about development, as well as protecting the villages from the kind of urban onslaught that has hit Gurgaon. There is a need to plan for the effective integration of the rural areas into the urban set up of the City. The Zila Parishad is also in talks with builders to ensure that the villages that they buy land from are also adopted by them (the builders), so that the local civic infrastructure improves. Chauhan says that the government, through its plans, should also increase the funds available to the Parishad, for the development of rural Gurgaon, which has remained on the sidelines; the City has hogged all the limelight in the past few decades. Gurgaon, she says, has been built on a rural framework, and it is important that the urban and rural areas and people assimilate well, to ensure a more cohesive and equitable (and dare say, safer) society.u prakhar PANDEY

Kala Utsav 2013 Sector-4


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You can overcome Maths Phobia

Kids Brainticklers

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Calling all Educationists, The Holidays are over... but your creativity isn’t. Administrators, Co-ordinators, Teachers and Principals – here’s a chance to pen down your experiences, teachings and learnings. Send us your contributions (400-500 words) For information, Call us at 0124-4219092/93 Or email at anita.bagchi@fridaygurgaon.com

aths is a subject that is often feared because it requires a logical approach and comprehension of several formulas. This eventually leads to a lack of confidence while dealing with the subject.  Many students see it as a never-ending challenge. When students try to ‘mug up’ (cram) procedures, instructions, rules and routines, without understanding them, they get stuck in the middle and forget the links; and this is where panic sets in. If you don’t have a good memory, cramming will anyway never help, because the moment you don’t follow one step, you’ll be clueless on solving the entire problem. The important thing is not only to know how a particular problem is to be solved, but also why it is solved in that manner. In addition, an inquisitive approach towards wanting to know the root cause, sets the basis/foundation for the concepts. Always have a “yes I can do it!’ attitude, as this will change your entire approach towards Maths. Boards have always been intimidating for students as far as this Subject is concerned. It is important that you go in with a clear mind and focus on the problem areas. Don’t hesitate to take guidance from peers, parents and teachers, beyond classroom time. The key is to regularly practice and come up with solutions to problems, to ensure that you are strengthening your weak areas. Here are some tips to guide you in the preparation for the Maths Board Exams: Refer to your Syllabus: Always refer to the CBSE website for updates and other relevant information on the subject. Match your syllabus content with the website and check for topics that are not present.  NCERT Textbooks are a must: It’s very important for you to go through the NCERT Course Book before jumping on to other guides and question papers, for practice. Thoroughly cover everything given in the Book.  Practice using previous years’ papers and mock test papers: Once you are through with your NCERT Course Book, try to practise the concepts and procedures that you have covered, by solving mock test papers. Referring to previous years’ question papers will give you an insight on the most important and frequently asked questions.  Manage your Time well: When solving question papers, make sure you answer/solve questions, based on their marks, and within a stipulated time. This will also help you understand what concepts you have a strong hold on and those that you need to revise again.  Always prepare a bit extra: If you are preparing for CBSE and ‘Entrance’ exams, it’s always good to broaden your horizon and imbibe as much as you can. This will help you solve applicationbased and other miscellaneous questions.  Understand and do not learn by rote: It’s important to understand the basics and not cram. Cramming doesn’t help in the long run, because once you forget a key step, you’ll land up nowhere.  Treat Maths as fun. It’s all about solving your problems!   Aakash Chaudhry, Director, Aakash Educational Services Ltd


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Ryan Angels

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ontessori I students of Ryan Global School participated in an Angel Making activity in the School premises. Thermocol glasses were distributed and the kids had a fun time pasting, decorating and sketching, to create their angels. The kids enjoyed the activity and were delighted to see their final creations.

Shepherds Play

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he tiny tots at Good Shepherd Preparatory School went for a picnic to Aapno Ghar. The fearless little ones were very excited, seeing the different rides, and wanted to try them all. The rides, swings and games kept the kids thoroughly amused and entertained.

It’s Story-time, San

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unskapsskolan held a Japanese Week at the School for the Pre-nursery students. There was a storytelling session, wherein ladies, dressed in traditional Kimonos narrated stories with the aid of creative props and cutouts. They took the awed kids into the land of Samurais, rice cakes and cherry blossoms.

Grand Chiranjivi Event

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hiranjiv Bharati School, Palam Vihar hosted its Annual Function-cum-Prize Distribution ceremony at an event titled “Expressions 2013”. The Event was graced by the School Trustee, Archna Luthra, Executive Director, Goldy Malhotra and the Principal Sangeeta Saxena. A dance recital, ‘Ganesh Vandana’ and a Hindi ballet, ‘Nari tu Narayani’ were presented by the students. Students of the Primary Wing presented ‘Nature’s Child’, a cultural extravaganza. The meritorious achievers in the field of academics and co-curricular activities were felicitated by the Chief Guest, Dr. Iqbal Malik, CEO, Vatavaran. A “Digi Lab” was also inaugurated, to facilitate the teaching of Flash and Animation in Computer Science. The prestigious Ansal Cup, for excellence in sports, was presented by Archna Luthra.

Shiv Express

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rade 1 students of Shiv Nadar School took a trip to the Rail Museum. The kids, accompanied by their teachers, got to learn about the train as a means of transport. The kids especially enjoyed the Toy Train ride, and couldn’t have enough of it.


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Ryan International School, Sohna Road

Champs of the Rink

Words’ Worths

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ritik Chawla and Megha Bisht from Ryan International School, Sohna Road, brought laurels to their School by getting selected for the CBSE National Skating Championship. Hritik won a Gold medal in the Road Race (3 km) in the CBSE North Zone-II Championship, held at Fatehgarh Sahib. He also bagged top position in the Road Race (3 km) in the RSFI Tournament, held at Rohtak. Hritik has been selected for the CBSE Nationals, to be held in Mumbai. Megha Bisht won a Gold medal in the CBSE North Zone-II Championship held at Fatehgarh Sahib, and also won two Gold medals and one Group Champion’s Trophy in the School Games Federation of India and Haryana State Championship, held at Rohtak. Megha has also been selected for the CBSE Nationals. Principal, Dr. Mouna Gupta, congratulated the young skaters.

