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03 February, 2016

Issue No. 173 I January 2016

EDITORIAL

It was a Eureka moment for the members of the Society when the Registrar Of Co-operative Societies finally recognised the members of the Society as the owners of their respective flats and forwarded the list to DDA. With this came to an end thirty-six years of frustrating helplessness as regularisation proved elusive. All along the members were de facto occupiers but with this missive they become de jure owners. The matter was taken up in right earnest with the Registrar's office (ROCS) about six years ago on the strength of a letter by the then Lt. Governor who absolved the wrong procedure followed by the Society at the time of allotment of flats in 1980. However, this effort had to be put in cold storage as somebody challenged the authority of the Lt. Governor to waive this condition in respect of some other Societies, in court. The Court declared the Lt. Governors' waiver as ultra vires. Since we had got the same order of waiver from the Lt. Governor, the RoCS were loath to take up our case, citing that the matter was sub judice. In the beginning of 2015, the Court rescinded their earlier order on the basis of an appeal by some other Societies, thereby paving the way for us to pursue the matter. The President put together a team of people to pursue this matter with the Registrar's office. It has been a hard slog for the last six months with most of the Managing Committee members taking turns going to the Registrar's office almost on a daily basis. The RoCS wanted separate files to be prepared for each and every member with a plethora of documents to prove that they were the rightful owner. Unfortunately, when the records were examined, in almost all the cases some document or other was either missing or defective in some way. The Society had to devise some unconventional methods to fill the breach and exert influence from several quarters. The results are there for everybody to see. As the beat of the dhol echoed through Yamuna, residents trooped out and were greeted with the good news. P. K. K. Nair was ecstatic and showed it by dancing non-stop to the dhol beat. 

Ramabadhran, P.K.K. Nair, N. L. Ganapathi, P. Krishnamurthy, Seetha Venkataraman and Poornima Narayanan were almost on full time basis on this job but many others in the Managing Committee and some members also chipped in at other times. Sudha Umapathy and Anita Suresan put in their might towards the latter period of the exercise. I am not naming each of these individuals for fear of missing out some names. The Society is eternally grateful to all these persons. The Society also thanks all the members for their co-operation as otherwise this matter would not have come to fruition. The office staff particularly Mercy and Victor Thomas bore the brunt of the load of clerical and sundry activities. The plumber Rajesh also did the rounds of the RoCS when Thomas was on leave. Now is the time to celebrate. The Society is also very indebted to Dr. K. Madhavan Kutty who facilitated the process at the ROCS. Mr. Srivatsa Krishna Also used his good offices to exert influence.

In the course of this relentless pursuit with the RoCS certain other matters of importance, particularly the seepage issue could not be satisfactorily addressed. The MC regrets this delay but you will all agree that the regularisation issue could not have been concluded satisfactorily had a daily follow-up not been maintained. Now that it is behind us, the other areas will receive the required thrust.

The early part of winter felt more like spring. Winter has become more of an evanescent phenomenon in recent times. El Nino is a much feared word worldwide. Global warming is making weather patterns very unpredictable and playing havoc with peoples' lives and ruining economies. The Chennai flooding has left many near and dear ones adversely affected both materially and personally. Mr. Kailasam who was a former member of Yamuna and lived in H-106 before he sold his flat, lost his life during the Chennai floods.. We are living on a precipice with global, natural and manmade events making our chances of survival  independent of old age and disease.

Some time ago Kunal Savarkar had tagged a quote of Ralph Waldo Emerson on Facebook which read, "Let me not fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted".  Most of us often fall into this abyss and take umbrage at the slightest remark which may militate with one's views. It is this intolerance of a viewpoint, alien to one's own which is the cause of so much strife around the world. People are on such short fuse these days that anything even trivial can trigger a storm of protest. People draw guns and shoot on account of road rage. Years of friendship are torn asunder over the slightest of disagreements. Obduracy, egos and a belief that there can be no other valid viewpoint other than one's own is the cause of this malaise. Let us all cool down, as in the total scheme of things, these small disagreements count for nothing. True friendship means you can even be politically incorrect and it will be taken in good spirits. Life is so short. Only if we rid our mind, body and psyche of emotional detritus, can we remain composed.

