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6-12 December 2013

Vol. 3 No. 16  Pages 24  ` 7

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


?! Ridge Valley School set up by DLF, managed by Learn Today The learning division of The India Today Group, Promoters of Vasant Valley School, New Delhi.

n n n n n n n n

Located at Gurgaon- DLF Phase IV 6 acre eco-friendly campus for sports and activities Dynamic curriculum contextualised to students’ learning needs Technology enabled school bringing cross-discipline integration of all subjects Cerebral, social, emotional, spiritual and physical development through a balanced curriculum After school activities - Archery, Soccer, Cricket, Basketball, Tennis, Swimming, Theatre, etc Continuous professional development for teachers through workshops and seminars Inclusive education for children for Special Needs


ou sometimes do wonder how this City functions. Thankfully we have not left it all to the Administration – the multiple bodies that perform roles, and pass the buck, as per the whims and fancies of their Chandigarh and Panchkula bosses – or maybe its just the CM at (no) work here. Which city of Gurgaon’s size has a Municipal body (MCG) that only takes care of its ‘village abadies’ and some peripheral areas – even 6 years after its formation? What really is its charter? Even more basic, MCG can’t seemingly collect Property Tax from across the City. It has not been able to take over the Water Supply function for its area. It seems not even able to defend its own areas from encroachment – even by HUDA! Which (State) development arm (HUDA) insists on retaining and running the colonies that it has developed, even decades after the ‘development’ has been undertaken? It does not (deliberately?) care for Completion Certificates. And, ironically, this (State) developer, while wanting to ‘maintain’ its ‘developed’ colonies (not in its charter), has no plans to develop anything further in Gurgaon (though very much its charter). In the 58 new sectors of Gurgoan, there is virtually no HUDA! The developer meanwhile has developed other priorities. It is partnering DLF and spending about Rs. 400 crores from its kitty for a DLF Phases Highway that runs through a part of the city. Public funds could arguably not have been more misused, as many City folk are still denied basic civic services. The Town & Country Planning Dept., the planner and watchdog, and the keeper of thousands of crores of EDC and IDC funds, seems just good at ‘developing’ plans – 2021, 2025, 2031 – in quick succession. Clearly its vision is far-fetched. It has probably lost count of how much forest cover and water bodies it has helped dry up. And as for being the watchdog, forget any bite, it does not even watch (the flagrant violations of so many builders). It is wonderfully flexible for extensions (counted in decades) and modifications (especially changes of land

use). While the Reliance SEZ, the Big Hope for investment and jobs, for which farmers were asked to give up their land, has been cancelled, the land has not been returned to the farmers; it’s now the new paradise for multiple builders - for residential and commercial exploitation. The DC Office, almost every quarter, issues Sec 144 notices for bans on Plastic Bags, Ahatas, Borewells, construction in the restricted IAF Depot area...all to no avail. The DC’s writ, which is cast in stone in most towns, seems not to run in this City. In some of these matters it is the High Court that has ordered the ban. Clearly even the law does not wield real power – for in reality, it seems to be with the estates. Talking of the law, there is perhaps no city in the Country that has as many cases lodged by protesting residents and activists, in the High and

Admissions Open From Nursery to VIII

Call: 0124-4666161/62 Mob: 98-112-68706 Mail:

ing plans at will, and taking over whatever common areas and facilities are lying ‘vacant/unused’, they have ensured that their projects have remained ‘incomplete’ – of course, can’t happen without the Administration being complicit. Has DLF perhaps read the writing on the wall better than all the rest? Has it decided that nothing will really change, and it has too much to lose (by waiting)? And of course knows that this land is home advantage. Has it therefore decided to become the de facto HUDA cum MCG of its Phases…and later maybe of ‘new’ Gurgaon? It has already commissioned – by itself or along with others - a 16-lane Highway and the Rapid Metro - that mainly run through or near its Phases, a Fire Station, a CCTV Surveillance Control Room, a Bus service… and of course a few Golf Clubs. How does this Administration just

not harvested; its drops are used to dilute our filth, before it flows into the Nallahs.. and finally into the Yamuna. How do the simplest of decisions, impacting the common man, remain pending for years? Resolution of, or setting up of, auto fares, bus stops, public toilets and EWS allotments is announced ad nauseam…and then just forgotten. What arrogance! Some other decisions, maybe because they involve multiple agencies and funds, are kept pending for almost a decade – like Hero Honda Chowk; while some astonishing decisions are taken astonishingly fast – like the number and location of liquor vends. Now the CM wants an immediate decision on stopping of the Toll Plaza – as quick as the decision to appoint a concessionaire to start it. Maybe the higher the amount involved, the quicker the decision making, in new millennium times! The Administration needs to get the new Sectors (58 to 115), the new Gurgaon, right. There may already have been some slip-ups, but it is clearly not too late. Left to themselves, many of the 100+ builders of this new Gurgaon will not only fleece their customers but also avoid setting up the required civic infrastructure (or compromise on quality). In some areas, builders are already being asked to provide space for roads; nobody left any space for these! Towers have been sanctioned for heights of 150m, while even today 90m height towers are vulnerable – the Fire Dept. has tenders that reach 50m only. The Civic Administration needs to maybe learn from the local Police. When they have been determined, things have happened; drunken Driving has been well tackled by the Police over the last year or so. And ordinary residents are not far behind. Some bold RWAs have taken on established top builders and evicted them/their non-performing maintenance arms. Surely the Administration, and their seniors far away, not to forget the CM, are not waiting for all Gurgaonites to come out on the streets, to ensure that they are no longer denied their basic civic and social rights…that too in an election year?! u

The Enigma that is Gurgaon Supreme Courts. The final 'tareek' should turn a blind eye to residents protesting come soon...we may be delayed, but shall on the road for water and power? Instead, DHBVN just promises grand plans for not be denied. Even HSIIDC, the industries’ the setting up of power infrastructure, developer, has taken a hands-off approach and the Power Minister emphatically in the development of industrial/udyog says, ‘No power cuts next year’! Water areas, as the flavour of the season is only canals and treatment plants are always a Real Estate (even IT/BPO is old hat). The mirage on the horizon. Garbage is neither town built on Maruti (industry) is now a picked up on time, nor segregated, or even treated. The Bandhwari Waste city just being constantly built. Of course this does not at all absolve Treatment Plant capacity has remained the private brigade – especially the build- at 50% of requirement – meaning the ers (yes, many clearly are just that, not Administration knows that the balance developers). Barring DLF in most parts, waste is seeping underground; and now, there is hardly a private builder area or after 2 suspicious fires at the Plant, colony that is not bereft of some or the there is no treatment taking place. Is the other basic civic service or facility – of wa- Administration worried? No. After all, it is just that 50% will become 100%! ter, power, garbage, sewage, roads, Closer home, storm water parks, community centres, Some other and sewage drains are security. Most private troubling questions one and the same. So builders are guilty of Why has the Administration every year, street providing poor and kept the new Civic Hospital closed urchins and inadequate civic (for years)? fancy cars swim infrastructure Why is the Administration allowing in Sewage and civic serhundreds of Maruti workers Pools on the vices. Since to be confined in jail for over a year, roads. The they need to with no closure in sight? rain here is keep chang-


6-12 December 2013

RNI No. HARENG/2011/39319 Postal Regn. No. GRG/35/2012-2014, VOL.–3 No.–16  6-12 December 2013


Atul Sobti


Sr. Correspondents: Abhishek Behl Shilpy Arora

Editorial Office 213, Tower A, Spazedge, Sector 47, Sohna Road, Gurgaon 122001, Haryana, Phones: +91 124 421 9092/93

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Anita Bagchi

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Amit Singh

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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.

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

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


Potpourri Almost Shimla @ Lemon Tree Hotel, Sector 29 Date: December 7 potpourri of 200/300/600K Brevets. Starting from Gurgaon, the destination for 600K riders is the foothills of the Himalayas (near Shimla, 20 kilometres short of Kasauli), and the return is from Timber Trails, near Kalka; the 200K riders will turn back from Samalkha on NH1; and the 300K riders will turn back from Karnal. 
The registration link is potpourri


C oming U p

Course Road Date: December 7 Time: 6:00 pm n evening celebrating the 3-City tour of Big Room Melody King AVICII, aka Tim Bergling. The evening will be full of EDM tunes mixed with the AVICII flavour.



Farmers' Market @ The Westin Hotel, Sector 29 Date: December 8 Time: 10:00 n initiative of Karen Anand, the Farmers' Market is a place to explore, ask questions, discover new flavours, savour a unique atmosphere and have fun! On offer are exotic, local and organic fruits and vegetables, cheeses, cold meats, bakers, patisseries, confectionery, gourmet foods, wine, beer, natural beauty products, flowers, plants and natural beverages.



or all those men who thought clubs are biased towards the ladies, here is a breather. Presenting 'Gentlemen Nights' for all the men who pamper their ladies at the bar. Enter with your lady and get free drinks! How's that for special treatment?


he debut Meet-up of ZIMOVA Circle of Happy Women, over a Cookout and Lunch. Don the apron and as the kitchen Masterchefs guide you, whip up a range of culinary delights. Confirm your participation via email to - zimova.zimova@gmail. com, with your contact details.

Date: December 10 Time: 7:00 pm ala Uditaayan presents Odissi recital in the style of Kelucharan Mahapatra and Kathak recital in the style of Jaipur Gharana, by the disciples of Mamta Tandan.




Annual Day Celebration @ Klay Prep School, Sector 49 Date: December 7 Time: 4:00 pm articipate in the 1st Annual Day celebration of Romasis Nurturing Minds of Differently Abled Children. Kids can enjoy on the Bouncy, participate in art & craft activities and play exciting games. Also on offer are a variety of food stalls.



Pre-AVICII Stomp @ Bahi, South Point Mall, Golf

Traffic Jam Band Live @ Striker Pub & Brewery, Global Foyer Mall, Shop No. 23, First Floor, Sector 43 Date: Up to December 30 Time: 8:30 pm to 10:30 pm njoy a rocking and happening night as you sway to Classic and Alternative music, performed live by the Band, Traffic Jam. Members of the Band include – Jimmy Thang on vocal and guitar, Kennedy Singh on guitar, Nizzy RK on bass and Stevekid Valte on drums.



Gentlemen Nights @ TAXII Bar & Kitchen, Global Foyer Mall, Sector 43, Golf Course Road Date: Up to December 31(Tuesdays) Time: 6:00 pm onwards

Stand Up Comedy

Open Mic Comedy Night @ Coopers Grill & Bar, 33 - 35, DLF Star Tower Sector 30, NH-8 Date: December 7 Time: 8:00 pm aughterpreneur presents the Open Mic Comedy Night! Enjoy new and old jokes by amateurs, and professionals, the funny and the not-so-funny. What's more, if you think you have an active funny bone, you can take the stage. 
Email at to get yourself registered.


Meet Up

ZIMOVA Cookout & Lunch @ Thai Pavilion, Vivanta Taj, Sector 44 Date: December 11 Time: 1:00 pm


Business Today MindRush @ The Oberoi, Udyog Vihar Date: December 13 & 14 Time: 6:00 pm he first Business Today MindRush, hosted by the India Today Group, aims at bringing global thought leadership closer to home-grown achievers. Witness brainstorming sessions by N.R. Narayana Murthy, Deep Kalra, Alok Kejriwal,Devdutt Pattanaik, John Kao, Madan Pillutla, Riyaaz Amiani, Sachin Bansal, Sasha Mirchandani and Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev.



Odissi & Kathak Recital @ Epicentre, Apparel House, Sector 44


International Conference On Global Sustainability And Contemporary Issues In Business @ JK Business School, Damdama Lake Road, Bhondsi Date: December 12 he Conference offers a platform for scholarly and applied conversations among a wide variety of stakeholders, concerned with the continual challenge of advancing the sustainable business agenda – of people, planet, profit.
 Interactions will be held among academics, researchers, doctoral students, entrepreneurs, representatives from industry and governmental and nongovernmental organisations. 

 For Details Visit:


C oming U p

6-12 December 2013




Vibgyor @ Epicentre, Apparel House, Sector 44 Date: December 13 & 14 Group Exhibition of affordable Art by seven upcoming Artists, showcasing their work presenting abstracts, portraits, landscapes, semi-realistic and figurative.


Delhi's Artscape


The Wine & Fashion Soiree 2 @ Madness, DLF Star Tower, Sector 30 Date: December 14 Time: 4:00 pm urgaon Network presents the 2nd Wine & Fashion Soiree Show for the ladies of Gurgaon, with the latest trends from international runways. Enjoy the evening as Vero Moda presents their Autumn/Winter 2013 Collection
, Sula Vineyards offers a special wine-tasting session and a leading cosmetics company offers makeovers for the models.

 Contact Jyoti 9971103572 / Smriti 9818684655

Musical Landscapes & The Goddesses Of Music



Dilli 6 Ka Falaknuma @ Zinos, 9 A, Cyber City, DLF City Phase III Date: UP to December 15 Time: 7:00 pm onwards elebrating the charm of Old Delhi food, this Festival offers the unique flavours of Chandini Chowk and its vibrant history. Popular chefs from across the country will be serving a wide assortment of salads, kebabs, main courses and desserts.

Kick-start this culinary fair with appetizing starters like Cream Chicken Kebab, Pudina Maachi Karolbagh Ke, Mughlai Murg Tangri, Mutton Gauloti, Haleem, Tawa Keema Kaleji, Makhan Wala Murg and Biryani. The vegetarian menu boasts of delicacies like Chandini Chowk Ki Chaat, Ganchow Keema, Khumb Mattar and Paneer Ballimaran. Round up with a variety of desserts like Rabri Faluda, Kesari Phirni , Shahi Tukda and Mutanjan. 



Hindustani Classical @ Epicentre, Apparel House, Sector 44 Date: December 12 Time: 7:30 pm njoy the musical evening with Hindustani Classical & SemiClassical Vocal recital by Amrita Dutta, disciple of Pt. Dina Nath Mishra & Pt. Bhola Nath Mishra


The Taste Of Paradise @ Saffron, Trident Hotel, Udyog Vihar Phase V Date: Up to December 8 Time: 12:30 pm to 3:30 pm; 7:30 pm to 11:30 pm njoy a true culinary delight with the flavours of Kashmir. The Wazas, Masterchefs from Kashmir, treat you to authentic delicacies
like Rista, Ghustava, Roghan Josh, Tabak Maaz, Nadru Yakkhni, Kaam Gucchi and Phirni.