Money Matters

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o enhance the knowledge of the Commerce Students, a Workshop on Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI) was organised. The Key Speaker was Mukul Jain, Official Financial Trainer, SEBI. The focus of this Workshop was on judging mutual funds and providing information about various financial bodies, which can help us generate good returns. The Session proved to be an enriching experience for the students.

yan International School, Sector-40 organised an Inter-house Word Building Activity for Class II students. In the 1st Round the children were given a few words and they had to make the maximum words out of them. The Second Round was the Spell Check Round - a check on their spellings. The Third Round was the Scramble Round, in which children were given jumbled words and were asked to rearrange them correctly. Jawahar Lal Nehru House won this Competition. The winners were Poorvi Nathani, Somya Sharma, Monisha Agarwal, Sarah Shivraj, Riya Jindal and Aastha Sharma. The School Head, Peeya Sharma encouraged the children to take part in such activities.

Ryan For a Brighter Tomorrow

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he Ryan International Group of Institutions inaugurated the 13th ICFPA (2013), under the theme, ‘A Brighter Tomorrow’, at Talkatora Stadium. The Event is a pioneering endeavour of the Group to provide an international platform for children across the world to present aesthetically appealing, visually delightful and skilled works of Art. The 13th edition had over 15,000 performers – from Bangladesh, Brazil, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Indonesia, Iran, Italy, India, Latvia, Lithuania, Malaysia, Nepal, Norway, Morocco, Russia, Spain, Thailand, Srilanka, Turkey, Pakistan, United Kingdom and Zambia, showcasing their passion and expressing their aspirations for a ‘Brighter Tomorrow’. Present at the Inauguration

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Lion Storytellers

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Story-Telling Competition was held for little kids at Lions Public School. It was wonderful to see the children expressing themselves through narration and creative props. The winners were: Ayush Kumar (Nursery), Bhavika ( LKG-A), Lavanya Goel ( LKG B), Kunal Sharma (LKG C), Shamya Sharma (UKG A), Bhuvi Sharma (UKG B) and P. Akshita (UKG C).

were several Cabinet Ministers, ambassadors, bureaucrats and parents. The children presented power-packed performances through Puppetry, Ballet Dance, World Choir and a special Musical Extravaganza.


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S piritual

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Spiritually Enabling the Disabled { Dr. Rajesh Bhola }

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ll humans face challenges; people with disabilities face different challenges. For able-bodied people, most tasks are effortless; the same task for a disabled person is perhaps impossible. Changing a tube light, carrying a large load of grocery or reaching out to take something down from a cupboard is just part of our daily living. Who does this for the disabled? Things that most people take for granted are very hard and sometimes impossible for them. Everyday I meet people who have disabilities ranging from mild autism to extreme immobility due to cerebral palsy. My conversation begins with the topic of social and personal attitudes towards the infirm and gradually the shared embarrassment eases as we come to understand each other better. Initially it was hard to understand what these children were saying. I felt too awkward, reflecting the embarrassment that I felt in having to ask them to repeat something. I tried hard to follow what they were saying, but I was sure that I had only got a small part of it. Gradually I have learnt to understand them and communicate with them – with the heart. The world we know is the world as projected by our bodies. Like all the able-bodied people, the disabled also form their own world. For those born with a disability, the world generated by that state is formed from the earliest days. They are born as citizens of that world. Those who become disabled at a later stage, whether during childhood or in adult life, however experience the shock of losing their world. Initially there is resistance, then a terrible sense of loss and finally the disabled body shrinks back into itself. They become extremely conscious of having impaired bodies - whether it is merely a broken arm or leg, a loss of speech following a stroke or a loss of mobility after an accident. Whereas most people continue to live in their world, disabled people begin to live in their bodies. The person recently blinded becomes very aware of his/her internal body sensations. It is at this point that the recently disabled per-

Learn to Give

Fortunately, access to new (information) technology has been an enormous boon for many disabled people, opening up for them (again) a world of knowledge and communication, which transcends the limits of their disabled bodies. son either renounces the old world and accepts the new (with disabled body), or refuses to let the old world go - insisting on trying to live within it and perhaps longing and praying for the miracle that will restore not just the former body but even the former world. The painful choice is made more poignant by the fact that while the average person is not conscious of the distinctive character of his/her everyday world - imagining it to be the only reality - the newly disabled person cannot imagine any other world than the one he or she is now left with. The normal world generally regards the disabled persons as excluded, deprived as it were, of ‘normal’ citizenship rights - and therefore to be pitied and maybe helped. As the recently disabled person recovers from the shock of the fractured, and now lost, world, a new world gradually begins to dawn. In the case of a blind person, this is the world of touch, smell and hearing, which although at first disintegrated by the loss of the unifying power of sight, gradually link up with each other again. The body regroups, consciousness reforms itself and a new world appears. In the case of the person who has lost his/her hearing, a new experience of living within vision appears and communication becomes focused on the hands. The body builds up its new world, relating to it with new powers and functions, for different parts of the body. In the case of the blind person, the hands are no longer mainly used to do things, but now to know things and finally to appreciate beauty. As the new world is gradually built up, put into place with innumerable fits and

starts, the disabled person is no longer confined to the broken body; he/she begins to again inhabit a world. No longer merely an exile, he or she ‘applies for’, and is granted, citizenship of a new place. The body is again integrated within its world and the former world remains as a dream - an occasional flash of regret, a pang perhaps, only to be overtaken by the intrinsic meaning of the new world within which one must not only exist…but live. The process of world formation may be thought of as transfiguring the body, since the person now extends from the body into which life had at first shrunk, and feels his way out again. The disabled sometimes find themselves forgetting that they are, in the opinion of the old world, dis-abled. In this manner we may begin to speak of a spirituality of disability, which transfigures and then transcends the body, whilst springing from it and remaining united with it. The spiritualized disabled person has been born again, with fresh awareness of the world and of the plurality of worlds. No longer confined to the deception of everyday experience within an absolute world, the spiritualized disabled person finds, often to his or her surprise, that life is enjoyed at a deeper level. One of the most important aspects of the spirituality of disability lies in the challenge that it offers to hegemony. The world of the able-bodied usually conceives of itself as the only world; those whose bodies are not able are excluded. However, while sighted people know that they know through sight, they seldom realize the epistemic implications of vision; sight projects a world and sighted people are embodied within that world. They know that there are others but they seldom know that there are other worlds. Thus they unconsciously create a discourse of dominance. When this ideology of domination is internalized by disabled people, the result is a loss of self-esteem, a loss of soul; they feel marginalized and excluded. There can be no dialogue between the ‘abled’ and disabled until the plurality of human worlds is recognized. As long as the abled world retains its hegemony, the relations it has with the world of disability will be those of care for the helpless and of pa-