The movie going habits of Yamunaites are based on which Khan's movie is releasing. Some of the women, including my wife, swear by Shah Rukh Khan and some others like Asha, Anu etc. by Salman Khan. Bollywood is a Mecca of the Khans. They rule the roost. Starting with Salman Khan and Shah Rukh, the convoy of Khans doesn't stop. You have Aamir Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Imran Khan, Fardeen Khan and a host of wannabe Khans who are still trying to find their feet in the tinsel world. The truth is almost every living ethnic Khan is the fruit of Genghis Khan's prodigious loins, a fecund ruler who sired innumerable children through motley wives and concubines and some of the Khans of Bollywood are following suit by leaving behind a trail of wives and girlfriends. Salman has dated innumerable stars including Aishwarya Rai and Katrina Kaif amongst others, Aamir and Saif have married twice. We do not know of their dalliance otherwise. The saying goes that there are only two true religions in this country – cricket and Bollywood. Notwithstanding the popularity of Amitabh Bachchan, the cash registers are rung by the Khans.

"Katrina Kaif and Ranbir Kapoor caught kissing in the balcony" makes headline in the newspapers. What are we stooping down to? Unfortunately, as I said cricket and Bollywood rule the eyeballs. People in the public eye need to be wary. Privacy is the first casualty in a world obsessed with shooting and posting images online and one can't be sure of not being caught en flagrante delicto even in the privacy of one's home. The public, hungry for gossip, spend hours trawling the Net in search of salacious paparazzi pictures.

Renu Garg and Vidya Nair are doing a magnificent job engaging the children in the library every Sunday evening. It has become more than a borrowing and reading rendezvous. Story-telling and Quiz competitions are also being conducted regularly. Prashant senior is chipping in with his effort in this. It is very important to keep children away from the malefic influence of TV, video games and FaceBook. When I burst upon children poring over books like savants in the library, I reflect on my youthful days in the British Council library when reading books was a favourite pastime for many people. Alas! It is a dying phenomenon.

The Society office had become run down with seepage and years of neglect. The sepia tinted walls would have made even a DDA flat look better. Ram took it upon himself to get the office renovated. Gayatri Ganapathi, who is an interior designer was roped in to make it a more functional and user friendly office, to enhance its appeal and usher in efficiency. Bulk of the renovation is over, the result of which is there for all to see. LED lights have been installed to reduce power consumption and improve illumination. It is still a work in progress. We are very grateful to Mercy and Thomas for playing a major role in the shifting and putting up with the inconvenience. Apart from Gayatri, Seetha, Poornima and Ram played a crucial role in co-ordinating with the vendors and contractors to get the job completed.

Lohri is celebrated to signify the end of winter after the winter solstice and the advent of Makar Sankranti. It also heralds the harvesting of the Rabi crop. In the north, particularly in Punjab it holds a lot of significance. I am a traditionalist and it gives me great pleasure to celebrate festivals as it is one way of bringing people together. At the same time I am an environmentalist with concerns over the deteriorating air quality because of high particulate emissions. Therefore, I was caught in the horns of a dilemma over the lighting of the bonfire to celebrate Lohri. A via media was found by reducing the size of the bonfire so that the embers don't last all night. Most of the children assembled well before the pyre was lit. The adults slowly streamed in and everybody had a good time offering Lohri goodies and generally chatting in the warm glow of the fire. It took some time for the wood to catch fire but once it did, it was burning rapidly and as planned it died by 10.30 pm. Unfortunately, none of the singers were around and it seemed a rather sedate and quiet Lohri. Normally winter abates after Lohri but this time it came back with a bite for a couple of weeks.

'Thyagaraja Aradhanai', a tribute to the legendary saint and composer Thyagaraja was conducted in the Community Hall on 30th January, 2016 to commemorate his 169th birth anniversary. Students and teachers of Carnatic music within and outside Yamuna congregated to sing Thyagaraja's compositions. There were solo and group performances by students of Subhada and some others. The climax was reached when everybody joined to sing the Pancharatna Kritis. We were just transported to heaven by the divine singing of Kalyani, Bhavani, Subhada, Sumathi amongst others. It was pure bliss. We are indeed blessed to have such great singers.

