Page 1

Vol. 1 No. 9  Pages 32  ` 7  21–27 October 2011

{Inside} Sky Gardens

An Apartment-ful Of Troubles

A

s concrete eases out green, read how Gurgaonites are finding their own ways of injecting nature into their spaces. ...Pg 6

Our Police Stations

T

he inside story of the lives and working conditions of our city's guardians. A first hand view of our Police Stations. ...Pg 9

Happy & In School

A

day spent at Happy School, that ventures to make a difference in the lives of children from underprivileged families. ...Pg 12

Know Your Councillors

A

tête-à-tête with Subash Chand Singla, the Municipal Councillor for Ward No. 18; and Rajinder Singh Yadav, the Municipal Councillor for Ward No. 26. They hold forth on their plans, and the problems plaguing their constituents. ...Pg 13

Gurgaon's Drummers

W

e meet up with an enthusiastic group of music lovers, that have taken to congregating music enthusiasts, and drumming to the sounds of camaraderie. ...Pg 19

Green Buildings

W

e visit a few of Gurgaon’s greenest buildings—oases in an urban desert. The report features the multitude of ways in which these buildings conserve energy, minimize pollution, making for a welcome idyll in this concrete jungle. ...Pg 23

AG’s bath ‘n’ kitchen Modular Kitchen & Wardrobes with high class fittings (Hettich, Haffle, Grass, Kaff) All kinds of appliances (Microwave, Oven, Dishwasher, Sink, Hob, Chimney)

Now Open in Gurgaon

Presents

Festive Bonanza

Win an Assured gift on buying any Kaff Appliance 21-A, Ground Floor, OMAXE City Centre, Sohna Road, Gurgaon PH. 0124-4102257, 9312255121 252-C, Sant Nagar, Main Road, Opp. Church, New Delhi-65 PH. 91-11-26223530, 9810078263 Email: ageesbath@gmail.com Website: www.ageesbath.com

Attention Apartment Owners and Condominium RWAs Are you registered correctly, legally ? { Hritvick Sen / FG }

I

f you are living in an Apartment complex, a condominium, in Gurgaon - be aware. What if someone told you that the deed to the property that you have bought with your life’s savings, is not legally valid – that it has not been registered under the proper Act? That you should not be paying the ‘maintenance charge’ to your builder? That the RWA running your condominium has also not been registered under the proper Act? Or, that you could have been earning income, based on your share, from the Common Area & Facilities (CAF), of your condominium? These are the considered views of The Federation of Apartment Owners Association (FAOA), Haryana – an organization that has been fighting a long and lonely battle – for you. The President, Col. B.K. Dhawan – VSM (Retired) is leading this charge. He claims to have been instrumental in conceiving and launching the Army Welfare Housing Scheme in 1978. He is also a Vice President of JAFRA, helping with issues related to Apartments; and the President Emeritus of Silver Oaks Society. Most of the discussion in Gurgaon happens around land. And primarily on plots, plotted housings. However, there are several hundred multi-storeyed residential complexes; condominiums. They literally are a different act.

“What we are looking for, is immediate action on the following : ► All Registration for ownership of Apartments should be under Col. B.K. Dhawan HAOA 1983 ► All CAFs (Common Areas & Facilities) should be restored to the Apartment owners ► All RWA Registration must be under the Apartment Act, not the Societies Act ► There should be thorough and proper scrutiny of Declarations, given by builders, to the T&CP (Town & Country Planning) department, before approving, and allowing Registration (to check versus sanctioned plans, norms, and law). There should be a review of filed and approved Declarations also, especially where gross violations have taken place. ► No builders should be allowed to charge maintenance fee; that is the prerogative, and the authorized right, of the RWAs only. ► Strict action to be taken against misuse of EWS apartments.”

This issue has been highlighted since not everyone takes the pain to go through the laws, even while investing in precious assets like Apartments.. Let us hear what Col. Dhawan has to say. “In Gurgaon, apartments are not being registered under the Apartments Act, as they should be. They are registered under the Transfer of Property Act, 1882, which is not valid for Apartments. They should be registered under the Haryana Apartment Ownership Act (HAOA) 1983. The Maharashtra Apartments Act was the first in India (due to extensive high-rises that came up in Mumbai), and had borrowed from similar global Acts. The Haryana Apartment Ownership Act (1983) says that once a builder has paid the security, and started construction of the project, the company must first procure a ‘part-Completion Certificate’ from the relevant authority (here, the Town & Country Planning department); and then a Deed of Declaration, before a single apartment can be sold. In many cases of builder colonies, not a single Deed of Declaration, or even a part-Completion Certificate, has been given, or passed successfully. The sale of such apartments in not aligned with the law. The department of T&CP has the power to stop such glaring irregularities; Contd on p 8 

Money Can’t Buy You Peace Civic infrastructure takes Prime toll { Maninder Dabas / FG }

S

ome call Gurgaon a Millennium City; some, a city of dreams—where having a plotted house is nothing short of having a seat beside Caesar. No doubt, evolution has taken place at a breath-taking pace; and the city that used to be a barren piece of land at the feet of the Aravalis, has attained the edifice of success—much beyond expectations. Almost 20 lakh people call Gurgaon their home. Some by heart; and some by the way. But all the residents (natives as well as the ‘adopted”), bestowing this city with their trust, have been cheated—to a small or large extent—by its so called planners. The city is seriously short on basic civic infrastructure. Be it roads, sewage, security, water supply or electricity—on every front, the city has disappointed. A plotted house, and that too in a top private builders’ colony, is considered to be the signature of a king-sized life. But plots, covering a wide area, leave themselves more open—to civic impact. There are many kings in their respective castles; but dependent on external support for basic services. Unable to cope on their own, and

with no collective solution in sight, they have resigned themselves to a new life. More than a trickle have started shifting; from prime plotted housings, to condominiums—in search of a better quality of life. They are ”down-grading”, for the lack of essentials—water, electricity, and security ! It happens only in Gurgaon….

1. Lack of electric supply has been an old nemesis of Gurgaon; and it still haunts the city. 2. Gurgaon was a barren land—It never had much water in its womb; and this over-swelling of development

has further muddied the lessexistent waters. 3. Security is perhaps the only area where the difference between the plotted and apartment houses is overtly visible. At the end of the day, it’s the comfort, and a quality life, that we all earn for. Some “lucky” few: Kishori Lal Narender Wahi Pramod Bhandari

The exodus is on. Is it due to a more sensitive segment that lives in prime DLF plotted housings? Has it to do with age? Whatever. The pity is that residents of arguably the most desired plotted housings in Gurgaon, have had to change their residence plans, because the State and builders could not provide them the bare necessities of life. In a Millennium City. In 2011 AD. u


02

21–27 October 2011

Editor:

Atul Sobti

News Editor:

P. J. Menezes

Coming Up

THEATRE  ART  LIVE CONCERT  DANCE  FESTIVE CELEBRATIONS

Art

Woman Power @ Quill and Canvas, SG 082, Galleria, DLF Phase IV Date: Till Nov 3 Time: 11 am to 8 pm

Sr. Correspondents: Abhishek Behl Harsimran Shergill Correspondents:

Hritvick Sen Maninder Dabas

A

Shirin Mann

display of Ganesha paintings by Payal Bahl, and oil and acrylic paintings by Vallery Puri; and sculptures by Seema Singh Dua.

Sr. Photographers: Prakhar Pandey Sr. Sub Editors:

Anita Bagchi Shilpy Arora

Designers:

Virender Kumar Circulation Head:

Prem Gupta

Circulation Execs.:

Syed Mohd Komail

Sunil Yadav

M

etallica—an American heavy metal, and rock band from Los Angeles, will play in Gurgaon. For tickets, log on to the website: www.ticketgenie.in or call: +91 995 3333 047.

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

Mohiddin A Khan

Design Consultant: Qazi M Raghib Illustrations:

Durgadatt Pandey

Photography Consultant: Jitendra Sharma Business Consultant: Sanjay Bahadur

Editorial Office 213, Tower A, Spazedge, Sector 47, Sohna Road, Gurgaon 122001, Haryana Phones: +91 124 421 9091/92/93

Theatre

Same Time Next Year (Hinglish) @ Epicentre, Apparel House, Sector 44 Date: Oct 22 & Oct 23 Time: 7:30 pm Duration: 105 mins Ticket: Rs 150, 250 & 350

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.

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

TO SUBSCRIBE

1 year subscription ` 364

Special offer price ` 200 Savings No. of issues

display of works by Delhibased multimedia artist Aditya Pande, who is known for combining drawing and printmaking, with both photography and painting.

` 164 52

To get Friday Gurgaon* at your doorstep, email us at subscription@fridaygurgaon.com or SMS FGYES to 8447355801 *circulated only in Gurgaon

Dance

Art

D

irected by Saleem Shah, “Same Time Next Year” is a comedy play of 1975, written by a Canadian playwright—Bernard Slad. The play is suitable for those aged 16 and above.

Art

Happy Birthday @ Gallery Nature Morte, Plot No. 443, The Oberoi, Udyog Vihar Phase V Date: Till Oct 23 Time: 11 am to 9 pm

A

group show of paintings, drawings, graphic print, and sculptures by renowned artists—T Vaikuntam, Jagdish Chander, Trupti Patel, Sunil Gawde, Yusuf Arakkal, Latika Katt, Krishna Murari...

Festive Celebration Diwali Bazaar @ The Palm Town and Country Farms, Block B, Sushant Lok I Date: Oct 23 Time: 11 am to 9 pm

Nritya Sandhya @ Epicentre, Apparel House, Sector 44 Date: Oct 28 Time: 7:30 pm

A

A

Diwali mart, that will showcase gold-plated paintings and playing cards, Australian bed spreads, and potted plants with miniature landscape in them.

Kahtak performance by Moumala Nayak, an artiste of the Lucknow gharana of Kathak, and disciple of great Kathak Maestro Pt. Birju Maharaj.

Land of splendour and melody

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

Cover price

A

Group Show @ Gallerie Alternatives, 102 Mega Mall, Golf Club Road, DLF Phase I Date: Oct 28 to Oct 31 Time: 11 am to 7 pm

Emails: editor@fridaygurgaon.com letters@fridaygurgaon.com contributions@fridaygurgaon.com subscription@fridaygurgaon.com circulation@fridaygurgaon.com adsales@fridaygurgaon.com

Live Concert

F1 Rocks – Metallica @ Leisure Valley Ground, Sector 29 Date: Oct 28 Time: 4 pm

Manoj Raikwar

I

t was in the 18th century that Carnatic music acquired its grand present form. The growth and development of Carnatic music through the centuries is a testimony to the greatness of the Indian mind. Carnatic music - the representation of a rich cultural heritage of Karnataka—is also the essence of spirituality evolved Rawa Dosa out of the heart and brain of the pious ones, and the gurus of the past. Thus Carnatic music of Karnataka is the synonym to salvation and eternity. The 18th century saw the “trinity” of Carnatic music—Thyagaraja, Shamashastri and Muthuswami Dikshitar—compile their famous compositions. The basic form is a monophonic song, with improvised variations. There are 72 basic scales on the octave, and a rich variety of melodic motion. Both melodic and rhythmic structures are RASAM varied and compelling. In

contrast to Hindustani music of the northern part of India, Carnatic music is taught and learned through compositions, which encode many intricate musical details, also providing scope Bissi Bele for free improvisation. Carnatic music is usually performed by a small ensemble of musicians, who sit on an elevated stage. This usually consists of, at least, a principal performer, a melodic accompaniment, a rhythm accompaniment, and a drone. Concerts usually begin with a varnam, or an invocatory item, which acts as the opening piece. After the varnam, the artist sings longer compositions called kirtanas. Each kriti sticks to one specific raga, although some are composed with more than one raga; these are known as ragamalika. Nearly every rendition of a Carnatic music composition is different and unique, as it embodies elements of the composer’s vision, as well as the musician’s interpretation. Besides incense sticks, arecanut, silk, coffee and sandalwood, and the natural wonders Kanjivaram Idli

like mystic hills, shimmering waterfalls and lakes, and rich and varied wildlife, Karnataka gave richness to culture, and traditional grandeur to music that was born in the Indian subcontinent—soothing the mind, body and soul. Available at Culture Gully, Kingdom of Dreams.


21–27 October 2011

03

Guru Dance R

emo D’Souza is all set to launch a dance institute in the city. He was here for its inauguration on Wednesday. Remo’s Dance Institute is in Sahara Mall and JMD Arcade, MG Road; in association with M/s Bhargava Films Pvt Ltd. The Institute will provide an opportunity to the young talent of the city, in the field of dance, modelling, acting and music.

SHAKE A LEG: Remo, posing with a couple of his fans

IN THE GROOVE: Thrilled spectators danced, as Kailash Kher belted out popular numbers

Allah Kher Kare W

hen Kailash Kher takes to the stage, the audience is bound to get mesmerised. And that's exactly what happened last week at the Gymkhana Club, when Kailash Kher along with his band—Kailasa, performed. A heavy traffic jam did not dampen spirits, and the people gathered in large numbers. Dressed in red trouser, black shirt and a glittery green jacket, Kailash Kher looked all set for the entertainment that followed. The band bowled over the audience by playing a Haryanvi number, and then Kailash took over with some Sufi hits like, Allah Ke Bande Has De, and Teri Yaad Mein. Several times the audience rose to its feet, to give the musicians a standing ovation.

rs

ta A Night Wit h VH1 S D

ration has already e mood for celeb th t bu , ay rmed aw ek Naga Band, perfo iwali may be a we nal band, Alobo tio the na o er int int e ed m ca wn ga Band set in. A reno d loudly. Alobo Na ee re ok ee er ch e Ch nc at d die te eams was lis at BAHI. The au Dr ed int Pa d an gle 5, debut sin , Maroon limelight when its ts like Lady Gaga tis ar th wi ng alo p 10; America VH1 To ll. Bu Pit

ing at BAHI, to

Band perform OY!: Alobo Naga

BAND AH

a packed house

Soulful Renditions by Masoom and Sada

I

t was time for some soulful renditions by Masoom and Sada Thakur, at the Diwali Mela in Epicentre. The duo started off with Kiska Chehra Ab Main Dekhu, Tera Chehra Dekhkar; and then played some of the soul stirring compositions, like Wo Jo Hum Mein Tum Mein Karar Tha, Phool Jab Muskurane Lage, and Tere Masoom Sawaalon Ka.

