Blog pic

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Photo courtesy: Tarun Balakrishnan

01 August, 2015

Issue No. 167 I July 2015


Wiser counsels have prevailed and Supreme Court has stayed the construction of the median on Alaknanda main road before it could go beyond the A block gate. The stay has come at the right time. Had it come a couple of days later the median would have extended to the market and triggered a chaos. However, people who go to Faridabad or beyond on work have to go upto St. George's School traffic light to take a U-turn, when they return home.

Another godman was arrested recently for raping a devotee. The veneration of sundry godmen without giving credence to their antecedents or methods baffles me. Perhaps the search for deliverance gets frantic when expectations are not realised. It is shocking to see our seers' spiritual quest has baser moorings.

In India there is no right of individual privacy. We invade our neighbours' privacy without qualms or compunction and have them invade ours by way of reciprocal rights. Perfect strangers within moments of introduction ask how many children you have and God help you if you have none. Believe me there would be no dearth of unsolicited advice as to how a local efficacious quack can fix it for you. I was told by a resident that such a question was posed to her when she moved to Yamuna some years ago.

Sadhana Music and Dance Academy had a musical soiree on 11th July, 2015 in C Block Annexe where their students performed. It was pleasing to see the level of accomplishment of these children some of whom have been learning the art for barely a month. The supreme confidence with which they performed was truly amazing. Even the colony ladies gave a good account of themselves in Hindustani singing. Certificates were issued to the students as a testament of their having achieved a certain level of proficiency.

After the barren summer months when we take a recess from all things cultural, we are entering that period of the year which sees the advent of festivals, marriages and a whole lot of social and cultural do's. Just so that you do not miss out on any of the big days in Yamuna starting from August, the calendar of events at the tail end of the Chronicle can serve as an aide-memoire. To make the festivals colourful, entertaining and enjoyable, I would request the cultural tsarinas of Yamuna to roll up their sleeves and get cracking with rehearsals. I am talking about Sukanya Sundaresan, Kalyani Chandramouli ,Seema Chari, Anu Nair, Vidya Venkat, Alka Arora, Shubhada Arun, Radhika Samson, amongst others.

Our BJP spokesperson, Mr. P. K. K. Nair's efforts to get street lights and benches has paid off. While we already have a surfeit of benches in the park, demand for additional benches seem misplaced. They have been placed at different spots in the colony. I only see the bench between G&H Blocks getting used, the remaining benches are languishing with nobody wishing to rest their derriere there. The street lights will however come handy. Parts of the perimeter road are ill-lit and these lights can illuminate such areas better.

To launch the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in her constituency of Alaknanda, GK, CR Park amongst others, BJP MP, Mrs. Meenakshi Lekhi chose our Apartments as the launch pad on 26th July, 2015. Nearly 150 people attended the function. All the RWA's/Societies and Market Associations were  given dust bins and we were the beneficiaries of two bins as well. We chose this opportunity to acknowledge the gift of benches and street lights, besides the dustbins. Mrs. Lekhi made a plea that people should increase their use of public transport and walk short distances to reduce their carbon footprint. She also recounted an incident when she attended a funeral and was aghast to see that people were throwing water bottles all over the place and went about picking them up. She urged those present to control litter in public spaces.

Breakfast was served to the assembled audience by the Yamuna canteen. While it was an occasion to drive home the message that people should not throw litter, some of the people present after taking coffee or water just dropped their cups and bottles where they were standing instead of depositing them in the waste bins kept just a few yards away. Where is our civic consciousness?


Mr. M. K. Ravindran of B-004 passed away peacefully in his sleep on 14th July,2015. He used to run errands for the house until two months ago. I feel his end was untimely and came a little too soon. He had hoisted the National Flag in Yamuna on Independence Day last year. He had penned a book in Malayalam called "Ishwara Stuthikal". He was mentally alert until his end. Only two days prior to his demise he asked my wife as to when my daughter Kavya would be leaving for Bangalore for joining college. He will be missed by near and dear ones, especially those who knew him well.


Madhu of B-306 delivered a baby girl named Advika on 29th May, 2015. This news did not get reported in the Chronicle earlier because I got wind of the information only now. I am always delighted to report the birth of a child in Yamuna as with an otherwise dwindling population, the colony is losing its verve and energy. Children always light up the environment and I am sure the new arrival will do the same to the household of Madhu and Kartick.


The traffic of people moving in and out of Yamuna remains unabated. We have had a lot of families moving out this summer for various reasons.

