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Formed by the Ex-Students of Campion School the OLD CAMPIONITES ASSOCIATION (OCA) is a Trust registered under the BPT Act having Trust Reg. # F-55842 (M) and PAN # AAATO4190K and formed namely to carry out social educational and charitable activities for the greater enhancement of society in general.



The OCA would like extend its gratitude and thank the Principal, Staff / Ex Staff and Ex Students of Campion School for their inputs and help in setting up this website. Also, special thanks to our Sponsors who made this happen.

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CBSE & ICSE Kids Still Carry Heavy Bags

2016 07 23 CBSEEducation minister Vinod Tawde has said CBSE and ICSE schools are not doing enough to reduce the weight of school bags. He said there is 80% compliance by state government schools to reduce the weight of school bags of students. “However, ICSE and CBSE schools have work books and other additional things that are a part of their syllabus. We will sit with them to see how the weight of school bags can be reduced without affecting their syllabus,“ Tawde said while replying to a query by Congress's Sanjay Dutt. He said not all issues can be resolved by taking strict action and that these issues need to be resolved by counselling the schools. Dutt wanted to know the steps taken by the government to ensure school bags are made lighter. “There are many children who are still carrying school bags that are very heavy , which causes back and neck pain,“said Dutt. Following a Bombay High Court order, the state government has taken steps to reduce the weight of school bags carried by students -this rule is applicable to all the schools in the state.

BSE Setting Up An International Exchange At GIFT City: Niranjan Hiranandani

2016 07 17 BSE Setting Up An International Exchange At GIFT City“Media reports mention the BSE ‘ringing its bell’ at its international bourse, which will be located within GIFT City during the Vibrant Gujarat Summit in January 2017. " Niranjan Hiranandani described this as a positive development for the IFSC @ GIFT City. The International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) which is coming up within the Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT City), Ahmedabad, will drive global business growth for India’s Banking Financial Services and Insurance sector (BFSI), and create a hub which will power the global growth story for the Indian BFSI sector, said Niranjan Hiranandani, MD, Hiranandani Communities. “The growth story will not just be restricted to global banking and finance, it will also include international insurance, reinsurance and stock broking, apart from Information Technology (IT) and Information Technology enabled Services (ITeS),” he added. Recently, the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) Managing Director and CEO Ashish Kumar Chauhan mentioned that BSE having received approval from its Board for setting up of an international exchange in Gujarat's GIFT City. He added that the BSE ‘will apply to the regulator, SEBI’, in this regard. Niranjan Hiranandani described this as a positive development for the IFSC @ GIFT City. “Media reports mention the BSE ‘ringing its bell’ at its international bourse, which will be located within GIFT City during the Vibrant Gujarat Summit in January 2017. What is exciting is that this is not just about equities, the BSE international stock exchange @ GIFT City has plans to offer all asset classes which will include equity derivative, currency derivate, interest rate derivative, and international and domestic commodities," he said. The new exchange will also help global companies raise finance from other overseas investors. “In the days following the announcement, we have seen enhanced interest in terms of space being sought at the Hiranandani project, ‘Signature’, which is all set to be the first commercial tower ready for fit-outs by the year-end,” said Mr Niranjan Hiranandani. “Just as the BSE’s international exchange is scheduled to ‘ring the bell’, we are also planning to launch ‘Signature’ in January 2017, during the Vibrant Gujarat Summit,” he added. Sharing information about the fast-pace of progress as regards construction at ‘Signature’, Niranjan Hiranandani said the IFSC would not just provide Indian BFSI sector with an ideal platform to mark their presence in the global markets, but also provide a platform for commodities. “The IFSC @ GIFT City has widened its ambit to also include the IT and ITeS sector, international insurance, reinsurance and Arbitration,” he added. ‘Signature’ is a 400,000 sq ft, 16 storied commercial building, in which 50,000 sq ft of space has been booked by Kotak Mahindra Bank, as also by other leading organizations from the BFSI sector. It dove-tails perfectly into the vision of GIFT City, which offers global firms world-class infrastructure and facilities. GIFT City aims to attract the top talent in the country by providing the finest quality of life all with integrated townships, IFSC and multi-specialty special economic zone (SEZ), he added. “We have welcomed some of India’s biggest players from the BFSI segment to ‘Signature’, the remaining spaces are being picked up. Now, we are evaluating enquiries for space in ‘Signature’ from leading players in equity, commodity as also the insurance sectors. GIFT City is a project which will create leading-edge infrastructure, services and platforms and offer Financial Services Enterprises a significant competitive advantage to operate regionally and globally - with the corresponding success story for Ahmedabad’s real estate as well,” Mr Niranjan Hiranandani concluded.

Zubin Mehta: A Musical Journey; Book Review

ZUBIN MEHTA was “a child of music”, having learned to sing and speak at almost the same time. While growing up, he was attracted not to toys... Zubin Mehta: A Musical Journey Bakhtiar K Dadabhoy Penguin Pp 430 R899 ZUBIN MEHTA was “a child of music”, having learned to sing and speak at almost the same time. While growing up, he was attracted not to toys, but to musical instruments, his favorite being a pair of drum sticks. Mehta grew up in Bombay’s Cuffe Parade in a Parsi family, which like other Parsi families, had embraced western classical music. Bakhtiar K Dadabhoy writes an intense story, weaving together the maestro’s “music and life, history and biography, professional and personal”. Though the first hints of Mehta’s future greatness came from a horoscope reading—“the child would be a leader of a group of people”—his musical foundation was undoubtedly laid by his father Mehli Mehta, “a musician and conductor of no mean merit”. The senior Mehta also founded the Bombay Symphony Orchestra in 1935, a year before Mehta was born. So the child was surrounded by classical music, Schubert, Brahms, Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, etc, while growing up. Dadabhoy quotes an interview Mehta’s mother Tehmina gave in 1988 in which she said that, as a child, he had two or three favourite records. When he was sick or in pain, he would be soothed if they played the records. But as soon as the music stopped, he would start crying. The general lack of enthusiasm for western classical music in Bombay—and India—and the prospect of a potential career in western classical music convinced the family to send Mehta to Vienna—which would become his second home—at the age of 18 years. And it’s to Vienna that he owes his “whole concept of sound”. In fact, in 1960, at 24 years of age, he became the conductor of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra and, a year later, he was named conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. In 1961, at the age of 25 years, he also became the youngest conductor to lead the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, one of the many firsts in his grand musical career. On January 19, 1968, Time magazine put him on its cover. He was only 31 years old then. To Dadabhoy’s credit, the book fleshes out Mehta’s musical journey with anecdotes and interviews, not always flattering, with his friends, family and followers. His infamous fallout with Los Angeles Philharmonic music director Georg Solti, his crossover concert with Frank Zappa, the tempestuous relationship with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra musicians, his ‘playboy’ image—we get to know Mehta completely with warts and all. However, nothing scores like his musical journey. We also get a peek into the lives of other influential musicians like pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim, who met Mehta in the 1950s in Siena when the former was just 12 years old and both were taking classes at the Academia Musical Chigiana. Their lifelong friendship and other such musical liaisons are celebrated in these pages. For instance, the great conductor Karlheinz Bohm willed Mehta his Nikisch ring—a rare dark-brown pearl set in a circle of diamonds—which he had worn for many years. Mehta kept it locked away and has told his biographer that he has given the ring to Barenboim, who will surely pass it on to another conductor. But, as Dadabhoy writes, “the biggest romance” of Mehta’s musical life has been with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, which he first conducted in 1961 when the famous conductor Eugene Ormandy pulled out. His stage brilliance apart, Mehta has often played in tense areas: on the borders of Israel and Palestine, Sarajevo, Srinagar, etc. Dadabhoy quotes Mehta: “As a conductor, I express myself through music. I try to help, and also to protest or to make people think. This I think is a wonderful responsibility.” Two ‘overwhelming’ facts hung in the air when Dadabhoy was consumed by the idea of writing this biography. One, much of Mehta’s life is “already in the public domain”. Two, Mehta had himself published his memoirs, Zubin Mehta: The Score of my Life, in 2008. But thankfully, Dadabhoy didn’t banish the idea and decided to launch this biography in April, coinciding with the conductor’s 80th birthday.

Having The Last Word In Healthcare Advertising

476067-praful-and-amit-akaliIndia had a great start at the 2016 Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, with Mumbai-based Medulla Communications bagging the Healthcare Agency of the Year in the Lions Health category – a first for the country. ExCampionites Praful Akali (1992) and Amit Akali, (1990) former Grey creative chief, front men of the agency, bagged seven Pharma Lions in all: two Golds, two Silvers, and three Bronzes. Their campaign, 'Last Words', for the Indian Association of Palliative Care, hit home. They speak to Anuka Roy about their win, the healthcare advertising scenario in India and what lies ahead. You are a young agency, having been set up in 2008, but your works have been winning awards over the years. But being 'Healthcare Agency of the Year' is a big deal. Your sentiments as you look back on your eight-year journey… Praful Akali (PA): We feel proud to have won ‘Agency of the Year’ for India. We are happy to have made India proud. A B-Pharm degree followed by a PGDM from an IIM is a winning formula to lead a healthcare agency. Plus a brother who is among the top creative professionals in the country. So what would you attribute your success to? PA: Our success is based on our philosophy of integrating medical, creative and strategy, which is why all our communication -- whether for clients or awards -- has been appreciated. The rest has been about focusing on the advertising basics. If you look at any healthcare advertising agency, either in India or even abroad, they understand healthcare but not necessarily advertising. So the planning pieces of advertising, the basic creative and strategic processes, are not followed. An advertising agency does not necessarily get healthcare and very few have a healthcare arm. We felt that we needed an agency which got both advertising and healthcare. When Amit joined us, we used him as Chief Creative Officer to bring a basic creative strategy and philosophy on board, and also hire great creative people. Amit Akali (AA): When I left Grey two years ago, I felt that the level of strategy and creativity in a niche industry, was not the same as in mainline agencies. In the healthcare agency that already existed six years ago, called Medulla, while the strategy (coming from Praful’s background of IIM) was world-class, and their medical team was among the best in the world, where creativity was concerned Medulla had benchmarked itself against the Indian healthcare industry. We were clear that with the medical expertise already there, the creativity had to be benchmarked to the best in the world, and so we benchmarked it against Cannes. Last year was the first time we entered at Cannes, and became the No. 3 agency in the world. That is when we decide that we owe it to ourselves to now become No. What are the challenges of being a healthcare agency as against a regular creative shop? PA: The communication you have in healthcare can genuinely impact the lives of people. But the regulatory barriers, in terms of more complex messaging, also have to be medically robust. The complexity of medical advertising means that my creative has more pegs to hang things on. And the other things – like medically robust communication, saying the right thing and being ethically correct -- is the same for all kinds of advertising. Agencies from Mexico, South Korea and Indonesia have been telling us that they are glad that an Indian agency won because the work has been truly inspiring for them. AA: Healthcare has its regulations and restrictions. All your life you work on briefs for cold drinks, chips and chocolates and suddenly, over here healthcare is a completely new sector and the briefs are very specific. For me, coming from mainline, the propositions were really fresh. In healthcare, you also have a medical team that is part of the creative process. They come up with the knowledge of the product and they really give you very sharp briefs to reap off. Tell us about your client, the Indian Association of Palliative Care, for whose campaign (‘Last Words’) you bagged two Golds and a Silver. PA: ‘Last Words’ is not a simple campaign. It is a huge project for the Indian Association of Palliative Care (IAPC), and gave us a lot of emotional connect with everyone, including the jury. The campaign has been a personal journey for us. Our mother was suffering from cancer and wanted to die at home, and not in the hospital. At the last stage, she was in such bad shape that we had to move her to a hospital, and she died in the ICU. We were not sure if we had done the right thing since we had not heard of palliative care. Later, when IAPC was looking for a campaign, we were inspired by our own journey. Palliative care reduces pain in the last stage and provides counseling to both the patient and the family to prepare them. You always expect that your last words will be heard by your family, but when we realised that the last words are actually heard by nurses, we did this campaign with nurses, and chose the strongest last words to become a part of the AV and online film. Healthcare advertising is not really big in India. Do you think winning 'Agency of the Year' will change that? PA: I think it is already happening. When we were there, we met everyone from the Indian advertising fraternity, and they were all proud of the win. A lot of them may not have heard of Medulla because healthcare advertising was not necessarily on their radar, but they were proud. Realising the potential of healthcare advertising is already happening. Between last year and this year, I think the number of entries from India in the Cannes Lion Healthcare category has increased five-fold while entries from across the world have gone up by 40 per cent. People are realising that healthcare advertising can genuinely change lives and is an opportunity for people to do more impactful communication. AA: At Cannes, we presented JWT’s Blood Bank project and the Blue Dot project by McCann. Clearly, the focus this year was on healthcare, not just from Medulla but India. Healthcare is a very important sector in a developing country like India. Twenty years back, Ogilvy worked for the Pulse Polio campaign and helped eradicate polio. In a country like India, healthcare and healthcare communication have importance, but specialised healthcare agencies are not doing as much creative work as the mainline agencies. That is something Medulla set out to change two years ago, and that has clearly happened. Amit Akali Last year was the first time we entered at Cannes, and became the No 3 agency in the world. That is when we decided that we owe it to ourselves to now become No 1. A Grand Prix still eludes you. Are you aiming for that next year? PA: The ‘Last Words’ campaign, we were later told, was considered for a Grand Prix. For us the big aim was clearly to become Agency of the Year. I do not think that a Grand Prix is necessarily the peg, but there are pegs of winning even more awards the next year, and making people realise that it was not a flash in the pan, but that Indian advertising is very mature when it comes to healthcare. We want to do some of the best international advertising work in pharma and healthcare, and if tomorrow we do that and people laud the work done by an Indian agency, that would mean more for us than a Grand Prix.

Tharoor on Brexit Vote: Direct Democracy and Dangerous Outcomes

2016 06 27 Tharoor on Brexit Vote - CopyIn a historic vote of sorts, Britain decided to quit the European Union, with Prime Minister David Cameron announcing he would not continue after October. As Britain’s referendum takes the entire world by shock, ExCampionite class of '71 Shashi Tharoor writes on the fallout of direct democracy in a polity. Following is an excerpt of an article on Brexit vote. One issue that Indians would well find worth asking is whether the sort of “direct democracy” practiced in Britain on Thursday offers more perils than benefits to nations. Our political system, modelled on the British, requires our people to elect representatives who then, in their wisdom, are entrusted to take decisions and pass laws on their behalf. Other systems, notably the Swiss, refer all major decisions to referenda in which the public as a whole vote to determine policy outcomes. Cameron’s awkward marriage of the two practices revealed a lack of political courage – his inability to face down anti-EU sentiment in his own party. But passing the buck to the general public deprives political leaders of the authority they have earned by responsible practice of their profession. Power of Decision-Making Referenda change the basis of national decision-making from politics to popular sentiment, and the sources of judgement from experts to demagogues. The considerations that normally weigh heavily in the minds of finance ministers, for instance, are wholly absent from the thoughts of voters, who are more likely to be reacting to the unaccustomed sound of foreign languages on the bus. But if democracy is rule of, by and for the people, shouldn’t the people get to make the major decisions that affect their lives? Fair question, but the real answer is that in a representative democracy, they do – every five years in India -- by electing their representatives. The people are sovereign in a democracy, but they exercise their sovereignty through a parliament that is meant to reflect their wishes. If politicians become out of touch with the people they claim to represent, they can be tossed out of office at the next election. To make decisions like this by referendum is to abdicate a major responsibility of the political class – to make informed decisions on behalf of the people they serve. Brexit’s Ripple Effect The pound sterling has already dropped 10 percent against the US dollar, and investors are bracing themselves for a market crash. The UK economy will wobble, whether or not it recovers soon enough, as Leave supporters optimistically claim it will. Brexit will give new impetus to demands for separation from Scotland, which voted overwhelmingly to remain in the European Union. Cosmopolitan, European-accented London will change unrecognizably. Borders will spring up where they had disappeared, as with Ireland. But these are not consequences that would have occurred to the grumpy senior who voted to restore Britain to an imagined state of half-remembered imperial glory. Rule by Referendum Brexit teaches us the dangers of rule by referendum. Letting policies with wide ramifications be settled by the emotions of a moment will only ensure that popular sentiment holds sway over informed decision-making. That is not what representative democracy is about. David Cameron will have a long time available to contemplate his folly in plunging his country into the vortex of uncertainty out of short-term political expediency. For the rest of us, there are larger things to contemplate – the backlash against globalization, the reassertion of old-fashioned nationalism in the face of eroding borders, the rise of anti-immigrant xenophobia and the risks of making national policy by populism. Donald Trump will be heartened by today’s result. Just a year ago no one would have imagined that Europe, Britain and the US would constitute major threats to global geopolitical stability. Today, thanks to Brexit, they are. Pandora has popped out of her box, and no one knows where she will take the world. (Former UN under-secretary-general, Shashi Tharoor is a Congress MP and an author)

Global Trade & Business will be Impacted by Brexit: Niranjan Hiranandani

51195557The British people have voted to exit from the European Union (EU). It needs to be viewed in perspective of the impact it will have on global business, as also viewed from an Indian perspective, The dooms-day predictions were out before the vote, and some of those may come true – but not all. The United Kingdom (UK) has effectively brought into focus the worry of globalization impacting localization – and the ‘learning’ from this will take some time to be properly understood. Indian corporate entities having exposure to either the EU and /or the UK markets, in terms of trade or business located there, will in all probability, face challenging times From an India-specific perspective, BREXIT will impact global commodity process as also impact volatility in global currency markets – with the results impacting the Indian economy as well. A large number of Indian companies operating across the European Union (EU) are based out of London, and the impact will be felt in terms of location-based shift in taxation advantages. We will probably see London’s commercial spaces getting impacted in terms of pricing, and for Indian real estate, the learning is on the aspect of closing down one’s market versus opening it up to global investments. ExCampionite class of '66 Niranjan Hiranandani is Founder & MD, Hiranandani Group. His recent initiative is Hiranandani Communities. He is the Founder and First President (Maharashtra), National Real Estate Development Council (NAREDCO), which works under the aegis of Ministry of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation, Government of India.

Rishi Kapoor To Attend Indian Film Festival of Melbourne As Guest of Honour.

IndiaTv62320d_rishi_kapoorVeteran actor and ExCampionite class of '69 Rishi Kapoor will attend the upcoming edition of the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne as the guest of honour. According to news reports, the 2016 festival is centred on the theme of women empowerment and has Vidya Balan as its ambassador. Films like Leena Yadav's 'Parched' and Pan Nalin's 'Angry Indian Goddesses' will be showcased at the festival which be held in the Australian city from August 11-21.

‘Not Just Building Square Feet of Space: Being ‘Green’ and Eco-friendly is Part of our Vision': Niranjan Hiranandani

hiranandani_44819Sustainable Development is all about being eco-friendly, coupled with an intelligent usage of natural resources, said ExCampionite class of '66 Niranjan Hiranandani, the visionary who has been the driving force behind real estate projects created under the Hiranandani brand. Hiranandani Gardens, Powai, Mumbai; Hiranandani Meadows and Hiranandani Estate, Thane; are path-breaking projects which created the model of integrated townships; something that has transformed Indian real estate. On-going projects include Signature, a commercial tower at GIFT City, Ahmedabad; Hiranandani Fortune City, Panvel and Hiranandani Parks, Oragadam, Chennai. “The Panvel and Oragadam, Chennai projects will offer the signature Hiranandani offering, of an integrated township which offers work-spaces located within walking distance of residential real estate. “These projects make the ‘walk to work and walk back home’ concept a reality,” said Niranjan Hiranandani. The catch-word is creating a project where real estate construction is set amidst green spaces, as opposed to creating constructed spaces and laying out green spots in between, h explained. Being eco-friendly and green is an integral part of this, and this includes community living that is defined by being environment-friendly, he added. “Water is a scarce resource, and its ‘intelligent usage’ includes rain water harvesting, sewage treatment and well-managed water distribution system within the project. Ensuring that sustainable development is a success, being environment-friendly has always been ‘in-focus’ during the planning and implementation process at our projects,” he added. The Hiranandani Group prides itself on being the first to come up with integrated townships in India which are eco-friendly, and intelligent usage of natural resources is part of the success story. “Water, a scarce resource, has been ‘in-focus’ during the planning and implementation process at Hiranandani Fortune City, Panvel and Hiranandani Parks, Oragadam,” explained Niranjan Hiranandani. “When we look at the creation of an integrated township – or, mixed - use township, as we refer to the same in present day – it has been about making sustainable buildings, with a holistic approach,” said Niranjan Hiranandani. It is not just about building townships. We ensure that the quality of life of people who live in them gets enhanced. Being ‘Green’ and environment-friendly is part of this vision, and saving water, conserving it -- as also recycling and reusing it -- is part of the ‘Magic Mantra’. This process at the Hiranandani integrated townships has created the basis for a verdant green environment, and home-owners within these project are among the lucky few who enjoy the difference,” he added. The world-class townships which introduced integrated lifestyles: Hiranandani Gardens in Powai, Mumbai as also Hiranandani Estate and Hiranandani Meadows in Thane, have become preferred residential and commercial locations; similar state-of-the-art mix-use township projects are all set to follow in locations like Panvel, Pune and Ahmedabad. These mixed-use townships are acknowledged for humanizing the urban environment and striking an attractive balance between greenery and construction. At Hiranandani Parks, Oragadam, water bodies punctuate verdant green ‘naturescapes’, while Hiranandani Fortune City, Panvel offers a verdant green environment. The aspect of striking an attractive balance between greenery and construction is best explained by the project plan, which is people, economy and environment-centric, he explains. “At Hiranandani Estate, Thane, used water is treated through Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) and the water generated is used for maintaining the lush green gardens as also cleaning purposes,” he said. “About 2 MLD is treated at central plants and 2.5 MLD is treated at package plants at different locations. Similarly, rainwater harvesting plants (RWH) have been installed; during the monsoons, around 1 MLD water is reused by the immediate rainwater harvesting method,” he explained. The past record at Powai and Thane has been that on an average, 50 per cent of the water demand of the integrated townships is met by recycling and reusing water through STPs and rainwater harvesting systems. “We have planned to better this at Hiranandani Parks, Oragadam; and Hiranandani Fortune City, Panvel,” smiled Niranjan Hiranandani. “These will turn out to be true, eco-friendly ‘mixed - use townships’ with integrated, intelligent usage of natural resources, which effectively, strikes an attractive balance between greenery and construction,” he added. "I think the company has now turned into an institution wherein being ‘environment-friendly’ is not only for the management or myself, it has become critical to not just the organization but all stakeholders," said Niranjan Hiranandani. "That definition – all stakeholders - primarily includes residents and intending buyers. Also, our staff, our suppliers, our contractors, and people concerned about the environment. Save water: reuse-replenish-recycle!" concluded Niranjan Hiranandani.

Happy Fathers Day!!


Rishi Kapoor: Producers Shouldn’t Misuse This Freedom

Rishi Kapoor - CopyWhile lauding the High Court's judgment in favour of 'Udta Punjab', veteran Bollywood actor and ExCampionite class of '69 Rishi Kapoor expresses a tangible fear. Rishi Kapoor is not one to mince words. And as someone who's always on the ball with current issues and quick with his frank and relevant opinions, the actor is delighted with the Bombay High Court censuring the Censor Board for playing 'grandma' with 'Udta Punjab'. He says, "I want to belong to my fraternity. I feel justice and wiser sense has prevailed. Pahlaj (Nihalani, Board chief) has made a mockery of the situation. You can't stifle cinematic voices like this. This is not the '60s when half of India was illiterate. There are far more intelligent people now. Pahlaj was looking for some kind of importance. This is not the way to go about it and I am glad he was pulled up. "But, I am a bit worried now. Producers shouldn't misuse this freedom. I am quite sure they will. This is a bhed chaal waali industry. So, everyone will try and take advantage of the situation. They will start crossing the line, use offensive, unpalatable stuff even if it's not relevant to the film's subject."

Dolly Thakore, Viveck Vaswani Join LIFFI Line-Up

1977ViveckanandVaswani2Veteran actress Dolly Thakore and actor-producer and ExCampionite class of '77 Viveck Vaswani will be a part of the Lonavla International Film Festival India (LIFFI), to be held September 1-5. Thakore will be a jury member, while Vaswani will be a moderator for Q&A sessions post the film's screenings at the festival, where seasoned actor Naseeruddin Shah will reveal the LIFFI trophy. Interestingly, all awards of the fest are being dedicated in memory of eminent professionals like film editor Renu Saluja, cinematographer V.K. Murthy, music composer Khemchand Prakash and others. Also joining the first time gala will be film critic and director Khalid Mohamed as a moderator for the Q&A sessions. There will also be a screening of a documentary that Mohamed made on filmmaker Shyam Benegal. "I feel extremely obliged and privileged to receive extensive support for LIFFI from Viveck Vaswani, Khalid Mohamed, Dolly Thakore, people who are known to establish some big international film festivals including MAMI," Bajaj said. LIFFI already has Naseeruddin and Benegal's support apart from names like Ketan Mehta, Sudhir Mishra and Hansal Mehta. The opening ceremony will see Benegal present the Lifetime Achievement Award to Govind Nihalani, known for his socially relevant films like "Aakrosh" and "Ardh Satya". A retrospective of his films will also be held.

Cannes 2016: When It Comes To Media, Indian Ads Miss Out..: Ashish Bhasin

2016 06 14 Cannes 2016 - Copy“Judging is a lot of hard work… It’s much more hard work than most people give it credit for. However, it’s something I look forward to because it’s always great to see good quality work,” says Ashish Bhasin, ExCampionite class of '81 and Chairman and CEO, South East Asia, Dentsu Aegis Network, who is on jury for Media Lions at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity to be held next week. Bhasin speaks about his approach as a juror,India’s prospects in the media category and much more… You were a juror at Cannes in 2007, and again this year. How are you approaching it this time? It’s always nice to be on a Cannes jury, because it helps give a very good perspective on the quality of work across the world, especially when you are only exposed to what’s happening in India or APAC. There are horror stories about how gruelling the judging process is for jury members… Judging is a lot of hard work. You are sort of locked in a room from morning to night and on some days, really long nights. It’s much more hard work than most people give it credit for. However, it’s something I look forward to because it’s always great to see good quality work. But it’s definitely not a joy ride. What would you be looking for in the entries that you judge? It has to be innovation, creativity, and newer ways of using media. Over the last few years, digital has become a huge trend. But as far as the consumer is concerned, he/she is not seeing it as online, offline, digital and non-digital separately, but is exposed to various elements of media at one go. The separations are more in our minds than in the consumer’s mind. So, I will be looking at brands which have integrated that well. What are the other trends you see within the media category that must reflect in the judging process? They are data, digital and technology which have been growing since the last few years and I see that continuing even this year. However, there will be more emphasis on data and technology, besides just digital. I have also noticed a tendency of late of passing off gimmicks as innovations. Just putting something at an angle in a newspaper or doing something which is gimmicky might work as an attention grabbing act, but that’s not called media innovation. As the industry matures, I hope there will be less of gimmicks and more of genuine long term innovations and creative work. Also with the data and digital explosion, there is a very thin line between creative and media, so very hard to see where one stops and the other starts. Therefore, media is becoming creative and creative is deriving from media as well as from data. Tell us about the exceptional pieces of media work that you have seen this year. There has been some fantastic work on targeting in search where I have seen use of big data in an effective manner. While everybody talks about big data, very few people actually use it in a simplistic yet effective manner. There is some good work on mobile, particularly out of UK. From an India perspective, we tend to be more television-dominated and our entries sometimes are like events or out of home or melas. So, I am sure we will have entries of that kind as well coming in this time. What are India’s prospects in the media category this year? There has been some good work, but generally entries from India suffer on two counts. While we have some amount of gimmickry, we miss out on genuine innovations as far as media is concerned. The second is, as a country we have not yet learnt to present our work as well as we should. The attention span of judges at Cannes is very limited because they are judging hundreds of entries and are literally confined to a room all day. Therefore, it is human nature to pick something that is presented well because it catches your attention better. Our excuse is that our advertising is in the local language, so the foreign juror does not understand it, which is not true. I have seen outstanding work from South American countries which are not in English, but presented in such a manner that an English-speaking jury understands it.

Rishi Kapoor Has The Most Hilarious Take On The ‘Udta Punjab’ Controversy!

p_1465381826_725x725 - CopyWe have always loved ExCampionite class of '69 Rishi Kapoor’s take on issues. On Twitter, he is one hilarious man! He is one fearless man who doesn’t think twice before tweeting anything. Remember how few days ago he tweeted about Congress for having their names everywhere. This created a huge controversy but it doesn’t really affect him. Udta Punjab controversy has caught social media’s attention and everyone has their own take on it! While it is clearly Udta Punjab v/s CBFC now, Rishi Kapoor has his own take on the controversy. He tweeted: Think. Jo naam badalne chaiyen,un par amal naheen kar rahen hain! Koi "Udta" hua cheez badalna chahte hain. "Punjab" expose ho jayega na lol.

The Return of Mandrake

2016 06 12 The Return of MandrakeMandrake the magician is making it to film. For those who remember the old Indrajal Comics, the magician and his entourage, including Lothar, African prince and `the world's strongest man', Hojo, the chef and black belt, Narda, his love interest and others, were a source of a lot of fun for kids growing up in the 60s and 70s. Mandrake has appeared on screen before ­ in 1939, Columbia produced a 12-part Mandrake the Magician serial, based on the King Features strip, starring Warren Hull as Mandrake and Al Kikume as Lo thar. Even acclaimed Italian director Frederico Fellini intended to make a Mandrake movie in the 1960s, but the project never got off the ground. Now, Mandrake will be played by Sacha Baron Cohen.

Rough Book In Cinemas – 24th June


Microsoft Opens Centre In Gurgaon To Fight Cybercrime

Microsoft-l-ap - CopyTechnology giant Microsoft has unveiled its Cyber Security Engagement Center (CSEC) in Gurgaon in a bid to drive public-private partnerships to fight cyber crime and strengthen cooperation with Indian businesses, government and academic organizations on cyber security. “India stands at an exciting threshold today as data becomes a key driver of growth across every sector and industry and cloud based computing become more prevalent. Cyber security is crucial for Digital India. A data driven economy can flourish only when governments, businesses and individuals have access to hyper scale and hyper flexible cloud computing with the confidence that their data is secure,” said Bhaskar Pramanik, Chairman, Microsoft India and ExCampionite class of '66. Microsoft’s CSEC will work with the National Cybersecurity Coordinator which would help in reducing malware and digital risk in the country, thus enabling a safe digital India.

How You Can Avoid A Tax Notice

How You Can Avoid A Tax NoticeTax authorities can send you a notice if you commit any of these six common mistakes. There are many reasons why small taxpayers can get into trouble with tax authorities. In recent months, the tax department has stepped up efforts to ensure tax compliance. New rules have been introduced to plug leaks and officials are cracking down on evasion. Tax records are being scanned and notices being sent to individuals if the computer-aided selection system notices a discrepancy. We look at six mistakes that can fetch you a tax notice. Some mistakes are just calculation errors. But others are serious transgressions that can invite penalties of up to 300% of unpaid tax. We tell you where you are going wrong and the correct position on the matter. We also offer tips to help you avoid falling foul of the tax rules. 1. NOT REPORTING INTEREST INCOME: INTEREST income from fixed deposits, recurring deposits, tax saving bank deposits and infrastructure bonds is fully taxable. Yet, 59% of respondents to a recent online survey believed that interest income of up to `10,000 a year is tax free. The tax exemption of `10,000 a year under Sec 80 TTA applies only to interest earned on bank savings account balance. Another 6% of respondents thought no tax is payable if the bank deducts TDS. TDS is only 10% of the income. If the taxpayer falls in a higher tax slab, the liability is higher. Interest income is often unreported in tax returns. Till two years ago, TDS kicked in when the interest from deposits made in one bank branch exceeded `10,000 in a financial year. Investors used to split deposits across branches to avoid TDS. Now TDS applies if the combined income from deposits in all branches of a bank exceeds the threshold. What's more, TDS also applies to recurring deposits now. SMART TIP: Calculate how much interest you will get on your FDs, RDs and other fixed income investments and add that to your income. 2. IGNORING INCOME OF PREVIOUS JOB: EVERY TIME you switch jobs, you are in danger of falling foul of tax laws. This is because the new employer doesn't take into account the income earned from the previous job and offers tax exemption and deduction to the employee all over again. Instead of `2.5 lakh basic exemption and `1.5 lakh deduction under Section 80C, you get `5 lakh basic exemption and `3 lakh deduction. However, this discrepancy will be discovered when you file your return. This would translate to a large tax payment at the time of filing returns because the duplicate benefits would be rolled back. SMART TIP: Inform your new employer about income from previous job so that the TDS is cut accordingly. 3. NOT FILING TAX RETURNS: A LOT OF TAXPAYERS have received notices for not filing their tax returns. Anybody with an income above the basic exemption is liable to file his tax return. The basic exemption is `2.5 lakh per year for people below 60, `3 lakh for senior citizens above 60 and `5 lakh for very senior citizens above 80. The rest of us, including NRIs, have to comply. Keep in mind that this is the gross income before any deductions and tax breaks. If your annual income is `4.2 lakh and you invest `1.5 lakh under Sec 80C, your tax will come down to zero. But you are still liable to file your tax return. Similarly , even if all your taxes are paid, you still need to file the return. For a lot of people, confusion stems from a rule introduced four years ago, where salaried individuals with an income of up to `5 lakh a year were exempted from filing returns. However, that rule has long been withdrawn. Not filing returns is not a serious offence if all taxes are paid. You will get a notice asking you to do the needful. Tax laws allow a taxpayer to file delayed returns even after the due date. SMART TIP: Don't miss filing your return even if your tax is zero or all your taxes are paid. File online to avoid mistakes. 4. MISUSING FORMS 15G, 15H TO AVOID TDS: MANY INVESTORS try to avoid TDS by splitting investments across different banks. Many others submit Form 15G or 15H so that their bank does not deduct TDS. These forms are declarations that the individual's income for the year is below the taxable limit and therefore no TDS should be deducted from the interest. Misuse of these forms is a serious offence. A false declaration can attract a jail term. You need to meet two conditions to file form 15G. One, your taxable income for the year should not exceed `2.5 lakh. Two, the total interest received during the financial year should not exceed `2.5 lakh. Form 15H, for senior taxpayers above 60, imposes only the first condition. The final tax on total annual income should be nil. Senior citizens whose taxable income is below the `3 lakh limit are eligible to file Form 15H.For those above 80, this limit is `5 lakh. SMART TIP: File Form 15G if you fulfill both conditions. TDS is an interim tax and you can claim a refund. 5. NOT DEDUCTING TDS WHEN BUYING PROPERTY: THE GOVERNMENT has extended the scope of TDS to property transactions as well. If you buy a house worth more than `50 lakh, you have to deduct 1% TDS from the payment to the seller. In case the seller is an NRI, the TDS will be 30%. This amount should be deposited with the government on behalf of the seller using Form 26QB. Sahay had no idea of this rule when he bought a property last year. He now has to respond to a tax notice, and could be slapped with a penalty of `1 lakh. The rule is applicable even if you pay in installments. In such cases, the TDS needs to be deducted from each payment and the money deposited with the government within seven days. While TDS deduction happens automatically when you buy a new property from a builder, in case of transactions between individuals, it is often ignored. Many are not sure how to calculate the tax. TDS has to be calculated on the total sale price and not just the amount exceeding `50 lakh. The total sale price is the amount payable and as registered in the sale agreement. It does not include stamp duty and brokerage. Also, only the sale price has to be taken into consideration, not the circle rate of the property . SMART TIP: Make it clear to the seller that you will be deducting 1% TDS from the payment. Make sure you have his correct PAN details. 6. NOT REPORTING FOREIGN ASSETS: TAXPAYERS CANNOT afford to be unsure about their foreign income and assets. Mis-reporting overseas assets will not be taken lightly by the government. You could be prosecuted under the Black Money Act and the penalty can be as high as `10 lakh for even small errors. Taxpayers who have worked abroad often go wrong when reporting foreign assets. Same goes for employee stock options which are often acquired at no cost and sold out, but get missed when you take an account of assets. Not just salary and perks, freelancers who receive money from foreign clients need to report this income under the foreign assets schedule. This should also include gifts, which are deemed to be income. Also, all foreign bank accounts--whether operational or not--need to be reported. You even have to report bank accounts where you are merely a signing authority. SMART TIP: Start collecting details of your foreign assets much before the last date for filing returns.

Patel Logistics Floats JV With Saudi Firm

1360575046-849The JV eyes Rs 40 cr in revenue over next three years, plans 50 warehousing and logistics points to begin with Patel Integrated Logistics has partnered Saudi Arabia's Nationwide Group to set up a joint venture to tap the emerging opportunities in the region ahead of the forthcoming Fifa World Cup and the Dubai World Expo. The joint venture, Pivot Logistics, expects to earn around Rs 40 crore in revenue over the next three years and plans to have over 50 warehousing and logistics points to begin with, Patel Logistics said. Under the JV agreement, which does not involve any cash transaction, Patel will share its know-how, manpower and technology to set up and manage end-to-end operations in the highly fragmented Gulf logistics sector which is undergoing radical changes following a big knock on their finances after the steep plunge in crude prices. "With the lucrative margin available in the Gulf countries, the JV is expected to significantly enhance the bottom line of Patel Logistics," company's executive vice-chairman Areef Patel said. He said the JV will not be limited to Saudi Arabia but will soon have operations in Dubai and then across the Gulf by 2018. "The Saudi logistics sector is highly unorganized with low tech penetration and we see bright prospects of growth, given our track record and initiatives back home," Patel said. The Mumbai-based firm also has plans to enter the Gulf air cargo sector through the JV on the line of Patel On-Board Couriers and marine sector in the third phase. Patel Logistics moves cargo worth Rs 12,000 crore annually with presence in 800 locations. It has recently set up an arm for e-commerce, after partnering Amazon for express delivery. The Nationwide Group set up in 1976 is also in general contracting business, computer education, and also into food & beverages apart from operating and maintaining all military seaports on west coast of the largest Arabian economy. The Nationwide Group was founded by Saudi's first businesswomen Abeer Bint Mohammed, who is ranked 11th on the Forbes 'most powerful Arab women' list and a royal family member, while Patel Logistics was founded by Campionite class of '59 ASGAR PATEL as a one-truck entity way back in 1959 and since then has transformed it into a global leader.

A Writer Revealed

A Writer Revealed - CopyLocated in the Lodhi Estate, one of Delhi's most posh locations, ExCampionite class of '71 SHASHI THAROOR's residence transports one to a countryside charm, an overwhelming old-world-feeling amid the concrete jungle of the National Capital. It's a special meeting, the high-profile author and politician has agreed to take us through his writing process and his desk. It's a busy day and visitors after visitors are thronging about for all sorts of work, something that a seasoned politician of his stature must be accustomed to. We wait eagerly and at the exact time of our scheduled meeting, we walk inside this lovely room with a sweeping view of the adjoining garden, brilliantly curated with minute details and an overflowing bookshelf to mesmerize one! The room is well-lit and as one looks out of the glass wall to the right of his desk, splendid views of his garden sparkling in the afternoon sunshine sort of rejuvenates one. "I am very fond of sunshine and also I am very blessed as it is hardly possible to find such green view available in urban India. So I like keeping the curtains open, it is rarely that I draw them. Not that I am looking at them all the time and get distracted but I am aware it is there, if I look up it is there and it is a nice feeling," he explained. One of the first things that catches our attention is the lovely collection of Ganesha that Tharoor has so elegantly displayed in his writing room. He reminds us that Ganesha was the scribe of Ved Vyasa. "I associate him with words. That is a very important connection. The first and foremost reason is that Ganeshji is a divine scribe and so he is an inspiration for all writers," he said. But Tharoor has been a Ganesha collector for a very long time. "These are just one-third of my collection. I have a larger lot in my bedroom and then there are a few scattered in other parts of the house. Somehow, from a very young age, I was very deeply attracted to Ganesha for a number of reasons. He seems to symbolize our own imperfections, like the pot-belly, which is something I am struggling with too. The handsome son of God, whose head got knocked off, and look what he has got in its place... His vahana is a mouse... I have always have had a view of human beings as God's flawed creatures so that is perhaps psychologically part of it. The other thing is that Ganeshji is the remover of obstacles. I have always approached the obstacles in life with the confidence and the conviction that we can remove them and Ganesh ji symbolizes that with the right will and right thought one can remove and overcome obstacles. Fortunately, each one of these, more than a hundred pieces I have got, each of these are made up of different material and in a different style. So there are ceramic pieces, silver pieces, brass pieces, glass pieces, clay pieces, stone pieces. I have some very unusual ones too. In one such Ganesh is playing golf, in another he is dressed as a lawyer because Ganesh ji in many ways is part of everything. I find him an extremely endearing god," shared Tharoor. Being tech-savvy, Tharoor moved to the computer very early and bought one of the first personal computers way back in 1981. Even The Great India Novel -- published in 1989 -- was actually written entirely on the computer in 1987-88. Tharoor considers himself lucky, saying, "As my handwriting is so difficult to decipher, if I handwrote a novel and gave it to a secretary to type, I would have to spend so much time correcting her mistakes because inevitably, she would not get it right." Another factor is related to the nature of his work. "I try and finish articles in one go but when I am writing longer pieces, such as working on fiction, inevitably, at some point or the other, I am interrupted. When I return, I re-read what I have written, I correct it with a fresh and clear mind and then continue. That is actually something very easy to do on a computer," he said heaving a sigh. But then there are disadvantages too. Writing and editing on a computer leaves very few or no original drafts and many writers complain of their previous drafts being way better then the final ones but those are no longer available. Fortunately, this has not been the case with the writer of The Great India Novel. "If you're really one of those people who like to see authors' manuscripts, their papers and manuscripts collection, which is very popular in the libraries in the West, then of course it won't happen because there is very little to see out of a computer generated manuscript in comparison with a handwritten text, which is more full of romance and sentiment and emotional value," he regrets. Tharoor's busy schedule during the day has compelled him to write at nights -- not by preference but because of the hectic schedule during the daytime. "Even when I have the time at my desktop, it's usually for urgent messages, emails or other kind of work-related matter. The only time when I can comfortably think, to have some clear space and think and write is at night. For example, last night I was up till quite late writing two articles, one on the lessons learnt from the Kerala elections for one website and another one on the way forward for the Congress party for another website. To be honest, this is not ideal because all my life I've been a morning-person more than a night-person and if I had the same peace of mind and silence around me in the morning, I suspect that would be even more productive. I guess I've trained myself to learn to be effective and productive at night also," said the versatile author. On the day of our visit, Tharoor's desk was least of what a writer's desk is usually imagined to look like. Spic and span with all things in perfect place, it took one a while to actually digest that Tharoor does his writings at it. "First of all, I am a working professional. So most of the times, my desk is pretty much occupied. Today, I had a long series of meetings, so we cleaned up the desk temporarily but most of the times there are papers all over the desk and that is, in fact, for me, a source of frustration, because I am always getting more papers than I can read and process in the given time that I have. I genuinely believe that if your mind is uncluttered for writing, it is better. When it comes to my non-fiction writing, which relies heavily on research, I try to do as much of my research as possible on the Internet. Not that I go for crack-pot sources but there are a lot of reliable sources available on the Internet as well. I do have an extensive collection of research material and books in hard copies and those I could keep alongside me when I am working on something related to it," he explained. We asked him to show us the contents of his desk and he humbly obliged, picking each by hand and explaining their significance. The powerful orator held us spell bound as he fumbled on his desk moving from the ink pots to small statues, scissors, highlighter, charger and almost every other thing. "I will tell you this desk is fairly functional -- the screen and the keyboard are where I am focused -- pens, scissors, highlighters and others within touching distance and I occasionally like to sign with ink pen so ink bottles are also there. My phone is within striking distance so that my office can interrupt me. I have a charger for my mobile phone because that is one thing you can't afford to have -- the battery dying on you. So it is very practical and functional. In a drawer on my right I have a collection of suparis and that kind of stuff to nibble occasionally, I consume a lot of suparis. I also have these three very special things -- a Natraja, presented to me by a foreign friend, claiming that it was actually from the ruins of Mohenjo Daro. I never had it evaluated or taken it for carbon dating but it is here. I have a bigger Natraja in my prayer room. Then you see this, a little Hanuman for strength. And I have these four little musical Ganeshjis playing an orchestra. So there is a tamborin, a tabla and a mridangam. They are all sitting on a leaf and the big Ganeshji is sitting on them all playing music, symbolic of the music of the words that I hope to be writing." Despite the heavy rush in the waiting area of his office barely a hundred yards away, Tharoor's study a very quiet and isolated room. There is an amicable silence, just what one needs to focus if one is writing, which Tharoor so brilliantly does. There is no music playing around because he finds it distracting. "I have always felt that words have their own music and so, when other tunes come in, it affects the rhythm of the writing," he added. As we wind up with some 500 shots of his sanctum -- the room where he writes RsTharoor shows us his overflowing bookshelves with the rack placed right above him displaying all of his works. The shelves are bursting at the seams and we thought Tharoor might have to afford another when he publishes his next title!

Doing Good Is Good For You – Altaf Patel ExCampionite class of ’64

Studies suggest that volunteering your time improves not only the quality of life, but also longevity What really constitutes a healthy lifestyle? A discussion of this could be voluminous. I think in general, the six pillars of health are — a reasonable amount of exercise, smoking cessation, avoiding alcohol abuse, a healthy diet, freedom from stress and a healthy and fulfilling sexual life. Building on the foundation, these elements of a healthy lifestyle have a direct impact on longevity. But, a long life does not necessarily mean a good life. Isn't an enjoyment of life as important — not solely the years in your life but the life in your years? One efficacious mantra for a healthy lifestyle is — all things in moderation. I was recently impressed by a study in the journal, Neurology, where the authors posed an important question. While many previous studies have been undertaken to establish individually, the correlation between factors such as diet, alcohol consumption, smoking, physical activity and excess weight with the increased risk of stroke, very few have addressed a combination of these for the prevention of stroke in women. Their results showed that the risk of stroke was reduced by 9 per cent for physically active women and up to 17 per cent for women who'd never smoked, by implementing a few lifestyle changes. The study analyzed 31,695 women. I am confident that if several other such studies were conducted, they would find similar results for males and females. The dilemma that a strict adherence to a healthy lifestyle raises is whether man is body alone or body and soul? What else affects "lifestyle"? Does mental satisfaction in the form of service to our fellow men help in any way? A vast majority of senior citizens engage in productive activities. Productive activities may be defined as paid or unpaid actions that make a constructive contribution to human life. Many authorities consider these essential to a sense of well being in later life. Research regarding such productive activities tells us that they can enhance mental and physical health and reduce the risk of death. I was also impressed by a paper in Gerontologist, a journal that focuses on human ageing, which evaluated the effects of such productive activities. A paper by Tavares et al in 2013 documented that productive activities lower the risk of high blood pressure in American adults. Similar studies on older Finnish adults tell us that such activities reduce the risk of being institutionalized in later life and of death as well. The message which emerges is that belonging to a group, with common and participatory activities and interests, as well as the opportunity to fulfill a beneficial social role, has a positive input on physical health. The study in question examines the C-reactive protein (CRP) as an inflammatory marker. This marker is linked closely to the risks of heart attack, stroke and death. The findings published by Tavares et al must be one of the fewer deep analyses that addresses the compelling issue of ageing well. It compares death with productive community activity and CRP, the surrogate marker for a healthier life. Such activities can accommodate a range of experiences and hobbies — it could be volunteering, employment, attending meetings, care giving or anything that imparts purpose and momentum to the daily routine. The frequency of volunteering showed the most robust association with a fall of markers of inflammation, the CRP in this instance. Various other papers also address the issue of volunteers' work and document that volunteering is associated with better health possibly through emotional gratification and increased social integration. Though the population studied in this study were 58 years of age and above, the most beneficial effect on CRP was seen in subjects 70 years or older, particularly those who volunteer frequently. This was surprising because there is data to suggest CRP increases with age. So, in essence, for the many of us who take great care of our physical health by a healthy lifestyle and diet, the message is — invest a little time in productive activities like volunteering — whether it is community work or reading to the blind or other social work. This will go a long way in giving you a better physical health.

Internal Assessment For BA, BCom, BSc Scrapped

mu_logo - CopyUniv Introduces Common Papers, Timetable For 1st, 2nd Year Exams. Five years after it was implemented, Mumbai University is ready to scrap internal assessment for traditional BA, BCom and BSc courses. The university's academic council approved the decision in a meeting. Now, internal assessment will be replaced by `live' projects in the final year. Internal assessment, though, will continue in professional courses such as BMM, BMS and BAF. In another development, the university has also decided to set question papers for first and second-year exams (semesters I to IV). It will also implement a uniform exam timetable, which means semester-end examinations in first and second year across 750 affiliated colleges will start at the same time. The decisions have evoked mixed reactions from all stakeholders across the university . Many claimed the essence of a choice-based credit system will be lost with no internal assessment. Principals are also wary of rapid changes in the university's academic structure. While some details of the plans are yet to be finalized, the university is slated to implement the two major decisions from the current 2016-17 academic year. Question papers for the semester end examinations for BA, BCom and BSc students will carry 100 marks instead of the current 75, said S T Gadade, university dean of commerce. Instead of internal assessment, the university will introduce two 100-mark projects in the final year for these students. Gadade added that students will have to spend at least 100 hours in each of the projects.The projects may be divided between fifth and sixth semesters, he said and added that the details will be finalized later. What could be constituted as college projects has also been partially decided (see box). Principals and teachers, though, are questioning the change in exam pattern every three to four years in the university , which they say adds to students' confusion. Principal Manju Nichani from K C College said with only one semester end exam, the essence of continuous evaluation will be lost. “But we will have to see the details of how the projects will be implemented,“ said Nichani. In another major decision, to ensure that the credit system is implemented in a uniform manner, the university has decided to set question papers and send them to all colleges before their examinations. “The credit system was implemented to bring about uniformity in education. It considers the performance of students in all the three years. However, there was no uniformity in the way students were assessed in the first two years in colleges,“ said a university official. A principal said colleges mostly conduct first and second-year exams as per availability of infrastructure. “ A common exam timetable will inconvenience many colleges as they may not have classrooms available as per their convenience,“ said a principal.

Reducing Debt On Agenda; Brussels Attacks Hit Biz: Cox & Kings

1978PeterKerkar2Explaining the numbers, PETER KERKAR, ExCampionite class of '78 and Director, Cox and Kings, said that the company had sold two businesses last year as a result of which the revenues were suppressed. Tour and travel firm Cox & Kings reported a consolidated net loss of Rs 305.53 crore for the quarter ended March 31, 2016. The company had posted a net profit of Rs 64.56 crore for the corresponding period of the previous fiscal, Cox & Kings said in a filing to BSE. Consolidated total income from the operations of the company stood at Rs 470.96 crore in the quarter under consideration. It was Rs 409.61 crore during the year ago period. On the plus side, he said the international business grew by 16 percent over the last year, driven by strong UK, US and UAE markets. Hotels were shut down for several weeks owing to the Brussels terrorist attacks last year, he said. “We are committing to a Rs 300 crore debt reduction over this year,” he said. "We can achieve this from the existing operations. Mining and education in India are throwing out cash."