SHAAM-E-GHAZAL: Masoom and Sada captivating the audience at Epicentre


04

21–27 October 2011

reviews

Eggciting Times

FOOD Aalok Wadhwa

A

n egg is always an adventure; the next one may be different,” said Oscar Wilde. And the next one at Eggriculture, a very small, almost minute café at the Supermart 1, is certainly an adventure. This one-month-old eatery is geared to serve eggs in 43 different forms. “My inspiration for this café came while I was enjoying a late night anda paratha under the Moolchand flyover,” says Harsh Mehra, who runs this place—ably assisted by his two young daughters. A consequence of that nocturnal nibble is a menu that is varied and tempting(at prices ranging from Rs 60 to Rs 110), to want to order the full monty. I curb my enthusiasm, and ask the owner for his recommendations. The first dish to arrive is a Kerala staple—muttai roast with Malabar parathas (Rs 90). It looks inviting, and tastes very good. After all, how can one go wrong with hard-boiled eggs; which are then fried golden brown, and served with a base of caramelised onions (that have been tempered with garam masala and pepper), and served with a flaky multilayered paratha? I am curious about the next dish that I have ordered. Omelette kozhambu (Rs 90) is actually an omelette curry. The omelette originated in the Mesopotamian civilisation, where beaten eggs were mixed with chopped herbs, fried until firm, and then sliced into wedges. It is fascinating to see how the Dravidian civilisation has interpreted. Omelette in a spicy coconut-based curry turns out to be a tasty idea, with the omelette developing a soft, velvety texture, when coming in contact with the curry. Baida Kheema Pao (Rs 90) is a

variation of the once ubiquitous meal served at every Irani restaurant in Mumbai. It is robustly spiced chicken kheema, and a mini omelette, in a buttered bun. It hits the spot, and brings back the true Mumbai flavours. Palak ke funde (Rs 90) is a fresh tasting dish of spinach and eggs, tossed in garlic and cream, and served with a crispy paratha. Some hiccups are to be expected from a restaurant that is a month old. Egg Florentine (Rs 110) is supposed to be a variant of Egg Benedict, where spinach takes the place of ham. What I get served is the creamed spinach and eggs, with some cheese added to it. Now it does taste agreeable, but perhaps needs to be rechristened. A bigger disappointment is Chicken Minced Steak (Rs 150), which turns out to be little chicken koftas floating in sludgy looking gravy. The apple and cheese omelette dessert (Rs 90) is missing in cheese or any sweetness—and is just a bland omelette with hurriedly chopped apple bits bunged in. Having said that, what this café does exceedingly well is the vast variety of Indian dishes. Their taste, and the attractive prices, will make you want to keep coming back for the eggsperience.u Eggriculture B-115, Super Mart 1, DLF Phase IV, Gurgaon +91 9971595673 Cuisine: Egg, others Timing: 10 am to 11 pm

BOOK

New Age Masala Vijaya Kumar has been a lot of good Indian writing in English in the last five years or Tso;here but the creators of most of those—like

Arundhati Roy and Vikram Seth—had an intelligent, erudite global audience for their work. In short, they wrote for the classes. Chetan made no such pretensions. His 300 page novels were not meant to be classics; they did not have a vast canvas, and were designed for reading at a stretch. But two factors helped Chetan’s unique positioning. One was that the characters consisted of the Aam Janta , with whom the average college going student could immediately relate; and two, the writing style was conversational. A series of incidents, closely mirroring happenings in Bollywood dramas, added flesh to them; and a best-seller was created! Bollywood has lapped him up with relish; and I have just heard that Karan Johar and Ranbir Kapoor may be working on his previous creation—2 States. I picked up Chetan’s latest publication, titled Revolution 2020 (with a by-line Love.Corruption. Ambition) and completed it in two sittings. His latest creation has all that one has begun to expect REVOLUTION 2020 GENRE: Fiction Author: Chetan Bhagat PUBLISHER: Rupa & Co. PRICE: Rs. 140

CINEMA

Motion, No Emotion

composing the music. Force begins well; in fact the opening shot of John Abraham clutching at a rock face reminds one of a similar shot in from Chetan Bhagat: a little bit of life as Cliffhanger. However, the biggest letdown a rascal; romance (this time against the is John himself for, despite his six-pack background of corruption in education) structure and handsome looks, he just VK and some sermonizing for public good. does not emote. True, the character he Talking of life as a rascal suddenly reminds plays is that of a tough cop who is emoikipedia defines Force as an influme of David Dhawan’s latest disaster tionless; but even such a character needs ence that causes an object to undertitled Rascals, where the two characters to be emoted! Surprisingly, the best pergo a change in shape, speed or direction. portraying the rascals are called Chetan formance comes from debutant Vidyut I am not quite sure as to what Nishikant and Bhagat!! The story of an uneducated Jamwal in the role of the cold and Kamat, the director of the Bollywood person striking it big was excellently ruthless villain; he certainly will win the Production—Force, had in mind when crafted in Arvind Adiga’s award winning best villain award for this year. Genelia naming the movie thus; but after seeing maiden novel, The White Tiger. Chetan is forever playing the effervescent bubbly the movie, I can surmise that there could takes the same theme, embellishes it with genial girl, and so perhaps script writers have been three reasons closely linked a love triangle, a blasphemous criticism pen their scripts keeping this in mind; with the Wikipedia definition. In the movie, of the functioning of AICTE (All India even her open expression of her desire John Abraham, playing the cop, beats the Council for Technical Education), murky to make love to the thugs out of shape; local politics and the power of goons, life in there are numerous cop sounds childlike, Kota tutorial factories, unholy episodes in rather than adult. chase sequences holy Varanasi; and tops it up with dollops One of the songs involving the good of messages on sacrifice, and the press is based on a Tamil hit guys chasing the as an instrument for bringing out real in the original version, bad guys and vice revolution... but the rest of the versa, indicative With such a script, numbers do not make of speed; and the can Bollywood be far a deep impression. In producer Vipul Shah behind? Who knows, a movie whose story would have felt that even Prakash Jha line is based on the the muscle display may be tempted to same good versus would surely influredo Aarakshan with bad formula, merely ence cinema buffs to this story! I can even having a macho rush in the direction visualise some of the hero and a macho of the screening Force dialogues in such a villain isn’t enough. theatres! Directed by: Nishikant Kamat movie, translated in You must also have Force is a CAST: John Abraham, Genelia D’Souza, a racy script that Hinglish from some of remake of the 2003 Vidyut Jamwal, and Raj Babbar. the lines. Sample this: races faster than the Tamil Hit—Kaaka GENRE: Thriller “I switched on the same thought processes of Kaaka. It was deftly fan that helped Manoj the viewers; the origidirected by Gautam check out of the entrance Menon, brilliantly enacted by Surya—and nal Kaaka Kaaka was successful because exam called Life.” Or this: had foot tapping music by Harris Jayaraj. of this. And if one were to take an example “Big deal, I could take from Bollywood, Aamir’s Ghajini would be The movie won quite a few awards that Death. I’m from Varanasi, year, and therefore, it merits analysis as a good benchmark. Otherwise, the audiwhere the world comes ences will run in a direction away from the to why the Hindi remake is not as forceful to die!” Impressed? Read as the Tamil original; despite a competent movie house, at a speed that will cause the book. If not, wait for a director like Nishikant Kamat of Mumbai the maker’s finances go out of shape. It movie to be made. u will be a force of a different kind. u Meri Jaan fame, and Harris Jayaraj again

W


06 { Harsimran Shergill / FG }

W

hen Sunrita Sengupta moved into her apartment at the National Media Centre, she missed her garden. But in a metropolitan city like Gurgaon, where every square centimetre comes at a price, having a house with a garden is a luxury with enormous price tags. Sunrita found the answer in a terrace garden. As the city grows by leaps and bounds, Gurgaonites are finding their own ways of injecting nature into the limited spaces available. “Terrace gardening can be a messy process. There is a lot of hard work in maintenance. It may seem simple, but it requires dedication to keep it growing well,” Sengupta explains.

How to begin

Gardens In The Sky further strengthened by fibre sheets. This process takes about two months, and can cost upwards of Rs. 25,000 (depending on the area). The next step is to look for a landscape artist who can design the garden. First spread a thick plastic sheet across the terrace, and layer it with river stones; and then add a net, to prevent the soil from draining and eroding. When this basic foundation has been laid, a mixture of earth and manure is spread out on top. Then grass is sown. The earth is usually between six inches to nine inches deep; and therefore the base needs to be pretty strong—otherwise it might give way after a few years.

As the city grows by leaps and bounds, Gurgaonites are finding their own ways of injecting nature into the limited spaces What to plant

According to R.S. Rajawat, Founder Director of Nature View Landscape Pvt. Ltd, who also has a Masters Degree in Horticulture, “Flower beds can be made, and all sorts of plants can be grown. One of the things

GREEN EXTENSION: Terrace gardens require dedication and daily maintenance to grow well

that you cannot grow, for obvious reasons, is a tree. Rajawat recommends plants with short roots, and of an evergreen nature; as compared to big plants, or those that require a lot of water. Rajawat recommends planting big plants in pots. Considering there is no natural shade for the gruelling summer months, artificial shade needs to be created to protect the plants. Fibre-rooted plants are preferred to tap root plants. In case of the latter, the plants have the tendency to grow through the building, thereby causing harm to it. Make sure that the soil you use does not exert much pressure on the building. The adequate soil for the purpose is soil rite or peat moss. However, MONEY SHARMA

For starters, one requires a minimum of 250 sq. feet of space. The first and extremely important step is to have your terrace waterproofed. Otherwise, it runs the risk of leaks, which could be your neighbours’ nightmare. Also, the terrace must be strengthened, so that it can take the weight of earth, grass, plants and vegetables. The best way to go about it is to have a contractor come to inspect the area. There are numerous contractors in the city who specialise in terrace gardens and landscaping. If the building is new, one can go for proper water proofing—with slopes—and can have a natural garden. For old terraces, however, one needs to create a base above the ground level, with iron frames; which are

Lifestyle

21–27 October 2011

since it is a costly material, you can blend it either with garden earth or manure.”

Structuring a Terrace Garden

Unlike any other type of gardening, a terrace garden requires detailed planning. There should be proportion among the elements—the pots, lawns, shrubs, ground cover, and small trees. If desired, you can also assimilate the concept of a water garden or rock garden; or create a shade structure on your roof garden. There are other important points to be remembered. When making a terrace garden, do not forget to get a water connection at the roof; else be pre-

Welcome Change { Harsimran Shergill / FG }

S

tarting her career with a jingle on AIR FM, she’s dabbled in various formats—from singing mainstream pot boilers like Sajnaa Aa Bhi Jaa (her instant shot to glory), to performing in the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony 2010, to endorsing Gibson guitars in India. Singer Shibani Kashyap, like her album, My Free Spirit, is sort of a vagabond, shuttling between Mumbai and Gurgaon. She speaks to FG about coming home to the Millennium City.

Q From Delhi to Mumbai, and now Gurgaon. How did you decide to settle here?

A

For the most part of my life I’ve lived in Delhi; and then work took me to Mumbai; where yet another life started. Over the years, I’ve worked in Mumbai, but home has always been Delhi. Ultimately, my parents decided to move to Gurgaon some years back; and ever since, every trip up North means meeting family in Gurgaon. It has become home for me now.

Q How has the change been?

A

Unlike I imagined, I prefer living in Gurgaon than Delhi. Initially it was uncomfortable, and not easy moving from South Delhi (where most events are happening), to a suburb. However, there are certain aspects that make this city stand out. For me, it is a sense of sanity that comes from living here; it’s like living in the countryside. Also, one of the reasons why I decided to move here was my parents.

Q Did you have to alter certain aspects of your life to fit in better?

A

DELIGHTFUL DIVA: Shibani Kashyap strikes a pose

pared to carry buckets, to water the plants! If the roof is quite a large one (more than 500 sq. ft.), you need to construct drains at several places. Pipes need to be placed at several openings, leading to the main outlet(s). According to Om Prakash, a local gardener, “The months of February and March are ideal to start terrace gardening; because by the time the monsoon comes, the earth has settled down and the garden is in place.” Sunrita sums it up, “It is not just a walk in the park—there is need for daily maintenance. However, it is worth the pain. I might not be trained in the field of horticulture, but seeing my flowers blossom makes my day.” u

No, on the contrary, I love living in Gurgaon. There is a sense of calm that one can find in the city. In Delhi it is impossible to find a serene place in

your backyard. Living in Delhi, I couldn’t imagine the thought of having an open space or a garden in my house. Gurgaon makes all that possible. Furthermore, it’s far less polluted, and the air is fresher.

Q What according to you are some of the city’s drawbacks?

A

Considering I can never find my way around the city, I think the streets are poorly marked. Another area is hygiene, which I think requires serious attention in Gurgaon.

Q If you were given the opportunity of heading the Municipal Corporation, Gurgaon for a day, what would be the first thing you would correct?

A

I think my answer would be the same as that of many Gurgaonites. If given such an opportunity, roads would be the first area I would look into. Considering that the city is amongst one of the most popular international hubs for MNCs and corporates, we need to provide at least the most basic of facilities. Even for the common commuter, Gurgaon roads need to be given serious attention.

Q Professionally, what are the opportunity like for a singer?

A

There have been a few gigs that I’ve done in the city; but largely I head back to Mumbai or Delhi for work. Although the trend of live bands performing in the city is steadily rising, there is still time for Gurgaon to catch up with Mumbai’s music industry.

Q What do you do to unwind in the city?

A

I usually go out with my family to the Palms Club. It’s a great place to bond with family, and spend some time with friends. Other than that, my brother is also a member of DLF Club, where we often go whenever I’m in Gurgaon. u


21–27 October 2011

C ivic/Social

07

Season’s Greetings

DURGADATT PANDEY

There are times … nothing can go wrong There are times … nothing seems to go right Ever wondered why? To find out ‘what creates the magic’ join Jaspal Bajwa, a business leader who has held senior operational roles in leading global organizations. His workshops inspire :

Two Day Workshop for Authentic Leadership 16 - 17 December 2011 Venue: Hotel Claridges, Surajkund Registration Fees (including accommodation): Rs. 25,000/-

 Resilience in leadership  Break-through performance  Sustainable wealth creation  Celebration of work-life balance

Workshop: “Towards becoming a Global Manager”

For Whom Executives, business owners and professionals who are committed to making a difference in their businesses and communities through the practice of inspirational leadership.

20 December 2011 Venue: Hotel Claridges, Surajkund Registration Fees: Rs. 15,000/-

To register and for more information: Contact : 098 101 70678 – J.P. Singh jpsingh@justplainandsimple.com www.sunyacircle.com

CO - CREATE !

CO NTR I B U TE !

C E L E B R AT E !


08

21–27 October 2011

C ivic/Social

An Apartment-ful Of Troubles  Contd from p 1 but why it has not done so is an unanswered question. The HAOA comprehensively covers all Issues of ownership, management, and maintenance of Apartments, in condominiums. For the registration of an Apartment, only a 1 or 2 page Deed of Apartment is needed. It is to be based on the Deed of Declaration that a builder has to file – prior to selling any flat, apartment – and has to conform to approved plans, norms, and law – for group housing schemes. The Department of Town & Country Planning (T&CP) needs to ensure that Declarations are in line with approved plans. There have been many disputable approvals. Even new apartments are not being registered under the Apartments Act. Plotted colonies (land, houses) fall under the Societies Act, 1860 Charter – and are registered with the Registrar of Societies. Apartments fall under the specific Apartments Act, in which specific statutory byelaws have been framed, for the functioning of group housings in high rise buildings. The right law is Section 3(D) of the Apartment Act, which says that the ‘association of apartment owners is a body of all the apartment owners acting as a group in accordance with the bye-laws in the Declaration.’ The registration of such associations under the Societies Act leaves the bodies vulnerable to exploitation by the builders. The ‘Declaration’ under the Apartment Act stipulates the percentage of interest in the common areas of each apartment owner. This regulates the association's functioning, and is not a part of the Societies Act. Therefore, it is also beyond the scope of the Registrar of Societies. According to the Section 3(B) of the Act, an apartment owner is defined as “person or persons owning an apartment and undivided interest in the common areas and facilities in the percentage specified and established”. When an apartment is sold, the buyer gets a ‘Conveyance Deed’ under the Transfer of Property Act (1988), saying that the person is now the proud part-owner of the apartment. However, the law says that the Transfer of Property Act (1988) is not applicable in such sales;

and the Apartment Act is the relevant law. Furthermore, a Deed of Apartment is to be issued, and not a Conveyance Deed. Under the Indian Contract Act, the buyer is not at fault here – as the contract itself is null and void. The Apartment Act in fact saw Apartment complexes from a social welfare point of view. The Apartment owners have rights – esp. of the Common Area & Facilities (CAF) – in proportion of their ownership. This right has been usurped by the builders. There are alleged

An apartment owner is defined as “person or persons owning an apartment and undivided interest in the common areas and facilities in the percentage specified and established” cases of schools, health clubs, and community centres that have come up in “CAF” areas. Some of the condominiums have filed legal cases for these transgressions – some over a decade ago.The sale of CAF and EWS (Economically Weaker Sections) apartments by builders is illegal - they are part of the joint Apartment ownership. EWS apartments were made to accommodate the people in charge of providing essential services within the complex – for maintenance, and disaster management. These apartments cannot be sold; they have to be allotted, by the RWAs. Apartments, Condominiums are self contained entities. They are even beyond the legal power of MCG, within their premises. On the issue of maintenance, everyone who stays in an apartment knows that he or she has to pay for the maintenance of the building. It includes the maintenance of the lifts, parks, parking, inside roads and the building itself. The rates differ across condominiums.. According to the law, the entire housing project should be handed over to the housing complex RWA, after a period of five years. And the cost of maintenance is to be borne from the charges levied for the

