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02 January, 2017

Issue No. 184 I December 2016

EDITORIAL

The Annual Day, although held on a bitterly cold winter’s day, on 10th December, 2016, did not deter the audience from staying till the very last item. Such was the quality of the programme that each of the performers and the choreographers' hard work and diligent practice was very lustily cheered and applauded.

The programme commenced, albeit a trifle late, with the invocation sung by Subadha and Seema Chari. Our senior citizen Mrs. Radha Warrier of H-203 draped the shawl around the three venerable residents who became octogenarians this year. Mrs. Saroj Arora, Mr. B.M.S. Murthy and Mr. P. Karunakaran  are quietly doing a great service to the colony with their sage advice. The prize distribution ceremony went off like a breeze because Seetha and Poornima collated the list of multiple prize winners so that they did not have to be called repeatedly.

After 'Vote of Thanks' by the Secretary, Mr. Madhu Nair, the much awaited variety entertainment programme started with an invocation dance, “Pushpanjali”, choreographed by Netra Sundaresan. It was a visual treat. This was followed by a self choreographed classical fusion dance, Thillana by V. Radhika and Bhuvana. The tiny tots who were waiting patiently in the wings made their stage presence on cue in Fancy Dress arranged by Anu Shekhar. Tejaswani looked cute in her dance, Kian as the joker played the role of Raj Kapoor in Mera Naam Joker with aplomb. Lakshay as Robin Hood came straight from Sherwood Forest, in all the gear and stamped his authority by shooting an arrow at the audience, Akshara and Adhya as ballerinas danced beautifully to a French ditty, and finally there was Varun. They made way for Sivasree who danced to a racy Rajasthani folk number. She glided on the stage effortlessly showing a flexibility in hip and neck movements that one thought defied the laws of physics. This was the opportunity for the Yamuna regular Subadha to display the talent of her students in a choir where all students sang several songs in unison without missing a beat. Then we had a dance number “Malhari” from the movie Bajirao Mastani. This was one of the few items which featured boys. Shashvath, Sai and Megh danced energetically, twirled their non-existing moustaches and slapped their thighs in a show of bravado.

One of the much awaited items was the Tollywood-Bollywood medley by the ladies where they seamlessly switched between songs and languages. Their dulcet voices and lilting inflections could give a run for the money to the likes of Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhonsle and Vani Jayaram. Bhavani and Sumathi arranged this medley which also included several other ladies. It was such a delight to listen to them. One cannot keep the incredibly talented girls of Yamuna off the limelight for too long. They came on next for a self-choreographed Bollywood number. They were absolutely brilliant. That made way for the play which generally is the Grand Finale but owing to the time required by the children in the previous item to change into classical dance attire, the play had to be advanced. In view of limited time available to Seema it was not prudent to work on an entirely new play. She did the next best thing by rehashing all previous Yamuna Natak Sabha plays, namely, the adaptions of Angoor, Sholay, Jane Bhi Do Yaaron and Amar, Akbar Anthony into a retrospective. Most of her cast being busy professionals, Seema had to rely on hurried practice sessions till well past midnight to get them ready to hit the stage. They did a splendid job. For some of them like Abhilash, Raghav, Antariksh and Subadha it could be a second career option; while Nanu and others do a remarkable job with their sheer diligence. Over time this play troupe has acquired the gravitas through talent, hard work, diligence and direction, that they can be reckoned to deliver hits regularly.

The only downside was that the Sadhana classical dance ensemble consisting of small children was unduly delayed. Yet, not a soul left their seats. Their three acts of Bharatanatyam, Kathak and Odissi were very well received. Since Odissi is taught by Radhika Samson herself, the performance featuring Yamuna girls stood out. The sound and lighting throughout was outstanding.

We need to extend our gratitude to the following persons for supporting the social and cultural activities of Yamuna with their generous contributions to the Society. This has greatly helped us in boosting our coffers and offering greater opportunities for our residents to engage in such community activities and thus bring people together.


SPONSORS FOR ANNUAL DAY 2016


S.NO
NAME
FLAT NO.
AMOUNT
1
MR. M. ANAND
H 101
10000
2
MRS.K. SRIDEVI
G 303
10000
3
MRS. K.V. SHANTHA
A 105
10000
4
NAME NOT DISCLOSED
10000
5
MRS. GIRIJA MOHAN
D 001
5000
6
MRS. RAJALAKSHMI KALYAN
G 106
5000
7
MR. N.A. SESHADRI
D 103
1000
8
MRS. GITA RASTOGI
C 004
LADIES SHAWL
9
MR. P.H.NARAYANAN
C-007
MISCELLANEOUS GIFTS
Delhiites proved to the world that one does not need oxygen to survive. We have been breathing a cocktail of toxic gases and going by traffic on the road, surviving! The foul air is throwing up new marketing opportunities for companies selling air purifiers and face masks. In fact, face masks have become de-rigueur. I am told they come in a variety of shades and designs. What is essentially a survival aid has entered the realms of haute couture.

