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Poornima Narayanan

02 September, 2017

Issue No. 192 I August 2017

EDITORIAL

The festive season began after a fairly long hiatus. Birth of Lord Krishna always evokes a lot of joy and gaiety, partly because of his naughty nature as a child and also his reputation of playing pranks with gopikas. The Krishna at the Janmashtami this year was played by Adhvik, son of Dr(s). Abhilash and Lakshmi. He broke the dahi handi which sent the children into a frenzy, scampering for the goodies that fell on the floor. That was the conclusion. Now to rewind to the beginning. The day's proceedings started with the duo of Bhavani and Sumathi regaling us with a medley of songs. Their well modulated and mellifluous singing is always pleasing to the ears. Subadha, without whom no cultural function is complete, ushered her pupils to the stage to sing some songs and bhajans as paeans to the Lord. These talented bunch of singers consisting of Shashvath, Sahana, Tanvi, Avantika, Samiksha, Surya, Radhika, Shreya, Pratyush and Mani are tutored by an accomplished and dedicated singer. This was followed by one song and two dance recitals presented by Sadhana School of Music and Dance who, without fail, come up with performances that spell class. A Hindustani recital by Meher Babbar was followed by a solo Odissi dance ballet by the very graceful and lissome Dakshina Raghavendra. The coup de grace was served by the classical dancing elite of Yamuna – Kiana, V. Radhika, Vanshika, Bhavna Harish, and Sahana Iyer. It is laudable that Kiana, at such a young age, could choreograph an Odissi dance number played to the fast tempo of five Grammy award winner sitarist Pandit Ravi Shankar's and the equally accomplished violinist Yehudi Menuhin's recital. They danced with great confidence and aplomb. We had a full house, probably the long summer recess had whetted people's appetite for entertainment. The food stalls had more variety than usual and people thronged to savour the treats. Mr. Thangadurai as usual distributed laddoos to the assembled people.

The 70th year of independence witnessed the hoisting of the national flag by the oldest resident, Mr. N. H. Venkataraman (Sudha Umapathy's father) who was witness to India attaining independence, and the youngest resident, Adhvik Pillai, who will dictate the narrative for the next generation. As rose petal showers descended to the ground, the residents sang the National Anthem with gusto. More patriotic songs came from Subhada's troupe. The weather was hot and muggy but that did not deter the others who needed to have a voice in the proceedings. Bhavani and Sumathi were joined by Seema, Sujatha, Purnima, Vinod Asthana, Murli, Muthu, and Farida amongst others to sing some more patriotic songs. The crowd for the Independence Day function did not quite match the bustling one of the night before. Patriotism does not seem to have that many adherents. The ones who came waved the national flag to proclaim their love for their motherland.

Super antics and performances on YouTube are a hot favourite and office hours are often devoted to downloading and forwarding such edifying videos. No wonder the productivity in offices is dropping. It becomes a nightmare for bosses to squeeze out extra productivity in this cyber savvy environment. Another intrusion into the liminal space of office are the jokes whose provenance cannot be traced. The only trope capable of expressing this predicament is the WhatsApp joke some of which tend to be lowdown and crass. One receives WhatsApp jokes which are usually passed on. One can seldom find out where it originated from.

Idli is one of the favourite breakfast foods of South Indians. Together with the accompaniment of sambhar and coconut chutney it not only makes for a tasty treat but  is also easy to digest. Now we have news that UNESCO has certified idli as the healthiest breakfast item in the whole world. I hope I can now convince my daughters to eat idlis.

We are getting into the thick of the festive season and Onam lunch is one such occasion when all Malayali women dressed in their off-white mundu or sari and flowers in the hair congregate at the community hall, looking very fetching. The pookalam and the women are a feast for the eyes. We men are there, of course, so that you do not drown in an overload of beauty! This year the Onam lunch has a ticket price of Rs. 250 per person. Please buy your coupons from the Society office asap.

I travel 45 kilometres to work every day and it takes me an hour. Contrast this with going to Gurgaon, a distance shorter than what I travel. This once bucolic community has become a city of more than a million inhabitants. It is a nightmarish version of what India aspires to be – a destination for global investment – with water shortage, iffy electricity and horrific traffic jams. If that is not enough, even with depressed property prices it is going through a building boom at such a frenetic pace that it can produce a new identity every Monday morning. If young people  spend four hours commuting to and from their place of work, where will they have the energy for anything else. Many erstwhile residents of Yamuna whose place of work is in Gurgaon have moved there as a consequence of this.