The pavements outside the apartments leading upto the market have been repaired after the matter was taken up by the Society with the local MLA, Mr. Saurabh Bharadwaj. While the rectification job has been shoddy, at least the depressions in front of Godavari Apartments where several residents have tripped and fallen in the past have been set right. Bollards have also been put at the end of the pavement outside A Block gate to prevent motorcyclists from using the pavement to drive their vehicles when the main road is clogged.

After much delay, the work on the IGL gas pipeline has commenced. Due to the topography of our plot and zig-zag pattern of construction, devising an optimum route without causing much damage to our paved areas has been a challenge. Eventually the least disrupting plan was approved. The work on the pipeline should hopefully get completed in eight weeks time. The pipes will eventually be fed to the kitchens from the shafts except in the case of E & F Blocks and all the kitchens facing the exterior in the other blocks. Use of PNG will involve change in the burners and surrender of LPG cylinders. You will receive a separate communication on this.

Sadhana Music and Dance Academy celebrated their second anniversary on 16th January, 2016 with a tabla duet by Pranav Ramji and Faisal Yusuf Khan in honour of the Late Ustad Sabri Khan. Pranav kept the audience spell bound with his felicity on the tabla. He is bound to go places with his art. This was preceded by a music recital by the students of Sadhana which featured Navya Sinha and Samarth Varma from Yamuna. Unlike other music and dance academies which dot the landscape, Sadhana specialises in training the students to perform in front of a live audience which helps them blossom and gain confidence.
Pranav also performed on the tabla at the Habitat Centre on 22nd January, 2016  accompanying singer Mitali Bhowmik.  


SNIPPETS

Mallika, Shreeya and Shreeja did a Bharatanatyam performance in Tirupathi which was telecast live on 24th January, 2016. While, to be invited to Tirupati to perform would be anybody's dream,    a live telecast of their performance would have brought their art to such a wide audience which they would never have envisioned.  Way to go, girls. Three cheers to you.

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Anita Suresan's parents, Mr. P. Karunakaran and P. Thankam have moved into A-002 to be close to their daughter. Mr. Karunakaran retired from FICCI and now spends his time reading and playing Sudoku. Mrs. Thankam is a very capable home maker. They were earlier living in Rohini. They can be reached on 26001593.


FUNNY RIDDLES
(Answers at the bottom of the page)

1.  How many months in the year have 28 days?

2.  A question in a math class. You have 2 apples in your hand plus another 4 apples in your hand. What do you have?

3.  A man on a flat soccer field kicked a soccer ball 40 feet away. The ball came back immediately at the same speed. No one else and no object have been involved. The ball didn’t touch anything on its way. How did the man do that?

Letter to the Editor

Over the years, I have known Ram to come up with setting up goals for himself which are unique in themselves and the path towards them usually unexplored and unheard of – and he has the knack of working towards them to the finish! However the goals so far had been somewhat realistic and achievable as it would have involved mainly his vision and probably my inputs occasionally..

The Yamuna Project involved far too many consolidations at various levels than one can actually perceive – even to accept to take it up along with other work commitments involved a lot of courage  and determination, which is hard to find! It meant to be able to organise a whole dedicated team as it could not have been possible individually.. and what a superlative organiser he has proved to be!..

With so many adversaries at work, difference of opinion, indifference, many negativities floating around, I would have liked him to take the easier path of staying away from this social responsibility or at best , take it up to an extent which is normally expected out of an honorary portfolio.

But that is just not his style!

Once he had this task up his sleeve, nothing could come in his way..it even meant telling me that he was at a meeting while he was actually cooling his heels without lunch at the RoCS... it had Aryan asking me one day what exactly was RoCS :-)

Though he may not acknowledge, I know of the many things which have taken a backseat in the last 5-6 months at a personal level. On a lighter vein, I accept that I have cursed Mohan and Poornima who had walked in home unassumingly one day, and had put across a faint proposal of Ram becoming the President of Yamuna , a year before and to have got him into this at first place!!

Of course today, though I had absolutely no contribution to this project apart from regular in-house opposition and taking care of family while Ram was at it, I , much like many of us in Yamuna feel a great sense of pride and belongingness over this stupendous achievement, which is a direct result of months of cohesive team work, tireless efforts by a few residents on behalf of everyone, and Ram in particular, to have led all efforts to the finish and for working so selflessly and showing the perseverance needed to accomplish great jobs such as these for the community! The man with the Midas touch strikes again!

