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21-27 December 2012

Vol. 2 No. 18  Pages 24  ` 7

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

The Equal Minority First Protect, Then Reserve { Atul Sobti } The time has come. There are some special causes for which novel actions and laws are urgently needed. And in this land there can be no higher priority than the security of the women of a household.

a Special Judge/Court.

Stop Symbolism

c)  We should publicly recognize those brave people who are even today

We call a woman an equal (she is definitely so stepping forward to protect women in numbers); and in fact magnanimously accept her starting with the young man who tried to protect the young lady in this latest case as the better half. in Delhi. They are the true men. Let the How conveniently we mouth platitudes…. celebrities (esp. the males) be part of For we actually treat them like a handicap; a serious public campaign, and show or worse, our honour. that they are also as On rape, we nod our heads when it is called the ‘living death’; Going forward, there are 2 clear true men. we tough guys have little idea what that life means, let alone have and important actions that need to   the courage to face something similar. And it is only after a 'ghastly' be taken/started immediately : d)  Technology must be used 1)  Let the Police be seen extensively – esp. CCTV, multiple incident that we feel angry and demand action - before lapsing everywhere – in your face - as real time communication links, and into frustration. policemen, civil defence, exbright LED lighting across the City. Crime against women needs to be recognized as the worst crime; a servicemen, volunteers. It will be a Just why such simple measures crime on daughters, sisters and mothers should surely warrant that. most welcome change. remain stuck is indeed baffling. And yet we tend to treat it normally. The law needs to be totally 2)  A basic judicial rule needs convinced about all the whats and hows of the rape, up front. There to change. In rape cases, justice e) In society, we do need to realize is little sympathy, no sensitivity. should start with the accused that the focus has been far too long (especially if identified by the woman) on womens' bodies, their physicality. It We treat eve-teasing as a sport, and molestation as just an being held in custody – and having needs to go deeper. Beauty is definitely aberration – and are thankful that nothing worse happened. to prove themselves innocent. Not the not skin deep. Even women need to These are daily insults that a girl/woman must endure – other way round. Yes we can, and should, seriously introspect. and ignore at her peril. do this - even in a democracy. After all, ‘boys will be boys - be a sport, lady’. Even a few exemplary cases will The Indian govt. has more time and So what should we do? We need to first clearly acknowledge that we have a serious 24x7 problem at hand. And that the current system is not delivering.

set the trend.

inclination for passing a reservation policy for the promotions of SCs/STs (job reservations not being enough) than the Lokpal or the Women’s Reservation Bill. A Women’s Protection Bill has not even been thought of. If some groupings can get a Bill passed on Class/ Religion Reservation, it is clearly high time for a Bill on Gender Protection (followed by Reservation). Across strata, no ‘group’ faces more bias, or is a bigger victim, that the female. There would be universal support for a Women’s Protection Bill – across all political parties too.

The time has come.

To expand: a)  Police, and policing, needs to seem omnipresent. It needs to literally scare any would-be perpetrator of crime. Currently there is little fear of the police, or of consequences/punishment. Let police persons (at least 30% women) overflow across the City. Involve people from civil defence as well as citizen volunteers. Overdo the checking and policing. The police need to pick up each and every perpetrator pointed out by any woman. Anyone touching a woman, in any form, without her consent/permission, should be liable for criminal punishment. Let the police stations overflow. That too will be a welcome change. We need to publicly name and shame such persons.

Take the public in confidence. No one will complain, if positive action is seen on the ground – in terms of a sharp drop in eve-teasing or general misbehaviour towards women. We need to reach a stage where any citizen can courageously take on eve-teasers anywhere, and find full public and police support. Large numbers of policemen, with simple, clear instructions, are a better bet than expecting high quality policing soon. In the instant case, the criminals had an altercation with a truck driver (who even called 100), robbed a person in the bus an hour earlier, the bus had tinted window panes, and the driver’s record was suspect – and yet none of these violations were ever picked up by the police. A senior police officer on TV in fact proudly said that Delhi Police is on the ball - in the last 11 months they have challaned 2.5 lakhs cars for having tinted glasses. It was lost on him that even after decades of a law coming into force, the enforcement is still pathetic; and that so many people, at the least, have utter contempt for the law ! b)  The Law Minister and the Supreme/High Courts need to help enact a new law within 6 months, that deals exclusively with girls’/women’s security (from the pre-natal stage to old age). And all cases pertaining to atrocities like rape should be taken up in a special court(s) – with the onus on the accused to prove their innocence. Till these are set up, all courts must fasttrack every rape case, for delivering a verdict in 6 months – else it moves to

We in Gurgaon are no better off. We are also part of a State where women are not really the favourites – that too from birth. Our task will be even harder. And let us not only react to what has happened the last time. Delhi is now focused on checking buses thoroughly, when the chances are that the next horrible case will happen differently. Similarly, just ‘overprotecting’ MG Road on New Year’s Eve should not be our answer. Our City faces crime mainly on the roads – that is where the police needs to be, in numbers, from now. We also need to very clearly move the liquor vends away from the roads and residences/schools, and stop their glaring and blaring lights. As India opens up and urbanizes, we will see more of these cases. The uncensored Internet and Mobiles have only made this task more difficult. We need to take the actions….now. It will be difficult once it starts becoming a flood. The harsh reality also is that Women’s Liberation is not possible without Women’s Protection.u ps - We could also go another way. It is not for very different reasons that the Naxalite movement started – the failure of the State, in matters of life most dear to individuals. Yes, it tends to degenerate very fast, but the starting is always idealistic. An ‘answer’ could probably come in some other form. Vigilantes? u


02 RNI No. HARENG/2011/39319 Postal Regn. No. GRG/35/2012-2014 VOL.–2 No.–18  21-27 December 2012

Editor:

WORKSHOP  NIGHTLIFE  EXHIBITION  MUSIC  ART  DANCE

WORKSHOP MUSIC NIGHTLIFE ART EXHIBITION

Atul Sobti

Sr. Correspondent: Abhishek Behl Correspondents:

Maninder Dabas

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

Anita Bagchi Shilpy Arora

Sr. Designer:

Amit Singh

Designers:

Virender Kumar

DANCE

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

Pankaj Yadav Sunil Yadav Manish Yadav

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

Vikalp Panwar

Ad Sales Exec :

Amit Agarwal

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

editor@fridaygurgaon.com letters@fridaygurgaon.com contributions@fridaygurgaon.com subscription@fridaygurgaon.com circulation@fridaygurgaon.com adsales@fridaygurgaon.com events@fridaygurgaon.com marketing@fridaygurgaon.com Friday Gurgaon (Weekly) edited, published and printed by Atul Sobti on behalf of Arap Media Ventures Pvt. Ltd. from 213, Tower A, Spazedge, Sector 47, Sohna Road, Gurgaon 122018, Haryana.

Nightlife

TAB01 Level 1, Food Court, Cyber Greens Building, DLF Ph. 3, Gurgaon Monday: 24th Dec 2012. Time: 9 pm onwards...on till late!!! Call: 9953872400, 9899999451 9990965656

Christmas Celebrations! Celebrate Christmas at EARTH ITALIAN!!!Bonfire~Live Music by 'Roseline &Raulsa'. Duck, Turkey, Mulled Wine and much more. CONTACT 9654049101; 0124-6520001; 012465233759. For New Year's Eve Bookings Too!

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T

Events @ Epicentre Theatre

Date: Dec 23 Time: 7:30 pm Play: The One Percent Agency (Directed by Sohaila Kapur) Tickets at Rs. 350, 250 & 150 available at the venue. Suitable for 15 years & above

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

`7

319

RNI No. HARENG/2011/39

For The Other Half

P3

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

G

...Pg 16

Tantric Art

W

e feature

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

...Pg 17

Master Recipe

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

Please Visit Us At en Emergency Servicem www.fridaygurgaon.com Ask Your Newspaper Vendor For Friday Gurgaon. M

asterchef Top 5

Vijaylaxmi shares a Recipe exclusively for FG readers.

...Pg 18

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

Let’s Be Civil

P

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

Regular Features Food Take

...Pg 6

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

Music

Date: Dec 26 Time: 7:30 pm Programme: A Tribute to Yash Chopra Date: Dec 28 Time:7:30 pm Programme: World Folk Ensemble

Dance

Date: 7:30 pm Programme: Kuchipudi Recital by Dr. Raja Radha Reddy & Troupe

Art

Prakhar PaNdey

T

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

Date: Dec 25 Time:3:30pm & 7:30pm Play: A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (Adapted by Dramabaaz Co.)

{ Abhishek Behl / FG }

{Inside}

Astrology

{ Hritvick Sen / FG }

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

A

100 – Police Emergency main Police

Line

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

7838003874 7827233023

his Christmas, gormandize on a  lavish buffet, binge on Christmas delicacies and desserts; get buzzed on Christmas cocktails,  click pictures with the life size Santa and his Sledge to take back loving memories with you; free goodies for the little ones will add sparkle to the fun. All of this and more only at 32nd Milestone, NH-08, Gurgaon Tel: 0124 4870400/453/455, Mobile: 78382294056

The views expressed in the opinion pieces and/or the columns are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, Friday Gurgaon or Arap Media Ventures Pvt. Ltd.

n Are you interested and concerned

Call

Christmas Celebrations at 32nd Milestone Mamma Mia, the Garden Cafe Dinner - 24th & 25th December @ 999 all inclusive Brunch -  25th December @ 1199/- All Inclusive. Children pay half. Special Menu at Terrazzo, the Terrace Bar

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

FG Invites Citizens

Want an Event to appear on the Coming Up page?

Food/Nightlife

Date: Dec 22 Time: 5:00pm & 7:30pm Play: Ten Years With Guru Dutt: Abrar Alvi’s Journey (Directed by Saattvic) Tickets at Rs. 400, 300 & 200, available at the venue. Suitable for 18 years & above

Vol. 1 No. 28  Pages 24

Coming Up

21-27 December 2012

Date: Dec 22-23 Event: Photography Exhibition-World Of Expressions

{Inside} Empty Shelters Lakhs Homeless

T

he 2 Night Shelters of the MCG are running fairly empty, in a City where lakhs are homeless. Why this anomaly? Are the homeless not at home in a govt. run night shelter, or are they not really welcome? ...Pg 7

Backpackers’ District

P

aharganj has transformed over the last few decades. It is now the ‘budget tourist’s’ hangout area – central, well connected, affordable, and with some choice eateries – from legendary bhature and pakore to global food. ...Pg 14

Finding Peace in the Pace

T

he City may be fast paced and materialistic, but a few are starting to pause – and look for some answers within. Spiritual Clubs have sprung up, to offer that elusive peace of mind. ...Pg 16

The Mother Tribe

G

urgaon Moms are coming together – and may their tribe increase. From chatting to netting to protesting – they have found their niche, and their soft power. ...Pg 19


21-27 December 2012

Stills from the hilarious Musical Comedy Drama "LET'S FREEZE THE MOTHER-IN-LAW" adapted & directed by Dr. Gerald Rodricks in aid of LAMP Trust

  Cast: Dr. Gerald Rodricks (Mr. Hendrix) , Aubrey Aloysius (Freddy Soares), Kamalini Roy Hendrix (Mrs. Hendrix), Ninotchka Colaco (Emily Hendrix), Sandeep Kohli (Hari Singh) & Special Appearance by Lorraine Fiona Aloysius (Lorraine).

Celeb Watch

03


04

21-27 December 2012

R eviews/L istings

FOOD

BOOK

Christmas Bonanza at Galaxy Hotel

Think, Then Do

{ Aalok Wadhwa }

says, this is one of the best available in Delhi/NCR. The strawberry bonifie is truly addictive. It has a heavenly combination of fresh strawberries and cream, with banana and caramel – so how can it not taste good? The

I

am at Galaxy Hotel, to try out the exciting Christmas offerings that the Hotel is unravelling to its patrons, at its various food outlets. I am looking forward to digging into

Galaxy Hotel Sector 15, Gurgaon Timing: 3 PM – 7 PM On till January 1, 2013 Contact: 0124-4868000

some plum pudding, and other goodies that bring in the Yuletide spirit – like their confectionary plus Irish coffee package (Rs. 699). I settle into a comfortable seat at Beanstalk, the Hotel’s lobby level Café, as the sweet treats start to roll in. On offer are five Christmas desserts, and some pastries of the day. First to come is the mince pie, a small British fruit-based sweet pie – with ingredients traceable to the 13th century, when home-bound European crusaders brought with them Middle Eastern recipes containing fruits and spices. The pie is delectable, with its moist texture and intense taste. The next offering is the curiously christened 'stolen cake', a fruit cake containing dried fruit, and sprinkled with sugar powder. The plum cake that follows has always defined Christmas for

me. I am quite surprised to know, from Executive Chef Rahul Rana, that the traditional plum cake has no plums – instead it has raisins soaked in brandy, along with spices like cinnamon, cardamom and cloves. The highlight of the afternoon is the plum pudding, traditionally served as part of the Christmas dinner. Here it is topped with a warm calvados brandy based sauce, which adds to the dish’s tender texture and robust taste. It is now time to try the pastries of the day. The tiramisu is rather good. As Pradipta Biswas, General Manager of Galaxy Hotel, proudly

CINEMA

THIS WEEK PVR: Ambience Premier Dabangg-2 Time: 10.00 am, 10.30 am, 11.30 am, 12.50 pm, 1.20 pm, 2.20 pm, 3.40 pm, 4.10 pm, 5.10 pm, 6.10 pm, 6.30 pm, 7.00 pm, 8.00 pm, 9.00 pm, 9.20 pm, 9.50 pm, 10.50 pm, 11.45 pm The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 Time: 10.30 am (3D) Rise Of The Guardians Time: 1.15 pm, 5.45 pm Talaash Time: 3.25 pm Khiladi 786 Time: 12.40 pm (3D) Life Of Pi Time: 3.15 pm, 10.55 pm (3D) The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Time: 10.00 am, 7.45 pm PVR: Ambience Gold Dabangg-2 Time: 11.00 am, 12.00 pm, 1.50 pm, 2.50 pm, 4.40 pm, 5.40 pm, 7.30 pm, 8.30 pm, 10.20 pm, 11.15 pm (3D) Rise Of The Guardians Time:10.00 am Address: 3rd Floor,

fig and honey pastry is a refreshing combination, delivering an exciting taste. The Irish coffee served is a classic rich cocktail of hot coffee, Irish whiskey, and stirred sugar, topped with Bailey’s Irish cream. An alternative food feast is the unlimited soup and dim sum package (veg Rs. 799, non-veg Rs. 999), being offered at all of Galaxy Hotel’s restaurants – between 3 pm and 7 pm. On offer are 16 varieties of dim sums – including paneer and mushroom, chicken long bun (with liquid soup inside), minced lamb and peas. On the 24th of December the Howzzat Pub will launch its Christmas Brew (pitcher for Rs. 900). So enjoy the sweet, the savoury, and the spirits – and make this a merry Christmas! u

Ambience Mall, NH-8 Website: www.pvrcinemas.com PVR MGF: MGF Mall Dabangg-2 Time: 10.00 am, 10.30 am, 11.00 am, 11.30 am, 12.00 pm, 12.30 pm, 1.20 pm, 1.50 pm, 2.20 pm, 2.50 pm, 3.20 pm, 4.10 pm, 4.40 pm, 5.10 pm, 5.40 pm, 6.10 pm, 7.00 pm, 7.30 pm, 8.00 pm, 8.30 pm, 9.00 pm, 9.50 pm, 10.20 pm, 10.50 pm, 11.20 pm, 11.45 pm (3D) The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Time: 3.00 pm, 10.45 pm (3D) Rise Of The Guardians Time: 10.30 am, 6.15 pm (3D) Life Of Pi Time: 12.30 pm, 8.15 pm Karma Yodha (Malayalam) Time: 6.30 pm The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 Time: 10.20 am Khiladi 786 Time: 3.40 pm Sarocharu (Telugu) Time: 12.50 pm Talaash Time: 9.20 pm PVR Sahara: Sahara Mall Dabangg-2 Time: 10.00 am, 11.00 am, 12.50 pm, 1.50 pm, 3.40 pm, 4.40 pm, 6.30 pm, 7.30 pm, 9.20 pm, 10.20 pm

{ Alka Gurha }

I

n a world that is now deeply interconnected, every action of ours seemingly has consequences for someone. Hence the relevance of ‘The Thinking Life’, which talks about the need for self-restraint, and aims to help people become more watchful thinkers. Widely acclaimed as a civility expert, Forni is a Professor at Johns Hopkins University, Maryland, US, where he co-founded (and now directs) a Civility initiative. His previous offering, ‘Choosing Civility’, has already sold more than 100,000 copies. The book contains twelve short chapters, suggesting ways to introspect, and contemplate more, on our thought process. Forni says, “Life has become more about feeling good than being good.” Undeniably, we spend more time tending to the quality of our emotional lives, than to the quality of our moral lives. Part of the present day problem, according to Forni, is the digital distraction. “A large amount of time in which we are engaged online is dedicated to things that are not really crucial in many cases,” the author says. Forni believes that “connecting”—mainly on social media—can be mistaken for “thinking”. He thinks children don’t read enough today; and according to him, weak readers are weak thinkers. The book is a cross

THE WEEK THAT WAS ♦ The Police are working on a proposal for a vehicle

ban on MG Road, on New Year’s Eve – from 9pm to 2am. ♦ 2 groups (Haryana Navnirman Sena and Bharatiya Dalit Sangharsha Morcha) threaten protest, unless pubs and bars (especially on MG Road) are closed from now to New Year, as they fear crime and violence will not be controllable – like last year. ♦ Villagers threaten to block NH8, due to the constant traffic jams - especially between Kherki Daula toll plaza and Dharuhera.