Bengali Food Festival @ Culture Gully, Kingdom of Dreams, Sector 29 Date: Up to December 31 avour traditional Bengali food at this Food Fest with dishes like Chingri Malai Curry, Macher Sarsor Jhol, Lal Murgi, Chicken Punchphoran, Kassa Mangsho, Mutton Saag Bhaji, Dahi Gobhi, Bati Chor Chori, Aloo Posto Jhal and Chena Jhal. End the culinary journey with mouth-watering desserts like Sandesh, Kheer Pooli and Rasogulla.



Experiments With Truth


@ National Gallery Of Modern Art, Zakir Husain Marg Date: Up to December 29 Time: 10:00 am to 5:00 pm urated by Cultural theorist and poet, Ranjit Hoskote, this Exhibition brings together more than 80 works by Artist Atul Dodiya – which include paintings in oil, acrylic and watercolour, mixed - media works, sculpture - installations, assemblages and photography.


Walk The Path With Water And Air Concert


@ National Museum, Janpath Date: Up to January 16 (except Mondays and Public Holidays) Time: 10:00 am to 5:00 pm atch a multimedia and interactive Exhibition by renowned tech wizard, Ranjit Makkuni. Titled ‘Musical landscapes and the goddesses of music: recent advances in interactive Art’, the Exhibition displays various facets of music. 

Inner Voice @ Epicentre, Apparel House, Sector 44 Date: December 9 Time: 7:00 pm alaam Baalak Trust celebrates its 25th anniversary with a dance drama, performed by the children of Salaam Baalak Trust. The Choreography is by Avinash Kumar.



Festive Cocktails @ The Westin Hotel, Sector 29 Date: Up to December 31 elebrate the Christmas season with a host of knockout concoctions – Winter Sangria, Coffee Eggnog, Champagne Punch and more.


@ Hungarian Information and Cultural Centre, 1/A, Janpath Date: Up to January 14 Time: 10:00 am to 4:00 pm Group Art Exhibition showcasing works of Zsuzsa Gajdan of Hungary and Seema Kohli of India. Gajdan’s paintings are inspired by what she has seen, experienced and understood about India. Seema Kohli is a talented Contemporary artist who uses various mediums, which add different dimensions to her paintings.


Across The City

@Alliance Francaise De Delhi, Plot No. 72, Lodhi Estate, Lodhi Road Date: December 14 Time: 11:00 am to 7:00 pm n Exhibition of Artworks by Thomas Henriot, a French Artist. The Exhibition showcases Thomas’ experience of his numerous journeys in Morocco, Lebanon, Togo, China, Argentina, Oman, Mai, Mauritania, USA, Cuba, Brazil and India.



6-12 December 2013

4U 4


THE WEEK THAT WAS  Govt. Schools’ timings have been changed, till February 28, 2014. The new timings are 9am to 3.30pm.  Property Tax deadline has been extended to 10th December – it can be paid online also.  MCG identifies 4 sites for waste disposal – Villages Badshahpur, Choma, Gadhauli Kalan and Teekampur.

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.

 DC asks for steps to be taken – including applying a special paint on the roads - to avoid fog-related accidents this winter.  Gurgaon Police will now start their official day (7.30am) with a prayer, and a policeperson will be offered a card and a gift on his/her birthday.

Q. Is there a natural way to treat chill blains? SH

 A Standard 11th girl in a govt. school consumes poison and dies. While she allegedly had an affair, she does not blame anyone in her suicide note.  3 cases of rape of minors are reported in a day; 2 people are arrested.  A shop owner is accused of raping a woman on the pretext of

marriage.  A 40-year-old woman is found dead in a Regency Park 1 apartment; 2 sanitation workers choke to death while working in an MG Road sewer.  The nephew of a Sarpanch is accused of molestation.  An ex-Air India officer and his wife are knifed and their valuables stolen, by thieves who break into their Sec 43 house at night; a house in Malibu Towne is burgled; cash and jewellery worth lakhs are stolen; a laptop is stolen from a parked car in a mall on MG Road; a private firm executive is defrauded of Rs 35,000 in a cyber crime case; Rs 40,000 is looted from a businessman, at gunpoint; a person impersonates a policeman and robs a person of Rs 37,500.  Rs. 81 lakhs is defrauded from a person, on the promise of an MBBS admission and degree.  A gang of 3 car thieves is arrested; 4 gangsters, involved in many snatchings, are held; 4 people, who had forcibly taken over a piece of land, are arrested.  Residents of Sector 50 undertake a signature campaign, asking the Administration for immediate erection of streetlights in their area.  MCG proposes to set up Toilet-Cafes (in proposed public toilet locations).  DC promises to probe allegations of illegal commercial activity at Shivalik Apartments.  There are no takers for the MCG Sanitation tender again!  ‘Old’ Gurgaon residents block MCG garbage collection trucks, which have been dumping waste at various non-designated sites.  High Security Number Plates are now available at a lower cost.  Hero Group announces the setting up of the BML Munjal University, near Manesar.



WINNER Pragati. S

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

Haryanvi Made Easy Get a taste of the local lingo I will take you out to eat tonight. Aaj main tanne bhar khaana khwaan le jaunga Where should we go? Hamne kith jaana chahiye? Let us go for some nice Indian food. Chal kithey badiya desi khaane ki jaga chaalan. I know a nice place where we can sit and eat. Manne ek achchi jagah bera se jith aaram tey baithke kha sakan They also serve very nice desserts. Uth badia mithai mile se



Sudden warmth, after exposure to the cold, can lead to chilblains. The small blood vessels in the skin get inflamed, leading to redness, tenderness and swelling. There can be itching too. The best thing would be to refer the condition to a doctor and get ointments for topical application, so that there is no infection. Avoid exposing the area to cold and keep the blood circulation going. If it occurs on toes and fingers, massage lightly with warm oil. Avoid tight foot wear that interferes with circulation. Application of aloe vera gel also helps to soothe the condition.



Want an Event to appear on the Coming Up page? Write to us at

Do we have to reserve a table in advance? Hum ne pehla table book karni chaiye ke? I know the Manager there. Main uth manager ne jaanu sun He will find us a table. Wo table dila dega.

H appenings

6-12 December 2013


Design Dhamaka


isaa School of Design organised an Open Day Fashion Show at their Campus. This 2-day Event was held to showcase the talent and work of their students. The Exhibition featured work mainly from three sections – Fashion and Textile, Interior and Graphic Designing.

Rappin’ Bohemian Style


urgaonites were in for a rocking night as noted Punjabi rapper from California, Bohemia, performed live at a Nightclub. The singer had the crowds swinging crazy as he belted out his popular numbers like ‘Vich Pardesan De’, ‘Kali Denali’ and ‘Sahara’.



hazal singer Riyaz Khan paid a tribute to the late Ghazal King, Jagjit Singh at a Show, ‘Aap ki Farmaaish’, held at Epicentre. Riyaz kept the audience mesmerised with his renditions of popular Jagjit Singh ghazals. Riyaz was accompanied by Karim Niyazi on the Harmonium, Aleem Khan on the Violin and Rashid Niyazi on the Tabla.

Zooming Triumph


he iconic British motorcycle brand, Triumph Motorcycles, entered the Indian market with the launch of ten of their iconic and prestigious models. Triumph Motorcycles India will be assembling the Bonneville, Bonneville T100, Daytona 675R, Street Triple, Speed Triple and Thruxton in India at the (CKD) Assembly Facility at Manesar.

Community Service


eloitte celebrated its 11th year of Community Service in India with Impact Day. More than 21,000 Deloitte professionals across the country have dedicated a complete working day to Community Service – through 70 projects across 400 locations in 8 cities, impacting more than 250,000 lives in a day. Some professionals spent the day at Disha Unnati, Jharsa, as part of this Initiative.

Creating Humsafars


o mark World AIDS Day, SABMiller India organised awareness activities such as a Street Play, Slogan Competition, Painting Competition and sessions with PLHIV. Other activities such as Health Camp, Eye Camp, Film Screenings, theme-based Sports Events and a Quiz on HIV/AIDS were also organised for truckers and other workers, as part of its ‘Project Humsafar’.

06 write to us at


he craze for date-specific births and weddings started at the turn of the millennium - on 10/10/2000. After excitement about 12/12/12 last year, the century is now gearing up to its last sequential day – 11/12/13. Whether it is a couple planning to tie the knot or an expectant mother, they want to make the most of the special date. A gynaecologist from Bourn Clinic, Dr. Reshmi Thukral, informs, “Earlier, people were more concerned about an auspicious time, as per the movement of the planets and stars. But now couples are increasingly opting for specific dates, as they want to give their child a unique gift for a lifetime. We have received 60 requests for us to conduct deliveries (including options for test-tube babies) on 11/12/13.” Many couples are also requesting doctors to plan the delivery exactly at 10 o’clock, so as to make it 10-11/12/13! However, it is not really in the hands of doctors. “Medically we can only adjust the delivery date by a day or two. We would never allow a woman to undergo a caesarean delivery if she has not completed 36 weeks of pregnancy. We can’t risk her life, just to catch some fancy date, month, year combination,’’ says Dr. Thukral. Last year she conducted over 10 deliveries on 12/12/12. When asked about the craze of having a baby on the sequential date, a couple, Ramola and Siddharth, says, “Ours is a love-cum-arranged marriage. We got engaged on 10/10/10 and were married on 11/11/11. Now we want to have our baby on 11/12/13. We have told our doctor to try and conduct the delivery at exactly 10am, so that we have a perfectly sequential time and date. We have discussed with our numerologist too and he says the positions of Grah and Nakshatra will be good at that time.” Even the IVF Centre in the City is getting requests for Embryo Transfer (ET) on 11/12/13. The most important part of an IVF procedure is ET. Many couples have requested to get their ET done on 11/12/13, so that the conceiving date becomes memorable. Several couples are planning to tie the knot on 11/12/13 – not concerned on whether it's auspicious. Nishant Khurana, a marketing professional, smiles and says that he wants to get married on 11/12/13 so that he never forgets his anniversary. “Many times men forget

What's in a Number?


{ Shilpy Arora }

S ocial

6-12 December 2013

their anniversaries and are criticized for the same. I am happy that I am least likely to forget my wedding date,” he says. Besides, his astrologer has also confirmed that 11/12/13 will turn out to be an auspicious date for the wedding. A City-based astrologer, Kartikay Shastri, says, “11/12/13 has both Tithi and Nakshatra in place. It is Wednesday. Tithi is ‘Navami’ and Nakshatra is ‘Revathi’. I think couples who will get married on this date will be happy and the marriage will be long-lasting.” However he states that the date is not extraordinary, and that such an auspicious day will also appear the next month. Not just Indians, expats in the City are also planning their wedding on this date. Rebekah from Austria, who met her first love in the City, is eagerly waiting for 11/12/13, the last magic numerical day of the century. “Keeping in mind that 11/12/13 is a unique date, I do not want to let go of the opportunity and want to make the beginning of my new life memorable on this very day,” she says. Some people are just striving to celebrate get-togethers and hangouts, to make 11/12/13 a memorable day. Many restaurants have worked out special menus for 11/12/13.

2014 There are also predictions of a giant earthquake and tsunamis in Asia, Africa and America, volcano eruptions in many parts of the world and continuation of economic instability in Europe. Interestingly, Astrologers also predict giant solar flares, UFO landings and more meteors and comets striking the Earth in 2014. “There is a great possibility of a giant solar flare hitting the Earth soon, anytime between 2014 and 2020. It will probably be one the biggest natural disasters in this century. I think that the scientists of the world should get ready to prevent solar flares from hitting the Earth,” suggests Kripal. Astrologically, there are also possibilities of nuclear wars - especially between North and South Korea, a conflict between Iran and the West and rising border tension between India and Pakistan. Hotels are providing special discounts for stays that night. “I think the date provides a good business opportunity to pubs, restaurants and hotels in the City. Occupancy of our rooms is likely to cross 75 per cent on this day, as we had received a good response last year on 12/12/12,” says Vinod Shekhar, a hotelier in Sector 29.

Are dates so important?

Although many have a plan to make 11/12/13 a memorable day, numerologists feel that the date is not good for everyone. A famous Astro-Numerologist based in Sector 4, Yamuna Bharti, says "The date 11/12/13 is governed by the number 2. Number 2 stands for romance and creativity. It is therefore good only for those who are governed by the numbers 1 (born on 1, 10, 19, 28), 2 (born on 2, 11, 20, 29), 4 (born on 4, 13, 22, 31) and 7 (born on 7, 16, 25). It is not good for other numbers. Therefore I am not encouraging all the couples to get married on this date. For people who are not born on these dates, getting married on 11/12/13 might cause restlessness in their marriage." In the past, Numerologists have made it clear that sequential dates are simply a pattern and have no particular meaning in Numerology. There is no relevance given to any sequential date in Astrology too. “According to Indian mythology, God sleeps for four months, from July 13 to November 12. This period is known as Dev Podhi. Marriages are generally not held in these months. When God wakes up on November 13, the wedding season starts.

We don’t give any preference to the sequence of dates, as the Indian calendar is entirely different from that of the West. I don't think there's any significance to this date. It is just a marketing gimmick played by a few corporates to sell products,” says Bharti. In fact the number 13 is often considered inauspicious in many cultures. Last year the end of the Mayan calendar's 13th Baktun was feared as a harbinger of the apocalyptic 2012 phenomenon. In many countries even big companies and manufacturers don’t use number 13 for labelling their products. Many Vaastu experts suggest avoiding the 13th floor in any building. In Europe it is considered inauspicious to have 13 guests at a table. In Buddhism, monks don’t consider it a good year, if it has 13 full moons. There are a number of theories that relate number 13 with destruction and bad luck. However, although experts may dismiss the enthusiasm about 11/12/13, scientists believe that superstitions about numbers and dates are steeped in the human brain. A professor of religious studies at JNU, Dr. Moumin, says, “The human brain is hard-wired to look for meaningful patterns in the data it collects from the world. Numbers are just data collected by our brain. When it coincidentally falls into a pattern, people look for significance and associate it with imaginative meaning. There is however no scientific evidence of the importance of these dates."

