Wednesday, January 25, 2012


 A few days back,  Faridabad was in the news.  For all the right reasons. Reasons enough to make the heart of its citizens swell with pride.

A section Of Hindustan Times  Business carried the news: 'Faridabad houses India's richest zones'.  You can read more about  it here.

In one of my earlier posts Twin Boons, i had shared  about the changing quality of life in Faridabad since i last came here more than two decades ago.

The Mall culture has pervaded here.  Not surprising as Faridabad it now NCR.  Moreover, a whole new township, often referred to as Greater Faridabad has sprung up beyond the Agra Canal.  Top builders like BPTP, Omaxe, Piyush and others have built residentail accommodations ranging from a regular 2 BHK to  roof top Penthouses and luxury apartments with private Swimming pools.

And yet, jostling with Mall culture and International and national brands, exists  Old Faridabad , adjacent to Sector 28 and 29 which was the original city, much before HUDA built Sectors all over the city.

Over here, exists a maze of shops and homes intertwined quite like the by lanes of Chandni Chowk.  And just as in spite of rapid urbanization Chandni Chowk continues  to do brisk business, so does Old Faridabad.

While it is a normal thing to take pictures in a  Mall, no one ever takes pictures of Old Faridabad.  So when i went on my photo clicking trip i  encountered both amusement and skepticism.

One man said, " Madam, encroachment ki picture le rahe ho?".  I quickly  smiled and reassured him about not having to worry about my motives. For, along both sides of the main road, you'll find consumer products spilling  onto the road, combined with parked scooters and bicycles creating havoc for traffic.

I take you on a photo journey of Old Faridabad.........

The Hardware shop

The Paan shop

The mad rush of rickshaws carrying goods

The Halwai

Sabzi Mandi

Masjid inside Old Faridabad

And sure enough, ATMs have made their presence too......

With modernization creeping in, shops are being broken down to make Mini PLAZAs like this one: 

So, Old Faridabad is here to stay. It remains an integral part of the city which is leaping into modernity.

Monday, January 16, 2012

An Enchanting Evening at Alliance Francaise

When i came to New Delhi from Chandigarh in 1986, i heard about Alliance Fracaise from my husband who had  learnt french language from the institution as hobby classes.  Even though, i never visited the venue in South Extension, its reputation as a cultural hub of Delhi was known to one and all.  I had wanted  so much to visit it, but it never happened .  Till today :)))

When IHM invited me to join her along with a few other women to attend a documentary ' Izzatnagari Ki Asabhya Betiyaan,  (The Immoral Daughters in the Land of Honour), focusing on the Honour killings in Haryana in the name of GOTRA, by Nakul Singh Sawhney, which was being screened at Alliance Francaise, i happily agreed.  But what was to be a fun meeting with friends turned out to be a revelation..... an enchanting evening i wold always remember. Read on to know what transpired .

As i walked  through the gate at Lodhi Estate, bright potted marigold cheerfully welcomed the visitors.  There was also a lovely Lotus Pond.

As i waited for IHM to arrive i decided to explore the premises.  Right in front of the M L BHartia Auditorium is an ancient  sprawling tree which is a fv sitting place with students.  As i walked along the corridor i reached the end of the building which was undergoing renovation.  towards the right was an open courtyard and once again another huge sprawling tree stood in the middle. Towards the left was the Cafetaria,  a sunny open eating place a midst greenery.

As i walked back to the  Auditroium, a crowd had gathered.  Soon IHM arrived and we waited for the Auditorium to open  for the screening of the documentary.

Finally we sat down, on the very front row.  A few minutes later, the director announced  that the screening would start as soon as special guests arrived.   Soon enough, a  graceful middle aged woman in saree sat down next to me.   A minute later she  turned to me and introduced herself, "I am Neelam".  
'  And i am Aabha.' .  'A Blogger', i added as an after thought.  In the meantime IHM who was watching us said, 'You are Nilam Katara?".  And then the title of the documentary hit me and i realized that the woman seated next to me was none other than the Nationally renowned activist mother of the murdered boy Nitish Katara, the case which had caught the attention of the entire country , when Nitish was killed by his girl friend's brothers. The enormity of her presence hit me hard and  i told her it was an honor to meet her.  She was kind enough to give me and IHM her visiting  card.

Nakul, the director  announcing the start of the documentary and invited Neelam Kataria to address the  audience

Nakul Singh Sawhney , the director

Neelam Kataria addressing the audience

It was now time to inaugurate the CDs of the documentary. Nakul invited Nliam Katara and Jagmati Sanghwan , President of All India Democratic Women's Association (AIDWA), Haryana,  to do the honors.

The Documentary finally  opened to a jam packed elite audience

M L Bhartia Auditorium at Alliance Francaise

 , a happy mix of young and old, all bracing the winter chill  for the documentary to unfold.....
The 90 minute documentary was , as you might have guessed by now was on the Honor  killings in  Haryana and UP Jat community and the role of Khap Panchayats.  There were several protagonists in the documentary, Seema ,Manoj's sister  in the famous  Manoj - Babli case who were killed in Kaithal, Haryana in 2007.  Mukesh, a woman who fought hard to free herself from being forced into an arranged marriage, and now working with AIDWA. Gaurav Saini , whose wife had mysteriously disappeared three years back post their marriage, and a few others.   A greater part of the documentary was shot in rural Haryana where there were ample view put forth by the Khap Panchayats who sweared to uphold the belief that no girl and boy belonging to the same Gotra could marry and get away as it was against tradition, and it was the duty of the Khap Panchyats to protect the honor of their community.