♦ Court tells the Administration to prepare a

rehabilitation policy for people impacted by the restricted zone near IAF Depot - lakhs of residents are already staying in this zone. ♦ To check fresh/illegal construction in the restricted 900m zone of the 54ASP Air Force Ammunition Depot area, and the 100m zone of the Arjun Garh Air Force Station area, the DC, PC Meena, has prohibited/ banned all construction in that area. Any violation will be punished under Sec 188 of the IPC.

♦ After the first Prashashan Aapke Dwar

(Administration at your door) program held at Village Ransika of Pataudi sub-division, and presided over by the DC, the next program has been held at Village Damdama. The programme included a Khulla Durbar, which was presided over by SDM South Vivek Kalia.

♦ DHBVN has detected 3,176 cases of power theft from Gurgaon, from April to date.

♦ Haryana inks power deal with Bhutan, for 1500 to 2000MW hydel power.

♦ Singapore PM visits Gurgaon.

The Thinking Life: How to Thrive in the Age of Distraction Author: P. M. Forni Publisher: Pan Macmillan/St. Martin’s Press Price: Rs. 299 Indian Edition Genre: Self-Help/Business between self-help and some uncorroborated advice and platitudes. Since the book is a descriptive as well as prescriptive manual, the narration becomes professorial and tiresome at places. Perhaps the reader will not agree with everything in this book, but this slim volume packs a lot of wisdom – to compel us to think and change the way we are going about our lives. u

♦ A wanted criminal, accused of murder, is nabbed after 7 years.

♦ A speeding car kills 1, severely injures 2. ♦ A dead body is found in Biodiversity Park. ♦ The main accused is held in the ICU firing case. ♦ A Class IX student goes missing – feared kidnapped.

♦ A husband and 5 others are booked in a dowry harassment case.

♦ Robbers snatch car from student off Sohna road,

abduct him and dump him later; a car is forcibly taken at gunpoint in Sec 34. ♦ Robbers loot valuables from the house of a Delhi Police lady constable working in the PM’s security cell; 3 booked for Rs 20 lakhs property loan fraud; a doctor is duped of Rs 10 lakhs, on the promise of empanelment; jewellery worth lakhs is stolen from a house - robbers entered on the pretext of giving an invite; a constable is held for stealing a motorcycle from a Police Station; Rs 60,000 is robbed from a petrol pump manager in Sec 56. ♦ A woman misuses her ex-husband’s email account, and sends morphed obscene material to his relatives; a case has been registered against a lady for defaming a senior officer on Facebook; 3 have been booked for faking their identity on a website.

♦ There is chaos on the first day of ‘closure’ of Golf

Course Road – for developing the new HUDA-DLF Sector Road (NH8 to Sec 55/56). ♦ A new CGHS centre opens in Sec 55. ♦ The road between HUDA City Centre and Subhash Chowk (Sohna Road) will be renovated and widened. There is also a plan for cycle tracks and FOBs. ♦ HUDA is readying 31 parking sites, to offer early in the new year. ♦ A Bus Terminal is expected to open in Sector 29, near HUDA City Centre metro station – for local city buses, and also for the Volvo service.


21-27 December 2012

Celeb Watch

05

Of Couture & Make-up

D

esigner Preeti Ghai, in association with make-up expert Yashmeen Munjal, unveiled the Regal Couture Collection and Make-up Trends 2013, at a glittering ceremony in a City Hotel. Bollywood actresses Mahima Choudhary and Nagma were present at the occasion, sporting the designer's collection.

Karishma in gCity

A

ctress Karishma Kapoor was in the City for the launch of a real estate project. Karishma looked resplendent in an off-white churidar, and was seen giving away awards at the Event.

Food Fare

A

Top Gear Awards

T

opGear Magazine hosted the Indian automotive awards of the year at the Kingdom of Dreams. On display were a host of luxury cars and bikes – Mini Coopers, Lamborghinis, Dukes, Audis, Range Rovers. The Event included a Fashion Show and a performance by singer Manasi Scott. Bollywood actor Abhishek Bachchan gave away the prize for the 'Car of the Year'.

popular food chain kickstarted a food festival at a Mall in the City. The opening day saw noted names in the field of glamour enjoying the food and letting their hair down. Some of the guests at the Event were Atul and Sonu Wassan, Ashish Kapur, Ajay Saini, Meghana Kapur, Rahul Sharma, Talia Bentson, and Thenny Mejia.


06

21-27 December 2012

New Tax Without Service

{ Maninder Dabas/ FG }

H

ouse Tax has once again become a bone of contention between the masses and the State. There is an unprecedented unrest against the almost 3,75,000 notices of House Tax that have been issued by the Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon (MCG). When MCG was formed in 2008, CM Hooda had announced that no House Tax would be collected from the people who are self-occupying their homes; only those properties would be charged with House Tax that are being used for commercial purposes. But MCG has issued notices to the whole City. Resident Welfare Associations, like Joint Action Forum of Residents' Association (JAFRA) have already shown their anguish. “This move by the MCG is totally unacceptable. If the State has once exempted the masses from the Tax, how can the Corporation issue notices in the first place. JAFRA is going to take this battle forward, and next week we are going to raise

the issue of discrepancies in the House Tax notices with the Commissioner. And if needed, we will also stage a protest and ask to meet the CM,” said Col. (retd) Ratan Singh, President of JAFRA. MCG, after seeing the unrest in the masses, is now saying, “I think there is a misunderstanding. I would like to clarify that the notices the residents have received are just bills, and those house-owners who provide us with the affidavits of self occupation would be exempted from Tax,” said Anju Choudhary, Joint Commissioner, MCG. Civil Society, however, has a different take. “I don't know how they have sent the bills or notices— whatever they are—in the first place. According to the law, anything that is related to the provision of services can't be charged from a back date,” said Col (retd) Sarvdaman Oberoi, who is fighting several legal battles in the courts against the builders and the Administration. There is specific discontent among the residents of private builder

Chronology of events 1.  The Municipal Corporation (MCG) is formed in June 2008. 2.  In November 2010, MCG releases assessment notices to residents, giving facts (as reportedly known to them) in respect of the area (sq. yards/ ft.) of the property etc., and its corresponding assessable value along with the tax payable. This notice, as advised by MCG, if uncontested, would be treated as a Bill, for calculation of Tax payable. The print on this notice also states: During the period 2008 to April 2010 self-occupied residential properties will be exempt from House Tax. The owners of such properties are required to furnish an affidavit to this effect. 3.  Soon after the above, in early 2010, a writ petition is filed in the Hon’ble Punjab & Haryana High Court, questioning the levy of House Tax in consideration of the fact that MCG is not providing any services; and, besides, residents are already paying maintenance charges to Private Developers for services rendered. Thus residents resent being subjected to dual taxation. 4. In July 2010, the Hon’ble Court passes a judgment on the writ petition. The operative part reads as follows: This plea deserves to be rejected on more than one ground; firstly for the reason, that for imposing the tax the principle of quid pro quo, is not applicable as no services are required to be provided for imposing the tax”. 5.  Thereafter in 2011, the same petitioner in the High Court files an appeal in the Hon’ble Supreme Court. This appeal is ‘disposed’ of in December 2012. In summary, the Supreme Court, without any reference to the tax, permits the petitioner to revert to the High Court in the event there is any aggrievement on account of HUDA and the Private Developers not complying with their respective responsibilities, in respect of delay in attending to infrastructural inadequacies as defined by law. 6.  Meanwhile, commencing November 2012, MCG sends bills for Tax payable by residents, for the period July 2008-March 09 and 2009-10.

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colonies, who are paying maintenance to the builder for the (mainly shoddy) services inside the colony premises, and now find that MCG has issued them notices to pay a House Tax. The Corporation has received the minimum collection from these areas.

The Law?

Gurgaon has been scattered into parts, and maintained by different agencies – such as HUDA, MCG and private builders, in their respective colonies. But when it comes to the collection of property tax, only the Corporation is supposedly entitled to collect it. “Be it HUDA sectors, private builder colonies, or the villages and colonies that come under MCG, only the Corporation is entitled to collect the Tax. House Tax is being termed as the tax given against services provided. However, even though MCG doesn't provide services in any of the HUDA and private colonies today, the Corporation still has the right to collect the Tax,” explained B.S Sangwan, Chief Account Officer, MCG.

Private Dilemma

Gurgaon is perhaps among a few cities in the country where the payment of House Tax has evolved as a contentious issue, largely because in privately developed licensed colonies the residents continue to pay ‘Maintenance Charges’ to the respective developers. “This dual taxation is the main reason why there is an unrest, but people need to understand that paying maintenance charges to the developer doesn't provide them with immunity from paying the House Tax; the payment of the House Tax is not liable for quid pro quo from the side of the Corporation in providing services. Gurgaon Citizen Council (GCC), a residents' body, had filed a case in the Punjab and Haryana High Court in 2010 on the grounds of dual taxation, but their plea was dismissed by the High Court on more than one ground. GCC had however refused to accept the decision, and moved the Supreme Court in 2011. But there too their plea was disposed of in early December this year,” explained Sudhir Kapoor, the Secretary General, DLF City RWA (see Box also). However, some differ.

C ivic/S ocial

“The moment one pays the House Tax to the Corporation, one becomes entitled to get services from the Corporation, and one can go to court under CRPC-133. As far as my personal opinion is concerned, I am in favour of paying the House Tax to the Corporation, despite paying the maintenance charge to my developer. If we continue paying House Tax to the Corporation, it might help them take over the maintenance of private colonies altogether – which would be better than what we have today,” added Col. Oberoi.

MCG struggles to recover House Tax

MCG is struggling to recover a whopping Rs. 600 crores House Tax dues, accrued since the Corporation's inception in 2008. It's primarily the areas falling under MCG Zone 3 ('New' Gurgaon) that account for a large chunk of the dues. Of the Rs. 333 crores House Tax imposed in 'New' Gurgaon areas so far, only Rs. 45 crores has been recovered. “Almost 60 to 70 per cent of 'New' Gurgaon has been rented out, and that's why there have so many notices issued,” said Prasant Parashar, Taxation Officer, MCG. The MCG has been pushing for collection of House Tax by interlinking the House Tax payment with issuance of Trade Licences, and Fire No Objection Certificates. The MCG is soon going to publish bank account

numbers, for assesses to deposit the tax amount.

Self-assessment Policy

According to this Policy, the house owner would assess his House Tax himself, by calculating it as per the area of his residence. I think this process would remove all the doubts from the mind of the residents. We have already done the survey, and now we know the size and areas of most of the residential plots in the City; and if a citizen does something wrong in calculating the tax, he would be liable for a fine. According to this Policy, 50 per cent rebate would be given to residents whose houses are self-occupied. We have left a scope of 10 per cent variation, and if the residents' calculation differs from ours more than this prescribed percentage, the resident would be penalised. This Policy is operational from 1st April 2010,” informed Parashar. “It's a Delhi model, and I am happy that it's going to be implemented here in Gurgaon. This would increase the belief of the masses in the system,” added Col. Oberoi.

Area Measurement

None of the Acts pertaining to apartments and their ownership clearly states what should be measured to calculate the House Tax. “I have requested DTCP to look into this matter, and advised them to make carpet area the only parameter on which to calculate the House Tax,” added Col. Oberoi. u

Haryanvi Made Easy

Get a taste of the local lingo 1. My brother just called me.

Mere bhai ne mere tayin phone karya hai. 2. I have to go and pick him up. Manne wo jaake leke aana hai. 3. I do not have my bike. Mere dhorre motorcycle kaunya. 4. You take your car and come with me. Tu apne gaadi ne leke mere galla chal. 5. He is waiting on the road. Wo road pe mhaari baat dekhta hoga.

The 3-D Gurgaon –Developing, Daring But Still Diminishing

he wonderland for MNCs in India at present is Gurgaon. This cyber city has grown up making reforms and changes in every possible field, turning itself into one of the fastest developing cities in India.  Gurgaon has balanced its people, their attire and their cost of living so well that most of them now want to settle down in Gurgaon for their stability in every aspect. The developing Gurgaon has come up with all the basic requirements which are needed for a city to become a capital city, i.e., the metros, infrastructural development, national and state highways, public transport, water supply, electricity

supply etc. It has also become the hub for MNCs, real estates, education and what not.  But this daring Gurgaon has forgotten the basic need in our life. Gurgaon is challenging everyone at every level – whether it is cutting down of trees, the increasing rape cases, the number of pits on the road, or the 12 hours electricity cuts. Today, the lifestyle of Gurgaon has become like that of a 'shoppers- stop' due to modern- kalyug reforms. People here have changed their mindset; for them luxury is the only way of living their life. Be it cars (Mercedes, Audi, BMWs), phones (Apple, Samsung,

Blackberry), attires (Arrow, Levis or Denim), they want it all together. But they have neglected the name of their beautiful city – Gur+Gaon; meaning a place where qualities are overflowing, turning a village into a city. Rather, the quality has been converted into quantity.  Now, citizens of this city have to change their mindset, and judge what is wrong and right for them and their society. Just to rely on the speeches of our respectful or rather corrupt netas will not be enough. Our Gurgaon is aggressively diminishing. The green region is being converted into a concrete jungle. HUDA and MCG have

to start acting on the policies they have made for a better Gurgaon. As 'necessity is the mother of invention', so now every citizen of Gurgaon has to find some or the other way to invent something creative and efficient for the good- will of the society. We cannot endanger development as it is a necessary evil; rather we have to obey and respect the rules made by nature, instead of commanding it.  We all live, hoping for a bigger and clearer picture of this Millennium City in the coming future. u Nischai Vats Class XI- E, Blue Bells Model Sr. Sec. School


21-27 December 2012

C ivic/S ocial

07

{ Maninder Dabas / FG }

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itender has just arrived in the City from his native UP village, and doesn’t have any home or place to stay. As soon as the sun takes its leave for the day, and darkness starts taking the City into its grip accompanied by a cold westward breeze, Jitender gets worried. His employer for the day hasn’t provided him with any place to sleep, nor does he have any relative in this City. For the sake of diverting his mind, Jitender decides to wander in Sadar Bazar, and till 9:30 the warmth of human presence in the market keeps his mind diverted. But soon the market starts getting deserted, and with the closing of each shutter his naivete in coming to Gurgaon starts troubling him again. He looks for deep hideouts in and around the market, and in this pursuit he reaches the Bhim Nagar Fire Station. As soon as he takes refuge under the fallen roof of a deserted building, Devraj, a middle-aged man confronts him, and asks him a few questions. Devraj then takes him to the night shelter, aka reyn basera, the night shelter of the Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon (MCG), situated in the backyard of the fire station. These shelters have been made to provide homeless people a roof to sleep under. Devraj is the chowkidar of this night shelter. “As of now not many people are coming to this night shelter, because the real winter hasn’t started yet. At present there are only seven people here, and on an average the number nowadays is below ten. However, the number will

Inadequate facilities

PRakhar PAndey

Empty Shelters Lakhs Homeless

soon sky-rocket once we get the real chill,” says Deveraj. It was in the winter of 2010 that MCG had set up two Night Shelters in Gurgaon. These are located at Bhim Nagar, Railway Road, (larger), and at Community Centre, Village Kanhai, Sector 44 - 45 Road (near HUDA City Centre Metro Station). Over the last 2 years more than 13,000 homeless and needy persons have been provided a safe and secured place to spend their nights. The beneficiaries include people who were earlier forced to spend their nights at the Railway Station, Metro Stations, general Bus Stand, road sides, and under various flyovers, in the harsh weather. “We believe that every individual deserves to sleep in a comfortable and warm bed. Gurgaon has thousands of people living as destitutes, sleeping where they find place. Our aim is to just provide these homeless people a roof, wherein they can sleep comfortably, without getting exposed to the wrath of the weather,” said Sanjay Chugh, Public Relations Officer, MCG, who also happens to be the nodal officer for this initiative.

