Page 1

5-11 July 2013

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

Vol. 2 No. 46  Pages 24  ` 7


Toddler program for children 18 months old. Playschool program for children 2 years and above. Day care facility for 18 months old and above.



19, Madhya Marg, DLF Phase-2 Mob: 9811013176, 9711206163; Ph.: 4015114, 2560833

We Have No Other Branch

{Inside} Our Village-City is now home to lakhs of expatriates, who have blended in very well. See for yourself. Pg 23

MG Road is more notorious than famous. Pub brawls and pick-ups seem to be the norm here. Rather than the Mall Mile taking on CP in Delhi, it is now being compared to a certain red area in the Capital. Pg 24

Come & Experience the Unlimited & Non – Stop Fun @ BuzzIn Buddies

201, 2nd Floor, DT City Centre Mall, MG Road, Gurgaon. Ph: 8860408988 There is a slow transition in progress, as the City’s citizens move from an acceptance of Gurgaon (I’m from Gurgaon), to taking pride in stating ‘I’m a Gurgaonite’. Pg 3

Big Brother may soon be watching us like a hawk, as the local Police have asked that the Mega-city Policing plan, approved for Delhi, be extended to Gurgaon. Pg 11


5-11 July 2013

THE WEEK THAT WAS  DC says that the Administration is prepared for a flood situation.  DHBVN earns its highest monthly revenue of Rs 711 crores in June, with Gurgaon contributing almost half.  Rs 108 crores of Property Tax is collected by MCG in the last 3 months – the deadline for payment was June 30th.  MCG passes Rs 8.24 crores worth of civic projects – for tubewells, a community centre, road repair, traffic signals and a funeral home.  Mahendragarh, Bhiwani and Bharatpur are now part of the National Capital Region (NCR). Karnal, Jind and Mathura-Vrindavan are on the waitlist.  Gurgaon District Literacy is 84.6%, best in Haryana.

 Next Ruchi Bhuttan case hearing is fixed for July 15th, after the recent hearing where the prime accused Sunil Bhuttan’s statement was recorded.

 2 women are raped in a moving car; most of the culprits are caught the next day. 2 policemen are suspended for dereliction of duty.  17-year-old is held for a rape attempt on a 16-year-old fellow student.  An NRI is booked for rape by his wife, for marrying under false pretext – he has been married twice, and is not divorced.  6 are booked for molesting a woman.

 HUDA City Centre Metro line has the second highest ridership on the entire Delhi Metro network.  CNG is now Rs 40 per kg.  A major fraud concerning BPL Card holders is detected, in the allotment of HUDA Ashiana flats.  M.G. Road to be renovated with a Rs 25 crores budget.  First private Legal Aid Clinic (LAC) is set up in the City.  GCC protests the implementation of the new Societies Act.

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

Haryanvi Made Easy Get a taste of the local lingo 1. I need to go shopping. Manne samaan khareedan jaana hai. 2. First, I want to buy fruits and vegetables. Sabtey pehle manne phal sabji leni hai. 3. Then I need to buy some cold drinks. Phir manne thanda lena hai. 4. I also want to shop for some clothes. Ib manne latteh lene hai. 5. Where will I find shoes? Manne jootey kith paunga? 6. I will also go to buy some ice cream. Manne ice cream bhi len jaana hai. 7. Now I need an auto rickshaw back home. Ib ghar jaan tey manne auto lena padega.

 8-year-old boy manages to escape from the clutches of kidnappers who had demanded a Rs 5 lakhs ransom from his family. 4 accused are caught and jailed.  A Delhi University student goes missing, allegedly kidnapped, in the City.  3 are arrested after policemen bust a highway robbers’ gang; 2 members of a carjacking gang are caught.  10 school students are injured when their auto topples after being hit by a bus.  A car crashes into a house in Shivaji Nagar.  Charges are framed on 11 accused in the Reebok case.  The Police launch a night drive against criminals, on M.G. Road.

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

Name 3 things you like about Gurgaon. Write in to us at



NR to 08447355801

5-11 July 2013

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

Vol. 2 No. 46  Pages 24  ` 7

I'm From

Top News 'MCG to engage experts' to resolve water-logging. The Corporation realizes it does not have the experts. What soul-searching, and what timing ! The tenders should be out before the next monsoon…. MCG House Meeting to take place after 3 months. Sector 10A residents protest on the street against supply of dirty water to them. A hundred residents of Sec 22B stage a 'dharna' and block a road, protesting erratic water supply – they had received no water supply over the previous 2 days. The elderly will be provided help in their Metro rides, by way of reserved seats. They also have been provided Helpline numbers: 155370, 8800793154, 0124 6460442. NHRC issues notice to the Haryana Govt over the sexual abuse of schoolgirls in some districts. Haryana State Commission for the Protection of Child Rights is constituted – especially for the protection of children from sexual offences. Childline (Helpline) is 1098.

The ‘Nirbhaya’ Fast-track trial is now 6 months old ! When will she get justice…and truly Rest In Peace?

I'm A Gurgaonite { Abhshek Behl / FG }

write to us at


oung or young-at-heart, hardworking, talented, brash, pretentious and very materialistic, is how many Gurgaonites describe themselves and others in the City. While every city has a basic character that is shaped by its culture and history, Gurgaon is relatively young and is perhaps influenced more by a corporate ethos and an international lifestyle that dominates the newer part of the City. The presence of a large number of exservicemen also adds an olive flavour and a fighting spirit, which is often visible during the (increasing) duels between builders and RWAs – that are often headed by former army men. The freedom to live life on one’s own terms, opportunities entrepreneurship, good jobs for women, acceptance of singles as part of society and respect for others’ living space is what makes Gurgaon urban life unique today. Poor infrastructure and lack of basic amenities no doubt hassles the young working class, but the faith in their own talent, abilities

and skills ensures that economic growth in the City does not slacken. Gurgaon today breathes ambition, and embodies the spirit of a young India that is impatient but not rude, which wants to outgrow the Hindu rate of growth but not its religious pantheon, and which wants to overcome the fatalist karma connection but also yearns for salvation from materialist leanings. Gurgaon today is basically inhabited by extremes - of those who have arrived in life, and the wannabes. Finding a balance is proving

difficult for both. In such a scenario it is difficult to generalize on (the DNA of ) a Gurgaonite – especially with the majority of us being outsiders from all parts of India, including neighbouring districts of Haryana. Some are rich, some middle class, and a large number comprises industrial workers who run the engines of this City. We must not forget that their sweat also adds to the character, apart from the economy of the City. The professional class in the City

turned to tolerance ... surprise and finally, joy. “I used to miss Delhi a lot, not just because of its spirit and social life, but also for its better transport system and roads. But as I started settling down here, I better understood the vibes of the City – its modern cosmopolitan culture, that offers not only better employment opportunities, but also gives you an opportunity to live freely with broad-minded people.” says Urmilla. As the City has no transport system, Urmilla has been given a car. ‘Had I been in Delhi I would have never got a car at this age,” smiles Urmilla. She enjoys driving her own car, attending cultural shows in the evenings, and photographing the beautiful landscape of the Aravallis. “I now prefer hanging out in the City rather than the Capital. I have found many like-minded people here. Unlike Delhi, even a 60-year-old here has a modern outlook towards women wearing ‘modern’ clothes,” she says.

Plush condominiums, swanky office complexes, world-class hotels, glitzy malls and a happening nightlife – the City has everything a youngster can aspire for. The City’s huge expat population also vouch for its cosmopolitan outlook. It seems that those who have experienced world-class living in cities abroad, find living in the City better than living in the Capital. “In Gurgaon the population is more homogenous, as most migrants work with Multi-National Corporations (MNCs). They have fairly similar backgrounds and expectations from life. Whether it is for resolving a tussle on the road or solving a problem in the condominium, the thought process is more mature. Delhi is more complex, as people there come from different backgrounds,” says Rebekah Walia, a New Zealander who has spent five years in Delhi.

Contd on p 8 

{ Shilpy Arora / FG }

write to us at


he City has come a long way. From a humble Haryana village, it has transformed into a major residential commercial and industrial hub. A couple of decades ago this land was covered by dense forest; it is now home to many flashy malls and swanky buildings. It is not just the structures; in the process, the people too have ‘evolved’. Today young Gurgaonites feel pride in calling the Millennium City their home. They have new aspirations and goals. While youngsters who have moved from Delhi and other metros like it for its cosmopolitan outlook, those living in ‘old’ Gurgaon see immense potential here, as the City provides good employment opportunities. However, they would like to see a change in the attitude of the ‘new settlers’ towards rural folks.

What makes a Gurgaonite?

A common trait of a majority of the people who come to the City is that they are more aware and exposed to modern culture, and possess a cosmopolitan outlook. 20-year-old Urmilla, who moved from Delhi to the City three years ago, says that her journey started with disgust and anguish, but gradually

Contd on p 9 

04 RNI No. HARENG/2011/39319 Postal Regn. No. GRG/35/2012-2014, VOL.–2 No.–46  5-11 July 2013


C oming U p

5-11 July 2013

WORKSHOP  THEATRE  NIGHTLIFE  MUSIC  ART the rural-traversing-the-urban environment are powerfully subjective.

Atul Sobti

Group Show

@ Gallerie Alternatives, DLF City, Phase I Date: Up to July 31 Time: 11:00 am to 7:00 pm

Sr. Correspondents: Abhishek Behl Shilpy Arora Sr. Photographers: Prakhar Pandey Sr. Sub Editor:

Anita Bagchi

Sr. Designer:

Amit Singh

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Pankaj Yadav Sunil Yadav Manish Yadav

Dy. Manager Accounts & Admin: Shiv Shankar Jha Asst. Manager Media Marketing: Bhagwat Kaushik Sr. Exec Media Marketing:

Vikalp Panwar


Consulting Art Editor: Qazi M. Raghib Editorial Office 213, Tower A, Spazedge, Sector 47, Sohna Road, Gurgaon 122001, Haryana Phones: +91 124 421 9092/93 Friday Gurgaon (Weekly) edited, published and printed by Atul Sobti on behalf of Arap Media Ventures Pvt. Ltd. from 213, Tower A, Spazedge, Sector 47, Sohna Road, Gurgaon 122018, Haryana. Printed at Indian Express Ltd. Plot No. A8, Sector 7, Gautam Budh Nagar, NOIDA – 201301, Uttar Pradesh

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

To Advertise

@ Zynna Art Gallery, S-56/20, DLF Phase-III Date: Up to July 10 Time: 11:30 am to 6:30 pm


treat for dance lovers! A day of free dance sessions to mark the official launch of the Centre and to celebrate unique dance forms – helping you indulge in, or search for, your personal artistic expression.

@ Epicentre, Apparel House, Sector 44 Date: July 7 Time: 9:00 pm


n evening of fun and humour by two comedians of the Papa CJ Comedy Company – Appurv Gupta and Jeeveshu Ahluwalia. Hosted by Vikramjit Singh, the riotous evening promises to have you rolling off your seat.

@ Beanstalk, Galaxy Hotel & Spa, Sector 15, NH8 Date: Up to July 31 Time: 11:00 am to 8:00 pm

Zynna Spotlight Show

@ Urban Dance Center, Club Florence, Sushant Lok-II Date: July 7 Time: 6:00 pm

An Evening with The Papa CJ Comedy Company

Group Exhibition of paintings, drawings, graphic prints and sculptures by S.H Raza, T. Vaikuntam, Jayasri Burman, Sanjay Bhattacharya and others.


Demo Class by Urban Dance Center

Stand Up Comedy


Art Show

nother installment of The MindCafe's "Grand Masters of Comedy" Revolution. This show features Raghav Mandawa and Akshay BD, who promise to bring the house down.


@ The Mind Cafe, GL 204-206, Cross Point, DLF Phase 4 Date: July 10 Time: 8:30 pm



Grand Master of Comedy

n Exhibition of group paintings by Arun Dev, Manikandan, Murali Nagapuzha, Prokash Karmakar, Prince Chand, Promod MV, Sanjay Soni and Shyamal Mukharjee.


n Art Show exhibiting select works― sculptures, paintings and installations―of renowned artist Rajesh Ram. Rajesh's observations and responses to the life and strife of

Workshop Sanskriti Kendra

Guided Museum Tours of the 3 Sanskriti Museums All Saturdays

Photography Workshop

@ DT City Centre, MG Road Date: July 6 Time: 11:00 am

Enamel Art Classes (Meenakari) on Silver, Copper and Steel All Saturdays Clay Magic Workshop and Pottery for children July 7th and 14th @ Sanskriti Kendra, Anandgram, M.G. Road

Please Contact

7838003874 7827233023 9999444818


detailed Photography Workshop on the different modes of the camera and lenses. Learn all about your DSLR and its techniques. For Registration, call: 9810257072

C oming U p

5-11 July 2013




RunFor yourWife


njoy scintillating conversation, fine wine and excellent food – all under one roof. Indulge in delectable platters with this celebration of food and art. Inspired by the culinary heritage of Asia, each dish is an intricate display of authentic textures and colours, designed to create a unique experience (similar to the beauty of a tapestry). The menu is a selection of Asian & Indian tapas dishes, combining sweet, savoury, sour and spicy flavours.

hef Mohammad Qamaruddin, specially flown in from Hyderabad, familiarizes the guests with the authentic flavours of Hyderabadi cuisine. The Chef, whose expertise lies in Hyderbadi Biryani and Haleem, has designed an extensive menu to tickle the gastronomic senses. Dishes on the menu include – Galouti Kabab, Falaknuma Murg, Shamshbadi Macchi, Hyderabadi Bhuni Chop, Loki Mussalam, Kamal Kakri Ki Shammi, Hyderabadi Mawe Ki Seekh, Miapur Ki Aloo Bukhara Seekh, Sikandarabadi Tamatar Murg and Haleem, to name a few. The desserts include Qubani Ka Meetha, Gil-e Firdaus and Chakanduri Halwa.