THE WEEK THAT WAS • Power crisis continues; coal shortage, impact on water supply, “dark” Deepawali?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

• Maruti situation still unstable - strike declared illegal; workers return; however, it has spread to multiple units; workers not

common areas of the housing project – such as the commercial establishments inside the complex, like TV cable service, etc. The funds left over, after taking care of the maintenance costs, can be divided amongst the apartment owners, according to their share/ part-ownership in the facility. Or of course kept as a reserve for contingencies. Instead, many builders’ maintenance offices have been charging fees for maintenance for the past several years, besides taking a hefty amount as ‘maintenance security’. Why are developers – both public and private – continuing to maintain colonies, societies, apartments, commercial offices? (And doing a poor job at even that.) As per law, only RWAs can levy maintenance chargesnot builders, or builders’ bodies. Builders have tried to run parallel condominium associations, some even by nonapartment owners. In one case, an estate manager of a builder became the RWA President (just a simple hand-over, from the left to the right hand). Many builders, even today, are yet to hand-over the maintenance of condominiums to RWAs. In fact, builders are supposed to provide free maintenance for 5 years, post handing over. Also, different complexes are being run differently – almost on private laws! Conversely, RWAs of Apartment complexes must pay civic maintenance (not paying today), to the respective public/ private builders, for maintenance of civic infrastructure outside of the condominium; and for providing civic services upto the doorstep of the condominium. It is a separate matter that mostly such infrastructure is substandard. The RWAs must pay, and recover the amount from residents. MCG has recently started collecting civic fee from commercial establishments in multiplexes. FAOA has filed a legal case on some of these matters, under MRTPC. There is also a separate legal case pending, with the Supreme Court, involving a private builder, and owners of 2 condominiums – where the CCI (Competition Commission of India) has already ruled in favour of the latter. On the FAOA case, the High Court gave a judgement on 9/9/09, with directions to the Director T&CP to resolve the matter in 6 months.

satisfied. Company may look for avenues outside Gurgaon

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

• ATM robbery attempt at Sohna Road

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

(The case was fast tracked, with 25 sessions being held in 9 days – from 1/9 to 9/9).The builders have appealed to the Supreme Court, on the definition of an Apartment (in view of an amendment of the Apartments Act, that added commercial establishments within its purview). FAOA claims that it has no impact, as the status of residential apartments remains unchanged. So, ostensibly for a definition, this matter has been stalled, since September 2009. FAOA have petitioned the Chief Justice, for an early hearing. FAOA also says that some RTI replies are also pending. Are we going to see an impact on Apartments already registered? On legal ownership and marketable title? Will this ensure a far more compliant approval and registration process in future? The matter has reached the highest court in the land – their decision, as always, will reign supreme. The view from the other side, and others...

An association of apartment owners is a body of all the apartment owners acting as a group in accordance with the bye-laws in the Declaration. The registration of such associations under the Societies Act leaves the bodies vulnerable to exploitation by the builders Although this issue, highlighted by FAOA, is seemingly strongly backed by law, it has yet to be acted upon (even perhaps acknowledged) by the Town & Country Planning department, and some builders. Assistant Town & Country Planner Rajendra Sharma says, “How can we give the partCompletion Certificate and the Completion Certificate, when the builders have not done what they had said in their proposal? When a builder comes to us for a housing project, there

are certain stipulations that need to be fulfilled/completed, before any certificate of completion can be issued by us. Otherwise, the security amount given to us by the builder is withheld by us.” When asked as to how any apartment can be sold without the Completion Certificate, Sharma differed, “It's a question of items not being built as per the agreement. That's why we withheld the issuance of the certificate. But that does not mean a builder cannot sell what he has created.” Senior Town and Country Planner Yusuf Raza Mansuri says, “Everything related to the sale of flats is regulated by the Amended Composition Policy (as of 30th May, 2011).” Dhawan comments, “The policy has nothing to do with the case of Apartment complexes.” On the issue of the transfer of maintenance and common areas, a senior official of a builder company says, “I haven’t heard about this, but what I know is. No hand-over can take place without the Completion Certificate. And this applies to the hand-over of property, the maintenance, or even the common areas. The Completion Certificate is subject to construction of all that was agreed to, at the time of the proposal of the housing project. And it can be any builder at any place. Whether the charge is taken over by the Municipal Corporation, or the Residents’ Association, the Completion Certificate is something without which this can’t happen.” On the registration of property under the Transfer of Property Act, and not under the Apartment Act, activist Raman Sharma says, “The only reason why this is happening is that there is money to be made by the parties. The Apartment Act is the only relevant law in regard to this; and what is happening is in absolute contravention. And this is not the only case of gross violation. The builders are charging the residents for common areas, or usurping their rights (like the sale of basement parking, or even open parking). This facility is already included in the initial payment of the apartment to the builder.” u (FG – as one can see, some replies clearly do not address the basic issue of the HAOA Act, and its implications).

(esp Hero Honda Chowk); and civic infrastructure

their mettle, at their base in Manesar

• A major fire broke out in Ghata village, gutting hundreds of jhuggis

• First batch of 47 radio taxis launched; call 011 41004100

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

• New intra-city bus service to ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ be launched in 4 months - 100 • Dengue threat is serious buses claims many lives

• Robbery in Heritage City, worth lakhs in cash/jewellery; 4 domestic help are suspects

• MP Rao Inderjit Singh visits Gurgaon, along senior officials of NHAI, and the Administration.To review the issues on NH8

• FIR filed against an ex-airline housing society manager. Accused of misappropriation of over Rs 10 lakhs

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

• Policemen shot at by a Rewari based gang, near border; few arrests made

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

• NSG commandos show


21–27 October 2011

C ivic/Social

09

Will The Force Be With The Police? PRAKHAR PANDEY

{ Hritvick Sen / FG }

T

his is a police story. Of the policeman and his post. And his work. The public’s main contact with the police (outside of traffic), is through police stations dotting the city. The city of Gurgaon has 26 police stations. The older ones are single-storey, and a little run-down; the newer ones are two-storeyed and neatly maintained. As a rule, each police station has a commanding Station House Officer (SHO), of the rank of Inspector; along with other Inspectors, Sub-Inspectors, Assistant Sub-Inspectors, a Munshi, Head Constables and Beat Constables. If the manpower falls short, the police borrows from the Haryana Armed Police (HAP), and the Indian Reserve Battalion (IRB). A police station has to be equipped with a wireless room. This keeps every man on the force connected with the headquarters, at all times. The police station also has a computer room, with two operators. There are the mandatory holding cells, or lock-ups; separate for men and women. On the transportation front, each police station has a fourwheeler (in Haryana’s case, Maruti Gypsy), and multiple two-wheelers equipped with wireless transceivers, for patrolling the area. Apart from the parking for the personnel and the complainants, the police station’s compound also doubles up as a lot for impounded vehicles. According to the Haryana Police Act (2007), police personnel are supposed to be on duty at all times. That, and the transfer of personnel, means that the police station also serves as living quarters for the majority of the force. If people are living in a building, it follows that there should be a dormitory, a kitchen, a mess, and recreational facilities. And the police stations have been provided these. The Sadar Police Station at Subhash Chowk is relatively new. The station Inspector Inderjeet outlines his day, “An average day goes into full-time patrolling. In the morning, from nine onwards, we station our constables at and around the banks of our area. That stretches till late afternoon. Then, we put up check-points from evening onwards. At night, a portion of our force, with a PCR Gypsy, stand at the Rajeev Chowk. The rest circulate in the area, maintaining a continuous police presence.” Rubbing red-rimmed eyes, Inspector Inderjeet orders tea. “I, along with two others, have been on duty since last night. I get just four hours of sleep, and then it’s time to report to the station. Everyone in here puts a minimum duty of 15 hours. Only then can we say that, we have the area completely covered.” He adds, “We have a decent number of HAP to support us. Besides that, it is up to the senior officials. Besides the mobile staff, we have two computer operators, who are responsible for the functioning of the computer room. Every police personnel also receives computer education, in his year-long Basic Training,” Inderjeet says. For the size and the reputation of DLF Phase I, the Po-

The computer room at the Sadar Police Station

DLF Phase-I Police Station (L), and the Sadar Police Station

lice Station reminds one of a small suburban thana. This station is among the oldest police stations in New Gurgaon. The single-storey structure serves a major section of DLF and adjoining areas (as far as Bandhwari), with a force almost a quarter of what’s needed. In other police stations across the city, there are waiting rooms and seating arrangements for the public. Here, there is a wooden khatiya in front of the constable’s desk, where the complainants can sit while their First Information Report is being (FIR) lodged. The building has seen recent renovation, as there is tiled flooring—and new rooms are being attached to the original construction. The Civil Lines Police Station also needs attention. According to the Munshi Zakir Hussain, the Station has a working staff of 105. But again, the bulk of the manpower consists of HAP and the IRB.

Dump yards?

A matter less reported is the storing of recovered/impounded vehicles at the police stations across the city. Over time, this has led to ‘junkyards’ being built up at each police station. Each

police station has around 100 or so vehicles (motorcycles, cars and the odd truck or two) rusting away in its backyard.

Woes of the overworked, underpaid

A policeman deputed to the station says, “With our meagre staff, we are almost always on duty. The residents complain that there is not enough patrolling done; but would someone come down and see what we’re working with?” He adds, “Policing aside, the personnel who stay have to arrange for food, and small amenities like laundry. The allowance given to us by the government falls quite short for food, and we have to put in money from our salaries for rations, and the cost of the cook.” “We often have to pay with our salaries to fill the diesel and the petrol of the vehicles. Add to it the cost of living here. We can’t send our children to good schools, as we get just Rs. 500 per child per month. Which school can we afford on that? I want my children to have a better life than what I’m having, but it is just not possible,” another police official says. In some police stations, there is not even a provision for potable water.

The approach to Sadar Police Station (L), and DLF Phase I Police Station

Where’s the manpower?

A police official says, “Yes, we wish to reduce the crime rate. But what can we do when we don’t have adequate manpower for the job? The people here are overworked. They don’t get furloughs to go home and see their families.” Gurgaon’s Joint Commissioner of Police Alok Mittal says, “There is a process, and it has to be followed. The exam for recruitment is a rigorous one. By the time fresh recruits are selected, a year has gone by. The basic training takes another year. So, we’re seeing a lag of two years between our demand and supply. Plus, there is the matter of personnel retiring.” Gurgaon Citizen Council’s R.S. Rathee says, “There’s a need for introducing the earlier years’ beat policing system. In our area, there’s a need to police the inside roads. That is not happening. At night, when the police are needed, they’re missing.”

Tech-support for the force

There are big plans for upgrading the police stations’ technology support. “There is an ongoing Crime and Criminal

Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS) project, that will seriously boost the police station’s capacity to maintain law and order,” says J.C. Alok Mittal. The CCTNS, the Union Home Ministry’s flagship project, will be in place in Panchkula and Gurgaon for the state of Haryana. “Soon, there will be a CCTNS lab in every State, and 14,000 thanas across the country will be connected. “Imagine, every criminal record and crime across the country can be looked up in a snap. If a car is stolen in Karnataka and recovered here, the owner would be notified within days of the car being recovered,” Mittal says. Plus, he says, “Around 450 cameras across the city are being hardwired into the police records. This work is being done by a company called Level One. Soon, cameras in every mall and office building will be accessible by the police, giving us real-time data.” But on the other hand, some of the technology already installed at the Police Stations is poorly utilised. For example, the biometric entry system installed in several of the Police Stations is defunct. In Civil Lines Police Station, the main door of the station, leading into the courtyard, is protected by the biometric system. However, the door itself is absent! There is a serious shortage of police personnel in this Millennium City. Manpower has been requisitioned for traffic, and police posts. The sheer numbers asked for provide the answer to how under-staffed they are; and consequently how stretched their current staff are. Police Stations are working with the support of the HAP and the IRB, but transferable staff suffer from the lack of knowledge of the area they’re supposed to be protecting. What the police need is a massive infusion of fresh, permanent staff, that can take the load off the currently overworked force. Technology cannot substitute the basic role of policing, beyond a point; it can definitely enhance productivity and results. As a constable puts it, “Technology and gadgets can only take you so far. The public needs reassurance in the form of a uniformed policeman in his neighbourhood. Only then, will law and order have form and substance.” Of course, the police themselves need to see that all the staff perform the tasks well, on a consistent basis. We do see laxity on the street; and in police stations. The senior police personnelDeputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) upwards­ —need to ensure that the current personnel are supported well— with their basic requirements (facilities at the premises, food, transport) being adequate; and on the same level across the city. The Commissioner and the Administration cannot delay the extra resources, in this the prime city of Haryana. While the current focus of the citizens is on poor civic infrastructure, it would be an irony if increased crime, serious crime took its place. Nothing concerns a citizen more than his safety. u


10

C ivic/Social PRAKHAR PANDEY

21–27 October 2011

Public Transport

Bus Service New intra-city bus service, in about 4 months. 100 buses – 40 semi-low-floor; 20 A/C, 40 standard (Haryana Roadways) Timings – 6am to 10pm Fare – Rs. 5, 10, 15 – for standard buses (Depending on distance)

A MATTER OF CHOICE: Upendra and Babita Kaul relax in the garden at their residence in Sector 46, as Upendra’s mother looks on

Here To Stay A journey from Kashmir to Gurgaon { Harsimran Shergill / FG }

U

pendra Kaul recollects how his elders gathered around a winter fire, sharing the poetry of some of Kashmir’s great poets—like Habba Khatoon, Ghulam Ahmad Mahjoor and Rupa Bhawani. From a house amidst a thick canopy of chinar trees in Kashmir, the Kaul family moved to New Delhi; to secure their lives and that of their children—away from the threats of fundamentalists. Upendra Kaul, a 41-year-old self-employed businessman, was soon at a crossroads. Should he move to Gurgaon, or Noida, as both were rapidly developing districts. Upendra decided on Gurgaon, because of affordability, and moved in 1997—with his wife Babita and children. Today Babita feels more of a Gurgaonite than most born and brought up in the city. She is vociferous about the city’s development— or lack of it. “My father-in-law was the Principal of the Regional Engineering College (REC), Srinagar. We began to get death threats from militant groups. Packing up from Kashmir, where he was born and brought up, was an extremely emotional decision for the family. Our house was surrounded by chinar trees, which now have become somewhat synonymous with the Valley,” recalls Upendra, sitting in his residence in Sector 46. Moving to Gurgaon in the late 90s, the Kauls moved to a very different city, compared to what they see now. “Gurgaon then was in the initial stage of the developing boom. When we moved here, there were large open spaces with green fields, unlike now; where one specifically has to go to Leisure Valley,” says Babita 40, who works as a Manager at MTNL, New Delhi. The Kauls chose Gurgaon over Noida because it was closer to their workplace. Today Babita regrets that decision, since she feels Noida has developed in a far more “organised way” than the Millennium City. Babita, who’s also the Secretary of the Sector-46 Resident Welfare Association, says her active involvement

with the city’s infrastructural problems gives her an insight as to how haphazard Gurgaon’s development has been. She explains, “Large builders promise their customers a dream home; without the most basic of amenities. You should come and see Sector 46 after the rains. The sewers are flowing out in the open; children have no option other than to walk through the muck. The roads are a mockery in the face of the administration. And through the day, electricity backup is unavailable. This Millennium City is a village—even in modern times.” Not wanting to sound only negative or pessimistic about the city, she quickly adds, “There are of course, some things that stand out well. For instance, schooling for children is at par with international standards. Since the city caters to multiple cultures and people across India, schooling for children

has gone from good to excellent. Today my children go to the Heritage School, and I see a marked difference in their level of confidence.” While Babita speaks of them with pride, Jivesh Kaul, 14 and his sister Akanksha Kaul (12), sit obediently. “For me, Gurgaon is home,” says Jivesh in a purely matter of fact way. His sister, on the other hand, says she likes the city because all her friends live around the corner; and school is fun. In addition to this, the Kauls, every once in a while, venture out to the malls at MG Road and Fun City—for wholesome entertainment. Upendra Kaul concludes, “For an average Indian, buying a house is the ultimate dream. Since we live in Gurgaon, this is where home is.” Even though they nostalgically remember their home back in Kashmir, the Kauls unanimously say they are here to stay. u

Will act as feeder bus service for the metro rail. Proximity to every residential sector. Service at 10 minute intervals. 3 routes in new Gurgaon; 3 in old Routes will be in a loop – clockwise and anti-clockwise (like the Delhi Mudrika service). None of the routes will cross NH8 – to cross, one will need to change buses. One trunk route from Manesar to Delhi border toll plaza, and onward to Karol Bagh (25 buses will ply this route). Bus queue shelters will be constructed. Buses will be fitted with GPRS.

