Blog pic

Blog pic
Yamuna's exotic fruit trees!

02 August, 2014

Issue No. 155 I July 2014


There are only three classes of people who are privileged to have summer recess. They are students, teachers and lawyers. The long summer break gets them into such a lethargic mode that when the break gets over it becomes quite an effort to get back into the routine. It's like going from zero to hundred in nanoseconds. Rest of the office going public have to make do with short breaks whenever their bosses are in a good mood and condescend to give them leave. The only people who do not get any vacation at all are housewives. They are on duty 24 x 7. The situation is still worse for ladies who have daytime jobs and return home to attend to household chores. They are the unsung heroines of our times. Most people pay scant respect to the job they do. They are the CEOs of the house and keep everything going like clockwork. Let's say a big hurray to them!

The Union Budget announced by the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had the stamp of Narendra Modi all over it. This budget will be a game changer. After decades of plodding along making cosmetic changes to the Budget, we have a Prime Minister who is willing to catch the bull by the horns and steer it northwards. Although shorn of the promised big bang reforms, the budget had enough directional policy initiatives that could spur growth to a canter from the slothful crawl during the UPA years. Introduction of GST could overnight increase our GDP by two percent. For GST to be passed anytime soon there will have to be a lot of give and take. Since much power is devolved to the states, the fissiparous nature of its polity means that deals will constantly have to be made with regional and caste based parties. Whether BJP has the stomach to do it, only time will tell.

A sea change is taking place in the sport that children tend to follow these days. Cricket, the long reigning sporting pastime that grabbed eyeballs on prime time TV is fast getting replaced by football in metropolitan cities. You see more children wearing a Messi, Ronaldo or a Rooney T shirt rather than that of any Indian cricketing hero. The popularity of cricket has shifted to moffusil towns and the rural hinterland. While India has not produced any footballer of note who could rub shoulders with the aforementioned greats of the game, the following of football amongst teens could spawn a generation of footballers in the next decade who could be worthy of competing as equals in Asia, if not the world. Brazil, for long considered the favourite to lift the World Cup – which at one time was called the Jules Rimmet trophy – made an ignominious exit after a humiliating defeat at the hands of Germany. Even the most ardent German fan could not have predicted a 7-1 win. They were only a shadow of the great team without the services of star forward, Neymar and their captain Silva.  

In a show of strength on Saturday 12th July, 2014, Kunal Savarkar, Vidya Nair and Anoushka Nair went about earnestly to rid the colony of plastic sachets, broken bottles and other sundry refuse that was littered in flower beds and other nooks and crannies which do not normally fall in the cleaning beat of the Yamuna staff. It is a shame that more residents did not feel compelled to join in this noble effort. Unfortunately, it was a working day for me. Nevertheless, I had this overbearing pang of guilt as I found the three of them toiling in the torrid weather with sweat trickling down their brows, picking up odds and ends and stuffing them into large disposal bags. Kudos to the three of them. They make us proud. I have never seen so few people turn up for an eco and cleanliness drive before. I am reminded of the Bob Dylan song, "The times they are a-changin’", an anthem to less responsible and more wanton times.

The predilection of court hearings getting adjourned ad nauseum is a bane plaguing the country which, unfortunately, we are being forced to endure. The case relating to the regularisation of flats of 26 societies, which was to serve as a benchmark to regularise our flats, has yet again been adjourned to 9th September, 2014.

We are heading to hear another sermon from the ramparts of Red Fort on Independence Day where our Prime Minister is probably going to say why we are not where we should be and what we need to do to establish our rightful place in the community of nations. For much of its existence, India has resembled a prisoner in chains dragging itself on its hands and knees rather than forging ahead with a confident stride. Thus far, the sound bytes coming from  Mr. Narendra Modi have been very motivating and thought provoking. It will take some doing for this message to be commandeered by the masses. We will be hoisting the flag in the Badminton Court to the strains of patriotic songs and hope the tide of things would change for the better. Please assemble in large numbers and raise a toast to a new India.

We are entering that time of the year when the calendar is choc-a-bloc with social and cultural events. We would request all those interested in participating in these events as performers or choreographers to contact me so that I can put you in touch with the right people. Please see the calendar of events appearing at the tail end of this chronicle for guidance.


Kumar and Meghana Chiplunkar of E-003 had endeared themselves to Yamuna residents in a way nobody else had done in such a short stay in the colony. Their charming demeanour, their tastefully done abode and their abiding faith in the teachings of the Buddha are all worthy of emulating. They could claim credit for making several residents adherents to the teachings of the Buddha. Many a disturbed soul found peace after being initiated into Buddhist chanting. It was therefore sad to see them leave Yamuna. They moved to Gurgaon on 4th July, 2014 to be close to their place of work and Meghana's parents. We will miss them.


