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8-14 February 2013

Vol. 2 No. 25  Pages 24  ` 7

A 60 sq. yards plot available in

Rs. 65 Lac

near Uppal South End, Sohna Road

Contact: Superb Solution

9540943486

{Inside} Growing Up Fast

A vulnerable segment is our girls in various colleges. Many face their first adult test of nasty eve-teasing or worse, by some pathetic men. FG brings you the status from a premier local Girls’ College.

Specials

...Pg 6

FG brings you Special Features on the: India Art Fair ...Pgs 12 & 13 Surajkund International Crafts Mela ...Pg 17 World Book Fair

Spiritual Gems

...Pg 21

We have culled some of the poignant stories and advice from Dr. Bhola’s Spiritual Column over the year. Do read, ponder a while, and act. ...Pg 18 & 19

Women’s Help Desks start at Metro stations –

Helpline No.8130990038

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

The 'Real' Social Circle { Shilpy Arora / FG }

I

t happens quite often. 13-year-old Anya doesn’t get company to watch the latest 3D animation flick, as her parents always go for a typical Bollywood movie. That’s when she checks out Gurgaon Teens, a Facebook group, and easily finds a like-minded buddy. Similarly, when her mother wants to join a cookery class, she scans through Gurgaon Moms. Her father uses Facebook groups to seek professional advice on serious issues such as insurance plans and real estate projects. It seems the 'real' community engagement is happening on Facebook groups now. In the last two years, over 10 new Facebook groups have come up in the City. Is Groupism the Millennial trend? Interestingly, when it comes to Facebook groups, the City has an edge over the capital. For instance, the most popular Facebook Group in the City, Gurgaon Moms, has over 2,600 members as compared to just 142 in Delhi Moms. Likewise, Delhi Teens has 626 members, while Gurgaon Teens has over 800 members. Not only in terms of numbers, Gurgaonites also seem to be regularly involved on the Facebook groups. Shruti Mittal, Founder of Gurgaon Moms Food Club, says, “Members are so active that the Group gets over 10 updates a day. I think

the City lacks a community culture, and people are, perhaps, looking for it on Facebook.” Despite the capital being the base for news media, there is no Delhi Media Club on Facebook. Gurgaon Media Club, on the other hand, is very popular. Surprisingly, more than half of its members reside in the capital. A Senior Correspondent at news channel says, “I am a proud Delhiite. But I love Gurgaon Media Club. Members get information about top celebrities, reviews of latest releases, contact details of important people, and more!” When asked about what makes Facebook groups so popular in the City, Pawan Kumar, Founder of Gurgaon Media Club, says “It is a new City. Here, most of the people are immigrants. They constantly look for an avenue where they can express themselves, share their experiences and find like-minded people. With Facebook Groups, like-minded people are just a click away.”

Why Groups?

Facebook Groups are unique in comparison to Facebook Pages. Groups are more personal, and members can change the internal dynamic of the group conversation – they have the right to post, and comment on posts of other members. “I am a member of several Facebook Groups – some are

Contd on p 5 

An Expressway To Nowhere The Second Divide

How much further do we want to divide our City? HUDA and the State seem to be in an Express hurry to do so – this time bifurcating the ‘new’ City with a new Road Project (only HUDA/the State can call an Expressway a Sector Road). Rather than working on integrating the City, and its citizens, new Projects (that too of the State) seem to be ensuring further ‘controlled access’ and fragmentation. Civic and Civil are in short supply anyway; now even Social, Society and Community are becoming alien words in this getto-Millennium-in-a-rush City, So say many concerned citizens. What gives HUDA the right to privatize a public road? On paper the Project is being presented as a new HUDA-DLF Sector Road. In reality it is an Expressway to nowhere – except DLF. For DLF it is an Expressway to high rentals, high leases and high property values – for its properties in its Phases. And it has convinced HUDA to invest at least Rs. 200 crores for this seemingly public, but surely more a private, project – worth well over Rs. 500 crores. This, at a time when HUDA has not provided even basic infrastructure (for water, power, sewage, other roads, streetlights etc.) across Gurgaon; and has yet to provide detailed answers on how and where and when it has used the EDC taken from us over decades - and still taking for the new Gurgaon II sectors (58 to 115). Is this a prime example of the squander of public money? Where in the world is there an Expressway that cuts through a part of the City, and that has more lanes than a nearby National Highway? And that just seems to be for the benefit of a single builder. This is a Project that will impose a 16 lane high-speed Expressway, after digging up already wide (wider than NH8), decent (arguably Gurgaon’s best) road stretch. Why the priority and urgency for this road, when almost every other road in Gurgaon is worse? Was the Vision for this Project as follows: “just 20 minutes from

the International Airport to the DLF Golf Course”? Is a 20-minute saving of driving time, for a fraction of Gurgaon’s population, worth Rs. 500 crores - and counting? Is a 20-minute saving worth creating a Newer Gurgaon that side of the Expressway? And why is this Expressway project intersection free? Why is there no cross-traffic allowed, on a road that is within City limits? There are many people living on both sides, that today cross, and will want to cross – frequently. Are we going to not learn? Will we repeat the mess of NH8 - with jam-packed entries and exits; and horrible accidents and even pedestrian deaths? And in modern, global times, why have we forgotten the non-motorized? There is even no thought for public transport (bus, auto, taxi stands), needed by people wishing to move from a point within the Road to another. In fact even FOBs and Subways are supposedly an afterthought (if thought of even yet). What about the expected excessive noise and air pollution, well within city limits? The green belt will also be removed from in front of the houses in Phase I. Yes, this Project may not even be good or appreciated by current DLF residents. What is the sanctity of Master Plans? When was the decision taken to make this Road – in this form? And why, and by whom? A Northern and Southern Peripheral Road (and even those are not Expressways) circling the City make sense – but an Expressway within the City?! Is this a precedent that one wants to set for other builders? A privatization of public property in the garb of a partnership? Ps - the State Govt needs to unequivocally state that this new Road, if and when completed, will always remain a public road.

Contd on p 7 


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8-14 February 2013

RNI No. HARENG/2011/39319 Postal Regn. No. GRG/35/2012-2014, VOL.–2 No.–25  8-14 February 2013

Editor:

WORKSHOP  THEATRE NIGHTLIFE  MUSIC  ART

Art

Art Show @ Quill and Canvas, 122 South Point Mall, Golf Course Road Date: Up to February 18 Time: 11:00 am to 7:00 pm

Atul Sobti

Sr. Correspondents: Abhishek Behl Shilpy Arora Correspondent:

Maninder Dabas

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

Anita Bagchi

Sr. Designer:

Amit Singh

Designer:

Virender Kumar

A

solo art show by Prince Chand. The range of artworks include oil and canvas paintings.

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

Pankaj Yadav Sunil Yadav Manish Yadav

Art

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

Vikalp Panwar

Ad Sales Exec :

Amit Agarwal

Coming Up

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

Art Walk @ Indira Gandhi International Airport, 6E Domestic Departure, T ID, Palam Date: Up to March 15 Time: 11:00 am onwards

G

allerie Nvya and Delhi International Airport present an Art collection in varied genres and mediums. See works by renowned Indian artists—like Anjolie Ela Menon and Jehangir Sabavala—along with contemporary talents. Also on display are works of Arpana Caur, Bhawani Katoch, Bhuwal Prasad, Bratin Khan, Gurdeep Singh, Jayasri Burman, K.S Radhakrishnan, K.G Subramanyan, Lalu Prasad Shaw, Manu Parekh, Madhvi Parekh, Mohammed Osman, Neeraj Goswami, Lal Bahadur Singh, Paresh Maity, Puja Bahri, Ramesh Gorjala, Revati Sharma Singh, Sarang Singla and Sakti.

Emails:

editor@fridaygurgaon.com letters@fridaygurgaon.com contributions@fridaygurgaon.com subscription@fridaygurgaon.com circulation@fridaygurgaon.com adsales@fridaygurgaon.com events@fridaygurgaon.com marketing@fridaygurgaon.com Friday Gurgaon (Weekly) edited, published and printed by Atul Sobti on behalf of Arap Media Ventures Pvt. Ltd. from 213, Tower A, Spazedge, Sector 47, Sohna Road, Gurgaon 122018, Haryana. Printed at Indian Express Ltd. Plot No. A8, Sector 7, Gautam Budh Nagar, NOIDA – 201301, Uttar Pradesh The views expressed in the opinion pieces and/or the columns are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, Friday Gurgaon or Arap Media Ventures Pvt. Ltd.

FG Invites Citizens n Are you interested and concerned

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

Vol. 1 No. 28  Pages 24

`7

{ Abhishek Behl / FG }

{Inside}

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

T

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

...Pg 16

Tantric Art

W

e feature

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

...Pg 17

Master Recipe

Prakhar PaNdey

G

Astrology

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

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

asterchef Top 5 Vijaylaxmi shares a Recipe exclusively for FG readers.

...Pg 18

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

Let’s Be Civil

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

Regular Features Food Take

...Pg 6

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

...Pg 7

{ Hritvick Sen / FG }

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

A

Museum Walk @ Sanskriti Kendra, Anandgram, Aya Nagar Date: February 9 Time: 11:00 am

A

Line 100 – Police Emergency Control

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

6

Date: February 10 Time: 7:30 pm Tickets: Rs. 350, Rs. 250 & Rs. 150

n Exhibition of artefacts by Graphic Designer Divya Thakur, that reinterprets the traditional yet syncretic beliefs, practices and attitudes that revolve around gender and spirituality in India. The artefacts include – limited edition wall art, mirrors, floor rugs, lights and multi-functional modular units, that are ingeniously crafted to fit into the urban Indian household.

J

oin the Virdas company’s Weirdass Comedy, as they take you through a wild comedy variety show – featuring stand up comedy, sketch, improv, comedy rock, topical humour and interactive humour. Participants include some of the nation’s best comedians. Contact: 9810059550, 2715000

Music

A

guided tour through the Sanskriti Museum of Everyday Art. Get a glimpse of functional everyday household objects—like toys, nutcrackers, cups, saucers, spoons, home shrines and articles of worship—turned into works of art by different artisans. Contact: Sanskriti Foundation, 64675041

Exhibition

Sense and Sensuality @Nature Morte, The Oberoi, 443, Udyog Vihar, Phase V Date: Up to February 24 Time: 11:00 am to 9:00 pm

An Evening of Music @ Epicentre, Apparel House, Sector 44 Date: February 14 Time: 7:30 pm

A

n evening of Bollywood music, in the memory of the ‘King of Romance’, Yash Chopra. Eminent artists from Delhi and Mumbai pay a tribute to the noted film Director.

Run

Run With Me @ Leisure Valley HUDA Grounds Date: February 9 Time: 6:30 am Registration Fees: Rs. 100

Music

Celebrating Life @ Zorba, near Sultanpur Metro Station, Mehrauli Gurgaon Road Date: February 10 Time: 6 pm onwards Donor passes: Rs. 1,000

A

19

RNI No. HARENG/2011/393

For The Other Half

P3

Art

musical evening with a cause. MOHAN Foundation, in its endeavour to create awareness about Organ Donation, presents a musical evening with the famous band, Indian Ocean.
A celebration of music and life with a purpose.

R

un and jump over hurdles and obstacles in the 5 km course, to reach the finish point. Participants who complete the Run will get medals. Registrations are on the spot.

Humour

Stand Up Comedy @ Epicentre, Apparel House, Sector 44

Photography

Venetian Odyssey @Art Alive Gallery, 120, Institutional Area, Sector 44 Date: Up to February 28 Time: 11:00 am to 7:00 pm

A

n Exhibition titled Venetian Odyssey Through the Lens of Paresh Maity. This is the noted artist's first complete series, and an exclusive photographic Exhibition – in a break from the tradition of his water colours. It serves to highlight his treatment of light and reflections, which are critical elements in his water colours.


8-14 February 2013

C eleb W atch

M

Monica Kapur Bags The Prestigious IJ Award M onica Kapur, a renowned jewellery designer in the City, won the prestigious IJ Jewellers’ Choice Design Award 2012, for the best creation of a bracelet. It is a one of its kind awards, where the jewellers vote for the best designs and manufacturers & designers across India submit their designs in 25 different categories. She received accolades for her intricate designs and detachable jewellery. “I am proud that I have bagged such a prestigious award. I think these pieces are not only creative, but

wearable and customised as per the demand of the client,” says Monica. Keeping today’s woman in mind, her collection includes an exquisite assortment of earrings, necklaces, pendants, bangles, bracelets and rings. Each & every piece of her jewellery—gold, diamonds and gems—are crafted using the highest quality standards and is seldom repeated. Monica runs her own boutique at 2nd Floor, Gold Souk Mall, Gurgaon. u She can be reached at aum_monica@yahoo.com or call: 0124-4115200

03

Beauty At La Bellezza

uch akin to what the name ‘La Bellezza’ (which means beautiful) suggests, this unisex Salon in the heart of the Millennium City too happens to be an absolute revelation when it comes to splendour and the range of facilities that it offers. Spread over 1,500 sq, ft, La Bellezza was launched 2 years ago in Gurgaon’s popular shopping mall, located in DLF Phase-I, on Arjun Marg. Set on three floors, the basement section is for facials and special Bridal dos. On the ground floor is a reception, with an exclusive space for all sorts of Hairdos, and a Shampoo Station.

The first floor is reserved for Hair Stations, Pedicures, Manicures and Nail Extensions. The Salon has an elegant and mesmerizing ambience, a diligent team of affable and expert staff, and a whole medley of beauty services and packages – all under one roof. Says Roma Chandra, “A ravishing personality with good looks plays a

pivotal role in today’s fast-paced life. Whether you are a homemaker or a working executive, a youngster or middle-aged, personality has its own merit in society. A good hairstyle, glowing skin and a relaxed mind surely gives you the edge and enhances your enthu-

siasm and energy levels.” Shares Afshan Madan, “Customer satisfaction is our key motto. Our USP lies in the fact that we endorse only the branded genuine products. We maintain the top most standards of hygiene and cleanliness. We are all seasoned experts and fully skilled in our respective fields.” Well you need to pay a solitary visit to this splendid destination named "La Bellezza" to discover the exquisiteness of the Salon for yourself The place promises to leave you stunned as you will find it just irresistible! u For appointments, call: 0124 4011759 /09654332781

My Captain

I

ndian cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni was spotted at a Hotel in the City recently. While Dhoni seemed to be in a rush, he did pause to compliment the staff for their prompt service.

Perfect Wellness

P

erfect Wellness organized “Wellness Awareness Camps”, for the first time in Gurgaon. These Camps were held in various societies and condominiums, to create awareness about Lifestyle Management, Weight Management, Yoga, Meditation and Dental Hygiene. A free Body Composition Analysis was carried out for the residents, and preventive healthcare brochures were distributed. The residents were very excited to participate in these Wellness Awareness Camps.

Art Therapy

A

n Art Exhibition was held at a local hospital on the occasion of World Cancer Day. The Exhibition, exploring the therapeutic effect of ‘Art’ in healing the mind and the body, aimed to promote awareness and encourage prevention of cancer. The works of artist Swati Pasari were on display at the Exhibition. Multiple art forms were used in customised formats, as mediums of ‘intervention’.