At the beginning of the year the Supreme Court had asked the various state governments to take necessary steps to ensure that nobody dies from the intense cold. The Court issued a few guidelines. In the Court’s observation a night shelter should have bedding, potable water, electricity, a heating system, emergency medical facilities, and a separate toilet for men and women. But when Friday Gurgaon checked the two night shelters which are operational, all these guidelines were found grossly violated. None of the two night shelters in Gurgaon have any emergency medical facility or heating, they only have beddings and blankets – and nothing else. As far as the separate toilets for men and women are concerned, only one toilet is under construction at one location, and at the other location, while there are separate toilets for men and women at the community centre, they are in a very poor condition.

“The facilities and food are provided free of cost. Currently we have stopped providing food, for different reasons; but as soon as the number of people in these shelters increases, we would start again. We spend Rs. 40 per day on each individual’s diet,” added Chugh. “We have stored beddings at both these places, and when someone comes in search of a roof to spend the night, we offer him or her a bedding and blankets – we don’t have beds here. Till last year we used to take an identification proof, but now we only ask them to make an entry in the register, and use the place and other facilities for the night,” added Chugh. "At Kanhai, the people who use it are mostly the labourers who work on daily wages. As of now we have 15 beddings, but this number can be increased as per the requirement, because MCG people are quite forthcoming, and they act swiftly as per the demand,” said Manish Kumar, the watchman. "The real problem is how to bring the homeless people into these shelters. Most of these people either don’t know about them, or they don’t want to come to these places, because most of them are drug addicts. Here they won’t be allowed to take any kind of drugs. Last year we used to bring these people to the shelters by ourselves, in cars hired on rent. We brought people to these two shelters from all over Gurgaon, and the number used to cross 50 people each night; and even now I believe the number would see an increase in the next 15 to 20 days,” added Chugh. Of the 75 ‘bistars’ bought last year, only 50 are in working condition – the rest have got damaged. Bhim Nagar shelter is being expanded, and construction for the new rooms is in progress. “This centre is strategically well-located, as it’s quite near to the Railway Station, where the majority of the homeless people spend their nights – and it can easily cater to ‘old’ Gurgaon,” added Devraj. Recently the Lok Sabha had sought a reply from the Gurgaon Administration on the rising death toll in winters. It has been noted that 43 homeless people have lost their lives after getting exposed to intense cold in the years 2010 and 2011.

It was also noted that many people consume liquor and drugs, which keeps many away from the facility. However, the officials don’t accept that there is an intake of liquor and drugs by the inmates. “Till now we have spent an amount of Rs. 2 lakhs and seven thousand rupees this year on these night shelters, including the construction of the infrastructure. Some of the bills for food and transport are yet to be paid, but the corporation would clear them soon,” informed B.S Sangwan, the Chief Accounts Officer, MCG. There are operational issues. "Here officials don’t support each other, even for the cause of philanthropy. For example, till now the bills of last year, for food, utensils, and vehicles, haven’t been cleared – and that’s why we have stopped providing

food since November 3 this year,” rued Chugh. Dharmpal is a handicapped person, having a sight disorder, and comes to the Bhim Nagar night shelter daily, to seek refuge from the cold. “I am a beggar and I come to sleep here daily. I am homeless, and it becomes very difficult to sleep outside under the open sky in winters. Here at least I won’t die due to the cold,” said Dharampal. Unlike Dharampal, most of the people using these night shelters are homeless labourers, who are unable to pay the high rents. “I have just arrived in Gurgaon, and I have started working as a labourer at a construction site. My contractor has promised to give me a room to live, but till now he hasn’t given any, and that’s why I come here to sleep after work,” said Mukesh Kumar, a labourer who hails from UP. u

Meeting Of Minds

2012 Meeting of Minds aims to transform ideas to action

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chool of Inspired Leadership (SOIL), a Gurgaon-based Business School, organised “Meeting of Minds” (MOM), a convergence of bright young minds from schools, colleges and corporates. The Event featured an eclectic blend of the wisdom of the experienced and the enthusiasm of the youth, on the same platform. The daylong Event witnessed the presence of eminent panelists, like Anish Shah, President & CEO of GE Capital India; Mansi MadanTripathy, Head of Marketing, Shell Lubricants; renowned activist Vinita Singh, Trustee, We The People; Sonal Kapoor, Founder and CEO, Protsahan; and Justice Sodhi, who was pivotal in dispensing justice in the Jessica Lal case.  Woven around the theme, ‘Creativity & Leadership’, MOM 2012 looked at exploring the difference which ‘YOU’ can bring to the future of India.The forum laid emphasis on the power of innovation to get a competitive edge. Additionally it explored new possible ways of idea generation and critical thinking, and the role of creativity in thinking and decision-making.  The day-long Event was divided into sessions on Emotional Quotient, Effective Leadership, Building Creative Enterprises – with a Workshop on exploring the ‘creative geni-in-us’.   2012 Meeting of Minds is SOIL’s endeavour to provide a platform to the youth to share their perspectives, to influence politicians, professionals and the media. The forum provided a platform to the network of young people, to demonstrate their capacity for advocacy, communication and negotiation, and their commitment to challenging injustice. u


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21-27 December 2012

C ivic/Social

Green Uplift { Maninder Dabas/ FG }

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thaan, an NGO, is primarily known for ‘greening the road sides’. “We believe that greenery in the mainstream, where people commute daily in large numbers, helps in improving the atmosphere – both environmentally and psychologically,” said Sanjay Kaushik, the force behind Uthaan. “We plant trees on the dividers, sides of pavements and many empty places,” said Kaushik. Random plantation of trees has become a trend in Gurgaon, with most of the people believing that planting a tree anywhere would benefit the City. Uthaan staunchly believes that it needs a proper plan, to identify the right area to plant the right kind of trees. “Look at Delhi – one can see lines of trees like neem on the sides of the roads. We want to increase the green cover of the City, and that’s why we have taken up various major roads – such as Sohna Road, and the road that comes from Huda City Centre towards Subash Chowk. We are planting trees in the middle and sides of the roads, and till now we have planted trees on the divider from the Metro pillar numbers 200 to 218. The area around Signature Tower has also been worked on by us. We have

Your grandstanding on the despair of residents against the burgeoning system of Integrated Townships, euphemism for neo-feudal system or revival of jagirdari / fiefdom in Haryana, is indeed a breeze of fresh air.   Going through The 3 G Projects (FG Issue December 7-13, 2012, Editorial), you seem to come yet closer to the travails of aam admi at large, and a commuter in particular. Inspite of my constant communication with UTTIPEC, and raising the level with LG for last one year, I have reached nowhere close to a solution on one of the issues as mentioned hereunder. Though I have written extensively on Delhi Master Plan 2021, I shall confine myself to corridor management of MG Road. Dr (Col) SC Talwar

CORRIDOR MANAGEMENT OF MG ROAD

                Free Flow:              i) In a carriageway with haulage of commuters from one city to another, speed should be the hall-mark instead of the idling of vehicles as is presently the case, with resultant fuel consumption, pollution, loss of time and inconvenience. Present speed limit is a pittance on such a long haulage route. Normally the right-most lane is treated as a speed-lane wherein no slower traffic is permitted. Presently, twowheelers, three-wheelers, tractors, animals and even cyclists make it convenient to impinge themselves on this lane; it also doesn’t exclude motorists on a leisure trip! ii) There presently are at least eight red-light traffic

started working in collaboration with HUDA and MCG; before we start our work anywhere we take permission from these two agencies. Earlier there had been instances where we had to leave the whole area after it was fully developed. Another catchment areas of ours is in and around Sikanderpur, especially the marble market road and the empty patch adjacent to various nurseries near the Metro Station. We have also turned a barren and deserted land near Pull Man Hotel on the Faridabad Road—which had become notorious for many mishaps— into a formidable green patch. Planting trees may be the core area of Uthaan’s work, but it has also made its presence felt in other spheres of life. “We also work for the rescue of animals. Actually there are thousands of animals, like dogs and cows, that die each year in large numbers on the roads. We work for the safety of these animals. We are running an Animal Rescue Centre (ARC), that operates on NH-8 between Dharuhera and Jaipur. We take care of the animals who meet with accidents on the roads. ARC has its head quarters in Kotputli, Rajasthan. We have also installed solar heaters, to help underprivileged kids get warm water in winters, at the School of the Deaf and Dumb situated in Old Gurgaon,”

hurdles, with one of them created as a prospective future pedestrian crossing lane at a place without any pedestrian traffic – whereas the opening at Manglapuri commands no such red-light. The one created at the crossing of C-Dot road is to facilitate traffic proceeding upstream to an already illadvised site of a petrol pump, adding another wrong to make one right. Whereas Sultanpur, in spite of its heavy density of traffic, has been rightly shut out to entry on the main road, the singular treatment to Sultanpur Farms is intriguing. All such actions have reduced the intended Expressway to halts every few seconds of travel, thus depriving the very spirit of pleasurable motoring. Entry points into the main road exiting from villages cannot be sharp, but should be created with a wide enough swipe, that does not break the momentum of already plying vehicles. iii) A prospect facilitated through the construction of intermittent metro pillars, as also expansion into a six lane non-stop Expressway, brought an opportunity to create a free flow of traffic through closure of existing crossing points, while forging U-turns at mid-point between two village hamlets with dedicated U-turn lanes. With one lane utilised for the traffic taking U-turn on each side, a wider swipe would of course have maintained the number of lanes i.e. three on each side without disruption. It is understood that 30 M space can be acquired on either side by the NHAI for this purpose. Unfortunately, utilising extant openings has emerged as a liability to free flow, and their realignment needs scrutiny.

added Kaushik. Gurgaon has become a commercial hub, with thousands of domestic and international companies, who ought to take the responsibility to contribute something for the social upliftment of the poor. CSR activities are said to be their way of giving back to society. “Most of the CSR activities done by the MNCs are for effect. For example many of these companies claim that, under CSR, they have contributed to many Rain Water Harvesting projects. In reality most of their structures don’t function properly, and therefore don’t make any contribution to the enhancement of the water table. Not only companies, many

CITIZEN

SPEAK 1. Foot Over Bridge:  An FOB of course need to be created underneath the metro line at each hamlet, for ease of pedestrians crossing wherever required, as per population density. If funds cause no constraint, an aam aadmi should be allowed to splurge on escalators/ de-escalators and walkalators on such FOB’s. At Qutub Metro,     installation of FOB notwithstanding, a minuscule pedestrian traffic shall facilitate the carriageway to live upto its name. Creation of Parking 2.  Corridors:  Vehicles or any other objects can’t be allowed to park themselves astride the road. Provision of adequate Bus Stops/ space for parking of vehicles for rest, as also Commercial Refuse and Recycling Containers, need therefore be created as farthest from the road-side as should be feasible, so that momentum of traffic does not get impaired at any point. At Ghitorni, MCD appears to walk away with their huge bins placed astride the road which, alongside taxis waiting to pick-up passengers, accentuates the mess. 3. Mazaar: There exists a fictitious “Mazaar” adjoining Chhattarpur Metro Station, right in the middle of MG Road. To put the record straight, way back during the Eighties, the place  was littered with unauthorised shops, encroached upon a part of ridge cultivated as agricultural land –

NGOs too show that they have spent a fortune on these Rain Water Harvesting structures – but in reality they construct a few for less than Rs. 50,000. Most of the structures do not have the right catchment areas or the slope, and no study of soil and topology has been done before digging the pit,” opined Kaushik. Uthaan means to uplift, or elevate the downtrodden, to a certain level of comfort and respect. “True upliftment of the City is our aim, and to achieve that we are ready to work in each sphere of human life – for the formation of an egalitarian society,” signed off Kaushik.    u

wherein a Truck Market gradually erupted on a 2.2 Bigha portion of Andheria Mor occupied by one Choudhary Sukhbir Jaildar of Saidlajab. He let out around 30 odd shops on a monthly rental. This was contested by MCD, and stood to be demolished through a court order after 1984. The Hindu shop-keeper, in order to save the market from being razed, built a fake ‘mazaar’ on a utensil washing area occupied by one Shri Bhola, a resident of Bhogal,  with a view to scare away MCD officials, by validating a theory of roaming ghosts in  the area. While the market was ordered for demolition, the contractor  was threatened by the residents, who finally agreed to shift the ‘mazaar’  to its present location – about 15 feet further towards the side of the road that was a single lane at the time. Thus a  fictitious ‘mazaar’ in the first place, created to save the Truck Market so established at Andheria Mor, and shifted to its present  location, came to haunt a non-decisive Govt machinery.   However, what  was created by Hindus to save their market is now purported to be claimed by Muslims!  There is no grave of any peer whatsoever, and the  records can be checked with the concerned department. If need be, Ultrasonic Imaging Sonar or Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR), with transducers, can be so deployed to assist a scared out-of-wits bureaucracy. Surely we are not a banana republic that cannot  demolish a fake mazaar obstructing the passageway of MG Road.   4.  Tracking & Surveillance System: As a carriageway pertaining to NHAI, with a heavy enough load, it’s conversion into a High Speed Corridor with

CCTV Tracking & Surveillance System and Automatic Number Plate Recognition  (ANPR), depending upon fund availability, needs your evaluation as under: i)   Fixed Speed enforcement cameras to monitor compliance with speed limits— which may use Doppler,  LIDAR  or  Automatic number plate recognition—can be placed to caution recalcitrant motorists, as also generate revenue (without any active measures that presently have been instituted by Delhi Police).   ii)  A  red light camera  as a  traffic enforcement camera,  that captures an image of a vehicle that enters an intersection against a red  traffic light.  By automatically imaging vehicles that jump red lights, the camera produces evidence that assists authorities in their enforcement of traffic laws. Generally the camera is triggered when a vehicle enters the intersection, after the traffic light has turned red. Typically, a law enforcement official can review the photographic evidence, and determine whether a violation occurred. A citation is then usually mailed to the owner of the vehicle found to be in violation of the law, to deposit fine by a specific date.  These cameras are used worldwide and can be utilised at Andheria Mor. iii) Bus lane enforcement camera:  Some bus lane enforcement cameras use a sensor on the road, which triggers a number plate recognition camera, which compares the vehicle registration plate with a list of approved vehicles and records images of other vehicles. Thus, vehicles going on the wrong lane can be identified. u


21-27 December 2012

Travel Yoga

{ Bhavana Sharma } “I don’t believe in arguments. They are a waste of time. I prefer method. Method is something you cannot think about or discuss. It will prove itself in a certain span of time. The right method makes things happen.” Bharat Thakur The human mind is congested with many thoughts and desires. With the constant practice of yoga, the mind and the body can be rid of all unwanted impurities. Yoga is

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Yog Nidra

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Yoga Nidra gives you a profound experience of muscular, mental and emotional relaxation. Lie down on your back with your feet apart, and your hands by your side. Close your eyes and relax. You need to focus on your breath gradually. Focus on your entire body – from head to toe. You will feel the positive energy flowing through all parts of your body. Stay in this position for about ten minutes. Then, rub your hands together and place them on your eyes. Slowly get out of this position.