Email us at:

On Sat. 27th & Sun. 28th July 2013 (4 Shows) Timings: 5:00 PM to 6:30 PM & 7:30 PM to 9:00 PM Tickets: ` 1000, 700 & 500

Tickets available at the venue Or *Terms and condition apply

ome in your Pyjamas and indulge. On offer is a blend of traditional German food and the finest beers, served straight from the tap.


Book Online At :

Under Licence By Samuel French Ltd. (JAGRITI)


@ Epicentre, Apparel House, Sector 44 Date: July 9 Time: 7:30 pm

Book Reading Discussion on 'Em and the big hoom by Jerry Pinto'

DJ Sanj


K-based DJ Sanj is here to give music and dance lovers a rocking time. Groove to Desi mixes, London style.

Pyjama Night

@ 7 Degrees Brauhaus, South Point Mall, Golf Course Road Date: July 9 Time: 9:00 pm

Where Did I Leave My Purdah? @ Epicentre, Apparel House, Sector 44 Date: July 11 Time: 8:00 pm


comic drama infused with love, passion, denial, humour and grief, based on the life and times of an actress, who saw the world in her art, but ignored the harsh realities of the real world outside. The Play, directed by Lillete Dubey, is set against the company theatres that performed dance dramas through the 1950s till the 80s. Nazia is an actress who has been through four decades of performance, and seven decades of personal travails and political upheavals.

Hyderabadi Food Festival

@ The Great Kabab Factory, Hotel Park Plaza,Sushant Lok Phase 1 Date: Up to July 7 Time: 12:30 pm onwards


At Apparel House, Sector 44, Gurgaon


Seven Samurai

@ Club Peppers, Bristol Hotel Date: July 5 Time: 9:00 pm onwards

Directed By: Mrinal Dhar


@ Wokamama, Main Nathupur Road, DLF Phase III Date: Every Wednesday & Friday

aze, sip and relax over Live Retro Music on the Terrace, accompanied by novel avatars of Pan Asian cuisine. A wonderful chance for music lovers to pamper themselves with mouthwatering Pan Asian delicacies – be it the Sushis or the ChickenYakitori, they are all sure to amaze you with their exquisite flavours.

Sponsorship, Bulk / Corporate Bookings & any query:

Live Retro & Western Music




@ Citrique, Pullman Gurgaon Central Park, MG Road Date: Up to July 30 Time: 12 noon


98101 74282, 98113 09797

C Tapastry: The Art of Tapas


The World’s Longest Running & Funniest Comedy Ever Written


For Advertisement, Please Contact

7838003874, 9999444818

@ Barista, Lavazza Date: July 6 Time: 11:00 am


Em and the Big Hoom' is a book that has recently won The Hindu Literary Prize 2012. It was also llisted for the DSC Prize for South Asian


Japanese film (with English subtitles) about a poor village under attack by bandits, who recruit seven unemployed Samurai to help them defend themselves. The film is directed by Akira Kurosawa.

Literature. A searing, and at times darkly funny, study of mental illness, Jerry Pinto’s first novel is also a deeply moving story about love and family relationships.


5-11 July 2013

C eleb W atch

Summer Punk 2013 Summer Punk 2013, a Modelling and Talent Hunt, was successfully conducted at the City Centre Mall, MG Road. The Event received a huge footfall of over 500 people. Sponsored by Geetanjali Jewels, NewU Saloon, Habillez moi, Adorna, and Calipher, the Event witnessed 100 girls and boys from across the City thronging the venue for auditions. Most of them were college students. “Although I was nervous, I wanted to give it my best shot,” chirped the winner, Princy, who performed Chirmi, a Rajasthani folk dance in the talent round. Ravneet, winner in the male category said, “I have participated in many modelling hunts and shoots, but this is one of the most well organised events.” While many were novices, some of the participants had modelled earlier. A four-member jury – consisting of social activist Sanjana Jon, a choreographer Jayata Rohilla, model Shraddha Pandey, and fashion designer Deepak Singh – selected the winners.

Active Commuting Nagarro Software, a Gurgaon-based IT company, kickstarted its 'Active Commuting' campaign, championed by NASSCOM, to promote and support active commuting in the City. Nagarro put up cycle kiosks at its office premises, and held a 2-day display of cycles, to generate interest in its employees for the Campaign.

The Media Impact


Conference was held on the Future of Talent in Media and Communication Industry at a City Hotel. Industry leaders—from the fields of advertising, publishing, television, journalism, digital media, human resources and media education—gathered to discuss the need to make media education relevant to the working of the media and entertainment industry. Speakers included A.P Parigi, D.D Purkayastha, Sunil Lulla, Sunit Tandon, Dnyanada Chaudhary, Pramath Raj Sinha and Roshan Abbas, amongst others. The Conference was organised by exchange4media, the publishers of Impact.

C eleb W atch

5-11 July 2013


This Time Imran


ctor Imran Khan was spotted at DT City Centre, promoting his upcoming film, “Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai 2”. The cheering audience were exhilarated when Imran performed to 'Taiyyab Ali', a song in the Movie. The film, a sequel to the 2010 hit film, 'Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai', is directed by Milan Luthria and produced by Ekta and Shobha Kapoor.

Master Recipe

Strangely Unique

Masterchef (Season 2): Top 4 Vijaylaxmi


ndus Pride, India’s first specialty beer brewed with Indian spices, introduced the unique concept of StrangeBrew, along with leading musicians in the Indie Fusion space. The StrangeBrew Experience involved the curation of contemporary Indie music, alongside experimental Indian cuisine, paired with the four variants of Indus Pride. Rajasthan Roots, the musicians, performed at Attitude – perfectly pairing the food and the music.

Coconut Rice Pudding

(Organic Coconut Rice Pudding (Serving 4) Ing. 1 cup Organic Basmati rice, soaked ½ kg Milk 1 cup Milkmaid ½ cup organic Palm Sugar 1tspn Organic Saunf Powder 200gm Organic Coconut Milk 1 cup Organic Mango Relish 1 cup Organic Mango, diced ½ cup fresh Grated Coconut for garnish Banana leaf for plating

Method Cook rice with milk and milkmaid for 15 minutes on low flame. Add palm sugar and saunf powder. Mix well until it has blended. Cook for 20 minutes on slow flame and cover with lid. Add coconut milk and rice. Cook for 5 more minutes. Turn off heat and let it cool. Spoon out the rice pudding on the banana leaf and arrange mango relish on top. Add diced fresh mango and sprinkle with grated coconut. Place the banana leaf on a serving bowl. Serve immediately.


5-11 July 2013

C over S tory

I'm From I'm A Gurgaonite  Contd from p 1 is young or middle-aged, aspirational and has high purchasing power. Wellpaid private sector jobs have ensured a high level of security. They live their lives between their apartments in gated colonies, their offices (in Gurgaon or Delhi) and the malls. At the other extreme is the neo-rich local youth, who also have high purchasing power, but there is restlessness and a desire to match the lifestyles of the professional class. Cultural differences have become conflicting, rather than a binding force, says Bhawani Shankar Tripathy, a long-time City resident and activist. Because of the differences in various group personas, it is difficult to paint a common picture of a Gurgaonite, as there are many worlds in this growing City. Commenting on the basic traits of a Gurgaonite, Preeta Pradhan, Vice President, Marketing and Corporate Alliances, Authbridge, opines that one cannot generalise that a Gurgaonite is ‘more aggressive’. “More aggressive than whom? There are Gurgaonites who are aggressive just as there are residents who are polite, humble and cultured. But yes, considering the social dichotomy of the City, there are some who are brash, uncaring for rules and aggressive. For me Gurgaonites are a conscientious lot, aware of their rights, love to party hard after working hard, follow their passions and dreams and celebrate all festivals and occasions with gusto,” asserts Pradhan. Some say that the residents of the City are forced to wear masks. Since the majority are ‘outsiders’, they feel that being aggressive could save them from getting into difficult situations. Surekha Waldia, an entrepreneur who lives on Faridabad Road, says that Gurgaon residents are very progressive, but are forced to live in a dual world - posing to be something and craving for something else. “Gurgaon as a society has strived more for materialistic gains while thirsting for the spiritual side of life as well. The desire for a bigger car, bigger house is never ending, as everyone wants to outdo the others,” asserts Waldia. In comparison, a Delhiite knows the basic realities of life and prefers to pretend less. An important point that she makes is about the bubble around which the phenomenon called Gurgaon has been built by the real estate companies. “There are harsh ground realities that seem here to stay, but the snob factor continues to blow them away. The City will soon come down a few notches as the people are realizing that living in Gurgaon does not really offer salvation,” asserts Waldia. Bhawani Shanker Tripathy is more pessimistic about the prevailing social norms, which perhaps are a sum of the individual values of the citizens. “Like its concrete structures, I find Gurgaon socially hard. The basic human values of courtesy, warmth,

honest and togetherness are clearly missing. There is very little social or cultural integration, although one occasionally hears of some attempts limited to small homogenous groups”, says Tripathy. Manas Fuloria, Director, Naggaro, however says that young, prosperous Gurgaonites are mostly sober professionals, although they party hard once in a while, while secretly enjoying the notoriety of the “HR26” number plate. Some kids, who have grown up locally and come into real estate money, seem to just see the partying lifestyle and want to be a part of it. They are a little more aggressive, although they are mostly good at heart. In comparison to the young, the older Gurgaonites are a more diverse bunch, very similar to people found in different parts of Delhi. Similarly, the poor of Gurgaon are not distinguishable from the poor of Delhi, except that some ethnicities are more represented here, says Fuloria. On the aggression of Gurgaonites, Megha Jha, a Delhi-based professional who comes to Gurgaon for work, makes an interesting point. “As far as aggression is concerned I personally think it does not really matter whether the person belongs to Delhi or Gurgaon. The stress level is comparatively higher in this City, and that leads to a lot of aggressive behaviour. Gurgaon has a lot of traffic pressure as well as the pressure of migrants, along with other unplanned aspects that influence our daily life,” says Jha. Living in the City is like being in a pressure cooker – controlled heat, yet explodable if ignored and left to simmer. It is also important to consider whether this City has developed a culture of its own. Can Gurgaon, like Delhi and Mumbai, stamp a unique indelible tattoo on its residents, or is it still too young and immature to influence the community? It is felt that the evolution of Gurgaon as an IT, manufacturing and corporate hub has already generated a unique identity for the City - which also increases the pressure of expectation from the residents. Socially, while the City has a diverse all-India population, it also maintains a unique Haryanvi identity – and yet is considered more to be a part of Delhi. However, while it is a political and administrative pariah,

it is most important as a milch-cow for the State government - a fact that immensely angers the young as well as the old residents, who want better treatment from the authorities. Fuloria, who is an activist, and firmly believes in the future of Gurgaon, says: I think an activist identity is evolving. If it catches on, it might have farreaching consequences, as Gurgaon is a more tightly-knit city than, say, Delhi. Jayaa P Nayarr, a Gurgaonbased numerologist, says that this City is more relaxed and gives space to the residents, but there is no specific cultural trait that has evolved. “The crowd is of a very floating kind here. It is an emerging city with no definite common culture. The condominiums here seem to define the lifestyle,” she says. Waldia however feels that this City is an island of affluence without

Fuloria gives a more sporty definition of the difference between the residents of the two cities. “Hopefully in the future the way to differentiate a Delhiite and a Gurgaonite will be that the Gurgaonite will be on a bicycle,” he quips! an original lifeline, history or culture. “People here are for money, jobs and business. There is nothing that is binding, and I personally would not want to spend my retired life here,” she asserts. A majority of the City residents identify themselves with the spirit of freedom and the diverse opportunities that Gurgaon allows them. Preeta Pradhan says that the collective City identity that she identifies with is of a motley group that believes in exploring life to its fullest. Tripathy opines that the pride of citizenship of the City is still not a strong point with the residents here. There is no joint definition by the different classes of people on how they want their City to develop. Whatever activism is witnessed

