Blog pic

Blog pic
Pic courtesy:Vidya Nair

03 June, 2016

Issue No. 177 I May 2016


Just as everybody's patience was wearing thin, the IGL civil work got over. After removal of the rubble and cleaning of the road and plant beds, Yamuna is back to its pristine best. Work on the taking the pipes to the terrace has commenced. Hold your horses, we haven't got the gas yet. You may still have to wait a while for that to happen. But, when that happens it will close a long chapter of cylinders being rolled on the hexagon blocks and heaved to the upper floors, quite often damaging the stairs in the process. It may be the opportune time to mend the chipped and broken steps, a cause of much annoyance to people who have to trundle up and down the stairs.

The days of stumbling in the dark has also come to an end. Based on a consultant's advice the lumen levels in the staircase has been increased with the installation of additional LED lights in the landing of each staircase. It would particularly be helpful in the dark winter months.

I hate going to the hills anymore. Several decades ago when I was still in school I went to Simla. I was greeted by gurgling brooks, dew laden leaves, apple and plum orchards, misty mornings and quaint colonial dwellings, churches and shops. Few summers ago, when I visited the hills again, I was horrified to see the hills bare from denudation. a few ghostly conifers stood like spectral sentinels. Stumps of trees felled provided a reminder of a lush and verdant past. Now, the horrific forest fires of Uttaranchal and Himachal covering vast areas would have laid bare what is left. The hills have lost their charm. It is overcrowded with traffic snarls, blaring horns, loud filmi music from shops announcing their domain rights, water shortage and worst of all temperatures in the high thirty's and even forty's. It holds nothing for me, unless, I decide to explore and go to an unknown hamlets far from the madding crowd. We have unfortunately run out of inexpensive holiday destinations free from distractions that one encounters in the city. 

It is quite interesting to read different newspapers. It betrays their affliction for leaning either Left or Right. A balanced view is seldom seen. So too is the predilection in watching the news channels. They follow the same script in either speaking for the establishment or against. While they do invite speakers from opposing camps, the anchors bias is clearly visible when he or she give free reign to one party to air their views without interruption, while when the opposing camp steps up to speak, that person's voice is drowned in rude and uncivilised interruption by the anchor or the opposing camp. Vile charges are often bandied about. When fact and fiction become inextricably intertwined, it becomes impossible to engage with reality rationally. Seldom is an opinion received with cheerful equanimity.  It is important to put on your thinking cap to sift the chaff from the kernel. I like the weekend issue of the Hindu. Its opinion pages are sharp and incisive. You can avoid the news pages which are relatively provincial backwaters.

Voice of Gopal(C-202) asking Kolathu for Bournvita used to ring out from the canteen in MEA School which has since been rechristened DTEA. MEA is my alma mater and Gopal was my contemporary and Kolathu ran the canteen there. Gopal was a torch bearer of sorts as many of his ilk were fond of this milky beverage. How unfortunate that I cannot remember much of the old Gopal except for his fond preference for Bournvita. The choice of beverage had since moved to coffee and tea and in the last two decades to Coke and Pepsi. Many South Indian families swore by the health benefits of this malt and its cousin Horlicks replete with evocations of steaming goodness and rejuvenated brain cells. Britain, homeland of the drink's eponymous inventors may have given up on this frothy beverage but a century since these beverages hit the Indian shores, the demand for it still holds sway. Of course, much to the chagrin of the die-hards, the drink has since been launched in several new flavours which occupy the retail shelves and one has to search high and low to get the original brew. I have since moved my loyalties to Horlicks, a concoction of milled malted barley, mashed wheat flour and milk. As if that was not enough, many a times, as a school going kid I had downed spoon fools of the grainy or malty powder to satisfy my craving for the taste. My mother was in the dark about my larder forays and used to wonder how the jars were getting emptier faster than they should. We all had our dark secrets. I am revealing my guilt at this stage as I know my mother will not spank me now!

