Happy Birthday to the one who is Abhi Tak Haseen :-)

It is that time of the year, where an otherwise verbose me is stuck for words to describe the “other” half of me, that I am extremely proud and privileged to be a part of, the one who makes me feel like a hero, every single day for the past 25 years and more.

As someone said, “To my better half, the one that makes me better, and the one that makes me want to do better.. Happy Birthday” dearest Aparna

IMG_20160416_125002

She can be quoted as an example of every positive adjective that anyone can think of. Her priorities so clear in her life – one who makes every moment of our lives very special (not just for the biological family) but the huge extended family that we proudly possess.

With her around, we don’t find many instances of this, but everyone who crosses her path would vouch that she is there when we are passing through a bad phase and when we need her the most. As I mentioned earlier, if we were to come back to this world second time, I would pray that she chooses me all over again.

On this special day, 25th Birthday of yours that we are celebrating as a couple, I keep reminding myself of how lucky I am to have you

Thank you for being with me and for just being you. Let every moment of days ahead be filled with unending joy and happiness. May the best that the creation has on offer be bestowed on you . Have a super Birthday!

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My gratitude blog for her has to include a customary and mandatory song. Here is my song dedicated to you – this time a heartfelt Popular Hindi Number

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NGT Committee as (Im)Perfect Weapon

I had vowed not to write anything about NGT or justify anything about World Culture Festival 2016 (obviously good things need no justification) but have been reading about some blatant lies peddled by a so called empowered committee.

It was claimed that the Principal Committee was sent back when they came to inspect the ground visit after the event “before the handover”. This sounds ridiculously hollow and even someone with Pappu’s IQ would not believe that. Simply because, no one owns the Yamuna river bank and definitely not Art of Living.

What is the basis of the claim that AOL turned them away? Yet another attempt by these 2 penny activists masquerading as experts and got pitchforked into the committee to draw some attention to themselves. (more about why they should not be in the committee later in this post). We understand the importance of this craving for visibility – This is a subject of another post. Their source of funds! Shocking routing of funds.

To me, they could not recognize the World Culture Festival site and to their utter disbelief this place was unbelievably better than how they come to believe it should be. I guess they went to some other place and got turned away there.

AOL Handsover

This is how it was…. and these poor committee folks expected it to be worse…

Pre WCF-01

Pre WCF-02

Pre WCF-03

Pre WCF-04

Naturally they went with their GPS, Google maps alright but what they found to their disbelief was like this

Post WCF-01

Post WCF-02

Post WCF-03

Post WCF-06

Post WCF-07

So obviously they went looking for slush, lot of scraps and wastes which was simply not there. Principal committee whose mandate was to ascertain FACT, looked for FAULT to no avail.

On a serious note, let me place some facts that I am aware of – The Principal Committee of the NGT which came down for inspection of the WCF ground was not aware of their own letter dated April 1, 2016 which they had written to the NGT stating that they will start inspection only after The Art of Living vacates the site and DDA informing them after AOL hands over the site.

To their credit they agreed to leave when they were told of their own letter when they landed up at the site with “JCB Loader and Excavators” in tow to dig the ground.

Having stated whatever I have earlier, it is quite possible that some worker/volunteer could have denied them or even stopped them from using the Loader/Excavator. My two penny here – Already much has been falsely alleged against The Art of Living which is not true that nothing more should be allowed to happen pending handing over of the site to DDA in a condition better than how AOL took charge.

Now! What makes the motive of the Principal Committee who came unannounced with JCBs to WCF venue for inspection ahead of their own schedule. Does it take an Einstein brain to decipher that you don’t need a heavy duty land Excavator to collect soil for testing.

By the way, by their wanton act of opposition for opposition sake during the run up to the event, there was no reason for anyone to trust this Principal Committee who advanced ridiculous and blatantly untrue report claiming that the ground was shorn of hundreds of trees and packs of snakes were killed (I guess they referred to the reptilian crawling ones and not two legged most evolved mammals)

This was the part of the report (not a single statement in this is true):

“The entire area of the floodplain, no less than 50 to 60 hectares between the river and DND flyover, has been leveled flat. Small water bodies that existed earlier have been filled up. All natural vegetation, including reeds, has been removed. As a result, all birds and natural life that thrived before have vanished. Construction debris has been used to ‘compact’ the site. Besides, even most of the trees have been lopped or removed.”

Now for some legalities and principle of natural justice. A set of petitioners who filed a case on 13th January 2015 is today members of Principal Committee. Principles of natural justice demands there should be no bias and should be absolute neutral. How can an interested party be neutral (or seen to be neutral)? To recollect, Prof Gosain, Prof CR Babu, Prof Brij Gopal headed by Mr.Shashi Shekhar were part of the earlier NGT case. This definitely cannot find approval from scholars of Jurisprudence. How can we have an interested party with a definite bias advising the NGT? With benefits of hindsight, we also know this committee seen to have taken a pre-decided stand and visibly biased against the event and its organizers. This is evident by the methodology they adopted in determining the compensation. A mere visual assessment with no sampling or other scientific process to determine damage to the flood plain/ground and Lo! we have a magic number! Sorry! Not in this century. We are not in a Banana republic or living in medieval times to be subjected these kind of nonsensical judgments.

Finally, do I think AOL is being unjustly targeted in the entire issue, and the reasons are not far to seek. There are permanent structures on the floodplains since years, why has The Art of Living’s event which was a 3-day event for 3-4 hrs each day, been singled out for such unjustified scrutiny? None of the permanent structures – the DND flyway, Batla house, Millennium Bus Depot, Commonwealth games village, Delhi Secretariat, Sonia Vihar, have been fined or surgically attacked in this manner. It is clear that there are vested interests at play who have raised all sorts of wild and baseless allegations at AOL. Shouldn’t what applies to The Art of Living, be also made applicable to all others present on the floodplains? What kind of compensation has been obtained from them?

