August, 2008

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In the Doha Vaachan Pratiyogita, the following students secured first position:
Class 6: Akshay Sharan & Ayush Sharma
Class 7: Arnav Nath
Class 8: Tulsi Sharma & Rishabh Prakash

In the Science Essay Writing Competition, Ramya Ahuja & Ashwath Srihari, Tanya Najhawan & Jaya Mehta and Tara Sen secured the 1st, 2nd and 3rd positions respectively.

Vasant Valley School along with US FIRST Robotics and Purdue University FIRST programs hosted the FIRST Robotics Conference (for Inspiration and Recognition in Science and Technology).

In the Junior School Chess Tournament, Arman Puri of Class 5 and Gaurang Raizada of Class 4 secured the first and second positions respectively.

In the second round of the All India Cyber Olympiad, Ramya Ahuja of class 9 and Ojasvi Goel of Class 6 secured an All India rank of 19 and 38 respectively.

In the Shri Khoj organised by The Shri Ram School on the 1st of August, Vasant Valley (Karshan Sharma, Aditya Khanna, Avanti Gupta, Madhavan Somanathan, Shreya Singhal & Nikhita Venkateish) received the rolling trophy for the overall best team.

At the Stroke of the Midnight Hour…

It has been 61 years since India rid itself of British colonial rule. In these years, she has established herself as an economic force to reckon with, a Third World country that has successfully established a democratic government system, and a nation that, despite religious, social and economic diversity, has held her people together through critical times.
I was once told that India was at the pinnacle of its development. The growth rate is soaring at 8.5% and promotion of equity has taken a new vigilant course. However, the focus remains on the flaws of our nation’s emerging economic, social and political regimes. The recent revelations concerning our political leaders made a mockery of the institutions and beliefs that this democracy rests upon. Terrorism and hate crimes are rampant. It seems India is at the peak of its decadence. The imperfections of our developing nation are constantly under scrutiny; and therein lies the beauty of it.
It is these imperfections that stare us in the face, waiting to be annihilated. The mere fact that our nation is flawed drives us to make it perfect. It is inevitable that within the next few decades India will be able to reach her true potential, and it will be our generation that will transport her into an era of eternal glory (as clichéd as it sounds).
My classmate boldly stated that he would like to develop the efficient use of solar energy in India. Sure, it sounds far fetched; however it substantiates my thoughts about the drive of today’s youth. Another one of my peers said that he wants to travel to the poorest section of India where he would toil with farmers in order to comprehend their grievances, and return to alter the system he now truly understood. Others want to be politicians, lawyers, doctors, or even fashion designers. They all have one common objective-representing India to the world in a positive light, and strengthening the fundamental pillars upon which our nation stands.
From the time of independence, the progress India has made is nothing short of extraordinary. All that stands between India and the supremacy that she deserves are the deeds of our generation, which are guaranteed to carry India into a new age. A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance.
Rhea Sadh

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Hiroshima Day

Near the harbors, within two cities,
There will be two catastrophes such as never before seen:
Intense in torment, an incredible number of human lives ended,
Cries for help from the great God immortal.
-Nostradamus, Quatrain #2 – 6
“It was as if another sun had materialized and fallen out of the sky”, these are the words of the lucky survivors of the attack. But were they really lucky?.
The heat burned the city, killed all vegetation, and melted people like they were wax. Paul Warfield Tibbets Jr. bombed more than just Hiroshima, he bombed time. He bombed generations of people who, for no fault of their own, or of their grandparents for that matter, must now suffer the consequences of another nation’s inanity. Even today, children are being born with too many feet, too little fingers, or even no faces.
Hiroshima Day is observed every year on the Sixth of August, to pay our respects to all the innocent citizens of Japan who died on that apocalyptic day in nineteen forty five. Most of us, however, forget about those who still suffer the effects today. Paul Warfield Tibbets Jr. recently passed away, full of regret for what he had done, even though he had to follow orders.
Destruction of life is unjustifiable, irrespective of the necessity to do so. The ultimate sin, however, has been redefined. To make another feel unlucky to be living is worse than to simply kill. To think that one could commit this sin a thousand times over, by the push of a single button, in a single moment, is unthinkable.
To truly understand the importance of such a heavily significant day is what we should all wish to achieve this Sixth of August. To pay our respects not only to the dead, or even to the living, but to Time, who, in Hiroshima, has ceased to exist.
Kunal Datta


Consistency is the last refuge of
the unimaginative.
-Oscar Wilde


1. India has the largest number of Post Offices in the world.
2. Sanskrit is the language best suited for computers in the world.
3. The song ‘Ab Tumhare Hawale Watan Saathiyon’ is the longest Hindi film song ever (it's 20 minutes long!)
4. The World’s first university was established in Takshila, India s in 700 BC.
5. The original name of the Nehru family was 'Kaul'.

