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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.

**********************
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!

***********************
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.

**********************
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.
**********************
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.
**********************
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

02 March, 2016

Issue No. 174 I February 2016

EDITORIAL

In a landmark move for the members of this colony, the Delhi Government at last uploaded the original list of allottees on their website thereby removing yet another roadblock towards the quest for freehold status. The conversion to freehold should be done by each member. The documents the member would require from the Society like no dues certificate, up to date ground rent payment receipt etc. can be provided by the Society to the members concerned. There is a guideline book available in the DDA office to calculate the conversion charges. The next payment of ground rent is due in June, 2016. It is suggested that members get their flats converted to freehold by then.

The new telephone directory is out with updated information after months of painstaking work by Seetha and Poornima vetting each of the entries. The attractive cover was designed by Thomas Abraham. With a number of houses changing hands and new tenants coming in, the old directory was in dire need of updating. The directory contains a list of service providers and most important of all, Dr. Sharada Vinod and Dr. Vijay Shankar of E-304 have offered to be contacted any time of the day or night in case of medical emergency. We are indeed grateful to them. Please do not use their good gesture and call them for routine medical concerns; after all, everybody deserves a work life balance. Please take cognizance of the 'Rules for Residents' whenever you are undertaking renovation work. In order not to fall foul of your neighbours or the Society please follow all the rules diligently. Let us make Yamuna proud. Despite the diligent work done in removing the errors if you still find any errors, please notify Mercy Nair in the office who can make the necessary corrections in the soft copy so that the next issue of the directory is error free.

We have completed five years of the guarantee period that was given by the road paving company when they laid the interlock bricks on the peripheral road. The road not only withstood the test of time, it also remained in pristine condition until the IGL contractor started digging for the gas pipeline. We hope to restore the paved bricks after the IGL work is over so that the road lasts for many more years.

The painting competition on 7th February, 2016 had to be hastily moved to the Club House owing to a light drizzle which bathed the badminton court. The participants were asked to choose between painting a haunted house or a hill station. Unfortunately, there were few takers for the macabre although it would have explored their imagination more than the mundane hill station. There was an extremely poor representation amongst the adults. Venkat came out with vivid autumn colours to depict a hill station. We hope more adults participate in the next year. The persons in the table given below were declared the winners by the judge. This is not to say that there weren't other paintings worthy of winning a prize but unfortunately, the judge has the unenviable task of choosing only two winners in each category where the contestants are at least four.

Painting Competition Results - 2016
Prize
Age Category
Name
Address

7-8 YEARS


1

ANOUSHKA NAIR
A-203
2

SAMARTH VARMA
H-208

9-11YEARS


1

ANANYA SATISH
A-202
2

SAHANA SAVARKAR
C-208

12-14 YEARS


1

TANVI SAVARKAR
C-208
2

APARNA VARMA
H-208

ADULTS


1

C. VENKATESH
E-101

Freedom of speech has its limits. What we have witnessed at JNU and Jadavpur University is scurrilous, vituperative and insulting to the Indian state. Statements like we will 'dismember India', 'destroy the country', 'Bharat teri barbadi tak jang rahegi jari', and 'Pakistan Zindabad' being openly mouthed in full public gaze is a sad commentary on the scandalous posturing by Congress and Communists in support of freedom of speech. It is ironic that education of these students is being subsidised by the Indian Government through taxpayers’ money only for them to fulminate and mouth vitriolic and offensive statements against the state. The dictionary meaning of sedition is " incitement of discontent or rebellion against a government, or any action especially in speech or writing promoting such discontent and rebellion". If this is not sedition, what is? Why is the Press and so many illustrious personalities so forgiving of these people? JNU is a hub of Leftist ideology and has a poor record of nationalism. In 1996, the then AISA (student wing of CPI (ML) invited terrorists from the Valley to address the students. In the year 2000, two army men were brutally beaten up during a friendship mushaira when they protested against anti-India mushaira being rendered by the participants. In 2009,  when more than 70 paramilitary forces were killed in Dantewada, there was celebration in the campus and the Indian flag was burnt by the activist of AISA. These are the very students who pass out and seek jobs in India. They are so enamoured by our neighbouring country, where killing of even other Muslim sects who are not Sunni, leave alone all the other religious minorities is rampant? I am sure many including some within my own house may not agree with my views. So be it.

Equally reprehensible is what followed at Patiala House. The upholders of the law, the so called lawyers took law into their own hands and beat up Kanhaiya Kumar. While I do not condone what Kanhaiya and other students have done, it is for the police to do the investigation and the courts to decide the appropriate action. People taking law into their own hands makes us an uncivilised lot. The problem is certain elements in BJP and RSS also behave like louts thereby tarnishing the Party's image.