The bust up of Baba Ram Rahim has thrown open a can of worms. Heading an empire of deras, he has through deceit, cunning, and crime amassed a fortune and clout that he had become a law unto himself. Having a private army, he used blandishments to lure the gullible. A dera the size of 700 acres, is an area too huge to even imagine. Once inside these hapless devotees could not get out. They were willy-nilly, through coercion and threats, forced into unseemly activities. The government should ensure that these victims of privilege are freed and as for the minders, it is time to awaken them from the slumber of satiated insouciance.

If only Ram Rahim had a semblance of spiritual cadence one could understand the trickery he savaged on his disciples but his dress, bearing and crass and crude talk is such a dead giveaway that I cannot fathom why people fell for his cult image.

If only such a phenomenon was an aberration one could let it pass but it has spread to such an extent that fake babas and seers are a proliferating lot, looting and raping unwary and gullible people. Governments in the Centre and States should clamp down on such fraudsters lest it become an epidemic tearing the fabric of humanity.


SNIPPETS

Abhinav Kumar of G-305 has penned a book of 13 short stories which has been published in Kindle book store. Do take this opportunity to read the book of this budding author.

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Dr. Giridhara Gopal of G-302 and his wife Sonia.have been blessed with the birth of their baby daughter on 6th August in Tanjore. She has been named Samya Shree. Her birth adds one more girl to the population of Yamuna. Girls already outnumber boys 10 to 1. This is a very welcome thing as girls participate actively in  all the cultural events. Not so the boys who are lost in their own world of gaming and soccer.

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Dr.P.J. Manohar Rao of A-101 has been awarded the Noel Deerr Gold Medal by the Sugar Technologies Association of India as his technical article presented at a convention was adjudged the best for the year 2016-17. That he should win such a prestigious award at the age of 90 years speaks volumes about his age defying erudition and clarity of thought. Let's raise a toast to him.


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Tejaswin Shankar of G-306, our Olympian hope, has got admission to Kansas State University in US to pursue Business Administration. He will be representing the University in athletics. His primary objective will be to hone his skills in high jump under the tutelage of the World's number one coach in high jump. Recently, at the age of 17 he broke the National Senior high jump record which stood in the name of Harishankar Roy by jumping 2.26 metres. We wish Tejas the very best.

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Professor N.V. Varghese of A-010 has been appointed as the  Vice Chancellor of the National University of Educational Plannning and Administration and the Director of the  Centre for Policy Research in Higher Education (CPRHE), New Delhi. He holds a doctoral degree in Economics with specialization in  educational planning. He was  Head of Governance and Management in Education  at the International  Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP/UNESCO), Paris till October 2013 and  Head of its  Training and Education Programmes from 2001 to 2006. We are indeed very blessed to have accomplished people like him as our neighbours.


English Is A Language That Defies Logic

As much as all of us have been brought up on a diet of English we tend to take many of the peculiarities of the language for granted. Little do we dwell on what, for a person foreign to the language, appears as ridiculous. Below are some examples:
There is no ham in hamburger, nor egg in eggplant, neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins were not created in England, quicksand is anything but quick, boxing rings are actually square, guinea pigs did not originate in Guinea nor are they pigs.
People recite at a play and play at a recital. We have noses that run and feet that smell. We also park at a driveway and drive at a parkway. You have to marvel at the lunacy by which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which an alarm goes off as it goes on. As a conclusion, if you can call  Dad as Pop, why can't you call Mom as Mop?



