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07 November, 2016

Issue No. 182 I October 2016


This year at the cleanliness and eco drive on 2nd October, 2016 it was a no show. Not a single person showed up. In yesteryears many children and a couple of adults would roll up their sleeves and get into it in earnest.

We are so entombed in our little Brahminical virtues and the caste and class barrier that binds and separates us, that we are unwilling to break the mould. We loathe the thought of getting our hands dirty and doing the bidding of a 'shudra'. It is indeed shameful. When are we going to get enlightened? We are so caught up in our microcosmic world that we practice the most abhorrent form of apartheid based on caste, culture, creed and colour. Do you need evidence of this?  We live in urban ghettos separated by all the aforementioned factors. Witness the sales of fairness creams and see the matrimonial ads. We castigate US for their race relations and the treatment of blacks. Actually, we are the biggest racists in the world. At the Diwali melas, I have seen many people from the so called upper caste leaving their soiled food plates on the lawn for somebody else to pick up. I have no qualms in picking up somebody else's plate and depositing it in the dustbin. I have heard refrains, "Ada thodadhe, echhal". Don't touch it, it is soiled. I don't know the equivalent of 'echhal' in English. I have been told that I belong to the highest strata of Brahmins. Can you believe it, a caste within a caste?

We, as adults, are responsible for indoctrinating the kids with the most reprehensible practice of caste and changing their innocent minds as they grow up. I may be a maverick in such people's eyes, but I am proud of the fact that I am not constrained by these prejudices. Once, I happened to spell the name of a good friend wrong in these columns, which I admit of, course, was careless of me. His consternation was not that I had spelt his name wrong but he painfully pointed out to me that by using the letter 'n' in his name instead of 'm', I had made him a non-Brahmin. I was aghast. But I don't hold it against him, it is the indoctrination. He is still my favourite person. I have altered the alphabets just so that nobody speculates about his identity.

Navratri was a festive time for everybody. Visits to each others' houses and to the Puja pandal was the norm. As usual the women looked gorgeous in their silk saris and gold accoutrements. During Navratri we also had our customary dandia on 8th October, 2016. This year was different in the sense that we had a dandia ensemble choreographed by Falguni Bhatt. This four minute dance was a voyeur's, I beg your pardon, viewer's delight with all the pretty damsels moving fluidly to the rhythm of clacking dandia sticks in au naturale choli rears. The crowd was relatively thin due to the awful traffic on the roads with many people who had gone out during the day not being able to return on time. Apart from Falguni, the other dancers included Latha Narayanan, Anu Nair, Sudha Easwaran, Seema Chari, Purnima Satish, Meera Venkat and Isha Gera. Hats off to them for their awesome performance.

Ramlila was an all-out children's show with the script written, directed and produced by Shreeja on 11th October, 2016. The cast consisted of Radhika as the dimpled Ram,  Vanshika Rajpurohit as the demure Sita, Ananya and Adwita as the cute siblings Luv and Kush,and Shashvath as sage Vashisht. Bhuvana as Hanuman did a good wiggling of the hips, Sai Chaitanya looked the part as Ravan, and Megh looked the noble soul as Lakshman. The cast also featured Aruna as Vanar Sena King, Shreeram as Janak, Shivashree as Mandodri, Aiden as the righteous Vibhishan, Aditya as the saviour Jatayu, Navya as the golden deer, Vijaya as Meghnath, Sahana played the good and bad roles as Kaikeyi and Soorpanakha, and Vanshika Arora as Mathara. Back stage assistance came from Purnima Satish, Chandrakanta and Shreeya. They all gave a good account of themselves and were cheered lustily by the audience.

This was followed by a very pleasing diya dance recital by Radhika Samson, Dakshina, Kiana and Radhika Venkataraman to the strains of Raghupathi Raghava Rajaram. The grand finale was the consigning to the flames of the demon King Ravan and his siblings. The blast from the bombs made Ravan keel over. Balaji very kindly distributed some refreshments to the audience. The participants of Ramlila were thrilled when Srikant and Soumya took them to Bikanerwala for dinner.