Gurgaon seems to be demarcated culturally in three segments: the corporate, the local who has seen Gurgaon expand, and those who became rich overnight with real estate. To evolve as a defined community, Gurgaon has to synergize these three segments, and that will take time. To many City watchers the evolution of Gurgaon into a metropolis will be dependent on how the old and the new, educated and the not so educated, the haves and the have-nots find common ground – in this land of sky-high aspirations and far-flung opportunities

is limited to the boundaries of one’s residential colony, or one or two local issues. This will have to change, and the civil society will have to play an important part in awakening people politically and socially. Delhi has a more awakened and evolved citizenry. Is there a genetic difference between a Delhiite and a Gurgaonite? Is there any meeting ground between the two cities? The differentiating factor might just be marginal. “I believe almost 50 per cent of the people living in Delhi travel to Gurgaon as a part of their daily routine, which makes both these places not so differentiated. Yes of course in some areas Delhi outshines Gurgaon, and vice versa. I feel that Gurgaon has a lot of options for leisure, and often choose to come here for weekends,” says Megha Jha, who lives in Dwarka. Amish Jain, a resident of South Delhi, who has an office in Gurgaon, says that there’s a lot of difference in terms of the demography, culture and mindset of people. While Delhi is still a little conservative in her approach, Gurgaon is more bold and full of young blood.   What does living in Gurgaon mean to different people in this City? Are they here basically for money, lifestyle and entrepreneurship? Why does every one want to buy a home in Gurgaon? Is it only for speculation, or is there something special in the City? Suman Dash, an entrepreneur, says that there are a lot opportunities for individuals to unleash their creative energies, and do what they want to do. “Gurgaon is about positive attitude and nurturing talent, which goes a long way,” says Dash.   For Pradhan, living in Gurgaon is great. “I love the freedom it gives in terms of the nature of activities I can indulge in - like going for walks in the Aravallis with friends, watching theatre and music shows, and spending time in cafes. It allows me to live independently. Accessibility to markets, banks and hospitals is good. There are great communities in Gurgaon for walkers, book lovers, theatre lovers and art lovers, and it is easy for single women like me to find their niche,” she says. For many others, Gurgaon is a great city but very badly planned, and that is a clear cause for concern. Paucity of safe and public transport, ill-lit streets and not sufficient police patrolling are a bane for the people. Not having your own conveyance can lead to nightmarish incidents. Lack of pavements makes it difficult to walk even short distances, says Pradhan. The list could go on… The most optimistic comment about living in Gurgaon comes from Manas Fuloria, who feels that living here gives you an opportunity to shape the future of a young, dynamic city; of a microcosm that will house the aspirations of an entire country – and especially of the youth. There may be many hurdles along the path, but a strong faith in the soul of the City, and the abilities of its residents, will help Gurgaon transform itself into a truly Millennium City – a name that it was given fairly prematurely.u

5-11 July 2013

 Contd from p 1 Further, the City is appreciated for having a growing population of youth groups, who are very active in theatre and other forms of art. Bharat Chahal, an aspiring guitarist says, “The kind of opportunities one can get in the City, one can’t get anywhere else. As people are more educated and exposed to foreign culture, they respect rock music. Moreover due to unavailability of young artists, most pubs give you an opportunity to play.” When it comes to cultural confluence, youngsters in the City have a different outlook than those in Delhi. When migrants settled down in the Capital, they formed their own colonies – such as Chittaranjan Park for Bengalis, Punjabi Bagh for Punjabis, and Baniya Colony (in East Delhi) for Baniyas. However, in Gurgaon, people from different cultures live together, thanks to the condominium culture. Heritage City, for instance, has a fair share of people from different states of India, who live together in harmony. Due to the coexistence of diverse cultures, people celebrate all festivals together. “Before coming to the City I had only read about the (Assamese) Bihu festival in my textbooks. I saw people celebrating it in my condominium this year,” says Ridhi Chawla, 12, who moved from Bangalore to the City last year. The most wonderful thing in condominiums is that people respect other religions and celebrate all festivals and ceremonies with equal zeal. Besides, most of them speak English, which makes it easier for everybody to communicate and feel comfortable in the condominium. To many youngsters who moved from small towns to the City, what makes the City attractive is the workaholic nature of its youth. “Whether they are running their own businesses in Sadar Bazaar or working with an MNC in Cyber City, you will always find young Gurgaonites rushing to get somewhere. The youngsters in the City have great energy level and zeal,” feels Dheera, a 25-year-old teacher in an international school. When she moved from Lucknow to the City some seven years ago, she used to live in a PG accommodation. Today she has her own car and an apartment in Park View. When asked about the key characteristics of a young Gurgaonite, Dheera says, “I think that the City has the largest population of the most competitive youth. Gurgaonites have an innate tendency to compete. They display this tendency in all walks of life – from racing ahead of other cars on the road, to competing in sports and outdoing each other in their display of wealth.”

But some want to move out

There are a few who feel that the City has no soul, and thus it is very hard for a youngster to identify with it. While the City offers more than 20 international schools, there is not even a single good university here. That is why those who are born and brought up here generally plan to go abroad for higher studies. Some who come to the City for better employment opportunities make large amounts of money and later move to other cities, like Mumbai and Bangalore, in search of a safer environment.

I'm From

I'm A Gurgaonite This is undoubtedly the dual nature of young Gurgaonites — full of enthusiasm for the City on the one hand, and big aspirations to settle down abroad on the other. 17-yearold Dhairya, who studies in Scottish High International, is bustling with energy and passion to make it big in life. She scored a good percentage in Class 10 and had taken non-medical science as her subjects. She also has many national awards to her credit. But after passing out from the 12th standard, she wants to join a Canadian University. “I enjoy the nightlife of the City. I love shopping at the Ambience Mall; to me it is better than the malls in Singapore. But when it comes to building my career, I don’t think Gurgaon is a good place. I don’t want my children to live in a City where rapes take place in broad daylight, and kids are molested by domestic help,” she says. A Class 11th student, Kavya, seconds her

I think that the City has the largest population of the most competitive youth. Gurgaonites have an innate tendency to compete. Akriti, another student, says, “The City is way behind Bangalore and Mumbai, where the pub culture is very inclusive. Unlike in Gurgaon, a woman entering a pub is not looked down upon in most other metros.” While the clash of cultures seems to be the heart of the problem, Sanjay Yadav, a 22-year-old resident of ‘old’ Gurgaon, has an entirely different opinion. He feels that while children studying in government schools are over-exposed to the positives of urban culture, those who study in international schools are never exposed to Haryanvi culture. “Most of the City’s much

This is undoubtedly the dual nature of young Gurgaonites — full of enthusiasm for the City on the one hand, and big aspirations to settle down abroad on the other. views. His father’s dream is to send him to the US. “A condominium culture and swanky buildings are all fine. The issue is the attitude of the people. My parents say that the US provides opportunities for youngsters, even if you have no connection with politicians and builders,” he says. Another issue is that the City is still not prepared to meet the expectations of many youngsters. It can’t even provide them some basic amenities. For instance, there is no dearth of residential skyscrapers in the City, but affordable housing remains a major challenge. This is going to be the biggest challenge in the City over the next 10 years. Naman, 26, who lives in a 2-BHK apartment says, “I am planning to move to Chandigarh, as I want to buy a big house – which is not possible in this City. The average cost of a 3-BHK apartment in any condominium is at least Rs. 1 crore. I don’t think that I will be able to save that much money even in the next 10 years.”

Clash of Cultures

There are a few people who feel that youngsters in the City are a spoiled lot. “I think what makes a young Gurgaonite different from youngsters living in other metro cities is that they follow a ‘no-rules’ driving here. If a car overtakes them it is taken as an insult. Lane driving is an unknown phenomenon,” says Dheeraj, a student at IILM. He feels that the attitude of youngsters has much to do with the clash of cultures here. He says, “Locals have earned loads of money by selling their land, but they don’t know how to spend it. They think of women in a certain way, and can’t come to terms with the idea of a modern woman; while those living in condominiums display a global attitude!” The pub culture in the City has been spoiled by regressive mindsets.

sought-after clubs are out of bounds for the villagers, because they do not fit the ‘profile’. Access to private schools is equally difficult for rural children, despite their immense material prosperity. This is what makes them aggressive,” he feels.

To Make a Difference

Vidushi Mehta, a student of Sociology in Amity International, suggests that there is a need to initiate interaction between the youth of ‘new’ and ‘old’ Gurgaon. Recounting her experience, she says, “During my visit to a local gym, my interaction with the youngsters who came from the nearby villages and ‘old’ Gurgaon helped me look at them differently. It is so unfortunate that they are often

C over S tory


labelled as aggressive and uncivilised, and thus ignored by residents of ‘new’ Gurgaon. However, I have noticed that they have immense dedication towards, say, body-building. They are extremely focused. One can see their determination when they work out. I have not ever seen them ogle at any woman or flirt with them. I think our inherent bias and distrust is as much the cause for this cultural divide.” Urmilla also feels the same. “The so called ‘urban population’ seems to be more stressed out than the villagers. Those who live in plush societies need to look at themselves. When I moved to the City, I wondered if I was the only one stressed out. I realised that our frustration lies within. From that day I started looking at the City differently,” she smiles. She rightly says that sports can be used as a point of interaction between the ‘two worlds’ that exist in the City today. Unfortunately, most of the new-age schools don’t send their students to the district-level and state-level championships. If youngsters are encouraged to participate in such tournaments, there is a huge possibility of healthy interaction between the rural and urban children. There is a need for ‘new’ Gurgaonites to visit the small rural pockets in their neighbourhood. It will not only help in better understanding the rural culture, but also help them learn about various art and cultural forms. It is also important for parents to realise that a child needs to have freedom and space, where s/he is respected and is not curbed by social peer pressure. Today, children in the Millennium City live in a very harsh world. Parents teach them to dress in a certain ‘acceptable’ way, and generally glorify life in foreign countries. The youngsters therefore feel the pressure to do things they might not really want to do. In this millennium, we should let our children be who they want to be – no matter how they look, where they come from, and who they are. It will help them feel more proud of their surroundings and the people around, and they would then love to call themselves Gurgaonites. u

New Investment Horizons Rajnish Mohan

Investment opportunity in Gurgaon is getting limited to the rich. Property prices have touched unreachable heights, leaving very little scope for mid segment investors and buyers of Gurgaon. New horizons are coming up in Neemrana-BehrorShahpura region for Gurgaon residents, who find the zone very lucrative and promising. The Rajasthan Govt. has declared this zone as new Hi-tech City on the lines of Bangalore. The Govt has proposed Rs. 54,055 cr for dwelling the area. Projects on NH8 (Gugaon-Neemrana-Shahpura-Jaipur) are ready to meet the requirements of all future buyers. Shahpura is recognised as a fast developing town in Rajasthan, especially with respect to infrastructure, real estate and setting up of industries. The construction of ‘Global City’ has been approved by the government, which is to be developed over an area of 40,000 acres in NeemranaBehror-Shahpura region, with an expenditure of 54000 Crores. Apart from this, the area will also house a Cyber City, MediCity, Knowledge City, Entertainment City, SEZ City, World Trade City and a Bio-diversity Park. Each city will have its own commercial area. This way, employment will be generated for thousands of people in the neighbouring areas. Education for residents will also be easily available in the vicinity. Projects on NH-8 are suitable and highly rewarding for new investors who have small money to invest over period of time.


