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12 October, 2016

Issue No. 181 I September 2016


Water usage constitutes the largest chunk of our monthly maintenance bill. Because of the metering system being on graded basis, if we reduce the quantity of water consumption by 10%, our annual water bill can come down to zero from approximately Rs.12 lacs currently. As unfathomable as it may seem, it is actually true. In one of the months, we actually got a bill for zero charge. Bringing down our consumption by 10% isn't as hard as it may seem. Many of our cisterns leak, with some amount of water flowing continuously. We shut our eyes to this minimal flow because we think it is inconsequential. Over the course of one night when you are sleeping (8 hours) this supposedly inconsequential flow could lead to wastage of water equivalent to six to eight buckets depending on the extent of leakage. Many residents who complain that there is no water in their flats are either guilty of this, or their neighbours living above or below them. I learnt it the hard way. Generally, the work of Vikram or Rajesh does not solve the problem fully. My advice is to shut the tap feeding the cistern at night before going to sleep. You may open it in the morning and shut it again when you go to work or on a holiday. The second case is of drivers or cleaners using running water to clean the cars with hoses. Residents should ask their cleaners to use a maximum of one bucket of water. The third instance of waste of water is when residents wash their staircases or landing on a regular basis, instead of doing it maybe once a month to remove some stubborn dirt or stain. If we control all the foregoing areas of waste, we could reduce our maintenance bill considerably.

The Society has also acquired stainless steel clips to fasten the floating ball in the overhead water tanks. Earlier we were using ordinary steel clips which over a period of time rusted and broke away and water used to overflow in large quantities through the shaft.

Flies and cockroaches are omnipresent. As long as we produce guck and goo they are pretty much immortal. Swachh Bharat, if it really does what it is meant to do could at least partially rid us of these flying drones and creepy crawlies.

Restaurants have a propensity to pander to the demands of the increasingly adventurous chilli chomping populace of Delhi. But when an Italian restaurant falls prey to the scorching heights of Scoville grandeur, some of us, who long for subtle flavours have to hastily beat the retreat. If even continental restaurants have to succumb to the charms of the chilli, eating out should come with a statutory warning.

The deluge in Delhi from rains during monsoon creates such chaos that it occupies all the media space in newspapers and television. As the monsoon beats its retreat soon enough, all is forgotten. Our tendency to live in the "here and now" is cause for this indifference. People who are stuck in urban dystopias should up the ante, so that the government sits up, takes notice and does something about it.

In a major goof-up, the caterer for Onam dinner called to say, just as people started arriving for dinner, that he thought the dinner was for the following day. You can imagine the chaos that followed. Nobody had cooked for the night and willy-nilly I became the person who had to inform all the people and explain the reason for the mess-up. Some even said in jest that they will order take-away and send the bill to me. Sometimes, mistakes lead to strange developments. As soon as the message went to the residents that the Onam dinner will be Onam lunch on the following day, many  called to say that they would want coupons for the same. Eventually, ninety people partook the lunch as against sixty-seven who had bought coupons for dinner. I suppose all's well that ends well. The food did not live up to expectations but that did not dampen the spirits. Several women were sporting designer Onam saris and looked very fetching. Seems like many went shopping for the occasion. A flurry of photographs in all poses posted on Facebook brought the site to a halt. Mark Zuckerburg did not factor that several terabytes of data from Yamuna Onam celebrations would crash his site. Next year he will have to bolster his server. The attractive Pookalam was done by Purnima Satish, Anu, Seema Chari and the kids. Unfortunately by noon the next day the flowers had withered.

As part of my occupational hazard, I need to travel. I dread my trips to China. While left to yourself one can choose the cuisine and the type of restaurant one has to go to. But when you are being graciously hosted by a high official of the Government in a remote town, you are virtually at their mercy. One had to then devise strategies to survive. Almost everything smelt and looked like the beast had just been relieved of its skin for your eating pleasure. Imagine a drugged monkey in a torpor sitting on a platter on the table waiting for its head to be cracked open with a cleaver and its brain scooped out to begin your calorie hunt. Sampling the appetisers was like foraying into the world of creepies and crawlies. The only thing that was not remotely foreign was the bread which smelt like the mould on it was ready for harvesting. I could do without the protein fix of the mould. The spread could make you throw up without eating anything!