At this year's AGM held on 16th October, 2016 fewest ever members logged their attendance. This indifference is either a sign that everything is going very smoothly or it may be that there is no point airing one's views as things are not going to change. Either way the Managing Committee will remain clueless The Society needs feedback to address the concerns of members and the absence from attending the AGM helps neither. It is true that the MC may not be able to solve every individual's problems as there could be conflicting viewpoints, as was witnessed in the debate on the merits and de-merits of pruning trees, the frequency and the methods adopted. The MC put forth horticulture rules which was unanimously adopted by the General Body. The horticulture rules lay down the guidelines for various horticulture related issues. If everybody strictly follows these rules there will be less grief generally. All the resolutions were passed unanimously.

Mr. Kunal Savarkar, S. Srinivas and Mr. Mohan Krishnaswamy were elected as the new members of the MC.

Ram highlighted the achievements of the committee in the past one year. The most significant achievement was the one relating to the regularisation of Flats by the ROCS. We sincerely thank Kumar for arranging complimentary refreshments. 

The Diwali Mela on 29th October, 2016 in the badminton court and in the adjoining areas was a hit although the enthusiasm amongst adults and children leading up to the event was very tepid. At many times the thought of abandoning the Mela came to mind as none of the children wanted to stand in the stalls. They only wanted to enjoy. As a last resort they were asked to retain all the earnings and not give anything to the Society. Upon this announcement some children and adults agreed to man the stalls. I must thank Satish for arranging the Sony sponsorship and Mr. S. Krishnaswamy for sponsoring some gifts for Lucky Dip and Hoopla. Prashant. Sr. and junior as usual kept the crowd alive with their comments and music. Sumathi was a great help. The winner, however, was the crowd of visitors that made it an evening to remember. Only the success of this year's Mela stands between the thought of discontinuing the Mela and carrying on this bittersweet experience.

Another tradition that will not last till posterity is the Diwali illumination competition. With children not so enthused with tradition and culture and the adults complaining of creaky knees, fatigue and debilitating backs there is a call to either abandon this event or truncate it. Although I am a diehard traditionalist, I have been pressured to announce the simplification of the event. From next year the contest between the blocks will be decided on only one Rangoli.

Be that as it may, there was quite a good show put up by the blocks this year. There was no flagging of enthusiasm. Despite a woeful shortage of manpower E& F put up a magnificent show and shared the first prize with G&H for the best overall impact.  Bhavani, almost single handed, put up E&F's best show ever. G&H's theme of beti bachao , beti padao got a lot of resonance and they were rightly awarded the first prize for the theme, A&B with their theme of Goddesses of the world took the second prize. C&D got the first prize for illumination and G&H came second in this category. For the best single Rangoli, A&B got the first prize for their interpretation of Goddess Kali, E& F came second for their interpretation of Kalinga Nartanam. C&D's theme of airborne vehicles of the world starting with the Pushpaka Vimanam and ending with a rocket was unique. G&H showed their true mettle after a long hiatus with an all-round show to bag maximum prizes. They reminded us that yesteryears champion can be written off only at your peril. For the first time after twenty five years of illumination competition, the event got press coverage when Jaya TV carried the story with pictures and interview of residents in their news channel. We must thank Mala Sundaresan for arranging this.

We are just a month away from the Annual Day. Residents are requested to give their names for the events to either Anu Shekhar or me. Please begin practice in earnest in order to put up a good show. Only few solo performances will be considered.

MCD has started an initiative to change the power hungry sodium vapour lamps to LED lamps. Some of the lights on the perimeter road have been changed. The Society will shortly undertake to change the other lights to LED to improve the illumination of the colony.

Crime outside Yamuna is spiralling out of control. Mr. Arvind Rajpurohit's (F-004) car was deliberately punctured by two motor-cycle borne youth. One of them pointed to a flat tyre and when Arvind and his driver got down to examine the wheel at the rear, the first one grabbed his brief case kept in the rear seat and ran across the road where his accomplice was waiting for him astride a motor cycle. Both Arvind and his driver ran across the road and with the help of our security guard Khan, managed to lunge and topple the bike. The thieves fled on foot. The bike was then brought and parked in the basement. Arvind then went to the police station to lodge an FIR and the police tried to dissuade him. He managed to pull some strings and got the FIR lodged. The next day the thief was paraded in the police station and Arvind identified him. This clearly shows that there is an unholy nexus between the cops and the thieves. Many such cases relating to Yamuna haven't been solved. Maybe the cops wanted to return the bike to the thieves which is why they were caught.