Moving on to ‘14

According to Astrologers and Numerologists, 2014 is not a very good year. It holds a lot for women in politics though. As India will witness general elections in 2014, experts predict that Narendra Modi has strong chances to become the Prime Minister, but he may face a serious tussle with women. “Modi has entered in the Jupiter-Venus Dasha in October 2013. Venus is placed rightly with the eighth lord Mercury. But Saturn is also there, which may make the situation worse. Besides, these planets will see a female planet, Ketu, soon. This clearly shows a controversy related to a woman,” says Shastri. Jyotish Kripal seconds his views and says, “Modi has Rajyogas in the fifth and eleventh axis, but Rahu and Ketu can change the game. There are strong chances of a woman politician from some other party rising. Even after the general elections, women will play a major role in the politics of India. Moreover, new parties like Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) can see a steep rise in 2014,” he says.u

6-12 December 2013

C ivic/S ocial


Promoting 2-Way Traffic

prakhar PANDEY

{ Abhishek Behl / FG}

write to us at


he Gurgaon Traffic Police is taking Public-Private Partnership (PPP) to a higher level, as it plans to hand over the three busiest intersections of the City viz. Rajiv Chowk, Signature Tower and IFFCO Chowk - to corporates, who will manage the movement of vehicles for 15 days at a go respectively. There would be a competition among the private players, and the organization that does the ‘best job’ would be given an award. This initiative, says Joint Commissioner of Traffic Police (JCP), Bharti Arora, is aimed at ensuring the participation of citizens in the traffic management of the City, as well as sensitizing the public about the importance of following traffic rules. “Gurgaon has an extensive and large private sector, and a lot of companies have expressed interest in manning the traffic intersections. They can hire private security guards or involve their own employees, who will be assisted by a team of Gurgaon Police, for managing the flow of traffic - which is huge,” says Arora. She is playing her second innings at the Traffic Police Headquarters. Involving private citizens and civil society in the management of traffic could be crucial for Gurgaon, as the City police has only 367 Traffic Policemen, who have to manage a daily volume of 4 lakhs vehicles. Arora says that while every year 90,000 new vehicles are being registered in the City, there is no matching provision/expansion of infrastructure. “My primary goal is to ensure that the Traffic Police provides good service to the motorists, reduces congestion on the road and enforces traffic discipline,” she says. There are other challenges on how to improve the quality of road engineering and traffic planning, as also create awareness about traffic rules. JCP Arora says that they have to deliver with whatever resources are available, and use them in a responsible manner. The major ‘challenge spots’ for her, as also for civic agencies, are Hero Honda Chowk, Rajiv Chowk, IFFCO Chowk and the Gurgaon Toll Plaza. With multiple agencies involved, the resolution of issues needs infrastructure investments, planning and political resolve. These ‘permanent traffic bottlenecks’ continue to choke Gurgaon, even as it

The 367 members of the Traffic Police (17 women) include 2 Assistant Commissioners of Police, 7 Inspectors and 60 Sub-Inspectors and Assistant Sub-Inspectors. gasps to reach its millennium goals. “We have asked the City authorities to build at least three underpasses urgently at these busy intersections, but this is likely to take time,” she says. In the interim, the Traffic Police plans to use technology, social media and a good dose of common sense to ensure the smooth movement of traffic on City roads. It will soon be initiating a process whereby it can easily and readily locate its own men in the field. “We are in the process of introducing this system, as it is crucial to know that the policemen are performing their duty as assigned - where they are required,” she says. When asked why the Traffic Police Control Room (PCR) was not adequately informed about the happenings on the roads, Arora admits that the policemen in the field prefer to withhold information about traffic jams, as there is a mindset that they would be punished for ‘non-performance’ (if they report). To tackle this problem, Arora says that there is need to have a modern Traffic PCR, which is connected to cameras on the City roads, so that live traffic situations could be monitored. “We need to have a live feed, for us to be able to take live, real-time action,” says Arora. Various ‘soft’ initiatives have been undertaken by Gurgaon Traffic Police – probably being the only govt. ‘body’ in the City that has done so regularly and effectively. Gurgaon Traffic

Police had, very early, launched a Facebook page, which has helped people to get real-time information about various issues in the City. “People now know how to access Traffic Police officials, lodge complaints and even report violations of our staff,” says Arora - while looking at the Facebook page on her computer screen. To motivate the traffic policemen, who are constantly under pressure and face pollution on the roads - which is increasing every day - the Department has decided to hold morning prayers and to greet policemen on their birthdays with cards and bouquets. “The morning prayers will be started on the lines of schools and the armed forces,” says Arora. Thereafter there would also be an assessment of the past day’s work. The Raahgiri Day is another initiative that aims to bring the public and the Traffic Police in close co-operation and also to create options and solutions for non-motorized transport – including cycling…and yes, walking. “This initiative has got a very good response and also given space to people to come together, interact and use the roads in altogether a different way,” she says. The Traffic Police Chief says that it has also made everyone aware about the importance of introducing cycling tracks in the City. However, the dilemma is that development of these tracks will require HUDA green belts to be ‘encroached’. The various drives to involve civil society and create awareness about safety on the roads will continue, as it is crucial to ensure good driving habits in the City, she says. “Gurgaon witnesses 400 deaths per year due to road accidents, most of which are avoidable. Valuable lives can be saved if everyone

observes traffic rules, and especially does not drink and drive,” says the JCP. The drive against drunken driving, which was launched a couple of months ago, has met with major success, she says; the number of road accidents due to drunken driving has significantly reduced. “People now prefer to obey the rules as we are very strict in implementing them,” she says. To commemorate those who had lost their lives on the roads, the Traffic Police had organized a silent march last month, from Z-Chowk to Vyapar Kendra in Sushant Lok. The objective was to remind people who drive on Gurgaon roads to respect traffic rules and thereby help save lives. The participants vowed to obey the traffic rules and never drive under the influence of alcohol. Another initiative was the organization of the Road

Safety Mega Festival, whereby different programmes were organized to spread awareness about traffic rules among the people, especially children. The JCP, Traffic, when asked about the feasibility of imposing a ‘Congestion Charge’ on vehicles moving in crowded zones - as happens in many countries - says that she would rather introduce ‘clover leaf roundabouts’ in Gurgaon, build a flyover near the Toll Plaza U-turn, and also have a few more to help connect the City across the highway - especially at Hero Honda Chowk. She also wants more resources for the Department, in terms of men and machines, to ensure that the increasing traffic can be managed in a scientific manner and problems on the road are resolved in realtime. u

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or them it is easier to fight and win over personal disability than to beat red tape and bureaucratic indifference. There had been multiple roadblocks in the organization of the annual international cricket match for the Differentlyabled (handicapped) cricket teams of India and Pakistan. With neither the Indian government supporting the initiative, and the State Administration treating it like a hot potato, it was left to the grit and determination of wheelchair-bound Praveen Bahl to fight it out with the Home, Sports and External Affairs Ministries to make this T20 Match happen on World Disability Day. Gurgaon-based Bahl says that the task was difficult, but with the support of a lot of well-wishers the task was achieved, and the Match was played amidst much bonhomie – though with great competition on the field. Host India managed to win the Match, but it was the spirit of camaraderie shown by both the teams, which won the hearts of the small group of spectators that had come to witness the Match at the Tau Devi Lal Stadium. Despite being an international match, there no sponsor for the T20 Event, which put the onus on the two Boards to spend on boarding, lodging and on organizing the Cricket match. Some good-hearted individuals and NGOs did support the initiative, but there was little support from the State government and Corporates, despite repeated requests. The officials say that with no television coverage and limited spectators in the stadium, the Corporates had no interest. “We asked for a medical team, ambulance and support from the government. We invited the Sports Minister and pleaded with him, but no one was willing to come. No one even bothered to help, except the HUDA Administrator Praveen Kumar, who gave us the permission to use the Stadium,” says Bahl. The lack of support was also visible on the ground, as none of the officials from BCCI or even the local sports authority had come to support or cheer for these Differently-abled cricketers. The few local cricketers who had come for net practice watched the Match, as India defeated Pakistan by 20 runs. For Bahl, despite the odds, this Match is a stepping stone towards organizing an Asia Cup for Differently-abled cricketers, who he says are

6-12 December 2013

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Playing Different Yet Able

The Pakistan Board Chief sees a great future for handicapped players, especially in Gurgaon, because of the huge private sector in the City. Impressed by the modern buildings and large number of corporates in the Millennium City, he says that efforts should be made to involve the local companies in supporting the game and the players, as Cricket is loved by everyone here. very talented, and can match even ‘regular players’ if given a chance. A number of them have been able to secure a job, and moved on in life because of their success on the Cricket field. The PCCAI (Physically Challenged Cricket Association of India) was incorporated in June 2012, to promote Cricket for the Differentlyabled in the country. Since its inception it has organized a number of Cricket matches, both at the national and international level. With no facility for handicapped cricketers in the country, Bahl says that players have to fight personal disability and official apathy, while still trying to make it to the Cricket ground. Pointing to many players, he says that despite their handicap they are happy to represent the country and want only minimal facilities - but even these are also not forthcoming from the government. The scene on the Pakistani side is also the same, with most of the Cricket players coming from a poor background, and they therefore lack resources. Abbas Hashmi, President of Pakistan Cricket Association for Physically Handicapped, says that they are trying to organize Cricket for the Dif-

ferently- abled players in their country. “While the government has contributed a bit, the major support has come from the private sector and NGOs, who have wholeheartedly helped the Team and the Association,” says Abbas. The current tour is being supported by the German Embassy in Pakistan, and more such sponsors support the cricketers at home. “Our objective is to empower the players, help in improving their personality and give them confidence, which will help them to overcome their handicap,” says Abbas. There was a talent hunt organized in all parts of the country, and it took a long time to form a national team. The Pakistan players, in the absence of facilities, play Cricket with their regular counterparts - and this happens in India as well. Irfan Khattak, Coach of the Pakistan Team, says that there are on-going efforts to provide special facilities for these players, and even a Cricket Academy has been started by PCAPH. “We will try to help the talented cricketers with special training and physical work, so that they can compete at the highest level,” he says. When asked whether Pakistani bowlers were better, as happens in regular cricket, Khattak smiles and says that both faculties are equally strong in his Team - and in fact the batting had more depth. However, much to his surprise, the Pakistan team caved in 20 runs short of the Indian score. In fact this surprised everyone, as the Team had looked good for a win at one point of the match. After the game, most players in the Pakistan team were also happy with the love and affection showered on them by the Indian players, the Association as well as the crowd - which they say is almost the same as in Pakistan. “We have the same

culture, language and food, and the people are the same. There are some elements that want to ensure that tension remains, but such matches will spread the message of peace,” asserts Waqar Ahmed Khan, Secretary General of the Pakistan Board. He recalls his meeting with Sachin Tendulkar, when he had visited Pakistan, and says that Cricket will help in promoting peace between the countries. He also hopes that there is more support for the Boards in both countries, so that Cricket for the handicapped could find a permanent place in the sports arena. “The

prakhar PANDEY

England Cricket Board has recognized the handicapped players, and also set up facilities for them. Our regular Boards must also do this,” he says. Gurgaon based Bahl says that efforts to promote Cricket for the Differently-abled will be continued, despite official apathy, and the respective officials and cricketers will ensure that an Asia Cup does materialize. “Organizing this Match was like climbing a huge mountain, and the Asia Cup would be like climbing Everest, but we will overcome all obstacles,” says Bahl with a smile, and a steely resolve in his eyes.u

'Doh Bin' for Waste Segregation


einforcing their commitment towards promoting a healthy environment and best recycling practices, CocaCola India and Tetra Pak recently launched ‘Doh Bin’, a Project to promote source segregation of waste - in DLF Phase IV. The aim is to sensitise and involve RWAs, households, offices and schools, to segregate wet and dry waste and incorporate a better waste management system. The launch ceremony was kicked-off by a citizens’ rally and a street play by Avante Garde at Galleria. Also in attendance were Coca-Cola India and South West Asia Public Affairs and Communications Vice President Deepak Jolly and Tetra Pak South Asia Markets Managing Director Kandarp Singh. They were joined by DLF Residents’ Welfare Association (RWA) Secretary General Sudhir Kapoor and representatives from Doh Bin partner NGOs - the Indian Pollution Control Association (IPCA) and Parkash Environmental Group (PEG). Deepak Jolly said, “Waste management is a collective responsibility. It is an issue that needs to be addressed at the source, and through Doh Bin we are engaging citizens directly. With help of partners we want to make people aware of different types of waste and how simple steps of Wet and Dry segregation at source can create a world of difference!” Kandarp Singh said, “We want to sensitise people on proper waste management practices and the value that recyclables like used Tetra Pak cartons can provide to waste dealers and recyclers. Our cartons are primarily made from high value paper and are 100% recyclable. We want citizens to be aware of good waste segregation practices and to take action in their own homes.” Parkash Environmental Group (PEG) Founder OP Singh said, “Initiatives like these will help cultivate and build on the much needed behavioral change among individuals on waste reduction and recycling.” PEG will be supporting the Doh Bin initiative as the collection partner for all dry recyclables. For more information on Doh Bin, please visit u

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6-12 December 2013

A Class(ical) Apart { Anita Jaswal } Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.
 Berthold Auerbach 


n a world where rap, country, alternative and rock genres dominate the popular music charts, some may wonder if there is any room for Classical Music. Wonder not..for old is indeed gold. Even at 82, Pandit Arun Chatterjee remains an energetic and enthusiastic musician, a prominent torch-bearer of the tradition of Hindustani Classical Music and one of the senior-most representatives of the Kirana Gharana. He resides in Suncity. His initial training started under the able guidance of his mother, at the tender age of five; from her he learnt devotional Bengali songs. He had the added fortune of learning from noted maestros Pt. Bhishmadev Chatterjee, Pt Bheemsen Joshi and finally from Pt Narain Rao Joshi - the foremost disciple of Ustad Abdul Karim Khan Saheb, the forebearer of the Kirana Gharana. Pt. Arun Chatterjee’s music is noted for its high emotional content. His versatility is evident from the ease with which he renders khayals, thumris,bhajans

We've been together for such a long time now
 Birds of a feather we fly together
 Music and me
 Only know wherever I go We're as close as two friends can be
 There have been others
 But never two lovers
 Like Music and me

The Law & Beyond Article 370 { Vidya Raja }


n the first day of December 2013, B.J.P.’s Prime Ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, was addressing a rally in Jammu & Kashmir. It was here that he ‘invited’ political parties to debate the existence and need of Article 370. While this is not the first time that a political leader is bringing this up, it has caught the attention of all - given the election fever that the country is gripped by. This is a good time to get familiarised with this ‘controversial’ Constitutional provision. It was N. Gopalaswami Ayyangar, a Minister without a portfolio in the Nehru government, who moved a Bill seeking special constituent powers for Jammu & Kashmir. It was not all smooth sailing, and after heated debates in the Constituent Assembly, this Bill saw the light of day. It is said that a key architect of our Constitution, B.R. Ambedkar, was not in favour of granting special powers to the State of Jammu and Kashmir. When Sheikh Abdullah,

at the behest of Pandit Nehru, approached Ambedkar, requesting him to draft a special provision in the Constitution for Jammu & Kashmir, Ambedkar is believed to have said, “Mr. Abdullah, you want that India should defend Kashmir, India should develop Kashmir and Kashmiris should have equal rights as the citizens of India, but you don’t want India or any citizen of India to have any rights in Kashmir. I am the Law Minister of India. I cannot betray the interest of my country”. It was at Ambedkar’s refusal to draft a provision, that Pandit Nehru turned to Gopalaswami Ayyangar. Having served as the Prime Minister of Kashmir, along with Maharaja Hari Singh, Ayyangar brought to the table a wealth of knowledge about the State and its functioning. After a bitter debate and fight, Ayyangar, with the able guidance and support of Pandit Nehru, managed to have the Bill passed.