We are entering the thick of the festival season with the arrival of Navratri, Durga Puja, Diwali amongst others. I love this season as women and girls look the most beautiful in traditional saris and pavadais. My only regret is that my bank balance takes a hit with all the shopping, but I am willing to open my purse strings for the joy it brings to the community. My wife and daughters need to shop for clothes for Golu and Diwali. In all the frenzied activity, boys and men are mere spectators, but what a spectacle. It is a sight to behold.

If that was not enough, we have the Society AGM on Sunday, 16th October, 2016 when the President will unfold what is in store for the coming year. Lots of activities were undertaken since the last AGM as mentioned in the Annual Report and the results are there for you to see. The most significant was the arrival of piped gas in the colony and many if not all are benefiting from it. Some staircases and all the exterior abutments at the end of the blocks have been repaired. Rest of the staircases will be taken up for repair shortly. Please remove all potted plants from the staircase and landing and stop washing the staircases as these are the main causes for damage to the staircases. The weight of the pots and the water that seeps through and enters the joints corrodes the steel reinforcements and makes the cantilevered staircase vulnerable for collapse.

Diwali mela will be held on 29th October, 2016. Those who wish to hold or manage a stall should get in touch with me. Please also try and arrange sponsors to fund the expense.

Block wise illumination competition will be held on the basis of the same rules as last year. There will be two prizes each for best theme, best illumination, best rangoli and best overall effect. Best rangoli would mean best single rangoli. Since the staircase lights have been increased it is advised that expenditure on candles on the ground be minimised in order to foster economy. It is requested that all the residents participate enthusiastically and may the best blocks win. There should be not any casting of aspersions on the judges or their judgement. The results should be accepted in a sporting manner. After all the judges represent each set of blocks. Since all the blocks put their best foot forward, they all feel that they should win. That is mathematically impossible. It is finally the spirit that counts.

On Gandhi Jayanti day which is 2nd October, 2016 there will be cleanliness and eco-drive as a part of Swachh Bharat initiative. All residents are requested to assemble at the badminton court at 7.30 am with a large polythene bag to gather broken bottles, plastic sachets, other odds end lying in the flower beds, lawn and other nooks and crannies.

During the recent water crisis, Raju Parameswaran and Mahesh Eswaran arranged for water tankers, Sandeep Unnithan alerted the DJB with a Twitter message and Mr. Saurabh Bharadwaj MLA helped in expeditious restoration of water supply. The Society is grateful to all these people.


We regret to inform you that Mr. K. V. N. Iyengar (D-203), former President of the Society passed away on 28th September, 2016.The members of the Society are saddened by the loss of a great soul who contributed a lot to the Society and convey their heartfelt condolence to the family.


Arjun Krishnan, Supriya and the kids ( H-005) are moving bag and baggage to Sarvapriya Vihar to be close to good schooling options. Kabir who had endeared himself very well to the kids and adults alike, will be sorely missed. The only people who are delighted when anybody moves out are the ones waiting for a vacant parking slot. We hope the Krishnans visit Yamuna on all the special cultural occasions.

Movements in and out of Yamuna have not ceased. Anisha and Sukarn Khankriyal have moved into H-208. Both Anisha and Sukarn are working with different event management companies. I hope they are able to add some heft to Yamuna events. While Sukarn loves singing and could be roped in for singing in Yamuna functions, Anisha basks in reflected glory. Anisha's mother Jyotsna lives with them. She loves reading non-fiction. She looks surprisingly young for a mother of a married daughter. Sukarn can be reached on 9873374710 and Anisha can be contacted on 9910074464. We welcome them to the Yamuna family.


Vinod Balakrishnan of F-204 surrendered his bachelorhood on 15th September, 2016 to Priya. They got married in Ottapalam in Kerala. Priya is a Chartered Accountant who practices in Pune and Vinod works for a software firm in the US. At the second wedding reception held in Guruvayurappan Temple in Mayur Vihar on the 30th of this month, the couple looked radiant and couldn't get their eyes off each other. .The spread was enormous and each item was sumptuous. Kudos, to the caterer. Shobha was a gracious host.


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06 September, 2016

Issue No. 180 I August 2016


As India celebrated its 70th year of Independence, one can look back at the evolution of our democracy with both pride and disappointment. The political parties set aside their differences and showed rare unanimity in passing the GST bill and stood shoulder to shoulder on their stand on the Kashmir issue. On the other side, continued atrocities against Dalits and women showed an antediluvian mind set. All the political parties and society at large are to be blamed for this state of affairs.

