Page 1

Vol. 1 No. 8  Pages 32  ` 7  14–20 October 2011

{Inside} An Autobiography

n autobiography of MG road. Ever thought about what this 19 km long road feels, about the sea change it has witnessed— over decades, centuries... To find out, turn to ...Pg 6

A Survivor’s Tale

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success story of a cancer survivor, recovering from a lifesaving surgery, performed at the Gurgaon Civil Hospital— the only one in Haryana to have performed over 200 such surgeries. ...Pg 12

Know Your Councillor

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eet Parminder Kataria, Deputy Mayor and Councillor for Ward No. 6; and Sonia Thakran, Councillor for Ward No. 27 ...Pg 13

Get A Life!

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f you want to explore new interests, or just re-connect with old passions, head to Get Alive—a premium social activity and outdoor club, for the urban professionals of Gurgaon. ...Pg 19

Hypnotherapy

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special report on the benefits of hypnosis. A few sessions can help you get rid of addiction, undesired behaviours and beliefs; and manifest new desires in you. ...Pg 20

Autism, The Early Signs

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parents’ guide to the diagnosis, education, and treatment of children suffering from autism. It is imperative parents understand the importance of early diagnosis. ...Pg 21

Deputy Commissioner (DC) Meena has seen it all. He has had charge of Gurgaon for years, at times almost independently. Today he manages the civic infrastructure responsibilities of the City, alongwith HUDA, MCG, and HSIIDC. He probably has the best perspective— of the past Gurugram (so to speak), and its journey into Gurgaon. An experienced bureaucrat, he naturally toes a more official line— and is also reticent at times; but surprises with some candour. He would like us to appreciate the role of the State, in making Gurgaon what it is today; and expect us to be patient, as the same State works on how to manage the larger than expected, but happy, problem of a suburb becoming a city—even a global city aspirant. All in a matter of a decade. Maybe the HCS, IAS, IPS should make Gurgaon a case study, for the Indian cities of the future. Is MDI listening?

PRAKHAR PANDEY

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‘Every Agency Has A Role’

EVEN-HANDED: Deputy Commissioner P. C. Meena at his Camp Office

{ Hritvick Sen / FG }

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e present an interview with P.C. Meena, DC of Gurgaon, at his Camp Office. “Everybody has a role to play. Whether it is the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA), or Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon (MCG) , or even my office. We have the duty of being the facilitator and the protocol officer between the city’s various agencies,” says the Deputy Commissioner of Gurgaon, P.C. Meena. “Delhi also has a Municipal

Corporation (MCD), a Municipal Committee (NDMC), and a development agency (Delhi Development Authority),” he says. “The Councillors are the public’s voice, and we are the Executive”, Meena says. “The Councillors have the same profile as a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA). They are the people’s elected representatives. They bring the city’s grievances to us, and we resolve their issues.” To the question whether the multiplicity of agencies is proving detrimental to the overall development of the city, he says, “This point has been

raised by the media several times; and I want to say that it is not so. Multiple agencies are not the main issue—they will always be there. A lot of issues are relevant to one body only, and not to multiple. MCG has its areas and jurisdiction on where it can work, and maintain services; and HUDA has its areas.” “What is desirable is that individual agencies and their heads need to feel responsible for resolving people’s issues”, is his view. Contd on p 8 

Malls of Gurgaon Road { Harsimran Shergill / FG }

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am 19kms long, begin from Mehrauli Lal Kot, and go all the way to National Highway-8 (NH-8) at Gurgaon. I am the Mehrauli-Gurgaon road, popularly known as MG road—and this is my story. My introduction is important so that people don’t confuse my identity with my name. People say, what’s in a name? But I think a name is the beginning of a social identity. It introduces you to the world. I am Mehrauli Gurgaon Road—definitely not a Mahatma Road. Unless

Malls are the new Mahatmas. The story of my origin is similar to that of most of my compatriots. I might have been a village road to begin with, but my most glorified and prominent years have been during the rule of the Mughal empire—and subsequently during the British rule. So crucial was my significance, that when the armies travelled from Calcutta to Dilli, generals left their men under my responsibility; while they went to

Contd on p 6 

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02

14–20 October 2011

Editor:

Atul Sobti

News Editor:

P. J. Menezes

Coming Up

FESTIVITY  MUSIC & DEBATE  DANCE  EXHIBITION-CUM-SALE  WORKSHOP

Music and Debate

Sr. Correspondents: Abhishek Behl Harsimran Shergill Correspondents:

Anhad Naad – A Spiritual Competition @ Gurudwara Singh Sabha, New Colony Date: Oct 15 & Oct 16 Time: 9 am onwards

Hritvick Sen Maninder Dabas Shirin Mann

Sr. Photographers: Money Sharma Prakhar Pandey Sr. Sub Editors:

Anita Bagchi Shilpy Arora

Designers:

Manoj Raikwar Virender Kumar

Circulation Head:

Prem Gupta

Circulation Execs.:

Kamlesh Pastor

Syed Mohd Komail

Sunil Yadav

Accts. & Admin Mgr: Deba Datta Pati Ad Sales Manager: Lokesh Bharadwaj Sr. Ad Sales Execs: Bhagwat Kaushik

Mohiddin A Khan

Sr. Marketing Exec: Astha Singh Design Consultant: Qazi M Raghib Illustrations:

Durgadatt Pandey

Photography Consultant: Jitendra Sharma Business Consultant: Sanjay Bahadur

213, Tower A, Spazedge, Sector 47, Sohna Road, Gurgaon 122001, Haryana

Meeting of Minds 2011 – Youth Forum @ School of Inspired Leadership, Plot No. 76, Sector 44 Date: Oct 15 Time: 9:30 am onwards

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Festivity

Karwa Chauth Celebration @ Epicentre, Apparel House, Sec 44 Date: Oct 15 Time: 4 pm – 5 pm

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dramatised narration of the significance and rituals of Karwa Chauth, by Madanbala Sindhu and the Tamasha group. The narration will be followed by folk music and a dance performance. Also, stalls will offer mehndi, bindi, bangles, cand lay pots (or karvas).

Workshop

Editorial Office

Discussion Forum

Afaqs (Using Mobile Apps for Marketing)

@ Country Inn and Suites, Sector 29 Date: Oct 14 Time: 2 pm – 6 pm Fees: Rs 3000 for one participant, and Rs 5000 for two participants

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four-hour workshop for working professionals, on the fundamentals, tactics, and strategy for using mobile apps for marketing. The trainers are: Madan Sanglikar, Principal Partner, Invention, at Mindshare India; Anurag Singh, Co-founder, Mobimasta. com; and Manish Mishra, Country Manager, BuzzCity Technologies.

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Shabad singing, and debate competition for those aged between 13 – 25 years. Shabads will be chosen from the Guru Granth Sahib, and the themes of the debate for the competition will be—Guru Nanak Dev, Guru Gobind Singh, and Amrit Vani. The competitions are organised by the management committee of Gurudwara Singh Sabha, New Colony, Gurgaon. Everyone is invited to attend.

forum for young people, to understand and discuss the intricacies and challenges in building the future of India. The event will feature speakers from diverse walks of life, who will discourse on the following topics—Indian Global Vision, Empowerment, and Fighting Corruption. For registration, visit: www. soilindia.net

Dance

Odissi Dance Performance @ Epicentre, Apparel House, Sec 44 Date: Oct 21 Time: 7:30 pm

Exhibition-cum-sale

Saree Utsav @ Culture Gully, Kingdom of Dreams, Sec-29 Date: Till Oct 29

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n exhibition-cumsale of traditional sarees. An enormous range of sarees ranging from—Chanderi Silk, Tussar, Block Print, Kanchivaram, Leheria, to Bandhini, Benarasi, Kantha, Gadwals, Pochampalli, Warli art on silk, Embroidery, Printed Crepe, Ikat, Phulia and Maheshwari, are some of the exotic varieties on sale.

Phones: +91 124 421 9091/92/93 Emails: editor@fridaygurgaon.com letters@fridaygurgaon.com contributions@fridaygurgaon.com subscription@fridaygurgaon.com circulation@fridaygurgaon.com adsales@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 122001, Haryana.

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n Odissi dance performance by Anita Babu and group— disciple of late Guru Gangadhar Pradhan. Anita is a regular performer on Doordarshan, and also an empanelled artiste in ICCR, in the Reference Panel of Artistes.

Amchi Mumbai-Ya!

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.

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M

umbai—a city that’s a head stirring mix of dreams and struggles, ambitions and passions, business and leisure; a city that’s always “on the go”, ready to take on any challenge that life throws its way. The “New York of India”, with a mighty heart, as big as the Indian subcontinent, has a huge diversity of people from various parts of the subcontinent earning their livelihood in its womb. However, the food that is simmered in the city has its own place and distinctiveness; not just in the heart of Mumbaikars but all Indians. Street food by the Marine Drive, or on the sands of Juhu Beach, are just

simply lip-smacking! The king of street food, however, is definitely ‘Vada Pav’—a staple food today, born in the very streets savoured by the hard work of an everyday working class man; a dish that epitomizes all that is Mumbai. A dollop of love—the fried mashed potato dumpling aka Vada—sandwiched between the two economic sides of the city—the Pav cut into 2 sections

from the middle, served with spicy green chutney made from garlic and chillies—the craziness of the city and the red tamarind chutney—the fun and the frolic. The one time “poor man’s food” today rules the hearts of all economic sections, marking a special place in menu cards of posh restaurants too. It has evolved into “cheese vada pav” “schezwan vada pav”, and the exquisite “samosa pav”. The taste that one savours is an amalgamation of earthiness, fellowship, belongingness and love to keep you enthralled and enticed with both the city and the love that comes from its scrumptious bites, available right outside your door. Available at Culture Gully, Kingdom of Dreams.


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14–20 October 2011

Promoting Ra.One The Digital Way

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harukh Khan made a brief appearance at Ambience Mall to release the first ticket of his upcoming movie—Ra.One at the Nokia EVO Store. Tickets were issued using NearField Communication (NFC) technology on Nokia’s Symbian Belle Smartphone. The lucky winner of the NFC enabled Ra.One ticket, also got SRK’s digital autograph. Shahrukh announced that the latest Symbian Belle devices will help his fans win a couple of tickets to attend a special preview of Ra.One. With the launch of these products, Nokia now has four NFC-enabled smart phones in the market. DIAL A MOVIE: Sharukh Khan promoting Ra.One

TWO IN TUNE: Sarina Grewal and Gautam Jaswal playing soft Rock

Thrilling Finale to Musical Quest

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gaon

s Gur k c o R a m a r ik r a P PUMPING UP THE VOLUME: Parikrama performing at Vapour

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ho cares about a Dussehra hangover? That seemed to be the reaction of the crowd that gathered at Vapour, to watch the thumping numbers belted out by Parikrama. The band fuelled spirits by playing popular numbers—But it Rained, Vapourize, Whiskey Blue, and Highway to Hell, to name a few; ensuring that Gurgaonites had a thrilling and rocking evening!

Kiddie Carnival O

ver a dozen energy-packed dance performances, a classical music concert, and a fashion show livened up the kids carnival, that was organised in MGF Mega City mall. The event saw the participation of many well-known faces from TV and films. The kids were happy to meet Rahul Kumar, popularly known as Millimeter from the 3 idiots team, Piyush Bhagat—the chak dhoom dhoom finalist, and Jay Chaniyara from Laughter Challenge. Rahul Kumar aka Millimeter, who is from Gurgaon's Sector 22, said, “I am glad to be a part of such an event, that too in my own city—Gurgaon. Kids in Gurgaon have tremendous talent and such a platform will be a big motivation for them.” While Piyush shook a leg with kids, Jay delivered a few laughs. The celebrities were impressed by the electrifying performance by tiny tots. As much as 300 children participated in the event. The winners were given Firefox cycles, among a host of other prizes. Various gift stalls and entertainment activities kept the children engrossed during the carnival.

ENTERTAINERS: (Clockwise from left top) Rahul Kumar (aka Millimeter), Piyush Bhagat and Jay Chaniyara

he three-week long musical quest—Verses & Strings, had its grand finale on Sunday. A large crowd gathered at BAHI, to watch the performance of finalists—Vijith Kumar (solo), Sarina Grewal and Gautam Jaswal (Duo), Dhruv Visvanath (Solo), and Soul'd Out (Band). What made the contest really interesting was that most contestants played original compositions, apart from covers. Finally, Soul'd Out came out on top to win the cash prize of Rs 25,000, a Spanish guitar, and a Hohner Blues harp. Kochin Wu, from the band, Deja Wu (popularly known as Uncle Wu), and John Ko from the Haze, judged the event.


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14–20 October 2011

reviews

Suburban Delight

FOOD Aalok Wadhwa s I enter Café Delhi Heights, I notice that the sign on the door says ‘pull/ A push—whateva’. The decor inside is

funky. The café is divided into three sections—Indian, Mediterranean and European. The Indian side has servers sporting nametags like Raju, Goloo and Bhaiya; while those on the occidental side are called Enrique, Andy, Bryan and Paul). As I sit in an attractive booth that has its own wall-mounted television, I can’t but help noticing small, quirky little touches all over the café. They add to the anticipation of the food. First to arrive on the table is a chilled glass of mint-flavoured water. Refreshed, I take a look at the vast menu. Confused by its many choices, I seek the help of Chef Netar Singh, who seems to love everything on the menu—but does give some helpful suggestions. To start with, I try a couple of dishes from the café’s thoughtfully created tasting menu. The service is ultra quick, and soon to arrive is the café’s spin on a Mediterranean classic. The colourful looking Herbed Hummus Platter (Rs 155) has three different takes on hummus—the regular, a beetroot one, and a pesto variant—served with warm pita bread. The taste of the trio matches the professional presentation, which is top rate. The Grilled Fish Platter (Rs 175)— with three morsels each, with a butter garlic, ginger and spring onion sauce—is fresh and flavourful. The accompanying no-hangover Mojito Mocktail (Rs 155) is tangy and friendly. The café is buzzing with diners, and many of them seem to be ordering the substantial looking Juicy Lucy Burger (Rs 295), a dish the chef seems very proud of.