Busy ant has much to teach She does not talk she does not preach 'Go thou sluggard to the busy Ant And learn her busy ways...’said Solomon So true, so solemn! The forager Ant gathers day and night A big harvest for her comrades, in the nest She gives her best to them, only a tithe Will be her due, so says the Nature Guru Look at the mighty tree, that works endlessly With its toots beneath the dark, dingy murky earth That generates manna from dirt, nurture the tree That decrees all his fruits of Karma

tronization. The relationship will be that of charity and of condescension, and not that of mutual respect based upon the acknowledgement of ‘otherness’. However, once it is recognized that the apparently single world must be pluralized, the relative breaks down the absolute. The world of absolute religious truth is likewise challenged. A spirituality of disability makes a contribution to the wider spirituality of the human race, by breaking down the absolute world of the powerful. There is a second aspect to this: a spirituality of disability helps us to gain a wider concept of the human race itself. If the body is to be thought of as having an immediate capacity to represent and symbolize our mind, spirit or character, then the disabled body would indicate a disabled mind, a tortured face would indicate a tortured spirit and a blind body would indicate spiritual blindness. Any spirituality that the disabled body might have, would be but a remnant, a fractured representation, of a higher and more perfect spirituality; but now the transfigured body is no longer only the body of the athlete transfigured through motion and skill, or only the body of the dancer transfigured through the beauty of rhythm and form, but includes the broken body transfigured towards otherness and selftranscendence. The transfigured disabled person knows the variety of human conditions and thus has an opening into other worlds. In its transfigured state, the broken body may learn to be beyond desire and fear. A spirituality of disability not only pluralizes the human world, it extends it. It leaves a message for the able-bodied, that while they come to celebrate in this world, the disabled remain confined in the cages of their (own) bodies. For the disabled, spirituality lies not just in tolerating the pain of the disease, but also the pain of embarrassment – which they can feel in a very physical way. u Dr. Rajesh Bhola is President of Spastic Society of Gurgaon and is working for the cause of children with autism, cerebral palsy, mental retardation and multiple disabilities for more than 25 years. He can be contacted at rabhola@yahoo.com

No tree must eat its own fruit, such is the cosmic truth Sooth...work and enjoy the process of earning, keep learning Take generously from the higher elements The earth, sky, air, water, the unsetting sun Seek form God, the noble soul Then give, give, give to the humans To someone, anyone...everyone All relationships will die or rust All is temporary, an appetite or lust Give your better and the best To the Mighty leave the rest The outcomes of your test... Enjoy the Karma as your Dharma

Shobha Lidder Writer Journalist, Teacher Trainer, Social Activist, Reiki Master, Pranic Healer


W ellness

13-19 December 2013

4U

Tips

Health & Vitality... Naturally!

by ShahnaZ

Comeback of Coconut { Jaspal Bajwa }

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or thousands of years, the ancient yet humble Coconut tree has been revered in the tropics and sub-tropics. Carried along by maritime currents and seafarers, the Coconut ended up encircling the globe and is now cultivated in over 80 countries. As each part of the tree has high utility value, it is not surprising to see Coconut receiving much adulation and respect. In certain parts of India it is referred to as 'kalpa vriksham' - or a wish-fulfilling divine tree. During sacred ceremonies and rituals, the Coconut invariably finds an important place along with other sacred herbs. The oil from the Coconut palm has, however, had a chequered history – inviting some debate due to its high saturated fat content. Ancient medicine systems like Ayurveda clearly recognize the different benefits the Coconut offers at various stages of its maturity. Tender Coconut water is one of the healthiest natural drinks known to man. The soft pulp and meat of half-mature Coconuts abounds in all kinds of nutrients and can be used as a snack or as an ingredient in various culinary preparations. As the fruit matures the oil content increases, and can then be extracted in several different ways. The more traditional methods use less heat-yielding ‘Virgin Coconut Oil’, which is easily the best. On the other hand, some of the more industrial methods can result in reducing the nutritional quality, especially if harmful partially-hydrogenated oils or trans-fats creep in. Not only do hydrogenated or transfats raise LDL cholesterol, but HDL or “good” cholesterol also gets lowered. Coconut oil has a long list of benefits, whether (internally) consumed or externally applied, or used in preparing herbal formulations. It is widely believed

to be excellent for hair and skin health. However, as a cooking medium, for some years it was vilified as a ‘high saturated fat’ that may not be good for arterial health – as each teaspoon provides upto 12 grams of saturated fat, vs. 2 grams in olive oil. In recent years, however, the pendulum has swung the other way. An increasing number of celebrities and healthcare practitioners are now pointing out the benefits that were somehow ‘overlooked’ due to paucity of the ‘right kind of information’ (some would say this was helped along by a few strong lobbies). In a reversal of fortunes, it is now widely believed that Virgin Coconut Oil is one of the best cooking oils, as it has several unique benefits. It not only provides a quick and lasting boost of energy by elevating the metabolism, but emerging research suggests it may be beneficial for promoting kidney and liver health, reducing cholesterol, stabilizing blood sugar levels, regulating hormones, increasing immunity levels and even ameliorating Alzheimer’s disease.

