May, 2008

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Class XI rejoined school on the 7th of April, welcome back!
An Inter House Debate was held for classes XI to XII, and the Green House team (comprising Soumya Dasgupta and Tejasvita Singh) came first. Ridhika Agarwal of Yellow House was awarded best speaker.
In Junior School, the Inter House Soccer Tournament was held for classes III-V. The Yellow House team won the boy’s tournament and Blue won the girl’s tournament.
Our school Soccer and Basketball teams participated in the British School Tournaments in early April. The teams came second in both tournaments.
The Vasant Valley School Cricket team came third in the British School Cricket Tournament.
A Photo Exhibition was held on 2nd May, 2008 in which students of Class 10 entered photographs taken by them on various aspects of Environment. Tara Sen secured first position in this compeition.
A Logo Design Competition was held for students of class 11 and 12. Rhea Sadh and Nadia Shervani shared first position in this competition.

Biotechnology Workshop

In the Biotechnology Workshop held on Wednesday, 30th April and Thursday, 1st May, students of Class 10 A, B and C worked on three interesting aspects of biotechnology.
In the first part of the program, they learnt about the structure of DNA through a presentation and film entitled- Secret of Life.
The second part of the program was a hands-on session in which they understood the principles underlying Alec Jefferys’s finger printing technique that is used to identify people from their DNA analysis. As part of this, the made agarose gels, loaded samples of Victim DNA and Suspect DNA and then analysed the results.
In the third session of the workshop, they did crude extraction of DNA from fruits like banana and papaya by the spooling technique. This was an an educational and informative workshop, and was enjoyed immensely by all students.


“Your candle’s burned out long before Your legend ever will...”
(Candle in the Wind)
There are times (right after lunch on busy school days), when, after hours and hours of studying, one’s mind begins to wander. This happened to me recently during a Psychology class, when, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t stop thinking about the Mark D’ Souza Memorial Western Music Competition. Drowned in my musings, I was struck by a saddening thought: my batch, the Class of 2009, was the last class to have interacted with Mr. D’ Souza. He passed away at the end of March 1996, a month after we had joined school. Those interactions, however short, are all that we have left of him. We were too young to remember much about him now, but we have more, much more, than the classes below us.
His loss affected everyone in the Vasant Valley family, whether students, teachers or parents, for each one of us had lost not just a teacher, but, more so, a mentor, an advisor, a friend. He will always be remembered for his classes in the Senior school field, his informal and friendly manner with us kids (who were initially intimidated by him because he was so tall!) and the songs that he taught us, which are still popularly sung in auditions for the competition that has been named in his memory.
He took us to the fish pond, in that month, and played the guitar while we (being typical 5-year-olds) were more interested in the little gold fish in the depths of the water. We didn’t treasure the time we had with him, we took it for granted. And now, looking back, it hurts that we had so little time with him, it seems unfair that a man so deeply passionate about music, a man so charismatic and caring, was taken away from us so very quickly.
This article is not only a tribute to Mr. D’ Souza, but is also intended to pass on the memories that we have of him, so that they may be passed down through the years, so that, even decades from now, the memory of Mark D’ Souza will still live on in the student’s hearts. Mr. D’ Souza, we will never forget you.
Diva Gujral

In Happier Times: Mr. D'Souza with students

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If The Earth Was Flat

Imagine if the earth was flat
It would be terribly bad
No change of night and day
The sun would always be there to stay
Imagine if the earth was flat
Mother Nature would never be glad
No greeting of the summer sun
No monsoon rain with all the fun
Imagine if the earth was flat
Traveling by sea would be bad
Falling off from the side of the ocean
Oh! That would be so sad.
Gursher Kohli, 5


My pet is very small
She likes to play with balls.
She runs around the mat
She even has a hat.
We play a lot of games
And call people by their names.
Every day we run
And have a lot of fun.
I play with her all day
And her birthday is in May,
She likes to play with logs
And is a nice dog.
Ishita Satyajit, 4


