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Poornima Narayanan

30 April, 2017

Issue No.188 I April 2017

EDITORIAL

April started with the screening of Sultan, a movie as rustic as they come. The lead protagonist Salman Khan, is a country bumpkin brought up on the dusty plains of Haryana. With a beefcake body, he fits in beautifully in the popular competitive wrestling circuit. He falls for the fey charms of a lissome damsel played by Anushka Sharma, a feisty wrestler in her own right vying to win the the world wrestling championship. She is a venom spouting, no nonsense feminist who ticks off the wooing Salman Khan. Salman realises that the only way to win her over is to win big on the wrestling circuit. With single minded resolve he toils day and night to win the Olympics and ends up marrying her. This is when patriarchal bias of the rural hinterland takes over and Anushka is consigned to the role of a housewife to bear a son. Tragedy strikes when Salman is out of the country to win the world championship, when his newborn son needs O- blood transfusion, an extremely rare blood group. Not being able to get the required blood, the baby dies and Anushka, grief stricken, abandons him. Being a Hindi movie it meanders eventually to a happy ending with the couple reuniting. The movie had a refreshing lack of artifice. Only a motley crowd gathered for the movie, perhaps thinking the announcement was an April fool prank.

The potluck dinner that followed was a foray into exotic dishes rustled by a few residents. I sampled and relished all. One of the dishes prepared by Falguni, which drew universal acclaim, ascended the scale of Scoville grandeur and left me sweating. Whereupon have we got this proclivity for heightened spice taste?

When it comes to Municipal Elections we did not expect pristine lines to dictate the narrative between parties and immaculate coherence within them. One had to choose a party that fitted one's instincts least badly. None of the parties in the fray had particularly shown any inclination to make Delhi a world class city although they all profess that they will make Delhi like London. London is a far cry. I would be quite happy if we become as clean and orderly as Third World Colombo. I do not hold out much hope. The parties are constantly bickering and trading charges and passing the buck and never owning up to their responsibilty. Frankly, I don't give a rat's ass as to who wins. I have dealt closely with every party and they are all the same, high on promise, low on delivery. For the record, BJP swept the polls.

Global warming is here to stay for the next few million years until the Ice Age takes over. It is the irrefutable cycle of nature. We are therefore more likely to get scorched than frozen to death. Would you rather have a choice? Kunal and family had gone to a hill station in March, 6,000 ft above sea level hoping for some cool mountain air. Instead, he claims it was flaming hot. If that's how hot it was in March in the hills, where does one head to when the summer vacations arrive in May? To the Arctic tundra, I suppose.

It was high time that the legendary three-pointed star car made its presence in the colony. With residents becoming upwardly mobile, the influx of luxury cars will only become more prevalent. The Mercedes, is a car that owes its name to the custom built car made in 1901 by Gottlieb Daimler for Emil Jellinek who  named the vehicle Mercedes after his daughter. The car has a pedigree that only Rolls Royce precedes. Srikant's entry into the portals of the rich and famous leaves us lesser mortals pale in the shade. Compared to his new acquistion, my Accord looks like a wheel barrow. I am in queue for a ride. If I recall correctly, the only other Mercedes that made its occasional presence in the colony belonged to another C Block non-resident, Anand. The colony may have seen even pricier marquee models of brands like BMW, Audi, Landrover etc. but none has the history that graced the garages of Kings, Queens, Presidents and celebrities quite like the Mercedes Benz. Even the current holder of the Formula 1 Constructors Championship is Mercedes.

Talking of cars, in an unfortunate incident, all the tyres of a resident's two cars and some on another resident's car were punctured with sharp instruments. Some residents termed these acts as pranks. To call such vandals pranksters would be underestimating the import such a crime can have on the unfortunate victims. To be subjected to such a vicious act - 49 punctures over 6 tyres- over a period of 10 days - smacks of something more sinister. What the perpetrators achieved by this malicious act is very hard to fathom. It shatters the idyll that we call Yamuna. Behind the pretty edifice and ethos, a blot is emerging.The resident has since cracked the case after some painstaking investigation. That there was more than one perpetrator, several witnesses and many others in the know is very troubling. That none chose to own up or confess reeks of a thought process that nothing is wrong so long as you don't get caught. If there is remorse at the end of the day, there is room for redemption but if there is only regret they got caught,it may only embolden them to doing far worse things from which there could be no recourse. It should be very worrying for the parents. Good values are something that need to be inculcated in the kids so that they do not go down the path of anarchy. Although some names are being bandied about, I do not wish to know who did it. I do not want my mind to be prejudiced by the delinquent acts of juveniles.