What is Article 370?

Article 370 provides the State of Jammu & Kashmir with a set of Constitutional privileges. The State has its own Constitution and a Constituent Assembly. Article 370 was included in our Constitution as a temporary measure, given the cir-

and Bangla devotional and traditional songs. Begum Akhtar, the doyen of Thumri gayaki, was one of the admirers of his music style. Panditji is an ‘A’ grade A.I.R artist. He was associated with the Ramakrishna Mission, Kolkata, as a music expert for the foreign scholars and composed a series of traditional songs for Belur Math. He has created some unique ‘bandishes’ and innovative devotional compositions based on different ragas. He is also well-versed in Kannada music. He remains a a sincere devotee of the rich and pure form of Indian Classical Music. Classic Music has been proven to be the music of intelligence. This genre, made up of songs composed hundreds of years ago, continues to serve as a historical record for the life and times of days past, a backdrop for all our favourite contemporary forms of entertainment and a trainer for our developing brains. The high riffs of the violins, the low rumble of the basses and percussion, the shout of the brass section and the call of the choir, touch and tug at the heartstrings of audiences - just as they did hundreds of years ago. Some find the beats lively while others find the

cumstances that existed in the country then. It was a time when Pakistan had attacked Jammu & Kashmir and the United Nations had voted that Pakistani forces should retract from Jammu & Kashmir completely. In this situation and in a spirit of conciliation, India did not extend its own Constitution to the State of Jammu & Kashmir, but instead enabled it to create one of its own. Article 370 specifies that the power of the (Indian) Parliament to make laws for Jammu & Kashmir shall be limited to the matters specified in the ‘Instrument of Accession’. Other than Defence, External Affairs, Communications and ancillary subjects, the Indian Parliament needs the State Government’s concurrence for applying any other laws to the state of Jammu & Kashmir. What is different about Jammu & Kashmir’s Constitution? The tenure of the State 1.  Assembly is six years, as opposed to five years specified in the Constitution of India. 2. The words ‘secularism’ and ‘socialism’ do not find a mention in the Preamble to the Constitution of Jammu & Kashmir. 3.  Important legislations like the Indian Penal Code, Domestic Violence Act and Protection of Wild


vocals absorbing. What is heartening is that there are a lot more Classical Concerts taking place nowadays and Classical Music is seeping into public consciousness as the preeminent musical expression of the country. There are still teachers and disciples all over the country who dedicate a major part of their lives to the pursuit of this Art – to the sadhana of shastriya sangeet. Panditji’s musical legacy is being carried forward by his daughter Mahua Chatterjee and his son Pt. Sarathi Chatterjee, who is an eminent Hindustani Classical Vocalist. His grandson is already following their footsteps and giving stage performances at an early age. Apart from being a great musician, Pt Arun Chatterjee is an excellent teacher, who believes in giving his best to his students unconditionally. Along with his musician wife, Smt. Shefali Chatterjee, he started ‘Sangeetam’ in 1972, to identify, and provide a platform to, newer artists. Even many senior artists and music enthusiasts come from far and near to take his guidance and attend his classes. Panditji is as vibrant at sweet 82 as he was at 16! “Music is my life. I was born with music inside me. It is a necessity for me. I just love to perform nonstop all day”, says Panditji. u

Animals Act - to name a few - do not apply to the State of Jammu & Kashmir. 4.  The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) cannot act independently on an FIR lodged in Jammu & Kashmir. The sanction of either the State government or the High Court is necessary. 5. The Supreme Court (of India) only acts as an appellate court, meaning that only cases of appeals can be heard. 6. The official language of the state is Urdu. A senior analyst from a think tank opines, “What was done years ago, to ensure political stability, has instead resulted in the alienation of Jammu & Kashmir (and its people) from the rest of the country. It is important to understand that Jammu & Kashmir is a part of India by an act of accession, and not because of the insertion of Article 370. For India’s unity, and indeed security too, it may be prudent now to have a relook at – even abroagate - Article 370. However, the political will to act on this issue is lacking.” u The writer is a qualified legal professional who has practiced before the Madras and Karnataka High Courts


6-12 December 2013

Ghar ka Mundu... { Krishan Kalra }


ver since our cook, our ’mundu’, went home for his ‘gauna’ (consummation of the marriage performed when he was all of ten years old), we have been on the lookout for a replacement. He had asked for three weeks leave but, even after six months, we still cherish the hope that his sacred duty is over and he will return. Meantime, the ‘general servant’ is holding the fort and are we grateful for small mercies. Despite the three pay increases and daily ‘nakhras’ he is the only saviour of our peace and harmony – even with just a serving of dal and rice. Some of the candidates sent for the job by friends and neighbourhood servants were good − provided we could accept the minor requirements like a king’s ransom for a salary, mandatory leave, daily siesta, two-in-one in the kitchen, TV (black and white would do) and desert cooler in the quarter, money for hair cut, soap and cigarettes, couple of helpers for serving food, no washing of utensils or sweeping, etc. This one guy came with several high profile references and an equally impressive handlebar moustache. He claimed to have worked with many generals and could prepare ‘bara khana’ for a hundred people. He seemed too ‘up-market’ for us; nevertheless we decided to try him out for a couple of meals. Promptly the guy fixed a day − one week later − and enquired about the menu and number of persons. He then proceeded to give us a list of ingredients and the tools of his trade. Before leaving he also told us about the salary he would accept – ‘military men don’t bargain – plus of course uniforms and washing allowance. We spent a small fortune buying and borrowing, only to be informed on phone − by a third person − that our good man had found a job elsewhere and wouldn’t come for the test. The next one got dropped in a ‘CD number plate’ car. His credentials were

even more impeccable − he had worked only at embassies, we were enlightened. “And I am a Chef, not a bawarchi,” was his opening line. He expected a ‘masalchi’ to assist him in the kitchen and of course a ‘butler’ to lay the table and serve. His pay would be Rs.2,500 (that ‘s not even a hundred dollars, he said!). He added for good measure that our kitchen needed a coat of paint and it would be useful to add a deep freezer and microwave; minor things like casseroles and pans should naturally be changed. Dumbstruck though we were, somehow I picked up the courage and suggested that he prepare a couple of meals on a trial basis. The ingredients, this time for a French meal for two, made a big dent in my bank balance; and the bad taste in the mouth was only matched by his foul mood when we couldn’t appreciate his gourmet dinner. Profuse apologies, taxi fare and a generous tip somehow saved the situation and the Chef departed without making it a diplomatic incident. Then there were others. A six feet plus Pathaan, straight out of a dhaba from Kabul, who could single-handed make naans and tandoori chicken for a baraat, but of course didn’t know the difference between bhindi and lauki; a fourth generation Maharaj from Varanasi who would only work if no one entered the kitchen with shoes and even the neighhours didn’t eat meat or egg; a Tibetan impostor from Mcleodganj who thought the best way to bring water was - five glasses in each hand, one finger firmly ensconced in each; and some more embassy and 5-star types. We now only want to look at ordinary mortals − our first preference being an all-purpose ‘chhokra’. We agree we haven’t yet arrived; we are not ready for a Chef - not even a cook. If we ever buy a second TV it will be for our son’s room and the cooler is sorely needed, but for our lobby. We do not believe in frozen foods and microwaves; pots and pans are perfectly okay. All we need is our good old mundu to come back from his village. u

Naya Gaon Yeh shehron ka sheher hai par kehne ko ‘gaon’ hai Yeh ‘gur’ jaise meethe logon ka ghar “Gurgaon” hai Yahaan kothiyaan hain badi badi jinmein Ooper chauri chhat aur neeche basement hai Aasmaan se chhoote hue penthouse Aur luxury apartment hain Phir bhi yeh kehne ko gaon hai Yahaan ghar nahin koi Jiske baahar ya neeche na hon do-do car Yahaan shaam nahin koi jab Saath baith kar jaam na le rahe hon yaar Phir bhi yeh kehne ko gaon hai Oonchi oonchi imaaraton ke beech Jo khaali si jagah hai, woh sadak jaisi lagti hai Agar gaddhon aur keechad par dhyaan na dein To jhalak Singapore ki si lagti hai Phir bhi yeh kehne ko gaon hai Swimming pool aur clubs Yahaan har modh pe mil jaaenge Dance aaye ya na aaye Log disco zaroor jaenge Phir bhi yeh kehne ko gaon hai Food Courts mein yahaan sab kuchh hai Pizza, Burger, Mughlai, Chinese ,Thai aur Japanese Yahaan tak ke apni kadhi – chaawal bhi Malls ban gayen hain shaan is Gurgaon ke Zaroorat hai to bas jeb mein maave ki Phir bhi yeh kehne ko gaon hai Yahaan ke har ghar se koi America koi Dubai Ya to gaya hai ya jaane waala hai Har parivaar mein koi CA hai ya MBA Saare sheher mein IT aur computers ka bol-baala hai Phir bhi yeh kehne ko sirf ek gaon hai. Guzaarish hai ‘Lal’ ke sabhi meherbaanon se Jo aan kar bas gaye hain Yahaan bade bade sheheron se Bhaichaare, dosti aur safaai ka sabak bhi Tarakki ke saath saath phailaa dein Gurgaon mein Kyonki yeh kahin abhi bhi ek gaon hai. Ashok Lal

City Bus Service

Loving the Millennium City changed a lot in me….


riving alone, listening to music, in my old but very obedient Red Maruti Zen LXI is one of my favourite stress busters. I recently crossed the Aravallis and the Villages Ghata, Baliyawas and Gual Pahari before hitting the long swanky Gurgaon-Faridabad Expressway. Once a desolate and potholed stretch of road connecting these two major towns of Haryana, the Expressway offers great connectivity and one of the best stretches of road for a long drive. It also is the symbol of how fast and rapidly this small town has grown into a corporate hotspot. Gurgaon, with its barren roads (actually no roads at many places), ‘Gujjar’ villages, swanky SUVs and sky-rising corporate houses is a perfect example of how rustic India is so seamlessly co-existing besides the high-flying, globetrotting corporate honchos. Driving through this barren land while it was getting dark and cold outside, I enjoyed my view of these divergent worlds on either side of me. Gurgaon was a small town not so long ago. Small towns are places where traffic is always less, reaching from point A to B is never a hassle, neighbours care for each other and kids go to humble govt schools. Today’s Gurgaon boasts of some of the best international schools, where the yearly fees are more than what I have spent on my entire schooling! I wonder how these rapid changes must have affected the lives of locals here. Sure they have made a lot of money with the real estate boom, but I see a lot of other changes too. Many of the youngsters are changing. I met a pretty and young girl from Village Jharsa once. She told me that she has lived all her life in the Village, but she aspires to become an airhostess. She told me she is completing her college and gathering courage to tell her family about her aspirations. I must say I found her very smart and strong- willed. In a recent debate of Delhi/NCR vs Mumbai with a friend, I noticed myself defending Gurgaon. This means I have accepted this place, with all its good and bad, and believe it has made a huge difference in my outlook towards a lot of things. For the initial 3 years here I was dying to shift back to Mumbai and I remember I was very restless at that stage of my life. However, once I decided to enjoy this place with all its flaws (and really Gurgaon has many…and yes, so does Mumbai), I stopped getting hassled about the safety issues, roads, rash driving or other issues of this place. Rather, I started looking for reasons why I should enjoy the present…and believe me, slowly things started falling in place. I think I applied the same funda for other things too around that time…and a lot has changed. I now have completed 6 years here. This City has taught me to love, to let go, to laugh and to live life king-sized, amidst all the troubles; most of all it taught me to mature, while yet retaining my youthful exuberance. I love you, Gurgaon, for all that you have taught me. You are not as bad as you are often made out to be. Lipi Patel

C ivic/S ocial

In response to FG ‘Topic of the Week” hanks to the Administration that, after a public and media struggle for decades, the City Bus Service has been started with full bloom and enthusiasm. Several routes have been opened by the State Transport, proving useful to the general public. In fact it is givng a stiff competition to the Autos with regards to fare and frequency. In the beginning the Autos tried to create hurdles in this service, when the passengers chose the buses over the autos. The demand of the City Bus service has been there since 1990. Several times it was initiated but then withdrawn, mainly because of expected lower revenue to the State Transport. I had been a regular passenger for more than two decades on Haryana Roadways buses - commuting between Gurgaon and Delhi. Since then I have been a propagator for the City Bus Service. With the coming up of DLF Phases and other builder areas in ‘new’ Gurgaon, this requirement became a burning issue. People of new Gurgaon took this matter up with the Administration as well as with the media. Every time the assurance came, but with little outcome. With the start of the ‘Metro’, this became the need of the hour These days the buses are running full in many areas and proving a boon to the people. However certain shortcomings are still there to be rectified. There are no ‘Stop’ signages, where passengers can await a bus. They stand wherever they like, which is a hindrance to other modes of traffic. Again, in congested areas, low-floor buses would be more adaptable. Further, the behaviour of the Bus staff continues to be curt. Sometimes the buses are loaded very badly and thus the passengers find it difficult to board or alight. There should be a limit to the number of passengers allowed to stand in these vehicles. In conclusion, the introduction of the City Bus service is laudable and deserves appreciation. u R.S Jain