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a specialised skill idealised by ancient yogis. It has been learnt and practiced for years, as it provides us with relaxation and peace of mind. Most people have little time for themselves in today’s fast-paced world. Those who frequently travel on work, need to tune into some quickfix yoga asanas – to combat their stress levels and remain balanced and healthy. (Courtesy Bharat Thakur, yoga & spiritual guru) u Author, Tarot Reader

Sharnagat Mudra

This asana helps relax the body and mind, and cools the entire system. Sit in Vajrasana (take a kneeling position; sit on your heels and place palms on the knees – the spine should be erect). Inhale and raise your hands straight up. Slowly exhale and bend forward, touching your forehead to the floor. Stretch your hands forward and breathe normally. Remain in this position for about 15 minutes. Then gradually sit up and repeat.

Bhramari Pranayama

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Bhramari Pranayama directs all your awareness into yourself, and calms the mind, inducing a state of harmony. Just two minutes of this asana will make you more self-conscious, and in control of yourself. You need to keep your eyes closed, and your body completely relaxed. Very gently, insert your thumbs in your ears, and place your fingers on the head. Inhale deeply and exhale slowly through your mouth, making a humming sound (like a bee). Listen to the sound vibrations as they travel through the body. Repeat three times.

Agnisar Kriya

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Vedic Astrology

JIT KUMAR

For those who frequently travel on work, this is an excellent kriya to make your face glow. Stand straight with feet apart. Bend knees and place palms on thighs, fingers placed inwards. Exhale deeply through the mouth. Hold your breath and move the abdominal muscles in and out about 10 to 50 times. If you have undergone surgery recently, or suffer from high blood pressure, gynecological problems or stomach ailments please consult your doctor before doing this kriya.

is focused on the key issues important at the time, in the coming months and years, and the questions you ask. Frequently this includes questions regarding compatibility or relocation. Follow-up sessions can be scheduled, to answer questions that may  subsequently  arise, or to go deeper into specific areas. Concurrent with Vedic Astrology, Kavita maintains a daily practice of puja and meditation. Along with her husband, a serial entrepreneur in the technology space, and her two sons, Kavita lives in Vipul Belmonte, Sector 53. The instant you step into her home you will feel cosy, comfortable...as though you are in a sanctuary. Her home is a Spiritual Harbour.

What is Vedic Astrology?

{ Anita Jaswal }

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ill my father’s health improve? Will I succeed in my new venture? When will I get married? Will my children do well in life? Will I find a way out of my financial problems? We always feel better by trying to anticipate the future. We seem to have more confidence in Tarot Reading, ESP, Chiromancy or Palmistry, Numerology, Chinese Zodiac, Vedic Astrology and the like – in the hope of finding that nugget of information, that light at the end of the tunnel, which will tell us what the future holds for us! “Since time immemorial Vedic Astrologers have been consulted in India – for marriages or business partnerships. Vedic Astrology has been known to offer ‘accurate’ methods for determining compatibility and success. It is the world’s oldest and most profound system for understanding life, and its flow in time and space,”says Kavita

Kapilashrami, a Vedic Astrologer for the past ten years. She has offered confidential and sensitive readings to over 2,000 clients – in person, by telephone, and via e-mail. Clients from around the world have benefitted from her advice and counsel. Her interest in this illuminating science has developed ever since she was in school in Shillong. It grew into her passion when she began its detailed study. As she experienced the power of Vedic Astrology, to explain and predict the events in a person’s life, she began predicting her friends’ future as a hobby. A speciality of Vedic Astrology is the remarkable method of determining the cycles of time, and the influence of the planets on them. This allows us to know when the fruit of a certain combination in the birth chart is likely to express itself. In particular, the method called Vimshottari - literally 120 years - is uncannily accurate. An initial consultation lasts around an hour. This is not a general reading, but

Vedic Astrology is  The Science of Potentials and Probabilities. The birth chart is a ‘flash-photo’ of the Heavens at the time and place of your birth. The skilled astrologer sees the positions of the planets and constellations as patterns, which relate to potential events in your life. But it’s not enough to note what is latent in your birth chart. Will these potentials be realized? When is a particular event likely to occur? The magic of Vedic Astrology lies in the mathematical formulae which, when applied to the birth chart data, give us both the element of timing, as well as an analysis of the strength of the factors involved. Thus we have not only the  potential,  but also the  probability,of the event occuring.  An Astrological Reading  gives you counselling, guidance, and a new perspective,  to help you transform your life for  success. It’s like having  A Road Map for your life’s journey.  Is the road coming up going to be bumpy or smooth? Or, when will the present bad conditions end? How

can I do better in  Relationships? When will I meet my  Soul Mate? When will my Finances improve? Will this Business Partnership  succeed? A look into the future can provide useful information. You end up knowing the  What, the  How, and the  When, which can help maximise the success of your own efforts. A Reading of your Birth Chart guides and counsels you, on How to Live your Life more Skilfully. Kavita explains patiently, “Vedic Astrology will help you understand your karma, and why things have happened, and continue to happen, in your life. And it is based on the belief that the position of the planets and stars in the sky influences human life. Like in any other profession, the accuracy of the task depends on the person performing it...The signs of the zodiac are karmic patterns, the planets are the looms; the skill is of the weaver!” Kavita is often asked, ‘Why do you believe in Vedic Astrology?’ Her answer is the quote by Carl Gustav Jung” “We are born at a given moment, in a given place and, like vintage years of wine, we have the qualities of the year and of the season of which we are born.  Astrology does not lay claim to anything more.”  Vedic astrology is oriented toward predicting one’s fate or destiny. ... to measure, record, and predict  by reference to astronomical cycles.  Our destiny is pre-determined but by remedial measures we can reduce or dilute the problems by 20-25% in one’s life. Remedial measures are used as a means of balancing, or harmonizing planetary influences. In the ancient Vedic scriptures, five main measures were given as ways to alleviate the effects of the planets on an individual: observing certain vows, chanting of mantras, giving in charity, performing certain rituals and wearing of talismans, gemstones u


10

21-27 December 2012

K id C orner

Path To Excellence

P

athways World School, Aravali, hosted a cricket tournament at the School, in association with the Yuvraj Singh Centre of Excellence (YSCE). The participating teams were―YSCE, Pathways World School, The Heritage School, Amity International School, Modern School, Vasant Vihar, and Manav Rachna School. Pathways intends to provide an opportunity and platform to youngsters to showcase their cricketing talent. The matches were played on a league-cum-knockout format. A motivational speech was given by Shabnam Singh, mother of Indian cricketer Yuvraj Singh, on Day 1. Due to unexpected rain, the final match—between Modern School and the hosts Pathways—was called off,

Sporty MRIS

M

anav Rachna International School, Sector-51, organised an inhouse sporting event titled ‘The Sports Day – Front Runners’12’. This two weeklong event (3-12 Dec), comprised exciting activities – including races (Hoopla, Santa, Butterfly, Flower), gymnastics, taekwondo, and an inter-house Hand Ball match. The Event was a hit with both the teachers and the students.

resulting in both the schools sharing the trophy. Prizes were awarded to: Best Batsman - Utsav, from Pathways; Best Bowler - Sai, from Modern School; Best Wicket Keeper – Yuvraj Jain, from Pathways; and Man of the Series Apoorv, from Pathways.

Historical Day @ Ryan

R

yan International School, Sohna Road, organised a trip to Farrukh Nagar, for Classes VII and VIII. The students were accompanied by School Council President, Isha Khurana (XII). The purpose of the trip was to understand the importance and value of historical monuments. The students enjoyed the trip and found it very informative. They thanked their Principal, Dr. Mouna Gupta, for providing them with such an opportunity.

X’Mas Cheer@Meenakshi

Sporting Panches

T

he little ones at Panchatantra School geared up for their Sports Day practice session. Dressed in track suits, the students looked cute as they practiced the Drill steps – with colourful hand fans.

Meenakshi Public School, Sector-10 A, hosted the ‘Great Christmas Carnival’, at the School premises. The Event offered stalls for games, lucky dips, articles of utility, handicrafts, and a variety of sumptuous food. A Talent Hunt Competition was held that included categories like solo and group dance, solo singing, essay writing and play-an- instrument, for 4-16 year olds. Another attraction at the Event was the Raffle Draw with grand prizes. Students, teachers and parents were seen having a great time at the Carnival.

Compiled by Shilpy Arora, email: shilpy.arora@fridaygurgaon.com

APS Parenting Skill-Tips

A

merican Public School hosted a talk on ‘Parental Involvement - how to raise successful and self-confident children’. The speaker was Lalita Trehan, Founder-Director of the School. She gave the parents tips on how to enhance their skills – such as love and affection, positive discipline, role modelling, setting limits and boundaries, and reading to the children. She stressed that these parenting practices would help the parents act as facilitators, rather than controllers, in a parentchild relationship. A question-answer session was also held.


21-27 December 2012

FG catches up with Shalini Nambiar, Director, Excelsior American School What is the vision you have for your School? Our vision is to empower the children. We want them to take their own decisions. Let them fall – that is how they will learn. But students can only be empowered if we first enlighten the teachers, and give them power. It is, therefore, also our goal to make teachers ‘happy’ human beings.   Our Chairman, Mr. Harsh, has been running over 10 schools in the US. I think our visions coincided, to lay the foundation of the School. Moreover, our concept is to provide what a global (mainly Western) student would expect. What we can learn, and have learnt, from the West, is how to impart quality education. What is different at your School? The USP of our School lies in the individualised attention given to kids. We could have easily taken 2,000 students, but we have just 450. We believe in providing education as per the needs of each child. For instance, if a child has above an average IQ, we give him/her special attention, and different exercises for homework. Similarly, a child with below average IQ, or any intellectual/physical disability, is given an entirely different treatment. What are your views on the IB cur-

riculum? What, according to you, is the ideal curriculum? I prefer IB because it is more projectbased. I am not against CBSE, as it is also changing, and most schools are now giving a global angle to the CBSE curriculum. IB provides a child an opportunity to study Physics, Chemistry, and History at the same time. CBSE has just three-four streams to choose from. In IB, there are over 70 subjects – there are more options. How about staff training? And how well are teachers paid? Today we have 19th century teachers, 21st century children, and 18th century parents (smiles). The parents still hesitate to talk about condoms and sex with their children. We have to work on this generation(s) gap. For teachers, I would say that they need to be trained to listen to a child and communicate with him/her. We focus more on teaching children how to read and write. However, the focus should be on listening and communicating. We do not mind if teachers play, or jump around, with the kids in the classrooms. We want them to interact with a child as a friend. Today even the Oxford dictionary is changing. So we can’t rely on old teaching methods anymore. The teachers are paid the equivalent of, or probably more than, a CBSE school. Their increment entirely depends on their performance. There are a few teachers who have got over a 30 per cent hike in a year. I believe the more love you give to teachers, the more they will give to the children. We conduct teachers’ training

A

t his inaugural address at Kala Sanyojan hosted in MRIS 46 , Dr. Amit Bhalla, Vice President Manav Rachna Educational Institutions, said- “This unique Art Fest is a dream come true”, and indeed it was, a dream coming alive, a dream of students breaking barriers and coming together in a platform where the only thing that connected all involved was ‘ART’. The week long mega Art Fest, Kala Sanyojan, saw students across Delhi/NCR explore various art forms, interact with experts, learn new styles from them and bask in the glory of appreciation of their own artistic creations. The Event provided them with an opportunity to come in contact with the best in the field- Dean Zahoor A Zargar and teachers from Jamia MIlia Islamia Art Department, Subhash, Ashoka Sarkar, Anjani Prasad, Geetika Goyal, Jaspreet Kaur, Umesh Prasad, Vandana Bagadia, Ishani Dey, Col. Chopra, Gundeep Kaur, Sonali Chakravorty, Deepali Goyal and Mr. Yadav. Lotus Valley, Gurgaon participants stated that “there is no better way to learn art than from the experts”.

Kid Corner

11

programmes almost every week. How important is the role of the Principal in a school? The role of the Principal is obviously very important. A leader sets up the team. I know the name of each child, each teacher, and even the parents. I respond to all the mails I get from parents. They interact with me like they would talk to a friend. But sometimes I get upset over the mentality of the parents. They still believe that a student’s performance can be evaluated only through marks. Through your newspaper I want to tell all parents that please don’t expect every child to be brilliant; rather, concentrate on making them good human beings. And I want to tell all the Principals, who struggle with this issue like me, that the day you get angry, just write out a mail – but don’t send it (smiles).  And what do you have to say about our City? I don’t think the City is safe at all. I too feel very unsafe in the City. There is a ‘landlord culture’ here, and basic civic sense is lacking. Some people think that they have become so ‘rich’ that they don’t need to value education. They say they are relatives of politicians; they are not afraid of the police. I would also like to point out that we always concentrate on teaching the girl child, but the parents never guide their sons to respect women. At School I make sure that boys are given the right education. Moreover, there is no ‘university culture’ in the City. If you look at Delhi, the youth hold protests on the road the moment anything goes wrong. I have never seen any such protest here.

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

Christmas at Ryan

A

Christmas Fete was organised at Ryan Global School. The Fete offered numerous games, different stalls and a variety of eatables. Also present were a tattoo artist, a balloon seller, a flutist and a candy floss machine – all of which added to the kids’ excitement. Santa also paid a visit and distributed goodies to little children. The DJ ensured that parents, teachers and the kids danced to his tunes!

Participating students from schools across Delhi / NCR, as well as the host school students (Toddlers- Grade XI), celebrated Art at various levels. While it was a rich experience for the students, the artists too enjoyed teaching these eager learners. “Each and every moment spent with these wonderful children will remain a treasure,” says Ms. Geetika Goyal (Paper Sculpture expert). The Festival culminated with an Exhibition cum Sale of the students’ artistic creations. The Exhibition saw a huge footfall of VIPs, parents and friends of the school students, as well as participants from other schools. To quote a visitor, “I had been to the Kala Sanyojan Art Festival and it was really wonderful to see the marvellous works of the School children. There were so many art pieces which were lovely, but had a tag ‘SOLD’. I captured it all in my mobile”. To treat your artistic sensibilities, log on to www.kalasanyojan.mris.edu.in


12

21-27 December 2012

K id Corner

Kids Brainticklers

Ozzimals: Color this picture

Animal Crackers

Solutions

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

Two Wise Men

Dogs of C-Kennel


13

21-27 December 2012

website: www.fridaygurgaon.com

TO SUBSCRIBE You would have sampled Friday Gurgaon during the year. Here is your chance to get FG at your doorstep every Friday, at a very attractive rate. 52 issues (1 Year), for ` 200 (Two Hundred) Only – a Saving of ` 164 on cover price.