The Write Choice { Anita Jaswal }

Parul Mittal, nee Agarwal, is the author of two national best selling novels: Heartbreaks & Dreams! – The Girls @ IIT, and Arranged Love. “I believe that the best ideas are living inside you. Your challenge is to dig them out. Do the writing that only you can do. That becomes you, your style the most durable thing in writing. It pays off slowly. Your agent may initially sneer, and your publisher may not understand. It may take someone you have never heard of to convince them,” advises Parul. Born and brought up in Delhi, she is married to Alok Mittal and has two daughters - Smiti and Muskaan. She did her BTech. in Electrical Engineering from IIT Delhi, followed by a Masters in Computer Science from UMich, Ann Arbor. After twelve years in the corporate world (Hughes, IBM Research and Nextag), she is now running an e-venture called RivoKids. RivoKids offers parents smart ideas to

{ Shilpy Arora/FG }


riday Gurgaon had highlighted the plight of women commuters at IFFCO Chowk, and we are happy to see that the City police have undertaken some specific measures to curb crime against women in this area. Shraddha (name changed), a 22-year-old resident of Suncity, who commutes regularly to Delhi for work says, “IFFCO Chowk has always been one of the unsafe areas in the City, due to the lack of traffic and non-functional streetlights. One could see many drunken men and eve-teasing even around the IFFCO Chowk Metro Station. However, the situation has changed now. With better policing and the installment of CCTV, the area has become fairly safe.” The new police booth near the IFFCO Chowk Metro Station has made a big difference. “I think IFFCO Chowk is a success story that can be replicated in the whole of the City. Earlier it was a breeding ground for drunken rickshaw pullers and robbers. Now just a few street vendors are allowed to sit near the station. You will always find a policeman nearby. The initiatives taken by the police in the last three

C ivic/S ocial

5-11 July 2013

raise bright and happy kids, and also free online memory books to capture some fun parenting moments. Apart from reading and writing fiction, Parul loves listening to old Hindi music, cannot resist jiving to dance beats, loves to party with friends and has a keen interest in staying fit. A lot of my friends ask me how I got down to writing a fiction novel – especially since I was not, ‘typically’, on

my school’s editorial board. Frankly, it has surprised me more. As with many firsttime authors, the true answer is: “It just happened”. One day my husband, who was one year my senior in college, brought home a fiction novel, ‘Five Point Someone’. He said Chetan Bhagat had written the book, and had gifted him a copy. I was a bit surprised. For one, I didn’t know my husband was good friends

with Chetan. Second, Chetan was my batch-mate. Now, that was cool. I got very excited and read the book at one sitting. I simply loved it. It brought back so many memories of the good, old college days. All of a sudden I had this very strong urge to tell the world something – especially as a woman. I have been fighting for women’s equality for long. I felt that I could write ... if I tried hard enough. I guess it also has something to do with beeing an IITian – we have oodles of confidence. However, the reality check was that I had only written technical reports and research papers till then and creativity was not my forte. Besides, things change a bit once you get married and have kids. With work, and two little girls, I just couldn’t see myself do anything else. The final trigger came in the form of a book written by Alok Goyal, a close friend and a senior from IIT. He had written a book about his love story - not for public consumption, but just circulated among friends. Reading his book gave me that last bit of inspiration and confidence that I can do it. And I did ! Heartbreaks & Dreams! is a glimpse into the life inside the Pigeon-hole - as the girls’ hostel in IIT was called by the other side of the campus. And Arranged Love is a racy comedy about exploring true love. Both her novels have the

Gurgaon Police Initiative months have shown great results,” says Aditya Sharma, a resident of DLF Phase IV.

Women Police

The first and the most important step taken by the City Police was to set up a special Women’s Helpdesk at the IFFCO Chowk Metro Station, for the safety and convenience of women. “It is so convenient. One can lodge a complaint relating to eve-teasing, harassment and robbery at the Metro Helpdesk itself. One doesn’t need to go to the police station to register a complaint,” says Shraddha. “Six policewomen are deployed at the IFFCO Chowk Helpdesk. We work in two shifts - one from 6am to 3pm, and the other from 3pm to 9pm. After 9pm, while returning home on the Metro, we continue to keep a lookout for any untoward activity against women,” says a policewoman at the IFFCO Chowk Metro Station.

CCTV Surveillance

The City Police have in-

stalled CCTV cameras at IFFCO Chowk. Incidents of robbery, theft, eve-teasing and traffic violation can now easily be recorded. The CCTV is monitored round-the-clock by two traffic police officials at the office of the DCP. “The presence of the camera is a kind of psychological deterrent. That is why surveillance through closed-circuit cameras has been found to be most effective - be it for combating crime or managing traffic,” says a policeman. Interestingly, these cameras are installed to keep a check on the road also, and are not just for the Metro Station.

Police seek public help

The Police has appealed to the Residents’ Welfare Associations (RWAs) to instal cameras in their

colonies. “Earlier people had this tendency to touch unattended items in public places, but now we have become aware that they could be dangerous. Similarly, we should feel the need for surveillance, and instal systems at our apartment complexes,” says DCP Maheshwar Dayal. He feels that Gurgaon citizens should welcome the need for surveillance. Besides, society’s attitudes towards women should change at home as well as at the office. “We should have a society that recognizes and rewards those who have positive attitudes towards women, including rape victims and lesbians. I think that at the time of the recruitment of government servants, or senior officials in a company, and even police officers, it is important to check their attitudes towards women,” says a policewoman at the IFFCO Chowk Metro Station. She feels that the community and the Police need to work together to make the City safer for women.

What the Police need to do Sometimes




intoxicating ‘tadka’ of her unique humour. “Humour is an integral part of our everyday interactions. Our inherent desire to laugh motivates us to share funny YouTube videos, and respond to text messages with an LOL or the iconic Smiley face. When push comes to punch, we’d rather laugh than lie face down and weep into the carpet. While we normally think of comedy in terms of exaggeration or fabrication, effective humour can be just as much about creative misdirection—engaging readers by taking them someplace they don’t expect to go—and subtly choosing metaphors and words that make readers giggle without even knowing why. A smiling reader is one who’s paying attention and eager to read on. I believe any story can benefit from a touch of humour. I have a penchant for tickling the funny bone. So when I sit to write something based on a real life story, the funny parts erupt easily. This does not mean that everybody will find them funny - humour can be subjective. I read somewhere – ‘Dance above the surface of the world. Let your thoughts lift you into creativity that is not hampered by opinion.’ For me, just me, my music and the voices in my head – from even imaginary friends - is enough.” u presence of CCTV cameras, crimes like eve-teasing and robberies take place. Neelima Bhatia, a regular commuter to Delhi, says, “Despite the Police having installed cameras even on the road, many people still jump the red lights. Some of them even stop their cars in front of women and offer them lifts. The reason is that our monitoring is not as intense and effective as it should be. They don’t know what to look for, and how to look for it. What I experienced in cities like London is that they have a very systematic method of recording each and every violation. We are good at ‘introductions’, but there is no discipline of follow-up. The maintenance of the cameras also is poor, and no one seems to know how to save the recorded tapes. A friend of mine was robbed near IFFCO Chowk. She went to the police station next day to have access to the CCTV footage. But the police said they didn’t have enough memory to save all the CCTV footage. They only save footage of the current day.” The Police therefore need to be trained to make better use of technology – which is going to be a key enabler for them in the future. u

11 Big Brother Will Watch You...Soon C ivic

5-11 July 2013

{ Abhishek Behl / FG }

write to us at



e live in the age of cities. In fact India is urbanizing at breakneck speed. We have moved quickly from farms to industrialised and service oriented cities. The massive expansion of Delhi and NCR is closely related to this transformation. However, this growth has also brought with it major problems, due to the intense population density, poor infrastructure and huge income disparities. It is being predicted that security would be the most important challenge for 'mega-cities', where crowded masses are increasingly being left to devise their own means by inefficient and corrupt governments - leading to collective despair and even rage. Experts warn that our mega-cities could be threatened and over-run by a combination of local criminals, organised crime and international terror. Realising the gravity of this security threat, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had embarked on a plan, as early as 200506, to expand the operational capacity of the police force in seven Indian cities, under the 'Mega-city Policing' project. Under this Plan, the police forces of Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Kolkata and Bangalore were allocated special funds to purchase specialised equipment, weaponry, surveillance cameras and other new technology, to make these cities more secure and safe. Although the Mega-city Policing plan has had mixed success across the country, the Delhi Police (working directly under MHA) has been reasonably successful in modernising its operational and execution capabilities. This has so impressed the Haryana government that recently it demanded the introduction of the Mega-city Policing system to Gurgaon and Faridabad – key 'guardian' border cities of the Capital. Pertinently, one third of the crime in Haryana is witnessed in cities that are part of the National Capital Region (NCR) – with Gurgaon and Faridabad being the major contributors. Sandeep Goyal, Joint Commissioner, Economic Offences Wing, Delhi Police, who is also in-charge of the Mega-city Policing project, told Friday Gurgaon that, “Our prime focus has been to boost surveillance capability, introduce technology to manage information, improve connectivity among the police stations, and manage and analyse data scientifically - so that crime prevention and detention is more effective.” In the first phase of the Plan, 31 highly-crowded areas in the Capital, including 26 markets and five border posts, were brought under CCTV surveillance. These cameras have helped the police in tracking criminals and investigating terror attacks, which was very difficult earlier. “The cameras have ensured 'target-hardening', and also helped dissuade criminals and terrorists from carrying out attacks,” asserts Goyal. The cameras, and additional surveillance, have also deterred routine offenders like chain snatchers and

pick pockets, as they know they can now be spotted easily. In the second phase, 36 more places will be brought under CCTV, while the third phase will see important government and public buildings brought under the lens. Funds have been sought from MHA, to bring 400 locations under CCTV, which will mean putting 5,000 cameras on the ground. Goyal says that there is a plan to have a total of 7,000 cameras in operation, whose feed will be analysed at the special C4I Centre (Command, Control, Co-ordination and Communication Centre), where Video Analytics has also been introduced to check the feeds. These cameras are equipped to automatically capture the number plates of vehicles, which helps to keep a tab on suspicious and stolen vehicles. Under the Safe City project, Goyal reveals that Beat Constables and PCR van personnel will be given Digital Palm

Assistants, through which they can access the information data base that is stored on centralised servers. This information could be related to criminal records, background and antecedent checks and tracking of suspects and stolen vehicles; later on even fingerprinting records would be made available. Today every police station in Delhi is equipped with an Automatic Fingerprinting System, which is connected to a central database having the fingerprints of 2 lakhs criminals. “We can check the fingerprints through the machines in just a minute. The police, under the modernisation plan, have also digitised dossiers, history sheets and crime records, and the same are now available to police officials at the touch of a button,” says Goyal. Local police stations have been put on the ‘Cyber Highway’, a high bandwidth corridor that ensures that data and

Gurgaon Police says P

olice Commissioner Alok Mittal, who has been very active since his taking over as the City Police Chief, told Friday Gurgaon that the City is unique in that it requires a more 'modern' police, since it functions in mostly an urban setting. They are moving towards that goal, but it is a gradual process. In his opinion, if Gurgaon is brought under the Mega-city Policing project, it will be a great boost to the force in terms of resource augmentation and the maximisation of capabilities. “We have put up our requirements to the State government, which has raised the issue with the Home Ministry,” says Mittal. He adds that the Gurgaon Police will be able to increase street visibility, focus on economic and ITrelated crimes and manage traffic in a more scientific manner if the resources are made more comparable with Delhi. “Gurgaon works round the clock, and so we definitely need more manpower, a women's police force, more vehicles and technology. However, it is not as though we are not improving our systems,” he says. The Gurgaon Police will instal cameras on busy chowks, and a start has been made with IFFCO Chowk. The Police Commissioner also has a firm belief in the better and regular training of policemen, as the modes of crimes, and the methods, are increasingly becoming sophisticated. An important issue that needs to be handled carefully is how to keep an eye on people from outside the State. There are many job seekers who do not have a stake here, and they easily turn to crimes if they lose their jobs. A community feeling is missing in this City, Mittal adds. The Gurgaon Police also has its hands full in handling crime related to property disputes and family disputes, as also helping senior citizens. The VIP Security culture is also fast catching up. All this requires a massive increase in resources, which either the State government or the Ministry of Home Affairs needs to provide. Till then policing will remain a challenge in this growing metropolis.

information flows seamlessly, and is shared with ease. Goyal says that it would be a great boost for the Gurgaon Police if it joins the technology and information bandwagon, as major challenges are likely to crop up due to the fast growth of population in this City. “We have good co-ordination with them, and they should surely expand their capabilities - both virtual and real,” he asserts. Prior to the Commonwealth Games the Home Ministry had also sanctioned Rs 200 crores for the modernization of traffic and communication infrastructure, so that the expected increased flow of traffic from the satellite cities to the Capital (and vice-versa) could be managed smoothly. It was under this Mega-city Policing Plan that a large number of Delhi roads were brought under a new signalling system. However, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report has been critical of the manner in which the Delhi Police has failed to use the funds made available for the communications branch. It also alleged that deficient planning had led to the non-implementation of the intelligent Traffic Management system. The CAG report also pulled up the Delhi Police for failing to effectively utilize the Cyber Highway, with a large number of cameras installed by the traffic unit not being connected to this Highway. The Police had also failed to instal the Digital Police Logger, and other such services, for which funds had been provided. Why Haryana Needs Mega-City Policing The fast expansion in cities like Gurgaon has not been matched by improvements in infrastructure. Since Haryana surrounds the National Capital Territory from three sides, there is need for an integrated approach to handle crime and manage law and order in the area, say security experts. Criminals manage to move seamlessly between the two states, as Haryana has a long border. However, there is a vast disparity between the quality and quantity of the policing levels between Delhi and even Gurgaon (the prime city of Haryana). There has not been much change in the policepopulation ratio in Haryana in the last two decades. In 1991, this ratio was 17.96 per 10,000 persons; in 2007 it was 21.66, and there has been nominal improvement in the last half decade. The Police Report says that there was one police official for 556 population in 1991, while in 2001 there was one police official for 461 persons. Delhi, in comparison, had one police official for 269 population in 2005. The analysis of crime data further accentuates the demand for inclusion of Gurgaon and Faridabad under the Megacity Policing plan. Police officials admit that there is high criminality in the NCR, owing to a huge urban influx, a large floating population, a rapid increase in Bangladeshi migrants, and the weakening of community bonds in both rural and urban settings. All this calls for urgent reinforcement of the police set-up in these cities, in terms of communication, equipment, manpower and the computerisation of criminal records. u

12 { Shilpy Arora }


aunched in 2004, Central Park II claims to offer the beauty and serenity of a resort. It has been designed keeping in mind the needs of people who have travelled all over the world and have a certain taste for their living spaces. It is one of the few condominiums that offers multiple and special sports and recreational facilities – like golfing and horse riding, a state-of-the-art 4.5km long jogging track, a large sized swimming pool, and a world-class club house. Electric golf carts are available for residents to commute within the Complex. With over 1,706 apartments in 29 towers, Central Park II offers 3BHK and 4BHK apartments, 3BHK townhouses, and 4BHK penthouses. It also promises to be one of the most dog-friendly condominiums in the City. It not only provides special parks and swimming pools for dogs, but also has a state-of-the-art dog toilet in the Condominium. “We had laid down unique facilities and infrastructure for dogs in the initial map of the Project. We offer facilities for almost all species, both big and small,” says a resident, who was also the part of the planning committee and worked with the builder, Sweta Estates Private Limited. He also informs that Central Park II is the only condominium on Sohna Road that offers a 20-acre central garden, two levels of basement parking, and 24-hour power and water supply.