Sudhir Dravid and family have vacated from G-001 and moved to Pune as Sudhir's parents are ailing. Why do nice people leave Yamuna? They have been an integral part of Yamuna with Shantanu in particular being a livewire on stage both as a dancer in several cultural items as well as an accomplished tabla player. Sudhir and Nachiket are more cerebral. Sudhir will be missed in Quiz and Chess competitions. Swati had her legion of friends in Yamuna. We will miss them very much and hope that they will return at some point, like they have done once before.


Mr. Vinod Nair and Sandhya Rajan of E-002 have immigrated to Australia. They will be settling down in Perth. Perth of course is two and half hours closer to India by flight than Sydney.


Mr. B. Srivastava and family of B-003 have relocated to Rae Bareilly after living there for more than three years. Both their children topped the Board exam from Yamuna in the respective years.

As a consequence of their moving, Mr. Kumar of A-308 has moved into B-003. He now does not have to trudge three floors after a hard days grind.


G-004 has a new occupant. Mr. Prasad Vikrama Rao who is working for Monnet Ispat and Energy Ltd, has moved in from Chennai. His wife, Pankaja and younger son, Akshat will relocate only if Akshat who is studying in Class XI gets school admission here. His elder son, Darshan is studying for PGDM in Financial Markets at NIFM, Faridabad. Mr. Prasad will be joined by his parents Mr. Vikrama Rao and Mrs. Kala. Mr. Prasad is fond of tennis and reading while his wife loves gardening and doing a lot of community work. Both his sons play soccer and tennis, his father is a medical practitioner and his mother is a Thirupughazh tutor. The family is trilingual and speaks Kannada, Tamil and Marathi. Mr. Prasad can be reached on 9884615202. We welcome them to Yamuna.


Riya Ramabadhran always had a strong scholastic aptitude having scored a perfect 10 CGPA in her Class X exam. Now, she has also been awarded the 'Best All-round Performer' prize for Class X by The Mother's International School. It's no mean achievement. She straddles the world of academics, culture and sports with equal ease.


The big stage performances of our dancers is getting impressive by the day. On 4th July, 2015,  Mallika Eswaran lit up the stage in India International Centre with fluid movement, grace and poise doing Bharatanatyam.


Once upon a time there was a king who wanted to go fishing. He called the royal weather forecaster and enquired as to the weather forecast for the next few hours.

The weatherman assured him that there was no chance of rain in the coming days.
So the king went fishing with his wife, the queen. On the way he met a farmer on his donkey. Upon seeing the king the farmer said, "Your Majesty, you should return to the palace at once because in just a short time I expect a huge amount of rain to fall in this area".

The king was polite and considerate, he replied: "I hold the palace meteorologist in high regard. He is an extensively educated and experienced professional. Besides, I pay him very high wages. He gave me a very different forecast. I trust him and I will continue on my way." So he continued on his way.

However, a short time later a torrential rain fell from the sky. The King and Queen were totally soaked and their entourage chuckled upon seeing them in such a shameful condition.
Furious, the king returned to the palace and gave the order to fire the weatherman at once!

Then he summoned the farmer and offered him the prestigious role of royal forecaster.
The farmer said, "Your Majesty, I do not know anything about forecasting. I obtain my information from my donkey. If I see my donkey's ears drooping, it means with certainty that it will rain."

So the king hired the donkey.

And so began the practice of hiring asses to work in the government and occupy its highest and most influential positions.


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05 July, 2015

Issue No. 166 I June 2015


With most of the children going off on vacations with their parents, within or outside the country for most part of the month, Yamuna resembled a senior citizens retreat, all quiet and melancholic. Now they are back, running and bouncing around like baboons on a sugar high. I marvel at their boundless energy, although It makes me feel old and jaded.
The lawn is looking lush and verdant thanks to the shade tolerant grass planted in the bare parts of the ground. We hope it stays that way through the tough winter months when grass, unless tended with extreme care and inputs of urea, tends to perish.

There is not much happening in Yamuna, hence, it is time to dwell our minds on the political scene. If you compare the left-wing right-wing politics of today, it is characterised on the one hand by an effete, failed liberal outlook which could not match up to emerging times and a resurgent, strong and strident right on the other. Rahul Gandhi has returned after a fifty day vacation all rejuvenated and cranked up to assault a broadside on Narendra Modi for the plight of the farmers and bringing the economy to its knees. How ironic, these were the very reasons why the Congress party was hounded out in the polls and Narendra Modi's BJP was brought into power. Now that he has done his bit he is off again on his overseas vacation.