I may not have acknowledged your efforts on this one ever Ram, but I mean it when I say that you are a true winner and I'm proud of you!

Cheers!
Lata

CALENDAR OF EVENTS FOR FEBRUARY, 2016
DATE
EVENT
TIME
VENUE
7.2.16
PAINTING COMPETITION FOR ALL AGE GROUPS INCL. ADULTS
10.00 AM
BADMINTON COURT

Answers to riddles: 1. All of them. 2. A very big hand. 3. He kicked the ball up in the air.



02 January, 2016

Issue No. 172 I December 2015

EDITORIAL

New Year resolutions notwithstanding, it is just another year in this timeless universe. The same levels of pollution, the same traffic snarls, you still dread the Monday and look forward eagerly to the Saturday. It is as though time stood still, but actually time marches on inexorably. Children grow up to be adults, get married and have kids of their own. We all get older and lose some near and dear ones along the way. Just to add some novelty to the new year, from 1st January, 2016 you are more likely to be known as odd or even number car owner. Brace up for the new dispensation. Anyway, wish you all a very happy and rewarding New Year.

It is not often that I go to Chandni Chowk, but on a recent visit, I noticed that the skyline is changing in more ways than I had bargained. In a whopper of a cultural coup, a Mc Donald's has opened within sniffing distance of the hallowed precincts of the Red Fort. It could not have been better placed to assert the continuing permeation of American culture through societies worldwide. Not that this would be the first Mc Donald in India but it's target spot at the apogee of Indian history is devilishly sinister. Its adroit placement near the famed red walls will chip away at the twin edifice of Indian pride, its cuisine and culture. Will Paranthewali Gali get consigned to history? India has come a long way from a decade ago when in Karnataka, the leader of an organisation against the influence of foreign fast foods asked his followers to tear apart Kentucky Fried Chicken outlets. Since then many burgers including the vegetarian variety have flown off the griddles of the now ubiquitous McDonald outlets. As the aroma of  French fries wafts through the Red Fort, India, the home of cheap eats, has been breached by a predatory interloper! Dr. Ramji may have something to say about this.

The other day I was amazed to watch on BBC that a bank employee in Hong Kong had salted away close to a billion dollars by fiddling with LIBOR rates. I am always in awe of such people who purloin millions of dollars and grab headlines in the paper. But it puzzles me that no one bothered to investigate when the first million disappeared. Contrast this with the financier who harasses you when you want to take a loan of one lac rupees. He makes you fill a form in triplicate and get a whole bunch of sureties, including one from your mother-in-law for good measure. If that wasn't enough he would want a mortgage on your house. Or take, for that matter, the accountant who catches an errant employee for fudging the TA bill by fifty rupees. Big bucks theft is the answer. Be suave and clean up the bank of millions and disappear to the Bahamas with your girlfriend for a life on the beach and walk on the wild side. In my home, my mother puts out major alerts if a hundred bucks goes missing. "It was here yesterday in the second drawer in the drawing room shelf", she will say. Then we go into a major hunt which will make 9/11 look like a romp in the park. We look in the unlikeliest of places and eventually find it scrunched up in Divya's jeans in the washing machine. We celebrate our little victories. Compare the domestic vigilance with the outside world where scamsters walk off with oodles of lolly in a trice.

The Annual Day celebrations got under way on a bitterly cold day on 12th December, 2015,. Going by the trend in recent times, a low turnout was expected but we were delighted to see a full house. A bigger surprise was in store as many of them stayed till the end. It was testimony to the quality of the performances put up by the participants. The refreshments turned out be very good. The Annual Day got underway with the invocation song sung by Subhada tutored trio of Avantika, Tanvi and Sivashree. Since Mr. Ramabadhran had a prior commitment elsewhere, the President's speech was read out by Sumathi Chandrashekaran.  Mrs. Radha Warrier of H-203 who turned 80, was asked to be the chief host, to give away the prizes. The prize distribution ceremony was truncated by clubbing all the prizes to be awarded to an individual. Tejaswin Shankar who has made both the country and Yamuna proud by winning the Asian, Commonwealth and Olympic gold medals in the junior category in High Jump was felicitated with an award.  