Mr. Ajoy Chaudhary has moved into his home in E-001. Mr. Chaudhary was the designer of the complex we stay in, which despite being more than thirty five years old has contemporary looks. This iconic structure has got rave reviews even in overseas publications and features amongst the top ten contemporary buildings on the BBC website. We are indeed privileged that Mr. Chaudhary has come to live with us. After moving to Yamuna he has got his staff to work on digitising the drawings of Yamuna so that they don't get dog eared as a consequence of wear and aging. 

Mr. V. Sureshkumar has moved into A-301 from E-304 with his wife Supriya and son Siddhant. This is his second move within the colony. His continued preference for a third floor flat is a little baffling, though. E block's loss is A Block's gain.


Mr. K. N. Venkatesh and his wife Rajam of B-204 have moved to Mumbai to live with their son Sridhar Venkatesh, who was working in GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals Ltd, Singapore and has been transferred to Mumbai as Vice President, Operations.

 In a missive to the Editor they expressed their inability to bid goodbye to everyone and hoped that through the Chronicle their sentiments would be conveyed.  They also expressed their gratitude to all the Committee Members (past and present), office staff and workers who had helped ease their stay in Yamuna. They have plans to visit Yamuna periodically and nurse a desire to catch up with everybody. They convey their best wishes to everyone in Yamuna.


Girija and R.R. Mohan of D-001 have reasons to be happy. Their son Kaushik is getting married to Sheetal, daughter of Parvathi and Ramdas Iyer on Sunday, 31st August, 2014 in Bangalore. With that, another bachelor's free-wheeling days come to an end. We wish both of them a fulfilling life together.


A senior citizen was driving his brand new Porsche at 100 kmph, when, looking in his rear view mirror , he saw a police car behind him. He floored it to 140 , then 150 ...then 170 ...
Suddenly, he thought,  “I'm too old for this nonsense ! '' So he pulled over to the side of the road and waited for the police car to catch up with him .
The officer walked up to him , looked at his watch and said , ''Sir , my shift ends in ten minutes , Today is Friday and I'm taking off for the weekend , If you can give me a reason for your speeding that I've never heard before, I'll let you go.''

The man looked very seriously at the police man, and replied ,''Years ago , my wife ran off with a policeman. I thought you were bringing her back.''

The cop left, saying ''Have a good day, sir."


01 - Cellphones - Our mobile devices can have 10 times more bacteria than toilet seats…and they’re always touching our faces. Would you wipe the inside of your toilet bowl with your cheek? 

02 - TV Remote Control - In many households this is one of the dirtiest items you can handle. 

03 - Reusable Shopping Bags - Your reusable shopping bags have more fecal matter than your underwear, because you at least wash that. 

04 - Ice - A study of fast food restaurants in the US found that 70% of the ice served had more bacteria than the toilet water. 

05 - Restroom floors - No real surprise here. Public restrooms have about 2 million bacteria per square inch. The average toilet seat has only 50 per square inch. 

06 - Keyboards - Keyboards can have up to 200 times more bacteria than a toilet seat. 

07 - Office Desks - The average desk has 400 times more bacteria than a toilet. 

08 - Restaurant Menus - There are on average 100 times more bacteria on restaurant menus than on restroom toilet seats. 

09 - Light switch - These can have up to 217 bacteria per square inch. 

10 - Door knobs - Hands are one of the dirtiest parts of the body, and most people use them to open their doors.


9.00 AM


6.30 PM


7.30 PM

6.30 PM

5.00 PM

6.00 PM


6.30 PM

9.00 AM

6.30 PM

4.30 PM


6.30 PM

10.30 AM

6.00 PM



03 July, 2014

Issue No. 154 I June 2014

Modi is here to stay and make a difference. What matters to him is drive and enterprise-attributes that bypass the great majority of plodders in the government. He is loath to pander to the average. Hitherto, development in India was given over to 'give no quarter' politicians who cleave to a socialistic model that continues to trump economics. Ofcourse, the euphoria generated by BJP's landslide victory may be a little misplaced as it puts expectations far in excess of what is pragmatically possible in the short term. Given India's federal polity with still many states in opposition hands, he has to weave a delicate and complicated manoeuvre to get the opposition to sing along. Among other things, one thing he is capable of doing is to cut red tape which Balkanises the economy. Hubris apart, the guy has what it takes to move mountains. I am optimistic.