Taxi Service Call 011 41004100

47 new private radio taxis, from Super Cabz. Rate of Rs 10 per km for economy taxis; Rs 20 per km for luxury; Rs 30 per km for super luxury taxis. Fitted with GPS. 53 more by November end.

Food Take

As of October 19, 2011 All Prices in Rs/kg.

Area/ vegetables

HUDA Sector 14

Sector 56

South City 1

DLF City Phase 5

Sadar Bazar

Sohna Road

Safal

Reliance Fresh

Potato (old/new)

24/16

15/20

8/20

10 / 24

8 /18

30

12/27

5.25

Onion

28

20

18

30

15/24

32

25

17

Tomato

35

30

28

40

20– 25

40

45

25

Cucumber

28

25

24

30

20

30

30

24

Apples

100 – 120

100– 120

120– 150

80 – 150

60 –120

120

110

60 – 150

Spinach

35

25

25

30

25

20

30

15

Ladies’ finger

35

30

30

36

30

45

40

24

Cauliflower

60

50

35

50

40

60

60

25

Mutton

280 – 300

280 – 300

320

280 – 300

280

280

--

--

Chicken

150 – 160

140 – 150

160 – 170

140

140

140

--

--


21–27 October 2011

C ivic/Social

11

Gurgaon Beckons India { Harsimran Shergill / FG }

A young couple begins a millennium life

B

orn and brought up in Dehradun, Varun Aggarwal (29) and his wife Chandini Suri Aggarwal (29), moved to the Millennium City, in search of better job opportunities. Today five years later, residents of Sector 56, they are beginning to see the city as their home, and call it their “working territory”. “My family and I moved to Gurgaon some five years back. I have studied and graduated in Dehradun; and typical of any small town residents, my wife and I had to look further afield for job opportunities. This is what got us to Gurgaon,” says Varun Aggarwal, recently blessed with a baby daughter. Working as National Account Manager at Vodafone, Varun Aggarwal recalls how he started his life in the city – being placed, after his management degree, at Bharti; and then moved to Hewlett Packard. “It was a big change for my family and me. We have seen this city grow manifold in just five years. Apart from a booming real estate industry, Gurgaon’s proximity to the National Capital is the reason why this city has exploded – with MNCs, corporates, and an ever growing work force,” explains Varun. His wife, Chandini Suri Aggarwal, is also a part of that workforce. Packing to leave for Dehradun with their little daughter, who’s not even a month old, she says, “Living in Gurgaon has been an immense learning opportunity for us. It has become a global city, where people come from all parts of the world to work. For instance, there

Laughing St

BEST OF BOTH WORLDS: Varun and Chandini Aggarwal

are MNCs that do not have their presence in Mumbai but have opened offices in Gurgaon. We see technologies make their presence in Gurgaon before being introduced in any other part of the world. This has led to a multicultural environ-

ck

Dear Optimist, That’s not a light at the end of the tunnel, that’s the train. Sincerely, Pessimist ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Dear Icebergs, Sorry to hear about global warming. Karma is a bitch !! Sincerely, Titanic ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Dear Yahoo, I’ve never heard anyone say, “I don’t know, lets Yahoo! it .....” Just saying...... Sincerely, Google ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Dear Mathematicians, Here’s a hint: X will always equal 10. Sincerely, The Romans ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Dear Elevator, We have a son and his name is Escalator. Sincerely, Stairs ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

ment that one normally gets to see only in the metros. Today Gurgaon is not just Delhi’s suburb, it is a fully functional business and service industry hub,” says Chandini, who works as a Deputy Resource Manager at the Computer

Science Corporation of India. But it is the small things that they miss the most. For instance, adds Varun, “What we miss about living in Dehradun is the way festivals are celebrated, as also religious activities. It is the small town effect that has its own charm. Like during the festivals—be it Holi, Dussehra or Diwali—people from the neighbourhood and families, get together to share joyous occasions. I am not saying that it doesn’t happen in Gurgaon. We are beginning to see a lot of communityoriented activities these days, but they lack the warmth of small cities. There aren’t too many temples and religious places that one can visit here. This is why, during festival season, you will see most families go back to their home towns at least once a year.” This, however, doesn’t deter the Aggarwals from pointing out the city’s highlights. They feel it has become a city that never sleeps. Both Varun and Chandini foresee tremendous change in the next five years. “From a city with an abysmal public transport system, we have heard from our friends how travelling to Gurgaon has become a cakewalk. Every city should be given a fair chance to progress; and of course Gurgaon has benefitted due to some things having worked in its favour,” say the Aggarwals. They travel to Rajasthan in their free time. “Even though malls are a big attraction, we go to malls either for eating out, or to run errands. We have travelled to Rajasthan extensively—and at every opportunity we get, Jaipur has become a favoured place to holiday,” says Varun. u

High-Rise Rules! { Manjula Narayan }

A

pparently, there’s something sacred called the ‘high-rise culture’. The term frequently makes an appearance on the notice board of the gated apartment complex I call home; usually in the admonishing notes of the harried building manager. The poor man seems perennially aghast that residents should indulge in such unnatural activities; as unknowingly pushing plant pots off balcony parapets and doing elaborate Suryanamaskars that involve throwing mugfuls of water onto the heads of unsuspecting early morning walkers below. Having experienced this terror by ardent Surya devotees, that note had me nodding in righteous indignation. The ultimate rulebook hasn’t yet been written, but I assume the list of things should include: 1. Accidentally bumping into someone’s parked car, and then driving off without even waving at the closed circuit cameras. 2. Using a piece of gym equipment for 21 minutes, when the notice says you can use it for just 20. 3. Relieving yourself in the shower before you get into the pool; relieving yourself in the pool before you get in the shower. 4. Yelling obscenities during RWA meetings. 5. Running up a huge bill at the building grocer’s, and leaving for a long assignment abroad without paying it. 6. Looking through your neighbour, though both of you sit sipping your morning chai and gazing out at the world below in adjacent balconies- at exactly the same time every morning. 7. Refusing to get out of the lift even though it began singing that protesting I’moverloaded-tune when you stepped in.

8. Refusing to coo at sundry babies and pet dogs. This last one particularly is a serious breach of ‘high-rise culture’. Think about it: openly expressing your dislike for powdered babies or fluffy animals will mark you out as… as Hannibal Lecter’s sibling! It’s not a secret you want everyone to know. Really. I have to be honest. I haven’t always been a properly, uh, high-rise-cultured person: I’m grumpy in the mornings, and the thought of even acknowledging that familiar stranger in the next flat is sometimes too much to bear; and heck, I can’t help it if the lift likes me so much it has to sing a tune the moment I step into it. The only way to deal with that is to wedge myself in, and accidentally-onpurpose displace some excessively polite or verbally challenged (same thing) other person. However, I can honestly say that I have never ever peed in the building pool, or used gym equipment for a minute more. Indeed, it’s a miracle if I can bring myself to use either of those remarkable facilities at all. Of course, there are paranoid days when I wonder if some grandmaster of high-rise culture is keeping tabs on me. Like, did I commit some serious breach when I was loudly hysterical after the lights went off, and I had to spend half an hour in a dark lift stuck between the 18th and 19th floors? Is it alright to always overtake the dawdling morning walkers, more keen on gossip than exercise; and was it okay to yell at the prayerful 10th floor Suryanamaskari who overturned a lota of water onto my unsuspecting head? Yup, the rules of ‘high-rise culture’ are tricky. One day, perhaps, I’ll induce the building manager to draw up a hardbound volume that lays them all out. Without too much luck, it could be a highseller in Gurgaon. u


12

21–27 October 2011

PRAKHAR PANDEY

A Happy School

HAPPY FOUNDATION: Students at a reading session during school hours

{ Shirin Mann / FG }

A

s I walked through the gates of The Happy School at noon, a bunch of five or six year olds came running towards me, and wished me, “Good afternoon Ma’am”. I was pleasantly surprised, and replied “Good afternoon”. Enthusiastically they asked me “How are you today?”; and even more surprised, I answered “I am fine, and how are you?” With huge smiles they said “I am fine, thank you”. I can undoubtedly say that I hadn’t heard such a ‘proper’ reply in ages. The Happy School is the result of an initiative taken by Kamal Capoor in 1998; when she picked up five children of the labourers working around her area, gave them food to eat, clean clothes to wear—and started teaching them. This advent of a pathshala, started in her front lawn in DLF Phase 1, G-3 Block, caught the attention of passers-by; and in just two weeks time the strength of the children grew to 30. Four volunteer ‘teachers’ also joined. The idea of giving the underprivileged children a happy childhood— that every child deserves—soon led to a larger number of kids as well as volunteers. In time, the school, with 150 children and several volunteers, was moved to the side of the road. “We even had an Annual Day on the road. But the size of the school (on the side of the road), started creating some traffic problems, and DLF moved us to the green belt in the neighborhood. Several people donated benches, chairs and almirahs, as memorials for their loved ones. We were there all year round— come summer, winter, monsoon—and loved every bit of it; and were constantly growing.” said Kamal Capoor, Trustee, The Happy School. With some 30 volunteers as teachers, and providing the kids with food, milk, clothes and education, the school was finally noticed by the government. In June 2006, the school was given premises by Haryana Child Welfare Development; and is now functional under the Haryana School Board, Hindi Medium. “Even though the Board is Hindi Medium, we begin teaching them

English Language from Nursery class onwards” explains Capoor. Along with language subjects such as Hindi and English, the school provides its students with a science lab, a computer lab, an elaborate library with a TV, and a projection screen for kids to watch programs and movies. The extra-curriculum classes at Happy School include music, kathak, art and yoga. The school also has sports facilities for soccer, cricket, volleyball, basketball and badminton. As I walked through the campus of the school, I heard “Do the Boogie Woogie” from a room. I hadn’t heard that rhyme

Kamal Capoor, Trustee, The Happy School

C ivic/Social

in years. I peeped in to see about 30 nursery class students, with their teacher, ‘doing the boogie woogie’. On seeing me, they all stood up and greeted me. The children of rickshaw pullers, labourers, guards, and domestic help were greeting me in English, and reciting English rhymes. Makes you think—all they need is an opportunity and some help; and they will shine. Happy School has set up a wonderful platform. Ranu Sobti, Deputy Head, and Nursery class teacher, said, “I have been teaching the nursery class for nine years now. Laying the foundation is a big challenge. Before they came here, the kids had never heard the sound of an ‘A’ or ‘1’; and when they go back home, there is no one to talk to them in English, or teach them the language. So when people come to us and ask for admission of their driver’s or maid’s children, and say that they will sponsor them, we tell them that what they really need is your time. You can come here, or spend time with them at home, and teach them.” There are posters of alphabets, vegetables, shapes, animals and figures, embracing the walls of the classroom. There is excitement among these tiny tots—of being in the classroom, and wanting to learn. “These children are eager to learn. They ask for more homework, and are very fond of books. They are also very aggressive, and not scared of anyone or anything. Be it sports or on stage, they are very confident while performing. Coming to school, their perspective of life has changed. Teachers here are giving them their time, and giving them some goals, which is very important” adds Sobti. “Initially it was a task to get the parents of the underprivileged children to be involved with their education

GIFT OF JOY: The Happy School students interact with children, as teachers look on

and school activities. But now, all the parents attend the PTA meetings, and stand in queue to meet the teachers; and are very concerned about their kids’ educational progress”. Right across from the Nursery class was an English class, being held for the students of Class I. The blackboard explained the meaning of nouns and pronouns. I was welcomed, and greeted in, by lots of happy faces. The volunteer teacher pulled out an English story, and that was smoothly and accurately read aloud by a few of the students in the class. I was curious to know what kids from such underprivileged backgrounds thought. So I asked, “What do you want to be, when you grow up?” The answers I got were, “I want to be a policeman”, “I want to be a teacher”, “I want to be a computer engineer”; one of them wanted to be “a dancer”. Kamal Capoor gave me an example, looking at my very happy face. “There was a student, who said he wanted to be a guard just like his dad, when he joined. And now, when I ask him the same question, he replies that he wants to be an engineer.” The students learn personal hygiene and cleanliness; which was very evident from their clean uniforms and neatly tied hair. The school lays special focus on health; organising doctor visits, setting up eye camps, dental camps, and immunisation programmes. The school has also distributed spectacles to those with weak eyes, helped in a polio operation for a child, in treatment for tuberculosis and epilepsy, and also provided iron tablets to kids who were suffering with anaemia. The students also have been very active in inter school debates, art summer camps and running for marathons. “The school is funded by us and the volunteers. We have 18 paid teachers at the moment, and we pay them out of funds from the school. Many people and corporates have often helped us with stationary, furniture, lights, fans, food, uniforms, and shoes for the kids. People who want to donate are told what the school needs; and they bring it. This way people are also sure about where their money is actually going” informs Capoor. The Happy School currently has a strength of 400 children, from Nursery to class 5; and prepares to send their bright children to local public schools for further education. Schools like Summer Fields, American Montessori, Vidya Comfort and Sanskriti have admitted some of Happy School’s bright students; who excel in these schools as well. “Last year, only 3 seats were available in class 6 at Sanskriti; of which 2 went to children of our school” says Capoor. With happy faces all over the campus—singing, dancing and playing—the name of the school sure complements the atmosphere of the place. Capoor concludes, “We are so proud of the progress of our children; and this makes us feel that we are probably doing something right.” u

TO VOLUNTEER

EXTRA-CURRICULAR TOO: Kamal Capoor at a school event

CONTACT • Phone: 0124-2350815 • Mobile: 9899355223 • E-mail: kamalcapoor@yahoo.com • Website: www.thehappyschool.in


21–27 October 2011

{ Maninder Dabas / FG }

Subash Chand Singla (Ward no-18) (Area: Baraf Khana, Civil Lines, Friends Colony, HVPNL Colony, Jacobpura, Kirti Nagar, Patel Nagar, Police Line, Roshanpura, Sector 15-Part 1.) “My Ward consists of a large area of ‘old’ Gurgaon; and hence we have a gamut of problems here to tackle. The city has grown at a fast pace; but unfortunately the infrastructural development does not match its pace. Hence, our city today is battling serious civic issues,” said Subash Chand Singla, Councillor of Ward No. 18. Both ‘new’ as well as ‘old’ Gurgaon have many com-

13

Know Your Councillor JIT KUMAR

Focus on Specific Projects

C ivic/Social

mon problems; and Singla would rather not delve into the common problems. “Problems like roads, water, electricity are quite common to the whole city. My ward has some bigger issues here. Sadar Bazar is the oldest market of the city, and it descends into chaos by sunset. Hour long traffic jams have become a daily event here. We have started construction on a divider for the road; this should help immensely in a smoother flow of traffic,” said Singla. Singla’s ward covers some of the most densely populated areas of the city. “Another big problem coming our way is that two high-tension electric lines have been proposed by the authorities, over the Jacobpura area. The people don’t want these lines over their heads, as it may cause an accident in this densely populated area. We are trying to