SMS FGYES to 08447355801 Send an email to subscription@fridaygurgaon.com Pay Online at www.fridaygurgaon.com Delivery will be through your newspaper vendor. Circulated only in Gurgaon.

FG Invites Citizens n Are you interested and concerned about civic

and social happenings and issues around you?

n Are you motivated to do something positive

for society?

n Are you interested to also write, and express

what you see, hear, feel?

If yes, write to us at letters@fridaygurgaon.com, with a brief background of yourself, with contact number(s). 2–8 March 2012

Vol. 1 No. 28  Pages 24

19

RNI No. HARENG/2011/393

`7

For The Other Half

P3

{ Abhishek Behl / FG }

{Inside}

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

T

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

...Pg 16

Tantric Art

W

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

...Pg 17

Master Recipe

M

asterchef Top 5 Vijaylaxmi shares a Recipe exclusively for

Prakhar PaNdey

G

Astrology

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

Please Visit Us At en Emergency Servicem www.fridaygurgaon.com A Ask Your Newspaper Vendor For Friday Gurgaon. FG readers.

...Pg 18

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

Let’s Be Civil

P

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

Regular Features Food Take

...Pg 6

Cinema Listings & Helplines ...Pg 7 The Week That Was Laughing Stock

...Pg 7 ...Pg 7

100 – Police Emergency main Police

{ Hritvick Sen / FG }

service worth its lmost every significant call-in. Whether it salt has a telephone information is food (or liquor) delivery, civic and reservations, services, bookings on cells... there is a line facilities, grievance call in. But when there which people can or a fire – there is an accident, a robbery that people dial is only one type of service Services. in a hurry. Emergency themselves count people Most haven’t had a fortunate that they for they had to ask which in situation who work in these help; but for the people is distraught people services, helping Whether it is Police an everyday affair. – (101), or Fire (102) (100), Ambulance means it is a life-orreceiving a call usually death matter.

Line

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

Contd on p 6 

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14

21-27 December 2012

PRAKHAR PANDEY

{ Abhishek Behl / FG }

N

ot many will know that Paharganj, which is a thriving tourist place in the heart of Delhi today, was witness to the bloodiest of Hindu-Muslim riots, which changed the character of this place forever. A Muslim-dominated area since the Mughal period, Paharganj witnessed a massive influx of Hindus from across the border in 1947. They were given shops, houses and space to make a fresh start in life. The hard work and dedication of this community, coupled with the astute business sense of the local banias, has helped Paharganj’s transformation into an export hub, and a backpackers’ paradise. The ‘hippie’ movement in the seventies also greatly helped in this transition, say old timers. Sardar Dharm Singh, whose father migrated to Paharganj from United Punjab, says that though this area has been transformed and changed physically, the spirit of togetherness still stays. The markets may have transformed, but the customs, traditions and big-heartedness can still be seen on the streets and bazars. It is interesting that every major event in the National Capital, whether related to sports or trade, has affected the fortunes of this area. The advent of the hotel industry in Paharganj started with the opening of the New Delhi Railway Station—between Paharganj and Ajmeri Gate—but got a major fillip by the India International Trade Fair held in 1972, the Asiad in 1982, and the recently held Commonwealth Games. “It was during the ‘hippie’ period that this area acquired a notorious reputation of drugs, sex and crime – which, though slowly fading away, still sticks,” says Jagjit Chhabra, who has a real estate and exports business in the famous Main Bazar. Paharganj of today is home to numerous hotels, restaurants and handicraft shops, that cater to the foreigners as well as domestic tourists and businessmen.   A room can be had for anywhere between Rs. 500 to 2,000, and the options are varied. All kinds of food and liquor are available, including foreign cuisines. For a visitor from Gurgaon, visiting Paharganj would be easier if you take the Metro, and get off at the Ramakrishna Mission Ashram Station on the Dwarka line. Just outside the Station, to the right, the Ashram attracts both the religious and the curious – with a beautiful gate, through which the inner temple can be seen. Swami Shantatmanand Ji, Secretary of the Delhi Chapter, says that their basic philosophy is to work towards the emergence of a civilisation based on harmony, goodwill, peace and service. “The Ashram has been here for more than 80 years. In the fifties Swami Ranganatha Nand ji headed this place, and every Sunday more than a thousand people used to come to hear his sermons. Even the late PM Jawahar Lal Nehru, his daughter Indira,

Backpackers’ District

and PM Lal Bahadur Shastri used to come here,” informs Swamiji. Presently the Ashram is running a well-stocked library, a clinic, and 60 centres in and around Delhi, which are imparting spiritual education and values to the followers, as well as the general public. The Ashram also carries out a lot of work to help the needy, following the dictum of ‘Shiv Gyan se Jeev Seva’. Just a hundred metres to the left of the Ashram is the historic Chitragupta Mandir, which stands as a monument to the time when the Yamuna flowed close to Paharganj, and people would sit under the trees and enjoy the tides. It is under one such tree that the late Nand Lal Sharma set up an eatery around 80 years back, which his family has turned into a famed hotel and restaurant called the Metropolis. This hotel has become a legend for its food, particularly the Russian offerings such as Chicken a la kiev. A visitor at the Hotel says that the quality of the food, the presence of a number of fellow foreigners, and personalised service has turned him into a loyal patron. Walk a few metres to the left of the Hotel, and you will find the famous Lassiwalas, on the road that goes to Chuna Mandi. You will find foreigners enjoying the butter milk, even as they haggle to get rid of the touts – who no doubt are a menace on the streets. Just opposite the lassi stalls you will find My Bar, a famous place for reasonably priced food and liquor. A number of foreigners, including Poles, Russians, and some from the African countries, are busy talking, as they enjoy the spirits in the warmth of this Bar. From the Lassiwalas we move to Chuna Mandi, which houses the famous Imperial Talkies, which was once a favourite entertainment haunt. Sitaram Dewan Chand Bhaturewala, and the Malhotra restaurant, are also located here – as is Khanna Talkies. The arrival of Shiela Cinema, nearby, with the first 70 mm screen in Delhi, led to the decline of these two talkies. Rajesh Gupta says, “After watching the films we used to go to the famous Sitaram Dewan

Chand Bhaturewala. It used to be a regular affair,” he says with a smile. Vineet Kohli, who is the grandson of Sita Ram, says that the USP of their Chhole Bhature is that these are fried in little oil, and the best raw material goes into them. “We have tried to maintain the taste and quality that was perfected by our grandfather,” says Kohli. Vishal Aggarwal, who has been visiting the shop since the last 20 years, and lives nearby, says that apart from the rate, the taste, ambience and service in this shop has not changed much. The Malhotra restaurant serves Indian and Continental food in style; owner Harish Kapoor says that their core competency is fresh food, made to order and customised in a kitchen upstairs. “We are almost a sixty year old establishment, and have changed with the times. The business overall has been good, as this place has assumed the character of an international tourist centre. The arrival of the Metro has helped this area a lot, and now people from other parts of Delhi also come to explore it,” says Kapoor, who is however unhappy with how successive governments have failed to help this area. Sandeep Bhasin, who has been doing business in the area for a long time, opines that infrastructure is not in proper shape, the roads are not well maintained, and the sanitation and sewage conditions need much improvement. “We need the government to intervene and improve the face of Paharganj,” says Bhasin. Gupta further says that building bylaws in the

area need to be defined, as the MCD has declared this to be a special area. “This has made life difficult for residents as well as businessmen, as no one knows what one can do and what one can’t,” he says. Sitting at a corner table in the Malthotra restaurant is Elinor Ben Or from Israel who has been living in this area for a year now, and is a student of jewellery designing in a school nearby. “I have been living with loads of patience, as the civic facilities are a bit on the downside. However, there are a lot of foreigners in the area, good food is available, and it is centrally located,” says Elinor. She however dislikes the dingy streets, the exessive crowds, and lack of respect for women – which she says is visible in how men look at them. She also says that the general perception that Paharganj is a seedy place is wrong, and other people from Delhi should also come here to see the world in a microcosm. Her primary grouse with the government is the poor conditions of the street children, who she says have lost their future because no one takes care of them. “If I was the Prime Minister I would ensure that they get a home to stay, are educated, and well-fed,” she asserts. From Chuna Mandi we move back to the Main Bazar in Paharganj, where a fine handicraft shop beckons. It has all kinds of leather goods, hand made paper goods, diaries, clothes, and stuff that we use to decorate our homes. Nand Lal Gupta says that most of the visitors are from Poland these days; during January the Koreans come, while Israelis are regular.

Just a few metres from this shop is the famous Jackson Book Stall, that claims to have books in 32 languages. Deepak Dialani, owner, says that visitors from across the world come to buy books from his shop – and the most popular ones are in English and French. “The foreigners love to read books. ‘Shantaram’ has been the most popular book in the last one or two years,” he says From books, to food which a Gurgaonite will love – the Gem Bar and Restaurant, Diamond Café (opposite Vivek Hotel), Sam’s Café, Madan Café, German Bakery, Khosla Café and Pehalwan Da Dhaba. To top it all is Pandit Pakore Wale, where the third generation is running the shop in the famous Chhey Tuti Chowk, which is also the heart of this area. Amit Bhardwaj, owner of the shop, says that he has sold pakoras to people from almost all nationalities. “We are happy to work and live here. Our Kachoris, served with alu sabzi in the morning, is a dish to be relished – and not to be described in words,” he asserts. As we reach the other end of the Main Bazar, just opposite the New Delhi Railway Station, the whiff of desi ghee coming from the shop of Ram Prasad Durga Prasad is overwhelming. This shop is famous for the seasonal Dal Halwa, Suji Halwa, and Karachi Halwa, along with other sweets. “We make sweets in the traditional way, using the purest ghee and other raw materials. It is our endeavour to sell the best to our customers, as we have a legacy to maintain,” says Prasad. The New Delhi Railway Station handles over 300 trains daily, serving almost 3,60,000 passengers on an average day. An official says that this Station has the largest route-interlocking system in the world. It was in 1926 that a building came up along this line, to give it the name of a proper station. Interestingly, the railway station was planned to be set up in the Central Park of Connaught Place, but the idea was rejected as it was found to be impractical. Prior to that the Agra-Delhi line used to cut through Lutyens Delhi, and it was shifted along the Yamuna river, to make way for the New Capital. Paharganj was one of the five main markets of Delhi, and the only one outside the walls. It was a grain trading centre, and an important hub for tax collection. It derives its name from the nearby Raisina Hills (Pahar). Close to Paharganj, in Nabi Karim, one can also find the Dargah Qada Sharif, which was built by Emperor Firoz Shah Tuglaq, in memory of his son Fateh Khan. It comprises of a large square tomb, which he had built for his own use, but later his son’s remains were interred here. In Chuna Mandi one comes across the Hari Masjid, which has a madrasa attached to it. A number of such historic monuments, including buildings built in the British and Mughal style, can still be seen in between the mushrooming new constructions. A visit to the lanes and by lanes of Paharganj will definitely give a visitor a glimpse of the real India— that has imbibed varied influences, and yet retained its unique flavour. u


W ellness 15

21-27 December 2012

Health & Vitality... Naturally!

Molten Gold { Jaspal Bajwa }

Nature’s Wonder Food of the week: Honey

C

ave paintings in Spain suggest that the practice of bee-keeping has been around for at least 7,000 years. Of course bees have quietly gone about doing their work for much longer than that – fossil records suggest 150 million years at least. Apart from their legendary industriousness, the manner in which bees organise themselves is in itself a lesson in life. Their ability to work in perfect harmony could well serve as a model for intelligent community life. Little surprise then that the outcome of this labour of love is one of the sweetest elixirs. Prized as a medicinal food, honey has long been used as an offering to the Gods, and as a symbol of love. In Ayurveda, honey has been called the nectar of life. The making of honey begins when the bees collect the flower nectar – usually within a 1-2 mile radius of the hive. This nectar then mixes with special enzymes in the bees’ saliva. These enzymes create additional chemical compounds, breaking down the complex sugars (sucrose) into fructose and glucose. The fluttering of the bees’ wings helps to reduce the moisture content from 80 per cent to less than 20 per cent. Raw, unpasteurised honey is considered superior, as the processing of honey often removes many of the phytonutrients. Honey is versatile and has many uses. It has strong  antibacterial  and anti-inflammatory properties. It is often used as a base in homeopathic treatments for coughs and colds. Traditional healers have used honey in the treatment of a wide variety of ailments – such as cough, phlegm, eye diseases, hiccups, thirst, leprosy, diabetes, obesity, worm infestation, vomiting, asthma, diarrhoea and wounds. As a topical application, medical-grade honey has

been used extensively in the treatment of wounds, cuts and burns (including sunburn). Several mechanisms explain the wound healing benefits. The sugars in honey absorb water in the wound, drying it out, so that the growth of bacteria and fungi is inhibited. Raw honey contains an enzyme called glucose oxidase that, when combined with water, produces hydrogen peroxide, a mild antiseptic.

Tip of the week

Drinking a cup of hot water with a teaspoon of honey, and 5 to 10 drops of apple cider vinegar, early in the morning daily, can help in managing obesity, high blood pressure and cholesterol. The combination of honey, ginger and lemon has been used in home remedies as an effective deterrent for common colds,

Clove That Cold

{ Alka Gurha }

A

s we brace for the cold and foggy days, we should guard against cold -related health problems. The best way to fight seasonal changes is to go the herbal, natural way. To fight winter chill and related diseases, cloves (laung) are very beneficial. Cloves are the pink flowering buds of an evergreen tree (Eugenia aromatica), which are dried until brown – and used for medicinal and spicing purposes. Cloves are rich in several antioxidants. The abundant health benefits of cloves have been known to Ayurveda since centuries. Since cloves have antiseptic and germicidal properties, they help in fighting infections, and relieving digestive problems and arthritis pain.

Nutrients

Cloves are high in many minerals – iron, magnesium, phos-

cough and sore throat. To help clear the sinuses, one tablespoon of lukewarm honey can be had with a quarter teaspoon of cinnamon powder - this will also strengthen the immune system. Having an infusion made with one teaspoon each of holy basil (tulsi), honey and a dash of black pepper, can help alleviate fever.

phorus, sodium, calcium, potassium, and the Vitamins C, K and A. They are also extremely rich in manganese and dietary fibre. The main chemical component responsible for cloves’ powerful analgesic, anesthetic, antiinflammatory and antibacterial effects, as well as its distinctive aromatic smell, is a substance called ‘eugenol’. This plant phenol is often extracted from the clove, and used as a natural antiseptic and analgesic for toothaches.

Benefits of Cloves

The clove’s antiviral and cleansing properties purify the body, augmenting our resistance to disease. Clove oil clears the respiratory passages, acting as an expectorant for treating many upper-respiratory conditions, including colds. A cotton ball soaked in clove oil can work wonders on an aching tooth. Clove oil is also used to relieve pain from sore gums, and it also improves overall

A great natural source of carbohydrates, which provide strength and energy, honey is known for its effectiveness in instantly boosting athletic performance. Honey is a natural sweetener, which is fat/ cholesterol free, and is loaded with antioxidants. One tablespoon contains 64 calories. Honey is considered a healthier choice than table sugar and other sweeteners – which are just ‘empty calories’. Raw honey (with the label claim “100% Pure”) that has not been pasteurised, clarified, or filtered is generally considered best. Honey comes in a range of colours – white, amber, red and dark brown. Its flavour and texture vary with the type of flower the nectar has come from. The most commonly available honeys are made from clover, alfalfa, heather and acacia flowers. Darker honeys— specifically honey from buckwheat flowers, sage and tupelo—contain a greater amount of antioxidants. In addition to the specific flavour, research suggests that the fructose-to-glucose ratio can also vary, depending on the flowers from which the nectar is taken. This may in turn influence the glycemic response. With a Glycemic Index of 30 - 55 ( as compared to 100 for Glucose) honey may promote better blood sugar control and insulin sensitivity compared to other sweeteners. The Vitamins present in honey are B6, thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid and certain amino acids. Honey also contains copper, iron, silica, manganese, chlorine, calcium, potassium, sodium, phosphorous, aluminum and magnesium. Depending on the part of the world where the honey comes from, the mineral content can vary. Honey should not be used for

dental health. For seasonal cough and phlegm, many doctors advice the use of homemade ‘kaadha’, as a useful alternative for expectorants. You can make ‘kaadha’ by boiling some cloves, black pepper, tulsi leaves, ginger and honey. This ancient concoction is a proven remedy against mild coughs, sinus problems and seasonal cold. Aroma therapists often use clove oil to treat the symptoms of rheumatism and arthritis. Because clove oil is warming and increases the circulation in the body, it can help relieve the pain of sore joints and muscles. For relieving body pain, use clove oil in very small amounts in a creamy lotion or carrier oil (like mustard or olive). Use the mixture to gently massage the body. As an alternative, put a few drops of clove essential oil in a hot bath, and soak for a while; the clove oil will slowly soak into the skin, increasing circulation. That will loosen up muscles, and help the bloodstream carry away the harmful toxins that increase soreness and pain.u

For relief from burns, mix tamarind leaves with gingelly oil to make a smooth paste. Apply it on burnt area. This will help keep the injury away from moisture and germs.

