Inside Delhi

Unusual stunt

Is it technology? Or money? Or the jargon of "freedom'' and "discovering'' oneself? Perhaps a combination of all this and much more that appears to be making the adolescent years even more strenuous nowadays, was the conclusion.

It could be a conversation between just about anyone, anywhere and anytime over the past several centuries. As it was, this particular exchange was between two middle-aged mothers using the public transport system in the Capital.

But whatever the reason, with the stress of trying to be "cool" or "in", many a time Generation X crosses the line, the worried mothers added. And into the conversation entered the recent sensational incident of a boy recording his classmate in a sexual act and then sending it out as an MMS to his friends. Just as the tone of the discussion turned anxious, attention was drawn towards a group of well-dressed young boys standing by the roadside. Obviously looking for a lift, the boys were trying to attract the attention of commuters. But instead of following the usual "thumb" rule in asking for lifts, this young man thought a "surprise'' element might work better.

Shocking the commuters on the road, the boy in one swift movement lifted his T-shirt. What was even worse was that instead of dissuading him, his friends egged him on, hooting as the young man stood smiling.

As the cars sped past, this young man continued with his stunt to attract commuters. The minute's distraction was enough fuel for the mothers to resume their conversation with vigour.

A positive step

World AIDS Day this past week saw the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi taking a positive step forward aimed at ensuring access to health care and support for those diagnosed HIV-positive. Beginning December 1, the U.S. Embassy has adopted a policy ensuring that all HIV-positive employees would have access to health care and institutional support.

These include access to lifetime antiretroviral therapy for HIV-positive employees and their spouses, if needed.

The policy will apply to all American, Indian and U.S. Government employees in Delhi and at consulates in Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata.

According to officials, the policy protects people's confidentiality and their jobs and takes a strong stand against discrimination based on HIV status and provides for ongoing education on HIV/AIDS for the staff members through training sessions and peer education.

Explaining why the policy was so important, officials claimed that this was the first step towards taking a public stand and a "healthy step" on a serious health issue.

Officials are also hoping that the HIV/AIDS policy will be a model for other institutions, especially for the Indians business community, and an opportunity for business leaders to help battle the epidemic through similar policies in their workplaces.

"I know that some business establishments have already started model workplace programmes and we are also funding some of them. However, there is still a huge gap in the response from the private sector. We are ready to work in partnership with large corporations and business association to scale up our programmes and involves more business and industries in HIV/AIDS prevention and care,'' said Robert O. Blake Jr, Charge d' Affaires at the U.S. Embassy, speaking about the programme.

Beating the chill

Delhi's very own amusement park, Appu Ghar, has an interesting new addition: an indoor hot water park that opened this past week.

Set against a white-canopied ambience -- created by experts who worked round-the-clock for about a month -- the stark white interior is interspersed with handcrafted ethnic images. To offset the white look, flying birds and fluttering leaves have been depicted in the panels. Then there are stars dotting the skyline and balloons of different hues adding colour, warmth and richness to the pristine white.

The water park is just the place to be in this winter to beat the chill. The temperature indoor has been maintained at 30 degrees C while the water is comfortably warm at 32 degrees. Visitors can enjoy a swim in the wave pool, a lazy siesta in the swimming pool or a brave plunge in the jacuzzi. That is not all. There is also a dance floor with lights where visitors can shake a leg to lilting remixes and popular tunes. The park is open from 12 noon to 8 p.m.

By Anjali Dhal Samanta, Bindu Shajan Perappadan and Madhur Tankha

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