Is Rajdeep Coming To Goa As CM-Candidate of AAP?

big_rajdeep_ashutosh_kejriThe rumor is authenticated by Goa’s oldest English daily The Navhind Times, but he personally refutes it. ExCampionite Class of '81 RAJDEEP SARDESAI, Goan-origin ace TV journalist of India, dismissed the rumour at an interview held at Lokmat award ceremony. The Goa edition of Marathi daily honoured him today as Icon of Goa. “I am prepared to come to Goa to become the chief minister if people of Goa want. But I don’t think they would want me to quit journalism”, said consulting editor of India Today TV. According to him, a journalist cannot enter politics without quitting journalism for ever, unlike other professionals like lawyers, doctors etc. “I have no plans to quit journalism, thus there is no question of joining electoral politics”, said Sardesai, son of a veteran Indian cricketer of Goa, Dilip Sardesai. The rumor is on in the background of AAP searching for a face to project in the forthcoming Assembly election. Dr Oscar Rebello, a celebrity social activist who has joined AAP, has refused to provide the face to Goa AAP. “Nothing can be imposed from outside, neither the face nor the party”, says Sardesai, while speaking about AAP. According to the leading political analyst, any political entity has to emerge from within the local soil with grassroot level activists. Replying to the question posed by Raju Nayak, local editor of Lokmat, Sardesai dismissed the thought of him joining active politics. In a lighter vein, Sardesai also observed that people of India have started preferring single man or single woman as their leader, may it be Mamata Banerjee in West Bengal, Jayalalita in Tamil Nadu, Sarabnanda Sonowal in Assam or Narendra Modi at the centre. “I am a family man. How will people accept me as the CM in such a situation”, he asked while the gathering at Kala Academy burst out laughing. Incidentally, AAP is having its public rally tomorrow evening, to be addressed by Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal.

Ratan Tata Invests in Bangalore-based AI Startup

Chairman Emeritus of Tata Sons, and ExCampionite class of '49 RATAN TATA, has invested an undisclosed amount in an artificial intelligence startup,, owned and operated by Techbins Solutions Private Limited, is backed by Ronnie Screwvala’s Unilazer Ventures Private Limited. In October 2015, Unilazer had invested an undisclosed amount in with a commitment to invest an additional INR5 crore later. was launched in April 2015 by four IIT Kharagpur alumni - Sachin Jaiswal, Shishir Modi Keshav Prawasi and Nitin Babel. The AI-based chatbot allows users to order a wide range of services using a chat interface. uses Natural Language Processing (NLP) as well as machine learning technologies to talk to users over a simple chat interface. Currently, has partnered with 25 brands that allow users to make bill payments, recharge their phones, order food, book a taxi, get cricket score updates, and enjoy certain home services. The Bengaluru-based company states that it has 40,000 users across India at the moment. It envisions to become an enabler for everything that is commerce, across various platforms such as iOs, Android, messaging, etc. Ratan Tata has invested in more than 25 startups so far, but this is the first time he has invested in an artificial intelligence startup.

Naresh Mahtani No More

1969NarendraMahtani2We regret to inform all of the passing away of Naresh Gordhan Mahtani ExCampionite class of ’69 on 21st May 2016. The Marka will be held between 5:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Monday 23rd May 2016 at Gurmandir Shyam Nivas Breach Candy.

Microsoft’s Pramanik Says India Data Centers Drive Cloud Services Adoption; Aims Over 40% Share

Microsoft. - CopyThe growth in cloud services has been driven by small and medium businesses (SMB) and startups, along with verticals like banking, financial services & insurance (BFSI), healthcare, e-commerce and the government sector, ExCampionite class of ’66 BHASKAR PRAMANIK, chairman for the company’s Indian unit, Microsoft has seen higher rate of adoption of its cloud services in the country after setting up local infrastructure, and the company is now aiming for a market share of more than 40% in the next fiscal in this segment, a top company executive said. The growth in cloud services has been driven by small and medium businesses (SMB) and startups, along with verticals like banking, financial services & insurance (BFSI), healthcare, ecommerce and the government sector, Bhaskar Pramanik, chairman for the company's Indian unit. "Cloud adoption is helped by the market itself, which has moved more to the cloud. We feel that we opened our data centers at the right time, and they acted as catalyst and further accelerated the trend. We are also seeing a move to Microsoft Azure," Pramanik said. Conglomerates like Reliance, Essar, L&T, Mahindra's have also migrated to Microsoft's cloud services. Further, the governments of Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh are also using the company's services. "A number of ecommerce companies like Snapdeal, PepperFry, besides startups, which has been another phenomenal, have actually moved to the cloud," he said. The company has 150,000 customers in the SMB space, about 50,000 are acquired, and most of them are SaaS (software as a service) customers. Pramanik said usage is much higher in the SMB space than in large enterprise because they don't want the hassle of owning large infrastructure. As per an IDC report, Microsoft has 30% market share in the overall cloud business, including SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS. In the SaaS business, the company has a 46% share. As per research firm Gartner, India's cloud services market is expected to touch $1.9 billion by 2018. Competition in the Indian cloud market is rising with the increased focus by global data centre players. Amazon's cloud service arm, Amazon Web Services--Microsoft's biggest competitor in the space--has built its data centers in around five locations in Mumbai. Cloud allows companies to experiment with new businesses in a more agile way without spending too much money or time. It also enables them to acquire fully-functional business capabilities (SaaS) or complete platform capabilities (IaaS or PaaS) where handcrafted solutions can be built. Microsoft offers complete portfolio of cloud services through local data centers - Microsoft Azure, Office 365, and will soon announce availability of CRM Online. It claims its cloud penetration has reached 50% of top 100 Indian companies by market capitalization in the first 200 days of local data centers becoming functional. The company has 100 data centers all over the world in 19 regions in over 40 countries, including India. As the first public cloud provider from India, Microsoft had opened centers in three regions - central India (Pune), southern India (Chennai), and western India (Mumbai). Pramanik said local data centers have allowed companies in the financial sector, which earlier couldn't adopt data centre service based out of India due to security and privacy issues, to join and use Microsoft's services. "The biggest advantages of having local data centers are security, privacy, and more importantly latency," he said. Microsoft, however, has only launched a fourth of the data centre capacity in India. "As we continue to utilize the capacity, we will launch remaining capacity. We built data centers for the long term," Pramanik said.

Brands Face Higher Costs For Celebrity Endorsements

Celebrity endorsement legislation can lead to new clauses in endorsement contracts, a new insurance scheme, and costlier brand ambassadors. Fashion photographer, film producer and ExCampionite class of ’81 ATUL KASBEKAR, known for his Kingfisher Calendar shoots, has been busy making calls to lawyers after a parliamentary panel on Tuesday suggested that celebrities be held accountable for the brands they endorse. Kasbekar hasn’t been seeking advice for himself but for a bunch of celebrities managed by his company Bling Entertainment Solutions Pvt. Ltd. Among them are Bollywood actors Sonam Kapoor, Farhan Akhtar, Shruti Haasan and Vidya Balan, and cricketer Yuvraj Singh. In its recommendations, the parliamentary panel said that if ads which show celebrities endorsing a brand are found to be misleading, the brand ambassadors could be fined as much as Rs.50 lakh or given a jail term of up to five years. Even though the Bill is yet to be formalized, the proposal has sent shivers down the spines of the brand endorsement industry. Once implemented, the new rules could impact the way the business of brand endorsements is conducted in India. Experts in the business say that new clauses could find their way into the endorsement contracts that brand ambassadors could start charging more and a new insurance scheme could become the industry norm. “Holding celebrities accountable for endorsement does not make any sense. But if the government makes it a law, the only thing that we can do is to find ways to protect celebrities who can be easy targets,” said Kasbekar. “Insurance is inevitable. So is an additional clause (in the contract) to reinforce protection measures.” By insurance, Kasbekar means “legal expenses insurance” or “professional liability insurance” —products that are common in markets like the US. These insurance schemes, usually availed when a celebrity signs an endorsement contract with a brand owner, cover legal expenses, litigation charges, out-of-court settlements (if required), and also presumptive loss of brand value of the celebrity in case of a future litigation. “All future endorsement contracts are bound to include this where the brand owners pay the insurance premium. For the existing ones, we’ll have to look for a way out, considering that they are close-ended contracts. We may, however, suggest them to avail insurances on their own, if that is legally permitted,” explained Kasbekar. The existing endorsement contracts will have to be restructured if the law is enforced, said Shailendra Singh, joint managing director at Percept Ltd. Percept has managed brand deals for filmstars Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Priyanka Chopra, Katrina Kaif and Kareena Kapoor, and cricketer Sourav Ganguly. “All these contracts already have clauses of obligation (that take care of celebrities). Celebrities actually have an easy way out as they can further draft the contract to include (a clause that) they are in no way responsible for the product and its quality standards. They already have a legal way out,” said Singh, adding that celebrities are likely to renegotiate and restructure their existing contracts. “Insurance, if that offers a safeguard, is bound to be included in the new contracts. We’ll obviously suggest to our clients to consider this seriously,” he said, adding that the government risks complicating the existing system of celebrity brands endorsement contracts even further. Ashni Parekh, a Mumbai-based media and entertainment lawyer who has given legal support to a number of Bollywood actors, including Saif Ali Khan, Priyanka Chopra, Sushmita Sen and blockbuster films like 3 Idiots, Love Aaj Kal and Kaminey, believes contracts will change because the celebrities will need stronger protection measures as the risk factors multiply. “After the Maggi issue, celebrities became aware and they have already put in necessary clauses for protection in the endorsement deals,” Parekh said. The accountability of celebrity brand endorsers came into focus after Nestle India Ltd’s Maggi Noodles, whose brand endorsers included Bollywood actors Amitabh Bachchan, Madhuri Dixit and Preity Zinta, was banned by the food regulator for allegedly containing excess lead and the additive monosodium glutamate. The ban was later overturned by the Bombay high court. Some celebrities have been criticized for endorsing brands that are alleged to have misled consumers. Recently, the Indian cricket team’s limited-overs skipper M.S. Dhoni resigned as the brand ambassador of realty firm Amrapali Group after residents of a housing society launched a protest against the builder, highlighting the cricketer’s endorsement, on social media. Rhiti Sports, the firm managing Dhoni, declined to comment on the issue. Anirban Das Blah, managing director of Kwan Entertainment and Marketing Solutions Pvt. Ltd, which manages brand deals for actor Deepika Padukone, said that celebrities are already protected by a clause covering legal costs in case of a controversy. “The celebrities have indemnity. The brands are legally liable for not lying—otherwise celebrities have a right to pursue litigation both in a civil and a criminal court. We don’t want brands to lie. We say that there has to be civil and criminal liability,” said Blah. According to Sasikumar Adidamu, chief technical officer (non -motor) at Bajaj Allianz General Insurance Co. Ltd, there are products in the international markets that provide coverage for reputational risks and this cover could soon become a part of Indian insurance policies too. “So far, we have not received any request by brand ambassadors or celebrities for such a cover. However, in the future, it could be an important cover for celebrities,” he added. The company has sold professional liability insurance to medical practitioners, media persons and engineers, besides similar products to companies to safeguard directors. The premium for these insurance covers is not high. For the director and officers, it ranges between 0.25% and 1% of the sum insured, while professional indemnity policy premium is around 0.4% to 2.5% of the sum insured and sometimes higher depending on the potential risk. According to data available with Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India, the total premium for the liability-related insurance industry in India was Rs.1,768 crore in the year ended 31 March. Insurance products covering celebrities can be purchased by brand owners, or the company that manages the celebrity, or the celebrities themselves, said Adidamu. K. Sanath Kumar, chairman and managing director of state-run general insurer National Insurance Co., didn’t respond to calls. “Prices of the celebrity contracts are bound to go up as they will include possible penalties and litigation charges. All these prices have to be borne by the brand itself,” said Harsha Joshi, executive vice-president (group trading), Dentsu Aegis Network Ltd, a global media and digital marketing communication firm.

The NDZ & Salt Pan Land Proposal has Potential to Create Homes: Niranjan Hiranandani

51195557'The NDZ & Salt Pan Land Proposal has Potential to Create Homes for LIG and EWC Segments, as Also a Slum-Free Mumbai. The Mumbai Municipal Corporation has proposed opening up 5,189 acres of land which at present is in the ‘no development zone’ (NDZ) as also 642 acres of salt pan lands within Mumbai Municipal Corporation’s limits. This is part of the new Development Plan which should be submitted to the BMC's general body shortly, said NIRANJAN HIRANANDANI ExCampionite class of '66 and MD, Hiranandani Communities. Last year, the Maharashtra Government has appointed a committee to supervise a plan for optimum utilization of salt pan lands in Mumbai. There was a suggestion that the salt pan lands in the city and the suburbs could be used for building affordable houses and civic amenities, such as open spaces. “Any good move on part of the powers that be, either the Municipal Corporation or the State Government, is welcome,” said Niranjan Hiranandani, MD, Hiranandani Communities. “The fact that the DP will look at the possibility of housing projects, to build affordable houses for people, on areas that are not ecologically sensitive is also welcome. Beyond the positive aspect, my thoughts are on how this also has the potential to help meet the challenge of a slum-free Mumbai,” he added. Media reports suggest the proposal has the potential, considering both, NDZ and salt pan lands, to provide a much needed boost for development of about 1 million affordable housing units. Plus, the unlocking of these lands, on areas that are not ecologically sensitive, has the potential to help develop more social amenities in Mumbai. “If one looks at the past decade, the story of Mumbai’s real estate has largely, remained constant: high demand for affordable homes, not enough support in form of restrictive rules and regulations, zoning and permissible FSI norms, excessive time taken for permissions and clearances. I have always felt that the powers that be, from the Center to the State and the Local Self Bodies – not to forget bodies like Environment Clearance, or the DGCA for height clearance of structures from a flight path perspective – were more of ‘regulators’ than ‘facilitators’,’ explained Niranjan Hiranandani. This has always resulted in directly impacting land availability for real estate development, he said. “To give an example, NDZ and salt pan lands, if allowed change in usage - on areas that are not ecologically sensitive - can be used for creation of low cost housing for LIG and EWC segments. This is why the proposal has the potential to be positive, utilization of NDZ and salt pan lands for building homes should be welcomed by Mumbaikars, said Niranjan Hiranandani. “The proposal definitely has the potential to impact availability of land for real estate development, and if taken in sync with the proposed additional FSI for such projects, this should have a positive impact on making homes available for affordable and budget home seekers in Mumbai,” he added. How will NDZ and salt pan lands in the city and the suburbs being used for building affordable houses impact Mumbai’s real estate? “The answer is simple,” said Niranjan Hiranandani. “If implemented properly and in a time-bound manner, things always work out better. But, any such proposal needs to be supplemented with other ‘positives’, such as infrastructure projects and policy decisions which help make it a reality,” he added. “So, the proposal on NDZ and salt pan lands has the potential for not just enhancing the availability of land for real estate development, but it also needs support from citizens, as also time-bound infrastructure development to create the possibility of Mumbai’s LIG and EWC segment of home seekers finally getting their dream homes become a reality,” he concluded.

Now Aditya Birla Group Joins The Defence Equipment Manufacturing Party

Now Aditya Birla Group Joins The Defence Equipment Manufacturing Party - CopyAfter at least seven Indian corporate houses ventured into the defence sector, The Aditya Birla Group also has decided to take the plunge and add value to Indian government's 'Make in India' initiative. The conglomerate is controlled by ExCampionite class of ’83 KUMAR MANGALAM BIRLA, and its interests range from metals to mobile telephony, now plans to enter into joint ventures with US, Israeli and Russian companies to make components for aerospace and combat vehicles. Exploratory talks with companies such as Lockheed Martin, the world's largest defence contractor, US helicopter maker Sikorsky and Israel's Rafael Advanced Defense Systems have already been initiated. Not only this, they have also appointed one of the Big Four global consultants to help them with strategies and identify partners for their new division, which would be headed by former strategy head Dev Bhattacharya. It was only after the government took several policy measures so that armed forces equipments can be locally manufactured that private Indian companies entered into the defence sector. Other Indian business houses that have already started their defence businesses include the Tata Group, Mahindra & Mahindra, Bharat Forge, L&T, Godrej and the Anil Ambani controlled Reliance Group.

Schools Must Video-Record PTA, Exec Committee’s Fee Hike Meets

Schools will now have to video-record meetings of individual Parent-Teacher Associations (PTAs) and executive committees as per the new rules framed under the Fee Regulation Act , to bring in transparency in fee hikes. An executive committee, which comprises the school principal, teachers and parents, must be presented with a fee hike proposal at least eight months before it can be implemented. The Maharashtra Educational Institutions (Regulation of Fee) Act, 2011, rules state: "Proceedings of the meetings shall also be video-recorded and made available to members of the association. The video-recording of the meeting shall also be made available to the regional deputy director or education officer or any other representative appointed by him or the government as and when required." Besides, a report on the meeting must be prepared within 15 days and displayed on the notice board or website. Rules require that private educational institutions keep separate accounts of monetary transactions. Schools, though, say these requirements are extreme. "We understand that there are some Schools that may manipulate the PTA and may have vested interests but not all schools are like that. Then why should we be made to record all the PTA proceedings? This is fine if only fee hike meetings are recorded," said Father Francis Swamy, principal, St Mary's School (ICSE), Mazgaon. "Those who have not followed the rules but hiked fees must give a refund," said Jayant Jain, president, Forum for Fairness in Education, a non-government organization. The state recently set up a five-member panel headed by retired district court judge Krishnaprasad Warrier, to hear fee hike-related disputes. Ramchandra Jadhav, deputy director of education, Pune, said PTA elections and meetings must be conducted in the presence of an education official. However, B B Chavan, Jadhav's counterpart in Mumbai, said this would not be the case in the city. "We will send officials only in case of disputes. We won't have the manpower."

Rajdeep Sardesai ‘Honoured To Be Honoured’ @ Sakshi Excellence Function

Rajdeep Sardesai - CopyPopular journalist and ExCampionite class of ’81, RAJDEEP SARDESAI who was the chief guest at Sakshi Excellence Awards 2016 held at the JRC Convention Center, says he was honoured to be honoured at the function. Persons with excellent performance and contribution to society were honoured by Sakshi Media Group. The awards were presented in Education, Social Development-NGO, Healthcare, Agriculture, Young Achiever of the Year-Education, Young Achiever of the Year-Social Services and Business Person of the Year besides in ten selected categories of popular cinema. Rajdep later turned to his twitter account and tweeted that he was honoured to be the only non-Telugu present at the special evening celebrating real heroes. In another tweet, he said that he felt honoured to present the bravery award to Widow of Mushtaq Ahmed, martyred at Siachen. Sakshi Media Group chairperson YS Bharati and Sakshi Editorial Director Ramachandra Murthy were also present on the occasion. The winners were selected based on public opinion and also by a special jury consisting of eminent persons constituted for the purpose.

Don’t be Placid About Being Flaccid

- Altaf Patel ExCampionite class of'64 Indians are peculiar in the sense that they are inordinately private about disclosing their symptoms - they will not volunteer information on their sexual history even when they are having problems. What is worse still is that women may sometimes feel affronted and think it rude if their physician asks about their sexual history. Two decades ago if men of 65+ approached a physician complaining of sexual weakness, they were told that their age for these things was over. Only if they insisted would they get supplements, be advised on lifestyle changes and prescribed the hormone testosterone. In these times, sexual ability is considered to be part of a quality of life and there are not only medicines but devices which can help the patient. Now 75 per cent of men above the age of 70 suffer from erectile dysfunction. As the human life span increases, the expectations regarding quality of life also increase. Strangely, as the incidence of erectile dysfunction increases with age, sexual desire remains unchanged. Research also tells us that continued sexual activity in the elderly has additional health benefits and sexual dysfunction can have negative effects on moods and emotional health. The National Institute of Health defines sexual dysfunction as the inability to achieve or maintain a satisfactory erection for sexual performance. Other recent studies also tell us that 61 per cent of men in the 40- to 69-year age bracket have erectile dysfunction, yet a vast majority will not discuss this with their health care provider. The cause of erectile dysfunction [ED] may be physical, psychological, or a combination of both. The older man is more likely to experience natural symptoms such as a decreased blood supply in the arteries of the penis and age-related diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes and high blood cholesterol. Obesity in particular is associated with erectile dysfunction. The Massachusetts Male Aging study (MMAS) conducted in the US evaluates erectile dysfunction via a questionnaire. Another, more practical, way of doing this is by a five question survey designed by the International Index of Erectile function questionnaire (IIEF-5). Basically, this questionnaire deals with confidence to get and maintain an erection, whether you are hard enough for penetration, whether you can maintain your erection after penetration, and whether intercourse is satisfactory. High blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, high blood fats, thyroid, and other hormonal disorders also affect ED, as do various diseases of the nerves. A history of prostate cancer and the treatment received for it is also important - studies tell us that the ED rate is 59.9 per cent at 18 months after the procedure. A detailed investigation into the Drug list used by patient is important. Blood pressure medication, antihistamines used for cold, tranquilisers, cardiac medication and antidepressants may all contribute to ED. Disorders of mood, anxiety and depression may also be potent causes for ED. A commonly described link between ED and heart disease exists and studies tell us that ED makes its appearance three years before the onset of heart symptoms. Interestingly, a "do it or lose it" situation exists with ED - men who regularly have intercourse have a low incidence of ED. Various vacuum and other devices, injections into the penis, or insertion of drugs into the urethra are out of scope of this review The therapy for ED should involve counseling. It is important to note that sexual intimacy should not be interpreted as penetrative sex and it is important that the person explores other options to achieve sexual fulfillment as this is important for mental health. Lifestyle modifications, in particular avoidance of tobacco, regulation of alcohol, and an exercise regimen cannot be over-emphasized. Pharmacological therapy in the form of Viagra type drugs is effective. I find most men in the 30 to 40 age group ask for these prescriptions to better their sexual performance. It is not at present clear whether this should be used as a recreational drug, as all drugs have side effects.

How Math And Engineering Interact

cp-feature-manilsuri-jpg-20150922MANIL SURI ExCampionite class of '74 (A note to accompany my NYT op-ed of Apr 25, 2016.) According to Google Scholar, Ivo Babuška’s most cited paper (as of April, 2016), was “The partition of unity finite element method: Basic theory and applications,” written jointly with his student J.M. Melenk (and published in 1996, when Ivo was 70 years old*). What is the idea behind this paper? In particular, what does it have to do with engineering? Here’s the gist. A lot of engineering design is now done using computer simulations. For instance, everything from small machine parts to large airplane components might be designed entirely on a computer screen, so that kinks are worked out and shapes and sizes optimized before such objects are actually built and physically tested. A commonly used method used for such design is called the “finite element method (FEM),” which was invented by engineers, but has been analyzed by mathematicians in a rich series of engineering/mathematician interactions. This is Ivo’s primary field of research (and mine as well). What the FEM does is to approximately solve the systems of equations that determine how the machine parts (or airplane components or other mechanical objects) will deform when subject to loads. This is crucial: one wants to design objects which will not fail under stress (think airplane wings subjected to strong weather conditions, for instance – you want them to remain attached!). The solution of these equations gets particularly complicated in areas such as corners, joints, small holes, etc. These are generally areas which can be particularly susceptible to high stresses, and where cracks or other problems could easily develop. So the usual strategy is to put in a lot of computer power to analyze such sections (essentially, one “zooms in” on these sections by really cranking up the degree of approximation). This can be expensive, inefficient, and sometimes ineffective. But here’s the thing: mathematicians can actually use their paper and pencil formulas to predict the underlying structure of the solution in such areas! Remember that everything’s governed by equations, after all. While these equations are too complicated to solve completely, they do yield some of their basic secrets – secrets that mathematicians have managed to carefully coax out through classical modes of study. For instance, they can predict that at any corner, the mathematical formula determining the solution will be of a certain special kind (let’s call this special formula type a “singularity”). They might not know the exact strength of such “singularities,” but they can come up with a bunch of them and then assert that the solution will be largely determined by some (unknown) combination of them. As a consequence, several methods have been developed to incorporate this already-determined knowledge of singularities into the solution process. Instead of an unknown combination of these singularities, the calculations find (almost) exactly what combination is present. This can be a smarter way to attack the problem, rather than subjecting it to sheer “shock and awe” computer power. However, there are some problems: inserting these special “singularity” formulas can be very messy, and give rise to matching and compatibility problems that reverberate through the rest of the calculation. This is where the above paper comes in. The MAIN IDEA is to present a very simple method (the so-called “partition of unity” FEM) that easily facilitates the insertion of such singularity formulas (or any other solution features one knows in advance) into select localized areas of the problem. Finite element software can be modified to easily allow such insertions, thereby giving engineers a smooth and efficient way of practically utilizing the intuition that mathematics provides. As a result, the computer simulations are much more effective, making the whole design process more efficient and reliable. This idea can be applied to such objects as gears and bolts, just as it can be made to work for joints between (say) the fuselage components of a plane. Let me also mention that there’s another aspect to this symbiosis between engineering and mathematics. Strains and stresses in machine parts, crack formation, component failure, etc, all have been mathematically modeled. These models, when abstracted, give rise to some deep and complex questions in mathematics – which can often lead to some very elegant solutions. These solutions, in turn, generate several more “what if?” games – the kinds of questions mathematicians love to play with. And some of these games, when “solved,” end up having practical applications, which give rise to more questions, and so on. The wonderful cycle of interactions between mathematics’ beauty and its utility continues. *NOTE: Ivo first published his “Partition of Unity FEM” idea in a 1994 paper with collaborators Caloz and Osborn – this was later elaborated upon in Melenk’s Ph.D. thesis and in various other papers. The mathematics in these papers was frequently cited to explain the related “XFEM” method, developed later by engineer Ted Belytschko and his group.

Zubin Mehta: Just Another Parsee Boy…! – Shobhaa De

Zubin Mehta - CopyA nervous, awestruck gentleman had been granted fifteen precious minutes of the Maestro's time. My friend, the gentleman in question, had spent a sleepless night memorizing what to say to the great man. The moment arrived. They met. Fifteen minutes flew by. My friend emerged walking on air. His first reaction said it all: "My God! I can't believe how simple he is! He speaks Parsee English, with so many Gujarati words thrown in...And sounds like any other normal Parsee boy!" We both laughed at the observation. Zubin had just been paid a huge compliment that said more about the man than all the effusive gushing one reads about the world famous, 80- year-old conductor. For that's exactly what Zubin Mehta (ExCampionite class of 48) is - a normal Parsee Dikro. No airs. No pretensions. And we in Mumbai were indeed blessed that the Maestro chose to kick off his birthday celebrations (his actual birthday is on 29thApril) in the city of his birth, when he could have picked any other great city of the world. But this column is not about Zubin Mehta's genius. It is about friendship. Friendship of the truest kind. A friendship that has endured over seven decades, and grown in strength over time. So much so, that when Zubin Mehta is in town, his best friend from 1938 (!!!), is right there at every concert, happy to applaud his childhood buddy along with the wildly cheering audience. Dr Yusuf Hamied (better known as Yuku to friends), is an extraordinary man himself. As the Chairman of Cipla, a $1.45 billion dollar pharmaceutical giant, Padma Bhushan Yuku established himself as a global leader, years ago. Well respected in his field, and loved by a wide circle of friends, Yuku is the quintessential Bombay Boy - relaxed about his success, confident enough not to demand attention, and generous enough to 'share' his famous friend with fawning fans, who may be too intimidated to approach the Maestro on their own. Sportingly (and most expertly, I might add!), Yuku clicks dozens of pictures on his mobile phone, and takes the trouble to email them the very next morning to grateful, over-the moon Zubin devotees. Tell me, how many people would do that for eager strangers? But the pictures that spoke the loudest about this unique friendship, were the ones Yuku shared with old friends. These are shots of the two of them standing outside Zubin's childhood home - a handsome stone bungalow on Cuffe Parade. It is one of three that still exists - the others were pulled down by rapacious developers ages ago. This is where Zubin grew up. This is the spot he goes back to every time he's in Mumbai. Yuku mentioned they have chronicled (and immortalized!) that spot since 1941! When you see these two Cathedral School 'boys' standing in front of the gate today, and compare this image to the black-and-white snapshot of them in 'half-pants' aged 3- years- old, your heart skips a beat. The pure emotion in that faded print, reminds you of the fragility of modern relationships. There is innocence, trust, affection and understanding between these two besties that transcends everything else. And here we are, most of us, struggling to juggle our ridiculously mundane lives (compared to Zubin's and Yuku's), claiming we don't have the time to nurture and cherish our relationships. Those pictures set me thinking. Why has that friendship between two enormously successful individuals worked brilliantly, while most other high profile friendships fall by the wayside at some point or the other? I guess it has to do with trust. That's where everything begins and ends, in a way, doesn't it? It appears to outsiders that both of them would blindly trust the other with their lives. That, plus the clear absence of ego. No ego automatically means zero jealousy. If Yuku can play down his own importance and happily oblige Zubin groupies by introducing them to the maestro, it shows Yuku's own humility and refinement. Contrast that with the rudeness and arrogance of some others in the same circle, who 'guard' Zubin like they own the man, and you immediately see the difference in upbringing. Class tells. Ditto, for the 41- year-old Siberian classical pianist - once a child prodigy Denis Matsuev has enthralled audiences across the world with his virtuosity. As his fingers flew across the keyboard at lightning speed, effortlessly spanning notes very few pianists ever have, there were audible gasps in the audience. And yet, Denis playfully chose jazz as his encore, and went to the extent of including the Nokia ringtone into the repertoire, as a sharp reprimand to listeners who had forgotten to switch off their dratted cell phones during the concert! Later, at a posh charity dinner in honour of the Maestro, Denis obliged one and all who sought selfies and autographs, exchanging warm greetings and a few asides with each person. Watching these extraordinary individuals during and after the highly demanding performances, it was abundantly clear why they are where they are. I am sure there are more talented conductors in the world than our adored Zubin Mehta. I am sure there are pianists who play better Tchaikovsky than Siberia's Denis... and there must be pharma giants with more money than Cipla's Hamied. None of this matters. These men demonstrated they also have a huge attribute in common - a big heart. And that has no price tag on it

Of Genteelness & Gentlemanliness – Telling It Straight

VCCircle_Ratan_Tata_2- Suhel Seth They don't make men like Ratan Tata any more. The reason is because in today's time, you are defined by your wealth and not by your worth as a human being. They don't make men who believe in values and are willing to sacrifice pecuniary gains for remaining steadfast on their values. They don't make men who take a stand and see it through. They don't make men who believe in giving back to society in such measure as Ratan Tata has and will continue to do as long as he steers the Tata Trusts. I first met Mr Tata several years ago and in fact I wrote an article in protest when the fracas over Russi Mody erupted: for me it was an emotional outburst; for Mr Tata, it was keeping the sovereignty of the group intact. He was the man who, when he took over the mantle from the iconic JRD Tata brought the group together: from fiefdoms created one composite whole. Many years later, I visited Jamshedpur and then wrote an article saying what India needed was more Jamshedpurs and the thrust of the article was once again compassion above commerce. I then received a hand-written letter from Mr Tata thanking me for my kind words. But those weren't kind words, they were a genuine reflection of the work that the House of Tata was then doing. Many years later, Mr Krishna Kumar, who was then Mr Tata's deputy and confidant, asked me if I would be keen on working for the House of Tata and thus my working relationship began with the House of Tata and in many ways with Mr Tata. Not once did he ever make anyone feel he was the chairman and that the others were employees. Not once did he shy away from taking a bold and public stance and Singur is one amongst many examples. Many people talk about rolling their sleeves: Mr Tata led from the front and exuded passion with perfection. I still recall him debating the stitching on the seats of the Land Rover. He was the man who inspired the forays of the House of Tata into consumer-facing businesses, be it retail; Starbucks, Croma and so on. So for those who believe he was not fond of consumer businesses need to think again. He was the one who made the House of Tata traverse the globe: be it Tetley or Glaceau or JLR or for that matter Corus. There has been enough recent debate on whether the Corus acquisition was indeed the right one. At that time it was. And those who were on the board then agreed with him. In hindsight, it is easy to highlight faults but these were the people who agreed and with vigour. Planted articles don't and will not take away from Mr Tata's immeasurable contribution, both to India and to the House of Tata. Which is why last Saturday was special. I popped over to his spartan home to gift him a copy of my book: the Mantras for Success: India's Greatest CEOs Tell You How To Win. His essay is the first in the book. I arrived early evening and there was no fanfare; no scurrying staff and instead the home was as simple as its occupant. We talked like we never have. My working relationship with the House of Tata ended with Mr Tata's retirement because in my heart I knew I had to respect the man. We talked about the Tata Trusts, which even now disburse Rs 700 crores annually; he talked about his enormous faith in the youth of this country and which is why he had re-invented himself as a believer in Startup India and was investing in a lot of start-ups. He talked about global alliances, which the Trusts were entering into in order to alleviate the plight of the poor and those who were denied opportunities. Ratan Tata had retired from the House of Tata but not from the responsibilities of being a humanist and someone who deeply cared about India and its unique place in the comity of nations. Here is gentleness and a genteelness, which he will always have, and something that will always inspire generations. That is what I came away with when I left his home. Seen off by him and not some staff member.

Atul Kasbekar ExCampionite Class Of ’81 – On His Changing Career

Atul Kasbekar ExCampionite Class Of - CopyThe veteran fashion photographer on his changing career as a celebrity manager, producer, scriptwriter; and his everlasting love for faces and photography. How did photography happen for you?: My love for capturing people in moments developed into a love for photography. Before I knew it, I had quit my course in chemical engineering. Do you think fashion photography is taken seriously?: Yes! Most photographers who end up becoming fam­ous are often connected to the glamour business. Why did you start cel­ebrity management firm Bling Entertainment?: I was looking for a representative to manage my work, so I started a service with qualified professionals. Is celebrity management as maniacal as it sounds?: Maniacal is a good word to describe it. A good artist representative should be able to wear many hats. Any interesting incident you recall of managing celebrities?: That’s a book in itself, on the release of which I’ve to ensure I’m in a foreign country that doesn’t have an ext­radition treaty with India! Tell us about your recent dip into production for Neerja.: Neerja Bhanot’s story was one that needed to be told. You juggle many careers.: I don’t like wasting time; I am a reasonable multitasker and a very good time manager. Has photography taken a backseat?: After over two deca­des, I still feel most alive when there is a camera in my hand. Are you writing the script for a film?: I’m not qualified to be a professional writer, not as yet. I wrote a concept note on an original idea which Ram Madhvani loved. What career move is next?: Both my kids are planning to spend all my money at colleges abroad, so whatever it is, it had better be lucrative and fun!

Twin Standing Ovations For Zubin Mehta

1948ZubinMehta2K Rusom’s ice cream shop was catering to a very different clientele. Young students, ladies dressed in regal saris and Parsi families crowded around to catch a quick ice-cream sandwich before Zubin Mehta began his performance at the Brabourne Stadium with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra as well as opera singers Maria Katzarava and the internationally renowned tenor Andrea Bocelli. Mehta performed for a crowd of 8,000. “You know, this isn’t Zubin’s first time at Brabourne,” says Shyam Khansaheb, a 72-year-old consultant for a chemical engineering firm who was there from Chembur. “He performed here in 1994 with the Israel Philharmonic. I wish I could have seen that.” As the concert got underway, many moved to the public stands — at Rs 500 a seat, these are a considerable distance from the action, but provide a 180-degree view of the grounds. The show kicked off with a piece by Verdi, followed by pieces from La Boheme, and an opera composed by Puccini. Katzarava and Bocelli duet performed songs including O MIo Babbino Caro, or Oh My Beloved Father, from the opera Gianni Schichhi by Puccini. The two singers at one point broke off from the song to dance around the stage briefly. The concert marked the last of three conducted in the city by Mehta as the first part of a multi-country celebration ahead of his 80th birthday. Sneh Sunil Baxi, a 22-year-old chartered accountant came from Kandivli. He left for the concert — which began at 8 pm — at 4.45. “I studied the piano for six years till I gave up to focus on my studies,” he said. “I love Mehta, and this is one of the best orchestras in the world.” There were also those for whom Mehta was not the star attraction. “I am here for Bocelli,” said Maya Kumar, a 34-year-old architect from Malabar Hill. The concert concluded with two standing ovations, two encores and a rousing rendition of the Happy Birthday song by the orchestra for their conductor.

Meet Zubin’s Jabra Fan For The Last 80 Years

Hilla Pocha - Copy97-year-old Hilla Pocha hasn't missed a single Zubin Mehta concert in Mumbai. There were still 20 minutes to go for the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra to commence, and the city's nattily dressed, high profile audience - Shireen Gandy, Adi Jehangir, Smita Chrishna, Pheroza Godrej - were still making their way to Jamshed Bhabha Theatre, NCPA. But Hilla Pocha was there well before time, waiting for Zubin Mehta to take center stage. Seated on the first seat of the first row (A-11) - "it offers the best view," she says - the 97-year-old is arguably the maestro's biggest fan. "I have held Zubin when he was two months old," says Pocha, a musician herself, who played with the Bombay Symphony Orchestra since its inception nearly eight decades ago. "I would play with his father Mehli Mehta (violinist). We used to have sectional rehearsals. And Zubin's mother once requested me to look after the baby for five minutes. Mehli came up to me and asked, 'have you come here to play the violin or to look after Zubin?'". Pocha rushed back to her rehearsal but the day remained etched in her memory. "When I was 80 years old, I met Zubin at the Cricket Club of India and told him, 'I held you in my arms when you were two months old', but he wouldn't believe me. He thought I was younger than him," she says. "And I can't believe he's turning 80 on April 29." Pocha, whose love for music was encouraged by her father, first learnt the violin with an Italian professor and then a German professor. "And because I was at the Cathedral School, the organist from the St Thomas Cathedral was our music teacher," she explains. "He encouraged me to join the Bombay Symphony Orchestra. I was only 15 or 16 years old then." "Mehli," she says, "was the leader of our group. And without him nothing would have happened. He would get everyone together."

On The Small Screen, The Big Picture Isn’t Always Visible

breaking-news - CopyWith so many different versions of breaking news, it’s hard to get perspective. Television news is stressful business. I didn’t know until recently just how traumatic it can be as a spectator sport. It’s not even a question of weeding out your favorite news channel from the wealth of choice available (about 400 channels at last count). English news channels are constantly amping up their game, trying to find new ways to convey excitement. If multiple screens, blues and reds, and tickers and capitalized headings weren’t enough, graphics are constantly swishing across channels so that you know that Things Are Happening. Presumably, a seizure is a small price to pay to know what the breaking news of the day is. It’s been a while since the last bastion of calm and reason – the news anchor – has crumbled. It’s not just 9pm anymore. The daytime is also being prevailed upon to be forceful and shout-y. Perhaps the re-branding of post-lunch shows – long presumed to be the time when people are watching on mute – as Afternoon Prime Time is a sign of the times. With so many different versions of breaking news multiple times a day, it’s sometimes hard to get some perspective. If you’re not a news junkie, you’re probably not flicking channels obsessively to see what the big news is. For instance, in the space of one afternoon, there was a heated commentary on the fate of Indian prisoner Kripal Singh, dubbed “Another Sarabjit”, on Times Now, CNN-IBN focused on the Bombay High Court as it deliberated on the IPL issue, while India Today was breaking news of a secret K4 ballistic missile launch, which, we learned, had been carried out the previous month. It was breaking on this day because the channel had accessed unpublished images of the launch. (I found the golden mike distracting, but perhaps I’m not yet used to it). Perspective is a tricky business, but if you do channel surf, you’re likely to get a fuller picture. The news is mainly bad news. While channels do their part to convey the scale of the problem, say in Marathwada, where Rajdeep Sardesai went for India Today to chronicle the drought, television cameras sometimes very powerfully bring home what is happening across our country. But television news doesn’t always give you the full picture. The decision of where to point your camera or where to release resources for your reporters and star editors to travel is a very calculated one, and takes into account audiences and potential ratings as much as the given news peg. Boxers or briefs? What television does well is present a developing story. We tend to turn to the news when there is genuine breaking news (a fact that has kept CNN a portentous force in the United States of America even when it normally lags behind its competitors). When an earthquake recently struck Myanmar, causing massive tremors in Kolkata, Guwahati and Patna, the instinctive tendency was to tune in to television to hear what the experts were saying. Increasingly, we supplement this with our dependence on print or digital, or social media, though the latter is notorious for not always being reliable. But television also gives us access to people we want to know more about even if we didn’t know we wanted to. On April 1, I watched a fabulous interview by Shekhar Gupta for his Walk the Talk show on NDTV with the Snapdeal founders Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal at their school campus at DPS RK Puram in Delhi. It was unexpectedly free-wheeling and full of laughter. These guys have been friends since Class XI and clearly understand each other. This was an interview in which everyone was at ease and appeared to enjoy the conversation without trying to score brownie points or come off as cleverer than the other. More recently, the other riveting interview was by Prannoy Roy on NDTV24x7’s India Questions with the very watchable Shah Rukh Khan. Not just because SRK took questions from the audience, including “Boxers or briefs?” Khan’s reply: “Depends who’s wearing them.”(Briefs, if we must know. “Death before boxers,” apparently.) The light-hearted banter was a bonus, including Khan telling Roy that he wasn’t doing much work that evening. The production wasn’t as spiffy as one would have expected, with some lighting issues, but even so, it pales in comparison to the fact that Khan had apparently decided not to go to any other English news channel. Khan did riff about wanting to get NDTV good ratings. His appearance itself would have done the trick, if not his attempts to get the venerable Dr Roy to shake a leg, or even remove his shirt, which Khan promised to get him to do next time round. Amrita Tripathi is a recovering news junkie. She has worked at CNN-IBN for nine years and The Indian Express for two years. At times, she may have a glancing familiarity or more with the news players mentioned.

How Liberalization Brought In A New Era For Business Families

Liberalization allowed the best-run family businesses to reclaim their rightful place in India’s business space. Liberalization caught India’s business families much like a deer in the headlights of an onrushing car. Mostly, it left them confused and wary of what it would mean to their fortunes. After all, the licence-permit raj that the reforms of 1991 sought to dismantle had been put in place with these same businessmen in mind. The politicians of the socialist era needed the moneybags of corporate India. Elections then, as much as now, were won with hard cash and the promise of largesse later. Torn between the urge to preserve and protect on one hand and exploit the many new opportunities on the other, many wavered, fatally in some cases. The Bangurs, Singhanias, Thapars, Modis and Mafatlals, such an integral part of the who’s who of Indian business in the 50 years since independence, have all but disappeared from similar rankings today. The best among them, however, seized the moment, first looking inwards to see what had held them back. What they saw was a cornucopia of legacy issues—vast bloated work forces, rows upon rows of inefficient middle managers, business portfolios that seem to have been assembled in the lost-and-found section of a children’s school and a general fear of the forces of globalization. The companies were mostly led by men (almost always men) who had no other qualification for the job except their family connections. The Tatas under new chief Ratan Tata (who in a great bit of coincidence became chairman of the group in 1991) showed how to do it. Satraps such as Russi Mody and Darbari Seth were swiftly replaced and the companies they had run as personal fiefdoms were hauled, often kicking and screaming, into the modern era. The Birla group led by Aditya Birla worked on its strengths in commodities and showed how to make successful ventures abroad by setting up plants in South-East Asia and Egypt. Aditya Birla’s untimely death in 1995 brought his son Kumar Mangalam Birla into the leadership position at the young age of 28 and he too embraced the tenets of a competitive modern economy. The best example was the Reliance group, which straddled both eras equally successfully. Set up in 1966 by Dhirubhai Ambani, the company began as a manufacturer of textiles, but driven by his adrenalin and audacity it grew rapidly, and by 1991 was already the largest producer of polyster yarn in the country. But post-1991, it grew wings and was soon exploiting emerging opportunities in those sectors of the economy that the government opened up to the private sector. Today, with interests in energy, petrochemicals, textiles, natural resources, retail and telecommunications, it is a $62.2 billion behemoth under the stewardship of Mukesh Ambani. In 1991, Mukesh Ambani was 34 years old, and Anand Mahindra, chairman of the Mahindra group, 36. Young inheritors like them went on to become the global face of the new India and in turn drew the attention of the world to the country’s potential as a market for products and a sourcing base for managerial talent. The big winners, of course, were what can now be dubbed “the children of liberalization”; businesses that were born, grew and scaled up thanks to all the opportunities thrown up in the course of the next two decades as the reforms of 1991 picked up pace. But interestingly, the reforms actually ended up restoring the primacy of Indian business families in the economy of the country. Till the 1960s, when the government took a markedly socialist stand on economic development, family-owned businesses were robust. They were the principal engines of growth and were among the best-in-class businesses across the world. Tata Airlines, for instance, was among the top 10 airlines in the world. But government policies, particularly through the turbulence of the 1960s and ’70s, brought the Indian business family to its knees by penalizing both growth and profits. By dismantling the discretionary controls that impeded innovation and entrepreneurship, the reforms allowed the best-run family businesses to reclaim their rightful place in the country’s business space. Today, 80% of Indian businesses are either entrepreneur-driven or family-owned-and-managed. It was strange, therefore, that the initial reaction to the reforms from some of the large, established business groups was that of disapproval. A “Bombay club” came up, opposing in particular the decision to open up sectors to multinationals. The fear was that with their might and muscle as well as the lower cost of capital, large multinational corporations (MNCs) would kill domestic players who would take some time learning to cope with competition after years of functioning in a cosseted environment. That’s where the first-generation Indian businesses scored. With no baggage of the past and no legacy businesses to drag them down, entrepreneurs such as Uday Kotak, Sunil Mittal and Subhash Chandra seized the moment, displaying audacity and chutzpah, which allowed them to compete and in many cases win battles against much mightier Indian and foreign competitors. Mittal, for instance, started off as a David lined up against a dozen Goliaths from India and abroad. Today, Bharti Airtel Ltd is India’s largest telecom company, having seen off competition from storied Indian companies and MNCs. The reforms of 1991 and the gradual opening up of the economy didn’t as much as offer the more adventurous of Indian business families the opportunities for growth as they removed the artificial shackles that had held back their predecessors. Now, however, a new and vastly different set of challenges face these same families: leadership issues in an era of far more stringent corporate governance standards and shareholder activism, the pressures of increasingly globalized businesses where the headwinds are both unpredictable and uncontrollable, the need to take cognizance of environmental and social factors, a vastly more complex workforce and, of course, the ever present political uncertainties magnified by the fractured polity and increasing federalism.

The Influence Of Insulin – Altaf Patel ExCampionite class of ‘64

The Influence Of Insulin - CopyIn 1920, scientists figured out how pancreas secretions controlled blood sugar and changed the lives of diabetics forever. Among the most deserved Nobel prizes was awarded for the discovery of insulin. The altruistic motives of Fredrick Banting, medical scientist, physician and painter, and Charles Best, a medical student at the University of Toronto, need to be commended. Before the discovery of insulin, Diabetes Mellitus was a feared condition, inevitably leading to death with the patient literally wasting away. One of my uncles died of diabetes years before I was born and my grandmother detailed to me her anguish, as he disappeared right in front of her very eyes. Much of Banting and Best's work was with dogs. In fact, Banting was a surgeon with a bachelor's degree in medicine. He had an idea that he wanted to explore — that pancreatic digestive juices were harmful to other pancreatic secretions produced by the islets (a portion of tissue distinct from, but part of the pancreas itself). In 1921, Banting discussed the idea with Dr John McLeod, who despite not being in total concurrence with Banting's hypothesis, gave him a dog laboratory. Banting, aided by Best, realized that when they removed the pancreas from a dog, its blood sugar rose and it became thirsty and drank lots of water, urinated frequently and became weaker and weaker — the classical manifestation of Diabetes Mellitus. When they removed the pancreas and sliced it up, they isolated a substance called isletin. When this was injected into a diabetic dog, its blood sugar dropped and the dog became healthier. By giving a few injections a day, they could keep the dog healthy and free of symptoms. In fact, Marjorie, Banting and Best's famous dog, lived for 70 days with insulin injections, even after having her pancreas removed. With these encouraging results they were given more funds and a larger laboratory and they started working on the pancreas of cattle. In late 1921, a biochemist, Bertram Collip, was inducted into the team. His specialized task was to make the insulin pure enough to inject into humans. When Banting and Best had injected themselves with insulin, they had gotten dizzy. In January 1922, in Toronto, Canada, a 14- year-old boy Leonard Thompson, was chosen as the first diabetic person in the world to receive insulin. Before this, he was emaciated and near death. He recovered rapidly. In 1923, the Nobel committee gave Banting and McLeod the Nobel prize in medicine. Banting was furious at his other colleagues being neglected, and shared his prize with Best, while McLeod shared the financial reward with Collip. The patent for insulin was sold to the University of Toronto for the princely sum of half a dollar. The world owes these great physicians and researchers, who so generously gave their research to the world for free. There's a misconception that other parts of the world did not know about diabetes. It was well documented in India as Madhumala and the Greek physician, Aretaeus, was the first to have named the disease 'diabetes'. Insulin has come a long way since its discovery. Until the 1980s, insulin was extracted from the pancreas of cattle and pigs. Porcine insulin resembles natural human insulin closely and therefore, was the preferred one of these early insulin varietals. Beef insulin, however, survived a long time despite the better porcine insulin being available. I think this was because Jewish and Islamic people had religious objections to the use of porcine insulin. In fact, I am told that in New York, the use of beef insulin persisted for a long time due to its large Jewish population. With the advent of human insulin, the other forms of insulin disappeared. While 'human' insulin might imply it is extracted directly from the human pancreas, this is not so — it is engineered genetically. There are certain situations in which a diabetic needs regular bouts of insulin, such as The Type I diabetic, who is grossly deficient of insulin from the start. It's also necessary when there is infection or failure of oral drugs. There is a great reluctance on the part of the patient to take an injection or two for the rest of his life. In a busy practice, the physician has little time to explain to the patient the value of insulin and this constitutes a major drawback to starting the regimen of insulin. The fear of the needle led to the discovery of inhaled insulin where it was absorbed from the lung, but this was withdrawn because six of 4,740 patients, who used the drug, developed lung cancer. Incidentally, they were all cigarette smokers. Unfortunately, insulin is digested when taken orally and is therefore not suitable to swallow. Buccal insulin delivery, which is sprayed into and absorbed from the mouth cavity, has also been tried and innovations to try oral insulin are still ongoing. In today's times, with thin needles and various pens in the market, injections of insulin are virtually painless and the diabetic need not be afraid.

Delhi Applauds International Entrepreneurs

Padma Shri recipient and ExCampionite class of '67 Dr MUKESH BATRA, Founder-Chairman of Dr Batra's® Group of companies, has been awarded the 'Outstanding Entrepreneur of the Year Award in Healthcare' at the Asia Pacific Entrepreneurship Awards 2016, organized by Enterprise Asia in Delhi. With operations in Australia, Brunei, Singapore, Hong Kong, China and 12 more countries, the awards are one of Asia's most prestigious. This year, the awards witnessed participation from over 8,000 applicants from 32 countries and had three levels of company screening by an eminent jury, which included screening for a company's financial ability for sustainability, site audit and personal interviews. Accepting the award, Dr Batra said, "We are extremely proud and grateful that our achievements have been recognized globally. This is not just recognition for us but for homeopathy and homeopathic doctors all over the world, as this is the first time that a homeopathic doctor is the sole winner in the healthcare category at a global platform."