Nervousness and anxiety is the common feeling among students who appear for the school finishing Board Exams. A child’s future rests on this exam. No other exam that he or she takes in life determines the course of his or her future more than this exam. With so much of one's future resting on a single set of exams, there is absolutely no room for laxity, an off day, illness or traffic snarls. No matter what, one is required to peak at the right time both physically and mentally. Even luck is required to play its part. Where even a fraction of a mark can determine success or failure, is it not natural for them to feel anxious? This anxiety does not rest with the children alone. Parents are equally, if not more on tenterhooks. We wish all the children who are appearing in the Board Exams this year, the very best of luck. Read the question paper properly and set aside some time for revision to rule out silly mistakes.

When the IGL representative came to the Society to conduct a registration camp for gas installation in people’s flats, applicants were required to produce ownership proof of the flat by providing any one of the following documents:-

a) Electricity bill b) Property tax receipt or c) Sales and Deed document.

I was astounded to find that many residents did not have any of the aforementioned documents although the flat came to their hands several years ago, either through inheritance or purchase. Sheer inertia like this could spell trouble in the future. You never know when inheritance tax will be levied by the Government which is quite common in many countries. You may needlessly end up paying several lacs of rupees to effect legal transfer of the property in your name which you could have very well done several years before the tax was imposed. Likewise, in case of taking a loan or proving your net worth or when you have to sell your property you may face many problems. Similarly, people who do not write a Will leave insurmountable problems for their heirs to claim what is theirs through birth. Much as we do not wish, death can come visiting upon anybody through natural and unnatural causes. There is no predictability to life. Let us not live in denial. Please therefore, for your sake or for the sake of your children, get all your property transferred in your name legally. Similarly, do write a Will. You can modify your will at any time depending on your choice but do not leave your progeny at a loose end. It is very simple to get the flat mutated in your name from the MCD office. After that you should get the electricity bill transferred in your name. I have known many people who have run from pillar to post and spent a fortune in legal costs because they did not do their homework.

The Union Budget over the years has been an exercise in juggling and tweaking the figures to rein in the fiscal deficit. Always facing a resource constraint, on account of demands from various quarters who can all justify their demands, the Union Finance Minister has little elbow room to please all. Therefore, the budget remains a game of optics. What the Budget reads on day one is often very different when you go through the fine print. It was a give and take budget this year with more take than give. A mere Rs. 3000 rebate on taxes for those earning less than Rs. 5 lacs a month, HR exemption upto Rs. 60,000 and other crumbs to that effect. This was made up by a whole lot of cesses including on cars which will ensure that the beneficiaries will end up Even Stevens. 

The Managing Committee is appreciative of the co-operation extended by the residents to bear stoically with the inconvenience caused by the IGL digging as well as the disruptions caused in water supply during the Jat agitation in Haryana.

OBITUARY

Mr. C. S. Menon, a member of the Society breathed his last on 4th February, 2016 in Mumbai. He was the only member to be elected as President of the Society four times. It was a testimony to his popularity. He was very affable and knew each and every resident. He was equally fluent in Malayalam and Tamil and this endeared him to one and all. He could be abrasive at times and kept a tight leash on the staff and security guards. We will all miss him immensely. May his soul rest in peace. On behalf of Yamuna residents we convey our deepest condolences to his family.

SNIPPETS

Mr. Suryanarayana Prasad of G-302 has relocated to Trivandrum on a transfer as DGM Corporate, State Bank of Travancore.  Mr. Prasad always sported a smile on his face and gelled with everybody. His daughter Dhanya participated in all the Yamuna activities. We wish them all the best.
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Although not yet a senior, Tejaswin Shankar of G-306 competed in the senior High Jump event at the South Asian Games and bagged a silver medal with a jump of 2.17 metres, the same height as the Gold Medal winner. The gold was not his only because he fouled at a much lower height as he was somewhat casual. He will learn from such mistakes. With every competition he is jumping higher. It should not be long before he bags the gold in the senior category. Tejas, we are very proud of you.
********************
Abhinav Kumar of H-103 has become a fiction writer. He has written a small fiction piece which will be featured in the blog and e-version of the Chronicle in the February 2016 issue. Please do give your feedback to him after reading it.
**********************
Mr. K. V. N. Swamy of E-006 showed his appreciation for the good work done by the Managing Committee by donating a sum of Rs. 50,000 to the Society. All the members of Yamuna are indeed very grateful to him for this largesse. We are really blessed to have such residents who really care for the well being of the Society.
***********************
Now children need their own space. Abhinav Kumar has flown the coop and moved from his parents’ house in H-103 to G-305. Party days are here again, I suppose for him and his friends.
***********************
A baby boy was born to S. Venkataramanan and Shridevi of A-307 on 12th February, 2016. The last three births in Yamuna have been of boys thereby restoring to some extent the gender balance so much skewed in favour of girls. He has been named Devansh (meaning Part of God). Grandparents Mr. R. Sankaran and Vasundhara Sankaran will have their hands full looking after the baby.



