October, 2008

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The Inter-House Track and Field Meet was held. The results were:
1st - Blue House
2nd - Green House
3rd - Red House
VVS has won three out of five prizes in the National Level Ignite Competition 2008. The results were as follows:
1st Prize- Amnaya Sheel Khosla, Mridung Mathur, Shreyas Kadaba
2nd Prize- Ojasvi Goel
Consolation Prize - Venkatesh Jindal, Viraj Nanda, Ashrant Kohli The students will receive the awards from the former President of India, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam at a prize distribution ceremony at IIM Ahmedabad.
On the 15th of October, the Hindi Tatkaal Pratiyogita was held for Class VI and Preenon Majumdar secured first postition.
A Social Science Essay Writing Competition was held for students of classes IV and V. Sama Kasliwal (IV) and Gaurav Pratap Singh(V) secured first position.

The Vasant Valley School Team (Kunal Datta, Sanjana Malhotra,
Niranjana Menon and Jahan Nargolwala) at the CII Green-I Programme


Vasant Valley Students at the CII, Young Indians, Green-I Contest
The CII Green-I Programme

Two and a half months ago, I came back from summer school to see, on my alcove soft board, a poster. Prize - A Greener School, Prize money - Seven and a half lakhs. Since then, groups of students who volunteered to participate, met on Saturdays, during school hours and after school to come up with a proposal. Brainstorming sessions ensued. Eventually, a few of us came together and created what we like to call Navsrujan - New Life.
Navsrujan was centered around the efficient management and innovation under three main heads, Jalrekha, Shakti and Shodhanam (Water, Power and Waste, respectively), with a fourth, unconventional participatory learning process, or Vijyaan (not Vigyaan).
We thought that our project had been made well. Luckily for us, the judges thought so too. Navsrujan was selected in the top five of over a hundred and twenty school projects, and so, Vasant Valley School had to send a team of five, including the guide teacher, to Mumbai for the final round.
Auditions were held, and those who had taken part in the original formulation of Navsrujan were made to speak and then gruelingly interrogated about its inception, ideas and principles. In the end, the team consisted of Niranjana, Jahan, Sanjana, and me, and so we took the night Rajdhani to Mumbai with high hopes.
We reached, and worked all night, in an attempt to make our presentation perfect, and even showed our movie to people who we didn’t know, so that we could get their feedback. In the morning, we left for the Grand Hyatt, and after a sumptuous lunch, settled down in the conference hall. We met the other schools, and as lots were picked, we found that we were to present in the end. The other schools had some good ideas, and some that were not exactly in competition for the best the judges had seen. In the end, however, Kola Perummal Chetty Vaishnav Senior Secondary School, a school from Chennai, won the cash prize. We got the fourth position and received our trophy the next day, at the International Green Building Conference which had an attendance of around 1000 delegates from all over the world. Later, we attended the International Green Building Exhibition as well.
In conclusion, we feel that we are not just sour grapes when we say that the experience, the ideas, and the interaction we had with the students from the other Green-in-progress schools were the real prize. It is thus not with demoralization or an attitude of loss, but with motivation, invigoration, and drive, that we intend to carry forth Navsrujan, and thus complete what we began.
Kunal Datta

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Another Blatant Feminist Article

Warning: To all you male chauvinists out there, I suggest you skip this article. It might just offend your delicate sensibilities.
One day, on coming back home from school, I switched on the radio and was treated to another madly popular blow to feminism and commitment, a crude and pathetic rendition of a mans “woes” (read” “excuses to mess with the lives of as many women who give him a chance to do so”), a three minute or so long song that sets womanhood back a few hundred years - ‘Whats Love by Shaggy (featuring Akon).
I mean, if you read between the lines (disregarding Shaggys tendency to drawl, mumble and sound utterly incoherent) and Akons persistent crooning (not that that isnt irritating enough); you will find that this song is a dedicated attempt to make a mockery of the female gender (whom those ‘players cant live without and cant give up degrading and insulting) , the idea of commitment and fidelity (do they even know the meaning of the word?) and seem to propagate cheating, commitment phobia, infidelity etc. The works.
“Can’t let you tie me down
I wanna have fun and mess around”
What is that supposed to mean – are women nagging, persistent, whiny creatures, out to capture a man (sort of like huntress and prey, really) and then keep him tied down by any means possible? If the “magnificent” artists who wrote this song seem to be so desperate to find an excuse to end the farce of a relationship so detailed in the song, only to find yet another sadly unaware woman and lure her into the same trap, it only shows that, according to their chauvinistic point of view, women are reduced to being nothing but dependent on the whims and fancies of a man, of any man. Women are inferior, according to them, and theyve blatantly aired that view on a chart-topping single, as it were.
Going into a little more detail about the song, this stereotypical view of women seems to be highlighted by a whining, clingy woman in the background, who says things like “Is this a test?” “Did your friends put you up to this?” and exclamaims “But I love you!” with nauseating frequency; clearly highlighting the poor hapless boyfriend and the super-clingy girlfriend scenario; one that is fabricated to the extreme – no self respecting female says such things, and certainly not in such a desperate tone.
So, if youre a woman, do feminism a favor and switch off the radio/stereo/iPod etc. the next time ‘Whats Love starts to play. Give the person listening to this song a piece of your mind. And all you nice, non-chauvinistic men out there, do the same. Its the least you can do.
Vani Shriya