Kal Aaj Aur Kal Will Always Be My Favourite: Randhir Kapoor

Kal Aaj Aur Kal Will Always Be My Favourite - CopyActor-director and ExCampionite class of ’64 RANDHIR KAPOOR has said that his first film as actor and director, Kal Aaj Aur Kal, will always remain his most favorite film. “I remember my first picture Kal Aaj Aur Kal in which my father (Raj Kapoor), my grandfather (Prithviraj Kapoor) and my wife (Babita) was there... a lot of dedication and love was in it. “It will always remain heartwarming and my favorite film,” Kapoor said at the launch of Geeta Dass’ book Kal Aaj Aur Kal. The book boasts of paintings made on various members of the Kapoor family. Released in 1971, Kal Aaj Aur Kal was Kapoor’s first film as an actor and director after his work as a child artist in the film, Do Ustad. The film was produced by Raj Kapoor and the success of the film turned out to crucial to the banner, after the failure of Mera Naam Joker. It is also said that he fell in love with Babita during the shoot of the film. About the book, Kapoor said: “I remember all the memories looking at these pictures in which my grandfather, my father, my uncle and brothers are there. I’m grateful to Geeta ji, she always embarrasses me by praising me and putting me on a pedestal, I’m not worthy of the love she is giving me, but I’m grateful that she considered me worthy of this love...”

Celebrating Maharashtra Day


Indian Nationalism Pluralistic, Not Domain Of Any Religion: Shashi Tharoor

India Is Not Just Hindi, Hindu And Hindustan Shashi Tharoor - CopyCongress leader and ExCampionite class of '71 SHASHI THAROOR was addressing a convocation ceremony at Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies (NMIMS). The idea of Indian nationalism emerged from ancient civilisation and youngsters should strive to preserve pluralism which is essential for "survival" of the country, senior Congress leader and former minister Shashi Tharoor said in Mumbai. "The magic of Indian nationalism is that its not based on a particular language, a particular geography, a particular religion or even a particular ethnicity. Indian nationalism is an idea emerging from ancient civilisation, united by a shared history and sustained by our pluralist democracy. As young Indian and future leader you must aspire to preserve this pluralism, which is so essential for India's survival," he said while addressing a convocation ceremony at Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies (NMIMS) in suburban Vile Parle. Tharoor said India is fast becoming an "entrepreneurship- driven economy" which has changed its perception on global stage. "India is increasingly becoming an entrepreneurship- driven economy. Indians abroad have already proved themselves in a number of start-ups they have helmed in places like Silicon Valley. And I know that there is a place not too far from here being called Powai Valley for increasing number of start-ups that are located there. All these have gone on to change our outlook of world," the Thiruvananthapuram MP said. He told students that they have abundant opportunities in present era compared to the 1970's. "I remember very few options were available to graduating students in India of 1970s. In early 1970s, our economy was still very close, sociologist protectionist, international exposure was limited and the word 'globalization' had not even been heard. But today world is smaller and the opportunities are far greater. Today's graduates have a wide variety of choices in India or outside," Tharoor added. A total of 349 students of MBA, MBA (Pharmaceutical Management) and MBA (Human Resources) were conferred degrees on the occasion.

Zubin Mehta Launches His Biography

1948ZubinMehta2World renowned conductor of western classical music, and ExCampionite class of '48 ZUBIN MEHTA launched a biography based on his life and work. Titled “Zubin Mehta: A Musical Journey” by Bakhtiar Dadabhoy, the book narrates the story of nearly six decades of career of the maestro. Mehta will turn 80 on April 29. “Well, I couldn’t have dreamt that this book could exist until last year when Bakhtiar reached me. I cooperated with him. We spoke many times on phone and then it happened,” Zubin told reporters here at the book launch. Dadabhoy said Mehta wasn’t initially too keen with the idea of another biography, as he had written one in the past, but came on board eventually. “This man led a very interesting life. I wrote to him asking if I could write a book about him and he said ‘no I just wrote a biography, I don’t see the need of another book’…,” he said. “In December 2014, I thought a biography on his 80th birthday in 2016 will not be a bad idea…I contacted him again and he agreed…I started updating the book, rewriting it. He then corrected a few things,” Dadabhoy added. Mehta said the book captures his life correctly and that he was impressed with the author’s “incredible” research. “When I went through the book, I thought it had incredible research. I don’t know from where he got those facts but most of it is correct and I was very impressed,” he said. Mehta was born in Mumbai and now is a permanent resident of the United States. The acclaimed conductor, who retains his Indian citizenship, feels he never left the city. When asked how does it feel to be back to Mumbai, he said, “It’s like I never left. But every time I come I get frustrated with the condition of the city. When I lived in cuff parade, it was heavenly…”

CEPT University Set To Expand, To Add New Buildings

rahulmehrotra-kD1B--621x414@LiveMintWith an eye on future expansion, the CEPT University plans to add new buildings to its existing infrastructure by investing about Rs 10 crore each year. Ahmedabad Education Society (AES) will fund the expansion, allocating Rs 10 crore to CEPT for the next five years, said Bimal Patel, CEPT Director, on Friday. “We will be constructing a series of buildings in the next 2-5 years in the campus. The CEPT library building is being designed by noted architect and alumnus ExCampionite class of '74 RAHUL MEHROTRA for which work has already commenced. We are also looking to add a workshop building adjacent to the GIDC building at CEPT which will be around 12,000 sq feet. It will be designed by Gurdev Singh, a CEPT alumnus who heads the Navrachna School in Vadodara. The Shrenikbhai Plaza will be built in an area of 3,500 sq feet and is being designed by Rahul Mehrotra. An academic facility will also come up in the north-west quadrant of the campus which will have additional classrooms and seminar halls etc. It will be designed by Christopher Benninger,” said Patel, who was speaking at the launch of Christopher Benninger: Architecture for Modern India. Indo-American architect Benninger is one of the founder-directors of the School of Planning at CEPT University.

Fashioning An Adventure

africa-2 - CopyAll know him as a pure aesthete, known as much for his corset blouses over chiffon saris as he is for his signature interiors. But when ExCampionite class of '77 TARUN TAHILIANI indulges in a little me-time, that's when you want to know him most. The fashion guru is currently in South Africa with sister Tina and their friends on a pleasure trip. The 'pleasures' they are pursuing are indeed of the wild and wanton sort. It's a pure adventure trip, Tahiliani informs. They are flying gliders, landing on desolate beaches, canoeing, trekking. "I want to spend more time in Africa. Alone," Tahiliani adds. "It's untouched, untamed and divine. I wonder why I live this absurd life in fashion?" Eeps! We need him to come back pronto.

Tharoor Shadow On UN Chief Hunt

United Nations - CopyExCampionite class of '71 SHASHI THAROOR has been long gone from the UN, but memories of his contest for the UN secretary general's job 10 years ago are deeply influencing the ongoing election of a successor to Ban Ki-moon, who defeated Tharoor shaking up the temperamentally complacent world body in multiple directions. Tharoor is obviously not a candidate this year: after 10 years of the UN being headed by the former foreign minister of South Korea, it is not Asia's turn in the geographically rotational process of choosing a secretary general. But the charismatic Thiruvananthapuram MP, who was for decades a prominent public face of the UN, is a tall presence at every election-related huddle in Turtle Bay, where the world body is headquartered. Because of the fallout from Tharoor's campaign, the General Assembly, in a historic departure, will vet secretary general nominees for the first time since the job was created in 1946. Also because Tharoor's out-of-the-box candidacy seriously upset the Apple Cart at the UN exactly this time 10 years ago, those who control the UN have ruled that prospective candidates must be formally nominated by their governments before they can be considered by the establishment in New York. Tharoor, in reality, had stood that process on its head. Nirupam Sen steered the Tharoor campaign as the then Permanent Representative of India to the UN. A closet Socialist and a career-long insurgent in the Indian Foreign Service, Sen used that campaign to shame members of the world body for allowing a secretive election process for 70 years now. That process, inviolate until now, allowed the big powers to make deals behind closed doors in the Security Council and tyrannise countries like India which were colonies when the UN's charter was adopted. Sen campaigned - often without any support from the pro-status quo UPA government which he represented - for the real stakeholders at the UN, members of the General Assembly, to have a say in the election of the secretary general. The UN Charter says "the secretary general shall be appointed by the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Security Council". But the big powers have got around this clause and protected their supremacy by recommending only one candidate to the General Assembly to choose from and make the appointment. If the General Assembly could directly elect the secretary general, Tharoor would have won hands down because of his large support base among the Arab bloc at the UN and his numerous IoUs from foreign ministers the world over who were his colleagues in New York and Geneva during the long years when he was an international civil servant. Sen's spirited campaign a decade ago has now borne fruit. Those fruits may not be ripe yet but they are on the UN tree all the same. The first-in-history process of candidates appearing before the General Assembly and making presentations before the entire UN membership on their qualifications and what they will do as the next secretary general will be spread over three days. Each candidate has been allotted two hours to make his/her presentation and to be questioned by member states. If there is any time left after UN members have assessed each candidate, the public and civil society representatives can also ask questions in an unprecedented concession to transparency in the selection process. A well-organized campaign is under way globally to create the groundswell necessary to elect a woman as secretary general for the first time. Among the formidable feminist organizers of this campaign is Charlotte Bunch, who played a major role at the 1980 Copenhagen, 1985 Nairobi, and the 1995 Beijing "World Conferences on Women". A global organization calling itself the "Campaign to Elect a Woman secretary general" is supporting a process to identify the best possible female candidates. Several leading women have already thrown their hat in the ring and will make their case before the General Assembly this week. They include Bulgarian Irina Bokova, currently director-general of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, Helen Clark, administrator of the UN Development Programme and the first woman Prime Minister of New Zealand, Natalia Gherman, two-time deputy Prime Minister of Moldova and Vesna Pusic, former first deputy Prime Minister of Croatia. Waiting on the sidelines to see how these women's candidacies shape up is Chile's President, Michelle Bachelet, who was the founding head of UN Women, an entity for gender equality and empowerment of women. The current General Assembly President Mogens Lykketoft told reporters at the UN headquarters here that the job interviews beginning today in front of the whole world are "historic and potentially game-changing for the way the secretary general is appointed". Many of these candidates have the one qualification that Tharoor did not have: a boring blandness that makes them opaque. The next three days will reveal if that temperamental advantage for the top UN job clashes with a need for charisma during interviews televised worldwide for a job that has no parallel in today's world.

Tracking Zubin

1948ZubinMehta2Writer and divisional railway manager Bakhtiyar Dadabhoy believes that his book on ExCampionite class of ’48 ZUBIN MEHTA captures the essence of all that makes the world renowned conductor a veritable superstar Bakhtiar Dadabhoy, former chairman of the railway recruitment board, moved to Pune last year as the divisional railway manager. But that would hardly explain him being in the news of late. Try this though. The 52-year-old government official will be releasing Zubin Mehta: a Musical Journey, an authorized biography of world renowned conductor Zubin Mehta. A surprisingly prolific writer — he already has six titles like Barons in Banking and Sugar in Milk: Lives of Eminent Parsis to his credit — Dadabhoy juggles his hectic day job and his passion for writing with practiced ease. "I work on weekends and on holidays. And, of course, it helps that I am a bachelor," he guffaws, adding: "I am very disorganized. I have no fixed time for writing. It has been just a hobby... though now I am afraid it's becoming a little serious." Clearly so. This biography was eight years in the making. Dadabhoy put pen to paper in 2009, visiting, as part of his research, online archives of hundreds of publications and ending up with two huge cartons and almost Rs 1 lakh worth of paid-for research material. Mumbai Mirror met him for a chat about his most cherished project so far. Why Zubin Mehta?: I first came in touch with Zubin Mehta while researching my 2008 release Sugar in Milk: Lives of Eminent Parsis. His was the last profile in the book. I had contacted him through his secretary, Natalia, with a few questions, which he answered graciously. He even got a copy of it from a common friend, Yusuf Khwaja Hamied, the chairman of Cipla. When he visited Mumbai in 2008, I had the opportunity to meet him and he complimented me on the book. By then, I had started thinking how this man is an iconic Indian, with such an interesting life. He is so talented and dedicated to his craft. He is a living treasure. But funnily enough no one had written about him. There was one early biography in the 1970s and his own memoirs, The Score of My Life, in 2008. And that too was not very detailed. How did you get him on board?: When I asked him in 2008, he wasn't interested. Perhaps because it was too soon after he published his autobiography. But I continued my research and writing anyway. By 2010 my first draft was ready. And there it stayed. But although other book projects took up my attention, I never really forgot about it. Then, in 2014, I learned that Mehta would be coming to Mumbai with his Israel Philharmonic Orchestra in April 2016 for his 80th birthday and I thought — what could be a better birthday gift than a biography. So I mailed him in early 2015 and he agreed to answer my questions. I met him next in Mumbai in October 2015. In the course of that conversation he probably realized that I wasn't just another fan. "You seem to know a lot," he remarked. But he refused to authorize the biography. "I have no clue what you will be writing," he said. In January this year, when I called him in Tel Aviv for some clarifications he asked for the manuscript. I asked him again if he would authorize, to which he said: "No - I want to read the whole book." It was sent to him. In March, he called me and said: "Congratulations on the immense work and research that you have done!" Then he pointed out some changes and factual corrections about his childhood, old concerts and the like. But he never asked me to delete anything. Finally, on March 18, Natalia confirmed that he would authorize the biography. I got my happy ending. Was he guarded about his life, which has clearly been much talked about?: He wasn't. He has always been open about almost everything - even his children outside marriage. While that is not in the book, I have written about his two marriages and how his first wife ended up marrying his brother, Zarin Mehta. In fact, he joked about it when he said, "The children haven't called me uncle yet!" His son, too, had once said: "It was a bit like Hamlet except that nobody died." But it is true that his autobiography was very understated. I have tried to bring in more details in my book though. For example, he barely wrote a paragraph on his 13 years in New York, as a conductor, which weren't very happy because the press really got after him. Critics lambasted him. Although his orchestra members liked him. Initially, however, it was a stormy relationship. He'd put his foot in his mouth earlier when he said that musicians in the NY orchestra liked to walk over conductors and that if you want to finish somebody, send him to New York. That was quoted. And he had to apologize for it. What did you get to know of Zubin Mehta as a person in this process?: I'd be lying if I said I know him well enough as a person. Most of my correspondence was via email. But, yes, I discovered facets. I have yet to come across a man who works harder than he does. Keeping up with him even through letters makes one breathless. He works around the clock... does almost 150 concerts a year. And he's a huge cricket fan. He owns a Donald Bradman bat, two bats signed by two Indian cricket teams and one from Sachin Tendulkar. But he doesn't like the T20 and ODIs. He's more the old-school Test Match type. Besides, I know he reads. I believe he likes history and biographies. But I doubt he gets enough time. Also, as a conductor, he has to handle all kinds of musicians in the orchestra, some of whom are exceptional, and may have issues with being just a part of a bigger whole. And he's done a great job of that. Whichever orchestra he has been with he's raised the bar, despite all the criticism that's come his way. Although when I asked him about his most trenchant critic — American music critic Martin Bernheimer — I realized that even now, Zubin is sensitive about it. He tried to be dismissive first. But then told me what, he believed, triggered Bernheimer's dislike. When he was a young critic and came to meet him for first time, Zubin thought all went well over their 30-minute chat. Later the president of LA Philharmonic called him. She was angry and wanted to know why he'd treated Bernheimer badly by not asking him out to lunch! And is he conscious of all the adulation he inspires?: No. And he isn't vain at all. He treated me, an uninvited stranger, so well. Although he still doesn't know what I do. He thinks I am writer (laughs). POP CULTURE REFERENCES TO MEHTA IN THE BOOK: ♦ When he was with LA Philharmonic, Mehta did a rock concert with Frank Zappa. Critics took it apart. So did he. "It was the worst piece of music I'd ever heard, but I'd given him my word so we performed it," he said about Zappa's composition. ♦ A Muppets character is called Zubin Beckmesser, who gets electrocuted when he sticks his baton into an electrical outlet. According to doctors, 'he would have died instantly had he not been such a poor conductor.'

Shaking Out The Bath Math

Shaking Out The Bath Math - CopyAltaf Patel ExCampionite class of '64 A question I am frequently asked these days is how often one should have a bath. I am a little flummoxed at this because I am not sure an appropriate answer exists. One must draw out the difference between a bath, which is literally immersing oneself into a tub versus a shower which involves standing under running water. Bucket baths are very popular in this country, and how those fit into the schemata uncertain—anywhere between a tub bath and a shower, though it is probably more akin to a shower. The one thing that everyone agrees on is that in the tropics where the heat makes you sweat, either a bath or a shower is refreshing. Perhaps a daily morning bath at least would be recommended and in fact many people shower again if they are going out in the evening, before changing into fresh clothes. The impact of water on skin makes one feel good. Perhaps this is attributable to the fact that we spend most of our fetal life in water - the so called amniotic fluid - before we are born. If a bath or shower refreshes you, relaxes you and brings about a change of mood, that feeling of freshness readies one for work at the start of the day. In colder countries, many do not have a bath daily because sweating is not an issue. There is sparse medical literature on the benefit of a bath. A warm bath is said to sooth muscles and also to help them heal after exercising. Scant literature also suggests that it increases blood circulation to the limbs, which helps in nourishment and repair to the lower limbs. There have also been indications that baths reduce blood pressure. I think if this happens, it is because a bath brings you to a relaxed state of mind. I am also surprised by a Colorado study that suggests that diabetics who immersed themselves into a hot tub for half an hour over three weeks lowered their blood sugar by 13 per cent. I think this deserves more medical scrutiny. There are certain advantages designated to a cold shower as well. Again, here the medical evidence is scant. A cold water shower is said to improve the immune system and a single study suggests that it helps treat depression as well. A study by the Thrombosis Research Institute suggests that cold water shower increases the level of the male hormone testosterone, which translates into an increase in libido. A bath can also putatively lower the level of the stress hormone cortisol, which helps to lower the levels of stress. A hot bath is also said to lower the sperm count in men, though the effect is only temporary. Bathing also helps to remove the bacteria and viruses from the skin and clears away the body toxins excreted in sweat. In the case of insomnia, it is recommended to have a bath before sleeping as this can help put you in a tranquil state. A cold water bath is also said to improve lung function. How often one showers or bathes is actually cultural. Before the advent of ensuite showers, people bathed less often. In the tropics, one needs at least one bath a day and in the west or cooler climates one can get away with alternate day bathing. Studies with an Australian population sample set tell us that 90 per cent of women and 80 per cent of men bathe once a day. There are problems to frequent showering as well. Over showering leads to a removal the body's natural oils that protect the skin cells. This makes them more liable to attack with bacteria and viruses, and may make the skin itchy or dry. There are also good bacteria on the skin, and frequent showering alters the natural distribution of such bacteria, which may predispose the skin to infections. It is recommended to spend three minutes at the most in the shower. Alkaline soaps tend to dissolve the skin's barrier and the good bacteria on the skin that protect us, tend to grow in an acidic medium. A view that vitamin D3 levels may be reduced by showering is still controversial. Katharine Ashenburg, the author of The Dirt on Clean, says advertising by soap brands push people to frequent unnecessary baths. In essence, if you are in the tropics, and exposed to dirt and filth then a daily bath seems wise. On the other hand if you are in the West or a cooler climate then a bath every alternate day is fine unless you are gymming daily. There are downsides of bathing too frequently.

Expansion! Dr Batra To Open 20 Clinics In FY17

Batra - Copy“We plan to add 10 clinics in India and 10 abroad during the current financial year,” Dr Batra’s Healthcare Founder Chairman MUKESH BATRA and ExCampionite class of '67 was quoted by PTI as saying. As per its expansion plan earmarked for financial year 2016-17, Dr Batra’s Healthcare is planning to add around 20 new homeopathy clinics across India and abroad, reported PTI. “We plan to add 10 clinics in India and 10 abroad during the current financial year,” Dr Batra’s Healthcare Founder Chairman Mukesh Batra was quoted by PTI as saying. At present, most of the clinics are company-owned but in tier-III and tier-IV cities, the company has franchise partners, he added. The group will also focus on expanding the reach of its FMCG products in India by doubling the number of outlets to 10,000 from 5,000 at present, he added. “As we already have a substantial presence in India with 219 clinics, the emphasis here will be more on consolidation while in overseas the focus will be on expansion,” Batra said. The markets that the company is looking abroad for expansion are the UK, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Oman, Bahrain, Doha, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Switzerland, among others, he added. The company is also diversifying its product base, Batra said: “We are entering the nutraceuticals market with launch of four products.”

Goa Fest: Rajdeep Sardesai In Talks With Arjuna Ranatunga

Goa%20fest%207 - CopyFor the first session on the day two of Goafest, the audience was amused with the presence of minister of ports and shipping and former Sri Lanka cricket captain Arjuna Ranatunga in conversation with senior journalist, author and founder of the IBN Network and ExCampionite class of ’81 RAJDEEP SARDESAI. The session kick-started with Sardesai asking Ranatunga about ICC World Cup win in 1996, at a time the country was faced with internal issues. Recalling the mindset at the time of the tournament, “I wanted a team of 14 cricketers who would give their life and dedication to the country. Winning the World Cup did not happen overnight. I asked my players if they wanted to win. I only picked committed players and not the best players. We didn't care about the money. I led the team like a school principal. I would order my players to get back to their rooms at 10 pm, even if they couldn't get sleep early, said Captain Fantastic. It could be well remembered that during the Sri Lanka-Australia final of the World Cup, Ranatunga hit Shane Warne for a six and then stuck his tongue out. A puzzled Sardesai asked the reason behind his reaction and whether the captain is supposed to be this aggressive. Putting blame on his size which makes him pant, pretending to be innocent he riddled, “I don’t remember sticking a tongue out to Warne. I walk between the wickets”. He further noted that this issue was created by two Indian journalists who had come to interview him. “Two journalists met me post our semi-finale win and said ‘Rana you need to give Australia a short before you start. The two guys told me where they'll be sitting in the audience, during the press conference and told me to answer their questions. One of them asked me about Shane Warne. I said he was mediocre bowler, highly rated in his country and I don't think he's a match winner against us.Then the other asked me about the Waugh brothers. I said the same about them and said that there were better cricketers in Asia”. Ranatunga used to analyse all his reactions and believes that a captain has to be aggressive. “If they push us, you have to push them twice or thrice. If I do something like that now, I would be suspended. At that time, we did not have such realistic rules at that time. I knew if all of us left, the match would be abandoned and they'd win. I don’t want young guys to do this. I love and respect the way Kapil Dev and Imran Khan managed their teams. I have learned a lot from them. Even they were aggressive captains.” Going further, Sardesai asked Ranatunga whether a captain in the subcontinent needs to be a politician. “We have created unhappiness to a lot of western teams but that did not hamper my credibility back home.” When asked about which job is the most challenging that being a captain for a cricket team winning a world cup or a minister who ensures policy change. He asserted, “Being a minister is the toughest assignment. Ports is one of the most corrupt industries with more than 90 per cent people being corrupt. But I love challenges and want to have them in life; to go on bad roads and not the highways”. The question on different ways to deal with corruption has never been answered. Rana strongly opposes any kind of corruption done by the 10,000 people working in the industry. “I'm not going to go to the past and drag things out. But from the day I join, I want you to be clean. Don't make me push you to the wall. I feel I can get things right provided I don't get shot”, he said. A buddhist follower by nature, Ranatunga trusts that Buddhism does bring calmness to him despite all the controversies and pressure. “When I was struggling or went through pressure, I used to talk to the top priests and still do that. I do a bit of meditation. It's not just Buddhism. All religions have enough good areas where you can learn and observe.” Majority of the players endorse brands which could affect a cricketers game. A question that often strikes our mind is whether endorsements affect performances. “I have never done an ad.” Recalling his first test at the at of 18, he said that a boss from a leading company had approached him for a commercial. Going back to that time, he remarked, “I don't know anything about this; why don't you talk to my mum? My mother was a teacher and listened to him for half an hour. Her answer was ‘sorry Michael, my son is not for sale.'” One thing that my mother told me at that time was, “Don't sell your talent or body for money.” “There are players who are interested in sacrificing play time or family time to do ads. I believe you need to identify what you are good at. Don't do toilet ads to earn more. I've done three charity ads. I may have lost a lot of money not doing ads but these are the things that kept me going”, asserted the minister. At the end of the session, the table was made open for Q&A sessions. One of the questions asked was on the T20 format. Ranatunga compared 20-20 to a brand of instant noodles. “T20 matches are quick, and filling but not healthy. Test cricket is what a mother cooks. It's healthy, but might not be very filling.” He further added, “We will lose our identity because of T20. India and Pakistan were among the best at hockey but now they play on artificial grass, it's all about power. These days you don't need brains and technique. Behind the walls they are creating another sort of cricket for them to go to the top”. A question was thrown at Sardesai whether he will choose to become a cricketer or continue with being a journalist. Answering the question, he commented, “Cricket needs talent, journalists don’t need talent.” Ranatunga added further, “If you have money, you can be the president but cricket needs talent." The session concluded with Sardesai questioning Ranatunga whether he would endorse a brand ever to which he replied, “Only if you convince the three important ladies in my life i.e. my mother, wife and daughter, I will do anything that you want me to do.”

I Miss My Father Being In The Audience And Criticising Me Later: Zubin Mehta

I Miss My Father Being In The Audience And Criticising Me Later - CopyExCampionite class of ’48 ZUBIN MEHTA, who returns to Mumbai to celebrate his 80th with three grand concerts, says he could still do with a bit of critiquing from his father With six decades of work behind him, Padma Vibhushan Zubin Mehta has been hailed by many as the world’s greatest living conductor in classical music today. World leaders, royalty and music lovers have run out of superlatives to describe the power of his performances Mehta returns to the city of his birth on his 80th birthday to helm three concerts — two at the NCPA, and a third at Brabourne Stadium — organized by the Mehli Mehta Music Foundation (MMMF), a non-profit and classical music school set up in honour of his father. Some of the world’s most accomplished musicians and vocalists, including tenor Andrea Bocelli, will join him on stage. Edited excerpts from an email interview. Q. Are you excited about performing in Mumbai once again? A. I am very pleased to come back to the city of my birth, where I always feel so much at home. Joining me is my beloved Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and wonderful soloists like Pinchas Zukerman, Denis Matsuev, Andrea Bocelli and Maria Katzavara. Q. The concert at Brabourne Stadium on April 20 will mark Bocelli’s first performance in India. You’ve collaborated with him before on a fantastic album. What is it like working with him? A. I love working with him. I have made quite a few recordings with Andrea Bocelli, including operatic repertoire like Turandot and Aida. It is my greatest pleasure to work with this wonderful musician and finest tenor, who always comes superbly prepared to all our collaborations. Q. The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra is also celebrating its 80th birthday with you. This is a rather special moment for the both of you. A. When I was first engaged by the Israel Philharmonic, I went there at the age of 25. The leader of the Orchestra prophesied to me that we were both 25 and he was sure that we would both be there even when we were 50. And now it’s come to 80. At this point, every single member has been engaged by me, with a committee of advisors, of course. They are all like my children. Q. In 2008, you performed with Placido Domingo in Mumbai to celebrate the birth centenary of your father Mehli Mehta. An interesting collaboration would have to be when Domingo, José Carreras and Luciano Pavarotti came together as The Three Tenors, and worked with you. Could you share some memories of that? A. To work with these great artists twice — in Rome and Los Angeles — was a delightful experience for me, both artistically and personally. All three were so nice with each other, and not just as colleagues, but as friends. Q. In more recent times you’ve performed with Pt Ravi Shankar’s daughter Anoushka. How did that come about? A. Panditji and I were close all our lives. When I was in the New York Philharmonic, I asked him to write a concerto. The result was a great piece of music which I played with him in New York, London and Paris. After we would finish the concerto, which was one hour long, the public would go crazy. Today, I have the great pleasure of interpreting his concerto with his daughter. She has played it with me in Israel and Florence to great success, and we will perform again in the future. She has named her son, Zubin, after me, which is such an honor. Q. Your father was an accomplished conductor and musician, who performed well into his 80s. What was the best advice he shared with you on conducting and collaborating? A. My father was a very strict and disciplined artist and I am proud to say that I inherited these qualities from him, which have helped me in my working life. I miss him very much. I miss him being in the audience and criticizing me later. Q. The MMMF has initiatives to teach young children and promote classical music in India. They also have outreach programmes to teach underprivileged children across municipal schools. Your thoughts on the same? A. It’s a wonderful music school set up in my father’s honour in Mumbai. It was my dream with Mrs Mehroo Jeejeebhoy, who now heads the school. There are wonderful volunteers who help her, and I’m so grateful to all of them. We have an incredible amount of talent; one day we’ll have many great Indian musicians or instrumentalists coming out of this school.

Tharoor Launches Lulu-DC Book Fest In UAE

Tharoor Launches Lulu - CopyThe UAE’s initiative to promote love for books in the Year of Reading got a big push with renowned Indian author, orator politician and ExCampionite class of ’71 Dr. SHASHI THAROOR inaugurating a 10-day reading festival in Abu Dhabi. The festival is launched by Lulu Group and DC Books. Huge crowds thronged the shopping arcade to meet the Congress MP (Member of Parliament) from Kerala and former UN diplomat who has authored 15 best sellers. The Indian MP signed copies of his books at the festival. Talking about the role of art and culture in strengthening India-UAE ties, Tharoor said it is a mistake to ignore the importance of cultural bonds and see things only from the prism of economic cooperation. Very few Arabic books are being translated into Indian languages, and Indian books into Arabic. That should change. I would like to see more cooperation between Indian and Arab publishers. There should be more effort to persuade Indian publishers to translate titles into Arabic so that we offer a slice of India to this region,” said Tharoor. UAE has declared 2016 as the Year of Reading, and Lulu Group said they are doing their bit to promote reading by hosting the festival in cooperation with DC Books. “The idea of hosting a book festival in a shopping mall is to take books to where the crowds come. We want to make books more readily available at competitive prices,” said Nandakumar V., chief communications officer Lulu Group.

“Rate Cut of 25 bps in RBI’s Policy Review Meet a Good Move, Could Have Been Better”: Niranjan Hiranandani

Z RBI - CopyThe Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Raghuram Rajan, in the first bi- monthly monetary policy for 2016-17 on Tuesday, 05 April 2016, cut the repo rate by 25 bps to 6.50 per cent. The CRR was kept unchanged at 4 per cent. “The RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan has restarted the rate cut cycle after a six-month pause; it is a good move for the economy – but could have been better,” said, ExCampionite class of '66 Niranjan Hiranandani, MD, Hiranandani Communities and Founder - President National Real Estate Development Council (NAREDCO - Maharashtra). From a real estate perspective, the RBI move has a potential to reduce the overall burden for home buyers; and can potentially, boost real estate sales by enhancing positive sentiment for home seekers, said Niranjan Hiranandani. The RBI’s bi-monthly policy review suggests it is focusing on liquidity management. RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan’s stance appears to be ‘accommodative’, and I see further scope for rate cuts going ahead, subject to good monsoon and improved transmission of rate cuts to end users, Niranjan Hiranandani added. “From a home buyer’s perspective, I expect significant rate transmissions by banks and HFIs to enhance positive sentiment in the next few months. The last time the RBI Governor cut key rates was on September 29, 2015; when the repo rate was cut by a larger-than-expected rate of 0.5 per cent to 6.75 per cent. This was a move aimed at boosting the economy and to spur demand,” said Niranjan Hiranandani. “Post the Budget, I expect monetary policy to be supportive of economic growth. Declining inflation and negative industrial outlook seem to have strengthened the case for the rate cut, although market expectations were that it could have been higher, at 50 bps,” he concluded. Niranjan Hiranandani is Founder & MD, Hiranandani Group, his recent initiative is Hiranandani Communities. He is the Founder and First President (Maharashtra), National Real Estate Development Council (NAREDCO), which works under the aegis of Ministry of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation, Government of India.

Who Is The Stronger Sex? – Altaf Patel

Who Is The Stronger Sex - CopyAs a young house physician at a public teaching hospital I managed a large outpatient department. It never failed to amaze me that the majority of the patients were females. Even today, at the free out-patient department for indigent patients which I service, I point out to my juniors that it is difficult to find a male in the long lines outside the door. When I used to conclude my duties at the outpatient department as a student physician, I would walk back to my room and often see the many young burkha clad females sitting in the garden, playing with their young children and buying them snacks from the road side vendor. What perfect bonding, I thought. I also faced great difficulty in understanding the many medical problems that the women came to us with. They seemed innocuous, and insignificant— hardly of a severity to stand in long lines and see a specialist physician in public hospitals. Ionce asked the senior physician after my first few months, about which diseases were prevalent among these women. He enlightened me - many were young housewives who with their imaginary complaints played hooky from home, leaving the mother-in-law to do the housework. They regularly reported that the doctor had summoned them, leaving no room from argument at home. In any event much of medicine is good history taking. I find this much easier to do with the male who tends to be direct and precise. Females on the other hand, are more verbose and cloud their important symptoms with so many inconsequential statements, that their impact is obscured to the physician. I remember once reading an article that heart disease in women was more common than one thought, a decade or two ago. The authors made it clear that physicians ignored women's real symptoms because they were wrapped in so much padding, that they lost their impact. Females live longer than men and their bodies are better at fixing wear and tear, and that is because they need to have healthy offspring. In the UK, women now live 4.2 years longer than men. In the past this gap had been 6 years and it has been long postulated that female hormones may prevent certain diseases in women. Research from the Ghent University in Belgium also tells us that females not only live longer than males but are more able to withstand shock, sepsis, infection or trauma. Women have two 'X' chromosomes in their genetic make-up and it is in this chromosome that 10 per cent of the micro RNA (genetic protein acid) is found. This is likely responsible for important functions, such as the maintenance of immunity of the person, and for fighting cancer. There are certain situations however, where the women is more frequently affected. According to the American Headache Society, women experience migraine headache more frequently then men. Before puberty both males and females are almost equally matched for migraines but after puberty, migraines affects females at almost 3 times the rate of males. Another situation is arthritis. Females are more often affected with conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and its sister diseases. Midlife asthma appears a little more commonly in females. Eating disorders are another situation when females are grossly affected, far more than males. Mental depression is also more common in females as well. Researchers are quick to point out that women's hormonal influence could be responsible. This may not be the only factor that holds sway. Several decades ago, heart disease was far more rampant in males. Of late, the female has been catching up though studies show that heart disease develops 7 to 10 years later in the female than the male. Though the male is physically the stronger sex, because of his build and hormonal make up and musculature, it certainly seems that when disease is concerned females are the stronger sex, barring a few instances. In several conditions, however women are rapidly catching up.

Want A Career In Celebrity Management? Atul Kasbekar Tells You What It Takes

Want A Career In Celebrity Management - CopyAce photographer, and ExCampionite class of ’81 ATUL KASBEKAR who is the front man of Bling Entertainment Solutions--the celebrity management company that manages clients like Sonam Kapoor, Vidya Balan, Konkona Sen Sharma, Lisa Haydon--tells us the what and how of the field. While the grandeur and resplendence of the glamour world, and those associated with it, is enough to fill one with wishful thinking and intimidation--there is a set of people who exist to ensure that it continues to look that way. The above-mentioned species of super humans are known as celebrity managers. A fairly young business in India, the field of celebrity management has--for a long period of time--been a necessity for celebrities abroad. Following their lead, our country too is moving towards a direction where the need for representation is no longer a want, but a need. But if you're still not sure exactly what the field entails, let us help you. Kasbekar, known for his work in Kingfisher Calendar shoots, recently turned producer for Sonam Kapoor starrer, Neerja. While donning several hats is no less than a hobby for Kasbekar, he tells us how becoming a celebrity manager is not all play. Here are 5 things he feels you should know about the field. People increasingly feel the need to be represented: According to Kasbekar, celebrities nowadays increasingly feel the need to be represented and don't mind paying a certain sum of money to have someone else talk for them. "These days people believe that their interest will be better served if someone else does the talking on their behalf. Earlier, they did not feel the need for such representation. They would be like, 'Oh you've come to take my money', whereas now, celebrity managers make their money, and not take their money--to a certain extent." The best way to get into the field is to dive right into it: Kasbekar says that one can't be taught how to become a celebrity management. "I don't know of any institution in the country that has set aside a specific course for this branch of management. The field requires you to learn on the job. And even though there isn't a formal course I know of, it would be a good one to have." Celebrity management is not the same as PR: The fields of public relations and celebrity management are totally different, says Kasbekar. "We don't do any PR work at all. It's a separate service altogether." And what are the prerequisites?: "One should be resourceful, patient, ego-less--and fairly thankless," he says on being asked about the traits that are expected in a celebrity manager. "You will be expected to be an agony aunt, a punching bag, and a parent as and when the situation demands. You can't expect a pat on your back for everything you do--it's your job," he adds. "If a client tells you that he/she needs a pink elephant for a joy ride within two hours, the only question you should ask is 'What shade of pink do you need?'" he quips. Self respect is paramount: But having said the above, Kasbekar also goes on point out the importance of being true to one's self esteem. He mentions that even though you will be expected to be an audience to the tantrums, emotions, and demands of your client--you should not be dishonest to your ego and self-esteem. "If a client has changed three managers, the problem might not be with you--but with him/her. Take the hint and leave--your respect is paramount."

How Ratan Tata’s Family History Influenced His Flawed Decision To Buy A British Steel Giant

How Ratan Tata - CopyWho in their right mind would invest in the British steel industry? In 2007 India’s leading industrialist, Ratan Tata, did so to the tune of £6.7 billion (Dh48.8bn at the time) when he bought the Anglo-Dutch company Corus, which was basically all that remained of the once mighty British Steel and its Dutch equivalent Hoogovens. It was probably the worst deal ever done by an Indian company, and pretty high up the order for industrialists of any other nationality, too. Today, faced with losses of £1 million a day, Mr Tata’s successors have announced the potential closure of its works in Port Talbot, South Wales, and have offered the rest of the corpse to whomever might be foolhardy enough to buy it. For those who have not been following it, the future of Port Talbot, an emblematic symbol of Britain’s former industrial might, has become the hottest political issue in the United Kingdom in the past few weeks, forcing the prime minister David Cameron to cut short his Easter break to chair a series of crisis sessions to determine its future – if it has one. The British government is now considering everything from slapping penal tariffs on Chinese imports to nationalization. Shortly after he had done the deal, I asked Ratan Tata why he bought Corus. We were in the bush in South Africa, attending a meeting of the International Advisory Board set up by the president at the time, Thabo Mbeki (Tata was on the board; I was a humble adviser). Was steel not, I asked him, a sunset industry, dogged by union issues, ferocious international competition and high costs? That, he said firmly, was all out of date. The British steel industry, he asserted, after billions of pounds of state money had been poured into it, was a slim, super-efficient, highly profitable and technologically advanced industry that could take on the world. But he then confided something else. The Tata family had been in the steel industry since the 1850s, starting in a small way in Gujarat but growing rapidly under his entrepreneurial ancestor Jamsetji Tata, the founder of India’s most famous business dynasty. When the British embarked on a major programme to extend the railways in the early 1900s, Ratan’s grandfather approached the British colonial official in charge and suggested that he provide some of the steel for the thousands of miles of track that would be needed. The official, according to Tata, looked down his nose and replied: “Mr Tata, these railways will be built from the finest British steel made in Wales, Tyneside and Scotland. We don’t want your cheap, inferior Indian stuff." Later, it turned out, there was huge corruption on the part of the British officials who bled the railways to the point of collapse by 1920. Two generations later, Mr Tata took great pleasure in buying the whole – literally – of the British steel industry, and spent £2bn upgrading it. It was not all he bought at the time: between 2000 and 2010 he embarked on a near-US$20bn acquisition spree, transforming his family’s business into one of world’s top conglomerates. He scooped up Tetley Tea and Jaguar Land Rover in the UK, New York’s Pierre Hotel and the South Korean lorry maker Daewoo. But his most ambitious acquisition was Corus, which at the time was a successful FTSE 100 company, and he hailed it as “the first big step that Indian industry has taken in the international marketplace … as a global player". Last week his successor, Cyrus Mistry, convened a Tata board meeting in the old colonial building in Mumbai, where the industrial conglomerate has its headquarters. The picture presented was a bleak one: Tata Steel’s debts stood at £7.9bn, Standard & Poor’s had downgraded its rating to junk status and there was a £15bn liability in the pension fund. Worst of all, Tata, along with half the world’s steel industry, was being killed by impossibly cheap, subsidised Chinese steel that is being dumped on the global market in enormous quantities – China last year produced 803 million tonnes of steel and exported 105 million tonnes of it; the total British production by contrast was 15 million tonnes, down from a peak of 28 million tonnes in 1970. How do you compete with that? The decision that emerged was to “restructure" Tata Steel in Britain, which basically meant the closure of Port Talbot’s blast furnaces, with the loss of up to 20,000 jobs, ending steelmaking in South Wales after more than 200 years. After the meeting, an adviser was quoted as saying: “If Ratan Tata had been here today, I think the decision would have been very different". Mr Tata is a visionary and, in many ways, an industrial genius. The success he made of Jaguar Land Rover is stunning – last year it made a profit of £1.5bn, which is more than he paid for it. British Steel was a step too far. But the real culprits are the Chinese. If they are not stopped, they will kill off steelmaking across half the globe. And that is in nobody’s interests.

Watch Indian, Not Just Hindi Films, Urges Rishi Kapoor

Rishi Kapoor - CopyVeteran actor and ExCampionite class of '69 RISHI KAPOOR urged a viewer, who enjoyed "Kapoor & Sons", to not just watch Bollywood films but other Indian movies too as the country makes "very good films". A Twitter user, who rarely watches Hindi films, praised "Kapoor & Sons" in a post to Rishi Kapoor during a virtual chat on social media. “Don't watch Hindi movies but saw 'Kapoor and Sons'-superb! Such a sensitive portrayal of an Indian family. Rishi Kapoor, Fawad Khan and Karan Johar,” the fan tweeted. To that, Rishi Kapoor responded: “Start watching not only Hindi but Indian films. We make very good films too. Return to your roots." "Kapoor & Sons" stars Fawad Khan, Alia Bhatt and Sidharth Malhotra in lead roles, with Rishi Kapoor playing a 90-year-old grandfather.

Saga Of The Crowning Glory What All You Need To Know

Saga Of The Crowning Glory What All You Need To Know - CopyThere are 40 health reasons why your hair is falling out. And heart diseases are just one among them, says trichologist Akshay Batra, a leading expert on hair and managing director of Mumbai based homeopathy clinic Dr Batra's group. The President of the Trichological Society, London and son of renowned homoeopath Mukesh Batra, Akshay was in the city to release the Malayalam translation of his book, 'Hair, Everything you ever wanted to know', a quirky yet detailed description of human hair, one of the prime characteristics of the human anatomy. In his book, Akshay explains that hair is an accurate barometer of one's health and states how it is also luscious proof of one's quality of life. "People are very concerned about their looks and are willing to spend bucks to groom their hair. However, what is alarming is how the business of hair care has bloated to a multi-billion dollar industry invaded by cosmetic companies with a host of self-grooming and style products. With a motley crew of self-styled hair gurus, remedies are often worse than the hair disorders they claim to cure," he says. In his tryst as a hair 'doctor', he says that the first sign of illness can be detected in the hair. "Diabetes, ovarian cysts, you name it...we can identify your illness by testing your hair much better than your blood. Trichologists are often roped in for tests to study behavior of criminals, among many others," he said. Akshay goes on to say that people with unhealthy hair especially receding hair lines tend to have low confidence and exhibit difficulty in taking decisions. "This is mostly common in men. 75 per cent of men feel less confident following the onset of hair loss especially while speaking or interacting with women. An interesting study reveals that 40 per cent of women with hair loss have marital problems," he says. So, does less hair have anything to do with determining your career graph? Apparently it does. Dr Akshay in his book adds that 63 per cent report career-related problems. For men, those with hardly any hair in the crown of their head find it difficult to climb the ladder of success in their jobs. But things are changing now, thanks to the success of hair transplants. "At least ninety per cent of patients who arrive at Dr Batra's for hair transplants are men. We charge just Rs 90,000 for the treatment, where we take a portion of the hair at the back of their head and place it in the front crop where it grows gradually. CYBER CLINICS: Dr Batra's homeopathic clinic is credited to be the first centre to have started a cyber clinic where people can receive prescriptions and treatments through the internet. "We use Skype to give out diagnosis. This is the most effective way to reach the rural areas of the country. Any house which has a computer can take appointments with us and then we can deal with our patients through Skype," says Dr Akshaya. There are over 20 doctors who dedicate their time for cyber treatments alone. He adds that cyber clinics could be the future of the country. Facts in the Book: There are hair files, which give you interesting tips on hair- like who are more prone to baldness, the Europeans or Asians? It also pooh-pooh's myths - when you pluck a white hair, two will grow back to replace it. Boxes and picture illustrations also add colour to the book. The book is priced at Rs 250

Ratan Tata, Unbridled At 78, Meets His Young Self In Start-Ups

Ratan Tata.docx - CopyRatan Tata has been devoting himself to start-ups, using his rock-star status to become India’s most famous venture capitalist. For all Ratan Tata’s success, his early years at Tata Group were fraught with frustration. No one at the business empire founded by his great grandfather in 1868 would listen to his new ideas. Colleagues told him to keep quiet and stick to the traditional way of doing things. Even after he became chairman in 1991, it was an uphill battle to steer the behemoth into new ventures, Tata told a forum of business leaders in Singapore on Tuesday. When he started the Nano affordable-car project, some employees concluded their stubborn techie leader had lost his mind. Now, the 78-year-old is free from the shackles of a business that he turned into a global conglomerate, he’s rediscovering his younger self. Since he retired in December 2012, he’s been devoting himself to start-ups, using his rock-star status to become India’s most famous venture capitalist. Many of the enthusiastic entrepreneurs he meets and backs remind him of when he was a young man who wanted to make a difference by breaking new ground. “There was an in-built frustration that carried through most of my career,” Tata told the forum. “Interaction with start-ups is so exhilarating to me because it allows me to relive that kind of freshness.” INDIAN ICON: Tata’s rise as an iconic Indian business leader paralleled the country’s own emergence on the world stage. He transformed Tata Sons Ltd into a $100 billion global powerhouse, with products from Land Rover cars to Good Earth tea, leading other Indian businesses like Bharti Airtel Ltd and Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd to also expand abroad. Now, some of that growth is in jeopardy, caught by China’s slowdown. Tata Steel Ltd said this week it’s looking to sell its UK steel business that Tata bought for $12 billion a decade ago. Several quarters of losses and £2 billion ($2.8 billion) of write downs have left the division with an asset value of almost zero. And while Tata Motors Ltd is cashing in on the success of Jaguar Land Rover Ltd, the Nano has been a commercial disappointment, hit by bureaucratic red tape that delayed a dedicated factory for two years, and tarnished by an image as the world’s cheapest car. Those frustrations during his half-century career at the family business surfaced in a talk that followed the hour-long meeting in Singapore with 29 founders of start-ups backed by Jungle Ventures, where he serves as a special adviser. “In the corporate world, there is a tremendous amount of control,” he said. “In the new world, no one is asking you, ‘Who’s tried this before? Who’s succeeded in this? Are you sure you can make it happen?’ That’s the kind of change that exhilarates me when I interact with a startup.” ‘FREE AGENT’: Since his retirement, he’s invested in more than 25 ventures, including mobile payment venture Paytm and Teabox, a premium tea retailer.“When I retired, I was a free agent. It was my pocket, my money that was used,” said Tata. “So I went into that with a manner of freedom.” Veterans like Tata bring knowledge and networking to start-ups, said Arcot Desai Narasimhalu, director of the Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Singapore Management University, which has helped foster 150 start-ups, including Teabox. “It’s a fantastic opportunity for entrepreneurs who are fortunate enough to have gotten his attention.” After graduating from New York state’s Cornell University with a bachelor’s degree in 1962, Tata returned to India and joined the family company, Tata Industries, on the advice of his uncle, J.R.D. Tata, whom he succeeded as chairman in 1991. LAND ROVER, TETLEY: Over the next two decades, Ratan Tata propelled the conglomerate onto the world stage by making multibillion-dollar acquisitions to add global brands such as Land Rover, Jaguar and Tetley tea. Today, Tata group has more than 100 companies and operates around the world. Yet the lifetime bachelor counts the Nano car project, which started in 2003, as the highlight of his career. “My colleagues in the car industry overseas said, ‘You know, we tried this and it doesn’t work. Don’t waste your time’,” Tata said. “The most exciting moments in my life were the development of the Nano -- to see it come to be.” He has a simple strategy in selecting startups to invest in: great ideas and founders who are willing to stick with the business and expand through ingenuity and innovation. The barriers to entry have come down, and the era where ideas can blossom into new businesses has arrived, Tata said. The “glorified valuations” of some startups will inevitably come down and many ventures will fail before a small number of enormous successes emerge, he said. And what advice would Ratan Tata give to his 18-year-old self? “I started my career in a traditional set of companies. People considered that to be a good place to work, but not one that led to innovation,” he said. “If I were that young Ratan Tata, what I would have enjoyed most is somebody saying that we provide you an environment that is more open.”