The Christmas carnival which was held on the eve, brought forth all of the Yuletide spirit with the stage adorned with the Christmas tree, flutes, pine cones, holly, baubles, bells and the manger with Baby Jesus lying in the hay. The gaggle of children, maybe twenty of them, performed the Nativity skit and sang Christmas carols in several languages to the accompaniment of guitar by Tanvi Savarkar. Seema Chari spent several hours training the unruly kids to come up with this wonderful performance which earned her and her wards a thunderous applause.The portly Sai played the role of Santa Claus to the T.

A respite was given to enable the performers and audience to take a repast. Little did I know that they would settle for a four course meal. Even after a half hour break the audience was crowding all the food stalls! Not wishing to be disturbed in their gluttonous indulgence, the next group featuring Seema, Sumathi, Kavya, Gita, Ramji and yours truly came on the stage and sang some Beatles songs and signed off with the Pink Floyd anthem, " Another Brick In The Wall". The Bollywood/Tollywood ladies ensemble sang an encore of the Annual Day medley on popular demand.

Christmas carnival is never over until the winter ramp walk does not throw up winners of the best dressed with the right moves. The proceeds from the sale of plum cakes given by Mrs. Abraham was used to give away the prizes.

 "Cutting the cake" event in the Community Hall at midnight was a tame affair. Residents were loath to leave their various private parties and watering holes to come to the Community Hall to usher in the New Year. The yummy chocolate cake looked askance at the lack of people. The handful of residents present could not polish off the cake. We wish all the residents, ex-residents and members a very healthy and rewarding New Year.

SNIPPETS

In what could be a reversal to the dwindling population of Yamuna, a joint family has moved into E-302, to boost its numbers. Chandan Sahu, a software consultant with Sapient in Gurgaon has moved in with his brother Mithilesh Kumar, sister-in-law Pooja Kumar, mother Geeta Devi, father Nathani Sahu, nephews 11 year old Shivam studying in JPC School, two and a half year old Vaidik, one and a quarter year old Vanshika. Chandan is an eligible bachelor with a sense of humour. I am waiting for him to get married and have children of his own. There will still be enough standing room for everybody. Chandan can be reached on 7503421193. We welcome them to Yamuna.

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Mr. M. M. Kutty an IAS officer of 1983 batch has become the Chief Secretary of Delhi. It is another feather in the cap for an ex-Yamuna resident who was earlier the Principal Secretary to former Chief Minister, Mrs. Sheila Dikshit. We hope Mr. Kutty and his wife Dr.Sudha will return to their B-203 flat someday.

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Yamuna is getting well connected with people in high places. Mr. Vinod Asthana's brother has become the CBI Director. That does not give us a right to flirt with anything illegal or illegitimate.

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Shwetha (C-104) and Nitin got married in Sankara Vidya Kendra on 4th December, 2016. The couple were battling the smoke from the holy fire while plighting their troth. It is not the kind of romantic setting to get your hormones on overdrive. Far from planting a kiss on the apple of your eye, you are desperately trying to avoid the smoke getting into your eyes. Hindu weddings are the biggest downer to a rocking start to your marriage. By the end of all the ceremonies and functions one is so weary that the wedding night makes for heavy snoring rather than anything remotely romantic. Nevertheless, the "made for each other" couple did not let the weariness show. Yamuna was well represented. Bharti and AG were gracious hosts. The reception at Habitat was very elegant and both Shwetha and Nitin looked very relaxed. Sumptuous meals made for a glutton’s delight. Ladies in beautiful saris and glittering pendants made for great photo-ops.

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Sumathi Chandrasekharan has co-authored a tome on Intellectual Property Rights named Create, Copy, Disrupt. Please acquire a copy and read it. While much of it will go above the heads of us plebeian folk, in the process we may get some legal advice in such matters, pro bono. Hail the author, Sumathi!