Upheaval

By Abhinav Kumar

He stared at the pile of paper in front of him. Paper that supposedly held a lot of meaning. Sitting on the bed, he began to sift through them, one by one. Memories seared through him even before he had touched the first one. He paused for a moment, hand stretched out. The fingers trembled, uncertain, but the mind steeled them. He picked up the first. His final report card from school. The green cover, embossed with the school emblem, was smooth in his hand. It gleamed with his achievements. The grades were perfect, he noted with a mild curiosity, almost as if reading about someone else. More co-curriculars than anyone else had managed. A message of congratulations from the principal. He still remembered the day he had rushed home, clutching the booklet, bursting with excitement, waiting to show his parents the scrawl of green ink that meant so much. Smiling slightly, he set it aside, and picked up the next one. Board results. A 96.4% was unheard of in his family, and he could, if he closed his eyes, still taste the mithai on his tongue, mithai that his parents had distributed throughout the colony, delirious in their joy. 

Next. A University letter, affirming that he would be a student of law for the next 5 years of his life. The paper was cool under his fingers, yet the effect of the letter had been electric. His spine tingled – for the millionth time – as he ran his fingers over the emblem, the scales of justice proud and true. He muttered the motto under his breath, feeling the Sanskrit shloka roll off his tongue. The words tasted sour, foreign, meaningless. Protect justice, and justice will protect you, he said. He didn’t stop to think whether he had protected anything in his time with the law. He knew he hadn’t. So he moved on to the next piece of paper. His final transcript. Flawless. Top grades in what mattered. Corporate law. Banking and finance. Capital markets regulation. He had aced every interview he had sat for. That brought him to the last piece of paper in the pile.

“Dear Rohit,” he read out loud. “We are pleased to offer you a position as an ‘Associate’ with MSA & Partners. As you know –” he paused. He could almost recite the following lines by heart. “…MSA prides itself on being the largest and most successful law firm in India. By joining us, you will not only be involved in some of the most exciting transactions in the country, but will also get a chance to be groomed by the best and the brightest in the profession. Many congratulations, and we look forward to welcoming you at the firm soon.”

He had slept with the letter under his pillow the night he had got it, just to make sure that it would be there the next morning. Now, he tossed it aside and stood up. When he had extracted the papers from his business folder – how many times had he described it as his most precious possession? – everything had been smooth, tidy, orderly. He stared at them now, scattered carelessly on the bed. By error or by design, his University transcript had ended up on top, the first page telling the story of his first few, unimportant years at law school. He smiled at the grades. Crime and Punishment – I: 9. Crime and Punishment – II: 9. Criminal Procedure: 10.

“Are you ready?”

He turned. Arun stood at the door, his face impassive. He glanced at the sheaf of papers, but made no comment.

“Just about,” Rohit said, making no effort to tidy up. “Wait outside, please? I just need to change.”

Arun turned and walked out, his kolhapuris slapping on the tiled floor, shattering the silence of the apartment.

Rohit turned back and stood beside the bed, facing the only adornment he had allowed on the otherwise bare walls.

“I love you,” he said, beginning to trace her curves on the paper. His father had always said that she looked like a woman trying to fix her sari. He had never quite seen it. But he saw it now, as his fingers spanned the mountains, the desert, the coastline.

“I love you,” he repeated, as a single tear rolled down his cheek. “But this is not you,” he finished, his voice firm. 

A stray wind swept through the room, scattering the papers further. Rohit turned away and left the room without looking back.

“You didn’t change,” Arun said, getting out of his chair.

“This seemed fine after all,” Rohit said with a slight smile.

They walked out the front door and joined the ranks of protestors streaming towards JNU, smilingly courting arrest. MSA’s loss was India’s gain. 
***

 CALENDAR OF EVENTS FOR MARCH 2016

DATE
EVENT
TIME
VENUE
24.3.16
HOLI HAI!  PLEASE ASSEMBLE IN THE LAWN FOR SOME FUN & FROLIC
10.00 AM
BADMINTON COURT
26.3.16
YAMUNA CHEF - COOKING COMPETITION - CHILDREN 6PM TO 7PM
ADULTS 7PM TO 8PM
6.00 PM
BADMINTON COURT