City Bureaucracy Lacks Co-ordination (Ward no-26) (Area: Begampur Khatola, Begampur Khatola Village, Behrampur, Behrampur Village, Fazilpur Jharsa, Fazilpur Jharsa Village, Ghasola, Ghasola Village, Info City 1, Narsinghpur East, Nirvana, Rosewood City, Sector 34, Sector 35, Sector 48, Sector 49, Sector 50, Sector 71, Sector 72, Sector 72A, Sector 73, Sector 74, Sector 74A, South City 2, Tikri, Tikri Village, Uppal Southend) “My Ward covers a huge area in new Gurgaon—it includes many villages, as well as some of the finest colonies, developed by private builders. The problems here are no different from the rest of the city. Issues of roads, sewage, electricity and water supply top the charts here too,” said Rajender Singh Yadav, Councillor of the Ward No. 26. It has been quite a while (three years) since the Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon (MCG) came into being; but nothing

concrete has been done by MCG as yet, to solve the problems of the masses. “In May 2011, the first election for Councillors, was held, since the inception of the MCG in 2008. That itself is enough to show the unwillingness of the Haryana government to give Gurgaon it’s own body, to look after its wealth. It was created to silence the rising and valid demands for a Gurgaon Development Authority (GDA),” said Yadav, while lambasting the government for the creation of an ineffective body—that neither has any power to exercise, nor seemingly, the will. “Gurgaon has been Haryana’s gold mine for almost a decade now; and a large share of the State’s revenue (around 70 per cent) comes from Gurgaon and Faridabad alone. But still, Gurgaon is being treated as a pariah by the State government. The civic infrastructure is in a shambles. Gurgaon generates money for the State, and it is being kept hungry and distorted. Money is going out, for development in the rest of the State; and our own city is drawing closer to an infrastructural collapse every passing day. MCG too has given Rs. 150 crore to Faridabad, despite having several important projects to be funded here. This is sheer loot,” rued Yadav. “The city has four IAS officers, and still the desired outcome is miles away. Lack of co-ordination between them is indeed one of the prime reasons behind this mess,” said Yadav. Coming back to his ward, Yadav spoke about the problems, and the steps being taken by him to resolve them. “Problems like roads and sewage are omnipresent in the whole city and my ward is not an exception. It is a conglomeration of urban and semi-urban (village) settlements, and hence it would have a large and diverse set of problems. We have tried our best to solve many of the problems. In the two House meetings that have been held, we have been able to get around Rs. 15 crore sanctioned for development work—for roads, sewage, street lights etc., in the village areas of Fazilpur, Tikri, Begampur and Khatola,” informed Yadav. The residents await action at ground level focus on specific projects. u

MANINDER DABAS

Rajinder Singh Yadav

solve their problem. In fact, in the last House meeting, we have got one of the two lines relocated,” informed Singla. He adds, “The authorities certainly lack co-ordination, and it is one of the reasons why the transfer of sectors from HUDA to Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon(MCG)is taking so much time. People are suffering in this tussle of agencies,” said Singla. About the developmental work he has been doing, he says. “In the last 5-6 months, we have undertaken many de-

velopmental works; and we are working constantly for the betterment of the civic infrastructure. For example, in the last House meeting, my Ward has been sanctioned about Rs. 12 crore for developmental work. Roads, sewage, and street lights are our top priority as of now; and in areas like Jacubpura, Roshanpura, and Patel Nagar, developmental work is in progress. I hope in the next 5-6 months, the picture of roads in my Ward will be completely different,” added Singla. u

Haryanvi Made Easy Get a taste of the local lingo 1. At what time does the store open? Dukan kitne baje khulle gi? Khulle - Khul (as in full)+lay 2. Do you accept credit cards? Credit card le le hai ke? 3. Can I take Photographs? Photu kheech lyun ke? 4. Can I smoke here?

Yade ciggarette pee sakun hun ke?

Yade - Ya+day 5. Make the food less spice Khaane main ghanna masala

mat daaliye Ghanna - Gh as in ghost + un na

6. Can you take our picture? Mhari photu le sake hai ke?


14

21–27 October 2011

Comment

White Collar City

G

urgaon was probably a saffron city at the start. A city gifted to a Guru. It turned blue in the 1980s, with the advent of Maruti Suzuki, and workers. That is when the collars came in. It is today a white collar city; in co-existence with a real dark money estate. What a Molotov cocktail !

EDITORIAL Atul Sobti

It is reminiscent of Mumbai. The one city where white collars stood out (and still do). Of the private kind, that is. Yes, Bangalore has flattered in that role, for a while. But IT, BPO is not really white; more a hybrid—a white blue combo. Mumbai beckoned (still does, somewhat); and the best, across India and the world, made it their office. It grew too fast; infrastructure lagged. Today, roads have improved; power was never a casualty (till this week !); water has been somewhat of a problem; sewer lines always overflow in monsoons. Navi Mumbai, as a pro-active measure to decongest, failed. Yet the Mumbaikar soldiers on. There is something in that city. Pride. Civic sense. Dignity of labour. Community. Enter Gurgaon. The white collared protégé of Mumbai. The heir apparent. Gurgaon now beckons (with help from Delhi proximity, especially the Airport). India and the world have come in, and made it home. Yes, it is also home to a load of expatriates. Something Mumbai could not achieve. Navi Gurgaon was started differently; mainly by private sector builders. And apart from multinational salaries, the white collars have tasted real estate. We are now hybrid too—white and grey; with salaries and estate income. More grey than white, in many cases. We are the envy of India (even many parts of the world). We believe this is all our hard work, our ingenuity. The private sector has delivered—see IT, Telecom, Auto, Pharma… And in Gurgaon, private enterprise has found solutions for everything—almost; be it water, electricity, security, garbage pick up, home delivery.

DLF has now partnered HUDA, for developing the Golf Course Road; and with other parties, in developing the Rapid Metro. We therefore feel we have the right to lecture the public sector; and censure the State. Yet, beneath our noses, the story is ringing hollow. A lot of Gurgaon is in private hands—yes, condominiums, colony roads, garbage collection, security. And the entire future—Sectors 57 to 115. If current delivery is a benchmark—and mind you the first phase had the “better”, more established builders—we may be in for a surprise. Barring DLF, most private builder colony roads are in poor shape (some worse than even HUDA, MCG roads); many condominiums are not being run by RWAs, but by the private builders still; garbage collection is shoddy; and security, even in DLF, is a matter of concern. With private builders being given even more “internal” responsibility for the new sectors, we should not rejoice prematurely. Electricity capacity, water availability, and sewage treatment are not areas that we should take lightly. Our belief in ourselves, our white collars, needs scrutiny. It is time to hold ourselves accountable also. Let us also not forget our own personal and official experiences with builders—the delays; the change in specifications; and the changes in the project parameters and scope itself. With the State, we had something more tangible to catch; with some of us white collar folk, that could be slippery. We should stop preaching; and try and be part of the solution. And hold private sector as accountable as the State, in delivering civic infrastructure. We need to get out of our individual zones, and take pride in the city. Even if we are temporary (as are a couple of lakhs of the blue and non-collar transitory Gurgaonites also). Let us develop the Mumbaikar sense of community. And take a personal lead, in upholding those wonderful values of civic sense, and dignity of labour. It would take some doing, before we can put our collars up! u

Death of an Innocent I went to a party, Mom, I remembered what you said. You told me not to drink, Mom, So I drank soda instead. I really felt proud inside, Mom, The way you said I would. I didn’t drink and drive, Mom, Even though the others said I should. I know I did the right thing, Mom, I know you are always right. Now the party is finally ending, Mom, As everyone is driving out of sight. As I got into my car, Mom, I knew I’d get home in one piece. Because of the way you raised me, So responsible and sweet. I started to drive away, Mom, But as I pulled out into the road, The other car didn’t see me, Mom, And hit me like a load. As I lay there on the pavement, Mom, I hear the policeman say, “The other guy is drunk,” Mom,

And now I’m the one who will pay. I’m lying here dying, Mom... I wish you’d get here soon. How could this happen to me, Mom? My life just burst like a balloon. There is blood all around me, Mom, And most of it is mine. I hear the medic say, Mom, I’ll die in a short time. I just wanted to tell you, Mom, I swear I didn’t drink. It was the others, Mom. The others didn’t think. He was probably at the same party as I. The only difference is, he drank And I will die. Why do people drink, Mom? It can ruin your whole life. I’m feeling sharp pains now. Pains just like a knife. The guy who hit me is walking, Mom, And I don’t think it’s fair. I’m lying here dying

And all he can do is stare. Tell my brother not to cry, Mom. Tell Daddy to be brave. And when I go to heaven, Mom, Put “Daddy’s Girl” on my grave. Someone should have told him, Mom, Not to drink and drive. If only they had told him, Mom, I would still be alive. My breath is getting shorter, Mom. I’m becoming very scared. Please don’t cry for me, Mom. When I needed you, you were always there. I have one last question, Mom. Before I say good bye. I didn’t drink and drive, So why am I the one to die? – Anonymous Please send your letters to:

letters@fridaygurgaon.com


21–27 October 2011

Kid Corner

15

The Hands-off Approach { Aparna Balasundaram }

Quiz Time

ledge The general know ganised or quiz competition hool Sc ge tta Co by Swiss s, nt for Class II stude ing saw an overwhelm s pic to e Th . se respon —transport, re we iz qu e th r fo imals. symbols, and an games, national

Music speaks wh at cannot be expressed. Ke eping this in mind, CCA School organised an Instr umental Music Contest on the sc hool premises. Th from Classes IV e students to XII mesmerise d the audience wi their performance th on Harmonium, Ta bla, Casio, Guita and Congo. Winn r, ers were—Pooja for Harmonium, Prakeek for Tabla , Tanishq for Keyb oard, Vaibhav fo Guitar, and Adity r a for Congo.

Honouring Grandparents

School, Blue Bells Model Grandd te ra Sec-4, celeb ent ev e Th y. Da s parent ing ow began with the sh ar riv Pa ie— of the mov nging ha (C b m ibi at Pr thith students. ovie made by the ts, Reflection)—a m sung by the tiny to en th s wa ng so p ou gr ts. g en tin ar A scintilla their grandp hty chit-chats with followed by naug

World of Kidz An Expression Of The Colorful World of Kids World of Kidz is a monthly magazine that provides a platform to kids to express their ideas, and share their creativity with the world beyond their class or homes. The magazine focuses on various creative activities happening in Gurgaon; by organising workshops, and inviting parents to share their experiences of bringing up their kids.

Literary Flourish

A Religious King O

nce upon a time, there lived a King. The King was very religious. Instead of spending time with in his courtroom, he used to spend all the time in his temple. One day, a Sadhu came to his palace and asked for alms. The Sadhu said, “Son, I beg for alms. But I would accept them when King himself will give it to me. King’s servants took him to the palace, where the King was praying as usual.

One servant said, “Sir, there is a Sadhu at door.” “Why are you bothering me? Give him alms and let him go,” the King said. “No, my Lord, he is not accepting the alms. He says he wants to meet you,” said the servant. “Okay, send him in,” King ordered. Sadhu went to his palace, and the king ended his prayer as usual. “Oh Lord! Give me money, give me fame, give me fortune,” King said to God. Sadhu turned to walk away. The king saw him and said, “Wait, you came here to meet me. Why are you going back?” “I came here to get some alms. But I will not accept alms from someone who himself is a beggar,” laughed Sadhu, and walked out..

Tanya Sachdeva Class VII, Govt. High School, Sushant Lok

when they are responsible about what is expected of them—be it finishing homework, studying for an exam, or keeping their room clean. If they do not keep their end of the bargain, a privilege that is valued by them—such as watching television, ‘face booking’, or playing video games—should be removed, for an agreed upon

PRAKHAR PANDEY

Instrumental Mu sic Contest

A

s each of us looks back to our childhood, we can share a story or more of how we were punished by our parents or teachers. Many of us will remember that chalk piece that came flying at us; the duster that was thrown; the knuckle and the scale method; the slap on the face. When I work with parents, many say that while they are not emotionally traumatised by these experiences, they would not like the same treatment meted out to their children. Yet, many of us fall into the same trap; our intentions may be good but since we don’t know better, we fall back on old patterns! Many parents have confessed that when they do blow up like a volcano and hit their child, they feel guilty and often try to make up by indulging their child. This of course, only leaves the child feeling more confused. Maybe we can learn from some tried and tested methods— it would anyway help our blood pressure! Let them face the ‘Natural Consequences’—Just let your child see what would happen if he/she does not behave (as long as it does not place him/her in any danger). For example, if your toddler keeps throwing her toys on purpose, she will soon learn that these toys break; or when your teenager refuses to put his clothes in the bin for a wash, he will soon learn that he has run out of clean shirts to wear! When you use this method, don’t give in and rescue your child (by buying new toys for your toddler, or picking up your teenager’s clothes for wash). Your child will learn best when he/she faces the natural consequence of his/her behaviour—be it broken toys or dirty clothes! Time-Out—This is a technique that works well when a specific rule has been broken. It works best for children from 3 to 6 years of age. You send your child to a corner, or any other

quiet place, as a—‘Time Out’; to give him/her time to think about his/her behaviour. To think about what he/she has done wrong, and what he/she can change. A rule of thumb is 1 minute of time-out for every year of your child’s age (so, a 4-year-old would get a 4-minute time-out). Once your child is ready to apologise or talk,let

him/her out of time out (even if it is before time). Do not lecture, or ask for apologies. Talk to your child; discuss the behaviour; and set a plan for how this should not happen again. At times like these, I especially encourage parents to remind their children that they love them, and that it is their behaviour—and not them— that is the problem. Withholding Privileges— This technique works best for older children and teenagers. They can ‘earn’ a privilege

time (for example, the weekend, or a week). So, go ahead parents. Try these techniques, be patient, and do not give into the temptation of old patterns. You will surely see the stress and decibel levels reduce at your homes. Happy Parenting. u USA- Licensed Parent and Child Expert. Founder of Life Skills Experts – an innovative enrichment centre for children. www.LifeSkillsExperts.com.

Artistic Strokes

Title: Save Environment S. Vandhanaa, Class V, Salwan Public School, Sec-15 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


21–27 October 2011

K id Corner

Solutions Spot The Difference 1. Windmill loses blade. 2. “R” missing in Australia. 3. Aeroplane gains wheel. 4. Bird moves. 5. Star appears on shorts. 6. Nose smaller. 7. BBQ leg missing. 8. House window smaller. 9. Curly tendril altered. 10. House chimney moves.

Solutions

Sudoku Kids

Kids Brainticklers

Spot The Difference

16


REGISTRATIONS FOR

aDmission ARE

open

At Swiss Cottage, we provide an environment that encourages active learning through methods that stimulate the child. Here, all students experience the confidence that is essential to be successful in their life. Our teachers use an integrated approach to curriculum delivery, to ensure learning is meaningful to the child.

Facilities ♦ Smart Classrooms ♦ Digital Library ♦ Resource Centre ♦ English Lab ♦ Jr. Mathematics & Science Lab ♦ Audio Visual Room ♦ Art, Music, Dance & Theatre ♦ Multipurpose Activity Centre ♦ Provision for indoor and outdoor games ♦ Eco Friendly Environment ♦ 100% Power Back-up ♦ Air Conditioned Transport ♦ Pre-primary section with open play area

On the anvil; State-of-the-art sports facilities built to international standards swimming pool

Lawn Tennis

basket ball

Swiss Cottage School Salahpur, Bijwasan (Opp. Sector -23 & Palam Vihar), New Delhi-110061. Ph.: 0124-4259944/55; Telefax: 4259966. E-mail: info@swisscottageschool.in | Website: www.swisscottageschool.in

FG STUDIO

The possibilities are endless


18

21–27 October 2011

K id Corner

In the Tales Told By Sri Ramakrishna, the great saint of Kolkota, Sri Ramakrishna expressed the great truths of religion, and philosophy, drawn from ordinary life experience. Amar Chitra Katha tells you some of these stories that were written very long ago.