Tip of the Week

As Coconut oil has a high smoke point compared to most polyunsaturated or monounsaturated oils, it can be used in high-heat cooking – thus overcoming one of the limitations of otherwise healthy fats like virgin olive oil. For those on a ‘vegan’ diet (a nil animal products diet), solidified Coconut oil makes an excellent alternative to butter. Nature’s Wonder Foods of the Week: Coconut Oil or Cocos nucifera oil Most of the saturated fat in Coconuts is not long chain fatty acids. In its pure organic state the saturated fat in Coconut oil is made up of Medium-ChainFatty-Acids (MCFAs), and these are metabolized differently by

the liver; they supply efficient and fast energy. Coconut oil contains an unusual blend of short and medium chain fatty acids, primarily Lauric (nearly 50%) Myristic, Caprylic and Capric acids. It is this unusual composition that may offer some clues to the newfound respect for Coconut oil. This same Lauric acid is also found in mother’s breast milk. Another area of emerging interest is the role played by ketones - small molecules of organic fuel, produced when the MCFAs in Coconut oil get shipped to the liver. To sum up, high quality Virgin Coconut Oil can be a very healthy way of adding to the variety of high-heat cooking mediums that we can use in the kitchen – provided it is used in moderation. u Registered Holistic Nutritionist (Canadian School of Natural Nutrition) For education purposes only; always consult a healthcare practitioner for medical

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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.

Q. I am 42 years old. Please recommend a natural anti-

wrinkle method.

SH

For an anti-ageing face mask that also adds radiance, take half-teaspoon wheatgerm oil and add 2 teaspoons oats, one teaspoon each ground almonds, honey and orange juice. The pack is rich in antioxidants and Vitamin E, with powerful anti-wrinkle benefits. Apply on the face twice a week, avoiding the lips and area around eyes. Wash it off after 20 to 30 minutes. If the skin is dry, after cleansing at night, apply nourishing cream and massage it on the face with outward and slightly upward strokes. Wipe off excess cream with moist cotton wool before bedtime. Aastha Gupta

WINNER 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 letters@fridaygurgaon.com


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13-19 December 2013

Lessons from the Closet { Meenu Thakur Sankalp } Based On A True Story If you can’t get rid of a skeleton in your closet, you’d best teach it to dance - George Bernard Shaw

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any tales have been an intrinsic part of the Dance lore of India, but one strikingly stands out as a saga of struggle, penance and defiance, and which struck at the roots of the conventionally defined Indian social structure. It all began when Sosamma, all of nineteen, the eldest born in a family of seven and the daughter of a widowed housemaid, had a chance meeting with her destiny. Her mother, Shantamma, worked at the house of a legendary Dance guru, at an upscale Delhi locality. Owning nothing more than a tattered shawl to separate her wrinkled body from the Delhi winter, and having come down with pneumonia, Shantamma had worried that her siblings would starve – and so had trudged to the Guru’s house and begged for work for her family. One morning, while Sosamma was working, she saw the Guru imparting lessons to his young students. Through the corner of her eye, standing behind a curtain, Sosamma viewed the radiant steps and the twirling hand gestures and wondered…if dancing was easier than bending and stretching on the floor with a mop cloth dipped in cold water or rubbing hard at oily utensils with a sponge. As passion and adventure often override necessity, Sosamma began to practise dancing everyday. She would remember well the gestures and movements

A Park At Leisure { Krishan Kalra }

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he Tenth of May 2004 was our first day in Gurgaon. Having lived in Delhi almost all our lives, we had moved in with a lot of trepidation. Our children had shifted 6 months earlier and settled into one of the (twin) back-to-back houses that we had built. Of course we were excited about being with the children and grand children. We were eagerly looking forward to being with the little ones daily, and playing with them in the big lawn between the two independent units. There was also the excitement of being in a new house, after almost 30 years in the old one in South Delhi’s GK II. First things first, I had to find a decent place to walk in the mornings. This 20-year-old habit was not to be given up. I was used to the sprawling Jahanpanah City forest in Delhi. So, I made some enquiries and set out to locate ‘Leisure Valley’ in Sector 29. My efforts were soon rewarded. Even in May, and at almost nine in the morning, the place was an oasis. With its immaculately trimmed lawns, paved walkways, massive neem trees, stately palms, a beautiful long waterbody, big rose garden, green painted benches, cute distance stones every 100 meters along the exactly one km long walkway, flower bushes and creeper shaded areas along the path, it was the perfect place for my daily morning constitutional. I didn’t mind the 3½km drive each way. Some Sundays the grandchildren would also join and have fun on the swings and slides. We even went there a couple of evenings, when the multicoloured high-speed dancing fountains created magic. The atmosphere was like a ‘mela’ – with thousands of people, food stalls, balloons, a merry-go-round.... How things have changed in 4 years! The southern periphery is almost fully covered by the ‘backside’

that she saw at the morning classes, and would rewind, pause and play them at will. To her the Guru seemed to be the great Dronacharya, and she wondered if she, as the ‘lowly’ maid, was pilfering knowledge like the persevering Eklavya (of the Mahabharata). She did desperately want to learn, but how could she even ask the great Guru for this knowledge, she wondered? Time passed by, and months turned into years. When the Guru led his students in practice for a choreography piece to be presented before a visiting Head of State, the main danseuse unexpectedly decided to leave, citing family commitments. Fearing the prospect of abandoning what he had conceived for months, and that too just a day before the actual performance, the Guru became terribly anxious. Seeing the Guru in discomfort, Sosamma meekly walked up to him and volunteered to do the part. The Guru was taken aback; he was astonished at her audacity! But when he saw the breathtaking display, from a girl who had never been formally trained to Dance, he was flabbergasted. The genuineness and zeal of this young girl more than adequately compensated for her lack of execution and finesse. While he asked her sternly how she could perform the most complex steps, he proceeded to demonstrate the technicalities that would improve her performance. She felt that the Guru seemed unhappy with her brazen display of closeted learning. She fell at his feet, imploring him for forgiveness. The Guru simply asked her to be ready for the show and commanded her to practise with him all evening. Thus was born a legendary danseuse. u The writer is a renowned Kuchipudi Danseuse and Choreographer of several concrete monstrosities. There is a 50 feet long board of Bikanerwala; another equally big one of ICICI Prudential; and a third, of Vatika Grand. New buildings seem to be always under construction, fast converting this site into a ‘Commercial Valley’. On another side, one can see a lot of traffic on the sector road, and a little beyond – perhaps only 200 meters – is the “access controlled NH-8”. There’s frighteningly fast traffic there, but, they seem to be controlling more the access of bonafide motorists - making them wait from 10 to 30 mts on the grossly mis-managed ‘toll plaza’. The northern side of Leisure Valley is better. Only in the distance does one see the buildings of Power Grid and RITES, the huge glass façade of IFFCO, the elegant Laburnum towers and many other residential high-rises. Even part of the fastexpanding Metro track is visible. Mercifully the fourth side has been spared. There’s a thick tree cover, though beyond that – adjoining the “Valley” and connected through a small gate - is a complex of small restaurants and property dealers; an unusual combination, considering that these brokers won’t ever entertain anyone. Perhaps people feel happy after being shown the ‘rose gardens’ by them, and drift towards the food, the eternal mood transformer. Walking along the waterbody, west to east, one reaches another road, and a small part of the Valley continues on the other side (of the road). Just 300 meters into this portion and suddenly the “Valley” is surrounded by jhuggies, squatters and stench - unmistakable signs of yet another ‘development’. This is more of the ever-expanding concrete jungle, merging with South City. Notwithstanding all these vicious attacks on its peace and tranquility, the Valley still survives and is a refuge for hundreds of walkers, joggers, yoga learners, picnicking and match-making families, groups of school children, brazenly amorous courting couples, cricket playing children, lovers of flowers….. The annual Flower Show is a major attraction; in late February/ early March the Park is closed