CALENDAR OF EVENTS FOR JANUARY 2017

DATE
EVENT
TIME
VENUE
15.1.16
HERITAGE WALK & PICNIC TO LODI GARDENS
10.30 AM
FROM A BLOCK GATE

10 December, 2016

Issue No. 183 I November 2016

EDITORIAL


In a humdinger of a move the Prime Minister announced the demonetisation of currency which rendered the old Rs. 500 and Rs.1,000 notes illegal tender. For a couple of days the political parties were stunned into silence as the move had taken the wind out of their sails. The move was brilliant but in order to maintain secrecy the Government did not flood the banks with new notes nor could they get the ATM's recalibrated to dispense the new notes. As a consequence long and inconvenient queues could be seen outside the banks. The most hassled citizens were the poor who live on day to day incomes. Yet, despite standing in queues for several hours they lauded the move of the Government. Alas, the opposition political parties whose cache of currency may have evaporated with this order started fulminating in the mouth and accused the Modi government of all things diabolic.

Seetha informed me that the ubiquitous Tamil word, "Aiyyo" to express disappointment, dismay, pathos, sadness, horror, etc. has found its way into the Oxford English Dictionary. With the creeping in of popular vernacular words from around the world into the English language, are we seeing the transformation of the English language to a more global version (if it is not that already)?

The Quiz competition on 5th November, 2016 was held in hazy weather. Many participants came wearing masks. It has become the new style statement. A thin audience soon swelled enough to form the four teams named, 'The Mask, RGMNAK, Clueless and Hakuna Matata. RGMNAK consisting of Kunal Savarkar, Aseem Kumar and Rajarshi Das were invincible, scoring 195 points. "The Mask", consisting of Antariksh Das, Venkat and Vinod Asthana came a distant second with 140 points. Clueless as the name suggests and Hakuna Matata with 110 points each, brought up the rear. Hakuna Matata which means 'no worries' in Swahili, truly epitomised the free spirited team The hero of the Quiz competition however was the Quiz Master Sumathi Chandrashekaran. She has this uncanny knack of making an apparently simple clue, complex by adding a twist to the question. She was assisted in the research work and framing of questions by her father, Mr. K. M. Chandrashekaran. Every correct answer by the audience was made sweeter by the gift of Cadbury chocolates courtesy Sudha Sundaram. At the end of the show there were enough chocolates for all the teams and audience. Kavya showed her math skill by being the scorer.

A soiree organised by Subadha in the badminton court on 19th November, 2016 drew all the musical aficionados from Yamuna. After rendering an invocation song Subhada gave the  introduction to a Bharatanatyam recital by Avantika. With her imposing height and dimpled face Avantika looked majestic on stage. When she danced she showed glimpses of her Guru Geetha Chandran's dancing style.

This was followed by several devotional songs sung by a group of singers coached by Subadha. Sameeksha, Sahana Savarkar, Shashvath, Tanvi, Surya, Mani, Pratyush, Avantika and Radhika put their heart and soul into the songs and sang with unison. They missed the beat just once in the seven songs they sang. Subhada showed much passion and devotion when she did the introductions for each song. Her sincerity and single mindedness of purpose rubbed off on her students and this will stand them in good stead  when they grow up.

For the first time in 30 years I missed the Sports Day this year. As a consequence it was conducted very ably by Srikant and Kunal and chronicled hereunder by Seema Chari:

The crisp morning of the 27th saw the proceedings conducted by Srikanth and Kunal, each wielding a whistle, sheaf of notes and walkie-talkie. The children turned up all perky and bright, while the adults displayed their usual reluctance. One wonders at this increasing tendency towards sedentariness.

The tiny tots regaled everyone with their toffee-picking, though it is worth spending a thought to consider if we aren’t tacitly encouraging a snatch-and-grab culture. Anyway little Kiaan was adjudged the winner, with Sai Ansh and Akshara as worthy runners-up.Each race was keenly contested. Some children showed equanimity in the face of defeat and victory alike, while others gloated if they won, but sulked if they ‘lost’. The desire to win is a human one. But what about grace, fair play and spirit of sportsmanship? The playground is the best laboratory to develop these crucial values.

The women’s lemon and spoon race and running race saw gamely participation from the smattering of women, some of whom even took off their slippers and ran barefoot! The men’s race initially looked like a non-starter (shortage of competitors) but eventually saw six athletes. Anirudh Suresan comfortably defended his title.The last event was the Tug-of-War, where a team of young girls steamrollered an (admittedly smaller) team of young men, who despite being boosted by Anirudh Suresan and Venkat Iyer, couldn’t match their pigtailed rivals. The men-vs-women tug-of-war did not materialise, but Sports Day ended well, at least for the winners, with stoic vows on the part of several adults to get into shape for next year.