04

8-14 February 2013

♦ The State govt. has proposed various actions for the safety of women students in technical and educational institutions – including deployment of guards, CCTVs, PCRs and helplines. ♦ Senior Citizens’ Ambulance Helpline is launched – 9953785785, 9811758565 – by Justice Gopal Singh Charitable Trust. ♦ The Discoms have proposed a hike of 75 paise per unit of electricity to HERC, after a review of their operations. An average consumer of Haryana today pays Rs 1.30 less per unit than an average consumer of Punjab, and Rs 0.78 less than a consumer in Delhi/Rajasthan. ♦ Haryana Education Minister Mrs. Geeta Bhukkal, speaking at the annual function of Government Senior Secondary School Sarhaul, says that students of government schools will now get dual desks. She also inaugurates 9 rooms constructed under Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA); and separate toilets for girls, boys and physically challenged students, constructed with the help of Maruti Suzuki India Limited (MSIL). The Govt. is in the process of appointing more than 14,600 school lecturers, 9000 BT teachers and also Class-IV employees, she says. A new ‘School Nurture policy’ will also be implemented, which will enable school alumni, who have attained success in various fields of life, to help in the development of their school. In order to motivate the schools to beautify their premises, the Govt. has started the Mukhyamantri Sondryakaran Puraskar, under which a prize of Rs. 5 lakhs is given to the school that stands first at the State level; Rs. 3 lakhs at District level; and Rs.2 lakhs at the Block Level. Mrs. Bhukkal congratulates Government

THE WEEK THAT WAS Senior Secondary School Warhol for bagging the First prize this year at the District level. She presents awards for Best Teachers to Smt. Samadhi and H.S. Sahni. ♦ Naresh Narwal, ALC, confirms that of the total 152 awards of the labour court(s) that were pending or awarded in 2012, 60 have been implemented – with 56 prosecutions sanctioned. Show cause notices have been issued to the concerned in all cases. The Labour Dept. is also working on delivering factory licences within a fortnight, factory building plans within a month, and RCs within a week – of application. ♦ A mock drill on earthquake is organized, to check the level of preparedness for any disaster in the District, and to make the general public aware about their roles and responsibilities. The mock drill is conducted at four locations - namely Government College Sector 14, Mini Secretariat, General Hospital and the Flyover on NH-8 near 32nd Milestone. The Meeting Hall of the Mini-Secretariat is set up as the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC). ♦ A RAPID (Rapid Appraisal of Programme In District) Assessment of all health facilities will be conducted in all Districts in Haryana – the first assessment takes place in Mewat. Commendation certificates are given to those whose work is found outstanding; and those whose performance is unsatisfactory are reprimanded (with strict action recommended against them). 29 children are identified for corrective surgery free of cost, out of 38 schools visited by the team. Various govt. bodies are also asked to ensure the necessary civic services to all govt. health facilities. ♦ A woman’s body is found in a stolen car in Rajendra Park, with bullet injuries. ♦ A decomposed body of an 8-year-old miss-

ing boy is found in a pond in Sirhaul Village. ♦ A man is kidnapped from Delhi by ‘hitchhikers’, then robbed, shot and left to die in Gurgaon (near Badshahpur). Fortunately, he survives, thanks to a Good Samaritan. ♦ A local wrestler and property agent is shot dead outside Tau Devi Lal Stadium. ♦ 3 die as canter hits truck in dense morning fog. ♦ A missing school sweeper’s body is found with multiple stab wounds. ♦ A worker of an export firm is hit on the head and killed, in Manesar. ♦ A 27-year-old engineer commits suicide. ♦ Drunken men thrash a Sahara Mall guard and supervisor, after they are warned for urinating in the basement parking. ♦ A person is caught for eloping with a minor girl. ♦ Criminals, intercepted trying to rob a petrol pump, fire on crime branch staff - 3 are held; 2 policemen are injured. ♦ Robbers strike at 4 flats in Silver Oaks Society, in DLF Phase I. ♦ A car goes missing from a Palam Vihar service station. ♦ A home appliances shop near Sadar Bazar is looted. ♦ Rs. 5 lakhs is stolen from a businessman’s car, by diverting the driver’s attention; a bag containing over Rs. 3 lakhs is stolen from a car. ♦ A locksmith runs away with lakhs from a locker. ♦ A doctor is duped of Rs. 2.4 lakhs, while filing for a Rs. 25 lakhs loan. ♦ A man is duped of Rs. 1.2 lakhs, in a job scam. ♦ A forex firm staff is robbed of Rs 1 lakh. ♦ A third case of Swine Flu tests positive. ♦ World Cancer Day is celebrated on Monday – various events in the City are hosted by prominent hospitals. ♦ An Iskcon Grand Rath Yatra parades in the City. ♦ Abhay Chautala holds a rally in the City. ♦ The Expressway is choked for hours as a canter and a dumper overturn. ♦ Heavy rain leads to water-logging, and disrupts traffic on many roads. Crops (like ‘sarson’) are also destroyed. It is the highest rainfall in February for 71 years.

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T PIC OF THE WEEK Dear Readers, Each week we will feature a question/topic to get your views/suggestions. Selected views will be published in the subsequent issue(s) of Friday Gurg. This week's Topic is:

'Can Gurgaonites help in the security of women in the City? How?' Write in to us at

letters@fridaygurgaon.com


8-14 February 2013

 Contd from p 1 created by organisations to serve a commercial purpose, and some are formed by individuals to create a forum for people to express themselves. Within these groups I have seen friendships building up; I have witnessed how member-to-member connections led people to action. There is a bit of magic that happens when a group begins to feel and act like a connected community. The founder or administrators then become just the facilitator(s), and the momentum is generated from within the members of the group,” feels Sabhyata, who is a member of over eight Facebook groups in the City. Another advantage of a group is that its members are notified as soon as anybone posts an update. “Unlike Facebook pages, group members don’t need to rely on news feeds. They get notifications,” says Raman Mathur, an expert on social media. He has been taking many seminars on the usage of social media sites. Besides, mass emailing for group events is another feature that encourages people to join groups. Why are some groups so popular? Although Facebook groups are gaining popularity in the City, there are only a few groups that have been able to really make a mark. Generally, groups become popular when members and administrators (founders) focus on issues, experiences, and connections. Neela, founder of Gurgaon Moms, feels, “Don’t restrict it only to your interests. Let people post their views and experiences about various things, except of course offensive matter.” She also feels that an overdose of marketing can make it boring. “In Gurgaon Moms we have certain guidelines. For

C over S tory

The 'Real' Social Circle Top Five Facebook Groups Name Member count Gurgaon Moms Gurgaon Real Estate Let’s walk Gurgaon Gurgaon Drum Circles Gurgaon Property Solution

2,671 2,619 1,819 1,573 1,103

example, a member can post about her business only once a month. In case of special events or occasions, however, she can approach the administrators.” Many feel that groups do well only when they serve a real purpose. Nidhi has used a group for consumer redressal. “I was disappointed with the services of a famous courier company. I wrote to the concerned department and even the senior managers in the company. However, nobody got back to me. Then I decided to put it up on ‘Gurgaon Entrepreneurs’ and within a day I received a call from the company. I received my money back,” says Nidhi. Sudhanshu used a Facebook group, Gurgaon Doctors, for co-editing his medical project. Gurgaon Doctors provides an opportunity to connect and build a network with the renowned doctors in the City. Recounting his experience, Sudhanshu says, “After three months of hard work, I submitted my medical project to my mentor in the college. He, however, rejected it, saying that it needs to be edited by a senior doctor. As I was new in the City, I put a part of my project on Gurgaon Doctors. I was amazed to

Group Maestros

Friday Gurgaon meets the founders of the 'top five' Facebook Groups, and finds out what inspired them to kick-start a group, and how they have made it a success. Neela, Founder of Gurgaon Moms: She wanted to make it big in her career. But after getting married, her life was confined to her family and household responsibilities. One day she started a Facebook Group with an aim to bring together a few women to share parenting tips and their experiences in the City. She never imagined that Gurgaon Moms would script a success story in just one year, with the involvement of over 2,000 members. Today the Group has not only helped its members, it has also inspired many women to replicate the model. Giving an example, Neela says, “Many groups, such as Pitara and Gurgaon Moms Food Club, drew inspiration from Gurgaon Moms. Pitaara helps many women in starting and running an online business.” Gurgaon Moms has also been chosen by Google for its unique Women On the Web (WOW) programme, which helps women set up online businesses. Sehba Imam, Founder of Let’s Walk Gurgaon: Sehba, a writer, used to spend most of her time sitting at one place and writing. As she wanted to involve herself in physical activity, the idea of starting “Let’s Walk Gurgaon (LWG)” came to her mind. “One day I was working till late at night. After I finished I decided to take my dog out for a walk. We went to the Bio-diversity Park. It was such a pleasant start to the day, that I shared the idea of early morning walks with some of my friends on Facebook. They too seemed excited about it. That is how we laid the foundation of LWG,” recounts Sehba. Within the first two weeks the Group had around 200 members on Facebook. Today the Group also hold events to spread awareness about women's security in the City. The Group plans to organise a unique event on Valentine’s Day. The aim is to discourage women to celebrate, to protest against the recent rape case in the capital. Pankaj, Founder of Gurgaon Real Estate: After completing his Masters from Amity University, Pankaj was looking for a job in the field of real estate. As he didn’t find job sites interesting, he formed a Facebook Group to serve the same purpose. Calling himself a ‘Facebook addict’, Pankaj says, “The first thing that I open on the Internet is Facebook. However, when I was looking for a job, I had to go through boring job sites. So I decided to form a group on Facebook and post updates for jobs here itself,” he says. The Group turned out to be a blessing for him, as he got a job in just a month. He later became a dedicated administrator, and put together a great success story. Kapil Syal, Founder of Gurgaon Drum Circles (GDC): An advertising professional, Kapil Syal has been to several drum circles in different cities. “Delhi has a Drum Circle. Mumbai has a Drum Circle. So I thought of starting one in Gurgaon too. Putting it together was not very difficult, because in drum circles people usually bring their own instruments and jam together. In Gurgaon the challenge was to find like-minded people. So I set up a Facebook Group to invite people for the activities of GDC. Surprisingly, the number of members reached 700 in just three months,” says Kapil. The Group has been able to attract a lot of people for its events at the Bio-diversity Park. There were times when the Group witnessed more than 500 people for an event. Rajnish, Founder of Gurgaon Property Solutions: Working with a real estate company, Rajnish has been providing property solutions and consultation to many people in the City. “Frankly speaking, I wanted to generate business through this Group. But gradually it turned out to be my passion. I noticed how members informed each other about the right investment plans. They also cautioned each other about fake projects operating in the City. It inspired me to take my Facebook initiative more seriously, and I started providing free consultation on Facebook. This has also helped me develop good contacts in the City,” says Rajnish.

see more than six comments in just three hours. The Group later put me through to a senior doctor from Artemis, who helped me in the editing of the document.” Like Gurgaon Doctors, many professionals are connected through Facebook groups, that provide reliable suggestions and professional advice on specific issues. The physical presence of the group is important too. Unlike Gurgaon Media Club and Gurgaon Foodies, which have only an online presence, groups like Gurgaon Moms, Gurgaon Teens, Let’s Walk Gurgaon and Gurgoan Drum Circles are more popular – because of their physical presence too. One of the administrators of Gurgaon Drum Circles raises an important question, “Do we join groups just for the sake of increasing the Facebook Group count, or are we actually passionate about music?” He says, “When we started the Facebook Group, our aim was to bring people to the activities that take place at the Bio-diversity Park. I think if a Facebook Group organises face-to-face meetings and relevant activities, it will survive for long.” Sehba Imam, Founder of Let’s Walk Gurgaon, feels the same. “We can’t imagine having a Facebook Group without activities. Facebook to us is a forum where our members post pictures of their walks, their experiences, and their expectations from the next walk. Our various activities boost our activity on Facebook, and vice-a-versa,” she says. The administrator of Gurgaon Teens adds, “A Facebook Group is an excellent medium to invite people for a social or cultural event. An online group can, however, never replace the charm of face-toface meetings and activities. It is just a medium to bring more people together.” Recently, Gurgaon Teens put together a successful event to spread awareness about women security in the City. An active involvement of the administrators is crucial. They should post regular updates, to keep the group alive. “If members don’t put out posts for a day or two, I make sure that I keep the Group active, by posting something new and interesting. It encourages people to comment, and helps in keeping the Group lively,” says Shruti. A huge response received by a Facebook Group, Gurgaon Carnival 2011, was also a result of the active involvement of its administrators. The Group was set up by an organisation, Y.P Mahindru Niramaya Eye Bank, to spread awareness about an eye donation camp in the City. In a short period of time around 4,000 people signed in to become its members. As a result the Event was attended by more than 3,000 people. “We started the Group to promote the Event. But after receiving such an overwhelming response, we also put post-event stories of people who had benefitted from the eye donation camp. With the help of regular updates and connections with other Facebook groups, we made it a huge success. Even today our administrators are quite active,” says one of the administrators. Challenges Becoming an administrator, or even a member, can demand a lot of time and attention. While an administrator has to regularly post updates and keep an eye on members' posts, a member can get flooded with notifications everyday. “If you are a member of multiple active groups, there are chances that you will get at least 10 notifications in a day. And if you comment on a post or a comment, you can get more than 30 notifications in a day,” says Mathur. Surprisingly, or maybe not, a majority of the members in various groups are the same. So despite the member count of many Facebook groups

05

What one must know before joining a group Groups are a great way to connect with people, but if you are not careful you could land in trouble by sharing your information with complete strangers. Check the permissions given by a group to its members. In some of the groups, members have the liberty to add their friends. In such a setting, if a member is not comfortable in sharing his/her details with other's friends, he/she will either have to block them, or have to leave the group. To check permissions, click the “Add People” button. A pop-up box opens up, and tells you if administrators have given permission to the members to add their friends. Types of groups: It is important to know that there are three types of Facebook groups – Open, Closed, and Secret. To know the status of the group, move the cursor to the small icon next to the group name. One must be very cautious while joining an open group, as both the membership list, and everything that members post is open for anyone to see. A closed group is a better option – the content can be seen only by members, while the membership list and the fact that the group exists is public. A Secret Group is the safest option, as it hides everything from non-members. in the City being high, most of them are joined by the same group of people. For instance, in Gurgaon Teens, most of the members are from other groups such as Gurgaon Moms and Gurgaon Real Estate Market. Saurabh, a resident of DLF Phase V, started a Facebook Group ‘Gurgaon Bikers’ a couple of months ago. He deactivated it as soon as he found out that most of its members were women, who had never had (or even ridden) a bike. “I was happy to see the member count growing every day. In a span of two months the Group had almost 300 members. But after a reality check, I realised that some people had joined it for promoting their own businesses, and some simple joined in for fun,” says Saurabh. He also noticed that many groups, such as ‘Gurgaon Street Basketball’ and ‘Gurgaon Knowlege Portal”, that have got interesting titles, hardly have any relevant updates. Besides, many times members face security issues. Talking about the security measures taken by his group, Rajnish, founder of Gurgaon Property Solutions, says, “Whenever we get a request from an account, we make sure there are mutual friends. We also go through the account to see how long it has been operating, and how active is the account holder. All this is done to ensure that the account is genuine.” Ms. Goenka, one of the administrators of Gurgaon Book Club, also stresses the need for a strict security check. She says that the administrators personally go through the details of account holders. Neela, from Gurgaon Moms, informs that the Group never accepts request from companies, as companies’ accounts are generally run by multiple people, and it is very difficult to find out who has posted what. However, despite care, there have been cases when people have faced serious issues on the groups. Recently, a female member received some offensive messages from a fellow member. “As I received an abusive message from a fellow member, I put it up on all the groups. I also reported the issue to Facebook. However, no action has been taken yet, and his account is still functional,” she says. Moreover some groups, like Gurgaon Extramarital, promote objectionable content and pictures.  “Many groups take advantage of the fact the Facebook runs a security check only once or twice a year, and it has its own way to keep a check on offensive practices. Generally it takes action against a group only when a person reports against it. That is why we encourage people to report against any abuse on Facebook. It takes a minute to do that,” informs Mathur. u


06 I

t was afternoon, and a group of girls had just come out of their college (Government College for Girls in Sector 14). As they hired a rickshaw to reach their PG, which is about four kilometres away, they were surrounded by a group of boys. At first they seemed to be a group of smiling, harmless youth. But within a few minutes their smiles turned to abusive comments and indecent behaviour. This is not just a ‘one-off incident’. This kind of harassment is quite common around the Girls’ College in Sector 14 – even in broad daylight, and on a busy commercial street of the City.

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Growing Up Fast ASHA PANDEY

{ Shilpy Arora / FG }

8-14 February 2013

Street-tease, the major issue

Prerna, a resident of Sector 4, feels that the problem is lack of awareness among the college girls. “When I joined the college, I didn’t even know that eve-teasing was a crime, and therefore punishable. Being brought up in a City where every second person comments on you with a wicked grin and a stare, I was 'used' to eve-teasing. It had become a part of my life. It is only after the Delhi rape incident and media awareness campaigns that I got to know that eve-teasing can be reported,” says Prerna, a second year student of the College. Unfortunately, even now not everybody seems to be as aware. Her classmate, Sudha, who hails from Bhiwani, doesn’t know anything about women helpline numbers. Most of the students have come from the neighbouring districts. They are not aware about the various security measures being taken for women in the City. Anju, a student of first year, points out that security ‘around’ the college is another important issue. “There is an ITI institute for boys near our College. When the boys leave college at 4:30, no girl dares to go out on the road. However, after the deployment of a Women's PCR around the College, the situation has changed a bit. Now most of the boys don’t take this route. They go via the Sector 14

market,” says Anju. Ironically, the situation has become worse after the Delhi rape case, as the girls, being more aware now, seem to feel more unsafe. It is not just the public transport and roads that scare them. They are scared of raising their voice. Most of them feel that they can’t even protest on social networking sites. “My parents have strictly instructed me not to comment on any post on Facebook, or attend any protest rally in the City,” says Sakshi (name changed). Unlike working women, who are independent and outgoing, college girls, especially those studying in the government college, seem to have a lot of family pressure. Her friend recounts a shocking experience of a girl who had to leave the City after filing a complaint against eve-teasing. “I know a girl who had filed a complaint against a 'roadside Romeo’. The police took immediate action. But friends of that boy made her life miserable. Finally she had to move back to her hometown. That is why we think twice before saying a word to anybody. And using self-defence

Mobile Applications to ensure Women's safety

With the arrival of wi-fi connections, women can download mobile phone applications to ensure their safety. Here are a couple of free options: Life 360 Family Locator: It is one of the most popular safety applications on mobile phones, as it can be downloaded in non-smartphones as well. This uses GPS technology to track the location of the person. You can add up to five emergency contacts to the list. In case of emergency, if you press the ‘Panic' button, the portal sends out SMS messages to the mobile numbers pre-set by the user, and shows them your exact location with the help of Google Maps. Sentinal: This application works on the same lines. It, however, sends out an SMS as well as an email to the pre-registered numbers, which helps the registered number to receive the notification on both their cellphone and email account.

tactics is out of question,” says Sakshi.