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qazidesigner@gmail.com infants less than 12 months, because they do not have the natural protection against Clostridium botulinum spores; usage can cause a life-threatening paralytic disease. u Registered Holistic Nutritionist (Canadian School of Natural Nutrition) For education purposes only; always consult a healthcare practitioner for medical conditions

4U

Tips

by ShahnaZ Herbal Cosmetic Queen Padma Shree Shahnaz Husain is the CEO of the Shahnaz Husain Group – India’s leading company in the field of natural beauty and anti-aging treatments. Q. Do fairness creams for men really work? I have tried a few but

have not seen any results.

SH Unless the fairness cream is a sunscreen, you should apply it while you

are indoors. We have used natural ingredients, which are known to lighten skin colour, like saffron, cucumber, lemon, etc.

WINNER Sambhav Jain

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


16

Bon Vivant

21-27 December 2012

{ Shilpy Arora / FG }

Asha Pandey

S

ometimes you need to look within to find peace. With the rising anxiety levels at the home and work place, an increasing number of people in the City are doing just that – though in an entirely different fashion. They are taking part in discourses arranged by ‘spiritual clubs’. Popular on Facebook, these Clubs have people from all walks of life. “It is the result of our fast-paced and individualistic lives; people are being forced to look more inwards, to find values and guidelines,” says Professor Mani Tripathi, who founded Gurgaon Spiritual Club. An IT professional, Mani took to spirituality when he lost his job in 2011. “That is when I found some time to spend with myself. I realised life beyond family, money, and office. My inclination towards spirituality helped me cope with the situation. It has enlightened me to find the right path in life. That is why I decided to form a spiritual club in the City. It has become a happy lifeline for many,” smiles Mani. He now has a good job too. While some feel that it is easy to deal with problems if you are a part of a spiritual club, there are a few who join just to have some time to reflect. Jaya, a call centre employee, says “Being a part of a spiritual club gives one hope and courage to find happiness within one’s own body. Peace of mind does not come with materialistic comfort.” A member of Bharat Soka Gakkai (BSG) Club, the Indian affiliate of Soka Gakkai International (an international Buddhist Association), Dr. Nirmal says, “Being a doctor, I always believed that a disease can only be cured with medicines, and other methods of modern science. But I was amazed when one of my patients, who has had two cardiac attacks, recovered so fast after joining a spiritual club. His success story made me join this Club. I think it is an excellent way to bust stress, and develop a positive attitude towards life.” He also points to a research conducted by doctors in the UK, about the effects of spirituality on the psychological and physical well-being of a person. Agrees Sushma Jugran (name changed), who travels all the way from Delhi to the City, to attend the discussions and meditation sessions of the Club. The Club has helped her recover from a serious mental illness. She had gone into a coma after the death of her husband. “After spending over six months in extreme depression, I joined this Spiritual Club. It has helped me realise that one has to move on in life. Whatever time I spend here helps me connect with myself, and with other like-minded people. The Club has become a family to me. I wish there were some spiritual clubs in Delhi too. However, I don’t mind travelling, as long as I get peace of mind here,’ says Sushma. For many, such clubs are an alternative to traditional religious institutes. A student of KIIT, Vidushi, is a member of a club called “Spiritual

Finding Peace In The Pace But Not Religious”. According to her, joining a spiritual club seems to be a better option than visiting a temple. “I am regular on the Facebook page of many spiritual clubs in the City. As I don’t find the time to attend their meetings, I read their posts online. These posts sometimes help me connect with my inner being. Apart from promoting physical

Spiritual clubs will certainly help people. Everything in our life is related to our moral values. A little time spent in these clubs sometimes can prove to be therapeutic. Chanting purifies the mind and takes you to another state of existence. Clubs can also be helpful in building social values. It is good that these clubs don’t have ‘gurus’. It should be more about sharing, rather than guiding. -Dr. Rajesh Bhola, President of Spastic Society of Gurgaon. and mental wellness, these clubs also raise social issues. I think they are a better alternative to religious bodies,” says Vidushi. She says that the Club is going to conduct a march to protest against the recent rape case in Delhi.  The Club believes that the root cause of such heinous crimes is the lack of spirituality in people these days. Most spiritual clubs in the City organise meetings, discussions, chanting sessions, and meditation sessions. During the meetings, they take up various issues, ranging from health to culture and religion. “It is a platform where one can have the

company of like-minded people, and one can share and discuss anything with ardent devotion,” says Sudha, an active member of Gurgaon Spiritual Club. Isn’t it a modern ‘Satsang’? Many feel that spiritual clubs are just a modern avatar of ‘Satsangs’. The traditional ‘Satsang’ meets have provided people a platform to discuss various social and personal issues, and to meditate. A German national, a follower of ‘Pujya Bapu Ji’, doubts if discussions at modern spiritual clubs have anything to do with the original idea of spirituality. “The critical elements, like those found in the spiritual ideas of old, are missing in these modern clubs.” For him, spirituality is not just an alternative to institutionalised religion, but a

way of life. “We believe that the biggest problem today is that every minute our peace is shattered with the chattering of the mind. It is only in the presence of a ‘Guru’ that the mind can attain peace, bliss, and love. A ‘Guru’ is an enlightened being who shows us a spiritual path to experience an instantaneous feeling of peace,” he believes.  He adds that most of the spiritual clubs in the City don’t have ‘Gurus’. It seems that though people still believe in God, they have drifted away from formal institutions. Now-a-days being religious is not considered cool by some. Spiritual clubs are, therefore, seen as a better alternative. However, the trouble is that this ‘spiritual but not religious’ attitude offers no

set principles. “Today people associate religion with terrorism and casteism. They don’t realise that religious principles have their own significance. Religion has many times helped communities understand social values, and realise their potential. You can’t rule out the importance of religion,” says a guru. Dr. Manisha, who takes Reiki classes at the Art of Living, seconds his view. She says, “People need to understand that they can’t embrace the path of spirituality by just joining a club. There is a time and place for that to happen. That is why religious places and shrines are given so much importance.” It is evident that people are taking to these clubs to counter their day to day problems and stress. They have defined this as becoming spiritual. “People seem to be confused. They believe in God, but don’t believe in practising religion and spirituality in a traditional way. They just seek change. That is why, something like a ‘spiritual club’ has come up,” says Manisha. To some, spiritual means just meditating and believing in God. “When I studied Buddhism I realised spirituality means getting to know the power that I had. It helped me recognise that life is a reflection of what you give to the world. Through your inner transformation, you don’t just experience peace, contentment, and bliss, but sometimes it helps you attain materialistic success too,” believes Manisha. However, Sarika, a life coach and a member of Gurgaon Spiritual Club, says “I have been to many ‘ashrams’ and temples, where monks sit on the floor and practice chanting. They are not allowed to speak, listen, or feel anything happening in the ‘outer’ world. For me, being a ‘good human being’ is more than enough. It is important for us to add to the beauty and goodness of the world. Spirituality has nothing to do with what religion you follow, or whether you believe in God or not; it is all about having an open mind, an open heart, and the zeal to make the world a better place to live in.” u

As on December 20, 2012 All Prices in Rs/kg.

Food Take Area/ vegetables

Palam Vihar

Safal

Reliance Fresh

Sector 23

DLF City Phase 5

South City 1

Sector 54

Potatoes (old/new)

15

9.90

9

15

15

10

12

Onions

20

22.90

20

22

20

22

18

Tomatoes

15

13.90

12

16

20

11

15

Cucumbers

30

38

35

30

40

36

32

Carrots

25

20

18

20

20

18

22

Radish

10

7

2.50/iece

12

10

7

10

Beans

40

39

60

50

50

48

45

Cauliflower

15

9

6/piece

16

20

10

12

Mushroom

20

6

-

30

25

25

30


21-27 December 2012

{ Archana Kapoor Nagpal }

Silent Workers

  “The conventional Happy New Year approach is to think of the New Year as something that happens outside of our selves. It is a good luck wish that the New Year, in some magical way, will bring us our heart's desire. We look to the New Year to make us happy. When we expect happiness to come to us from the outside, we are usually disappointed. Happiness is not guaranteed by sunny weather, a raise in pay, a new car, a beautiful home, or anything else of a material nature. External things are often possessed by very unhappy people. Happiness does not come out of a New Year; it comes out of men and women. Life does not change when we hang a new calendar on the wall, or when the clock strikes midnight and a New Year begins. The only way life will change for us is when we change ourselves Wilferd A. Peterson

I

have known Feroz for the last 3 years. He is an employee of our society association, who takes care of the walkways and horticulture. This is a job for someone young; Feroz is quite aged and debilitated for all this kind of work. The management refrains from replacing Feroz, due to his loyalty. 1st January, 2012 - India was cold, like it is every New Year. I have always been an early bird, and my morning walks have been the routine for the last 7 years. It was nothing unusual that day as well. In the cold, all I could see outside my apartment was mist and fog. But there was no excuse to miss my routine. So I wore my shoes, and headed for my first walk of the first day of 2012. There was complete silence – it was like everyone had celebrated the whole night. The fog was slowly settling, and the rays of the sun were trying to appear from far behind the clouds.

{ Dr. Rajesh Bhola }

G

enerally people come to believe that subscribing to some religion, and living a spiritual life, will obviate the need to grieve or face suffering. Religion gives us courage to face adversity with dignity. When we do so, it becomes an experience that strengthens our spirit, and returns us to reality. The idea that religion or spirituality will be a kind of insurance policy, which will ensure that we do not have to experience grief again, is spiritual immaturity. In fact religions tell us that whatever we encounter, we should meet it the with fullness of spirit. The last thing we want is to be unmoved by what we meet on our journey. There is common apathy to religion these days – especially among the 'educated'. They are no longer willing to act just on faith – believing that the quality of their action alone will ensure that it contributes to good in the world. It is not so much that modern society has stopped believing in the God idea; we have just replaced God by Man. We have put people centre stage, and expect that, either individually or collectively, we will solve all problems and right all the wrongs. The separate-self ego tempts us to think we can play God. It tempts us to judge others, to try to con-

S piritual

17

Bonded

The only sad part was the littered stuff around the garden walkways. It dampened my spirit, and I decided to go back home. I was about to leave when I saw Feroz cleaning one part of the garden. I walked up to him. He looked at me, and like always, there was a smile on his face. He politely wished me, “Happy New Year, Amma”. I promptly asked, “How come you are doing all this, and that too so early on the very first day of 2012?”

Bonded to routine life I live From chore to chore. Wasted years have I behind me As my legacy. Wasted with procrastination And maimed will – A will I could not match, nor bride with action. Once I did wrench those bonds And ran towards free life outside, But fell! My ankles had lost their spring My wrists could no more grasp My eyes they smarted in the torrid sun. Thus was I and thus set free. I return to welcome bonds Resigned. Some times I peep Through draped windows. At free life outside – It’s too strong a delight.

Feroz responded, “Amma, it is just a day like any other day. I do not want people to walk on dirty walkways. It is the first day of the year, so they should feel good and special.” It was good to see someone so dedicated and human at heart. Like other staff members he could have taken a day off, but he woke up early and came for us. I decided to join him in cleaning the garden. Somewhere I felt fortunate that I had come for a walk that morning. The year might be changing, but it should be like any other new day for us. We party all night, leave the venue in high spirits and determined resolutions, but leave the surroundings dirty for others to clear. ‘Small things’ can make a ‘big difference’ in our lives. Let us make an effort to change ourselves – today. u (The writer is the author of ‘14 Pearls Of Inspiration’, and an avid blogger) 

So welcome neon lights And air conditioned rooms Gas stores & TV mimes. Back to pale faces Wherein the paler souls Have lost their valour, And thus sojourn Through life, lifeless… Shobha Lidder Writer Journalist, Teacher Trainer, Social Activist, Reiki Master, Pranic Healer

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'Koi Kaaran Hoga...' trol them, and even rule over them. We should realise that consequences will follow from our own actions, good or bad. There is no God factor in this. Religion, despite its share of problems, serves an immense purpose. The rituals, the practices and the norms, supposed to be the dictates of God, show us our place and worth. Religion is a reminder of human limitations. Being put in our places by something more powerful than us is not a humiliation. Rather, it has to be accepted as a way out of the chaotic, overambitious lives we live. Many people have abandoned religion, and pinned their hopes on the advance of science, as a new route to human salvation. Science, however, offers no better answers. In itself, science is indifferent. The continuous application of science does not solve moral dilemmas. It does not address the struggle of the human heart. The basic reality is that science matters not because it helps us to master parts of nature and the world, but because it tells us that we will never be able to master nature, or the world. The true purpose of religion is not to force people to idolize a person, or to worship a person or thing or place, but to help

people understand that the Divinity we should worship is the Eternal Divine Light-Energy-Source of our existence, the Universal Consciousness, and the Omnipresent Great SpiritParent of all. The true purpose of religion is not to enable a certain person(s) to rule and play God(s). Rather, it is to help people recognise how and why all human beings are related, as children of God. Today mankind wants to test the veracity of the claims of various religions on the touchstone of reason. For the rationalists, religion, God and miracles are delusions of the gullible mind. But imagine what the world would have been without the idea of God. The profoundest danger to life in a godless society will be that it will lack any reference to the transcendent. Without the idea of God, human beings will be tempted to take the psychological centre-stage, assuming themselves to be the commander of their destinies, rapaciously destroying nature, and trampling upon everything. In such a situation we will ignore the order, the rhythm of life on this earth. We will tamper with the natural cycle. A godless world will become highly disorganised, giving hu-

manity a heady feeling that they are at the zenith of history. In this nightmarish scenario, there will be many a megalomaniac assuming a God-like disposition, making the lives of other fellow beings miserable. Religion, thus, works as a great leveller. Religion has a meaning and a purpose as a spiritual school, that teaches us how to live in unified harmony, in peace, and in love with our fellow human beings on this planet – enjoying in togetherness the symphony being played by mother nature. The whole purpose of religion is to facilitate love and compassion, patience, tolerance, humility, and forgiveness. Religions are supposed to help us realise that all human beings are equal joint heirs to their divine inheritance, which is the abundant and harmonious life on this earth. We should have faith that this mortal body is but a temporary temple of the spirit-soul, which will live on in the after-life. Some religions teach that when the spirit-soul is fully evolved and ready, having reached a state of pure, universal love for all, it graduates to eternal life in the heavenly realm.u Dr. Rajesh Bhola is President of Spastic Society of Gurgaon and is working for the cause of children with autism, cerebral palsy, mental retardation and multiple disabilities for more than 20 years.


