Vasant Vihar Samvada Broadcast, May 2020
The Lockdown Truly Brought the VV Residents Together
Vasant Vihar Residents Are Staying Connected Via High Speed Networks
By Natasha Kochhar (E2/6, 99100 49999)
Against the background of Covid-19, with social distancing being a major part of the protocol; Vasant Vihar, like other communities, has become a Zoomunity. Our human instinct to congregate & socialize, breathes on through the ever expanding bandwidths of DATA- The new staple.
Birthday parties, Drink nights, Fitness classes, important panel discussions, Cooking classes, artful interactions, education, family catch-up, cocktail classes, makeup tutorials, and even gossip on tele-conferencing platforms, have become a big part of our life in quarantine, with the distance being only as far as Zoom / Whatsapp, or similar apps. The technology and social media that made us “anti-social” is now the way to get Social, and has opened the possibilities (with availability of extra time) to connect with anyone, anywhere, for anything. The platforms originally developed for meetings and professional networking, have compensated for the loss of social life in the current crisis. Even neighbourhood Clubs/restaurants, essentially spaces built for social interactions, are engaging with their members via online networks and video transmissions, and the Vasant Vihar residents are staying connected, via high speed networks instead of the roads less travelled.
Doctors tele-consult, seeing family, and television watching, is gorging on data, even in the life of the Senior Citizens of Vasant Vihar- who are increasingly asking for data package upgrades! The seniors are ever so social, even those living alone, with them being appointed a younger volunteer across Vasant Vihar. They are more in touch since the lockdown, with the going-ons of VV, due to the various WhatsApp groups they are on, and stay engaged.
Distributor networks of luxury food & goods are now using social media to make community runs, and aggregate orders from Vasant Vihar. Various Whatsapp groups & Google forms have flown across phones for oh-so many classified unessential things, during the tighter lockdown period, for baking goods to fitness equipment, for milk & dry fruits to imported cheeses, for masks & thermometers to gourmet teas.
The lockdown with the need for social distance truly brought the VV residents together, in spirit and in good will… and reduced the distance that the humdrum of regular life brings about in communities. Whether it’s Ramadan Iftar, or a Tea Party, a family birthday celebration, Mother’s day hug or a community issue discussion… it all about zoomin’ in or whatsapping away! Vasant Vihar has truly practiced Socially Distancing by staying Online Together, during the Lockdown Phases 1.0 to 4.0…We have levitated to Vasant Vihar 2.0!
D-Block RWA & Residents Get Together To Fight Pandemic
We Salute Those Who Serve Us
by Rajender Maggu (D-1/48, 9899532927)
Pandemics are cruel as we can see. We must salute those who serve us and do their duties in these troubled times…. public servants, including the police, the health and sanitation workers, delivery boys, security personnel, your garbage collector and all those who keep things functional.
Let’s demonstrate our fellow feelings and duty towards those who are worst affected by corona virus. So please do not cut wages or salaries and help those who bought their daily bread from their everyday earnings for which they were dependent on us.
In the D block, it was very encouraging to see the concern of many of us, who sent their contribution of Rs. 1000 each to the President of D-block Keshav Garg. This was a good beginning and we request our fellow residents to follow their example, so that we can collect a decent amount, which can be put to good use. We thank our young resident, Pallavi Naryan for contributing 20 bottles of hand sanitizers and 500 pairs of gloves for distribution to those who serve us. Masks are in short supply, but we were able to procure 200 pieces and more will be coming in a day or so. These have been distributed to malis of the parks, garbage collectors, and security guards on the streets of D-block.
We are in the process of communicating with the security agencies, which have deployed personnel in Vasant Vihar, to provide protective gear to them. We also request the residents who are principal employers of security guards and drivers to provide protective masks and gloves to them, to make things easier for the RWA.
Kudos VVWA for Delivering 1000 Lunches & Dinners!
Hygienically prepared food is being delivered to the Delhi Police by VVWA in collaboration with Gurudwara. The target is 1000 for lunch, 1000 for dinner. This has been a continuous effort that needs all our applause.
Vasant Vihar Club is blooming!
The flowers don't know we are in a lockdown. There are no visitors, flowers brought spring and then summer to the club. It is a sight to behold.
Helping Our Saviours!