1

2

3

4

Š 2011 Amar Chitra Katha Private Limited, All Rights Reserved


21–27 October 2011

Pastimes

19

AJAY SOOD ( TRAVELURE)

Gurgaon Drum Circle – Dust Off Your Soul

{ Shirin Mann / FG }

M

700 Facebook members in a short span of 3 months. Jamming every second Sunday, for two hours before dusk, at the Bio-Diversity Park, (off Guru Dronacharya Metro Station), the GDC session experiences up to 200 spectators—all dancing and clapping to the sound of over 40 drummers. “Gurgaon has just a few cultural activities, and through GDC we want the city to come alive. What better than music to set the tone? When you play together, people connect and bond. Also, the circle is family centric. We have people of all ages and professional spheres, jamming together” says Ajay Sood, professional photographer and member of GDC. The youngest jammer is an eight

Celebrating their first Diwali, GDC will be jamming away at the Bio-Diversity Park’s newly constructed Amphitheatre on Sunday, October 23rd, 4.30 pm to 8.00 pm.

usic washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life—said Berthold Auerbach, a renowned poet. Living in a corporate city, working and living at a frenetic pace, we also indulge in playing hard on the weekends. But sometimes, somewhere we need curry for our soul. There is now a ‘drum’ of hope. The Gurgaon Become a member of Circle of Drums (GCD) provides the GDC on http://www. the perfect recipe for the soul. Started in August this year, facebook.com/groups/ by Kapil Syal, a Gurgaonite gurgaondrumcircle/ and an advertising professional, the GDC is a group of music and get regular lovers that come together every updates of events. fortnight; to create magical evenings of instrumental music— with Drums, Djembe, Tambourine, Congo, Angclung, Guitars—or even empty Bisleri bottles. “I was a part of an informal band called the Bombay Strummers, and we used to sit around the beach—or just any place—and jam. I have also been to several drum circles. Delhi too has a drum circle, and I thought of starting one in Gurgaon. It is a global phenomenon, especially in cities of culture. We meet together in an informal atmosphere; people bring their own instruments, and we jam together. It is so therapeutic. It helps deal with the stress and pollution of life. Also, it’s a great form of entertainment for people. Even the ones who don’t play any instrument, come and dance, and clap” says Kapil. GCD, a non-commercial group, open to all music lovers free of cost, has grown to over SOUL CURRY: GCD in action with music lovers at a session

year old, Riddhi—a child prodigy on the Tabla. A refreshing sound to pep up your dull evenings, the Gurgaon Circle of Drums last performed in Garden Estate, for the Diwali Mela. It got several heads turning, and many admirers. They were all praise for the drummers. A good mix of beginners and professionals, the GDC welcomes even those who want to learn how to play, or get better at their instrument. “The circle has beginners as well as experts. Being a part of the GDC can immensely help the beginners on their instrument; or even get to learn a different instrument, with the help of experts,” says Syal.

Nupur Kohli, Gurgaonite and member of GDC says, “Earlier I used to go to the Delhi Drum Circle; but due to the distance I couldn’t go as often as I would have liked to. Now, with the Gurgaon Drum Circle, I am able to attend almost all the sessions. Gurgaon doesn’t have much cultural activity to offer on the weekends. Most of us just meet the same friends, and eat together. With such cultural groups, you get to meet different people, make new friends, and learn new instruments. I play the tambourine; but now I am trying to learn the Djembe. Even if you don’t know how to play, you will get the hang of it, playing along with the drummers. It is also great for the kids. I took my daughter to GCD sessions twice, and she absolutely loved the experience; and started dancing in the middle. My husband also joins in with his Congo. It is a great family event.” So if you are musically inclined (and pray, who is not?), ready for nourishment of the soul, then GDC is the place to go. Just pick up your instrument— or empty tins, cans or bottles to start—with and make your way up to the Djembe and Angclung. Of course, you can just be a part of the musical evening, dance and cheer in the midst of the wide open spaces of the park, amid the perfect early winter chill; and free your spirit. “With the kind of music on show, its a different euphoria. I was a photographer for the GDC, but now I am a photographer-turned-musician,” concludes Nupur. u


20

21–27 October 2011

Health & Vitality... Naturally!

revitalize your system. It is reputed to cleanse the body of toxins and restore balance. The flexibility of this cleanse is that you can make interesting variations— with moong beans, coconut, ginger, fresh vegetables, dhania cinnamon, cardamon, clove powder, pepper, turmeric and salt. Yoghurt raita makes an excellent combination with khichadi. Along with fresh vegetables and fruit, supplementation with ground flax seeds, soaked psyllium husk or chia seeds, increases the fibre intake; which in turn helps support the colon. Liquid intake in the form of water, fresh fruit juices or herbal tea should be emphasised. In the evening, before going to bed, consider putting a drop of warm oil or ghee in the nasal passages.

{ Jaspal Bajwa / FG }

W

ith each twirl and pirouette, the dance of nature magically unveils a new face. Each season sets the stage for a new combination of energies to come into play. In most traditions, autumn is when we take stock to clear out accumulated junk, and shore up reserves for the oncoming winter. Excess toxins in our body, that have accumulated over the summer and rainy months, try to make their way out through the elimination channels such as the lungs, colon and skin. As a result, it is not uncommon to see an increased incidence of skin allergies; ear, nose or throat infections; aches and pains; constipation; diarrhoea and insomnia/anxiety attacks. According to Ayurveda, Vata is the dosha (body-mind tendency) of autumn— symbolising the cold, dry winds that blow in early winter. Vata governs the nervous system, body movement and our body’s activities related to digestion and elimination. Since Vata can impact all the other doshas, this time of the year plays a central role towards building a balance in our health. In the Chinese Five Element theory, this season is associated with the metal element; which in turn affects the lungs and large intestines. A gentle cleanse of the entire body gives our body an important break. In some cultures, at this time, people take the time to fast. These practices enhance harmony; and the body is helped in its effort to detoxify. A total body cleanse in the autumn

Wellness

Nature’s Wonder Food of the week

Autumn – Time For A Natural Cleanse might be the best way to fortify our immunity status. When our own nature is in sync with the rhythms of Nature, we are able to maintain vitality effortlessly.

Tip of the week

We should avoid cold or old foods. Instead, we should opt for moistening and warm nourishing foods (as they balance

Vata). Increasing the intake of raw fresh foods such as fruits, vegetables and nuts is recommended. There are different cleansing diets to choose from. It is always best to choose one appropriate to your body type, in consultation with a holistic nutrition expert. A “khichadi” diet is often recommended, for a safe and effective autumn detox—to

Go for the colour! Dark green and yellow-orange vegetables (carrots, pumpkin etc.) are very helpful, to strengthen immune levels. The chlorophyll in the green foods inhibits viruses; and assists the lungs in eliminating toxic residues. Excellent examples are broccoli, parsley, kale, beet root, red chinese cabbage, turnip, mustard greens, watercress, wheat or barley grass, spirulina, and blue green algae. These can be lightly sautéed in sesame oil, with onions, cumin, black pepper and some salt. A dash of lime juice can be added for zest. Pungent foods such as hot peppers and chillies—as well as raw or lightly cooked garlic, ginger, turnips, horseradish, cabbage, and common radish—are also very good for the lungs. (For education purposes only; consult a healthcare practitioner for medical conditions) u Registered Holistic Nutritionist (Canadian School of Natural Nutrition)

Green Herbs For Your Yet-To-Be-Born Baby

{ FG Bureau }

E

ven in an age of antibiotics, it is no surprise that the age-old Ayurveda can work wonders for the baby in the womb. Stop popping those pills! Adopt the greener, natural way of life through Ayurveda. Dr Sanjay Jayraj of Kerala Ayurveda and Dr Rahul of Sri Sri Ayurveda, list some Ayurvedic tips to be followed by all expecting mothers. Ayurveda means knowledge or science of life. Among

the eight branches of ‘Ayurveda’, Prasuthi ‘tantra’ (obstetrics) is specially concerned with the methods of healthy pregnancy, abortion and its management, factors injurious to pregnancy, factors responsible for the inhibition of fetal growth and its management, dietary and other regimen for a pregnant woman, child delivery, and post natal care. Diet has been accorded a very important place in all the Ayurvedic texts, and especially the diet of pregnant women; because it has a direct bearing on the health and development of the foetus. Improper or unbalanced diet is responsible for various congenital abnormalities. A balanced diet is one that balances the three doshas, and nourishes the seven dhatus of the mother. The proper development of the foetus requires a well-balanced diet that includes vitamins, minerals, proteins, and substantial calories— for its all-round development. Ayurveda says that the expectant mother should consume sattvic food items like fresh vegetables, fresh and dried fruits, salads, lentils, yogurt, milk, fresh butter, wheat, rye, barley, hazelnuts, almonds, rice and honey. Sattvik food helps in increasing the strength, vigor and vitality; and also in improving the mental functions, and the spirituality of the foetus. Rajasic foods like sugar, sweets, meat, cheese, fish, fried foods, eggs, potatoes and other root vegetables are stimulating by nature, difficult to digest, and produce ama or toxins in the body. Excessive consumption of such foods during pregnancy makes the foetus aggressive, irritable and angry in nature.

From the first month of conception, and throughout the pregnancy, a pregnant woman is given various herbal concoctions and simple medicinal preparations—such as ‘Mahadhanwantharam Gutika’, ‘Sukumarar rasyanam’, decoction of bala (sida cord folia) etc. In the first three months especially, the expectant mother should take food that is sweet, cold in potency, and largely liquid in consistency. Milk, ghee, butter, rice gruels are useful for the growth of foetus. Varying and erratic likes and dislikes in a pregnant woman are termed as ‘dowhrudayam’, in Ayurveda. (“dow” means “two” and “hrudayam” means “seat of one’s emotion”; dowhrudayam means one of her own, and the other of foetus).These longings and desires are not to be satisfied always. They might prove harmful for the foetus. From the eighth month, Sasruthacharya recommends the use of meat soup to strengthen the mother. Application of medicated oil helps in softening of the placenta, pelvis, waist and back. Medicated enemas administered in the eighth month help in downward movement of vayu, elimination of urine and feces with ease, and ensure a normal trouble-free delivery. Throughout pregnancy mild exercises, such as walking short distances, are advisable. The factors injurious to pregnancy are: increased indulgence in sex, more tiring work— especially lifting of heavy weights, day time sleep, night awakenings, fasting etc. It is not all about the body. Of the utmost importance is for the mother to be happy. It directly impacts the health of a child—even in the womb. u


22

B usiness

21–27 October 2011

Betting On Gurgaon Despite Slowdown, Royal Orchid Hotels’ Chander Baljee is optimistic prakhar pandey

{ Abhishek Behl / FG }

A

t a time when hotel stocks have taken a beating, and a slowdown in the economy looks imminent, launching a new hotel must be a challenging task. But for Chander K. Baljee, Managing Director of Royal Orchid Hotels group, which launched a four-star hotel in Gurgaon recently, expansion is a way of life. Business, Baljee says, will always remain cyclical; but there is no permanent slowdown. “The last recession lasted for two years, and the economy recovered; the same will happen now”, he observes. He adds that in terms of top quality hotels, while earlier Gurgaon only had Trident, now hotels like the Leela and the Oberoi have come in—and the business is still looking good. Baljee, who has seen the Indian hotel industry change and grow in his 39-year career, says that the industry has come of age; and is now setting the standards for the world to follow. “Earlier we were looking outside for inspiration; but now the hotel industry in India has understood the importance of innovation, and embraced technology and the latest changes”, says Baljee. His company Royal Orchid Hotel, operates 18 properties across India—including fivestar hotels; and is planning to expand abroad as well. The Gurgaon property, called the Hotel Central Blue Stone, is a four-star hotel with 50 rooms, a restaurant and a bar. It caters to the business traveller. On a street that already has four hotels, Baljee says the differentiator would be the service and food quality. “Most of the hotels are standardised as far as rooms and facilities are concerned; but we are very strong in service and offer great food”, says Baljee. He is also confident that the market and sales network his company has in Delhi and NCR, would be of great help in getting business. The Royal Orchid group operates hotels in various formats—joint ventures, lease agreements, self owned, or on revenue sharing and management contracts. However, a strong ownership perspective

UPBEAT ABOUT THE NCR: Chander K. Baljee, Managing Director, Royal Orchid Hotels

is what differentiates the Royal Orchid group from others, asserts Baljee. “We consider all the managed properties as our own, and ensure that these are treated similarly”, he says. We are sensitive to the concerns of owners, especially in costs and debt. Royal Orchid is also planning some more properties in Delhi, Noida and Faridabad, he reveals. “The National Capital Region has strong micro-markets; and the pace at which Gurgaon and Noida are expanding, it is important that we have a presence here”. Being in the hotel industry for the last 39 years, Baljee says the most important changes have been brought about by technology. “Technology has proved to be a great enabler, as it has become simpler to run hotel operations; and we can concentrate more on service rather than operations”, he adds. “Computer software—for running the maintenance, account management, client

Technology has proved to be a great enabler, as it has become simpler to run hotel operations; and we can concentrate more on service rather than operations management, sales and online booking—have changed the face of the hotel industry. Earlier, the hotels were dependent on a few travel operators and companies; but now technology has changed everything”, he says. In an era of fickle customers and decreasing brand loyalty, what does his hotel group do to retain them? Baljee smiles and says that customer feedback is the key. “At different levels, we have created systems to obtain feedback from the customers,

and ensure it is authentic and can not be tampered with”, he says; adding that corrective action is quick. His company has also embraced the social media, and keeps a watch on the internet for customer feedback. In addition to this, there are regular mystery audits conducted by external agencies; they stay in the hotel, and give a detailed report on every aspect concerning the property. Royal Orchid, he says, has brought in managers from top chains in India and abroad, to ensure that the services and operations are standardised. “The training of staff, and organisation development, is a continuous process; we take it seriously”, he asserts. For this purpose, the Royal Orchid group also runs a Hotel Management Institute in Bangalore. “We have a good source of trained manpower, and it is serving us well”, he says. When asked what were the learnings from the 2008

MDI Gurgaon Holds Business Plan Competition { Abhishek Behl / FG }

T

o spot the future entrepreneurs, and harness their potential, Vincenza, an international business plan competition, is being organised at MDI Gurgaon. The competition will provide coaching to participants at various levels, give descriptive feedback and quality inputs—other than a simple Yes or No that normally happens at such competitions. Vincenza is the brainchild of Delhique, the National management Convention of MDI Gurgaon, and it is a business plan competition with an inbuilt coaching programme.