18 “The world is too much with us; late and soon, Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers; Little we see in Nature that is ours; We have given our hearts away -- a sordid boon! ~ ... Great God, I’d rather be a pagan in a creed outworn, So that I, standing on this pleasant lea, Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn: Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea, Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn.” from ‘Sonnet’, 1802, by William Wordsworth he erosion of spiritual and aesthetic values is the inevitable fallout of living in the contemporary wasteland of a concrete jungle. A human soul that is disconnected with Nature, and torn asunder from one’s authentic cultural roots, is a deeply-ailing, suffering entity, thirsting and struggling to breathe --- cut-off from the very source of Culture, Art and Poetry. This malaise, evident to the early 19th C. British Romantic poet Wordsworth, at the advent of the Industrial Revolution in England (see poem above), seems to apply today within the alienating, multinational mazes of Gurgaon.  As an art critic examining painters and studios in India’s Millennial City, I have been disconcerted by the visual and psychological ennui caused by Gurgaon’s parched and uprooted landscape. While Desires some artists desperately attempt to conceal their angst and mental turmoil with makebelieve scenarios and distracting, ‘trendy’ tonalities, most often Gurgaon’s nascent painters cannot conceal their deep sense of sadness, alienation and isolation. Gurgaon’s artists seem to constantly create images that are literally ‘full of emptiness’ --canvasses, installations and sculptures that document dark, solitary, anguished figures, struggling alone in stark expanses of ravaged earth – sans the harmony of the Human Connect, and totally bereft of the joyous transcendence of spiritualism. A distinct absence of greenery, simplicity, bonhomie, and joi de vivre is evident in a vast body of Gurgaon-based artworks. The Muse does not lie. For a culture to evolve and expand, the necessary first step is a ruthless self-examination and introspection. For artists, this involves a difficult detachment -- a study of their own damaged psyche, in order to create a balance-sheet of their themes, forms, ideas, palettes -- the essential energies, components and concepts that emerge in one’s paintings. Why is Gurgaon’s art so often utterly devoid of all the aesthetic details of our own intricate heritage --- our authentic Indian visual legacy, so to speak? The reason seems to be that Gurgaon’s conflicted, aspiring youngsters,

Lost In Concrete Wastelands and its hard-pressed ‘professional’ adults, surrounded by its mall-and- multinational maze, are spiritually lost. Lost in an urban desert, and finding no peaceful cultural oasis.  As difficult as it may be now to look this unnerving truth in the face, it has to be clearly acknowledged and grappled with – otherwise Gurgaon will have to deal, soon enough, with far more dire, grim consequences at the social, cultural and psychological levels.  Vibha Maurya’s recent paintings at Epicentre

Strength

--- albeit titled ‘Soulful Reality’ --- were actually a telling series, that chillingly documented the soul-less solitude that haunts Gurgaon’s aspiring, striving, ambitious women, hopelessly morphing into a neutered, antiseptic ‘international’ model of womanhood. Who is the real woman who created these awkward, unbalanced, airbrushed, preening millennial morphs on canvas?

Clay Contemplations { Anita Jaswal }

A

fter ten years working with the fashion fraternity in New Zealand, Parul Srivastava and her husband Rohan shifted to Gurgaon with their four-year-old daughter, Mia, in 2010. Rohan soon got busy in his new job with PlayUp, as their Global Marketing Head, and Parul was left to manage the house and baby. “I have never been one to sit idle for long. While doing my post graduation in New Zealand, there were times when I simultaneously worked four part-time jobs – including as a fitness instructor and a bartender. Soon I was pulling my hair, with all the mind-boggling logistics that go into settling in a new place.” Settling in Gurgaon too wasn’t easy. “In the time that I have spent here, I seem to have developed a love-hate relationship with the City. After living in one of

the most beautiful countries in this world, Gurgaon was a complete contrast. I constantly found myself wishing to see more greenery, and open and well-established child-friendly spaces. However, while the traffic, the pot holes, the litter on the roads and the endless construction drove me up the wall, there were aspects about living here that were unmatched anywhere else in India. I love how Gurgaon is our own melting pot in this part of the world. One gets to meet people from all parts of the world – from different cultures, with different experiences and learnings. To me it feels like the perfect blend of living a cosmopolitan life, while being very much in touch with our unique culture and tradition,” says Parul candidly. Parul knew that though she could not take up a regular job, she needed to listen to her heart. “You need to find what you enjoy doing, and make it work somehow. And if

that doesn’t get you where you want to be, try something else. I am so thankful that I stumbled onto the pottery studio when I did – it is the best possible outlet I could have found for my creativity.

Far from being a hardened Gurgaonite, Vibha is actually surviving stoically, very far from her origins and roots. She was born in a small Indian village called Chiraigaon in faraway Varanasi. A BSc from Benaras Hindu University, she learnt the basics of painting in Lucknow and Pune. She spoke to me of the complete contrast between her beginnings and her current highrise life. The city of Delhi initiated a series of changes that sealed her fate. She began by studying pottery at Delhi’s Blue Pottery Trust, but found the painstaking handmade processes of pottery too difficult to cope with. This was followed by a mandatory art-appreciation course at Delhi’s National Museum. Now settled in Sector 21’s HUDA area, the painter confessed her “sense of alienation in Gurgaon.” Equally, she also admitted to sleep-disorders and anxiety, relating to the strains of completing paintings to exhibit in a harsh environment that tests one’s patience at every possible level. And yet, painting and the palette are her only escape.  Vibha’s woman on canvas --- who does not look like her in any way --- is a typical ‘modern urban prototype’, perched on bare windowsills, all alone beside skyscrapers – her lonely gaze often downcast, detached, disconnected. And yet the painter says, “she is my soul.”  Strange indeed is this utterance. There is no poetry of graceful Benaras saris here; no feminine histories ensconced in rich weaves, patterns and embroideries; no shaded mango-groves by the ghats; no strains of the sitar or the conch-shell; no fragrant jasmine or marigold garlands. The titles—like Desires, Strength, and  Contemplation—conceal layers of facile aspirations.  It is only in a few very small pen and ink drawings on paper that a wider, truer Indian reality emerges --- with naively-etched clusters of impoverished migrant labourers, and stray herds of cows, trying to find their way through septic serpentine traffic and harsh hi-rises. Vibha made me a promise: that there will be introspection and communion with her own true nature in her future visualisations. And it was with the following thought that I quietly left this Gurgaon Exhibition: “For what shall it profit a (wo)man, if (s) he shall gain the whole world, and lose (her) own soul ?”  ~The Bible.  I would like to wish a Merry Christmas to all those souls who search for, and contribute to, good Art in Gurgaon.u Artist, Writer, & Curator

That is how Parul Srivastava became a full-time potter! “It’s odd when you suddenly choose a completely different subject, and it falls into place so naturally. The fascination with clay awakened a new me. It gave me a totally new take on how I viewed life, and what I thought I wanted to achieve for myself. JIT KUMAR

{ Srimati  Lal }

T

A rt

21-27 December 2012

Why did I choose to become an artist? I didn’t. I don’t consider myself an artist either. Pottery is just something that I love to do! If you can learn to follow your dreams, then all those other sacrifices and missteps will prove worthwhile. I hope to gain a closer connection to my own creative spirit, and open an opportunity to meet others. Today the world seems like a much smaller and better place, full of friends with good intentions. This seems more like a miracle than a coincidence to me! The wonder is that each creation takes on a life of its own. I don’t equate success with the quantity I sell. Success to me is having a customer tell me that they are using the mug that they bought from me, and it has become their favourite mug. The fact that I have customers who understand that a high quality handmade piece is well worth the cost, so that I can take the time to make each creation without rushing through, is satisfaction in itself,” continues Parul. And behind the wheel, her quest continues...u


21-27 December 2012

B on V ivant 19 JIT KUMAR

The Mother Tribe { Shilpy Arora / FG }

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ne woman can change anything. Many women can change everything – Gurgaon Moms is a perfect example of this phenomenon. The Group has inspired many women to take time out for themselves, and prove their mettle in society. In 2011, Neela, the founder of GurgaonMoms, set up a Facebook page to form an online social club for city-based women. She didn’t anticipate that it would turn into a ‘movement’ so soon. Today, the Group has over 2,500 members on Facebook, and at least 30 new members are being added every month. It has become a major support network for mothers living in the City. Despite the name, GurgaonMoms isn’t only a Moms’ Group. “The Group was started by a mom (smiles) and was initially joined by other moms. That is why it is named GurgaonMoms. However, we have many single women. We have women from different walks of life. It is therefore pretty easy to put together an event or a charity initiative,” says Neela. A blog writer, Upasna, says the Group has helped her look beyond her household responsibilities. “In their 30s and 40s, women are generally busy raising kids and taking care of family. The Group, however, has made women realise that while doing all that, they can also make a mark in society,” she says. Her Facebook Page, “The Book Reporter”, reports and reviews books – she is an ardent reader. In a short span of three to four months her FB Page has become so famous that she has been invited as a reporter to many events in the City. The Group is abuzz with the success stories of women entrepreneurship. The interactions in the Group, both online and personal, have motivated many women to take the plunge. Bayiravi, a PR and Marketing professional, was so influenced by the zeal of the women entrepreneurs in the Group, that she left her highprofile job and started an online baking store. “Baking has always been my passion. When I saw so many women starting their own ventures, and doing well in the City, I decided to give baking a shot.

Today, with God’s grace, I am doing better than what I was doing two years back, all thanks to the inspiration and motivation I have got from GurgaonMoms,” says Bayiravi. Others have started retailing from home, event management, home catering, and online/ offline hobby classes. The Group not only provides a platform to market your products, but also helps to

have also taught me how to make use of Google tools, to promote my website. For those using the Google+ platform, there are also some interesting statistical tools to track and optimize their efforts on the website,” says Neela. She further adds, “It has become very important to have a presence on Google+, to reach out to my members. Google Analytics does an amazing job by telling me where the traffic originates from, what are the popular pages etc. I use Google+ to engage with my members and grow my membership base. We are planning to soon launch a ‘GurgaonMoms’ YouTube channel.”

For a Cause

Apart from socialising, GurgaonMoms also raise their voice on civic issues. Aradhana has raised some crucial issues through it. She talked of the garbage dumping in her area. Simply posting a question on

the forum connected her to the right people. “After a day or two some NGOs got in touch with me to address the issue. Finally the garbage was cleared up by the Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon (MCG),” says Aradhana. Many NGOs, such as “We the People” and “I am Gurgaon”, have been guiding members, to address various civic and environmental issues in the City. The Group also organises various fund-raisers and charity auctions. The idea is to sensitise members to give something back to society. “As I run an online business store for apparels, I decided to put some pieces on auction during one of the meetings. The money raised was used for the welfare of the underprivileged. Such initiatives give you a feeling of satisfaction; that you are also doing something worthwhile for society,” says a member. u

resolve many personal and professional issues. “I was completely shattered when my son developed a serious skin-disease. The moment I posted it on GurgaonMoms, people came forward to help me. They not only sent me the numbers of the City’s top dermatologists, but I also received a few calls from people who were suffering from the same disease. They guided me about my son’s diet, and some crucial changes to be made in his lifestyle. The Group has proved to be a blessing for me,” says a mother of a 7-year-old.

An Association with Google

This success at women entrepreneurship made Google chose GurgaonMoms for its unique Women Entrepreneurs On the Web (WEOW) programme. The programme helps women entrepreneurs set up a successful online business. Even if a woman has never been online, the WEOW programme helps them build an online presence, shows them the basics of maintaining their presence, and takes them through the rest of the programme once they are ready for it. The website of GurgaonMoms, http://www.gurgaonmoms.com, has been put together with the help of Google’s WEOW programme. “I learnt how to connect with more members through my website. They

Christ mas Celebrations


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21-27 December 2012

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Multi-Ventured Multi-Gained { Abhishek Behl / FG }

of processes; and the future lies in developing capabilities such as research, analytics, and knowledge processing. The first phase was driven by the processing of information, and the next phase will be driven by knowledge management. Indian companies will have to also go up the value chain. So we have to work at both ends of the spectrum. There are three aspects to this business – Cost, Quality, and Scale. While it is true that India’s cost competitiveness has diminished because of wage inflation, the country still offers better quality and scale as compared to competitors like China, Philippines and other countries. There is no effective alternative to India yet, and we need to now offer services across the spectrum – from low end telephony to high end data processing, and building financial and software models.

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n India there have been very few instances where someone has built a large company, sold it to an outsider, and moved on to a new venture. Family silver is rarely sold here. But that is precisely what Sanjeev Aggarwal did. Is this an example of how new age Indian entrepreneurs and visionaries think, and do business? In 2004, Aggarwal, along with his partners, sold Daksh—one of the largest Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) companies—to IBM, for an undisclosed amount. Then, after serving the company for two years, he moved out, and set up a venture capital fund. His company, Helion, incubates startups, helps them spread wings, and has funded dozens of companies in the internet, education, and healthcare space. FG caught up with Sanjeev Aggarwal:

You had a long corporate career, working with Indian and foreign companies; and then you built your own company, Daksh, into a large enterprise. What is your managerial philosophy? And how has it evolved, to help you now in spotting and managing opportunities? My personal philosophy hangs on two pegs: One, is that you should know your strengths and weaknesses, and pursue things that interest you. Early in my life I had realised that business was my passion, and engineering was something that could run parallel to this universe. In 1999 I finally decided that the time had come for me to take direct charge, and do things as I wanted to. That is when Daksh happened. The second peg is that I prefer to focus on the process and system, rather than worrying about the outcome. Keep performing your karma, the outcome will take care of itself, is my belief. When we started Daksh we did not think about creating a 20,000 strong company. The goal was to create a customer centric company through happy employees. Happy employees lead to happy customers, and this helped us to scale up the organisation in a short period.

PRakhar Pandey

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Recently you have said that selling Daksh was a mistake. You sold the company when the business was good, and it was cash-rich. No doubt selling Daksh was a mistake, because I read the market wrong. It was our view that consulting, outsourcing and technology would combine, and this would lead to customers migrating to bigger companies – that offered a complete suite, rather than only process outsourcing. At that time IBM seemed a sensible bet. We now know that while some customers have chosen integrated capabilities for business transformation, others continue to exclusively buy business process outsourcing. Daksh would have been a much more valuable company had we carried on. The penetration of offshore BPOs should be higher, given the overall market opportunity.

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How do you see the future of the outsourcing industry in India? NASSCOM says that we have moved from Business Process Outsourcing to Business Process Management. Do you think India has moved on from a low cost destination to a place that can offer a package of services and solutions? I think that India has evolved from outsourcing, to the management

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As a venture capitalist what do you bring to the table? Do you ensure that values and styles you cherish are imbibed by the entrepreneurs that your fund supports? When we started as a venture capital fund in 2006, our vision was not only

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Sanjeev Aggarwal is Senior Managing Director of Helion Venture Partners. He was previously the Chief Executive Officer of IBM Daksh, from July 2004 to July 2006. He was also the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Daksh eServices Private Limited, from January 2000 until June 2004. Aggarwal has a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering, and a Master’s degree in Business Administration, from Punjab University.

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any business based on eyeballs can be monetised now. This was not possible a decade back; and that is why we went on to build Daksh, and did not set up an internet company. Digital has now dawned on India. Another domain which has a great future is the selling of online services – such as travel, insurance, real estate. We have invested in companies such as Make My Trip, India Home and several others, as we feel that online service delivery will also become a major force. Healthcare has a lot of scope, and will see major growth in the near future.

