Page 1

21-27 June 2013

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

Vol. 2 No. 44  Pages 24  ` 7

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02

21-27 June 2013

S pecial

PRAKHAR PANDEY

Incredible Gurgaon

The City is truly versatile – in fact incredible. It is barren, with ground water levels dangerously low – and so turning slowly into a desert. It is also drowning in its own muck (of sewage), which partly permeates into the ground to poison whatever little water there is; and mainly flows untreated into the Yamuna. Just one rain was enough to fill up the sewage treatment plant, which then let gallons of sewage just flow on untreated. During the monsoon the highways and roads first crack up, and then begin to resemble waterways. All drains have been tarred up or lie choked – and the drains for water and sewage have never ever been separate. Meanwhile, power goes missing – whenever it rains…or doesn’t. High-tension wires are threatening to hit the roads. Power even regularly trips the plants that treat the water coming to our homes, or plants that treat the sewage before it flows into the river. Maybe one day we shall receive untreated sewage at home – on tap. Meanwhile the Administration ‘prepares’ for a flood – by setting up a Committee…


21-27 June 2013

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

Vol. 2 No. 44  Pages 24  ` 7

Wasting Away

Not On Solid Ground

{ Abhishek Behl / FG }

write to us at letters@fridaygurgaon.com

W

hile the massive pre-monsoon downpour this Sunday exposed the vulnerability of Gurgaon’s drainage as well as rainwater harvesting systems, the problem of inefficient solid waste management threatens to take a more serious toll on the residents as well as the eco-system of the City. Approximately 600 tonnes of waste is produced in a single day in Gurgaon, out of which 500 tonnes at an average is collected by the authorities and transported to the Bandhwari Waste Treatment Plant in the Aravallis - off the Gurgaon Faridabad Expressway. The lack of field staff, an inefficient door to door collection system and multiplicity of civic agencies are all responsible for around 100 tonnes of garbage remaining strewn in the City – lying in empty plots, in lanes and drains and on vacant government land, putting the health of the City’s residents at serious risk. The problem is further multiplied by the fact that the Bandhwari Treatment Plant, which caters to the twin cities of Faridabad (400 tonnes) and Gurgaon, can processes only 600 tonnes of wastage in a day, and the rest of the wastage that comes in is transferred directly to the landfill. Three hundred tonnes of untreated waste being dumped directly at the landfill daily could prove disastrous in the long run, because the waste turns into a polluting heap, particularly during the monsoons, producing toxic leachate that pollutes the soil as well as the ground and surface water. Contd on p 8 

MCG is still not able to take over water supply from PHE – and the summer is already on us. The transfer of 125 staff is pending for months now. Just how does this Administration function? For years now, MCG has been waiting for HUDA to transfer employees to it, so that MCG can take over the maintenance of HUDA sectors. Why was MCG ever set up? It just caters to village ‘abadies’ and a few other functions – and virtually nothing in ‘new’ Gurgaon. The MCG Councillors similarly seem to have no real civic role. Commissioner Police pulls up the concessionnaires of NH8, and asks for swift action on the repair of the service roads, and on security (eg. CCTVs). The police are finding it difficult to manage the traffic due to the extremely poor civic infrastructure. Electricity Complaint by SMS, on 155333; or call 18001801615 toll free.

New Age Waste

says Naresh. Despite the Millennium City being home to more than hundreds of companies and 15 IT colleges and universities, most of the organizations either ‘gift’ their used electronic goods or hand them over to local scrap dealers. “More than 93 per cent of the e-waste that is generated in the City goes to the unauthorized sector. Even if a company donates it to an NGO or a school, the waste ultimately goes to unlicensed handlers,” says Sharma, Director, Green Vortex, an e-waste recycler based in the City.

{ Shilpy Arora / FG }

write to us at letters@fridaygurgaon.com

W

hen Naresh set up a small office in Udyog Vihar in 2001, he bought 20 laptops from one of most swanky showrooms in the City. The salesperson told him about the features of the device, and gave him detailed instructions about its usage - but didn’t tell him anything on how to discard the equipment. Today Naresh runs a call centre with a strength of 150 employees, where on an average over 10 electronic equipment are bought a day. However, disposal of old equipment is still a grey area. “We realised that even through online portals have come up offering to take care of e-scrap, the electronic items ultimately go to the scrap dealers only. So we decided to contact a local scrap dealer directly, and finalized a good deal with him,”

How is e-waste disposed in the City?

ASHA PANDEY

Top News

Presently the City has about 60 scrap markets, where dealers collect e-waste and dispose it in an inappropriate manner. A scrap market in Sector 10, for instance, is an eye-opener. Located behind the Country Inn Hotel, tonnes of electronic waste lie smouldering in the market every day. People buy e-waste from this scrap market. There are people who separate the waste into plastic, metals and other components. After the segregation, the ‘profitable’ items are sold, while the rest is either burnt or thrown away. Children living in a nearby slum make their way through this waste, which can be dangerous. While some of them play with the toxic material, many spend the whole day here, stripping a few ounces of copper, aluminum, brass and zinc from worn-out electronics. Operating for over 20 years, the market is situated near a residential area and a school. “Many times we have filed complaints at the Police Station, but the local Contd on p 10 


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21-27 June 2013

RNI No. HARENG/2011/39319 Postal Regn. No. GRG/35/2012-2014, VOL.–2 No.–44  21-27 June 2013

Editor:

C oming U p

WORKSHOP  THEATRE  NIGHTLIFE  MUSIC  ART Comics performing are Abhijit Ganguly, Amit Tandon, Kanan Gill and Sameer Maira. Tickets: Rs. 400, available at the venue. Suitable for 15 years & above.

Atul Sobti

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

Anita Bagchi

Sr. Designer:

Amit Singh

Designer:

Virender Kumar

Circulation Execs.:

Pankaj Yadav Sunil Yadav Manish Yadav

Dy. Manager Accounts & Admin: Shiv Shankar Jha

Story Telling

Asst. Manager Media Marketing: Bhagwat Kaushik Sr. Exec Media Marketing:

Vikalp Panwar

Ad Sales Exec :

Amit Agarwal

S

anskriti Foundation is conducting a series of hands-on Pottery Workshops for children above 6 years of age. The Workshops, spread over 4 sessions, will include working on the wheel; and activities that include pencil stand making, coiling process, bird making, 3D effects in pottery and decoration of your child’s handiwork. Confirm participation by June 22. Call: Pankaj @ 8800948808

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

C

rack up in an evening of laughter with Nishant Joke Singh and Amit Tandon.

A

editor@fridaygurgaon.com letters@fridaygurgaon.com contributions@fridaygurgaon.com subscription@fridaygurgaon.com circulation@fridaygurgaon.com adsales@fridaygurgaon.com events@fridaygurgaon.com marketing@fridaygurgaon.com Friday Gurgaon (Weekly) edited, published and printed by Atul Sobti on behalf of Arap Media Ventures Pvt. Ltd. from 213, Tower A, Spazedge, Sector 47, Sohna Road, Gurgaon 122018, Haryana. Printed at Indian Express Ltd. Plot No. A8, Sector 7, Gautam Budh Nagar, NOIDA – 201301, Uttar Pradesh

Yoga

Yoga classes @ Aastha Yoga, Plot no - 369, Sector 14 Date: Up to July 31-Sundays, Tuesdays Time: 6:15 am

G

et rejuvenated with special Yoga classes conducted by Swami Anand and Dr. Sima Sharma. The sessions will be on correct sitting postures, yoga, asanas and more. Call:
(+91) 9891069009

Stand Up Comedy

Art

Untold Stories @ The Gallery, MG Mall, Studio No. 322, Second Floor, 13, MG Road Date: Up to June 30 Time: 11:00 am to 6:30 pm

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 Please Contact

7838003874 E 7827233023 Workshop 9999444818

njoy spectacular art works by artist Ravi Kattakuri. Call:
(+91) 11 41096875, (+91) 11 41096876

Clay Magic @ Anandagram, MG Road Date: June 23 to July 14

Stand Up Comedy

@ Headlines Bar, Club Patio, Block E, South City 1 Date: June 21 Time: 8:00 pm

Story Telling Session @ Epicentre, Apparel House, Sector 44 Date: June 23 Time: 6:30 pm

Culmination Of the Stand Up Comedy Workshop @ Epicentre, Apparel House, Sectir 44 Date: June 23 Time: 7:30 pm

T

he Papa CJ Comedy Company presents the best of stand-up comics, along with new talent trained by the Company’s Comedy Workshop.

n evening of dramatized and rhythmical storytelling by Jaishree Sethi. The Event will showcase the power of storytelling, that has traditionally been part of Indian culture. The story presentation will be through drama, interactive sessions, singing and music. It will include integration of music with various storytelling techniques such as narration, role play and stories through masks, gestures and interactive sessions. Registration Fees: Rs.100 Suitable for 5 years & above

Theatre

Romeo & Juliet (Contemporary style) @ 166, MG Road, Sultanpur Date: June 21 Time: 7:15 pm

A

modern version of Shakespeare’s play – full of stunning action, songs and dances. Call 9350047318.


21-27 June 2013

C oming U p

05

WORKSHOP  THEATRE  NIGHTLIFE  MUSIC  ART

Food

Scrumptious Sunday Brunch @ Wokamama, Main Nathupur Road, DLF Phase III

Music

Kindling, A Multi-cultural Performance @ Epicentre, Apparel House, Sector 44 Date: June 27 Time: 7:30 pm

A

delectable array of Pan Asian cuisine, with unlimited beer. Pamper yourself with the mouthwatering delicacies, prepared exclusively by the Chef. Opt for Sushis, Dim Sums, Tempura or the Chicken Yakitori – indulge all your tastebuds.

Workshop

Master Class with Kohra @ I Love Music Academy, A-24/14, near Deodar Marg, DLF City Phase 1 Date: June 23 Time: 2:30 pm

A

multi-cultural performance by 7 female artists of different nationalities, representing dance, theatre and music. The Show portrays different perspectives of femininity and women empowerment, and is the result of a two-months creation process in India – as part of the ‘2nd Home-India’ Project, managed by Israeli choreographer, dancer and teacher, Shaked Dagan.

Music

A

Workshop to learn about the production and performance on Ableton Live (digital audio workstation). DJ Kohra will teach all there is to know on being a DJ Producer. To register: http://bit.ly/ilmkohra

Lecdem Appreciation of Music @ Epicentre, Apparel House, Sector 44 Date: June 28 Time: 7:30 pm

H

ere’s a chance to learn some hot Zumba moves. The Workshop will help you learn this sensual dance form and also tone up your body. Shake a leg on the Latin dance steps, played to the tunes of international music.

Nightlife

Classic Rock Revival with Barefaced Liar @ Coopers Grill & Bar, 33 DLF Star Tower on NH-8 (Opp 32nd milestone) Date: June 22 Time: 8:00 pm

Karaoke Nights

Iredus, 383 & 384, Sector 29, Next to IFFCO Chowk Metro Station Date: June 22 Time: 7:30 pm

E

minent panelists participate in an engaging, interactive musical session featuring Hindustani, Carnatic and Western music.

Dance

Zumba Workshop @ Club Patio, Block - E, South City 1 Date: Up to June 29 Time: 4:00 pm to 5:30 pm

T

he Karaoke Jockey will help find the singer in you. All you need to do is shed your inhibitions.

A

power-packed Classic Rock Night with one of the most popular bands in Delhi/ NCR – Barefaced Liar. 
Known for their versatility and high-on-energy performances, the Band recently released a single ‘Toe the Line’, which rapidly topped the charts on Radio. Traverse through genres, ranging from Blues to Classic Rock and Heavy Metal.

Nightlife

Rockstar Eve @ TCK Lounge, Radisson Blu Suites Hotel, First Floor, Sushant Lok Phase 1 Date: Every Friday Time: 7:30 pm onwards

G

urgaon’s hottest hangout destination for the City’s youngsters invites music enthusiasts for an awesome Karaoke extravaganza. All budding rockstars, bathroom singers and even the shy ones can come and sing their hearts out! What better way to kick-start the weekend than crooning your favourite songs!.

Tayal

9899700795


06

21-27 June 2013

THE WEEK THAT WAS ♦ Police ask for a strict domestic help and tenant verification drive, and installation of CCTV cameras in condos. DC issues ordinance for compliance within 10 days. ♦ GPS has to be compulsorily installed in all call-centre cabs. ♦ The Hero Honda Chowk is planned be connected by an 850m drain to the Khandsa Drain. ♦ A 5-year-old is brutally raped and found abandoned near Sikanderpur Metro Station. She is taken to Civil Hospital, and then transferred to Safdarjung Hospital. Her life is saved. ♦ A 16-year-old girl kills herself at a police station. ♦ High Court denies anticipatory bail to the man who allegedly raped his daughter-in-law. ♦ A young woman is found dead near IFFCO Chowk. ♦ An ex-serviceman is mowed down by a dumper; people protest violently on New Railway Road. ♦ Ace shooter Tomar’s husband claims that his wife made up a fake dowry harassment and violence complaint. ♦ A brave policeman helps capture a wanted criminal, despite being shot at – the criminal was wanted by the Delhi and UP Police. ♦ A man is booked for a murder bid, after shooting at another person near a liquor shop. ♦ 3 armed men rob a man of his motorcycle and cash – give him Rs 180 to reach home; a man is robbed after being given a lift - so also are 2 executives, in a separate incident.