Incidents in accordance to the ‘Free Tibet’ movement have led to various outcomes all over the world. Now that the Olympics have found their place of occurrence in Beijing, China has obtained a privileged international status, and if that status were to be taken away from them, the consequences would be indeed difficult to imagine.
Groups like ‘Students for a Free Tibet’ and Amnesty International are trying as hard as they can to spread awareness about the Tibetan cause. Their messages are immensely powerful and are visible to anyone who is exposed to any kind of media.
Boycotting the Chinese Olympics is a fine idea, however it has its repercussions. If I were an athlete, I would definitely try my hardest to make some public protest against the Chinese government. However, any athlete who did so would be risking immediate removal from the Olympics, or being thrown behind bars. China makes itself seem really mighty, but in reality, it is afraid of losing its newly earned respect within the international community. If athletes were to stage some protests, it would bring attention to all the crimes that China commits, and maybe justice would be done. However, it is certain that the Chinese will not allow any protests in Beijing during the Olympics.
Another thing to note about the struggle is that the Dalai Lama has timed it very well. At the moment, the upcoming Olympic Games are drawing more attention to China, in general, and the Tibetan cause is therefore very much in the limelight.
The Dalai Lama had initially planned to make this a non-violent struggle, much like Mahatma Gandhi’s satyagraha against the British. However, the actions of the Chinese military against these protesters and even the acts of the Buddhist monks are transforming it into a very messy scene. Everyday, there is an increased number of attacks on Tibetans in China and India.
Which brings us to the question -Does anyone truly bother about the condition of these people? Is the struggle of the Tibetans one in which we hope that they will emerge victorious? Or, are we indifferent to their fight; is the Tibetan cause something we disregard, for Tibet is such a small country? Freedom is the basic right for every human, so why not for the Tibetans?
Tanvi Tandon


My family and I went sight-seeing to Bodhgaya and Sarnath recently. At Sarnath, we saw the beautiful Lion Emblem built by King Ashoka, which was enclosed inside a museum,and the famous Karma Pa Tibetan temple, where Karma Pa himself blessed my prayer beads.
Our next destination was Benaras where, on the banks of the mighty river Ganga, I learnt that during the monsoons the water level reaches up to my head! Then we went to the Death God’s Temple. Here we took lots of pictures and bought souvenirs.
The place where Buddha attained Nirvana was next. On reaching there all of us visited the Bodhgaya Thai temple and offered our prayers. Then we rode horses, and went to see the Great Buddha statue, which was 64 feet tall, and took 4 years to be built. I took several rounds of the statue, admiring its beauty. In the evening we visited the main temple, where we prayed and later enjoyed delicious chhola bhaturas.
Over these past few days, I had enjoyed myself so much, that it seemed as if the whole trip had gone by in a blink of an eye.
Shaun Adil Nargolwala, 6



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Mata, Martyr, Maharani
3 Glimpses- 3 contrivers of controversy

The Mata

Margaretha Geetruida is a woman scarcely talked about. Grietje (as Margaretha was called) was born in 1876 and by the time she was in early adulthood, the strands of her life were enveloped by a diabolic intruder- war. At the tender age of 18, she moved to Hague and was thereafter married to a navy officer Rudolf McLeod. The couple then moved to Java where, following a tumultuous stint, Grietje began her autonomous journey to be an international concubine. In 1905, she began to win fame as an exotic dancer from Asia and by the time she retuned to Paris, she had become Mata Hari- Eye of the day. Promiscuous, flirtious and openly flaunting her body with a mystique that captivated both her audiences and public, Mata Hari was an overnight success. During the First World War, Mata Hari was viewed as a wanton and international seductress. As a widely travelled courtesan and oriental princess Mata Hari was intercepted as a traitor coded H-21 by the Gestapo, whom they thought was deployed by the French to distract the attention of their personnel. Termed first as an international concubine and later as a double agent, Mata Hari was executed at the age of 41, following a worldwide controversy.