Fears Of Shift To Bond Market Overdone: Paresh Sukthankar – HDFC Bank

1977PareshSukthankar2Paresh Sukthankar is an ExCampionite class of '77 Even as it rolls out a slew of digital products HDFC Bank has grown its corporate book smartly at a time when market growth has been subdued. PareshSukthankar, Deputy MD, HDFC Bank, tells Shobhana Subramanian the gain has come from higher exposure to both existing borrowers and the addition of new customers. Sukthankar believes that while companies looking for plain funding may move to the cheaper bond market, banks can retain corporate clients by providing a holistic solution. Excerpts: Where is corporate loan growth coming from? We would have added a few new names that weren’t there earlier but most of it has come from increasing share with the customers with whom we already have a relationship. We might have weaned away loans as well and, in whatever incremental requirements the customer had, we may have had a larger share. We have also digitalised solutions on the corporate side; for instance, corporate treasurers don’t need to come to office to authorise transactions. Given that a lot of corporates have moved to bond markets, how do you compete? Do you offer lower rates? We must be doing something right. I guess there must be three or four large banks that are competitive from a base rate perspective. But it’s also the speed of response. It’s also that when you have the customer’s borrowing linked to some sort of transaction processing, it becomes much more compelling. You can always borrow through Commercial Paper; it will always be cheaper than a bank. But the fact that the bank opens a letter of credit or discounts a bill, that matters. So is HDFC Bank now competing with the bond market? It’s absolutely right when you look at the funding piece, it is. When people talk of disruption it’s not from within the system; it’s the new fintech kid on the block or whoever else. Again, it’s not just the product, it’s also a value proposition for the customer because the products don’t change so much. Ultimately, he’s getting term funding but does he get it at a lower cost and is that the real piece? So are banks going to compete by adding services? It could be the bundling of products but it could also be that money is not the only piece that the customer is looking at. For instance if he needs to pay a supplier, whether he borrows or does a bill discounting or he does a transaction linked to the supply chain, there are different ways of servicing him. But I agree that if you look at pure stand-along funding, she is going to go to the markets. Having said that, this whole thing about customers moving to the bond market and banks being substantially sidelined is overdone. At the shorter end you have multiple players. But at the shorter end, if you look at the disintermediation that was happening, other than MFs which had some appetite, the rest of the paper was being picked up by banks. So some corporates will say I will take some cash credit but you must subscribe to my CPs. Corporates also look at a blended cost that they are getting from banks. But, there’s no doubt that as the market evolves there will be some cannibalising. Is banking becoming easier for private sector banks? With the way state-owned banks are being treated, they’re going to turn more risk averse… I know a lot of people keep asking whether the market share risk will accelerate. One, I don’t think private sector banks gaining share has to do with public sector banks being in a spot. The market has grown and this is because the private sector banks offered something superior. My basic point is that our ability to gain share is predicated on our strengths and not on somebody else’s weaknesses. Your point is that if the competition is constrained in some manner, will the shift accelerate? I think it is possible for a brief period of time, depending on how long this transition takes place. The real competition is with large public sector banks like State Bank of India which are still very active. That’s not true. Bank of Baroda has not grown its corporate loan book, the book has actually shrunk. The fact is that the overall system itself has grown at just 8-9% this year, slowing down; maybe some smaller banks have looked to grow in double digits. The point I am making is that when you look at large corporate transactions—PSUs or something— let’s assume everyone has appetite, a couple of the large public sector banks and large private sector banks will all be competing tooth and nail for that business. Maybe what you’re saying is true that five years back it might have been six public sector banks and two private sector banks. Unfortunately, during this period, total market growth has shrunk. And shifts in market share, when the system is growing at this kind of a pace, are never very rapid. What about the liabilities side? Will CASA shift? I would say, in the case of assets and certainly so in the case of CASA, one should avoid generalising across customer segments—public sector, private sector. Even within segments there are players gaining share in CASA and losing share in CASA. If you look at the total private sector, banks have gained market share, even in CASA. Given that you have the digital edge, will new customers be drawn to private sector banks? You’re right, when it comes to new customers, coming into the banking fold, aspirational, from a convenience perspective, will they get drawn to banks which offer these new services? Absolutely. Since you have a larger number of private sector banks that are strong on technology that shift which is taking place may accelerate. Certainly for some customer profiles. That is a reality. Some public sector banks may get share, like SBI and some others, because they do have the full range. Will there be a slightly faster shift if public sector banks don’t respond? I think that is certainly the case. Therefore, technology and digital is equally a threat and an opportunity depending on where you are. Those banks that are not gearing up and not giving customers a choice, forget not acquiring customers at the same pace, they will lose some of their best customers because customers will move to where there is greater convenience. For players who are making that transition, relationships are becoming stickier. When people ask, what about the threat from independent wallets, well, they have their strengths but from a limited perspective. How fast is digital technology changing the way banks work? The change in the way customers interact with banks has happened over a period of time. In the last year or so, the number of transactions enabled on the mobile has gone up significantly.The part we now call digital is about how the customer is dealing seamlessly across channels. From a bank’s point of view, if you look at the lifecycle of a customer, even before you have sold her a product you have a database telling about the customer. It’s a different customer experience altogether and that’s the power of digital—rather than transacting via an ATM or via net banking on a stand-alone basis, it’s across all channels. Given that IT is accessible to all banks, what will be the differentiator? It’s a question of how each player structures the product around technology; essentially going beyond the basic product, understanding the customer’s needs. Also, the larger part of anything that is retail is the sheer execution. For a large number of customers you need to get them to use it. The execution part of technology is sometimes underestimated. In this digital era what is the role of branches? It’s true that in Europe, branches have been rationalised. But everyone now accepts it’s not one or the other, but an Omni channel. Also, it’s hard to say what kind of ratio—of branches to customers—we should have. For new customer acquisition, the branch is important not necessarily because you’re originating everything there but because the customer will not start a relationship without one. So, if I go to a new city, and don’t have a branch but I say the bank has ten ATMs, the customer won’t be happy. He would say I need to go somewhere to bang the table, if I need to. Where is HDFC Bank adding branches? If you look at the branches, we have added last year and this year it’s roughly 50:50 between those in semi-urban and rural areas and branches in urban metropolitan centres. And if about 55% of our branches are semi-urban and rural, it means their disbursements would be 25%. Although the ticket sizes may be smaller and the overall revenue potential smaller — given the market potential —the costs are also lower. So from a profitability point of view, or time to break-even or a cost to income ratio point of view, they would be as good as those in an urban location.

At 78, Ratan Tata Goes To Startup School

At 78 - Copy“I don’t know.” That was basically Ratan Tata’s response to many of the questions tech founders asked him during a day spent with Singapore’s tech community. An upstanding business magnate in India who’s frequently compared to Steve Jobs or Warren Buffett, Ratan spoke on two separate occasions: an intimate and private session with startups, and a much more formal event held at Shangri-La Hotel. Both were organized by VC firm Jungle Ventures. Naturally, founders clamored to take selfies with him, but also to marinate themselves in his wisdom. But Ratan didn’t pretend to know all the answers. Or even that he understood all of the questions asked, some of which were laced in tech lingo. “I don’t think I could answer this,” prefaced Ratan. A founder had asked him for advice on how CEOs should manage their time. He answered anyway: “It depends on the individuals, it depends on the variety of issues you’re dealing with, it depends on the personality you have. Some people delegate, some people roll up their sleeves and get involved. Both examples have their plus and minuses.” Another entrepreneur asked how he should convince skeptics to buy his products. “I don’t see how I can answer that,” Ratan repeated. But he continued: “Because that’s very much an issue of your capability of being able to convince the person, and the openness of the person you’re trying to convince,” he said. “The world is full of people who are one way or another: those who are open are better people to work with, and those who are confined to their comfort areas.” He had harsh words for the latter, who will “live and die and fade away without making a difference.” Ratan speaks in a rhythm. He espouses long sentences as complex as his grey hair. He kept emphasizing that he knew nothing, then proceeded regardless to draw anecdotes from his decades of experience as the head of Tata Group, India’s largest conglomerate with over 600,000 employees. Eternal learner Ratan may be old, but he’s a student of startups. His angel investments are his tuition fees. So far he’s backed over 20 tech companies in India. “This is a learning experience for me, not a giving experience,” he said, dashing the imagery of an Indian Santa Claus shoving cash down startup chimneys. “The willingness to sell your home and sell your car and make some start in life, to do something differently – that appeals to me. In those cases I have chosen to take small positions to support those founders.” He characterized his appointment as Jungle Ventures’ “special advisor” in a similar fashion – he’s there to learn from its portfolio companies. “As far as advice is concerned – that was [Jungle’s] idea,” he quipped. While Ratan was known to be numbers-driven in his time at Tata, he relies more on intuition when backing startups. Numbers don’t excite him. Rather, he enjoys working with founders pursuing great ideas that may not work but have a certain “freshness.” Another criterion: founders who build companies for the long haul, who want to see their ideas reach their fullest potential and have real impact on society. “If he sells [the company], he sells because it’s good for the business, and not because he can cash out and start again.” The troublesome notion of ethics Ratan is not only known as a steady captain of a vast conglomerate. Attendees at both events praised him as a paragon of ethics, and he spent some time dwelling on the topic. He believes businesses should never compromise on their beliefs, even if it may come at a heavy cost. Ratan narrated how Tata started a process control company in the 80s, and had to bring in an external CEO to run it because the group had no one with such expertise. The CEO came into his office, and told him the only way the business would work is if they paid bribes. But Ratan didn’t give in. “We’re not going to do that,” he said. “Well, Mr Tata, we’re not going to be able to run this business,” replied the CEO. “Then we’ll close it down.” Eventually, the CEO stuck to Tata’s principles and – according to Ratan – that business prospered. This steadfastness extends to employees who break ethical rules. Such staff must be dealt with “ruthlessly and without exception,” as that’s the only way to signal to the rest that compromise is unacceptable. Ethics comes at a cost, Ratan emphasized. “We’ve lost business opportunities, we’ve been disadvantaged by government policy,” he said. He acknowledged that companies have risen to prominence because their ethical standards have been looser. “But it was nice to go home at night and say that you didn’t succumb,” he said. Nonetheless, Tata Group accrued benefits by staying on the right side. People stopped asking it for bribes because they learned it would not yield. They’ve also won deals by cashing in on their integrity. But, arguably, staying ethical is relatively easier when you’re a massive group with 100 subsidiaries. Founders asked Ratan: what happens when you’re in a startup which is surviving month-to-month, with no certainty of paying employees beyond a year? And shouldn’t the survival of the company and feeding your employee’s families be the priority, even if it means knifing someone in the back, or paying bribes in Indonesia or Vietnam? Ratan turned pensive. “I’m afraid I have to take a view that there’s no difference. Because it’s not a band that you cross, it’s a thread. You cross that line, and you’re on the other side.” He then seemed to vacillate. “Having said that, that’s what I would reply and I don’t want to say that you go out of business because you’re in a survival mode. I wouldn’t [compromise], but maybe I have deeper pockets.” Eventually, he found his way back where he began: nope, no compromise. “I don’t want to sound too pious or unyielding to someone else. But I think each little compromise you make adds a drop in a bucket which eventually comes back to haunt you,” he said. A history, abridged In the short two hours he spent in the spotlight, he packed in a lot personal history. A Tata scion who began his career as an architect, he restarted from the bottom on the shop floor of Tata Steel, shovelling limestone and feeding the blast furnace. Before he took over Tata Industries in 1981, his mother was diagnosed with cancer. He took a leave of absence and flew to a hospital in New York to spend time with her. With little to do, he sketched out what became a strategic plan for the Tata Group. After his mother died and he returned to India, he was “told very politely” that the plan was rejected. “Rather defiantly I implemented that plan for Tata Industries,” he said. His ascension to the top of Tata Group was met with challenges every step of the way. First was the economic downturn in India in 1991, which saw Tata’s business shrink. Ratan, the newly minted chairman of Tata Sons, the holding company of Tata Group, felt it was time to transform the business into a global one. This was so that its fate wouldn’t just be tied to one economic cycle – India’s. Tata Group needed to hedge its bets. To pull that off, Tata acquired a series of foreign companies, including Jaguar Land Rover, an odd mix of a luxury car and SUV maker. He only wanted the Land Rover business. But despite a “series of secret meetings” to work things out, in the end he had no choice but to take both. Then the European economy collapsed, and Jaguar Land Rover’s business buckled. “I used to carry this title of the stupid guy who went to buy these companies and didn’t know what he was doing.” Jaguar, however, has since paid the Tata Group back many times, claimed Ratan. Another highlight in Ratan’s stint at Tata was when he spearheaded the development of the Tata Nano, the group’s stab at producing a budget car under INR 100,000 (US$1,500 in today’s currency). The idea came to Ratan when he saw how families of four or five would ride dangerously on a single scooter, sometimes in the rain or at night. “Being a little bit restless, I started doodling – in board meetings that were boring – on how to make a scooter safer.” The idea evolved into a four-wheeler, and then a full car. “We concluded that people wouldn’t like to have a half-car,” he said. Things began promisingly. 300,000 orders came in, all paid in full. “We were building something no one thought was possible.” But in Ratan’s telling, the Nano’s factory construction got delayed by factors beyond his control, including government politics. Tata couldn’t deliver the vehicles for two years. The excitement among consumers died. Enthusiasm about the project waned within the company, resulting in a flawed sales strategy that drove the last nail into the Nano coffin. Ratan, however, remains hopeful that the vehicle can make a comeback. An electric-powered version is in the works. Leadership is lonely Ratan’s history seems to lucidly inform his present opinions, actions, and the general advice he dished to his audience. While he doesn’t believe in government grants, he thinks governments should simply provide an environment free from little obstacles that plague businesses. “What this industry needs is an environment of ease. Not subsidies. Not schemes that are complex and almost not worthy of the time spent, but an ease of setting up a company, the ease of a taxation system that doesn’t hurt you when you’re new,” he said. He pointed out how many Indian startups have moved to Singapore precisely because of the contrasts between the two countries. On leadership, Ratan believes one of the CEO’s roles is to create a sense of excitement in the company and convince employees they’re making a difference in society. True leaders, he added, can only be identified when you’ve spent time working alongside them. Key traits include the ability to get around obstacles to completing tasks, to conjure up good ideas, and to overcome crises either by getting their hands dirty or by delegating work. True leaders are also not afraid of making lonely decisions, he said. Often, leaders will be alone in thinking their decision is the right one. Even those they turn to for support may voice disagreement. In the end, leaders should follow their “inner selves” – as long as the action stands up to public scrutiny. “Decide what you want to do, and pay the price to do it.” It seems the objections he encountered, as a young man brimming with ideas, is what motivate him to invest in startups today. “All through my early years in Tata I faced this frustration of having ideas which nobody wanted to listen.” Even worse, they told him to shut up, only wanting ideas that’ve worked in US or Europe. His investment spree, then, comes with a social mission. He’s passing the torch and enabling a new generation of Ratan Tatas by providing not just money, but also an affirming environment to realize new ideas. “I’m not looking for multiples on my investment as yet. I’m looking for the enjoyment of dealing in an environment that’s invigorating, and supporting those founders who want to make a difference.” That’s what a young Ratan Tata had wished for.

Fashion Lensman Atul Kasbekar To Float Film Production Venture

Atul Kasbekar - CopyNoted fashion photographer and ExCampionite class of '81 ATUL KASBEKAR, who made his debut as a producer with the Hindi movie Neerja, is all set to float a separate film production venture in collaboration with former Balaji Motion Pictures CEO Tanuj Garg. The new production company will be formalized by April.“It was important to have a separate company so that it should not be perceived as an extension of the celebrity management business, as we won’t be just working with the talent that we manage under Bling,” Kasbekar told BusinessLine. The first two projects, which will be produced under the banner of the new film production company, are in the process of being finalized. “We are already having conversations around seven-eight movie projects. We believe the first two movies will fructify soon and will go into production before the year-end,” he said. Asked about funding for the new venture, Kasbekar said: “The new venture will be backed by our own individual funds. We will work out a development fund. The first two movies will be co-productions and we are in conversation with the studios.” On his new venture, he said: “We want to build a reputation first. We want to continue to back great stories. Neerja was an unusual movie project that has done well. This diversified country has incredible amount of stories and one just needs to look for them. The essential factor has to be that no one should lose money in the entire value chain.”

The Virtues Of Chocolate – Altaf Patel

1964AltafPatelExCampionite class of ‘64 A decade ago, when a patient sought advice on what to eat, the answer was actually simple. It basically boiled down to--don't eat what you enjoy. A lot has changed since then. I think doctors in their prime at that time, had a strange Presbyterian attitude, in the sense that if you're enjoying yourself you must be doing something wrong. The realization that your patient requires a quality of life, and not simply a sum total of years to live, has been very important. The other interesting fact is that dietary advice has changed over a period of years. What was taboo yesterday, is now not only permitted, but occasionally, even good for you. The bogey of dietary fat has swung its pendulum arc to dietary carbohydrates - today, doctors desperately try to fit a diet or lifestyle around your preferences. I think that is what good medicine is about, to try and let the patient do the things that he does enjoy within limits, if the medical condition allows it. There are certain foods and universal pleasures such as chocolate. I have yet to come across someone who does not enjoy a chocolate though many do not eat it because they feel it is bad for health. One gets several types of chocolates, light, dark, a host of delicious chocolates, particularly from Belgium and Switzerland that the world enjoys. The Aztec Indians believed that cocoa seeds were a gift from heaven and gave you wisdom if you ate them. The Journal of Nutrition in 2000 stated that the medicinal use of cocoa has been known for at least 500 years. The raw seeds of the the obroma cacao bean are referred to as cocoa. According to Latif R in an abstract in the Netherland Journal of Medicine, these seeds are rich in flavonoids, known to be of antioxidant value - in particular the catechin and epicetechin. When these seeds are roasted and ground cocoa is formed, which when further processed by adding sugar, fat and other ingredients results in what we know as chocolate. The Journal of Nutrition in 2004 ran an article that stated that these agents reverse heart disease and, surprisingly so, even cancer. Many studies have documented this inverse relationship - more flavonoids, less heart disease. Cocoa is the richest form of flavonoids and but processing it reduces the potency. The Kuna Indian of the San Blas islands hardly suffers from any high blood pressure. They migrated to these islands traversing the heavy jungles of South America and had a higher death rate before the migration. In the San Blas Islands the Kuna eat about 1 gram of flavonoids and their death rate has decreased considerably, which cannot be attributed to genetics alone. What exactly flavonoids do is increase the level of nitric oxide, which helps counter ageing, heart disease, stroke and cancer and diabetes. Studies from the University of Panama tell us that in mainland Panama heart disease and cancer were the leading cause of death. In contrast, for the island based Kuna the incidence of heart disease was less by 9.2 per cent and 4.4 per cent for cancer. The rate of death from diabetes is also much lower in the San Blas Kuna Indians. The data strongly suggests that all this is flavanoids induced. A study reported in the Archive of Internal Medicine conducted by Brian Buijsse confirmed that a cocoa eating elderly male population had lower blood pressure compared to a control group that didn't consume cocoa. Though it is generally believed that dark chocolate has the highest flavonoid content, this is not true. The processing or 'dutching' of cocoa to enhance its flavour and texture and reduce its bitterness also eliminates the flavonoids, as does alkalization which produces a dark chocolate with low flavanoids. Though the evidence favouring cocoa is encouraging we must remember that chocolate is calorific - it increases weight which makes you more prone to diabetes and blood pressure. A large study initiated through Brigham and Woman's hospital and the National Institute of Health is going to assess the value of cocoa and multivitamins in cancer, heart disease, and other ailments. Till then chocolate in moderation, is the answer.

Tata’s ‘Inbuilt Frustration’ Turned Him Into Prolific Investor Post-Retirement

Tata - CopyThe ‘inbuilt frustration’ of not being able to invest in new ideas and sectors, as often as he wanted to during his five-decade-long career, led him to become one of India’s most active investors post retirement in 2012, ExCampionite class of 49 RATAN TATA, chairman emeritus of Tata Sons revealed at an event in Singapore. “I faced this frustration of having ideas but nobody wanted to listen….the only ideas that were listened to were those which have been successful somewhere else. I never could make investments in activities myself, because there’s always a prospect of a conflict of interest with a Tata Group company, and I held back,” Tata said, replying to a question by Piyush Gupta, chief executive at DBS Group Holdings, at an event in Singapore. Tata says that retirement made him a ‘free agent.’ The chairman emeritus of Tata Sons says candidly: “It was my pocket, my money. It was a matter of freedom.” Tata’s personal investments include online wallet and retailer Paytm, cab aggregator Ola, smartphone maker Xiaomi, and tens of other companies in India and abroad. While Tata may have wanted to invest in more sectors, as chairman of the $108-billion conglomerate, that had interests in everything from tea to steel, he is best know for a string of bulge-bracket acquisitions from Tetley Group to buyout of units of Korea’s Daewoo Motors as well as Jaguar and Land Rover businesses from Ford in the automobile segment, and Anglo-Dutch steelmaker Corus Group. Tata, who is also an advisor to Jungle Ventures, was speaking at the event hosted by the Singapore-based VC firm. Edited excerpts of his conversation with DBS CEO Piyush Gupta. What brought you to this world (of venture capital), having spent a lifetime running Tata Group? All through my early years in Tata, I faced this frustration of having ideas but nobody wanted to listen. Not only did anybody not want to listen, but they had advised you to keep your mouth shut, and they said that I did not have the experience – the only ideas that were listened to were those which have been successful somewhere else. Every time you had a thought it got thwarted. There’s an inbuilt frustration that got carried through most of my career. I tried to rectify that when I was the Chairman, where we started a series of new ventures… That frustration was that we were not really using our time to enter new fields that no one had entered before. On the investment side, I never could make investments in activities myself, because there’s always a prospect of a conflict of interest in a Tata company, and I held back. When I retired, I was a free agent. It was my pocket, my money! It was a matter of freedom, if you’d like. This (investing in startups) has been a learning experience for me, not a giving experience. I’m still learning about the culture that’s very refreshing for me, and new. And some of the innovations (I’ve invested in) are more risky than I would have expected in my years at Tatas, but very refreshing because it has the vigour and that passion….the willingness to sell your home and sell your car….to do something differently. And that appeals to me. So, in those cases, I have chosen to take small positions – not major positions – but to really support those who are really trying to make a difference. When you think of supporting founders, are you backing the idea, the person, or passion? Bit of both. The idea, of course, should be the main driver to bring us together, because when an idea is refreshing and interesting, be it in e-commerce or whatever, it appeals to me and interests me. But it’s not by itself because the founders play an important role. Founders who are interested in just valuations and selling it to a larger company are not those who interest me so tremendously. I’m not looking for multiples of my investments as yet. I’m looking for the enjoyment of dealing in an environment which is invigorating, and supporting those founders that want to make a difference, not those that want to flip their companies over to a larger company and walk away with a cash-out. Those have their place, it’s not in my book. What’s your general sense of the entrepreneurial climate in India at this point of time? There’s a huge amount of entrepreneurs (in India). Much of it is because of some of the success stories. I think one of the main drivers of this new wave is the smart phone. So many of the startups are driven by the growth of the smart phone. Today, we may have about 500 to 600 million smart phones in the country, probably moving to a billion in a period of time. And growth of many of the new ideas, of the new applications, of the new platforms, are dependent on the smart phone. So, the real driver in India, which is not alone in terms of the way the country is digitizing itself, is the smart phone. Yes, there will be failures. There will be exploiters, a lot of ups and downs. Some of the glorified valuations will be adjusted downwards in the course of time, and I think the industry will become more mature as it goes on. India is an entrepreneurial country – we could call ourselves a country of shopkeepers, small entrepreneurs, whatever it is, but everybody seems to have an entrepreneurial instinct. Whether it be a little guy in a paan shop in the corner, or a small manufacturer. Do large companies have to look outside for innovation? Large companies interact with startups and innovative companies for different reasons. Some corporations acquire or embrace small companies because they feel that innovation is done by a small group of people and they may not be able to do that themselves, so they encompass the small company into their midst and allow them the freedom to grow. A lot of companies, unfortunately, also invest in startups to kill them. They see startups as potential competitors endangering their legacy, so they acquire them and put them in a drawer so that they don’t see the light of day. I think that’s a horrible way to move forward, but many corporations do that. Some of them endeavor to create their own startup environment and unless the person at the top is willing to throw some traditional structures away, that doesn’t seem to work at a large corporations, as they are full of controls and systems, which has its own strengths for the large corporation. I think the only way (innovation) could be promoted is for the large corporation to create sub-systems within themselves that are run differently from the rest of the organisation, and then elect an innovative leader, which they may have within their midst or go outside (to get one). In a 100-year old company, how were you able to innovate and create the Nano? I became a project leader for creating the Nano. That sounds a bit pompous but let me explain what happened. I used to keep seeing families of four and five riding on a scooter and it seemed to me that this was a fairly dangerous kind of thing. I considered families going in the night or in the rain, and being a little bit restless. I started working on how to make a scooter safer – altering the wheels, creating a frame around them and so on. I started that project in the manner of innovating a scooter, making it safer. I created a small group around me which I led, and that evolved into a four-wheeler that didn’t look like a car at all. The first ones didn’t have doors, they had a safety bar. People could add a door…add on to the vehicle. But we concluded that people wouldn’t like a half-car – finally we would need to produce an affordable car. That’s when the Nano project started – it was on how we can push the cost of a car down. We set ourselves the task of being able to sell it for 100,000 Rupees, and that became the task of the group. We met that task and launched that car. The launch gave the group more visibility that it had got in the last 150 years because we did something that everyone said was not possible. What followed that, which made the Nano project not so successful, was a series of things that were outside our control – the political thing of stopping us from producing the car in West Bengal, led to the the loss of one year, as we had to build a new factory, and this killed the enthusiasm and excitement around the Nano. We had 300,000 orders with full payment for the car. When you couldn’t deliver it for two years, that excitement kind of died. The other area where we made a great mistake in the company was that we became complacent. The sales people called it the ‘cheapest car’. This term did the most damage to the image of the Nano. Instead of being an affordable car, it became the cheapest car that had the stigma of “will my neighbors think I don’t have the money to buy a car”. It’s probably what drove the last nail into the coffin and made it into a “me too” kind of product sold in a unremarkable way into the marketplace. We’re now trying to relaunch the car, a more up market car, and also an electric version of the Nano, which will resurrect to some extent the excitement for the project.

The Day That Changed Indian Cricket

The Day That Changed Indian Cricket - CopyThe 25th June 1983, the home of cricket, Lords cricket ground witnessed one of the biggest upsets in the history of sport. India, 50-to-one outsiders at the start of the Cricket World Cup, achieved the impossible, not only did they reach the final, they beat the great West Indies team full of stars, from Gordon Greenidge to Clive Lloyd, Viv Richards to Malcolm Marshall, to name a few. The final at first looked like an anti-climax, India, who had beaten England by six wickets in the semi finals at Old Trafford, were bowled out for 183. When Viv Richards led his team to 50 for 1 in reply, it looked like another chance for the Caribbean camp to celebrate, but then all was about to change for India. Captain Kapil Dev and the rest of the team became national heroes overnight I was there when India won the World Cup: Indian TV presenter Rajdeep Sardesai was one of the 20,000 fans who witnessed India win. Rajdeep Sardesai, India fan at Lords in 1983: "There was no plan to go watch the final because there was no question of India getting to the final and frankly one day cricket had never taken off in India. 1983 was the turning point." Sardesai was an 18-year-old student living in the UK in 1983, now a well-known TV presenter in India, he's one of the twenty thousand spectators that really can say "I was there when India won the World Cup." "It was easy to get tickets because mainly Englishmen were giving up their tickets. In the first two World Cups, India only won one match against East Africa in 1975, we were otherwise no-hopers. "There are two or three things you keep with you to tell your grandchildren and this is one of them. It was one of the best days of my life." Balwinder Singh Sandu, Indian cricketer who played in the 1983 Final: "We were confident we could beat West Indies, since we had played against them in West Indies and beat them in the one day game and that gave us the confidence, we can beat them if we put them under pressure. "Maybe the viewers or the media (were) not expecting us to win, but we in our heart we believed we could beat this team. "The whole team had that self belief." "Most of India didn't expect us to reach the Final" India's World Cup winning captain in 1983 Kapil Dev says they didn't expect win. Sandhu played a significant role in the Indian team that day, not only as a bowler but with the bat. Batting at No.11 in the final, he went to the crease alongside wicketkeeper Syed Kirmani, India were on 161 for 9, and Sandhu was desperate to get some more runs. Balwinder Singh Sandu, Indian cricketer, 1983 Final: "When I went in to the middle I said to Kirani, don't throw your wicket, I'm going to stick around and if we can bat, we can put 30- 35 runs on the board, that was my plan, to stick around and we got those crucial 22 runs, I'm proud of those 22 runs and what I did as a bowler." India were all out for 183, it's a score line that's synonymous now with the history of Indian cricket. Now walking back to the Lords pavilion, they were about to face one of the most formidable battling line-ups in cricket, West Indies were chasing 184 for victory from 60 overs: "Kapil said okay boys we have got 183 they have to make it 183, let's go out there and fight it out and enjoy the game, that reduced the pressure, he just made us relax." India captain Kapil Dev: "It wasn't a winning score, we were only thinking to get a couple of wickets. I think most of India didn't buy tickets because they didn't expect us to get to the final." Rajdeep Sardesai, India fan at Lords in 1983: "My friend Yajurvindra Singh (former Indian Test player) decided 183 (total), I might as well go shopping for the afternoon than see India being humiliated by the West Indians. They were such a formidable team, I can actually understand where my friend was coming from." Kapil Dev and Sunil Gavaskar would go on to be household names in cricket, but for Sandhu he created one of the stand out moments in the final. He grabbed the key wicket of West Indies legend Gordon Greenidge, a wicket that appeared to give them confidence they could defend their meagre total: Balwinder Singh Sandu, Indian cricketer, 1983 Final: "I think that was the wicket of hope. In low scoring games if you get a wicket early it creates a self belief, it made us more determined that we can win this game. "Gordon got out to me three times before that ball (in my career), what I had observed when I bowled my inswinger, he was not picking it up. I was bowling downhill and that day the wicket had a lot of juice and the ball was swinging. "When Gordon came to strike I bowled my inswinger just to surprise him. Gordon tried to put his pad to stop the ball, but it hit the bails. "He's a great player, I'm his fan, but even great players can get out and you can out think him." "It was the wicket of hope" India's Balwinder Singh Sandu says 1983 World Cup "was a turning point" in Indian cricket "I prayed to God, get this wicket for us" Balwinder Singh Sandu, Indian cricketer: "I was fielding at fine leg and West Indian spectators were pestering me, you won't win the World Cup, West Indians will win the World Cup and that's when I prayed to God, we have got nine batsmen out, now just get this wicket for us" Sandu's prayer came true. Michael Holding was bowled lbw by Mohinder Armanath. West Indies were bowled out for 140, sparking huge celebrations: India's 1983 winning team reunited in 2008. "God listened to those who like to fight and was kind on us. As the last wicket got out, I ran to pick up a wicket and got hold of a stump, which is still with me and still has the English soil on the stump. I was caught in the middle of the crowd, the crowd was trying to pull the stump from my hands, but I pushed my way through to the pavilion and everyone was celebrating." Rajdeep Sardesai, India fan at Lords in 1983: "You're 18 and India has just won the World Cup beating the mighty West Indians, it took some time to sink in. I abandoned all pretence of being a gent and ran on to the pitch." Kapil's Devils had changed the landscape of cricket in India forever. Balwinder Singh Sandu, Indian cricketer: "When we landed in Bombay airport, the crowd was huge and then it hit us that we have done something big for Indian cricket. That 1983 win was a turning point in Indian cricket, until that time the belief was that we can't win big matches, but after that we started believing and lifted the self belief of all Indians."

Marc Carvalho No More

1980MarcCarvalho2We regret to inform you that MARC CARVALHO ExCampionite class of ’81 expired on 27 March 2016. Marc born on 05th of May 1964 was the founder and CEO of Carver Aviation. He was an highly enterprising person. The Funeral Mass will be held on Thursday 31st March at 3 p.m. at the St. Teresa’s Church Next to Hinduja College. The Burial shall follow at Mahalaxmi.

A Boutique With A Library

A Boutique With A library 2 - CopyCouturier Tarun Tahiliani’s Mumbai store mixes artistry with adventure. It almost feels like a walk across the courtyard of a childhood paradise: a little tropical, a lot classical and infinitely magical. The gilded universe of master couturier and ExCampionite class of ’77 TARUN TAHILIANI’s brand new flagship boutique in Mumbai promises the luxury of intimacy—it is visual poetry in motion. Interestingly, the space, in its previous avatar, stocked the designer’s ready-to-wear pieces. Tahiliani and his interior design partner, Bindu Vadera, refurbished the space in a span of just three months. Located in a majestic heritage building in Colaba, the boutique’s view of the soaring horizon is painted with the Gateway of India and boats docked at the marina. This particular building, Tahiliani tells us, was designed by an Italian architect. The 4,000 sq. ft boutique is reflective of Tahiliani’s vision of couture: drama and decadence, classicism with contemporary opulence. Filled with nostalgia for a simpler time, Tahiliani says, “I wanted to create a space that would be reminiscent of the Bombay I grew up in: a tropical home with terrazzo tiles, Indian stones and palm trees swaying around us.” The boutique, with its mix of flooring ranging from Indian marble to sagar black, kadappa stone and natural wood, is a masterfully executed example of reimagining this space with a modern architectural elegance. Tahiliani’s Midas touch is evident in every corner of the sun-drenched boutique. A wall of antique mirrors greets you, while the floor-to-ceiling brass sculpting of “T-jaal”, the ornate jaali pattern printed on the tissue paper used to wrap the clothes is a sensorial treat. The space is a celebration of dramatically inventive detailing. Case in point: the extraordinary inlay work of mother-of-pearl motifs, resembling a peacock’s plume, on taupe-coloured walls across one section of the store. Tahiliani is a fan of a neutral colour palette that includes beige, sand and mud. He says it is the “patina of the subcontinent”. One of the other rooms in the boutique has custom-made wallpaper from British manufacturer Zoffany, which makes for guilty viewing pleasure. Tahiliani’s private art collection, portraits of Indian nobility and works from acclaimed photographer Rohit Chawla’s series on the Kumbh Mela and Kutch line the walls. The store is built around a central library—the idea is referenced from the designer’s home study, which is an enviable repository of quirky collectibles from around the world. At the boutique, the library is the central spot leading to each section: ready-to-wear, bridal and bespoke. The shelves, made of glass on lacquered panels with fabric, stock objets d’art, accessories and jewellery. Designed like a sumptuous private salon, the boutique has spaces marked meticulously to highlight the different sections of the ready-to-wear lines and men’s collections. However, the most beautiful feature of the boutique is the uber luxe fitting rooms with sensual mood lighting by Singapore-based specialist Suman Agarwal. “I wanted to create a space where I can maintain the sanctity of couture,” says Tahiliani. This is where “by-appointment-only” clients can sink their toes in soft “Agra” carpets—made by the designer, of course—and take a deep breath before bracing themselves to comb through an exquisitely edited curation of the collections. But the real masterpiece here is the intricately hand-painted Danielesque mural of a royal procession across a 15ft wall. “Redoing this store has helped us understand how we want to approach our next level. We were keen to develop an honest identity that defines our ethos and expresses our voice, one that is attuned to the times we live in,” says Tahiliani. Step in and surrender to a soul vacation.

US Seventh Fleet Band & Brian Peck

1971BrianPeck3We are pleased to announce that ExCampionite class of '71 Brian Peck's photographs - taken of the US Navy 7th Fleet Band in Singapore are being used for promotional purposes with his name in the credits To View Pictures Click Here Brian Peck can be contacted on or Mob : +65 8717 8005

This Is The Cruelest Cut

- Altaf Patel ExCampionite class of '64 The young mother sitting across the table from me carries a small baby in her lap. I wonder why she is here. She has a relevant and important question to ask, she has come to seek advice regarding circumcision. Though much circumcision in this country is done on a religious basis, if there is no medical advantage to this, would it seem cruel? The barbaric issue of female circumcision practiced surreptitiously has raised its ugly head recently. Circumcision is the surgical removal of the fore skin (prepuce) from the penis. It could be classified as the world's oldest planned surgical procedure and according to certain historians may be up to 15,000 years old. The earliest historical record comes from a tomb in Egypt, which dates to 2400 BC or so where an image of a circumcision is carved into the relief. According to a 2007 World Health Organization report, about one third of all males are circumcised. This practice is most prevalent in the Muslim world and among Jews because it is a religious obligation. It is also an established practice in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and for Coptic Christianity. There are several circumstances under which a patient must be circumcised and the most important one is when the foreskin cannot be pulled back over the penis. Though the American Academy of Pediatrics states that the benefits of circumcision outweigh the risks, it does not recommend routine circumcision for all male children. There are several types of circumcision. In normal circumcision the line is one inch behind the head of the penis. For a high and tight circumcision the line is more than one inch behind the head of the penis, and very little skin movement occurs on the erect penis. In high and loose circumcision, though the line is more than one inch behind the head of the penis, there is more skin movement over the penis when erect. For the low and tight circumcision the line is less than inch behind the head of the penis and there is little movement of skin over the erect penis—and in contrast low and loose, is similar but with more skin movement over the head of the penis. There are several advantages to circumcision. It helps to keep the penis clean, and prevents recurrent urinary tract infections. It can also prevent the occurrence of sexually transmitted diseases. In particular, it reduces the transmission of HPV, the human papilloma virus to the female, which can cause cancer of the cervix. Removing the prepuce drastically reduces the risk of HIV, because the virus attaches itself to the receptor on the prepuce. But there is some literature to suggest that circumcision reduces the sensitivity of the penis. The more serious issue is female circumcision, which is actually genital mutilation. No religion supports this but supporters of the practice give it a religious connotation. There are various types of female gentile mutilation and the WHO clarifies them as Type I—the removal of the clitoris, and Type II—in addition, the labia minora or opening to the vagina is excised. Another type of genital mutilation, Type III, called infibulation, involves narrowing of the vaginal orifices with a covering seal and Type IV includes all other forms of female genital damage such as piercing, incising etc. It is surprising to note that 100 million to 140 million girls have been subjected to this mutilation and most of them are in Sub-Saharan African and in the Arab states. Such a procedure in the female certainly has no advantage. It takes away sexual stimulation, makes child birth more difficult and in fact increases the risk of contracting HIV during the procedure. It is a shame in my opinion that this practice exists in the world today. In conclusion, though there are several advantages of male circumcision, there can be no reason for female circumcision, which to my mind is a barbaric practice.

Tharoor Again

ExCampionite class of '71 SHASHI THAROOR's personal attempts to de-criminalise homosexuality in India are indeed commendable. No other politician has strived so hard to change the law as Tharoor has. On Friday, 11 March, the indefatigable Tharoor once again introduced a private member bill in Parliament to amend Section 377. But alas, only 18 members voted in favour of the bill, while 58 members voted against it, or abstained from voting. A TV channel interviewed Shashi Tharoor on Friday night and asked him why MPs from even his own party, the Congress, were not present in the House when the bill came up for discussion. After all, we know that both Sonia and Rahul Gandhi are outraged by the existence of Section 377. To this, Tharoor's somewhat diplomatic answer was that private member bills always came up for hearing on a Friday afternoon and that was a time when most MPs were already preparing for the weekend. Thus, Tharoor's bill did not have the numbers he expected and got thrown out. But is the fact that the bill was tabled on a Friday afternoon the only reason for its not being passed? I don't think so. The fate of Shashi Tharoor's bill, the second time round, clearly points to the homophobic mindset of our members of Parliament. It is not as if they were not present in Parliament merely because it was a Friday afternoon. It is much more likely that they knew that the bill was coming up for discussion, and purposely stayed away from attending. There is a limit to optimism. Going by his interview on TV, Shashi Tharoor seems to have finally realized what I always knew, namely that Section 377 would never be amended by the legislature, at least not as long as the BJP was in power. It was only recently that the reactionary Subramanian Swamy dared anyone to meddle with Section 377 and alter the status quo on it. Thus, Shashi Tharoor declared that no; he would not introduce a private member bill to abolish Section 377 for the third time. He categorically stated that, as far as he was concerned, the parliamentary option to change India's anti-gay law was not an option any more. Then Shashi Tharoor said something that we gay scholars and queer theorists have been saying for a long time. He referred to the Kamasutra and Khajuraho and said there was no evidence that homosexual love was outlawed in precolonial India. On the contrary, it was outlawed by the English Victorians in the 19th century. Thus, if the BJP was really a pro-Hindu (and Hindutva) party, it ought to legalize homosexuality in keeping with the thinking on the subject in ancient India. Their present stand on the issue makes them out to be, instead, a pro-colonial political party. A little over a month ago, I gave a reading from my new work at Bombay's Queer Ink. When the issue of Shashi Tharoor's private member bill came up for discussion at the end of the reading, a lawyer, who was present in the audience, asked why Tharoor only introduced private member bills. If Tharoor was really interested in amending Section 377, the lawyer said, why couldn't he route his bill through the Congress? I must confess that I had no answer to the lawyer's question. In his TV interview, Shashi Tharoor did not say anything about the judicial option to scrap Section 377, now that the legislative option was out. Perhaps his optimism about the judiciary too was waning. In the history of the Supreme Court—and I have written about this earlier— there isn't a single instance where a curative petition has reversed an unfavorable judgment given earlier by a smaller bench. Moreover, there are very few instances where a curative petition has been admitted in the first place. We are no doubt lucky that our curative petition has been admitted, but that in itself means nothing. The Indian mindset is the same, judiciary or legislature. Unless a crash course on LGBT Studies is offered to our judges and parliamentarians—and I am willing to offer them one for free with a reading list of over hundred books—it is not likely that they will jettison their Received Notions on the subject. The judges, who will hear the curative petition, whenever it comes up for hearing, which could be the year 2025, MUST take such a course. It is bound to influence their judgment.

India Is Not Just Hindi, Hindu And Hindustan: Shashi Tharoor

India Is Not Just Hindi, Hindu And Hindustan Shashi Tharoor - CopyTaking a dig at ruling BJP over its stand on the JNU row, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Sunday said nationalism is now decided by whether one can say 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai' or not. He said people should have the right to choose what they believe is correct and still be tolerant of others' ideas in a democracy. "Today nationalism is decided by whether or not one can say 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai'. I am happy to say it, but should I also oblige everyone to say it? "Our Constitution gives people the right not to say it just as it gives people the right to say it as well. I will choose when to say it and that's democracy," Mr Tharoor said addressing students at JNU . Mr Tharoor said our country is not just 'Hindi, Hindu and Hindustan' and called for an India 'more accepting of diversity' which he said has been the tradition throughout history. "India is not just Hindi, Hindu and Hindustan. We want an India with both Krishna and Kanhaiya Kumar. We want in India people from every corner of this vast land an equal stake in our future. "If we understand that the Indian civilisation allows many religions, celebrates range of opinions and is today sustained by constitutional democracy which stands for certain values that all of us claim as our own, if this is the Indian legacy we can live, then we can all stand under that flag and celebrate," he said. He was speaking on 'JNU and Nationalism' outside the administrative hall of the university which has been the centre of protests ever since sedition charges were slapped on three students over an event held where anti-national slogans were allegedly raised. Mr Tharoor appreciated the students for stirring a debate on vital issues in India, saying student days are the days "to expand one's consciousness". "You may have come here for education but you are also educating the nation. What is happening here has given the whole nation an education in the vital issues of dissent and democracy, sedition and of course of 'azaadi' (freedom)," he said. Mr Tharoor's nearly 40-minute long speech was dotted with historical anecdotes and personal experiences and he repeatedly quoted personalities like Jawaharlal Nehru and Everlyn Beatrice Hall to drive home the idea of tolerance and diversity and their importance in India.

Blood pressure: Silent killer – Altaf Patel ExCampionite class of ’64

?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????It's crucial to monitor the variations, but strike a balance with medication for its regulation. Doctor, how can I have high blood pressure, I have no symptoms. That's a statement, we, in the medical profession often hear. That blood pressure produces symptoms is far from true. In fact, it is silent at most times and therefore, called the silent killer. Extremely elevated blood pressure readings are often without symptoms. Worryingly, a stroke, a heart attack or kidney failure may be the first presentation of high blood pressure. I think this constitutes the strongest arguments for routine check-ups. Blood pressure is actually variable from time to time in the day and is not a static entity like height or weight. I think what is important here, is to ensure that most readings are in the acceptable range. Acceptable ranges are modified by the joint national committee (JNC) for high pressure control. They make their observations and change what is acceptable blood pressure, through the years. The guiding concept in my student days, that systolic blood pressure was in the formula (100 + age) was common for many years. This has been dispelled by the recommendation made by JNCs over the years. On the other hand, every physician knows that pushing the patient to an 'ideal blood pressure' often produces side effects that the patient does not tolerate. Often, the standing blood pressure falls more than the lying blood pressure when the patient is on medication and many do not tolerate this. Many physicians try various combinations of drugs to override this and often there is no answer but to draw a balance between blood pressure and symptoms. Several medications for blood pressure have side effects and the patient will often ask for drugs without side effects. The ideal drug that is effective for the disease and yet produces no side effects is still to be discovered and perhaps it does not exist. The aphorism goes — drugs without a side effect also have little effect. It has long been known that blood pressure is characterized by an array of spontaneous variation and that blood pressure varies markedly. This happens not only because of day to night variations but even because of differences in hours or even minutes — therefore, we have a 24- hour reading called ambulatory blood pressure monitoring. The monitoring may give us more information on control of blood pressure. A more significant problem is that your blood pressure, when measured by the doctor, is high by 10 mm systolic or so and 5 mm diastolic or so, while when measured at home, it is always normal. This is the so-called 'white coat' effect. I think the term should have been named differently — the white coat usage by doctors has fallen so much in the city that you, rarely see a white coated person in a hospital and that too, is usually the technician. It used to be thought that this white coat hypertension was benign. It is now known that this is not at all true and white coat hypertension has significant morbidity. Another important point to be aware of, is that blood pressure falls at night and by 10 per cent of mean blood pressure. The failure of blood pressure to decrease during sleep is associated with increased risk of damage to the heart, brain and kidneys and as per at least one study, even an increased risk of death. The concept of 24-hour monitoring of blood pressure seems important to me as blood pressure changes from time to time and it's good to find out if your blood pressure is controlled all through the day. The 24-hour monitor has a small cuff to put around your arm and a digital blood pressure machine attached to a belt connects with the cuff. With this, the BP is measured through the day, while you go about your activities. It also helps to determine if you have white coat hypertension. It is wise to do home BP measurement. Studies tell us this is a better predictor of cardiovascular outcomes. The digital machines available today, though highly criticized by some physicians, are reasonably accurate. According to the British Hypertension Society, in some countries, 70 per cent of the patients use such equipment. Though lower levels than the accepted standard have shown to reduce cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, take advice from your physician. One must clearly draw the line between ideal and side-effects. Maintaining a quality of life is important in any situation.

Want To Be Top Games Company From India, Not Just In India, Says Alok Kejriwal Of Games2win

Want To Be Top Games Company From India - CopyHaving started his own business after getting frustrated with a "stuffy family business environment", ExCampionite class of ’85 ALOK KEJRIWAL has come a long way in the past 26 years. He is not only the founder of companies like Contests2win, Mobile2win, Media2win and Games2win, but has also founded an online community for entrepreneurs called The Rodinhoods. In an interview with Business Today, Kejriwal shares his journey through the years. BT: You founded Games2win in 2007. What inspired you to go into the gaming business? Kejriwal: No matter how much you innovate or create a good idea, brands always want to put themselves first. They don't care about engagement. Therefore I thought, let's create a company where we only make games for consumers and when these games become very popular, the brands will come running. We already have around 73 million downloads and see about 70-80,000 downloads a day. Our company has 45 apps in the app store and we operate globally as we don't believe in an India-only story. Our most popular game is Parking Frenzy and has about 20-25 million downloads. Besides Parking Frenzy, another 15 of our games have 1 million downloads now. We are more anxious to get many small successes than one large success. At one time we were a very popular online games company. According to Comscore data, we were among the top 20 games companies in the world but now we have become a mobile games company. BT: You have not been a very strong advocate of mobile-only approach and you have written columns against it. So why have you adopted the same approach for your company? Kejriwal: Many companies went app-only and now have gone back to the desktop version. My business is very different. My argument always has been that you cannot dictate to the consumer that you can only buy through the app. In gaming, the format has changed to the mobile gaming because consumers are no longer gaming on their PCs. Even today our online business is very robust, we still have 700 games online and almost get 100,000 views a day, we have not shut it down. We were amongst the top 20 in 2010 but our traffic was not growing. It wasn't falling but it was not growing. And then we realized that gaming is going to be big on phones. So we started mobile games and in 2013 we totally moved to it and stopped making online games in 2014. BT: You say you are building a games channel and not a single game. What does it mean? Kejriwal: No one in the world has succeeded as a single game company. Angry Birds came and went, then the same thing happened with FarmVille. Candy Crush was very popular at a time but it seems to be dying now. So we have learned a lesson that while one of your games may become successful, it may also destroy you. We have decided we would like to become a channel. We want to become a destination for gaming. We have a vision to be top games company from India, not just in India. BT: 'Top games company from India not just in India.' How will you make this a success? Kejriwal: In India, we are already the top games company in terms of downloads and global footprint. Three things will work to our advantage. We have a very talented engineering pool, a very large English speaking talent and they are not expensive. Which means we have lower cost of making games and therefore we can try many games before they succeed. A very high quality game like Parking Frenzy takes about $300,000 to be made in America, but in India it costs about $10,000. So we can make 30 more games in the cost an American company would make one game. Also because we have been in this arena for long and predominantly our business comes from outside of India, we understand mobile gaming better than companies in their own market. India is going to be the largest gaming country in the world. By 2019, given our Android population and English speaking audience, we will have the largest gaming market in the world. So that itself will help us. BT: What are emerging trends in the gaming world? Kejriwal: There are four or five emerging trends: 1. Everything is becoming very casual. It's becoming like the music business, every day there is a new 'No. 1'. 2. A lot more girls are playing games now, which is giving birth dressing up games etc. 3. People play many games in a day, so no single game is going to dominate the market. 4. App stores are completely democratising the success of games. The best games come on top no matter how much money you have spent. BT: What's the next phase for Games2Win? Kejriwal: We had our first positive in December. It's not that consistent but now we are seeing more positive months than negative months. FY17 would be completely profitable for us. We are also looking at the opportunity of launching games from other companies on our platform and cracking the China market, which is a big opportunity. Also someday we want to list as a full-fledged gaming company.

Educating The Girl Child-An Appeal

mime-attachment - Copy Fort Convent School a reputed 160 year old institution that has voluntarily forgone tuition fees to provide free education to thousands of girls. CJMs sister institutions Prem Dan (a kindergarten for slum children), and CJM Kharghar (a shelter for destitute, abused and orphaned girls) have also been dedicated to the same cause. In order to support our school's spiritual and social mission to empower and educate the girl child, the Fort Convent Alumni Association aims to raise funds that will provide quality English medium education to 100 underprivileged girls from Mumbai's slums, annually. We hope to raise the necessary funds for all this through our initiative 'Khilo'. A live concert by Bollywood music greats Shankar Ehsaan and Loy has been planned as a grand fund-raiser for Khilo on Thursday, March 31, 2016. It promises to be a fabulous show, and in fact, SEL are offering their support by performing free as their contribution to the cause. SPECIAL GROUP DISCOUNT FOR OCA MEMBERS - 10% OFF ON TICKETS @ 7.500/- For details contact Vinita Alvares Fernandes @ +91 9821086637 OR Principal Fort Convent School. On behalf of The Fort Convent Alumni Association.