♦ 2 auto-lifters nabbed, 9 motorcycles recovered. ♦ Police is taking various steps to warn people about taking lifts from strangers, after many incidents have led to people being robbed and beaten up. ♦ Rs. 5.25 lakhs is stolen by an employee of a CNG station; a lawyer’s accountant flees with over Rs 5 lakhs. ♦ A house in Palam Vihar is broken into, and cash in lakhs and jewellery are stolen. ♦ An ex-armyman is duped of Rs 80,000 in an ATM fraud. ♦ An electricity linesman is caught taking a Rs 45,000 bribe. ♦ The Civil Hospital does not have a physician or radiologist ! ♦ MCG Chief Engineer allegedly accused of taking bribe; MCG contractors have been on strike, charging MCG officials of stopping their payments and demanding bribes. ♦ MCG clears projects worth Rs 86 lakhs – mainly for LED streetlights. ♦ MCG removes encroachments on MG Road, prior to starting the road-widening project. ♦ Karmayogi Society residents are happy that the enquiry against ex-officials of the Society has confirmed fraud. ♦ 10 ultra-luxury buses are to be inducted soon; Gurgaon to have a total of 320 buses by year-end. ♦ Pink Auto service (for women) is being strengthened, with an increase in number from 22 to 50. ♦ Haryana Roadways buses stay off Delhi for a day, to protest the challaning drive by the Delhi Police. ♦ A live artillery shell is found near Kherki Daula.

Now get your copy of Reading & Riting is the Rithmetic - a compilation of the Editorials and cover stories of Atul Sobti. Get your hard copy at Quill and Canvas, South Point Mall, DLF Phase V, or order it online at ebagsfull.com Cover Price-Rs. 350

WORKSHOP MUSIC NIGHTLIFE ART

EXHIBITION

DANCE

Haryanvi Made Easy

If Streetlights are not working, call: 1000 180 3030 (Toll Free); or 0124 2301616 (9am to 5pm)

Get a taste of the local lingo 1. What is the time? Key time ho rya se? 2. I have to reach the City Hospital in an hour. Manne ek ghante me sarkari haspataal

T PIC

be the change you wish to see

Want an Event to appear on the Coming Up page? Write to us at anita.bagchi@fridaygurgaon .com

OF THE WEEK

me pahunchna se.

3. I don't want to get late. Main ghanni vaari na pahunchna chahta. 4. My sister is waiting there for me. Meri bebe vadde baatte dekh ri hogi. 5. I have to get my full check up done. Manne apna saari deyi dikhani hai. 6. It is very important to do it once a year. Saal me ek baar tey karwana chaiye se. 7. I pray there won't be anything wrong with me. Bhagwaan kare meri kimma na ho.

Dear Readers, Contd on p 7 

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

letters@fridaygurgaon.com

IF YOU ARE NOT GETTING FG COPIES REGULARLY

SMS

NR to 08447355801


21-27 June 2013

C eleb W atch

07

A 1000 Nautankis

T

he Bollywood cinematic-themed theatrical musical, Zangoora, celebrated its successful run of 1000 shows, with an Event held at Nautanki Mahal, Kingdom of Dreams. The entire team of Zangoora entertained the audience with a special encore. The curtain call was followed by a celebratory champagne popping on stage with the final bow of the team, who shared interesting anecdotes of their memorable performances. The main leads of the Show—Hussain Kuwajerwala, Kashmira Irani and Gauhar Khan—kept the audience thoroughly entertained.

DLF 5 ASSISTS Residents

Food Diva Goes Green

A

ward-winning Chef and Restaurateur Ritu Dalmia held a Master Class at the Fisher & Paykel Experience Centre in the City. Launching her new vegetarian cookbook, ‘Diva Green’, Ritu showcased select recipes from the Book to present her guests with a firsthand glimpse of four uncommon, yet easy-to-prepare, vegetarian recipes. Guests at the Event were given the opportunity to experiment with the recipes.

R

esidents of DLF 5 attended a glittering function to mark the launch of DLF 5 ASSIST, a mobile phone application (developed by Levitate Mobile Technologies), which provides a new way for residents to interact. Once downloaded, this App allows a resident to inform the facility management of any maintenance issues faced by him/her, at the click of a button. The suggestions or complaints via this App will then be directed to the requisite department electronically, allowing for an efficient redressal of the concerns. Aakash Ohri, Director Business Development, DLF, said, “In this day and age of Smartphones, we believe that this mobile phone App will add a lot of convenience to the lives of DLF 5 residents.” This App can also be used to ask for plethora of services – from apparel, electronics, groceries, baby products, flowers and gifts, to home delivery of food and the booking of movie tickets.

CONTACT 7838003874 TO BE FEATURED ON


08  Contd from p 1

C over S tory

Not On Solid Ground electronic tracking devices so that their movements could be tracked. S.P Verma, Assistant General Manager, who runs the Bandhwari Plant, says that municipal waste that comes from the twin cities is 50 per cent biodegradable, has almost 15 per cent dry recycles and 35 per cent inert components. The waste in Gurgaon has a maximum amount of organic matter, followed by cloth, leather, metal traces and a large amount of debris. Verma says that the capacity of the Plant

will soon be increased to 900 tonnes, and his Company has already agreed to the proposal of the authorities. However, till the time this expansion happens, around 300 tonnes of daily refuse will go directly to the landfill. He says that the landfill has been built scientifically, to ensure that it does not pollute the soil as well as ground water. Another major issue being faced by the Plant is frequent power cuts, which lead to delays in the processing of refuse, and the consequent dumping, which hampers operations. The waste at the treatment plant is segregated as dry and wet waste. “Almost 18 per cent of the processed waste is converted into compost, 15 to 17 per cent is converted to a refusederived fuel, and 1 per cent

As per government estimates, a resident in Gurgaon produces an average of 320 grams of waste per day, which is calculated after taking into account the consumption patterns and lifestyles. An MCG study on waste, conducted in 2006, revealed that 400 tonnes of waste is produced in the controlled areas of the City - that included 110 Metric Tonnes Per Day (MTPD) in ‘old’ Gurgaon City, 35 MTPD in DLF areas, 7 MTPD in Ansals areas, 70 MTPD in HSIIDC, 120 MTPD in HUDA areas and 58 MTPD in other private residential colonies. The per capita increase in waste generation in Gurgaon, as per estimates, is stipulated to be around 1.33 per cent yearly. It is estimated that the City will produce almost 1000 tonnes of waste daily by 2021 - almost double the present quantity.

of the plastic is processed,” says Verma. The plant and machinery, which comprises a segregator, compost plant, RDF Plant and the Plastic Plant, is owned by AKC Developers, a Mumbai-based company. The Company has a 29 years lease agreement with the MCG, and instead of being paid a processing fee, it has the complete right to process and sell the waste as it likes. The Plant is operational 24 hours, and the processed wastage is transferred to the landfill which will serve for 4 more years. “We have spread geo-

membrane textiles to ensure that the processed wastage does not pollute the soil”, says Verma. There is also a negligible presence of birds and other animals – overhead or on the ground. Nazim Furniturewala, who runs 19 such plants across the country, says that once this landfill becomes saturated, a garden can be developed over it – like it has been done in Noida. MCG Gurgaon’s Medical Officer, Sunit Dhankhar, reveals that to handle the issue of excess wastage the government is planning to increase the capacity to almost 1300 tonnes, and a high level meeting was also held on this issue recently. “We have adequate staff and machinery at our disposal to collect the waste from the collection points in our area,” says Dhankhar. He also says that MCG has started door-to-door waste collection in the 43 urban villages in Gurgaon that fall under its jurisdiction. In December 2012, the Administration launched waste management in these villages under the Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan, wherein household garbage is collected and segregated before sending it for processing. Dhankhar, however, says that the lack of geographical boundaries

PRAKHAR PANDEY

The methane produced in this process poisons the air. Satish Sinha of Toxics Links, who lives in Gurgaon, says that the Millennium City has no proper plan for managing the waste and sewerage that is being produced every day. “There is no overall plan for waste management. No system is in place, and whatever is happening is due to the initiatives taken by the civil society. We must demand more from the authorities,” says Sinha. As per him, sending waste directly into the landfill, without processing, could lead to toxicity in the environment. The need of the hour is to practice segregation of waste at every level, he says. Rapid urbanisation, large scale construction activity and the refusal of the City’s residents to allow landfills nearby, has led to a situation where solid waste management has become a major problem for the authorities. Nisha Singh, Councillor of Ward 30 says, “Neither HUDA nor MCG have deployed enough resources for this purpose. There should be no reason why tonnes of waste, which could be processed here in the City, should be transferred to a centralized destination at Bandhwari and left to rot,” says Singh. Singh wants that private builders and condominium residents should themselves treat their green and biodegradable waste, and also adopt a segregation of waste process, by using multiple bins. Unfortunately, with the current set up, all waste would eventually get mixed at the municipal dump-yards. Presently MCG employs around 2,200 people to handle waste in the City. However, more than 3,500 employees are actually required to handle a mass of 500 tonnes of waste daily. A major lacuna in the waste management system is the negligible tracking of the waste that is collected at municipal dumps, from where it is transported to Bandhwari. There are no weighing machines at the local municipal dumps, and vehicles also do not have any

21-27 June 2013

between HUDA and MCG areas makes the task difficult for the municipal officials. “I think it would be preferable if the MCG gets the charge of HUDA sectors, as it will simplify the job, and make tracking and monitoring easier,” he adds. While the MCG officials have full faith in their organization, R.S Rathee of the Gurgaon Citizens Council (GCC) alleges, “There are only two sanitary inspectors in MCG, and they can’t oversee such a large area. The contractors do not send the required number of men to clean the wards, and this results in garbage piling up,” asserts Rathee. Harish Capoor, a Gurgaon based activist associated with Lets Clean Gurgaon, says that if the manpower and equipment are used properly a lot can be achieved. “We have been clicking photos wherever there is deficiency of service, and send it to the contractor, who has to then rectify the issue. The real problem is the disposal of malba, which presently has no designated landfill,” says Capoor. He also says that the active participation of the civil society in HUDA Zone II has helped in improving the situation. However, some citizens behave in an irresponsible manner, throwing waste on roadsides and dumping

malba in vacant plots. The private colonies in Gurgaon are also facing the same problems, despite hefty maintenance fees being charged by the builders. T.N Kaul, President of the Ardee City RWA, says that they spend a huge amount every month on waste management, while this job should be done by the MCG. “We are part of a municipal ward, voted for the councillor, are being asked to pay property tax - but no services are being accorded to the people,” rues Kaul. Nisha Singh alleges that a prominent builder of Gurgaon, who has been under pressure for some years, used to collect green waste and burn it on the outskirts of the City - violating all norms. Environment experts say that the burning of waste is a very polluting activity, which should be avoided at all cost. In neighbouring Delhi, which produces almost 9000 tonnes of waste daily, the government has put emphasis on sustainable methods - such as door-to-door collection and segregation of waste before it is sent for processing. The Bandhwari plant does not accept debris as bio-medical waste, as it requires special treatment. Nisha Singh is also concerned about the huge amount of E-Waste and medical waste generated in Gurgaon, due to growth of IT and Medical sectors. “I don’t think MCG has any plans for handling such waste, nor do private builders have any arrangements for such things,” she asserts. Experts say that, ideally, instead of producing waste, the City should adopt sustainable practices, to ensure that it produces zero waste - by segregating, recycling and producing power from the trash that the City produces. It is only then that Gurgaon will truly become a new Millennium City – consuming, but behaving responsibly. u


{ Shilpy Arora / FG }

write to us at letters@fridaygurgaon.com

W

omen’s Security has now occupied centrestage as a social concern. Apart from various measures being taken by the police and courts, modern technology is also being harnessed. Many Internet and Mobile-based applications are being developed, to provide comfort, and instant help in case of an emergency. Sarika Yadav, a resident of Malibu Towne, easily tracks the whereabouts of her 18-year-old daughter, Trisha, throughout the day. She knows what time her daughter reaches college, what time she leaves the college, and where exactly she is while coming back home. This has been made possible by a special mobile application called SafeTrac. Sarika can track Trisha’s movement either on the Internet or on a hand-held device that has Google Maps and an Internet connection. In case of an emergency, or when Trisha feels unsafe, she can click the emergency button to alert her mother. Since her location is known, help can reach her very quickly. “The moment a SafeTrac alert is initiated, my mother will know about it, and where I am,” says Trisha. The SafeTrac application is based on a unique Transport Operation mobile management software platform, which is generally used in the logistics industry. It works through the Global Positioning System. “Google Maps has an App called My Location, which shows the precise location of the mobile owner; this concept has been used in this security application. It is a mobile and Internet integrated service that is offered through a central server,” says Business and Development Head of KritiLab, Murthi. The Company plans to introduce features such as ‘an alert to the nearest police station or police booth’, when the emergency button is clicked. Another popular mobile application, Senitel, sends an alert e-mail and SMS in case of a forced power-off of the phone, or an improper exit of an application. A prolonged signal loss would also send alerts automatically. The alert consists of the last known

location, direction of travel, and details such as mode of transport and vehicle number - if entered by the user. The application has been designed by a City-based organization, MindHelix, which is also working to introduce a direct email/SMS to the nearest police station as soon as the emergency button is pressed. “This App is useful and even tackles the problem of network connectivity. However, it can be used only in a Smartphone,” says Shikha, an engineering student, who has been using the application for the last six months.

