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07 May, 2016

Issue No. 176 I April 2016

EDITORIAL

The last cultural event before the summer recess was the screening of a movie and pot-luck dinner on 2nd April, 2016. As usual there were differences in the choice of movies with children pulling one way and the adults the other way. Even within them, there was no consensus. Eventually, Kung-fu Panda was screened much to the chagrin of many adults who came to see one of the latest Hindi movies. The ones who stayed back were treated to a visual overdose of flashing shots as the protagonists of the movie moved at lightning speed displaying various forms of martial art. Barring the technical wizardry of the creators, there wasn't much to hold the viewers interest. The storyline was rather thin. The endearing Panda was pummeled with blows which had nary an effect on his portly girth. His body shook like a jelly in high wind and his queer expressions provided some comic relief. I was glad when the movie got over and we settled down to savour the delectable eats.

We are entering the hot and dessicating weather of Delhi summer where venturing out is considered adventurous! Time to plan a vacation during the summer recess to cooler climes. Some, who have the means always go off to exotic locales whereas the few who remain brave the heat and try and stay indoors. Even in the blazing heat of 45⁰ centigrade the Amaltas, Jacarandas, Bougainvilleas, periwinkles and portulacas are in full bloom defying the torrid heat and resplendent in all their glory, in colours of flaming yellow, lilac and the latter three in an assortment of colours. Nature has a way of pleasing us in all the seasons. By the way one of the Jacaranda trees next to the badminton court bloomed for the first time since we planted it about four years ago. In a couple of years all the jacarandas will be in full bloom in a sea of lilac, as a metaphor for transient beauty.

Today, we find spending the summer months onerous but we loved it as kids. For one, we had long vacations from school and spent all our time outdoors, We slept on charpais in the open at night, either in the terrace or if we had the luxury of a lawn, there. We counted the stars in the night sky and occasionally spotted a shooting star or comet. The word pollution did not exist and the sky was crystal clear with millions of stars visible on a moonless night. When could you relish the push cart's ganna juice, or for that matter, multi-coloured ice lolly more than in the blazing heat? I used to indulge in these goodies as a kid but now with our sanitised life styles, these childhood favourites have become taboo. The cold water sold from the refrigerated push carts at two paise a glass never tasted sweeter. Our bodies are no more immune to the bacteria laden commercially sold ice. How I miss those childhood days of innocence, uncaring indifference and waywardness. The heat never bothered us and we would play a plethora of games extending from kancha, pittoo, guli danda, chupan chupai, oonch-neech, stapoo, maran pitti, L.O.N. D. O. N London, skipping and by the way also, cricket if we could afford the gear. If I am sounding ancient to you, I am indeed a fossil ready for carbon dating!

Mr. C. V. Balakrishanan (Bala) of A-102 has become such a big asset to the colony that his proposed plan to relocate to Bangalore will put the spanner in our works. He has been guiding and co-ordinating the work of IGL platform on the terrace, placement and levelling of the hexagonal blocks between the various blocks, and getting the A Block & H Block basements in order. He is also getting things organised  on the inventory front and doing sundry other activities. It is hard to find anybody like him who has the inclination, time and commitment to do this voluntary work. As a bonus, he has a pleasing personality and can-do attitude. Let us hope others can join in persuading him to stay back in Yamuna. His wife Saroj needs no prodding. She would gladly stay back.

The Kerala temple fireworks tragedy just highlights the callous attitude of the temple administration and the government authorities. Actually, the whole idea of burning fireworks all night till dawn is an attempt to usurp the spiritual space and turn it into a marketing event. All the stakeholders in this gameplan stand to gain. Th temple authorities with their collections, the hotels, the traders , the tourist taxis and many others. Nobody is bothered about the noise, air pollution and the poisonous cocktail of incendiary residue that will infiltrate the air, soil and water and do permanent harm to the populace. Everybody, including those who are supposed to prevent it are getting fat on it. Something must be done to prevent this evil commerce. This is the opportune time to come out with some legislation when the iron is still hot. If it doesn't happen now there will be an unbelievably long interregnum until the next tragedy hits us.

Potable water is a scarce resource and it is going to get scarcer as the years go by. It is estimated that in the next ten years there will be more unrest on account of water than any other cause. We have to conserve water and learn to live with less. We should avoid using water for washing staircases and for sundry other uses. Watering plants of course is a must as green cover is the best insurance against drought and pollution. However, everyday washing of foliage should be avoided and resorted to only once a week. Besides, flushing cisterns are the biggest water wasters. We need only six litres to evacuate the excretions whereas many of the older cisterns use between 18-24 litres of water. The modern cisterns come with two buttons – one releases 3 litres of water for small jobs and the other, six litres for big jobs. In case you have the massive old models you would be advised to change them to the ones available today with two levers. Besides, many a time, due to poor valve functioning, small amounts of water flow through the pot continuously in rest position. Please have it addressed by the plumber. If we ignore this, over a single night you could be wasting several buckets of water.