Crowd-Funding Campaign!-Rough Book

Rough-Book-Stills-02 - CopyThe film Rough Book is a hard look at the education system in India in 2014. Though one of the finest systems in the world, the lacunae in the system have created issues which, though nonexistent 15 years ago are threatening to clog the channels of learning in contemporary India today. The story is told to us through the eyes of a teacher, who rallies through a divorce with a corrupt income tax officer to become a teacher of Physics in a school. Her pupils are in the D division - "D" sarcastically referred to as Duffers within the school by both the students and other teachers. How she rebels against the system to fight for her students, so that they can pass the Entrance Examinations to the IIT and the Joint Entrance Examinations forms the bulk of the small, simply told, yet completely thought provoking film. Devoid of any melodrama, almost gentle in its telling, the rebellion of the teacher and her students are internalized to make their point. FESTIVALS & AWARD - Dubai International Film Festival 2015 / Dallas FortWorth South Asian Film Festival 2015 / Indian Film Festival of Houston 2015 / New York Indian Film Festival 2015 / Stuttgart Indian Film Festival 2015 / San Francisco Global Movie Fest 2015 / Washington DC South Asian Film Festival 2015 / MAMI, Mumbai 2015 / ALIIFF, Kochi 2015 / Rajasthan International Film Festival 2016 OFFICIAL SELECTIONS - Dubai International Film Festival 2015 (Cinetech 2015) / Dallas FortWorth South Asian Film Festival 2015 (Closing Night) / Indian Film Festival of Houston 2015 (Closing Night) / New York Indian Film Festival 2015 / Stuttgart Indian Film Festival 2015 / San Francisco Global Movie Fest 2015 / Washington DC South Asian Film Festival 2015 (Closing Night) / MAMI, Mumbai 2015 (MFM) / ALIIFF, Kochi 2015 / Rajasthan International Film Festival 2016 AWARDS - Best Feature Film (Indian Film Festival of Houston 2015) / Special Director’s Award (San Francisco Global Movie Fest) / Best Story (Washington DC SAFF) ExCampionites who have contributed to the making of / acting in the film include VIVECK VASWANI '77, FARID CURRIM 69, VINAY JAIN '85 and ROHIN PUNJABI 2012 The makers of Rough Book are delighted to announce its crowd funding campaign! Rough Book, a film has the potential to bring about a revolution in the world of education, needs your support to make it to the masses. After an illustrious beginning in film festivals and award ceremonies, the final milestone in the film’s journey won’t come without your helping hand. The team intends to raise 25 lakhs in 60 days through a crowd funding campaign. If they make it, the film could hit the big screens. If not, you’ll get all your money back! So go ahead, help complete the journey, and bring about the change our education system needs. For further details please click on link

‘Suburban Railways Link Peripheral Areas With CBDs, Making Affordable Homes for Common Man a Reality': Niranjan Hiranandani

51195557On 25 February, commuters across Mumbai and its peripheral areas were looking forward to something positive from the Hon’ble Railway Minister Shri Suresh Prabhu as he presented the Railway Budget 2016-17. In Mumbai and the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), ‘Affordable Housing for the Common Man’ is something that will largely happen in peripheral areas; and ensuring that these homes are connected to work places, including the CBDs of Mumbai, is a factor of transport linkages. Across Mumbai and the MMR, the railway network offers some of the most efficient mass rapid transit options for the common man looking at affordable homes in peripheral areas of metro cities as also new real estate developments. It is in this light that we have to view the Railway Budget announced by the Union Railways Minister Shri Suresh Prabhu for the year 2016-17. Among the various aspects he mentioned, I would like to dwell on the two elevated rail corridors which he has envisaged from Churchgate and CST on Mumbai's suburban railway system. For once, we have a rail budget which has taken up an issue pertaining to Mumbai’s suburban network, and I am hopeful that it will have a positive impact. In Mumbai and the MMR, rail connectivity has been the biggest driver of real estate growth in peripheral areas. New urban conglomerations have developed as a result of rail connectivity. The Hon’ble Minister spoke about increasing the height of Mumbai’s railway platforms, which points towards increased emphasis on safety. He also announced a new dedicated freight corridor, from Mumbai to Kharagpur, which I hope, will have a positive effect similar to the Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC), which again, is based on the railway network. The Hon’ble Minister also spoke about redevelopment of 400 stations through the private-public partnership (PPP) model, this also offers positives for major railway stations in the zonal railways that operate in Mumbai and the MMR. Connectivity is the basic requirement for economic growth and business development, and the proposed Bullet Train which is planned to run between two of India’s business centers, Mumbai and Ahmedabad, will enhance connectivity between the two economic powerhouses, making it easier for business driven economic growth across the High Speed Corridor. The Hiranandani Group Companies have on-going projects in both cities, Mumbai and Ahmedabad, and having worked in both cities, I can foresee the positives that a high speed rail corridor linking both would result in. The important thing on the ‘internal connect’ aspect was the Hon’ble Minister announcing linkages of Metro networks and suburban railways with international airports, which augurs well for Mumbai and the MMR. And finally, on the ‘comfort zone’ aspect, Mumbai will finally get AC local trains. These are very progressive and welcome moves for Mumbai and the MMR, and I hope the railways will enhance connectivity between CBDs and peripheral areas, so that the dream of ‘affordable housing for the common man’ becomes a reality. ExCampionite class of '66 NIRANJAN HIRANANDANI is Founder & MD, Hiranandani Group. His recent initiative is Hiranandani Communities. He is the Founder and First President (West), National Real Estate Development Council (NAREDCO), which works under the aegis of Ministry of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation, Government of India.

The Memory Board Games – Altaf Patel

1964AltafPatelAs children begin to prepare for exams, the best boost is dieting, exercising and getting enough sleep Teaching young physicians for years, I have always told them that there are no brilliant physicians. Those that appear brilliant are motivated, focused and pay attention to every detail. Come exams, those that have studied intelligently, not necessarily exhaustively are the ones whose success is assured. Which means that one assesses the exam in detail and studies accordingly. For instance, in the final year of medicine, there is one question on infectious diseases. The textbook has more than 200 pages on infectious diseases. So, paying less attention to the segment and concentrating on the other parts made good sense to me. In the final analysis, if you had a question on typhoid fever, a common ailment which you handled in the wards, you would write a reasonable answer from your own experience. On the other hand, if you had a question on an exotic disease prevalent only in Africa, then you would hardly remember everything you had studied and were only marginally better off than a student who had not studied this at all. A favorite trick of all medical students is a book on mnemonics to help you remember. I don't know how useful this really is, since I can remember the mnemonic, but would not be able to remember what it stood for. Mnemonic is a system or pattern of letters, ideas or association, which assists in recalling something. For example, the common way to treat a sprain is RICE ( Rest, Ice the area, Compress the area, Elevate the injured area). Exams are extremely competitive and good students take them extremely seriously and many parents consult physicians for memory boosters before the exams. There are several tonics in the market and many contain phospholectin to boost memory and several other molecules like gingko biloba. No extensive study has been done on these to make any general recommendation, but physicians use them more for a placebo effect — so that the student feels he now has a magic memory pill. I remember that the most difficult part in my final year medical textbook was a list of causes for the abnormal breakdown of blood in the human called hemolytic anemia. It had 147 causes to be precise and I took great pains to memorise this. My fellow students were impressed and often asked me from time to time on various days to repeat this, which I could do rather well. They all said that my memory was good. I used to retaliate that I was focused on being a good doctor and so took great pain to understand and repeat these. At that time and age, all exams were grossly competitive, in the sense that we were ranked first downwards. In today's time, the educationists say that this is hard and unfair on children, who develop psychological problems because of this. I fail to understand how this logic works, since life itself is a competition and the clever survive by being better than their contemporaries. Memory itself operates strangely, in the sense that we remember well what benefits us. If a pretty girl during our student days gave me her telephone number at a party, I would easily remember it till I got home and wrote it down. Memory is also subject to the old adage — either you use it or lose it. I have seen several students using calculators on their mobile phones and doing simple calculation, which in my school days went as mental arithmetic — there being no calculators available. It is also why I tell my older patients to play bridge, do crossword and Sudoku, to keep the brain functioning. Several natural products are available to boost your memory. Gotu Kola, a herb eaten by elephants, is said to help. A whiff of rosemary or basic essential oils is also known to be of help. Coffee, gingko biloba, ginseng have been touted as memory boosters. I have used all these at some point of time with patients, but do not have a large enough database to make any generalization. In any case, they are unlikely to do any harm except gingko biloba, which may augment the action of blood thinners. Exercise and stress management are the best means to improve memory and I would strongly recommend this to students headed into exams. An hour-long brisk walk will certainly help, too. So, in conclusion, if one has to give advice to a student studying for exams it would be, start early in the year, be consistent, exercise, eat healthy and get plenty of sleep. Last-minute revision does help but not last-minute cramming. In the ultimate analysis, there is a luck factor in any exam for which you appear.

Campion School Students Emerge Quiz Champions

Campion School Students Emerge Quiz Champions - CopyStudents of South Mumbai’s Campion School emerged champions in the junior and senior category at the 16th edition of The Hindu Young World Quiz in Mumbai on Saturday at the Birla Matoshree Auditorium, Marine Lines. The quiz was conducted in two categories — junior (Class IV to VI) and senior (Class VII to IX). In all, 78 teams participated in the junior category and 82 teams took part in the senior category from various schools across the city. The boys from Campion School walked away with the first prize in both Junior and Senior category. Sahil Khandare and Ayush Sigh, studying in Class VIII emerged final winners in a closely fought final with the last answer deciding the winner, while Yatharth Brijesh Shah and Sagar Pathak of Thakur Public School, Kandivali, were the runners-up in the senior category. In the junior category, the winners were Rishi Balse and Gautam Pillai of Campion School while the runners-up were Nishant R Thottarath and Saptarshi Nanda Maiti of New Horizon Public School, Airoli, Navi Mumbai. During the quiz, the students answered questions covering a wide range of topics. In the preliminary round, the teams had to answer 25 questions to qualify for the finals with the maximum correct answers given by the top six teams making it to the finals. For the junior category, the quiz commenced at 10.30 am while that of the seniors commenced at 2.30 pm and ended at 4.30 pm. Parents too enthusiastically supported the youngsters and all stayed back to watch the finals of the seniors. K V Padmanabh, Assistant General Manager, State Bank of India LHO, and Chetan Badal, Chief Financial Officer of Kokuyo Camlin Limited, were the guests of honour. The contest was powered by SBI. The winners got bicycles from the national gift partner, Firefox, and goody bags from Kokoyu Camlin. Jaslok Hospital was the regional partner.

It Is Incredible How Blessed This Project Has Been: Atul Kasbekar

It Is Incredible How Blessed This Project Has BeenInterview with noted fashion photographer and film producer With Neerja earning widespread critical acclaim as well as commercial success for its sensitive storytelling, ExCampionite class of ’81 Atul Kasbekar speaks to Avantika Bhuyan about his debut venture as a producer and the extensive research that went into making the film Neerja marks your debut as a producer. Why the switch to production? I have been managing celebrities for the past eight years as part of Bling! Entertainment and have spent more than 20 years as a photographer, so producing a movie seemed like a logical progression. My work has generated a lot of goodwill in the industry. Even then, it might have been easier for me to put together a simple project than about someone who had passed away years ago. But I was sure I wanted to make Neerja, a female-oriented film. I find myself drawn to stories of strong women. And I really want to thank Fox Star Studios for understanding that. I believe you always had Ram Madhvani [ad film maker and director of Let's Talk] in mind to helm the biopic. Yes, that's true. Making a movie takes a lot out of you, in terms of time and effort - at least a year and a half. Unless you are passionate about the subject, you shouldn't do it. In this business, there are lots and lots of pundits. Everyone thinks that they have got the formula right. But people who have been weaned on this business, are from filmi families have also made flops. So, I thought that even if I bomb, I won't be the first one. But if we were going to do this, we would do it our way. I felt that Madhvani had the technical expertise plus the emotional gravitas to pull off this story. It was a meeting of minds really. As you researched the subject, what amazed you about Neerja Bhanot's personality the most? Something really bothers me about the general attitude in India. Every great civil society should know its heroes. This was a girl next door - from Bombay Scottish, went on to study at St Xavier's College - we all know someone equivalent to her. Next morning you hear that she has done something amazingly brave. Three countries honoured her posthumously - Pakistan awarded her the Tamgha-e-Insaniyat, the US gave her the "Justice for Crimes" award and India awarded her the Ashoka Chakra. But when I started talking to people, I realised that they were mixing up the Pan Am Flight 73 hijack with the Kandahar hijacking. I wanted to clear those misconceptions as well. From permissions from the Bhanot family to getting the aircraft made from scratch to resemble the original - how did you go about getting the facts and setting right? It is incredible how blessed this project has been. Rama Bhanot (Neerja's mother) passed away in December, before the film's release. She was 5'3' tall and spoke Hindi, heavily laced with Punjabi, but she had such a presence. Over the course of time, she became extremely fond of us. The family had been requested several times by others in the past 30 years for permissions to Neerja's life, but they always refused. They asked me if I had ever made a movie before. I said no, but we will never tarnish her memory. Rama ji said "okay". It was amazing how everything else came together - Naresh Goyal gave us use of his training centre, GVK Sanjay Reddy put the international airport at our disposal. Aaditya Thackeray, Sanjiv Goenka, Piyush Goyal - all went out of their way to help us. You have been putting up rare images of Neerja Bhanot, old clippings and other material on Twitter and other social media. What was the research process like? Both Madhvani and I are voracious readers, so we read a lot on the subject. He engaged a researcher to meet anyone ready to talk about Neerja. We collected every scrap of paper on the subject, including depositions in court. Rama ji was been shattered when her daughter passed away. Someone contacted her sometime back that Neerja wanted to talk to her. So, Rama ji, with the help of "auto-writing", tried to communicate with her daughter's spirit. We got those insights as well. We also spoke to lots and lots of survivors. Each of their different takes on the situation helped us put the story together.

Seven Indian Americans Crack Forbes World’s Richest People List

55ca44cb30824.imageAt least seven Indian Americans were named among the 1,810 individuals on Forbes’ World’s Billionaires List. The 30th annual list released March 1 had a familiar name at the top, with Bill Gates and his $75 billion net worth claiming the top spot for the 17th time in 22 years. The aggregate worth of the billionaires on the list is $6.48 trillion, down from $7.05 trillion last year. Symphony Technology Group founder and chairman and ExCampionite class of ’62 ROMESH T. WADHWANI had the highest net worth among Indian Americans on the list. Ranking at No. 612 overall, Wadhwani boasts a total net worth of $2.8 billion. Bharat Desai and his wife Neerja Sethi Desai founded IT consulting and outsourcing company Syntel in their apartment in Troy, Mich., in 1980. They turned it into a multi-million dollar operation and now have a net worth of $2.6 billion and are No. 688 on the list. At No. 906 on the Forbes list is John Kapoor with his $2.1 billion net worth. Kapoor, 72, made his wealth in healthcare. He is the chairman and majority owner at drug companies Akorn and Insys Therapeutics. India airline IndiGo co-founder Rakesh Gangwal made his first appearance on the list. The 63-year-old Miami, Fla., resident has a net worth of $1.9 billion and slides in at No. 959 on the list. Kavitark Ram Shriram made his $1.85 billion with Google and as a venture capitalist. The 59-year-old has been investing in early-stage tech firms and has remains on Google’s board since 1998 when it was founded. He is No. 1011 on the list. Vinod Khosla, 61, partner at Khosla Ventures comes in at No. 1198 on the world’s richest list. The Indian American has raked in his $1.51 billion as a venture capitalist for two decades, first at VC firm Kleiner Perkins before starting his own firm in 2004. Brian Sheth, 40, of Austin, Texas, co-founded Vista Equity Partners in 2000 and is the firm’s president. Since then, Sheth has racked up a net worth of $1.1 billion and slides in at No. 1577 on the list. Additionally, he helped boost is net worth by buying and fixing up a less-than glamorous collection of enterprise software companies. Outside of Indian Americans, another 84 Indians were part of the Forbes list. At the top of the list was Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani, whose net worth of $19.3 billion puts him at No. 36 on the list. The 84 Indians comprise the fourth most of any country on the list. The U.S. had the most billionaires on the list, with 540, more than double the next country, China, which had 251. Germany had the third most billionaires with 120, and Russia was just behind India with 77. China had the most of 198 newcomer billionaires, adding 70 to the list. Thirty-three newcomers were from the U.S., eight from India and 28 from Germany. Notable newcomers included Flipkart co-founders Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal (No. 1476) of India. India's top ten included Ambani; Dilip Shanghvi (No. 44) at $16.7 billion; Azim Premji (No. 55), $15 billion; Shiv Nadar (No. 88), $11.1 billion; Cyrus Poonawalla (No. 133), $8.5 billion; Lakshmi Mittal (No. 135), $8.4 billion; Uday Kotak (No. 184), $6.3 billion; Kumar Birla (No. 196), $6.1 billion; Sunil Mittal (No. 219), $5.7 billion; and Desh Bandhu Gupta (No. 233) with a net worth of $5.5 billion. Behind Gates, Spanish clothing retailer Amancio Ortega with a net worth of $67 billion, Warren Buffet at $60.8 billion, Telecom mogul Carlos Slim Helu with $50 billion dropped the most in value on the list, previously boasting a $77.1 billion net worth and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos at $45.2 billion rounded out the top five. Bezos jumped up 10 spots from No. 15 last year while Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg moved into the top 10 for the first time at No. 6 while making the biggest leap in value at $11.2 billion to a total net worth of $44.6 billion.

Lady Bird And Dung Beetle

Lady Bird And Dung Beetle - CopyMojito. Guacamole. Taramasalata. Chocolates. Cheese. And, on top of all that and much more, Melanie Silgardo, poet and anthologist, and one-time commissioning editor for Virago, brought me a delicious little book, the first in the Dung Beetle Reading Scheme, called 'We Go to the Gallery.' The book, by Miriam Elia is a spoof on a great many things. I don't know how much I can quote without infringing copyright. Susan and John are going with Mummy to the art gallery. They enter the first room. There is nothing in the room—not on the walls, the ceiling, the floor, the doors, the windows. "There is nothing in the room. John is confused. Susan is confused. Mummy is happy." "There is nothing in the room because God is dead," says Mummy. "Oh dear," says John. Later: "There is oil on the floor," says John. "The oil is all the blood shed by the US government in its illegal wars," says Mummy. "Golly!" says John. The author also spoofs herself and her own intentions. They write, "At the bottom of each page are three 'new words' which summaries core emotional responses to the artwork. We recommend that you read these new words with your child as often as possible. In this way your child's unique opinions will be gradually ground down so as to develop proper up-to-date critical thinking skills." Why Penguin UK decided that the Dung Beetle book was an infringement of their Ladybird format I can't imagine. The Ladybird series for very small children (and a later series for adult learners) is domestic: mum, dad, baby in high chair/push chair. There is no resemblance to the Dung Beetle book with its sophisticated, anarchic humour, its all-knowing mum with instant explanations for everything, and confused children. If you prefer a non-combative, nostalgic book, do look at 'Kekoo, Kali and Jehangir: Framing a Collection,' put together by ExCampionite class of '78 DADIBA PUNDOLE, and published by the Jehangir Nicholson Art Foundation and The Museum, Mumbai, called for the last few years the 'Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahahalaya.' Dadiba writes, "In 1963, when Kekoo Gandhy and Kali Pundole opened their respective galleries, Gallery Chemould and Pundole Art Gallery, both had clients they could probably count on their fingertips. The addition of Nicholson in 1968 must have been a breath of fresh air ...His presence on the art scene certainly contributed to the survival of the two galleries." "My early impression of him," continues Dadiba, "was a frail short man who always wore white, had unusually large ears and a ready smile... His passion and seriousness did amuse me early on and he came with his own quirks, as we all do. This could be rolling an exhibition brochure like a telescope to see a painting through, or requesting a painting be rotated 180 degrees for him to view, or in some cases even lying on the gallery floor in his pristine whites to better understand a work." The book is beautifully produced with photographs of the best-known artists---Akbar Padamsee, Bhupen Khakar, Ara, Nalini Malani, Badri Narayan, Raza and many others. Sometimes these photographs are accompanied by short quotes in which the artist talks about his/her debt to the galleries and collectors concerned. Mercifully, there are no high-falut in theories, or instant explanations, or laments about people who don't appreciate art, or buy paintings that match their curtains. There seems to me too much of a tiz about understanding poetry, painting and etc. It can take a lifetime to understand ourselves, the people we love, the universe. Let's begin small. Get the colour of those curtains right!

Comprehensive, Yet Focused: Keki Mistry


Undoubtedly, the finance minister's goal is to ensure that India remains a beacon of hope by being on a growth path that matches its potential. Presenting the Budget 2016-17 would not have been an easy task for the government. The finance minister had to consider a number of factors, including global fragility, volatile financial markets and a 'cocktail' of geopolitical risks. He would have had to find ways to strengthen the rural economy, besides providing capital to public sector banks, One Rank One Pension, Pay Commission recommendations and for infrastructure growth.

Undoubtedly, the finance minister's goal is to ensure that India remains a beacon of hope by being on a growth path that matches its potential. The finance minister has adhered to the fiscal consolidation road map, thus, assuaged the fear of the market. As a result, the yields on the 10-year government security have come down from 7.78 per cent to 7.64 per cent after the Budget speech. It also gives the Reserve Bank of India room for rate cuts as there is comfort that the Budget is committed to fiscal discipline and reining in inflationary pressures. Affordable housing has been a focus area of the current government. Allowing a deduction for additional interest of Rs 50,000 per annum is a positive for middle-class borrowers, especially for those living in Tier II and Tier III cities. The Budget also announced administrative reforms to resolve tax disputes. The voluntary disclosure scheme will encourage tax evaders to pay a one-time tax. Further, although the fine print has still to be analyzed, the new dispute resolution mechanisms are firm steps towards a tax-friendly regime.

Budget 2016 a Stepping Stone For Giant Leap Forward: Kumar Mangalam Birla


Birla said that with a combination of fiscal prudence, rural and infrastructure push, tax and financial reforms, the Budget has set the stage for a great leap forward. At a time when the global economy appears increasingly wobbly and financial markets choppy, the Budget has kept its focus on inclusive growth and on enhancing the competitiveness of the Indian economy, even while maintaining the principle of fiscal prudence. Before the Budget, one was wondering if the finance minister would give a go-by to fiscal targets in pursuit of growth. But he has done an excellent balancing act there. The step-up of funds for infrastructure sectors, particularly roads and highways, is impressive. The Budget also has a clear thrust on agriculture and rural development. The vision to double farm incomes over the next five years is bold. Modernisation of land records, accelerating the village electrification programme and developing a common electronic market for farm products are all positive steps. As is the decision to allow 100% foreign direct investment in marketing of food products made in India. This should help the entire food value chain and create additional employment.

The government contributing to the provident fund of new employees for a period of three years will boost not only job creation but also shift some casual employment into the formal sector. Providing a statutory backing to Aadhaar is welcome and in line with more targeted transfers of financial benefits. The tax relief given for small taxpayers, for rent-payers and for first-time home buyers will help to create additional purchasing power at the bottom of the pyramid. The additional resource mobilization measures have helped the FM to announce an ambitious target of reducing fiscal deficit to 3.5% of GDP in 2016-17. This is despite the interim provision being made for the implementation of the Seventh Pay Commission award. Not only is the fiscal deficit target prudent, but that the quality of the deficit is also being sought to be improved by reducing revenue deficit from 2.8% of GDP this year to 2.5% next year. Along with the legal framework for monetary policy committee, the fiscal prudence reflected in the Budget should reassure the investor community about India's macroeconomic stability in a globally turbulent environment.

Stalled projects through the PPP model will hopefully see some positive movement with the mechanism being put in place to resolve disputes and renegotiate contracts. The bankruptcy code and the moves to strengthen the asset reconstruction companies, along with the recapitalization of public sector banks, will help tide over the problem of NPAs. The Budget also announced steps to resolve the pending tax litigation. The approach to dis invest PSUs appears to be rightly changing towards restructuring these enterprises and unlocking their value. With a combination of fiscal prudence, rural and infrastructure push, tax and financial reforms, the Budget has set the stage for a great leap forward.

A Pragmatic Budget – Kumar Mangalam Birla


It would be fair to describe the Budget presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley as a pragmatic budget. With its ‘nine pillar’ theme, it aims to boost economic growth while at the same time ensuring inclusive growth of the Indian economy.

What can be appreciated is that Mr. Jaitley gave equal importance to all sectors of the economy — for example, the Budget emphasised on investments in the social and rural sectors through focus on infrastructure investments, health insurance, farmer income schemes as well as education and skills development. What was important was that he also focused on much-needed fiscal and regulatory measures such as financial reforms, policy changes to improve the ease of doing business, fiscal discipline and tax reforms. In the area of financial sector reforms, particularly welcome is the government’s move to come out with a comprehensive bankruptcy code. His assurance that the government would not resort to retrospective taxation in the future is also a welcome gesture, which would restore the faith of global investors in the country’s tax regime. Combined with his statements on the need for tax reforms and for improving the ease of doing business in India, it looks like a move to support industry not necessarily through tax breaks but by making it easier to do business. This should fuel the Make in India and Start Up India vision that is shared by all who work for India’s growth. From an economic perspective, it’s a good sign that while huge amounts were allocated for social welfare schemes, the government has continued to keep an eye on the fiscal deficit.

Fiscal prudence has reigned with the current FY16 fiscal deficit targeted at 3.9 per cent and next year’s target projected at 3.5 per cent. What we look forward to is the possible positive outcomes from the huge allocation of nearly Rs.1 trillion on building new roads and highways. We hope this will trigger off economic growth, both in urban and rural areas, thereby boosting consumer demand across sectors. Similarly, the decision to invest up to Rs.1 billion each in about 160 airports and airstrips in tier-II cities should work to accelerating all-round development. At the very least, it will provide much-needed connectivity to smaller towns in the country. It is indeed heartening that at a time when there is economic turmoil around the globe, the Indian economy – the fastest growing in the world today – has stood its ground and is resilient.

It looks like Mr. Jaitley’s budget proposals aim to ensure that India will remain “a bright spot” in a world beset by economic slowdown.

- Kumar Mangalam Birla, Chairman, Aditya Birla Group

Painkillers That Can Kill – Altaf Patel ExCampionite class of ’64


Haphazard prescription of non-steroidal anti inflammatory drugs can be hazardous for you.

My purpose of writing this edit column every week is to educate the general public on medicine, or more aptly the dangers of medicine. I would be remiss in my task, if I did not talk about the dangers of painkillers. So far, patients have been subjected to pill popping by all and sundry, which is understandable if they're getting the advice from a lay person. But doctors literally thinking that painkillers were safer then aspirin switched to the dictum of 'take two at night and call me in the morning' if the call made to the doctor was because of pain. This was because medicinal science at the time of the emergence of these drugs gave doctors the impression that they were the safer alternative. Down the line, we have come to realise that this is far from true. Nevertheless, the difficulty in educating people is that it may all be too technical. In which case I'd hope to at least bring this to doctors' attention, especially those who use and prescribe these left, right and centre. One must understand why these painkillers — called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are hazardous. A study conducted as early as 2002 by William Abraham and his colleagues published in the New England Journal of Medicine tells us that NSAIDs worsened heart failure in 7,227 patients. I still see a fair amount of unwarranted NSAID usage. In essence, NSAID acts on muskelo- skeletal pain and joints by suppressing a chemical substance called prostaglandin. There are some good prostaglandins that are protective to the blood supply of the heart and brain and suppressing them leaves these organs at risk.

I have often been asked in the heyday of NSAID usage about which is best and several medical papers address such issues, but to no real definitive conclusion. About 60 per cent of patients will respond to any NSAID, others that do not respond to one molecule may respond to another for no obvious reason. Pain relief starts after taking the first dose. The full analgesic effect takes about a week. The anti-inflammatory effect may take up to three weeks. It is estimated that in 2013, over 100 million prescriptions were written for NSAIDs alone. In the early 2000s, concerns with painkillers called COX 2 inhibitors, Rofecoxib and Valdecoxib were noted and in September 2004, the United States' FDA declared a black box warning for Valdecoxib. The manufacturers voluntarily withdrew Rofecoxib from Western markets. The earlier generation of NSAIDs has also undergone scrutiny and several studies have shown an increased risk with Diclofenac and subsequent studies incriminate Ibuprofen particularly for stroke and Naproxen for heart disease. A subsequent study, analysing 58,000 patients from the Danish National registry, demonstrate a hazard ratio of 2.57 for Celecoxib, 1.5 for Ibuprofen, 2.4 for Diclofenac. Another Danish study suggested that even short-term therapy with most NSAIDs of seven to 14 days is dangerous in heart patients because it increases the risk of sudden death and a recurrent heart attack and many blunt the effect of blood thinners, such as aspirin.

Studies for the risk of stroke with NSAIDS are less clear but do tell us that Ibuprofen and Diclofenac use is associated with a higher risk of stroke. As I understand, Diclofenac has been withdrawn in the US and exists only in the gel form. So, now what? Do we let the patient suffer pain, irrespective of the drugs' ability to help ease it? The magic of drugs like Diclofenac in relieving pain is well known and I have taken this myself for a toothache, years before it was declared unsafe. Here clearly the doctor has the responsibility of explaining to the patient, the hazards of such drug usage. Many do not and in fact GPs administer such drugs by injection increasingly, for the fear of losing his patient to the next-door competitor who will do so, to prove his healing is better. The answer in ethical medicine terms is, pills only when necessary. Safer (usually less effective) pills first, before deciding on dangerous painkillers — and when these are prescribed, it should be for the shortest possible time. The American Heart Association recommends Paracetmol, aspirin, Tramadol and narcotic agents before proceeding to non-acetylated salcytates and select NSAIDs such as naproxen, before proceeding down the line.

I have of late been asking all my patients in the ICU whether they took such painkillers in the last few weeks and many have replied that they have. I wouldn't want to lose my life from medication and I assume neither do you. So, please proceed with caution.

Real Estate Did Not Get Most Of Expected Positives: Niranjan Hiranandani


Removing the Dividend Distribution Tax on REITs is a welcome measure, which will help boost inflow of funds in India’s real estate sector

First Reaction to the Budget Speech: it is balanced and good. To put it in a different way, it is also 'play-safe and cautious'. And, barring a few aspects, like DDT for REITS, hike in HRA and allowing 100% deduction on profits made by entities constructing affordable houses, it does not seem to have any major 'positive' to bring in vibrancy to real estate.

Second reaction: the real estate sector has been left saying, "Yeh Dil Maange More" yet again. This is the third time that the Hon'ble Finance Minister Shri Arun Jaitley has presented a budget, and his budget speech had precious little for the real estate developer, the home seeker as also all stake holders. When one looks at the Macro-economic aspect, on how effective the budget would be when it comes to enabling larger disposable surplus in hands of the citizen, effectively creating situation where home buying could take off once again, there are no 'big bang' measures from Shri Arun Jaitley. While there is no doubt that the Hon'ble Finance Minister has the nation's economic growth in mind, he seems to have little to offer to speed up the 'growth story'. In the debate between curbing deficit and powering growth, the Hon'ble Finance Minister has opted for measures which aim at narrowing the deficit in the next fiscal year, while also providing succor for India's Agriculture sector. In his budget speech, the Hon'ble Finance Minister said, "Different schools of thought have argued either in favor of fiscal consolidation and stability or for less aggressive consolidation and for boosting growth," in his 90 minute long speech. "I have made the policy option and decided that prudence lies in adhering to fiscal targets," he said, a move which may ensure another rate cut, even as low global oil prices point to inflation levels which will remain near next year's target. There is no disputing the 'positive aspect' of adhering to fiscal targets, but some more moves to boost growth would have been welcome. Real Estate was expecting infrastructure status so that institutional finance could be accessed, this point does not seems to have made it in this Budget Speech.

Looking at the Budget Speech from the perspective of first-time home buyers, they have been given the benefit of an additional deduction of Rs. 50,000 on home loan interest for loans not exceeding Rs. 35 lakh, where the value of the house is no more than Rs. 50 lakh. Across the peripheral areas of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) and across small cities and towns of Maharashtra, this looks like a positive move, and should result in improved home buying sentiment in real estate hubs where housing comes at lower costs. This might result in some positive sentiment in peripheral and far-flung areas, but when we look at Metro locations, like Thane or Navi Mumbai - I am not even mentioning Mumbai and suburbs here - this deduction will not be sufficient to positively impact sentiment for first-time home buyers, given that there are hardly any locations where the cost of a house is Rs 50 lakh or lower, as such the exemption would not makes any difference to home buyers in Metro Cities.

Secondly, individuals who don't own a house and do not get a house rent allowance as part of their salary, are entitled to an annual tax deduction of Rs 24,000, which the Hon'ble Finance Minister has proposed raising to Rs 60,000. This again is a positive move, but will not positively impact sentiment in real estate.

What are the positives? For one, removing the Dividend Distribution Tax on REITs is a welcome measure, which will help boost inflow of funds in India's real estate sector. I expect millions of dollars to come into India's real estate, this will positively impact India's real estate sector.

Secondly, the Budget Speech had the Hon'ble Finance Minister mentioning measures that will support 'affordable housing', by allowing 100% deduction on profits made by entities constructing such homes. This should ensure Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision of 'Housing for All by 2022' will move towards becoming a reality. For me, what is important is something that was not part of the Budget Speech: will we get clarity on GST implementation? To conclude, overall the Budget Speech was 'balanced and good'; but Real Estate did not get most of the expected positives.

Ceebros Launches ONE74 In Chennai

Ceebros launches ONE74 in Chennai 1

Designed by award winning architect and ExCampionite class of '74 RAHUL MEHROTRA ONE74 graces Chennai's skyline & offers panoramic views of the city & magnificent sea scape. Ceebros is one of the leading property developers in Chennai. In the last three and a half decades Ceebros have developed and sold over five million square feet of residential and commercial space combined. Ceebros unveiled its latest luxury project ONE74, situated right next to the Leela Palace Hotel in the heart of Chennai.

ONE74 is an 18 storey sea front luxury development, Immaculately designed and drawn upon the finest architectural skill, set on 5.6 acres of land where the Adyar Estuary meets the Bay of Bengal. Its iconic architecture along with stunning panoramic views of the city and the magnificent seascape, make it a landmark marvel of design.

At ONE74 luxury meets contemporary architecture and redefines luxury living in Chennai. At the launch of ONE74 earlier this week in Chennai, Rahul Mehrotra said "The floor to ceiling glass screens provide unobstructed views of the Bay of Bengal and the city and the opportunity to experience the magnitude of Chennai from a truly breathtaking vantage point." What makes ONE 74 unique is the desire to create not just extravagant houses but build livable luxury homes. A living environment that is a combination of world-class architecture, extraordinary views and meticulous attention to every detail. At an interaction with media persons recently, C Subba Reddy, Managing Director, Ceebros group, said ONE74 will offer over 225 luxury apartments Of Sizes Varying From 2200 sq ft to 3810 sqft.

ONE74 offers the highest usable ratio in the city of Chennai varying from 83.9 per cent to 87.8 per cent and is scheduled to be completed by December 2017.

Mumbai Kids Shine At Tech Contest

Three students from various city schools bagged the top spots in a recently concluded tech competition. Among the winners of Whiz Juniors 2016 were, Aanya Punatar (Euro School, Navi Mumbai),Aahaan Phadnis (Jeevan Sikha Rishikuh School, Mumbai), and ADITYA ANIL (Campion School, Mumbai). Vanshika Barlota (Sri Vani International School, Bangalore) and Krishn Bhaiya (Sishya School, Chennai) were others in the top positions. Whiz Juniors 2016 was a global online competition organised by Clone Futura, along with their knowledge partner It's award ceremony was held in Mumbai today felicitating winners across India. The tech competition was held in five levels according to school grades (2nd to 12th standard). More than 38,600 students and 858 schools across India participated in the competition. "The process of checking and elimination by the experts over several rounds ensured that only the best among the lot came out as the winners," said a press statement.

Job Reservations: A Foundation That Has An Answer

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For the founder, and members of Wadhwani foundation, the crump of military boots in Haryana would have drawn a sigh of frustration. As communities look to the government for an increasingly smaller pie of jobs, it is obvious that the demand for special treatment is not going to abate anytime soon. The answer, or solution, will have to come from jobs creation in the private sector, where Startups and SME’s will have a special role to play, in the eyes of the foundation. A view that is finally being shared by the people who matter in government too. Well before it was acknowledged as a crisis, the Wadhwani foundation has been going all out to push for a singular focus on jobs in India, before the lagging growth in jobs jeopardizes the hard won overall growth and social stability. From suggesting a permanent Jobs Advisor for the Prime Minister to evaluating key investment proposals for their job creating potential, the foundation has been ploughing a lonely furrow to get government, and anyone else who would care to listen, to take a hard look at India’s jobs scenario.

Founded by IIT Bombay alumnus and ExCampionite class of '62 ROMESH WADHWANI, the foundation has been the vehicle used by the billionaire Wadhwani to drive his biggest social impact initiative, creation of Jobs in India and other emerging economies. The foundation has five key initiatives driving this mission, with notable among them being the National Entrepreneurship Network (NEN), set up in 2003, which has supported thousands of entrepreneurs and founded hundreds of firms. Aligned to the work of NEN is the Skills Development Network (SDN), The Opportunity Network for Disabled (OND) and the Research and Innovation Network (RIN), with an aim to enable an innovation driven ecosystem in the country. “India needs to have a stated aim for creating 50 million jobs over and above the base rate to ensure equitable progress”, to achieve which, Mr Wadhwani has put down a White Paper, which lays down the road map for getting there.

It’s a document policymakers would be well advised to take seriously, or make possibly the most expensive mistake this country can make at this stage. Because do what you can, reservation in government jobs has run its course in its ability to make an impact, as people agitating for them will realize soon enough.

SDN Trust of Wadhwani Foundation Ministry of Defence Sign MoU – training Employment of 300,000 ESM by 2020

Ministry of Defence (MoD), Government of India and Skills Development Network Trust (SDNT) of Wadhwani Foundation announced a strategic partnership aimed to catalyze the Skill Development Mission of MoD Manohar Parrikar, Honble Minister of Defence and ExCampionite class of '62 Dr. ROMESH WADHWANI, Founder Chairman, Wadhwani Foundation exchanged the MoU in presence of Prabhu Dayal Meena, Secretary, Dept. of Ex-Servicemen Welfare (ESW), Ashok Kumar Gupta, Secretary, Dept. of Defence Production, Surina Rajan, Additional Secretary, MoD, and K Damayanthi, Joint Secretary, Dept. of Ex-Servicemen Welfare (ESW). The partnership aims at using technology through integrated e-content in the curriculum to create scalability for training and employment of 300,000 ESMs and their families in five years. In order to achieve this goal, Skills Development Network Trust (SDNT) has committed to provide program management and e-content development for activities in this MOU and leveraging the Ministry of Defence funding towards skill and entrepreneurship development initiatives and schemes. On the occasion of signing this MoU, Manohar Parrikar, Honble Minister of Defence said, Skill development is an important aspect of the overall policy of the Government of India. As part of this partnership, SDN will co-ordinate with all the program stakeholders MSDE, NSDC, SSCs and other agencies for effective design and implementation of NSQF aligned program. SDN will support in industry connect, identifying job-role demand and curriculum alignment, providing professional advice and inputs for effective implementation of the program and assist the State Rajya Sainik Board and Zilla Sainik Boards in skill development initiatives. Speaking on this strategic partnership, Ajay Kela, President CEO, Wadhwani Foundation said, Our Ex-Servicemen [ESM], most of whom are in the age group of 35-45, represent enormous potential for Indian businesses. Every year 60,000 soldiers retire and most are pigeon-holed into informal Security jobs. The absorption level in the private sector is abysmal and a serious waste of disciplined talent. The strategic partnership between MoD and Wadhwani Foundations SDN Trust will accelerate training and employment of this unique talent pool into formal jobs. When adequately skilled, ESM will make a smooth transition to a second career and also empower the corporate world.

Govt Must Take Steps To Revive Investment Cycle, Says HDFC CEO


ExCampionite class of ’70 KEKI MISTRY says a single window clearance for property developers will help boost the real estate sector. The government must announce measures in the Budget to kickstart the investment cycle, HDFC. He says a single window clearance for property developers will help boost the real estate sector. On the recent firming up of bond yields, Mistry says interest rates typically tend to rise in February and March due to drying up of liquidity. Below is the verbatim transcript of Keki Mistry’s interview with Anuj Singhal, Latha Venkatesh and Guest Editor Nirmal Jain, Chairman of IIFL on CNBC-TV18.

Nirmal: What are you expecting in the Budget for housing sector which is the priority sector? The Prime Minister (PM) has mentioned the government is very committed to this sector so what do you expect in this Budget?

KM: If you ask me, the important thing is to really kick-start the investment cycle. Now, housing worldwide has been taken as a barometer to gauge how the economy performs and in India we know that there are something like 276 industries, big and small, which depend on the housing sector. So, the big ones are the ones who make cement and steel and paint and the small ones are the ones who make nuts and bolts and stuff like that. So, by giving a boost to the housing sector, effectively you will be giving a boost to the rest of the economy. So, my sense is this Budget will focus on four or five themes. One of them will be something for the rural economy, something to boost rural economic growth because we have seen that the urban economy per se consumption is good. If you look at airports, airports are full, flights are running full, hotels are running full, restaurants are running full but the rural economy is weak because of two years of poor monsoons, so something for that. Second is, some measures to spur investment, to get the investment cycle going, to boost sentiment. Now that could be in the form of accelerated depreciation, it could be in the form of something like an investment allowance which we used to have years and years ago. Third theme would be housing and I think to boost housing there are various ways it can be done but primarily the simplest way to boost housing apart from any incentive schemes that you have would be to increase the fiscal benefit that is allowed to individuals who are looking to buy house. So, as you know, the interest that is payable on a housing loan is tax deductable and even the principle repayment of housing loan qualifies for a deduction. So, there are different limits under the Income Tax Act. So, there is a limit under Section 24-I, there is a limit under Section 88 and so on so forth. Also, there are various other sections in the Income Tax Act which deals with savings which incentivizes individuals to save more money. Now, if we could combine all these different benefits which are appearing under different sections and put it under one section, one consolidated section, which says that irrespective of whether you are taking a housing loan, you are paying interest on a housing loan, you are repaying a housing loan, you are making a contribution to a pension fund or a provident fund or you are paying an insurance premium ore anything of that sort, there would be a consolidated deduction of up to let us say Rs 4,00,000-5,00,000 that is available. So, if we were to look at the different sections in the Income Tax Act, the total benefits which are given for savings to my reckoning is about Rs 4,50,000.

Nirmal: Even Section 24-I which is now Rs 2,00,00 which was Rs 1.25 lakh almost a decade ago and I think the average size of home loan or home prices would have gone up by 3.5-4 times in that time period. So is there a need to make a step up and correct it that itself to Rs 5,00,000 or something like that?

KM: Ideally yes but whether the government’s finances would permit them to do that or not is something I don’t know. However, of course there is always a case to increase the tax benefit because housing per se has become significantly more expensive over the last 10-20 years whereas these tax benefits whilst they have been increased have obviously not increased in proportion to the increase in house prices. Also, if you look at the urban market, you look at Mumbai or you look at Delhi, it is so very difficult to a buy a property out of your money.

Nirmal: In that context what do you think of the regulations that are coming for real estate, is it a good move or there can be a flip side that whenever anything is regulated bureaucracy, corruption, delays or higher cost can get in?

KM: I think the important thing or two most important things that the real estate regulator would need to do, one is to simplify the process of getting approvals. Today one of the biggest reasons why cost of housing is so high is one is land prices, land prices are very expensive. Secondly the formal system is not allowed to fund land purchase so land purchase is usually funded by private equity investors who charge extremely high returns and that effectively increases the cost of the house and the third is the process of granting approvals for projects is very time consuming and you don’t get approvals at one go, you have to go through different stages, you have to keep going to various authorities and get approvals. So, if we were to have a real estate regulator which provides a single window clearance sort of platform where every single approval that a developer requires can be given by this one authority then I think it would go a long way in simplifying things. The second role of the real estate developer is to bring in a little more transparency. So, today when you go to buy a property, you will hear people talking of saleable area, you will hear people talking of carpet area, you will hear people talking of super built up area – the common man does not understand. So if we were to have one simple base like what is a carpet area for property compulsorily disclosed in every single agreement, I think that would go a long way in bringing in transparency.

Latha: Will money get cheaper at all for a home buyer in terms of EMIs this year in 2016? Bond market is such a sulk, they are sulking about everything, government bonds are going at almost 8 percent today, state government bonds are going at 100 basis points over sovereign paper. Nothing below AAA is going at all in the corporate side. You are talking about tax giveaways, if the fiscal deficit were even 3.7percent your market will sulk like hell.

KM: My sense here is that whilst I hope to heavens that this is a temporary phenomenon. I think it is a temporary phenomenon but usually you will see that in February and March interest rates historically have always been high and there are three or four reasons for that. One is liquidity in the system dries up. One, because usually government stops spending money or reduces the amount of spending, because of the Budget which is round the corner. So, less liquidity in the system. Second is you have advance tax payment so nearly 40 percent of the taxes of the year are paid on one day, March 15. So suddenly from mid February people start planning for their tax and that money sort of gets stashed away so it is not available for investment. Thirdly which may not be the case in the current year, is that companies tend to borrow more money in February-March because by doing so and by starting a new planting machinery or a new business they can get depreciation for tax purposes for the year. So, usually liquidity is tight in February-March and then as you get into April, a new financial year, government has collected money, the government starts spending the advance tax they have collected and liquidity starts improving. So, this is a historical trend over the last 20 years that I have seen.

This time it has started a little earlier, normally we would start seeing this from around the third week of February, this time we have seen it probably a week or two weeks earlier. I hope this is temporary and it will start. I am sure Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will take measures to infuse enough liquidity in the system.

Birthday Symphony


The last time he took over the the capacious Brabourne Stadium a few years ago, master conductor and ExCampionite class of '48 Zubin Mehta held the audience in the palm of his elegant hands. We hear there may be an encore soon, again at the historic cricket stadium in Churchgate. The Mehli Mehta Foundation is putting together a plan to host a concert by Mehta in late April, to coincide with the musician's 80th birthday. Mehta has a special connection to Mumbai—he was born and raised here, until he moved to Vienna to study music at 18. And Mumbai has a special affection for Mehta, as evidenced by the largest of our venues packed to the rafters, every single time he performs.

Anchit Ahuja No More

2005AnchitAhuja2We regret to inform you of the sad demise of ANCHIT AHUJA ExCampionite class of ‘2005 this morning. A prayer meeting is being held on Tuesday 1st march at Sophia College Auditorium from 4pm to 5pm. Please join us to celebrate an incredible person who made all our lives so beautiful.

A Urinary Affliction – Altaf Patel Class of ;64

Women with cystitis, an inflammation of the urinary tract, need frequent access to toilets, which often aren't available in rural India

Which one of us has not felt the need to urinate urgently? A most distressing feeling, and though the urinary bladder may adjust for some time, the discomfort reappears. The relief of emptying an overfull bladder is indescribable. Strangely, despite the construction of more toilets in villages, they are never fully used. During the course of car travel into the villages of Maharashtra, this becomes even more problematic as toilets are not easily available. Those that are available, since they're few and far between, are in such afilthy state that one is too disgusted to use them. Therefore, a common sight on these highways is a car pulled up on the side of the road and people urinating. This is largely considered passe by most Indians — only visiting foreigners are surprised, if not amused. This is certainly an easy situation for the men, with the blessed anatomy of being able to relieve themselves without undue exposure — I saw a newspaper article saying that this is not considered exhibitionism by the courts. I feel sorry for the women, who have to make do with roadside toilets of restaurants and petrol stations.

I remember once going on an inspection for a medical institution and there was an elderly lady with us. She was wearing a long flared dress. I asked her if this was a new style and she replied that it was a toilet dress. I failed to understand what this was, but I did not pursue the matter. Somewhere during the journey, everyone decided on a toilet break. As we went out, I noticed the lady standing next to my colleague who did not want to empty his bladder. When we returned to the car, I asked the lady politely if we should stop at a restaurant toilet for her. She replied that she had already relieved herself. I was surprised. Till I noticed my colleague's formerly spanking white sneakers stained yellow with a distinct smell of urine emanating from them. In a jiffy, I understood the meaning of a toilet dress. The Prime Minister's plans for a clean India, and the building of toilets, seems a reasonable method to put an accent on proper sanitation. However, I've read that the many abodes that have had toilets built haven't used them, or converted them into store rooms. I am aware that this initiative was undertaken several years ago in a village in Maharashtra, where I have my farmhouse. Several months down the line, the constructed toilets were still lying unused. In fact, in villages there are designated areas where it is by custom understood men and women will go to defecate. This is an accepted village norm and it will take education to change this.

Women who suffer from inflammation of the bladder called cystitis are genuine sufferers. It burns them on every visit to urinate and they have to do this frequently because of the irritation. Though this occurs more frequently because of infection, it may occur from certain drugs, spermicidal jellies and is a common occurrence with diabetics. In younger women, sexual intercourse may cause cystitis but this is not usually the case in older women. It can occur with interference to the flow of urine, changes in the immune system and prolonged use of catheters. In menopausal women, hormone deficiency is the common cause. When fever and chills make their appearance, the infection has traveled into the kidneys and requires hospitalization. In the young, sexually active woman, the bladder infection may be caused by sex, the so called honeymoon cystitis. In women the urethra, that part of the anatomy through which a woman urinates, is much shorter and closer to the anal opening than in the male. The risk of urinary infection is greater as she arrives at menopause. The risk increases because of the loss of normal vaginal bacteria, which may be protective. The thinning and aging of the vaginal tissue also makes menopausal women more prone to infection.

In men, because their anatomy is different, urinary infections are less of a problem. Prevention in the younger age group is accomplished by urinating after intercourse and in all, by hand washing from front to back, especially for elderly women where bowel bacterial often enter the urinary tract. There is some evidence to suggest that cranberry juice and vaginal probiotics may be helpful in preventing urinary infections, but in the course of practice, recurrent and unexplained urinary infections still remain a problem for women.

Atul Kasbekar On Making ‘Neerja': Everybody Thought We Were Crazy


Ace photographer and ExCampionite class of '81 ATUL KASBEKAR, who made his debut as a producer with 'Neerja', says people thought that the makers of the Sonam Kapoor-starrer were crazy as it had two women headlining it. Neerja' producer: Atul Kasbekar: Multitasking comes naturally to me. 'Neerja' -- a biopic on the life of Neerja Bhanot who sacrificed her life while saving passengers on board hijacked PanAm flight 73 -- released on Friday. The Ram Madhvani - directorial has earned rave reviews so far. Sonam features in the lead role, while Shabana Azmi essays her mother's role. Everybody thought we were crazy to attempt making this movie headlining two women (Sonam and Shabana). It was only our conviction and belief that Neerja's story had do be told and that the audience is ready for great content first," Kasbekar said in a statement. Karan Johar, Subhash Ghai and Ayushmann Khurrana are some of the celebrities who have lauded 'Neerja'.

Atul Kasbekar: “I am truly humbled with the fantastic response for Neerja”

AtulThis weekend’s big film ‘Neerja’ starring Sonam Kapoor, has received a good response at the box office while minting over Rs. 4 crore on its opening day in India. Directed by Ram Madhvani, the film, has collected Rs 4.70 crore on the first day and is going strong on positive word of mouth. “I am truly humbled with the fantastic response for ‘Neerja’ at the theatres. It is a testament to the fact that people out there are looking for good content first and everything else comes later,” ATUL KASBEKAR, ExCampionite class of '81 who has co-produced the film, told PTI. “We believe this will be the case more and more in the future. When we started this project Ram Madhvani and I said that we would be extremely honest to the cause and the team that was working with us shared the same values and I believe that the conviction, compassion and honesty shows on screen,” he concluded.