The Residents’ Story

One of the major issues in the Condominium is that the builder is now

{ Vidya Raja }


5-11 July 2013

Paradise Lost focusing on the second phase of construction, while the first phase is not yet completed. The Project is divided into four phases. While Phase 1 is called Bellevue, with Towers 1 to 9, Phase 2 is Belgravia, with Towers 10 to 19; Phase 3, Belgravia, is with Towers 20 to 27, and Phase 4 is Belair with two Towers. Despite the builder having taken bookings for Towers 1 to 9, and nearly 300 families already living there, there has been little progress in the completion of common facilities. Shockingly, residents are paying a huge escalation cost for the delayed construction. “On the one hand we pay EMI, and on the other a huge escalation cost. We appeal that a stronger action needs to be taken against such builders. We also seek help from the media to highlight this issue. I am glad that Friday Gurgaon has come forward to cover our so called ‘condominium’,” says a 35-yearold IT professional, whose 60 per cent salary goes into the EMI and escalation cost. Other issues arising due to the construction starting for the second phase, are that the roads are being damaged by the builder’s trucks. It also causes a lot of noise pollution, even at night. The Condominium is partially dug up, for the

construction of the central two towers. A member of the RWA alleges that the under construction towers are not being created as per the initial plan shown by the builder. “Due to the random layout changes made by the builder, we had gone to the court last year. The court has instructed the government agencies to resolve the issues within three months. But nothing has been done yet,” he says. Although the builder promises a range of facilities in Central Park II, most of them are not currently usable. Swimming pools, the clubhouse, amphitheatre, and multipurpose halls on the rooftops of Towers 1 to 9 are not ready for use. Facilities like the club, nursery school, creche, and EWS quarters are also non-functional. The builder is also not ready to hand over these facilities to the RWA. Residents are also not happy with the construction material used by the builder. Many of the apartments and buildings are facing water and seepage issues. “The lifts of two of the buildings have been damaged due to water leakage,” informs a member of the RWA. The electrical fixtures are also not installed properly. “Many switches pro-

vided in the apartments have no purpose. The electricians and the electrical engineers themselves seem confused. These unplanned electrical fittings, along with heavy seepage in buildings, make our apartments prone to electric shock and fire,” he says. Residents also allege that the vitrified tiles in most of the apartments are cracked, discoloured, stained and unevenly fixed. “It seems that these tiles are from leftover stocks and were fixed at least 12 months to 18 months before possession. There is a lot of wear and tear, as a lot of construction was done while trampling on these tiles. We feel cheated,” says Sukhi, a resident. Besides, the wooden tiles used in the bedrooms are not “wooden”; these are made of artificial material. Poor security is also an issue. The Condominium keeps no record of visitors. “It is shocking that while visitors are asked to enter their names, car numbers, mobile numbers and time, while entering the builder’s office, no such practice is followed when visitors enter the Condominium. Moreover, there is no female security guard. While the builder promises that it is a world class condominium, I feel that it is one of the most unsafe condominiums,” says a 19-year-old resident. The Project seems in a sorry state of affairs. The central garden, talked of prominently by the builder in advertisements, is still not accessible to the current residents. The residents feel that the Project may take at least five years to complete. They will have to continue to live amidst the construction dust and noise pollution till then - besides facing other issues relating to lack of security and poor construction. u

act), or specialized remedies such as the Consumer Disputes Redressal Forums.” Filing a suit can prove to be an expensive and timeconsuming process for the plaintiff. If the damages one is claiming are substantial, then filing a suit is of some use. However, when not, being part of a Class action lawsuit may prove beneficial. Class action lawsuits allow a large group of injured parties (however ‘small’) to receive their just compensation. Speaking about the efficacy of such suits, Preeti said, “I think the efficacy will remain doubtful, until we develop a culture of respect for the rights of people, and a strong justice-delivery mechanism. In a country where the respect for even fundamental rights is reaching all-time lows, it is difficult to see this culture evolve. The Bhopal gas leak case illustrates the practical problems of the workability of Class action lawsuits. In this case the complicated procedures made it difficult for the victims to prosecute a Class action lawsuit. The Government saw this as a convenient opportunity to take over, and exercised a right of ‘in parens patriae’ (literally translates to ‘parent of the nation’, and denotes the State acting as a legal guardian) to appropriate the claims of the victims. The compensation ultimately awarded was measly, and the Government came under a lot of criticism for its failure to criminally prosecute the main actors in the incident. Ideally, in a system such as the American legal system, this would have been the perfect case for a Class action lawsuit, with the necessary legal and other resources provided to the victims, to ensure that they could fight well for their right to compensation. The problems plaguing Class action lawsuits in India are part of the larger problems with the system, with delays and procedure leaving most civil actions in a muddle.” While the new Companies Bill contains a provision enabling Class action lawsuits against companies, in respect of consumer cases the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission recently refused to entertain a Class action on the ground that the Consumer Protection Act will apply only in relation to complaints of specific persons defined as a ‘consumer’; and that the Act envisages a speedy, summary remedy. This comes a setback to consumers, who will have to continue to file individual complaints to seek redressal. Class action lawsuits would help keep companies, their management, directors and auditors on their toes. The hope is that Class action lawsuits become a tool for social and economic reform, and are also used to promote consumer protection in India. The writer is a qualified legal professional who has practiced before the Madras and Karnataka High Courts u

The Law & Beyond

e have grown up hearing the fable about an ailing father who called his three sons to his deathbed, asking them to each break a twig. When they succeeded, he asked them to bundle the three twigs together and then try breaking them. They failed in this exercise, even after considerable effort, thereby teaching them, and us, a very important life-lesson - in unity there is always strength. Yet, as grown-ups, we seem to forget this moral. In 2009 India woke up to the concept of ‘Class action lawsuits’, through one of corporate India’s dark hours - the Satyam scandal. A Class action lawsuit is one that is brought by one party on behalf of a group of individuals, to file for claims against erring companies in a court of law. A concept that originated and found popularity in the United States of America, Class action lawsuits find prominence in many developed countries. This legal remedy was made famous by the movie Erin Brockovich, in which Julia Roberts led a Class action lawsuit against a power company that had polluted a community’s water supply. There are broadly three basic requirements for recognition of a Class action lawsuit. One, the claim must be deemed legal; two, the group of plaintiffs must have the same complaint, and each of the individual claims must be of such a size that dealing with them individually would be too time-consuming and costly for the court; and three, the lead plaintiff must stand to represent the entire class fairly and accurately, and ensure that the awards are distributed appropriately. In 2009 when the shareholders of Satyam Computer Services went from the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission to the Supreme Court, and yet were unable to get any substantial compensation, some of their counterparts in the United States, who owned American Depositary Receipts, made the Company commit to paying $125 million in settlement, by taking recourse to the strong Class action lawsuit framework. The Satyam scandal perhaps acted as the catalyst that led the Indian legislature to frame the Class action lawsuit Bill. Explaining India’s position on it, Preeti Mohan, a lawyer practising civil and corporate law, said, “I would say India has still not woken up. The larger reason is that claims in tort are hardly prosecuted in our system. Owing to the complications in procedure and delays in justice delivery, the writ remedies have taken over. You don’t typically see suits being filed for common torts such as negligence, nuisance etc. - either for individual causes or those affecting a larger class of people. People take recourse to either Writ Petitions (these are filed under the Constitution, to force the State machinery to

C ivic/S ocial

K id C orner

5-11 July 2013


Literary Flourish

Kids Brainticklers

Shivani Ahuja, Class 6 The Shri Ram School, Aravali


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

Priyal Jain, Delhi Public School, Sector-45, Gurgaon; Class- 4th B

Artistic Strokes


5-11 July 2013

K id C orner

Ryan International School, Sohna Road

Boxing Champ

Chess Angel


aibhav Aggarwal of Class XII won the Angel’s Chess Championship organised at Foundation Chess Academy, Sector-39. In this 2-day Event, Vaibhav, a Gold Medalist, gave a tough fight to all the competitors of the 4-18 category, by scoring 4.5 out of 5. The School Principal, Dr. Mouna Gupta, congratulated Vaibhav on his grand success and wished him the best for his future ventures.

Developing Personalities


hubham and Saurav Bhardwaj of Class 12 participated in the under-18 category at the 7th Districtlevel Boxing Championship, held at MLA Senior Secondary School, Pataudi. Shubham won the Gold Medal in the Heavyweight Championship, while Saurabh won the Silver in the Lightweight Championship. Principal Dr. Mauna Gupta lauded the efforts of the boys.


he School organised a Personality Development Workshop for teachers, to rejuvenate their learning after the summer break. Manvinder Kaur Brar conducted the Workshop. Teachers actively participated and had a great learning experience.

Mango Art

Education the CBS Way


hiranjiv Bharti School held a Workshop for its teachers to help them understand the true purpose of education. The Workshop was conducted by the Executive Director of the School, Goldy Malhotra. She spoke about the importance of unveiling the true potential of students, and emphasised the necessity of inculcating the 2Cs, 2Rs and 1H method of teaching. She urged the facilitators to encourage students to be courageous, compassionate, responsible, respectful and honest. She also highlighted the necessity of focusing on content, by stressing on the correct methodology and the judicious use of aids. She encouraged the teachers to take informal tests, in order to focus on long-time learning. She also gave valuable suggestions to track creativity and to plan out homework – that would help students to both revise and explore.

If you are not getting FG copies regularly

SMS NR to 08447355801


ver 60 children participated in the Art & Craft Competition, at the Mango Festival and Handicraft Bazaar. Held at The Grand Mall, MG Road, the Festival was organised by Full O Dreamz Entertainment Pvt. Ltd. The children contributed beautiful paintings and crafts, and enjoyed free mango-tasting sessions. Winners were awarded exciting prizes and trophies, sponsored by Sterling Holidays. Srijaa and Saksham were the winners of the Mega Prize, a 3-days and 2-nights holiday package, provided by Sterling Holidays.

5-11 July 2013


Gender Sensitisation

Ryan International School, Sector-40

Teachers’ Express

{ Savita Bawa }


he School organised an informative and useful Workshop for its teachers on the art of communication, conducted by Manpreet Brar. The importance of effective communication in the present world was widely discussed. The three types of communication– aggressive, passive and assertive–were explained at length. Emphasis was laid on the fact that each of us should be an assertive communicator, speaking confidently, calmly and politely. Clarity of speech and thought was the foremost requisite. The Session tackled day-to-day situations of life through discussions. The participants learnt how to express themselves freely and confidently, and maintain healthy social relationships. The teachers thanked the School Head, Peeya Sharma, for a thought-provoking and educational Workshop.

Swimming to Success


leven year-old Harshita Shokeen won the Gold medal at the Sub-junior National Swimming Championship at Panaji, Goa. She was representing Haryana State. Harshita has won many medals, trophies and certificates at the State, District and School levels, and has a tally of 68 medals and 11 trophies. The School Head, Peeya Sharma, felicitated the swimming Champ and congratulated her for her achievement.

Literary Flourish Cascading down, it’s breathtaking, Perfect and flawless - simply amazing, The sound as deafening as thunder, A serene beauty roaring with power, White and glowing, an angelical formation, A captivating image, filling me with emotion. It’s striking image on a starry night, What a dazzling and glowing sight, Flowers in the vicinity add to the beauty, Crystal clear waters, glowing with purity, A dazzling waterfall, a beauty of nature, Serene yet powerful, a sight to capture.

Robert G. Ingersoll profoundly said, “There will never be a generation of great men until there has been a generation of free women or free mothers”. It was my mother who made me conscious that I was growing up. In a very subtle way she stated that my mannerisms and behaviour should suit my gender. I was to be more careful and keep the home informed of my whereabouts. I realized it was different for boys. Gender sensitisation has become an elephant in the house that can’t be ignored. But the situation at ground level is not improving. Why? Because holding a placard and shouting slogans like ‘’Respect Women’’ is not sufficient. This is not just one of the topics for discussion in a drawing room or a conference room; it is something to feel and practice every day consciously. It refers to our way of looking at girls and women. In place of asking our girls to trim their wings, it would be so much better if we could bring up our boys to treat girls with respect – for they do have the same calibre and capability. Let there also be no discrimination at work. If a girl can perform household work, then so can a boy. There is a need to change mindsets, and to introspect on our personal attitudes and beliefs.