On the commercial side too there are benefits in conserving water. The Society spends about ten lac rupees on water every year which is reflected in your maintenance bill. It is very well possible to bring this figure to zero. When the Society started monitoring the daily consumption of water we realised that on several days our consumption of water was below the minimum chargeable quantity. The irony is that the moment the total consumption is above the minimum limit we are charged for the entire consumption. Therefore, if we are a little more prudent with consumption each resident's monthly maintenance bill could come down by over Rs. 400 per month.

A recent survey of the staircases has exposed the brunt of damage caused by washing of staircases and potted plants. The water seeps through the crevices and corrodes the steel structure to which the cantilevered staircase owes its stability. Of late many staircase undersides have revealed massive cracks and the plaster is falling off, revealing a steel frame that crumbles to the touch. While most of the pots have since been removed, it is advised that the remaining pots also be removed lest we have a tragedy akin to the collapsed Kolkata flyover. I may sound alarmist but the danger is real as pointed out to us by eminent structural engineers. Please heed their warning. Much of the damage is irreparable. We can only prevent further damage. Please also avoid keeping anything heavy on the staircase and landing, even temporarily.

The demographics of the colony is constantly in a churn with the incessant traffic of people moving in and out. Another contributor to the change are the births and deaths. While the former is welcome the latter unfortunately is very sad. Over the years we have lost many a noble soul. While the senior citizens may not be socially active, they bring a sense of serenity and balance without which we will be lost in a sea of intolerance and bad behaviour. When we have people relocating, they take away memories of time well spent in our complex. We are also blessed by the influx of new families. They sport new talents which will benefit us culturally.

The Society contacted an agency called PomPom which is a start-up engaged in recycling of waste. They collect segregated dry waste and pay for it as well. For a start, residents are advised to separate plastics, paper, glass and metal from their garbage and deposit the same in a green bin placed outside the office. A carton for depositing e-waste like batteries, fused bulbs, tubes, unwanted wires, plugs etc has also been placed in the office. Please do not throw away these harmful waste products which will either end up in a landfill or our backyard and pollute the water and air. Mercury from CFL bulbs, cadmium and lead from batteries leach into the soil and can cause genetic abnormalities and cancer. For the sake of the environment and our own sake, please use this facility.

SNIPPETS

Dr. Sharada Vinod and Dr. Vijay Shankar, our knights in shining armour in medical emergency, have moved to G-302 from E-304. Their contact number, however, remains the same as mentioned in the telephone directory under the head, "Important telephone numbers". Sharada is the lady, or should we say girl, who can be seen straining to contain two dogs on a leash when she takes them on their daily constitutional.

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Reversing the recent trend of male births and thereby restoring the dominance of girls in the colony, was the birth of a bonny girl to Kirti (H-103) and Karthik on 2nd April, 2016. She was lucky to miss the ignominy of being born on April 1st by a whisker. You cannot go through life being called an April fool. She has been named Ira, a far cry from the traditional name of Krishna that her brother bears. While she has a short maiden name, her full name Ira Karthik Jayaraman will be a mouthful in France, where she is going to reside. Mother and daughter seemed in fine fettle when I saw them at the high tea hosted by the family on 17th April, 2016. For Kirti, as for most daughters these days, coming to their mother's home for delivery is le plus essentiel. Grandparents are the best antidote for post partum blues. After all someone is required to change the nappies and watch over the child when it's bawling. New Age parents only like the cutesy gurgling of babies when they are on their best behaviour. They either do not have the patience or get too stressed out dealing with a cranky tot. I began to appreciate my parents' sacrifice a lot more when my children were born. Hats off to Savita and Aseem.

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Yamuna children are going places. Dr. Aditi Rastogi of G-204 has gone to ISB, Hyderabad to pursue a course in Hospital Management. ISB is one of the premier management institutes of the country. To get into its hallowed portals is no mean task. She spurned an offer from Cornell to pursue her studies in her homeland. Bharat mata ki jai. Antariksh, her husband, on being asked how he finds living alone, gave a tongue in cheek reply, "intensely liberating". The adjective-intensely was added by me for effect!

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Mr. Shyam Govinda, Rajeshwari and Minika Shyam of B-006 have relocated to Mumbai after a brief sojourn of two years. We wish them all the best.