An App by the City Police

The City Police have recently introduced a mobile application, Human Safety, which also can help record videos in an emergency situation. It has a

self- start video recording facility, which can make five videos of 10 seconds' length, and send them as an alert to dedicated numbers. The videos are also saved in the phone. “If you are stuck in an unwanted situation, just by the press of a button you can activate an SMS, your GPS location, and a video recording of the current situation,” says an official of the police Cyber Cell.

A Revolutionary feature

The iPhone has come up with a revolutionary security feature called iGotYa. With this application, if a person (purposely) enters the wrong code or format to unlock the iPhone, she would be able to send photos of the current situation to numbers that have been put on emergency alert. “It is quite a useful application. Although it was designed to protect mobile theft, it can be used very well in an emergency situation. Besides, maps of the location are also sent to the emergency contacts,” says Radhika, a resident of Palam Vihar. This useful application, though, comes at a high cost.

Delhi Metro to offer a security application

Delhi Metro will soon launch a mobile application to help women passengers know their exact location, and send SMSs and e-mail alerts to the emergency contact(s). The application is a one-time download and works well even if the user is offline. “While travelling underground, people are generally not aware of their exact location. I think this application can prove to be a boon, especially for women. Besides, those who don’t have Internet connectivity can also run this application on their mobile phones,” says Shikha, who regularly travels to Delhi via the Metro. Details of Metro feeder buses and DTC buses will also be available with this application. Referring to the Delhi Rape case in December 2012, Shikha says, “Had Nirbhaya known the route of DTC buses and their availability at night, maybe the horrific incident could have been avoided. Most of the girls who come to the Capital and NCR from other states don’t know from where they can get a bus for a particular location – which makes them vulnerable.” This application also allows users to contact the DMRC Helpline and the nearest Police Station or Police Booth for assistance.

found that one needs to be fully equipped, always. Last week, while coming back home at 1 am, she had met with an accident on Sohna Road. “My car was badly hit by a dumper. I did not have an Internet connection on my Smartphone, and the other phone that I carry is a regular mobile phone, in which applications can’t be downloaded. I was feeling so helpless, as I couldn’t inform anybody in my family about the accident. Thankfully, the Police reached on time and helped move me out,” recounts M. Veena. India has just 30 million Smartphone users, which is just about 5 per cent of the 800 million mobile subscribers in the country. Many mobile applications can’t be downloaded to the ‘regular’ mobile phones. “Safety applications must work across platforms, from a Nokia 1100 to the latest iPhone. But it seems that security too comes at a cost,” says Latha, a student of the Government College in Sector 14. She uses a Nokia 1100 phone. Moreover, most of the applications work only when users have Internet connection on their phones. Therefore, they don’t work in ‘no network’ zones. Further, some applications that require a user to enter the wrong code twice or thrice are not very helpful in a real-time situation. “It is extremely important that the access time to the app is minimal. The function of the app should be simple, and it should be executed in just one hit. I think Human Safety, designed by the City Police, is better than the other applications,” says an official of the Cyber Cell. He also suggests that the key that should be pressed in case of an emergency should have some kind of marking on it, so that the user can touch and feel it easily - as she might not have time to look

A resident of Park View, M. Veena, who has been using safety applications,

If you don’t have a Smartphone

Those who can’t afford a Smartphone can use some affordable yet effective devices that are easily available in the market. A security wristwatch, for instance, can be bought for Rs. 900. It looks like a normal watch but has a lens that can record a video of the current situation. With a special GPS system it can also call a dedicated number(s). Besides, it has a security padlock key that sets off an alarm if someone touches it; and an even louder alarm, if someone tries to break it. A Stun-gun can also be used by women in an emergency situation. It is an electroshock weapon that stuns an attacker with an electric shock, for some time. Stun guns are also available in designs of a mobile phone or a camera. Apart from a trigger, the Stun guns also have an LED flashlight and a safety switch. Taser, an electroshock weapon, is another device that is easily available in the City. “If somebody is hit by a Taser, he/ she experiences extreme stimulation in the sensory and motor nerves, and thus very strong muscle contractions. It can even make a person unconscious. Taser is available for Rs. 1,000. Safety applications offered on mobile phones are becoming quite useful. However, there still is not a feeling of total comfort. Some of the applications are even not easy to use. “The issue is that these applications haven’t been effectively tested in real-life situations,” says an official of the Cyber Cell. While we may wish that such situations do not arise, we need to be practical – and hope that technology delivers us the comfort and help that is sometimes not humanly possible. u

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Correspondent the latest news channel in a weekly They need the School class, she scans wants to join a cookery is Participate says, not“I State close am a proud Delhiite. premises; shop, through Gurgaon jewellery designer, But butGurgaon I love they Her father renowned the "CM and Chief fad. journey is Moms. information KAPuR Media to move uses Facebook back, and lowerneed Club. Members via T148. MoNIcAreturn professional groups to seek Secretary prizes. about get their promise topglare. celebrities, advice on All the Pod And reviews remain latest and win exciting to bring Golf releases, vends, not serious such as insurance contact bars. within reachofof the plans and real issues people, and more!” open details of important the week is: Stands – moreMalls have Pod projects. 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18

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ASHA PANDEY

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be the change you wish to see

@ 16


10  Contd from p 1 scrap dealers are almost a mafia. They don’t allow anybody to stand in the market for than 15 minutes. You can’t click pictures in the market, as they are well aware that it can get them into trouble. We have no option but to live in an environment that is a constant threat to our health,” says a resident. Scrap dealers also operate freely in Sector 15, Sector 49, Sector 28 and Badshahpur. These markets pose a dangerous threat to the City’s already fragile ecology. Not only does the air get polluted, toxins released from e-waste also contaminate small water bodies. According to Manish Kumar, 71, a small lake near New Colony was contaminated due to a cluster of scrap shops situated in a corner of a market. “Some 50 years ago the lake was not only a major source of water for local residents, but it also used to be home for ducks and a variety of fish. However, because of the contamination of water by the local scrap dealers, the residents stopped using the water and also started dumping garbage in the lake. Today it has turned into a small ‘nallah’,” he informs. As tons of e-waste is generated regularly in big IT and BPO firms, the City indeed needs stricter norms. . In 2011, the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) came out with regulations that said that the producers hold responsibility for their products until the environmentally sound management of their endof-product-life is achieved. Although this was perceived to be a welcome move, the regulation doesn’t seem to have made the situation better. Only 12 electronic brands in the country have a ‘takeback’ service. Some brands like Samsung claim to have a take-back service but have only one collection centre, that too only for their mobile phones. HCL and WIPRO, on the other hand, offer ‘takeback’ service through on-line registration, which seemingly doesn’t work most of the times. Rakesh Mittal, a resident of Uniworld City, claims, “I have registered several times on the online ‘take-back’ service of HCL, but the company hasn’t got back to me yet.” Besides, not many are aware about the ‘takeback’ services provided by the companies. Many companies don’t have any information regarding the disposal of their goods on their Indian websites. Only Nokia seems to have done well in this area, with more than 354 collection centres across the country.

21-27 June 2013

C over S tory

New Age Waste Some IT giants like HP offer ‘take-back’ service only to corporates, not to individuals. The ‘take-back’ model of companies is therefore very uneven. No brand has come out publicly in support of e-waste legislation in India; and no brand has invested much on the education and awareness of general customers on e-waste management. The authorities seem to have the same attitude. No government office in Gurgaon sends e-waste to the licensed dealers. A dysfunctional fax machine in the MCG has been lying in the office for the last three years. When asked why they do not send it for recycling, an official says, “We will send it to the dealer as soon as we get permission from the concerned official. We have never sent any equipment for recycling.” Despite being in the IT department, he was clueless about the proper disposal of e-waste.

What can be done?

Firstly, there is a need to give more teeth to the law. Branded mobile handsets are sold in every nook and corner of the City. However, the 2011 regulations don’t specify how many collection centres a company should set up in a city. Nowhere in the rule is it mentioned as to what kind of penalty will be imposed, if the regulation is not followed by the companies strictly. “The Government should provide adequate guidelines for the implementation of the rules, and act as facilitators to regulate the system,” says Chaturvedi. S e c o n d l y , customers should feel happy to return goods to companies. Currently, not many people see value in giving back electronic goods to a company for free. “If I sell a washing machine to a scrap dealer, I can easily make 2,000 to 3,000 rupees. However, giving it back to the company means a ‘loss’, and a long follow-up process,” says Purva, a housewife. Satish Sinha, Associate Director at Toxic Link, an NGO, says, “The best way is to give the old goods back to the companies, when they come out with various exchange

According to the estimates of Greenpeace India, the City generates over 6,000 tonnes of e-waste annually. But it has only three companies that are licensed to handle and dispose e-waste. Shockingly, even these companies don’t get a good response in the City. “We have a 1,500-tonne capacity for the disposal of e-waste; but the amount of e-waste received per day is just five to ten per cent of our capacity," says Sharma offers. We collected over 2,000 electronic goods during a threeday exchange event at Chroma. The goods were then sent to a recycling unit in Karnataka.” There is clearly a lack of awareness among consumers. Most of them don’t know that they can file a complaint to the Pollution Control Board if a manufacturer refuses to take its goods back. They are not aware that their scrap dealer must have an authorization certificate from the Pollution Control Board, to buy e-waste from them. “People are not aware of the hazards of dumping e-waste. They can also be prosecuted under the new rules – although in India it is near impossible to penalize such offenders,” says Satish. Another major issue is the right disposal of e-waste. The idea is to collect e-waste and then transport it to a recycling

facility. “The three companies that are authorized to collect e-waste are not authorized to recycle it. The recycling plants are located only in Hyderabad, Bangalore and Bhubaneshwar. Most of the products are stolen on the way, and don’t reach these recycling units,” says Chaturvedi.

Recycling, a highly profitable business

If recycling of all mobile phones is done in a proper manner, 35,274 pounds of copper, 772 pounds of silver, 75 pounds of gold and 33 pounds of palladium can be recovered. Moreover, thousands of plastic bags, photo frames and plastic wires can be made. Shankar Upadhayay, a scientist at the Centre for Materials for Electronics Technology (C-MET) informs that over 160 grams of gold (worth four lakhs) can be extracted from one tonne of e-waste. “It is pity that neither the government nor the companies see the business in this sector. I am shocked to know that some companies charge transportation and ‘takeback’ fee from their customers. They should rather share a part of the e-waste profit with them,” he says. Undoubtedly, the business of recycling can yield huge profits, as the recycling cost is just Rs. 800 per gram of gold. Further, some rare minerals like Hafnium can be extracted from specific electronic goods. Hafnium is a rare mineral used for the manufacturing of liquid rocket thruster nozzles in spacecraft.

Learning from other cities

When it comes to e-waste

management, the City can learn a lot from the Capital. Attero, a company based in the Capital, goes door-to-door to collect e-waste. It recycles the waste at its factory in Roorkee. One can simply dial 1800-419-3283 to get e-waste picked up from home. “We are the only recycling company in the country that pays for picking up old mobile phones. However, we don’t pay for heavy items such as refrigerators, washing machines and computers,” says Gupta, CEO of Attero. Over the last six months they have picked up old electronic items from around 2000 homes in Delhi. The authorities in the Capital also seem to offer some effective e-waste solutions. Delhi Metro, for instance, has installed e-waste bins at its station on Barakhamba Road. “It allows visitors to dump their old and redundant electronic items. Although my office is close to Rajiv Chowk Metro station, I visit Barakhamba Metro Station once a month to dispose of my e-waste. My wife also uses the e-waste bin quite frequently,” says Naveen Sen, a resident of Sector 15.