A ray of hope

When asked about the measures taken by the College to ensure the safety of women, the students appreciated the arrangements made by the Principal, Ashok Diwakar. “It is true that most girls, especially those who come from small states and villages, are not aware about their basic rights. However, they all have the mobile number of our Principal. You can call him anytime. I think the credit for ensuring safety in the campus goes to him only,” says Manisha. While many students call him ‘Papa’, some even share their personal life with him. “Most of the girls are new to the City. Apart from making security arrangements, we make sure that they feel at home in the College. It gives them confidence and courage to fight against all the odds in life,” says Mr. Diwakar. The college has recently been given wi-fi internet connectivity. With this move, the College has become the first government institute in Haryana to have wi-fi on campus. Looking at the positives, this means that many mobile applications that could be downloaded only to Internet-enabled mobile phones (which most of the girls don’t have) are now available to them. But the wireless networking can also lead to trouble. It provides an open access to everybody present in and around the college – as anyone can connect to the network, use it, and see everything that the students do on the Internet. Principal Ashok Diwakar, however, ensures that fool-proof arrangements are in place for data security and privacy infringement. “We have given a unique code and user identification number to all the students. If anything goes wrong, we can easily trace the defaulter,” he says. Free of cost self-defence training is another step taken by

the College for women's safety. They are also provided special training, to enable them to fight with a group of boys. Manisha, who is learning Taekwondo, says, “We cannot rely on the police force for our security. So it is better to take the responsibility for our safety in our own hands.” She, however, would prefer to stay away from fights and arguments. “I am very confident about my self-defence skills. But I don’t want to get into trouble. It will not only bring

w

trouble to me, but also to my family,” she believes. Along with the self-defence training, many girls are snapping up pepper sprays for their protection.

Suggestions

While Anju suggests that CCTV surveillance around the College would help them roam freely on the road, Sakshi feels that it should be made compulsory for private Paying Guests (PG) accommodations to have security guards. “Many students stay in private PG accommodations. That is why it is important to improve the security in PGs. As of now no verification of visitors is done in private PG accommodations. They also have inadequate lighting and fencing outside the building. I think the PG owners and managers need to take steps to improve the security for women,” says Sakshi. A second-year commerce student, Jaya, says that student volunteers from the National Cadet Corps (NCC) should work with the Gurgaon Police. “Over 100 girls in the College are part of NCC training. They know how to use weapons. They are also provided with better defence training. I think they should work with the Police, and, if required, they should be given permission to use weapons in case of an emergency,” says Jaya. She suggests that the authorities start special buses for women in the City, and give preference to women while recruiting conductors and drivers.u

Haryanvi Made Easy

Get a taste of the local lingo 1. My friend is coming from Mewat.

Mera dost aawega Mewat tey. 2. He is coming by the local bus. Wo bus tey aawega.

3. I have to go the Bus station. Manne bus adda jaana padega. 4. I should reach on time. Manne time tey pahunchna chaiye waade. 5. He doesn't have my house address. Unne mhaare ghar ka na bera. 6. If he doesn't see me there, he will get scared. Agar main usne na dikhayi diya ne, to we dar jaageta. 7. He won't know what to do. Unna na bera ki wo ke karega. 8. He will get angry with me. Woh mere tey naaraz ho jaaga. 9. I hope he is still there. Bhagwan kare wo waade khadya ho.


C over S tory

8-14 February 2013

07

An Expressway To Nowhere The Second Divide { Abhishek Behl / FG }

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hile the plan for the up-gradation of the HUDA-DLF Road from National Highway 8 to Sector 56 may look good on paper, opposition to the Project is building. The conversion of this Road into a freeway might face legal hurdles, as a group of concerned citizens, dissatisfied with the manner in which both HUDA and DLF are handling this Project, could knock the doors of the courts. The manner in which their concerns have been handled has reinforced their belief that this Project is unlikely to incorporate any useful suggestions, and will solely cater to commercial considerations. City residents allege that though the Project promises to cut travel time, in reality it is just supplanting an already decent road, and benefitting just a fraction of Gurgaonites. Another important question being raised is that there is no clear plan on how this Road will integrate with the infrastructure existing—and planned—in the rest of the City. It clearly seems an after-

A View

thought; and surely HUDA has better use for hundreds of crores. Urban development experts have also questioned the raison d' etre of this Project. They aver that this Road will make us suffer the same problems that the NH-8 entry and exit points have given us, along the length of the City. Bottlenecks will be created, and congestion points will just shift to other parts of the City. This will only lead to more problems in the long run and more pollution, they warn.     The experts say that planning and constructing a sector road, which is even bigger than National Highway 8, is akin to dividing the City once again in two parts, and it could even have negative social effects. Rwitee Mandal, Urban Planner, and teacher at School of Planning and Architecture, Delhi says that the proposed Road would prove to be an urban nightmare, as it is really a highway designed for high-speed vehicles. “If this Road comes up it will not be possible for almost 3 lakhs people living in the urban villages of Gurgaon to traverse to their work place on foot,” she says. The Project currently has no option for

A citizen who has been closely associated with this Project has raised some pertinent questions about the feasibility of the Road. She writes on anonymity: 'A few pedestrian bridges over an 8km stretch of a 16-lane road is not going to help. Do make sure to mention in your suggestions that an 80m pedestrian bridge will be the perfect place to corner and assault a woman at night. And what about the disabled and the elderly? Even if they provide escalators, who is taking on the responsibility of their maintenance and uninterrupted operation? A crossing at the road level is the easiest solution, because the pedestrian bridge adds many unnecessary costs and responsibilities that will be hard to implement and enforce. Is DLF or HUDA taking responsibility for these next actions, even if they are promising pedestrian bridges? Or is this MCG's responsibility, that MCG is not yet aware of? Crossing a 16lane road at the road level sounds daunting for most of us, especially for children, the elderly and the disabled. Frankly, I don't know if its even possible with all the underpasses; besides I haven't ever seen 16 lanes in an urban environment!'

pedestrians and cyclists, says Mandal. Critics also assert that even if Foot-Over Bridges (FOBs) and pedestrian subways are provided, they would not be successful – as these have proved unsafe for women and inconvenient for old people; and given the kind of surveillance Gurgaon has, would certainly lead to more problems. Mandal says that the present problem of traffic jams could be resolved without construction of this Road – just with better management of traffic, planning of signals and improvement of intersections. Councillor Nisha Singh, who has been espousing for changes in this Project, (and even its stoppage) says that the Road is going to fragment the City. She is also critical of the government and HUDA for committing a whopping Rs. 200 crores (at least) for building just this Road, while basic infrastructure across the City is lacking, or in poor shape. “This money could have been spent for improving the streets, sanitation, sewage and streetlights – instead of wasting the taxpayers money on a project that has forgotten that there are still those that walk on feet, and ride cycles and rickshaws,” she asserts. Another strong argument being put forth against the Project is that 3 major lowincome neighbourhoods—viz. Chakkarpur, Nathupur and Sikanderpur—will face further seclusion. “Normal patterns are definitely going to be effected by the construction of this Road, and it will influence social lives in a negative manner. People may not be able to visit markets, parks and friends on the 'other side' of the Road. The migrant workers will suffer more, as their mobility will be severely dented,” says Mandal, the urban planner. Questioning the role played by the State government in approving this Project, Arti PRAKHAR PANDEY

 Contd from p 1

Jaiman of Gurgaon Ki Awaz says that the entire urban planning process seems to have been sold out to private real estate players. “The State and the developers do not care how the poor traverse in the City, or how they will be able to reach their work place. Their only concern is the rich and affluent officegoer properties developed by DLF along this Road,” she says. This Project needs to go back to the drawing board, and questions also need to be asked as to why a car owner wants to travel from NH8 to Sector 56 in 8 minutes. “What is the need, when more than half of the City cannot use it,” she asks. Civil society activists argue that resources being spent to construct this freeway could be used to improve other Gurgaon roads, and develop the nonexistent public transport. Nisha Singh further says that since the cost-sharing agreement has been signed by HUDA and DLF, it could mean that this Road could be privatised by DLF in the future.  “Why is a private company interested in spending money on a Road in which it has no direct gain? This suggests that the entire Project has been planned to boost prices and access to different DLF properties that lie on both sides of the Road,” asserts an insider closely working with the civil group. Kulwant Singh, who  works with UN Habitat, says that roads are open spaces, and the entire city owns the same. A car owner, a motorcycle owner, a pedestrian and a cyclewalla all have equal rights on a road; but the proposed project excludes almost all of them, and also has no specific provisions for public transport. The objective of this Road is just to increase the speed – but is that a right objective for a public project, he questions.  “This Project also goes against the Master Plan, as a freeway can never be built inside the City. It could be built around the City, but never in the way as is being proposed,” he asserts. Singh further says that there are around 20,000 migrants in

Nathupur village, who regularly cross NH8 at Shankar Chowk, to reach Udyog Vihar. “Once this Road comes up, how will these workers go to their work places? There are several others who work in offices and malls across the Road – what will happen to them?” asserts Singh. Critics allege that the State government should stop the misuse of public money and public land for the benefit of private players. Why is HUDA spending the EDC collected from these areas only on this Road? Nisha Singh adds, “This Road will induce people to drive more cars, and they will also need the cars to reach destinations that are close but across the Road,” she says, while warning that the number of accidents would rise in the City, as is happening on the Delhi-Gurgaon section of National Highway 8. Sarika Bhat, who has been associated with transport issues, says that this Road is against the benchmark of what a sector road should be. “There is no demand for such a road right now, as the existing network—if properly used—can serve the people efficiently,” she says. If at all this Road has to come, then it has to make provisions for zebra crossings, proper cycle tracks, footpaths and  a green belt on both sides. Bhat asserts that in the present shape, this Road could also disrupt the lives of citizens who are engaged in some economic activity along it. The fear is that a sense of security, which thrives along open public spaces, will not exist once the Road is privatised, and controlled by a private entity. The concerned citizens want the government to review this proposal as soon as possible, and introduce modifications to take care of the concerns of pedestrians, cyclists, women and other social groups. If this does not happen soon, it is likely that the matter will go to the courts; and looking at the current pro-people pronouncements by the judiciary, it is likely that both the developers might be seriously questioned.u


08 { Anita Jaswal } “Do what you love. Know your own bone; gnaw at it, bury it, unearth it, and gnaw it still.” ~Thoreau oonlighting is a term to describe a second job, possibly on one’s own time. Anju Choudhary calls moonlighting a great way to give vent to her creativity, while having fun. It might seem strange to mingle two mediums like HR Training and Creative Art, but Anju is quick to point out how her two vocations have a lot in common. “I really enjoy training. It is difficult, but you never get bored. Working with diverse individuals from across the world, and various personalities, is challenging. Getting heard and understood is a challenge I enjoy. A career in HR is always interesting and frequently rewarding. But it is not low stress.”  Each vocation allows me a different kind of freedom and creativity. They combined allow me the freedom to be inventive, to be myself. For instance, when I’m with people, it is like performing complicated dance steps; and when I’m creating Art, I’m composing a song!” During weekends her creative side surfaces as a moonlighting craftsperson - as a découpage and papier mache artist. Anju resides in Vatika City with her husband Harish, and her 3-year-old son Shouryaveer. The creative bug struck her about 15 years ago. Today the idea of recycling and up-cycling, using her creativity, makes her passionate about her work. She says, “It helps in reducing my

8-14 February 2013

'Dancing & Singing'

M

{ Alka Gurha }

T

here must be something about television that made Woody Allen quip, “Life does not imitate art, it imitates bad television.” I wonder if the gentleman had any chance of viewing Indian soaps, or the prime time debates on our news channels. For a relatively nascent industry, Indian television has done well. The biggest stars of Bollywood have descended here, television actors are drawing excellent remuneration, sponsors are queuing up and news anchors are mini-celebrities. So what ails Indian television? Phony Jingoism “Desh ka khoon khaul raha hai,” scrolls the headline on a news channel. Jingoism is not the exclusive preserve of vernacular channels. Recent skirmishes with our neighbour have shown that even those enjoying a relatively high perch in the media hierarchy are falling for the trappings of TRPs. When the agenda is chest thumping patriotism, the discourse can be anything but reasoned. Calm it guys! Slanging Matches The truth is that our political

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carbon foot print.” What makes my creative time interesting is the excitement my son shows to help me, while I am creating something; and the support of my husband, who knows how important this ‘me’ time is. In fact, he is the one who brings all the imported crafts supplies for me from his international trips. He has membership cards of all possible crafts stores – from US, Dubai, Australia and many other countries. What more can I ask for? This dedicated and talented artist has always been drawn to nature and vintage-inspired items, and believes that design is a translation of the imagination. With a love for travel, Anju has been influenced by different cultures, and has scoured the globe for inspiration – collecting distinct imagery to use in her work. Using skill and an eye for

detail, she incorporates fine art scenes into objets d’art – thus creating utilitarian works of art from modern-day objects. Each piece is a fine art print on art paper, applied to the object with découpage techniques – using multiple layers of varnish to create the finished work. Over the years Anju’s art has adorned platters, paperweights, bowls, desk accessories, wall hangings and more. A fresh perspective of her signature style breathes new life into categories – including storage and organisation, home décor, furniture and stationery. The collection also features fabric-covered storage bins, and tabletop items – including ceramic mugs and melamine dinnerware. She likes to create simple and elegant solutions to home décor and lifestyle. “I like my work to be, for want of a better word, friend-

TV Ailments parties do not talk to each other – they talk at each other. An air-conditioned television studio is a great place to indulge in a slugfest watched by millions. Bring on riots, terrorism or the issue of price-rise - the warring factions are ready for a jaw-jaw. The high decibel cacophony results in pandemonium, and the debate ends suggesting that two wrongs can make a right. Time to flip the channel! Absent Funny Bone The mark of any vibrant democracy is the willingness of its citizens to chuckle at those who occupy positions of power – and of course the capacity of the ‘powerful’ to take it on the chin... How many satirical political shows do we have on news channels? I can only think of ‘The Week that Wasn’t’ and ‘Gustakhi Maaf’. Both shows have pretty chaste punches, lacking any trenchant wit. No Zing! Dearth of Chat Shows ‘The Daily Show with Jon Stewart’, or the ‘David Letterman Show’ hosts Republicans, Democrats and the Obamas on a regular

basis. Normal communication with the electorate on television has resulted in positive political pay-offs. Why can’t we have a light-hearted chat show with the reluctant first family scion? I would love to hear him. Wouldn’t you? Dose of Sensationalism “Assam mein aaya bhukamp, ab dilli ki baari hai.” A dash of sensationalism makes for a good appetizer, when the main menu is a serving of spicy Bollywood stories or juicy celebrity sagas. However, when natural calamity strikes, sensationalism sucks the gullible viewers into a whirlpool

ly. The reason for working with paper and cloth is because they are wonderful, pliable materials that I can manipulate. I want the owners and users of my work to enjoy it, so it has to be direct, approachable and tactile. I have developed my own skills and style. I use traditional and modern découpage, and have created some techniques of my own. I have fallen completely in love with this craft. We are inseparable! Many of us own craft, although we may not call it that – perhaps a chair, a jug, a necklace, a scarf, a bowl, a figurine, a glass flute, a tapestry or a curio. Behind each item is a person with an idea, and the skill to bring that concept to life.  I feel a maker weaves, moulds, shapes, saws, solders, throws, knits, presses, sands and polishes, using traditional skills, cutting edge practices, heritage techniques or digital technologies. They may call themselves a maker, a designer, an artist,

a product artist or an artisan. Whatever the differences, they are united in one fundamental way: they make craft. Craft is innovative, energetic and inspiring.  It is essential. It is central to humanity’s past, present and future. I am proud to be a part of the Crafts community,” says Anju passionately. “The very act of creating a work of art breathes life into one’s soul, and causes one to feel a small part of God.” u

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of undesirable hysteria. Then, we have news channels that openly propagate myths in the name of religion. How can some nondescript Acharya suggest weird (read funny) ways to ward off evil, and fool millions on a news channel? Missing Logic in Soaps For reasons known only to the Almighty, logic is at the very bottom of Indian soaps. Most plots have archaic story lines, bizarre logic guiding the protagonists, and women as vicious evil characters. In the absence of good writers, we concentrate more on matching bangles, pinning saris, and designing new bindis. The focus on horrid mother-in-laws, docile daughter-in-laws and grumpy sis-in-laws – all indulging in a bitching fest – becomes tedious. Does it entertain? Hmm… sometimes... No Shows for Children: Scarcity of programmes for children means that they either watch cartoons or Bollywoodbased reality shows. While it is heartening to see talented kids showcase their skills, there is more to talent than dancing or singing. Any parent will attest that children appear best when they act and behave their age – and not when they

shake suggestively to item numbers. Sigh! Original Content Most of our popular shows, like ‘Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa’ and ‘KBC’, copy Western formats. We now need reputed directors, like Raju Hirani and Imtiaaz Ali, to give something local and new. Anybody listening? Informative Shows As KBC has shown, welldirected educational shows can also pack entertainment. Other than the staid UGC programs or Discovery shows, new formats that inform viewers about future research and new breakthroughs in the fields of health and science are welcome. No sponsors? Sad! Puerile Comedy Shows: Compare the longest running Indian comedy show, ‘FIR’, with sitcoms like ‘The Big Bang Theory’ or ‘Two and a Half Men’, famous for their researched dialogues, gripping narrative and riveting drama. ‘Comedy Circus’ on Sony shines in bits and pieces, but we miss well-directed shows like the erstwhile ‘Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi’. Also, men dressed as women, with hideous wigs and fake boobs to boot, are not funny. Seriously! u