Personally, I feel that Art of Living have become victims of false propaganda. Time to expose those who stand to gain. And Expose will come.

I am still waiting for a answers from someone who claimed who Breathes Yamuna, Sleeps Yamuna, Walks Yamuna – Vimlendu Jha – The Swechha Foundation. Decided not to check out again. But for quite a while after some questions were raised, all the Transparency documents vamoosed from their website. Look at what this Commie Obstructionist replies

But we have traced the route of funding. Though opaque on their website, it is already TRANSPARENT with the authorities.

Finally! What exactly is Manoj Misra doing for the Yamuna? An armchair activist and obstructionist who have made a living by keeping Yamuna in this state . If he cares for Yamuna so much why has he taken any action to improve its condition till now. Read what Art of Living has done for Yamuna and many other river and water bodies in India here and more here

The malba (Construction Debris) has been lying on 25 acres of the floodplain since so long. Why did he not bother to remove the malba (Was he even aware?) Trace back on his activities thus far. Barring some rallies or raising a racket (worth the nuisance value and nothing more), filing petitions and waste Court/Tribunal time (even in case of WCF, barring criminal waste of Tribunal time, nothing was achieved) but doing nothing for the cause he espouses.

BTW!

Akshardham
Akshardham Temple
Delhi Secretariat
Delhi Secretariat

 

Millennium Bus Depot
Millennium Bus Depot
Batla House
Batla House

 

CWG-Village
CWG-Village

 

What is common to all of the above? Definitely somehow who really cares for Yamuna would have done something about those mammoth permanent structures over 3000 sqkms on the Flood plains. Instead it is not an innocent attack on a 3 day 3-4 hour event that had temporary structures – There was something highly sinister. Who backed this rabble rouser? Why did they do that? Who gained by the unwarranted and malicious attack on a showpiece Cultural Olympics

Art of Living to me is a dignified organisation. I have been associated for 18 out its 35 years of existence. This largest volunteer based organization has been respected not because we talk, but walk that talk. Every project adopted in 155 countries are finally owned by the stakeholders and after initial handholding Art of Living moves on. Such vicious and “instigated” & “motivated” allegation by the likes of Mishra are damaging to an “Indian” worldwide organisation like The Art of Living. I hope AOL will not take this lying down and go after these Commie obstructionist so that they don’t raise their head and demean this great nation.

As Pujya Guru Dev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar always says, Stand up for what is right! Stand firm against injustice. Given them better than what we get (I add it)

Towards Silver, Gold and Beyond…

Given another chance to live my life over again, I only wish I would find Aparna sooner, so that I could live with her even longer. Hey Kali! Happy Anniversary to us!

Dearest Aparna, When I tell you you mean a lot I don’t say it out of habit. I say it to remind you that you are the best thing that has ever happened to me. As some wise man said, Love is not gazing into each other’s eyes but both looking out in the same direction – I have to agree that defines what we both are to each other.

Clicked by Vishnu 20 minutes ago  (He ordered this to be used in this Tribute Blog)
Clicked by Vishnu 20 minutes before 31st March 2015  (He ordered this to be used in this Tribute Blog)

As we enter into the 25th year of this amazing journey of togetherness, I can’t but help feeling that it just happened yesterday. 24 years flew past as if it were a mere 24 hours. I hope you recall my promise that day, “Feels great to have found a special person whom I wanted to annoy rest of my life” – You laughed it away then, and now for every moment of 24 years that went past, you realized that I was dead serious 😛

When we keep hearing marriages and relationships breaking down, we always wondered if that is an option at all in the world. Where a year of wedded bliss is considered a humongous achievement, four over a score seem century to many. And reasons for that travels and rests squarely at your door. While many congratulate me on our anniversary, they always credit you Aparna (rightly so) for it.

Why you? As the saying goes MEN ULTIMATELY fall in love with those women who bring out their best qualities and yeah you did that commendably indeed, for me to think beyond you. With the benefit of hindsight, I took a great call considering the grit and determination you displayed, the shoulder of support you lent that made this journey looks so easy. Being of extremely opposite nature where I sometime suspected your inability to express as sign of detachment, and on the other extreme, me a motor mouth and overtly expressing types – We just went on to prove that Opposites Attract.

And the biggest gift – the two lovelies that we begot. What better blessings could anyone imaginably ask for? Jewels that Divya and Vishnu are, adorn the crown of our lives. I have to agree and be thankful to the Divine that took after their mother. Those bed time stories – even when you weren’t keeping very well – the values that you instilled in them, constant bugging and egging them towards perfection; I am sure I would have failed miserably on all the counts there. Thanks for being a great Mother too.

Unforgettable Moments - That defines every moment of our lives
Unforgettable Moments – That defines every moment of our lives

Ever grateful to Pujya Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar whose blessings made every mountain that we encountered looked like a grain of sand. Thank you Dearest Gurudev for giving us the strength and wisdom to look beyond the obvious and ensuring a smooth sailing even on the roughest seas. Jai Gurudev!!!

Finally! You have come a long long way from the cook who asked if Pressure Cooking rice needs water. Foodies that you are surrounded with acknowledge that today you give Sanjeev Kapoor a run for his money.

Thanks for being you, Grateful for being in our lives. May we travel in this blissful journey for eternity.

Nostalgia - In Chintamani a few months back
For old times sake – In Chintamani 8th Feb 2015

Loads of Love to the one who defined Love by her deed.