This summer has been weird. While May had more than its fair share of rain whenever the temperatures threatened to breach the records, June seems to test our resolve through 'agni pariksha'. The mercury broke a 62 year record when the temperature touched a fire breathing 47.8⁰ C. Stepping out into the open seemed like venturing into hell. A number of heat stroke cases have been reported. We just hope rain would bring some relief. Amazingly, the heat has also taken a toll of the mosquitoes, which of course is very welcome, albeit briefly. Rain while bringing the mercury down will give a new lease of life to the pesky pests. The temperature has come down over the month from an intolerable 47⁰ C to an uncomfortable 41⁰ C. What a relief !!!

Summer vacations are long enough to bring ennui into children's lives. Consequently. parents are pressured into taking them for a vacation to cooler climes. Succumbing to these pressures can be hard on the pocket as most vacations can cost an arm and a leg. Peer pressure at school and elsewhere means children do not want to settle for less than an exotic place with high price tag in India or abroad. While parents slave at home and at work, children want it all and more, although even parents secretly yearn for a break. While my daughter wanted to go to a beach place for the vacation, since no beach place in India has conducive weather in summer we had to settle for a beach holiday in Bali. The writ runs somewhat similarly in other families in Yamuna with atleast three families I know having gone to the Andamans, three families to Europe, two families to the US and one to Mauritius. Amongst the Indian destinations, count Ranthambore, Goa, the hills of North India and Bangalore where some families have been to. There may be many other residents who may have gone on exotic holidays which I may not be privy to. Gone are the days when we as children were always taken only to our parents home town in Kerala, every summer holiday. The downside  of escaping from the heat for a few days is that when you get back the effects of the heat are far more severe.

The IPL circus is over. I get the impression that with unorthodox stroke play and lusty hitting no total looks safe until the last ball is bowled. While it is certainly entertainment, I miss the subtlety and nuances of Test cricket where technique and temperament play a very important role. There are very few players who can play both forms of the game with equal felicity. The twenty over game however has certainly improved the standards of fielding and running between the wickets.

The rain dance on 15th June got a tepid response with just a handful of children showing up in the park. Part of the reason is that many children were out on holidays. However, the participation from adults and the older children has diminished over the years as there seem to be quite content leading a sedate and monotonous existence. The need to let your hair down and frolic in the cooling shower of water and mingling with friends apparently does not have the elixir that sitting in front of the TV and watching a soap or chatting with friends on Facebook seem to have.  To each his own, is all I can say. Seema and Kunal did make a brief appearance but lack of company sent them homeward bound.

The dust bins dotting the colony are welcome receptacles for the endless garbage that emanates due to surge in the sales and consumption of junk food in laminated pouches. Yet about 10% of them find their way into the flower beds, roads, the space between the blocks and the lawn. Despite several advisories asking residents not to litter, there are still some people who do not care for the environment they live in and make an eyesore of the place. Kunal Savarkar and his staff have volunteered to clean up the nooks and crannies in the colony which are not the regular beat of the cleaning staff of the colony. Those who wish to join in the effort are requested to get in touch with Kunal.

Sadhana's monthly entertainment in the form of performance by students is a great idea. It not only allows the parents to assess the progress their wards make under the tutelage of their gurus, it also provides free entertainment during that part of the year when the cultural and social events hit a nadir. It was heartening to see the students give a good account of themselves inspite of the stifling weather. We are proud to see Radhika, Ramanan and Pranav putting their heart and soul into this venture.

We understand that the work on the gas pipeline which was supposed to wind its way through Ganga and reach Yamuna has been suspended due to the onset of monsoon. We have been given to understand that the work will resume in October. The seemingly endless wait has led to some people questioning the merits of having the gas pipeline as apparently the PNG supply prices have shot through the roof on which is there is no subsidy whereas the LPG that we get has a liberal dose of subsidy. This is definitely valid for small families where the consumption of gas is limited to the subsidised cylinder. The other downside being the terrain of Yamuna being very undulating and stepped the feasibility of taking the pipeline to all the flats may lead to extensive digging through paved areas and rocky underlay. The apprehension is that we could be saddled with extensive repair costs running into lacs and also permanent scarring. The upside of course is that when you have the gas pipeline you do not have to bother with registering for a refill and waiting for the cylinder.


Close on the heels of the demise of Mrs. Nagan, Mr. N. S. Nagan passed away on 4th June, 2014 in Gurgaon. Mr. Nagan was a member of Yamuna  and used to live in D-101. Maybe the grief over losing his life partner proved too much to him and he ended up joining her in heaven. Yamuna residents convey their condolence to the bereaved family.