Sadhana's quarterly cultural pot pourri of music and dance called Milaap is a welcome treat in an otherwise dry season. A minor drizzle an hour before the programme tempered the heat enough to make the evening reasonably comfortable.The programme started with three pretty damsels in very attractive attire, namely, Radhika, Kiaana, and Dakshina doing an engaging Odissi dance. This was followed by a violin and tabla recital by guest artistes comprising Danish Ali Khan and Hafeez Ahmed Alvi. There was pin drop silence as everybody soaked in the absolutely spellbiinding recital. The programme rounded off with a Kathak recital by Sadhana faculty member, Sumana Sen. Radhika and Ramanan, please continue to entertain us every now and then by holding such performances.

Mahesh Eswaran has worked hard to make the parking allotment and shifting procedure more transparent to allay fears of any partiality in the allotment of parking slots.The waiting lists will then be put up on the portal for increased transparency.Mercifully, now there is not a single person waiting for a parking slot!

The seepage issue is affecting many residents of the colony. Corroded pipes and thoughtless renovation have made many flats vulnerable. The plumbers are content taking stop gap measures to ensure a periodic and steady flow of income. Kunal Savarkar, an architect by profession, has now stepped in to address the problem holistically and in a manner that would be lasting. However, these problems cannot be overcome in a hurry as there are far too many complaints. He can devote only part of the weekends to this activity. I would request residents to exercise patience and follow his advice diligently.

SNIPPETS

V. Rangarajan (Rangu) C-005 got hitched to Janaki in Chennai on 2nd April, 2017. At the reception held in Yamuna lawns on 8th April, 2017, the pandal was bedecked with white flowers. Rangu in a blue suit with saffron coloured tie and hanky sticking out of the pocket, looked dashing. Janaki was also draped in a similar colour sari and looked quite pretty. I was left wondering if they were flaunting their political leanings. They are headed off to the sandy beaches of Bali for their honeymoon. Balaji and Ramanan had pulled out all the stops with the decor. The pandal looked very festive. They also went hi-tech. A drone camera filmed the entire event. A first for Yamuna. I expected Ramanan to have music of a more classical bent rather than the Bollywood and Tollywood kitsch that was dished out. I can never tire of talking about the bejewelled Yamuna women. They outshone each other with their attire and accoutrements. Anand Mahadevan had lavished his extended family with designer jewellery and they were all on display. We all basked in reflected glory.The spread was generous and it was another occasion for Yamuna residents to socialize in salubrious weather conditions.

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Aishwarya Nair of H-001 got betrothed to Prathyush at Habitat Centre on 9th April, 2017. She wore a designer orange sari which mirrored the marigold floral decorations lining the hall and the alleyway. She looked stunning with her glowing face and sparkling eyes. Eleven maidens with flowers and lamps on brass plates ushered Prathyush to the Hall. Several able-bodied friends of Aishwarya hoisted her on their shoulders to take her to the sanctum to exchange vows. With everybody conveying their approval to the union, rings were exchanged. Prathyush gave a flying kiss to Aishwarya. Mindful of the presence of family elders, he did not venture further and curbed his amorous instincts. Asha had help at hand and was pretty pleased with the heavy turnout of Yamuna friends. A three-tiered cake was cut with photo-ops galore. Barely had the cholesterol settled in my arteries after partaking in the rich and creamy buffet lunch, I spotted the four dessert treat and plunged right into it. What a day!

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Medha Nair of A-003 is no ordinary mortal. After completing her post-graduation in Economics from Johns Hopkins University in Washington, she has been hired by International Monetary Fund, also in Washington, as a Research Analyst. She will be working under Larry Summers, the famous economist. Larry Summers was the former director of President Obama's National Economic Council. Apart from her parents Deepa and Madhu, she has made the entire Yamuna proud.

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With the arrival of the summer vacation, the movement of people in and out of the colony gains currency. It is the ideal time to shift to ensure that the children get admission in schools for the next academic session.
Mr. P. K. Prakasan of B-204 has moved with his family consisting of Shyni, Abhirami and Shreeram to Mysore to pursue his entrepreneurial zeal in a non-banking financial venture. The move of two more children from the colony is really sad. The colony will be a tad duller as a consequence.

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The entrepreneurial bug has also caught Shyam Satish who has moved to Pune with his wife Meenakshi and sons barely a year after they moved into C-108. He is planning his own venture after chucking his job with Goodyear Tyres.

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Ramesh and Revathy Iyer of A-004 have decided to move back to Mumbai after a brief sojourn of twenty months in Yamuna.