The movie is powerful and  riveting and held the audience's attention.  it alternated between talks with the protagonists, activists like Jagmati, interviews with Khap Panchyats amid scenes of rural Haryana nad theatrical street plays  and hear  eloquent songs.

But perhaps the highlight of the entire evening was yet to come.  Alive interaction with the protagonists in the form of a panel discussion , moderated by Githa Hariharan., the  renowned freelance editor.

Post Screening discussion with protagonists

The audience was invited to ask questions and there was a vibrant exchange of  points of views.

The Title of the movie is a Satire on those who claim that choosing one's life partner equates to'\asabhyata'

Each of the protagonists expressed the explicit need to speak out against the atrocity of Honor killings.  By talking about the media, creating awareness and making films and inviting post film discussions, this is a brave attempt to foucs on the issue , with the hope that out government will soon frame a law for those indulging in this activity due to a constitutional loophole.

Kudos to Nakul for making a hard hittig documentary and inviting a select audience who will hopefully take the cause ahead.

 The evening finally concluded  around 9 p.m.  As we left the  auditorium we bought a CD of the documentary and a book on Honor Killings.

The evening turned out to be a complete surprise, one could have never imagined.  Thank you IHM for  making it possible.  Let us do it more often!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Launch

2012 has started on a promising note. And a confirmation of the belief  'Never Say Never'. And expect the unexpected.

Right in the very beginning when i had started my Blogging journey, in my third post to be precise, i had shared in  the  post  Of Gizmos, how my hubby unlike me, was pretty much  untouched by the Internet. So, three days prior to 2012 when i got a call from hubby at 6 in the evening saying, "I want  a  website for my company", i was zapped.  And mighty happy too.  As i had always wanted him to half in love with technology as i was.

So excited was i by the thought of hubby's very own website that for the next 16 hours everything else faded into oblivion. I assured hubby that though i was no techie, i would definitely pitch in  with all the help i could for this new project at hand.  The fact that this event was to unfold in the coming new year added to my enthusiasm. We had something exciting to look forward to 2012.

In another of my posts, My Solitude and I, i had written an ode to Google. So began the hunt for a  company selling Domains.  After much Googling , i narrowed down to an ace company which catered to the likes of Wipro.  And surprisingly, i found their rates very competitive.  So the next couple of hours were spent on buying the Domain online.  Two hours later we had our very own  new Domain with 250 MB space which could easily cater to a Website with 10 to 15 pages.  Yippee!

The Domain and the Web hosting services came with 2 free Email ids. In my eagerness to do everything  at the earliest possible time, i made several calls to their 24 by 7   customer care helpline and  a few hours later everything was in control. Having done that, we now needed a Web designer who could make the site for us.  Several calls and several  hours later, i had the phone numbers, but no contact with  someone who could make it.  Not to be daunted, i started work on the  third phase of the Project.  Researching for the layout and the content of the website.

I lost track of time and spent hours discussing the nitty gritty of the proposed website with hubby.  I asked hubby to go back in time and share  his work experiences as they needed to be incorporated in the website.
I sat glued in front of the computer, researching on his arena of business, trying to get a hang of the goings of the business, something i had never ventured in  such minute detail in our so many  years of wedded life.

That night, dinner was served by my daughter as i sat engrossed with the new baby to be launched soon.  It never bothered me that it was past midnight.  The  research and surfing continued.  As did the constant discussions with hubby. That night, while our daughters slept, hubby and i worked through the night.  And sure enough  it was early morning.  I had already started working on the blueprint of the website and scribbling notes in my  notebook.  And for once,  hubby happily made several trips  to the PC , every time i wanted to call his attention to something related to the task at hand.

By now it was 10 in the morning.  I had been working non stop.  Post breakfast, we made another attempt to contact the Web Designer in Faridabad.  And luckily, this time he picked up the phone.  I explained to him  our requirement, emphasizing that the layout and content was pretty much planned. The Domain already bought.  All that was required was the execution of the Website  as per our requirement. Twenty minutes later he was home and we were discussing the finer details of the Website.

Post discussions of the cost and the time it would take for the Website to be  ready, he finally left, with the blue print in hand and the promise of the website within a week. As i clicked on the Preview URL provided by the Domain Hosting Company, it was with a lot of exhilaration that  i read the remark, "Site Under Construction!"

And so  began the wait for  2012 to unfold and the countdown for the launch of  the Website.On the very first day of 2012, we had good news in the evening.. An invitation to view the website on the day after.  Finally the day arrived.  And let me share with you, that it is TODAY!. Today, on the auspicious day of MAKAR SAKRANTI  my hubby's Professional website is launched with  inputs of his better half :)))

So take a look at:

 Today, when 'Sharing is Sexy', i thought  of writing a post on the launch of hubby's website. Signing off now, and thanking God that i could make a tiny contribution to my hubby's professional world. Not a bad way to flag off 2012! What do u think of my labour of love?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A Happy Happy 2012

A fresh sunrise.... a fresh morning ... fresh dewdrops.....fresh hopes... fresh dreams..... fresh aspirations.... fresh resolutions.... fresh will power.... fresh enthusiasm......

And above all..... A FRESH DESIRE TO BETTER THE LAST YEAR.........

Benjamin Franklin said,

"Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man".

2012 has given us 366 brand new days.  With my very first post of 2012, i share just one thought.  I think if we could strive  for just ONE thing in 2012, it would be to 'Be a Better Person'.