C ivic/S ocial

8-14 February 2013

{ Abhishek Behl / FG }

G

Whose Village Is It? Sector 78, Sakatpur has yet to arrive on the real estate map of Gurgaon. However, insiders say that the day is not far when the small holdings of the villagers will be bought by builders – turning them rich individually, though making them poor collectively. Khan says that the majority of villagers are not educated, as education facilities are just primitive. “The majority of the people in this village, which is surrounded by farmhouses owned by the rich and powerful, are dependent on agriculture. If land is taken away, it would be very difficult for them to survive,” he says. Kulbir Singh, part of an NGO working in the area, says that the Village school needs more teachers and

also suffer from malnutrition, anaemia and various other infections caused by poor hygiene. The villagers are working with the NGOs to create a system whereby garbage can be collected and converted into organic manure. Singh says that it not only improves living conditions but also adds to the income of the Panchayat. Villagers allege that power supply is at the whims of DHBVN. “Even a small change in weather in Rohtak leads to a power cut in Sakatpur. We do not know why the government and administration are treating us so shabbily,” says a villager. Yogesh Kaushik, a Congress leader from Gurgaon, admits that the conditions in the village are bad, and massive upgradation of the civic facilities is

like the Golf Course Extension road (the Southern Peripheral Road) and Sohna Road – and just a few kilometres ahead lies the Golden Greens Golf Course. The road to Sakatpur is broken, pot-holed and in a permanent state of disrepair; only the fancy cars remind you of the era we live in. As a result of the broken roads many a time the seriously ill have lost their lives on their way to a Gurgaon hospital. While Sikanderpur now has to wrestle with the spectre of a futuristic 16-lane road proposed by DLF, that will clinically cut it off from the City, the villages in the outer areas are crying for roads. This imbalance in development, apart from leading to lopsided growth, would result in a more divided city, warn experts. Mohd Khan, Sarpanch of Sakatpur, says that the village infrastructure   has never been the priority of the government, and the road has been in a poor condition since he was a child. There is no transport service connecting the village with Gurgaon, just 15 kilometres away. The villagers wistfully recall the daily government bus, which used to make three rounds 10 years ago; but they can’t recall the reason why this service, which was a boon for them, was discontinued. The villagers had approached the District Administration for starting a bus service and improving the road, but their efforts have come to naught. With a population of 2,000, and lying close to upcoming

facilities, to make a meaningful contribution. Najmudin, a resident, says that there are only 10 to 15 graduates in the village, and children face a lot of problems. “A large number of girls have to give up studies, as the parents are reluctant to send them even to nearby areas (for higher classes). Even the girls who go out have to walk several kilometres to reach schools, as there is no transport facility,” he says. Many leave school, and some turn to crime, say villagers. Compared to this, the urban villages in Gurgaon witness schools being swamped by migrant children. The primary health facility in the village is nonexistent. Fortunately, DLF Foundation has started a medical dispensary here, as part of a Cluster Development programme. Till recently there was a large incidence of Scabies, as the people were not aware of basic hygiene, says Pawan Verma, of the Institute for Global Development (IGD). The village children and women

needed. The power scenario also needs to be improved, as the villagers are dependent on agriculture, and students have to concentrate on learning, he agrees. Recently the villagers had a tiff with the power department over the supply of power during the festival season. Khan says that while no improvement in power supply took place, a number of villagers had to face legal trouble, and the issue was resolved only after paying a fine. Although compared to other vil-

PRAKHAR PANDEY

urgaon, in its rush towards becoming a Millennium City, has forgotten its roots. This erstwhile 'gaon' has 40 villages within it today – with 30 more within its 2031 Master Plan. Be it the villages in 'New' Gurgaon, like Sikanderpur, Nathupur, and Mollaheda, or those on the fringes of the City, the fate is almost the same. While the former have turned into urban slums, due to the onslaught of migrant workers, the latter seem to have remained untouched by civilisation. Sakatpur, a village just 15 kilometres from the Gurgaon Secretariat, represents the failure of the State in taking care of even the basic infrastructure of the rural areas of Gurgaon. This is not a village in 'moffusil' areas of backward states; it is next door to big-ticket commercial areas

lages in 'New' Gurgaon it has not seen a population explosion, observers say with the development of real estate around it, the time is not far when construction workers and other support staff will pour into this village. To bring about some semblance of development and services, the Village Panchyat has partnered with DLF Foundation. The Foundation has also brought in teachers through an NGO called Pratham, to augment the teaching strength. Surprisingly, for 204 students in the Village school (up to class 5), there are only 4 teachers. While the School was upgraded last year, and 34 students admitted to Class 6, there has been no addition of teachers. The 4 teachers in the School were appointed only after the Sarpanch had threatened to approach the newspapers. The Principal of the School, Aruna Madan, who comes from Gurgaon, says that teachers are not available because of the poor connectivity – no one wants to come here. The condition is such that one teacher comes from distant Jhajjar, while the other comes from Kosli – picking the two female teachers on their way. “No doubt the kids are talented and smart, but more facilities are needed. We need a regular bus service, more rooms, a water cooler and regular power, to ensure that quality education is imparted,” says Madan.

However, one silver lining is the functional mid-day meal scheme, which attracts the kids in droves. At least 50 children could be seen enjoying their dal-chawal during the afternoon break, oblivious of the humdrum around them. A school teacher says that the mid-day meals have helped in increasing the strength, and also the dropouts have reduced. The villagers question why no generator has been provided to the School, if the same can be given

09

to government schools in urban areas. They also allege that local politicians try to take away facilities and infrastructure funds sanctioned for Sakatpur. Caste and political equations play an important part in the development of rural areas; but despite voting for the present government, the residents of the village do no understand why they are being sidelined. “We are trying to partner with NGOs like DLF Foundation, to bring in development, but their resources are limited – and there are too many like us who need help. Ultimately it is the government which has to take responsibility and bring in change,” says one of the residents, preferring anonymity.   DLF Foundation:   The residents of Sakatpur are happy with the intervention of DLF Foundation, for improving the health and education infrastructure in the Village. The regular medical facility, and camps organised by the Foundation, have helped in ending the scourge of scabies and other medical ailments.  In the special camps, dentists, general physicians, gynaecologists and several support staff are brought in to provide medical facilities, says Kulbir Singh. They provide free medical checkups, and medicines are made available at only a nominal price. Sarpanch Mohd Khan says, “We are going to give land to the Foundation to set up a permanent dispensary, as the present one is running in a school.” The DLF Foundation is also planning to construct a shed for the collection of kitchen waste, which would be turned into compost. To forge new relationships, Vijay Singh, Associate Director, CSR, DLF Foundation requested and sought partnership with various Panchayats and corporates around Sakatpur area, to come forward and associate themselves for the further development of the area. He also said that as part of the Cluster Development Programme the Foundation is contributing for the development in 5 key areas – namely Social, Economic, Environment, Health and Education. P.K Joseph, Associate Director, CSR, said that DLF Foundation strives to enhance the quality of education in rural areas by supplementing government interventions. In addition to managing and partnering in formal schools, DLF Rural Learning Excellence Centres and Rural Libraries help the underprivileged children realise their dreams. DLF Foundation has also assigned a few trained and dedicated teachers to government primary schools, to teach as well as nurture talent. Joseph also said that they have identified talented students, and have enrolled them in private schools, and the expenses are fully borne by DLF Foundation. The Foundation regularly provides scholarships and sponsorships to underprivileged students.u


10

8-14 February 2013

K id C orner

Solutions

Kids Brainticklers

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?

Artistic Strokes

Urvi, Grade VIII, Excelsior American School

Rishika Jain, Grade V W, Pathways World School

Aveesha Gandhi, Grade IV, Sriram School Aravali


Kid Corner

8-14 February 2013

11

A Bagful of Crafts

S

tudents of Bagiya School were in for a creative treat, as they visited The Heritage School for a day of ‘crafty’ fun. The hosts, students of The Heritage School, showed the visitors various items of crafts. They also helped the visitors make interesting craft items. It was a day of fun for both the visitors and the hosts.

Gandhian Sankalp

S

tudents of Sankalp School (a part of the NGO, Sankalp Welfare Society) marched from School to Galleria Market, on Martyr’s Day – in remembrance of Mahatma Gandhi. More than 60 students participated in this peaceful March. The students were accompanied by Commander K.K Choudhary, Founder, Sankalp Welfare Society, along with some School teachers.

Articulate 2013

A

RTICULATE 2013 is an initiative to encourage the artists of tomorrow, and also a venue to build their confidence. This Art Camp & Exhibition, by young and talented children from various schools of Gurgaon and Delhi, was held on 3rd of February at Anandgram, Sanskriti Kendra, Mehrauli Gurgaon Road. The participating artists, aged between 8 -14, were – Aashna Chhabra (Shikshantar School), Gaurika Pant (Pathways School, Gurgaon), Meghana Singh Verma (Sriram School, Aravali), Mehar Singh Oberoi (Suncity School), Mrinalini Godara (Heritage School), Nevan Dhingra (Springdales School, Dhaula Kuan), Prateik Sinha (Sriram School, Aravali), Saksham Gauba (Heritage School, Vasant Kunj), Zara Basir (Pathways World School, Gurgaon). The day-long Camp showcased over 40 Art works of the children. The Exhibition displayed beautifully painted stainedglass bottled lamps (made by recycling old wine and soda bottles), painted old jars and tin cans, and Abstract Art forms on plaster of Paris tiles. The students had used various mediums and techniques – acrylics, dry pastels, pen & ink, oil pastels, pencil colours, inks, palette knives and charcoal. The Exhibition was curated by their mentor, Priyanka Malhotra Dhingra, an Artist from College of Art (New Delhi) and Triveni Kala Sangam.


12 { Srimati Lal }

F

Marcel Janco

Marc Chagall

ebruary has inundated art-enthusiasts with the much-anticipated bonanzas of both contemporary and ethnic Art. A parade of international galleries and artists descended dramatically upon Delhi once again, providing a 'world of trendy art' to viewers within one rarefied spot, at the 5th Edition of the India Art Fair – held from Feb. 1-3 at Okhla's NSIC grounds, under the able management of Neha Kirpal, the founder and Fair

Salvador Dali

Gargantuan Gallery~Gala Director of India Art Fair. This year's Fair showcased 55 Indian galleries and 40 international galleries, with 2 corporates as sponsors. Since this Art Fair's inception in 2008, there has been an overwhelming internationalisation  of India's Art market. It has become an active hub of those who wish to be seen in the international Art scene. There are certain disturbing questions, however.   The gargantuan commercial appetites of international galleries --- as well as those of artists whose priority lies in being promoted in such environs --- is now actively encouraging and begetting a 'slick' manner of 'commercial art,'  within what should be a sacrosanct Fine Art bracket. 'Art-as-a-Multinational-Enterprise'   is now making glaringly visible a new bracket

of 'trendy art' --- a school of 'visualised briefings'. However, it is also understandable that such a gamut of worldwide gallery-participants, under the unmitigated arc-lights of commerce, evidently cannot be made possible without mercantile and corporate connections.   The examination of this dichotomy requires another quieter space and forum. A 'special international attraction' of the 2013 Art Fair was the reputed presence of 17 Museum Groups, from Paris' Louvre and Britain's Tate, apparently on the lookout for Indian Art. In quieter corners, amid  the flurry and tamasha, some masters of painterly work were also visible. The 84-year old Indian Progressive artist Akbar Padamsee -- seated silent and observant in a wheelchair in a corner -- was feted in a special booth, by Mumbai's PriyaSri Gallery from Worli.   A recent   2012 abstract horizontal canvas, in Padamsee's prototypical red and black strokes, recollecting his 1950s oeuvre, was the focus of this Stall – with other examples of the senior artist's works displayed inside.  Grosvenor Gallery London,   Dhoomimal Delhi and Vadehra displayed some marvellous masterworks by Souza,  the Founder of the Progressive Artists Group. The presence of many Master Indian Contem-

Sadmani Art Foundation, Bangladesh Pablo Picasso

David Gerstein

Farhad Hussain

A rt

8-14 February 2013

poraries indicated the immense importance of the vital act of (actual) painting. Other significant paintings by artists from various countries included major canvasses by the Paris-based painterly maestroes Sakti Burman,   Shahabuddin, and  Maite Delteil. The special talent inherent in   Indian Feminist Art included intricately-laticced painted screens by the Feminist painter  Rekha Roddwittiya,  and the evolved Photographic Art of Sheba Chachhi ---   both of whom merited careful viewing.   Atul Dodiya from Mumbai presented an interesting assemblage of photos and shelves with a distinctly 'Indian Vintage' feel.  The timeless magic of Surrealistic Figuration was exemplified by the portraits painted by   Rahul Arya, shown  at the Gurgaon-based Alternatives' booth; while the Greco-German   Surrealist Jannis Markopoulos' mesmeric canvasses stood out at Moscow's Frida Fine Arts Gallery.   Europe's  Bruno Gallery— from Israel, Italy, Turkey and Singapore—showed valauble works of the founder of  Kinetic Art, Agam Yaacov, and the founder of the Swiss  Dadaist Movement, Marcel  Janco; as well as David Gerstein. Spain's   Del Villa Arte Galleries showcased the masterful classic Figurative paintings of  Monste Valdes.  Paris-Geneva's Galerie Daniel Besseiche presented a formidable panthe-

Simona Bocchi

Jannis Markopoulos

Peter Burke

Therese Art Gallery & Nowo Sad Studio

F N Souza

13

Akbar Padamsee

Tyeb Mehta

M F Hussain

on of fine painterly and sculptural works that were very welldocumented on gallery-cards --- including Vasarely,   Cochery,  Miotte, Shahabuddin,  Soutra,  Longo,  Jenkell and  Basompierre.  Italian sculptor Simona Bocchi showcased unique jute and metal sculptures. The Bangladesh Mukti-Bahini soldier-turned-painter  Shahabuddin's  Portraits of Gandhi and  Mother Teresa stood out in their poetic minimalism.  Leading European galleries displayed some striking collections of Leitmotif-works by Picasso, Marc Chagall and  Salvador Dali, as well as major sculptures and paintings by  Claudio Massini. On par with these masterworks were a formida-

Sakti Barman, wife and daughter

Rahul Arya

Sheba Chachhi

G R Santosh

Manu Parekh Anjolie Ela Menon

Today, Indian artists who can quickly and unquestioningly deliver 'trendy, shiny, contemporary images' seem to prevail. More reclusive, introspective and serious artists, who choose to devote their time to self-examination and avoid commercial and gallery bandwagons, are lost in this flurry of cocktail-partying and shoulder-rubbing. A 'club-and-coterie culture' seems to have become the alter-ego of the 'successful art' scene. Ladder-climbing frenzy, with a greed to be seen as 'successful and publicised artists', has come to a point where almost anyone who can 'do the needful'  can smoothly join the art-ascommerce bandwagon. In this context, the Absolut (sponsor) kiosks featured novelist Vikram Seth, as well as the Gurgaon Installator Subodh Gupta and his wife Bharti as 'artists'.  The novelist, who started painting a few years ago, along with Gupta and his wife, accepted an offer from Absolut to do paintings featuring their alcohol-bottle --- in return for which they would be aptly compensated, and these works would be duly publicised. Another example of the overcurrent of commercialisation was the art-peddling installation of Australian Artdealer Peter Burke. He walked around the Fair showing a collection of 2-inch sized miniature canvasses to anyone who cared to look. From miniature Anjolie Menons to Manu Parekhs, such 'Quickie' art was being peddled by him at five- to six-figure Rupee-prices per square foot. He admitted that his collaborator, the American Peter Nagy of Gurgaon's Nature Morte, shared handsome proceeds with him from all sales, while a  percentage went to the actual painters...!

ble Indian body of Modernist paintings by Jamini Roy, the Bengal School, and the Tagores in Delhi's Dhoomimal stall --- a noteworthy kiosk in terms of its design, strikingly emblazoned with a massive Krishna painting by Jamini Roy.   Similar in its aesthetic significance was the powerful Tribal Art of the late art-martyr Jangarh Singh Shyam, devotedly showcased on the international art circuit as a 'Father of the Modern Art Movement' by Paris' radical gallerist  Herve Perdriolle.   It is such classic painterly  artworks that will stand the test of artistic time, making visits to such art fairs worthwhile for years to come.u Artist, Writer, & Curator

Krishen Khanna

Paresh Maity Neha Kirpal Organiser India Art Fair 2013

Shahabuddin


14

8-14 February 2013

{ Jaspal Bajwa }

W

hen Robert Frost wrote the famous lines “I have promises to keep… And miles to go before I sleep”, little did he realise he was presaging the lifestyle of the new millennium. Today sleep-deprivation is a common condition – at an average of 6.8 hours per night, we are sleeping 1.5 hours less than a century ago. A third of the population sleeps even less than 6 hours - a far cry from the recommended 7 to 8 hours. The unquenchable thirst for more makes us proudly uphold the new coat-ofarms – with ‘Work Hard, Play Hard’ emblazoned all over it. All this would have been fine if the alarming statistics of premature deaths of successful (and apparently active) young business executives wasn’t such a crimson ‘red flag’. Starting with the economic boom of the 80’s in Japan, almost every country is showing the same pattern. Most cases of “karoshi”, or “death from overwork”, involve cardiovascular events (heart attacks). Most recent studies have gone a step further and confirm that sleep deprivation is associated with the killer trio of Hyper-tension, Type 2 Diabetes and Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) – when plaque builds up inside the coronary arteries, disrupting the supply of oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle. Curiously, it has also been found that the relationship between sleep time and incidence of these diseases is U-shaped. Sleep periods should neither be too short nor too long. It is also the quality that matters. The litmus test? After 7 hours of sleep, we must wake up feeling energetic and raring to go! Our body is like a musical instrument – when finely tuned and played like a virtuoso, it can truly create magic. Ancient wisdom in every culture exhorts the practice of putting our mind and body to good use. ‘Use it or lose it’ … is an oft heard maxim. Even deeper is the thought to put it to great use, in ever widening ripples of ‘service’, till we are able to embrace all the beings in

Health & Vitality... Naturally!