6-12 December 2013

S pecial F eature


Raah... Raah... Raahgiri { Shilpy Arora / FG }

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fter pedalling for over an hour on a 3km long stretch, Sushant Agarwal, 81, gives his bicycle to his grandson, Aditya and heads for a Yoga workshop. While Agarwal’s son is busy watching the Dog Show, his wife is participating in an open-air Gym. Residing in DLF Phase IV, the Agarwal family loves Raahgiri Day, as it has something on offer for everyone. At this time of the year, when automobile companies roll out new models in the market to woo car buyers, it is refreshing to see Gurgaonites participate in an Event that primarily promotes cycling and running (even walking). The huge response received on both Raahgiri Days shows that the City does not only want expressways for their high -end cars, but are as passionate of the need for footpaths and cycling tracks. The Event has provided an excellent platform for the City’s Administration, Police and the Corporate sector to come together to popularize the concept and benefit of motor-free roads. “Raahgiri Day is undoubtedly a great way to promote non-motorized and eco-friendly modes of transport. Besides footpaths and cycling tracks, there is also a need to construct enough underpasses and over-bridges,” says Vasundhara Parisk, a resident of DLF Phase V.  Although Raahgiri started with an intention to promote non-motorized transport, it soon turned into a fun event. Many activities and shows are now organized, to spread awareness about various social causes as well as to entertain people - ranging from Citizen Cafes, Dog Shows and Yoga, to dance and music. Recounting her experience, 16-year-old Natasha says, “When my dad told me about Raahgiri Day, it didn’t excite me at all, as I don’t like to pedal. But a Rock performance by my friends brought me here. It was good to see very young children riding and enjoying their cycles. The enthusiasm shown by the people here is amazing. I will surely ride a bicycle next Sunday.” Her friend Gauri appreciates the Citizen Cafe, organized by an NGO, ‘We, the People’. “The concept of Citizen Cafe goes well with Raahgiri Day, as it also encourages people to know about their rights. The aim is to enable a dialogue among the citizens, and inspire people to act on the issues immediately,” says Vinita Singh, Founder, ‘We, the People’. A Spanish participant comments simply, “It’s all about having a beautiful experience with family and friends on a pleasant Sunday morning. It reminds me of cultural activities back home.” The Event also provides a good way to demonstrate what the people expect from the authorities. It is a kind of positive protest. The authorities had drawn up an Integrated Mobility Plan in 2010, marking dedicated cycling lanes, but it has remained on paper. “Organizing events like Raahgiri is the easiest way to sensitize people and put pressure on the authorities. We have tried to show the way, by earmarking certain roads and making dedicated cycling strips on each side. This action should now be taken up by HUDA for its inner sector roads, so that people can switch to eco-friendly means of transport - which is good for them as well as for the environment of the City,” says Prabhat Agarwal, one of the organizers of the Event. The Mission is undoubtedly to reclaim the roads. But the Event has also been criticized by some people. It took Rita (name changed) two hours to find an alternative route to Fortis Hospital on Sunday, when her mother had severe pain in the chest. “Please stop blocking roads. Think about the inconvenience caused to other people. We can’t have such festivals on the roads. Roads are meant for travelling, and not to dance and play around,” says Rita. Some people also criticize the participating cyclists, of ignoring basic safety rules, as some of them don’t wear helmets. Raahgiri is a bold attempt to reclaim the roads for the cyclists and pedestrians. It also provides a great opportunity for people to mix with citizens, and promotes a healthy lifestyle. Keeping with the theme, maybe there is a need to have some professional instructors who can educate the participants on basic road safety rules. For those who are not participating, or passing by in cars, there is a need to install proper signboards showing the alternative routes that can be taken – apart from ensuring that all residents are made aware of Raahgiri Day and timings, since this has been planned till March 2014.u

{ Abhishek Behl / FG }

( See Photo Feature on Pages 12 & 13 )

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part from reclaiming the roads for people in Gurgaon, the Raahgiri Day is proving to be a great equalizer in a City where the income and status disparities are steep and people prefer to stay put in their gated communities – as also their urbanized villages. The lack of social space, where the ‘high and mighty’ can mingle with the commoner, has been conspicuously absent in this City, which has anyway been divided by the Highway. Raahgiri, which has helped convert a multiple roads’ loop around the Galleria Market into a free space every Sunday morning, is helping Gurgaon shed this insularity. Residents from across the City - including children from villages, the underprivileged and locals – have been especially invited to participate in this Event, which celebrates the freedom of space for the citizens, and is pushing for the creation of cycling tracks and for usage of eco-friendly modes of transport. Even foreigners seem impressed by the enthusiasm of the participants and the zeal of the City Administration, although a few angry voices also question this blocking of roads every Sunday. Latika Thukral, who is associated with the Event, says, “We want every section of society to participate in the Event and reclaim the roads as their own. The main objective is to democratize the use of roads and give more space to cyclists and walkers, and make it safer for the common man”, says Thukral. Sarika Bhatt, who is co-ordinating the Raahgiri Day, says that there is increasing participation of people from across the spectrum, in different activities. People are enjoying the riot of colour, drama and energy every Sunday morning on these Gurgaon streets. Rekha, a resident of nearby Chakarpur Village, who has never seen a Zumba Dance, which is the latest fitness fad across the world, sways to the wild tunes along with smartly-clad ladies dressed in Nike tracksuits and Reebok shoes - and matches them step for step. Her fitness mantra is, ‘working 10 hours every day as a domestic help and eating less fat’. “I would love to own a sports dress, but it is expensive. I was given sports shoes by my employers, but I forgot to wear them”, she says, while trying to keep pace with the music. A number of children from her Village, who hail from UP and Bihar, watch from the sidelines - too shy to join but enjoying the colourful spectacle. A little ahead on the road, traditional Yoga is being practiced - with people performing Shavasana on colourful mats. Here the corporate crowd forms the major group of participants, perhaps trying to breathe away the stress caused by the economic slowdown and work pressure. Vinay Sharma, a participant who has just performed a couple of asanas, says that he always wanted to practise Yoga but never found a teacher – or the time for it. A number of events are also organized on the sidelines - such as the Citizen Cafe, a Dog Show by a squad of the Crime Branch of Haryana Police based in Madhuban, a Race for young kids, and a Painting competition as well. Oliver, a German national who comes regularly to Gurgaon, is surprised to know that this is a regular event. “We have such an event in Frankfurt, but it is once in an year. This is a good way to promote ecofriendly modes of transport and also cut down on pollution”, says Oliver. Florence, from Kenya, who has been in Gurgaon for a pretty long time, also loves this time on Sundays, when she can roam on the roads without any fear of the traffic – or even boors. “This is a nice City, but too much traffic makes life difficult. The local government has done a very good job in ensuring there is discipline and these roads are free of cars”, she adds. The Dog Show by the Haryana Police attracts a large number of kids, who enjoy the different acts being performed by sniffer dogs under the watchful eyes of their trainers. Sub-Inspector Om Prakash, Incharge of the Dog Squad, says that the presence of a crowd disturbs the dogs but it is their rigorous training that ensures that they do not panic. These dogs are trained to look for contraband and explosives, and to track criminals, he adds. Bhawani Shankar Tripathy, an activist and a senior member of Mission Gurgaon Development, opines, “We must create a City that has a focus on pedestrians, improves walkability and cycling, and involves the citizens in creating a space that is equalizing”, says Tripathy. He also appreciates the Administration for supporting the concept of Raahgiri Day, and hopes that this Event is made a permanent schedule on the City’s weekly calendar. While the people are happy with the concept, they also want that the venue should be changed every month, and that this novelty be especially introduced in ‘old’ Gurgaon (across the Highway) - particularly in a colony like Palam Vihar. Madhu Gera, a senior citizen from Palam Vihar, says, “It is nice to walk on open roads, watch the kids playing and cycling, and interact with citizens - with no fear of being mowed down by a fast moving car”. Lavanya, who lives in a nearby condominium, says that it has been a liberating experience for her young daughter, as she has never seen so much freedom on the roads. “We have so much traffic in this part of the City, that it becomes difficult to cross the roads. Every Sunday now we come and walk, watch kids play and have fun”, she says. A number of participants can be seen riding fancy cycles, wearing interesting gear and challenging each other’s fitness. Bharti Arora, Joint Commissioner of Police, says, “People are participating enthusiastically; we are also happy to work in close coordination with the civil society”. Commissioner of Police Alok Mittal also interacts with people, after giving prizes to students who have won the race organized by Bhagta Bharat, an NGO. Not surprisingly, underprivileged students from Happy School come out tops in the race, as they steal the show with their sterling performances. A teacher from Happy School says that the children are overjoyed to participate in such an Event, as it is rare that all of civil society in the City comes together. Manas Fuloria, Director at IT major Nagarro, says, “Initially the Event was more about ‘show’ and ‘fun’, but now it seems to have matured from a novelty to something that is serious - and sends out a message to the community at large. This also shows that ‘together we can make difficult things happen”. Vidya, who has come as part of an NGO team, says, “I never imagined I would see the Police Commissioner one day, as I live in a village and it is difficult to find time out of work”. The Raahgiri Day has been an eye opener for many like her, as it is helping bring Gurgaon residents out of their villages as well as closeted communities, and giving them space where they can understand each other better - to find ways to co-exist in a City that is still trying to forge an identity for itself. u While the Event has been successful, organizers also admit that the lack of volunteers makes it difficult to conduct such events regularly. “Most of the people here have come to enjoy, pass time and have fun. There is also a need to imbibe the message of driving safe, helping cyclists and walkers and giving space to fellow citizens”, says an organizer.


6-12 December 2013

S pecial F eature prakhar PANDEY



K id C orner

6-12 December 2013

Artistic Strokes

Kids Brainticklers

Vikas Yadav, Class VIII, Radiant Kids School

Darshan Kumar Meghwal, Lion Public School

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

Paintings stories poems

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

Urvi Gahalot, American Public School

Ishita Karwal, Amity International School, Sec. 46

K id C orner

6-12 December 2013

Laying the Foundation



Dance Li’l Kiddies Dance


he Montessori children of the School geared up for a Solo Dance Competition. It was a fun-filled day as each child got an opportunity to perform on stage. The kids had a blast dancing to different beats.

Stars Bright


hristmas season celebrations began with the Montessori kids participating in a Star-Making activity. They made beautiful shining stars and decorated them with glitters. They also learnt the concept of shapes though this exercise. The day concluded with children rejoicing and singing, “Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star”.

Banyan in Space


ver 230 underprivileged meritorious scholars were awarded scholarships by DLF Foundation at a 2-day Winter Workshop, held at Ridge Valley School. The Workshop, which emphasised the need to adopt an interactive and conceptbased approach to learning, as opposed to rote learning, witnessed participation by 150 Scholars from Classes I to XII. The Workshop was inaugurated by the Chief Guest, Meenakshi Datta Ghosh (IAS), former Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Panchayati Raj and Special Secretary, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare. Activities on goal setting, appreciative enquiry for personal growth, self-image, peer pressure study strategies and adolescent health were held for the Senior Secondary students. Creative writing, personal grooming, self-esteem, road safety and adolescent health were conducted for the Middle School students. Language building, life skills, artistic self, value education, story craft, multiple intelligences and debating skills were held for the Junior Classes. The Workshop also covered sessions for over 170 parents of the Scholars; the Sessions included lessons on raising respectful and responsible children, behavioral management, conscious parenting, citizenship and a Sujok healing camp.


tudents of Banyan Tree got an opportunity to visit the Nehru Planetarium. The kids were excited to see the different models displayed and some kids even took down notes. It was a fascinating trip for the students and a great opportunity to discover all about space.

Swiss Archers


n Open Archery Competition was held in the City, wherein 10 teams, comprising of 4 students each from Swiss Cottage School, participated. The participants did the School proud by bagging 16 silver medals and 4 bronze medals, along with 3 trophies. School Principal Col. C.R. Jakhar congratulated the medal winners and the Team incharge, Ms. Archana.

Responsible Chiranjivis


wo Competitions - Kabaad Se Jugaad and Poster -making on Waste Management were organised by the Science Department of Chiranjiv Bharti School, Palam Vihar, under Project SEARCH. The students prepared beautiful models and posters from waste materials like used tetrapaks, waste paper and e-waste. The aim of the Competitions was to spread awareness among students on Waste Management. School Principal Sangeeta Saxena said, “Our Waste is our responsibility and we have to reduce, reuse and recycle it for sustainable development.”


6-12 December 2013

K id C orner


Ride Safe


tudents of the School participated in a Road Safety Competition conducted by Gurgaon Traffic Police (GTP). The Competition is part of the Road Safety Drive by GTP, in which children from 600 schools across Gurgaon District participated.

Don’t Mess with Them!


elect Martial Artists from the School participated in the Inter-State Taekwondo Championship. All the participants received a Certificate and the excited winners received Medals.

Ryan Minithon


Pallavanjali Picnic


tudents of Pallavanjali geared up for a day of fun in the sun. The Picnic was organised by the School and the kids had a gala time playing games, sharing their food and participating in several activities.

Inspired Gems Green Ryan


lass XI-XII students of Ryan International School, Sohna Road, participated in a Project-making Competition―organised by NIIT University―related to Bio-technology, Computer Science and Robotics in Environmental Science. The students created beautiful working models of Environmental Science. There were attractive banners, posters and charts on display. The working model of a Green City grabbed everyone's attention. The judges from NIIT University congratulated the School for its active participation in such events.


ore than 9,000 enthusiastic students from 38 different schools across Gurgaon/NCR participated in the Ryan Minithon, “Lets Run: For Kids and Planet”, at Tau Devi Lal Stadium. The competition groups were: Under 12, 14 and 16, for both boys and girls. This was the 16th edition of Road Races, after the establishment of the Club in 1998. The Minithon began at Behrampur, Sector 67. The Chief Guest, Praveen Kumar, HUDA Administrator, graced the Event and flagged off the Minithon, alongwith Vinod Sharma, MLA, Ambala City. Also present at the occasion were Chief Guests Alok Mittal, Commissioner of Police and Mamta Kharab, Assistant Commissioner of Police. Anuradha Sharma, Principal, Ryan International School, NOIDA, addressed the gathering and along with the Cheif Guest, declared the Meet open. The principal of Ryan, Sohna Road, Dr. Mouna Gupta and Principal of Sector 40, Peeya Sharma were also present. The Second Session was an entertaining programme organised by the participating schools for the invited dignitaries and sports personalities from different fields of sport. The Chief Guest here was Sukhbir Kataria, Sports Minister, Haryana.The Guest of Honour was Dr. Naresh Sharma, Director, S.D Memorial Hospital. The Programme included a Dumb-bells Drill, and a Dance performance by 180 Ryanites, on the song 'Chak de'. The Champions Trophy was won by Vivek Bharati from Ghamroj, while the First RunnersUp Trophy was bagged by Ryan International School, Greater NOIDA, and the Second RunnersUp Trophy was bagged by Colonel Public School, Gurgaon. A shining Ryanite of Sector-40, Harsheeta Shokeen, bagged the fourth position in the Girls Category for Under -12.

ems International School held an event, ‘Inspire Art & Fun With Science’. Several models created by the kids were displayed and parents and teachers had a good look at each one of them. The students explained earnestly what their model was about, to the curious visitors. Some students even conducted live experiments to explain their Science projects.