Aabhas Sharma, class of 2007 at the Conference

Robotics Conference at VVS

Vasant Valley School along with US FIRST Robotics ( and Purdue University FIRST programmes hosted the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition in Science and Technology) Robotics Conference on the Friday 25th of July, 2008.
The Conference aimed at creating awareness about the FIRST programs in India and brought together students of 22 leading schools of India. Here on, the schools will work with an adult coach/ sponsor, a mentor who maybe a professional engineer, college student or a teacher and an industry representatives to participate in the forthcoming FIRST regional to be held in India in 2009.
The program was conducted by Aabhas Sharma, an almnus of VVS and a mentor of a US FIRST Robotics team, who introduced the FIRST Robotics Program in SE Asia with videos followed by a web conference with US FIRST Robotics Team 1747 in the US.


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India: the Good, the Bad, and Both

We as citizens of India, have differing views about it ourselves. Add the views of the rest of the world and you get way more “India” than you can ever truly write about.
The United States of America and EU think of India as the biggest potential retail market. Multinational Companies view India as the provider of the most cost effective labour to outsource to. To our neighbouring nations, we’re that bully country who has the largest arsenal of nukes in the immediate area. To authors, musicians and the like, India is the cradle of cultural enrichment, where their passion started from.
Then, there’s us. The proud citizens of India, land of the… well, the poor, the dirty, the corrupt and the accusers. Anyone who contests the fact that that is exactly how we view India is lying. Sure, we acknowledge the good things too – the colour and the festivities and the ages old traditions that barely any of us know about, let alone care. But they inhabit the farthest recesses of our mind when we first think about our country. For the patriotic few, the struggle for independence comes to mind, or what they can do to better our nation. Yet for the majority, the first thoughts centre around the corrupt officials, the filth that line our streets and all the other things that we blame the government for not correcting while we sit tight, content with grousing like old maids.
Somewhere along the line, we have lost the respect that we should have for our nation and foreigners have gained the appreciation that should have been ours.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that we should morph into mindless fanatics who turn a blind eye to all the faults that litter our country and rip the eyes out of anyone who dare utter a word against that which we hold above and beyond all reason. But neither should we negate all the good aspects of our country in the light of the bad. The balance is ours to find. What people from other countries perceive as an exotic paradise for vacationing or back-packing in, is our home. India is the next retail hub. She houses the corrupt. She is the cradle of civilization. She has been dirtied by us. She is beautiful, she is powerful, she is everything that every person perceives her to be, be it good or bad.
Ayesha Malik

Solar Eclipse

Around 50 students and 10 teachers gathered on the school terrace from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on the 1st of August to witness one of natures wondrous events- an eclipse. There was a partial solar eclipse where close to 55% of the sun was covered by the moon. This spectacle was observed in a number of ways. Apart from using solar filter glasses, a video camera with a lens covered with a solar filter was connected to the projector. Pinhole cameras and a telescope were used to view a continuous live projection of the ongoing phenomenon. Even the sudden change in weather couldnt dampen our spirits. It was a truly enriching experience and we look forward to observing future eclipses with the same vigour.