FRESH & FUNKY: Café Delhi Heights offers variety; in food as well as decor

CLASSIC COMBO: The delectable Laal Maas is served with Bajra Roti

Of course I have to have one too. Up close, the burger looks good enough to feed a small family. And this lucy is truly juicy. Here is two hundred and fifty grams of fresh lamb mince, with a cheese and jalapeno stuffing, in a soft sesame seed burger bun. I open my jaw as wide as I can, and bite into the beast. With the stuffing I devour oozing into my mouth,

this meaty perfection. To sample the Indian section, I try the chef recommended Lal Maas with Bajra Roti (Rs 375). The dish bears no resemblance to the Rajasthani delicacy, but has well cooked meat—which interestingly pairs well with the rough texture of the roti. The menu has a lot of variety for the vegetarians as well. Notable are the Moroccan Stew of Vegetables, with preserved Lemon Saffron Couscous (Rs 325), Mushroom Stroganoff (Rs 275), and Cheese & Fresh Asparagus Risotto (Rs 275). It is time to take this indulgence to its logical conclusion—the dessert. The chef-

BOOK

Really Atrocious, Sickeningly Crude And Loud Storyline

Alka Gurha

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Café Delhi Heights GL – 121/123, Cross Point, DLF Phase-IV, Gurgaon Ph. No.: 0124-4119797 Cuisine: Mediterranean, European and Indian; Breakfast Timing: 9.00 am onwards

CINEMA

Be Inspired management, innovative technology and smart engineering—to deliver school lunch for children, at a fraction of the cost of tay hungry and stay foolish’, is what similar programmes. Likewise, the success the late Steve Jobs had advised the story of ‘Super 30’—a coaching institute in graduating class of Stanford University, Bihar—that churns out future IITians—is in his commencement address in 2005. awe inspiring. The Struck by the motto, ambitious, innovative Rashmi Bansal, educational an alumnus of programme targets IIM Ahemdabad, students from the published her under-privileged first book—with section, and enables inspiring stories of them to crack entrepreneurs of her the prestigious alma mater. After entrance exam. A her second book, special soul-stirring ‘Connect the Dots’, story is of ‘Sulabh Rashmi has come up International’, the with, ‘I have a Dream’. largest non-profit This time she narrates social service the stories of twenty organisation in India. idealists—committed Any book that to different social inspires the youth, causes, as social that encourages entrepreneurs. The us to dream motto is, “The more the forbidden you give, the more and achieve the you will get back.” impossible, is a The inspiring ‘must read’. My stories of the Rain only grouse is the Makers, the Change narrative—it is staid, Makers, and the and falls short of Spiritual Capitalist engaging the reader. are stories of brave A lucid prose and a men and women, who livelier description became the change would have they wanted to see. I HAVE A DREAM enhanced the feel. Sample ‘Akshay Author: Rashmi Bansal However, the sheer Patra’. A publicPUBLISHER: Westland and inspirational value private partnership Tranquebar Press of the stories make project, Akshaya this book worth Patra is a programme PRICE: Rs. 150. your while.u that combines good

recommended Chocolat Fondant (Rs 175) is wicked. What looks like a petite size cake is actually a bomb of silky melting chocolate; and a perfectly satisfying end to a meal. Visit Café Delhi Heights for its ambience and its attitude. And, yes, it’s variety of food. u

Vijaya Kumar

Devgan have a flair for comedy (the Munnabhai series and the Golmaal series); but even that is not enough to salvage ust when one was beginning to feel the deep morass that Rascals gets into— good, if not proud, about the crop of from the beginning. Yes, there are a few films by a new breed of directors in Bolgood one-liners; but the whole plot and lywood, there is a catastrophic intervenexecution is incredulous. Hindi film buffs tion. This director wants to take us back can perhaps recall a movie with a similar to when comedy meant dropping one’s theme about two rascals; brilliantly played pants, or indulging in double entendre, to cater to the frontbenchers. David Dhawan, by thespians Ashok Kumar and Pran, in the 1972 producthe director of Rastion: Victoria No. cals, has directed 203. This is just to more than thirty illustrate that there films of this genre. is nothing wrong In each of these with the theme of productions, some Rascals; the flaw of which have gone is in the ridiculous down in the record story and the books as “hits”, accompanying David Dhawan has screenplay. played around with Rascals is a vulgar references big let-down, for to the female both Sanjay Dutt anatomy; and has and Ajay Devgan; his multiple hero MOVIE: Rascals Kangna Ranaut’s star cast landDirected by: David Dhawan performance will ing in ludicrous CAST: Ajay Devgan,Sanjay Dutt, be remembered situations—in quick Kangna Ranaut, and Lisa Haydon more for her skinsuccession. This MOVIE: Comedy show costumes, buffoonery has in contrast to managed to raise her skinny personality in other movies; a few laughs, thanks to the one-liners and Lisa Haydon, in a bit role earns her spurs their special delivery—by the likes of Govsimilarly; Arjun Rampal, as a guest artiste, inda, Salman Khan, Kader Khan, Chunky sleepwalks through his role. Pandey and Sanjay Dutt; who all seem to I wondered why this movie has been be David’s favourites. titled Rascals, when one could have Rascals (co-produced by Sanjay Dutt) given it a Hindi name. Well, it has been also has the same formula, and stars of help in the review, as an acronym—a Sanjay Dutt, Ajay Devgan, and Chunky Really Atrocious, Sickeningly Crude And Pandey; along with Kangna Ranaut and Loud Storyline. u Arjun Rampal. Both Sanjay Dutt and Ajay

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14–20 October 2011

Lifestyle

DURGADATT PANDEY

Malls of Gurgaon Road

 Contd from p 1 take permission from the Emperor of India to enter Dilli. A particular incident with the last Mughal Emperor stands out in my memory. It altered me forever—literally. There I stood, right under a balcony of Zafar Mahal, which had ‘jharokha’ windows. This is where the Emperor and his family would stand, and look out over the road. Passersby were expected to dismount and bow in respect to the Emperor. But the Britishers wouldn’t comply. Bahadur Shah Zafar solved the problem creatively— he bought the surrounding land, and diverted me away from Zafar Mahal. That was the last time I saw him. Another reason for my prominence—in today’s terms I would be called a celebrity— was that rulers, countrymen, horses, elephants all—needed to pass over me while heading South West and into Rajasthan. As a gracious host, I asked my helpers to arrange for drinking water and rest stops along the way. In those days, these were called Dhauli piaos and Sarais, respectively. Even now you can see them scattered along my sides. Then came the Britishers; and there was a sea change. Gurgaon

became the administrative headquarters. According to the first Gazetteer in 1883-84, “The station of Gurgaon consisted of public offices and the dwellings of European residents, the Sadar Bazar and the settlement of Jacobpura—which was laid out by a former Deputy Commissioner Mr Jacob in 1861— for the accommodation of public servants.” The district was alive with activities all the time. By this time, I had stopped waiting for the odd seasonal guests —like those visiting during festivals, or the armies— to arrive and park themselves by my side. Now I had become a common thoroughfare, with Rolls-Royces and Cadillacs visiting me all the time. Those were the days. One of the things I liked about the Britishers was that they kept me well maintained. Obviously, the story today is different. Today, I am known only for the “Mall Mile” or the MG Strip; and people refer to me as the Malls of Gurgaon Road. That’s not even a fraction of who I am. The comparison came primarily because of my resemblance to the Vegas Strip—of which I shall talk later. (The Mile may be the

reason for calling Gurgaon the Millennium City; because there cannot be any other reason, isn’t it?) With Gurgaon’s real estate boom, there are now 28 malls that have surrounded me; and must I add, their constant chatter has left me with no peace of mind. As I look back and remember the first mall (MGF Metropolitan), I had a feeling that this was going to snowball into something big. I have to admit that because of these malls, I suffer from a multitude of problems like— excessive parking, jay walking, flooding when it rains (or even otherwise), and lots more.

20 years from now, I don’t know how many more malls, showrooms or taxi services will come up; but I can say with certainty that, I will be accommodative.

When the time comes to find solutions, the civic authorities come and stretch me a little wider. The solution to excessive cars and their need for parking has come in the form of illegal parking lots, and parking in my by-lanes—which are meant for pedestrians. It is because of this rush that I have seen many bleed in my arms, mostly from accidents. On the other hand, my potholes are ever-growing; and when the time comes for repair, all they do is patch it up. As if that’s going to solve the problem. However, there is a good side to this story too. For me—that came in the form of the Metro. This meant fewer cars, fewer traffic jams with constant honking, and consequently fewer accidents. As regards pedestrians, few think of me. Most don’t think twice about spitting or throwing waste. This is why the civic cleaners are my special friends. Although most don’t come to clean everyday, there are a few spots that get cleaned regularly. The best part of my day is the early mornings. It typically begins with mini-trucks that come in to drop off food to the supermarkets around the area.

And then begins the hustle bustle of the city. The busiest time of the day is when shoppers throng the malls; particularly over the weekends. Now with the festival season, the rush is only going to get worse. I see families coming to buy Diwali presents; lovers sitting outside malls exchanging SMSes. and I watch them blackberry each other. As Diwali season sets in, most malls around me are lit up with festive lights. However, the city authority doesn’t decorate me with lights. Imagine if they did. Indian festive lights on buildings, and on the road, Vegas would die of envy. As mentioned before, many people compare me to the Famous Vegas Strip. Perhaps I am, minus the casinos. Just some 20 years ago, I could have never imagined the number of people who would come to visit me. With the enormity of change that I have undergone in the last twenty years, I have now embraced it. Twenty years from now, I don’t know how many more malls, showrooms or taxi services will come up; but I can say with certainty that, I will be accommodative. In India, life is like that only—at least in this Millennium. u

Shopping Nightmare I

have always wanted to know what it feels like to be a man holding his wife’s handbag; waiting outside a trial room, in a mall teeming with women. And as the wife emerges, and gently hurls that dreaded bomb, “How do I look?”, does the man have options? Long ago, I did ask my husband about it, but he brushed it aside. ‘That of which we cannot speak, we must remain silent’, he said. I understand. The predicament of evading uncomfortable questions with guarded answers can be daunting. Can’t help but correlate his dilemma with an honest blue turbaned sardar! My wayward imagination has now taken charge. I am the man. “She ticked me off for leaving that wet towel on the bed... I wish I could enlighten her that her contours are bulging out of this dress. The pizza that she gorged

yesterday is resting on her derriere. Anyway, she has two similar dresses. And how much time do women take to try out new dresses? I have missed a match for this?!” Okay, it is my imagination that is going wild, but I am sure you get the drift. Surely the guy is not thinking, “Ahh.. The sweetie charms of my gorgeous wife. What fun it is to select a dress for my beloved.” Alas! He will not speak. All these voices in his head will be muffled the moment wifey makes up her mind. And then he will graciously hand over her handbag, and pick up all the shopping bags. If you want honest advice on how the dress is looking on you, or how you are looking in that dress, then go with your mother, sister or a friend. Even the maid is not a bad idea, in desperate situations. Spare the husband. u


14–20 October 2011

C ivic/Social

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Festive Celebrations in Gurgaon Karwa Chauth Celebrations @ Gold Souk, C- Block, Sushant Lok Phase I Date: Oct 14 Time: 12 noon to 8 pm

Dhanteras and Diwali Celebration @ Gold Souk, C- Block, Sushant Lok Phase I Date: Oct 22 to Oct 24 Time: 12 noon to 9 pm

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Mehndi and Churi Stall

@ Epicentre, Apparel House, Sec 44 Date: Oct 14 & Oct 15 Time: 12 noon onwards

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n the occasion of Karwa Chauth, Epicentre will invite Menhdi artists, who are known for their intricate designs. Also, a variety of bangles and artefacts will be on sale.

festival for women. Four special zones for women will be created in the mall—Pamper Zone, Flea Zone, Competition Zone, and Entertainment Zone. Pamper Zone will offer free make-over sessions by Mary Kay, free vouchers by VLCC, free karwas (clay pots), free mehndi tattoos, and hair beading. At Flea Zone, women can shop from a range of designer dresses, bags, home furnishing and décor, accessories, cosmetics, and bangles, to name a few. If you are not a shopaholic, visit Competition Zone and win 1gm gold coins or 10gms silver coins, by participating in Karwa Chauth contest. Also, there will be Entertainment Zone, that will offer interactive games and a folk dance performance.

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ake most of the discounts offered by various jewellery stores like—Avenue Montaigne, Gaja, Tanishq, Kiah, Designer Monica Kapur, and Gitanajli, among others. If you buy gold and/or diamond jewellery worth Rs 10,000, you will get a lucky draw of silver and gold coins, or the bumper lucky draw of 20gm gold bar.

Ram Lila

@ Epicentre, Apparel House, Sec 44 Date: Oct 16 Time: 7:00 pm

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rtists from Charkula Arts Akademy, Mathura, will perform selected adhyayas (episodes) from Ram Janam, through Ram Vivah, Vanvaas, to the Rajya Tilak. The episodes will be presented in the traditional folk form, blending theatre, music, and dance.

Jewellery Exhibition-Cum-Sale

Ghazal Night

@ 32nd Milestone, NH-8 Date: Oct 14 Time: 11 am – 8 pm

@ Epicentre, Apparel House, Sec 44 Date: Oct 15 Time: 7:30 pm

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display of contemporary and traditional jewellery, made of gold and silver. The price range starts from Rs 350. It will be organised by Ada Designer Jewellery.

n evening of ghazals and old melodies by renowned ghazal and sufi singer duo—Masoom and Sadaa Thakur. The duo has composed music for variuos musical shows, films and serials.

Tattoo Boutique

@ Kingdom of Dreams, Sec-29 Date: Oct 14 & Oct 15 Time: 12 noon to 12 pm

I

f you are bored of regular mehndi designs, get a temporary tattoo done by the artists from a renowned tattoo boutique—Tattoovala. Tattoovala artists are known for making beautiful designs in Hindi (Devanagari) fonts.

Roktoberfest

@ Vapour, MGF Megacity Mall, 2nd Floor, MG Road Date: Till Oct 15 Time: 9 pm onwards

Qawwalli Evening

@ Kingdom of Dreams, Sec 29 Date: Till Oct 25 Time: 7 pm – 11 pm

T

he lucknow pavilion will host Kathak recital in the afternoon, followed by qawwalis in the evening. You can also enjoy authentic Lucknowi cuisine—ranging from kakori, galawati, patil, pasanda kebabs, to kanta gali machli, nehari khas and murg shahi korma.

E

njoy the performance of famous bands–Groove Adda and Astitva, and Rajasthan Roots and Midival Punditz DJ Set on October 14 and October 15, respectively. Roktoberfest is Vapour’s own version of Germany’s famous Oktoberfest.


08

14–20 October 2011

C ivic/Social

‘Every Agency Has A Role’  Contd from p 1 There is a need to see where Gurgaon has come from, he says. “Even the bureaucracy (seniors and juniors) has to upgrade with the city. It’s unfair to put everything at the officials’ doorstep,” Meena says. Why hasn’t HUDA handed over the developed sectors to MCG even now? “HUDA has been around for a while, but the Municipal Corporation is just three years old. It needs to be ‘mature’ enough to take on the responsibility. HUDA also has a statewide experience of managing sectors.” But he also adds that, “MCG has been handed over the charge of B&R division roads. I’m not saying that the handover will not happen. It’ll happen in a scheduled and staggered manner. The handover decision is a State Government matter, and will be taken at that level; not locally.”

There is a need to see where Gurgaon has come from. Even the bureaucracy (seniors and juniors) has to upgrade with the city. It’s unfair to put everything at the officials’ doorstep What goes well

Meena says that the growth of Gurgaon as a global city (but not yet world-class, though) is certainly a matter of pride. “We have good citizen services, some of which are being copied by other cities. I’d say that, if Gurgaon is what it is today, it is because of the government, and not despite it. The government had the foresight to develop such a city, and provided the norms for builders to move ahead. We also have one of the best systems of property registration and transfer in the whole country. We provide same-day registration and hand-over of documents. We have computerised the land records. Plus, we have dynamic mapping of terrestrial maps. Click on any part of the map, and it’ll show you the entire history of sales and purchase in that highlighted area. And that’s not all. We have state-of-the-art systems where land registration and land records are synchronised. And it is all a part of our IT-enabled services. You can apply for a driving licence online, as well as birth and death certificates. The people can go online and check what their civic agencies have been up to, what recent developments have taken place in their city. For the citizens, we have time-bound delivery of 15 services, and more will be added as per the Citizen Charter.” Warming up, he says, “We also have a unique system of online public grievance redressal. The government of Haryana has a website called www.harsamadhan.gov.in where people can log in and present their problem directly to the authorities. The website provides access to both the public and the officials. And one can track the progress of a

complaint in the department, through the website’s services.” On two issues, Meena was reticent. When the issue of the Reliance SEZ at Garhi Harsaru was raised, Meena just said that, “It is under process.” Secondly, apartments are not being registered under the proper and legal Haryana Apartment Owners’ Act (1983). When quizzed about it, Meena comments, “I’m sorry, but I’m hearing it for the first time, and will have to look it up.”