{ Meenu Thakur Sankalp }


ndia is a land of rich culture, heritage, religion, tradition…and Classical Dance. Shiva, one of the Gods of the Hindu Trinity, is an icon of Classical Dance. Great artists and gurus have preserved its tradition and then passed in on to their shishyas, who have enhanced its form and even innovated. Kathakali, Bharatanatyam, Odissi, Manipuri, Kathak, Mohiniattam and Kuchipudi have survived tumultuous upheavals and stood the test of time; they are, even to this day, the flag-bearers of the purest Classical Dance forms in the world. Kuchipudi is one of the oldest Classical Dance forms in India. It is originally a form of Dance Drama (Bhagavatam) from Andhra Pradesh. Its rich aura, alongwith mercurial and scintillating movements - aptly placed in context by the sweet Telugu language – portrays an exuberant dramatic quality. The origins of Kuchipudi can be traced to a village called Kuchelapuram in the Krishna District of Andhra Pradesh. Kuchipudi Dance is strictly based on the principles envisaged in the Natyashastra, a treatise of Indian Dance compiled by Bharat Muni. The dance form was originally performed by male Brahmins (who essayed female roles when required in the ‘Bhagavatam’). While the Shivite rulers patronized this dance form, the Vaishnavite rulers added themes based

6-12 December 2013

B on V ivant

Kuchipudi - A Classical Expression

on Lord Vishnu. Later, many changes were essayed by Hari Madhvayya (who wrote the Bhagavatula Ramayana) and Vedantam Lakshmi Narayana Sastry (who was undoubtedly the doyen of Kuchipudi Dance). Narayana Sastry convinced women from ‘respectable’ homes to perform Kuchipudi, and thus opened this gender-segregative dance of olden times to a wider participative public. The pure nature of Kuchipudi Dance - its range, depth and complexity of abhinaya (expression) - captivated both learners and the wider audience. Kuchipudi, to many, is a sublime form of dramatics. Kuchipudi dancers are known to be graceful and sprightly. A number of elements of Kuchipudi are similar to Bharatanatyam, a Classical Dance form of Tamil

Nadu. The uniqueness of Kuchipudi lies in its portrayal of the ‘Nrityam’, signifying the union of the devotee with God. The most popular Kuchipudi dance dramas are the ‘Prahlada Charitam’, ‘Rukmani Kalyanam’ and ‘Bhamakalapam’, composed by Siddhendra Yogi, an ascetic. Basically a poetry woven with music, ‘Bhamakalapam’ is a popular rendition of Kuchipudi. Kuchipudi Dance is often an expression of Lord Natraja and the dance drama of ‘Nritya’ and ‘Natya’ - the sub-tenets being the ‘Jatis’ (rhythms composed to a tune) and ‘Sabdams’ (lyrical items). The most popular of the ‘Sabdams’ that were added to the Kuchipudi are ‘Manduka Sabdam’, ‘Krishna Sabdam’ and ‘Prahlada Sabdam’. Solo artists enthrall the audience with

technical portrayals like the ‘Jatiswaram’ and ‘Tillana’ (pure dance numbers). The most sought-after Kuchipudi item is the ‘Tarangam’ (based on the principle of musical waves). The artist stands on the edges of a brass plate and moves the hands, depicting the traditional ‘Mudras’ (hand gestures). ‘Pada Bhedas’ (feet movements), ‘Aduvu’ (tapping the feet to music), ‘Jatis’ (movements based on rhythm), ‘Bhava’ (deriving the meaning of a lyric through facial expressions and gestures), ‘Rasa’ (exhibiting feelings of enjoyment) and ‘Hasta Mudras’ (hand gestures) are a few interesting aspects of Kuchipudi Dance. Kuchipudi is performed to Classical Carnatic Music, with accompaniments like the ‘Mridangam’ (a horizontal two sided cylindrical drum),

Saras Mela - Sec. 29 grounds


‘Tanpura’ and ‘Veena’ (stringed instruments), Violin, ‘Ghatam’ (inverted earthern pot), Flute and the ‘Nattuvangam’ (a cymbal of brass). The costumes and jewellery are typical in flavour and unique in conception. Kuchipudi has today more or less become a female soloperforming dance form. Every Kuchipudi dancer is expected to sing or render dialogues while in the process of performing a piece. As Kuchipudi evolves to meet the challenges of ‘modernity’, while still trying to retain its culture, new movements have been incorporated; further, the elements of fusion with other Classical Dances have also been accepted and have widened the horizon of the performance. Lately, various innovations have been attempted, to make Kuchipudi appealing to youngsters and new learners. This has led to experimentation and the ‘duodancing’ concept is gaining ground very quickly - to show the equality and unison of the existence of man and woman. Kuchipudi Dance is now a discipline for higher studies. In order to continue its evolution and development as an independent dance form, much work has to be done – through workshops, lecturedemonstrations, platforms showcasing emerging talent and institutionalized classes - to keep alive this great Classical Dance form, an indelible mark of India’s cultural heritage. u The author is a renowned Kuchipudi Danseuse and Choreographer.

prakhar PANDEY


6-12 December 2013

Consciously Alive { Dr. Rajesh Bhola }


onsciousness probably evolved in order to enable living beings to avoid risk or harm. Consciousness consists of the impulses that arise in circumstances of uncertainty. Anything that we are aware of at a given moment forms part of our Consciousness, making conscious experience at once the most familiar and most mysterious aspect of our lives. Consciousness is a fascinating but elusive phenomenon: it is difficult to specify what it is, what it does or why it has evolved. I remember a young teenager who had survived a car crash and was admitted in the trauma centre of a reputed hospital of the town. Even after three months, since parts of his brain had been crushed, he could only open his eyes and did not respond to sights, sounds or jabs. In the parlance of neurology, he was judged to be in a persistent vegetative state. However, there was astonishment when trauma doctors and neurologists scanned his brain using a kind of MRI that detects blood flow to the active parts of the brain. When they recited sentences to the boy, his brain parts involved in language ‘lit up’; when they asked him to imagine visiting the surroundings of his house, the brain parts involved in navigating space and recognizing places ramped up; and when they asked him to imagine playing soccer, the regions that trigger motion joined in. Indeed, his scans were barely different from those of a healthy person. The teenager, it appears, had glimmerings of Consciousness. It is difficult to comprehend what it is like to be that teenager. Did he drift in a haze, springing to life with a concrete thought when a voice prodded him, only to slip back into blankness? If we could experience this existence, would we prefer it to death? And if these questions have answers, would they change our policies toward unresponsive patients? In medicine, Consciousness is assessed by observing a patient’s arousal and responsiveness, and can be seen as a continuum of states - ranging from full alertness and comprehension, through disorientation, delirium, loss of meaningful communication and finally loss of movement in response to painful stimuli. Issues of practical concern include how the presence of Consciousness can be assessed in severely ill, comatose or anesthetized people, and how to treat conditions

in which Consciousness is impaired or disrupted. The report of this unusual case was just the latest shock from a bracing new field - the science of Consciousness. Questions once confined to theological speculation are now at the forefront of Cognitive Neuroscience. With some of the problems, a modicum of consensus has taken shape; with others, the puzzlement is so deep that they may never be resolved. Some of our deepest convictions about what it means to be human have been shaken. It should not be surprising that research on Consciousness is alternately exhilarating and disturbing. For each of us, Consciousness is life itself. The major religions locate Consciousness in a soul that survives the body’s death - to receive its’ just desserts or to meld into a Global Consciousness. The conviction that other people can suffer and flourish, as each of us does, is the essence of empathy and the foundation of morality. To make scientific headway in a topic as tangled as Consciousness, it would help to first clear some red herrings. Consciousness surely does not depend on language. Babies, many animals and patients robbed of speech by brain damage are not insensate robots; they have reactions like ours, which indicate that someone’s home. Nor can Consciousness be equated with selfawareness. To most philosophers, the word Consciousness connotes the relationship between the mind and the world. To writers on spiritual or religious topics, it frequently connotes the relationship between the mind and God, or the relationship between the mind and deeper truths that are thought to be more fundamental than the physical world. Krishna Consciousness, for example, is a term used to mean an intimate linkage between the mind of a worshipper and the god Krishna. Human Consciousness flows like a stream of thought, governed by some features. Every thought tends to be part of a Personal Consciousness, and is always changing in a sensibly continuous manner. A similar concept appears in Buddhist philosophy, which is usually translated as ‘mind stream’ or ‘mental continuum’. The mind stream is viewed

primarily as a source of noise, which distracts attention from a changeless underlying reality. Human Consciousness is just about the last surviving mystery. A mystery is a phenomenon that people do not know how to think about. Consciousness stands alone today as a topic often leaves even the most sophisticated thinkers tongue-tied and confused. And, as with all of the earlier mysteries, there are many who insist and hope that there will never be a demystification of Consciousness. The mind is at every stage a theatre of simultaneous possibilities; Consciousness consists of the comparison of these with each other, the selection of some and the suppression of others, by the reinforcing and inhibiting agency of attention. No philosopher ever has managed to explain what this weird stuff, Human Consciousness, is really made of. Consciousness is our inner spark, the golden link within us that connects our most and least illumined parts. Sigmund Freud made famous the difference between Conscious and Unconscious thoughts. You can ponder and discuss Conscious thoughts, and let them guide your behaviour. The control of your heart rate, the rules that order the words as you speak and the sequence of muscle contractions that allow you to hold a pencil, are the Unconscious. They must be in the brain somewhere - because you could not walk and talk and see without them - but they are sealed off from your planning and reasoning circuits. The challenge is to distinguish Conscious from Unconscious mental computation, identify its correlates in the brain and explain why it evolved. How do we explain how subjective experience arises from neural computation? The astonishing hypothesis that finds favour is the idea that our thoughts, sensations, joys and aches consist entirely of physiological activity in the tissues of the brain. Consciousness does not reside in an ethereal soul; Consciousness is the activity of the brain. And Consciousness can be pushed around by physical manipulations. Electrical stimulation of the brain during surgery can cause a person to have hallucinations that are indistinguishable from reality - such as a song playing in the room or a childhood birthday party. Chemicals that affect the brain - from caffeine and alcohol to Ecstasy and LSD - can profoundly alter how people think, feel and see. Surgery that severs the brain and separates

the two hemispheres - a treatment for epilepsy and cerebral palsy - spawns two Consciousnesses within the same skull, as if the soul could be cleaved in two with a knife! Attempts to contact the souls of the dead, a pursuit of serious scientists a century ago, turned up only cheap magic tricks; and near-death experiences are not the ‘eyewitness’ reports of a soul parting company from the body, but symptoms of oxygen starvation in the eyes and brain. The brain is a product of evolution, and just as animal brains have their limitations, we have ours. Our brains cannot hold a hundred numbers in memory, cannot visualize seven-dimensional space and perhaps cannot intuitively grasp why neural information processing observed from the outside should give rise to subjective experience on the inside. This theory could be demolished when a genius - a Darwin or Einstein of Consciousness - comes up with a flabbergasting new idea that suddenly makes everything about Consciousness clear to us. However,

S piritual maybe the biology of Consciousness offers a sounder basis for morality than the improvable dogma of an immortal soul. It is not just that an understanding of the physiology of Consciousness will reduce human suffering through new treatments for pain and depression; that understanding can also force us to recognize the interests of other beings, which is a feeling at the core of morality. Let us think about why we sometimes remind ourselves that life is short; it is an impetus to extend a gesture of affection to a loved one, to bury the hatchet in a pointless dispute, to use time productively rather than squander it. Nothing gives life more purpose than the realization that every moment of Consciousness is a precious and fragile gift. u Dr. Rajesh Bhola is President of Spastic Society of Gurgaon and is working for the cause of children with autism, cerebral palsy, mental retardation and multiple disabilities for more than 25 years. He can be contacted at

Just for Today Just for today don’t criticize, don’t argue Don’t battle with the hate people mete out to you Don’t anger, breathe deep, don’t revenge or avenge Don’t hold on to resentment or retribution Listen to your higher intuition, do an invocation For your inner purification & salvation From toxic thoughts & emotions Those evil demonic mind games Don’t open time and again the Pandora’s Box of Hate, anger, envy, greed, lust; lock them, let them rust With disuse…else they manifest as physical pain Restlessness & anxiety Instead, just for today take a break Sit still till you feel tranquil Just for a moment instruct your mind to rest a while Smile…heal yourself for a while Choose not to play the victim, be your own boss And good health will be yours Just for today have good feelings for someone or something Feel good about nothing at all Speak gentle and soft, be kind, you will find That good luck & good fortune will be attracted to you It is true all love the loveable Use more of your love & generosity And they will multiply, magnify Be not the victim of your emotions, be the master And your soul will glow & grow faster And you will command all that you are after Ask for Divine patronage, colour your life at any age With joy & peace, wealth & health Abundance, so much to give so much to keep It is free for all what nature reaps Wealth and river both must flow to remain fresh They stagnate when kept on hold Don’t hold on to wealth and spoil your health Breathe deep, accumulate what you will The rest, will it to those that need That is life’s secret deed, indeed Be…& let be Shobha Lidder Writer Journalist, Teacher Trainer, Social Activist, Reiki Master, Pranic Healer

6-12 December 2013

Tip of the Week

Health & Vitality... Naturally!

A Promising Date

{ Jaspal Bajwa }


housands of years ago, when man travelled forth to discover new horizons, the vast deserts of Northern Africa and South Western Asia posed a challenge. Food and water were scarce for thousands of miles. That is when a sweet fruit, packed with nutrition, came to the aid of the weary traveller, symbolizing a veritable gift from the gods. This was the fruit of the Date Palm - one of the most ancient and revered trees. There is evidence of Date cultivation as far back as 7000 BCE, in the Neolithic civilization of Mehrgarh in Western Pakistan, as well as during the Harappan civilization (around 26001900 BCE). Not surprisingly, the Date Palm has important cultural, religious and economic significance, especially within the Jewish and Islamic traditions. Dates (Khajoor) are full of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and natural sugars, which can provide instant energy and nourishment. In India, Dates are commonly given as an auspicious first meal to a newborn, as well as a ‘shagan’ (gift) to newly-married couples. During Ramadan, Muslims traditionally break their fast with Dates. Dates are important not only for what they are rich in, but also for what they are free from - specifically sodium, fat and cholesterol. Thus they can be considered a healthier alternative to other more processed sugary treats. Despite their high sugar content, studies have shown that a

In recent times, studies on Dates have shown promising results, with regards to several anti-tumour compounds, exhibiting liver and kidney-protective properties, as well as for reducing the risk of heart disease and even a possible role in tackling depression. A study has also found that eating Dates 4 weeks before ‘labour’ helped pregnant women achieve a more favourable delivery outcome. serving of three Dates a day does not contribute to a rise in blood sugar levels in healthy adults, and in fact reduces serum triglyceride levels. Diabetic patients still need to be wary of increased blood sugar levels when consuming Dates. Researchers are still in the process of discovering all the potential benefits of Dates. Their nutritional punch and resistance to spoilage makes them a convenient high-energy snack for busy school children and office commuters. The natural unprocessed sugars and easily digestible fibre found in Dates makes them the perfect sweetener for the healthconscious and the elderly. Rich in iron, copper and B-Vitamins, Dates can play a role in alleviating anaemia. A high anti-oxidant content helps delay the onset of age-related ailments.