We should enable our children to develop their potential, to define and pursue a purpose, and to recognise the right of others to do the same. It is time to promote the values that foster peace, humaneness and tolerance, especially in our multicultural society. We must teach our children to stand up against injustice. The climate at school and home should encourage expression, enquiry and dialogue; it is the sacred duty of schools and parents to inculcate a sense of duty, tolerance and mutual respect among the children. ‘’Gender equality is more than a goal (in itself ). It is a precondition for meeting the challenge of reducing poverty, promoting sustainable development and building good governance.’’ Kofi Annan. u Writer is a PGT English, Kendriya Vidyalaya, Old JNU Campus

The Holidays are over... but your creativity isn’t.

A Dazzling Waterfall

Madiha Bakshi VI A

WATER- The Essence of Life!

Water...the giver of life
 The blood of the earth
flowing through its veins! Water...the fury of the earth
 Darkening the skies 
like a blanket of ash! Water...the emotions of life
 Sometimes a tear of sadness..many a times a tear of happiness! Water...The giver of life The fury of the earth, The emotions of life life!

Atreyu Balasundaram Grade 8th, MRIS

K id C orner

Paintings stories poems

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/co-ordinators – here’s a chance to pen down your experiences, teachings and learnings. Send us your contributions (300-350 words). For information, Call us at 0124-4219092/93 Or email at


5-11 July 2013

C omment

Speak As One


National Language is at least as important as the National Flag or Anthem. Every country has one. It is a matter of identity…roots…culture…and pride. India has none – the Language, that is.


had a Hollywood (& also English) fixation. The singular Hindi standard (now pall)-bearer is Amitabh – who strides colossally across this firmament. Even cricketers seem to want to speak in English only. The only field where Hindi survives, even in Metros and big cities like Gurgaon, is Entertainment.

We are now even willingly giving up the remnants of the best link language – Hindi. We’ve made the idea of a nation, India, It is seen as ‘inferior’, even by many poor more difficult, without a common language people now. Earlier only the ‘brown sahibs’ throughout the country. In fact we have just and the well-to-do thought so. We’ve reached a stage where the same thing said in Hindi and English has 2 different connotations/ meanings – with the ‘superior’ meaning Japan and China, Asian (nonbeing that in English. The ‘bad times’ have ‘white’) nations have become befallen Hindi more – not the vernacular global leaders, but take great (normally single state) languages. pride in their language, customs All forms of signage and transactions and culture. All foreigners have are now ever more in English. Has accepted this when dealing globalization, with its opportunity for with them, and especially when BPOs/IT, been the prime reason? Or is it a visiting their countries – and reason as mundane as a job even grudgingly admire them for requirement today? it. The world admires those that admire themselves. We have, on Hindi, though our Official Language, is the contrary, given up our core not India’s universal language – it’s not competence and competitiveness, even the National one of course. Sanskrit in multiple areas (including may have been better, but we gave up sports), just to copy others - who very early on it – and it is virtually a dead would almost always be better in language now. What we don’t (want to) those areas than us. What kind of speak, we can’t really learn. We’ve even logic or grand strategy is this? adopted a hands-off approach to the simple Namaskaar or Namaste, which was a common greeting across India. 'Shudh' Hindi had to die a premature death – like added more to regionalism over the years, and the purity in all aspects of our culture. It so do not even more speak the same language. has gone the way of classical music and Our language has also become coarser over the dance. We’ve become ashamed of our roots. years – as we developed. Linguistic states, accelerated in the 60s and 70s, have made us look more like the EU It is time to create a language called than the US – a ‘khichri’ much harder to “Hindustani’ – an amalgam, with all the govern. Bollywood has further killed Hindi colloquial thrown in; and then taught as the – the less said of the Hindi speaking skills National Language across the country. Let us (outside of the dubbing studio) of film stars declare a Hindustani Day….soon….to kick-start the better. Bollywood anyway has always this Project. u

W ellness

5-11 July 2013

4U 4


Health & Vitality... Naturally!

The Bran Wonder { Jaspal Bajwa }

ble to becoming rancid than white rice – as it still contains the oilrich germ. It should ideally be stored in an airtight container. Brown rice will keep fresh in a fridge for about six months.


he word ‘rice’ evokes images of lush green paddy fields or fine white grain. This ancient food dates back about 9,000 years. Today, as much as half of the daily calories for half of the world’s population come from rice. In some languages of the world, “to eat” literally means “to eat rice.” How does one unlock the hidden benefits of this ancient wonder food? Before it comes to our dinner table, rice grain is processed to separate the husk, bran, germ and the endosperm. A very large majority of us consume the white staple grain, which unfortunately is a poor cousin that has been stripped of nearly all the dietary fibre, essential fatty acids and 50 to 90% of its vitamins and mineral content. No wonder white rice is perceived as a mere ‘filler’. The less common ‘brown rice’ is indeed the more nutritious. Not so well known is that 65% of the nutrition of the rice kernel is locked away in the rice bran, which is the outer layer of the kernel. Rice bran is considered one of the most nutrient-dense, naturally occurring foods –

Nature’s Wonder Food of the week – Rice Bran and Rice Bran Oil

and yet it is routinely thrown away as a ‘by-product’. More than 60 million tonnes of rice bran each year ends up as animal feed or is dumped in landfills. However, thanks now to recent breakthroughs in advanced extrusion technology, the problems of premature rancidity have been sorted out. Stabilized rice bran now holds the potential of becoming one of the most potent and easily accessible sources of an abundant mix of phytonutrients and antioxidants. Rice bran, along with the germ, is a virtual treasure trove of phytonutrients and dietary fibres. It is also a good source of complex carbohydrates. A quarter-cup serving of rice bran contains 15g of carbohydrates - including 6g of fibre and nonstarchy polysaccharides.

Tip of the Week

Brown rice is more suscepti-


ince I am trying to cut sugar and calories in my diet, like most people, I am using artificial sweeteners and sugar substitutes like Sugar Free and Splenda. Sugar substitutes are found in a variety of foods and beverages marketed as ‘sugar-free’ - including soft drinks, chewing gums, sweets, fruit juices and ice creams. It is useful to know more about these sweeteners, and their side effects.


Stevia is a sweetener made from the plant Stevia rebaudiana. Stevia and Sunflower belong to the asteraceae family. This plant is native to South America, and is widely grown for its sweet leaves. South American natives use Stevia leaves to also make medicine. Stevia leaves are 30 times sweeter than normal sugar. Importantly, Stevia has zero calories. It is naturally grown, and contains no harmful additives. However, not much is known about the side effects of Stevia.

A potent antioxidant, rice bran is increasingly being used for treating diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, alcoholism and obesity; and for preventing stomach and colon cancer. Rice bran oil is made from the most nutritious parts of rice - the bran and the germ. It is billed as “the healthy oil” in Japan and large parts of Asia, as it is high in Omega 6 and has a balanced fatty acid composition – that is, moderate levels of saturated fat (23%), and polyunsaturated fat (35%), with a predominance of monounsaturated fat (42%). The Gamma Oryzanol in rice bran helps the body’s cells to burn up blood sugars, reducing the chances of developing belly-fat. Rice bran is an excellent source of Vitamin B. A quarter-cup serving provides at least 50 percent of the daily value of thiamin, riboflavin and Vitamin B6.

by ShahnaZ Herbal Cosmetic Queen Padma Shree Shahnaz Husain is the CEO of the Shahnaz Husain Group – India’s leading company in the field of natural beauty and anti-aging treatments.

Q. Is there any natural remedy for skin dryness? SH

Avoid soap and use a cleansing cream or gel. Many natural ingredients moisturise the skin and relieve dryness. Honey, for example, is a natural moisturiser. Aloe Vera gel or juice may also be applied on the skin to relieve dryness. Mix 100 ml rose water with one teaspoon pure glycerine. Keep in an airtight bottle in the fridge. Use a little of this lotion to relieve dryness. Emollients also help, like milk, cream of milk, oils, or egg yolk. These may be applied on the skin to nourish it.

WINNER Tamanna 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

Rice bran oil can be heated to higher temperatures than other oils, which helps in reducing the presence of toxic compounds that are common when we use high-heat cooking; rice bran oil can be heated to 250°C (482°F), before it ‘smokes’. Rice bran is safe for consumption. However, the

Artificially Sweet

{ Alka Gurha }

Splenda (Sucralose)

Splenda and Sugar Free are popular artificial sweeteners, that have sucralose as the main ingredient. Like Stevia, they contain zero calories. Splenda is about 300 times sweeter than sugar. However, people have reported symptoms ranging from headaches to seizures, as a result of using Splenda. It may also contain traces of chlorine, which can impact your health adversely.



Aspartame is found in NutraSweet and Equal. Aspartame is about 200 times sweeter than sugar. Aspartame comes closest to sugar’s taste profile, among the approved artificial sweeteners. The sweetness of aspartame lasts longer than sucrose, so it is often blended

with other artificial sweeteners to produce an overall taste more like sugar.


Saccharine was discovered more than a century ago, which makes it the oldest of the artificial sweeteners. Saccharine is sold under such brands as

quantity in the diet should be increased gradually, to minimise intestinal gas and stomach discomfort during the first few weeks. u Registered Holistic Nutritionist (Canadian School of Natural Nutrition) For education purposes only; always consult a healthcare practitioner for medical conditions

Sweet ‘N Low and Necta Sweet. It is said to be 200 to 500 times sweeter than table sugar or sucrose. The basic substance, benzoic sulfilimine, present in Saccharine is much sweeter than sucrose, but has a bitter or metallic aftertaste. So, Saccharine is needed in very small quantities. If used in higher concentrations, it may cause an unpleasant aftertaste. Saccharine and other artificial sugars are also combined in different proportions, so as to minimize their individual drawbacks. 
Even though artificial sweeteners are said to be safe, there is no conclusive proof of this. According to some researchers, the side effects of sugar substitutes could include depression, joint pain, allergies, diarrhea and headache. Regardless of which substitute you choose, remember that using sugar substitutes and artificial sweeteners in moderation is the only way to avoid risks associated with each of them. Your doctor can also guide you on the choice of artificial sweetener. u

18 { Krishan Kalra }


Time To Stand Up

hat morning when I entered the neighbourhood park I found a neat new sign advising people to walk only in one direction on the beautifully paved track; and that there should be no ‘jogging’. I thought this direction bit was a good idea, because the walkway is only about 6 feet wide and the number of morning walkers has increased over the years. But one young stockbroker thought this was a violation of his human rights. So he got together a few supporters and the signboard was summarily consigned to the garbage bin. For good measure he also gave a lecture to the poor gardener, about how he couldn’t stand such authoritarian orders. Life is short, but we don’t realise this. Life is uncertain, but most people think they have a 99-year lease. They always find so much to fight over every day. Perhaps they believe that unless you fight for your rights, you may lose them. It may also be a carryover from their childhood, when they realized that “only the crying baby gets milk”. However, there are some instances when a fight to the finish may be worth it. You open a packet of soup marketed

by the big multinational company, and find insects crawling all over inside. Like a decent peace-loving customer you send the packet, alongwith a letter of complaint, to the M.D. of the company. Some junior guy calls you, offering six complimentary packs…you refuse…then a letter arrives from the PR Manager, assuring investigation ‘when the packet is received’. You remind that good lady that it’s already in her office. The next day their distributor sends you some chocolates; you call him and ask that he take them back. What an

{ Sarita Maheshwari Sharda }


B on V ivant

5-11 July 2013

ideal setting for a right royal fight! Yet you finally give up. When the same thing happened to the guy next door, he was smarter. He took the pack to his friend in the rival soup company, got good pictures of the insects on the front page of Indian Express and threatened to sue the multinational. The latter quietly sent him and his family on a holiday to Switzerland. And here’s another case. An airline offers you a contest prize – one Business Class ticket to London and back on a confirmed basis. When it’s time to travel, you learn that

the ticket is an ‘inferior’ one, on which you are always a standby passenger. So you take the airline to the Consumer Forum, and the fight drags on for years. You can either enjoy fighting, or let the crooks take you for a ride. What hurts is that the airline’s sales manager’s boyfriend travels free almost every month for his personal business, and the bum even gets upgraded to First Class ! A brand new strip of Vitamin C has dirty looking tablets. You send them to the company and there is no reply. It would be nice to fight, but you ‘ll probably have to personally go to their Mumbai office with some newspersons. And even then it may not work. The big

Lip It Up!