Roads to development

“My tours of the city have certainly given me insights into the city’s development. I have personally inspected the state of roads, and I have taken to task both private and public bodies, for non-completion of work. Besides this, I have asked my team to ensure compliance,” he says. “I may be restricted in my tour, but from what I saw, I’d definitely say HUDA is working more efficiently than private builders.” Asked to substantiate his point, “For example, the roads in South City. They are in dire need of repair. In comparison to that, HUDA is doing a commendable job.” The Sohna Road is also in dire need of repairs. What is the status? “There is a multicrore road-strengthening project being passed.” Agreeing that Sohna Road has the capability to be the next MG Road, Meena reassures that work will take place, and soon. “The condition happened because of its connectivity to the National Highway-8, and to Alwar. There is also a project to resurface the Golf Course Extension Road, and connect it to the Southern Peripheral Road,” he says. “The recent edict of the contractor being responsible for the road’s condition for a period of five years will also contribute well towards better quality road construction. Some newlyconstructed roads were breaking down within a year. Now, the contractors know that if they meet the standards, they will save themselves a lump of money in future repairs,” says Meena.

“I will be re-visiting the sites within the month, to see if they’ve done what I asked,” he says.

Overflowing problems

The water and sewerage connectivity of the city is pathetic. The water pumped from Basai water treatment plant doesn’t reach the people, and the sewage does not drain away from the city. “What this city needs is a multi-agency approach to the problem. Whether it is a village, a sector, a developer colony or an unauthorised area, a concerted effort is needed to resolve the problem. For example, if a developer takes over a piece of land and constructs housing and amenities, there will always be a village nearby which will be ‘off-limits’. The situation becomes such that ‘islands’ develop in the city, which do not have access to water, power and sewerage. In earlier times, the construction in these villages and unauthorised areas was such that the natural contours of the land provided an outlet for the waste water to run off. Over time, rampant construction and modernisation has put an end to such a system. There is also the issue of encroachments. They block the water and sewerage connections, adding to the problems. Today, 40 odd villages of Gurgaon are islands. They are congested, have no sewerage, or storm-water channels. “The challenge is to integrate them into the city’s services. “I’ve put the idea of ‘adopting’ such villages to the developers. Plus, the Councillors also have the responsibility of ensuring civic amenities to these villages,” Meena says. Coming back to the problem of water scarcity in the city, the office of the Deputy Commissioner had rightly banned the drilling of bore wells in the city, to save the plummeting water table. But what is the alternative for people who need water to survive? How long will water tankers continue to serve the people? There is enough water being treated to fulfil the city’s

needs. What the people need is connectivity to the pipelines. Putting bore wells is not a solution, he insists. Also, he says that new NCR channel and the 66 MGD (22MGDx3) water treatment plants planned at Chandu Bhudera, will ensure sufficient water in future.

Affordable housing for the poor

The city has a responsibility to provide affordable housing to the poor. “I’ve asked the Town and Country Planning (T&CP) to take action against wrongful allotments. As a matter of fact, we have cancelled some EWS allotments (eg. Sushant Lok), which did not follow due process,” Meena says.

The challenge is to integrate them into the city’s services. I’ve put the idea of ‘adopting’ such villages to the developers.

Avenues of education

“We’ve already floated a plan to build a National Defence University in Manesar. We also have plans to develop a college in new Gurgaon, on the lines of Shri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC),” he says. What is his take on the Maruti Suzuki strike? “We will not tolerate indiscipline under any condition.” The strike has now been termed ‘illegal’. The massive influx of migrants has led to problem in identification of these people for records. Isn’t there is growing security risk in this? Meena responds, “Of course, it is a cause for concern. It is being looked into by the police, and a solution will be provided.”

The future

“It is a fact that there is some unauthorised construction on these demarcated plots of land. There are five to six-storeyed buildings being built on areas as little as 60 square yards. There have been errors in the allocation of EWS housing plots. Now, I’ve instructed officials to do a background check of the applicants before allotment of such plots. The Below Poverty Line (BPL) status of the applicants will have to be verified. Only those people who deserve EWS housing will get it.” “There is also a need to look after the needs of industrial labour, whether it be residence, facilities, or services. And the city administration is responsible for it,” Meena says. On the issue of public transportation, he says that point-to-point bus service is fine and more will be announced. “However, there is a need to cross-subsidise local transport service, as it is not viable by itself. The decision will be taken soon,” he says.

The new sectors will have better planned roads. Now builders will be responsible for multiple facilities within their colonies— for roads, water, electricity and sewage treatment. It has been quite some time since HUDA developed any new sectors. In recent times, the only development has been “private”, so to speak. Meena answers, “There are issues of rates, and legal issues of acquisitions for a government agency. Court cases from 1985 are being resolved today.”

Resources are not an issue

The state of the city’s civic amenities is not something to be proud of. And this is in spite of the fact that Gurgaon’s civic agencies have no dearth of money. So why such a state of affairs? “The question of money does not arise in this case. However, it’s a matter of rules and protocol. Everything has to be sanctioned, and that is how the government works,” he says. “I feel that there is a need to simplify procedures, for providing civic amenities. Also, the power of the officials need to be increased, so as to achieve more—in a timely manner.” u

Food Take

As of October 12, 2011 All Prices in Rs/kg.

Area/ vegetables

HUDA Sector 14

Palam Vihar

South City 1

DLF City Phase 5

Sadar Bazar

Sohna Road

Safal

Reliance Fresh

Potato (old/new)

25/15

24/20

7/20

10 / 24

7 /16

10/25

14.90

7/12

Onion

25

30

18

22

16/25

30

19.90

16.50

Tomato

40

50

32

40

20– 35

40

35

30

Cucumber

30

36

36

36

20 – 25

30

28

20

Apples

100 – 120

100 – 180

80 – 150

80 – 150

60 –100

80

95

60 – 150

Spinach

30

40

36

30

18

40

16

16

Ladies’ finger

40

50

50

48

35

60

35

40

Cauliflower

60

80

50

70

45

60

45

40

Mutton

280 – 300

280 – 300

320

280 – 300

280

280

--

--

Chicken

150 – 160

140 – 150

160 – 170

140

140

140

--

--


09 Many Private Builder Colony Roads Are No Different 14–20 October 2011

C ivic/Social

Civic infrastructure issues are similar across the city { Maninder Dabas / FG }

G

urgaon, a city that has been anticipated as the city of the future, has fallen short on some aspects. Roads take pride of place in this shortlist. Be it HUDA, MCG or private builders—nobody has provided succour to the masses; and the situation is going from bad to worse. The city’s main roads are constantly in focus; but the inner roads of the sectors are even more jarring. People often feel that the residents living in ‘private colonies’ are blessed with better roads inside their localities; this is only partly true. We checked out a few, from reputed builders. South City and Sushant Lok Phase-III are two fine private housings of the city; but the residents are frustrated by the civic infrastructure outside of their homes.

South City

Unitech’s South City is certainly one of the best colonies to live in; and the location is a big plus. However, “In our colony, the roads have not been laid for the last eight years; and you can see that none of the roads is good enough, even for walking. In April this year, we had staged a demonstration in front of Unitech House, and they promised to solve this problem within six months— but nothing has happened till now,” explained S.S Dadhwal, the General Secretary of the South City Residents Welfare Association (SCRWA). Dadhwal was not the only one criticising Unitech for their treatment of the residents. “Forget roads, nothing is in proper shape here. Be it a Community Centre, parks or any other need of the people; the company is neglecting us,” rued Vishwamitra Singh, a resident, who has shifted to Gurgaon a year back. Neeta Sharma, the President of SCRWA, commented, “We have told them numerous times to solve our issues, but they seem to have gone deaf. The whole colony is battling with problems of civic infrastructure—like roads, sewer, water supply etc.— but they hardly listen.” “We are paying Re 1/sq yard/month plus

DLF PHASE III

MONEY SHARMA

SOUTH CITY

additional 85 paisa for water. We want to know where our money is going. We want transparency,” said Brig (retd) SK Puri. “Sometimes they build some roads, but they don’t last for even a month. The contractor uses inferior quality of material, and the poor drainage system of the locality further deteriorates the road in the monsoons,” explained Col (retd) Anil Alagh. Unitech officials were unavailable for comment.

Sushant Lok-III

Sushant Lok-III is a new part of our gleaming city, where the exotic villas gives one a feeling of being in Europe. However, the city’s biggest scar has not exempted this area as well. “Inner roads are really in a bad shape here. Authorities don’t pay heed to our demands for proper roads and parks. We have written many letters to them, but they seldom listen to our problems,” said Rajesh Jain, the resident of the Oriental Villa Resident Welfare Association (OVRWA). Ansals are one of the biggest real estate developers in Gurgaon, and the problems of basic civic infrastructure in their localities should be a great cause of concern for them. “Since April 2011, we have been paying them Rs 2.5/sq yard/month as maintenance charge. Prior to that, it was Re. 1. Ansal authorities promised to bring a sea change in the civic infrastructure, after raising the charge. Residents obliged, but nothing has happened—and the condition is getting worse by the day. Forget

roads, even the sweeper provided by the company doesn’t come on a daily basis. Our life is not at all easy here. We are paying a huge amount to them for maintenance, but there is no transparency” added Jain. Nisha Singh, the Councillor of the Ward No. 30, in which Sushant Lok-III falls, also criticised the private builders for their irresponsible

SUSHANT LOK III (SEC. 57)

behaviour towards the residents. “According to the law, every inner road of the locality should be re-laid after every four years; but here in Gurgaon, builders have not done anything for almost a decade. This is a really pitiable situation; that the people who have spent crores of rupees, are not getting the basics that they deserve,” she added. Col (retd)

Dalel Singh Ahlawat, senior General Manager (Estate), Ansal, has this explanation to offer, “Roads are bad everywhere in the city; but we are trying our best to minimise the problems of the people in our area. In the last one year itself, we have built 5 lac sq feet of roads in all Ansal housings. We have spent over one crore rupees in building these roads. You can see the roads in HUDA sector or any other private colony; the problem is everywhere. But it can’t be solved overnight,” said Col Ahlawat.

DLF Phase III

DLF colonies are considered to be the best to live in; but they too are not free of bad roads. “Roads inside the DLF colonies are better than other private housing roads; and the residents too are not unhappy with the roads. DLF services are also benchmarked, and rated regularly,” said Sudhir Kapoor, Secretary General, DLF City RWA. DLF Phase-III certainly has some problems. “Here inner colony roads as well as the outer roads need some work immediately. DLF should take necessary steps to solve this problem,” said Ajit Mathur, a resident of PhaseIII. DLF charges maintenance at Rs. 2.50.sq yard/month. “Yes, we know there are some problems in Phase-III roads; but that is because of the Rapid Metro construction. DLF will surely take care of this,” said Baljeet Singh, General Manager, Estate. “There are a few villages in the Phase-III area, under MCG; and there the villagers have collected the garbage and placed it on the corners of the roads. MCG doesn’t clean the place, and the garbage further chokes the sewage and storm water drainage system. During rain, water gathers on the roads and that leads to the damage of the road,” added Singh. Rama Rani Rathi, the Councillor of Ward No. 34, also had her say regarding the inner roads, “There are problems in a few areas, but inner roads are not that big an issue here. DLF colonies have bigger issues like water, electricity and security. Roads. sewage, and parks are the forté of DLF colonies” u


10

14–20 October 2011

C ivic/Social

Friendicoes–Dogs' Best Friend Do we need to be cruel to strays? Resident Welfare Associations of high-rise complexes order security staff to beat dogs that stray into the compound, leaving animals with fractured limbs—and in extreme cases, broken backs;

prakhar pandey

{ Manjula Narayan }

Disoriented strays unable to comprehend that the pace of life in the city has accelerated saunter down the roads only to be mowed down by speeding vehicles;

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ife in Gurgaon is becoming increasingly difficult for that perennial resident of Indian streets, the friendly neighbourhood pariah dog. This is where animal welfare organisations like Friendicoes, whose operations are very visible in the Millennium City, come in. They are entrusted by the Municipal Corporation to undertake the neutering and vaccination of the stray dog population in the city, Friendicoes runs a shelter, spread over five acres, at Garhi Harsaru on the Manesar-Pataudi road. “It’s a sanctuary for dogs unwanted by society. These have been abandoned by families, been labelled biters,, or were injured and have been picked up off the road,” says Uma Menon of Friendicoes; who believes Gurgaon is becoming increasingly cruel to its stray fourlegged friends. “Gurgaon has great looking flats, but pathetic roads and sanitation. People can do nothing about those things, so they take their frustration out on the poor dogs. The ugliest of humans can live in the beautiful condominiums, but a desi dog cannot! There’s no humanity in that small little suburb,” says Menon; who is incensed by the attempts of some RWAs

HOME FOR THE HAPLESS: Stray dogs at the Friendicoes shelter for stray animals at Garhi Harsaru

to restrict even the entry of pet animals. “RWAs have become animal khaps,” she says adding that many dogs at the Friendicoes shelter have had their legs amputated, as a result of human cruelty. Right now, the shelter is home to about 400 dogs and 100 cats apart from horses, mules, donkeys and cows. “People in the building societies beat the dogs, while villagers who are not very educated sometimes even set fire to them,” says Dr. Rajesh Kumar Shah who works with Friendicoes. “The biggest challenge we often face is to decide which injured animals to save, and which ones to euthanize — because they are in great pain, and have no chance to recover,” says Dr Rajesh. The shelter runs almost entirely on donations, from people in both Gurgaon and Delhi.

Despite the cases of cruelty, the millennium city also has a strong animal protection lobby. Individuals like Smita Joshi, who volunteers for Friendicoes, believes stray dogs are better off here than in other parts of NCR. Much of the credit, apparently, goes to former Municipal Commissioner of Gurgaon Mr Khullar. “We approached him in 2008 and he made it official to spay and neuter dogs here. Other places like Faridabad, whose municipal office we also approached at the same time, still do not have a programme in place,” says Joshi. The Animal Birth Control (ABC) programme in Gurgaon is now handled by two recognised NGOs – Friendicoes, which looks after the strays of new Gurgaon, and Maneka Gandhi’s People For Animals, which looks after the dogs in the older part of the

{ Alka Gurha }

T

he story goes that a man once wrote a letter to a small hotel, where he had planned a vacation. ‘I would very much like to bring my dog with me. He is well groomed, and very well behaved. Would you permit me to keep him in my room?’ The hotel owner replied, ‘I have been operating this hotel for decades, and I have never had a dog steal towels, linen, cutlery or silverware. I have never had to evict a drunken dog, and I have never had a dog run out on the bill. Yes, indeed your dog is welcome. And if your dog will vouch for you, you are welcome too.’ In the complex where I live, pet-pee in elevators or petpoop on walkways is not the pet peeve any more. It is not even about a pet (at least to start with). Imagine a sun-kissed spring morning. A group of women with streaked hair and tights are performing yoga in the open lawns of a sprawling gated complex. When they inhale and exhale, the world appears even more beautiful. The class ends, and the women lie down on their mats in shavaasana—perfectly still and completely blissful. Suddenly, one of them feels a sniffing face, and sa-

city. The Municipal Corporation contributes about Rs 445 per surgery. “At the shelter, we sterilize or neuter dogs, and also vaccinate them. After they recover, we release them where we’d picked them up,” says Dr Rajesh. Geeta Seshamani, co-founder and vice president, Friendicoes reveals that they get about two calls a day, from people who have observed dogs in distress; and try to pick up those animals while the ambulance is on its sterilisation rounds. “If we had one more ambulance, we could be more effective. But no one has as yet come forward with a donation,” she says.”. This friendly contact makes stray dogs more inclined to view humans favourably. “Our desi dogs are good watchdogs. And often when we pick one up during the ABC programme, a

liva dripping on her forehead. She shrieks. It is a stray dog. This stray dog is the bone of contention between two warring groups within our gated community. After a few residents fed the stray, she refused to leave the complex—even though frantic security guards ran after her with sticks. A group of animal lovers insisted—on ‘humanitarian grounds’—that the dog stays within the complex. The rival group wanted the stray out of the complex, being apprehensive that soon monkeys, buffaloes and cows would also be allowed in. After a prolonged tussle, the stray dog was elevated to the status of a pet—by strapping a collar around it’s neck. The dog is officially now a resident of the complex; just as all the other mortals. Considering the fact that dogs are faithful, do not kill fellow dogs in a fit of rage, or take bribes—yes, even strays—they surely can be accommodated. Our civic infrastructure has anyway gone to the dogs; what’s wrong in giving them our lodging too? u