The curtain raiser for the variety entertainment items was a beautiful classical dance recital by students of Sadhana, choreographed by Radhika Samson. This was followed by Fancy Dress for tiny tots arranged by Renu Garg. Notwithstanding their shyness and reluctance to do what they were taught, they scored very high on the cuteness coefficient. Following which a lilting song medley, choreographed by Subhada kept the momentum going. For the first time ever we had a stand up comedian in the form of Antariksh Das. In the time I have known him I have never detected in him the spirit of whimsy. But there he was exhibiting some wry humour.

Dance and music cannot be far from Yamunites' repertoire. We have hordes of them who are accomplished performers. One such performer came up on stage next. It was Aditi Ganapathi. She did a Kuchipudi number which was a visual treat. The group that followed next wanted to liven up the atmosphere with a peppy number. They danced to a song called " Nach Mere Jaan Nach" choreographed by Ananya Satish. Not to be outdone, Sivashree showcased her precocious talent with a self choreographed Marathi dance. Can American influence be far behind? "Girls like to swing" had a mix of vaudeville and West Side story dance styles, done by the slightly older girls. In a swift transition back to classical dance form was a Kathak recital by Vedika Arora. Unlike the very fast twirls and pirouettes that you normally associate with Kathak dances, this one had a gentle pace and softness about it that it seemed almost ethereal.

Nandita then directed a play enacted by the children of Yamuna called "Scooby Doo". It was a bold attempt to do a complicated multiple-acts-in-one play, which tended to crack at the seams. The children tried their best but not being used to the collar mikes, their conversations and comments interspersed the dialogues. Off the stage for many years, Nandita and Aishwariya proved they had lost none of their verve and vitality with a very saucy dance number. The plethora of dance numbers did not end there. Sivashree choreographed 'Fusion Dance – Lean On' had a group of girls dance in a mix of west and east. The ladies who stayed off the stage last year were back with increased vigour and did a dance number "Basanti", choreographed by Meera Varma and Aishwarya. They displayed a lot of oomph factor and jived very well on stage. By then we were nearly two hours into the show and one would have expected ennui. But it was not the case. The performers kept us keenly engaged. Poorvaja Ganapathi sang a couple of tuneful songs which heralded the invitation to the marquee item, the play, "Amar, Akbar, Anthony", scripted and directed by Seema Chari. By now we have begun to expect a great deal from the Yamuna play group and they did not disappoint. This was their best performance to date. Although Kunal mentioned in the end that almost everybody flubbed their lines, I could not even detect  a smidgen of faux delivery. I sincerely believe that Seema and many in the cast can have an alternate calling card.

The changeovers during the entire evening's show were not dull because Aditi, Mrs. Tara and Mr. Natarajan's (C-106) daughter, who had flown in from Mumbai regaled us with two delightful songs and T. S. Ramji who had his witty one-liners going throughout the evening, had everybody within hearing range in splits.

In what turned to be another pleasant surprise, a large number of people showed up for the heritage walk to Mehrauli Archaeological Park on 20th December, 2015. Mercifully, not many people are aware of this expanse of green littered with fortifications, monuments and sundry structures of archaeological importance. Had this become a regular beat, the sheer crowd would have deterred any interest to explore the mysteries that lie within. It is to unfold the mysteries that we had roped in Dr. Ramji Narayanan to be the raconteur during our walk. He has this uncanny knack of unravelling the most obscure spots that would have escaped most Delhiites notice. His scholarship and sheer breadth of knowledge relating to Islamic architecture, culture and mores is legendary. Unfortunately, he sometimes gets carried away by his own exuberance that he fails to notice the waning interest levels in some children and adults. Maybe in future we restrict a heritage walk to a maximum of two hours. The area that was taken up for coverage was so vast that it gets tedious for people whose interest in anything historical is fleeting at best. Dr. Ramji himself understands this dichotomy and was self deprecating about it.. Be that as it may, many returned wiser and happier after the walk learning about squinch arches, oriel windows, keystones, lintels, capitals, corbels etc. The trudge back to the car through the Byzantine lanes of Mehrauli, which apart from featuring some stunning pieces of medieval architecture, was littered with open sewers, dogs, pigs and cows. The sea of humanity and an assortment of vehicles made it an expedition in itself. By then we were ravenously hungry. Some of us then headed for lunch to Lakshman Paranthewala Dhaba which has been talked about a lot. While the leafy suburbs of Qutab Institutional Area  provide a perfect and peaceful backdrop for a repast, the food was not as great as it was made out to be.