Driving in an inebriated state is always fraught with risks. It has been proven through several studies that increased levels of alcohol in the blood leads to cognitive dysfunction and lack of motor controls. Therefore, when one resident who was soaked to the gills rammed into a brand new car of another resident within our colony gates, there was unpleasantness. This matter was however, sorted out amicably. Such an incident, had it happened elsewhere could have turned out to be calamitous had it led to a major injury or fatality. Off late the courts are coming down heavily on drunken driving. One could put one's entire future in jeopardy and end up in the slammer for a number of years. Is it worth the risk? If you wish to party and down a few drinks, you would be well advised to either call your driver or hire an Ola or an Uber.

Children give in limpidly to temptation. The highest selling item in the store is chips. Despite its categorisation as junk food, this potato savoury with its crunchy texture spiked with an assortment of flavours rules the taste buds. Talking about the store, it began to get some traction when they rationalised their prices after benchmarking with the local kirana stores. Unfortunately, the extended repair work on the road acted as a dampener to shoppers from outside who could not bring their cars inside. Now that the work is over, things should pick up.

Yamuna students always end up in the upper quadrant of students who appear in the Board exams. This year too they have done exceedingly well with most of them scoring in the nineties. Kudos, to all of them. Their next hurdle will be to secure a seat in a college or course of their choice. One only hopes they get their chosen option in Delhi itself so that we can see them more often in the colony. Children are the lifeblood of the colony. Their energy, vitality and gregarious nature keeps the social barometer ticking. The details are given below. You may congratulate them if you have not already done so.





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Seetha, Poornima and Bala have been for the last three months painstakingly sorting out all the office records, cataloguing, labelling, indexing and placing them in  systematically in the almirahs. The four steel almirahs which were in a poor state have been repaired and painted. Some records which can be discarded in accordance with Schedule 1 (rule 43) of the Delhi Co-operative Societies Rules, 2007 have been discarded. The records that are frequently used for reference have been retained in the office. The remaining records, spares parts and sundry material have been transferred to H Block basement and kept under lock and key. In the process both the basements have also been cleaned thoroughly. The only concern is the abandoned vehicles in the basement for which there are no claimants. The police is being contacted to ascertain the procedure for having them removed.


People come and people go but this relocation is going to cause more grief than normal. Deepak Varma of H-208 who had been living off a suitcase ever since he was transferred to his company's headquarters in Mumbai last year, said enough is enough and asked his wife Meera and children Aparna and Samarth to pack their bags and move in with him. With their moving out we will miss a family which has always been in the thick of the cultural potpourri of the colony. Deepak with his fabulous singing, dancing and acting skills, Meera with her repertoire in both classical and modern dancing, Aparna and Samarth in their diverse roles have been the fulcrum of almost all the cultural and sporting do's of the colony. Their popularity amongst children and adults is almost idolatry. Needless to say we will miss them immensely. We do hope that one day they would decide to move back.


Mr. A. Balasubramanian and his wife Annapoorny of B-202 have moved bag and baggage to Bangalore to be with their son Kumar and his family. With that, another long standing member has bid good-bye to Yamuna. With many of the senior citizens not having the confidence of living alone, we may witness more such relocations in the future. It is our duty to give senior citizens of the colony the comfort and security that they deserve.


Mr. S. Shankar Narayanan of B-304 has moved with his family to B-202, a move that would not have troubled them too much.


Vinayak and Rahul, sons of Raja and Jyoti who moved to US from C-007 were in the colony for their summer vacation. Their stint in US has transformed them. They display a great deal of maturity and confidence. Vinayak is studying to be a doctor and Rahul has finished his engineering and will begin working when he returns.
I wish to announce the birth of a bonny girl to Supriya and Arjun of H-005 on 11th May, 2016. They have to watch against sibling rivalry since all the attention that Kabir was getting will now get shared with Meera. Happy nappy changing, Supriya and Arjun.

07 May, 2016

Issue No. 176 I April 2016


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.


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.


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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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