Let ’em Strays In

watchman who depends on the dog will want an assurance that we’ll bring him back,” she says. Apart from the official NGOs, a number of animal lovers, like Nadir Shah, who sets out every morning with two boys to treat strays before leaving for office, also do their bit. “We channel our own money and resources into doing this,” says Smita Joshi who believes the cosmopolitan population of Gurgaon actually has a big heart. There is no denying, though, that attitudes towards strays are changing in the modern enclaves of India. “We want to lock ourselves in, and are increasingly intolerant. We don’t want cows on the street, and we don’t tolerate dogs. This intolerance is increasing and soon we’ll become rigid like Singapore, where crows were shot,” says Amit Choudhury—who works with the PFA in Gurgaon, and has also been closely associated with Friendicoes. “Community dogs are unpaid security guards. They keep the rat population down, and are really only aggressive if threatened,” he says. Yes, life in Gurgaon is becoming increasingly difficult for the friendly neighbourhood pariah. Hopefully, though, the millennium city’s strong animal welfare lobby will ensure that man’s best four-legged friend is also cared for by some. u

HOW YOU CAN HELP • Friendicoes helpline: (011) 24314787; (011)24320303 • Nadir Khan: 9717189909 • Mangal: 09211217469. Will charge on actuals, for transport of dogs for sterilization; but will get them operated by vets Dr Vijay and Dr Inder, at their own expense. • www.DogsNeedHelp.com Organises stray dog sterilisation and vaccination camps in rural areas, at its own expense


C ivic/Social PRAKHAR PANDEY & MONEY SHARMA

14–20 October 2011

Life in a Metro { Shirin Mann / FG }

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he white, vintage-looking clock at HUDA City Metro station strikes 10 am; and you hear the rumbling sound of the Metro, followed by a gush of air—indicating the arrival of the train. The crowd at the platform—settled and calm till then—starts shifting and moving around impatiently; some nudging their way to the front of the metro doors, while the other “mannered lot” let the slow and the aged walk in front. Among the people travelling in the Metro, there seem to be two prominent ‘types’—the young corporates and the middle class workers. For both, the Metro is bliss—air conditioned, economical, and fast (no traffic). Jiten Soni, 28, employee at Cyber City says, “The Metro is extremely convenient for us. Cyber City is always jam-packed, and people have just no traffic sense. Driving under those circumstances can be very frustrating. The Metro is fast, escapes the traffic, is cheap, and always on time. What else could you ask for? My life has become less stressful since I have started taking the Metro. And with the way the fuel prices are shooting up; the Metro further eases your pocket.” In India, especially in metropolitan cities, normal public

transport is a mess. But the Indian Metro,—except for the stares one gets from a few men on the coach—feels quite close to the London Tube or the New York Underground—as soon as you pass security. Clean platforms, large station maps, advertisement panels, several station officials giving directions, accurate clocks, and huge sign boards—in English and Hindi—- make it quite commuter friendly. A.S Sahni, Delhi based businessman says, “The Metro is a boon for the NCR. Especially when I am travelling to Gurgaon, I prefer to leave my car at home, and take the Metro. Sometimes, I ask my driver to drop me

to the Metro station; and on my way back he picks me up. I think the mindset of the people also has to change. Although the new generation is practical and understands the convenience, my generation does not want to take the Metro. They think it makes them look bad. Even my family members are like that. Because of people like us, there is still traffic on the roads.” But there has to be a catch! Parking is one of the major issues faced by the Metro commuters. You need to get on the Metro by 8.00 am at the latest. After 9.00 am, you are likely to witness a scene of car owners getting into arguments with the Metro staff. Sometimes, there is a wait of up to 20 or 30 minutes; some take rounds of the parking area, hoping that someone may pull out their vehicle. Huda City Centre’s parking lot is one such stop. The underground parking is still not functional; it results in people parking on the main road or damaging others’ property, trying to squeeze their car into a narrow spot. The wait doesn’t stop here. Once you make it through the

11

parking, there is the problem of collecting the token for the ride. If you have a Smart card, it is an easy and quick start. But those buying the tokens from the counters—have to patiently wait a while. Half the counters are not manned. And then finally comes the intensive security check. There is tight security at the entrance. A man with a black backpack is pulled aside, for a thorough check. After a few questions, and dissection of his bag, he is allowed to go. This gives you a sense of safety; witnessing that the armed security personnel were efficient at their job. Just a few steps away is a security post, with another armed guard keeping a close watch on all commuters. Being a part of the hustle bustle at the platform and being pushed around by those anxious to get in, I find myself a strap to hold onto. Next to me is a middleaged English couple, travelling to New Delhi to shop at the Janpath Market. I am curious to know what they think of our Metro. The wife obliges, “The Metro is quite convenient and nice; except that it takes forever to get the token. And the token vending machines are dysfunctional. However, the Metro goes to almost every place that we have to see. Thank god it’s cool in here, even though it’s absolutely crowded.” Now I notice the stares I am getting from a few men around; and being a single traveller, I decide to move to the women’s coach. It feels so much ‘safer’ there. Most of the travellers are single—going to work or college. Most of them are on the phone, texting or listening to the radio. The women next to me are chatting about the subjects they teach in school (one is a part time French teacher). On the other side, is a nervous commuter (like I used to be). I know that because, in a span of five minutes, she asks me if she is on the right Metro. Not that there could have been much of a confusion; with maps pasted on either side of the seats, and on both sides of the metro wall. The regular announcements (in both English and Hindi), indicating the rules of the Metro and the station approaching, makes the journey easier for the commuter. On reaching MG Road Metro station, with a huge crowd making its way through the Metro doors, I noticed a couple enter the women-only compartment. Just as I was wondering what a man was doing in the exclusive compartment, a woman Metro official, on the next platform, asked him to immediately evacuate the compartment and move on to the general coach behind. I was impressed once again. This cosmopolitan Metro crowd of corporates, college students, professionals and middle class workers —most of them sporting a backpack, laptop sling, ipod or a newspaper—is a scene reminiscent of any global metropolitan city. And, witnessing people being sensitive enough to give up their seats to the aged, disabled, and women with infants, makes the Metro ride quite a pleasant one. The icing on the cake is the scenic skyline of the high-rises and malls of Gurgaon, viewed from the comfort of an air-conditioned compartment. u


12

14–20 October 2011

C ivic/Social

‘If Only I Could Go Back In Time’ PRAKHAR PANDEY

A

s you walk through the corridors of the Oncology ward on the second floor of the Gurgaon Civil Hospital, despair is all too visible—-the moaning of the cancer patients and weeping relatives. Some balance is provided by doctors discussing the line of treatment with the nurses. You thank your stars, count your blessings, for being in good health. Kishan Lal, 38, an autorickshaw driver, and the sole breadwinner for his wife and two children, has been a chronic tobacco chewer since he was 15 years old. A few years ago, Kishan felt an ulcer develop on the right side of the mouth, but ignored it—assuming it was nothing serious; like most of us would. Soon it grew bigger, and became a foul-smelling ulcer on the inside of the cheek. The swelling had now grown to the size of a tennis ball, and that worried him. He resorted to desi dava, as advised by the members of his family and friends; but felt no improvement. The pain and discomfort of the ulcer, and the swelling of his mouth, resulting in an inability to chew, swallow or even speak properly, took him to a regular check-up. A private hospital diagnosed it as a cancer of the mouth, and advised immediate surgery. Taking prompt action, Kishan went to AIIMS, Safdarjung Hospital and also to some corporate hospitals. However, the wait for treatment of this disease, was more than six months in government hospitals; and his incapacity to pay the price for the surgery at corporate hospitals, brought him to Gurgaon Civil Hospital’s Cancer Wing. The surgery was performed by oncologist, Dr. SP Bhanot. Dr. Bhanot says, “When Kishan Lal came to me in February this year, he was in a lot of pain; and the size of his tumor was about 6 centimeters. I advised surgery, and he was operated upon in May this year.” While explaining his condition and line of treatment, Dr. Bhanot calls in

Gurgaon Civil Hospital renders yeoman service for the cancer afflicted

HEALING HANDS: Dr. SP Bhanot tending to a cancer patient

Kishan Lal. A dark, frail man, dressed in a hospital gown, walks in slowly. The after effects of surgery, strong drugs, and chemotherapy have made him very weak. He sits on the stool in from of me, and I can clearly see his right cheek stitched up. His face is swollen; and the difference in the colour of the skin on his face and on the cheek patch is visible. Dr. SP Bhanot explains, “We had to cut his cheek down till his neck, to remove the tumor; and then extract the skin and muscles from his chest, to graft it on the area—and so the difference. He is now responding well to the medicines, and will soon be discharged.” I could tell Kishan Lal was a bit embarrassed (or maybe ashamed), as the doctor told me the cause of his oral cancer—chewing tobacco, and smoking.

After a few minutes, Kishan Lal said, “I was in so much pain and discomfort. Only if I could go back in time—I would never chew tobacco. My wife and children have suffered so much because of my disease. I am the only breadwinner, and have been unable to work for over eight months. Till now, my extended family has been helping us with finances and food; but it still gets difficult sometimes. All day my wife sits next to me, and gives me medicine. I feel worse seeing my children. Now I want to ask people to quit chewing tobacco, because I have faced and suffered the consequences.” Gurgaon Civil Hospital’s Cancer wing has been running for five years now, and has conducted over 200 oncosurgeries. It is the only civil hospital in the state of Haryana to achieve such a MONEY SHARMA

{ Shirin Mann / FG }

The Ties That Bind

The Soods

A look at the rites and rituals behind the upcoming Karwa Chauth { Manjula Narayan }

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emember that scene from Karan Johar’s Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (DDLJ), where Kajol fasts for Shah Rukh Khan, and later discovers—in a moment that’s frozen forever at the top of the nation’s heap of Bollywood memories—that he too has foregone food for her sake? It was the sort of sequence that drove in the hordes, to make the film a success. It also perhaps propelled Karwa Chauth, once a private family affair where wives fast for the wellbeing of their husbands, into the public space. The festival, which will fall on October 15 this year, is celebrated enthusiastically throughout north India.

Residential colonies in Gurgaon usually have elaborate celebrations, and this year is no different. “Mehendiwalis from old Gurgaon are booked, to come to the condominium for three days; and chudiwalas who sell bangles, bindis, jewellery and other symbols of marriage set up a stall in the party hall. The hall itself is decorated with carpets in preparation for the pooja, which is conducted by a pandit and his wife,” says real estate consultant Monica Patni who is the president of the Belvedere Park Condominium Association. The “panditain” conducts the ritual, telling of stories of Veeravati, Savitri and other women from Hindu myth; whose unstinting love saved the lives

of their husbands. The participating women then pass around their thalis, each of which is laden with sweets, dry fruit, maithri and a diya or lamp. “There is chanting, and the thalis are passed around seven times. The idea is that the diya should not be extinguished till you get it back,” says Patni; who adds that at the end of the pooja all the women touch the feet of the panditain and of the older women in the group. The doors to the terrace of the 20-storey building complex are left open on this particular day, for married women and their families to glimpse the moon—after which they break their fast. “About 55 ladies participate in the building celebrations. Many others go

landmark. Many patients admitted and operated upon in the civil hospital have been on the waiting list of hospitals like AIIMS, PGI Rohtak and Tata Memorial Hospital, but have today been treated by the Civil Hospital. The cost of a similar cancer surgery at any private hospital is between Rs 3 to 4 lakhs; while the Gurgaon Civil Hospital charges Rs. 20,000 for the surgery, treatment, drugs, stay—all inclusive—as per the Surgery Package Programme launched by the Government of Haryana in 2009. Prior to this, it was absolutely free. Dr. SP Bhanot is presently treating 12 resident patients suffering from oral, breast, neck and ovarian cancers. He operates on seven to eight cancer patients per month. Besides this, Dr. Bhanot receives at least 50 to 60 cancer patients for checkup per month; of which 70 per cent to 80 per cent are in advanced stages of cancer. Only 2 per cent of the patients are in their first stage. “It is important for the patient to come to us for treatment when the cancer is in its first or second stage; so that it can be cured completely. For example, if breast cancer in diagnosed in the first stage, the survival chances are up to 98 or 99 per cent; but if it reaches the third or fourth stages, the chances drop to 40 per cent. The treatment of the disease depends on the stage of the cancer.” Five months post the surgery, Kishan Lal is now healthy, and has been advised to come for his check-up every three months. He is back to earning his livelihood, and spending quality time with his family. Still living in regret of his unhealthy lifestyle habits, he says he does his bit in spreading awareness about the menace of tobacco usage. He is doing his bit, we must do ours—by kicking the butt, and helping our friends do so. As also promoting healthy habits, and having regular check-ups. Let’s be the change we want to see. u

to the homes of their in-laws,” Patni explains. Anjala (does not wish to include her full name), a banking professional who has been fasting every year since she got married 18 years ago, prefers to keep her Karwa Chauth celebrations private and family oriented. “I wake up very early, and eat something—usually pheni and parathas. After that I don’t eat or drink anything throughout the day. In the evening, I dress up and do a pooja at home,” she says, revealing that once the moon is sighted, she lights a diya, touches her husband’s feet and then breaks her fast. “It’s a very old festival,” she says, “my mom, who has been married for 48 years, has been keeping the fast since the beginning.” Manisha Sood, Country Manager, Sandisk, who has been married for 24 years, explains that the festival gets its name from the karwa or pot that holds the unboiled milk, that’s part of the married woman’s pooja thali. “In our complex, the ladies meet at someone’s house, and sit in a circle; while a poojari and an elderly lady say the kathas or stories connected with the festival,” she says. After the ritual is done, the women wait for moonrise. “When the moon comes out at around 9 pm, I don’t look at it directly, but through a sieve or chhaani with my husband next to me,” she says adding that she breaks the fast with her husband feeding her something. “I’m a Gujarati married to a Punjabi. My family doesn’t celebrate the festival, but my husband’s fam-

ily does. I started celebrating it too, after I got married—though no one asked me to. I did it of my own will,” says Sood. Not everyone feels positively about the festival. “The question of me doing it didn’t even arise,” says Radha Khan, who works for a not-for-profit organisation called Vada Na Todo Abhiyaan. “It’s interesting how even people from the south who now live in Delhi are doing it,” says Khan who believes Bollywood and the media have pushed the celebration of the festival into the mainstream. “This reinvention of tradition has come into the public sphere with the appearance of high rises, which are very much Hindu spaces,” she says adding that the prevalent idea now is that if a woman is a Hindu she has to fast for Karwa Chauth. “It’s part of the notion that women are the embodiment of all tradition. During times of great change, women are seen as the ones who hold onto culture and tradition… and this is a period of great change,” says Khan adding incredulously that even young girls now fast in the hope of being blessed with a good husband. Clearly, Karwa Chauth evokes very different reactions in different people. It might make feminists and rationalists squirm, but its ability to enrich a central intimate relationship means it will endure, long after the Bollywood films... that transformed it from a private family-oriented festival to a very public one ... are forgotten. u