Door-to-door dustbins in Bangalore

Last year, the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board had rolled out 16 e-waste collection vehicles in Bangalore. With the help of an NGO, e-Parisara, over 1,500 tonnes of e-waste was collected and reprocessed in the City. The NGO also installed e-waste collection bins at all the major localities and condominiums. In fact it is mandatory for builders to have provisions for the collection of e-waste, in the new residential and commercial projects in Bangalore. Finally, it is important for consumers to realise the importance of e-waste disposal; they should dispose their own e-waste in a responsible way. u

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PRAKHAR PANDEY

21-27 June 2013

Studded Steeds { Abhishek Behl / FG }

write to us at letters@fridaygurgaon.com

F

or centuries, horses have represented beauty, strength and freedom. The traditional Indian Marwari breed also represents the history, culture and bravery of the Indian kings who fought against the Mughal and Afghan hordes. The sturdy and battle-hardy Marwari breed no longer fights in wars, but it is still cherished by the royals as well as horse-loving folk across Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Maharashtra, says Deepak Khanna, who owns Gurunanak Stud Farm in Bajghera, a village close to Palam Vihar. While the majority of the stud farms in the Millennium City are known for breeding Thoroughbreds for racing and polo teams, Khanna breeds only the Marwaris - which are primarily show-horses kept more for their beauty and style. These horses can also be used for riding long distances, as they come from a hardy stock, which was reared by the Rathore Kings of Marwar in the 12th

century. It is believed that a few Arabian horses were taken from a trading ship in Gujarat, and brought to Marwar - where the Rajput kings cross-bred the Arabian, Turk and local stocks to create a hardy, intelligent and fierce breed. Khanna was captivated by horses when he saw these creatures at a hill station, moving effortlessly on steep climbs and balancing themselves on sharp curves, with their heads held high. “The first impression was most powerful, and I promised myself that one day I will own a horse. I also read about the exploits of Maharana Pratap and his horse Chetak, and was greatly moved,” says Khanna. However, despite his passion, he did not buy a horse at that time – as he was pre-occupied with his IT and other businesses. It was only in 2009 that Khanna seriously considered owning a horse, after his young schoolgoing son expressed such a desire. “I was surprised by my son’s passion, and realized that maybe the love for horses was in our genes,” says Khanna. He drove around 20,000 kms across the

country to look for horses, and after doing a thorough study came to the conclusion that Marwari was the breed that best met his aspirations. “The Marwari horses are our own. They have fought wars for us. They are beautiful, hardy and blessed with a personality that is unique,” says Khanna, while looking fondly at his favourite horse Shamsher - the son of Alishan, which was one of the best Marwari horses in the country, owned by a leading breeder in Rohetgarh (Rajasthan). To start with, Khanna bought two mares, Khushi and Muskan; but having decided to become a breeder, he bought a pair of stallions in 2011. As per Khanna the best of Marwari horses are still found in the stables of the royal families of Rajasthan, who have patronized them for a long period. The most distinctive feature of a Marwari horse is its heart-shaped ears, which can swivel 180 degrees. Experts say that this is due to a genetic mutation, as good hearing meant the difference between life and death during wars in the sandy dunes of

Rajasthan. Khanna says that the distinctive ears of the Marwari horses have become their most cherished quality today, along with their supine necks, powerful legs and a skin that shines like no other horse. “Their stables have fans, and we ensure that insects and mosquitoes are kept away,” says Khanna. Shamsher, a 32-months-old horse, keeps flipping his ears as Khanna walks him in the 2-acre farm in Bajghera. It is 63.5 inches tall, and its growth will continue till the age of 5. Being a top quality horse, Shamsher has already won accolades for the breeder, for being the best stallion in Haryana, at a show organized by the Marwari Association. “A number of people from Gurgaon have come to see Shamsher. Not only the rich, but people from every walk of life come to see the horses, because they represent the best of qualities bestowed by nature”, says Khanna. There are a number of people who have expressed a desire to buy the Marwari horses, and also requested for stable facilities. At an average, maintaining a horse in a rented stable like Gurunanak Stud Farm costs around Rs 15,000 a month. Khanna says that horse keeping and breeding requires good knowledge, planning, commitment to quality and paying close attention to the needs of the horses. The weather, and the availability of patrons in Gurgaon, also motivates breeders like him to expand their activities. “I am happy that young kids are taking up horse riding, and loving the animal”, says Khanna, as his son, Rudraksh, pleads to take control of a young horse named Sikander. This tall white colt takes centre-stage

S ocial

11

wherever it goes, because it has pure lineage and a rare beauty. “The thought of owning a horse comes from the heart. Not every rich man can or should own a horse,” asserts Khanna. Recalling the history of Marwar, Khanna says that it was Chetak, a Marwari horse, which brought back Rana Sangha alive, from the Battle of Haldighati - even though it had to sacrifice its own life. So brave were these horses that the Rajput soldiers would fix faux elephant trunks on them during battle, and teach them how to tackle the mighty elephants of the enemy. However, this breed suffered badly during the colonial rule, as a majority of the Rajput kings could not maintain large armies; many of these horses were shot or castrated, and left to die, says Khanna. Such was the plight of the Marwari horses then, that their inward-turning ears were mockingly termed as a mark of a (lowly) ‘native’ horse. The English preferred Thoroughbreds and polo ponies. Many families also stopped keeping horses, as it became expensive and also ‘went out of fashion’, till the nineties when the interest to save the indigenous breed was revived. “It is in the last two decades that major strides have been taken to save the Marwari breed, across North and West India. We love these horses, and so do a large number of people - who may not own them, but go to the stud farms for rides, or to watch horse-shows. They keep us - owners and breeders - motivated”, states Khanna. He pats Sikander, who is becoming restless without his partner, Shamsher. “Both of them are inseparable, and are the pride of the Gurunanak Stud Farm,” he says. u


{ Abhishek Behl }

write to us at letters@fridaygurgaon.com

I

t is unfortunate, but true, that in a country like India, which prides itself on its family system and humane values, the elderly are increasingly facing abuse – and that too at the hands of their close family members. Shockingly, it is the sons and daughters-in-law who have emerged as the main culprits; which is a paradox, and an ironic twist of life, with the birth of a son being considered the most happy and auspicious event in the life of his parents. The problem of abuse has become more acute in and around metro cities, where the family as an economic unit is under pressure due to various reasons. A Helpage India Report says that in the last one year there has been an 18 per cent rise in abuse faced by senior citizens in Delhi-NCR which is ironically, again, an area that is modern, and has highly-educated residents. The perception of elderly abuse is as high as 98 per cent in neighbouring Haryana, where senior citizens allegedly have to face wilful neglect, disrespect and even violence from close family members. The Millennium City also has a large number of citizens who feel vulnerable, and face multiple problems related to health, security and loneliness. Unfortunately hardly any institutional mechanism has been developed to handle this problem. Some old-age pension schemes and healthcare facilities have been made available to the senior citizens of families living below the poverty line. The private sector and NonGovernment Organizations are trying to fill the void to some extent, but they are constrained due to limited resources. However, a new initiative from the most unlikely quarter is being hailed by the City’s elderly. The decision by the Gurgaon Police to set up Senior Citizens’ cells in a majority of the police stations - which will be monitored by the Apex Cell at the Police Commissioner’s office - has met with positive response from the civil society. The Cell aims to ensure that the elderly in the City live a secure life. Gurgaon Police Commissioner Alok Mittal, under whose directive the Cell was established in February this year, told Friday Gurgaon that this step was taken because of the increasing problems being faced by Senior Citizens in the City. “There are issues related to security, health and even

21-27 June 2013

Senior Abuse

family disputes, which are handled by the Cell. The feedback has been very positive, and since the Senior Citizens are also involved in the resolution of the complaints, the results have been good”, he says. Under this plan, a majority of the police stations in Gurgaon will soon have three members from the civil society - above the age of sixty years - and two police officials, who will jointly look into the problems being faced by the elderly in their respective jurisdictions. Sub-Inspector (SI) Rampal reveals that around 80 complaints have been filed with them to date. “We have

Constable Veena, who works with the Cell, says that on an average 8 to 10 calls are received by the Helpline daily; they are forwarded to the PCR vans for making enquiries and taking appropriate action. It is the property disputes that are the most vicious, as today people do not want to share things even with their close family members. Families are being divided and torn apart, and relatives abuse each other, as the stakes are very high, say officials. The Helpage India Report also confirms that a majority (55 per cent) of the elderly do not report on their being abused, to anyone. Most of

S ocial

to find a solution to the problem. ‘Disrespect, neglect, and verbal abuse’ were identified as the three most prevalent forms of abuse in Haryana and Delhi-NCR. As compared to other cities in Haryana, Gurgaon has problems of a different kind, feels Ramesh Yadav, a Senior Citizen. There are a number of elderly whose families are abroad, and they have to live alone here. They face lack of companionship and support, and this may even lead to depression, he says. The new culture of nuclear families has put further pressure on the elderly. A large number of Senior Citizens also have serious medical conditions, and need

police, says an official. SI Rampal says that they have been able to make some headway. There have been cases where both the parties had initially refused to listen to each other, but the intervention by the Cell members, and the involvement of the community had made them see reason. “We ensure that every complaint is monitored and taken to a conclusion by the investigating officers”, he adds. In Haryana, where almost 80 per cent of the elderly live with the family and are dependent on it, most prefer to keep quiet. Even well -educated people have remained mum despite facing this problem over long periods of time. In Delhi the main abuser is the son (34%), followed by the daughter-in-law (24%); the top 3 types of abuses experienced by the elderly are Disrespect (41%), Verbal Abuse (32%)

constant support and finances - which also becomes a bone of contention among family members. “Who will take care of the parents? Who will spend the money?” asks Yadav. Pawan, a resident of Bijwasan, reveals that relations even between brothers have become strained due to the increasing affluence in the Delhi –NCR – especially related to the sale of land. “Every one wants a major share of the property - but this is not possible. The feeling of community is no longer there, as even family members have become strangers”, he rues. Even the poor families, the economically weaker sections, are not spared of this problem today. Lekh Raj, who lives in ‘old’ Gurgaon, says that the problem of parents being abused is ironically more serious where the family is dependent on them. “The younger family members are aggressive, and want to control the finances; they demand more from the elderly, while also disrespecting and abusing them”, says Raj. He has seen his brother being sent back to the village after he refused to give in to incessant demands for money. In some cases the elderly also face violence, but rarely do they approach the

and Physical Abuse (beating/ slapping) – a shocking 27%! More than half of the elderly have been facing abuse for 1-2 years. 59% of the respondents in Delhi made no attempt to report the abuse. The lack of social security benefits from the government or the private sector, mounting health costs and negligible spread of health insurance also make the elderly dependent on their wards. While the government has not been able to create a social security network for its citizens, one positive step is the passage of the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act 2007. This Act will help Senior Citizens who are financially dependent on their children, say experts – and possibly act as a deterrent to abuse. Apart from the legal and police measures, civil society activists want action on social security, that will help provide decent health care and work engagement to senior citizens. There is an urgent need to tackle the fast-changing societal mindset, and rediscover the value of Senior Citizens – even in an increasingly youthful India.u

PRAKHAR PANDEY

12

received complaints from all parts of the City. The majority of these issues are related to property and economic disputes, in which the family members are divided on how to share the money, land or rent”, says Singh. The Cell members believe that the issue of elderly abuse is more about the issue/decision on ‘control’ in the family, rather than about any lack of resources. Moreover, a majority of the Senior Citizens seem to prefer to keep quiet even on abuse, as they do not want to discuss their family problems in public. The Cell also has a Senior Citizens’ mobile Helpline, which is functional daily from 9am to 6pm. Senior Citizens can call at 9416092569 to register a complaint; SubInspector Rampal and his team of four members are always available for help. The City police also have a mobile van that is stationed at the Cell location, to provide transport to Senior Citizens needing medical help, or for an emergency, or to visit them in case of a complaint. The elderly can also dial the helpline number 01242221559, which is linked to the Police Control Room.

Mathew Cherian, Chief Executive Officer of HelpAge India, says, “HelpAge has been regularly tracing the extent of this heinous crime across the country. This year we covered not only Tier I, but Tier II cities as well, to understand the extent and prevalence of abuse, and what measures can be taken to counter it”, referring to the nationwide survey on elder abuse, which has revealed startling facts on the issue. them have been facing the problem for more than 5 years, but have chosen to remain quiet, to protect the ‘family honour’. While across the country the son was found to be the primary perpetrator of the crime (abuse), Haryana has the dubious distinction of the daughter-in-law being the main culprit. Only 13 per cent of the abused elderly approached the extended family


C ivic/S ocial

21-27 June 2013

The Law & Beyond { Vidya Raja }

M

cDonald’s to pay $700,000 compensation for falsely advertising halal food’. ‘Best Buy to pay $875,370 to settle false-advertising case’. Headlines of this kind are common in the United States of America. Courts in the U.S.A. are known to come down heavily on companies that make false/fake claims, mainly through advertising. It has cost many big brands millions of dollars. Unfortunately, India does not have a comprehensive legislation to control such misleading advertisements/ claims. The Indian advertising market is regulated and controlled by a non-statutory body - the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), which was established in 1985, and has undergone little change. In the absence of a statutory regulatory body, the government has the authority to take up Public Interest Litigations on behalf of aggrieved parties - but that almost never happens. The ASCI has one overarching goal, which is to maintain and enhance the public’s confidence in advertising. It has adopted a Code for self-regulation, and it stands for the protection of the legitimate interests of consumers and anyone concerned with advertising - advertisers, media, advertising agencies, and others who help in the creation or placement of advertisements.