VVWA is giving rations to SSIL Staff. These people are the worst hit and are our frontline warriors against corona every day. They need all the help we can provide.
Geetanjali Saxena Donates PPE Kits!
Samvada Editor Geetanjali Saxena on behalf of the Rotary Club Vasant Vihar donated PPE kits to doctors of Safdarjung Hospital. It was a great gesture towards the Covid warriors.
Two Major Security Issues in the Colony Addressed Promptly
by Rajender Maggu (D-1/48, 9899532927)
The past two days, Vasant Vihar has had to contend with two major security issues. Fortunately, we have been able to reach a favourable situation in both of these issues. We give the details below:
In the beginning of the lockdown in March, the Delhi Govt had set up a food station at the school adjacent to C4 street. There was no organisation on the ground. After every meal, the place was littered with the used plates. Besides this, no social distancing was followed and the people were loitering around in groups after their meal. This posed a serious threat to community infection, as well as our residents.
C Block Representative, Jasbinder Pruthi took a proactive role and made several visits to the school. This brought matters under control and improved matters considerably. We appreciate his continuous efforts. Simultaneously Mr Bindra took up the matter with the SHO, who visited the school, saw matters first hand and issued necessary orders.
After this, he met the ACP, Satish Kain, who addressed a letter to the SDM, Ms Pranjal and also discussed the matter with the SDM. She has assured us that she will visit the school and ensure that everything is systematically carried out. Mr Pruthi will continue to monitor the situation.
The other source of major worry was the Shahi Masjid in Moradabad Pahadi above Shri Ram School. There were reports of a lot of to and fro of traffic. Mr Bindra took the matter up with the SHO. He visited the Masjid along with his team. Clear instructions have been given that no one is to be allowed entry into the Masjid and no resident will leave the premises. The Police will enforce this.
Message from Society President Dr Pushpendra Rai
The spread of Covid-19 has created a serious situation in the country. While all of us have been asked to take appropriate measures to maintain social distancing, and to stay within our premises, it is important to be informed of the situation prevailing, not only in the entire country, but also in our immediate neighborhood.
However, the government has repeatedly stressed that spreading misinformation and fake news would be viewed seriously and also attract penal provisions of the law.
In a recent Judgement*, the Hon’ble Supreme Court said: “We expect the media (print, electronic or social) to maintain a strong sense of responsibility and ensure that unverified news capable of causing panic is not disseminated”, adding that “Section 54 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, provided for a punishment to a person who makes or circulates a false alarm or warning as to disaster or its severity or magnitude, leading to panic. Such a person shall be punished with imprisonment which may extend to one year or with fine”.
In view of the above, it would be advisable for us, within the Vasant Vihar community, to refrain from posting messages on social media platforms discussing the local situation or communicating directions purportedly issued by the authorities. Such messages, emanating from different sources, are, at times, conflicting in nature and unnecessarily confuse residents.
Therefore, it is suggested that there be only one source of information for all the residents of Vasant Vihar. As the President of the Vasant Vihar Welfare Association (VVWA), is in regular contact with the local authorities, it would be advisable if all information to the residents is provided, either by the President himself, or his chosen representatives.
In the interest of the entire community, I would earnestly urge the residents to strictly follow the instructions/advisories conveyed by the VVWA.
Thank you very much for your support and cooperation.
D Block Residents Donating for a Good Cause!
D block’s RWA is giving rations for people who serve us all the time….our garbage collectors. Many residents are coming together to donate for the cause.
Maintain Cleanliness Please!
Work is in progress in D-7 Street. The waste is being loaded in a cart for removal. Residents must maintain cleanliness around their streets and back lanes and take responsibility for them.
Zoom series in the VV club is very successful with 75 people joining in virtual get together and 44 in the Book Club zoom meeting. Though housebound physically, digitally we have access to each other.
The Germ That Travelled The World. Story For Kids Narrated by Neha George
Some of the New Challenges That VVWA Faces
by Milly Murgai
When our present committee took over on 4th February 2020, we were very enthusiastic and gung-ho about our new roles. We had fought and won an election against formidable opponents, and we had a new team which had never worked together but very positive about their ability to do do.
But then, six weeks later the world turned upside down! Suddenly the definition of what was normal changed, the future became unpredictable and a virus took over the world.