The Martyr

The ‘spy princess’ is a woman inconspicuously celebrated. Noor- un- Nisa Inayat Khan, or Noor was born to Indian Sufi Hazrat Inayat Khan (who was the grandson of Tipu Sultan, Maharajah of Mysore) and Begum Ora Meena Ray Baker in 1914. Although deeply influenced by the pacifist teachings of her father, Noor Inayat Khan willed to defeat Nazi tyranny. She did so by joining the French resistance in 1940 and trained in the Women’s Auxiliary Force as a wireless operator. Soon to be the first wartime woman to use wireless, Noor was deployed to Germany codenamed Nora Baker and there worked tremendously with famous underground French circuits such as ‘Prosper’. Her operations were executed under the code name Madeleine. During the interim of her stay at Germany, Madeleine also worked as a nurse and finally helped French political prisoners escape from the Gestapo. While at the war field, she dodged the Nazis till her eventual doom in 1944. Marked as a ‘Highly Dangerous Prisoner’ she was executed at Dachau concentration camp. Her timely escapes from German captivity were recorded in Nazi history as some of the most audacious. Noor was subjected to mass controversy for wartime espionage.

The Maharani

Nobody would know of that slender and sleek, white Spanish maiden till the Maharajah of Kapurthala hadn’t chanced to drop into that bar one night. She was barely a bar dancer and her’s was a true rags to riches tale. Anita Delgado- the Spanish princess of Kapurthala- a seventeen year old, sitting atop a magnificently decorated elephant who made her entry into a small town in Northern India, while congregations flanked the streets, waiting to see their queen, whiter than the Himalayas. Anita Delgado was primarily seen as a figure of defiance and controversy because she had dared to marry an Indian Maharajah. While she flaunted her villas, tennis courts, jewels and Rolls Royce’s, the internal politics of the Harem encompassed her life too. Being some fifth wife of Jagatjit Singh was just an excuse for Anita, who stole parties and social gatherings and was subjected to every mans praise. Be it the voluptuous English officers, the Nawab of Hyderabad, or the Viceroy himself, ever body fell in love with the Spanish lass. But nobody ever thought that this exotic princess would end up entwining herself in one of the most forbidden incestuous controversies that have ever rattled the British Empire. She was desolate in the end and eventually returned to Spain, bereft of the love of her Maharajah or her kingdom. She breathed her last in the arms of her son Ajit. In July 1962, Anita Delgado Briones would at last rest in peace.
Nikhil Pandhi, 10


Every place is within walking distance,
if you just have the time.

Oxy (Moron)

Many times, while driving a point home (or at least trying to), one often ends up making a fool of oneself without realizing it. In the heat of the moment, one isn’t usually aware of one's figures of speech. At other times, we accept certain linguistic usages without thinking about what they actually mean. Stereotypes, redundancies, malapropisms and other such usages abound in our everyday conversations. A moment’s reflection on such usages reveals absurdities of meaning. Let’s, for the moment, call such usages oxymorons, though the actual meaning of this term is somewhat more technical. A few funny oxymorons that come to mind are:
a) “I saw it with my own eyes” I would never have guessed. Until you said that, I thought you saw it with someone else’s eyes.
b) “Both my hands/My two legs” Here’s my question - when you say “my hands”, or “my legs”, isn’t it understood that you’re referring to two of each since you have only two hands and two legs (unless you’re a spider)?
c) “Behind your back” Wouldn’t behind your back become your front? Think about it. The part behind your back is your front. I would, therefore, urge you, dear reader, to choose your words wisely the next time you’re faced with a discerning group. Many a time, one gets away with these oxymorons. But, when one points them out, it can get rather embarrassing.
Tushar Mehta, 12

The Song of the Snake

Look at him,
Slithering in the darkness,
Powerful & stealthy.
Look at his gleaming amber eyes,
Watch him sway his head
To the music playing in his own mind.
Watch his shining skin,
Slithering majestically on the marble.
Bow to the royalty,
The aura
He displays.
Power & authority showered by him,
The eyes livid with anger.
Slowly and softly towards his prey,
The snake he moves.
Watching death overcome,
The writhing burdened play
His forked tongue,
Exemplifying the evil,
Running through his blood.
Black and vile his body,
Robed in darkness,
Giving the appearance of a non-existent crown.
Yes he is a king.
A king sly and sharp,
The aura of death,
Cloaks him.
A king amongst beasts,
Kartikeya Khanna, 12