Process

Misleading advertisements are not only ethically wrong, but also tend to violate the rights of the consumer. To protect the rights of the consumers, Consumer Forums have been formed and given adequate discretionary power. There are some powerful mechanisms within their workings, for the protection of consumer rights. For example, wherever there are two interpretations, the one that favours the consumer must be chosen. However, in the absence of any governmental regulations, or a sincere intent to protect the citizens, it has been upto the consumers to seek relief and ensure that they are protected. Thankfully things are slowly changing, with the advent of social media and 24/7 news

A Few Examples

13

channels. Based on a slew of decisions of the Consumer Forums that have gone against advertisers, the ASCI is now trying to be proactive, and invites advertisers to engage with them before an advertisement is published or telecast. The ASCI would like to view an advertisement to look for potential ethical or other contentious issues that might arise. This should not only save the advertisers time and money, but also reduce the number of false claims/unethical advertisements. u The writer is a qualified legal professional who has practiced before the Madras and Karnataka High Courts

A few examples of advertisements that were found to be making false claims, or claims that were unsubstantiated, are mentioned below: ‘Sundrop Heart reduces cholesterol and increases life’, the advertisement read. Based on a complaint received, the Consumer Complaints Council held that whilst the scientific data supported the claim - that Oryzanol helps in reducing cholesterol, to conclude that it increases life was misleading by implication. ‘Once your spots disappear, they won’t come back; & (it) works with your skin’s unique gene expressions’, is a claim made by Ponds White Beauty. This claim was not substantiated by the Company, and was held by the Consumer Complaints Council to be in contravention of the Code. “India’s No.1 Fabric Conditioner brand, also market leader globally”, was a claim made by Comfort Fabric Conditioner, a product of Hindustan Unilever. This was held to be unsubstantiated, and therefore the Consumer Complaints Council

The process of lodging a complaint against an advertiser that is making false or unsubstantiated claims, is fairly simple. ASCI ensures complete anonymity of the complainant. To ease the process, ASCI allows for complaints to be made online, via e-mail, post, as well as by telephone. Once a complaint is received, ASCI asks the advertisers to submit their comments, and also asks for substantiation wherever required. The Consumer Complaints Council then verifies the claims made; and if they are found to be in contravention of the Code, the advertisers are asked to either modify or withdraw the advertisement. Whilst strides are being made in the right direction, it is imperative that we as viewers/consumers bring such advertisements to the ASCI’s notice. David Ogilvy, a doyen in the advertising world, very aptly said, ‘Never write an advertisement which you wouldn’t want your family to read. You wouldn’t tell lies to your own wife. Don’t tell them to mine.’

upheld the complaint it had received. The Consumer Complaints Council deliberated and decided on 342 complaints against 304 advertisements in March 2013 alone.

A more recent incident comes to mind when one thinks about false advertising/claims. On June 9, 2013, a group of eight adults (referred to as ‘Gurgaon Victims’), on the basis of an advertisement posted by Lemp Brewpub and Kitchen on Zomato (a website providing information related to restaurants, bars, pubs and clubs and events at such establishments) - claiming to offer a Hawaiian brunch with Hawaiian food, a Tiki Bar serving exotic cocktails, live music and a traditional Hawaiian dancer, all at a price of Rs. 999/all-inclusive - decided to avail of this Offer. Going by the ‘Gurgaon Victims’ blog entry, there seems to have been gross misrepresentation by the management of the Pub, since the claims made by the management were not substantiated. This would amount to misleading advertising on part of the Pub management.

The Defens(iv)e Land Grab { Krishan Kalra }

T

he other day, driving down Ring Road, from Dhaula-Kuan to West Delhi, I passed a huge compound, displaying a couple of big sign boards saying, “Station Dental Officers’ Mess”. I was trying to mentally calculate the number of ‘Dental Officers’ in Delhi, to warrant such a huge Mess. All of us agree that our military personnel deserve a better deal. Their valour and sacrifices for the country – facing the ravages of war, transfers every two/three years, postings at nonfamily stations, excruciatingly lonely sojourns at high altitude surveillance locations – justify ample compensation. And yet... A little further down the road, I crossed the elegant new building of Border Roads Organization – another military outfit, which stood in sharp contrast to the general squalor in Naraina. But the real fiefdoms were to be seen on the way back, when we drove through the Cantonment area. In Delhi Cantonment there is an overwhelmingly good feeling - of open spaces, extensive green cover and wide roads. The population density here is perhaps a tenth of that in West Delhi. There is an Army Cinema and a separate Air Force Cinema nearby. There are dedicated schools – even colleges – mandirs, gurudwaras and golf courses. The armed forces have their own CSD (Canteen Stores Department) –supplying everything from toothpaste to refrigerators, all free of excise and sales tax.

So, an exclusive armed forces’ medical-corps makes sense… but a separate Dental Corps – and just for the Army? The Navy & Air Force guys also need dental care, so they too have their own! Many of these facilities make eminent sense in secluded, middle-of-nowhere places - but, for heaven’s sake, why in landstarved metros like Delhi or Mumbai? The pay scales of the armed forces definitely need upward revision, and their living conditions must be improved - but why do they need to grab huge chunks of land all over the country? It’s very lopsided, considering that there’s an acute shortage of urban land in the country. The Super Brahmins (read IAS) too have their fiefdoms and islands of luxury but, in this department, our Defence forces are streets ahead. Collectively, these establishments are ‘holy cows’: not to be touched, even for the most important civic projects. Perhaps the most ludicrous example of an important project getting delayed (because of a military ‘holy cow’), was seen on MG (Mehrauli-Gurgaon) Road. The Delhi Metro project along this Road was moving at a fast pace. They could have probably completed the job well before the 2010 target date - but for the fact that nearly 750 meters of the route had ‘Air Force Station – Arjangarh’ located on one side, and their housing colony on the other. So, nothing could happen on this stretch; no pile drivers, no excavators, no pillars …. in the name of ‘security considerations’. Finally better sense prevailed, and the project was completed with only a small delay. u

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14

K id C orner

21-27 June 2013

Artistic Strokes

Kids Brainticklers

Aanya Bansal, K.R. Mangalam

Anushhka Thakur, Pathways Aravali

Solutions

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

Krishanai Dixit, MRI School


K id C orner

21-27 June 2013

15

Literary Flourish

Galli Galli Safety

The Walk Of Life

G

I walked a lot in life Through the ups and downs Like the mountains with rough terrain But all this hasn’t gone in vain.

alli Galli Sim Sim (GGSS), the Indian adaptation of the world-renowned educational childrens’ series Sesame Street, in association with the community radio station Radio Mewat, organised a Community Awareness Camp on Traffic Rules at Satputiyaka Village, Mewat. The Superintendent of Police, Sukhbir Singh Pehalwan, was the special guest on the occasion. Pehalwan shared some simple precautionary measures to help bring down the rate of road fatalities. Galli Galli Sim Sim radio episodes on Road Safety were played out during the Event. Children who participated in the previous programmes were invited by Radio Mewat; they discussed how GGSS episodes have motivated their thinking. A leisurely puff and a cough Stop, you have had enough

Y

oung boys and girls smoking the pipe has become a common sight. I understand that the first puff is taken for sheer curiosity and excitement - ”just for a kick’’, they say. The urge to show-off could be another reason - peer influence does play its role. A puff seems to make a person rise a whisker above the rest. Imitating elders in the family, and especially borrowing their vices, is a ‘learning’ that takes place unknowingly – in many families. The young pretend to be mature and wise, grownup enough to take the right decisions, and to lead life on their own terms. Temptations hail them at every nook and corner. The glamour and glitter of a modern life style is an attraction difficult to repel. Most of the young fall prey to this

Kick Your Bad Habits

The moment one takes the first puff one hears the cough. This cough should be heard as the sound of danger. The familiar hacking that greets the morning, and punctuates so many smokers’ lives, is noticeable early - and often becomes a raucous bark, a command to visit the doctor. The nitrogen dioxide in the smoke of a single cigarette can produce a solution of acid strong enough to burn holes in a nylon stocking. Smoking is deleterious. There is a devil in every puff of smoke. Teenagers must avoid this bad habit like the plague. They should quit before it is too late. Follow the simple rule - anything that cannot be shared with family should be abandoned; anything that is hidden from parents and teachers is erroneous and immoral.

Enjoy The Summer

glossy world. They form habits that ironically come back to form them... after some time. Any bad habit, if formed at this age, can have farreaching effects. At a young, impressionable and vulnerable age it requires lots of guts to say NO. The young should try to be firm as a rock and stay away from the habit. Those who resist the pressure are actually stronger than those who fall in line and pick up the habit meekly. The brave are actually the odd ones in, not the odd ones out. Youth is the store-house of idealism, vitality and dynamism. That is why parents and teachers try and inculcate good habits early. These well-wishers don’t want the young to go astray, because they know that once distracted and off-the-route they can ruin their lives. Savita Bawa, PGT English, Kendriya Vidyalaya, Old JNU Campus

Summers are very hot, We like cold things a lot. We switch on air conditioners, They are great re-fresheners. Children like to lick ice-cream, Which they even flick in their dream. We eat juicy watermelon, And drink water at least of one gallon. Indoor we play games, And make paintings with golden frames. We prefer to wear white, light, cool, cotton clothes,

With every sharp turn I take I see my life take a new form I learn something new about my own self I’ve learnt life is better unpredictable. With every face that changed Before my eyes, they turned their backs I knew they won’t live a perfect life In their lives, it’s me they’ll lack With every problem that stood like a wall ahead I knew it would be through it or above But I will leap, run or crawl I just won’t stop! I have walked a lot in life.. The bitter, the good, the bad... I have grown up but I am not that mature Nor do I intend to be I wont ever leave the little child in me indeed. I have walked a lot.. But I haven’t walked enough I still am not that tough! Ashita Modi

We go and swim with floats. The schools give holidays, To enjoy summer in many ways. Some go national, Some go international. Some to educational camp, To study under the magical lamp. So enjoy your summer, And always be a front runner.

Shivani Ahuja Class 6, The Shri Ram School, Aravali


16

21-27 June 2013

C omment

From Bharatiya To Indian So Advani is out and Modi is in. The charioteer of Krishna is now the new Lal. He has a unique opportunity to set BJP on a new, positive course. Of course it has to start with himself...he must have the courage to apologize for 2002. He must humbly eat pie, in order to take the electoral cake. There is clearly need for a change – especially in perspective - in the BJP. There is no harm in it projecting the positive face of Hinduism, in both thought and action; however, the attitude towards Muslims has to change. There is enough to first 'right' in Hinduism itself. It is also the right time, globally, for India to make its special mark – as a society, and not just as an economy. A 'BJP-Way Forward' editorial of last May still remains relevant – maybe even more so.

EDITORIAL Atul Sobti

'An electorate in a democracy should benefit from a choice of political and social alternatives. It is disappointing that the BJP has relinquished its role as a main national party – as an effective opposition. Despite the Congress/ UPA lack of performance (or even action), and the country being steeped in inflation, corruption, and deficits, the BJP has not been able to make any headway. It could have almost brought down the UPA on just inflation and prices alone; but it did not have the focus, or perhaps even the insight. In big UP, a one-time stronghold, BJP flattered to deceive. It seems to be happy in securing more debating points than seats. BJP has in fact helped accentuate the TINA (There Is No Alternative) factor for the Congress; it is now seen more as just a temporary parking area for parties disaffected with the Congress. Meanwhile, the nation suffers. The BJP seems stuck at 2 levels. One, on leadership – with Advani stubbornly unwilling to move on. It is something that many at the BJP HQ/Centre (limelight) may find comfort in, and so silently promote - as they are not mass leaders. The mass leaders, the BJP CMs, stand ignored – despite strong performances. They are either too powerful, or have no central ambition. Advani (alongwith the RSS) is in a way guilty of what the BJP accuses the Congress President/High Command of – of impacting the independent operations and decision-making of an executive team. If this does not change, 2014 will be a disaster. There will be a loud cry, and a clear need, for a more youthful mass candidate against Rahul Gandhi (for whom the rules are anyway different, and who already believes he is one with the masses – never mind Bihar and UP).’ At this level at least, the BJP has now moved forward, ‘The second level/issue is more basic – actually strikes at the very foundation. The BJP is in denial over Hindutva. It wants to not deny, but dare not do so. It is because the mindsets are too narrow. Hindutva seems to mean only issues related to Ram, Krishna, Hanuman; and an antiMuslim (appeasement) stance. There is nothing wrong in having a political party that believes that Hinduism is core to India; that a majority population of Hindus - and of people from the other Indian-origin religions of Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism – is a good bet for the stability of our plural society. The BJP would do well to follow this line. However, somewhere along the way, the emphasis, or the very basis, has shifted from celebrating Hinduism, to being ‘anti-Muslim’. On this, the BJP needs a serious rethink. Not only has the overall voter emphasis shifted more to economics (due to aspirations, from hearing and seeing it