Enjoying Life through

Don’t worry, “B-COOL”!Who would’ve thought that meditation, an art, the nuances of which are so vast that people spend years trying to decipher them, would have such a simple message? Through an interactive session of just two hours we learnt numerous valuable lessons in dealing with life’s many surprises and, moreover, dealing with ourselves. Our four monastic teachers for that session told us their nicknames with smiles on their serene faces-Sister Jewel, Brother Popcorn, Sister Chowmein and Brother Fast-track. Their manner during their session enabled them to control about 350 students with no raised voices, no sharp words and no help from teachers, but just with their calming presence. They started the session by making us aware of our most basic action-breathing. The intention was to relax us and find our mind in the midst of all its wanderings and give it our full attention. During the basic exercises, breathing and healthy discussions our ‘sisters’ and ‘brothers’ had everyone’s’ undivided attention. BREATH.CALM.OBSERVE.OK.LOVE- this was the trick we were given to overcome our strongest emotions, be it anger, passion, hatred, jealousy or even excitement. We weren’t told to suppress these emotions or let them take over us, but to just accept them, control them and finally overcome them using the principle of”B-COOL”. We can’t say we’ve all transformed and become different people (after all, the session was only for two hours) but it has left a lasting impression and put us on the path of enlightenment, as it were. That day, a basic lesson was put across to the students of classes 9 to 12, and it was certainly well received: Love yourself and you’ll have enough love to give.
Ramya Ahuja and Suvira Chadha

The Monks during the session on Friday


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I Witnessed Kapil Sibal

Late September brought with it a leader of great eminence,
Turned poet with the help of fate, his cellphone and good providence.
Mr. Sibal’s poems are simple at first glance,
But reveal great depth and perception, when given the chance.
Mr. Sibal himself is a mesmerising orator,
To a vast range of themes do his poems cater.
Through this interaction, Mr. Sibal shared his thoughts most intimate,
He spoke of nature, of emotions, and threw some good jokes into it.
From him we learned all he knew of journeys to frozen places,
Of love won, love lost, people with funny names and faces.
Another thing we learned from him – and now we know it well.
With him around, our politics are not headed to hell.
Sara Chatterjee and Arushi Kumar

NSG - Sarvatra Sarvottam Suraksha

The National Security Guard (NSG), a Special Response Unit primarily utilised for counter - terrorism activities, celebrated its Raising Day on the 16th of October in Manesar. The Chief Guest, Union Home minister Shivraj Patil, opened the ceremony with a speech about the recent acts of terrorism that ravaged our country and the need to counter terrorism in all its facets in every corner of the nation.
This speech was followed by an exemplary display of counter terrorism skills by the NSG’s Black Cat Commandos. The display literally started with a boom, startling us all. A host of commandos descended into the stadium within seconds surrounding the terrorist dummies and taking each one down with amazing speed and surgical precision.
The Black Cats then went on to display the skills of their women’s squad, martial arts team and dog squad. Each display was aided by a variety of props including cars, helicopter and even explosives. A new bomb diffusion vehicle that was used by the NSG to diffuse the bombs in Connaught Place on September 13 was also shown.
All in all, our visit to the NSG Raising Day was a thrilling experience thanks to the exhilarating, adrenaline-filled display put up by the Black Cat Commandos. It also gave us a chance to admire their great agility and proficiency, their ability to remain calm as well as the discipline they embodied.
Sanjana Malhotra