02 April, 2017

Issue No. 187 I March 2017

                                                                                             


EDITORIAL


In what has now become a staple in the Yamuna cultural calendar, Radha Kalyana Mahotsavam was held at the main lawn spanning a day each in February and March, 17. It was conducted by the renowned Shri Shri Krishna Premi Anna. This spiritual soiree was a medley of bhajans, sermons and dance culminating in the celestial marriage of Lord Krishna and Radha. Sumptuous meals at regular intervals gave the necessary nourishment to the assembled audience and participants. As usual, Yamuna was well represented, particularly at meal times!

The elections in three states and two Union territories revealed a strong backing for PM Modi and BJP. In UP, Modi's juggernaut rolled on despite a syncretic alliance of SP and Congress. Any alliance brought about with the sole objective of denying the popular vote to the favoured party cannot stand the test of time. While in Goa and Manipur where BJP did not have the numbers despite winning the popular vote, they moved quickly and stitched up a coalition much before Congress could wake up from their slothful slumber. It was a case of "early bird gets the worm". Whether this is a referendum for BJP before the Lok Sabha polls in 2019 time will tell but it certainly pitchforked  Modi to the top of the stakes. If he sticks to his narrative and transforms the polity and the economy of this country, he will be here to stay. The only caveat is, while the party bosses in BJP are a sane lot, there are some crazy motor mouths within the BJP radical fringe, who constantly undercut the achievements of the party leadership through their mindless statements. Will they sew their mouths in contrition?

On the eve of Holi, residents gathered for an evening of Antakshari-a competition that vied four teams for the honours of Hindi music trivia. That I was part of a team is a moot point, definitely not borne out by the requisite skill sets. Therefore, I decided to don the cap of non-playing Captain to cheer the other team members who were decidedly more in the know. An inadvertent faux pas from me benefitted the opposing team who thus ended up consigning us to second place. It was a lesson to me not to meddle in affairs that I am not familiar with. That the Antakshari Quiz conducted by Aseem Kumar, Bhavani and Sumathi tested the most seasoned Hindi movie buff is an understatement. Great food and music made for a great evening.

Holi was celebrated with gay abandon in Yamuna. Mr. Arvind Rajpurohit of F-004 distributed delectable Rajasthani dal pakodas and bread pakodas. He also served a dubious concoction which he claimed was thandai but didn't taste anything like it. I suspect it may have been laced with something. The ritualistic use of bhang and charas in Holi is limited in Yamuna, if not totally absent.  
Basically, Holi is a time to let your hair down and show your wild side, free of any constraints. The sound of tambourines, cymbals, and dholaks was replaced by the ubiquitous bucket where Seema kept up the noise quotient with rhythmic beats to some lusty singing by our incredible band of singers. At times things got out of hand when one person was repeatedly targeted with water balloons and buckets of cold water. it was the coldest Holi in several years and the touch of cold water on the skin sent shivers down the spine. Kunal, Shashwath, Anirudh Suresan, and Aryan went rampant with balloons and buckets of water.

There were also some voyeurs who do not play Holi but gape from across the hedge, for whom the sensuousness of soaked cholis is too irresistible to miss! The Holi sweet, Gujia, is not a confectionary in normal use. It rears its head only on Holi. It is rumoured to have its antecedents in Central Asia where it's doppelganger 'shekerbura' is a close equivalent. The Indian avatar is sprinkled with rose water. This crescent shaped pie with its skin of delicate wheaten pastry is stuffed with almonds, khoya and other sundry ingredients that I am not familiar with, is a very desirable sweet. Why it has not transcended its limited Holi appeal is unfathomable. So for the hungry, there were gujias, pakodas and matti. Holi without liquid intoxicants is unheard of and bottles mysteriously appeared. I cannot vouch for their provenance or the effect it had on the imbibers.

All in all, we had a jolly good time. For those who stayed at home and for whom sanity rules-you missed all the fun. There is always a next year!

The cooking competition scheduled for 18th March, 2017 was cancelled owing to a tepid response. Only two adults and two children expressed their interest to participate and that too in the last hour. This, despite sending out notices to the effect that the names of the participants and the categories they wished to participate in should be sent in two days in advance so that necessary arrangements could be made for gas stoves etc. In view of the poor response, a notice of cancellation was sent out. As soon as that happened outraged residents came calling to say that they were all set to participate and stated that they had not seen the notice requiring names to be given. My question is when these residents are not able to view notices asking for names for participation how is it that they are able to view the notice of cancellation? Be that as it may, the competition was then deferred to the following Sunday.