all), but the youth will not buy this stance. It is also wrong. If the BJP were to move on the ‘pro-Hinduism’ line (not ‘anti-anyone’), it would need to do 2 things: First, appeal to, and act accordingly with, an All India audience - and not just the ‘cow belt’; Second, take up the challenge to set its (including Hinduism’s) house in order. This should also help reinforce the feeling of pride in being a Hindu, and/or in Hinduism. The 2 points are clearly linked. Isn’t it ironic that a ‘Hindu’ party has precious little following in South India – say in Tamil Nadu, in many ways the ‘home’ to ancient Hindu relics, rituals and thought. South India is where children are religiously brought up on the Vedas and Upanishads; and Shiva and Vishnu are literal household names – alongside Rama. Any ‘true Hindu’ party should have found good common cause here. Yes, unfortunately, the promotion of Hindi as a national language played spoilsport in the South. North leaders (esp. from the ‘cow belt’) have thus always been looked at with suspicion. However, it is clearly not just about language. The BJP needs to enter the South strongly, by understanding the Hinduism of the South. Senior BJP leaders need to reach out, and the locals need to be convinced of its new avatar. And finally, the RSS has to be tackled; and clearly be told to keep out, for the greater good. They also should not, and cannot, survive on an anti-Muslim basis; the pro-Hinduism platform should be well-suited for them also. There is no harm in admitting their support – as long as it does not/will not impact executive decision-making’. It is quite obvious that Hinduism needs introspection - for its own future (eg. the issue of ‘Harijans’ and untouchability has to be tackled sensitively, but purposefully). Religious heads, from across India, need to become positive change agents. A few of them will emerge as leaders, and start work for the reformation of Hinduism. By involving itself in this reformation, and engaging the various states of India in this cause, the BJP would serve its own cause well – as well as that of the country. It has to be done with utmost humility. After all, it is also a matter of righting some wrongs. ‘Garv se bolo hum Hindu hain’ should take on a new, fresh meaning – and feeling. Setting its own house in order politically is also important. If the BJP-ruled States can ‘show a difference’ in economics, and in the provision of necessities to the underprivileged, this can be trumpeted nationally. The Congress has been poor in this area – there is non-performance even on home grounds. The BJP needs to look no further than Vajpayee. Even with a background of the Jan Sangh and the RSS, he ran a successful full term, with a minority government. He managed the coalition very well (it is a different matter that the Congress too has forgotten and forsaken Narasimha Rao —being non-Gandhi, non-Nehru?—who also ran a successful full term as head of a minority government). Most importantly the BJP needs the youth, across India, to feel the change in its perspective. They are not less religious, but believe that Hinduism should remain a very tolerant religion. Maybe this tolerance by the majority is what imbues India with its unique way of life and liberty – and democracy. Yes, at the core, it is not about religion; it is about views, and ways, of life. u


S piritual

21-27 June 2013

17

Knowledge Is For Sharing { Dr. Rajesh Bhola }

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nowledge is a rich and unique possession that cannot be stolen or plundered. A person having a wide-range of knowledge can hope to exert power and influence. However, knowledge does not belong to any person; in fact it is an asset that grows with sharing – and the power grows in tandem. When there is a room-full of smart people sharing their knowledge, there is very little they can not accomplish together. If our ancestors had not shared and passed on the knowledge they acquired, we would have not reached the present level of growth and prosperity. If we are just interested in selfish knowledge we will soon be out of control, and live an ignoble life. Knowledge is not a methodology of just gathering information, but a way of entering into the depths and widths. That also makes it worthwhile and enriches our feelings. Universal knowledge is the amassed thought and experience of countless human beings, over centuries. The survival and growth of mankind has depended on knowledge. Man has always been fascinated by, and struggled to know, the unknown. In this quest he has explored the land, water and space. From being at the mercy of nature, man is now trying to tame nature, through discovery and invention – through knowledge. There must be a thrill to the acquisition of knowledge; if we are not thrilled, we have not yet touched it. Knowledge develops our (human) faculties. It leads to the excellence of the mind. It enables sound judgment. We should try and spread the knowledge base, in all fields, to the masses. Restraint, tolerance, understanding, and the capacity to cope and manage, comes with knowledge. There is no

end to the attainment of knowledge; it is only the foolish man who would think he knows everything. Modern knowledge is very intricate and wide in scope. Thousands of researchers, all over the world, are constantly at work to acquire more knowledge. However, the immense increase in knowledge sometimes does not make us better human beings. Sadly, with the passage of time, man has started misusing knowledge. He has started using knowledge to destroy the very forces that provided him sustenance. He has interfered with nature and disturbed the ecological balance. He has polluted the air, land and water. He has thus created unfavourable conditions for himself and others. Knowledge is associated positively with a sense of personal control. It is necessary to shed every kind of prejudice when we aspire for knowledge. Knowledge can come from any side and in any manner, and it can take any form. It can be grasped even from the blabbering of a little child; or even learnt from the conduct and behaviour of an enemy. Do we not pick up a nugget of gold even if it has been found in the dirt? Even if we do not fully understand the implications of certain things, it is good to hear them; we will at least appreciate that there are other wonderful things in this world, though they be beyond our current comprehension. Knowledge also enables us to see and deeply feel the suffering in the world, to notice our heartfelt response, and then harness and direct that response. We must constantly apply our knowledge for good purpose, for the benefit of the world.u

My Inner Sight Drop my turbulent mind & dive into my soul That is my goal, to share my joy be my role Hone the inner sight, feel delight Be bold and seek, having sought be not meek Giving let go, feel the inner glow Fear neither friend nor foe Breathe deep, breathe slow Watch your breath let go You need no soul-goal-school You are the instrument, you are the string You are the beautiful celestial being... My Inner Sight...with me, without duality.

You Need To Forgive

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

Life in the Twilight Years { Ramakant Gupta }

T

he plane had just landed at the IGI Airport at New Delhi. Brijesh Babu was in deep thought. His elder son Mohan was with him. Both of them were silent. They hailed a taxi for Raj Nagar, which was about 30km from the Airport. Brijesh Babu was in the 78th year of his life, and was a tall, frail person. He needed help while taking a walk in the lawn. He was suffering from many diseases and was dependent on strong medicines. His diet was very controlled, on his doctor’s advice. He had been staying with his elder son in Dubai. Life had been good, despite his failing health. But lately Mohan’s wife had begun to show her displeasure at his staying with them. Every day there were some issues raised. A time came when Mohan felt that he had to take a decision. He discussed the matter with his father. Brijesh Babu decided that, for the sake of family peace, he would move out and live alone at some suitable place. His wife had left for her heavenly abode many years ago. While leaving Dubai he carried a framed picture of his wife, and packed it neatly in his small baggage. After about one hour’s drive the taxi halted at the Raj Nagar Old-Age Home. This Home has been a blessing for many elderly persons. Brijesh Babu was taken to his room by the Home manager. Soon the time came for Mohan to say goodbye to his father. Brijesh Babu settled down in the twilight life of the new millennium.

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Each day Someone causes you hurt and pain Lashes at your self esteem, is mean But now the pain is yours for keeps Wounding you like a knife Driving you restless day and night Strange as it may sound to you Only you can set it right! Forgiveness and healing go side by side It is a process… It takes some effort it takes some time To process Do it in the silence of your heart Make it your secret art “I forgive you so and so, one or more My hate & anger let go, God help me to do so!” Acknowledge your hurt, pain and limitation Your anxiety, stress & agitation And set them free… to go away Then do something you like, be it foolish or wise Each day you will heal, and feel lighter and better Forgiveness has a healing enzyme Doesn’t cost you a dime It keeps retribution at bay… Do a forgiveness prayer today! Shobha Lidder Writer Journalist, Social Activist, Teacher, Trainer, Reiki Master, Pranic Healer


18 Chi-puncture

Bladder meridian

{ Laura del Rio / Madrid / DPA }

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igraines, allergies, dizziness, digestive system or skin disorders, and contractures are but a few of the conditions that can be treated with acupuncture, an ancient Chinese healing system. Its efficacy is recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO). Alfredo Lorite, of the Guang An Men Higher School of Traditional Chinese Medicine, said, “People think that acupuncture is only useful in helping you slim down, or quit smoking, but it has a very broad field of application.” Used in China for the last 2,500 years, acupuncture involves the stimulation of points usually situated in the meridians – channels that cut across the human body and through which life energy, known as “chi,” flows. There are 12 main meridians and they are connected with each other, forming a closed circuit. Acupuncturists assert this is why acupuncture can act on an area by stimulating it from even a distant point. “In Chinese medicine there are no illnesses, only manifestations of symptoms. An illness is only a disorder or imbalance that we have in our organism,” said Lorite. Treatment with acupuncture, and in general with Chinese medicine, is conducted on the basis of a diagnosis reached mainly by taking the pulse and observing the tongue. Basing their diagnosis mainly on those two factors, experts choose the combination of points to act on, and the most appropriate technique. The most common acupuncture treatment is done with very fine, sterilized needles – but there are other types of acupuncture. These include moxibustion, which applies heat from a burning moxa plant; acupressure, which is the stimulation of acupuncture points with one’s fingers; and electroacupuncture. Children who are sensitive to needles can be treated with mustard seeds, that are placed on points on the ears, as well as with other Chinese medical treatments – such as Chinese therapeutic massage and herbal medicine. Several of these techniques are frequently combined in treatments. For example, when treating the negative side effects of chemotherapy, acupuncture and herbal medicine are applied jointly. Besides being therapeutic for a broad spectrum of pathologies and infirmities, acupuncture can also be used as an anaesthetic – in procedures ranging from dental work to complicated surgeries. Pregnancy is one of the few occasions when acupuncture is not recommended, though adherents insist that acupuncture can help ease childbirth – and even get the foetus to change position. In China, acupuncture is regularly applied together with standard medical practices. In Great Britain, the Netherlands, Portugal and the United States, it has come to be accepted; its use is widespread and it is regulated. “Physicians are increasingly referring their patients to acupuncture for certain problems. Acupuncture is preferred in conditions such as arthritis, osteoarthritis, back pain and sciatica. Chinese Professor Hailiang Saebeby, who teaches at the Guang An Men Centre, has said: “For Acute pathology: go to a hospital; For Chronic pathology: turn to Chinese Medicine.”u

W ellness

21-27 June 2013

Conception Vessel

Stomach meridian

Kidney meridian Lung meridian

Large Intesting meridian

Heart meridian

Gallbladder meridian

Pericardium meridian

Liver meridian

Small Intesting meridian

Spleen meridian

Triple Warmer meridian

Moxibustion

The trained experts treat migraines by applying acupuncture on points on the feet, while the points linked to constipation or feelings of queasiness are located on the arms.

Electroacupuncture Acupressure


W ellness

21-27 June 2013

4U 4

Tips

Health & Vitality... Naturally!

by ShahnaZ

Stinging The Allergies of the most popular herbs, for allergy-alleviation. It is mentioned in Aesop’s fables. “Gently touch a nettle and it’ll sting you for your pains …Grasp it as a lad of mettle and soft as silk remains”. The metaphor refers to the fact that if a Nettle plant is grasped firmly, rather than brushed against, it does not sting - as the hairs are crushed down when held firm. The leaves and stems of a Nettle are very hairy.

Tip of the Week

{ Jaspal Bajwa }

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ith the increasing urbanization, there has been a constant increase in the incidence of allergies. Some estimates suggest that one of every six humans suffers from an allergy symptom of one kind or the other. Chronic sufferers are on the constant look-out for natural alternatives to drugs, which have limited efficacy. Many allergy sufferers also dislike the side-effects (eg. drowsiness) associated with the regular use of antihistamines and decongestants. The good news is that many natural products have been identified as potential antiallergic agents, and most are inexpensive too. Some plants

are antihistamines, and some have decongestant properties – thus providing one natural allergy relief. Medical practitioners are now increasingly receptive to adding a supplement (like quercetin or butterbur), as they are then able to prescribe a lower dose of the prescription drug. Common herbs that are found useful in treating allergies are: stinging nettle, gingko biloba, reishi, peppermint, garlic and onion. Grated horseradish is pungent, and may be one of the fastest ways to clear congested sinuses. Most natural allergy remedies loosen the mucus and alleviate any congestion and cough, while strengthening the body’s immune system. Stinging Nettle is one

{ Alka Gurha }

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emongrass, also known as Citronella (botanical name Cymbopogon ciatrus), is a plant with a lemony scent that grows in many tropical climates. It is a perennial herb, with a characteristic aroma and a citruscum-ginger taste. Lemongrass is widely used in Asian cuisines – especially Thai, Malaysian and Vietnamese. In Thai cooking, it provides a zesty flavour and aroma to the dishes. Lemongrass also possesses several medical and health benefits.