We started our Independence Day celebrations on a bright note. After a week of overcast skies, the clouds cleared miraculously and the sun shone brightly. The badminton court was decked with tri-colour balloons  As Kiaan, Myrah, Mani Mama and Sujata Sundaresan hoisted the national flag, everybody joined Subadha’s students – Shashvath, Sahana, Avantika, Sameeksha, Surya, Radhika, Mani, Tanvi, Adwita, Ananya and Sivasree – to sing the national anthem. Shreeya and Poorvaja, trained by Mrs. Kalyani, sang a couple of songs. The most engaging part of the morning came when TV singing star Karthik (Mr. N. L. Ganapathi's nephew) sang two songs written by freedom fighter Subramaniam Bharati. Shouts of encore rang out and he obliged with another tuneful rendition that ended with a standing ovation from the rapt audience. As a grand finale, our regular crooners, Bhavani, Seema, Sumathi, Sudha Easwaran, Gomathi, Rekha, Sujata, Murli and Vinod Asthana amongst others opened their lungs out till the last person was left standing. Laddus and eclairs were distributed.

You would be justified if you are exasperated by the repeated sinking of the perimeter road at several places, despite the repairs being carried out. The fact is the debris that got removed after the digging of the ditches should have actually gone back into the pit. A lot of the debris however had to be removed because after leaving room for the trench, the piled up debris was hampering the movement of cars and people. We are fortunate that we have had copious rains this monsoon which will help settle the soil. The reason that the road is sinking repeatedly is because the original road surface and the underlay was compacted under high pressure by a road roller. That kind of compaction is not possible under the present circumstances. Therefore, when it rains the soil settles in the voids, causing the sinking. Don't fret, after the monsoon, the uneven areas will be levelled and dressed and the road will be restored to its original state. We factored the sinking of the road in our calculations. Some portion of the paver contractor’s bill was withheld for the post monsoon repair.

When BJP proposed a ban on cow slaughter, they may not have foreseen that it will breed a new class of people who would exploit the sentiment for their personal gain. The fault lines of faith are being routinely put to test by religious bigots on either side of the majority and minority faiths. It is up to us to resist the polarisation potential of the leaders of this religious divide. Don't oblige the bigots by giving grist to their mill. Actually, no other country in the world approaches our capacity for revealing the human race at its most progressive and regressive in the same breath.

The new Metro station across the road from Savitri would make commuting by the Metro a breeze. No more battling your way through traffic to reach Hauz Khas station. The only catch was to cross the main road from Savitri. Through the tireless efforts of Citizens Alliance, a voluntary body of which I happen to be a member, representing all the Alaknanda colonies, Chittaranjan Park and GK, the Union Minister of Transport, Mr. Nitin Gadkari has agreed to convert the one direction flyover adjoining Savitri to a dual direction flyover. This will allow the traffic from Chirag Dilli heading towards Nehru Place to go over the flyover. The Metro station will be operational from December 2016 but it may take a while to have the flyover. Until then commuters from the Savitri side will have to access the station through a narrow subway from Savitri.

CM Kejriwal lavishes crores of rupees on ads proclaiming AAP's achievements not only in the Capital but in all corners of the country. A recent CAG report mentions that 85% of the money spent on ads has been in other states. Does the Delhi taxpayer have to fund AAP's political aspirations in other states? I think not.

Instead, if the money was spent wisely, it could have fixed all the problems that bedevil the city. That is not to be. We still have to deal with potholed roads, broken pavements non-existent street lights, damaged medians. Even his claims that pollution came down during odd-even experiment is a lot of fluff. It is not borne out by data. I am not going to fall for his malarkey. He has presented the public distorted, mendacious and relentlessly hostile accusations about Prime Minister Modi. He is just a pint sized assemblage of shortcomings. Vain and self absorbed. I voted for him not realising what he will turn out to be. Even his capable lieutenants like Mr. Saurabh Bharadwaj, our local MLA, are rendered ineffective because a great deal of the revenue at his disposal is spent on banners and sundry other shows glorifying the achievements of AAP. He probably is just following the instructions from the proverbial high command, akin to the one the Congress has.