Observing the eclipse keenly

Aspire to Inspire

An impromptu essay writing competition was held for the students of Class 8 and 9 organized by The Global Education and Leadership Foundation. This is one of the winning entries, and the writers of the two winning essays (Ishita Sethi and Faaiza Noor Seyid) have been selected to represent the school at a convention in Singapore.
To aspire is to have a strong desire to achieve something and inspire is to fill someone with the ability to do something. In simple words ‘aspire to inspire’ is to see someone who you have taught or spread awareness, to shine.
We all grow up wanting to see not only ourselves accomplish our aims and goals, but also our loved ones. However, neither of us can achieve everything alone. We all need support and in many cases, a leader. Yes, I dream to inspire people around the globe to pursue their dreams, goals and aims. Look at Gandhiji for instance. He inspired people to fight for the freedom of our country, and what did he aspire? He aspired for freedom, he aspired for a better country, a better world, and he aspired for peace. He indeed was a true leader. I am not saying that we all shall be exactly like him because that is not possible, and I personally would not like to be like him, but we should be inspired by his behaviour and beliefs and do the little that we can as a leader for the better of everyone.
A leader is a person who leads and slowly becomes the most successful person in a particular area. We should all aspire to be leaders as we can see ourselves and our followers grow as people and mature in a way like never before. ‘Aspire to Inspire’. Give belief to other people around the world, make them stronger people and gain their support. Being a leader means putting others before yourself and not being selfish. We should all aspire to be good leaders and inspire others to become leaders too.
Faaiza Noor Seyid, 8

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Music - the lyrics, the beats, notes and melody,
Why do you get into my being and lift me away,
You take me to a place beyond me,
Or you take me to a place somewhere deep within myself.
Pranav Hari Singhania (6)

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My Fantasy of the Amazon Rainforest

Hi, I’m Gaurav, a snake from the Amazon Rainforest. Everyday I see the Amazon Rainforest getting deforested and I do not like it. I once met a very rich human. Mmm… lets see, ah! Yes, his name was Bill Gates. He came here to buy some land. I asked him, “If you were a snake living peacefully and happily and suddenly a man bought your house, took away your food and took away your room, what would you do?” “I would try and tell him to stop ruining and destroying my house!” Mr. Gates replied. “So you see Mr. Gates,” I said, “You and I think alike. So now, I am requesting you to please ruining and destroying my house!” Mr. Gates asked, “Gaurav, why is the Amazon Rainforest is so important?” I replied, “One, because it is my home, secondly, because it provides 20% of the world’s oxygen and thirdly, because it’s the home to other animals too, like my friends Gursher the Poison Dart Frog, Jailee the Jaguar and Ricky the chameleon!” Mr. Gates agreed and didn’t buy the land after all!
Gaurav Pratap Singh, 5A

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They say that I can choose
The ones that will
Lead me.
They say that I may
Speak, preach, write, feel
Anything that compels me
They tell me that I have the right
To exist.
To dare.
The freedom is mine
To use how I will, they say.
To bear the guilt
Of unfinished ventures,
Of illegal liaisons;
To accept the responsibility
Of spreading lies,
Of preaching divine hatred;
To shoulder the burden
Of the grime that fills us-
Our streets, our homes, our minds
And our hearts
Without a second thought.
They tell me my freedom is precious
So burn, pilfer and terrorize.
Exercise that right.
They have the freedom to. They can.
I am free.
Free to correct their wrongs.
Free to reject
That which they force on to me.
Free to question.
Widespread opinion is not always the truth.
They gave me the freedom
To be like them.
I’m giving myself the freedom
To prove them wrong.
-Ayesha Malik

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The Fashion Cycle

Environmental issues have been spreading like wildfire and now, they have crackled their way into the fashion industry. For those who still think that fashion spells needle-like stilettos, the runway and glossy hair, they are highly mistaken. In December 2006, Levi’s launched eco-jeans. Spools of thread magically weaving the organic cotton, which require less chemicals and pesticides to grow, threading in the recycled buttons, rivets and zippers and dyeing them in soy-based ink thus creating jeans which make a girl become putty and aiding the environment simultaneously. Stella McCartney is not only a staunch vegetarian but also a firm environmentalist. A crusader for animal-rights, she doesn’t use any fur, leather or reptile skin which other fashion houses find indispensable. She is an avid supporter of PETA. Efforts like hers are preventing precious species from dying out. Some of the world’s biggest surf labels like Billabong, Roxy and Nixon are joining forces to create Project Blue. The aim of this project is to preserve the Earth’s crystal, clear mirrors: the oceans. To achieve this, they are checking the swirling concoction of waste emanating from industries, hence painting the arid browns on the globe to placid blues and greens. London Fashion Week showcased a host of labels that manufactured garments in an eco-friendly manner. They used organic/natural production methods and raw materials. These small measures are helping to bandage the wounded Earth. The brainchild of U2’s Bono and Bobby Shriver is an initiative that helps the AIDS victims in Africa by teaming up with global giants like Converse, Apple and MTV. Converse recently launched a limited edition range of Chuck Taylor All Star hi-tops in electric red, black and white. And who can forget the Livestrong bands which stormed the world for years? The youth are mirrors of celebrities and the fashion industry. So why don’t we reflect the eco-friendly image and go green? In this process, we don’t only heal the smouldering Earth but also look drop-dead gorgeous while doing it.
Tara Sen