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Morality – A Myth?
“An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind”
-Mahatma Gandhi

It is a truth universally acknowledged that killing is wrong. It is of the order of the worst crimes in any legal system. Then how is it considered a fair punishment?
Let us take the case of Mohammad Afzal – the main accused in the December 13th, 2001 attack on the parliament. There is no proof of him having attacked the parliament. In fact, there is no proof of him having had any involvement at all. He has, however, been sentenced to hang by “nationwide reaction” and “lack of evidence” in his favour.
When, someday, in the due course of our painfully unhurried legal system, he is hanged, there will be no way to give him the benefit of innocence in case his finally proven to be so. It is assumed by many that our judicial system awards punishment to accused persons on the basis of “innocent until proven guilty”, but in Afzal’s case, it is quite clearly the other way around.
Sarabjit Singh is another example of a case of the death penalty. He is currently a prisoner of the Pakistan government for being, as rumor has it, a military spy. He has been sentenced without any proof, for having unwittingly wandered too far from home, to death, and of course, for such a dreadful offense, no less a penalty should be awarded.
“To hang by the neck unto death” is the brutality associated with the practice of the ritual murder, and after all, what else is it?
Capital Punishment may well serve the purpose of warding off those who commit crimes because jail is a better environment than their homes with regular meals and a place to sleep, but murder, in whatever form it may be, is unlawful, unjust and simply Neanderthal.
We have been taught since we were children, not to hit back, but is this what the law teaches us?
Where are our morals?
Has there ever been such a thing?
- Kunal Datta

Beautiful Earth- Beautiful Life

The Earth is beautiful, green and blue,
Wet, with all the morning dew,
The flowers all-dancing in rapid bloom,
Fluttering and prancing, no sign of gloom!
The rain is pouring,
The clouds are thundering,
All of Earth’s children,
Are singing and clapping!
The red breast Robin, sitting on a tree,
Singing a song with utmost glee!
The winds so fresh and Oh! So cool!
I do not feel like going to school,
Rather sit and read all day,
Making merry in the cool, whistling air!
Shining in the dark, the beautiful moon,
Oh! Why do you say good- bye so soon?
A petite shimmering glow all night,
Such a beautifully blossoming wonderful sight!
Everything is so beautiful and bright,
Under the suns powerfully glowing light!
-Ahvana Paul, 6


There’s a lot more to our teachers than, well, teaching. We dug up the facts on what some of our beloved educators did when they were our age, as well as some stuff from beyond the classroom:
Q1: Which Social Science teacher wanted to be a vet but couldn’t handle scientific ‘element involved’, so the idea went to the ‘dogs’?
a) Ms. Mona Datta
b) Ms. Vandana Chak
c) Ms. Pragati Gupta
Q2. Who used to be a state athlete in the field of short distance running in the good old days and considers him/herself a pakka desi?
a) Mr. Firoz Khan
b) Mr. Vijay Trivedi
c) Ms. Krishna Shastry
Q3. Whose favorite genre of music has been chosen as the theme for the Group Song of this year’s Western Music Competition?
a) Ms. Purnima Datt
b) Mr. Bipul Chetri
c) Mr. Sumit Kakkar
Q4. Which Science teacher excels in Kathak dancing?
a) Ms. Charu Johar
b) Ms. Swaty Nag
c) Ms. Vandana Pandey
Q5. Which guitar playing, physical education teacher’s favorite western artist is Michael Bolton?
a) Mr. Deepak Shukla
b) Mr. Wayne Framjee
c) Mr. Pankaj Seth
Q6. Which language teacher used to be the Sports Captain of her school?
a) Ms. Shivanjali Bhardwaj
b) Ms. Tanvi Passi
c) Ms. Romila Kumar
Q7. Who studied Law for three years and used to play badminton in his/her free time (when he/she had it)?
a) Ms. Sharmila Bakshi
b) Mrs. Sreela Mitra
c) Mr. Vijay Kumar Sharma
Q8. Which teacher has a Master’s Degree in Child Psychology and loves playing with her three pet dogs?
a) Ms. Sukhda Minocha
b) Mrs. Bhullar
c) Ms. Pia Krishen
Q9. Which teacher has recently published a book about Indian immigrants to Trinidad and Tobago?
a) Ms. Paro Anand
b) Ms. Peggy Mohan
c) Ms. Vidya Surendran
Q.10 Which teacher also conducts Havans, prayer meetings and wedding ceremonies?
a) Mr. Vijay Pandey
b) Mr. Vijay Trivedi
c) Mr. Sukumar Kolley