B on V ivant Marital Bliss Marital bliss is something That changes with the couple's age The definition of happy marriage Is different at life’s each stage. In early years of marriage If you talk of marital bliss It's all about love-making And how couples hug and kiss! Then comes a stage… To discover if a marriage is happy You know it is really so If the husband is changing baby's nappy! When children of the couple Start going to school, If Papa too helps with homework, You know the marriage is cool. Dinner is a good time To pick up signs of marital bliss If everyone is very quiet or grumbling You know something is amiss. Another tell-tale sign Is often seen at the traffic light When the couple in the next car Are pointing fingers ready for a fight. A husband has to be a good listener But he should make a wise choice He should listen to the wife patiently But do what says his 'inner voice'. A wife must be a good talker But maintain a certain grace Even if husband is putting a foot wrong She should let him save his face! Says 'Lal', in blissful married life It’s savings that really matter… While you save for kids and for holidays And all your needs of the future The best saving is to save Yourselves for each other. Ashok Lal

for a week and spruced up for this weekend gala event. There are endless displays of beautiful flowers and keen competition for the prizes. Perhaps another reason the place still maintains its sanity is that commemoration stones installed by three of the most powerful men in Haryana languish together in this Park, announcing some project or the other that has been ‘inaugurated’ by them. On 20 August ’05, says a small round black granite tablet, Ch. Bhupinder Singh Hooda laid the foundation stone of the Rajiv Gandhi Akshay Urja Park. It is still cordoned off, seriously encroaching on the one km walkway; they seem to be building some sort of a solar energy museum here. Almost exactly a year earlier, on 12-08-04, proclaims a second slightly bigger black square board, Ch. Om Prakash Chautala performed the groundbreaking ceremony of a ‘Matsalya and Chetna Kendra’ - roughly translated, an Aquarium and Meditation Centre. And there is yet another stone, in fact a huge cube of brown granite on a three-layered platform, close to the sector road entrance, announcing the inauguration of the Water Body by Ch. Bansi Lal, on 19-11-97. Thus, a good deed of each of the three great men of the State has ensured some peaceful harmony in this sylvan spot - today a veritable lung of Gurgaon.u


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Sacred Colours For Your Home { Bhuvana Shridhar } Vaastu allows man to connect with nature, and in doing so enhances our lives” Vaastu Shastra, the ancient Science of Directional Energies, is very useful in helping us lead a happy and peaceful life. Vaastu (Vaas & Tu) is a Sanskrit word that means a place where you live or dwell. According to Vaastu, each room should be ideally painted in a different colour, to add the right kind of energy to the surrounding aura. So, to be Vaastu ‘compliant’, one has to first grasp the nature of the building or the home, to ensure that it is in tune with Nature, as well as with itself and its purpose – just as it is for any tree or flower.

Colours do so affect our lives.

For South-East facing rooms, the colour Red, which is the colour of the planet Mars, is ideal. It’s the color of love, fertility and energy. It signals action and can keep you alert, or provide the extra courage when needed. Red acts as a detoxifier for the psyche as well as the body and can help fight infection. We can tone down the effects of Red slightly by having two sides of the wall painted in pure white. This will bring in a positive aura of peace to the entire room. For South facing rooms, the colour Pink can be used to paint the walls. This will have an overall soothing effect on the energy levels of the rooms. Psychologically, Pink is chosen by those seeking affection, and appeals to those who desire domestic bliss.  Its loving energies bring about a peace of mind, especially if one is grieving the loss of a loved one.  Pink signifies a comfort zone, as this ray gives soothing, comforting vibes to all household members. All North-East facing rooms (and should include Study rooms) should have the mercurial colour, Yellow. It signifies agility of mind, intellect and inspirational thought. Yellow is also good to wear if you are feeling down or shy, as it brings about feelings of optimism and buoyancy. Another colour that can add zest to these rooms is light green - almost a subtle toned yellow olive that seems ‘fresher’ than traditionally darker shades like brown and maroon. East facing rooms (and should include Living rooms) can be painted either White, Silver or even different shades of Cream. Curtains of a White colour expansively display the purity of white and instill a sense of tranquility and peace. Cream provides a bridge between Black and White and opens doors to subtle moods. A dash of Silver, which is a more versatile tone, with its reflective, glitzy vibrancy, suggests optimism in the present but makes you aware of the past.  