Don’t Lose Sleep

the inter-connected and inter-dependent universe which is our home. On the contrary, when our body’s daily rhythms are disturbed, the hormonal patterns go berserk. At night, under normal conditions, the stress hormone Cortisol should dip, calm the body and prepare us for a good night’s rest. Corresponding to the decline of adrenaline, at night our body seeks to produce more Serotonin and Melatonin – which are essential neuro-transmitters for promoting highquality sleep. If this doesn’t happen, the release of ‘growth hormone’—which is essential for tissue repair and growth— fails, and our body ages prematurely. Far worse, we unwittingly end up inviting chronic disease, various forms of cancer – and perhaps even an untimely death.

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Tip of the week

To help develop healthy sleep habits, cruciferous vegetables should be an integral part of the diet, 3-5 times a week – with a serving size of at least 1-1/2 cups. Also important are L-tryptophan, containing foods such as animal and plant proteins. L-tryptophan is an essential amino acid – it is important for the development and functioning of many organs. Lastly, avoiding imbalances such as low potassium or magnesium also helps with quality sleep.

Nature’s Wonder Food of the week: Turnip Greens, or Leaves of Turnip - Brassica rapa

In addition to being alkaline in nature, turnip greens are a very good source of dietary fibre, omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamins A, C, E, K and various B Vitamins – especially sleep and heart friendly Vitamin B6 & Folate, in addition to riboflavin, thiamin and

Wellness niacin. At 170 mcg of Folate per 100 gm, turnip greens are perfect. Turnip greens also offer good quantities of calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, copper, phosphorus and manganese. In fact, the calcium content is four times higher than other less bitter greens, like cabbage. The broad spectrum antioxidant support present in turnip greens is very potent. The diverse array of antioxidants provides special nutrient support for three systems that are closely connected with cancer prevention - i.e. the body’s detox system, its antioxidant system, and its anti-inflammatory system. As an excellent source of Vitamin K, and a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, turnip greens provide us with two hallmark anti-inflammatory nutrients. All cruciferous vegetables have long been known to contain Glucosinolates - these are phytonutrients which help activate detoxification enzymes and can be converted into isothiocyanates (ITCs), which have cancer-preventing properties. Turnip greens easily outscore cabbage, kale, cauliflower, and broccoli. It is for this reason that intake of this wonderfood is particularly helpful in preventing cancers of the bladder, breast, colon, lung, prostate and ovaries. u Registered Holistic Nutritionist (Canadian School of Natural Nutrition) For education purposes only; always consult a healthcare practitioner for medical conditions

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Bon Vivant 15

8-14 February 2013

4U 4

Vaastu Elements { Bhavana Sharma }

I

f we wish to reach the sun, moon and the stars, perhaps we need to involve them a little more in our lives. We know that the universe is made up of five basic elements – the Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Space. Similarly, our bodies comprise five basic elements of nature known as Tatvas. These elements are related to our five senses – of smell, taste, hearing, touch and sight. Any imbalance in our external and internal Vaastu translates into unhappy situations. Vaastu teaches us to live in balance and harmony with the Tatvas.

Wind

Wind effects our lives in a big way. Nitrogen is essential for the growth of plant life, which in turn provides us oxygen. There has to be proper placements of doors, windows, balconies, and trees for bringing about the ecological balance inside the home.

Sky

Vaastu is the only body of thought that gives space the status of a natural fundamental element. A serene open space, perhaps a garden, or the brahmasthaan (central axis of spiritual space ) is important for every

Vaastu and the Five Elements Earth

With Vaastu principles we can discover solutions from nature to recreate some seamless living spaces, where the ‘in’ and ‘out’ boundaries can merge. Our body is magnetised, and opposite magnetic poles attract each other. The Vaastu principle of placing the head in the South direction while sleeping, is based on the Earth’s magnetic property.

Water

Water helps us to live intertwined with nature, and develop a better understanding of the environment. It is linked to our senses of taste, touch,

If we are to build mere shelters for our bodies, a car might do as well. sight and hearing. This interaction with water not only makes daily living more efficient, but also allows people to live in close conjunction with the cycles of nature. Positions for drainage of water, septic tanks, sewerage, drains etc. are decided carefully to optimise the benefits of water.

Fire

The Sun drives the house, and is the most vital source of energy and light. It is the soul of the universe. It is recommended not to block the North-East corner of your building, as you can deprive yourself of the most beneficial rays of the Sun. The late afternoon and evening sun should be avoided, as it contains harmful ultraviolet rays. According to Vaastu, every home should converse with nature, responding to it in the most amazing way. The interiors of the home should be so constructed that there is an interplay of solid and void, the alternatives of open space and closed, the contrast of light and darkness – wherever suitable. We can also have large plain glass walls, letting nature and light envelop the interior spaces.

home. A house should be visible from all sides. The aesthetics and soulful appeal of every home should be supported by open spaces and fresh air. Every home should have weather related comfort, and enough space should be created—like verandahs and balconies—to intersperse within the building profile.

The very act of Vaastu creates an inside, thereby creating an outside. It is about what we do with the dichotomy of space. operating a business from the home, the work room should not be near the bedroom. You should sit facing the Northern side of the room. Sharp edged tables should be avoided in conference and meeting rooms. You must sit quite far from the main door. High backed chairs are preferred for professionals. Avoid sitting with your back exposed to the entrance. Any of the beams exposed on the office ceiling should not be parallel to your chair. The office desk should be in a regular shape (as in square, rectangle) – avoid circular. Wooden desks are the best options, while glass-top tables can be placed in the West direction. Keep a crystal on your table to promote monetary flow, and for a cheerful ambience. Illuminate the southern corner of the office, which is also apt for maximum lighting.

by ShahnaZ

Vaastu for Students

The study table for students should ideally be in a regular shape (like a square or rectangle). An ideal study table should face East or North, for better concentration; and likewise, the student sitting on this table should also face the East or the North. There has to be some adequate distance between the study table and the wall, to regulate the flow of energy. All bookshelves should be placed in the East, North or North-East directions – which are considered best to stack books. Declutter your study table, and do not keep too many books or unwanted items, as that can create stress and distraction. There should be an ample number of windows in a room, and these should be constructed in the East or Northern direction. A well-lit lamp should be placed on the South-East corner of the study table. Colours have a dramatic influence on moods and the mind – so proper usage of colours and designs is important. u Author, Tarot Reader

Vaastu for Professionals

For those who are professionals—such as writers, research personnel and artists, and even those in business—the work tables should be placed in such a manner that they have a wall at the back for support. If

Tips

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

I am a 44 year old woman. While the skin on my face is still supple, the skin on my neck has lost its elasticity. Can I do anything about this?

SH

You can apply nourishing cream or pure almond oil daily and massage the neck with it. Using both hands, start from the chin and go downwards, one hand following the other. The pressure should be downwards and not while bringing hands back to the chin. Wipe off excess cream with moist cotton wool. When you apply face packs, apply on the neck too. You can also have regular salon facials. The professional massage and pack will help.

WINNER Vrinda H.

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

Dinner at Rainier’s

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t was a classy joint. I had often walked past it but never dared to enter. Indians visiting America on per diem allowances fixed by the Reserve Bank couldn’t really afford to cross the hallowed portals of places like the Rainier’s, at the Sheraton Centre in New York. Even when they were being entertained by their friends settled there, it was usually at McDonalds or Pizza Hut. Those wise NRIs— however rich—did not want to waste their hard earned money on country yokels from back home. To show them some fast food outlets was enough. They of course expect different when they visit here. You dare not take them to anything less than five-star deluxe hotels. They probably did not visit the better places on their own too – maybe due to their own complexes, or a desire to spend money on more durable pleasures like cars, houses and jewellery. On this particular occasion I landed up at Rainiers out of sheer bravado. This was in the late seventies. I had invited a Swedish client to dinner, and made the mistake of asking him to suggest a restaurant. I should have known. Here we were, my client, his Indian wife and an outwardly gregarious me being ushered in by a very elegantly dressed maître d. Naturally the table would take some time, and so we were asked to enjoy a drink at the bar. Frankly we did enjoy our drinks – at least my guests did; and notwithstanding my fear of having less green backs than the bill amount, I also thought the scotch was genuine. The sparkling crystal, the silver nut bowls and complimentary canapés were all exquisite; the service was courteous and attentive. All around we could see beautiful people – the glitterati of New York. A couple of drinks later another beautiful apparition came and escorted us to our table. The napery, china, crystal and cutlery were all elegant. The moment we were seated, the wine steward came with an elaborate menu. My heart

sank on seeing the prices, and I silently prayed for the better sense of my guest to prevail. Then followed the food order – hors d’oeuvres, soup, entrée and dessert. Everything was served with aplomb. The wine tasting and pouring was a ceremony in itself. The waiters were solicitous – they walked, rather sailed, on rubber-soled shoes, and there was one always at your elbow when you wanted something. Food was good and the wine reasonable – it flowed endlessly.When the dessert arrived we were pretty well satiated. The Irish coffee was even better – made on the table, complete with the burning snake-like orange peel, and whisky poured over it like a sorcerer’s act. By the end of it all we were feeling good, and I was ready to give a generous—at least by my standards—tip. It was with some trepidation that I asked for the check. It was placed before me with a flourish ­- on a beautiful silver salver. Right on top was a printed slip. It said: “May we suggest, in order to appreciate the service, you tip a minimum of 15 per cent for the waiter, and another 5 per cent for the captain”. For almost a minute I sat dumbfounded. I recovered from the shock to ask my friend’s wife in Hindi as to what I should do. She shrugged resignedly and suggested I do the bidding. With a feeling of utter disgust I placed my three days’ allowance on the salver. I wanted to pick up the slip as a souvenir, but was not allowed “That’s for us, sir” said the waiter. With the same finesse, and without batting an eyelid, the waiter took the tray and promptly brought back the receipt and the change. This time I was in for another shock. The blank receipt, duly stamped and initialled did not show any amount. When I pointed it out the waiter informed me with an obliging smile that it was my prerogative to fill up the same. A real American way of mutual backscratching, and exploiting their fat expense accounts! u Krishan Kalra


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Comment

Retire, for Your Tomorrow

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lobal pundits glibly talk of India’s ‘demographic dividend’ – the benefit of us having a high percentage of youth in the upcoming population. We bask in this youth power’s coming glory. As if it will be automatic, just a milestone – give or take a little. The first disquiet is already setting in. Jobs are not that easy to come by in many areas of the country. NREGA has helped basically the rural areas. The IT/BPO sector is challenged by the global economy, there is precious little industrial growth, exports were never our cup of tea, and most major infrastructure projects are on hold - and the taps will not open so easily now, or in any large measure. Real Estate – land and construction - is the play today; much of this unfortunately provides very little output – and much less value add.

Atul Sobti

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

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he change I would like to see in Gurgaon and why: What: Roads where commuting is smoother, faster, more pleasant. That includes well-maintained roads minus potholes with clear lane/zebra markings and no wandering cattle. More discipline from commuters so each respects the other’s right of way and diligently follows traffic rules – so we no longer have blocked free left turns, lane changing, dashing through signals or driving on the wrong side. And a fast lane that is no longer hogged by tractors, cycle-rickshaws or slow traffic. Why: We have no choice but to spend time on the roads; if this duration could be reduced and made more pleasant, that would be a great change for our city and remove one huge bane of today. Odette Katrak

What we cannot afford is an idle youth; the frustration of the youth could begin a few years down the road. Maybe apart from the macro decisions, some unique action is called for, from us. We all have to be a part of this solution – it will impact almost every family. Most of the (economically) developed world, facing an aging population, has increased the retirement age – asking and allowing people to work longer. Should(n’t) we look to do the opposite? Since the Youth Congress is his passion, and before his hairline recedes, Baba should ensure a happy life for the youth of this increasingly youthful country – otherwise this demographic dividend cheque may bounce, and strike at him. He should ensure a compulsory retirement age of 58 in all services – private, public, semi-govt., govt., armed forces…. Wherever the current policy stipulates a retirement age beyond 58, the ‘forced’ retiree may be given a ‘golden VRS’, and an option to nominate a person to ‘take his place’ – not literally of course, as the chances are the person would nominate his/her son or daughter for a suitable post. The minimum tenure of the

FAMOUS QUOTES

EDITORIAL

There will be no demographic dividend if the job opportunities are not going to be available/ ensured. The pressure on the large towns, and all cities, is going to increase exponentially – with agriculture becoming less important and viable, and the allure of city life increasing.

nominee should be double the number of years that the retiree had available before his ‘official’ retirement. The govt. and public sector may also find this ‘forced retirement policy’ a good answer for productivity and efficiency, given their many entrenched and unproductive work forces of notso-young and expensive employees. There would be no option of refusing a VRS. The ‘young at 58’ retirees should feel good in ‘sacrificing’ for their progeny. Importantly too, they should find it easier to get alternative gainful employment - including in the many new areas/ sectors of the economy - than ‘fresh’ graduates trying to get their first good break. The 58ers can be used most productively for some special ‘nonpermanent’ roles, and new careers, like: Advisors for Knowledge Process Outsourcing (KPOs) and Legal Process Outsourcing, as against BPOs – though those in small towns may want to become local managers for Rural BPOs; Officers on Special Duty (OSDs), to help reduce govt. backlogs – e.g. in the police and judiciary; Associates for Outsourced assignments/ functions from corporates. They can also be given charge of running new ITIs across the country – as skill development for new industries/sectors, like Retail and Food Processing, would be crucial. These are jobs that the youth may not do as well, or do not want to do. Elderly women may actually have many more choices in this new nonpermanent space. There is also a good possibility of the elderly actually finding worthwhile fixed tenure employment in the West, as low dollar-cost experienced employees in various verticals. Since many would have no further family ‘obligations’, they may find this an interesting and refreshing experience. Those who have a normal retirement age of 58 should also be given some benefit – maybe a similar ‘forced retirement’ benefit programme, if they retire at 56. In fact there may be a case for a 50+ Platinum VRS, whereby anyone voluntarily retiring at that age is given the best send-off. Yes, in all this there will be some who are not ‘deserving’ – both the retirees as well as the people offered jobs. But the benefit to society at large (that too the youth), and to the country, is just over-whelming. u

I often quote myself. I find it adds spice to the conversation. Truth is more of a stranger than fiction.

George Bernard Shaw

To be prepared for war is one of the most effective means of preserving peace. Wouldn’t it be great if people could get to live suddenly as often as they die suddenly? There’s only one way to have a happy marriage and as soon as I learn what it is I’ll get married again. Gravitation cannot be held responsible for people falling in love. A bank is a place that will lend you money if you can prove that you don’t need it.

Mark Twain George Washington Katharine Hepburn Clint Eastwood Albert Einstein Bob Hope


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utside the ambitious and aggressive urban art-and-crafts arena, the relative rusticity of the annual Surajkund International Crafts Mela makes it a necessary alternative to the city’s gallery and craft-boutique circuits. The idea of the Mela is to provide rural craftspersons an opportunity to sell their products directly, sans interference from urban middlemen. This year’s crafts melee, that includes over a dozen countries, marks the Mela’s 27th year. This huge fairground has been spruced-up and made more visually appealing this year, with some new amenities --- such as a separate ‘boutique and cafe’ area, monitored offices with computer facilities, CCTV cameras and a distinctly upgraded environment. The Mela was inaugurated on 2nd Feb. by President Pranab Mukherji. Each year focuses on a theme state; Karnataka is highlighted in 2013. This southern state, whose districts include Bangalore, Mysore and Udupi, is rich in ancient silk-weaving techniques, textile-designing and intricate sculptural traditions. Over 300 Karnataka mastercraftspersons, artists, weavers, dancers and musicians have assembled for two weeks—from February 1-15—at Surajkund, to demonstrate and offer their crafts skills at the Mela. Many other states are also represented. Spread over 40 acres of hilly tract, Surajkund houses nearly 800 separate work-and-display thatched huts to showcase indigenous crafts. Highlighting the history of the theme State, many massive gates—over 40 feet tall—have been constructed, replicating the gates of the Mysore Palace, the heritage-sites of Hampi and Belur, prehistoric tribal metal sculptures, and Bijapur. Remakes of Kurukshetra’s historic ‘Geet-Dwaras’ further decorate the vast fairgrounds, along with large ornamental sculptures depicting symbolic Indian Surya, peacock and tree-forms. The region bears considerable historicity --in the 10th C. A.D., a ‘Sun Pool’ was constructed on these very Surajkund grounds by Raja SurajPal, and the area was restored by Ferozeshah Tu-