This was totally uncharted territory for VVWA and for our members. Each day brought a new challenge and a new story. We had to move out of our comfort zone to provide the answers and the support systems needed during this time.
Health Information: The energetic Divas helped make a list of doctors available for guidance to our members. This list has been consulted frequently by our members. The team has often been asked questions such as “I have fever, do you think I have Corona? “ “ I was standing near a man who sneezed, should I get myself tested?” “My dog is listless, what should I do?” We did not know the answers to these questions but we knew how to guide them towards getting the information.
Support Systems: With no household helps coming in, so many elderly residents got stranded with no support systems. They are all very self respecting people, and it was not part of their persona to ask for help. But once again, with the Divas Senior Citizen helplines and volunteers were formed. Even today they are called frequently, their supplies are provided and they are comforted with the knowledge that there is someone they can call in an emergency.
E- passes: Many people needed e-passes for their staff or for themselves. We figured out who we should contact, how should we get them, and where we needed to say no! The local police also realised very soon that our requests were genuine and it became easier to get them as days went on.
The Case of the Injured Cow: We were informed about an injured cow in a back lane in F Block. She had been there for a few days and couldn’t get up. We put up the pictures on the WhatsApp and asked for help and information. Within 15 minutes our residents had responded and the requisite authorities were informed. We are glad to report that they came and treated her wounds, and she was fed by the neighbouring residents and a few days later she majestically got up and walked off on her own!
Covid-19 Rumours: We are constantly countering or verifying the rumours being spread. The sense of unease that prevails among all of us, makes us vulnerable to all bad news. The slightest whiff of a rumour of +ve cases and we would have to answer questions all day. “Are you sure it’s not my neighbour.” “Is it the shop owner, I went there this morning.” “Why are you not barricading the colony to prevent people from coming?” Patience was a virtue we learnt very quickly! We enjoy our role as the VVWA Team, we are proud of the fact that our fellow residents turn to us for answers and above all. We continue to serve!
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Dayanita Singh's Mobile Museums Are A Sight To Behold!
by Natasha Kochhar (E2/6, 99100 49999)
Dayanita Singh is an internationally renowned and much celebrated artist. She works with photography as her medium. She builds books and Mobile museums, and now even books that transform into exhibitions. She lives and works in New Delhi, and her art is exhibited around the world, most recently at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC and the Tate Modern in London. She publishes her books with the legendary Steidl Verlag.
Singh studied Visual communication at the National Institute of Design Ahmedabad and ICP in New York. She trained as a documentary photographer but has since become interested in creating new ways of thinking about photography and developing new architectures for the dissemination of her images. She pushes the boundaries of what Photography can be and how it can be experienced.
On a grand scale, Singh makes ‘mobile museums’ for her photographs out of large, folding wooden structures containing moveable frames, so she can continually edit her work and display it in new ways. On a smaller scale she creates ‘accordion’ books of photographs, which zigzag open and display the contents as miniature exhibitions. Singh carefully decides every aspect of the books, from the paper they are printed on to the thread used to bind them, so that each piece is both a form of display and a work of art in itself. You can see her work in major galleries but she has also put her books in shop windows and given them to strangers in the street. The way Singh shares her art is as original and important as the way she makes it.
Singh is a role model for many artists and photographers. She has built her apartment so it is a house that celebrates light, as well as functions as a repository for her mobile museums.
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Residents of Vasant Vihar Come Together to Feed the Poor
by Parul Gaur
A couple of months earlier, in the month of March, when the novel Coronavirus was officially declared a pandemic, our welfare association came to the conclusion that these unprecedented times called for unprecedented measures. We prepared ourselves to take all action necessary in order to ensure the safety and security of our residents and hence, when the lockdown was declared, we decided to issue a comprehensive advisory containing all essential details that would benefit our residents. We decided to work with the residents, invited them to participate and create a community feeling.
Among the included subjects were: frequently asked questions (FAQ’s), strict do’s and don’ts, helpline numbers for essential services such as grocery and medicine deliveries, a panel of lawyers, and numbers of doctors and mental health specialists to assist our residents 24/7. Some of our enthusiastic residents also volunteered to help the Senior Citizens of our colony, to make sure that their needs were also met without them having to compromise their security.