The fact is farmers committed suicide even during the Congress regime and they will continue to do so until the whole ecosystem changes. Most of the farms in India are marginal in nature, a result of multiple division of property over centuries where fathers, upon their demise, left the land to their progeny, with each intent on cropping their own little patches. These farms are so small that divisions have left much of the land fallow and uncultivable. Besides, the demarcations take away whatever little land is left. These farmers do not have the resources to use modern farm practices like drip irrigation, buy hybrid and high yielding seeds, protect their fields from vermin etc and thus are not even self sustaining, leave alone creating a surplus. Rural growth in population will further erode an already unviable legacy. The solution is co-operative farming, where they pool the land into sizable mass which would allow them to use modern farm implements and match international yields, which are on an average four to five times of most Indian farms. For this to happen there should be organisational bandwidth, trust and integrity, all of which are at a premium in this country. Hence the only viable solution is to sell these marginal tracts of land for industry and infrastructure which could provide employment to future generations. The policy of handouts which the Left governments and Congress are following, will only make the farmers eternally dependent and worthless. Besides, where do you get the resources to pay for the handouts? The  Government gets revenue only from income tax, excise duty, sales tax etc that an industrialised economy provides. Farmers, rich or small, don't pay a dime. If we deny land for industry which can create wealth and provide revenue to the State, this largesse cannot continue.

If the Modi government is trying to correct this anomaly with the Land Acquisition Bill, the Congress and the Left parties are playing ducks and drakes and placing all kinds of hurdles in the passing of these bills. I may not be a supporter of all that BJP does but on the Land Bill and GST, I am totally on their side.

What is troubling for Modi and BJP is that many party stalwarts are either shooting off their mouth or are getting embroiled in unsavoury actions, even if it is not entirely illegal or criminal. They are in the process skirting the edges of propriety and providing grist to the mill for the Opposition to pound the Government with. The downside is that important legislations are getting derailed which adversely affect the revival of the economy.

The candour I display with some of my assertions in the Chronicle may not go down well with the views of some residents. These are my personal views and I apologise if this leads to misconception as my commentaries bear no malice towards anybody else's political and economic beliefs and views.

Modern conviviality breeds in Facebook culture. Our multifarious relationships are increasingly transient and sometimes geographically distant. They are overwhelmingly composed of one's peer group, mobile social unit built on contingent social factors. Our world has begun to mimic the rhythms of the market, fostering temporary bonds rather than permanent. The family has become a weaker institution. Sleepovers at friends places have become more common amongst children. The time they spend at home is restricted to the minimum and dictated by convenience. Extended families have become more tenuous, birth rates are falling, nuclear families are getting smaller, a large proportion of marriages are ending in divorce. The population of Yamuna itself has shrunk over the years.

Intimacy is a function of time and permanence. It rests on mutuality and unconditionality. it is rooted in trust. As such it is the very opposite of what the current generation have been brought to believe through social media and cinemas. As a consequence our most intimate relationships are being subtly changed and corroded by the new values. Our daughter will be going to Bangalore for four years for her graduation and she is on a high, whereas we, as parents, are already feeling the pangs of separation. My interactions with other families indicates that the phenomenon is universal.

The observation of 21st June as World Yoga day by the UN, pushed and promoted at the behest of Narendra  Modi has brought into focus the ancient science of yoga, first elucidated by Patanjali, over 2400 years ago. While there is no denying the immense benefits of yoga for both body and mind, its prominence and popularity has remained largely the exclusive preserve of the elites in the West and the educated and cultured at home. Mrs. Shantha Vasudevan asked me why I had not organised a Yoga Day in Yamuna to celebrate the day. Just the thought of stepping out in the open in temperatures exceeding 40 degrees, leave alone doing strenuous exercise in muggy weather is quite daunting. I preferred to watch the asanas being performed in Rajpath, in air-conditioned comfort, sitting on a couch in the drawing room. While the throng were busy doing Bhujangasana, Sarvangasana etc., I was busy doing couch-asana. Be that as it may, the unwitting beneficiary of this craze is our neighbour across the border, as China-made yoga mats are flying off the shelves.