Baseless Justification of mindless Prosecution

It is with great regret that I inform you all that India is no longer a secular state. The foundation stone of our country has been picked up and thrown away to leave behind ideals of a Hindustan rather than an India. Has Jihad done this to us? Has it been the large numbers of non-Hindu terrorists, rather? Or is it simply our subconsciously Hindutva oriented minds that have brought us to such an ignominious state?
Yes, it is irrefutable that a large number of the terrorists today are Muslims, but that does in no way justify our ‘Islamophobia’. The world over, a passport with a Muslim name on it will not be allowed to pass without a second glance. A man with a beard and a turban is always looked at suspiciously. Even Sardars are being killed on suspicion.
A base ideal of one of the powerful parties in India, or rather Hindustan, is the term ‘Hindutva’. Hindutva, can be assumed to mean and be equated with narrow fundamentalist Hindu religious bigotry, or be construed to fall within legal prohibition under subsections (3) and/or (3A) of section 123 of the Representation of the People Act in the Constitution of India. So evidently, a political party that has been in power for a significant amount of time, in an apparently secular nation is not secular at all. To add to it all, it has more support than almost any other party in the country, proving that the ideals of a large part of the citizens of India are in fact anti-India.
The Ramjanmabhoomi controversy only put oil into an already crackling fire. The demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992, sparked communal riots whose after effects still continue to this day. It is not simply the communal aspect of the entire situation which is perturbing; the national aspect has been affected as well.
During the Cricket 20-20 World Cup in 2007, on the 15th of September, as the India vs. Pakistan match was being watched at home by fans in Baroda, a region with a large Muslim population, the Pakistani flag was being hoisted on the Muslim side of town. In that sentence, there are two disturbing facts. The first, and the obvious, that the Pakistani flag was being hoisted due to the Muslim’s lack of feeling of patriotism towards India. This can easily be explained by the number of anti-Muslim riots, anti-Muslim ideologies, and anti-Muslim feelings amongst the people of India.
The second, more subtle problem is that there is, in fact, a Muslim side of town. This separation can never be blamed on the minority community, as certain communal parties tend to show. It is simply the reflection of the majority’s oppression, that we call anti-National feelings. So if pro-Muslim feelings are anti-national, aren’t pro-Hindu feelings anti-national too? Apparently not.
What we tend to forget is that we are not a Hindu nation, but simply a majority Hindu nation. What we tend to forget is that people are not powerful just because their community is in the majority. What we tend to forget is that religion is only a “by-the-way” difference, and does not change people’s lives.
What we must remember is that a single difference does not shape a community. A “Muslim Community” in isolation is anti-national, and so is an isolated “Hindu Community”. To hate a Hindu is not to hate all Hindus.
Religion is not the basis of life. A religion is only one path, of many, that we attempt to tread in order to achieve a common goal, oneness. Communalism is, in that respect, a contradiction.
Kunal Datta

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Gizmo’s Story

My name is Vama. I am six years old. One day I saw a little puppy outside my house. The puppy had a cut on its leg and was crying. I picked up the puppy and took it home. My mother picked up the puppy and put medicine on its leg.
I gave the puppy some milk to drink. My mother said we could keep the puppy as it had nowhere to go. We called it Gizmo. Gizmo is a very naughty puppy. I play with Gizmo everyday. I love him very much.
Vama Borah I- C

The camel is useful in many ways. The dung is useful as fuel, the milk is nutritious to drink and the skin is used for making bags, belts, wallets etc…The camel is called ‘the ship of desert’. It has soft padded feet that don’t sink in the sand. The nostrils shut tightly but the camel can still breathe.
Anadya Bhati and Aditya Chopra III- A


What Do I think about the blasts in India?

The blasts in Delhi and in other tourist places of India have been a big disaster in some of our lives. No one can go out of their houses in fear of being killed; everyone is hidden in their houses terrified. I really don’t think it is right: the terrorists have become a menace to our society.
I want to do something about it, I will have to be brave and face these consequences. I could also take support of my elders and encourage them to take serious action against crime and terrorism. The main cause of this is lack of attention given to minority groups; the terrorists are just demanding attention which the government doesn’t give them. If the political leaders want to get positive results they will have to take actions which will help cope with the situation appropriately.” If we help the government, we can surely fight the terrorists,” says monk Thich Nhat Hanh.
But will this horrible nightmare ever finish? The only antidote to this anger and violence is compassion.
It is the media’s responsibility to say the truth and not just water the seeds of hate. “It is not what’s in the story, it is how you say it,” says Thich Nhat Hanh. The masses must be told the true story; the reality must be brought to light and only then and only then can the problem be solved. We cannot fight faceless monsters-the cause of this issue must be controlled not just the consequences. Better security and awareness are secondary measures; actions against the terrorist groups are more important.
In the holidays I watched the movie, ’A Wednesday’ and I learnt that if we work together, we can surely stop crime and terrorism.
Arjun Gupta V- C