VVWA was assisted in this exercise by the young Vasant Vihar Diva’s group and their founding members at all times.
Two weeks down the lockdown, we came up with the thought of providing food to the homeless and jobless migrant workers. It is then that the VVWA launched the ‘Food for the Needy Program’. With the support of our generous residents we were able to raise a sizeable amount of resources which were used to feed up to 3000 people daily. VVWA would like to thank the Gurudwara Management for letting us use their facility and assisting smooth function of operations. We would like to thank Col (Retd) HS Bedi and KPS Ahluwalia for their voluntary support to supervise the same.
We went a step ahead and began to distribute dry ration to the SSIL team and garbage collectors.
VVWA has made constant efforts to keep the residents abreast with all the current news and advisories through our very popular ‘KAAM KI BAAT’
We coordinated with the Police and the civic authorities and have maintained a continuous dialogue to resolve problems and issues faced by the residents during the lockdown .
VVWA shall continue to serve the community!
Zero Wood Cremation
Unnoticed Nehru Place Crematorium Uses Uplas For An Environment Friendly Send Off to Our Loved Ones
by Rajiv Kakria (9810275168)
In the second week of Lockdown, I got the sad news of the passing of my friend's mother. Being a neighbour I decided to accompany them for cremation, not many are allowed permission due to Lockdown, so there were just the Seven of us.
It was an Eerie Sight, I have never seen the place so empty, as prior to us just one solitary cremation had taken place that day.
What struck me even more was that all the Cremation Bays had piles of COW DUNG UPLA (Cow Dung Cakes)..… Meanwhile Pandit ji started performing the Last Rites by chanting of Mantras, while his helpers dragged in a Rickshaw full of Uplas. I took a stroll towards the stockpile godown and to my surprise there was no trace of any wood.
My friend also asked about the wood and we were informed that for the past five odd months Nehru Place Crematorium has totally switched to Uplas with great Success and Acceptance.
After the body was confined to flames, we noticed that the flames did not rise too high nor was there too much smoke. Later Pundit ji informed us that the Calorific Value of Upla is almost twice that of Wood.... A body that completely turns to ash in 6-7 hours in wood, just takes 3-4 hours in Upla. As for cost, he said, we have just taken an average of what used to be the cost of wood. They regularly get truck loads of Cow Dung to make Uplas.
Seeing my interest Pandit ji pulled out his Mobile to show me a newspaper clipping of the SDMC Commissioner overseeing the novel Environment Friendly way of cremation, that too in total conformity with Hindu belief system, as per the scriptures i.e. of returning to 5 elements...... Jal, Vayu, Prithvi, Agni and Aakash of which human body is made to their source.
This reminds me of a discussion I had with my friend ASHUTOSH PATHAK, who had called me some 20 months back when our NGO’s (CHETNA) fight to save 16,500 trees in the Netaji Nagar Project was at the peak. Ashutosh said let us start a movement and take a padyatra from Delhi to Varanasi and take a proposal of Wood Free Cremation to the DOM RAJA of Manikarnika Ghat, the most Influential & Final Authority to the path to MOKSHA..... as keeper of the 'SACRED ETERNAL FLAME' that is used to light the pyres.
If the Dom Raja can be persuaded to shift to a more eco-friendly mode, Hindus across communities will willingly accept the alternative. Ashutosh had said if we get Dom Raja to tell people to shift to alternate materials or ways of cremation, then Hindus would gladly adopt the transition. One question that still needed answering was, were we equipped with an Alternative System.
Electric Crematorium has yet not become the preferred mode nor has the Govt made sufficient investments in Delhi and what about remote villages, where Power has yet to reach.
Somehow, the said movement that Ashutosh proposed has not seen the light of day.... But With Success Of A Sustainable Solution At Nehru Place, This Is An Idea Whose Time Has Come.
Not only will this go a long way in Saving Cows that have become old but also save the male calf's that are sent for slaughter. This would also go a long way in disposal of Cow Dung much to the relief of numerous Cow Shelters.
It will further create a market for Cow\Buffalo\Bull Dung Uplas and help supplement the farmers income.
Even If 25% Of The Wood Thus Saved, Shall Be A Forest Saved!