SNIPPETS

Sahana Iyer's big day came at her Rangmanch Pravesh on Sunday, 6th November, 2016 at IIC. As the Chief Guest Shri Barun Kumar Pal mentioned we were going to witness the dance recital of a prodigy. When Sahana appeared on the stage, the diminutive figure of this IVth grade student was dwarfed by the awesome size of the stage but when she started dancing, her overwhelming performance filled the stage. Her intricate and complex poses showed the expertise of a yogi. Her balance and poise showed the skills of a ballerina while her assured and smiling countenance right through the performance mirrored the confidence of a professional dancer. So great was her confidence that while she was dancing to " I am missing you, Krishna, where are you" and a piece of her garment unwound itself and came in the way of her dance moves, she didn't miss a beat and handled it with the deftness of a mature performer. She was lustily cheered. Sahana is destined for great things. Kudos to her guru Radhika Samson, Sadhana School of Dance and Music and her very supportive parents Vidhya and Venkat for nurturing her talent.

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Tejaswin Shankar never ceases to astound us with his prodigious talent. Displaying his adapted back first Fosbury flop, he eclipsed the 12 year old National Senior High Jump record of 2.25 metres held by his father's namesake Harishankar. He leapt a mind boggling 2.26 metres on 10th November, 2016 at the tender age of 17. He could well go on to become the first Olympic medal winner for India in track and field. Tejas, you have made all of Yamuna proud with this leap of faith.

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Tarun Balakrishnan of A-102 who got married in Mumbai on 4th November, 2016 to Shobhana (a medical  editor with Cactus Communications) appeared for their reception at the Yamuna lawns on 6th November, 2016. The Yamuna lawn dazzled with tastefully arranged lights. Rangu has moved up a notch with his catering expertise coming through. Delectable food, the great company of Yamunaites and gorgeously dressed women made for an entertaining evening.

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Geetha and Ramani's (C-001) son, Sam exchanged marriage vows with Mithileshwari in Secunderabad on 11th November, 2016. The currency crisis notwithstanding, the  wedding was held on a grand scale with the cuisine and other arrangements exceeding all imagination, according to a Yamuna resident who attended the wedding.

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Shashvath Arun Ram's thread ceremony was held in the Yamuna lawn on 20th November, 2016 under blue skies and sunny weather. The function variously known as Yagyopavedam or Poonal or Brahmopadesam, heralded the entry of Shashvath into the haloed portals of Brahminhood. A half crescent shaped shaved head altered Shashvath's look. He sat through the long ceremony patiently. Great food, bejeweled ladies in gorgeous saris, a large Yamuna presence and Subhada's engaging presence made for great social interaction. The function was preceded by a marathon bhajan the day before in the Community Hall which included a gem from Raghav.

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Arun Mohan, Assistant Editor, Indian Express has moved out of E-204. The owner Mr. Jayaraman is looking to let it out again. He can be reached on 9818043903 and 8700812990.

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Mr. Prasad Rao of G-004 has moved out of Yamuna with his parents. He is going back to his home town, Chennai from where he came to Delhi about two years ago. Within a short time of moving here, Prasad and his parents made friends with a lot of people. They will be missed.

Letter to the Editor from Mr. V. V. Bhotlu (F-203)
            The other day there was a knock on my door when I was resting after finishing my lunch. When I opened the door I found a Good Samaritan. Mr Kunal Savarkar, E-105, came to offer me some funds considering my age and observing that there are long queues at the banks and ATMs. 
          After exchanging some pleasantries, he gave me in the denominations of 100 and 20 in exchange of two 500-rupee notes. In his own characteristic and courteous way, while handing me his visiting card, he offered me his services, in case I require in future with no hesitation.
            I truly take this opportunity of wishing Mr Kunal Savarkar and his family members many grateful thanks and good luck for his act of kindness.


CALENDAR OF EVENTS FOR DECEMBER 2016
DATE
EVENT
TIME
VENUE
10.12.16
ANNUAL DAY - REFRESHMENTS, PRIZE DISTRIBUTION,
4.00 PM
MAIN LAWN
VARIETY ENTERTAINMENT AND DINNER
24.12.16
CHRISTMAS CARNIVAL/CAROL SINGING/WINTER RAMP WALK
6.30 PM
BADMINTON COURT
MUSIC/DANCE/FOOD STALLS/BONFIRE
31.12.16
CAKE CUTTING AND USHERING IN THE NEW YEAR
MIDNIGHT
COMMUNITY HALL