CALENDAR OF EVENTS FOR  SEPTEMBER 2017

DATE
TIME
EVENT
VENUE
3.9.17
12 NOON
POOKOLAM AND ONAM LUNCH
COMMUNITY HALL

ONWARDS


23.9.17
6.30 PM
DANDIA, MUSIC AND FOOD EVENING
BADMINTON COURT




30.9.17
4.30 PM
RAMLILA AND STABBING OF EFFIGY OF RAVAN
MAIN LAWN


31 July, 2017

Issue No. 191 I July 2017

EDITORIAL

Confusion reigns with the implementation of GST. Although it is touted as the biggest reform measure of independent India, it has left many people wondering what to do with regard to various aspects governing their business and personal life. Those adversely affected are the ones who did not pay any taxes prior to this. Be that as it may, it will make the country more tax compliant and reduce the burden of the middle class who hitherto bore bulk of the burden of tax collections in the country. The effects of GST on the Society's functioning and the impact and implications are under the scanner. As per the rules registered, co-operative societies also come under the ambit of GST, not because of individual maintenance subscription which is less than the threshold limit of Rs. 5,000 per month but because we cross the Rs. 20 lacs turnover limit and for income from maintenance of rented spaces and periodic let out spaces like the community hall, badminton court and lawn. The financial impact of GST on the Society will be to the extent of extra administrative work on account compliance requirements. The members will be apprised of the impact on monthly maintenance during the AGM by which time greater clarity will emerge on not only the GST issue but also on the proposed increase in minimum wages.

We are a nation of all shapes and sizes and we in Yamuna are no exception to it. Some are vertically challenged and some others are horizontally challenged. In order that all residents make a transition to the ideal body structure and fitness, which brings with it the added bonus of good health, an outdoor gym has been installed in the corner of the main park courtesy BJP MP Ms. Meenakshi Lekhi. Mr. P. K. K. Nair liaised actively with her to bring this to fruition. But don't throw caution to the winds. When you start exercising, please don't go from zero to hundred in one outing. Your muscles need to get acclimatised to the new regimen, otherwise, you could end up with a lot of aches and pain. Please phase your exercise schedule so that you ramp up to peak levels over a period of three months. The gym has found many adherents already with many ladies, some men and children seen exercising their muscles.

AAP has announced that all surgeries in Delhi will be done free. While it is a noble gesture, I wonder whether it will ever be practically implementable. With all hospitals overcrowded with paid patients, why would hospitals entertain patients for whose operations the hospitals have to claim payments from the Government, knowing full well that the wheels of bureaucracy do not move without the lubricating effects of liberal amounts of grease. You could visit any hospital, Government or private – the availability of rooms is not there. No surgeries can be undertaken if there are no rooms, as rooms are required for post operative care and recuperation. I have reasonable cause to believe that this initiative will be still-born.

At some time or the other, we have all been victims of the pernicious practices of the private health care providers and the pathetic  state of the public health care system. Some doctors and diagnostic labs have converted medical care into a cynically commercial activity. What is a matter of intrigue is the candour with which some doctors have commented on the several fault lines that plague medical care in India. Instances of malpractice, unnecessary tests and treatments, commissions and kickbacks on referrals to other doctors and diagnostic labs are rampant. Canons of medical ethics are cast aside as blatant advertisements on medical miracles which even God could not have conjured are used to entice gullible patients. Patients on ventilators are kept alive just so the hospital can extract more money although they clearly know that the person will eventually leave the hospital in a hearse. In other cases, because of the sundry and unnecessary tests, indebted families run out of money much before they run out of hope. It is a cruel world made worse by the ones who ply the trade which we ironically call health care.

With the arrival of the festival season a tad early this year, many of the festivities will have to be conducted when the weather is not so conducive. One may have to also bear with rain disruptions as some of the functions are bang in the middle of the monsoon season. However, the sheer joy of celebrating the festivals overcomes any discomfort. Since the success of the variety entertainment programmes rests on the active participation of the residents, I would request them to come forward and volunteer to do things which are their forte. I am giving below the table of the calendar of events for the period August to December 2017 and request residents to plan their holidays avoiding these dates.

In a swift Machiavellian move, Nitish Kumar and Modi pulled the carpet from under Lalu Yadav's feet to unceremoniously unsettle the Mahaghatbandhan in Bihar. It caught the UPA napping and all they could do was to kick and scream from the sidelines. In this entire narrative what has come out clearly is that the Opposition does not have a unifying force. The Congress which hitherto played that role has a Vice President  who cannot inspire a class of juveniles leave alone lead a coalition of disparate parties, united  just to cobble up strength to form the Government. It takes very little for the fabric of unison to be torn asunder and the FIR against Lalu's son was all it needed for Nitish Kumar to pull the plug.