14–20 October 2011

C ivic/Social

Know Your Councillor

MONEY SHARMA

Settling In, Staying Positive

{ Hritvick Sen / FG }

Parminder Kataria (Ward No. 6) Area: Apna Enclave, Ashok Vihar, Ashok Vihar PhaseII, Bhimgarh Kheri Phase-I, Bhimgarh Kheri Phase-II, Bhimgarh Kheri Phase-III, Palam Vihar, Sarai Alawardi Parminder Kataria, Deputy Mayor and Councillor of Ward No. 6, says, “We have problems like any other sector or ward; but then, I’m working on solutions. Since the beginning, my ward has been suffering from poor drainage and waterlogging.” Ask him about the water supply to his area, and he replies promptly, “Most households in my ward receive water just once a day; that too for an hour or two. The pipelines are improperly laid. Some water pipelines in Bhimgarh Kheri-I, II and Ashok Vihar-I are elevated, or are at an angle. Therefore, homes in these areas receive very poor water pressure, and often negligible water supply.” Continuing about the problems afflicting his ward, he says, “Every time it rains, the water has no available outlet to escape. It’s hard for people to step out of their homes. That said, sewer pipelines are cracked, and have to be relaid.” Going on, he says, “Because of the waterlogging, the roads in my ward are in a pathetic condition. Every previous repair has been washed away. Adding to the people’s woes, the absence of street lights has made venturing out at night a problem for pedestrians. ”Unauthorised colonies in his ward is

another issue that needs to be handled. “Some are going to be authorised. That’s a relief, as we’ll be able to carry out repair and renovation there, along with provision of civic amenities. These areas have been lying neglected for so long; it’s time to attend to them,” Kataria says. Talking about what he has done for the ward since he’s been elected, Kataria says, “For starters, I’ve had street-lights erected in Bhimgarh Kheri-II, III, the village, and the Ashok Vihar main road. They were the need of the hour, and I’m happy something concrete has been done, to alleviate the people’s transportation crisis. That said, I’ve requisitioned for more street-lights in my ward.” Ask him what’s on the plate

lines. Besides this, a sizeable chunk of the package will be devoted to improving the roads of my ward.” “The areas I’m targeting for immediate attention are the Railway Road and the Hanuman Mandir. The civic infrastructure in these areas needs to be upgraded, considering their importance,” Kataria says. Have any funds been allocated for parks and community centres in his ward? “The colonisers in my ward had ‘developed’ almost every square inch of land. There’s no park or community centre of note. However, there’s an area of 1,000 square yards, which is under Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA)’s control. If the municipality can acquire that piece of land, it’ll be developed into a model community centre, with all the amenities. ”

Sonia Thakran (Ward No. 27)

for the year ahead, and Kataria says, “The Financial Committee is contemplating a Rs. 4.75 crore package for my ward, which I had asked for.” Going into the details, he says, “It’ll be for Bhimgarh Kheri-II, Bhimgarh Kheri village, Ashok Vihar and several areas. The package will be invested in relaying and repairing sewer and water

Area: Hans Enclave, Info City 2, Islampur, Islampur Village, Medi City, Naharpur Rupa, Naharpur Rupa Village, Nitin Vihar, Rajiv Colony, Sector 33, Sector 38, Shiv Colony, Wireless Station Councillor for Gurgaon’s Ward 27, Sonia Thakran says, “In over six months, we’ve been trying to do what we had promised to our people. Unfortunately, there have been several roadblocks on the way.” Ask her about the problems her ward faces, and she promptly answers, “First, the roads. They haven’t been touched by the authorities, since God knows when. Take your pick—the main roads, service roads, anything. There are potholes,

and waterlogging, and garbage everywhere.” “I’ve been trying to raise the road repair issue at the last two House meetings. Unfortunately, the contractor assigned has been unco-operative,” Sonia says. “Then, there is the problem of sewers. Almost all of the dirty water flows into the streets. The sewers in the ward are old and decrepit. Every now and then, they’re cracking, and releasing putrid water all over the road. This is very unhygienic. It is an issue that needs to be resolved at the earliest. Again, we’ve raised

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this point at the House meeting on the 20th of last month. I’ve received assurance that it will be resolved soon.” She raises the point of a Community Centre in her ward. “Even before the Councillor elections, there was a project to build a Community Centre. The funds were allocated, and the contractor was assigned the work. Nothing has happened till now. The contractor has been given two notices; but there’s still no response. Even after my election as a Councillor, I’ve been making the rounds of the Municipal Committee to get the work done.” “We can’t do anything substantial for the sectors in our ward, as they’re HUDA (Haryana Urban Development Authority) territory. I can only report problems, and request them to alleviate the people’s distress. What and when they do, is out of my hands,” says Sonia. On the subject of parks, she says, “There’s no space in my ward for parks. However, there may be plans in the future for something.” When FG asks Sonia on what has she achieved for her ward so far, she says, “The main sewer connection of the ward is yet to be laid. I’ve received assurance that it will be done at the earliest. I’ve talked to the Junior Engineer (JE) concerned, and he has said that work will start within 12-15 days. For the Islampur village main road, I’ve raised the point at the House meeting on the 20th of last month, and I’m happy to say that approximately Rs. 70 lakh has been sanctioned for it, and the contractor has been assigned the work.” Sonia says, “We’ve been facing several problems, but I’m persevering to get the work done as soon as possible. I want to reassure the people, that some work has started in our ward— and will be completed within five to six months at the most. After that, we’ll take a look at other pending issues, like parks and schools.” u

Haryanvi Made Easy Get a taste of the local lingo 1. Who is at the door? Darwaje pe kunn hai? Kunn - Like Hindi gunn(good qualities) 2. Give the car keys to the driver Gaddi ki chaabi driver te de de 3. Open the door Kawad khol de Kawad - Ka+wa+d(as in den) 4. Have the children eaten? Balakaan ne kha liya? Balakaan - Balak+aan 5. Buy vegetables by the evening Saanjh tahin sabzi kharid liye 6. Send the driver to the office Driver ne daftar bhej de


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Comment

14–20 October 2011

In Our Love For The Trees, We Can’t See The Forest

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he argumentative society. That is our DNA, our core competence. For that, we owe a debt to our Culture and Amartya Sen—the former shaped it; the other discovered it.

Today, that competence hangs like a millstone around our neck. We just love to argue, debate, score points—and move on. The issues remain; worsening over time.

EDITORIAL Atul Sobti

Sixty plus years after Independence, we still argue and debate on : What is the definition of poor ? Therefore, how many poor people do we have ? Are food and health facilities, and benefits of a 100 programs, reaching them (whoever) ? At least is the direct money (via NREGA) reaching them ? The call for an inclusive society would have been less shrill, if the poor had actually reduced significantly; and become richer. As they should have. Instead, many remain as they were—even after 60+ years ! Earlier, we had limited funds available for the poor; and our worry was that even that did not reach the poor, through the various central programs. Now, especially with NREGA, we can afford to throw money in their direction—and hope they catch it. If we win the election, we assume they got it. And if many others (non-poor) also benefited, good for them. The program will now remain; till we lose the election of course. The other programs, and new ones announced with fanfare every Budget day, are now meant more for “effect”—with long names, and short memories. The good old PDS and PHS are near defunct—even the identified poor seem to avoid them. Nobody ever thought of making the announced programs work. There was, and is, no evaluation of outcomes. Every Budget Day there is a reciting of outlays. A roll call of some trees. Forests are anyway no longer sacrosanct. That cover was lost a few decades ago – the effect is only being felt now. We finally will be left with a fig leaf – and that would be too small, for our modesty. Let us look at some of the other tree arguments. Some holy trees.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR Congratulations for producing Friday Gurgaon I have just received my Vol.1 No. 7 and have gone over on my screen the key elements of the No. 6—excellently laid out on the computer screen. Keep up the standards you have begun with! India and Indians have the skills and the grey matter, as well as the values to produce what you have done with this publication. It will go far and motivate similar publications in other towns/cities and districts. And, hopefully gear and motivate the residents to exercise their vote when the time comes, to implement at our household and neighbourhood levels what we expect our Councillors, the MCG and HUDA to do what is minimally expected of them. When I talk of “implementation” I mean that we, the Residents, should avoid using

the water hoses to waste potable water in cleaning our driveways, first and second floor roofs, cars and two-wheelers. The use of the mug and the bucket will cut out 20 to 25% of the potable water

that we waste, in Gurgaon (and India) but we NEVER accept this home truth. Our servants and driver and members of the family are banned from using the hose pipe. (It is difficult with the “Mali” but we try and restrain him where

Special categories must continue with special benefits—despite some of them being rich, very rich. While poor people of other castes and communities wonder what they have done wrong. Probably the worst hit in current times of high prices and inflation, are the urban poor and the lower middle class. Do they need a separate classification, in order to get some special treatment? The “garibi hatao” forest has been abandoned; it has been replaced by a bunch of “special amir garib trees”. This patch of the forest changes colour whenever convenient. Was this the guiding principle and intent of the Independence movement, and the Constitution? Unfortunately, we in the media have helped root this tree phenomenon. Every news item must be debated. But mainly on the surface; and up to a point. The best debaters of opposing parties are roped in for debate duty (should be made compulsory—we love to hear our own voices); and a mock skirmish follows. By the time we spot a forest, the tree-time is over. We saved our best for the last (till now). Anna had just a single point agenda—that of rooting out corruption in an effective manner—and the Jan Lokpal Bill was the banyan tree, the foundation. It is we who twisted it around. The Bill became the forest, in the initial euphoria. We bisected and then dissected it to death. And then we were reminded and guided by “well meaning folk” that Anna’s Bill-tree cannot solve all of our Corrupted-forest problems. For the first time we looked at the forest, and were blinded. The government got its breather—and left us lost in there. We in Gurgaon should get used to this thinking; and plan accordingly. We can point out, discuss, argue, debate. There will be good discussion on the trees—like the Rs. 32 argument on what is the right cut off for defining poor. Committees will be set up. There will be no discussion on the forest; on the big picture; on reduction of the number of poor (of poverty)— on improvement in overall civic infrastructure. Some roads will be repaired; some sewage lines laid—there will be outlays, no outcomes. You see, Gurgaon (especially new Gurgaon) does not count for much, in votes. Both for the State, and the Centre. Like the poor are just a number. What number, of course, we are not sure of—even today. After 60+ years. The debate continues… u

the potted plants are concerned.) Kindly help to get this message out as much as we can through Friday Gurgaon. Through this communication I would like to share another key issue at this point. Can we physically go out to the Bandh-

Corruption A cause for which I write today, Is not love or any heartbreak, But a topic which is discussed in disguise, Which was the major national media’s hype, You had walked for it with candles in hand, Corruption is against what I take a stand. Something we ignore and oppose it too, Call it a sin but ignorantly we too do, Anna Hazare had once called in for a rule, But many of us stood for it and forgot it soon, To get our work done we are doing it again, By small little bribes we are continuing the game. Once again let the moment begin, And this time we won’t forget the main thing, That rules are meant to be followed by all,

This will only make our country stand proud and tall, Let all the charts and tolls be broken now, Let all the corrupt people be brought down. Let this little rhyme reach to your heart, And decide whether our country needs a new start, If yes is what your heart has said, Then let our young minds change our country’s fate, Let your suggestions be known to the world, Without regret discuss them with one and all. SMSes and emails would make all aware, And actions will teach them a lesson very fair, Admission in school or college may it be, A broken signal or high speed you reached, Face the consequences but don’t reach for your wallet, And this is one thing how we can stop it.

Aishwarya Aeron

wari Garbage Processing Plant on the road from here to Faridabad? Those of us who were involved in pushing Chandigarh and the Gurgaon based bureaucrats (and politicians) to deal with the issue of this fast growing millennium city, issues related to sanitation/sewage and garbage were being ignored by the powers that be! That is the ever present other side of the forward looking Indian at every level, I feel provoked to state. Because that is true. (We must learn something from the Thais and the Singaporeans if we want to be part of the 21st century.) Thank you for listening. God Bless for bringing out this publication and the values you hold. Dev Chopra UN Retiree, Member of Mission Gurgaon Development and QERWA and an active participant with DLF City RWA. Please send your letters to:

letters@fridaygurgaon.com


14–20 October 2011

Kid Corner

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Read Phonetically { Pratibha Kodesia }

Cornucopia of Colours

hool Swiss Cottage Sc and ing aw dr a ed organis r fo on painting competiti s. nt de stu n te its kindergar ela m d an e, en Sc Road themes Scene, were the ered . The themes trigg on titi pe of the com s in urban areas, ad ro congested on s ing a int pa y an off m rious activities at l folk enjoying va , ize pr st fir e th as well as of rura ed of KG-A bagg e le ta ai m Ch fro e ize hil mela. W n the first pr and Saksham wo Yashaswi, Mahi, . ely tiv ec sp KG-D re KG-B, KG-C and

A Sip of Honou

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CCA School has the tradition of hono uring achievers, by inv iting them to tea hoste d by the Principal. Ab out 137 students, who ha ve performed well in the fields of academics, sp orts, cultural, and co-curricular activ ities, were invited for the tea party. The party began with a number of games, that saw the participation of both students and teachers. Th students also int e eracted with the Principal.

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often come across parents who ask how they can get their child to read. The answer lies in understanding the importance of phonetics in a child’s education. Phonetics, which basically means understanding the sounds of alphabets, makes it easier to read words. The conventional method of teaching A,B,C only meant A,B,C as it is seen. However, phonetics sees A,B,C as AA, BA and KA respectively; which gives meaning to the letters of the alphabet. Teaching a child phonetically brings reading a little early to a child; as she is able to break up words, and read them using the phonetics of the letters that make up the word. The question then arises as to how do we make a child understand the phonetics of letters. First, introduce one letter to your child, and continue with its sound for two to three days. Then, name every object in the house phonetically; eg,Wa—Water, B—Ba—Bread, C—Ka—Car. Regular practice of this method will do wonders. Soon, she will be able to spell small words easily.

While choosing a book for your child, take care that the book should be attractive to him/her. Bold letters, with big font sizes, accompanied with corresponding pictures, will keep a child engrossed in reading. As the attention span of children (under four years) is very small, colours and pictures involve a child in reading. Also never underestimate a child. Keep reading to him/her, as we do not realise when he/ she makes a picture of the story in his/her mind, and retains it. Understanding phonetics endows a child with confidence. He/she becomes an active participant in class discussions; and it also arouses their curiosity. Phonetic awareness does away with rote learning, in which there is not much of transfer of learning—from a previously learnt task to a new one. Learning a new word means an effort all over again. Understand phonetics, and initiate the love of reading in your child. u The author is a teacher in Ryan Global Montessori School

Literary Flourish Striving for a Good SocietyR

l Ryan Internationa ganised or , 40 cSe School, g a thought-provokin ng march, emphasisi of e nc rta po im on the ed e students portray Th l. fu th tru ing be like Lord Rama, s tie ali on rs great pe d the characters of d Anna Hazare; an an Mother Teresa, hi, nd ing Ga rry a m ca , at Mall Mah Mall to City Centre marched from MGF posters and slogans. ctive creative and attra

I Love Maths Maths is subject where you have to try, where you can divide and multiply, hard topics like ratio, decimals, and fractions, where you have to put your minds, and stay away from distraction. Maths is something that will never leave you behind, that is used in a day to day life, If you don’t practice hard, The grades won’t be kind.