Rohit Agarwal, an MDI student, who is part of the organising team, told Friday Gurgaon that the response to the competition has been good, and they have received more than 300 entries. The last date for entering the competition was October 10, and the final presentations will be made on November 18, 19, 20. The key criteria for evaluating the business plan would be: the clarity of proposal, the unique nature and advantages of the proposal, the completeness and sustainability of the business plan— along with the financials and the Team. With most of the business

plan competitions not going beyond award ceremonies, Agarwal says, Vincenza would be different as it will concentrate on the majority of the participants—and not only the first three winners. The top 50 business plans submitted in the competition will be put through one-to-one mentoring, under leading experts, to fine-tune the business plan, he informs. After this stage, 10 plans will be chosen, based on their quality and potential for success. Agarwal says the chosen participants will be invited to MDI, to make a pitch for their business to highly successful investors like Sanjeev Aggarwal

of Helion Ventures, Sanjeev Bikhchandani of InfoEdge, and Puneet Vatsayan of The Hatch. Unlike other programmes, where winners take it all,

recession for the hotel industry and his own hotel chain, he quickly replies, “Tighten the seat belt, become lean and cost efficient. Also, at Royal Orchid Group, there was no panic, as we were less leveraged.” Being an IIM Ahmedabad graduate, leaving a cushy corporate job would have been a difficult task; but Baljee says running a hotel was a passion. “My father ran a hotel and restaurant in Shimla, and I joined him”, he says; adding that he shifted to Bangalore after he got an opportunity to run a hotel there. Interestingly, Shimla has also been the starting point of another major Indian hotel chain—the Oberoi group. Baljee smiles, but dismisses the comparison, saying that he admired the standards set by the Oberoi group, while he loves the quality of food and beverage offered by ITC hotels. “In this business, we must always be ready to learn and this can from a dhaba or a top chain”, he opines. The hoteliering bug, in fact has caught the entire family— as his two sons also run independent hotels; and believe as passionately in the potential of the industry. When asked what were the expectations from the government, Baljee feels (like many other Indian entrepreneurs) that the red-tape should be reduced, rules made simpler. “It is a difficult job to set up a hotel, and even more difficult to obtain licenses needed to run it. In Jaipur, our staff has been running around for a bar license for the last four months; to no avail”, he laments, while hoping Gurgaon would be a better experience. His bet on Gurgaon is based on solid business reasons, as he feels that the mismatch between demand and supply is not much and being a corporate hub, the hotel industry is bound to prosper here. “The Delhi – NCR region is reputed for its consistent economic growth, and hence it is important for the hospitality sector. The upbeat business environment and exceptional growth of Gurgaon makes it a choice space to launch operations”, he concludes. u Vincenza will offer an year long incubation programme to the fifty plans chosen for the second round, at SEED, the MDI incubator, says Agarwal. These businesses will be helped in finding their feet, with access to mentors, markets, investors and logistics. u

Realty Rates

(in Rs. as of October 19, 2011)

Sector 56 HUDA plot 60 sq yd 50,000/ sq yd

Sector 56 HUDA plot 100 sq yd 80,000/ sq yd

Sector 56 160 sq yd 75,000/ sq yd

Sector 56 200 sq yd 75,000/ sq yd

Sector 56 180 sq yd 75,000/ sq yd

Sector 56 300 & 350 sq yd 72,000 sq yd

Sector 56 500 sq yd 70,000/ sq yd

Sector 56 1000 sq yd 65, 000 sq yd

Sector 56 Sector 56 Apartments Apartments 1 BHK 40 – 45 lakh 2 BHK 65 – 70 lakh

Sector 56 Sector 56 Apartments HUDA Market Shop 3 BHK 1 – 1.5 crore 1.5 crore


21–27 October 2011

B usiness

Setting Standards

TERI Retreat in Gurgaon: An oasis in an urban desert prakhar pandey

For Sustainable Living

PLATINUM GREEN: The ITC Green Centre in Sector 32

{ Abhishek Behl / FG }

A

midst the urban sprawl of Gurgaon that comprises imitation glass and chrome buildings, there are islands of green. They offer sustainable living solutions that connect human beings to nature, and epitomise the eco-friendly traditions of India. While the concrete structures are putting immense pressure on resources, the ITC Green Centre in Sector 32, the TERI retreat on Faridabad Road, and other such buildings point to a significant shift in building more sustainable, ecologically sensitive and natural abodes. Although eco-friendly buildings are initially more expensive to build, experts opine that the cost can be recovered in a couple of years. Niranjan Khatri, General Manager, ITC’s WelcomeEnviron Initiatives, one of the most celebrated eco-friendly buildings in Gurgaon, agrees that people are still not convinced of the returns from building sustainable habitats—as these are a bit expensive. “When we started building a sustainable and eco-friendly building in 2003, there were apprehensions; and people were not convinced that significant energy could be saved”, says Khatri. He adds that initially the ITC

building was not meant to be green, but it was only after the basement was dug in 2002, that a decision was taken to make it sustainable. ITC, he says, has been incorporating sustainable practices at its hotel properties for the last 20 years; and this building is an embodiment of that work. “We have worked on the energy and atmospherics, reduced water consumption, set up rainwater harvesting systems, and installed energy efficient systems for air-conditioning”, he informs. The impact of all these measures has been a great reduction in both energy and water consumption. Sixty per cent of the operating cost of a building is spent on power; and the ITC Green Centre, by using an intelligent mix of technology and passive methods has been able to reduce the energy usage by 51 per cent, informs Khatri. That is a 30 per cent plus savings on the total operating cost! On the roof, paints with high albedo rating have been used, as they best reflect the heat and do not allow it to percolate; the building also has a solar system to provide hot water. Khatri says the glass used in the walls is a special E-Glass, that does not allow heat, but ensures that enough light enters the building. The intelligent design of the ITC Green

Going Green in Gurgaon

T

he green and eco-friendly buildings coming up in Gurgaon take into account the local climatic conditions, use building materials that are locally available, incorporate passive building techniques, and traditional methods like day lighting, to ensure that energy consumption is less, aver experts. In addition, the latest technologies like high quality glass, sophisticated chillers, solar power systems, and energy efficient air conditioners, are used to reduce the carbon footprint. Abhimaniyu Bhatia, a Gurgaon based architect, says that people are increasingly demanding designs that are eco-friendly that help them live in tune with nature. “Although the initial cost is high as materials used in construction are a bit expensive, there are a number of positives as these buildings need less cooling and heating”, he says. He adds that the heat and light of the Sun, the cool air, and variable temperature under the earth surface, are used to great effect in these buildings. Bhatia says design and architecture are two elements that can help the building become more efficient in using energy, reduce

the consumption of water, and ensure that these buildings heat less during summer, and do not turn into freezers during winters. The focus on sustainable living, and using technology to conserve resources, is permeating across all sections—and corporates are leading in this sector, says Bhatia. Corporate clients are increasing stressing on offices that are LEED certified, and eco-friendly. Sandeep Sethi, CEO of ACME Telepower, a leading Energy Management Solutions company, says that the new office complex his company is getting built, would be eco-friendly and have sustainable features. “We will be using air-conditioners that do not use compressors, and are very energy efficient”, he says. Since ACME is a player in the solar power sector in the country, the new building will also have a solar module to produce energy, which will be stored in special batteries. The paints and other material being used in this building is also green, he informs; adding that variable diesel generators will be installed to reduce the consumption of diesel.

Centre also allows the building to be naturally day-lit; there is no need for the people inside to put on the lights during the day. Another positive of this feature, Khatri says, is the increased productivity of employees—as they feel fresher and are more productive. To conserve water that is already a precious commodity in the Millennium City, the ITC Green Centre has incoporated water harvesting methods; while the sewage water is recycled and re-used in the garden, for cleaning and similar purposes. “We have double flushing system in toilets, taps have a slower flow of water, the plants in the garden are native to Gurgaon”, says Khatri. Even the paving in the parking, and lights during the night, are built in a way that water and energy are conserved. The material used in the construction of buildings is also eco-friendly, and has a low carbon print, says the ITC official, who has been involved with green initiatives for a long time. The carpets used in the building have low VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) component; ten per cent of the wood has come from a sustainable source, and the paints and additives are also low VOC, informs Khatri. Every aspect in the building has taken into account sustainable living. Khatri proudly concludes that this building is one of the largest Platinum LEED certified buildings in the world. To ensure that all ITC properties in future are sustainable, the company now carries out energy simulation exercises, even before the buildings are built. “We must decide about the design and structure at the conceptual stage itself, to ensure that the building is sustainable and eco-friendly”, he says. u

23

T

he TERI Retreat in Gurgaon is an effort to bring man closer to nature, by using traditional methods and techniques. It is an attempt to leverage the assets nature has bestowed on us, to build comfortable dwellings at a reasonable cost—both on the builder and the resources. A visit to the TERI Retreat in Gwalpahari, on the GurgaonFaridabad Road, reveals that it is not difficult to become energy efficient, reduce wastage, and use water judiciously. Surrounded by acres of greenery, the retreat is an oasis amidst a landscape that is increasingly being dotted by concrete buildings. An effective use of the five elements—earth, water, fire, space and air—has been made at the TERI retreat, to build a dwelling that remains cool in the summers and maintains an ambient temperature in the winters. With Gurgaon being sun-drenched for the most part of the year, deciduous trees have been planted on one side of the main building to cut sunlight. The trick here is that these trees shed leaves in the winter, and thereby ensure adequate heat and light when required. Underground air tunneling, called the passive cooling system, is another sophisticated but simple technology, to keep the building cool. The idea is based on the fact that underground cellars remain cooler in summers, and warmer in winters. The air in these underground cellars is therefore pumped into the building, using powerful fans, that ensure the temperature inside the building remains equitable. Another innovation used here, to keep the building cool during the summers, is the solar chimney—a simple yet ingenious way to get the hot air out. An iron plate is mounted on the top a duct that passes through various rooms. When the sun heats the plate, the warm air rushes upwards, and creates a current. This allows the cooler air from the underground tunnels to reduce the temperature, as it replaces the warm air. In addition to these innovations, the retreat has a solar power plant, a bio-gassifier, and even a windmill— to produce energy for the TERI retreat. Power produced by all these methods is eco-friendly, and does not exert pressure on the non-renewable resources. The lights and other fixtures in the building are also energy efficient. Water, another precious commodity in Gurgaon, is used with great care in the retreat, and there is a special water harvesting system that ensures the water is not wasted. Recycling of water is done through special plants brought from abroad, and this ensures that water can be reused in the gardens and lawns, that add to the beauty of this retreat.

GREEN ALL THE WAY: The sylvan surroundings of the TERI Retreat at Gwalpahari


Advertise in

213, Tower A, Spazedge, Sector 47, Sohna Road, Gurgaon 122001, Haryana Phones: +91 124 421 9091/92/93 Mobile: 9999919538 (Lokesh) adsales@fridaygurgaon.com

Gurgaon’s Own Newspaper

 On the stands Cover Price Rs. 7 To Subscribe  Website: www.fridaygurgaon.com; online payment  Phone: +91 124 421 9091/92/93

special 1 year subscription offer

Cover price Special offer price Savings No. of issues

be the change you want to see

` 364 ` 200 ` 164 52


S ports

21–27 October 2011

25

Scottish On A Soccer High Make it to the Inter-School Soccer Tournament finals with DPS JIT KUMAR

SPORTING SPIRIT: The Lotus Valley goalkeeper saves a goal side foray from the Scottish High players

{ Shilpy Arora / FG }

G

urgaon is in the grip of soccer fever. The excitement is palpable. Even if it means bunking classes, and skipping office, ardent soccer buffs in the city are heading to the grounds of the Scottish High International School (SHIS), to watch the third Scottish High Inter-School Soccer Tournament. An Air Force official, Group Captain Ram Kumar Ithikkat, decided to take the day off from his work, to cheer his favourite team. “I can leave work for a day to watch some good football. I visit this ground every Saturday and Sunday, to watch the little heads kicking what must be a heavy white ball into the net,” says Ithikkat. Like him, there were many who had rescheduled their working hours, and tuition classes. Not only did the first three days see people coming in large numbers, but also a few outstanding performances by finalists—DPS Sector 45 and Scottish High. The latter won the championship for last two years. The fans can now look forward to a feast in the final match, which is scheduled for October 21.

The kick-off

The tournament kicked off with a sweeping 8-0 victory of Scottish High against Suncity World School. Suncity could hardly receive the ball, as Scottish High seemed just perfect in their ground passes and shot strategy. The tournament lost a little magic when Lotus Valley got a walkover, as the opponent British School couldn’t make it to the venue. But the tournament regained same thrill when DPS Sushant Lok first levelled the score and then surged ahead,

with a lovely field goal in a sudden death versus a quality opponent, Sri Venkateswara. The last play of the day was a one-sided match between Pathways and The Heritage School, in which the latter won, with three excellent goals kicked in by Kabir.

Second round and quarter final

The start of the day earned Amity International School a walkover, as Blue Bells backed off at last moment. The second match saw Venkateshwar International booking their place in the quarter finals, with a 2-0 win in the tie-breaker against Bloom School. Spectators got to see some stunning shots during the third match between Sriram Aravali and Modern School. Sadly, only one of them could hit the net, ensuring a 1-0 win for Modern School to move to the next round. The fourth match, which was a quarter final, appeared to be special, at least to the spectators, who welcomed the home team with a roaring applause. But Scottish High’s performance in the first half failed to live up to their fans’ expectations, as the home team seemed to have got a little carried away with Tuesday’s success. In the second half they regained their form, and prevailed over Lotus Valley School—scoring two goals in the last 15 minutes of the match. The last place in the quarter final was secured by DPS Sec-45, with Rohan scoring the one and the only goal of the match. By close of the second day, Scottish High was topping the table, with two wins and no losses, followed by The Heritage School, DPS Sushant Lok, Modern School, DPS sec 45, Venkateswara International,

and Amity International.

Semi-final

In the semi-finals, Scottish High’s star performers—Hansit Varshney, the captain of the team, and Shaurya Ithikkat, gave ample display of their skills, as they spanked Venketeshwara International, 4-0. Hansit’s team opened up a commanding 2-0 lead over Ven-

keteshwra in the first half, and brushed aside their recent tormentors. Thursday’s victory, set up by Hansit, Puneet, Shaurya, and Ayan Taragi, each scoring one goal, was a thorough entertainer for the spectators. DPS Sec-45 emerged as the other champion,bagging a lifesaving goal in the second half of the game. Rohan and Akhilesh

First Round MATCHES

WINNERS

Scottish High International School vs. Suncity World School

Scottish High International School

British School vs. Lotus Valley

Lotus Valley

Sri Venkateshwara vs. DPS Sushant Lok

DPS Sushant Lok

Heritage School vs. Pathways

Heritage School

Second Round MATCHES

WINNERS

Venketeshwara International vs Bloom School

Venketeshwara International

Modern School (V. Vihar) vs Sri Ram (Aravali)

Modern School (V. Vihar)

Sri Ram (V. Vihar) vs DPS Sec-45

DPS Sec-45

Blue Bells vs Amity Sec-46

Amity Sec-46

Quarter Final MATCHES

WINNERS

DPS Sec-45 vs DPS Sushant Lok

DPS Sec-45

Modern School (V. Vihar) vs Heritage School

Modern School (V. Vihar)

Amity Sec 46 vs Venketshwara International

Venketeshwara International

Scottish High vs Lotus Valley

Scottish High

Semi Final MATCHES

WINNERS

DPS Sec-45 vs Modern School (V. Vihar)

DPS Sec-45

Scottish High vs Venketeshwara international

Scottish High

proved their mettle. Modern School (Vasant Vihar) was distinctly unlucky, as it lost a close match to DPS. However, the players of Modern School took the defeat with good grace. “I think our players were very exhausted, as they played two matches back to back. And we have learnt a lot from this match, which will help the players in future tournaments,” said B.N Chakraborty, Coach of Modern School.

What’s next

“There is something about the Scottish High’s attitude. We find a way to win. We will fight for the third consecutive win in the tournament,” said Deepak Jha, the Soccer Coach. But opponents DPS Sec-45 was capable of giving them a tough competition. “We snatched the game from Modern School 1-0; and this victory in itself is enough to describe how prepared we are for the finals,” said Kamal Mehta, Coach of the DPS team. When asked about the strategy of the team for the finals, Mehta laughed and said, “It is on the spot strategy. You can define your best strategy when you are in the game, on the field.” While Scottish High’s attacking attitude seems more determined, especially after the reshuffle of the team, DPS is at its best—as misses no opportunities. After all, the game of soccer has many times seen faltering teams spoiling the party for the super players. Although, it is yet to be seen who takes home the coveted Team Of The Year award, there is already something we can be proud of—the tournament is a clear win for the game of soccer in the city. u


26

21–27 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 – 26 It takes you at least 27 units to link up all the nails. However, you will always be unable to use at least one nail.

Daddy’s Home Andy Capp Zits 21–27 October 2011

T ime Pass 27


28

G lobal

What Icelanders Do On Dark Winter Nights

Arne Dedert

21–27 October 2011

LOOKING TO THE WORD: Iceland’s President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson (2-R) and his wife Dorrit Moussaieff (R), German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle (L) and Halldor Gudmundsson, director of Legendary Iceland, at Iceland’s pavilion at the 63rd Frankfurt Book Fair

{ Thomas Maier / Frankfurt / DPA }

A

n exhibition on Icelandic literature is cloaked in deep darkness, just like the 24-hour darkness that envelopes Iceland at mid-winter—and there is a symbolism to this. On those long winter nights, Icelanders like to curl up with a good book.