CALENDAR OF EVENTS AUGUST – DECEMBER 2017

DATE
TIME
EVENT
VENUE
14.8.17
6.30 PM
JANMASHTAMI VARIETY ENTERTAINMENT PROGRAMME, BREAKING OF DAHI HANDI AND FOOD STALLS
BADMINTON COURT




15.8.17
9.00 AM
INDEPENDENCE DAY FLAG HOISTING,
BADMINTON COURT


SINGING OF PATRIOTIC SONGS, DISTRIBUTION OF SWEETS





3.9.17
12 NOON
POOKALAM AND ONAM LUNCH
COMMUNITY HALL

ONWARDS


23.9.17
6.30 PM
DANDIA, MUSIC AND FOOD EVENING
BADMINTON COURT




30.9.17
4.30 PM
RAMLILA AND BURNING OF EFFIGY OF RAVAN
MAIN LAWN




14.10.17
6.00 PM
DIWALI MELA/JUMBLE SALE/JAM SESSION/RIDES/FOOD
BOTH BADMINTON


FORTUNE TELLING/GAMES AND LOTS MORE
COURTS
8.10.17 
9.30 AM 
AGM  
COMMUNITY HALL 
19.10.17
6.30 PM
DIWALI ILLUMINATION COMPETITION
BETWEEN THE BLOCKS




28.10.17
6.30 PM
MOVIE SCREENING AND POT LUCK DINNER
BADMINTON COURT




1-7.11.17
6.30 PM
BADMINTON & TT TOURNAMENTS
BADMINTON COURT




12.11.17
9.30 AM
SPORTS DAY
MAIN LAWN




18.11.17
6.30 PM
QUIZ COMPETITION WITH ANTARIKSH DAS
BADMINTON COURT




2.12.17
4.30 PM
ANNUAL DAY – REFRESHMENTS, PRIZE DISTRIBUTION, VARIETY ENTERTAINMENT AND DINNER
MAIN LAWN




10.12.17
10.30 AM
HERITAGE WALK/NATURE WALK
FROM A BLOCK GATE




24.12.17
6.00 PM
CHRISTMAS CARNIVAL/CAROL SINGING/WINTER RAMP WALK. MUSIC/DANCE/FOOD STALLS
BADMINTON COURT



31.12.17
MIDNIGHT
CAKE CUTTING AND USHERING IN THE NEW YEAR
COMMUNITY HALL

The main lawn sports a verdant look thanks to the  efforts of Mr. S. Krishnaswamy who despite his knee and back problems worked tirelessly to make this happen. We are indeed grateful to him.


SNIPPETS

Riya Ramabadhran has joined BITS, Pilani to do Computer Engineering She pretty much got admission in most engineering colleges but placed her bets on BITS, an institution with pedigree. We wish her good luck.

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Mr. Praveen Kohli has migrated from C-203 to E-003 with his family. No more trudging up two floors. C Block's loss is E-Block's gain.

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Venkat Iyer and Sudha Iyer have moved out of B-303 to Coimbatore to settle down there to lead their post retirement life. We wish them good luck.

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Anisha and Sukam have moved out of H-208 to Gurgaon to be close to their place. of work They stayed in Yamuna for less than a year, so many residents may not be very familiar with them.

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R. Sriram Raju and Sudha Balakrishnan of A-103 have moved to Bangalore after living in Yamuna for seven years. Sriram who was working with Bombardier has been hired by Alsthom to be head of Asia Pacific operations from Bangalore. It is a great career move for him and we wish him good luck. Sudha who was very active in the Diwali Illumination Competition with her illustrations will be sorely missed by A&B Block residents.

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Mr. Lutz Konermann has moved into C-206 from Zurich with his wife Farida Pacha and son Rehan. Lutz holds dual nationality being both Swiss and German. He used to teach film making in Ludwigsburg University in Germany before deciding to make films. He makes both documentary and feature films. He met his partner and wife Farida in Mumbai during one of his film making projects. Farida who is a Gujarati is also a documentary film maker. Lutz loves travelling and sings German songs. Farida, apart from travelling, is also a keen bird watcher. Rehan is joining MMI for his schooling. He loves to play with Lego sets and solve Sudoku puzzles and is also fond of climbing. Rehan speaks German, English and a bit of Gujarati. They can be reached on 7506897948 and 7506897928 respectively. Yamuna. welcomes them.