Maths is a game of snakes and ladders, if you are at the bottom, You have to try harder, Remembering the methods could sometimes be a pain, But later you will realise, that there was so much to gain. —Kusha Chopra VII B, The Heritage School

Artistic Strokes Excellence Awar Ryan Internatio d to nal’s Grace Pin On the occa to

sion of World Elde rs Day on Octobe Grace Pinto, M r 1, 2011, anaging Directo r of Ryan Intern Group of Institu ational tions, received the “Excellence from Hon’ble Mini Award” ster of Social Justi ce and Empowerm Shri Mukul Was ent, nik in a progra mme organised Helpage India. by The award was for her contribut towards the elder ion ly people of socie ty. Grace Pinto has provided ardent su and has shown pport to the elder ly, keen interest in various initiatives protect their right to s; and provide relief to them th various intervent rough ions. For her stu dents to learn to treat the eld how erly with love and care, she promulgated “Valu has e Education on Ag e Care” program in her schools. mes Her support to he lp the elderly (m staying away fro any of whom ar m their family), e and ensure their and healthy life, safe was applauded by Mr. Amal Sa President, Mr. M nguli, .M.Sabharwal, Pr esident Emeritus, Mr Mathews, Ch and ief Executive of Helpage India. Gr Pinto thereafter ace launched the we bsite SAVE, an ini of Helpage India tiative . The programm ed culminated a performance with by Ryan student s offering a tribu the nation. te to

Title: Triumph of Good Over Evil Anupam Mishra, Class IV C, DAV Public School, Sec-14 Hey kids, do you have a painting or a poem/short story that you want to see published on this page? Send in your contributions to contributions@fridaygurgaon.com


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K id Corner


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14–20 October 2011

K id Corner

The Buddha often used stories to explain his teachings. In the Jataka Tales, the Buddha described adventures in his former lives, when he took the form of an animal. Amar Chitra Katha tells you some of these stories that were written very long ago.

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Š 2011 Amar Chitra Katha Private Limited, All Rights Reserved


14–20 October 2011

L

iving in a corporate city can sometimes make life dull. Most of us have experienced this - You work five days a week (sometimes six), 9 to 5 (sometimes even longer)—and desperately await the weekend for a breather and some fun. But if you have watched the movies and visited the malls—what then? Before you can figure it out, you are back to work. And the next week is spent just watching TV, doing dinners with friends, or lazing around. If this is how most of your weeks go by—you need to get a life. Sorry, Get Alive! Get Alive, a premium social activity and outdoor club, for the urban professionals of Gurgaon, started almost a year ago. It is for people who want to explore new interests, or just re-connect with old passions. An online platform, Get Alive provides off-line, real-time innovative leisure activities, designed to help you tick-off those activity items on your bucket list like— wine tasting, rock climbing, photography courses, pottery sessions, heritage walks, bartending classes, art walks, ballroom boot-camps, golf introductory lessons and charity initiatives... Namita Anand, writer and founder of Get Alive says, “I had a pretty okay career going; writing articles and books, conducting training courses— but was really bored of the leisure options available in Gurgaon. There were so many things I wanted to try my hand at; but either they were not available, or were available just as hobby classes—where adults and kids were put together in a classroom, and were asked to learn. Time to Get Alive! I started with a few friends and like-minded people. Soon, with word of mouth, we had many more joining our group.” Today, Get Alive has 100 registered, paid up members (and 400 Facebook members), who actively participate in activities and charity events. Most events take place around the weekends; the format is flexible and simple, set in interesting venues and limited to a few classes. The classes are conducted by top-of-the-line professionals in their respective fields and accommodate about 15 to 20 members. Capt. Sonica Chhabra, an old member of Get Alive says, “It is a refreshing concept. Instead of going out and doing the usual things like dinners

Rock-Climbing at Mangar Gaon

Get A Life! Get Alive—A social activity and outdoor club

MONEY SHARMA

{ Shirin Mann / FG }

Pastimes

GROUP LEADERS: Namita Anand (left) and Pritha Dutt, Founder and Partner at Get Alive, respectively

and get togethers, it offers you something new—like Ballroom Dancing. Ordinarily, I would have never thought of doing it, but when it is offered as an organised activity, one wants to go ahead and give it a try. Then there was the heritage walk at the Lodhi Gardens. We have gone there umpteen times, but when you go there with a historian, it’s a whole new experience— and the kids loved it too.” With activities of interests to kids, adults and families, Get Alive also works with corporates, to help its employees increase team participation and enhance productivity. Pritha Dutt, seasoned HR professional and Partner at Get Alive says, “People nowadays work 24/7. If work can invade your private life, then you must let private life invade your work life. Organisations spend large sums of money on arranging

Future Events October 16: Nizammudin Dargah Walk— A Pilgrimage November 12: Shahjahanabad Walk—A Romance November 27: Mehrauli Archaelogical Park Walk—A Surprise ...and a full December—including a photography course, a bird trip, lawn tennis/golf introductory classes among others. Heritage Walk, Mehrauli Archeological Park

Photography Workshop

19

activities for their employees. But I realised that you have to do meaningful things—like what the employees are keen on doing; and so we provide them with such organised activities.” Apart from its three activity areas—Nightlife, Outdoor and Arts—Get Alive provides its members and non-members a platform to make a difference to society. “A Shoebox Full of Sunshine” campaign— an initiative designed to make it easy for the Gurgaonites to give back a little this Diwali, is showering gifts for 160 underprivileged children of Bagiya and Disha schools. Get Alive has collected various wish-list items from donors, and will be distribute them to the children, on the 14th and 15th of October. Gauri Bhalla, a new member of Get Alive says, “One of the main reasons why I joined Get Alive was because it is great to be associated with like-minded people, who actually want to do something for society. Credibility is a huge factor. Usually you are not sure if your contribution will actually reach the needy; but here you can see that your contribution is reaching the right places—to the people it was meant for— that is great.” Namita says, “Its amazing how many people have come out to contribute for our charity initiative. I believe Gurgaonites really want to make a difference, but do not know how to; and we provide that platform. We have collected many more boxes than expected, and in a very short period of time.” “Also, more companies are taking up CSR initiatives, and the employees want to contribute—and do their bit for society. So we give them the choice of offerings and charity events, where they volunteer in terms of gifts—or in any other way” adds Pritha. Now, instead of adding wishes to your bucket list, or sitting at home and wondering what you can do in your limited spare time, enrol yourself with Get Alive—and a get a life with interesting outdoor activities, as well as doing your bit for society. Also, on the anvil are fun weekend activities and getaways. u

To become a member, click onto www.getalive.in; Membership charges: Rs. 1,500 a couple for six months; and you have to pay individually for each activity that you want to take up.


20

14–20 October 2011

Health & Vitality... Naturally!

A Fistful Of Dried Fruits neural functions. Calcium prevents osteoporosis and promotes bone health. Another mineral, Potassium, is an important component of cell and body fluids, that help control the heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese is a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Copper is required in the production of red blood cells. Magnesium is essential for bone growth.

Tip of the week

{ Jaspal Bajwa / FG }

W

hether it was early caravans crossing deserts to reach far off lands; or armies marching over mountains to swoop down on unsuspecting enemies; or the advent of travel into outer space—all had one need in common— a nutrient rich food, that would preserve well, and travel easy. Dried fruits, along with nuts and seeds, provided the ideal solution. Sun-dried fruits have a long tradition. Nearly 6,000 years ago, early civilisations discovered that they not only lengthen the shelf-life of fruit, but also increase its sweetness, and makes the flavours more intense. Today, other methods of drying have also been developed. Dried food consumption has become widespread these days. This natural food, packed with nu-

{ Reena Sharma }

R

akesh Joshi’s friends couldn’t believe he was the same man. He had been a pessimist and a drug addict. It took him a few hypnosis sessions to get rid of the addiction, the undesired behaviours and beliefs; and to manifest new desires. Each session brought out in him a renewed vigour to fight the addiction. With the help of hypnotherapy, Rakesh now flaunts a sorted and positive attitude. The benefits of hypnosis are infinite. It allows you to breathe for a while, and take things easier. As studies show, diseases are easily acquired when one is stressed out. Hypnosis is the best weapon against stress. In hypnotherapy, patients are helped by the therapist to reach what’s described as a relaxed state of consciousness, like being absorbed in a good book. The actual state of hypnosis varies across

trients and bioactive ingredients, can be an ideal complement to nuts and seeds, in the festive season. Dried fruits provide essential nutrients that are otherwise low in contemporary diets. Dried fruits are high in fibre, complex carbohydrates, vitamins and calories; but low in fat. Because of their high polyphenol content, dried fruits are an important source of antioxidants— which in turn help prevent chronic diseases. However, Vitamin C is destroyed by the heat in the drying process. We know the benefits of minerals. All dried fruits are particularly rich in minerals. Calcium is an important mineral, that is an essential constituent of bone and teeth and required by the body for various muscular, circulatory and

Wellness

Not all dried fruits are created equally. The conventional raisins, dates, dried prunes, apricots and plums do not have added sugar. Only the moisture content has been lowered – e.g. raisins have 73 per cent lower water than grapes. However, there are several other dried fruits in which sugar is added during preservation. These dried fruits, in a candy form, can be very high in calorie count, and the overall consumption must be carefully watched. Serving size should ideally be half that of fresh fruits; and even lower for weight-watchers. A good thumb-rule is not to have more than one fistful of a mix of nuts and dried fruits a day.

Nature’s Wonder Foods of the Week

Some of the more common dried fruits and their benefits are : Raisins—high in fibre, rich in antioxidants, calcium and potassium. Being free of fat and low in sodium, raisins are a popular energy snack;

Mind Power

and ideal for keeping warming during winter months. Additional benefits are in avoiding constipation and macular degeneration (hence better eye health). The trace element, boron, is important for the growth and maintenance of healthy bones and joints. Dried Figs (Anjeer)—very high on fibre, natural sugars and Vitamin B6. An excellent source of minerals—such as calcium, potassium, magnesium, copper, iron, and manganese. Figs are widely used as a mild laxative, and also help control blood pressure. They are good for the heart, and respiratory health. Dried Apricots— rich in dietary fibre, potassium, iron, Vitamins A and E. Fairly large amounts of phytonutrients, especially beta-carotene, help protect our cells from damage. Like other dried fruits, they are very low in sodium, saturated fat and cholesterol. Dates—high in dietary fibre, and act as a good bulk laxative. This in turn, reduces the risk of colon cancer. Dates contain many flavonoid polyphenolic antioxidants—these tannins are known to help prevent haemorrhages, in addition to having anti-infective/anti-inflammatory properties. Dates are an excellent source of iron, potassium, calcium, manganese, copper, and magnesium. Vitamins A, B-complex and K act as co-factors, which help metabolise carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. In addition to improved vision, Vitamin A is also required to maintain healthy mucus membranes and skin. (For education purposes only; consult a healthcare practitioner for medical conditions) u Registered Holistic Nutritionist (Canadian School of Natural Nutrition) individuals. There is a specific state that the brain enters into, when it is receptive to suggestion. Awakening the subconscious self is achieved through hypnotherapy. The reason hynotherapy is so effective is because of the extreme power of our sub conscious mind; which stores all the memories, beliefs, habits and behaviours we have developed. This is medical—rather than stage or movie hypnotism; and it is increasingly being used to solve various problems like phobias, depression, relationship issues, anxiety, sleep disorders, stress management, weight loss, asthma, addiction and others. Therapists may start by describing images that create a sense of security and well-being. They may then suggest ways of achieving specific goals, such as getting rid of phobias. Hypnotherapy, when given as a pre-operative and postoperative measure, has not just helped in reducing pain, but also coping with the trauma. Under hypnosis, the patient can concentrate intensely on a specific thought, memory, feeling or sensation— while blocking out distractions. After the therapy, you can expect to feel ‘different’ in some way—a change in attitude that makes you feel indifferent towards addiction; perhaps even possibly viewing it as repulsive. Needless to say, it’s also your determination and willpower that is the backbone of any therapy. u NB: Names have been changed to keep the identity of the client confidential. Clinical Hypnotherapist & Motivational Coach www.reenasharma.in Mobile – 9811510003


W ellness

14–20 October 2011

21

{ Dr Manjinder Singh Sandhu }

W

ith today’s fast lifestyle and workplace pressures, the level of stress in people is on the rise, leading to a number of ailments. People who look healthy, may be prone to diseases like hypertension, low immunity and gastrointestinal problems. Youngsters, too, are fast becoming prone to heart ailments, due to a stressful life. Today, I see patients in their 20s and 30s with heart ailments— mainly due to stress and high cholesterol levels. While these can be hereditary, a fast-paced, stressful lifestyle with irregular eating habits, smoking and lack of exercise are some of the causes for coronary artery disease striking early. Youngsters must realise that when you are under stress, the healing power of the body decreases, and this can also lead to many complications such as bronchitis, gastrointestinal problems, hyper acidity, acid reflux, severe headaches; and in extreme cases, may even lead to developing cancerous diseases. To remain healthy, people undergoing stress or turmoil should try to meditate, do yoga or indulge in any activity that soothes their nerves. Adopting a healthy lifestyle early in life will always work better, than changing one’s lifestyle later in life.

Here are some basic tips to maintain a healthy heart and a healthier you

1

Learn to manage your stress levels. If you find things are getting on top of you,

DURGADaTT PANDEY

Take It To Heart you may fail to eat properly, smoke and drink too much—and this may increase your risk of a heart attack. Practice yoga/ meditation. Take a vacation.

2

Smoking also plays an important role in causing a heart ailment—people under stress tend to smoke more. Inhaling tobacco smoke causes several immediate responses within the heart and its blood vessels. Within one minute of starting to smoke, the heart rate begins to rise; it may increase by as much as 30 per cent during the first ten minutes of smoking. Carbon monoxide in tobacco smoke exerts a negative effect on the heart, by reducing the blood’s ability to carry oxygen. Smoking reduces life-expectancy by 15-25 years, and is the single most preventable cause of death. It is also the leading cause of lung cancer, and implicated in many other cancers. To quit smoking is the single most important action a person can take, to live longer. If you are a smoker, you are twice as likely

to have a heart attack than a non-smoker. From the moment you stop smoking, the risk of heart attack begins to reduce.

3

Cut down on salt. Many breakfast cereals and breads that appear healthy also contain high levels of salt.

4 5 6

Watch your diet. Monitor your alcohol.

Get active. Physical inactivity or lack of regular physical exercise is as harmful a risk factor as high blood pressure. Regular physical activity is the best preventive effort for coronary

Do any of the following at least 4 times a week Cycling (8 km/hr) - 50 mins Brisk walking (6 km/hr) - 40 mins Swimming (pleasure) - 40 mins Tennis (recreation) - 35 mins Jogging (5 miles/hr) - 25 mins - 20 mins Swimming (breaststroke) Running (6 miles/hr) - 14 mins Accompany the regimen with warm-up and cool-down exercises

Physical Benefits after quitting Time after last cigarette

Physical Response

20 minutes Blood pressure and pulse rate returns to normal 8 hours Levels of oxygen in the blood return to normal 24 hours Chance of a heart attack decreases 48 hours Ability to taste and smell increases 72 hours Lung capacity increases 2 weeks to 3 months Improved circulation; lung function increases 30% 1 to 9 months Decreased incidence of coughing, sinus infection

7 8

Manage your waist.

heart disease, as it minimises nearly all related risk factors. The heart is a muscle, and like all muscles it needs exercise to keep fit—so that it can pump blood efficiently into your body with each heartbeat. You should aim for 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise a day.

Get your blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels checked by your General Physician regularly. u The writer is Head, Cardiology, Artemis Health Institute, Gurgaon

Autism: Read The Signs Early K

abir Sarkar, a three year old boy from Sushant Lok1, did not behave like other kids; like playing on the swing in the park, or making mud castles. He was aloof and shy; and sometimes behaved like he hadn’t heard the doorbell. After visits to numerous psychologists, his parents finally received the correct diagnosis. Kabir was suffering from Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD), which often gets confused with Down’s Syndrome and Dyslexia.