Dates can be eaten fresh or dried. In either case, one should choose a plump fruit with unbroken skin. Avoid Dates that smell bad or have hardened sugar crystals on the surface. When fresh, they can be stored in the refrigerator for up to eight months or in a cool dry place for about a month. Dried Dates can be kept for a year in the refrigerator. Dates should ideally be washed and soaked prior to eating, to remove any impurities from their sticky surface as well as increase their nutritional benefits. Nature’s Wonder Food of the Week: Dates or Phoenix dactylifera or Khajoor There are over a hundred varieties of Dates - the common ones being Medjool, Halawi and Deglet Noor – each with slightly varying nutritional content. Generally the flesh of Dates

is comprised primarily of simple sugars like fructose and glucose (44-88%), moderate amounts of protein (2.3-5.6%), negligible fat (0.20.5%) and a high percentage of dietary fibre (6.4-18%). Their high carbohydrate content means that Dates are a good source of energy; a 100 g of pitted Dates can provide 277314 Kcal of energy. The high fibre content, even relative to other dried fruit, makes them a natural laxative, which can aid digestion and remove microbial toxins from the digestive tract. Chopped Dates make a delightful accompaniment to salads, or can be sprinkled on top of oatmeal; they can substitute processed sugar in bread and muffin recipes, to increase their nutritional value and fibre content; Dates can also be stuffed with goat cheese, peanut butter, almonds or walnuts for a protein-filled delicacy. Dates have at least 15

W ellness


kinds of salts and minerals - most significantly potassium, copper, manganese, magnesium and selenium. Dates can also provide around 2-10% of the daily requirement of iron, phosphorus, calcium and zinc. Several vitamins are found in Dates - especially moderately high amounts of B-complex and Vitamin C, and moderate amounts of Vitamins A and K. Dates are an excellent source of polyphenolic compounds such as tannins, quercetin and apigenin, which possess antiinflammatory, anti-infective and anti-hemorrhagic qualities. Dates also have significant levels of powerful antioxidant flavonoids, such as betacarotene, lutein and zeaxanthin, which protect organs from the harmful effects of free radicals.u Registered Holistic Nutritionist (Canadian School of Natural Nutrition) For education purposes only; always consult a healthcare practitioner for medical

Live healthily with Diabetes { Ashok Jain }


iabetes shouldn’t stop you from leading a normal healthy life. With continuous blood sugar monitoring and control, you can ensure that you control your diabetes - and not viceversa. This will give you the freedom to stay healthy and a better chance to live an active life. The primary goal is to ensure early diagnosis. You should not wait for symptoms to show up. Though a person of any age could be vulnerable, numerous studies indicate that the risk for Diabetes increases with age. The comprehensive R.I.S.C Test is a specialized diagnostic test that measures 30 vital health indicators. It is a unique, non-invasive, quick and painless Test that takes just 7 minutes. It helps determine the risk level for Diabetes, and for Diabetics it helps measure the progression of the disease. Undetected, Diabetes could cause complications such as heart disease, stroke, hair fall, nerve damage, foot ulcers, blindness (caused by Diabetic Retinopathy), kidney failure, skin lesions, fatigue, muscle weakness and damage to joints and ligaments. An inactive lifestyle, eating of meaningless calories, a decreased quality of sleep and stress are the main triggers for Diabetes. ‘Sitting has become the new Smoking’. Inactivity is a silent factor that is contributing to most modern health problems. Diabetics need not make drastic changes to their lifestyle. They can make simple lifestyle ‘additions’; for example, by getting up from their office desks a few times during the day and moving around. If they are at home, they should move about the house. Doing simple household work such as sweeping and swabbing counts as a healthy activity! Yes, it is time to get up and move. Also, find ways to avoid stress - take out some time to listen to some soothing music or try practicing Yoga for peace of mind. Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables when you feel hungry, instead of fast foods. Try to get adequate sleep. Maintain a healthy weight; this will help keep your blood glucose levels as well as your cholesterol and blood pressure in check. Check your feet every day. Nerve damage that normally occurs in Diabetics may affect your feet. Check for signs of injury. If you are on insulin therapy, check to see if the insulin is stored properly. Diabetes Management requires a holistic approach. So, most importantly, join a comprehensive programme. These programmes take into consideration factors such as your lifestyle, dietary preferences, nature of work, family history, personal medical history and current fitness level. The writer is Founder of Life Span Clinic

20 Ultimate Motor Home { Karlsruhe, Germany/ DPA }


he go-anywhere Unimog has been the basis for countless conversions, but few are as spectacular as the ultimate motor home designed by German specialist maker Unicat. Billed as an expedition vehicle, the Unicat MD52h is a custom-built house on wheels based on the tripleaxle U4000 Unimog version. Just perfect for a comfortable trip across the Sahara desert, it will be built to special order only. The experts from Dettenheim, near Karlsruhe, stretched the Unimog’s wheelbase by 1.35 metres, to accommodate generous living quarters within a fibreglass-reinforced and insulated body. This can be detached from the chassis and loaded onto a ship, like a conventional cargo container. The interior is spacious enough

for a double bed measuring 1.5 metres by 2 metres, and four seats which can also be converted into a place to sleep. Along with shower and water-flush toilet facilities, there is an onboard freeze-proof tank with 430 litres of drinking water. The CADdesigned wood-ply furniture is designed to withstand temperatures ranging from minus 40 degrees centigrade in Alaska to 50 plus in hot African climates such as Namibia’s. Motive power for the permanent all-wheel-drive Unimog comes from a 218-horsepower engine mated to an eight-speed gearbox. Unicat does not disclose prices, but one used motorhome based on MAN mechanicals

Tweets getting ever shorter { Hanover, Germany/ DPA }


is currently advertised on the Company’s website for 248,000 euros (336,000 dollars).u

Climate Change impact on Pacific countries { Manila/ DPA }


he Pacific Region faces huge economic losses due to climate change, and countries that are contributing to the problem should help mitigate the impacts, the Asian Development Bank said. The Manila-based Bank said the losses could reach as high as 12.7 per cent of the Pacific Region’s Gross Domestic Product in 2100, if the world stays on the current fossil fuel-intensive growth model. The Region would also need up to 775 million dollars, or 2.5 per cent of its GDP per year, to prepare for the worst, according to a new report. The potential losses would result from impacts to agriculture, fisheries, tourism, coral reefs and human health, according to the Report that covered 14 developing countries in the Pacific. It is critical that countries contributing to the problem of climate change step up

to assist Pacific friends and neighbours in the fight to protect their countries against natural disasters, crop losses and forced migration,” said Xianbin Yao, Director General of the bank’s Pacific department. “Our findings show that if not adequately addressed, climate change could overturn the Region’s development achievements,” he added. Papua New Guinea will suffer the most significant economic losses, with climate change impacts amounting to 15 per cent of GDP by 2100, the Report said. East Timor’s GDP is predicted to drop by up to 10 per cent, followed by Vanuatu at 6.2 per cent, Solomon Islands at 4.7 per cent, Fiji at 4 per cent and Samoa at 3.8 per cent, it added. The Report called on Pacific countries to include climate change mitigation into development planning, develop forward-looking adaptation strategies and “climate proof” infrastructure, to boost capacity to deal with climate change on their own.u

witter users were never known for being verbose. But new research finds they are getting their messages across with ever shorter notes. Technology Review published research by a team at the University of the Philippines showing that the average tweet length, excluding any attached links, was down to five words as of December 2012. Three years before, the average had been eight. The contraction was attributed to the fact that ever more Twitter users are grouping themselves with others who use the same kinds of specific language and can, thus, make do with fewer words. The Study was based on 229 million English-language tweets. Twitter has about 200 million users who send about 400 million short messages daily. u

Chinese, Russians drive global travel growth { Berlin/ DPA }


ooming outbound travel by the Chinese and Russians drove the growth in global tourism in 2013, a travel trade show operator said – with the countries recording increases of 26 and 12 per cent over the previous year. European countries saw more tepid growth, however, with Germany up 2 per cent and Britain up 3 per cent, ITB Berlin said. Italy, Ireland and Spain - countries hard-hit by the continent’s economic crisis saw declines. Overall, global tourism grew 4 per cent this year. ITB  Berlin expected a similar increase in 2014.u

Toyota’s modern take on London’s Black Cab { Tokyo / DPA }


ourists and business travellers flying into Tokyo could soon find themselves taking a trip from Narita Airport to the City in a cheeky take-off of London’s worldfamous taxi-cabs. The Toyota JPN Taxi Concept being shown at the current Tokyo Motor Show is the blueprint for a nextgeneration taxi. According to the makers, it was “created with Japanese hospitality in mind and aims to enliven city streets.” The uninspired cabs currently plying Tokyo streets

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lack the flair of the iconic London Black Cab. Most cab drivers in the Japanese capital pilot elderly Nissan Cedrics or Toyota Crown salons. While arch-rival Nissan adapted a bland van to make its NV200— New York’s celebrated yellow “Taxi of Tomorrow”, which is currently going into service and is to be offered worldwide— Toyota chose to go retro. Toyota’s London-style cab concept features a prominent front grille, two easy-to-enter sliding rear doors and dazzling LED headlamps. It has advertising panels on the sides, like a city

bus, and large monitors inside so that passengers can always see where they are going. The drive-train reflects Toyota’s reputation as a hybrid pioneer. Like most taxis in Tokyo, the JPN Taxi Concept burns liquefied gas, although the fourcylinder engine is coupled to an electric motor. Toyota declined to reveal further technical details. The Toyota JPN is being showcased as a concept, but the model could go into series production soon. The aim is to have the cab in service in time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. u


Meteorite holds clues to ancient Mars { London / DPA }


hile mankind dreams of going to Mars, the Red Planet keeps coming to us - in the form of meteorites, one of which was recently dated to more than 4.4 billion years ago. Found in the Sahara Desert and known as NWA (NorthWest Africa) 7533, it may be the first recognized sample of ancient Martian crust, say scientists from the United States, Australia and France. Reporting in the journal Nature, the scientists, led by Munir Humayun, an Associate Professor of Geochemistry at Florida State University, place the meteorite’s origins in the ancient cratered terrain of the southern highlands of Mars. They say NWA 7533 is made up of rock fragments containing zircons - a silicate mineral widespread in acid igneous rocks - probably formed by re-melting of the primary Martian crust. It would have been knocked off Mars during an ancient asteroid strike or the like. The zircons’ ages are similar to those of the earliest terrestrial and lunar zircons, they note, implying similar timing for early crust formation on the Earth, the Moon and Mars. According to the scientists, the zircons were formed during volcanic activity on Mars in the first 100 million years of its history, which may have created a primordial atmosphere and ocean - and conditions for life.u

Too short to Fly: woman wins case

{ Cologne, Germany / DPA }


165-centimetre woman who was rejected for a job as a Lufthansa pilot because she was too short partially won a court case, in which she alleged discrimination because of height. The Cologne labour tribunal said it was unfair to subject women to the same height rules as men, because women are shorter on an average – meaning far fewer women would qualify for pilot jobs as a result. The woman passed all the leadership and aptitude tests, but was 3.5 centimetres short of the bar. “I want to be treated seriously,” she said. Under German privacy law, her name was not reported in the media. However, the Tribunal refused an application for financial compensation, saying that Lufthansa had been guiltless because the rule had been based upon a mutual arrangement with labour unions.u

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Pope Francis longs to sneak out of Vatican to meet Poor { Vatican City/ DPA }


he man who wants the Catholic Church to get “dirty” and “bruised,” by reaching out to people in the streets, himself longs to sneak out of the Vatican to meet the poor in secret, an aide to Pope Francis revealed. Polish Archbishop Konrad Krajewski manages the Pope’s personal charity fund. Meeting a group of reporters, he said he signs 100 cheques per week, to people who write to the Pontiff for help – sending them sums ranging from 200 to 1,000 euros (2701,350 dollars). Krajewski’s job as Papal Almoner is also to make evening visits, alone, to old people’s homes and soup kitchens, or to other needy people, to pray and

dine with them. At the beginning, “when I used to go out in the evening, sometimes (Pope Francis) would ask me if he could come with me,” Krajewski said. “He did not realize the discomfort that he could provoke with these excursions,” he added. Asked whether the Pope did accompany him at least once, Krajewski replied: “next question.” As Pope, Francis made waves by calling for “a poor church for the church,” and performing the pre-Easter ritual of the washing of the feet in a juvenile prison. This week, the Pontiff said it was “unhealthy” for the Church

to be “confined,” “clinging to its own security” and overly c o n c e r n e d with liturgy. It should rather get “bruised, hurting and dirty”, from trying to “have a real impact” on people’s lives, he said. “The Holy Father told me: ‘The desk is not for you, throw it away: don’t wait for the poor to knock on the door, get out,’” Krajewski said about his appointment in August. He also quoted the Pope as telling him, “Your bank account is good when it is empty. Don’t invest, don’t hedge: spend”; and joking that whoever addressed him as “Your Excellency” should be made to pay a 5-euro “tax for the poor!”u

Manifesto for Reform-oriented Papacy { Vatican City/ DPA }


he Catholic Church should concentrate less on procedures and liturgy and get “dirty” and “bruised”, by reaching out to people in the streets, Pope Francis wrote in a document that was released, and is seen as a manifesto for his papacy. The 224-page “apostolic exhortation”, called The Joy of the Gospel, summarized many of the themes and ideas that the Argentineborn Jorge Mario Bergoglio has raised since his election in March. “I prefer a church which is bruised, hurting and dirty, because it has been out on the streets, rather than a church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security,” the pontiff wrote. Francis, who has consistently shunned papal pomp and protocol, railed against an “ostentatious preoccupation for the liturgy ... without any concern that the Gospel have a real impact on God’s faithful people.” “In this way, the life of the Church turns into a museum piece or something which is