Akshay of A-205 will be seeking his fortunes in Singapore after leaving IFC and joining PWC. He is moving out with his wife Aditi and everybody's sweetheart, Myrah. While we wish them good luck, we are sorry to see them go.

Our resident doctors Sharada Vinod and Vijay Shankar of G-302 have also unfortunately moved out. Fortunately, they have not gone far afield. They have moved next door to Narmada Apartments.


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12 October, 2016

Issue No. 181 I September 2016


Water usage constitutes the largest chunk of our monthly maintenance bill. Because of the metering system being on graded basis, if we reduce the quantity of water consumption by 10%, our annual water bill can come down to zero from approximately Rs.12 lacs currently. As unfathomable as it may seem, it is actually true. In one of the months, we actually got a bill for zero charge. Bringing down our consumption by 10% isn't as hard as it may seem. Many of our cisterns leak, with some amount of water flowing continuously. We shut our eyes to this minimal flow because we think it is inconsequential. Over the course of one night when you are sleeping (8 hours) this supposedly inconsequential flow could lead to wastage of water equivalent to six to eight buckets depending on the extent of leakage. Many residents who complain that there is no water in their flats are either guilty of this, or their neighbours living above or below them. I learnt it the hard way. Generally, the work of Vikram or Rajesh does not solve the problem fully. My advice is to shut the tap feeding the cistern at night before going to sleep. You may open it in the morning and shut it again when you go to work or on a holiday. The second case is of drivers or cleaners using running water to clean the cars with hoses. Residents should ask their cleaners to use a maximum of one bucket of water. The third instance of waste of water is when residents wash their staircases or landing on a regular basis, instead of doing it maybe once a month to remove some stubborn dirt or stain. If we control all the foregoing areas of waste, we could reduce our maintenance bill considerably.

The Society has also acquired stainless steel clips to fasten the floating ball in the overhead water tanks. Earlier we were using ordinary steel clips which over a period of time rusted and broke away and water used to overflow in large quantities through the shaft.

Flies and cockroaches are omnipresent. As long as we produce guck and goo they are pretty much immortal. Swachh Bharat, if it really does what it is meant to do could at least partially rid us of these flying drones and creepy crawlies.

Restaurants have a propensity to pander to the demands of the increasingly adventurous chilli chomping populace of Delhi. But when an Italian restaurant falls prey to the scorching heights of Scoville grandeur, some of us, who long for subtle flavours have to hastily beat the retreat. If even continental restaurants have to succumb to the charms of the chilli, eating out should come with a statutory warning.

The deluge in Delhi from rains during monsoon creates such chaos that it occupies all the media space in newspapers and television. As the monsoon beats its retreat soon enough, all is forgotten. Our tendency to live in the "here and now" is cause for this indifference. People who are stuck in urban dystopias should up the ante, so that the government sits up, takes notice and does something about it.

In a major goof-up, the caterer for Onam dinner called to say, just as people started arriving for dinner, that he thought the dinner was for the following day. You can imagine the chaos that followed. Nobody had cooked for the night and willy-nilly I became the person who had to inform all the people and explain the reason for the mess-up. Some even said in jest that they will order take-away and send the bill to me. Sometimes, mistakes lead to strange developments. As soon as the message went to the residents that the Onam dinner will be Onam lunch on the following day, many  called to say that they would want coupons for the same. Eventually, ninety people partook the lunch as against sixty-seven who had bought coupons for dinner. I suppose all's well that ends well. The food did not live up to expectations but that did not dampen the spirits. Several women were sporting designer Onam saris and looked very fetching. Seems like many went shopping for the occasion. A flurry of photographs in all poses posted on Facebook brought the site to a halt. Mark Zuckerburg did not factor that several terabytes of data from Yamuna Onam celebrations would crash his site. Next year he will have to bolster his server. The attractive Pookalam was done by Purnima Satish, Anu, Seema Chari and the kids. Unfortunately by noon the next day the flowers had withered.

As part of my occupational hazard, I need to travel. I dread my trips to China. While left to yourself one can choose the cuisine and the type of restaurant one has to go to. But when you are being graciously hosted by a high official of the Government in a remote town, you are virtually at their mercy. One had to then devise strategies to survive. Almost everything smelt and looked like the beast had just been relieved of its skin for your eating pleasure. Imagine a drugged monkey in a torpor sitting on a platter on the table waiting for its head to be cracked open with a cleaver and its brain scooped out to begin your calorie hunt. Sampling the appetisers was like foraying into the world of creepies and crawlies. The only thing that was not remotely foreign was the bread which smelt like the mould on it was ready for harvesting. I could do without the protein fix of the mould. The spread could make you throw up without eating anything!