aturally rosy and pink lips are a most valuable asset to the face; they look visually appealing and add charm - and even sensuality. Lips are very sensory; they are highly sensitive to feel and touch. The protective layer of skin on the lips is very thin, and does not have sweat glands - which makes them naturally dry. Without care, your lips appear lifeless and develop cracks, which can be painful. Lip-gloss, lipsticks or lip-liners look good only when applied on healthylooking lips. Regular Care: To get rid of the dead skin cells on your lips, take a dry washcloth and gently rub it over the top of your lips. You can do this with the help of a toothbrush also, and then apply moisturizer or lip balm to your lips. Always wear good quality lipstick; it offers protection to your lips against the sun’s rays, wind, frost, dirt and dust. Lipstick will also keep your lips well moisturized and nourished. Always apply a lip balm that contains sunscreen before putting on your lipstick. This will help the lipstick stay longer. Also carry a cream having Vitamins A and E, and apply it on your lips with the help of a cotton ball. After a few minutes you can wash your lips. Use some oil, and massage your lips very gently, for five to ten minutes daily. It will improve the blood circulation and make your lips look healthier. If possible, try to massage your lips at night; it will help them remain soft

the next day. Before going to bed, you must clean your lips with a cotton ball damped with make-up remover or cream. Do not make the mistake of peeling off the skin from chapped and dry lips. The skin on your lips is very delicate, and pulling it off can cause blood to come out. First, apply cream or petroleum jelly, to make the skin soft; and then, with the help of a damp cotton ball, remove the dry skin from your lips gently. There are many factors that can cause your lips to become darker. One of the main causes of dark lips is sun exposure; other causes are allergies, smoking, caffeine intake and hormonal imbalances. Apply a mixture of castor oil and almond oil to massage your lips, to help make them look ‘pinkish’ naturally. Make sure you drink plenty of fluids during the day, to keep your skin well-hydrated. When the body is properly hydrated, the lips remain moisturized automatically. A healthy diet is necessary, if you crave for those luscious lips. Your diet must include foods rich in Vitamins A, B and C - like green vegetables and juicy fruits. It is not a good idea to lick your lips, as this habit can make the lips even drier. Whether your lips are thick, thin, classical or plum, you must take good care of them; and be gentle. Rosy, healthy lips will help you smile more confidently. Take care, and keep smiling. u (Certified Image Consultant and Founder of Image Panoroma)

company is just not going to accept your word, and you would have spent a lot of time and money. Your neighbour is building a house. He’s doing all the wrong things - extra coverage, less setback, an additional floor. He openly claims that he has ‘bought’ the Corporation staff. Then he dumps building materials in front of your house, his masons spill cement in your driveway and on your cars, and his chowkidars play loud music at night. It is the perfect setting for a grand fight. He adds fuel to the fire by dropping a big iron rod one day, which misses your mother by a hair’s breadth. You are almost ready to go for him. And then…you think ‘better’…and give up. There is so much to fight for in every sphere of life, and yet we just let the ‘goons’ get away, scot-free. u

Zespri Kiwifruit Phirni (by Chef Harpal Singh Sokhi)

(For 6 servings - Standard serving portion is 90 gms)

Ingredients 6 Zespri Kiwifruit ½ cup Sugar 60 gms of Basmati Rice 1 litre Milk ¼ teaspoon of Green Cardamom Powder 3 tablespoon Pistachio, chopped

Method Make pulp of 5 kiwifruits, leaving one for garnish. Blanch two tablespoons of pistachio and grind to a fine paste. Soak basmati rice for 15 minutes and grind to a coarse powder. In a pan, pour sugar and add the kiwi pulp. Cook together until very thick (approx. 15 minutes). Set aside to cool to room temperature. In a saucepan, boil milk until reduced to almost half. Add the coarsely ground rice and cook until the mixture turns thick and the rice is cooked (approx. 10-12 minutes). Add the pistachio paste and cook further for about two minutes. Cook to room temperature, stirring all the time. Now add the kiwi pulp into the rice mixture and mix well. Set in individual earthenware pots. Garnish with the balance chopped pistachio and kiwi slices. Serve Chilled.

S piritual

5-11 July 2013

Be Ready To Face Life { Dr. Rajesh Bhola }


hen I sit with my senior citizen colleagues in the evenings, a point that is often discussed is: “Even at a ripe old age of 80+ we are not able to comprehend some basic issues about our existence. The mysteries of life, and the world, seem to be growing.” For example, natural disasters can be hard to understand, as we often think of nature as something beautiful – and an integral part of our daily life. We find it hard to accept a calamity like the Uttarakhand floods, where thousands of innocent pilgrims and locals have lost their lives. We feel helpless; sitting in our drawing rooms, we stare in disbelief at nature’s awesome fury.

Such events emphasize the omnipresence of impermanence. Wisdom tells us that nothing in this conditioned realm will last. Change occurs at every level - from the cosmic to the microscopic. A star, a civilization, a tree, a thought: each arises, evolves through time, disintegrates and disappears. Only the timetables differ, for different phenomena and events. Whatever is, will be was. We may think we know this truth… and perhaps we do. But do we benefit from this wisdom? For each of us, the mark of impermanence reveals itself most intimately in our inescapable mortality. While we know that everyone and thing that is born will die, we seem to ignore this while we live - and so we suffer. We desire permanence and security and enduring happiness. We live in our imaginary worlds, and expect

You Think... So You Are

everything to be as we want; and find it hard to accept the way it actually is. The deepest lesson that wisdom has to teach is that nothing is inherently substantial and real. We think that we are separate, solid entities, and struggle to protect and satisfy and gratify our precious sense of self, not understanding that there is really no permanent, unchanging self. The constituents of the mind and body are in constant flux – like a moving energy field. Our body, sensations, thoughts and emotions arise and disappear, moment by moment. Monks sum up this phenomenon very simply: “No self, no problem.” Another lesson to learn is that we can gradually clean the doors of perception by strengthening our spiritual powers. Mindfulness helps us see ever more deeply – while greed, hate and delusion diminish. It is a very delicate balancing act. While awareness is always present, we can be temporarily distracted. The right effort is the effort to listen with greater sensitivity; a total surrender, receiving and welcoming whatever is out there. When effort is balanced, without any strain, there is just a willingness to do; and out of that willingness comes a more constant flow of energy. It gives us patience and perseverance. At the beginning of each day, and at the beginning of each breath, we need to still the wandering mind and start fresh. As we become more skilled, our effort becomes smoother and steadier - and mindfulness grows. Let us see clearly the facts of life, open our eyes to the reality of various phenomena, rise above them, harness their energy and live spirited and meaningful lives. On the path we will meet many obstacles, moments of turmoil and personal problems; we should meet them with spirit and character. Our lives will then become of service to the ‘great work’, and will not feel futile or trivial. That way we can best understand ourselves, and ‘live’ our life. u Dr. Rajesh Bhola is President of Spastic Society of Gurgaon and is working for the cause of children with autism, cerebral palsy, mental retardation and multiple disabilities for more than 20 years

You are entitled to happiness, if you have made someone happy You are entitled to happiness, even when someone smashed your mood Was rude and demeaning to you Don’t dwell on the negative thoughts Don’t multiply them by retelling many of your humiliation And cry “Why Me?” And tell lamenting stories It is all in your thoughts, to feel the pain or not Don’t turn small events into nightmares, of thoughts be aware Stress sometimes is a warning sign, to slow down or redesign Your daily schedules, don’t let overwork rule you If your tolerance level’s high, put on the brakes to avoid the stakes It is a saving grace for those who can’t take much stress They let go, let it be, take it easy... some call them lazy But you busy bees watch out, your moods and perceptions When your mood is low, a tiny nag seems a blow When in a lively mood, you can whistle & smile at the Rude Dude Live for the moment, a mind that lives ‘out of the moment’ Is a fertile ground for anxiety, regret and guilt, it will wilt Our thinking, not our circumstances, decides how we feel Just switch your thoughts to some better ones you’ve got You are the thinker of your thoughts, the Master n Designer Happiness is one thought away... you don’t even have to pay! Shobha Lidder Writer Journalist, Social Activist, Teacher, Trainer, Reiki Master, Pranic Healer


No Time Like Now

{ Archana Kapoor Nagpal }


was born on Christmas Day. My mother would always bake the most delicious red velvet Christmas cake on my birthday. On my twentieth birthday I was not in a happy mood; my mind was restless. I was remembering how full of life - smiling and high-spirited - I had been on my 16th birthday. I was missing the fun of sleeping in class, hanging out with friends and wearing ‘skimpy’ outfits. I felt clueless, and afraid, about my future. I did not feel like celebrating my future; I first wanted to solve the puzzle of life ! The day ended with nothing going as per plan. On my thirtieth birthday I decided to leave work early. On my way home I stopped at a bakery to buy a fresh fruit cake. I met Sarah there; she was a senior Physiotherapist and a good friend. She invited me for her daughter’s twentieth birthday party on New Year’s Eve. I accepted the invitation with great pleasure and left home early in the evening, that day. There were scores of people who had came out of their homes to celebrate the coming of the New Year. Sarah welcomed me with a big smile. Her living room was elegantly decorated with white orchids, and she had placed white lilyscented candles to brighten the room. I took a seat next to her. Soon Emily, her daughter, a young pretty girl, joined us. She had worn a long mint-green chiffon dress with a pair of towering silver peep-toe heels; and also wore beautiful flowers in her hair. I was mesmerised by her beauty. She seemed so full of life and energy. I walked up to Emily and conveyed my best wishes to her. I asked her, “How do you feel about your birthday?” She happily replied, “I feel ecstatic ! I believe in living in the present. It is all in the mind. I feel much younger than I am - more like 16 than 20.” She amazed me with her words of wisdom. The party started with sparkling champagne, followed by an irresistible buffet. After the party I went to the coffee shop to grab a cup of hot chocolate. I thought about my twentieth birthday. Unlike Emily, I had confined myself to my room – and spent the time contemplating the past and looking into the future. I had felt that I was missing out on life, and had ironically lost one of life’s precious moments. I decided to forgive myself for the past and to live fully in the present - to enjoy every minute of every day. u Internationally published author of ‘14 Pearls of Inspiration’ and the ‘12 Facets of a Crystal’

The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, not to worry about the future, and not to anticipate troubles - but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.” – Buddha The living moment is everything.” - D.H. Lawrence With the past, I have nothing to do; nor with the future. I live now.”- Ralph Waldo Emerson You can clutch the past so tightly to your chest that it leaves your arms too full to embrace the present.” - Jan Glidewell The first recipe for happiness is: avoid too lengthy a meditation on the past.” - André Maurois Old times never come back and I suppose it’s just as well.  What comes back is a new morning every day in the year, and that’s better.” - George E. Woodberry


5-11 July 2013

Google’s Video Game Console { Andy Goldberg / San Francisco / DPA }


oogle is developing a new video game console powered by its Android operating system, in a major challenge to a 25-billion-dollar industry dominated by Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo, the Wall Street Journal reported. The report said that the Web software giant was also developing an Android wristwatch, to challenge a similar device being readied by Apple – which is also planning a game console as part of its upcoming release of a new version of Apple TV.

Super Glue For lips? { Wellington / DPA }


New Zealand woman accidentally glued her lips together while she picked up a tube of super glue when reaching for her lipgloss in the dark, the Otago Daily Times newspaper reported. Dunedin Police Senior Sergeant Steve Aitken said the emergency operator thought the woman might be gagged or suffering from a medical condition, when she called for an ambulance shortly before midnight on Thursday. “She could only grunt,” he said. The 64-year-old woman was taken to Dunedin Hospital, and is understood to have been released with her lips unstuck.u

The entry of the two tech giants into the video game space could shake up the market, just as Sony and Microsoft are due to launch their nextgeneration consoles later this year. Sales of the new consoles are expected to be weaker than the past, largely due to the competition from casual games played on Smartphones and tablet computers. The move by Google underscores its plan to expand the Android operating system beyond Smartphones and tablets. An Android-based video game console—made by an independent company called Ouya—recently went on sale for just 99 dollars, after

$2.1 Bn For Empire State Building { JT Nguyen / New York / DPA }


n unidentified bidder from the Middle East has offered 2.1 billion dollars in an unsolicited bid for New York’s iconic Empire State Building, a news report said. The offer appeared to top another unsolicited bid of 2 billion dollars by Rubin Schron, who partly owns the Woolworth Building in Lower Manhattan. Schron made the offer public after the Empire State Building’s operating company, Malkin Holdings, announced plans to become publicly traded. Built in 1930, the 102-storey building has changed ownership in recent decades and is valued at 2.3 billion dollars in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. It was once the tallest building in the United States, and is situated at 34th Street and Fifth Avenue, a favorite venue for tourists. The Post said two US-based companies—Princeton Holdings and Philips International —are working with the new bidder to buy the landmark. “To this guy, it’s like buying a painting,” the Post quoted a source as saying. “It will be very hard to stop them. They will keep ratcheting up (the offer) until they get it.” u