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A-308 has new tenants. Mr. Mihir Bhatt, Falguni Bhatt and their son Megh have moved from Mumbai. Mihir works for Zee and is a stock analyst. His interests extend from reading to travelling. He is a foodie and enjoys a good meal. Why not, as Falguni loves cooking and is equally adept at diverse cuisines. Falguni, is a free lance journalist, the tribe of which is increasing constantly in the colony. She is also fond of reading, travelling and dancing. Not the classical variety, though. Megh, who is studying in Class III at Don Bosco School loves dancing and singing. Mihir can be reached on 9820699767 and Falguni can be reached on 9833473073.

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Srinath of C-204 got married to Priyadarshini in Coimbatore on 11th July, 2016. To celebrate the occasion, Kalyani and Chandramouli held a grand reception on the Yamuna lawns on the 23rd of this month. Srinath, who works for HDFC Bank hopes to relocate to Delhi in about four months time. Priyadarshini, who has done Computer Technology and MBA is job hunting. Both of them looked well matched as they received the guests on the stage. The lawn looked pretty, the weather was kind and was made still better with the mist spewing fans. The music was non intrusive and melodious The catering standard of Rangu has moved up a notch and the spread was great. All in all it was an enjoyable evening and an opportunity to hobnob with the residents.

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Samarth Varma of H-208 is often seen in the badminton court playing soccer or cricket. He is also  well known as a keen participant in cultural activities and is an accomplished tabla player. What is not so famously known is that he has an equally sharp intellect as is borne out by the 3rd runner up award that he has received in Abacus mental maths for the Delhi region. He makes us all proud. That he straddles the world of academics, culture and sports with equal felicity is something that will please his  parents and grandparents.

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Vidyut Mohan of G-206 is an environmentalist in body and spirit. After completing his Masters in Science from Delft University, Netherlands under a Tata scholarship, he returned to India. His research thesis on converting waste pine needles by torrefaction to fuel, to uplift the rural economy has earned him a Social Start-up Fellowship from the School of Social Entrepreneurs, India. He is working in Simpa Networks, a start-up providing solar energy solutions to village households in Western UP. Vidyut, you make us proud by walking the talk, by abandoning the comfort of city life


03 April, 2016

Issue No. 175 I March 2016

EDITORIAL

The SGM called to increase maintenance and parking charges in order to factor the drop in sundry incomes and increase in costs, was received without much qualms. There were however, concerns expressed on seepage and violation of exteriors by some members. Hopefully, these concerns will be addressed shortly. The President highlighted the contributions of the team behind the  regularisation of the flats, an issue which has tormented us for thirty-five years. A new issue of penalty at enhanced rates for not complying with the allotment procedure has cropped up at DDA. This matter has been taken up at the highest level and we expect the resolution on the same soon.

A two day spiritual soiree on 12th and 13th March, 2016, "Radha Kalyana Mahotsavam" was conducted in the main lawn with much fanfare and feasting. Spells of rain did not deter the enthusiasm of the devout. Ladies dressed in nine yards saris and men in veshtis could be seen singing and dancing on Sunday morning. It was an endearing sight. There were some residents who shut down their kitchen for two days and feasted on breakfast, lunch and dinner. Balaji and Sheela left no stone unturned in making the guests welcome and comfortable. Rangu's hand was seen in the delectable meals.

The 11th, 12th and 13th of March were also the dates when the Art of Living Foundation conducted a cultural fiesta on the flood plains of the Yamuna river. This three day extravaganza saw artists from 155 countries perform their art. Visitors and VIP's from all over the world thronged the site. It was veritable feast for the eyes. The size of the stage spanning seven acres where thousands of artists performed simultaneously was a Guinness World Record. The event on the flood plains of Yamuna brewed a controversy with environmentalists and media baring their fangs at the event. Dancers dressed in saris, veshtis, kanduras, keffiyaks, cassocks etc from around the world regaled the audience for free. It was a boon to the general public who for the most part cannot pay for such entertainment. AOL had successfully marketed its cross-cultural potpourri from around the world.

Holi saw a lot of enthusiasm with adults and young alike. It took a while for people to show up in the park but when they did it was all fun. Children took full toll of the adults by taking pot shots at them with balloons and buckets of coloured water. Lilting Hindi songs rent the air as the Yamuna band of singers viz. Seema, Bhavani, Gomathi, Sujata, Sudha, Subadha, Aruna, Raju, and Vinod Asthana amongst others opened out their lungs. Deepak's baritone was prominent by its absence as both Deepak's family and Satish's family were off on an exotic holiday. Colours of the rainbow, not necessarily in any order or pattern were smeared on the faces and clothes of those present. Chhole khulche and other small eats whetted everybody's appetite and there was liquid nourishments to boost the spirits. A game of cricket rounded up the revelry. That was the good part, the bad part is that you don't get newspapers the next day.