The exhibition, in a pavilion at the Frankfurt Book Fair, which opens in Germany on Wednesday for a five-day run, celebrates the contribution to culture of Iceland - a North Atlantic island with a population of just 320,000. Video screens in the exhibition show bookcases in private homes and men and women immersed in their

favourite books. Iceland decided to put readers, not authors, in the foreground of the exhibition. Organizers used Facebook to invite the nation’s readers to contribute images of themselves. “Thousands sent in images,” said Halldor Gudmundsson, who is in charge of a 2.7-million-euro (3.7-million-dollar)

presentation at the annual book fair, the world’s biggest book-publishing congress. For the exhibition, 30 readers were chosen to be shown on the video screens, and hundreds more private Icelandic bookcases are spotlighted in photos on a long wall. Pavilion visitors can themselves curl up under reading lamps, and browse in a big selection of Icelandic books. Some 30 Icelandic authors will be in Frankfurt over the week, to talk about their work. Iceland boasts that, per capita, its people read more, and write more, than any other nation on earth. “November and December are months when we read,” explains novelist Einar Karason, one of the authors, as he takes a first look around the exhibition. A 360-degree panorama shows visitors the volcanoes and permanent ice strewn over the rugged island, amid ethereal Icelandic music. “All we’ve got is the beauties of nature and our literature,” explains Karason. Icelandic literature began in the 13th century with sagas. Iceland never had an art-collecting aristocracy, or elite opera houses, like most continental European nations: for much of its history, the territory was the hard-scrabble domain of farmers and fishermen. Gudmundsson says Icelanders have always felt as if they live on the edge of civilization. “As a result, books are like the seeds that fall on fertile soil,” he said. As it turns out, the Icelanders don’t just read on those long, indoors nights. They also drink a distilled liquor called brennivin. That’s another way to stop the winter gloom getting to you. u

Google’s Ice Cream Sandwich Apple Employees Pay Tribute hopes to take a bite off Apple At Steve Jobs Memorial { Andy Goldberg / San Francisco / Hong Kong / DPA }

G

oogle announced the latest version of its Android operating system on Wednesday; replete with facial recognition technology and multiple video conferencing— features that it hopes will steal the thunder from Apple’s recently introduced iPhone 4S and iOS5. Google unveiled the new software at an event in Hong Kong, where in conjunction with Samsung it also introduced the Galaxy Nexus, a new smartphone designed to be a showcase of the Android’s latest features. Android 4.0, which was codenamed Ice Cream Sandwich by Google, is the first operating

system designed by Google to work equally well on both smartphones and tablets. It features a system called Face Unlock that uses state-of-the-art facial recognition technology to unlock phones, and also integrates Google’s new social networking platform Google Plus - which allows visitors to conduct video conferences with as many as nine people simultaneously. “Ice Cream Sandwich makes Android simple and beautiful, and takes the smartphone to beyond smart,” said Google’s smartphone chief Andy Rubin. The introduction comes just three years after the introduction of the G1, the first ever Android phone, during which time the operating system

Citi Pays $ 285 Million Settlement { Matthew Rusling / Washington / New York / DPA }

B

anking giant Citigroup on Wednesday agreed to pay 285 million dollars to settle claims that it misled investors regarding a 1-billion-dollar financial product linked to risky mortgages— that defaulted within months of its sale, Bloomberg news agency reported. The bank sold collateralized debt obligation in 2007 without alerting investors that it helped pick about half the underlying assets and was betting that they would decline in value, the Securities and Exchange Commission said in a statement today. The settlement is the third-largest penalty related to the credit crisis and is the latest SEC action against banks that bundled and sold securities linked to the housing market, Bloomberg reported. Goldman Sachs Group Inc paid a record 550 million dollars last year for failing to tell investors that a hedge fund that helped select assets for collateralized debt obligation was betting that the product would decline. JPMorgan Chase & Co paid nearly 154 million dollars in a similar case in June. u

has leapfrogged rivals like the iPhone, Blackberry, Nokia and Microsoft, to become the world’s most widely used mobile operating system - with over 550,000 daily activations, and a 58 per cent market share in the US. Other innovations include the Android Beam, which allows users to exchange files, websites and videos - by touching their phones together. It can warn users when they are close to reaching their wireless data cap, and even includes a special speed meter that allows users to speed up the playback of long voicemails. Android 4.0 allows users to synchronize their bookmarks with the Chrome browser on their PCs; and offers a better Gmail app. than previous versions. u

{ Andy Goldberg / San Francisco / DPA }

T

housands of Apple employees paid tribute Wednesday to company co-founder Steve Jobs in a private memorial for the tech visionary, at Apple’s Silicon Valley headquarters. Apple stores around the US were closed for some three hours, to allow workers to attend a webcast of the tribute - which according to the San Jose Mercury News included performances by rock group Coldplay and Norah Jones. The report said that the memorial ended with the Randy Newman song, You’ve Got a Friend in Me; which was the theme song from Toy Story, the first hit film made by Pix-

ar, a company owned by Jobs till he sold it to Disney in 2006. Hundreds of police sealed off the Apple campus for the memorial; but footage from news helicopters showed thousands of employees gathered in a central concourse and many more overlooking the proceedings from nearby balconies and patios. Speakers reportedly included Apple CEO Tim Cook, Apple’s chief designer Jony Ive, and former Vice President Al Gore - an Apple board member. Jobs, the driving force behind Apple’s success, died on October 5, aged 56—after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. u


21–27 October 2011

G lobal

29

World Trade Set To Ratings Dampener Rise 73 pc In 15 Yrs Fitch puts some banks on negative ratings watch, downgrades others

{ Hans Dahne and Anna Tomforde / New York / DPA }

T

he ratings agency Fitch threatened to cut the credit ratings of several large financial institutions. Fitch last week changed the outlook to negative for

Germany’s Deutsche Bank AG, Britain’s Barclays Bank PLC, France’s BNP Paribas SA and Societe Generale SA, and Goldman Sachs Group Inc and Morgan Stanley in the United States. It said the placement of the institutions on ratings watch

negative “reflects Fitch’s view that these institutions’ business models are particularly sensitive to the increased challenges the financial markets are facing.” Fitch downgraded two partnationalized British banks, saying the likelihood of renewed government support for them had declined. The downgrading of the Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds TSB, from an AA rating to A, followed a similar move by ratings agency Moody’s last week. Fitch, citing the importance of the finance and banking sector for the British economy, said there was now “more advanced political will to reduce the implicit support for the country’s banks.” Germany’s Landesbank Berlin AG and Berlin-Hannoversche Hypothekenbank AG and Switzerland’s UBS AG were also downgraded. u

{ Hazel Parry / Hong Kong / DPA }

T

he volume of world trade will rise by 73 per cent in the next 15 years, with China and emerging markets driving the growth, according to a report by HSBC published last week. The bank’s quarterly trade report predicted trade volume will hit 48.5 trillion dollars in 2025, from 27.2 trillion dollars currently. Egypt is predicted to experience the fastest growth in trade volume, rising by 185 per cent through 2025, to account for 0.4 per cent of all trade; partly as a result of other countries seeing it as an entry into a changing Middle East. China is likely to retain its position as the world’s largest trading nation with annual average growth of 7 per cent. By 2025, it would have a 13-per-cent share of world trade, worth 6,315.9 billion dollars, compared to 10.9 per cent in 2010. Vietnam, Indonesia, and Brazil will also play significant roles, with trade volume increasing by 144 per cent in all three countries through 2025; and ,, the report said. “Emerging Asia, South America and the Middle East will dominate the high growth rankings of trading nations over the next 15 years,” it said, “partly because they are starting from a lower base.” The report covered the top 10 sectors for exports and imports in 36 countries. u

Blackberry’s Woes Signal Black Days Ahead { Andy Goldberg / San Francisco / DPA }

O

vershadowed by the popularity of Android and the iPhone, Canadian smartphone maker Research in Motion was in trouble even before the latest disruptions sparked a Twitter torrent of outrage of Blackberry users last week. Now the company acknowledges that it let down its more than 70 million users, as a wave of outages across the world destroyed Blackberry’s reputation for reliability. By way of an apology, it also offered Monday a package of temporary access to online games, voice to text programmes and technical support. The question is, can it win back the trust of consumers? The appearance last Thursday of company co-founder and co-CEO Mike Lazaridis didn’t exactly inspire confidence. Appearing in front of a pale background, Laziridis seemed contrite, and voiced a humble apology. But with customers already deserting the company in favour of more versatile competitors from Apple and Android, RIM has an awful lot of work to do to win back favour. Not only did the outage anger existing customers, the huge media coverage means that the company will find it harder than ever to attract new users to its devices. “Once you have this collision between consumer outrage and this media vortex, you are now dealing with a phenomena of physics,” corporate reputation expert Eric Dezenhall told The Wall Street Journal. Lest you think that he might be exaggerating, bear in mind that a lot of the media coverage was similar to this headline spotted in the Los Angeles Times: “Blackberry

outage: Did you survive the Black(Berry) plague?” The article actually poked fun at all the irate Blackberry users, who, it claimed, might in the collapse of the device’s data capabilities be forced to use their smartphones to actually make a phone call. Also poking fun at the company were numerous YouTube videos, including one clip that found ten uses for a dead Blackberry - such as a butter spreader, door stop or drink coaster. But for Research in Motion, it was no joking matter; nor was it for the millions of people who rely on the devices for work and essential communications. This was the company, it should be remembered, that in the pre-iPhone days proudly encouraged the use of the nickname CrackBerry - to indicate just how addictive its original mobile email service was to many customers. But since its high in 2008, the company’s stock has slipped more than 80 per cent, and investors’ confidence continues to be shaken by a series

of profit warnings, weaker than expected sales and an apparent failure of management to outline a strategy that could help the company compete - in a market that is dominated by Apple and Google devices. In the latest quarter, for instance, RIM shipped just 10.6 million smartphones - almost 2 million less than its target; while its PlayBook tablet computer also sold far less than expected. By comparison, Samsung shipped 19 million smartphones in the second quarter, and Apple more than 20 million iPhones. Such miserable sales figures have not gone unnoticed by shareholders, who are forthrightly calling for a management shake-up—or an outright sale of the company. u

CHINA’S TOWERING TRADE: A container truck leaves from the container port in Dalian in northeastern China’s Liaoning province


30

21–27 October 2011

G lobal

Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre Shines Again In ‘Czar Era’ Brilliance M

Bolshoi Theatre/Damir Yusupov

oscow’s legendary Bolshoi theatre is about to reopen after extensive repairs, recreating the splendour of the czarist era. The refurbishing, which cost more than half a billion euros (668 million dollars)—the most expensive worldwide, of a theatre, in recent history—sets out to combine modern stage technology with a sumptuous imperial style. Less than a month before the opening gala on October 28, ballet artistic director Sergei Filin raves about the new flooring, allowing spring for dancers while absorbing noise.

while the Soviet symbols of hammer and sickle have been removed. But gold writing on the bright exterior facades to the right and left of the pillars reminds visitors that revolution leader Vladimir Lenin liked to hold public speeches here in Soviet times. The Communist Party also held meetings in the Bolshoi. The mummified corpse of Lenin lies just a five-minute walk from here, in the mausoleum at Red Square. The number of seats in the Bolshoi has been cut down from 2,000 to 1,700, but “guests will now be more comfortable,” the theatre’s director Anatoly Iksanov says. He looks relieved,

Arco Images GmbH/Lenz, G

{ Ulf Mauder / Moscow / DPA }

LAVISH: The theatre has new flooring. And the golden balconies, red curtains, wooden chairs and light from chandeliers create a warm atmosphere.

The golden balconies, the red curtains, the wooden chairs and the light from chandeliers create a warm atmosphere. Not only does the restored theatre retain the czar boxes, but it also displays the traditional Russian double-headed eagle;

despite the tension ahead of the opening gala, with world stars such as Placido Domingo and Angela Gheorghiu. Iksanov calmly smokes a cigarette between the eight columns of the entrance portal, while workers carry the last

ALL NEW AND IMPROVED: The legendary Bolshoi theatre in Moscow is preparing for its gala opening, after undergoing extensive repairs that cost more than half a billion euros (668 million dollars)

furniture items into the building. The renovations took six years—twice as long as originally planned. The reopening was constantly delayed by botched construction jobs, power games and corruption. But Iksanov would rather not talk about that. He is receiving visitors from a television team of the cultural channel Arte, which will broadcast the gala. Spanish tenor Domingo, who recently became the first opera star to see the renovated stage firsthand, will be singing Russian arias at the opening. “The house stands for our music culture. Naturally, the Russian language is a challenge for many involved in the gala,” stage director

Wolfgang Kumm

Eiffel Tower Goes From Kitsch To Glamour

NEW APPEAL: The largest of the Eiffel Tower’s three platforms—measuring 5,400 square metres—is being given a makeover for the third time in its history.

{ Ralf E Krueger / Paris / DPA }

T

he Eiffel Tower’s largest platform is being modernized, as the Paris landmark seeks a more glamourous and less kitschy image. Visitors with vertigo will have to pay attention when visiting the first platform of the Eiffel Tower; where 36-millimetrethick glass sheets will cover some

parts of the floor to allow a view of the ground 57 metres below. The operators promise “a feeling of floating.” The glass sheets are part of a comprehensive modernization of that part of the 324-metres-high tower—designed by engineer Gustave Eiffel, and built for the 1889 World Fair. It is now the icon of the French capital. The fresh design of the landmark,

Dmitry Chernyakov said. The Bolshoi, which has more than 2,000 employees, will offer the entire artistic spectrum, with orchestra, opera and ballet. Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s ballet Swan Lake had its premiere in 1877 at the theatre, which was founded in 1776 at the behest of Catherine the Great, in a Russian classical style. Not only Swan Lake, but also many other classics, have cemented the Bolshoi’s reputation as a world class theatre. With its corps de ballet of more than 200 members, the Bolshoi has the largest dance troupe in the world, according to Filin, who just brought in 29-year-old US dancer David Hallberg as a soloist.

on the bank of the river Seine, is meant to appeal not only to tourists, but also to the residents of the Paris greater metropolitan area who now account for only 10 per cent of visitors. Only about half of the Eiffel Tower’s 7 million annual visitors stop on the first platform, operating company chief Nicolas Lefebvre explains. In an attempt to make it more attractive, the largest of the Eiffel Tower’s three platforms—measuring 5,400 square metres—will now be redone for the third time in its history, at a cost of about 25 million euros (34 million dollars). In February 2012, construction workers will build a lift, covering a distance of 60 metres, in the centre of the tower - to allow them to work on the platform. In addition to glass sheets on the floor, it will get 3-metres-high glass panes, rising in parallel to the tower - to act as boundary markers for visitors. There will also be a new conference hall, a refurbished restaurant, a museum, and an exhibition or performance area. The renovated platform will be ecologically friendlier—thanks to solar panels and wind turbines, which will cover half of its hot water needs, by generating some 8,000 kilowatt hours of electricity annually. The architects have also dreamed up one attraction of a very special kind—the purportedly most attractive restrooms in the world. “The ladies’ restroom will have an extraordinary view of the capital,” chief architect Alain Moatti told the daily Le Figaro. The Eiffel Tower will remain open to the public during the 17 months of modernization works. u

“My plans are to bring to this stage the best ballet the world has to offer,” he emphasized. The focus will be on classical dance, with 84-year-old choreographer Yuri Grigorovich opening the ballet dances with Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty on November 18. After closing of the historic stage in 2005, the Bolshoi ballet performed international guest performances, on a stage opened in 2003 in a new building nearby. Walking over the marble floor, past the glass elevators, and beneath the newly unveiled historical ceiling paintings, which were whitewashed during Soviet times, the theatre bosses now promise world class culture. u


32

21–27 October 2011

G -scape PRAKHAR PANDEY & JIT KUMAR

MILLENNIUM GRAM & CITY

Friday Gurgaon, October 21-27, 2011  

Gurgaon's own weekly newspaper

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you