With the winter chill having settled in, Yuletide spirit was alive and kicking with mulled wine, plum cakes, holly, mistletoe, cane candy, Christmas tree, gifts and trinkets. The Christmas carnival got under way on Christmas Day instead of Christmas Eve that we usually celebrate owing to December 26th being a Saturday. A bonfire was lit to keep everybody warm while they savoured the show on stage and on the ramp walk. The phenomenal performance of the children and adults on stage is drawing full houses of late. The children coached by Seema sang in unison to perfect diction and were brilliant on stage. Tanvi, who started taking guitar lessons only a couple of years ago, accompanied the singers with a great deal of co-ordination and rhythm. The Baby Jesus looked miserable as the makeshift roof of the manger collapsed. The 'Nativity Scene' cast recited the lines  perfectly on cue and were full of confidence. Ashwin, the Santa, appeared on stage and was mobbed by the kids. In an impromptu decision Radhika Samson and her cousins did a co-ordinated dance to a very peppy number which had the crowd tapping their feet and wolf whistling. With the show on stage coming to an end people went back to eating and chatting. The winter ramp walk has now turned out to be an entertainment package in itself with the participants doing a jig or pirouette. Deepak's testosterone fuelled walk, Anu's jive and P.K. K. Nair's detective strut have become quite a staple but it took everyone by surprise when the usually taciturn Mr. Arora did some elaborate dance moves which would put many of the accomplished dancers in Yamuna to shame. Dr. Abhilash Pillai contributed Rs. 2,000 for the prizes. All the participants were so well turned out that it must have been difficult for the judges to pick the winners. As per the age categories Ananya, Sahana Iyer, Samiksha, Sahana Savarkar, Nandita Krishnamurthy, Meera Varma, Anu Nair, Raghavendra Subramanian and P.K. K. Nair were the winners.


OBITUARY

Mrs. N. S. Jain whose husband N. S. Jain is a member of G-004 passed away on 24th December, 2015. Some residents went to pay respects at the crematorium. May her soul rest in peace.

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Mr. S. K. Sundar,  resident of H-106 and father of Shanti Venkataraman passed away on 26.12.15 at the ripe old age of 85. He had been ailing for a while. He was very spiritually minded. We are sure his place in heaven must have been reserved.


SNIPPETS

After a brief sojourn in C-205, Nikhil Swamy and Krutika have moved out. This lawyer couple could seldom be seen in Yamuna, as they like most lawyers, seem to work on 24/7 schedule.

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Mr. S. S. Jeevan has moved into F-102. He is an Associate Editor of 'Down to Earth', a Society for Environmental Communications. He is a bachelor who was living with his parents in Kalkaji Extension before moving to Yamuna. With his moving in, the single member households in Yamuna is set to increase. We welcome him to our fold.

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E-004 has a new occupant. Mr. Vishal Sharma has moved in from Lajpat Nagar with his wife Shweta and son Pranjay.  Vishal works for Schneider Electric in projects. He is an accomplished singer and has interests in all sports, particularly cricket and badminton. Shweta teaches Accounts in St. George School. She made her singing debut on the Yamuna stage at the Christmas carnival. They will be a welcome addition to the Yamuna cultural scene. She too loves to play badminton. Pranjay is only 3 years old and goes to a play-school. They can be reached on 40563280 and 9833708065.


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Ramesh and Revathi had barely settled down in C-207 when a ground floor flat in A Block beckoned them. They have moved to A-004.

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Another couple who didn't trouble the movers were Dr. Mukesh Kalita and Dr. Vaishali Sharma who have moved from G-305 to C-207.


CALENDAR OF EVENTS FOR JANUARY, 2016
DATE
EVENT
TIME
VENUE
13.1.16
LOHRI BONFIRE
9 PM
BADMINTON COURT