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The Book Trolley

1) The Night Watch – Sergei Lukyanenko
There are people and then there are the Others. Powerful beings who owe their allegiance either to the Light or the Dark- The Night Watch or the Day Watch. The two watches are in a constant battle to control the world, and in the absence of that, maintain equilibrium of power. Anton is a Night Watch Agent, one of the Light. His first field mission is to initiate an Other into his Watch. Yet as he slips into the Twilight, he is assaulted with views of a massive Inferno over a young girl, one not seen since the Inferno that began World War Two. Add to that a young Vampire out for her first hunt, an uninitiated Other who has that rare quality of being exactly in the middle of the Light and the Dark and you get one of the most spellbinding fantasy-horror books that catapults you right into the murky depths that are hidden behind the façade of Moscow. Brilliantly written and with a jaw-opening hang-onto-your-head plot, this one CANNOT be missed.
2) The Secret Countess – Eva Ibbotson
Anna was one of the lucrative Russian nobility and then the Revolution happened. Her beloved father dead, her mother in a state of depressed inattentiveness and her trusted Nanny’s betrayal and consequent thieving of her jewels leads her into abject poverty. And then she gets a job as a house-maid in an upper-class British household. All of a sudden her life has changed from ballet performances and diamonds the size of rocks to dusting the staircase and entertaining an eccentric old music lover. And then Anna falls in love with the owner of the mansion. The betrothed owner, to be precise.
This book has just the right doses of love, angst, misunderstanding and grandeur that is so typical of Ibbotson's work. A must read if you like light romances.
-Ayesha Malik


'Tis better to have loved and lost, than to never have loved at all.
-Alfred Lord Tennyson

This House Believes that Life is Uncertain…….

It all began on the October the third. We departed to participate in a debate in The Assam Valley School. Upon touching down at Guwahati, we boarded a bus to the school which was a five-and-a-half hour drive from the city. The eternal stretches of tea gardens and fresh green air felt like heaven. This land seemed peaceful and serene. Suddenly, the bus screeched to a halt abruptly and all hell broke loose. We witnessed people fleeing in hordes, shopkeepers slamming down their shutters while still inside, children screaming all set in the backdrop of dust and horror. The green haven had unexpectedly transformed into a maze of hellish terror. The bus curtains were drawn, windows shuttered and the bus fled to seek shelter in a nearby police station. I sat in the sweltering coffin-like bus, and witnessed truck loads of women and children being rescued from harm’s reach. The wails from the village women, silent tear streaked faces of the innocent children left me speechless, anxious and helpless. Having received the green signal it was safe we started on our dreaded journey.
The bus caved its path through the black silence, slower than a snail. When we received the news that 5 villages had been burnt to cinders, it seemed as if a red-light had halted our journey. Thus it was decided that we would spend the night at an army camp. The army men were ever so hospitable; they tried their best to make us feel at home and safe. We were made to stay overnight in the dispensary. This nightmare could be the set of any Hollywood film complete with tall stringent filthy bottles, mottled pills, glutinous tonics and some suspicious blood stains on the sheets. No-one slept a wink all night, for who knows what had inhabited those very beds? We continued our journey at the crack of dawn. Finally, after all the horrors and a journey that seemed to have taken an eternity, we reached our destination. We put on brave faces. We knew we had to be focused, determined and face the actual challenge that we had come here for.
The first round which was the Oxford style was a cakewalk thanks to Ayesha Malik and Soumya Gupta. Ayesha bagged the title of the ‘Most Promising Speaker’. However, we knew that was just the start. The following day after icy cold baths and a rushed breakfast we set off to the Resource Centre to get ready for the Parliamentary Style and now it was my turn to help my team strike hardest and be the secret weapon!! Sitting on the stage made me feel empowered. As I heard my name being called I felt a rush of adrenaline and once I was at the rostrum I just knew that nothing could hold me back. When the spotlight picked me out and a sea of silent faces looked at me with rapt attention- I somehow felt I was where I always wanted to be. Vasant Valley School was the First Runners Up. I knew I could and would make a difference. As the bus wound its way back to Guwhati I had grown as a person, and grown immensely.
American folksinger Joan Baez sums it up most aptly, “You don’t get to choose how you’re going to die or when. You can only decide how you’re going to live. Now…”
Tara Sen

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The festival of lights is just around the corner, and amidst all the cracker-purchasing, anti-pollution lecture-giving and holiday plan-making, we decided to ask Vasant Valley a question – when, according to the Hindu lunar calendar, is Diwali celebrated?

“In some month.” Tanya Najhawan

“Christmas!!!” Anushree Kalia
“Sometime during Holi?” Akash Chopra
“Ayodhya.” Anirudh Bhatt

“After some guy’s birthday.” Raghav Mehta


“On a full moon.” Gyan Pratap Singh

Shocking. According to the Hindu Calendar, Diwali is celebrated on the first day of the lunar month, Kartika.

Sara Chatterjee: “Isn’t that the same as plagiarising?”
How, erm, pleasant.

Rishabh Prakash: “Look at your hair; you have such a bad tailor!”
Look at your logic; we pity you...

Athletes of the Year 2008: Gurbaaz Khera, Niharika Alwa and Caroline Augustine


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