Health Benefits

Lemongrass can help in preventing the growth of some bacteria and yeast. It is said to contain substances that have antioxidant properties. Besides being used for treating digestive tract spasms, stomach aches, convulsions, pains, coughs, achy joints, fever and exhaustion, it is also used to kill germs and acts as a mild astringent. Lemongrass can be included in your

Soaking Nettles in water, or cooking them, removes the stinging chemicals from the plant - which then allows them to be handled and eaten, without being stung. Dried nettle leaves can also be consumed as an infusion. The young leaves are edible and make a very good pot-herb. Nettle teas are best taken before main meals. Nettles can also be used in a variety of recipes such as polenta, pesto and purée.

Nature’s Wonder Food of the week:   Stinging Nettle or Urtica dioica

In the hills of Northern India, Stinging Nettle is also known as Bichhubooti or Shishnu. It is one of the plants that has a very high level of chlorophyll, which helps purify the blood. A very popular vegetable, Stinging Nettle has a flavour similar to spinach when cooked. Stinging Nettle contains up

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. How can we prevent a skin tan after swimming (especially due SH

to chlorine in the water) in small kids? Sun exposure causes the skin to become tanned. Chlorine in the water may lead to dryness of the skin. Sunscreens for children are available, which may be applied 20 minutes before sun exposure. Or, you may apply sandalwood based protective cream before swimming. Immediately after swimming, it is necessary to have a shower to wash off chlorine and other chemicals. Apply olive oil or sesame seed oil daily on the body before bath.

WINNER Kaveri Joshi

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

to 25 per cent protein, dry weight - which is high for a leafy green vegetable. Packed with Vitamins A, C, D, and K and Calcium, Phosphorus, Iron, Potassium, Manganese and Sulphur, it is considered good for treating anaemia, boosting the immune system, and treating coughs, colds and congestion. It has also been found useful in alleviating Urinary Tract Infection,

Zesty Grass diet in many ways. The most common way is to prepare tea by boiling lemongrass with water and sugar. Tom Yum Kung, a Thai soup, contains herbs and spices, with Lemongrass as the main ingredient. The soup is said to help fight cold and other viral infections. Lemongrass leaves and oil are used to make medicines. Some people apply Lemongrass and its essential oil directly on to the skin, for curing headaches, stomach aches and muscle pain. The oil is also used in aromatherapy, for muscle pain. Soaps

19

and cosmetics also use Lemongrass as a fragrance enhancer. When purchasing Lemongrass, look for firm, fresh stalks. The lower stalk should be pale yellow in colour, while upper stalks should be green. Usually, fresh Lemongrass is sold in groupings of 3-4 stalks, secured with an elastic band.

Grow Lemongrass in pots

Lemongrass can be grown outside in the garden, or indoors in pots. The best thing

dissolving kidney stones and in treating rheumatoid arthritis. Some people believe consumption of Nettle increases fertility in men and women, helps lower childbirth pains, increases lactation and shrinks haemorrhoids. u Registered Holistic Nutritionist (Canadian School of Natural Nutrition) For education purposes only; always consult a healthcare practitioner for medical conditions

about Lemongrass is that, once planted, it grows back every year. Lemongrass stalks - for growing - can be obtained from your local gardening or food store. Fresh stems, available in many grocery stores, take root easily, to create new plants. Select firm stems that have a woody, light brown base. Cut the stalks to a length of about a foot. The stalks can be rooted by placing them in a glass of water and locating them on a sunny window sill. Just keep changing the water every day, or every second day. In a few weeks the plants will begin to produce new roots. Alternatively, Lemongrass seeds can be planted in the garden or in pots. Plant the seeds two inches deep, and cover lightly with soil. The plant requires sunlight and fresh air. Make sure that the pots are at least seven inches in diameter. Place the shoots in the pots and cover the roots to a depth of two inches. Place the plant in a sunny area, and water the potted plant when the soil becomes dry. Do not over-water - excess water can lead to a rotting of the roots.u


20

21-27 June 2013

A rt

Art Basel

{ Sabine Glaubitz / Basel, Switzerland / DPA }

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rt Basel is known for big sales - and the world’s biggest fair for modern and contemporary art stayed true to its image in this year’s (44th ) edition. Abstract Art was clearly sought after at this week’s start of the Show, which was attended by US actor Leonardo DiCaprio, Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, former German football star Michael Ballack and other celebrities. VIP guests were invited to sample the offerings from 39 countries for two days, before the general public was admitted. Some of the more than 300 galleries from five continents did not have to wait long for their big deals. Only half an hour after the fair opened on Tuesday, the New York Gallery, Cheim & Read, sold a large painting by the late US artist Joan Mitchell, one of the leading abstract expressionists. Mitchell’s jumble of large brushstrokes in muted colours sold for 6 million dollars. Works by German painter Gerhard Richter were being traded

in the same price range. US Gallerist Richard Gray offered Richter’s abstract paintings for 6.5 million dollars. Richter is among the most expensive living artists. In May, auctioneer Sotheby’s sold his painting of Milan’s Cathedral Square for 37.1 million dollars in New York, breaking the 81-year-old’s own auction record. Last year, Richter’s Abstract Painting went to a bidder for 21.3 million pounds (33.2 million dollars) in London. The Berlin Gallery, Max Hetzler, also took only a few hours to make its first big sale, a poetically abstract work by the German Albert Oehlen. “Collectors want quieter, more intellectual Art with more depth now. The years of loud, colourful and kitschy pieces are over,” Swiss Art expert Bob van Orsouw said. However, restraint was definitely not the main theme of the Fair’s Art Unlimited section, which showed 79 giant installations and paintings that would have been too big for the Galleries’ normal trade booths. These monumental pieces were shown by Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron in the new Exhibition Hall, which is sheathed in ripples of metal mesh. Measuring 22 by 7 metres, one of the biggest pieces was the installation, ‘Two into One

be the change you wish to see

Becomes Three’, by US artist Matt Mullican – consisting of giant panels of yellow pictograms and historical images. With its three venues in Basel, Hong Kong and Miami Beach in the United States, Art Basel had become a global player in the Art world, its Director Marc Spiegler said. However, Basel would remain the main of the three venues, he said. This was evident at Basel’s airport, which was expecting up to 150 private jets flying in wealthy Art collectors this week, despite a strike of French Air Traffic Controllers.u


G lobal

21-27 June 2013

A Paradise of Beers { Teresa Dapp / Brussels / DPA }

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elgium is famous for chips, chocolate and beer. One Brussels pub owner has made it to the Guinness Book of Records, thanks to his passion for beer. He has so many of them on the menu that he’s not sure of the exact number himself. “Whew, maybe 2,700? I must admit I’ve fallen behind,” says Joel Pecheur, owner of the Delirium Pub. The exotic brews on offer range from black as night to almost as clear as water with almost every possible colour in between. Some taste sweet like lemonade, and others are as bitter as old-style medicine. Many of the brewers experiment with fruit flavours. The 260-page Menu takes you on a world trip – there’s even Cusquena Light from Peru, Hinano from Tahiti, Harar Sofi from Ethiopia or Gorkha from Nepal. Pecheur set up the Pub in 2003 with a brewer friend. They named the place after his specialty beer, Delirium Tremens. “We try to encourage small breweries. Their beers are made by hand, and they constantly try new methods,” says the Belgian. The Scottish brewery, Brew Dog, offers Sink the

Bismarck, the strongest and most expensive beer on the Menu. It has 41 per cent alcohol - more than some spirits - and costs 99.90 euros for a third of a litre. Who pays so much for a beer? “For some people the price doesn’t matter,” the bar owner says. They are simply curious, or else genuine beer geeks. Pecheur is an avowed fan of French beer – he has only three major German beers on the Menu. Germany bans preservatives in beer. “At the beginning we had 500 German beers. But we always had to keep throwing them out because they expired so fast. Now we have just

French Wine From Italy? { Washington / DPA }

F

rance is famous across the globe for its wines and viticulture, but new evidence has been uncovered, indicating that the art of winemaking is not homegrown: it was imported from the Etruscan people of Italy nearly 2,500 years ago. The Etruscans, a pre-Roman civilization in Italy, exported goods—including wine—to southern France, by ship. Around 400 BC, the Celts of France managed to obtain seeds or seedlings, and most likely used knowledge garnered from the Etruscans to start their own wine industry, the evidence published in the journal PNAS shows. Wine cultivation is believed to have originated in the Middle East around 9,000 years ago. The ancient Egyptians grew vines over 6,000 years ago, and mariners probably helped export the technique from there into the Mediterranean. McGovern, of the University of Pennsylvania Museum and

his team examined a number of Etruscan amphoras—vessels designed for carrying both liquids and solids—uncovered by archaeologists in the ancient port site of Lattara, near Montpellier, dating to circa 525–475 BC. Tests on the well-preserved amphoras, using gas chromatography/ mass spectrometry techniques, revealed chemical evidence that the vessels once contained wine. The scientists also examined remains of a wine press found in the same region, dating from circa 425-400 BC, by which grapes were ground and liquid drained off. It was previously unclear whether the tool was used to press olives or grapes, but the new data provides the clearest evidence to date of

a few that sell very well.” He also believes in stocking mainstream beers - for financial reasons, if no other. Not all beers are always in stock, and obtaining rare brands is often difficult. Pecheur buys direct from numerous breweries. His 70 employees include beer testers and beer buyers, who do the exploring for him. Benjamin Keller is from Germany, and has worked for Delirium for five years. “My job is the envy of my friends,” says the 32-year-old. Originally a barman, he now goes into Belgian villages in search of beer. “I’ve learned more here than in three years of Hotel School.” The last word in beer selection is clearly Joel Pecheur’s even though he has to leave the taste test to others. For health reasons he can’t drink anymore - but it doesn’t matter. “I wasn’t a beer drinker anyway. I preferred whisky!” What drives him is the enthusiasm of brewers and beer drinkers. His business is booming: around 4,000 people come through the Pub’s doors every weekend, he estimates. Many are tourists, but there are also young Belgians, lured back into the old part of Brussels by the Bar. A Delirium Village, of bars of all sorts, has grown around the Delirium Café. Whoever has had enough of beer can try absinthe, rum, whisky or vodka - with a choice of several hundred varieties, of course. u wine production taking place so early on French soil. The results showed that the vessels also once contained pine resin and certain herbs, such as rosemary, thyme and basil. The presence of these ingredients could point to wine being used for medicinal purposes, as ancient civilisations often dissolved medical agents in alcohol. The herbal and pine resins may have also helped preserve the wine for shipping. The results, together with the large quantities of grape seeds, stalks and fruit found at Lattara, provide strong evidence of how the culture of winemaking arrived and was established in France. France is currently the largest producer of wine in the world, followed closely by Italy, according to data recently released by the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV) in Paris. Wine production increased last year by 5 per cent, to 250.9 million hectolitres; and although countries such as Chile, China and the United States have closed the gap, France, Italy and Spain still produce around half of the world’s wine.u

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Do The Bokwa { Eva Gerten / Berlin / DPA }

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okwa is a new group fitness program from the United States that is spreading worldwide: it’s based on letters and numbers that participants spell out with their feet to the sound of throbbing music. A group of Bokwa converts were recently working their way through the alphabet at a dance school in Viersen, in western Germany. Dance coach Michael Behneke had drawn the steps on sheets of paper and hung them up to help his students. “It’s actually very easy,” he said. The first trial courses he offered were booked out. “Bokwa is not really a very feminine exercise. It has lots of action and movement.” Many men had come. Bokwa is a cross between boxing and African dance, and was launched in Germany at the recent Fibo fitness trade fair. It’s aimed at anyone who wants to burn fat. “Bokwa uses up to 1,200 calories an hour,” says instructor Sabine Niessen. Participants dance as if they are drawing out letters and numbers with their feet. There are six levels of difficulty to master, with over 50 individual symbols to dance on. The coach makes a sign with his or her hand, indicating which letter or number is next. Bokwa is about walking, kicking, boxing, jumping, turning sideways and repeated seesawing, or “bouncing” – as it’s known in Bokwa jargon. Arms and legs churn and flail to the music until everyone has worked up a good sweat. Bokwa is often compared with another exercise trend, Zumba, which is danced to Latin American rhythms. “There’s no preset choreography in Bokwa and everyone can dance to it,” says Bokwa instructor Gracia Patricia Hemer. Concentration is very important in Bokwa, and you need to follow the coach closely, otherwise you will soon be out of step. However, the intensity and speed at which you dance is your own choice. 26-year-old coach Hemer thinks Bokwa is more than just a passing trend. “It’s a good addition to classical ballroom dancing in the dance schools,” says Behneke. “It’s also very good for your co-ordination.” u

Airbus A350’s Maiden Flight { Gerd Roth, Clare Byrne / Toulouse, France / DPA }

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uropean airplane manufacturer Airbus is set to test its new midsize, long-range A350 jet at the French home of Airbus in Toulouse. The A350 is designed as a competitor to Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner. It is scheduled to take to the skies for its maiden flight at 0800 GMT soon. The test comes three days before the start of the biennial Paris Air Show, where Airbus and Boeing traditionally do battle for aircraft orders. The A350 uses light carbon-composite materials instead of aluminium, which will allow airlines to make savings on fuel. It will have a capacity of between 270 and 350 passengers, and is scheduled to enter service in late 2014. u


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21-27 June 2013

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Britain Prepares For Royal Baby { Helen Livingstone / London / DPA }

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hen Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge and wife of Britain’s Prince William, names a ship in Portsmouth, it may be the last chance the public gets to see her before she goes on unofficial maternity leave. The pregnant Duchess, often credited with having injected fresh life—now literally as well as metaphorically—into the royal family, is rumoured to be due on July 13, though Buckingham Palace has refused to confirm a date. Prince William is determined to throw a “Kremlin-like security net” around the birth, just as he did at their much-hyped wedding two years ago, according to royal biographer Hugo Vickers. That means the baby may be something of a “one-day wonder”, he says, as the public will see little apart from the Duchess being whisked into hospital when she goes into labour, and her later reemergence with a tiny bundle. That has not stopped the tide of baby-related gossip and speculation. Bookmakers are taking bets on just about everything, from whether it will be delivered by Caesarian section, to which celebrity magazine will get the first pictures - the favourite in that

race is OK!. Paddy Power paid out on bets that it is a girl as early as March, when the Duchess reportedly made a swiftly curtailed reference to her “d...” as she accepted a teddy bear from a well-wisher. Topping the list of fancied names is Alexandra, according to Paddy Power spokesman Rory Scott, who suspects there may have been some kind of leak. “We suddenly saw a lot of bets on that, and it’s not a hugely traditional name – nowhere near the top 10 at the start.” Since royal babies can have a multitude of appellations, royal watchers are also guessing that Elizabeth and Diana may be among them – or Charles and Philip if the baby defies the bookmakers’ odds and turns out to be a boy. “They’re quite likely to respect the immediate ancestors of the baby,” says Vickers: a traditional name is likely. However, he adds, “with Prince William you can’t be certain of anything, he does his own thing.”