Barring two cancellations in the last minute the cooking competition brought about the best of culinary art for the benefit of the hungry wolves like me who were salivating while the participants were preparing the dishes. There was tremendous anxiety and excitement. Some delectable dishes were prepared. Children were outstanding in their preparations. They could as well have participated in the adults category and given a run for the money to them. The Khandvi prepared by Falguni was sheer ambrosia. Many dishes were outstanding like the canaloni made by Seema, the egg starter prepared by Anu, Pasta prepared by the girls that had the subtle Italian flavour of herbs and olive oil. Although not as exotic, the puri masala prepared by Shashvath also deserves kudos. Both the desserts and the fruit salad canape could catapult the participants to junior Master Chef status. Dakshina prepared an outstanding quiche but lost out on the prize money as her pie did not bake properly. Mr. Shaju Zacharia who was awarded "Chef of the year in 2006" and who has a long list of credentials supporting his claim to fame, judged the participants. The winners are listed below.

S.No
NAME
CATEGORY
ADDRESS
ITEM

CHILDREN



1
MEGH BHAT
STARTERS
A-308
FRUIT SALAD CANAPE





1
ANANYA SATISH/ADWITA NAIR/SAMARTH
MAIN COURSE
G-106/B-107/H-208
PASTA
2
SHASHVATH ARUN
MAIN COURSE
G-306
PURI ALOO





1
VANSHIKA ARORA/BHAVNA HARISH
DESSERT
A-106/E-305
TRIFLE PUDDING
2
ANOUSHKA NAIR/SAHANA IYER
DESSERT
A-203/E-101
EGGLESS CHOCOLATE MOUSSE

ADULTS



1
SEEMA CHARI
STARTERS
C-208
BRUSCHETTA
2
FALGUNI BHAT
STARTERS
A-308
KHANDVI





1
ANU SHEKHAR
MAIN COURSE
B-107
SPAGHETI CHICKEN DRIZZLED WITH WINE

SEEMA CHARI
MAIN COURSE
C-208
CANALONI

We are very grateful to Sridevi and Satya for giving Rs. 5,000 as prize money. We are also indebted to Dr. Abhilash Pillai who supplemented the prize money with a contribution of Rs. 1,000. All in all, it was a wonderful evening. Yamuna, you rock!

Seepage and structural issues due to natural causes and watering of plants in the staircases have been plaguing the colony off late. In view of the potential of severe stress to the staircase, water tanks, and building this issue had to be addressed in a very scientific manner with people taking ownership of the projects. We are glad to have Kunal Savarkar and Mohan Krishnaswamy in the committee who put their hands up. Kunal did a thorough study of the seepage in the dance academy from several sources and is addressing them. The shaft seepage from C-007 caused by corroded sewage pipes was an odoriferous exercise. It required a lot of will power on the part of Kunal and the plumbing staff Vikram and others to deal with a bolus of fecal gas emanating from the pipes in order to fix the problem. Mohan Krishnaswamy and Kunal are also on top of the staircase and water tanks repair activity. We are indeed very grateful to them for braving the elements to get the job done while we remain ensconced in AC comfort.

OBITUARY

Mr. A. Srinivasan of A-207, father of Mr. Venkatesh Srinivasan passed away at the age of 90 years at 5.30 on 22nd March, 2017. Yamuna residents convey their heartfelt condolence to the bereaved family.

SNIPPETS

Mr. A. K. Warrier of H-203 has penned a tome of poetic composition in Sanskrit with English translation about his spiritual guru, His Holiness Sri. Satya Sai Baba of Puttaparthi. The book traces the life of his guru from a young age and how his teachings, actions, and healing powers converted many non-believers.To write such an exhaustive book at the ripe old age of 90 requires a lot of diligence and scholarly effort. I raise a salute to Mr. Warrier. The book is being retailed for Rs. 400.

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Geethaa of D-002 must be the most travelled person through the wedding ceremonies. Between engagement in Delhi, marriage in Tirupathi, first reception in Chennai, honeymoon in Seychelles, second reception in Delhi, she must have notched a zillion miles. She did not show any signs of travel weariness at the reception on 25th March, 2017 at the Yamuna lawns. In fact , she was glowing, a sign of love blossoming between her and her husband Naren who is engaged in his family business. Receptions in Yamuna always mean a social do of Yamunites and most of them were present resplendent in all the finery. You could be excused if you thought you had strayed into a gold souk! Such was the glitter on display. Mala with a new hairdo looked transformed. It was great fun.

CALENDAR OF EVENTS - APRIL 2017

DATE
EVENT
TIME
VENUE
1.4.17
MOVIE SCREENING AND POT LUCK DINNER
6.30 PM
BADMINTON COURT