The Guest room could be in the Northwest facing area of the home and the colours that can be used here are the radiating rich OrangeGold hues, which emit positive vibes of well-being, warmth and optimism.  Orange tones deal with mental conditions that are dormant and will make everyone optimistic and cheerful. The Dining area (the Brahmsthan) of the home should ideally have earthy colours, such as Dark Brown, Green and even Light Brown shades. These colours instill a strong sense of self-confidence and help one to focus in life. One can add a touch of Green to soothe and balance one’s aura. Blues and Greens are excellent for calming frayed nerves and help in digestion. The South-West facing corner of the home is ideal for Toilets, pained with Dark Reds to Maroon hues, reflecting the tones of autumnal berries. If the Bathrooms and Washrooms are huge and spacious, then one can also have colours ranging from Dark Blues to Light Purple, which emit cool confidence.  The Puja room can be situated in the North-East of the home and can be painted Purple, as it denotes creative energy and spiritual wisdom. Those who seek this colour desire an experience of oneness with a higher power, yearn for an understanding of the true meaning of life’s journey and are compelled by an urge to search for greater understanding. The room can also be painted in Cream colour, to bring peace to the family members. In the North-West or the East facing area of the home we can have the Balconies and Verandahs, and the ideal colour for this area should be a light shade of Turquoise Blue, as it denotes a desire for peace and order. As this is an essential feature of every Indian home, it has to perfectly complement the Vaastu principles. One can rest here in the early mornings or late evenings, as the Turquoise Blue colour adds warmth and can even relieve insomnia.  

Advantages Of Vaastu

  Optimal use of material and energy ensures desired results   Directional compliance of architecture and the setting, provides support for those living inside its walls n  Serves as a catalyst for enhancing family relationships n  Minimizes negativity in the environment n  Keeps one in tune with the elements of nature, delivering excellent all round benefits of solar energy, spiritual energy, lunar energy and cosmic forces n  Improves health and well being n  One can hope to be healthy, wealthy and happy…maybe even wise!u Tarot Reader n n


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Even Apes are bored by Politics ernd Weissbrod

{ Roland Boehm/ Stuttgart/ DPA }

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{ Lisa Wolf/Washington/ DPA }

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A bonobo watches a film of two wrestling bonobos at the Wilhelma Zoo.

US primatologist Amy Parish, who is studying the television preferences of bonobos at the Wilhelma Zoo in Stuttgart, Germany (background), shows her laptop with some of her image collection.

hopes to continue her research into how primates behave when watching television, at the Stuttgart zoo. The bonobos have access to a flat screen TV with five different channels for entertainment, in their new state-of-the-art Ape House, with scientists monitoring what they watch. Zookeepers and scientists have trained the bonobos on how to

A bonobo reaches for the off switch of a television built into the primates’ cage.

use the “Bonobo Cinema,” allowing the primates to choose from programmes with content ranging from sex and aggression, to play. Apes are always the main protagonists. One film

Sign-Language University

he lecturer is standing in front of his class and expansively gesticulating. With both hands he is carving out gestures in thin air. A small group of students sitting in a semi-circle watch him and one another closely. Nearly every student at the Gallaudet University Christian Vogler, the Germanin Washington DC is deaf born Chief of the Technology or has impaired hearing. Access Program at Gallaudet University in Washington DC. Classroom instruction is conducted by means of the years I want to set up an American Sign Language NGO (a Non-Government (ASL). Without visual Organization or charity) contact of the others, communication is difficult. Gallaudet University students Keith Doane, 27, (left) and Sachiko Flores, and see if I can use that “Most people here know 25, (right), chat in American Sign Language. Doane is studying Sport and to help people around the world. I say that because American Sign Language, Political Science, while Flores is completing a degree in International people who are deaf so everyday conversation Development Studies. really do not have good is a lot easier,” comments Christian Vogler. Although he has while he communicates in sign language employment opportunities, because of never been able to hear, the 40-year-old with his two hands; some signs resemble the discrimination.” Howard Rosenblum, CEO of the speaks clearly understandable German a fist, others show fingers rubbing against and English. In Washington he heads each other and yet others involve the National Association of the Deaf, told Gallaudet’s Technology Access Program, entire hand moving in a certain direction. dpa: “As deaf and hard of hearing a Department that provides cutting- A female sign-language interpreter individuals who seek higher education, our major struggle is not with hearing, edge technology, such as videophones, translates his words out loud: “Some of to aid the students. “In Germany I my friends say that I am too deaf,” but communication.” At Gallaudet had to rely on a mix of interpretation, says Keith with a smile. His parents there is no need for helpers. “Gallaudet reading, note taking and talking to fellow also cannot hear. “You do get accustomed is the only university where students students,” Vogler said. At Gallaudet to the convenience of being here, in an have unfettered access to every aspect University, by contrast, the complete environment where everyone is deaf. It of college life – from lectures and class curriculum is geared to the deaf and eases your communication with your discussions to student activities and hearing-impaired. About 1,800 students friends and your community,” he says late-night conversations in dorms,” are enrolled at the University, a bare 15 through the intepreter. What worries he said. Sachiko Flores initially began minutes’ drive from the White House. him now is the period after he graduates, studying at a university in Texas, where Keith Doane is on course to complete his when he will possibly be working with she had interpreters for her classes. She Political Science and Philosophy studies people who are able to hear. “Once I’ve transferred to Gallaudet, observing, “The whole world looks to Gallaudet; next May. He coolly leans back in his chair finished graduate school in a couple of

Lisa Wolf

ew research shows that like their human cousins, apes prefer to sit down and watch a good wildlife documentary or colourful animation film on television – not current affairs or programmes with political content. Bonobo apes, which are more closely related to humans than the gorilla or orang-utan, were given access to a television by scientists at the Wilhelma Zoo in the southern German city of Stuttgart - with fascinating results. Banbo, an 11-year-old female, was the first of the bonobos to learn how to switch the television on in her enclosure, whereas 15-year-old Liboso still occasionally kicks the screen with his foot. The rest of the group have grown accustomed to simply sitting down and watching programmes. Primatologist Amy Parish learned very quickly that convincing the apes of the merits of watching television was no easy task. The 47-year-old

documents the life of wild bonobos in Congo. Professor Parish has worked with bonobos for 23 years and carries out her research in different zoos throughout America and Europe. Parish is already familiar with the Wilhelma, as it was here where she carried out her doctoral studies in the 1990s. At that time, Parish discovered that, amongst bonobos, which have a very similar genetic make-up to humans, the female of the species is dominant. “The power clearly lies with Parish’s research involves aspects of both primatology and anthropology, and ideally she hopes her work will shed light on how violent films affect behaviour in humans as well. The experiment is not the first to investigate how apes react when watching images on television, but in Stuttgart the primates decide for themselves which programmes they want to watch, by pressing buttons. “It’s a global pilot project,” says Parish. It is hoped the research will reveal which topics interest the apes, whether males