Crafting An International Mela JIT KUMAR

{ Srimati Lal }

ghlaq in the 14th C. This Mela also has an extensive open-air theatre Natyashala, and a ‘Chaupal’ for live performances – which can be used inventively. It also has an expansive food court. These aspects however remain at a very conventional level, with scope for much more sophistication in both the Mela’s performances and its cuisines. A better, more authentic range of Mysore and Udipi cuisine should certainly have been organised at the event, rather than most stalls offering typical Chinese and Rajasthani street food.  Although tribal dances from India and Africa are always a consistent part of the Mela, these performances remain trapped at the most basic and rustic level. Modern theatre performances, alternative experimental expressions, and evenings devoted to serious productions by special invitees from the performing arts should be made an intrinsic aspect of this fortnight-long crafts carnival. This year Surajkund intends to upgrade the performance area somewhat, by including a fashion show of the Karnataka designer Prasad Bidappa on the 9th of February. The intention is to showcase the magnificence

of the region’s silks in a contemporary stylistic manner. However, Karnataka’s ancient folk theatre forms of Yakshagana  and   Nagamandala also need to be presented at the Mela with greater finesse. The Mela’s popularity enables many craftsmen to get orders for their specific crafts years in advance, and hence they return to Surajkund annually with fresh products. Given the possibilities that such a massive space and its location offer, the Mela needs to concentrate on higher quality-control, and more skilled displays of the finest crafts products. Among the highlights of this year’s mastercrafts are the high quality of Mysore silk saris on offer, alongside live demonstrations by their actual weavers. Karnataka has been chosen as a Surajkund theme State for a second time, after a gap of 18 years. Undoubtedly, one of this State’s greatest skills lies in its pure-silk handloom weaving, with exceptional silk saris created in exquisite colours and designs. Such ancient weaves, under the ‘Priyadarshini Handlooms’ label, are being developed in Karnataka’s Chitradurga and Tumkur Districts. In geometric and floral designs, these textiles and saris come with a high stylistic

heritage, and are covetable worldwide. The flamboyant mythical woodcarvings of Karnataka are also wellrepresented by an array of powerful multi-headed Ganeshas, Devis and other deities, superlatively carved in larger-than-life classical formats. Karnataka also contains a Banjara Tribal crafts tradition, exemplified by the dramatic hand-embroideries of this ancient nomadic gypsy clan, somewhat similar to the Rabaris of Kutch and Rajasthan.  However, there is not enough Banjara  representation at this year’s Mela. Noticeable by their striking mirrored headgear and embroideries, this rare tribe requires greater sustenance and patronage. However, there is only a sole elder woman embroiderer producing a few bags in a small stall. Other than that, local girls wearing vibrant Banjara attire are a part of the visual pageants and performances, to provide touristy local  colour and a few ‘kodak’ moments. The other high point of this year’s Mela is the presence of a mastersculptor from Bengal, exemplifying the best of its ancient  Dhokra  tribal metal-sculptural tradition. State awardee Rajib Kumar Maiti's intricate, miniature mythical depictions of the Tree Of Life, Krishna, Durga, and secular sculptures of RickshawPullers add aesthetic authenticity and charm. The fine Patachitra scroll-painters of Orissa and Bengal, and South Indian Kalamkari artists should be encouraged to showcase their best works in all future fairs at Surajkund. As for Surajkund’s ‘international participation’, this is another area that appears perfunctory, and definitely needs streamlining. Africa is home to a vibrant textile and wood-carving tradition, but its complex variety is not displayed at Surajkund at all, despite nine African nations participating The fine  green Haematite sculptures of Ghana and Congo are represented by just a handful of small animal sculptures, gracefully depicting African rhinos and leopards. .  Neither is there a wide-enough display from the reclusive Eurasian nations of Tajikistan and   Turkmenistan, which offer a few wooden dolls painted in enamel, and some small stray paintings that lack a unifying thread. Afghanisthan offers some vibrant ethnic garments and silver jewellery, which conveys a magnetic  visual impact. However, there is practically nothing at Egypt’s stall, which seems sadly bereft of ideas, aside from an interesting collage depicting a mystical Bird form.  Pakistan has brought across a wide range of large, heavy marble decorative vases, water-fountains, pedestal-stands and decorative birds for outdoor or indoor use, as well as smaller versions of the same. Crafted of smooth marble and stone, in subtle shades of ivory and cream, these are handiworks worth savouring. By contrast,  Thailand’s tacky plastic wares were the weakest items on display.   Our neighbouring nations of Bhutan, Nepal and Sri Lanka have a formidable visual and spiritual heritage. Their stalls display an impressive but small selection of Buddhist Thangkas, iconic masks and semiprecious talismans. However, such masterly skills could have been showcased on a much wider scale. The lacuna at Surajkund is precisely this randomness and  lack of curated craft-structure, thereby not utilising the overall possibilities of such a vast space. Surajkund needs a full-time team of Crafts Leaders to polish up its act, if it is to be taken seriously on the crafts map.   The Surajkund Mela certainly offers a pleasant day-outing, with excellent expanses for a leisurely stroll while browsing a wide assortment of handmade bric-a-brac. u Artist, Writer, & Curator


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Some Of Dr. Bhola's Gems T

he noted American philosopher and psychologist William James very aptly said, “The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes of mind”. The introspective side of human behaviour is to see clearly just how much negativity there is within us. There may be rage, fear, jealousy and low self-esteem hidden behind the exterior that we present to public view. In ‘civilised’ people, this hidden rage mostly creeps out in sly criticism and subtle angling for advantage – rather than in violent and bloody exchange of blows. It is always waiting in ambush, always on the look out for opportunities to create a greater mess. Negativity can keep us from enjoying many things that can bring us joy. It holds us from trying new things that may be wonderful. It can also prevent us from maturing and learning how to cope with the challenges of life. It can take away our energy and motivation. From a physical stand-

Accept Your Shadows point, negativity, unhappiness, and stress weaken our immune system. When this happens, we can become susceptible to many diseases – including hypertension, heart disease and ulcers. Negativity can finally lead to sadness and depression – a giving up on life. We need to identify what specific types of negative attitudes are lurking inside us. We need to eliminate these negative thinking patterns, that nearly everyone indulges in at least some of the time. An average person generates 25,000 to 50,000 thoughts per day. To change a significant portion of our thoughts to positive thoughts, we will have to train our mind. The first step is to know that we have the ability to seize control of our mind. We will then have to train ourself into a moment-by-moment awareness of our own thinking patterns, by frequently asking ourself, “What am I thinking right now?” Once we develop an awareness of our own thinking, we

Giving Meaning to Life

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couple of months ago one of my very dear colleagues lost his young son in a road accident. The family had already fixed his marriage, which was just a few weeks away. For my colleague the whole world has now turned upside down; and the adjustment he has to make is a great challenge to his spirit. This is the period when the mood swings from one extremity to the other in the wake of a serious disruption in our life. The loss is a pain that cannot be undone. My colleague cannot bring his son back. When we suffer the loss of any one near and dear to us, we experience such pain. This friend of mine has devoted his whole life to imparting free education to thousands of children; and runs two schools for poor children. Some years back, due to his compassionate disposition, he was assigned the job of rehabilitation of millions of poor people in Bihar, when they were rendered homeless due to floods caused by the swirling waters of the Brahmaputra. Why has a tragedy of such a big magnitude struck this person, who has spread love and warmth to so many people? Probably, it is not possible to find an answer to this question. Even the most spiritual and enlightened people come across such moments of loss in their lives. We are living on a very beautiful planet, and the basic conditions in which we live are heavenly. We are surrounded by many beautiful things. There are peacocks that dance, and birds that sing; there is snowfall, rain and sunshine; there are apples and cherries, mangoes and grapes. The galaxies of stars are constantly realigning, and creating awesome constellations. The oceans and glaciers are ever changing their colours. There are fur and pine trees, there are the Himalayas and the Alpines, Niagara Falls and the Grand Canyons. In these beautiful surroundings we are born as homo sapiens, the most talented of all the wonderful creatures that inhabit this world. We are capable of love and happiness. Yet all this happiness seems so fragile, and can be so easily lost. So easily, it can all be swept away or shattered, by events that are beyond our control. A stone can fall into the beautiful placid pond of our life, to blur the surface – and even the inside. At such times we are prone to losing touch with our happiness. We immediately forget that the pond has the capacity to absorb the stone, and to return to its original calm surface. We start thinking that the stone landing in our pond is the reason for our unhappiness. We cannot avoid natural calamities happening. We cannot help responding. We do not always remember that all the stones that fall into the pond of our life have the potential to be experiences of learning and growth, from which we may emerge stronger and richer. The dear son of my colleague was cremated at the main cremation ground of Gurgaon. At the entrance of that cremation ground, it is engraved on a stone that this is the Last Destination. We need to remember, every moment, that the last destination of this journey called life, is death. We need to demonstrate, by our actions, that a good life is possible, which can lift us out of our little selves, and give meaning to our life. All the energy generated by all the pain in the world, should be turned towards creating a path for the good of the many, for the happiness and well-being of all beings. u

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There are four major types of negative thinking: filtering, personalizing, panicking and polarising. Filtering refers to psychologically screening out the encouraging aspects of complex scenarios; Personalising means automatically blaming ourself every time something bad happens; Panicking is pushing the panic button and expecting the worst possible outcome in any situation; and Polarising is a type of black-andwhite thinking that defines failure as any result short of perfection. should identify the negative thinking patterns, and replace them with encouraging, realistic and constructive thoughts. When we are able to see our own negativity clearly we will be less complacent,

and we will not stand on judgment of others. We will know that we too have all the seeds in us to be every possible kind of saint or sinner. We are not made of different stuff from the people we might choose to criticise or scorn. To be proud of ourselves while devaluing others is simply self-deception. If we have some special talent or some particular virtue, then we have it for some purpose – which is to benefit the world. If we see it as a platform from which to assert our superiority, we defeat our real purpose. We all also have some shadow in our personality. Yes, along with the light there will always be shadow. The shadow must be admitted. If we learn to live with the devil inside, along with the angel, we will be a lot healthier. When we recognise, acknowledge and contain our own negativity, and are no longer afraid of the shadows that arise within ourselves, we put ourselves in a position to think well of others – and to become useful to the world. u

We Shall Overcome

few days back Manju talked to me about her life. In the past twenty five years, she has been detected with cancer three times – about once every eight years. Each time she has lost the affected part of her body; it had to be amputated. During her last tryst, she had a premonition that something wrong was again going to happen to her. She was right. Destiny had kept its time. While attending a marriage reception, Manju reported breathlessness, and was rushed to the nearby hospital. This time she was detected with a serious heart ailment, that necessitated immediate surgery. Physically she has gone weak; her bones are sticking out, and the physical strength has gone. At the time of her first surgery she was a young woman. She now has lost her hair and looks a wreck. She has endured twenty five years of psychological and physical trauma.The most difficult affliction to bear has been psychological and social, rather than physical. At times, the series of setbacks threw her into a state of depression. The black mood hung over her. But she also spoke of how her experience, working as an attendant in ‘langars’ (community eating) held in a temple every month, has taught her as much - in a different way - as her reading of religious scriptures. The learning has stood her in good stead, in her war against cancer. She empathizes with the religious tradition of the temple, of distribution of alms and clothes to the poor, and responds to the simple human needs of the downtrodden with compassion. Each suffering has taught her something, has given her life that extra quality and depth. Eventually, her mental climate has changed, assisted by the consistent support and tolerance of people who love her. She is grateful that she had some religious and spiritual training, to prepare herself for eventualities of this kind. We can all learn a lesson from her; it is as profound as everything we learn from the famous gurumas and yogins around. Obstacles and suffering we will assuredly meet. The Almighty wants us to meet these well. When we experience obstacles and ailments, it can go either way with us. We may become bitter, depressed and alienated; or we may grow as people. Experience broadens us. Difficult experiences challenge us. We need to learn how to overcome; to not be defeated. Obstacles should wake us up. Enlightenment does not abolish them; it teaches us ways of surmounting them. u

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Learning from Ordinary Lives

ast week, Raghu, a man living in the neighboring town of Sohna told me of the terrible burdens he was labouring under. His wife had died ten years earlier, leaving behind Vijay, a child who was spastic. Not only that, his second child, Jyoti, developed a degenerative physical disease – leaving her confined to a wheel chair for the remaining part of her life. Fate cannot be bargained with. He felt exhausted. He had given up his business, to dedicate himself to his children. In consequence he was now impoverished, to a level that this year he was unable even to deposit Rupees five hundred, for the renewal of the annual health insurance of his children. This man was at his wit’s end. His afflictions were real enough. Though, objectively, the situation had been just as bad for many years after the death of his wife, he had never felt so helpless. He had been hopeful that the children would get better and lead normal lives. He had held on to the belief that ‘the situation’ would change at a certain date – and he would then be ‘free’. Now it was becoming rapidly obvious that fate was not going to keep its side of the bargain. A similar kind of thinking often occurs in

the minds of parents of such special children. They think: If I am good, this should not have happened to me. If God is good, and God has made this world, why did he make it so full of suffering? Why do these special children suffer? We are believers in God; we may well ask, ‘does he not care’? The planet on which we live is beautiful, a kind of paradise; yet in the midst of the most amazing blessings, sorrow falls like an unexpected hailstorm – or like a winter of unexpected severity. Nor is it just the moment of injury that hurts. The pain goes on. The mother, who is told by the doctor that the child born to her is afflicted with cerebral palsy, and may not be able to walk or even sit throughout his life, may lead a life of suffering. No religion seems to have the ‘right’ answer to the question of suffering. At times, the guardians of these children despair, and lose faith. Actually, it is this moment of despair when we have the greatest opportunity for real enlightenment. This is the moment when reality breaks through our self-deception, and gives all of us a chance to enter the real world. The struggle of the human heart is addressed only when we learn acceptance, and start living meaningfully for others in this afflicted world. u


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'Koi Kaaran Hoga...'

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

tempts us to judge others, to try to control them, and even rule over them. We should realise that consequences will follow from our own actions, good or bad. There is no God factor in this. Religion, despite its share of problems, serves an immense purpose. The rituals, the practices and the norms, supposed to be the dictates of God, show us our place and worth. Religion is a reminder of human limitations. Being put in our places by something more powerful than us is not a humiliation. Rather, it has to be accepted as a way out of the chaotic, overambitious lives we live. Many people have abandoned religion, and pinned their hopes on the advance of science, as a new route to human salvation. Science, however, offers no better answers. In itself, science is indifferent. The continuous application of science does not solve moral dilemmas. It does not address the

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he melancholic Jaques speaks the immortal monologue in William Shakespeare’s ‘As You Like It’:

All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances… Last scene of all, That ends this strange eventful history…
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything. How do we prepare ourselves for the exit from this stage on earth? What happens to the spirit when it departs the body? There are many contributions to

struggle of the human heart. The basic reality is that science matters not because it helps us to master parts of nature and the world, but because it tells us that we will never be able to master nature, or the world. The true purpose of religion is not to force people to idolize a person, or to worship a person or thing or place, but to help people understand that the Divinity we should worship is the Eternal Divine Light-Energy-Source of our existence, the Universal Consciousness, and the Omnipresent Great Spirit-Parent of all. The true purpose of religion is not to enable a certain person(s) to rule and play God(s). Rather, it is to help people recognise how and why all human beings are related, as children of God. Today mankind wants to test the veracity of the claims of various religions on the touchstone of reason. For the rationalists, religion, God and miracles are delusions of the gullible mind. But imagine what the world would have been without the idea of God. The profoundest danger to life in a godless society will be that it will lack any reference to the transcendent. Without the idea of God, human beings will be tempted to take the psychological centre-stage, assuming themselves to be the commander of their destinies, rapaciously destroying nature, and trampling upon everything. In such a situation we will ignore the order, the rhythm of life on this earth. We will tamper with the natural cycle. A godless world will become highly disorganised, giving humanity a heady feeling that they are at the zenith of history. In this nightmarish scenario, there will be many a megalomaniac assuming a God-like disposition, making the lives of other fellow beings miserable. Religion, thus, works as a great leveller. Religion has a meaning and a purpose as a spiritual school, that teaches us how to live in unified harmony, in peace, and in love with our fellow human beings on this planet – enjoying in togetherness the symphony being played by mother nature. The whole purpose of religion is to facilitate love and compassion, patience, tolerance, humility, and forgiveness. Religions are supposed to help us realise that all human beings are equal joint heirs to their divine inheritance, which is the abundant and harmonious life on this earth. We should have faith that this mortal body is but a temporary temple of the spirit-soul, which will live on in the after-life. Some religions teach that when the spirit-soul is fully evolved and ready, having reached a state of pure, universal love for all, it graduates to eternal life in the heavenly realm.u

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Ageing with Dignity

t takes a full life to finally figure what really does matter – hopefully. When we are children, what matters is growing up. When we are in high school, we want to get into a good college – fast become an adult. Then there is career, family, children – and our aspirations for them. What matters is never static. One of my close friends working in the Air Force shared with me his view on greying. He started getting white hair in his beard long ago – maybe in his late 30s. He tried hair colour for a couple of months, but the process left him impatient. Now he has psychologically adjusted to the thought of supporting glossy grey hair. At an evening party he expressed in a lighter vein, but very meaningfully, that: “I rather like the way it is now. A white beard gives me more ‘authority’, and a lot of people look up at me as a kind of Santa Claus figure. That’s fine with me. Ageing helps us let go of inconsequential stuff, so that we can concentrate on adding depth and value to our character.” Life should be lived like it is. It includes youth and old age, meeting and parting, birth and death. A life that we can be happy to live is not one in which we try to have only one half of each of these pairings. It is a package. You cannot have one without the other. The glow in teen age implies wrinkles in later age. Beautiful men and women also grow infirm and old. The ad

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In Darkness, Light

very day I come across a number of persons who are leading their lives with some disability. Amit is one of the children who has cerebral palsy. This disability restricts his movement, and makes his everyday tasks difficult. Everyday, he has some pain. Things that most people take for granted—like reaching out to take something from a cupboard—are very hard, and sometimes impossible for him. Living with recurring pain is not pleasant. It is very tiring. It means that Amit has to think of how best to do things; and to assess how much is reasonable to expect from his body. He has the inevitable suffering of pain and restriction; and then he has the additional anguish of embarrassment – which seems to twist inside him. To say that such embarrassment is psychological, is our conventional way of assessing this; in fact, this embarrassment and shame is felt in a very physical way. Gradually, Amit has started attending his vocational and special education classes; started living with the realities of life, and enjoying some pleasures that are available to him. As he has reached a greater acceptance of his physical condition, he has become happier – like a flower opening in the sunshine, after the storm clouds have passed. There is no God to call to account. There is no denying it, and there is no one to blame. Suffering simply is. There is no escape. While handling such children, the parents undergo a radical change – in how they live their life, and see the world. This radical change is in a way called enlightenment. It enables these parents to become socially helpful to others who are in pain. Such parents are, as destiny wants them to be, in the seat of the trouble – where the pain is the strongest, the doubt most disturbing, and the way forward most opaque. Blessedly, this is also the place where enlightenment breaks through. Lotuses grow only in swamps. u