Extensive pruning of trees was done in the colony. There are two diametrically opposite views on this. There are a lot of people who complain that they do not get enough natural light, are upset with the proliferation of creepy crawlies, termites and mosquitoes or the damage the tree roots are causing to the buildings and want the trees pruned or even removed! There are others who take delight in the crowning glory of Yamuna with the tall and magnificent trees providing a home to birds and reducing the effects of pollution through the generation of oxygen. Trees also act as a dust and noise barrier. I belong to the latter school of thought and am quite distressed with the way the trees have been pruned. However, I have no right to criticise because if I had wanted a better job to be done I should have volunteered to get it done. Since I did not do that, I reserve any comments. There are several armchair critics who do not take part in the exercise but are quick to pull the trigger and criticise. Seetha, who spent a lot of time tirelessly walking around the colony for three whole days supervising, was at the receiving end of a lot of flak. I think it is grossly unfair. Pruning of trees is such a contentious subject that if you do, you are damned and if you don't, you are still damned. One can never be right. In the light of this Hobson's choice, a person who undertakes the job should not be censured so badly as he/she comes under immense pressure if the residents’ problems are not addressed within reasonable time. There may have been acts of omission in a couple of cases but that still does not call for using intemperate language. What we need is a set of sensible guidelines on planting of trees, pruning of trees or cutting of trees. The Horticulture sub-committee of which I am also a part should not just frame these rules to be approved by the MC; the said sub-committee should also undertake that job and address the concerns of the residents. One cannot brush aside genuine complaints of the residents, otherwise they may take actions on their own which will be regrettable.

The Janmashtami celebrations started on a full house, albeit in muggy weather conditions. Sadhana School of Music & Dance students kicked off the day’s musical performance composed and arranged by Ramanan Venkataraman featuring Radhika Jayaraman, Ramya Vishwanathan and Madhavi Samson on the sitar, Radhika Venkataraman on Hansaveena and Sai Chaitanya on the tabla. This was followed by a Hindustani vocal recital by Madhavi Samson, Rekha Raghavendra, Shyamala Sarathy, Elizabeth Thomas and Deepa Nair. Then came the dancers, with V. Padmavati doing a Bharatanatyam recital and Vedika Arora and Manissha Kiran performing Kathak. Thereafter, Subadha’s singers – Shashvath, Sahana, Avantika, Sameeksha, Surya, Radhika, Mani and Tanvi – sang devotional songs.  Poorvaja rendered a bhajan, with Purnima Satish joining her later in another bhajan. The Yamuna kids then displayed their prodigious talent by choreographing a dance number, "Maiya Yashoda" featuring, Anushka, Ananya, Aiden, Vanshika Arora, Vanshika Rajpurohit and Sahana Iyer as gopis and Adwita as Krishna. The grand finale and standout performance of the day was Bhavani and Sumathi’s sublime rendition of Meera Bhajans, ably accompanied by Anirudh Sundaresan on the tabla. This was a tribute to M.S. Subbulakshmi on the legendary singer’s 100th birth anniversary. It was a pity some in the audience left early and thus missed out on this outstanding recital. Talent seems to be oozing in Yamuna which makes for many wonderful evening soirees. Tiny tots Kian and Saiansh cracked open the ‘dahi handi’ – filled with toffees in this case – and there was a mad scramble as the gathered children dived to grab the goodies. There were delectable North Indian, South Indian and Guajarati eats. Mr. Thangadurai, with his customary hospitality, distributed sweets to all those who were present. It made for a splendid evening.

Get ready for pookalam and Onam feast on Saturday, 10th September, 2016. Please buy the coupons at Rs. 250 each latest by 5th September from the office.


Girls who until recently were students have moved into professions that put them in the limelight. I spotted Aishwarya Iyer (Soumya) of B-301 covering a story in NDTV in prime time news. She has always been a confident girl.


Shashvath Arun of G-306 has made Yamuna proud. His photo is featured in the Swachh Bharat banners released by the Government.


Our poster boy, Abhilash of A-204 has been blessed with a son. Sreelakshmi and junior are doing fine. Abhilash will not anymore be in a position to stay away from home for twenty days in a month. He will have to do his bit of nappy changing. Our winsome Romeo has been tamed.


Mr. B. M. S. Murthy of C-003 has turned 80. His Sadabishekam celebration was held in the main lawn on 31st August, 2016. While the heavens showered their blessings but the rainfall was heavy and part of the function was moved elsewhere. Mama & mami looked radiant. The lunch was sumptuous. His many admirers, friends and relatives were present to wish him good luck and long life.


Abhinav Kumar (Charmi) of G-305 who got weary of gravity defying feats on a daily basis climbing three floors, decided to move two floors down to G-105. I thought youngsters like him would like a penthouse in the top floor and welcome the free exercise they get climbing. But Charmi had other ideas. Anyway, each to his own.


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