We have all been brought up reading newspapers first thing in the morning. So much so that on the odd National Holiday when you don't get an issue I feel something is missing. It's like having withdrawal symptoms. This is unfortunately all going to change. The onslaught of the Internet and reading habits of the young these days is driving newspapers into bankruptcy. Nowhere is this more pronounced than in the West. Many newspapers there have folded up. The latest casualty is The Independent. Its retreat to the Internet will occasion another bout of soul searching about the heady aroma of a freshly printed page. For instance, my children don't read the newspaper and to the best of my knowledge, neither do their friends. I can foresee that many newspapers in India too will go under, if readership numbers drop. Maybe, in ten to fifteen years we may have to get used to a life without a newspaper. That will indeed be tragic.

Sadhana organised their Annual Day on 20th March, 2016 with a grand performance of their students and other invitees in the Badminton Court. The two hour long entertainment capsule which included vocals, instruments and dances, tugged at the heart strings with soul stirring performances. Are we not blessed that we do not have to pay for an evening of entertainment from the convenience of our complex? Hats off to Radhika, Ramanan and Pranav for regularly bringing these soirees. It is also very rewarding to the students and parents to see the fructification of their dreams of artistic accomplishments.
The cooking competition at Yamuna on 26th March, 2016 had far fewer entries than yesteryears. However, there was a lot of enthusiasm amongst the participants. Fortunately, there was no dearth of on-lookers and tasters. While some of the dishes were commonplace the others were off the beaten track. While sadly some missed out on the prizes, all the dishes were worthy of a culinary fest.

                                                    YAMUNA CHEF – COOKING COMPETITION
Name
Address
Dish

Main Course-Children


1
Shashvath Arun
G-306
Paratha with peas and tomato masala

Dessert


1
Sahana Iyer & Adwita Nair
E-101 & B-107
Summer Delight
2
Anjali Garg & Anoushka Nair
G-106 & A-203
Vanilla Beauty & Chocolate Balls

Starters-Adults


1
Geetha Sundaresan
D-002
Paneer Kabab
2
Anuradha Nair
B-107
Honey Chilli Chicken

Main Course


1
Anuradha Nair
B-107
White sauce pasta, Tempura fish, Sauteed mushroom & capsicum
2
Kavya Narayanan
B-002
Tortilla chicken bar-be-cue

Dessert


1
Mala Sundaresan
D-202
Beetroot Boli
2
Bhavani Krishnan
E-005
Oats & Fig Candy

The impact that the TV serial MasterChef has had on everybody was very evident. Not only were the dishes finger licking good, they were also presented artistically. It was amazing to see Shashvath, who barely reached the stove top, cooking an entire meal. Both sets of children who did the desserts did a magnificent job but what probably tilted the judge's decision in favour of Sahana and Adwita was their incredibly eye catching presentation. Anu Nair has a passion for cooking and it showed. Her creation, which set many a stomach churning in anticipation, has a career as a restaurant chef waiting for her. Mala never disappoints as she always comes out with something unique. Same applies to Bhavani who has this penchant for health foods and low calorie sweets which are a diabetic's delight. Archit Iyer of G-103, who is doing Hotel Management consented to be the judge. He did a very good job and we are very thankful to him for taking up this assignment. Renu Garg of G-106 donated Rs. 2.500 towards the prizes. We are indeed very grateful to Renu for this largesse. All in all it made for a wonderful evening of gastronomic delight and bonhomie.

The Board exams are behind for most of the students, for the others, it will be over soon. Now begins the nervous wait for the results to come out and getting admission to the course and college of one's choice. Follow your passion and aptitude and don't get dictated by peer  pressure.

When the exams get over children need inexpensive places to go to. Far from the beaten track of malls, Dilli Haat is an option. When it opened about twenty years ago there was an earthy charm about the place. While it still remains a melting pot, overcrowded alleyways, peddlers of toys, sweetmeats and savouries have taken away that rustic appeal. Thankfully it has managed to keep the philistines at bay. It still caters to the artists and artisans who can pursue their muse free from middle men and traders. It has  become a big tourist hub which offers a relatively inexpensive shopping, eating and entertainment experience.