Tarun Tahiliani Showcases His Collection @ The Wedding Times Fashion Fiesta

The Wedding Times Fashion Fiesta presented by Bajaj Electronics where ace designer and ExCampionite class of '77 TARUN TAHILIANI showcased his collection was splendid from the word go. Held at the Taj Falaknuma Palace, Hyderabad, the show was a stunning display of couture and craftsmanship. The backdrop of the stunning palace, the lights and the set added to the dreamy effect of the show. The models showcased stunning wedding collections. The jewellery which was designed by the master craftsman Tahiliani himself, added oomph and glamour to the evening. The sequences were choregraphed by model choreographer Alison Kanuga in such a way that it took you back to the Nizami era. The understated menswear range, that Tahiliani displayed had well-designed layered kurtas, achkans and pre-draped dhotis. The showstopper Kriti Sanon looked resplendent in a red and gold lehenga. Tarun says, "The Times of India has always been at the forefront of lifestyle coverage across many realms, particularly fashion. It is, therefore, no coincidence that we are proudly presenting our bridal and couture collection which will be a visual treat of sartorial elegance."

Kriti Sanon further adds, "I think it was a fabulous show, I have done a lot of shows but this was has to be one of the grandest one. I was really looking forward to walking the ramp here. The way Tarun dresses up every model, the ensemble looks pretty on them. I like the idea of the lehenga being a little short in the front and long at the back. The multiple draping with the unique jewellery that Tarun designed is exquisite. When you are wearing a beautiful garment like this, you start feeling really beautiful."

Axis Bank Strengthens Remittance Offering In GCC

Axis Bank Strengthens Remittance Offering In GCC

Axis Bank announced its ambitious plans to further strengthen its Remittance offering in the GCC region. “The Bank continues to expand its Partner network across the GCC region with specific focus on getting into more arrangements with Correspondent Banks while continuing to actively manage our large existing Exchange House relationships. This has resulted in a robust growth at a CAGR of 26% over the past three years in remittance volumes from UAE and we shall continue to look at growing aggressively for FY16-17 as well.” Mr. RAJIV ANAND ExCampionite class of '82, Group Executive & Head, Retail Banking, Axis Bank said.

Axis Bank which caters to NRIs in UAE through its offices here and through tie ups with other banks and financial institutions in the GCC, offers completely automated remittance processing engine, AxisRemit Direct, available to Exchange Houses and Correspondent Banks. A complete suite of disbursement options is also available, which includes Instant credit to Axis Account Holders and instant seamless processing for third party account holders through all electronic payment modes - NEFT, RTGS and IMPS. Elaborating on the distinctive features of Axis Bank’s Remittance Offering, Mr. Anand said, “Our strategy of expanding our Partner network of Exchange Houses and Correspondent Banks in the region is to provide additional channels of money transfer to our existing NRI customers as well as to leverage these relationships to acquire new NRI customers. To support these remittance relationships, we have a versatile platform that supports a range of message transmission modes from API-based integration for Banks and large Exchange Houses to file-based transmission and transaction-level input for Partners with small to medium scale operations. In-built business validations that automate compliance checks, would ensure regulatory adherence with minimal manual intervention. The platform is in the process of further enhancement with additional payment options being enabled that align directly with the NRI’s needs in India allowing our Partners to offer these value added services to their customers.”

He said a dedicated operations unit, Centralized Remittance Hub, has also been setup to provide efficient operational support and customer service to our Institutional Remittance Partners. In addition, Online FX Booking Portal, FX Connect, which allows our Partners carry out real time FX trades with the Bank has also been offered. “GCC and Africa form a significant part of the Bank’s business. Through own offices in Dubai and Abu Dhabi and through business tie ups with other banks elsewhere, Axis Bank covers the region extensively,” Mr Anand said. As DIFC grows further to become a formidable part of the local economy, Axis Bank will play more active role. Through the Representative Offices in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, we support service requirements of NRIs who hold or want to hold a banking account in India. The representative offices are governed by the UAE Central Bank regulations”, said Mr. Anand.

“I can proudly say that Axis Bank is at the helm of digitization. We are working towards embedding digital into our DNA and our digital strategy is quite holistic and is based on four pillars viz. customers, internal employees, branches and the social media footprint. With digitization, we can now open a customer account in few hours”, said Anand, on being the first movers in the digital banking space. “Axis Bank has been on the forefront of leveraging technology to bring about a large scale transformation. We have not only focused on providing a seamless customer experience through mobile and Internet, we have also redesigned most of our core processes at the back-end leading to reduction in errors, turnaround- time and cost. We have empowered our sales staff in India to open savings accounts and cards on a real time basis using tablets.”

I am Proud To be ‘Anti-National’, Says Rajdeep Sardesai

1981RajdeepSardesai4In the 1990s, the country’s polity was divided by secular versus pseudo secular faultlines; now, another divide, and frankly far more insidious, is sought to be created between ‘national’ and ‘anti-national’ forces. When I was first accused of being ‘anti-national’ on social media, I was angry. Now, a few years later, the current coarse political discourse, where desh bhakti certificates are being liberally distributed, tempts me to scream: garv se kaho hum desh-drohi hai (proud to be ‘anti-national’). Let me tell you why. Yes, I am anti-national because I believe in an expanded definition of the right to free speech as spelt out in Article 19 of the Constitution. The only two ‘reasonable restrictions’ are incitement to violence and hate speech. What constitutes hate speech may be open to debate. Is, for example, the slogan of the Ram Janmabhoomi movement ‘Jo Hindu hit kee baat karega vahi desh pe raj karega’, which openly calls for a Hindu Rashtra, to be seen as violative of the law or not and does it spread enmity among communities? Is ‘Raaj karega khalsa’, the slogan of the Khalistanis, to be seen as seditious or not? In Balwant Singh versus State of Punjab, the Supreme Court ruled in the negative. Yes, I am anti-national because while I am discomfited by the slogan shouting at JNU in support of Parliament terror convict Afzal Guru, I do not see it as an act of sedition. The sketchy video evidence made available shows the ‘students’ (we still don’t know if all of them were, indeed, students) shouting slogans like ‘Bharat kee barbaadi’, and hailing Afzal’s ‘martyrdom’. The speeches are primarily an anti-government tirade but is it enough to see the students as potential terrorists or rather as political sympathisers of the azaadi sentiment? And is that ideological support enough to brand them as jihadis who must be charged with sedition? Yes, I am anti-national because in a plural democracy I believe we must have a dialogue with Kashmiri separatists as we must with those in the North-East who seek autonomy. I will listen to student protestors in Srinagar or Imphal as I will to those in an FTII or a JNU. Prosecute all those who break the law, incite violence, resort to terror but don’t lose the capacity to engage with those who dissent. The right to dissent is as fundamental as the right to free speech: shouting down alternative views, be they on prime time TV or on the street, is not my idea of India. Yes, I am anti-national because I don’t believe in doublespeak on issues of nationalism. If support for Afzal Guru is to be seen as ‘sedition’, then at least half the erstwhile Cabinet in Jammu and Kashmir, where the BJP is in coalition with the PDP, would be held guilty. After all, the PDP’s stated position has been to protest Afzal’s hanging as a miscarriage of justice. If the Kashmiri youth today see Afzal as someone who was framed, they should be challenged to a legal and political debate but can they be branded as ‘jihadists’ simply because their views are repugnant to the rest of the country? Would we then by extension also suggest that the Hindu Mahasabha, which even today glorifies Nathuram Godse every January 30, even as the rest of India mourns the Mahatma, is an anti-national organisation? Should BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj’s defence of Godse be seen as an anti-national act or not, or will definitions of nationalism be shaped by the convenience of power politics? Yes, I am anti-national because while I am a proud Hindu who wakes up to the Gayatri mantra, I also like a well done beef steak, which, according to BJP minister Mukhtar Naqvi, is a treasonous act, enough to pack me off to Pakistan. I celebrate the rich diversity of my country through food: Korma on Eid, pork sorpotel with my Catholic neighbours in Goa during Christmas and shrikhand during Diwali is my preferred diet. The right to food of my choice is again a freedom which I cherish and am unwilling to cede. Yes, I am anti-national because I will fight lawless lawyers who attack defenceless women journalists in the name of ‘Bharat mata’ (don’t forget women journalists were targeted on a fateful day in December 1992 also) while policemen do little to stop the pseudo-patriots. I am a proud Indian who admires the sacrifice of our jawans, which is why I believe our men on the border must get higher wages rather than be trapped in a bureaucratic tangle. I support gay rights, am against the death penalty on principle, find any violence in the name of caste, religion or gender unacceptable. And yes, I like raising inconvenient truths in the public domain: if that makes me anti-national, then so be it. But above all else, I am anti-national because I believe in Ambedkar’s concept of a republican constitution that places the citizen and rule of law at its core. No one has the right to impose their vision of ‘cultural nationalism’ on a diverse society in the guise of ‘one nation, one religion, one culture’. And when I get weary of the ‘desh-drohi’ abuse I will seek solace in the legend of my original icon, Muhammad Ali, who, as Cassius Clay, threw his gold medal into the river in protest at being denied entry into a whites-only restaurant. His act led him to be termed ‘anti-national’ and stripped of his Olympic medal. Several years later, as he lit the torch at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, it was America’s way of apologising to one of its greatest folk heroes. I hope some of you say sorry to me too one day! Post-script: Last week, at the Delhi Gymkhana litfest, I suggested that the right to free speech must include the right to offend so long as it doesn’t incite violence. A former army officer angrily got up and shouted, “You are an anti-national who should be lynched right here!” When even the genteel environs of the Gymkhana club echo to such strains, we should all be very worried. ExCampionite class of '81RAJDEEP SARDESAI is a senior journalist and author. The views expressed are personal.

‘Neerja’ Producer: Atul Kasbekar: Multitasking Comes Naturally To Me


Best known for his glamorous swimsuit shoots, fashion photographer and ExCampionite class of ’81 ATUL KASBEKAR, who also runs the talent management agency Bling Entertainment Solutions, has now added another feather in his cap. He is producing his first Bollywood film, 'Neerja'. Talking about his journey from becoming one of India's topmost photographers to taking baby steps as a producer in showbiz, he says, "The process has been very organic. They have all been logical progressions of one another. I am happy juggling all these roles and am just going with the flow. Also, I am super hardworking and a very good time manager! And multitasking comes naturally to me. I would get bored very quickly if I only had to do one thing." While he makes it look easy, he admits that time management is the key to his success. Speaking about the challenges he has faced in his new role, Atul shares, "The fact that you have to deal with so many different people, with varied sensibilities and still maintain a harmonious, happy atmosphere is difficult. Though I know many people in the industry and I'm familiar with this field, when you attempt something for the first time, it's a different ball game altogether. Someone asked me what it feels like to be a producer and I told them, 'Producing a movie is like creating a symphony. I feel like Zubin Mehta, trying to make all departments work harmoniously with each other!'" Ask him why he chose a hard-hitting subject for his first film and he says, "I have been shooting for 20-plus years in the business and have garnered enough goodwill to have been able to put together a simpler project. But that would have been the easy way out. If you want to gain respect and increase your credibility as a producer, it's important to put together on paper a project that is extremely difficult. 'Neerja' is a fabulous subject. I think we've managed to pull it off and I'm very proud of what we've got on screen now." What's next on his agenda? "I am going to shoot a campaign in Hyderabad. On the production front, we are in talks for four other films," he signs off.

Running Strong

Running Strong - Copy

"We've been lighting up the place and conducting the run for the last couple of years," said real estate tycoon and ExCampionite class of '66 NIRANJAN HIRANANDANI, who ran the 10 km marathon at Hiranandani Gardens along with residents of the area yesterday. Niranjan Hiranandani participates in the marathon at Hiranandani Gardens "We organize the run a week before the Stan Chart marathon so many of those participating in it can warm up at ours," said the fitness enthusiast, who works out regularly at the gym, before packing in a full day's work. Hiranandani Gardens around New Year "The lights and the celebrations begin around a month before New Year's and it makes the township resemble Singapore's famed Orchard road around Christmas," said the visionary builder, who way back in the mid eighties had bought 250 acres of land in Powai and changed the face of the region. "Our whole focus is quality of life," said Hiranandani. "There's zero pollution in Powai, hundred acres of garden award winning schools and hospitals – in fact the quality of life is better than at Malabar Hill!" he said. And how did he fare in the run? We asked the ebullient entrepreneur son of the eminent ENT specialist Dr LN Hiranandani. "Not bad at all," he said "Considering that I'd just flown back from Dubai where I brought in New Year's with my family and had attended a couple of parties the evening before."

‘Hope Budget Results in Lower Home Loan Interest Rates': Niranjan Hiranandani

image_44998On 29 February 2016, when the Hon’ble Finance Minister Shri Arun Jaitley makes his Budget proposals speech, the hopes and aspirations of home seekers will be that the Union Budget would enable home loan interest rates becoming affordable. “The Budget and its impact on home loan interest rates are among the issues which the real estate industry will watch very closely on 29 February 2016. Perception among home seekers at present is that currently, banks and Home Finance Companies (HFCs) are offering interest rates which appear to be on the higher side. Across Mumbai, suburbs and the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) as also the state of Maharashtra, among the high expectations which real estate stakeholders have from the upcoming financial budget 2016-17, is that lower interest rate home loans will provide much-needed relief to the home seekers,” said Niranjan Hiranandani, MD, Hiranandani Communities and Founder-President National Real Estate Development Council (NAREDCO - Maharashtra). Prime Minister Narendra Modi has spoken about the initiative, Housing For All Indians by 2022’. It is a laudable initiative, but would appear to be difficult to achieve unless home loans become affordable to all, said Niranjan Hiranandani. “During the previous NDA Government under the then Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee, home loan interest rates had come down to historic lows. This was one of the main reasons why a large number of home seekers could buy their homes. In the Budget Proposals for 2016-17, I hope the Hon’ble Finance Minister Shri Arun Jaitley effectively brings down the interest rate on home loans - 7.5 per cent to 8.5 per cent would constitute a good spread,” he added. There is also the aspect of transmission of rate cuts to end users i.e. home loan takers, on the part of banks. “Hopefully, the Budget proposals will have positive indications. Home buyer sentiment is expected to continue with the positive trend it has exhibited since festive season 2015, going into 2016, on the premise that the RBI’s rate cuts, once fully transmitted by banks to home loan takers, will add to the positive sentiment,” he added. Apart from this aspect, home loan interest amount exemption under Income Tax benefit should be increased from the existing limit, said Niranjan Hiranandani. Given the perception that interest rates on home loans are ‘very high’, many a home seeker has turned into a ‘fence sitter’, as paying a high interest component in the EMI impacts home budgets. Over the past few months, ‘fence sitters’ have grown – and the right points in the Budget can help change this, said Niranjan Hiranandani. The positive sentiment witnessed in real estate, especially in terms of commercial real estate right from the first half of the year and residential real estate from the beginning of the festive season in 2015 suggests that 2016 will be a positive year. Real estate stakeholders have high expectations from the upcoming financial budget 2016-17, and I hope the Budget proposals on 29 February will see the Hon’ble Finance Minister Shri Arun Jaitley having good news for all stake holders in real estate,” concluded Niranjan Hiranandani. ​ ExCampionite class of '66 NIRANJAN HIRANANDANI is Founder & MD, Hiranandani Group, his recent initiative is Hiranandani Communities. He is the Founder and First President (Maharashtra), National Real Estate Development Council (NAREDCO), which works under the aegis of Ministry of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation, Government of India.

Atul Kasbekar To Hold A Special Screening of Neerja At His College

Atul K

ExCampionites class of 81  and Producer Atul Kasbekar is hoping to showcase his film Neerja, which is based on the life of Neerja Bhanot, at the Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara, California, USA from where he graduated in 1988. When contacted, Atul says, Brooks Institute formed the foundation of my photographic education, and shaped my career. I owe my success to the instructions received there. It would be a very big moment for me. Neerja is a film based on the heroic story of Neerja Bhanot who sacrificed her life while saving passengers from terrorists on board the hijacked Pan Am Flight 73 on September 5, 1986. Directed by Ram Madhvani and produced by Fox Star Studios and Bling Unplugged, the film is all set to release on February 19.

Our Drugs Of Choice – Altaf Patel ExCampionite class of 64

Among various pharmaceutical medication, indiscriminate use of vitamins supplements and antibiotics is rife in this city. For vitamins and supplements, the studies are split - some suggests benefits and others not. The purists say there may be no basis for their rational use but it is true that I have yet to see a prescription without a vitamin or supplements in this city. The rationalists however argue that medication is given for a 'feel-good factor' to the patient, and if they fell well with vitamins and supplements, well then why not? The argument is very valid in my opinion. However what concerns me is the indiscriminate use of antibiotics. The consumption of antibiotics in India has risen by 62 per cent in the last decade, while the worldwide use of antibiotics has risen by only 36 per cent. India's antibiotic usage went from 8 billion units to 12.9 billion units in 2010. Such practices encourage drug resistance by making the very organisms that we set out to kill, develop new mechanisms that produce resistance. It is well documented and well known that the bugs that lurk in hospital ICUs are already resistant to a large number of antibiotics. Despite the utmost care taken, they pass from patient to patient. When a patient develops an infection from a hospital, the infection is called a nosocomial infection. I have had a patient who had a heart attacks and was in ICU, and developed pneumonia from the ICU—the so called nosocomial infection- —that resulted in his death. Patients with tender immune systems are most vulnerable and so where high risk medicine is concerned, a quick-in and quick-out of ICU is a good policy. Physicians however, love the luxury of care given to patients in an ICU. They feel secure that in any event, the best possible will be done for the patient. This is correct, but should the patient have the misfortune of such an infection, it can cause the treating physician nightmares. The other major problem is using antibiotics in an office practice. A patient of mine for several years now will seek telephonic advice about which brand of antibiotic to use. Since they know the magic it can cause—making one feel better quickly— they insist and often order over-the-counter, despite my telling them to wait. In the initial phases of an infection, for example a cough, it is difficult to say whether this is viral or bacterial and in fact, many viral infections get secondarily infected by bacteria. To start an antibiotic in the situation of innocuous symptoms seems foolish to my mind. Nevertheless many physicians do this with the view that in a day or two the patient may change his physician and then the next physician will successfully prescribe an antibiotic. In the real scientific situation, it is best to take tests from the blood and sputum to determine the cause of the cough and respiratory infection, so that one can prescribe an antibiotic to which it will respond. However this is not practical since it will involve several days of waiting for the results, and an astute physician may prescribe an appropriate antibiotic and have the patient well before the tests results arrive. Another practice is by the surgeon who prescribes antibiotics routinely after clean surgery in the hope to prevent infection—the so- called prophylactic antibiotics usage, a practice with little scientific basis. A study done in the Journal of the American Medical Association on 240 patients who had nasal sinus inflammation tells us that patients who got no treatment at all seemed to do better than patients who took antibiotics or nasal sprays or a combination. Besides antibiotics may change the microorganisms in the intestine giving you diarrhea. They often form an overgrowth of C difficile - a bug that can sometimes be fatal. Various guidelines suggest waiting when the cause for infection may be viral or in the early stages. The wise doctor waits unless pressurised by the patient to prescribe. One day we may run out of effective antibiotics what then will the human race do so don't pressurize your physician.

Book Traces Kala Ghoda Fest’s Impact On The Art District

KalaGodhaArriving to cheering crowds, Bollywood actor Sidharth Malhotra released a book on the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival and the restoration of the district. Celebrating Mumbai’s Art District was launched at Cross Maidan by Malhotra, architect ExCampionite RAHUL MEHROTRA and KGAF director Brinda Miller. The book has been edited by conservation architect Abha Narain Lambah and explores how the festival has contributed to the restoration of iconic structures such as the Elphinstone college, Asiatic library and the David Sassoon library gardens ever since its inception. “I was one of the founding members of the festival and we had decided that every year the surplus money from the festival would be used to restore iconic structures in the area,” Lambah said at the launch. “This is one of the most enduring voluntary movements by the people and the book’s nine essays celebrate this.” These essays have been written by Lambah, Rahul Mehrotra and Manek Davar, chairman of the Kala Ghoda Association. Launching the book, Malhotra said: “Someday I will walk through all the stalls and have all the food. What is great is that the festival is free. This is a great initiative that promotes artists who make us feel and ease the stress of our mundane lives.”

The Dim Side Of Technicolour – Altaf Patel ExCampionite class of ‘64

The Dim Side Of Technicolour - CopyExcessive TV watching kills the art of making conversation, discourages reading books and introspection. Does the idiot box only make you dumber or can it also make you sick? Here's why you probably shouldn't overdo it I had just graduated and like all young doctors of those days, tried to immigrate abroad. To go to the United States in those days one had to appear for an examination. Unfortunately, the Government of India, in those days, shut down centers for the exams in India with the intention of preventing brain drain. As successive governments followed suit, my parents decided to send me to the United States for the exam. My dream was realized. I spent several hours studying, but the most anticipated moment of my visit was to see a TV set, not yet available in India. Colour TV had just made its appearance abroad and I was fortunate to visit one of my friends' houses in New York who had such a set. I remember watching the Miss World contest on it. Those were the days when communication was by letters, telephone calls abroad via trunk calls and life's pace was slow. Having passed the exams, I got ready preparing and writing to several hospitals for admission. Strangely, destiny decided otherwise — because of my father's illness and recurrent bad health, I had to stay on in India to take care of my family. TV came to India much later and I still remember people gathering at the houses that had TV sets. Strangely, they turned the ceiling light off, reminiscent of a movie hall. The fact that television has made an impact on society is well documented. I found many addicted to it. Nothing is more annoying for a husband to come home to find his wife unable to chat because she is in the middle of her favorite soap. Worse still, is the wife making you late for parties because she insists on leaving after her favorite TV programme. The question is whether TV is detrimental to health. In my school days, I spent my leisure time playing football, cricket, swimming and reading books. TV and Smartphone’s have changed this today. I find school-going children glued to the TV set or texting fervently, so much so that I get a few cases of tendinitis of the thumbs because of excessive texting. Some mobile phones have pads with such small digits that one needs extremely thin fingers to be accurate. We do know that sedentary behavior increases the risk of cancer, obesity, diabetes and heart disease, so it would logically follow that excessive time spent in front of the TV would put you at risk for such chronic diseases. Medical studies in this subject are sparse and far from complete. There are more than 2,000 papers on the subject, but they deal with screen viewing — meaning time spent in front of TV and computers. For a study like this, one must take into account several variables. Does the individual eat unhealthy food like crisps for instance, while watching TV? Does he drink alcohol? Even though he watches TV, can he offset the sedentary behavior, which leads to early death, by exercise? Trying to adjust as many of the variables as possible, the evidence at hand suggests that if you view TV for more than four hours a day, you have an increased incidence of early death. Such early death increases exponentially when viewing time increases over four hours. Less than two hours a day of TV watching did not seem to increase early death. An Australian study, where the subjects were exercising and watching excessive TV did not suggest that exercise could ward off the ill effects of excessive TV watching. In the final analysis, as the doctor says, everything should be done in moderation. Excessive TV watching kills the art of making conversation, discourages reading books and takes away time for introspection. Excessive TV viewing makes you more prone to heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers. Studies also tell that prolonged bed rest beyond a few weeks encourage excessive TV watching, that can trigger inflammation making you prone to heart attacks. Don't stick to the idiot box for long periods.

To Sir With Love



An undying tribute of love in memory of Joe Sheth To a beautiful teacher’s life So an unexpected end He passed away as he lived As everyone’s friend

If tears could build a stairway And memories were a lane We’d walk the path to Heaven And bring him back again

As Mark Anthony said for Caeser "HERE WAS A MAN - WHEN COMES SUCH ANOTHER"

From the untrue he led to the true - From darkness he led to light - In death he remains immortal

‘Mumbai’s Commercial Real Estate: 2015 was Good, 2016 Promises to be Even Better': Niranjan Hiranandani

image_44998The segment of a commercial real estate had a good year in 2015. Practically the entire year long, we have witnessed increasing demand for work-spaces, back-end office spaces, and retail-related spaces. Similarly, academics, health-care and entertainment-related spaces have also logged serious inquiries backed up by actual sales and leasing activities through 2015. Demand for Commercial Real Estate across India has been positive through 2015, and going into 2016 it looks likely that the momentum will increase. In Mumbai and the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), demand for commercial real estate has been growing largely as a result of ‘consolidation’ and ‘growth’ by corporate entities, including MNCs. Consolidation has been witnessed in scenarios where the work-force of corporate entities have been working out of commercial spaces spread across various locations. The trend witnessed in 2015 was that increasing numbers of corporate entities wanted to ‘merge’ the work-spaces, by moving all the separate units into a single location. The requirement here was for locations with projects which would be in sync with the price-point that would suit the corporate entity; as also provide facilities and amenities that the corporate entity would require. Going into 2016, this translates into means locations which can offer large floor plates as also ‘built to suit’ commercial real estate being all set to witness increased demand through the year. In the MMR, Thane and Panvel look like the ideal locations where commercial real estate demand will increase - and going by present indications, this demand will be successfully met. Across the various industries that will pick up commercial real estate in 2016, the off-take by each will be different. So, the BFSI segment will have a different quantum of requirement as compared to IT and ITeS, again which will be different from the regular corporate demand for offices (back-end offices and work spaces). The on-line retail industry (e-tailing) looks all set to invest in ‘brick and mortar’ by picking up commercial spaces, be it for display set-ups; storage and dispatch of goods or even for accommodating the new intake of human resources. In 2016, positive economic sentiment will be reflected in growth-related leasing and buying of commercial spaces by business and corporate entities. ExCampionite class of '66 Niranjan Hiranandani is Founder & MD, Hiranandani Group. His recent initiative is Hiranandani Communities. He is the Founder and First President (West), National Real Estate Development Council (NAREDCO), which works under the aegis of Ministry of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation, Government of India.

Govt Must Invest In Infrastructure To Drive Growth: Kumar Mangalam Birla

kmbirla-kclF--621x414@LiveMintStating that there is a slowdown of private sector investments, Aditya Birla Group Chairman and ExCampionite class of ’83 KUMAR MANGALAM BIRLA said government needs to invest in infrastructure to set off "virtuous circle" of investment and economic growth. "I think we have some issues to deal with. Clearly, there is slowing down of investment in the economy specially in the private sector and I think to kickstart that investment by the government, infrastructure is something that becomes critical," Birla said. "I think that is (investment in infrastructure) one factor that will set off virtuous circle of investment and growth in the economy that all of us are looking for," he said. On other issues which India faces at the moment, Birla said: "You have issues about ease of doing business where you need ample co-operation between states and the Centre. States are where the real action happens and we cannot have, in a federal structure like ours, where state is not in sync with the centre." He said the way to go about that is to create as much of competitive environment where each state is vying with the other for the next dollar or rupee of investment. Commenting on taxation, Birla said issues around it takes away the purpose of doing business. He, however, said the advantages India have at this point in time far outweigh the problems. "I think we have got great opportunity this time in the Budget. I think what government can do is put huge thrust in infrastructure and also many of us in this room would like lowering of corporate taxes and also simplification of tax processes and legal issues," Birla said.

2016 We Will See A More Transparent & Professional Real Estate: Niranjan Hiranandani

image_44998There are changes in the offing – the regulatory laws, for instance. So, in 2016 we will see a more transparent, more professional real estate. Real estate development companies will reflect positive changes as a result of the regulatory laws After a prolonged slowdown, the real estate industry is now hoping that new measures by the government such as housing for all and opening up of foreign direct investment alongside softening of interest rates could bring in the much needed push for the sector. spoke to Niranjan Hiranandani - CMD - Hiranandani Group and ExCampionite class of '66 on what 2016 has in store for the industry. Excerpts: How would you describe the current situation of the real estate market in India in 3-4 lines? The situation is definitely improving. The positive mood was lead by commercial real estate, and the residential segment followed suit close to the beginning of festive season in 2015. Property offerings by real estate developers who have consistently maintained quality and time bound completion of projects have been among those gaining the major chunk of this 'positive sentiment' on part of home buyers. How do you see the real estate market changing in 2016? Do you see an improvement in buyer sentiment? What is your advice to them for buying homes in 2016? There are changes in the offing - the regulatory laws, for instance. So, in 2016 we will see a more transparent, more professional real estate. Real estate development companies will reflect positive changes as a result of the regulatory laws. Yes, the buyer sentiment will continue the positive trend it has exhibited since festive season 2015, going into 2016. The RBI's rate cuts, once fully transmitted by banks to home loan takers, will add to the positive sentiment. Buying a home is simple: the best time to buy is when you need a home, so don't bother with aspects like perceived market conditions. Your family needs a home to settle down, your children need a place they can call 'home', so once you have planned a family, the home buying aspect should follow in due course. So, if planning for a family, don't forget to book your family's home. Then, for those looking as real estate as an asset class, I would say it has performed better than other asset classes, so from a RoI perspective, 2016 is the right time to invest in real estate. Interest rates have dropped a bit over the last six months. Have the funding woes for real estate developers started to ease? Are there any new funding avenues for builders today? There is a difference between how the interest rates drop impact home buyers and real estate developers. For developers, recognition as an industry would be the first step, it would enable us to source institutional finance at competitive interest rates. More or less, for real estate developers, the situation is pretty much the same in end-2015 as it was in end-2014. REITs have created a positive option, going into the future, as of now it is a positive thought process which needs to be worked out in detail before it can be implemented. What are your expectations from the Union Budget 2016? What will be the impact of GST and real estate regulatory bill, if cleared in 2016, on the real estate sector? There is a difference between potential and what actually gets delivered, when it comes to policies and such things, the Union Budget is no different. While I would expect the budget to be positive for real estate, it will probably be more positive for real estate buyers rather than for the real estate industry. Perhaps the biggest challenge that the Narendra Modi Government faces is that expectations were very high; so whatever they do seems to fall short. So, my expectations are positive, and I hope the Union Budget makes the positives happen. The impact of GST will be positive; provided it is implemented properly, while the real estate regulatory bill will result in a more professional, transparent and structured real estate. Which are the three top micromarkets in India today from an investment perspective on which you would bet your personal monies for medium to long term? From an investment perspective, I would suggest: (i) Chennai's suburban market; (ii) In the MMR, Panvel and (iii) Thane.

Shashi Tharoor, Manoj Bajpayee United in Gay Rights Cause

They both support gay rights and have demonstrated it recently in their diverse fields. Politician and ExCampionite class of '71 Shashi Tharoor tried to introduce a bill in the winter session of Parliament to end the ban on gay sex in India. Actor Manoj Bajpayee has enacted the role of a professor who was suspended by the Aligarh Muslim University after a TV channel broke into his home and filmed him with his partner. On NDTV's Agenda, they both spoke frankly on the cause that binds them. "The story is one of privacy, and not just about gay rights,'' said Manoj Bajpayee on his role in the new film "Aligarh". "Just like Lata Mangeshkar lives with her music, this was an innocent man who wanted to live his life,'' said the actor, who has won critical acclaim with his gritty portrayals in films like Satya and Gangs of Wasseypur. Prof Sreenivas Siras was found dead in April 2010, a few days before the university was forced to withdraw its decision to remove him. "I knew that it was such a responsibility for me to play him, it was the most difficult part for me,'' he said. The subject became too controversial, admitted the actor, recalling how the crew couldn't even film in the largely conservative city of Aligarh. "We are sending it to the central board of certification in January, and we can really expect a fight from them...It doesn't matter which government is in power, all of us artists are really soft targets," Mr Bajpayee commented. Responding to that, Shashi Tharoor, a former union minister and Congress parliamentarian, said, "You can't compare a censor board which was headed by Sharmila Tagore to the one headed by Pehlaj Nihalani." Mr Nihalani, who was appointed censor board chief in January this year, has been criticized for some decisions like heavy cuts in the latest Bond film, Spectre.

A Couple Cups Of Coffee A Day… – Altaf Patel Excampionite Class Of ‘64

A Couple Cups Of Coffee A Day. - CopyIf there's one practice common to several cultures, it is drinking tea or coffee in the morning. Decades ago, tea was the popular breakfast beverage, perhaps as a hangover of the British Raj. I recall several Irani Restaurants, which dotted the streets of Bombay (then), with people sitting on their Italian cane chairs, drinking tea and eating brun maska. Over the years, as we became more Americanized, coffee became popular and over time these little Irani restaurants were pushed out with the rise in property prices and perhaps the meager revenue they generated. Today one sees Starbucks, and Cafe Coffee Day with young couples holding hands away from parental authority or moral policing, executives working frantically on their computers or having short business meetings, and others just catching up over coffee. There are numerous concoctions and various types of coffee available at these outlets and an even wider selection to choose from over the world. My personal preference is the Indonesia Kopi Luwak - the beans are fed to a civet cat, collected from its excreta and then processed. It sells from US$ 100 to $600 per pound. A small body of medical literature suggests that coffee may reduce the risk of dementia, Parkinson's disease, diabetes mellitus in adults, non-alcoholic fat in the liver, cirrhosis of the liver, gout, and cancers of the prostrate, bowel, colon, mouth, breast and throat. The presence of antioxidants could be the reason that it helps guard against certain types of cancer. There are certain oily components present in unfiltered coffee and coffee brewed using metal filters but not in coffee brewed using filter papers. These substances called diterpenes may increase the risk of heart disease as they increase cholesterol levels, but are healthy for the liver. Several studies also list the adverse effects of coffee. Coffee contains caffeine, a sympathetic system stimulant, which may cause temporary stiffening of the arterial walls, heart irregularities and sleep disturbances. Occasionally, people experience withdrawal symptoms after suddenly stopping coffee. A Mayo Clinic Study found that consuming more than four cups of coffee a day increases all causes of death in a population under 55. Whether this is cause and effect remains unclear at present. While a 2012 study by the National Institute of Health says people who drank more than six cups of coffee a day had a 10 -15 percent decreased risk of death. Among this vast multitude of medical literature on coffee, there is some established evidence that it prevents the onset of maturity onset diabetes mellitus. Various studies also established that coffee consumption not only protects against the development of cirrhosis, it can also prevent death from alcoholic cirrhosis. There is also some evidence to suggest it prevents the development of liver cancer. Filtered coffee has a protective effect on the liver while unfiltered coffee has a potentially deleterious effect. This may be because the diterpenes present in coffee are removed by filtration. Cafestol and Kahweol are diterpenes that may increase cholesterol levels but are good for the liver, and may have some anti cancer effect. The caffeic acid to chlorogenic acid in coffee berries is said to be responsible for its prevention of diabetes. Pure coffee is expensive and the many products present in the market contain chicory with coffee. Though coffee has health benefits, I am particularly impressed with the data regarding prevention of diabetes and cirrhosis of the liver —it should not be a license for the excessive tippler to drink coffee to prevent liver damage. A new study done by Dr Ming of the Harvard School of Public Health is enlightening since it reports an inverse relationship between coffee drinking and mortality. The study based on 2,00,000 people said coffee drinkers had a lower risk death from heart and neurological disease. So, to my coffee drinking friends on the verandah of the's to another cup of good health.

E-Cash Supersedes ‘Old School’ Pocket Money

2017JiveshMohan2Over 40 pairs of orphaned spectacles sit inside Sangita Kukreti's office cupboard. Together, they remind this 54-year-old school principal of an entire generation's short-sightedness, albeit with money."Each pair of reading glasses must cost at least Rs 2,000, but no one wants to look for stuff anymore," lamented Kukreti of Vile Parle's Chatrabhuj Narsee Memorial School. 'Stuff', mind you, might also include leather wallets that sometimes throw her off with their bounty of "Rs 1,000 plus" cash, a far cry from her own childhood pinafore pocket, that would chime with five carefully-rationed one-rupee coins per day. It may well be time, Kukreti opined, to bid farewell to that indispensable Indian parenting tradition called 'pocket money'. Like the eyeglasses in her cupboard, it is today merely 'lost property'. Financial planners, school teachers and eighth graders agree that even if not entirely dead, the practice of giving children a small amount of cash at regular intervals is dwindling. In the age of e-wallets, iPhones and online shopping, 'pocket money' is fast losing its currency and 'My dad is my ATM' has become more than just t-shirt wisdom. Though pocket money has evolved into modern forms such as debit cards and rationed wi-fi usage in some households, a higher purchasing power has meant that many couples now simply replenish their adolescent kid's wallets whenever asked to. "Parents are very liberal and don't fret over giving money," said JIVESH MOHAN, a 14-year-old from Campion school in Cooperage, who doesn't know anyone in his circle who receives pocket money. The term itself has been somewhat ousted by words like 'grant' and 'allowance'. "We are a privileged generation," said Ritika Mukherjee, a class IX student at Thane's New Horizon School. "Our parents used to get something like 2 annas a day and had to really beg their parents for pocket money," added Mukherjee, who used to get a monthly allowance of Rs 100 from her parents until a year ago. Today, she has a bank account that she hasn't used, a debit card that she uses under "parental supervision" and since she doesn't spend on lunch or commute to school, only asks her parents for money when she needs it. Many argue that this transition is natural. Children's needs have changed," reasoned Ritika's father Amitava Mukherjee. "So have their patterns of buying," he said, referring to Ritika's online purchases that are monitored by her mother. Trouble, though, begins when double-income, single-kid parents start assuaging time with money. Divya Dayal of Mizuho Bank, which conducts a financial literacy programme in various schools, has come across parents who give easy money to kids "just to avoid a conflict at home, which is like sweeping the problem under the carpet". Moreover, a busy lifestyle means that expenses go unmonitored. "The only time parents seek my advice on how much to give their kids is during educational excursions," said Kavita Sanghvi, principal of Bandra's MET Ri shikul Vidyalaya. Needless to say, this sometimes leads to reckless spending. "Kids spend on junk food, trendy stationery, cigarettes and even drugs," said Kukreti. Recently, clinical psychologist Seema Hingorrany came across a class XI student who had spent Rs 20,000 on make-up. "Even the simple act of parents asking for the balance amount back can help instill responsibility in kids," said Hingorrany. Like a cold, money habits are contagious, warn financial planners. "They are caught, not taught," said finance trainer PV Subramanyam. "If you take your kids to Trident, do you really expect your son to take his friends to Cannon for a vada pav?" asked the trainer, who has observed people handing out Rs 1,000 notes to their kids for a movie outing. "Do not swipe a card," advised Subramanyam who often hands currency to his 4-year-old daughter and asks her to pay at the cash counter. "Let kids see money go," he added Two years ago, when Andheri-based Nayna Chetan Shah started giving her 14-year-old son, Shubham, a sum of Rs 200 per week to cover his snacks, trips to cricket practice and emergencies, she noticed a change. "Earlier, when he would have ten rupee notes in his pants, he was careless," she said. "Now, for two years, money hasn't gone into the drier." A way of ensuring monetary discipline is to let kids earn it. "I lose phones very often," said 14-year-old Ananya Kaul, a student at CP Goenka School. "So, whenever I want to buy something expensive, my parents ask me to get my grades up first," added Kaul. Clinical psychologist Sonali Gupta has observed parents of school kids rationing their wi-fi usage. "This helps put a cap on their expenses," said Gupta. It may also be the way forward. As someone who opened a savings account for his 14-year-old daughter, Sanaa, when she was a 12-day-old infant, he said: "There are many creative ways of teaching saving. For instance, he had evolved a chocolate bank, a transparent jar full of chocolates deposited by little Sanaa through the week that she could withdraw from only on Wednesdays and Sundays. Besides, as her birthday falls on December 18, we make sure she gets a gift on the 18th of every month. That way, she has to think about what she really needs," he said.

Damages Of Deforestation – Altaf Patel ExCampionite class of ‘64

Damages Of DeforestationIt is heartening to see a Central minister making a statement that he intends to look at the tree cover and follow it up on Google Earth. Unfortunately, large tracts of forest land have been constructed upon by unscrupulous builders and the courts have no option but to accept this carnage on the forest cover in favour of innocent, unknowing people, who blindly put their life savings into properties like this. A few years ago, I was in discussion with a village sarpanch who was interested in afforesting an area adjoining my farm. I was delighted and inquired as to why they asked me. He replied, "In this village, we like to keep everyone's point of view in mind and accommodate everyone's wishes, as far as possible, for the common good." The sensibility of this fine gentleman struck me as admirable. No wonder that he always gets elected as the sarpanch. It took a year or more for the casuarinas to grow and on every visit, I would keep an eye out for the progress of this forest. Finally, when the forest was fully grown, I sat at my house looking at the greenery and listening to the sound of waves lapping on the shore. One evening, we had a few close friends over for dinner. In the still of the evening, in the dimly lit garden, I could see a look of fear on one of the young ladies' face. On my prodding, she told me that she feared that a wild animal would appear from the thicket and attack us all. I calmed her by informing her that not only were there no predators around but that there was no human presence within at least five acres of the spot. In retrospect, her fear was very commonplace for someone who has lived in a concrete jungle within manicured gardens. Deforestation is a cause for global warming and is responsible for 20 per cent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions. Strangely, subsistence farming is responsible for 48 per cent of deforestation and commercial agriculture for 32 per cent and logging for 14 per cent. Deforestation alters the ecosystem and this is directly proportionate to the presence of disease-causing mosquitoes, fleas and ticks. In a well-written paper by Allison Gottwalt from the George Washington University in Washington DC, where she stated that the once-almost-forgotten diseases like American Cuteneous Leishmaniasis often recurs because of deforestation. This disease is caused by a parasite and the infection-carrying animals are usually a rodent and presents with one or multiple skin ulcers that can take over a year to heal. More importantly, the paper says that malaria keeps occurring because of deforestation. In the late 1990s, the destruction of Malaysia's tropical forests led to an outbreak of a new viral disease called the Nipah virus. It spread from the fruit bat whose natural habitat was destroyed by deforestation. It presented with respiratory illness and neurological abnormalities and the cause was not identified until March 1999. Other diseases associated with deforestation include yellow fever, dengue, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and lyme disease. Chikungunya, SARS and the dreaded ebola virus, which recently caused havoc, are mainly the result of deforestation. Though clearing up space for the ever-increasing population is required, a balance must be struck between forest cover and human population, in order to sustain the ecology and keep diseases at bay.

‘Hiranandani Fortune City, Panvel Set to be the Next ‘Hot and Happening’ Real Estate Project in the MMR: Niranjan Hiranandani

From just being a sleepy town situated at the tri-junction of roads that connect Mumbai Goa and Pune, Panvel has fast morphed into the ‘central location’ in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), and with planned infrastructure all set to enhance transport linkages, it is well on way to becoming the real estate hot-spot of Mumbai’s peripheral areas. “When it comes to making a smart decision in terms of real estate, those who spot the potential of Panvel as a real estate location will be making the right choice,” said Niranjan Hiranandani, ExCampionite class of '66 and  MD, Hiranandani Communities. Given the advantage of being located between two IT and ITeS hubs, Mumbai and Pune, Panvel is the ‘next big happening location’ in real estate. “It is positioned ‘just right’, when one looks at not just commercial as also a residential real estate destination,” said Niranjan Hiranandani. The potential of planned connectivity linkages, which include the Sewree Nhava trans harbour link; the railway passenger terminus at Panvel station; starting of passenger traffic on the Karjat – Panvel section of the Central Railway as also the Navi Mumbai international airport, Panvel will always be ‘future perfect’,” he added. Real estate development by the Hiranandani Brand has always been a trendsetter when it comes to real estate which appreciates in value and offers growth opportunities on a global scale, said Niranjan HIranandani. “It is not a mere coincidence that whenever brand Hiranandani has created integrated townships, the location has ended up being a winner; be it the stupendous success of Hiranandani Gardens at Powai or Hiranandani Meadows and Hiranandani Estate in Thane. It has always been a situation where Brand Hiranandani has been among the first to spot the potential of what were then, ‘new’ locations,” said Niranjan Hiranandani. “These mixed-use, integrated townships have proved to be trend-setters, and the next such offering from brand Hiranandani is coming up in Panvel: Hiranandani Fortune City. Should it surprise anyone, given that Panvel is all set to be the next real estate hot-spot in the MMR?” Hiranandani Fortune City is a mixed–use integrated township development, being done under the brand ‘Hiranandani Communities’, said Niranjan Hiranandani, the driving force behind this ambitious dream project. What makes the location and the project a class apart is the advantage of being located mid-way between two important IT hubs of the nation. The energy efficient buildings in Hiranandani Fortune City, Panvel, conform to LEED Green Building design principles, which deliver to end-users the Hiranandani Communities’ commitment to high quality standards and cutting edge advantages. “The residential options are best suited to the new age Indian, one who has a global perspective and aspires to live a truly global life in a real estate location with fantastic growth potential. Gardens, play areas, entertainment clusters which will include exclusive cafés, convenience stores and health centres within the project will offer a stress-busting environment for residents in Hiranandani Fortune City, Panvel,” he added. Following the ‘mixed use, integrated development model’ which has worked wonders in previous projects in Powai and Thane; Hiranandani Fortune City, Panvel, will develop residential and commercial phases with social infrastructure in sync with the mixed-use development. It will offer work spaces as also residential real estate, with reliable power supply and high speed internet connectivity. For the families which will make Hiranandani Fortune City ‘home’, it will offer all major lifestyle amenities and facilities, including academics, healthcare, retail and entertainment facilities,” he added. Hiranandani Fortune City, Panvel is all set to be the next ‘hot and happening’ project, said Niranjan Hiranandani, pointing out that it has been designed with due care, and with an immaculate setup conducive for business growth. “The project offers global living amidst a breath-taking ambience,” he pointed out. “For smart real estate buyers, for those who spot a winner early on, this is an opportunity which should not be missed!” concluded Niranjan Hiranandani.

“Housing for All Implies a Roof Over One’s Head, and Whether it is Owned or Rented Should Not Make a Major Difference”: Niranjan Hiranandani

For the Indian housing sector, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s initiative, 'Housing For All by 2022' is a positive step. “But just ‘Housing for All’ isn’t the complete story,” said ExCampionite class of '66 Niranjan Hiranandani, Managing Director, Hiranandani Communities and Founder - First President (Maharashtra), National Real Estate Development Council (NAREDCO). India faces a housing shortage of approximately 20 million units. “Out of this huge shortage, more than two-thirds of the shortfall is from home seekers belonging to the economically weaker sections (EWS) and low income group (LIG) categories, especially in urban India,” explained Niranjan Hiranandani. “To ensure that homes become a reality for this segment, there is a need to also start working on rental housing, which seems to be a viable option, and not focus only on ‘ownership’ housing,” he added. Last week, M Venkaiah Naidu, the Hon’ble Minister for Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation, Government of India, made a statement supporting the promotion of rental housing stock in the country. The Minister made the remark while speaking at a National Consultation on Draft National Rental Housing Policy, 2015. “This is a welcome move on part of the Hon’ble Minister,’ said Niranjan Hiranandani. Speaking at a National Consultation on Draft National Rental Housing Policy, 2015, the Hon’ble Minister said that ‘rental housing is more inclusive than ownership of homes’, which has been the focus of housing interventions by different governments. “I totally am ‘in sync’ with the Hon’ble Minister on this aspect,” said Niranjan Hiranandani. At the moment, rental housing in the country accounts for only 11 per cent of total housing stock, said Niranjan Hiranandani, adding that rental housing offers not just a huge investment opportunity at the ‘bottom of the pyramid’, it also will ensure that India meets the rising demand for houses by creating housing stock under ‘alternative housing options’, as opposed to just ‘ownership’ housing. The Draft National Rental Housing Policy, 2015 seeks to enable a vibrant and formal Rental Housing sector by adopting regulatory and legal reforms, enhancing fund flows, promoting institutions for constructing, managing, maintenance and creation of rental housing stock, along with necessary incentives. “This will encourage rental housing, which is a key component of the flagship scheme, ‘Housing for All by 2022’. This move will unlock a huge amount of rental stock into the market, as property owners will get encouraged to rent houses,” said Niranjan Hiranandani.“While Landlords need not fear tenants over-staying, and tenants on the other hand will not have reason to worry about eviction – effectively, interests of both will be safeguarded – the bigger story is the number of homes that will be available for rented accommodation,” said Niranjan Hiranandani. “If 'Housing For All' is a positive step, the Model Tenancy Bill, 2015 and National Rental Housing Policy, 2015 have the potential to match its positive by creating a huge stock of residential housing in India,” he said. “Housing for All implies a roof over one’s head, and whether it is owned or rented should not make a major difference,” he concluded.