Women Dominate Forbes’ Celeb List { Andy Goldberg / Los Angeles / DPA }


breaking the fundraising record on the crowd-funding website Google is also angling to use Android on laptops, and appliances such as refrigerators. The next version of Android, due for release later this year, has been specifically tailored to allow manufacturers such as Samsung to more easily incorporate it into home and office appliances. In May, Google’s head of Android, Sundar Pichai, said more than 900 million devices powered by Android had been activated worldwide, up from 400 million a year ago (and 100 million two years ago). u

alk-show host Oprah Winfrey has returned to the pinnacle of Forbes’ list of the most powerful celebrities, leading women to domination of the top spots. Singer Lady Gaga was second on the list, leading the top-placed man, Director Steven Spielberg, in third, followed by singers Beyonce, Madonna and Taylor Swift. Rock band Bon Jovi, tennis superstar Roger Federer and teen pop heart-throb Justin Bieber filled spots seven to nine, with talk-show hostess Ellen DeGeneres taking 10th. The list is compiled using a combination of earnings and fame, as measured by appearances on TV, social media and print publications – as well as value to marketers. Winfrey, the daytime gab queen-turned television mogul, earned 77 million dollars in the 12 months through June, trailing Lady Gaga (80 million dollars), Spielberg (100 million dollars), Madonna (125 million dollars) and Bon Jovi (79 million dollars). Notable newcomers to the 2013 list include actors Hugh Jackman at 11th, Channing Tatum at 23rd, Jennifer Lawrence at 49th, Emma Stone at 84th, Mila Kunis at 89th and Amy Poehler at 92nd. Outside Hollywood, Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt was 48th, while Fifty Shades of Grey novelist, EL James was the top-ranked author at 42nd. u

Top Hits Of European Culture { Andrew McCathie, Susanne Kupke / Berlin / DPA }


uropeans rank Italian Renaissance painter Leonardo da Vinci, Italian cooking and democracy as the high points of the region’s culture, according to a survey released recently. A total of 22,000 people in 30 countries were surveyed for the online poll by the Goethe Institute, a German cultural organization. “Like all surveys of top hits our poll is a snapshot,” said the Institute’s Director in Brussels, Berthold Franke. u

G lobal

Paypal In Space { Andy Goldberg/ San Francisco / DPA }


n a business move that sounds like science fiction, Paypal is developing an online payment system for space travelers, the Company has announced. While the announcement smacks of a publicity stunt, Paypal spokesman Anuj Nayar insists that with the maiden voyage of Virgin Galactic expected late this year, the day is not far off when space tourists,

astronauts and other extraterrestrial travelers will need a way to buy things. “Our initiative is focusing on the big questions as we start to conduct commerce in space,” Nayar told dpa. “Every single sci-fi show has galactic credit, but in our world it’s glossed over.” Nayar sees the day in the not-so-distant future when a space tourist on Virgin, an astronaut on a space station or a guest at a space

hotel (planned for 2016 by Russian company Orbital Technologies) will want to buy a morning cup of coffee or a space souvenir, or simply take care of an overdue credit card payment - from orbit. “How will they do that? With roubles?” he asked. “How does customer support and government regulation work up in space for space tourists and colonies? How will fraud and risk models look?” He acknowledges that the questions are too complex for one company, even one with the online financial clout of Paypal, to answer. The Company is teaming up with SETI institute, which is leading the search for extra-terrestrial life, as well as with legendary astronaut Buzz Aldrin, to examine the issues. Nayar said: “We don’t know the answers yet - we don’t even know the questions.” “We may not answer these questions today, or even this year, but one thing is clear, we won’t be using cash in space,” PayPal President David Marcus said. “We look forward to pushing payments from our world to the next, and beyond.” u

Legal Drugs Outnumber Banned Ones

{ Albert Otti / Vienna / DPA }


ew drugs that evade legal bans are being developed at such a rate that they now outnumber illegal substances, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said in Vienna. Such “legal highs” mimic the effects of existing drugs – like amphetamine, cannabis or khat, but can be far more dangerous, as little is known about their side effects and their potential to cause addiction, the UNODC said in its annual report. Countries had reported 251 new substances to the Viennabased UN agency by mid-2012 – more than the 234 drugs that are banned under international treaties. “The international drug control system is floundering, for the first time, under the speed and creativity of the phenomenon known as new psychoactive substances,” the UNODC  said. Governments around the world have found it hard to outlaw these socalled ‘designer drugs’, because their chemical formulas are different from traditional substances. Most of the new substances are made in Asia and Europe.

In the European Union, nearly one in every 20 young people has tried new drugs, that are often sold as herbs or bath salts, the report said. Meanwhile, use of traditional drugs—such as heroin, cocaine and amphetamine—remained stable, even though the UNDOC highlighted some worrying trends. As opium production in South-East Asia is not keeping pace with Asian demand for heroin in countries like China, more Afghan opium is making its way eastwards, the report said. Afghanistan remained the world’s largest opium producer last year, and poppy was grown on more fields. However, output fell due to a plant disease. New data showed that the number of people globally who inject drugs and are infected with HIV was only 1.6 million in 2011, 46 per cent below previous estimates. Cultivation of coca remained stable in South America in 2011, according to the latest available data. UNODC said that cocaine was also shifting from Western countries to Asian markets such as Hong Kong and China, where it is seen as a lifestyle drug, and to Central America – where it is traded along trafficking routes. u

Samoa: Tropical Island Paradise { Christiane Oelrich / Apia, Samoa / DPA }


n the adventure novel, ‘Treasure Island’, the principal narrator and protagonist, Jim Hawkins, says his heart sank into his boots when, after months at sea, he espied the Caribbean isle – “with its grey, melancholy woods and wild stone spires.” The book’s Scottish author, Robert Louis Stevenson, had a quite different reaction on his first sight of the South Pacific islands of Samoa, in the 19th century. He was so delighted that he bought an estate on the Samoan island of Upolu, and took up residence there. The hospitable Samoans immediately accepted the ailing Scot, who suffered from weak lungs, as one of their own. They called him Tusitala, or the “teller of tales.” Stevenson spent the last four years of his life in his mansion in the village of Vailima, overlooking the Samoan capital, Apia. The Villa has been lovingly converted into a museum. It seems almost as though Stevenson still lives in the house. Family photographs hang on a wall; one shows the author, with carefully parted hair and a thick moustache, in a white suit, while in another he is on his favourite horse, Jack. First editions of his books, ‘Treasure Island’ and ‘The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’, are on display. In the nursery, puzzle pieces and dominoes lie on the floor, as if his stepchildren, Isobel and Lloyd, had only stepped out for a moment. Stevenson died in idyllic Samoa, where he had found peace of mind, in 1894, at the age of 44. “Here he lies where he longed to be;/ Home is the sailor, home from sea,/ And the hunter home from the hill,” reads his epitaph (in part), which he composed

himself. His tomb lies on Mount Vaea, a half-hour climb from the Villa. Samoa consists of two large islands and eight small ones, some of which are uninhabited. Savai’i is the largest, but most of the country’s 177,000 inhabitants live on Upolu, the second-largest. Apia has a population of about 35,000. The tropical lushness of the island group, situated halfway between Hawaii and

milk and honey,” remarks Tasalaotele Sapolu, a Samoan who has worked abroad as an airplane pilot, and is now setting up a wellness centre in her homeland, using natural Samoan products such as a honeyand-coconut-flakes, body scrubs and avocado-oil massages. To make the liquid refreshment, she picks papayas in the garden. “We’re blessed with everything necessary for a healthy life,” Sapolu says. Visitors are amazed at the tropical variety at Apia’s central market, Maketi Fou, which includes bananas of many kinds, coconuts, taro—a tasty root vegetable—as well as pineapples and papayas, depending on the season. Fruits and vegetables come in all shapes and colours. A delicious snack called

G lobal



5-11 July 2013

Samoa features palm-lined South Sea paradise beaches.

Robert Louis Stevenson, immortalized in both a bronze statue and a painting at his home, Vailima in Apia, Samoa.

A fish market in Apia.

New Zealand, can hardly be overstated. Savai’i and Upolu are of volcanic origin, and green valleys stretch from the islands’ peaks to their sandy white beaches and blue lagoons. The cliche of a paradise on Earth - beaches, palm trees and coconuts - is a reality here. “You call it Paradise, we call it home,” is a Samoan tourist industry slogan. “The land is so fertile that wooden lampposts sometimes start to sprout and become trees again,” says Marjorie Moore, an Editor at the Samoa Observer newspaper. The two main islands are almost always a deep green – with palms, rainforests and flowers in all colours. Fruits and vegetables grow almost on their own. “Samoa is like a land of

Pleasure boats in the Beach Road marina in the harbour at Apia, on the Samoan island of Upolu.

“palusami” can be found on every street corner: consisting of taro leaves, spinach and coconut milk wrapped in a banana leaf and baked. And then there is “oka”: raw fish marinated in lemon juice with coconut, onions, cucumbers and tomatoes. Banquet meals in Samoa are baked in a traditional “umu” earth oven, on rocks heated by fire. The food is placed on banana leaves, and then covered with more leaves to seal the heat. Cooking takes hours. A Samoan refreshment is “niu,” cooled coconut from which the juice is drunk. There is only one spot on the shell where a hole for a straw can easily be made - and there is a legend behind it. Sina, the legend goes, was a beautiful girl with a little pet eel. The eel grew and

At church in Apia, Samoa.

fell in love with her. Sina became frightened and ran away, and her housemates killed the eel. But before he died, the eel implored Sina to bury his head in the ground. She did, and a coconut palm sprang up on the spot. The palm’s fruit has three small indentations, which resemble an eel’s eyes and mouth. Only the “mouth” indentation can be easily pushed in. Every time Sina drank out of one of the coconuts, it was as if she were kissing the eel. On Sunday mornings in Apia, smartly dressed families—the women typically in broad hats— can be seen strolling to church. There are many churches on Beach Road, all of which fill to bursting. And out of each of them pours forth the Samoans’ melodic singing. Samoans live life fervently and love celebrations, often liberally lubricated with Vailima beer, a legacy of Ger-

man colonists. Another popular drink is ‘kava’, a brown brew made from pulverized roots of the Piper methysticum plant. Mildly intoxicating, it is served at important ceremonies. Samoan men also drink it in the morning. Samoa has been inhabited for some 3,000 years. Europeans arrived in the 18th century. French explorer Louis Antoine de Bougainville named the islands the Navigator Islands, in 1768. The first missionaries came in 1828. Several countries, interested mainly in coconut plantations, established trading posts. In 1899, the United States annexed eastern Samoa, and Germany the western islands. After World War I, New Zealand was granted a mandate over Western Samoa, which won independence in 1962. It later changed its name to Samoa, despite protests from the territory of American Samoa. On Apia’s esplanade stands a small fale, a pavilion-like, open structure with a roof that adjoins almost every house, and is a meeting place for friends and family. Here Sonny Natanielu lies on a bast mat, and tries to relax as master tattooist Petelo Suluape taps a sharp, inky tattooing comb into his thigh with a stick. Tattooing is an ageold art in Samoa; the men used to wear the “pe’a,” the traditional knee-to-navel tattoo. The practice is making a comeback. “It’s my identity,” Natanielu said. u


5-11 July 2013

{ Alvise Armellini / Rome / DPA }


uilt in the 18th century, with orders from King Charles VII of Naples to make a local version of Versailles, the Royal Palace of Caserta is one of Italy’s most spectacular monuments. It has featured in George Lucas’ Star Wars films. But it now lies in such a state of neglect and disrepair that it is becoming— just like the crumbling ancient Roman ruins of Pompeii—another example of Italy’s inability to look after its historical heritage properly. “From collapses to drug smuggling: the endless abuse of the Caserta Mansion,” the La Repubblica daily wrote, a day after police arrested two dozen people for selling hashish, marijuana and cocaine in the Palace’s gardens. In April, Italy’s other main newspaper, Corriere della Sera, wrote that roadsigns for the Palace—located in Caserta, a city of about 75,000 people around 35 kilometres from Naples—are so confusing “that they seem to actively discourage tourists.” The monumental complex was designed in 1751, by renowned architect and engineer Luigi Vanvi-

Stone Guards

Reggia di Caserta

Italy’s ‘Versailles’ Falling Apart

The Throne Hall inside the palace

Bedrooms in Reggia di Caserta

G lobal telli, who had already worked on a key restoration of Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome. It includes a 249-metre-long palace, having 1,200 rooms and 34 staircases, 120 hectares of gardens and woods, an aqueduct, hunting lodges and a village having a small silk factory. UNESCO included it in its list of world heritage sites in 1997, and describes it as an “exceptional” site, “an eloquent expression of the Enlightenment in material form, integrated into, rather than imposed on, its natural setting.” But now cars race through its gardens, while children dive into monumental fountains, and irregular street sellers ply cheap souvenirs. There are no toilets or rubbish bins, and the Palace’s walls are covered in graffiti. In its report, Corriere della Sera lamented that the Royal Theatre—one of the Palace’s highlights—has been closed for more than 10 years – either because of health and safety reasons, or for lack of personnel. “There are no signs to point you to the entrance or to the exit. Each month a piece of the roof edge collapses,” said Antonio Petrillo, who is employed by a local restaurant to woo tourists. u

5-11 July 2013

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5-11 July 2013

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