Despite street protests, legal intervention and political canvassing, the median dividing the main road in front our complex is likely to be without any gaps in the verge upto Tara Apartments. The very thought of all the traffic heading towards Tara to take U-turns is very frightening. The likelihood of traffic snarls at Tara is very real. It may just be the trigger one needs to abandon the car to travel short distances like going to the markets, colonies or clubs in the neighbourhood and instead, hoof it. I have been given to understand from a person close to the civic authorities that a ban on parking of cars on the main road is likely to be next on the agenda. It may well be the opportune time to sell one's cars, particularly for those who use their cars sparingly. The economics of doing away with cars for people who use them less than two or three times a week is a no-brainer. If you own one car and factor the interest on the value of car purchased, annual insurance cost, maintenance cost, driver's salary and bonus, car cleaning cost, car parking charge paid to the Society and outside, depreciation of the car on an annual basis and fuel costs, it will prove less dear to take a taxi or an auto-rickshaw. The emergence of Ola and Uber will not only make it more convenient for urban commutes but will also be cheaper. The expansion of the arteries of the Delhi Metro will bring it closer to us and its increasing labyrinth of stations will improve connectivity. It may not mean the death knell for cars as we know it, but it will certainly redefine urban commuting patterns. Subject to feasibility, Alaknanda colonies may consider operating a private feeder service at periodic intervals for the Metro when the Savitri station becomes operational.

Students from the most impoverished conditions have surprised many with their success rate in this year's IIT entrance examinations. Super Thirty, an institution geared to provide coaching to talented students from very poor house-holds had the best success rate with twenty-six of the thirty students securing admission to IIT. This is the highest success percentage of any institution in the country running coaching classes for IIT aspirants. It just goes to show that if equal opportunities are provided to the poor they would upset the applecart and show the rest of the country that intelligence is not the exclusive preserve of the wealthy upper castes.

Some people have a love-hate relationship with other people's pets. While residents loath the idea of pets defiling the colony with their poop, they are popular with most children and some adults. The new pet named June - a Lhasa Apso - is a cute, furry, little bundle of joy, bought by Ram for his children. Aryan Ramabhadran has become the Pied Piper of the colony as the children follow him when he takes June for a walk.


Rajat Vashishtha and his wife Sandeepa Santiago have moved into A-208 from Hyderabad where he was working with HSBC. He is now working with Barclays Bank but is going to shortly join Macquarie as AVP, Investment Banking. This blissful couple's only quarrel is that they support rival  football clubs. Rajat is a Manchester United fan whereas Sandeepa is an FC Barcelona fan, being an ardent follower of Messi. Rajat is also fond of Formula One. He used to play basketball for Uttarakhand State and IIM, Bangalore. Sandeepa is a Communications Manager with Policy Bazaar and handles their press releases and TV scripts. Both of them are avid readers. Sandeepa is into Angel healing. Sandeepa being a Malayali, should find herself at home in Yamuna. We welcome them to Yamuna. Rajat can be reached on 9642717000 and Sandeepa can be reached on 9599423244.


Another long term resident has bid us goodbye. Mr. Padmanabhan, Geeta and Anjali have moved to their own flat in Gurgaon from C-208. While Mr. Padmanabhan and Geeta used to be enthusiastic about cleanliness and ecodrives in the colony, Anjali had her diehard friends circle in

Yamuna. We will miss them. We do hope they will make it a point to visit Yamuna on occasions like Onam, Diwali Mela, Annual Day etc.


Tejaswin Shankar of G-306 has made it a habit of pulling a rabbit out of the hat. This is not magic, however. It's the real deal. He has won a Gold medal in the School Olympics in China in high jump by clearing a whopping 2.11 metres. I am certain he is going to hog both print and visual media with his feats in the years to come.


A husband said to his wife one day, "I don't know how you can be so stupid and so beautiful all at the same time."
The wife responded , "Allow me to explain, God made me beautiful so you would be attracted to me ; God made me stupid so I would be attracted to you !"

An elderly husband and wife visit their doctor when they begin forgetting little things. Their doctor tells them that many people find it useful to write themselves little notes. When they get home, the wife says, "Dear, will you please go to the kitchen and get me a dish of ice cream? And maybe write that down so you won't forget?"
"Nonsense," says the husband, "I can remember a dish of ice cream."
"Well," says the wife, "I'd also like some strawberries and whipped cream on it."
"My memory's not all that bad, " says the husband. "No problem -- a dish of ice cream with strawberries and whipped cream. I don't need to write it down."
He goes into the kitchen; his wife hears pots and pans banging around. The husband finally emerges from the kitchen and presents his wife with a plate of bacon and eggs. She looks at the plate and asks, "Hey, where's the toast I asked for?"
Feeling bloated and not so great? Try some non-fat yogurt or pumpkin seeds. These foods will keep you satisfied, and prevent you from getting bloated.

It is normal to have an increased appetite after physical exertion, but this is generally alleviated after eating. However, a significantly increased appetite over a prolonged period could be a symptom of a serious illness, such as diabetes or hyperthyroidism. If you are experiencing excessive hunger that is ongoing, talk to your doctor.