“I grew up as my mother’s idea and my father’s idée fixe.” – Rose Loveall

A musician called John Wesley Harding (now an author, Wesley Stace) once sang a retro English ballad called “Miss Fortune” about a boy who was adopted by the “richest man in the world” but lived most of his life thinking he was a girl. Subsequently, he often claimed that the piece had an air of “unfinished business” about it. Out of this dissatisfaction was born a brilliant novel.
Our story opens with the highly fragile and eccentric Lord Geoffroy Loveall, in desperate need of an heir, finding a baby in some sort of a garbage dump. Delighted, he takes the baby home and presents it to his mother as the heir to Love Hall.
Years prior to this incident, Lord lost his little sister, his best friend and confidante, and constantly blamed himself for her death. Consequently, he decides to deny to himself and to those close to him that the baby is a boy. He decides to call him Rose. He decides to buy him dresses. He decides that his heir will be a girl and that that girl will replace his long-mourned sister.
Lord Loveall literally “skirts” the issue and those around him humour him. His mother soon passes away. He marries the librarian of Love Hall, who supports the Lord’s illusions because she believes that men and women were once united and had been split into different selves. She sees this baby boy as a test case for her idea that “male” and “female” are mere social roles.
Little Rose grows up blissfully unaware of her own gender, enjoying her close friendship with two servant children, Stephen and Sarah, hitting boundaries at every cricket game and learning to shave, wearing dresses and spending entire nights talking to Sarah in her room.
All this until Rose’s world comes crashing down around her when Lord Geoffroy Loveall’s distant family finds out the truth and she is banished from Love Hall as an impostor.
Although the novel seems to be set in the 19th century, it is almost timeless, a look in the past from the year 2005 with all the ideals and mentality of the 21st century, a flashback in a certain sense – and yet not. It is filled constant references to Greek mythology and unforgettable English ballads, and the story is often told from the point of view of different characters without ever veering to the unclear or the confusing.
Rodney Welch of the Washington Post goes so far as to call this tale “some inspired collaboration between Charles Dickens and Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar” and this comparison is completely justified. The story tells of decadence, orphans, murder, amnesia, greed, ballads, books and wild farce in quick succession and makes the reader suspend disbelief with great enthusiasm.
For fear of giving too much away, I’ll end by saying that Misfortune has been the most satisfying read I’ve had in a long time (although I could have had it earlier considering I bought it in 2006. J)
(recommended for ages 15+) Sara Chatterjee

That’s What She Said…

Barbara Walters once said, “Show me someone who never gossips, and I’ll show you someone who isn’t interested in people.”
Did Star Jones really lose all that weight naturally? Did Aishwarya marry Abhishek for money? Are Saurav Ganguly and Dhoni actually friends? Did Obama and Hillary Clinton actually get into a fight? These are common dinner-time queries. One hears them everywhere one goes, discussed by everyone from so-called uninterested businessmen, to my hairdresser.
To that effect, gossip has always been about people, about artists, actresses, and even politicians. In short, gossip has consistently been a part of our social lives; regardless if we choose to engage in it or not. Besides, if you tell me you haven’t gossiped about something or the other; well, you’d just be lying.
Gossip has been around for quite a long time. Even though some religions might oppose it; (read: Islam, Judaism and Christianity, amongst others) gossip has evolved into a separate lifestyle the world over. And despite the fact that all Islamic, Jewish and Christian texts condemn gossip and consider it a sin; it hasn’t stopped orthodox members of these religions from swapping stories: effectively gossiping.
The gossip magazine rose in popularity in the 1950’s as mainstream populations clamored for insight into the sordid lives of the rich and famous. Today, gossip tabloids are found on virtually every newsstand worldwide. Why?
As Barbara Walters so eloquently put it, we are interested in the lives of others. It is human nature to be curious.
So from the Victorian parlors of England to the infamous Upper East Side Manhattan luncheons, gossip has been and will continue to be a force in our lives.
Vani Shriya & Suvira Chadha