What is ASD?

According to the Autism Society Of America, “Autism is a complex developmental disability, that typically appears during the first three years of life—and is the result of a neurological disorder that affects the normal functioning of the brain; impacting development in the areas of social interaction and communication skills. Both children and adults with autism typically show difficulties in verbal and non-verbal communication, social interactions, and leisure or play activities.” It is one of five disorders that falls under the umbrella of Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDD),

a category of neurological disorders characterised by “severe and pervasive impairment in several areas of development.”

What are the symptoms to look out for?

According to Dr. Manish Taneja, who runs SOCH Centre for differently-abled children at DLF Phase-IV, children with ASD will have the following core difficulties.

Non-verbal and verbal communication

Children with ASD have difficulty in understanding the communication and language of others; and also in communicating themselves. Many are delayed in learning to speak, and some do not develop speech.

Visible signs

• Lack of eye contact • Apparent lack of response when called • Speech delay • Difficulty in peer group interaction • Difficulty in communication – verbal and non-verbal • Inconsistent responses to situations

Social understanding and social behaviour

Children often have difficulty in understanding the social behaviour of others, and can behave in socially inappropriate ways. They find it hard to play and communicate with other children; who may be confused by their behaviour, and thus avoid or tease them.

Sensory perception and responses

A child with ASD may either be very sensitive or very insensitive to certain sounds, sights and textures. This can affect their responses to things like clothes, food and noise. They may also make unusual eye contact – i.e. they may not talk and look at someone at the same time. Surabhi Verma, a consultant at Sparsh, that works as a centre for children with special needs, explains, “One of the biggest challenges with ASD is that until five years back, Indian psychologists weren’t trained to diagnose children with ASD. This is the reason why ASD often got misdiagnosed as Dyslexia or Down Syndrome. Parents have to understand that autistic

children, if diagnosed early, can lead normal lives.”

The numbers

According to the World Health Organisation, “The prevalence of autism varies considerably with case ascertainment, ranging from 0.7 – 21.1 per 10,000 children— while the prevalence of autistic spectrum disorder is estimated to be 1 - 6 per 1,000.” In India, it is estimated that 2,000,000 (2 million) people suffer from ASD. Explaining that special children require special needs, Verma, who also operates a school at Sparsh, says, “We have many children coming to us from Gurgaon. There are some schools

Schools for Kids with Autism in Gurgaon SOCH 7517(Basement), DLF phase 4, Near supermarket 2, Gurgaon, Ph: 9810887523,9818112646, 9540247551 Email : msamnani77@gmail com, www.sochindia.org

DURGADaTT PANDEY

{ Harsimran Shergill }

that have inculcated a curriculum for the special child. However, I think they require individual time and attention. That is not something a teacher can provide in a class of 40 students.” Mainstream schools that admit children with special needs include Shriram School, and Heritage School. They offer some programmes for children with special needs. Meanwhile, Verma says, “More needs to be done to spread ASD awareness. Parents need to understand the urgency of early diagnosis. This is the only way we can assure that they a live self-dependent life.” u

ORKIDS 35, Gulmohar Marg, DLF II, Gurgaon, Haryana 122002 Ph: 124-4362258 Khushboo Welfare Society (Near Lions School Centre) for Children with multiple disabilities, Sector 10, A, Gurgaon, Haryana – 122001, Ph: 0124-4140887-87


22

14–20 October 2011

B usiness

Stage Set For Landmark Clash Between Apartment Owners & DLF, in CCI Case

DLF Belaire Apartments MONEY SHARMA

{ Abhishek Behl / FG }

T

he stage is all set for a showdown between DLF and two Apartment Owners Associations, in the Competition Commission of India (CCI) case, with the former filing an appeal in the Competition Appellate Tribunal (COMPAT) on Tuesday, against the CCI order imposing a penalty of Rs 630 crore. The two complainants in the case, The Belaire Owners Association in Gurgaon and Park Place Residents Association, have already filed a caveat in COMPAT. They have requested the Tribunal for a hearing, before it decides on the DLF appeal. The case is scheduled to be heard by Compat on November 9. While DLF claims to be on a strong legal wicket, the aggrieved owners are pleading that justice should be done, and rule of law must prevail. They are also worried that the realty major will manage to wriggle out of the situation on technical points, or prolong the case, as normally happens in India. But they are also confident that whatever may be the outcome, this decision will help in reshaping the real estate sector in the country.

The Issue

DLF invited booking for the Park Place Apartments in November 2006, and promised possession within three years. The payment was time-linked and the company offered 988 flats spread in 13 towers—each having 19 floors. However, things did not move on expected lines and the construction started late. Harsh Sehgal, president of the Park Place Residents’ Association alleges that DLF did not have permission to build, as late as September 2007, as it had applied for the same in March 2007. Similar problems occurred with the buyers of Belaire Apartments, as the owners complained of delay in construction, and arbitrary change in the building plan. Sanjay Bhasin, President

of Belaire Owners Association says that they approached the builder many times, but met with no response. “By that time 35 per cent of the payment for the apartments had already been made to DLF”, he says, adding that the real drama began later. DLF, in 2008, asked permission for building 29 floors, instead of 19 floors—and received permission to increase the number of apartments by 520. Sehgal claims that this was in gross violation of rules and regulations, as it reduced the proportionate right of the original owners. DLF sold the proposed flats in 2009, at a time when the delivery should have been given to the original owners, he claims; adding that the delay was due to the extra floors permission; and this was done as they knew there

On May 20, CCI held that there was a prima facie case against DLF under this Act, and asked the DG to determine whether there was a relevant market; was DLF a dominant player; and was there any misuse of market domination. would be changes in rules coming up. Rubbing salt on the wound was the fact that the fresh apartments were sold at a cheaper price. The original buyers by then had paid 80 per cent of the due payment. “With our money, the flats were constructed—but these were now being offered to others at a cheaper price, and within 18 months; while we had already waited for 3 years”, asserts Sehgal. This was the tipping point. When the original owners met the

company officials and questioned about the delay and dilution in ownership, Sehgal claims, they did not get any positive response. Some of the owners, who stopped making payment, were made to forfeit huge amounts—as their allotments were cancelled. It was at this point that Park Place Residents Association was formed, to fight for the right of the original buyers. “We wrote to the company several times and received no response. As such, we decided to approach the CCI, as DLF was a dominant player in Gurgaon”, reveals Sehgal. Inability of the consumer courts to deliver the goods was also a reason that pushed the owners to knock at the doors of the CCI.

The Fight

Belaire Owners Association and Park Place Residents Association then approached the CCI to seek justice. An inquiry under the Competition Act was ordered by CCI; but DLF approached the Compat, arguing that it did not come under the purview of the Act, as the CCI was constituted in 2009, while the sale under question happened in 2007. It also argued that DLF was neither selling products nor services but apartments. Later, it approached the Delhi High Court— but the company was sent back to CCI, which ordered an inquiry by the CCI Director General. “These were delaying tactics, but the CCI listened to our grievances and held that the case indeed came under its purview”, says Sehgal. The fight thus began in right earnest. While DLF approached legal luminaries and real estate consultants to prove that it was not a dominant player in Gurgaon, the apartment owners also were ready with their homework, to win the battle.

Bone of Contention

Sanjay Sharma, Managing Director of Qubrex, a Gurgaon based real estate consultant, who submitted a report on

behalf of the apartment owners, says that it was crucial that CCI accepted their contention that DLF was selling a specific product (high end apartments), and that too in a geographical area (Gurgaon). As the required market data was not available, Sharma says the CCI Director General (DG), obtained data from CMIE, and gave the report in December, 2010. To counter the DG’s report, which pointed to market dominance of the company, DLF hired JLL, and submitted its own report in March, 2011. The JLL report not only debunked the CMIE data, but also introduced the concept of ‘Active Stock’ in Gurgaon and NCR, on the basis of which it proved that DLF was not a major player in the real estate market in the city. DLF also submitted a report by a top South African company Genesis, which also contended that DLF was a fourth or fifth player in the market, based on active stock. Worried at the slew of reports submitted by DLF, the apartment owners approached Qubrex, for finding out what was the actual position. “We took a month to collect and extrapolate the data, and found that the concept of ‘active stock’ did not hold ground”, says Sharma; adding that it was clear that Gurgaon was the relevant market, due to an integrated township model—and DLF was dominant in upper end apartments. DLF now questioned the Qubrex model and data, and said that it was not correct and meaningful. CCI thereafter observed that since the reports submitted by JLL, Genesis, Qubrex were submitted on behalf of stakeholders, it would decide the case on the basis of CMIE data—that was obtained by a government agency and was not biased.

The Decision

On May 5, 2010, the Belaire Owners Association had complained to the CCI that DLF was violating the provisions of Contd on p 23 


B usiness

14–20 October 2011

23

HSIIDC To Boost Civic Facilities In Udyog Vihar PRAKHAR PANDEY

{ Abhishek Behl / FG }

I

ndustrialists, corporate executives and workers in Gurgaon’s once prestigious Udyog Vihar will soon have something to cheer about—the HSIIDC (Haryana State Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation), which manages the industrial area, is planning a major exercise to boost civic infrastructure. In what could be termed as a Diwali bonanza, HSIIDC is also making the necessary changes to improve the traffic situation in the areas—as recommended by the traffic police. HSIIDC General Manager, Hamvir Singh, told Friday Gurgaon that a major plan is being conceived to improve the civic infrastructure—it includes resurfacing of the bad roads, creating a green belt along the highway, changing the water pipelines in Phase 5, and creating

FACELIFT: Udyog Vihar is being spruced up by the HSIIDC

parking space in the vacant land along the nullah in Phase 4. “We are planning to spend a considerable amount in upgrading the facilities, so that people in Udyog Vihar enjoy working here”, says Singh, who admits that things have remained stagnant in the past. He also informed that a plan to build a multi-level parking has also been approved. To ensure that pedestrians do not face trouble, HSIIDC is planning to construct footpaths in Udyog Vihar, says Singh. As far as the bottlenecks suggested by the police are concerned, Singh says action is being taken on priority; and the issues are being resolved. “We have removed encroachments on the Peepal Chowk, and an estimate is being made for building a foot-overbridge”, says Singh; adding that another proposal to make some roads operate as one-way, is also under consideration. u

DLF, Apartment Owners Set For Landmark Clash  Contd from p 22 Competition Act, 2002, and abusing its dominant position in the market. It claimed that the company had delayed construction, and changed the building plans without approval. On May 20, CCI held that there was a prima facie case against DLF under this Act, and asked the DG to determine whether there was a relevant market; was DLF a dominant player; and was there any misuse of market domination. To find out whether DLF had violated the Competition Act, the DG observed that since the cost of each flat was more than 1.5 core, it did constitute the ‘high end residential market’ in Gurgaon. It was observed that a customer wanting a flat in Gurgaon would not look for a flat in Noida, or go for a lower priced flat still under development in the city. As far as market dominance is concerned, the DG used the data obtained from CMIE, and found that DLF’s market share in Gurgaon was more than 65 per cent in 2007 and 2008. This is a figure contested strongly by the real estate major. The report also considered the turnover of other real estate companies, size of their capital assets, and scale of operations. To find out whether DLF had misused the dominant position, the DG made use of the Buyer’s Agreement, and observed that it was heavily biased in favour of the builder, as it was a dominant player—and people had few other options. The report also said that DLF did not inform the buyers that the building plan was yet to be approved. It also changed the building plan subsequently, without taking into confidence the original buyers. If the buyers wanted to exit from the project, they had to lose a substantial amount. On August 12 and August 29, the CCI, taking into account the DG’s report, gave two judgements—in the cases of DLF vs Belaire Owners Association, & DLF vs Park Place Owners Residents Association, respectively. After listening to the arguments of the owners, DLF, and the government bodies, and after going through 21 written submissions by the parties to the case, the CCI imposed a penalty of Rs. 630 crore on DLF in the former case (Belaire); whereas it found the company guilty in both cases.

The Appeal

DLF has filed an appeal with the Compat, arguing that the company does not come under the purview of the Competition Act. Sanjay Bhasin, President of Belaire Owners Association, who has received the copy of the appeal, says that DLF has reiterated what it had said during the course of the case. “They reiterate the fact that DLF does not come under the purview of Competiton Act. They claim they are not a dominant player, and that they have imposed clauses that were an industry practice”, says Bhasin.

What the Owners Want

The apartment owners say they want justice, and rule of law to prevail—not only in this case but also in every real estate transaction happening in the country. They also want the builders to respect the buyers as consumers, and not as milch cows whose money can be used to earn wealth. “We are honest people, and

The tribulations of a real estate buyer are caught in the words of Sanjay Bhasin, when he says, “We may be small, but we will bring about positive change in the system, to bring to an end the helplessness felt by individual buyers”. invested our life’s savings in these apartments, and want the builders to treat us with respect. We have paid the money, and want the product delivered on time and with promised specifications”, says Bhasin. Bhasin further wants accountability and transparency

in the real estate business, and says that they want to ensure change comes in the industry. His views are reiterated by Colonel (Retd) BK Dhawan, who says that it is time the government introduces the Real Estate Regulation Bill, and cleans the augean stables. “The apartment owners are shortchanged by builders, who change plans, do not file deeds of declarations, and sell the common areas for their own profit”, alleges Dhawan, who says that all this is in violation of Haryana Apartment Ownership Act, 1983. He also wants an end to one-sided sales agreements contrived in favour of the builders, violation of licenses, false registration of apartments, and usurping of rights of the owners. Sehgal says that the landmark decision by the CCI might change the way builders operate. There should be deterrents for delay in construction, change in building plans, building without approvals. They also feel government authorities will now act better on complaints.

Realty Rates

Observations

The DLF verdict could prove to be a landmark decision, whoever wins or loses, feels Pradeep S Mehta, Secretary General, Cuts International; and a leading consumer rights activist. Mehta says that in addition to the DLF, government institutions like HUDA and DTCP should also have come under the scanner of the CCI, as they facilitated the acts of omission and commission by the builder. He also said that it was wrong to say that abuse of domination in the market could only happen in oligopolistic conditions. The CCI decision, he says, could set the tone for reforms, and bring about change in the operations of the realty sector in the country.