We are entering the thick of the festival season with the arrival of Navratri, Durga Puja, Diwali amongst others. I love this season as women and girls look the most beautiful in traditional saris and pavadais. My only regret is that my bank balance takes a hit with all the shopping, but I am willing to open my purse strings for the joy it brings to the community. My wife and daughters need to shop for clothes for Golu and Diwali. In all the frenzied activity, boys and men are mere spectators, but what a spectacle. It is a sight to behold.

If that was not enough, we have the Society AGM on Sunday, 16th October, 2016 when the President will unfold what is in store for the coming year. Lots of activities were undertaken since the last AGM as mentioned in the Annual Report and the results are there for you to see. The most significant was the arrival of piped gas in the colony and many if not all are benefiting from it. Some staircases and all the exterior abutments at the end of the blocks have been repaired. Rest of the staircases will be taken up for repair shortly. Please remove all potted plants from the staircase and landing and stop washing the staircases as these are the main causes for damage to the staircases. The weight of the pots and the water that seeps through and enters the joints corrodes the steel reinforcements and makes the cantilevered staircase vulnerable for collapse.

Diwali mela will be held on 29th October, 2016. Those who wish to hold or manage a stall should get in touch with me. Please also try and arrange sponsors to fund the expense.

Block wise illumination competition will be held on the basis of the same rules as last year. There will be two prizes each for best theme, best illumination, best rangoli and best overall effect. Best rangoli would mean best single rangoli. Since the staircase lights have been increased it is advised that expenditure on candles on the ground be minimised in order to foster economy. It is requested that all the residents participate enthusiastically and may the best blocks win. There should be not any casting of aspersions on the judges or their judgement. The results should be accepted in a sporting manner. After all the judges represent each set of blocks. Since all the blocks put their best foot forward, they all feel that they should win. That is mathematically impossible. It is finally the spirit that counts.

On Gandhi Jayanti day which is 2nd October, 2016 there will be cleanliness and eco-drive as a part of Swachh Bharat initiative. All residents are requested to assemble at the badminton court at 7.30 am with a large polythene bag to gather broken bottles, plastic sachets, other odds end lying in the flower beds, lawn and other nooks and crannies.

During the recent water crisis, Raju Parameswaran and Mahesh Eswaran arranged for water tankers, Sandeep Unnithan alerted the DJB with a Twitter message and Mr. Saurabh Bharadwaj MLA helped in expeditious restoration of water supply. The Society is grateful to all these people.


We regret to inform you that Mr. K. V. N. Iyengar (D-203), former President of the Society passed away on 28th September, 2016.The members of the Society are saddened by the loss of a great soul who contributed a lot to the Society and convey their heartfelt condolence to the family.


Arjun Krishnan, Supriya and the kids ( H-005) are moving bag and baggage to Sarvapriya Vihar to be close to good schooling options. Kabir who had endeared himself very well to the kids and adults alike, will be sorely missed. The only people who are delighted when anybody moves out are the ones waiting for a vacant parking slot. We hope the Krishnans visit Yamuna on all the special cultural occasions.

Movements in and out of Yamuna have not ceased. Anisha and Sukarn Khankriyal have moved into H-208. Both Anisha and Sukarn are working with different event management companies. I hope they are able to add some heft to Yamuna events. While Sukarn loves singing and could be roped in for singing in Yamuna functions, Anisha basks in reflected glory. Anisha's mother Jyotsna lives with them. She loves reading non-fiction. She looks surprisingly young for a mother of a married daughter. Sukarn can be reached on 9873374710 and Anisha can be contacted on 9910074464. We welcome them to the Yamuna family.


Vinod Balakrishnan of F-204 surrendered his bachelorhood on 15th September, 2016 to Priya. They got married in Ottapalam in Kerala. Priya is a Chartered Accountant who practices in Pune and Vinod works for a software firm in the US. At the second wedding reception held in Guruvayurappan Temple in Mayur Vihar on the 30th of this month, the couple looked radiant and couldn't get their eyes off each other. .The spread was enormous and each item was sumptuous. Kudos, to the caterer. Shobha was a gracious host.


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