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choose different subject matter to females and if there are differences of taste within the group. The intelligent Banbo needs a little time to find the ‘on’ button, but Parish shows the ape how the television functions via a video screen. The female bonobo comes from a British zoo, where several years ago researchers showed the apes films of different animals. The bonobos jeered when they saw predatory animals. The sight of smaller creatures aroused soothing noises, according to one animal keeper. “It was only when a snake appeared in the picture that they lost their nerve and ran away screaming. However, they composed themselves after a short time and went back to see if the coast was clear.” The research revealed that bonobos favour animated features and wildlife documentaries. The apes loved action and bright colours, but were bored by political programmes. On one occasion, when the television broke down and needed to be repaired, the technician who brought it back was greeted with jubilation.u

it is considered the deaf mecca, if you will.” She speaks American Sign Language, only rarely using her voice. “I want to expose people to the fact that deaf people can be successful,” she said. This particular mecca does not come cheap, given the special equipment such as video telephones and the intensive individual instruction students receive. Tuition for one semester is about 16,000 dollars; International students must pay 23,000 dollars. u


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{ Birgit Reichert/ Saarbruecken, Germany/ DPA }

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he mourners never knew the deceased, but they have shown up at the funeral to boost the numbers. If the volunteers were not there, the congregation would be zero. A funeral is sad enough; a funeral with no guests is sadder still. “This is all about helping bring dignity to the funeral,” Hans Heine, 67, tries to explain. “It’s so that dead people who may have been lonely their entire life are not alone on the final journey.” He is standing in a funeral parlour at the main cemetery in the German city of Saarbruecken. The volunteer mourners stand before a flower-decorated urn and then accompany it as it is carried outside to be buried. There are no reliable figures on whether solitariness is more common than it used to be. Perhaps the profoundly lonely have always been among us. Heine has so far attended about a dozen funerals of strangers as a volunteer mourner. “I think it is very sad when somebody is buried without any relatives, friends or acquaintances

Photographer Darrin James, whose candid shots of Sydney people are earning world attention. He says: “I don’t think we’re as interesting as we like to think we are. There’s a band of conservatism in Sydney which is not as deep in other countries. You get a very diverse range of people but they are kind of the same at the same time.”

people and it’s right on top of their mind. They see you as a vehicle. It’s like a confession. They have a story that they want to tell and it’s easier to tell a stranger sometimes.” James, 46, is a wedding photographer. He has done 600 weddings and never come away without a pleasing portfolio. But this is a rubric that is

An unnamed Sydney subject in Darrin James’ series of city portraits.

more testing of his skills as a photographer and his mettle as a person. It is a hobby that threatens to overwhelm a successful day job. “I was scared when I started off,” he said. “Now, I’d do it morning to night if I could.” James is not alone in working with Stanton’s original concept. Humans of Sydney is one of around 30 similar projects. The boilerplate is Stanton’s Humans of New York, but each copy is different, reflecting not just a different location but a different photographer. James is quick to credit Brandon Stanton with dreaming up the idea. Sydney is just the second in a concept that has gone round the world.

“Brandon? I consider him to be one of the greatest modernday storytellers. To me, he’s the original and the best.” James makes sure people see the camera early, strikes up a conversation and seeks permission before taking the shot. Sometimes they give their names. Mostly, they are not asked to. “You could find someone who’s normal as normal and stop them and extract a story out of them,” James said. “It’s people who are telling their story through their face, their clothes and their demeanour.” Stanton’s gift is talking to people and getting them to say something revealing that

‘They died without friends or relatives’ attending,” comments Saarbruecken Funeral Director Hubert Laubach. He recalls several funerals in recent years where, as undertaker, he was alone in the cemetery chapel with the obligatory pastor and an organist. “You’re always looking up at the door and thinking, somebody must be coming. But the pews remained empty,” the 57-year-old said. At the start of this year, Laubach and his son posted an ad in a newspaper calling for “voluntary mourning guests.” Very quickly, people responded. Now, Laubach has a list of six people whom he can call on to attend such funerals. “We stand there like a group of mourners, a kind of family,” he says. Heine always shows up wearing a black suit and white shirt. “I dress respectfully, in keeping with the occasion,” says the former store employee. As a child, he served as an altar boy at a Catholic funeral, where the only others were the priest and another altar boy. “I bawled my eyes out that night,” he recalls.

Oliver Dietze

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t’s a simple enough concept: go out into the streets of your town, take photographs of interesting people you meet and post their portraits on a Facebook page that anyone can see. It has worked for Brandon Stanton, who originated the concept three years ago with Humans of New York and has had 1.6 million visitors and issued a best-selling book of his favourite shots. And it is working for Darrin James, who has been snapping the locals for 18 months and has 22,000 followers on his ‘Humans of Sydney’ page. Go out with your camera and give it a go. What is a simple enough proposition requires much more than just ace photographic skills. “You’ve got 30 seconds to interact with this person, to have them open up to you and to give you permission to take their photo,” James said. “If you’re not on top of it, your 30 seconds is soon gone.” On a recent sortie, nervousness got in the way and he had four knock-backs in a row. “It was my approach to it. I wasn’t enthusiastic. I wasn’t myself,” he admitted. Other times, things just fall into place. “You come across some

Sid Astbury

{ Sid Astbury/Sydney/ DPA }

Darrin James

Portrait Artist points a Candid Camera

German Undertaker Hubert Laubach (right) holds a cremation urn in the forest glade of Saarbruecken Main Cemetery in Germany, watched by Hubert Marc Laubach (left). They have recruited volunteer mourners to assist at the last rites for ‘friendless deceased’.

