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 In the beginning of 2015, the Court rescinded their earlier order on the basis of an appeal by some other Societies, thereby paving the way for us to pursue the matter.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.
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.
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.
(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!
CALENDAR OF EVENTS FOR FEBRUARY, 2016
PAINTING COMPETITION FOR ALL AGE GROUPS INCL. ADULTS
Answers to riddles: 1. All of them. 2. A very big hand. 3. He kicked the ball up in the air.