Preparing For The Exit the research on this subject based on the near-death experiences recorded by several academic disciplines – medicine, psychology and psychiatry. Based on those researches, the exit of the spirit from the body is treated as an evidence of mind-body dualism. The physical body shuts down the systems. The spirit of the person exits from the body and its immediate environment. The spirit prepares to move from this existence into the next phase of existence. Probably human language is too poor to express the real nature of the exit of the spirit from the body. Near-death experiences hint

and film world tries to make us believe otherwise – tries to promote a concept of ‘everlasting youth’. It makes us feel ashamed of our ‘infirmities’. We start hiding our grey hair. We start rushing frequently to beauty and wellbeing salons. In our society we see so much denial of ageing. We also like to be self-sufficient. From early in life we struggle to assert our independence, to “do it ourselves” – and that desire and drive for self-sufficiency never ends. As we age and experience changing physical and mental abilities, changes that require our adaptation and adjustment—and possibly the assistance of others—our innate desire is still for autonomy. Dependence produces feelings of frustration, anger and bitterness. No matter how old we get, no matter what the circumstances of our ageing and dying, I believe that within our relationships with other people, and through our unique experience of being alive, flashes of insight, moments of transformation, glimpses of spiritual enlightenment will come our way. I encourage people to stay open to the fullness of experience, whether sorrowful or joyful, and the wisdom that will yet come to them; for through those deeply-felt experiences, their life will be changed, and made richer. It is noble and sublime to face the inevitable, and accept the reality of ageing – upholding the dignity of self, learning patience, and bestowing love and compassion on others.u

at a broad range of sensations – including detachment from the body, feelings of levitation, total serenity, security, warmth, the experience of absolute dissolution, and the presence of a light. All those who sought nirvana went through this process of birth and death. Enlightenment exists within this. ‘Birth and death’ is reality, that leads to the freedom of the soul. We need to be awake to the causality, and therefore accept that the body will die. Nobody has ever been immune to this law of causality. We need to remember death every mo-

ment, and orient our priorities and energy levels to this law of causality. We need to live a happy and satisfying life here and now. It does not require belief in the absolute, ultimate and the best. Very ordinary people can become extraordinary. Contrary to what the Bard of Avon said, our teeth would not come out, our eyes would not fail, our appetite for food would not end and our desire for more would not diminish. The enlightened person is mature enough to enjoy life as it is. When we have the courage to live life this well grounded, then we experience a profound relaxation in our hearts. We should live by the maxim: ‘In life, seek no heaven; in death, fear no hell’. u


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Setting Standards

{ Abhishek Behl / FG }   

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What are your plans for Xerox India, and how do you plan to take the company back to its original glory? The most important goal is to transform the business from a purely product orientation to a service-led technology-driven business. This needs a

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race, and also individually – traits which we take to our workplace. You have worked in different industries, and said that it is the situational analysis which makes a crucial difference. It is true that the ability to move from one sector to another depends on how one learns and unlearns. One needs to keep an open mind and absorb things from everyone and from all sides. The key is to be willing to embrace knowledge, as also to learn from the mistakes we make.  If we are open we can learn to manage complex situations, global pressures, and diversities. The key is that we need to learn how to learn.

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ricket is one of the most enduring passions of Indians, but till 2004 it was mostly men who watched cricket on the tube. However, Rajat Jain, the then CEO of Set Max India, realised that to earn advertising revenue he had to grab the eyeballs of women too, who were the target audience of many marketers. After much brainstorming and opposition, Jain decided to showcase cricket not only as a game but as an entertainment package – and the rest, as they say, is history. His decision to introduce Extraa Innings during the telecast of the matches, and introduction of Mandira Bedi as an anchor, proved a game-changer. Presently at the helm of affairs at Xerox India, Jain speaks to FG about his passion for business, his management philosophy, and how he has taken calculated risks to push organisations towards achieving significant goals. Tell us something about yourself. And how the middle class background, and top-class education, has influenced your personality, thought process and working philosophy. I am from a middle-class, service background; my father was with the Indian Railways. We moved location extensively during my schooldays – I changed eight schools in ten years. The value system with which I grew up made me believe firmly that success can be created by one’s own effort, and education was the means to attain it. Education is our single biggest asset. These values spurred me to IIT Delhi, and then IIM Ahmedabad. Secondly, I also realised the importance of respect, and how it plays a crucial role in our day to day lives. Respecting people and teams often translates into success. Lastly, my father taught me that honesty and integrity are nonnegotiable, and this has stood me in good stead. As far as my working philosophy is concerned, I think it is sheer hard work and dedication to a goal that makes a person successful – by taking initiative, to get to the right platforms.

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change in mindset, culture, products and offerings – as well as the distribution network. The objective is to attain the leadership position in all segments in which we operate. We have the most comprehensive product range in the country, and are concentrating on offering print management solutions to our customers.

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You have also spoken about creating happy organisations, and good places to work in. It is not necessary to be a big organisation to create a happy workplace. Happiness quotient is also not linked to material facets alone. The culture of the organisation is critical. How are you respected; how do people work in teams; how is credit distributed; how tolerant is the company towards mistakes. Also, the reward and recognition plays an important role in influencing organisational culture. It is a combination of all these factors; and in my opinion, the creation of cross-functional teams—in which new ideas are appreciated and incorporated—leads to most happy workers. The drive for people to work in a team comes from relishing collective responsibility and collective reward.  One needs to balance the ‘I and We’; and although you can not always be democratic, it should be in the ratio of 20 to 80. It comes with experience. You need to understand what motivates whom, as one can not have the same yardstick for everyone. 

Rajat Jain is the Managing Director of Xerox India Limited, the world’s leading enterprise for Business Process and Document Management. In a career spanning 25 years, Rajat has worked in diverse sectors such as consumer, media and entertainment, telecom & technology – in both start-up organisations and established multinationals. Prior to joining Xerox India, Rajat was with Mobile2win India, a leading mobile phone value-added services provider, where he served as a Managing Director. He has also served as the Senior Vice President and Managing Director for Walt Disney India, and Executive Vice President at Sony Entertainment. He has held previous roles with ASC Enterprises, Benckiser and Hindustan Lever.

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What is your experience of the Indian working style? Indian society is more relationshipdriven, and operates in a grey area, as compared to the black and white of the West – where the process is very important. The people in the West are more disciplined, and value the importance of alignment. Indians are more flexible, understanding and accommodating as a

Apart from business you have also been contributing towards the development of the Braj region around Mathura. Braj Foundation is my passion on the social side. It aims to resurrect the glory of the Braj region, which was the home of Lord Krishna, and is mentioned in the Gita as his playground. The work being done by this Foundation is socioeconomic and environmental. The goal is to revive the magnificent hills, forests and water bodies.

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How do you see Gurgaon developing into a Millennium City. What do you think must happen in the City to make it more livable and secure for the residents? I see Gurgaon as a very changed city, which has a lot of energy, a lot of diversity, but also a great disparity between the haves and have-nots. The challenge is to create a more homogeneous society, where the differences are not that extreme. Another thing which I see is that this City is constantly under construction, while it simultaneously faces multiple problems on the infrastructure front. I believe it is developing too fast. Another surprise to me is that this City is more expensive than even Mumbai in terms of cost of living; the rents are high, and property prices are skyrocketing. All this will put a question mark on its sustainability. It is important that the government and administrators plan and create a structure around which the growth and development takes place. Better planning could have ensured that the pangs of growth were managed better. The City will face social challenges, because of the rapid and unprecedented rise in wealth – both for the masses as well as classes. Having said that, I still believe in the Gurgaon growth story. u

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US Gas Boom To Change Global Geopolitics? { Berlin / DPA }

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ould the United States’ cheap-energy boom (brought by the “fracking” technique) shift Washington’s focus away from the Middle East in future, and change global geopolitics? A Security Conference in Germany will look at the impact of the new technology – which promises to one day make the United States energy-independent, while weakening oil and gas power Russia. US Gas production has skyrocketed in recent years, thanks to fracking – where a high-pressure mix of water, chemicals and sand is blasted into deep rock layers, to push out oil and gas molecules. The cheap natural gas boom is helping to revive the US economy, and create an energy “gold rush” in parts of the Midwest. By some estimates the US will overtake Russia in Gas output by 2015. US President Barack Obama, in last year’s State of the Union Address, spoke of “a supply of natural gas that can last America nearly 100 years”, and promised to push forward the technology. The method is controversial, because of fears that it can contaminate groundwater and trigger

earthquakes. European countries have so far shied away from adopting it, even as gas prices have fallen. The United States may yet become a net energy exporter. ING Financial Markets Research said in a report that “the future could see specialised LNG (Liquid Natural Gas) tankers crossing the Atlantic, to provide Europe with cheap US Gas.” A discussion panel at the annual Munich Security Conference (MSC) is dedicated to the topic “The American Oil and Gas Bonanza: The Changing Geopolitics of Energy.”   A study by German intelligence service, the Bundesnachrichtendienst, looks at the potential impacts of this gas revolution on the strategic world order, the Spiegel weekly reported. For one, the study said, the United States will become less reliant on the oil-rich states in the Middle East – where it has fought several wars, and keeps a heavy military presence. The MSC’s organiser, veteran German diplomat Wolfgang Ischinger, has said that this may mean that the EU and NATO will play a greater role in ensuring security and stability in the region. The BND report said that Iranian threats to close the Straits of Hormuz—a crucial route for the world’s supertankers—would lose some

of their punch if the US weens itself off Gulf oil. Energy power Russia, where Gazprom is crucial for filling the state coffers, would be also among the big losers of a major shift, and is already hurting due to lower prices. Other analysts say talk of a major US strategic shift is overblown, as the United States will keep defending its ally Israel, containing Iran and fighting Islamic militants. But ING said that “the amount of energy the US imports from areas of the world that might be considered ‘at risk’ or ‘volatile’—either due to their own weak or potentially hostile governments, or to their proximity to such countries—is now very small.” “Shale oil and gas have to a large extent substituted for imports, and those that still exist are increasingly from ‘safe’ countries – such as Canada and Mexico,” said its paper. The ING report said energy security would also be a strong motivation for other countries.“Given Europe’s greater reliance on North Africa for its energy, and the recent bombing of Al-Qaeda terrorists in Mali and the resulting retaliatory carnage in Algeria, security concerns are also a pressing reason for development of local energy sources,” it said. u


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B on V ivant 21 to her poetry hobby, even during her examinations. A visitor, Ayush, feels that poetry gives a glimpse into the imagination and soul of a poet. “I am glad that this year the Book Fair has provided a common platform, for both amateur and renowned poets. People who are not interested in literature are also drawn towards these recitation sessions. These will help them gain knowledge about various cultures and languages, and indirectly encourage the reading habit in them.” Apart from the poetry sessions, the Book Fair also offers an ‘Author’s Corner’, where many young authors can discuss their work.

m-Books

Books... In All Forms { Shilpy Arora / FG }

The Kids’ section is adorned with all kinds of books – ranging from academic and competitive, to comics and illustrated; and the most interesting, the 3D books. With the aim of bringing back the habit of reading, 3D Delight, a company comprising of 20 artists from the Maya Academy, has created unique 3D books. “The idea came to our mind last year. We started off with two stories from the popular mythological series, Panchatantra. It is like an animation movie, where reading is made into a fun activity. The response has been overwhelming. We therefore plan to release five more titles this year, on various topics such as global warming and anti-terrorism. Two are all set to go to print,” says Vidyasagar, of 3D Delight. “Seeing special effects and animation in the print medium is an unforgettable experience. Not just children, even adults enjoy these colourful 3-dimensional stories,” says Charchit, a 25-year-old reader. A 3D pair of spectacles is given free with each book. They are also available between a price range of Rs. 400 and Rs. 1,000.

Talking about the craze for illustrated books in India, Satish, an illustrated-novel artist from Pratham, says, “As people are getting ‘lazier’, they prefer short visual-based reads. Publishers also want to experiment with the age-old print medium. I think an illustrated book helps in engaging the young generation with literature.” Prachi, from Katha, feels, “It is a pity that we have a tacit bias towards text. We have to understand that graphics and images have a separate and unique language and grammar.” Katha is an NGO that has been providing education to underprivileged children, through storytelling, for 22 years. It has published more than 300 titles. Banerjee from Campfire suggests that graphic novels in regional languages would help in the growth of the market for illustrated-books in India. “Vernacular literature is getting lost, sitting in some old libraries. It should be revived through this illustrated medium,” he says. This year the Fair also features a range of Hindi books for kids. While expressing her happiness on the availability of Hindi books, a 73-year-old lady, Shradha, says, “Today only Spiderman and Harry Potter seem to rule the minds of children. They hardly know about their traditions and culture. They feel embarrassed when their parents speak in Hindi. I am glad that this year’s Book Fair has brought in Hindi books to the children’s section.”

Graphics Galore

Poetry lifts the Spirit

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are collections, innovations in the world of publishing and some unique activities should drag you to the World Book Fair in New Delhi.

A 3-D Treat

When words and images come together they don’t just say the same thing in two different ways – they strengthen each other, creating a unique experience. With this in mind, a number of publishers—such as Katha, Campfire Books, and Westland—offer a range of picture-filled story books, printed in full colour on expensive paper. From Indian mythology, ‘Sita, Daughter of the Earth’, to Tamil Fiction, ‘Karate Kavita’, this section offers a range of illustrated books.

As the theme of the Book Fair is ‘Indigenous Voices: Mapping India’s Folk and Tribal Literature’, the Main pavilion has been erected as a replica of a traditional Indian village. Apart from some rare books on folk literature, a line-up of poetry books—in languages such as Bengali, Punjabi and Urdu—attracts the attention. Not just books, a mix of young and veteran poetry aficionados grace the stage, uplifting the poetic spirit. While Manleen Thakur from Delhi and Nirja Rajani from Gu-

jarat read out reflective and short poems, Farhaan from Agra, along with a Singapore-based poet, Cyril, recite deeply lyrical verses. “Iss Baat Ka Malaal hai, Shikwa Nahin Mujhe...” read out Ahere, an Urdu poetess based in New Zealand. A 22-year-old science student, Ada, expresses her concern on the lack of opportunity for the youth in poetry festivals. “I started writing poems at the age of 14, but never got an opportunity to take part in any poetry fests. I think the field of poetry is dominated by a few people. They don’t want to accommodate new entrants. Getting an opportunity to recite poems at the Book Fair is of course a matter of pride for me,” she says. Ada dedicates at least four hours everyday

Foreign Flavour

While greeting you with colourful books on diverse subjects, this year’s guest of honour country, France, also offers delicious French cuisine to the guests. Besides, a visitor can attend special talks by French authors, about their work as part of the “Bonjour India” festival. “We have discovered that the young generation in India is curious to explore different cultures, arts and cuisines. So our Stall caters to their diverse tastes,” smiles a French promoter. A large collection of Arabic books can be found at Saudi Arabia, while Sufi books are a-plenty at the Turkey stall. Kirti Yadav, who is pursuing Islamic Studies from the Jamia Milia University, says, “What amazed me is not the Arabic literature, but the copies of the Quran – which are available in over four dozen languages, including English, Tamil, Malayalam, and Kashmiri.”

With an increase in the number of e-readers, m-Books (Mobile books) seem to be the trend. Rockstand, a famous e-book and e-magazine application for mobiles and tablets, offers m-books at the Fair. As today most mobile phones are java enabled, m-Books are formatted in java-script. Apart from English, the m-Books are also available in a host of regional languages – such as Gujarati, Bengali, and Marathi.   The application can be downloaded onto all smart phones. “Once you download a book from our application, it will be with you for a lifetime. You can then read the downloaded book even when you do not have internet access,” says a promoter at Rockstand. Interestingly, with a special audio feature, the application reads out the book to you, if you are tired of reading! The cost of downloading a book on the mobile phone is also very low, as compared to the price of the book. A few comic books, such as Chacha Chaudhary are available at just Rs. 1. If you are looking for free m-books and free e-books, check out the stall of Young Readers.