Answers : 1(b), 2(c), 3(a), 4(c), 5(a), 6(b), 7(c), 8(c) ,9(b),10(a)


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1) A Prisoner of Birth - Jeffrey Archer
The much awaited latest Jeffrey Archer combines his own experience from his prison days with brilliant character development not seen since Kane and Abel. Danny and Beth are in love and to be married. But all their plans screech to a halt when Danny’s best friend and Beth’s brother gets murdered in front of her and her husband is framed. And that’s just the beginning. Danny is locked behind bars for a crime he did not commit… and then the story begins! Packed with intrigue, twists and an explosive plot, A Prisoner of Birth is a thriller that delves into the deep rooted prejudice the world has against East Enders, or downtown-ers.
2) Across The Wall - Garth Nix
From the author of the well known and well thumbed Abhorsen series (Sabriel, Lirael and Abhorsen) comes a series of outtakes from his novels and short stories written over a period of 2 decades. With Nicholas Sayre and the Creature in the Case comes a further look into the lives of the Old Kingdom’s free magic creatures. The Hill epitomizes the relationship of a grandfather and grandson. Charlie Rabbit tells the story of two young children trapped beneath the debris of a war-struck house, and the debris of a war-struck family. Full of variety, this book satiates a Nix-fanatic’s urge for the supernatural as well as giving an unexpected view of the author’s calmer, more serious mindset.
3) The Crystal Cave - Mary Stewart
Arthurian tales are legend. In fact, they are called Arthurian legends. Cliché, cliché, cliché - Merlin the wise guy, Arthur the good guy and together they beat evil. We all know about Arthur and his six-pack perfect body, his heroic tendencies yadda yadda yadda. But how did Arthur GET Excalibur? Who made him the greatest king to touch Anglo-Saxon soil? Merlin. The Crystal Cave is about Merlin and his life, about his childhood, his succession to magic, his requited-for-a-while love and his quest to draw the Lady of the Lake to their side. If you’ve ever felt that Arthur has been hogging all the limelight, and you just wish Merlin would say “Move over! It’s MY turn this time!” this book is perfect for you. And believe me, it is spectacular.
Ayesha Malik

Peanuts are one of the ingredients of dynamite.
The giant squid has the largest eyes in the world.
John Lennon’s first girlfriend was named Thelma Pickles.
Tigers have striped skin, not just striped fur.
“Dreamt” is the only English word that ends in the letters “mt.

“There are no brains in your brain” - Navina Singh
Were you talking to yourself?
“She has a baby, thats why she's pregnant”-Malvika Agarwal
Is Malvika Agarwal a pseudonym for Alaap Gandhi?
“I get good marks because my pen is smart” - Armaan Srinivasan
And I am on time because my watch is fast.
“I could kill Shakespeare.” - Priyanka Agarwal
A bit late, dont you think?
“I dont want to go on the Yamuna Yatra… I dont really like cruises” - Upasana Periwal
What about Tom Cruise?
“Delhi is a cheap country” - Mahi Chopra
No, YOU are a cheap country.

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 Adil Nargolwala, Mahi Titus, Soumya Dasgupta, Tarunima Prabhakar
Editor: Diva Gujral