Dr Batra’s® Healthcare and Dr Mukesh Batra, its Founder & Chairman, Awarded at The World’s Greatest Brands and Leaders 2015 Asia & GCC

Dr BatraExCampionite class of ’67 Dr MUKESH BATRA, Padma Shri Recipient, a visionary entrepreneur with professional excellence and experience of over 40 years in the field of Homeopathy was recognized as "The World's Greatest Leader" at The World's Greatest Brands and Leaders 2015 Asia & GCC Award ceremony held in Dubai, UAE. While Dr Mukesh Batra was awarded for his leadership, his colossal corporate empire, Dr Batra's® Healthcare was awarded "The World's Greatest Brand" at the same ceremony. Both the awards were for the healthcare category and were presented by His Excellency TP Seetharam - Indian Ambassador to UAE and Mr. Kulwant Singh - President IBPC Dubai and MD Lama Carfare in the presence of Mr. Anurag Bhushan, Consul General of India. The World's Greatest Brands and Leaders 2015 Asia & GCC is a prestigious award where corporate are screened and researched by United Research Services and the process is reviewed by PwC. Accepting the award, Dr Mukesh Batra, Padma Shri recipient, Founder-Chairman of Dr Batra's Group of companies, said, "I feel highly honoured to be felicitated with the "The World's Greatest Leader" and "The World's Greatest Brand" award title. Today homeopathy is viewed as a modern, progressive, efficient and effective medical option and its recognition at a global platform like this one is a testimony to trust that people around the world have in this field of medicine." About Dr Batra's® Dr Batra's® Health Care Group is founded by Dr Mukesh Batra in 1982 in Mumbai. The Group today is the leading Homoeopathic healthcare corporate, having 219 clinics across 120 cities with its presence in India, Dubai and London. In 2009, the company introduced Aesthetic Services through its flagship brand Dr Batra's® Aesthetic Solutions Pvt. Ltd. The aesthetic solutions arm of Dr Batra's®, offers a wide range of services like hair transplant, obesity solutions and skincare solutions. The brand has also made significant progress and development in personal and healthcare products under its well established division Dr Batra's® Positive Health Products Pvt. Ltd. This marks a phenomenal contribution by Dr Batra's® due to its individualized treatment and care to over 10 lakh patients across the globe, including 3 lakh hair patients and 1 lakh skin patients. For more information, visit

Payment Wallets Bring Convenience, But Concerns Emerge Over Safety, Crowding

Payment Wallets Bring Convenience - CopyA panel at the Mint Cash to Digital Summit discusses the issues, challenges and the possible solutions. With payment wallets mushrooming across the country as more people take to them for convenience and discounts, there are reasonable concerns on whether the sector is getting crowded, and the safety aspects related to wallets. A panel at the Mint Cash to Digital Summit discusses the issues, challenges and the possible solutions. Moderated by Monika Halan, Editor, Mint Money, the panel included ExCampionite class of ’82 RAJIV ANAND, group executive and head-retail banking, Axis Bank Ltd; Satyen Kothari, chairman, Citrus Payment Solutions; Ankur Saxena, CEO, Oxigen wallet; Bindu Ananth, chairperson, IFMR Finance Foundation; Vijay Shekhar Sharma, founder and CEO, Paytm. Edited excerpts: Halan: Banking used to be a boring business. It was called the 3-6-3 business. You borrow at 3, lend at 6 and at 3’O clock, you played golf. Banking space has undergone a huge churn and a series of almost surprising regulatory actions has opened space for a sudden burst of enterprise and action. A number of products have been launched in the market. Axis has launched several of these apps, there is Ping Pay, Line and the Axis Bank app itself. Mpesa has 3.6 million users, Paytm has over 20 million active users, Citrus has over 15 million user wallets, Oxigen has over 10 million users. Now is the time when you actually tweet money over to the next person, you can WhatsApp money, use Facebook to transfer money and there is traditional banking, and a host of companies are launching similar services. My question is that are we already overcrowded in this market? Rajiv Anand: First let’s look at the transactions. There is a MasterCard survey that said cash transactions still continue to be 70% and 30% being electronic channels. Even if you look at e-commerce, the estimate is that about 60% is cash on delivery. So, I think we continue to be a very cash-dominated market place and this is changing quite rapidly. Let’s look at the channels through which the transactions are happening. In cash, where people are taking money out of ATMs for example, we do 6 crore transactions a month on our 13,000 ATMs and that isn’t coming down anytime soon. It’s about creating multiple channels to access this money. Why have wallets come up? The level of friction in these transactions are quite high. Wallets have been able to reduce this friction and also give some customer delight; this will go forward. We are seeing a lot of innovations through financial technology companies through wallets. Banks, especially the private sector space, have embraced this change. As you mentioned, Axis has launched three or four apps, this is what is really happening at the front end. There are other apps that we are doing. For example, in agri, we are able to disburse loans instantly, we are able to create self-help groups on tablets. It’s really not about digital banking but about the bank going digital. There is space for a lot more products. Will all of them survive two-three years from today? I don’t know. I’ll just give one anecdote here; when Google came in, they weren’t the first search engine. They were the 21st search engine. So, it is not important to be first in the market. It’s really being able to innovate and keep up with customer expectation. Halan: A lot of times, I am confused about the payment gateway and as Nandan Nilekani was saying, inter-operability has to come in. Satyen Kothari: It’s not crowded, it is noisy. The users confuse between the range of services out there, without a clear purpose. For example, when Google was launched, it was a pure search engine. You look at WhatsApp; it’s the simplest interface that serves 900 million people. There is confusion out of ambition; everyone wants to do everything as opposed to doing one thing and that translates into user confusion as well. Are you a wallet service, are you a payment gateway, are you a telco? It is a great thing that we have such a big addressable market. So, we need to see what each segment wants instead of dominating everything. Banks come to us and we say you already have a wallet—your savings account—you just need to make it easier to access it. Halan: What kind of innovations will you see in the wallet space? Satyan said banks already have a wallet—the saving account—but that is only a bucket. Any attempt to segregate that bucket into different uses? Ankur Saxena: Definitely, a wallet is multiple use cases. Wallets are there to reach beyond where banks can’t reach. Ease of use is there. Wallet can allow money to be segregated—something we recently did—we have been telling corporates that if you put your reimbursements in your wallet, we can segregate it as your food bucket, or telephone bills, so that control is there. Bindu Ananth: Where I am coming from, clutter is a dream. If you really think about why the regulations around payment banks came, it was really to speak to the 600-700 people and there you are competing with cash under the pillow, (and) gold is still the dominant reality of India. Halan: When payment bank licences were given, it was assumed that it will go to the unserved. But looking at the plethora of services, we see they are serving the served. Do you think the payment banks will also chase after the urban cherry? Bindu Ananth: Some of that is bound to happen as there is a larger digital opportunity. But universal banks are not going to be sitting around playing dead. There will be competitive response in urban bank segment and given the universal bank business model, given the ability to offer some of these services for free, I hope there will be a subset of banks which will say that the opportunity really is at tier 4 and below and the 500 million clients who have not been exposed to anything other than prepaid, top-ups etc. Halan: What kind of market will you serve? Vijay Shekhar: Fairly broad market. Halan: Will there be a different product for the rural market or a replica of the urban product? Vijay Shekhar: We just have one product. Halan: PSUs (public sector units) and small banks are finding it difficult to find a reason to exist with competition from private sector banks who are getting heavily into digital money space. Do you think that 5-10 years later, you will see a lot of creative destruction of the small and PSUs bank space? Rajiv Anand: Banking ultimately is a business of trust, it is a localized business. A physical presence is absolutely critical. Having said that, once a person opens an account, he is doing more and more transactions on a digital platform. Banks being able to create a reasonable presence and generate customer delight will benefit the first within the liability franchise. Once you get a customer in, you use data analytics to be able to serve the customer in a more intuitive manner. Whoever will be able to deliver this omni-channel experience to customers will clearly be the winner. Bindu Ananth: A lot of banks will find that there is no reason to exist, but that is not necessarily the worst thing in the world. We have different business models but the competition intensity has gone up, so everyone needs to find their niche. Casa (current accounts and savings accounts) party which used to be (a) small club has opened up and that’s good and this is what RBI governor Raghuram Rajan called the Grand Bargain. Some interesting analysis made was if you just looked at the Casa that banks had and if all of that was deployed in risk-free securities, the profit in that year of analysis was more than what the banking sector was making. Which meant that the lending arm was eroding value. Halan: Loan books of banks is so bad that if you just look at profitability, a bulk of it is coming from fees and commissions. A lot of criticism from traditional banks for payments banks is that you will not be viable as you don’t lend. Vijay Shekhar: That is a myopic view. We have a very profitable payment service. Satyen Kothari: The way banks have operated in the past is not going to exist. They will do what they are good at doing and will be forced out of sectors which they entered because there was consumer demand but there was no alternative. Banks don’t really like the end consumer that much. The end consumers come in, they crowd your branch, but the real money is coming from either institutions that are borrowing from you, high-value products from mortgages etc. How do you deal with this? You have a regulatory headache, information technology systems which are a little archaic in most cases. The customers we and Paytm are catering to today are really not those which bring any value in the traditional sense. Lending is not a problem for the everyday consumer, an everyday consumer is demanding better services for their lifestyle needs. That lifestyle creates ease of fund collection, ease of fund transfer and when you do it all digitally, you are going to have incredible cost savings when you rip out the paper aspect. The beauty about money is that it is conceptually digital. Halan: So money is moving to where it was meant to be? Rajiv Anand: A few years ago, people used to take a day’s leave to do bank work. We are in the business of trust, particularly for more complex transactions. Halan: So, how important is credit in the whole scheme of things? Rajiv Anand: In general, consumers want to fulfil all their financial needs through one entity. People don’t usually take loans from one bank, have accounts in another bank. In that context, lending is important. Bindu Ananth: I agree that the consumer prefers convenience. But should we have the same manufacturer at the backend who is doing the credit also, the payments also? That is where the change will come. All regulations are saying that payments banks cannot have loan books on its balance sheet. But can it be at the front end of a credit-related cash-in, cash-out? Sure. That could be a very large part of its transactions. Rajiv Anand: With payment banks, there will be certain areas where the incumbent banks would like to compete as well as collaborate. Halan: Possibly Indians got used to putting money in the cloud with the full talk time, zero cost prepaid card. Has that first habit change happened already? Ankur Saxena: There is going to be a graduation there. Until and unless there is a specific use, people don’t generally put their money in wallets. I don’t know if people will start putting salaries there. Halan: You were a part of the committee that recommended payments banks. So, was the word bank used deliberately so that people have the same trust as opposed to, say, a payment gateway? Bindu Ananth: It had nothing to do with the consumer, but with RBI and regulations. Unlike other markets where large payment providers have evolved outside the banking system, in India where these are at a nascent stage, let’s develop them within the banking system, reduce arbitrage, reduce possibility of systemic risk. Halan: Unlike the earlier brick and mortar banks, now if my money gets stolen from your wallet, then who is responsible? Satyen Kothari: The processor and issuer have to take the responsibility. Risk and convenience go in inverse proportion. Vijay Shekhar: Naxalites call consumers from the east of India and ask for their PINs, the bank doesn’t bother and the intermediaries also don’t bother. Paytm has a 30% of cost in a business model to fund these guys back. We instantly give this money back. The gullible consumer needs to understand that the password you are giving is like signing a blank cheque. I have 7 FIRs against me from someone in MP, saying that I was the one benefitting because these consumers were giving the OTPs (one-time passwords). I never saw the bank as a place where the money was stored. I saw it as what is the money is on API (application program interface)? The point that Indians’ love for cash is so overrated. Paytm was 33rd licensee, everbody did the lip service job. I had tears in my eyes the day RuPay was launched as I thought that this is something that India should have got in 1947 or a few years later. Money has to be available on API whether through a wallet or through a bank. Banks have launched about 7 apps but please launch it on API. Whenever tech crosses an industry, it is met with reactions. The time the industry will take to understand the tech will be many times over the time the tech has taken to understand the industry. The issuer is responsible, always. Rajiv Anand: Between the issuer and acquirer, there is a quick investigation and we get thousands of these transactions and they are settled quickly. Consumer has a responsibility of not sharing PINs but manufacturer also has responsibility. Bindu Ananth: Issuer is responsible. Ankur Saxena: Issuer is responsible but at the same time, it is the issuers’ responsibility to educate customers.

Cox & Kings Named Leading Luxury Tour Operator

1978PeterKerkar2Tour operator receives accolade at this year's WTAs. Cox & Kings has won the World’s Leading Luxury Tour Operator award at the World Travel Awards Finale held at the Mazagan Beach & Golf Resort in Morocco. Commenting on the win, ExCampionite class of '78 Peter Kerkar, director of Cox & Kings, said: "We have been at the forefront of providing luxury holiday experiences to discerning class of travellers across the world, and this award further reinforces our commitment to delight the customer with our expertise and luxury offerings." The award presentations were the highlight of the red carpet event which welcomed more than 300 industry leaders from around the globe

Can We Prevent Rapes? Altaf Patel ExCampionite class of ‘64

The Praja Foundation, a non-governmental organization, recently released very disturbing statistics... numbers that reveal the sorry state of the city we live in, and the police apathy when it comes to women's safety. The NGO revealed in its annual report that the number of rape cases registered in the city in 2014-15 has seen a massive increase by 49%. The report reveals that 643 rape cases were filed in 2014-15, compared to 432 cases in the previous year ('Sharp rise in number of rape cases this year', MM, December 9). The foundation covered 22,850 families across the city, and 31% said that their locality was not safe for women, children, and senior citizens. Rape cases are being reported by newspapers and news channels almost every day, and I recall reading popular Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra's interview, in which she said that the foreign media often asks her whether India is safe for women. Indeed, such incidents give an impression to the world that India is not a civilized country. We must understand that the mindset of people in this country, and indeed the entire subcontinent, is different from that of the Western countries. I often tell my friends from Western countries that overfriendliness by women while talking to men could be construed as sexual interest in these parts of the world. Similarly, many in India, including a few politicians, think that women should not wear 'revealing' clothes. No short skirts, tight jeans, or low necklines. I find this attitude strange, considering we are a land of Khajuraho and Kamasutra, but this is the world we have to live in. Stricter laws are certainly a deterrent, but not the only solution. We need to change as a society, we need to encourage respect for women. We can start from schools, where boys are taught to respect female students. A question I'm often asked is, do people rape because they are mentally unstable? The notion of committed-rape-because-of-mental disorder has been repeatedly rejected by all diagnostic and statistical manuals of mental disorders. I have no doubt that more awareness will create a safer society, because we are not as bad as rest of the world thinks. Yes, every incident of rape is deplorable, and we need strict laws to deal with them. Now, allow me to present some numbers. Compared to many developed or developing countries, the incidents of reported rape rate per 1 lakh people is quite low in India, which is two incidents per 1 lakh people. In western Europe, the number rises to 8.1 per 1 lakh people, 14.7 in Latin America, 28.6 in the US, and a staggering 40.2 per 1 lakh people in southern Africa. With a change in attitude towards women, and better policing, we can make this city, and the entire country, much safer for women.

Dogs Can Smell Cancers – Altaf Patel ExCampionite Class of ‘64

And, low blood glucose levels. Medical science is using dog's strong sense of smell to immense benefits I feel sorry for the stray dogs, which survive on garbage and leftover food. There are several NGOs dedicated to taking care of the stray animals but they face a Herculean task. It is difficult to take care of human beings in this country, so where will dogs stand a chance. I must confess that I am slightly scared of petting stray dogs because of the fear of rabies. I have seen several cases of rabies in my career; it is unnerving to see the patient die of hydrophobia (fear of water). Rabies is usually fatal and if my memory serves me right, there is only one case of survival in medical literature. Even the pet dogs can be a problem as they defecate on the roads and footpaths. In other parts of the world, you will see people walking their pets carrying an apparatus to pick up the excreta. I'm a regular walker and I can predict the exact spot on the pavement where dog poop would be lying. Now, let us talk about the benefits of having pets, especially dogs and let me assure you, there are several benefits. Pets help lower blood pressure, reduce anxiety and boost their owners' immunity. Humans relax in the company of their pets and taking them for walks provides good exercise, which in turn boosts immunity. A recent research has said that pet owners have lower risk of contracting allergies and asthma and babies exposed to pets develop stronger immune systems. Those suffering from dementia have fewer anxiety attacks if they have a pet. It has also come to light that having a pet can elevate the levels of serotonin and dopamine in blood, which helps people remain happy and calmer. Those suffering from heart ailments survive longer if they have pets around, compared to those who don't. Dogs have a massively strong sense of smell and the recent articles about medical science benefiting from the dog's ability to smell are amazing. One such study tells us that dogs can tell if a person has prostate cancer by smelling his urine. This paper was presented at the American Urological Association's meeting recently. The researchers trained a pair of German Shepherd dogs to detect cancer of the prostate by smelling the urine and the two dogs, Zoe and Liu, correctly identified 99 per cent of the prostate cancer urine samples. The researchers have said that using dogs to diagnose the disease could provide an alternative to the current system of blood test for prostate-specific antigen, which can give false results in men, who do not have prostate cancer. Another study published in the UK medical journal, The Lancet, in 1989, states that dogs can smell melanoma. The Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides has trained dogs to detect a drop in sugar levels in human beings. These dogs are called 'glucose alert' dogs, which alert the patients and their family members if the sugar levels drop to 81 mg/dL or below. These dogs are trained to sniff low blood glucose levels and also fetch the medicine kit and are proving to be a massive help, especially to children with diabetes who have highly fluctuating blood sugar levels.

More Vitamins = Better Health? Altaf Patel ExCampionite class of ‘64

indexMedical literature is rife with articles on oxidative stress and the value of antioxidants. Oxidative stress is being blamed for various lifestyle diseases such as thickening of arteries, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer and heart diseases. Basically, the oxygen-free radicals formed in this reaction attacks fats, proteins and DNA. This stress is fought by antioxidants, and when the oxygen- free radicals exceed the antioxidants in the system, the body suffers damage. How can we ascertain if our bodies are undergoing oxidative stress? There are a number of markers -- lipid hydroperoxides, 4 hydroxynonenal, 4 ubiquinol and a host of other tonguetwisters. The object of this somewhat complicated preamble is to judge if use of vitamins and supplements can we really prevent this attack on the human body. I don't think a clear-cut answer to this question exists, but it is worthwhile looking at the medical evidence at hand. Alarge study in the American Journal of Epidemiology examines the contention that antioxidant vitamins taken orally boost the efforts of the body's inbuilt antioxidant system. It is a landmark in the sense that it addresses the issue in 14,000 men and women and goes through 32 years of follow- up. In a study like this, collection of data is difficult. The authors relied on questionnaires directly addressing the intake of vitamins A, C and E, the socalled antioxidant vitamins. Dosage for each was established and participants were asked to check the containers for printed information on the type of vitamins and dosage. Dietary intake of these substances in the natural form is even more difficult to document. They were asked about 56 food groups and the frequency of their intake. This was then translated into estimated average dietary intakes of vitamins. A summary of other factors affecting mortality was also taken into account, like smoking, alcohol and caffeine intake, exercise weight, history of high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, diabetes and cancer. These factors can independently affect mortality, and the study would hardly be valid without accounting for them, and making statistical adjustments. Though the study did show that risk of death was decreased with the intake of dietary or supplemental antioxidants, it did not show any beneficial effects of such antioxidant intake when the factors stated above were taken into consideration. Several other large studies in the UK, USA, Europe and Japan have, however, shown significantly lowered death rates with supplementation of vitamins A, C and E. In many, variables such as high blood pressure, heart disease, alcohol intake and smoking were not taken into consideration. A recent analysis has also suggested a small but definitive increase in death rate with vitamin supplementation, and the article's authors did not find any justification to prescribe intake of vitamins A, C or E to increase longevity. With evidence of antioxidant and vitamin use seesawing though several studies, a clear-cut recommendation is difficult to make. The answer given by most doctors is that it cannot hurt. This may hold true for vitamin C, but not for fat-soluble vitamins like A. Side-effects of vitamin A intoxication are well-documented, including blurred vision, dizziness, increased pressure in the brain and hair loss. In this city I still have to find a prescription written without some sort of supplementation, and despite the evidences, doctors still rely on their own experiences while prescribing such intake.

Green, Healthy, Sometimes Toxic Altaf Patel ExCampionite class of ‘64

imagesMedical literature is replete with the goodness of fruit and vegetables. Science credits these food items with nutrients, antioxidants and fibre. In fact, there is even medical evidence to suggest that vegetarians live longer. But is everything about them good? The world of medicine chooses to turn a blind eye to the toxic substances present in them, given their safe-for-consumption tag. Few know that these toxic substances could prove fatal if consumed in large quantities. Solanine is a glycoalkaloid present in vegetables like potatoes, tomatoes and brinjals. Genetic factors, exposure to light and bruises sustained during harvesting can significantly increase the solanine content in vegetables. This substance is usually not perceptible to human taste buds, but a bitter or burning sensation should make one suspect the presence of an unusually high level of solanine. A small amount of solanine in plants helps them defend themselves against fungus, and also has inherent pesticidal properties. The National Institutes of Health (NIH), the US health regulatory body, says potatoes high in solanine content are green below the skin and should never be eaten. The NIH believes its consumption in large quantities by an expecting mother results in birth defects. Cases of solanine poisoning have also been recorded in history, one of them in a UK school. Solanine poisoning causes nausea, vomiting, cramps, hallucination, paralysis, jaundice and even death. Symptoms usually show within eight to 12 hours of consuming solanine but may start as early as within 30 minutes, so potatoes that are green under the skin must be avoided. However, the presence of solanine in tomatoes and its harmfulness is a matter for debate. In 1948, erstwhile East Berlin was struck by a bout of food-poisoning, thought to have been caused by food items airlifted into the region, especially beans. Beans contain a toxic substance called lecithin that is capable of making the red and white blood cells stick together. Lecithin also gets attached to the internal lining of the intestine. Symptoms of abdominal pain and diarrhea are manifest within one to three hours of consumption. Cyanide-like substances are found in apricots, peaches, bitter almonds and bambooshoot. They contain amygdalin, which is converted into cyanide by the gastrointestinal track. Agitation, confusion, convulsion, disrupted cardiac rhythms, disturbances, shock and death are known to occur an hour after consumption. This can happen after consuming 20 to 30 apricot kernels or even after eating six to 10 bitter almonds. Oxalic acid is found in high concentrations in rhubarb, spinach and peanuts. The average lethal dose of oxalate is 2 to 30gm. These can be toxic for the kidney and lead to hypocalcemia, which may cause convulsions. Chillies contain capsaicin. Wilbur Scoville measured the sharpness of chillies on a scale known today as the Scoville Scale. Chillies have been anecdotally deemed aphrodisiacal, invigorating and anti-bacterial. Capsaicin finds use in pepper sprays as well. In large quantities, capsaicin is known to cause an elevated blood pressure level. A doctor hardly comes across problems caused directly by high consumption of vegetables and fruit, but one must keep in mind that the consumption of certain substances present in them might have adverse effects that could leave even the best physician surprised.

A Passage From India

cp-feature-manilsuri-jpg-20150922If you think that your math prof would never do a striptease on You Tube, you haven’t met Manil Suri ExCampionite class of '74, the gay Indian-American author, University of Maryland, Baltimore County mathematics professor and “New York Times” contributing opinion writer. Being a tenured prof or a Times contributor would be more than enough on anyone’s plate, yet Suri, 56 has written three acclaimed novels loosely based on the Hindu trinity: “The Death of Vishnu” (2001), “The Age of Shiva” (2008) and “The City of Devi” (2013). “Vishnu” was a Pen/Faulkner Award finalist and “Devi” was a Lambda Literary Award finalist. He lives with his partner in Silver Spring. Suri was born in Bombay, now known as Mumbai where accommodations are expensive, he says. Middle-class families often rent part of a larger apartment. In Mumbai, Suri, an only child and his parents shared one room in an apartment with three Muslim families. “There was one kitchen,” he says. “We shared the toilet. There wasn’t any privacy. The fights were about space, not religion. There was a common entrance to the apartment. It was a cause of great friction.” His father was a Bollywood music director and his mother was a schoolteacher with a master’s degree in psychology. His parents, now deceased, scrimped and saved so they could sent him to private school. “Public schools in India aren’t good,” Suri says. “You only go to them if you’re very poor.” When Suri was young, he wouldn’t have predicted that he would go into math or writing. He was interested in science and also used to paint. His main hobby was collecting Bollywood posters. Movies had a big impact on him. Years later, he performed a sexy Bollywood dance at the Brooklyn Book Festival in 2008. “‘Oh, my God, that’s the guy who taught me calculus,’ one of my students commented when he saw me dance on You Tube,” Suri says. When he was growing up, movies were the main form of entertainment. “We only started getting TV when I was in fifth or sixth grade,” he says. “It was awful.” Suri got a poster of “Star Wars” when it came out and says Hollywood movies just started becoming popular in India toward the end of his time there. When he was about 12, Suri had his first conversation about what it means to be queer with his mother. He was told that, “everyone is supposed to go through a homosexual phase and then go into a heterosexual phase,” he says. “I went through this phase. I didn’t feel any guilt. I just felt it was natural. I felt I’d grow out of it, but I’m still waiting,” he says. It was a key factor in his decision to come to the U.S. at age 20 to study math. He eventually earned a Ph.D. in applied mathematics from Carnegie-Melon University. “In Bombay, there was a lack of privacy,” he says. “I didn’t have anyone I could to talk to who was gay.” He felt no culture shock. “This place just fit me so much better,” he says. “I loved Hollywood movies. I read Mad magazine. I felt so much at home.” It’s not that STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields are homophobic, Suri says. “It’s just that personal things don’t get discussed. I worry that in STEM fields there aren’t enough visible LGBT role models as there are in other fields like the theater, the arts,” he says. For many years, writing was just a hobby for Suri. He’d write short stories, but not put much effort into it. His first published short story, appeared in “an obscure journal in Bulgaria.” In Provincetown, Mass., at a writers conference in 1997, Michael Cunningham encouraged Suri to finish “The Death of Vishnu,” of which he’d written only a couple of chapters. “He told me, ‘You are a writer.’ For the first time I wasn’t just a man with a hobby.”

Pankaj Saran Named India’s New Ambassador To Russia

index - CopyIndian Foreign Service officer and ExCampionite class of '74 Pankaj Saran was named India's new ambassador to Russia, an official statement said. Saran, currently the high commissioner of India to Bangladesh, will replace P.S. Raghavan in Moscow. "Pankaj Saran, an Indian Foreign Service officer of the 1982 batch, who is currently the high commissioner of India to Bangladesh, has been appointed as the next ambassador of India to the Russian Federation," an external affairs ministry statement said. "He is expected to take up his assignment shortly," it added. During his diplomatic career, Saran has served in Indian missions in Moscow, Washington, Cairo and Geneva. He earlier served in Bangladesh from 1989 to 1992 as the first secretary (political). In New Delhi, he served in the external affairs ministry in the East Europe Division, as deputy secretary in the Foreign Secretary's Office and as joint secretary (north) while heading the division dealing with India's relations with Nepal and Bhutan. He also served twice on deputation to the Prime Minister's Office, first from 1995 to 1999 as director dealing largely with economic, energy and science and technology issues, and as joint secretary from 2007 to 2012. In the latter capacity, he dealt with external affairs, defence, national security, atomic energy and space sectors. Saran did his Master's in economics from the Delhi School of Economics before joining the IFS. He is married to Preeti Saran, currently India's ambassador to Vietnam. The OCA wishes him all the very best.

‘Rough Book’ Acclaimed By TIS

R BA thought provoking movie titled, Rough Book, a movie about the Indian Educational System, produced by the film production arm of Aakash Educational Services, Aerika Cineworks, has been earning praise and laurels across the globe on a national and international level . It was adjudged the Best Feature at the Houston Indian Film Festival and was chosen to be screened at the closing night of the DFW South Asian Film Festival. The Anant Mahadevan film, features Tannishtha Chatterjee, Amaan F Khan, Kaizaad Kotwal and Ram Kapoor as principle cast. The film is a hard look at the prevailing education system. It focuses on the examination, study stress and coaching classes that are created purely for profit and the whole range of other current issues which are vital to parents, teachers and students. The movie brings out the missing link between knowledge and learning in the current educational system. It highlights the importance of strengthening the basics of knowledge and practice thereafter to make learning more effective. It conveys a message for students to be thinkers and to try and excel without worrying about the outcomes. Through the movie, various innovative methods to make the teaching effective and interesting was shown in a very persuasive and subtle manner. Emphasis was laid on the fact that instead of laying emphasis only on scoring good marks, teachers should make student understand the concepts and extract the best out of them. Right kind of education can make every child successful. The story is told through the eyes of divorced teacher Santoshi Kumari. She is a physics teacher in the D division, referred to as the losers of the school. Yet she does not give up and fights against the system and for her students, whom she can eventually motivate to take responsibility for themselves. Together they learn, practice and fight, so that they can participate in the Indian Institute of Technology’s admission test. How Santoshi Ma’am rebels against the system to fight for her students, so that they can pass the Entrance Examinations to the Indian Institute of Technology and the Joint Entrance Examinations forms the bulk of the small, simply told, yet completely thought provoking film. Devoid of any melodrama, almost gentle in its telling, the rebellion of the teacher and her students are internalised to make their point. The visual screening of the movie truly encapsulated the adage that ‘education is not merely learning and scoring of grades, but it is more about application.’ The movie has beautifully portrayed the mentor mentee relationship; it definitely emphasizes that the teacher is the guru who is the true giver and learner. The education system today is like the rough book we are given to scribble in it before the teacher actually tells us to make it fair. Now the system needs to be faired too. ‘You use a glass mirror to see your face, You use works of art to see your soul’. These words by Sir George Bernard Shaw aptly sum up ‘Rough Book’ by Ananth Narayan Mahadevan, a movie which questions our Indian Educational System. The students of classes IX-XII from our school were indeed lucky enough to come across this artistic effort last week. Good morning everyone , I am Aastha Malhotra and I am here to give my reviews on the movie ‘Rough Book’, which was showcased in our school. The lack of good education or a misrepresented form of it, is the bane of India. One can modify this to say that the real curse is the absence of ‘real’ education – education that is beyond what is offered in textbooks. The Houston Indian Fest’s best feature film, ‘Rough Book’ is precisely about this issue. The movie is an emotional journey of a teacher who thinks-out of the box and challenges the system to move towards a global education pattern in which aptitude scores over marks. In a nation which fancies cramming and grades, Rough Book narrates the story of a schoolteacher who runs into one obstacle after another because she believes in teaching her subject through application and not merely through books and lectures. Obviously, a society driven by consumerist ideals where marks count and help one to land a plum position, has no time or inclination for a concept called real education. Something more significant about Rough Book is the way it highlights the importance of accepting failure. The teacher’s mother in the movie says that one must celebrate defeat as one must a win. This, though, is easier said than done in a community where the young are either devouring their school or college texts or playing with their mobile phones, indulging in faceless conversations with peers or friends. Where then is the time or energy for outdoor games or pleasure reading? By instigating this inquiring spirit, ’Rough Book’ indeed creates strong ripples. It can be concluded by saying that the movie may seem a bit too idealistic and ambitious in today’s India, but it does make its point with a flourish.

School Band Brings Curtain Down On Campion Golden Jubilee

The golden jubilee celebrations of Campion School concluded with a power-packed cultural eve at the school premises on Tuesday evening, exactly a year after the celebrations were kicked off. A host of events were organized this year to mark the occasion and the concluding ceremony started off with a rock band performance and dinner by Campion alumni on Sunday. In the morning, a holy mass was held followed by homage to Fr EF More, founder principal of Campion School in presence of fathers, brothers, sisters and Campion family. It was presided over by Bhopal Archbishop Leo Cornelio. In the evening, school band of 50 students from different classes put up an impressive performance. Chief guest Major General Vikas Joshi (commandant of SSB Bangalore), guest of honour Yogesh Choudhary (inspector general of police, Bhopal), special guests Fr Pascal Topno (emeritus Bhopal Archbishop), principal Fr Athnas Lakra and vice-principal Fr Ajay Kerketta among others were present. "Journey of Campion" over the last 50 years was shared with the huge gathering. Major General Vikas Joshi applauded efforts of students and underlined need for character formation. He released the school souvenir while Choudhary unveiled the theme. After this, most awaited theme programme "Prism Ke Rang, Campion Ke Sang" spread the message of energy, passion, action, enthusiasm, love of life, passion, determination, social awareness, patriotism and nation building etc based on seven colour of the prism. Medley of dances highlighting importance of seven colours made the evening lively. More than 200 students performed yoga, aerobics, cardio, and showcased their ability in this with accuracy flexibility and good coordination, including martial art done in form of Chhau dance of Mayurbanj (Orissa). One of the attractions was Campion boys showcasing classical singing along with tablas, synthesizer, guitar, and violin along with vocalists. The programme ended by flying 50 sky lanterns in the sky and jubilee anthem.

Tax Relief Valid On Edu Loans To Study Abroad

02_12_2015_004_040_009In good news for parents whose children study overseas or plan to do so, the Pune Income-tax Appellate Tribunal has held that higher education abroad is no bar for claiming interest on educational loans for tax deduction. A deduction for interest paid on educational loans taken for higher studies will be allowed from the taxable income of the parent, who has taken the loan and is paying an interest, even if the child is studying overseas. Deductibility of interest on educational loans, if the education is undertaken overseas, has often been a ground for dispute during tax assessment. Section 80E of the I-T Act provides that parents are eligible for claiming deduction of interest paid by them on loans taken for their children's higher education.Such a loan must be taken from financial institutions or banks, or from approved charitable institutions. The term “higher education“ has been defined in the section as: “Any course of study pursued after passing the senior secondary examination (SSE) or its equivalent from any school, board or university recognized by the Central government, state government, local authority or any recognized authority .“ “This section does not specify that higher education must be undertaken by the student in India or that the overseas course must be approved by authorities in India. The only requirement is that such higher education should be undertaken by the student after passing SSE or its equivalent from a recognized institution in India,“ says Parizad Sirwalla, tax partner, KPMG. Even in this case of Nitin Muthiyan, which came for hearing before the Pune tribunal, he tax officer had held that deduction under Section 80E is allowable only in cases of higher education pursued in India at approved educational institutes. He, thus, disallowed the cla m of interest of Rs 73,125 made by the taxpayer whose son was pursuing a course at George Washington University , USA. The son had completed his Bachelor of Engineering in Electronics from the Pune University before pursuing further studies in the US. At the first stage of appeal, the Commissioner of I-T (Appeals) upheld the action of the tax officer. The taxpayer then filed an appeal with the ITAT and obtained a favorable order. The ITAT in its order, which has be en recently released, observed: “Provisions of Section 80E do not contain any stipulation that the higher education should be pursued only in India. If the intent... was that education should be pursued in India to avail of the interest deduction, it would have stated so. Further, the taxpayer's son had completed SSE or its equivalent, as is required, before pursuing studies overseas.“ Thus, the ITAT allowed the interest deduction claim made by the father during 2008-09. “The ITAT's decision is wel come, particularly in light of the spiraling cost of overseas education, and more and more Indian students opting for higher studies overseas. Should parents wish to claim an interest deduction under Section 80E, they must ensure that the educational loan is for their child's higher studies and the child has passed at least SSE or equivalent exam in India. In terms of applicability of the decision, an ITAT's decision is binding within its jurisdiction, but carries precedent value in similar disputes for other jurisdictions, which are outside its purview,“ adds Sirwalla.

26/11 Attack A Life-Changing Moment For Me: Ratan Tata

VCCircle_Ratan_Tata_2The 26/11 terrorist attack in Mumbai was the life changing moment in my life, Ratan Tata, chairman of Tata Trusts, said. Tata, who was conferred the Sayaji Ratna Award instituted by the Baroda Management Association (BMA), said this while interacting with youth at Hotel Gateway after the awards ceremony held at the Sir Sayaji Nagar Gruh. "If I rewind my life, the terrorist attack in Mumbai, in which many lost their lives, was a life changing moment for me. For six months, my voice was breaking and I could not speak clearly, like I am speaking today," he said, while recollecting the ghastly terror attacks. "Every evening, I used to go to hospitals, visit families. For three days, I saw that there was nobody to even pay their bills. It was after that that we formed a trust to rehabilitate all known and unknown victims," he said, adding that the attacks also made him more sensitive. To a question posed by a student on which politician he would drink tea with, Tata said he has not just drank tea but also flown kites with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Referring to Modi's invitation to Tata Nano project in Gujarat, he said that it was after Modi kept his promise of land acquisition in three days that his trust in politicians increased. At the award ceremony, Tata appealed for India as a country of equal opportunity based on merit. "Each one of us has the responsibility to drive to this. It should not be who we are, should not be rule of law applied to one person and not another, it should not be who you are connected with and how influential you are. It should be based on your merit. Once, authority gets recognized and respect with, everything will fall in place," he said. He said vested interest coming mostly from the private sector is one of the greatest crisis India is facing. He said India is a great country but lots of potential which is yet to be achieved. Tata is the second recipient of the Sayaji Ratna Award which was instituted by BMA in 2013 in memory of the erstwhile ruler of Baroda state - Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III. In 2013, N R Narayana Murthy, founder of Infosys Limited, had come to the city to personally receive the award as the first recipient of the award. The award, instituted in the memory of Baroda's visionary ruler Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad II, is given away to India's living legends from various fields to recognize their contribution to the country.

Remembering Our Heroes …..

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In memory of the Martyrs in the war against terrorism including our dear friend Sunil Parekh ExCampionite class of '78

Happy Diwali

ii - CopyWishing You & Your Family A Happy Diwali & A Prosperous New Year For TEAM OCA Uday More Trustee

Mukul Raja No More

1972MukulRajaWe are deeply saddened to inform you that we have lost MUKUL RAJA ExCampionite class of ’72 this morning. He was suffering from Lung Cancer. Mukul was a brilliant student haven scored an Agg. 7 at the ICSE Examinations in 1972. He was the OCA President between 1990 and 1991 and also the OCA Vice President between 1988 and 1989. The Funeral will take place on 8th Nov 2015 @ 9 a.m. at BanGanga Malabar Hill. Condolence meeting is on 8th Nov 2015 from 4 p.m. to 5.30 p.m. at Nehru Centre Hall of Culture Worli. May His Soul rest In Peace

Joseph Rodrigues No More

JosephRodriguesMr. Joseph Rodrigues Ex employee of Campion School who discharged his duties as the Bus Superintendent passed away peacefully on 23/Oct/2015. Mass will be held at 4 p.m. on 24/Oct/2015 at St Stephen's Church Warden Road followed by burial at St. Peter's Cemetery Haine's Road. May His Soul Rest In Peace

Dr Batra’s Speciality Homeopathy Clinic Launched In London

Homeopathy brand Dr Batra's launched its second clinic in London at 594 High Road, Wembley, HA0 2AF and guests at the do included the Mayor of Brent, Councilor Lesley Jones, First Secretary, High Commission of India MP Singh and Registrar of The Trichological Society Barry Stevens along with patients, media and key luminaries. The clinic medical expertise will include treatment for allergies, breathing troubles, eczema, gastric disorders, gynecological problems, hair problems, high sugar levels, joint pain, overweight issues, psoriasis, sexual problems, thyroid and other health problems for all ages. Dr Batra's has provided individualized treatment and care to over 1.3 million patients across the globe with 94% positive outcome. Dr Mukesh Batra (Founder and Chairman of Dr Batra's Group of Companies and ExCampionite class of '67) said, "We're delighted to launch our new Dr Batra's Homeopathic Clinic in the UK. We're a large brand of professional doctors and so thought we should give the advantage of homeopathy to Indians who live in the UK." Added MP Singh, "The very fact that Dr Batra's has over 200 clinics in over five countries speaks volume of the brand. It is heartening to know that a huge successful Indian brand that has emerged in the last 30 years from India is being recognized all over the world and has now come to England."

Dos And Don’ts To Remember In Business Meetings

The purpose of any business meeting is to review and understand recent data reports, as stated by Confident Solutions Coach. You will not just have the opportunity to collect all the necessary information to review your business data, but you will also have a clearer understanding if your business status is still profitable or not. So to give you an idea on how to conduct a business meeting, here are the dos and don'ts you should take note of: Dos
  1. Arrive on Time. Unless there is something so urgent, always be on time for your meeting. If it's your first time to go to the place of the meeting, you have to allot extra time for traffic, locating the office and finding the right parking spot so you will impeccably be on time. According to Chron, "Arriving late draws unnecessary attention and looks unprofessional."
  2. Prepare. You can double check your previous' meeting minutes to make sure you've completed any assigned tasks or report if there's any progress. And if ever you'll receive a copy of the meeting agenda, you can review it beforehand so that it would be easier for you to participate in the meeting.
  1. Refrain from Using your Devices. Your gadgets like laptop, iPad, or phone might be significantly more entertaining than the meeting itself. You may even find yourself so tired of listening already. But whatever your reasons may be, you still have to pay attention especially on what the meeting is all about. It's still rude not to listen to it and divert your attention to other things.
  2. Don't Save All Your Questions for the End part. If ever you have concerns during the meeting, make sure to ask them at the most appropriate time. "Do not be the person who starts 'asking questions and adding stuff that doesn't need to be added' when everyone's getting ready to go," warns Barbara Pachter, career coach and author of the book "The Essentials Of Business Etiquette," according to Business Insider.
By meeting collaboratively, your group time will be more productive and the process of realizing the agenda will surely be accelerated.

Dentsu Aegis Acquires Experiential Agency Fountainhead

386865-tellis-and-ashishIt's being touted as the biggest-ever buy of an experiential agency in India. Dentsu Aegis Network has announced the acquisition of Fountainhead Entertainment Pvt Ltd, one of India's leading event and experiential agencies. If all milestones are achieved, the deal size could get the six Fountainhead owners richer by Rs 400 crore. Established in 1994 and now with more than 205 experiential specialists, Fountainhead is headquartered in Mumbai and has offices in Delhi and Bengaluru. Founded by chairman Brian Tellis, managing director Neale Murray and Director Otis D'Souza, and later joined by co-directors, media honcho Pradeep Guha, V G Jairam and Owen Roncon, Post-acquisition, Fountainhead will continue to be led by co-founder and CEO Brian Tellis. The current management team will also continue as is. Tellis will report into Ashish Bhasin ExCampionite class of '81, chairman and CEO of Dentsu Aegis Network South Asia. Some time next year (2016), the existing experiential offering of psLIVE, with 86 people in India, will be merged with Fountainhead, making the combined agency India's largest experiential and activation agency business.

The Point Of Referral – Altaf Patel ExCampionite class of ‘64

When patients need hospitalization, their doctors often suggest a particular hospital, and even hand them a referral note. What is the reason behind this? Is the doctor connected with that hospital, or does he trust the hospital's staff more? You will also find several doctors associated with more than one hospital. Is it purely because of the money factor? First, let's talk about doctors' association with multiple hospitals. In an ideal situation, I would like to be associated with a single hospital. It can admit all my patients, and I wouldn't have to commute long distances, battling Mumbai's chaotic traffic. How convenient it would be... all emergency cases to be tackled under one roof, a single point of enquiry about serious patients, and a single point of instruction for all patients through the hospital staff. But that's not likely to happen for a number of reasons. History teaches us that human beings are jealous about the achievements of their peers, and always attempt to accumulate more than they need. In a situation wherein a doctor has a large practice at a particular hospital, many of his colleagues try to jeopardise that.I can understand if a practice is built on unethical means, such as patient poaching - something which is rampant in hospital business -- or by bribing the hospital staff. But these situations are faced by doctors who have conducted their practices purely through ethical means. Hence, doctors always keep their options open, and are associated with more than one hospital. Another reason behind doctors associating themselves with multiple hospitals is the perennial shortage of beds in most hospitals across the country. Coming back to referrals, my primary concern is the comfort of the patient and his/her relatives in terms of the proximity of the hospital to their residence, and experiences of the patients I have referred to that particular hospital. It does happen that the chosen hospital may not have the equipment needed for a particular surgery, or the patients themselves choose a hospital. In case of the latter, I ask my colleague at that hospital to take care of my patient. The choice of the colleague will always be discussed with the patient, and I will obviously be available to attend to the patient if the case turns complicated. Occasionally, if I feel that the patient will be better off in a hospital equipped with ICU, where I know the staff is capable of dealing with all eventualities, I insist on the patient being admitted there. The factors a doctor considers while referring patients to a particular hospital are the patients' comfort (foremost), facilities at the hospital, and the doctor's own experience at that facility. I recently came across a Stanford University research article on medical referrals, which says that the major factor is whether the hospital or the nursing home is owned by the doctor referring the patient. Ideally, the patient and his/her family should discuss with their doctor the hospital which best suits the patient's needs.

Carat India Bags Mondelez’s Media Business

1981AshishBhasinDelighted with the win, ExCampionite class of '81 Ashish Bhasin, chairman & CEO South Asia - Dentsu Aegis Network, told dna that the win is important given Mondelez being not just a large spender but also for the kind of work produced for it. Media agency Carat has bagged the coveted business of Mondelez as part of a global pitch. While Starcom too will manage part of the media spends of the US transnational confectionery, food and beverage conglomerate, in India, the mandate of Mondelez India (formerly Cadbury India) which is currently being executed by Madison World, will be run by Carat effective January 1, 2016. Delighted with the win, Ashish Bhasin, chairman & CEO South Asia - Dentsu Aegis Network, told dna that the win is important given Mondelez being not just a large spender but also for the kind of work produced for it."Being one of India's most awarded advertisers, Mondelez is well-known to push for continuous innovation. And it is in this area that our wide range of capabilities, propelled by our 'One P&L' philosophy would come to the fore. We look forward to pushing the benchmark to the highest level." Kartik Iyer, managing director of Carat India, said, "Mondelez is present in some of the most exciting and dynamic categories and we are very excited to partner them in their growth plans for the country." The account size is said to be in the region of Rs 550 crore and with this, Bhasin says the Dentsu Aegis Network (DAN), of which Carat is a part, is well on course of his vision of being the second-largest advertising agency network in the country by end-2017. What the win also does for Carat is boost its business in western India. While the global pitch win helped the DAN firm get the business, the exercise of winning the account required convincing the global giant that the Indian arm of the media agency could handle all of Mondelez's media investments efficiently, digital included. According to sources, Carat is setting up a 60-odd member team to work on the Mondelez account. Senior media professional Ruby Bana who served Madison as chief strategy officer is likely to join the agency given the account win.

Cox & Kings Acquires UK Based Laterooms For Rs.85 Cr From Rival TUI

Mumbai-based ExCampionite class of ’78 Peter Kerkar-owned travel firm Cox & Kings Ltd has acquired UK-based hotel booking website for £8.5 million (Rs.85 crore). The acquisition comes in well with company’s strategic move to expand its footprint globally and B2C leisure proposition. With the help of this deal, the company will be able to offer a wider bouquet of options for its outbound customers from India. LateRooms is owned by German travel TUI Group. It claims to have 150,000 properties around the world on its portfolio that can be booked up to a year in advance and a user base of 3.5 million. The company has become a wholly owned subsidiary of Cox & Kings from October 1 and will function independently. Peter Kerkar,Cox & Kings Director talking about the acquisition said, “We are confident that bringing the LateRooms brand and technology into the fold will provide a significant boost to Cox & Kings’ growth trajectory and technology capabilities.” Founded in 1999, LateRooms was started as a price comparison site initially and later in 2002 its model was moved to an online transaction property for hotels. In 2006, British travel firm First Choice acquired it for £120 million. Post which the company First Choice merged with TUI Group. Laterooms operates as a single web platform. As the company claims it has 3.5 million opted-in and active consumers and around 57% of its traffic came from smartphones and tablets during the financial year ended September 30. It also claims to have had around 93 million online visits during the financial year. The company’s total transaction value was £300 million and net revenue of £50 million for the year. Cox & Kings CFO, Anil Khandewal talking about the deal said that Europe is the key focus area for the firm as the European leisure market contributes 29% of company’s net revenues, almost 50% of the net revenues comes from there. Cox & Kings has been actively expanding its business abroad. It is a veteran travel company that traces its history back to 1758. The company has an online portal, but is still lagging in the race when it comes to online travel eCommerce in India. However with this acquisition it will get a route to better its technology.

Abhijit Bhattacharya Succeeds Ron Wirahadiraksa As CFO At Philips

1977AbhijitBhattacharyaAmsterdam, the Netherlands – Royal Philips announced that Abhijit Bhattacharya ExCampionite class of ’77, who is currently CFO of Philips Lighting and project leader for the creation of Lighting as a standalone company, has succeeded Ron Wirahadiraksa as CFO of Royal Philips, with immediate effect. Ron Wirahadiraksa, who rejoined Philips in 2008, has resigned from the Board of Management and the Executive Committee and will join a listed company in another industrial sector on December 1, 2015. “I want to thank Ron for his outstanding contribution during a crucial phase in the transformation of Philips and for his support in driving strategic change and operational improvement,’’ said Frans van Houten, CEO of Royal Philips. “His skills and personal leadership have made a significant difference throughout his long career in the company. On behalf of Philips’ Executive Committee and Supervisory Board, I wish him all the best in his future endeavors.” “I am very pleased to announce Abhijit as our new CFO. His extensive experience in financial and operational leadership positions at Philips and previously within NXP, together with his ability to successfully manage highly complex projects will enable him to play a key role in driving the transformation of Philips further. I am confident that Abhijit’s experience, combined with the support that he will be receiving from Ron over the coming weeks will ensure a seamless transition.” Abhijit Bhattacharya (Indian, 1961) joined Philips in 1987 and has held various senior leadership roles in the company in Asia Pacific, Europe and the U.S. He chaired the team responsible for the overall planning and execution of the separation process to create two winning companies focused on the HealthTech and Lighting opportunities, reporting directly to CEO Frans van Houten, and was recently appointed CFO of Philips Lighting. In 2014, he was the CFO of Philips Healthcare, Philips’ largest sector, and headed Philips Investor Relations from 2010 to 2013. Prior to this, he was Head of Operations and Quality of the ST Microelectronics and Ericsson joint venture, and CFO of NXP’s largest business group. Abhijit Bhattacharya will join Philips’ Executive Committee and will be nominated for appointment to the Board of Management.

Only in Mumbai: 17-hr-Queue for Western Classical Music

Apart from Ganpati Darshan or something like the final of the cricket world cup, no one in Mumbai queues up for as long as 17 hours for an event. Except when it is a Zubin Mehta show. In the last 11 years, the maestro has wielded the baton in his hometown on five occasions, and the story has always been the same. It played out again this time as well. Starting somewhere during 4-5pm on Friday, people from various corners of Mumbai and the immediate beyond began trickling into Nariman Point. This was because at 9:30am on Saturday, the box office at the NCPA was to open for Mehta's October 25-26 concerts. His devotees, all ardent lovers of Western classical music, started arriving so far in advance as they didn't want to lose their sanity in the foreseeable mad scramble for tickets. But along with them arrived contingents, the members of which hadn't even heard of Beethoven. "Sethji bheje hai unka ticket lene ke liye," said a scruffy-looking Vinod Kumar, a driver who was right behind a foreigner on the pavement along the eastern wall of the NCPA. "I arrived at 3am and already there were so many people here!" said the foreigner, before becoming unintelligible as he uttered his name at 6am. By then the queue had become an odd mix of humans. Old ladies with new accents, sundry adults with baby faces, pretty girls in ugly moods, and plain lookers in sexy shoes. There was one more category, and to Zubin lovers who were latecomers, they were to deliver box office blues of another nature. "There was a long queue which I stood in and was immediately told that there was no purpose of being there unless I had a red coupon. The lady in front of me said it was something I needed to buy from a 'tout' who I realized very quickly were the very rough looking men standing alongside," said Navaz Daruwalla, a UK-born barrister settled in Mumbai for five years. The complaints against the touts kept crescendoing till a scuffle broke out among some of them and the drivers of the sethjis.

How to Bring Clean, Efficient Energy to the World

The challenges of providing clean, reliable energy, water, and food to people everywhere — and especially in parts of the developing world — is a key focus of Solve, a four-day conference taking place this week at MIT. A full day of talks, workshops, and discussions was devoted to the topic. “The developing world is where growth in energy demand is going to be occurring,” said Robert Armstrong, director of the MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI) and the Chevron Professor in Chemical Engineering, in introducing the day’s final event: a public discussion between Ratan Tata, chairman emeritus of India’s Tata Group, and Robert Stoner, MITEI’s deputy director and director of MIT’s Tata Center for Technology and Design. Armstrong stressed that delivering clean energy in South America, Africa, and India carries great challenges — but also great opportunities to dramatically improve the quality of life for people there. Making such progress is the aim of the Tata Center, which has carried out a series of pilot programs involving teams of MIT students working with non-governmental organizations in India. These projects have aimed to create microgrids so those in rural off-grid villages can sell electricity to their neighbors; to improve pumps for agricultural irrigation; and to develop inexpensive artificial limbs that are appropriate for local conditions. Tata served for 21 years as chairman of Tata Sons, which controls one of India’s largest industrial conglomerates. Two philanthropic trusts established by his great-grandfather, the company’s founder, distribute about $100 million a year to support such projects, he said. “In India, about 50 percent of the population is in the rural parts, but they are under pressure to move to urban areas,” Tata said: Those rural areas represent only 15 percent of India’s GDP. “Prosperity is moving to the cities, and rural India is lagging.” Providing basic services such as reliable electricity could enable significant improvements in rural education, health, and agriculture. “You can’t have growth unless you have electric power,” Tata said. India aims to electrify the entire country, but progress has been slow — in some cases amounting to “one bulb in the middle of a village,” Tata said. But really, he said, each home needs enough electricity enough to power a few lights, so schoolchildren can study after dark, and small pumps to support agriculture. One group of MIT students sponsored by the Tata Center has worked on a project that would enable village-scale microgrids, where one resident who could afford solar panels or a diesel generator could sell excess power to neighbors. This would require power controllers that can both deliver power to devices that need it and monitor usage for billing purposes. Tests of the system last summer in one rural village “gave us a lot of confidence” that the project can move forward and have significant impact, Stoner said, adding: “We’ll try it on a very large scale in a larger village in the spring.” Stoner added that the Tata Center’s work, while initially based in India, is intended to develop solutions that may be useful throughout the developing world. It has begun doing some work in Rwanda, also geared at improving access to power. But Stoner pointed out that solutions need to be geared to local needs and conditions. For example, he said, Rwanda “has a completely different way of handling electricity.” The Tata Center has also worked to develop solar-powered pumps for small farms. Such pumps have tended to be much larger than is needed, since they were designed for larger agricultural operations. Making more appropriately sized pumps available — small enough to be powered by a few portable solar panels — could make irrigation much more widely available, Stoner said. Another project has addressed the need to deal with boiler ash, a waste product from industrial boilers. Researchers are working to chemically modify this abundant material so that it could be made into bricks and other building materials, Stoner said. Another priority is developing devices for rural health care: “I’m very excited about the work the Tata Center has done on medical devices and diagnostics,” Tata said. Simple and inexpensive diagnostic tools could go a long way toward ensuring that patients who live far from health care facilities can get appropriate and timely care, he added. Tata said that a new culture of entrepreneurship is rapidly growing in India. “It’s a great new startup culture in India, almost reminiscent of what you saw in the U.S. in the ’70s,” he said. And it’s serious business: “It’s not about charity, it’s about doing it for profit. I think a great opportunity is there,” Tata said. “We are at the beginning of something, and we’re looking for opportunities,” Stoner said. Given the ingenuity of the students and faculty associated with the Tata Center, he said, “There’s no end to what we can do.”