Conclusion

It is quite possible that DLF might escape the penalty on technical grounds, or its contentions might be upheld as valid arguments; but this case has clearly set the ground for empowerment of the real estate buyers in the country. u

(in Rs. as of October 12, 2011)

Sector 31 Huda Shop 1.5 cr

Sector 31 Sector 40 HUDA Shop cum Office HUDA shop 6 cr 60-70 lakh

Sector 40 HUDA Double Storey 2 cr

Sector 40 HUDA Shop cum office 4 cr

Sector 46 HUDA Shop 60-65 lakh

Sector 46 HUDA Double Storey 2.25 cr

Sector 46 HUDA Shop cum Office 3.25 cr

M2K Apartments 4 BHK 1.25 cr

M2K Apartments 3 BHK 1.15 cr

Today Blossoms 3 BHK 1.25 cr

Baani Commercial 20,000 per sq ft onwards

Sector 39 HUDA plots 100 sq yd 50-70, 000/ sq yd

Sector 39 160 sq yd 50-65, 000/ sq yd

Sector 39 263 sq yd 45-60,000/sq yd

Sector 39 342 sq yd 40-65, 000/sq yd Sector 39 502 sq yd 40-70, 000/ sq yd


24

14–20 October 2011

Pastimes

DPS Shines in Gurgaon DPS Vasant Kunj wins the Inter-School Football championship held at Pathways Aravali

HEADS UP: DPS and Ahlcon Public School teams in action

{ Maninder Dabas / FG }

D

elhi Public School (DPS) Vasant Kunj, won the 5th Inter-School Football championship by beating Ahlcon Public School, Noida 2-1. The competition was held in Pathways Aravali School. Both the teams attacked from the very beginning; and DPS’s Tanuj Gulati scored a beautiful goal in the 14th minute. But DPS’s ambition to stay ahead was nullified the very next minute, when Mayank Jain scored an equaliser in the 15th minute of the game. By half time, both the teams had made many moves to score goals; but none succeeded. In the second half, both started with great enthusiasm, and continued to attack each others’ goal posts. In the 66th minute, Nirbhay Malik of DPS scored

the second goal for his team, which proved fatal for Ahlcon— as no more goals were scored after that. DPS won the match as well as the trophy. Mayank Jain of Ahlcon was declared the Player of the tournament, for scoring four crucial goals for his team. Later, during the presentation ceremony, Servesh Naidu, the Director of Pathways Aravali, handed over the trophy to DPS, Vasant Kunj. This under-19 Inter-School Football championship was held in Pathways Aravali, from October 9th to 11th; and six teams from five schools participated in the championship—Heritage School, Gurgaon; DPS, Vasant Kunj; APJ Noida; Ahlcon Public School, Noida; and two teams from Pathways Aravali (Pathways Blue and Pathways Orange). The championship

WINNERS ALL: DPS enjoying the victorious moment

proved to be a disappointment for Pathways Aravali, as none of their two participating teams could reach the final. Pathways Orange only managed to reach the semi-final—where they succumbed to Ahlcon Noida 5-1 in the penalty shoot out. In the second semifinal, between APJ, Noida and DPS Vasant Kunj, DPS beat APJ, 2-1. However, the match was exciting—although both the teams could not score any goal in the first half of the match. In the second half, APJ’s Rahul Kumar put his team in the lead. But DPS’s Sarasvath did not let the APJ boys celebrate for too long; and scored an equaliser. Tanuj Gulati, the hero of the finals, showed his skills, and scored the winning goal for DPS during the dying minutes of the game—ending all possibilities of APJ bouncing back. u

25th Haryana State Olympic Games NADA To Keep An Eye { Maninder Dabas / FG }

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ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST: DPS seals their victory with a second goal

ational Anti Doping Agency (NADA), will keep a watch on the 25th Haryana State Olympic Games, scheduled to take place between October 20th and 23rd. “Haryana Olympic Association (HOA) has asked NADA to keep a watch on the athletes. We don’t want any of the athletes to use banned substance, to win medals. Doping has been a nemesis of Indian sports for quite a while now, and HOA is keen to eradicate it completely from the Games,” said Surender Dangi, Joint Secretary HOA, in a telephonic conversation from Chandigarh. “Our aim is to save our athletes from all banned substances, because Haryana players are full of talent, and we don’t want anybody to spoil his or her career because of doping,” added Dangi. Kulvinder Singh, the District Sports Officer (DFO) said, “NADA officials will remain at all the venues of the games, and only examine on suspicion. Also, it is not only about examining athletes, it is also about educating them about the ill effects of the banned substances.” said Kulvinder Singh. u


26

14–20 October 2011

The Barn

T ime Pass Love is...

The Grizzwells

Arctic Circle

9 to 5

Animal Crackers

Dogs of C-Kennel

Pearls Before Swine

Star Fun


Baby Blues Tiger

The Better Half

Two Wise Men The Born Loser Ipso facto Solution 9472. After the fi rst turn of the lock, each fi gure is moved one position farther. The next turn, two positions. Then three positions and the fourth time equals four positions.

Daddy’s Home Andy Capp Zits 14–20 October 2011

T ime Pass 27


28

PALL OF GLOOM: A coal-burning power plant in Kunming releases carbon dioxide pollution. Two-thirds of China’s energy requirements are still met by coal. However, China invests more in renewable energy than any other country, according to a recent UN report

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hina is investing heavily in renewable energies, but the rapid growth of its economy is hampering its efforts to shed its role as one of the planet’s biggest climate offenders. Global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions increased by about five per cent in 2010— the highest rate in two decades—following a one per cent decline in 2009, due to the global crisis. The increase was partly caused by the strong growth of the Chinese economy. No country contributes more to

global warming than China, the world’s second-largest economy after the United States. It has doubled its CO2 emissions. since 2003. However, China invests more in renewable energy sources than any other country, according to a recent United Nations report; a reality that has impressed environmental groups such as Greenpeace. The 2011 Right Livelihood Award, also known as the Alternative Nobel Prize, was awarded to Chinese solar power pioneer Huang Ming - a reflection of Chinese efforts to develop alternative sources of energy.

US Postal Service In Crisis

{ Daniel Schnettler / New York / DPA }

Bernd Thissen

A

fter more than two centuries, the US Postal Service, and its eagle logo, are as American as Coca-Cola and baseball. Yet the venerable institution is under threat, as the onslaughts of internet commerce and mobile communications are forcing cuts to postal services and staff. With first-class letters and postcards declining by 8 per cent a year, the Post Service losses are rising; and the stateowned company is fighting for survival. Radical measures are deemed necessary to avert bankruptcy. The Postal Service was founded in 1775. Its first chief executive, the postmaster general, was Benjamin Franklin, one of the founding fathers of the United States—a publisher, inventor, diplomat and signatory to the Declaration of Independence. In recent decades, the Postal Service was a major cycling sponsor. Lance Armstrong wore a Postal Service jersey for six of his seven Tour de France victories. But social and technological changes are steadily whittling away at the lucrative first-class mail, in which the Postal Service still holds a legal monopoly. Down 50 per cent in a decade, that category includes bill payments, which people increasingly make over the internet; and even post cards, which are disappearing as people send digital snapshots from their camera phones. Meanwhile, the number of post offices and letter boxes has not been cut proportionately. “The Postal Service is in a crisis,” says Patrick Donahoe, the 73rd postmaster general. “We are forced to face a new reality.” From October to June, the Postal Service had losses amounting to 5.7 billion dollars, and is facing a potential 10-billion dollar shortfall by the end of its budgeting year. President Barack Obama had to defer a payment of 5.5 billion dollars, due to a health fund, for postal workers. After one year in office, Donahoe

China has rapidly increased the amount of energy it generates from wind and solar power. It is the world’s largest manufacturer of solar collectors, even if most end up for the export market. Two-thirds of all solar-powered water heaters—an area where Huang’s company is a world leader—can be found in China. China’s interest in environmental technologies is not only based on economic factors. The world’s most populous nation is having to cope with an ever-increasing domestic demand for energy, coupled with a scarcity of raw materials; leaving

IN DIRE STRAITS: The venerable US Postal Service is battling for survival

is drawing up a massive savings programme. More than 250 sorting centres, and up to 3,600 post offices could be closed down; while 220,000 jobs are to be axed in the next several years. The Postal Service currently has 650,000 employees, down 250,000 from a decade ago; but the US Postal Service is still one of the world’s biggest employers. US postal workers get better pay, pensions and health benefits than their counterparts working for private package delivery companies. About 80 per cent of the Postal Service’s costs are accounted for by staff, compared with 50 per cent for UPS and FedEx. The Postal Service has already started hiring cheaper, untrained support staff to save money. “We need to lower our annual costs by 20 billion dollars by 2015, in order to become profitable again,” Donahoe says.

Tschanz-Hofmann

Chinese CO2 Emissions Up Despite Green Efforts

{ Andreas Landwehr / Beijing / DPA }

G lobal

14–20 October 2011

it with no other choice than to investigate alternative energy sources. Any hope, however, that these might be slowing climate change, has proven illusory. Greenhouse gas emissions increased by 10 per cent last year, mirroring China’s economic growth; and moving its per capita emission rate to a par with other, more established industrialized nations. It’s CO2 emissions per capita are lower than those of Germany, but at the same level as Italy, and higher than France, a study by the PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency and the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre showed. If the current trends continue for another seven years, China will overtake the US by 2017 as the highest per-capita emitter of the world’s 25 most contaminating countries, the study warns. Despite investment in other energy sources, two-thirds of China’s energy requirements are still met by coal. Coal consumption in China increased by 10.1 per cent in 2010, accounting for 48 per cent of global coal use, and two-thirds of global consumption growth. Coal now accounts for 29.6 per cent of global energy consumption, the highest share since 1970. But fossil fuels alone can no longer help China maintain its position as the factory of the world. A new five-year plan aims at increasing the percentage of energy generated by wind, water, solar and nuclear power to 11 per cent or more. Energy-saving measures are also planned. As part of its contribution to fighting climate change, China wants to reduce the amount of energy used for each yuan of income generated by, 40 to 45 per cent , by 2020. At the same time, however, greenhouse emissions will still go up, as the Chinese economy keeps growing. u Delivering mail one day slower would save 1.5 billion dollars annually. Not delivering mail on Saturdays would save 3.1 billion dollars, he says. Yet to carry out such drastic measures at the fully state-owned company, Donahoe needs political support. “We need to be able to act more like a private company,” he told a congressional committee. u


14–20 October 2011

G lobal

29

There’s More To The Skeleton Than Just Bones { Daniel Schnettler / New York / DPA }

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ozens of human skeletons stand in tightly compacted lines, in an inconspicuous building in Hamburg. Countless numbers of hand, arm and leg bones protrude from cardboard boxes. But this is not a serial killer’s workshop, or the entrance to a chamber of horrors. The bones are made of plastic, and were manufactured by the firm 3B Scientific - which claims to be the leading provider of anatomical models in the world. Skeletons, torsos and models of human organs are sent from Hamburg to schools, universities and doctors’ surgeries in over 100 countries. The best selling product in 3B Scientific’s range is “Stan.” The 1.70-metre-tall human skeleton has been the company’s standard model for over 50 years. The parts, however, are not made in Germany, but in China and Hungary. About 25,000 “Stans” will be sold this year. The upmarket version, “Sam”, will be sold about 5,000 times in 2011. “Sam” has flexible joint ligaments, hand-painted muscle origins, a flexible vertebral column and a built-in slipped disk. “He can even laugh,” says company manager Otto Gies, who winks as he moves the skeleton’s jaws. Evelin Porsch is responsible for assembling the skeletons’ bones. She deftly slides a washer between a skeleton’s hip and leg joints and then secures them into position with a nut. “I can make about 12 skeletons a day,” says Porsch as she picks up a plastic thigh bone.

Bodo Marks

German company leads the way in anatomical models

ASSEMBLY LINE: Staffer Evelin Porsch checks skeletons prior to processing, at the factory of 3B Scientific GmbH in Hamburg, Germany

Skeletons are 3B Scientific’s bestselling item. But the company has many more products in its range: eyes with eyelids and tear ducts that can be disassembled; brains that come in several sections; and malignant tumours that can be felt on breast models. There’s even a birthing simulator. Artificial amniotic fluid and umbilical cords are also in 3B Scientific’s catalogue. Philip Uebelacker is responsible for attaching muscles. The 25-year-old is heating an arm in a huge oven heated to 80 degrees Celsius, so the plastic material is easier to shape. He’s been working here for 18 months, and is quite comfortable with his rather unusual job. “It’s routine,” he says as he takes a few muscles and mounts them

on a still-warm arm. A few metres away is the “Baby Factory”. Seven small torsos lie side by side on a table. Beate Stiller is using an electric screwdriver to attach a stomach to one of the torsos. It takes one hour to assemble a model baby, and place it in a bag for transport to its owner. 3B Scientific has been in operation since 1948. About 600 people work for the company around the world, 200 of them in Germany. Together with the factory in Hamburg, the company has two subsidiaries in eastern Germany; and is planning to open more subsidiaries in Africa and Indonesia. “We’re growing very rapidly in Brazil, India and South East Asia,” says Gies.u


30

14–20 October 2011

G lobal

Myanmar Independence Hero Aung San Back In The Limelight Nyein Chan Naing

{ Peter Janssen / Yangon / DPA }

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hen Myanmar President Thein Sein held conciliatory talks with opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi in August, he made sure that Suu Kyi’s famed father, Aung San, was part of the picture. A portrait of Aung San, an independence hero and founding father of the Myanmar army, was on the wall behind Thein Sein and Suu Kyi, as they posed for state media - after a meeting that has set a new tone for national politics. Thein Sein’s predecessor, Senior General Than Shwe, who led the junta that ruled Myanmar from 1992-2010, was wellknown not only for his dislike of Suu Kyi, but also for his disdain for her father - who was gunned down by political rivals in 1947. Prior to the Thein Sein-Suu Kyi meeting, no official portraits of Aung San were hung in government offices in the capital, Naypyitaw. “Thein Sein sent a message to the people that he is a follower of Aung San,” said Kwin Maung Swe, leader of the National Democratic Force, an opposition party in parliament. “Hanging the portrait was a message to the whole country that he will not deny the Aung San image,” Kwin Maung Swe said.

NATIONAL HERO: In a sign of a revival of Aung San’s (left) legacy in Myanmar, children openly sell small posters of Aung San and his famous Nobel Peace Prize-winning daughter to motorists in the country’s largest city and former capital, Yangon

The National Democratic Force, a breakaway faction from Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy, plans to propose to parliament that Aung San’s portrait be reinstated on the kyat bank notes, a practice that was discontinued under Than Shwe’s rule. “He is a national hero,” Kwin Maung Swe said. “We are trying to take things back to normal times.” There are other signs of an Aung San revival in Myanmar. Children openly sell small posters of Aung San and his famous Nobel Peace Prize-winning daughter to motorists, in the country’s largest city and former capital, Yangon. And the state-controlled media has been full of articles about the Aung San legacy in recent weeks. “Aung San’s image has been brought back again,” said Tin Oo, deputy leader

of the National League for Democracy and a former general. “Now the younger soldiers are beginning to understand who was the hero of independence and the father of the army.” Before the rise of Suu Kyi as the country’s champion of democracy in the aftermath of a brutal army crackdown on anti-military demonstrations in 1988, her father was revered by the military as the army’s founder - and a hero of the country’s struggle for independence from Britain, its former colonial master. Aung San portraits graced kyat notes and hung in government offices; and the anniversary of his assassination, Martyr’s Day, was a national holiday marked by solemn state commemorations. After Than Shwe moved the capital to Naypyitaw in 2005, Martyr’s Day was presided over by the Yangon governor. Unlike Than Shwe, Thein Sein, who took office in March, has acknowledged that he needs Suu Kyi on his side to achieve his goals: securing the position of the military establishment that still runs the country, ending Myanmar’s pariah status in the world community, and easing economic sanctions, observers said. “If the regime thinks that Aung San Suu Kyi will now play ball, then reviving Aung San as the father of

it all is fine with the army,” said Robert Taylor, author of The State of Myanmar. “After all, he was their founder, so back to normality.” Myanmar military strongman Ne Win, who overthrew the county’s fledgling postindependence democracy in 1962, did not play down the Aung San legacy because it enhanced his own. Both Aung San and Ne Win were members of the Thirty Comrades, young revolutionaries who sided with the Japanese in ousting the British forces at the beginning of World War II; and then turned on the Japanese before the war ended. Many have criticized Suu Kyi for agreeing to meet with Thein Sein before the new government has made substantive concessions - such as freeing about 2,000 political prisoners, and opening peace talks with ethnic minority rebel groups, which have been fighting the army for decades. “They’ve kind of hijacked Aung San and Aung San Suu Kyi for their own purposes,” said Bertil Lintner, a well-known Myanmar expert and author of The Land of Jade. But for Suu Kyi and her followers, small progress is deemed better than none at all. “So long as we can make one inch of progress, we will work together,” Tin Oo said. u


14–20 October 2011

Sohna Road – Future M.G. Road?

PRAKHAR PANDEY

32

G -scape

Friday Gurgaon, October 14-20, 2011  

Gurgaon's weekly newspaper

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