The Cambridges are set to be thoroughly modern parents. The Duke is likely to be present at the birth—his father Prince Charles was the first royal father to do so—and is also reportedly to take two weeks of paternity leave from his job as a search and rescue pilot in Wales.

Royal gossips claim Kate is introducing an even newer royal tradition, by having a baby shower, courtesy her younger sister, party girl Pippa Middleton. Her brother James Middleton, who has set up a cake company, is to bake a cake in the shape of a pacifier. The Duchess is expected to give birth either at the same hospital where Princess Diana gave birth to William (St. Mary’s in London), or at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading, where she herself was born – should she go into labour at her parents’ rural home in Bucklebury. Afterwards, she is to spend the first six weeks at her parents’, her uncle Gary Goldsmith let slip to the Daily Telegraph, rather than returning to the formality of Kensington Palace. The baby itself is heralding a new age of royal gender equality, as he or she is set to accede to the throne regardless of the sex. A succession law passed by the Parliament, getting rid of

Israeli Baby Born From Dead Father

{ Ofira Koopmans / Tel Aviv / DPA }

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he moment she came to the world, she made history. R. is the first baby born in Israel as a result of the desire of a couple to become grandparents, by using the frozen sperm of their dead son, who was a single 30-yearold at the time of his death. Although welcomed enthusiastically by most Israelis, the birth has also raised moral questions and criticism. The couple, who have asked to remain anonymous, turned to Irit Rosenblum, 54, the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of New Family, an Israeli organization that campaigns for the universal human right to marry or have children, regardless of religion, gender, nationality or sexual orientation. The couple then found A., an unattached woman who was looking to become a single mother, and baby R. was born in May. Not only did A. agree to receive a sperm donation, but

also a set of grandparents as a bonus. “For me it was moving to see how naturally they [all] fit together,” said Rosenblum, noting that the mother and grandparents enjoyed “a very good relationship.” Regular artificial insemination techniques have become commonplace in Israel. But there have only been around 10 cases in the country so far of babies conceived using the frozen semen of dead men. And what is special about this case is that it is the first time that the grandparents, rather than a widow, have resorted to this technique. It all began 15 years ago, when a soldier entered Rosenblum’s family law office and told her that an injury he sustained in the army had made him sterile. That made her think: “Why not freeze your own sperm for future use, in case something happens to you during your military service?” “In the beginning I didn’t think about death. I thought

about living people,” she said, noting that sterility caused by injury is not uncommon among Israeli soldiers. She then began investigating the legal ramifications and ethical objections to what she calls “biological wills” - a term she has coined and patented in Israel, Europe and the United States. Biological wills allow young men and women to grant permission to use their frozen sperm or eggs in case of death of injury. The first case that Roseblum represented was in 2002. A soldier was shot dead by a sniper in the Gaza Strip, and the mother called her from the morgue, after finding a newspaper clipping about her on her son. “She understood that he was keeping his last testimony in his pocket,” Roseblum recalled. “That same evening, we took his sperm,” recounts Rosenblum - herself a family mother of three. Semen can be harvested from a dead body within 72 hours after death.

His case helped set precedents, even though the woman who received his sperm after a long legal struggle failed to get pregnant. Since the launch of the project, Rosenblum has collected more than 600 such wills. She claims that even the US Army has began suggesting to soldiers that they should freeze their sperm before going

male primogeniture, received royal assent in April, though it still has to be approved in all 15 Commonwealth countries where Queen Elizabeth II is Head of State. For the Queen, the birth and the cementing of her dynasty with three direct heirs means a great deal, says royal biographer Sarah Bradford. After a period in the 1980s and 90s, when the monarchy was hit by scandal and tragedy, including what was seen as the Queen’s heartless response to the death of Diana, the monarch has appeared “tremendously happy” over the past two years, Bradford says. Around 2 billion people witnessed the marriage of William and Kate in 2011—Britain’s royals are still “frightfully good at spectaculars,” says Bradford; and last year the Queen celebrated her Diamond Jubilee, to much popular approval. And so the first baby to be born directly in line to the throne in 30 years, is due to arrive at a time when the monarchy has rarely appeared so scandalfree, glamourous or in touch with public opinion. As Bradford puts it: They have reached a point that is “utterly desirable.” u

into battle. Baby R.’s dad, who died of cancer, had verbally expressed his desire to become a father many times. But it would have been easier for his parents if he had left behind a biological will, or at least a handwritten statement, Roseblum notes. Rosenblum is not without her critics. Ruth Landau, a Social Work Professor at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, has written many articles about using dead people’s semen or eggs. “It is always nice when a baby is born,” she said, but “you must think about what will happen to the identity of this new person.” Landau notes that it can be relatively easy to desire a child knowing that you will not have to take on any parental responsibility. Rosenblum insists she is only trying to help. “I do everything to make any person not be alone. I think it’s subconscious, because I am the daughter of two Holocaust survivors, who lost their entire families. You can stop someone’s life, but you can’t stop their legacy.” u


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21-27 June 2013

{ Nina Mueller-Sang / Singapore / DPA }

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uperstitious Singaporeans love a ghost story. From jilted lovers’ suicides to wartime executions, they are driving a business of exorcism and reality shows. “We get 10 to 30 emails from viewers each week, telling us about their paranormal experiences,” says IZ Darson, 36, Producer of ‘Singapore Haunted’, a popular web TV series featuring paranormal investigators who explore the City-State’s “most haunted” locations. He says three out of five Singaporeans believe in supernatural phenomena, including himself of late. “My investigations have totally changed my perception. I’ve been touched, I chased after shadows, I had things thrown at me, I’ve heard voices. I’m now a believer,” he says. His online channel draws an average audience of 200,000 for its weekly show, and has made him a national celebrity. The Old Changi Hospital, an abandoned colonial building in the eastern part of the City-State, is reputedly one of Singapore’s most haunted spots. It was occupied by Japanese forces in World War II, and the spirits of those tortured and executed are said to scream down the hallways, and touch visitors. Organizations touting scientific credentials have allegedly failed to unravel the mystery. “We have had mysterious equipment malfunction, as well as the sounds of footsteps in midair, or of torrential rain on a totally dry night,” says Jeremy Shiu, Secretary of the Society of Paranormal

Spooky Singapore

Investigators in Singapore. The local appetite for supernatural lore has provided more opportunities. A professional psychic, calling herself Gypsee Jenny, abandoned a career in insurance to serve fee-paying clients with troublesome visitations. One such service is balancing the positive and negative energies of haunted offices and homes. One family was haunted by a female ghost, which frightened the son so much that he fainted, she said. “When I entered

their home, the ghost was sitting in an armchair, with a pale face, long black hair and dark empty eyes staring at me. ‘Get out!‘ she shouted.” The spirit turned out to be the sister of the young man’s ex-girlfriend, Jenny said. “She had a secret crush on him, and later committed suicide. Now, she wanted to be with him, forever. By putting a candle at her grave and pleading with her to respect his privacy, he stopped her hauntings.” Communication between the living and the spirits of the dead

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is important in the culture of predominantly Chinese Singapore, despite the City’s high-tech modernity. Relationships with the departed are carefully cultivated. The territory’s history also plays a part, with many of its ghosts reportedly left by the Japanese occupation of 1942-45. Local historian John Kwok said that between 25,000 and 50,000 Singaporeans were tortured and killed during those three years. “Violent deaths usually lead to residual haunting,” says Shiu, 30. Such deaths are “so quick that the soul does not even know that it has departed from the body. Thus, the entity tends to stay around that particular area, confused and directionless.” More recent violence is behind one of Singapore’s most notorious hauntings, according to neighbours of Block 99, Bedok North Avenue 4, in the eastern district. A young wife, distraught at her husband’s philandering and gambling, is said to have scrawled, “It’s not over, darling”, in her own blood, before hurling herself and her 3-yearold son from a 25th-storey window. “But it was the son who returned, after his father married his mistress and had another son,” says Fan Wong, a 72-yearold housewife living across the estate. Passing himself off as an invisible friend, the vengeful spirit convinced the new son that he could fly like superman, and to jump from the very same window, the story goes. The apartment’s walls have been painted over, but the legend persists. “When it’s night, they say you can hear them laughing up there”, says Wong, glancing up at the building. u

‘The Internship’, Starring Google { Andy Goldberg / San Francisco / DPA }

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n the annals of Hollywood movie history, the great American workplace is most often seen as a depressing, boring and soulless environment, where workers are treated almost like slaves, and bosses are cruel, petty, rapacious and ruthless. The stereotypes are central to movies like Charlie Chaplin’s ‘Modern Times’ (1936), through films like ‘Network’ (1976) and George Clooney’s ‘Up in the Air’ (2010). But the latest workplace movie, ‘The Internship’, is the complete opposite, painting workplace life at a modern technology company as a fun-filled meritocracy, where workers and bosses are sympathetic, and where the perks are so good you never want to leave. The film rekindles the ‘Wedding Crashers’ “bromance” between Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson, who in ‘The Internship’ star as a couple of old-school watch salesmen, deciding to apply to Google

when they are fired from their jobs. They become Nooglers (that’s “New Googlers” for those unfamiliar with the local speech terms at the cultlike company). Their efforts to shine among 1,500 20-something brainiacs are an apt and often amusing metaphor for the struggles many older folks face in adapting to a fast-moving digital world – where youth is prized above all. They run after a car to ask for directions, only to discover that it’s one of the Company’s driverless vehicles; and they dodge a bearded guy in yoga pants on a scooter - a cameo role for the Company’s billionaire founder, Sergey Brin. The appearance of Brin underlines the immense co-operation Google gave to director Shawn Levy, whose work on ‘A Night at the Museum’ apparently convinced the Company that he was capable of depicting large institutions in a sympathetic light. The Film takes an uneven approach on the accuracy of its depiction of the web software giant. It’s true, for instance,

that Google hires some 1,500 of the brightest college students in the US every year, but it does not pit them against each other in ultra-competitive games (as depicted in the movie). The Movie’s arch villain, an arrogant British intern, would also not be likely to ever be accepted at Google, Company insiders say. The Film seems to take the Company’s motto of ‘Don’t Be Evil’ at face value, and never even touches on oft-heard complaints about Google’s privacy breaches and monopolization of web searches. Though Google did not have veto power over any

scenes in the Film, it did voice reservations over an episode in which the driverless car crashes - an incident that belied the vehicles’ exemplary safety record. Google granted the filmmakers unparalleled access to its staff and the Googleplex - its complex of luxuriously appointed building at its Silicon Valley HQ. The Company’s collaborative approach was in marked contrast to the decision of Facebook to ignore and obstruct the mak-

ers of the last big tech-themed movie, ‘The Social Network’. “The reason we got involved is because computer science has a marketing problem,” said Google CEO, Larry Page. “We are the nerdy curmudgeons.” Page said that the movie’s coolest character was a headphone-wearing, mostly silent engineer, who ends up playing a key role in the climactic scene. “We are really excited about that,” he said. u


21-27 June 2013

Highway To Waterways

G -Scape AshA PANDEY

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Friday gurgaon june 21 27, 2013  

Gurgaon Weekly English Newspaper

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