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Do you see Gurgaon continuing as the hub of outsourcing in India, given that the rising real estate prices have already driven some companies out? Gurgaon will remain a strong hub for the outsourcing industry, as a large number of companies have developed strong roots in the City. Being in Gurgaon helps them tap a large and quality talent base available in the National Capital Region. Secondly, there is no other city in India that offers quality real estate infrastructure needed by BPO companies. Globally, Gurgaon is an established destination, and customers know that companies based in this City have the ability to scale up, with no compromise on quality. We have a solid track record of delivery.   You have invested big in new age and internet companies. How do see the Web 2.0 and 3.0 space evolving? What technologies and companies will be in focus, and what sectors will Helion look to invest in? The focus of Helion is on five sectors, and includes mobility. With an application platform like Android, a lot can be developed in India for a global audience. The underlying ecosystem is the same, and I believe we just need to spot the winners in this space. Enterprise Software is our next big bet, as a large number of Indian companies are automating at a rapid pace. This provides an opportunity to Indian software developers to create a product, test it locally, and then sell  it in the emerging markets. This is a great opportunity, especially for India. E-Commerce is also something that Helion believes has great potential, because the internet space in this country has evolved. We have 100 million Net users, and around 5 million people buying regularly on the Net. I think the time has come for this space to offer returns, and

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to provide funds to the entrepreneurs, but also help them in scaling up the business. A lot of us have the experience of building companies. We help in refining business models and strategies, but refrain from entering into micro-issues. Our presence also helps the startups get the right talent, because most people do not prefer to work in new companies in this country. As far as our values are concerned, we do not impose them on people, but only advise them. However, if an entrepreneur builds discrete entities, then it is a good mantra for scaling; and empowering employees will always benefit in the long run.

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Despite the arrival of a number of venture capital firms, this industry is still maturing. There is a lot of confusion among the entrepreneurs about whom to approach for funding, how to do this, where to go, and how much to ask for. Can you shed some light as to how people seeking funds should go about this task? Entrepreneurs, while seeking investments, should carry out a due diligence of this market. Find out which investors will bring only capital, and who will support them in building the business. Thereafter they should calculate the amount of money they will need in the next two years; and if it is less than a million dollars then look for an angel investor. If they need more than that, they should look towards venture capital firms. A number of such companies have arrived in India, and there is competition for good deals in the market. If the idea is good, and can be converted into a business, then it will get the necessary backing. It should also be borne in mind that entrepreneurship should not be pursued just for the sake of it (it sounds fun and easy), or in a herd mentality. If sport is your beat be a sportsman; don’t chase things if these are not aligned with your system. 

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Apart from venture capital, how do you see product development taking place in India? When will we see an Apple, a Facebook, or a Google being developed by an Indian company? Do you see this happening in the near future? What are the strengths and weaknesses of Indian entrepreneurs? Indians are very good at ideation, and are able to see what is coming next. But they need to get better at converting their ideas into action. The need is to plan and execute effectively. As far as product development is concerned, I believe that we will do better in enterprise software products. Consumer hardware like Apple will remain a global play, but a service like a SAP or an Oracle could originate from India – particularly for the emerging markets.

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After so many years in corporate life, how does it feel to be doing your own thing? It feels great. It has been an exciting journey – from an executive, to an entrepreneur, and now a venture capitalist. It has made me a rounded professional. And the fact that one can make a profound impact on people, employees and even the Indian economy, has been quite fulfilling. In every stage of my career I have stayed within the fraternity of business. I built a successful company because I had learnt to run a company. Now I am helping build businesses, because I know how to build a company.

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You have been quite successful in life. What would have been your take if it had taken a different turn? It is a bit tricky to answer this, but I think success is relative, as it is more important to be a good human being. The question is: are you enjoying what you are doing? This has been my quest in life, as I prefer to do things that I am interested in. We started Daksh because I believed in the idea, and enjoyed executing it. Had it not been so successful I still would have been satisfied, because business is what I like to do. My priorities have been health, family, professional success, and making a positive impact on society. I think I have delivered fairly in these spheres, and this journey has been a gratifying experience. The opportunities which we have got will not be present fifty years from now, just as these were not available to our parents. It is the right time to be in India, to harness these opportunities, as we have been thrown into a different orbit altogether.   Lastly, how do you see Gurgaon developing into a world class city? What should be done to ensure that it achieves its millennial aspirations? We love Gurgaon, and moved here in 2006. The City has a lot to offer in terms of shopping and entertainment – and everything is within reach. More importantly it is a community of likeminded professionals, many of whom work in the new economy, and have set up base here. You feel like you are part of a large extended family. On the flip side, I would like to say that Gurgaon should have been built in a more integrated manner – where transport, infrastructure, and other services were more synchronised, and worked seamlessly. Commuting is difficult here, everyone has to use cars. I wish all parts of the City could function better in tandem, and the power situation could be improved. u

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Presents For The Super-Rich { Charlotte Mack / Washington / DPA }

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hether living out that long standing James Bond fantasy, or screaming along suburban roads in a 616 horsepower racing car, there are toys for boys aplenty under American Christmas trees this year. The luxury department store, Neiman Marcus, is pulling out all the stops to make the secret masculine dreams of those who already ‘have it all’ come true, when the presents are opened this year. The specialty store’s new Christmas Book is the answer to gift-giving in the truly luxury segment of the market – with its catalogue focussing on a unique experience this year. On offer is a walk-on part in the hit Broadway musical ‘Annie’, at just 30,000 dollars, including supper with the Producer. A romantic holiday in Paris—along with appropriate wristwatches for ‘Him’ and ‘Her’—is available at a million dollars. When it comes to roughing it on a campsite, the store has a fully-equipped bar built onto a car trailer, looking like a luxurious mini-caravan. The Whiskey Trailer—in teak and imitation snakeskin—is available at the relatively modest price of 150,000 dollars – which includes the most up-to-date entertainment system, and a year’s supply of whiskey. Would-be superheroes are also catered to. There is a rocketpack that uses water pressure to propel the owner to nine metres in the air—just like James Bond in Thunderball—at 100,000 dollars. For those looking for ‘budget items’, there is a manicure set for just 480 dollars, or a poker case finished in crocodile leather for 900 dollars. Neiman Marcus—which is based in Dallas, Texas—has been bringing out its Christmas Book since 1926 – for ‘solving the problems’ of the super-rich every year. At its inception, the booklet was just 16 pages long, although even then the contents were all top drawer. Alongside trips into space and executive jets, the department store has had items like 4,000 square metres of rain forest in its inventory. The Company does also cater to the man in the street – providing a full six pages of ideas for gifts costing a mere 100 dollars (or even less). u

Rock Hall of Fame { Andy Goldberg / Los Angeles / DPA }

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anadian rocker Rush, quixotic troubadour Randy Newman, and late disco queen Donna Summer, are the 2013 inductees into the 2013 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Also chosen for the honour are rap pioneers Public Enemy, blues guitarist Albert King, and US rocker Heart. There was no room for the remaining nominees – Deep Purple, Procol Harem, Kraftwerk or NWA. The new inductees will be welcomed on April 18 into the Rock Hall, in a ceremony that will take place for the first time in Los Angeles, at the Nokia Theatre. u

World’s 1 Billion Tourists { JT Nguyen / New York / DPA }

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ne billion tourists travelled the world so far this year, the UN World Tourism Organization said, urging them to buy local and respect their host cultures. “Your actions count. That is our message to the one billion tourists,” said UNWTO Chief Taleb Rifai, in Madrid, welcoming a British woman as the world’s symbolic 1 billionth tourist of 2012. “Through the right actions and choices, each tourist represents an opportunity for a fairer, more inclusive and more sustainable future.” Tourism now accounts for one in 12 jobs worldwide, and nine per cent of global economic activity – taking a larger share in many developing countries, the UN body said.

Paris Museum Turns Into Skating Rink { Sabine Glaubitz / Paris / DPA }

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he Grand Palais Museum in Paris has been transformed into France’s biggest skating rink for the Christmas holidays. Last week, a lucky few who were treated to a preview, spun and twirled around the Museum’s glassroofed nave, on orange skates lent by the Museum. “It’s fantastic,” said Marion, who

brought her 7-year-old son Pierre. Situated at the bottom of the Champs-Elysees, the Grand Palais was built for the Universal  Exhibition in 1900, in the glass-andsteel Belle Epoque style. The 13,500-square-metre nave hosts the International Contemporary Art Fair, as well as fashion shows and exhibitions. The “Ice Palace” will run until January 6. u

To multiply the positive impact of tourists’ spending power, the organisation advised them to buy local food, souvenirs and services. It also urged travellers to respect their host cultures, help protect heritage, save energy, and use public transport. Tourism has grown rapidly in recent decades, from 25 million trips worldwide in 1950 to one billion as of December 13 this year, the UNWTO says on its website. u

Bargain-Basement Car Sharing { Berlin / DPA }

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new company in Berlin is offering community car sharing at discount prices, of just 1 euro (1.30 dollars) an hour – provided users agree to clean and maintain the cars they use. CiteeCar has a fleet of 100 Kia Rio compacts. CiteeCar rents its vehicles to so-called hosts, who collect bonus points by providing a parking space for the vehicle.

Scheme members also ensure the car remains clean (inside and out), and that essential liquids—such as oil and brake fluid—are regularly topped-up. This entitles users to hire a car at the bargain-basement rate of an euro an hour. Non-hosts pay an extra 20 euro cents a kilometre to use a vehicle. “We are redefining car sharing,” said Company Head Bill Jones. The cars can be booked via SMS, and an app is planned for 2013. u


22 Mayan Frenzy { Andrea Sosa Cabrios / Mexico City / DPA }

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ollowing that piece of proverbial wisdom: “If you can’t lick ‘em, join ‘em,” Mexican authorities, unable to stem the Mayan e n d - o f - wo rl d - p r e d i c t i o n s frenzy seizing the country, have decided to use it to enthusiastically promote tourism. Thousands of people believe that the Mayans—an ancient civilization that flourished in southern Mexico and Central America—foresaw that catastrophe would strike on December 21, 2012, wiping out their culture. There is a certain weight to the prediction – as the Mayan culture nurtured astronomers and mathematicians. Although untrue, the world’s end on December 21 has become a treasure chest for the tourism industry and related businesses. Experts have explained that what the Mayan calendar is saying in reality, is that a Mayan era—comprising 5,200 Mayan years (5,125 current ones)— comes to an end on December 21, and a new one begins.

Tourist destinations and archaeological sites have prepared for the day. Private companies have organized tours, parties and rock concerts. For the past year and a half, the Mexican government has implemented a strategy to draw visitors to the Mayan region. “The estimate of 52 million tourists visiting the five states in the south-eastern region of the country has been surpassed; up until July this year 62 million tourists have already arrived,” said the Mexican Tourism Secretariat. The original aim was to bring in 52 million tourists in 18 months, between June 2011 and December 2012. Travellers see the date as a chance to find out more about the Mayans. But there are many who prefer to stay home and not travel. Even the U.S. National Aviation and Space Agency (NASA), had to make a public statement denying these rumours – after receiving thousands of letters. Fans of the esoteric see the special date as a time of spiritual renewal for humanity; and, whether archaeologists like it or not,

droves of people wearing white are expected to crowd major Mayan sites – such as Chichen-Itza, Izapa and Palenque, on December 21. The information that sparked the end-of-world rumours is found on two stones that were carved in the 7th century A.D., and on which the date of December 23 is mentioned (not December 21, as became the date people mention). Both pieces were found in Tabasco state. One fragment says that when thirteen 400-year units are completed, the Lord of the Light, or “Bolon Yokte”,

Chichen-Itza, pictured here, is one of the archaeological sites expecting droves of visitors encouraged by the end-of-the-world curiosity.

The tourist site of Tulum, with Mayan ruins located next to the Caribbean, has organized a 48-hour electronic music concert, “The 2012 Countdown Festival”.

will descend. “The Mayan calendar arithmetic demonstrates that the end of the 13th ‘b’ak’tun’ is simply the end of one period, and the transition to a new cycle, although the date is charged with symbolic meaning,” said German expert Sven Gronemeyer. Archaeologists have been preparing for the date. New archaeological sites have been opened, the current ones cleaned, and pieces such as the Mayan relief—called “Of the Four Eras” in Tonina—restored. On the business side, tourist and entertainment firms have organized tours, touristic routes, and different kinds of activities – to profit from the gems offered by Mexico’s Mayan region. The touristic site of Tulum,

World’s Biggest Snowman Collection { Soehnke Callsen / Reutlingen, Germany / DPA }

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he snowman was having trouble standing, and his head soon started to droop. Outdoor temperatures were simply still too high. “Snowmen turn out best when it’s just under freezing,” said Cornelius Graetz, brushing snowflakes from his red, snowman-style scarf. “Then the snow packs well, and is easily rolled.” Graetz should know. The 42-year-old resident of the southern German city of Reutlingen is an internationally known snowman specialist. It all began when Graetz, then 13, decided not to eat a little marzipan snowman that his mother had given him. The cute confection wound up on a shelf, and has been joined over the years – not by tens, nor hundreds, but thousands of relatives. Graetz’s collection of snowman memorabilia now

exceeds 3,000 items, earning him an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records. They come in many colours and forms. There are porcelain snowmen and inflatable snowmen, snowmen shaped like teapots, and snowmen-patterned lingerie, snowmen to sit on and snowmen to put on. The only snowmen he doesn’t keep in the house are ones made of real snow. “You find them in all areas of life today, even on hip flasks and condoms,” remarked Graetz, who by his own account started collecting by chance. “They just kept coming - on every birthday, after every shopping trip. It ‘snowballed’.” But Graetz is not merely a collector of snowman figurines. A trained bookseller, he has burrowed deep into snowman lore, and learned everything he could about the frosty, anthropomorphic figure – typically made of three stacked snowballs. His hobby Soehnke Callsen

Collector Cornelius Graetz with some of his collection of 3,000 synthetic snowmen, in his home in Reutlingen, south-west Germany.

has grown into a science of sorts. “Snowmanology is still in its infancy, though,” he said with a grin. To pay tribute to his bulbous buddy, Graetz has even proclaimed World Snowman Day every January 18. That date was chosen in part, he said, because the figure 8 resembles a snowman, and the figure 1 his stick or broom. Graetz’s unique collection often arouses the interest of museums. Part of it is currently on exhibit at the Allgaeu Museum, in the Bavarian town of Kempten. Even a shopping centre in Hong Kong has displayed some of his snowmen. “Globalization has taken the snowman to all corners of the world,” he noted. Martina Schroeder, a cultural scientist and deputy director of Reutlingen’s Museum of Local History, has an explanation for the snowman’s international appeal. “The figure has the advantage of being free of religious or ideological underpinning,” said Schroeder, who devoted half a year to snowmen for an exhibition. It is impossible to pinpoint the snowman’s exact time and place of origin, she said. The oldest pictorial record found by researchers was an 18th-century copperplate engraving – portraying the snowman not as the friendly fellow with a carrot nose, hat and scarf familiar to children today, but as an ill-tempered bugbear. “He used to be more of a symbol of winter’s menacing side,” Schroeder

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Robert Harding World Imagery

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explained. The figure softened with societal progress, such as modern central heating and easily purchased winterproof clothing, she said. Then the toy and advertising industries embraced him, making the snowman a mascot for refrigerators and winter tyres,

with Mayan ruins located next to the Caribbean, has organized a 48-hour electronic music concert called “The 2012 Countdown Festival” featuring U.S. psychedelic artist Alex Grey. Cancun will host the “Meeting of the Sun” event with conferences and music. Some tourists are planning to welcome “the dawn of a new era”, at an exclusive party on the easternmost tip of Isla Mujeres, that claims to be “the first spot that will receive the rays of the rising sun.” So, regardless of the Mayan ‘prediction’, the idea is to enjoy the special day as much as possible - almost as if the world were about to end, and there was no tomorrow. u and tacky mass consumer objects. “Some figures that sparkle and twinkle all over go beyond the boundaries of good taste,” conceded Graetz, who remains on the lookout for out-of-theway collectables – despite a flat and cellar already packed with snowmen. His wife, he said, accepts his unusual hobby. “I had this obsession when we met.” u



friday gurgaon Dec 21-27, 2012