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Days of Our Lives
August 15th is India’s 61st Independence Day. And to make the day a little bit lighter, we’ve got a couple of holidays that just, well… take a look for yourself.
National Nothing Day- January 16
National Goof-Off Day- March 22
National Relaxation Day- August 15
Festival Of Sleep- January 3
Public Sleeping Day- February 28
Make Up Your Own Holiday Day- March 26
Fly a Kite Day- February 8
Man Watcher’s Day-January 8
Play God Day- January 9
Measure Your Feet Day- January 23
Return Carts to the Supermarket Month- February
National Surf and Turf Day- February 29
National Read a Road Map Week- April 4-10
Hitchhiking Month- July 1-31
Take A Hike Day- November 17
Build a Scarecrow Day- July 1
World Sauntering Day- June 19
Ugly Truck Contest- July 20
National Tug-o-War Contest- July 21
Take Your Pants for a Walk Day- July 27
Wiggle Your Toes Day- August 6
Defy Super Situation Day- September 13
Ask a Stupid Question Day- September 28
Be Bald and Free Day- October 14
Punk For a Day Day- October 25
Waiting For the Barbarians Day- November 4
Start Your Own Country Day- November 22

“We Parsis don’t bury our dead in time capsules…”
- Jahan Nargolwala
That's a relief.
“If the Bermuda Triangle is in the ocean, why doesn’t the water disappear?”- Ayushmaan Wassan
One of the many mysteries of life.
“Maybe you can send him a telegram. Then he’ll get it five years ago.”- Priyanka Agarwal
They're not THAT fast...
“The Netherlands beat the Dutch” – Minal Anand
Obviously a rather one-sided game.
Megha Rawla: Can I have a thousand bucks?
Humzaa Ali Khan: When pigs fly.
Megha Rawla: (High pitched voice) I fly!
Now THAT'S worth a thousand bucks.
Aneesha Labroo: How do you pronounce “W-O-W?”
Nikhil Ledlie: “Vovo?”
Impressive. Simply WOW.


1. “It’s the only form of protest they’re allowed I’ve seen their silent faces they scream so loud If they were to speak these words they’d go missing too Another woman on the torture table what else can they do”
These lyrics are from the song “They Dance Alone”, written and sung by Sting about an oppressive dictatorial regime. Who is the dictator heading this regime?
2. Aye Mere Watan
Lata Mangeshkar sang this patriotic song. In which context did she do so? Which Indian leader was moved by this song?
3. We Shall Overcome.
This song gained popularity as the anthem of a famous movement. Which movement was this?
4. Sarfaroshi Ki Tamanna
This poem has been sung many times by various artistes. Who wrote it and in what context?

1. General Pinochet, the Chilean dictator from 1974 to 1990
2. This song was sung to honor the sacrifices of the gallant Indian Jawans (infantrymen) who in the 1962 Sino-Indian War fought. It moved Jawaharlal Nehru to tears.
3. We Shall Overcome is a protest song that became a key anthem of the US civil rights movement.
4. Ram Prasad Bismil, as a part of the revolutionary group, the Hindustan Republican Association.

Ode To The Motherland

India, the land where the sun shines first.
The land of the Golden Bird
Whose grandeur turned to bitter loss, maimed.
Still yet, you have such beauty,
From the shores of Bengal
To the hills of Missourie.
The lush fields of green,
Diversity’s own queen.
India, motherland almighty!
Blessed is thy aura,
The summit of power.
Abhijeet Roy, 11

Editorial Board:

Mallika Pal, Ramya Ahuja, Suvira Chadha, Tejasvita Singh, Vani Shriya, Vedika Berry, Ayesha Malik, Devika Agrawal, Nikhil Pandhi, Sanjana Malhotra, Tara Sen, Arushi Kumar, Bhavik Singh, Kunal Datta, Meghna Mann, Rhea Sadh, Sara Chatterjee, Vanshika Wadhwa, Akbar Iqbal, Avanti Gupta, Jahan Nargolwala, Mahi Titus, Soumya Dasgupta,
Tarunima Prabhakar

Editor: Diva Gujral