M. Anand's (C-001), daughter Advaitha, a Dentist got engaged to Shriram Iyer, a Marine Engineer on 8th June, 2014. Wedding is slated for November, 2014. We wish the couple fun times during their courtship until they get married.


Mr. Arvind Singh has moved into F-004 with his family. Arvind Singh works as a Marketing Manager for Lace World, an organisation that sells garments, fabrics and lace. When not working he relaxes to the strains of music. His wife, Chandrakantha is a volleyball coach in Mothers International School. She is also a music buff. Their only daughter, Vanshika is seven years old and is studying in the third class in Amrita Vidyalaya. Amrita is also learning Odissi dance at Sadhana. Arvind Singh and family belong to Rajasthan. Their coming to Yamuna will add to the cultural diversity of Yamuna. They can be reached on 9810889523.


In a welcome return to Yamuna that is being cheered by all hedonists Manoj, Prema and Saisha have moved to A-309 from Mumbai. Having lived in C Block and H Block before, their latest pit stop in A Block will leave them with only three more blocks to occupy. Their return will liven up the social and cultural activity in Yamuna.


There is  an old Hotel/Pub in Marble Arch, London , which  used to have a gallows adjacent to it. Prisoners  were taken to the gallows, (after a fair trial  of course) to be  hung.
 The horse  drawn dray, carting the prisoner, was  accompanied by an armed guard, who would stop  the dray outside the pub and ask the prisoner if  he would like ''ONE LAST  DRINK''.
 If he said  YES, it was referred to as "ONE FOR THE  ROAD"
 If he  declined, that prisoner was "ON THE WAGON". So  there you go.
 They used  to use urine to tan animal skins, so families  used to all pee in a pot & then once a day  it was taken & sold to the tannery. If you  had to do this to survive you were, "Piss Poor",  but worse than that, were the really poor folk,  who couldn't even afford to buy a pot, they  "Didn't have a pot to  Urinate   in" & were the  lowest of the low.

The next  time you are washing your hands and complain,  because the water temperature isn't just how you  like it, think about how things used to  be. Here are  some facts about the  1500's in England.                      
Most  people got married in June, because they took  their yearly bath in May and they still smelled  pretty good by  June.
However,  since they were starting to smell, brides  carried a bouquet of flowers, to hide the body  odour. Hence the custom today, of carrying a  bouquet when getting  married.

Baths  consisted of a big tub filled with hot water.  The man of the house had the privilege of the  nice clean water, then all the other sons and  men, then the women and finally the children.  Last of all the babies. By then the water was so  dirty you could actually lose someone in it.  Hence the saying, "Don't throw the baby out with  the Bath water!"

Houses had  thatched roofs, thick straw piled high, with no  wood underneath. It was the only place for  animals to get warm, so all the cats and other  small animals (mice, bugs) lived in the roof.  When it rained it became slippery and sometimes  the animals would slip and fall off the roof.  Hence the saying "It's raining cats and  dogs."

There was  nothing to stop things from falling into the  house. This posed a real problem in the bedroom,  where bugs and other droppings could mess up  your nice clean bed. Hence, a bed with big posts  and a sheet hung over the top, afforded some  protection. That's how canopy beds came into  existence.

 The floor  was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other  than dirt. Hence the saying, "Dirt Poor." The  wealthy had slate floors, that would get  slippery in the winter when wet, so they spread  thresh (straw) on floor to help keep their  footing. As the winter wore on, they added more  thresh, until, when you opened the door, it  would all start slipping outside. A piece of  wood was placed in the entrance-way. Hence: a  thresh hold.  
 Sometimes  they could obtain pork, which made them feel  quite special. When visitors came over, they  would hang up their bacon, to show off. It was a  sign of wealth that a man could, "Bring home the  Bacon." They would cut off a little, to share  with guests and would all sit around talking and  ''Chew the fat''.
Bread was  divided, according to status. Workers got the  burnt bottom of the loaf, the family got the  middle, and guests got the top, or ''The Upper  Crust''.
England  is old and small and the local folks started  running out of places to bury people. So, they  would dig up coffins and would take the bones to  a bone-house and reuse the grave. When reopening  these coffins, 1 out of 25 coffins were found to  have scratch marks on the inside and they  realized they had been burying people alive. So  they would tie a string on the wrist of the  corpse, thread it through the coffin and up  through the ground and tie it to a  bell.
Someone  would have to sit out in the graveyard all  night, (the graveyard shift) to listen for the  bell; thus, someone could be, ''Saved by the  Bell '' or was considered a ''Dead  Ringer''

   And that's  the truth.
  Now,  whoever said history was boring ! !  !