Today he doesn’t allow himself to be so greatly affected by such lonely funerals: “I guess they’re a sign of the times.” Funeral director Laubach has about 20 burials per year where no relatives can be located. They might include a lonely old woman who dies in a nursing home, an elderly man in

a hospital or a homeless person. The authorities hire him for the funeral and pay him. He knows little more about the deceased than the name and last address. As far as he knows, Laubach says, he is the first Funeral Director in Germany to organize volunteer mourners.

breathes life into the snap. James said his primary focus was the portrait, a very high quality image that captured something of the subject. “I play to my strengths and writing isn’t my strength,” he said. “What I’m looking for is the photograph telling the story. The words are the icing on the cake, the glue that binds the image.” The site is not a freak show; coaching a telling anecdote from an ordinary person is the jackpot. James accentuates the face, drawing out the story from the lines he finds there rather than, as others do, getting a kickalong from the scene around the subject. The eccentrics often have the best stories. A recent subject complained to him about getting a particular conspiracy theory wrong. It was Mars that was 40 metres across, not the moon. “I don’t believe a single word he said, but I respect that he has those opinions,” James said. “The role of the photographer is the catcher.” James, who was born in Malaysia and has run photographic studios in Dubai and London, sees no end to the project. With 4 million people in Sydney, there are more stories to tell than he has time. “I’ve had hour conversations with people and I’ve had 30-second conservations,” he said. “I love the stories people tell me. I’m just blown away by the stories.” u The Federation of German Undertakers says it knows of one other project, in Goettingen, Germany. There, a group called the Tobias Fraternity, which includes funeral directors among its members, organizes a dignified funeral if there is no one else to mourn. The practice dates back to the days of medieval fraternities, says the Tobias group. In Saarbruecken, Laubach tries to find mourners among the deceased person’s neighbours. “We also print funeral notices and post them in the apartment block where the deceased lived, in the hope that someone will attend the funeral,” he says. He tries to discover the dead person’s religious beliefs, so he can call in an appropriate clergyman. “Even if somebody had no religion, I still try to find a pastor.” Laubach’s business operates 13 funeral homes in Saarland state, carrying out around 900 funerals each year. But it is those where there are no relatives and friends that touch him the most deeply. “I just can’t understand how there can be nobody paying their final respects to these people.” u


{ Simone Andrea Mayer/Willemstad, Curaçao/ DPA } “

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ey, Dushi! How are ya doin’?” With these words, Camille Paz Rivero has won over the museum guard, and the two start chatting away like they’re old friends. In fact the tourist guide has never met the man before. But her “Dushi” (dear one) is pleased, and being addressed so lovingly he (of course) smilingly provides her with information. Be it a brother, an uncle, a waiter, a passerby on the street or even a policeman, everyone gets addressed this way on the tiny Caribbean island of Curaçao. And nobody seems to take offence at what in Europe would be considered a saucy come-on. Tourists should know this, so that they’re not taken aback when a stranger at a bar addresses them as “Dushi” and asks for a dance. Dushi appears to be the mostspoken word on the island and seems to translate as “darling” or “sweet.” The person so addressed, it follows, becomes something of a treasure. But author Diana DomacasseLebacs notes that “dushi” is not just an adjective for people, but also the turquoise-coloured sea, the white beaches and the candy-coloured colonial buildings. What certainly contributes to the permanent good mood on the island off Venezuela’s coast is that Curaçao is protected against bad weather. The “ABC” islands - Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao - are located in the Caribbean Sea region, south of the so-called hurricane

Simone Andrea Mayer

A glass of Blue Curaçao, one of the improbable colours of the Island’s famed liqueur. Genuine Curaçao Liqueur is originally colourless: the blue is added to it.

Curaçao Tourist Board

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When they call you ‘Dushi’

The Queen Emma Bridge, a pontoon bridge across St. Anna Bay in Curaçao, connecting the Punda and Otrobanda quarters of the capital, Willemstad. At night it is gaily lit up.

The Willemstad ferry with the waterfront behind it. The Curaçao capital is a favourite with cruise passengers

belt, so they are never struck by such devastating storms. Nor is there a rainy season per se. Now and then there might be a brief rain shower. The sunny disposition of the inhabitants is also evident in the capital Willemstad, whose the most loved picture-postcard

An artwork in Willemstad celebrates a favourite Curaçao word, dushi, which means sweet, nice or good.

UNESCO pays for the paint, but the Curaçao property owners choose - and constantly change - the colours of the buildings on the Willemstad waterfront.

setting is the colourful row of colonial-era buildings along the waterfront. They now are counted among UNESCO’s World Cultural Heritage

sites. Every few years, the mix of colours changes, according to Paz Rivero. UNESCO pays for the paint to keep the buildings’ facades fresh, but it does not prescribe which colours are to be applied. The building owners decide, and their taste is eclectic. The two neighbourhoods of Punda and Otrobanda are separated by the water channel of St Anne’s Bay leading to the harbour. But they are connected by the “Swinging Old Lady” - the nickname for a pontoon bridge officially named “Queen Emma.” When ships pass through, the pedestrian bridge swings completely to one side to make way for them. Day tourists, arriving on countless cruise Two women perform a spontaneous ships that drop anchor at dance on the street in broad daylight on Willemstad, mainly popuCuraçao, just for the fun of it, when the late the bridge and the band in the background starts to play. two neighbourhoods. Wil-

lemstad seems to be constantly swaying, and humming, to the tact of the swinging bridge. Here and there, a few men in relaxed ‘rasta’ look are playing music in front of a shop - not necessarily for the tourists. It is no coincidence that the City’s name sounds Dutch. Up till 2010 Curaçao had belonged to The Netherlands. Today the island is autonomous, though remaining a member of the Dutch Royal Commonwealth. As a result, many European Union laws have been adopted by the local parliament. In the wake of colonial conquerors, slaves and their cultures, the Island not only absorbs many influences, but also exports them. For example, the orange “Genuine Curaçao Liqueur” is as colourful as the island itself. The basic drink is opaque, but the islanders love to colour it red, green and orange. Blue Curaçao is known the world over as one of the most exotic bottles in the cocktail cabinet. u


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13-19 December 2013

G -Scape asha PANDEY

The Great (Sunny) Indoors

Friday gurgaon dec 13 19, 2013  

.be the change you want to see

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