Delhi may be a rude and congested city, but this cacophonous metropolis can still offer moments of beauty and enduring memories that remind even the most jaded Delhiite of why they love their capital. The European style buildings of Central Delhi and the Mughal and Rajput style buildings of Chandni Chowk may be in bad shape and often obscured by hanging wires, a coat of grime and garish signboards but they still exude a faded charm and the observant will see sandstone columns, intricate trellis work, plaster rosettes, wrought iron grills and railings attesting to a time when the architects of the city were colonial or natives with no trans-border pretensions. Much of the beauty of Chandni Chowk may not be visible to the untrained eye, but If you scrape away the grime, there are marvels aplenty. Despite the poor physical infrastructure like potholed roads, non-existent pavements and a lacklustre urban aesthetic in some parts of the city, Delhi has an endearing quality.

IGL has completed the subterranean work but have left the colony in shambles. They have also not followed the plans while laying the pipes. Nowhere is it more evident than in E&F Blocks. Apparently, too many contradictory instructions were given and the contractors' own shoddy work and non-appreciation of aesthetics has contributed to this mess. A via media needs to be found.

In the meanwhile, it is necessary to advise the children not to fiddle or play with the gas pipes which have a distinct yellow colour. The children have to be cautioned about the hazards associated with it.


SNIPPETS


Renu Garg, her mother and daughter Anjali have vacated G-106. Renu, who works for WHO, has got a transfer to Thailand and will be away for at least two years.  Renu was one of the founders of Readers Rendezvous, the children's library in Yamuna and put her heart, soul and much else into it. The library is a hub to which all the children have taken a shine to every Sunday evening. Anjali, who has a gaggle of friends, was loath to leave but her mother's compulsions stood in her way. We are eagerly waiting for their return to Yamuna asap. Renu has donated an adult bicycle, an oil heater and a heater-blower to the Society. Apart from this she has pledged Rs. 10,000 to the Society to be used as it deems fit. We would like to thank her very much for this extremely generous gesture. We will miss them.

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In a transcontinental move, N. S. Venkatachalam of G-103, has relocated to his German head-quarters. This kick upstairs to the cooler and more sanitised environs of Europe will be a big transition, not least of which involves his change of title from Mr. to Herr. Krauts can be difficult to make friends with but once you endear yourselves to them they can be great fun. Meera quit her teaching job and will be joining him next month. Archit will stay back for a few years until he completes his studies. We will miss you guys. Do take your vacations in October to be here during the festive season. Auf wiedersehen!

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Anukriti Yadav and her cousin Mrinali Yadav have moved into B-104 from Gurgaon. Anukriti was living in G-305 about three years ago. Anukriti works for ICICI Bank and does not have any interest outside her work but Mrinali who has just completed a Masters in Computer Science and is appearing for an exam to become a Lecturer likes to work for NGOs, to teach children for free. She is also very fond of walking. We welcome both of them to Yamuna. They can be reached on 9654915208 and 9873831220 respectively.

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Dr. Rohit Udaya Prasad has moved into C-205. He is an ENT surgeon working with Dr. Hans (Padmashree awardee), pioneer of cochlear implants. He works at the Dr. Hans Centre for Cochlear Implants. Although it is his profession, he is doing a noble job by implanting bionic cochlea in children born deaf which enables them to hear sounds and thus facilitating their speech.. Dr. Rohit, an Iyengar from Mysore, has a twin brother who is also a doctor and lives in Bangalore. An eligible bachelor, Dr. Rohit is a concert violinist and plays Carnatic music. He has already been enlisted to play in this year's Annual Day. He can be reached on 9717220193.
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Samir Juneja who is working for Cipla Pharmaceuticals has moved with his family to G-001 from Narmada Apartments. He loves spending  time with his family and driving. His wife Brieta is a book lover. Their daughter Aiden is studying in Class V and their son Aaron is in Kindergarten. Both of them go to Mother's International School. They can be reached on 9810303363.
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Shyam Satish has moved with his family into C-108 from Pune. Shyam works with Good Year Tyres and is responsible for International Business. He is fond of reading books on management, loves sports and travelling. His wife Meenakshi was a producer of programmes for CNN IBN and Bloomberg. After the arrival of her children she has become a freelance content writer, She is very fond of cooking and writes blogs on food. They have two sons. Raghav is five years old and Madhav is 9 months old. They can be reached on 9987014878 and 7709001121.

We welcome all the newcomers to the Yamuna family.

CALENDAR OF EVENTS FOR APRIL 2016

DATE
EVENT
TIME
VENUE
2.4.16
MOVIE SCREENING & POT LUCK DINNER
6.30 PM
BADMINTON COURT