{ New York/ DPA }


he number of HIV/AIDSrelated deaths among teenagers worldwide increased by 50 per cent between 2005 and 2012, showing an alarming trend, according to a Report published by the UN Children’s Fund.  The Report found that while 71,000 young people between the ages of 10 and 19 died of AIDS in 2005, the number grew to 110,000 in 2012 – a trend that the authors of the Report attribute to the lack

the property of a select few,” he warned. Hinting at potentially farreaching reforms in the Vatican’s male-dominated world, the pope called for “a more incisive female presence in the Church,” especially “where important decisions are made.” At the same time, he signalled an intention to delegate power to bishops around the globe, going as far as saying that the Pope should not “be expected to offer a definitive or complete word on every question which affects the church and the world.” Francis also renewed his well-known criticism of unbridled capitalism, denouncing inequality as “the root of social ills.” He said there would be “no solution” to world ills until “the problems of the poor are not radically resolved by rejecting the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation and by attacking the structural causes of inequality.” While pleading for better relations with Jews and Muslims, he “humbly” asked Islamic countries “to grant Christians freedom to worship and to prac-

tice their faith.” He noted that “authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Koran are opposed to every form of violence.” On family issues, the Pope reasserted the church’s traditional stances. Speaking out against divorce, he said marriage “transcends the feelings and momentary needs of the couple” and criticized those who see it “as a form of mere emotional satisfaction that can be constructed in any way or modified at will.” On abortion, he said it was “not ‘progressive’ to try to resolve problems by eliminating a human life.” But he added that the church had “done little” to support women “in very difficult situations,” such as those suffering from extreme poverty or pregnant from rape. Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said Francis penned most of the ‘apostolic exhortation’ in August, when he refused to go on summer holidays. It is the second major publication of his papacy, after July’s encyclical ‘The Light of Faith’. That document, by the Vatican’s own admission, was written almost entirely by his predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. u

UNICEF alarm: AIDS-related deaths among Teens of testing and counseling facilities available for young people. In light of the Report’s findings, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) recommended an investment of 5.5 billion dollars by 2014, which could prevent 2 million adolescents from contracting HIV in the coming years. “If high-impact interventions are scaled up using an integrated

approach, we can halve the number of new infections among adolescents by 2020,” said Anthony Lake, Executive Director of UNICEF. “It’s a matter of reaching the most vulnerable adolescents with effective programmes – urgently.” In contrast to adolescents, the Report found a downward trend in the number of infants


Journalists honoured for promoting Free Press despite threats { New York/ DPA }


ournalists from Ecuador, Egypt, Turkey and Vietnam were honoured by the Committee to Protect Journalists, for their work promoting press freedom despite government censorship and repression. The four journalists were this year’s recipients of the annual International Press Freedom Awards, a recognition handed out by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), to members of the media fulfilling their duties in dangerous circumstances. “We are inspired and humbled by these brave individuals,” said Sandra Mims Rowe, Chairman of CPJ’s Board of Directors. “For each of the journalists recognized here, there are hundreds more in danger.” Janet Hinostroza, a leading television journalist in Ecuador, was presented the award for carrying on with her investigative reporting despite threats to her and her family. Bassem Youssef, an Egyptian satirist, was honoured for continuing his independent and critical political humor programme despite strong criticism. Nedim Sener, an investigative journalist from Turkey, was recognized for his reporting, for which he currently faces up to 15 years in jail on terrorism charges. Nguyen Van Hai, a Vietnamese blogger, was honoured in absentia while serving a 12-year prison sentence for “conducting propaganda” against the Vietnamese government. Presenters included Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington and political satirist Jon Stewart, host of The Daily Show. The awards dinner, held in New York, raised more than 1.65 million dollars toward CPJ’s efforts to promote press freedom worldwide.u

UN Committee: Resolution on Global Surveillance

{ New York / DPA }


United Nations Committee adopted a resolution aimed at restraining national security agencies from collecting online data and from carrying out excessive electronic surveillance of other foreign countries. The Resolution, put forward by Germany and Brazil, is expected to be passed in a nonbinding vote next month in the UN General Assembly. It does not name any specific countries, but is widely believed to be aimed at the United States, following recent revelations of a massive global cyber espionage programme that caused uproar around the world. Intelligence data leaked by a former US government contractor revealed that the US National Security Agency (NSA) engaged in spying on several world leaders. u with HIV transmitted by the mother.    In 2005, the number of infants with HIV was at 540,000, however, due to prevention programmes for pregnant and breastfeeding women with HIV, the number dropped to 260,000 in 2012. “The world now has the experience and the tools to achieve an AIDS-free generation,” Lake said. “Children should be the first to benefit from our successes in defeating HIV, and the last to suffer when we fall short.” u

UN : Promoting access to Energy

{ New York / DPA }


joint effort by the United Nations and the World Bank, to promote global access to electricity and sustainable energy is gaining momentum, but financing for the projects needs to increase, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said. At a meeting of the Advisory Board of the Sustainable Energy for All initiative, countries and financial partners announced recent achievements and pledges for upcoming projects. Brazil said that 99 per cent of its population now has access to electricity, due to a recent programme, and Norway pledged 330 million dollars to support global Renewable Energy production in 2014. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries announced the launch of a 1-billion-dollar fund to promote access to energy. Ban applauded the contributions, but said that funding for clean energy needs to increase. “Now we need others to follow and build on these commitments,” he said. “Sustainable Energy is the golden thread that connects economic growth, social equity, a stable climate and a healthy environment.” Ban launched the Sustainable Energy for All initiative in 2011 to promote clean energy, which he said should be an integral part of the UN post2015 Development Agenda, the Organization’s blueprint for development goals. u


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Vimal Vardhan / BCC

Cricket Unites Inbound & Outbound

The Nazi-built Olympic Stadium looms over the lush Maifeld Ground as the Berlin Cricket Club, (BCC) plays.

{ Moinuddin Ahmad/ Berlin/ DPA }


n Berlin, where many locals are not even sure what Cricket is, the game is helping hundreds of expats to find friends. Ashwin Prakash, an Indian automobile engineer, who has been working in the German capital for the last five years, remembers how Cricket helped him settle in at last. “Now most of my friends in this city have come through cricket. Even back home in Bangalore I found most of my friends on the Cricket field,” said Prakash, who has since played on the German National Cricket Team and is currently Captain of the Berlin Cricket Club (BCC) first team. Many of Berlin’s Cricket community are expats. Jordi Greig, who hails from Australia, works as a manager at a Mexican-cuisine restaurant in Berlin’s hip Kreuzberg area. He was living in Spain before moving to Germany three years ago and “missed watching and playing Cricket – as we would ‘Down Under’. I missed Cricket while I was in Spain and knew it was difficult to play it there. However, I found these guys making serious efforts. Since then I have been a part of the team,” he said. “It is so exciting playing Cricket alongside people from different parts of the world. After matches we sit together in the pubs and watch international Cricket,” added Greig, who is Captain of BCC’s T20 team. T20 games, completed in about three hours, were introduced in England in 2003, and allow each team to bat a maximum of 20 overs. Greig says this shorter version of the game will help make Cricket more popular among Germans. “People do like the T20s. It has more

action in lesser time,” he said. “There are eight Cricket clubs in Berlin and about a hundred across Germany. It is becoming quite a recognizable game here,” said Nick Baker-Monteys, Vice-Chairman of the BCC, which was founded in 1985. Both Cricket and Football were introduced to Germany (from Britain) in the 1860s. Football flourished, but over the decades German Cricket withered. “A while back, only a few Germans would know anything about Cricket. Those who had been to England, India, Australia and other cricketplaying nations came back home and followed the game. “Now the scenario is changing gradually,” said Volker Ellerbeck, who played in the Germany Cricket team in the 1990s. “When I used to play, we were an International Cricket Council (ICC) affiliate team; now Germany is an associate team, which means ... we get more money from the Council, which is used for the development and coaching of women and youth Cricket teams.” Baker-Monteys recalls, “When we used to go into pubs with our bats, people would think we had played Croquet; we had to tell them it was cricket, a different game.” In German, the pronunciation of Cricket and Croquet is very similar. “The situation is different now. People recognize this game, want to play and we get a lot of queries about our club,” he said. “It is mandatory for the Cricket clubs to offer training to the school kids. “For the expatriates from South Asia, Africa and Australia, Cricket has proved to be a home away from home,” he added. Berlin Cricket is played be-

A BCC bowler lets rip at Berlin’s lush Maifeld Ground, where cricket is played next to a Nazi-era architecture.

The Berlin Cricket Club team that toured India in February 2009. In Germany the teams mainly play other regional clubs.

tween April and October, on three pitches at the lush green Maifeld ground, right next to Berlin’s Nazi-era Olympic Stadium. For a non-Cricket country,

the City has remarkably good Cricket infrastructure. “We have Astroturf pitches. These were laid by a company from England,” said Baker-Monteys.

“The Olympic Stadium authorities provide the ground staff. They’re obviously quite good at this kind of thing, because they have to prepare top-quality football pitches. There are a couple of grounds in Germany that have grass wickets,” he said. “The Germans love their rules, and Cricket is all about rules. It’s played with passion and precision, and people like it here. If we exclude the UK, Germany is witnessing the fastest growth of Cricket in Europe,” Prakash asserted. Greig is optimistic. “Currently there are 2,500 registered Cricket players in the country. It was 1,700 two years ago. This is good news for the national team,” he said. The German Cricket clubs not only play at home but also tour abroad. The BCC toured India in early 2009.u

France battling bulging waistlines & alcohol abuse { Paris/ DPA }


espite having one of the best health systems in the world, only one in four people in France is truly healthy, according to a Survey, which pointed to mounting levels of stress, obesity and alcohol abuse. The Survey, which was carried out by the Axa insurance company, measured the health of the French across five categories - weight, quality of sleep, stress, depression and serious or chronic illness. Only 24 per cent scored well on all criteria, down from 27 per cent a year ago. Nearly one in three people - 28 per cent - was found to be seriously overweight, and 16 per cent was obese, the Survey, which used the World Health Organization’s (WHO) yardstick on obesity, said. The results tallied with the findings of a national survey in 2012, which found obesity had shot up by 76 per cent in five years. While many rich and emerging economies are battling bulging waistlines, particularly among youth, the Axa Survey showed young people in France were far less likely to be seriously overweight than their elders. Only 10 per cent of under-25s were affected, compared with one in four people over 65. Alcohol emerged as the other main public health problem, with 37 per cent of respondents admitting to drinking to excess and 13 per cent to being dependent on alcohol, according to WHO definitions. The second edition of the Survey also revealed high anxiety levels, particularly among the young. Over half of people aged under 34 said they suffered from stress, while around one in three said they suffered from depression. The Survey was carried out among 1,004 people in July. No margin of error was given. u

S pecial

6-12 December 2013

Giving Puppets a Life { Shilpy Arora/ FG }

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here was a time when there were no malls, no multiplexes and no entertainment hubs; there were even no TVs, mobile phones or video games. Way back in the 3rd Century, the only source of entertainment was Shadow Puppetry. Shadow Puppets were made and played by great artists, with immense effort. Today, very few people practise this Art. With an aim to revive this age-old Art form, Sanskriti Foundation has brought together more than 70 representatives to showcase traditional Shadow Puppetry, at Anandgram. The Show has been organised on the occasion of its 35th anniversary. Shadow Puppetry comes from the states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala.   While leather puppets, known as Tholu Bommalata are popular in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka is famous for its Togalu Gombeyatta – which are very small in size. “The puppets differ in size according to their social status; for instance, a large size is for kings and religious characters and smaller sizes are for common people or servants,” informs a puppeteer, who has travelled from Hyderabad. Interestingly, use is also made of coloured shadows on a screen. The Puppets are pressed

against the screen, and are ‘lit’ from behind by a strong source of light. The manipulation of the light and the screen outlines the shape, and the light is used to provide colour. The stories that are being portrayed at the Show are generally from the epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata. While religious folk would appreciate the portrayal of the divine epics, the others would find the experience entertaining – even humorous. For children, Shadow Puppetry is a fun way to learn about the popular Indian epics’ characters and tales.

Behind the Stage

The Performance begins with loud music and the Puppets pinned together in an overlapping fashion. The Puppets are then slowly mounted down to the middle of the screen. Long multiple handles are used to move the body of a Puppet. Usually one Puppeteer plays all the ‘sticks’ attached to a Puppet, holding the central ‘handle stick’ in one hand and two ‘arm-control sticks’ in the other. The Puppeteer also sings and speaks for the character. When asked about the hard work involved, Usha, a villager from Andhra Pradesh, says “Large puppets have up to 15 movable joints, so their movements are extremely intricate. It is difficult to perform fight scenes, which usually make the Show interesting. One needs to practice day and night to perform even a simple Shadow Puppet Show.” Most of the Puppets are made of leather and wood. Leather Puppets are still made in the small hamlet of Nimmalakunta, in Andhra Pradesh. Earlier, deerskin was used to make Puppets, but now it has been replaced with the skin of goat and sheep. The skin is soaked in water for a long time and then mixed with Kakada powder, a popular vegetable dye in South India. After the leather turns a light brown and its texture becomes smooth, it is ready to be used for making Puppets. A design is then drawn on the skin and colours filled in. Even today, Puppeteers use natural vegetable dyes to colour the Puppets. What makes these Puppets very attractive is the holes made in their bodies, in order to display

Besides Puppetry Apart from Shadow Puppetry, the Sanskriti Foundation is also presenting Exhibitions of Jain Temple hangings and Indian Terracotta. While the Jain collection captures the Embroidery Art performed by Gujarati Jains in the early 20th century, the Terracotta Exhibition showcases Manasa Jhar and long-necked Terracottas from Bankura, West Bengal - and rare votive figures from South Gujarat. Interestingly, ‘Indonesian Ikatsand’ embroidered textiles, from the Thar Desert area, are also on display.


intricate items such as gold jewellery! Ramana, a Puppet maker who accompanies a team of Puppeteers, says, “In Nimmalakunta, over 80 families are involved in the making of Puppets. There is a huge difference between the processing of leather for making jackets, and that for making puppets. The leather is worked so fine in texture, that the Puppets become almost transparent. If one doesn’t get the right colour and texture, the complete process needs to be repeated. Sometimes the process can take about an year!” For visitors, the Show is undoubtedly a visual treat. “I think both the content and the presentation have been beautifully wrapped. It is so unique and entertaining that language is never a hurdle,’’ says Kiran, who has attended the Show with her two children. Though Shadow Puppetry is a cultural heritage of India, Puppet makers are today surviving on selling Puppets as wall hangings to emporiums and export houses, while Puppeteers have no source of employment. “In Hyderabad, Shadow Puppets are used in schools to spread awareness about various social issues. Using a dying Art to spread the word is an innovative idea. It also provides much-needed employment to the poor Puppeteers. I think this process can be replicated in Gurgaon, as we have many Puppeteers residing in nearby villages,” feels Harish, a visitor. u


6-12 December 2013

G -Scape asha PANDEY

Friday gurgaon dec 6 12, 2013 the change you want to see

Friday gurgaon dec 6 12, 2013 the change you want to see