Besides Books

For the first time, the National Book Trust has tied up with artists of the Delhi Art College, to display Book Art at the Fair. Inspired by the Book Art Fairs in Europe, a special Book Art exhibition is held near Hall no. 7. Six young artists—Sugandha Gaur, Saroj Kumar Das, Daljeet Singh, Rinku Chauhan, Rahul Gautam, and Abhijit Saikia—from the Delhi Art College were chosen to build an outdoor installation. A structure named “Light of Life”, measuring 6x6x17 ft, is the highlight of the exhibition. It is a pyramid of books, shaped like a torchbearer. Another installation, “The Imaginative School Bag”, a textile and light installation, is an impression of a bag of dreams – and is lit by glow worms. A small stall showcasing threedimensional landscapes, made of hardbound books, is also worth a visit. Intricate designs, showcasing “The Great Wall of China”, “Zen Gardens”, and “Temple of Petra”, are sculpted out of old books. Hailing from a village in Kerala, artist M.Rangarajan says, “With the increasing demand of e-books, the use of hard-bound books, especially vintage books, is reducing. I therefore thought of using them for a special 3D Art.” The Book Fair has even more to offer in Art. Glance through the lifestyles and traditions of various tribes of India at a Photography exhibition by a noted photographer, Mergu Chandra Shekhar. Titled as ‘Jungle Flowers’, the Exhibition beautifully captures images of the tribal communities of South India. The last hall (Hall no. 8) features interesting paper craft, offered by Paper Theatre. Small paper clocks, available in a dozen shapes, are truly a visual treat. u


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2013 F1 Cars Launched { Maranello, Italy / DPA }

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seven winners from seven different teams. “There will be three teams who will win all the races, and we have to be one of those teams,” the 31-year-old Spaniard said. The F138 is the 59th car to be built by Ferrari, which is the only team to have competed in every year of the Formula 1 World Championship. Alonso and team-mate Felipe Massa will be in a car which has a smootherlooking nose section, a change from the 2012 version. Motorsport federation FIA has allowed teams to hide the ugly-looking “step” nose, which was featured by several teams last year, under a laminate panel. The F138 name is a combination of the current year and the num-

{ San Francisco / DPA } here are many proposed solutions to overcome the inherent vulnerability of passwords - anything easy enough to remember is liable to also be easy to hack by a determined intruder. “We contend that security and usability problems are intractable,” write Google’s Eric Grosse and Mayank Upadhyay, in an article to be published later this month, in the journal IEEE Security & Privacy. “It’s time to give up on elaborate password rules, and look for something better.” Many technologists are advocating biometric devices—that would recognize your fingerprint, iris, voice or facial features—as a better way of making sure that digital users are who they say they are. Business users also commonly utilize digital tokens, that provide one-time passwords for every log-in session; or two-stage verification systems – that combine a regular password with a code sent over a second device, usually a smartphone. Tokens are easy to lose however, and Google believes that home users will not bother using them on a regular basis. But if the token took the form of something that the user always carried, and was easily accessible, then that behaviour might change. “Some more appealing form factors might involve integration with smartphones or jewellery, that users are likely to carry anyway,” the authors write. “We’d like your smartphone or smartcard-embedded ring to authorize a new computer via a tap on it, even in situations where your phone might be without cellular connectivity.” u

ber of cylinders in their V8 engines. Ferrari described the car as an evolution of the F2012, with a number of changes to improve aerodynamic performance. The team said there would be “significant modifications” in the weeks leading up to the first race, in Australia on March 17. In Silverstone, Briton di Resta took the covers off Force India’s VJM06 car, with a member of the team management. Like Ferrari, the car no longer has the stepped nose. Force India placed seventh in last season’s Constructors’ Championships. Lotus and McLaren have also launched their 2013 cars, while Red Bull takes the wraps off their car, and Mercedes present their model soon. u

{ Takehiko Kambayashi / Akita, Japan / DPA }   

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nly 5 per cent of women feel safe in public places in New Delhi, a women’s rights organization in the Indian capital said, citing a recent survey. The City recently witnessed unprecedented protests over the gang rape and killing of a 23-year student on a bus in December, with demonstrators demanding measures to make New Delhi safer for women. The International Centre for Research on Women (ICRW) study interviewed 2,000 women and 1,000 men, aged 16 to 49, between October and November. Half of the women respondents felt public places—including streets, markets, parks and bus-stops—were unsafe “all the time,” day or night, said ICRW Asia Regional Director Ravi Verma. “The sense of fear among women might have gone up post the gang rape incident. There

Sound Advice

hen Hisao Sato began to counsel business managers in a region known for Japan’s highest suicide rate, what impressed him was the people’s tenacity to pull back from the brink. “At first they were very depressed, and some of them had already attempted suicide. But they gradually got their strength back as time went by,” said Sato. He established a non-profit organization for suicide prevention in 2002 in Akita City, 450 kilometres north of Tokyo. Hisao Sato Over the past 10 years, Sato has met about 2,000 people from across the country, with a focus on those depressed by business counter-measures. The government failure. “I take a lot of time for those also established a Centre for Suicide who come here, and try to give them Prevention in 2006, and offered more the comfort of knowing we will stay consultations and hotlines. The country as a whole has come to connected with each other,” said Sato, whose hair has grayed and who wears confront suicide, since the subsidies wire-rimmed glasses. “I also promise compelled government officials to to see them again the following take action, and also helped local week. And they come back.” “The communities, Sasaki said. On an efforts made through co-operation average, 76 people took their lives among volunteers, civic groups like every day in 2012, which means Sato’s and local government officials about 800 were having suicidal have been effective,” said Hisanaga thoughts on any given day of the Sasaki, Associate Professor for Health year, experts said. The increase in suicides has been Sciences at Akita University, whose research includes suicide prevention attributed to Japan’s protracted and mental health. Suicides among economic downturns. Many people business owners in Akita prefecture regard a bankruptcy as a personal have fallen nearly 70 per cent, from failure, rather than as a symptom of the level 10 years ago, according to the a temporary economic problem. “As they keep blaming themselves for local police. Japan has long been plagued by business failure, saying, ‘I’ve done suicide. In mid-January, Japan’s wrong’ or ‘I’ve caused trouble to National Police Agency said society,’ that totally impairs their that the number of suicides had judgment,” Sato said. In many cases bankruptcy declined to 27,766 in 2012, the first business owners to fall below 30,000 in 15 years. Sasaki prompts said 10 billion yen (113 million kill themselves, just as Samurai dollars) in government spending warriors used to practice hara-kiri, had had a significant impact. The a ritual form of suicide, to show subsidies were provided after the they accept responsibility for their Suicide Prevention Law was enacted deeds. One former Company President in 2006. Experts and citizens groups in Akita recalled having suicidal had repeatedly urged the government thoughts as his business deteriorated. to address the issue and draw up By that time, five business managers Takehiko Kambayashi

The End Of Passwords?

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95% Women Feel Unsafe In New Delhi { Siddhartha Kumar / New Delhi / DPA }

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errari said it was keen to get off to strong start to the 2013 season, as it unveiled the car it hopes will unseat Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel as Formula One champ this year. Ferrari were not competitive at the start of the 2012 season, although Fernando Alonso won a rain-affected Malaysian Grand Prix, the season’s second race. The Italian team hope the F138—launched at the team’s works in Maranello—will build on the reliability that enabled Alonso to finish second in the Championship. “The key objective is to immediately deliver a competitive car,” Team Principal Stefano Domenicali said. Meanwhile in Silverstone, England, Force India unveiled their car – though it remains open who will be the second driver alongside Paul di Resta. Alonso, who lost out on the 2012 title by three points, said that with fewer regulation changes, he expected the leading teams to dominate from the start unlike last season when the first seven races produced

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should be a zero tolerance against such harassment and crimes. Something needs to be done urgently, to reinstate the sense of confidence among women,” Verma said. Nine of the 10 women interviewed had experienced some kind of sexual harassment or violence – including lewd comments, obscene gestures, uninvited touching, flashing, and sexual assault. The Survey also found that 51 per cent of the men reported having perpetrated sexual harassment and violence against women, Verma said. The Survey report, which was submitted to the United Nations and to national ministries, found that although 78 per cent of respondents reported having witnessed sexual violence, only 15 per cent said they had intervened. “Forty per cent of the men fully or partially agreed to the statement, ‘If a woman is being teased in public space, it is usually her fault’,” the report said. u

whom he was acquainted with had already taken their own lives, he said. “I was also thinking about committing suicide, to take responsibility. But Mr. Sato told me not to do so, and reminded me of the decades of my work,” he recalled. “Mr. Sato saved my life.” Sato understands their feelings well, because he has been there too. He had run several companies in Akita for more than 20 years. But one of them went under in September 2000. He lost his house, personal assets, credibility and status. Sato’s relatives and friends also started to distance themselves from him, as bankruptcy carries a certain stigma in Japan, he said. When Sato stopped by at a friend’s house, the friend’s wife came to the door and he heard the friend say to her, “Tell him I’m not at home.” “That made me realize what bankruptcies mean,” Sato recalled. Sato was anxious about how he was perceived by others. When he went shopping at a supermarket, he was also worried whether he would bump into a creditor, banker or some local business owner. While Sato suffered depression and often had suicidal thoughts, one of his acquaintances committed suicide in May 2001. He thought the man, a local business manager, was the last person to do so. The man’s death made him determined to prevent more business managers—who have long contributed to the region’s economy—from killing themselves. The following year he set up his non-profit organization. Sato said the number of victims would not fall further without a change in people’s perception about suicide. “Suicide should be dealt with as a social problem, not as a matter of one individual,” he said. It is said that some people kill themselves because of their weakness. But Sato responds, “I tell those who come here, ‘In your life, there are times when you are made vulnerable. But the sun will be rising again. You will become strong again. That’s why you are a human being. That’s why you are great.’” u


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{ Lea Sibbel / Hamburg, Germany / DPA }

{ Bill Smith / Beijing / DPA }      

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hen millions of unmarried people visit their families across China for the traditional Lunar New Year, or Spring Festival, many will take new or old partners to meet their parents. To avoid repeated questions about their plans for marriage and children, a growing number of young people (without boyfriends or girlfriends) are using fake partners to pacify concerned relatives. “According to Chinese tradition, parents of children of marriageable age who remain single lose face,” the China Daily said. Women are still expected to focus on producing the family’s next generation, and face the greatest pressure – to show their parents the prospect of a happy family. Many career women who are single are tempted to ask male friends to escort them on family visits, and some turn to the growing number of young men offering themselves for hire on the internet. Zhao Jun, 32, persuaded a gay friend to pose as her boyfriend during last year’s Spring Festival holiday. “Last year I had this very strong idea (of hiring a boyfriend), but finally I didn’t want to rent a stranger,” said Zhao, a Manager

an enhanced form of co-operation.” In this kind of economy, having access to an item is more important than owning it. Sophie Utikal, a 25-year-old Munich resident, is also following the trend. Together with a girlfriend, she started the online platform ‘kleiderkreisel. de’ (roughly “clothing roundabout”), where members can swap or sell clothes. “Why should you have something new produced when there’s somebody else who already owns it?” she asked. The oft-invoked concept of environmental sustainability plays a major role in the “collaborative consumption wave,” as Sophie calls it. Wilkening and Fendel are riding the wave. “We want to offer a solution to over-consumption,” Fendel said. While the Kleiderei’s customers are open to the idea of borrowing things, not everyone is. “Some people need the security of ownership,” Wilkening said, adding that for them owning something is

Angelika Warmuth

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hekla Wilkening and Pola Fendel have always browsed each other’s wardrobes, satisfying their desire for new things without having to spend a lot of money. Last fall the two university students, who live in Hamburg, put their “shareware” concept on the market, by opening a shop called the Kleiderei (a German nonce word that translates as “Clothery”). It is a place where women and girls can borrow garments for a fee – not expensive evening gowns as in customary clothing-for-hire shops, but everyday attire. The budding German entrepreneurs summed up their first two months in business: “They’re increasing” - customers as well as the number of garments for hire. The Kleiderei is part of a general trend towards swapping – known in academic circles as the “collaborative economy.” “More goods are being exchanged and used collectively,” noted Ludger Heidbrink, who has been focusing on the phenomenon as head of the Department of Practical Philosophy at the University of Kiel. “The collaborative economy is

New ‘Collaborative Economy’ Own Less, Feel Freer

The owners of the clothes rental shop “Kleiderei”, Pola Fendel (left) and Thekla Wilkening (right) in the Hamburg, Germany store.

more important than using it. Utikal’s project combines an old and new business model: all of the clothing at kleiderkreisel.de is second-hand, but it changes hands permanently. According to Heidbrink, the trend towards swapping clothes is indicative of the search for identity in modern society. “People have

become strongly accustomed to experimental lifestyles,” he said. “Today they no longer have a stable, fixed identity, but a hybrid one that can change.” Clothing is a vehicle for this, Heidbrink said. Clothing for hire lets people try on different identities, as it were. For Fendel, too, it is about trying out various styles. The Kleiderei’s customers are more daring “because they’re not buying (the garment),” she remarked. “It’s a social matter, too,” Heidbrink noted. He said that people involved in the Kleiderei, kleiderkreisel.de or other hire-and-swap platforms, are members of what he calls the ‘borrowers club’. “They’re taking part in an avantgarde way of using goods, which is hip at the moment,” he said. Wilkening and Fendel are already planning to open a second Kleiderei, this one in Berlin. For the past year, Utikal has been able to devote herself full-time to kleiderkreisel.de, and make a living off it. “I think it’ll increase,” said Heidbrink, referring to the culture of borrowing. He pointed out that it provided a kind of psychological relief, in line with the slogan, “Simplify your life.” “The less you own, the freer you feel,” he said. u

Chinese Women Find Fake Boyfriends in a state-run company. “It is a waste of money and not safe. So last year I had to cheat my parents, by saying that I was dating a guy. Then I asked a man I knew to come to my parents’ home as my boyfriend. My parents didn’t know I was lying to them. They were quite happy and relieved,” Zhao said. For women who can’t find a friend to take home, a search for “renting a boyfriend for going home”, on the popular Taobao shopping website, yields more than six million results. Dozens of commercial rental services, and thousands of individuals, advertise their escort services online. “I’d thought about renting a boyfriend, but I didn’t do it,” Li Xiaoran, 32, an IT Manager with a multinational firm, said. “Because I can’t trust a stranger, and I’m not the kind of person who is good at acting,” said Li who, like Zhao, used a pseudonym. One service on Taobao— using the name 51 Haoquan, and claiming 17 sales this year— offered male escorts in the eastern province of Jiangsu for 2,000 yuan (320 dollars)

per day or 50 yuan per hour. It said hugs, hand-holding and goodbye kisses were free extras for clients. Many cheaper services offer partners for around 500 yuan per day. Reflecting concerns that such services could be used as a front for prostitution, a search of Taobao for “renting a girlfriend for going home” prompts the message: “The results cannot be displayed, according to relevant laws, regulations and policies.” Experts also warned that the escort services operate in a legal vacuum, while some commentators said deceiving one’s parents by presenting a fake partner was morally wrong. “Such services are neither banned nor supported by law,

Abu Dhabi Louvre - Opening 2015

Chinese Top Holiday Spenders

{ Abu Dhabi / DPA }      

{ Stuttgart / DPA }      

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onstruction of a Louvre outpost in Abu Dhabi can finally begin after years of delays, according to United Arab Emirates (UAE) Tourism and Culture officials. A consortium, under the leadership of the Dubaibased company Arabtec, which receives state investment funding from Abu Dhabi, was awarded the contract to build the domed building – designed by star architect Jean Nouvel. The Louvre Abu Dhabi was originally scheduled to open this year, but opening is now set for 2015. The Project is part of an ambitious Master Plan to build three museums on Saadijat Island. The other two museums—a National Museum and an offshoot of the Guggenheim Museum— are expected to debut in 2016 and 2017. u

he Chinese have overtaken the Germans as travel kings, as least as far as the amount of money they spend while on holiday is concerned. “China heads the top of the hit parade of tourists who spent the most money while on vacation,” said tourist expert Martin Lohmann. Tourists from China spent a total of around 91 billion dollars during trips abroad last year, said Lohmann. His statement was based on initial figures from the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). The figure includes both private holidays, short breaks and business trips. German travellers spent around 88 billion dollars while visiting abroad, Lohmann estimates. u

but any conflict or complaint would be hard to settle,” said lawyer Liu Ancai. “These young people may think it’s an act of filial piety to bring home a fake fiance, but it’s sheer cheating,” said social scientist Hou Xiaofeng. “It’s also dangerous to take home a complete stranger, Hou said. “You never know what might happen.” Writer Tang Datian said on his microblog that renting partners for Spring Festival “reflects a big social problem.” “Parents force their children to get married, and the children are making false claims,” Tang said. Single career women like Zhao and Li face strong social

pressure, and are commonly known as “leftover women”. “My mother used to say to me: ‘You are too old, no one wants to marry you.’ I was really sad about that. Besides, my relatives used to criticize me for not doing well enough, saying I’m a loser because I can’t find someone to marry, which hurt me and my mother a lot,” said Zhao. Li said she did not see her father during last year’s Spring Festival, because he threatened to move out of the family home if she stayed there. “Last Chinese New Year’s Eve, before I went back home, my mother called me and asked how about us two going traveling for the holiday?” she said. “Suddenly I understood what she meant: my father doesn’t want to see me any more until I get married,” Li said. u

Chimps Copy Each Other’s Style { San Francisco/Kyoto / DPA }      

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himpanzees readily copy one another’s style, if it promises a gain in efficiency, according to new research at the University of Kyoto, which adds to the evidence that animals develop something akin to human culture. Chimps were offered the chance to drink fruit juice through straws. They spontaneously tried two different techniques in obtaining juice through a small hole: either straw-sucking or dipping the straw and licking the end. All five chimpanzees who had initially tried dipping for five straight days, switched to using the more efficient straw-sucking technique, after seeing another chimp or a human demonstrate it. There has been debate about whether the animals practice cumulative cultural evolution – with successive generations building on earlier achievements. Faithful social learning, of incremental improvements in technique, used to be considered a defining feature of human culture, differentiating us from animals. The finding suggests that chimps are closer to us than we may think. When chimps are dissatisfied with their own method, they can learn an improved technique by observing a demonstrator, provided there is no biologically relevant difference in difficulty between the techniques, said the research team, led by Shinya Yamamoto. The research was published in the online journal PLOS ONE. u


Friday Gurgaon Feb 8-14, 2013  

Friday Gurgaon Feb 8-14, 2013

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