Aditya Birla Set To Launch Online Fashion Store is likely to go live in the next 30 days, targets Myntra, Jabong but with more exclusive brand options. The Aditya Birla Group is set to launch its online fashion store that will compete with the likes of Myntra, a Flipkart unit, and Rocket Internet-backed Jabong. Run by Aditya Birla Online Fashion, is the group’s independent fashion e-commerce business currently being piloted in more than 10-15 cities, according to three people familiar with the development. The portal is expected to go live within the next 30 days and its progress is being closely watched by the group’s head and ExCampionite class of '63 Kumar Mangalam Birla, said one of the three people mentioned above., which is currently in beta stage, lists Aditya Birla’s private label under brand name abof and several fashion brands, including Vero Moda, ONLY, United Colors of Benetton (UCB) and NINETEEN. The company is also looking at bringing in some exclusive foreign online retailers in India. Aditya Birla Group declined to comment on the formation of the new website. The new venture is being led by Prashant Gupta, president and chief executive of Aditya Birla Group’s e-retailing business, along with senior executive Kedar Apshankar and Vikram Bhat, chief product officer who joined the firm from Myntra about a year ago. “At Aditya Birla Group, I am incubating and building up a portfolio of e-tailing businesses,” Gupta says in his Linkedin bio. The move comes even as Aditya Birla Group is strengthening its presence across India’s $6 billion online retailing market that is seeing interest from the country’s top conglomerates. Last month, the firm, through its private equity (PE) arm, Aditya Birla Private Equity, picked up a minority stake in Mumbai-based Creative Lifestyles Pvt. Ltd, a women’s apparel retailer. With a valuation of Rs.300 crore, Creative Lifestyles has women’s fashion labels such as Fusion Beats, 109F and O2xygen. The company, at present, retails through 366 points of sale and large e-commerce portals. “The company plans to be far more exclusive than a Jabong or a Myntra by focusing on the top 100 labels and brands. They will focus more on the curated options and sell products driven by content and suggestive buying,” said one of the three people mentioned above. Madura Fashion and Lifestyles Ltd, an Aditya Birla group company, also owns an in-house fashion retailing website Trendin that sells the retailer’s labels such as Peter England, Allen Solly, and Van Heusen. However, will continue to function as a separate entity. Fashion sales drive margins for online retailers. “Fashion is one category online that is getting heated up as firms are seeing strong repeat buying. People are slowly getting accustomed to buying online,” said Harish H.V., partner at Grant Thornton India, a consultancy. “Also, as large groups eye valuation and scale of the Flipkarts and Snapdeals of the world, competition is bound to rise,” he added. Apart from Amazon, Snapdeal and Flipkart, specialty fashion e-tailers, such as LimeRoad, are attracting the attention of investors and customers alike. Indians bought fashion products worth $559 million online in 2013. This may increase to $2.8 billion by 2016, according to an April 2014 report by venture capital firm Accel Partners, an investor in Flipkart.

Dr Mukesh Batra Awarded At The 6th Annual India Leadership Conclave

Padma Shri recipient Dr Mukesh Batra, who has over 40 years of experience in the field of homeopathy, was honoured with the Indian Affairs Impact Award for Homeopathy at the 6th Annual India Leadership Conclave 2015. Dr Batra has not only set up a colossal corporate empire but also extended the medical benefits of this safe and sure medical system throughout India with unique initiatives. Dr Batra has strived to bring about the acceptance and legalization of homeopathy across the world and was instrumental in legalizing the science in Mauritius, where he set up its first homeopathic clinic. He has also successfully introduced homeopathy to Middle East countries. A prolific writer, he has authored several books on the subject, besides writing a regular weekly column in a newspaper. Expressing his pleasure on being honoured with the award, Dr Batra said, "I feel highly honoured to be felicitated with the Indian Affairs Impact Award for Homeopathy. Such recognition makes me believe that if one has the right vision and aim, one can achieve anything possible. Today, homeopathy is viewed as a modern, progressive, efficient and effective medical option and standardized homeopathic treatment is available all around the country freely to the poor and needy."

Power Of Power Napping

Altaf Patel ExCampionite class of ‘64 I laud the European Society of Cardiology for their research on the afternoon nap --an issue close to my heart. In my days as a resident in a busy teaching hospital, I often slept in the afternoon with no sleep at night. As I graduated to become a young consultant, I noticed that most of my seniors enjoyed an afternoon siesta. They started work early in the morning but between 2 pm and 4 pm, they were in the land of the nod. I slowly fell in line as well. A siesta is a short nap in the early afternoon after a midday meal, common in the Mediterranean region and in southern Europe. 'Siesta' is a Spanish word derived from the Latin word hora sexta or the sixth hour counting from dawn. In the olden days in Goa, everything was closed in the afternoon. It was the same in Dubai. Things have changed today and very few people indulge in an afternoon nap anymore. In Southern Italy, where most outlets used to be closed in the early part of the afternoon, the afternoon nap is called ripossa. Strangely, humans are the only mammals that are not polyphasic sleepers, which means that we do not sleep for short periods during the day. The National Sleep Foundation states that a short nap for 20 to 30 minutes improves alertness and performance and helps improve the heart, health and high blood pressure problems. It is also claimed that an afternoon nap divides the day into two. One must here define an afternoon nap. A nap is a short sleep, of an average duration of 20 minutes but not longer than 90 minutes, taken between 1 pm and 3 pm usually. The Greeks used to call a nap medianos ipnos or sleep in the middle of the day and the Chinese call it hsiuhse. How long should a nap be then? A research in the journal Sleep defines 10 minutes as the best period for napping and if you nap longer than 30 minutes, it is likely that you will have sleep inertia or grogginess after waking up. It is a changing world where people try and sleep less because they need to perform. I even know people who check their cell phones every time a ping goes off in the night. Sleep is necessary for proper human functioning. An experiment on rats, where they were attached to a machine that woke them up every time they fell asleep, elaborates on the necessity of sleep. The sleep deprived rats lost weight and their fur developed an unhealthy tinge. Most of them were dead after a month. A six-year study at Harvard University examined 20,000 adults aged between 20 and 80 years. It was found that those that took a 30-minute nap at least three times a week had a 37 per cent lower risk of getting a heart disease. The shortest of naps have amazing effects on the memory and a 2008 study by the University of Dusseldorf enlightens us that between staying awake, taking a 40-minute nap and a six-minute nap, those who slept for six minutes were better in memory tests than the others. The 40-minute sleepers came after them while the group that stayed awake came last. A Nasa study also tells us that pilots who napped for 25 minutes while their co-pilots took over were 35 per cent more alert than their counterparts. There is also a theory that napping improves creativity. The right side of the brain seems active during napping and this is associated with creativity. I am not surprised that research at the European Society of Cardiology presented data from Athens and Greece at the meeting in London and stated that a regular midday nap lowers blood pressure and reduces the risk of a heart attack. The study involved 386 people with the average age of 61 years. Winston Churchil, Lyndon Johnson and Margaret Thatcher have been famous nappers while yours truly has been a lesser-known one. So join the league and get your power back with a power nap!

Dr Batra’s Second Clinic Opens In London

Mayor of Brent inaugurates the clinic. Dr Batra’s recently launched its new clinic at 594 High Road, Wembley, HA0 2AF. Guests including the Mayor of Brent, Councilor Lesley Jones, First Secretary, MP Singh, High Commission of India, and Registrar of The Trichological Society Barry Stevens along with patients, media and key luminaries were invited at the launch ceremony. The launch included a tour of the new clinic with the Founder and Chairman of Dr Batra’s, Dr Mukesh Batra ExCampionite class of '67. At the forefront of modernising homoeopathy, guests were able to watch demonstrations of treatments being undertaken, including the use of advanced diagnostic technique, Folliscope. Dr Mukesh Batra, Founder and Chairman, Dr Batra’s Group of Companies, said, “We’re delighted to launch our new Dr Batra’s Homeopathic Clinic in the UK. We are a large brand of professionals’ doctors and so thought we should give the advantage of homeopathy to Indians who live in the UK.” Barry Stevens MA (Mus) FTTS, Registrar of The Trichological Society said, “I greatly admire Dr Mukesh Batra who has saved the health of millions and can almost claim to have re-invented homoeopathy for the world. A man with great integrity, ability and foresight, I am privilege to know him.” The clinic medical expertise will include treatment for allergies, breathing troubles, eczema, gastric disorders, gynecological problems, hair problems, high sugar levels, joint pain, overweight issues, psoriasis, sexual problems, thyroid and other health problems for all ages. Dr Batra’s has provided individualized treatment and care to over 1.3 million patients across the globe with 94 per cent positive outcome.

Realty Prices Are Down: Keki Mistry

HDFC chief says banks and housing finance cos will pass on cut in interest rate in next few months. With no price increase in the last two years, residential real estate has seen a price correction, said ExCampionite class of '70 Keki Mistry, vice chairman and CEO, HDFC, Keki Mistry on the sidelines of real estate event here. "We have already seen developers cutting prices when buyers sit across the table," Mistry said. Mistry also said that banks and housing finance companies will pass on cut in interest rate in next few months. "Transmission will happen with lag effect but it will happen," Mistry said. He also added that risk weights on housing loans are high in the country and they should come down. He said banks and housing finance companies should be allowed to fund land buying.

Soon High-Value Cash Deals Will Need PAN

1512015125251337To check generation of domestic black money, the government will soon make it mandatory to furnish PAN card details for cash transactions beyond a certain threshold, finance minister Arun Jaitley said. “The government is at an advanced stage in considering the requirement of furnishing PAN card details if cash transactions beyond a certain limit are undertaken,” Jaitley said in a Facebook post. He said the monitoring regime of the income tax department has been strengthened and its capacity to access information and apply technology driven analytical tools to expose evasion, has been enhanced. Its ability to detect large cash withdrawals, or large cash transactions which enter the system, is being strengthened. GST regime once introduced will also be a landmark step in this direction.” “Thus, for commodities like gold where the initial purchase by the exporter is after the payment of custom duty, the subsequent transactions which are mostly in cash, can easily be found out,” Jaitley said. In 2015-16 Budget, Jaitley had proposed making quoting of Permanent Account Number (PAN) mandatory for all sale and purchase of over Rs 1 lakh. “Quoting of PAN is being made mandatory for any purchase or sale exceeding the value of Rs 1 lakh. The third party reporting entities would be required to furnish information about foreign currency sales and cross border transactions,” he had said. Thereafter, the government had received representations from various persons, including MPs, MLAs, trade and industry associations among others, against the proposed mandatory quoting of PAN for sale or purchase in excess of Rs 1 lakh. Stressing that bulk of black money is within India, Jaitley said there was a need to change the national attitude so that plastic currency becomes the norm and cash an exception. —PTI

Hamlet In Amravati To Become First Smart Village

Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis told the media that connectivity was the biggest reason behind rising malnutrition in Melghat region. He expressed confidence that by developing Harisal as a smart village it would be possible to reduce malnutrition deaths and get rid of this problem forever. Harisal, a small village in Dharni taluka of Amravati district, is set to become the first smart village with the help of Microsoft. The state is aiming to remove the tag of malnutrition capital put on the hamlet by deploying technology and tele-medicine services there. Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis told the media that connectivity was the biggest reason behind rising malnutrition in Melghat region. He expressed confidence that by developing Harisal as a smart village it would be possible to reduce malnutrition deaths and get rid of this problem forever. Fadnavis added that during his visit to Microsoft headquarters in US, he had requested its CEO Satya Nadella to pilot a smart village project and that Nadella had given a positive response for the same. The CM informed that a team comprising representatives of Microsoft and his office visited Harisal to finalise the modalities of converting it into a smart village. Fadnavis said malnutrition was a complex problem with many angles to it and a quick response through improved connectivity would provide solutions to it in due course of time. He added that all systems would be connected on a digital format, which would come into play whenever secondary or tertiary health services were required. Announcing the launch of its cloud services from local data centres in India during a programme in Mumbai, Microsoft India chairman and ExCampionite class of '66 Bhaskar Pramanik said cloud services would provide a fillip to the government as well as industry by empowering through high performance computing capabilities. Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and Pramanik launched the services at Sahyadri Guest House. Pramanik said Microsoft would have two cloud centres in Maharashtra — one in Mumbai and the other in Pune. There would be a cloud centre in Chennai as well for geographical reasons.

Ease Of Doing Business In India Still A Challenge

BL01_IT_PRAMANIK_2566625fWe are here for the long term... we are making investments ahead of time: Microsoft India chief Microsoft recently launched three new data centers in the country with an investment of ₹1,500 crore. The company is now working with the government to provide low-cost Internet using free TV airwaves with a technology called WhiteFi. Microsoft India Chairman and ExCampionite class of '66 Bhaskar Pramanik spoke to Business Line on the company’s plans to work on an extension of UID to create digital identity for all Indians and also shared his views on challenges in doing business in India. Excerpts from the interview: How is the government’s push towards open source software impacting Microsoft?: Our Azure cloud platform is completely open and flexible. I think is not a debate between open source vs commercial software. I think the discussions should really focus on government procurement policy and technology neutrality. But to use open source as a means for procurement is actually vitiating the whole purpose because you need technology neutrality, you want people to use best technology. That may not be open source. The previous procurement policy was pretty okay. But the current policy while it says it prefers it is open source, it says you have to give a reason why it is not open source. Which government servant is going to do that! How has your growth been in India so far?: Our growth rates have been much above the market. In cloud itself, our growth is over 100 per cent. If you look at the cloud business, the overall market they say in 2015 is going to be about $840 million in a $50-billion market. So it is still very small. So for me, it is very small of my business but it is growing at 100 per cent. My overall business is still growing higher than the market. Market growth rate for software is around 12-14 per cent. We are much higher than that. I am not in a market share business. I am the big guy in the software. I am not that a big guy in the cloud market from a potential perspective. Now I’m bigger than Amazon and Google but they are very tiny in India. What we are looking at is how to expand the market. If I start looking at what’s going to happen, I don’t think even the Gartner figure of $844 million becoming $2 billion by 2018 is correct. I think it’s going to be much more. In fact Zinnov says it could be between $5 billion and $7 billion. Given the myriad of business challenges in the country, what kind of investments are you planning to make here?: We are here for the long term. The intent is clear. The challenge is how to get it done. We are bullish, we are making investments ahead of time. The investment we have done in the cloud data center is really something which I think is in that line. I like Digital India, I like the focus on the citizens rather than on the government. I think they understand the challenges and they want private and public participation. So I'm willing to invest, like we've done. So we're not waiting for perfection and going ahead with what we have. We believe for a software company, there are only two things that can be done for Make in India. First, to set up development centers — which we already have in India. And second is to set up cloud data centers because those are the factories where the data resides. We've done both as we've taken a leap of faith. Do you believe things have improved from an ease-of-doing-business perspective?: The Government is getting pragmatic. They just need to make sure that it goes right down. Ease of doing business is not where it should be. All of us have tax issues in some forms or the other. But the IT industry is primarily transfer price related, especially for a software company. The complexity of taxes is still huge. Today, when you buy a software product, you actually pay two taxes — service tax and VAT. And the reason for that is because everyone wants to play it safe because they don't know who in what jurisdiction will interpret what as what. Therefore, I think lack of clarity is an issue and if you go to the government, they say GST is coming, we'll take care of all of those issues. Ease of doing business is a challenge and that's something we need to focus on. You’ve been testing WhiteFi technology in Andhra Pradesh. How have the pilots gone so far? The pilots worked out pretty well. We set it up in a district called Srikakulam, connected four schools together. So far we believe this is the lowest cost access methodology. We have 2G, 3G, drones, balloons, but this is technology. This technology can be rapidly rolled out. The cost is very low. The whole pilot in four schools for 600 students in Andhra Pradesh cost us not more than ₹1 lakh. What is Microsoft’s contribution to Digital India?: We are looking at various possibilities. We haven’t yet been able to come out with what the final thing will look like. The digital locker is perhaps one way of doing it because you need to have something that the citizen controls and not somebody else. So we are looking at the different possibilities and if that can be used and extended across financial, commercial and government services. In your RoC statement, you said you'll be investing ₹1,500 crore in data centers. How much have you invested? How would local data centers benefit your business? We are in the ball park of that. The only requirement that they (regulators) have from a BFSI perspective is that they said data should be resident in India and if you have to move data elsewhere, you have to take the government’s permission. The regulation never said you can’t do it. So we solved that problem by setting up the data centers here. It is a huge investment but I believe it is worth it.

“Nathulal Mooch” A Rage Among UP Cops

01_10_2015_010_023_010The new crop of policemen in Uttar Pradesh say hey face, among other things, a hirsute problem. Many of hem sport moustaches of diferent types in sync with the atlest trends, but find little support or encouragement from their seniors. Old-timers say the police department earlier used to have an allowance for the upkeep of their whiskers, classiied as part of a cop's uniform n the police manual. However, the allowance was disconinued in 1986 after which cops were unofficially en Police department earlier gave an allowance to personnel like constable Jaiveer Singh (in pic) for upkeep of their whiskers, but it was discontinued in 1986 encouraged to be clean-shaven.New entrants to the police force who sport or want to grow moustaches are left on their own but for the “silent inspiration“ and encouragement they draw from seniors with handlebars. Moustachioed policemen in UP , where facial crops are considered a sign of masculinity, were given a monthly `maintenance' allowance of Rs 60 to Rs 100 until 1985.Though the allowance still exists and the SSP of each district has the power to release funds under this head, it has been discontinued after new police uniform rules were is sued in 1986. The idea of felicitating policemen for their handlebars is not new. It dates back to the Raj era. A British police official had first felicitated three policemen having best moustaches in Lucknow in 1945. The three cops, who got Rs 5 each, were presented as model policemen among their peers. But decades later, the facial crop is once again back in vogue. If Bollywood is any reflection of the changing times, reel-life super cops, Chulbul Pandey and Singham, can't keep their hands away from their endowed philtrum. A lot of generation-X cops sport moustaches but say they lack motivation and encouragement from the department or even seniors. Senior police officials have begun to realize the craze among young cops and are taking steps at their own level to encourage them. Allahabad police authorities recently held a moustache competition in the district. “The response is growing and in the months ahead we expect to see more moustachioed policemen. Constables with facial crop are creating a positive impression on the local people and getting a lot of respect,“ Allahabad SSP K S Emanuel said.

Teachers Learn How To Unwind After School With Yoga, Zumba

01_10_2015_009_056_009Jesuit schools may soon add `extra-curricular' activities like zumba, yoga and other forms of recreation for their teachers to unwind after school hours. “Acceding to great demand from teachers, we are planning to introduce such workshops for them after class. We are ready to do anything hat will help teachers de stress and make teaching enjoyable for them,“ said Fr Francis Swamy , chairman of he Jesuit School Board. “We have experimented with it in one of our schools in the past and the response was great,“ he added. On Wednesday, over 500 teachers from eight Jesuit schools participated in `Rang Bhare', which included workshops, panel discussions, sports and various other activities at St Mary's School (ICSE), Mazgaon. Panel discussions gave teachers ideas on ways to make classrooms interactive. “Filmmaker Amole Gupte talked about his school days and how his teachers made learning interesting. We were introduced to games we could use to enliven a class,“ said Theresa Rego, teacher, Holy Family High School, Andheri. Workshops gave teachers a chance to enhance their skills. For instance, the mobile apps workshops organized by the students introduced teachers to an app which solves a mathematical equation by just clicking an image of it. “This will help us save time in the classroom,“ said Crescent D'souza, teacher, St Xavier's School, Fort.

SoBo School Faces Parents’ Ire Over Student Haircut

01_10_2015_009_034_007Parents of a class X student from a south Mumbai school have approached the Maharashtra State Commission for Protection of Child Rights alleging that the school authorities forced their son to cut his hair on campus. According to the boy ,a student of Activity High School, Pedder Road, the principal forced him to get his hair cut in school against his wish on September 24. “The school does not allow us to have long hair or fancy cuts. I had cut my hair on September 20, but the school principal asked me get it cut once again.The barber, who visits the campus, cut my hair but the principal wasn't satisfied, so she asked me to go back. This time, the barber cut it really short,“ he said. “Another boy also underwent the same experience.“ The parents will submit their complaint in the form of an affidavit to the commission and have also informed the police about it. “All his classmates laughed at him the moment he entered the classroom. He has been so disturbed since the past week. Two years ago, the principal had stuck chewing gum in his hair and we have a recording of her admitting of the same,“ said the mot her. She and the boy met the principal on Wednesday . Education department officials said they would probe into the matter if they receive a complaint. “It is acceptable that the school wants students not to have long hair or fancy cuts, but ensuring it this way is not acceptable,“ said B B Chavan, in-charge deputy director, Mumbai.

RBI Rate Cuts Gives A Fillip To Industry: Keki Mistry

indexWith the RBI having done its bit by cutting policy interest rates by 50 bps to stimulate the economy and lift investor sentiment, the focus now shifts to the rate transmission process. Bloomberg TV India’s Abha Bakaya and Priyank Lakhia spoke to Keki Mistry, ExCampionite class of '70 and Vice Chairman & CEO of HDFC, to assess the impact of RBI's policy and the road ahead. PRIYANK: What has the impact on lenders in terms of the way the RBI rate cuts have played out? Consensus was of 25 bps and we got 50 bps. What is your reaction to it? KEKI: We spoke to a few channels few days ago right after the Fed pause and said that RBI may look at rate cut of 25 to 50 bps. So, 50 bps I don’t think was ruled out because inflation seems to have come down now much more than expected before, wholesale inflation numbers are running negative for 4.05 per cent or so, retail inflation numbers are running 3.6 per cent and global growth is a big issue, China is a issue in terms of growth. So, all these factors if taken together will point towards the expectation that inflation will remain moderate in the near term. We see very little on the cards to point towards higher inflation except the technical things like monsoon’s marginal impact but nothing very specific. Therefore, rate cut is going to give a fillip to industry, a boost to industry because it is very critical at this point of time that we kick start the investment cycle and get sentiments better. So I think, yes it is a right thing to do. Also, I think it is a very comprehensive policy. The focus is not only on interest rate but on whole lot of other things like, for example, the FIIs investment in government securities whose limit has been enhanced which will mean more money coming into India which also effectively means that it is a bit of a counter to any Fed rate hike expectations in December. This will also impact housing sector and we will move to providing incentives to affordable housing. ABHA: We have seen an impact on housing finance stocks this afternoon. But we are wondering whether or not this will mean a pause after this. You referred to the Fed rate hike and for that reason also the Governor continue to focus on inflation. Do you see any threat to inflation in the weeks or months going ahead? Right now they seems to be on the same page, but do you see any kind of threat in the coming few months? KEKI: I don’t really see any pressure in coming months. As I said primarily because of the fact that global growth is so slow, global growth is so weak that it is unlikely that commodity prices or oil prices can see a spurt. Also these monsoons may have a marginal impact but I don’t see them having any material impact on inflation. The base effect may have some technical impact because base will start getting lower and lower over time. But all that taken together I think I don’t see any serious threat on inflation in the coming months. PRIYANK: The big debate that we have been seeing for last couple of months now and what the Governor has also been saying is about transmission. We have also got 40 bps rate cut from SBI as well. So what about transmission? Can you highlight that? KEKI: See the reason transmission has taken a long time to happen is because of the high cost of funds in existing balance sheet of banks and it does not reduce every time as RBI reduces rate. Banks tend to take slightly longer term deposits. If you say 40-45 per cent of the funds of the bank are on term deposit and let’s say the term is 18 months, then it take that much time to pull in the interest rate reduction to translate into lower cost funds. So there is always the timing difference. But over a period of time the timing difference automatically fades.

Herbs: The Good And The Bad

Altaf Patel ExCampionite class of ‘64 I don't belittle medicines that I don't have the knowledge of, and I am always interested in patients who find relief from an alternative branch of medicine. One of the reasons being, I attempt to understand how a particular medication has helped. However, the one thing that I'm skeptical about, and which I dissuade my patients from following, is metal therapy. I have seen people suffering from kidney failures, and a few even expiring, so that's one 'therapy' that I wouldn't advise anyone to follow. Several of my patients often ask me about the benefits/side-effects of herbal medicines. Let me tell you, herbal treatment is not alien to doctors practicing allopathy. I'll give you an example. There is a medication called Sarpagandha (Rauvolfia serpentia, or the Indian snakeroot). It is a species of a flowering plant in the family Apocynaceae, and the extracts of this plant has a compound called reserpine, which is used in anti-hypertensive medications. It is said that Mahatma Gandhi used reserpine as a tranquilizer. I have in the past used this compound to treat patients (it has now been replaced by better medications). The point I'm trying to make is, such compounds cannot be simply called herbal medication. Rather, they should be termed 'integrative medicine', the interface between herbs and allopathy. Simply put, herbal medicines are compounds extracted from herbs. They have been in existence since ancient times. It is worth noting that 25% of the medical molecules available in the US have their origins in herbs, and at least 7,000 medical compounds have their origins in plants. Modern molecules such as quinine, aspirin and digitalis -- the latter is derived from foxgloves and used to treat heart failure - come from herbal parenthood. The extracts of several herbs are put into capsules and claimed that the tablets will act on the body the same way as the natural substance. This may not be true. Among the herbs available in tablet form, and prescribed fairly often, is the St John's-wort, which is hypericum perforatum, a flowering plant in the family Hypericaceae, a medicinal herb with antidepressant activity, and potent anti-inflammatory properties. Till a few years ago, the general perception was that the medication being herbal, it was well-suited to treat such conditions in pregnant women, where pharmacological molecules may be contraindicated because of their effects on the foetus. This, however, does not appear to be correct. There have been several concerns about using St John's-wort, and it appears that it does interfere with some of the allopathic medications. Another interesting herb which I have come across is Ma huang, which is known in English as ephedra. It is a medicinal preparation from the plant Ephedra sinica, and is widely used by athletes as a performance-enhancing drug, and also for weight loss. In recent years, ephedra-containing supplements have been found to be unsafe, following which the US Food and Drug Administration banned it. One must remember that many medicinal molecules are derived from herbs, and when they become pharmacological, they are subject to extensive scrutiny by various organizations. Herbal medicines come under the umbrella of nutraceuticals, and there is an impression that all of them are safe for consumption, which may not be true. One must remember that the philosopher Socrates was put to death by making him drink a liquid derived from herbs.

Schools Want More Time For Competency Exams

Even as the September 30 deadline for conducting the state government's competency tests nears, several non-state board schools are busy running around to collect question papers and guidelines. The test will assess students in mathematics and their first language. Non-state board schools were included after a government order on September 18. While the state board schools had time from September 14 and 30 to conduct the exams, the non-state board schools got fewer days. The non-state board schools received the papers only on Monday, leaving them only two days to conduct the exams. "We sent staffer to get the question papers collected but we have been given only some papers and have to get them photocopied and used. We also do not have any guidelines on how the test has to be conducted," said Paul Machado, principal, Campion School, Fort. At St Mary's School, ICSE, Mazgaon, only one test could be conducted on Monday. "Our SSC branch is right across the road so we got the papers and guidelines from them and conducted a test," said manager, Father Francis Swamy. Kandivli's Gundecha Academy has been waiting for the question papers.

Keki Mistry – Anything You Do In Life, Do It With A Long Term View

kekimistry-kZRF--621x414@LiveMintThe HDFC vice-chairman’s investment mantra: when you are young invest more in equity. As you get older keep a certain proportion of your investment in fixed income instruments He has been with Housing Development Finance Corp. Ltd (HDFC) for almost 34 years and is now its vice-chairman and chief executive. For ExCampionite class of ’70 Keki M. Mistry, 59, it’s all about having a long-term view. Both his career success and personal investment strategies vindicate this, as both have paid off. “I always take a long-term view on most matters in life including investments,” says Mistry who joined the firm as an assistant manager in October 1981. Prior to HDFC, Mistry worked with Indian Hotels Co. Ltd. While he was there, Mistry got three offers—HDFC, Citibank and another small company. He had to choose between Citibank and HDFC. Citibank was then an established firm, while HDFC was new with potential for growth. “I thought the opportunity to do something meaningful would be much higher in HDFC than in an established bank like Citibank,” says Mistry. Not all who start off as assistant managers become leaders. “When you reach a certain level in an organization, you have to recognize that you can’t get closely involved in every decision. You need to prioritize matters which need urgent attention and focus on it. You also need to delegate. You should have overall knowledge of all critical matters. If you try to involve in every activity, the decision-making process in the organization slows down and motivation level of other executives falls,” he says. He has a bird’s eye view when it comes to personal investments too. “My investments are handled by my wife. She liaises with the brokers and PMS (portfolio management service). The decision of what to buy and invest in is mine,” he says. Mistry says there are three broad classes of investments—real estate, equity and debt. Of these three, he doesn’t consider property as an investment. “A house is a basic necessity. It gives one a great sense of comfort and well-being to own a house at a young age,” he reasons. For investment, Mistry looks at equity. “I buy shares of fundamentally strong companies with good management and with a long-term view. Once I buy a share, I stop looking at its price thereafter. I don’t panic when markets fall. Fundamentally good stocks will always bounce back.” And as one gets older, putting money in fixed income instruments is prudent, he says. “Tax-free bonds is the best instrument in the fixed income space for working executives.” Does he follow his advise when it came to his own investments? “For me, it was different. I bought my first house in 2005. In the initial years, my investments were almost entirely in equity—either direct or through mutual funds.” And Mistry only invests in products that he understands and which will give him returns based on the time and effort he puts in. For instance, since he doesn’t understand how paintings are valued, he doesn’t invest in it. Also, overseas funds. “While you may sometimes get attracted, you should always remember that India today offers huge growth opportunity, so why look elsewhere? If you invest wisely, you will almost certainly make money in India in the long term.” He has given all his time to his career. “For over a decade and a half, I used to be in office till 8.30-9pm almost every day. If I am in Mumbai, even today I go to office almost every Saturday and most bank holidays. My wife’s contribution to my career has been enormous. She has been patient and rarely demanded too much of my time.” Due to his tight work schedule, he has only started going on vacations quite recently. “Since the past four-five years, I try to take a 8-10 day vacation every year, which is usually abroad.” His favourite holiday spot is Bangkok. Mistry ensures that he takes out time for fitness. “Two years ago, I had a very painful knee that would have needed a knee replacement surgery. The doctor advised me to loose weight. I lost 30kg through a combination of restricted food intake and stationary cycling at home. If I am in Mumbai, I do about 60 minutes of cycling every day.” We ask him about his spending habits and he says, “I have a phobia for buying goods that I never end up using. For example, I buy a lot of watches, ties, jackets, shirts and T-shirts which I generally end up never wearing.” His advice on success: “Firstly, never get dissuaded by short-term failures. Secondly, if you decide to do something, do it wholeheartedly and complete the task. Thirdly, prioritize what you need to focus on and don’t try to get involved in too many things at the same time. There will be lot of obstacles, but persevere and success will almost certainly come in the long term.” Also, never neglect family.

Dr Mukesh Batra Honoured With The Indian Affairs Impact Award

ExCampionite class of '67 Dr Mukesh Batra, Padma Shri Recipient, a visionary entrepreneur with professional excellence and experience of over 40 years in the field of Homoeopathy has been honoured with the Indian Affairs Impact Award for Homoeopathy at the 6th Annual India Leadership Conclave 2015 held in Mumbai. Dr Batra has been single handedly responsible for pioneering modern Homeopathy in India, he has not only set up a huge corporate empire but also extended the medical benefits of this safe and sure medical system throughout the country through path-breaking initiatives. Dr Batra has striven incessantly to bring about the acceptance and legalization of Homeopathy across the world and was instrumental in legalizing the science in Mauritius where he set up its first homoeopathic clinic. He successfully introduced Homoeopathy to the Middle East countries. A prolific writer, he has authored several books on Homoeopathy, besides writing a regular weekly column on healing with Homoeopathy in a leading newspaper. The 6th Annual India Leadership Conclave 2015 focused on India@68 concentrating on learning lessons from the past and strategizing for the future. The conclave was inaugurated by Satya Brahma, chairman and editor in chief, Indian Affairs with a speech on Forgotten India: Truth Vs Hype. Dr Batra’s Health Care Group is founded by Dr Mukesh Batra in 1982 in Mumbai. The Group today is the leading Homoeopathic healthcare corporate, having 208 clinics across 115 cities with its presence in India, Dubai and London. In 2009, the company introduced Aesthetic Services through its flagship brand Dr Batra’s Aesthetic Solutions Pvt. Ltd. The aesthetic solutions arm of Dr Batra’s, offers a wide range of services like hair transplant, obesity solutions and skincare solutions.

Ratan Tata and Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya become Honorary Freeman of Coventry


The chairman of the Tata Group and founder and chairman of Warwick Manufacturing Group at the University of Warwick both took the Oath of Freemen and signed the Roll of Honour

Jaguar Land Rover owner and ExCampionite class of '49 Ratan Tata and Birmingham Post columnist Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya have been made Honorary Freeman of Coventry. The chairman of the Tata Group and founder and chairman of Warwick Manufacturing Group at the University of Warwick both took the Oath of Freemen and signed the Roll of Honour during a ceremony at Coventry Cathedral. Honorary Freedom of the City is the highest award Coventry can bestow upon a person and just 13 people have been awarded the honour since 1914. The late former Labour MP and Northern Ireland secretary Mo Mowlam, who grew up in Coventry, was the last person to receive it in 1999. Coventry Lord Mayor Michael Hammon, a Freeman himself, said: “Honorary Freeman of the City is a prestigious honour which has been conferred to only a small minority of people. “Recognising two people who have helped in the regeneration of the city is a way of celebrating all that is good about the city and its future.” Coun Ann Lucas, leader of Coventry City Council, said: “The vision, leadership and commitment of Mr Tata and Professor Lord Bhattacharyya has been instrumental in placing Coventry on a world stage.

“Growing the city’s economy is fundamental to achieving our aim of becoming a top ten city we are delighted to award Mr Tata and Prof Lord Bhattacharyya the highest honour in recognition of their impact on the city. We truly value their friendship.” The two men travelled to Coventry Cathedral from the Council House in the late Queen Mother’s car – a 1955 Jaguar Mark VIIM. Prof Lord Bhattacharyya said: “To be an Honorary Freeman of the City of Coventry is a great honour indeed at the time when Coventry has reinvented itself to be a great city of high technology and high value manufacturing.”

India, The Best In Managing Diversities, Says Tharoor

India has set a great example in managing diversities said MP and ExCampionite class of ’71 Shashi Tharoor. He was delivering the keynote address at a seminar organized by the law club of Government Law College. "Leading freedom fighters of India, including Gandhiji, were lawyers and he, along with next generation lawyers like Ambedkar and Nehru, played a crucial role in drafting the Constitution of India," said Tharoor. He said the Constitution and its amendments have backed the marginal population and brought them into the mainstream. He also stated that Indians were to have multiple identities, secured under a single Indian identity. "New generation lawyers of India have to face many challenges and fundamental questions as global threats and internal intolerance are increasing," he said. Principal K Reghunath presided over the function. Law club chairman Saji Kumar spoke.

Manil Suri Mixes Mathematics, Mythology, & Hot Sex In His Diverse Body Of Work

cp-feature-manilsuri-jpg-20150922ExCampionite class of ’74 Manil Suri looks far too glamorous to be either a mathematician or a novelist. His short, silver hair shines, almost arrestingly over his dark eyes. But Suri, a mathematics professor at UMBC (where, full disclosure, my wife also works) has been juggling these two careers for decades now. The author of a trilogy, set in India, that is loosely structured around the Hindu trinity or Trimurti, Suri also a playwright and a contributing op-ed columnist to The New York Times.. The trilogy's first book, "The Death of Vishnu," was also Suri's first serious work of fiction. Moving back and forth between the perspectives of several families in a Bombay apartment building, it was nominated for a PEN/Faulkner award. Suri continued teaching math and the second novel, "The Age of Shiva," also set in Bombay, or Mumbai, during the period just after the partition with Pakistan, took him seven years to write. Both "Vishnu" and "Shiva" deal as much with Bollywood and sex as they do Indian religion and politics, but the third book "City of Devi" pushes both of these concerns to new levels, creating a mythical future, where passion is heightened by a threatened nuclear attack brought on by a Bollywood movie. Suri will be speaking on the Ivy Bookshop Stage on Sunday at 1 p.m. (Baynard Woods) You grew up in Bombay, the city you write about most often. How did you end up at UMBC? I was supposed to become a doctor because my grandfather was a doctor and I realized I would do anything to not be a doctor so I gave up biology—I developed an intense dislike for it. Then it was chemistry, and I didn't like organic chemistry so I switched to physics. Then two years before graduating, this professor said, "You really have this aptitude for mathematics, you should switch to it." And I really liked it. I sort of wandered into coming to the U.S. just because everyone else was doing it. Once I did my Ph.D. the only thing I could do was become a professor. So it wasn't something I gave a lot of thought to. What was your dissertation? The area was finite elements. It's a technique to solve equations that arise in engineering. You can only approximate them using a computer, so my field actually looks at ways that will enable you to do that approximation and also some sort of estimate as to how small the error will be. Is that still basically the field you're working in? Yes. But I've been trying to veer off more into mathematical outreach. I've worked with schools, with non-mathematicians. I figured out I have this exposure with non-mathematicians through the book so I should use it for outreach. And you were already a professor when you started writing fiction? Yes. It was pretty much about the time that I first joined UMBC in '83. I was always dabbling but in 1983 or '84 I said, let me sit down and write a short story. I used to paint a lot and that fell by the wayside and I said this will be a replacement for that. I need a hobby because I don't want to do the same as everyone else. I didn't want to do mathematics all the time because that's the model in academia that you're forced into. So, I started going to this gay-writers workshop in this gay-writers center in Washington, D.C. and part of the attraction was that it was far enough from Baltimore that people wouldn't really find out that I was writing. So you were going to D.C. to hide the writer part, not the gay part? Probably both, actually. I was less out. But I didn't have a computer at home and I would often write at my office. And that had a few mishaps. I remember there was this one steamy scene that I'd written and I printed it out and went to the computer room where it's supposed to print out and it didn't come out and I printed it again and again it didn't come out and then it turned out I was sending it to the secretary's. I rushed to the office and of course it was closed and I could see the paper coming out. And this was Friday evening and I called security and had them unlock and retrieve the stuff. It happened again at a research institute in France, I was typing merrily away and saving it in my directory and it had this gay sex scene and one day at lunch someone said how's your story coming along and I said, "How did you see that?" He said, "Oh, it's on the computer," and everyone nodded and said we see that all the time. I didn't understand how I was saving it and saved it into everyone's directory. Once the book came out, my secret was finally out to people at work. And two people at work in my department came out to me as actors in secret and said they wanted a role if anything was ever made into a movie. There is a thing about not revealing that, because you're afraid of being thought of as lesser mathematicians or lesser academics. Do you feel one of the two is a more primary career or part of your life at this point being a mathematician or being a novelist? What I've been trying to do is to combine them so I don't have to worry about that question. Because I did spend several years worrying about that after the first book came out. In fact, I tried to decide, even before the book, when I was trying to write my first book, I thought, "Why am I doing this?" I thought I should just be spending my time being a better mathematician and doing better research. After the first book, people said you should just give up math and do the writing because you've got this wonderful opportunity. I've finally got a project where I'm doing both, in a mathematics novel: It's got math in it, and it's got narrative in it, so I'm actually combining the two. I'm thinking of it as an e-book. The problem with mathematics is people don't know enough about it, so how do you talk about it without completely turning them off or sending them to oblivion. With e-books I've been playing with having little bits of animation and video incorporated in, where any mathematics that's used, you can see it in a different way and it would give you an example of the same math. I don't know how well it will work, but the segments I've done so far are pleasing. But there's narrative too. Is it set in India? No, I'm finally breaking free of India. And there are no gods, as such, but there is this mathematical entity that is part of the thing controlling everything and you don't really know what that is or who that is. It's this woman who is almost held hostage and forced to learn mathematics against her will, if I had to summarize it in one sentence. Why would someone pick up a book on mathematics? So I'm trying with the visual aspect and the story aspect. But I think it's still nice for people to have some knowledge of the ideas of mathematics, even if they can't do calculations. Just like you know things about philosophy or art, it would be nice for people to know about it.

HDFC Bank Wants To Find The Right Causes


Bank recognizes the need to define a few ideas and identify certain areas that it wanted to focus on. ExCampionite class of ’77 Paresh Sukthankar, deputy managing director of HDFC Bank, has a lot on his plate— one of the key items being corporate social responsibility (CSR) claiming its share of equal importance alongside other revenue-driven functions. Sukthankar, a Harvard Business School alumnus, tells us how the bank’s years of spend on sustainable communities only just got formalized and scaled up after the Companies Act, 2013. Edited excerpts from an interview:

What was the biggest learning in the first year of implementation of new CSR rules? We certainly took a certain amount of time in sharpening our pencils. When we started off (in early 2000) it was on the back of voluntarism from our employees. Fast forward to when the formal structure of the current guidelines were enforced, and it was in some ways building on the foundation of what we were already doing. With the new guidelines there is much more formal element to it with active involvement of the board. Along the way we recognized the need to define a few ideas and identify certain areas that the bank wanted to focus on. The learning is that you can’t spread yourself too thin. Also, we didn’t want to rush (to) just meet the numbers.

Any part of the CSR law that you think needs modification? It is still early. Right now a certain number of areas have been defined. They seem to be wide and there is a reasonable amount of flexibility. The Act also says that you need a liberal interpretation. I can’t think of some obvious lacuna which needs to be plugged to make it more effective. And it is not very prescriptive. It just guides you along in certain areas and of course defines the 2%.

Any activities that you think should be added to Schedule VII (list of activities allowed under CSR)? The intent seems to be that these are areas that logically could be more meaningful towards society. By allowing a more liberal interpretation of those I think that unless someone had a very niche area which is not included, for most organizations this is reasonably broad enough.

What are the things you would like to change in your company in the way you do CSR? More than change it is about trying to build and take our activities to a higher level. We are building up on the number of partners that we are involved with and we have beefed up the team. There is a much more formalized approach to executing some of our projects.

Did HDFC prefer to pick up government-led initiatives or will the focus be on activities that the company believed in? Some of our projects are aligned to what the government’s initiatives are. For instance we were doing stuff in schools but we weren’t focused on sanitation in schools. Yet we felt that both sanitation and drinking water made logical sense to be together—one fitted in with Swachh Bharat campaign and the government-led initiatives in this area also resonated in an area of intervention we were keen on.

Do you believe companies can usher in social change? You cannot have a business that can prosper if the communities which they operate in fail. CSR is intrinsic to good sustainable business. Companies have the financial and managerial resources and if they have the right intention and focus (towards CSR) they absolutely can.

The Magic of ‘Brand Hiranandani': Where It Goes, Cities Follow

In Indian real estate, the Hiranandani Brand has always been a trendsetter when it comes to real estate growth on a global scale, in Mumbai and the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR). It is almost as if the Hiranandani Brand spots the potential of a location much before others do!

The past record shows that whenever brand Hiranandani has created integrated townships, the location has ended up being a winner: whether it is the stupendous success of Hiranandani Gardens at Powai or Hiranandani Meadows and Hiranandani Estate in Thane, it has always been that Brand Hiranandani has been the first to spot the potential of what were then, ‘new’ locations. These mixed-use, integrated townships have proved to be trend-setters, and it has been the Hiranandani Business Park (HBP) which has been the flag-bearer of commercial real estate growth.

The next Hiranandani Business Park is coming up in Panvel, an integral part of the upcoming Hiranandani Fortune City – should it surprise anyone that Panvel looks all set to be the next commercial real estate hot-spot in the MMR? Hiranandani Business Park, Panvel, is an integral part of Hiranandani Fortune City, a mixed–use integrated township development, being done under the brand “Hiranandani Communities”. Mr. Niranjan Hiranandani, Founder and M.D. of the Hiranandani Group of Companies, is the driving force behind this ambitious dream project. What makes Hiranandani Business Park, Panvel a class apart is the advantage of being located mid-way between two important IT hubs of the nation. The biggest benefit will be the Special SEZ status, which will result in a single window clearance, ease of operation through self-declaration mechanism, relaxation in regulations in certain areas related to labour deployment and compliance, host of Tax duty benefits and concessions with Duty drawback facilities – not to mention, a Tax Holiday. Truly, a win-win for those who opt to pick up work spaces in Hiranandani Business Park, Panvel. The energy efficient buildings in Hiranandani Business Park, Panvel, conform to LEED Green Building design principles, which deliver to end-users the Hiranandani Communities’ commitment to high quality standards and cutting edge advantages. The large floor plate and multiple tenant options are best suited to synergize business plans. The office spaces in Hiranandani Business Park, Panvel, are backed by uninterrupted power supply, robust telecom and IT infrastructure backbone which provides productivity–oriented work environment, ensuring the achievement of optimal performance for IT & ITeS and BFSI companies. Exclusive café, convenience stores and health centres within the office buildings would offer a stress-busting environment for employees in Hiranandani Business Park, Panvel.

Following the ‘mixed use, integrated SEZ development model’ which has worked wonders in Powai and Thane; Hiranandani Business Park, Panvel, will develop over 2 million Sq. Ft. out of the Hiranandani Fortune City layout, which again adds up to approximately 600 acres. This will facilitate large scale commercial and social infrastructure in sync with residential development. It will offer accommodation for the work force, coupled with reliable power supply and high speed internet connectivity. For the families which will make Hiranandani Fortune City ‘home’, it will offer all major lifestyle amenities and facilities, including academics, healthcare, retail and entertainment facilities. From the perspective of business houses considering whether to opt for Panvel, consider that a wide range of major employers are located within a radius of 30 kms from Panvel, including: Reliance, TCS, L&T, Wipro, Mastek, Aon Hewitt, Hexware, GTL, Accenture, Sutherland, Intelenet, Syntel, Patni, Henkel, Pfizer and CMC. Designed with due care, and with an immaculate setup conducive for business growth, Hiranandani Business Park, Panvel, offers scalability with breath taking ambience, providing much-aspired flamboyance for a business address. For smart businesses, those who spot a winner early on, this is an opportunity which should not be missed!

PM Meets With Mehta, Announces “Large Concert Hall”

71951668055ffe5be9ecd7741880319_v4bigSerbian PM Aleksandar Vucic attended a rehearsal of the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of ExCampionite class of '49 Zubin Mehta ahead of a gala concert. On the occasion, he "announced that a large concert hall will be built in Belgrade," Tanjug reported. The prime minister addressed reporters after meeting one of the greatest artists of today, who was at the head of the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra for 47 years and led the New York Philharmonic Orchestra for 13 years, saying that Mehta did him a great honor with Sunday's meeting. Vucic said that they agreed that Belgrade needs a concert hall. "We will build one of the best concert halls in the region with 1,500 seats and the best acoustics. We will hire the best companies in the world, a few of which Mehta has recommended,” said Vucic. Mehta thrills Belgrade audience: The Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra held a gala concert with Zubin Mehta that "thrilled the packed audience of the Kolarac Endowment on Sunday evening," Tanjug is reporting. The orchestra performed under Mehta's baton for the eighth time, performing Mozart's last and Mahler's first symphony - “Jupiter” and “Titan”. "Despite the recent operation, the world-renowned conductor led the orchestra with astonishing vigor and elan, and the audience rewarded him with a several-minute standing ovation," the agency said. After humanitarian concerts in Naples and Madrid, "Maestro Mehta, as a proven humanitarian, channeled his remuneration for the concert with the Serbian orchestra to the Belgrade Philharmonic Foundation, of which he is honorary president." Mehta said that in 2018 he would like to celebrate 60 years since his first performance with the orchestra back in 1958. Ahead of the concert, Culture Minister Ivan Tasovac said that a new protocol on the cultural cooperation between Serbia and India had been completed and should be signed by the end of October, and Maestro Mehta, who was born in Mumbai, said he would attend the signing of that important document.

Doctor Burnout MD

Altaf Patel ExCampionite class of '64

The concept of a summer break, I think, was born decades ago, perhaps as far back as British India. The seat of action then moved from the city to the hills, where the climate was cooler. The difference is wiped out by the fact that in those days, there was no air-conditioning and people left the city to avoid the summer heat.

Deforestation has made this worse, but air-conditioning sort of compensates. However, despite the fact, the concept of a summer holiday remains. In fact, I am told that in the Middle East a holiday is declared when the temperature climbs beyond 40 degrees Celsius. So, come summer and Mumbai roads are more tolerable to be on, parking places are easier to find. Which brings us to a primary question: does a break help to prevent burnout? Burnout is a state of emotional, mental and physical exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when you are unable to cope with the constant demands. It reduces productivity and saps your energy. Though stress is an important part of burnout, there are distinct differences between the two. Stress is associated with overactive emotions compared to the blunted emotion of burnout. Stress is characterized by over-engagement, loss of energy, anxiety and may produce hormonal changes in your body that may prematurely kill you. Burnout in the other hand is characterized by disengagement, loss of motivation and leads to depression and other emotional changes. The human is exposed to many stimuli today compared to decades ago. You have smartphones and apps that insanely go off with various messages, emails and the like, keeping you constantly connected and contributing to both stress and burnout.

Most large corporate offices give you leave and now insist that you do not accumulate leave, the idea being that breaks prevent burnout and increase productivity. I am delighted to see a study by the American Psychiatric Association by Emily Holmes and her colleagues addressing the issue of medical resident burnout.  Residency is certainly a trying time and I remember many sleepless nights because of multiple patient admissions and other reasons like your roommate receiving calls on your off-call nights. In the zenith of our youth, this did not seem important, but the job which we were doing involved responsibility and important decisions cannot be taken by a sleep-deprived person. According to a paper from the University of North Carolina, 70 per cent of resident doctors met the criteria for burnout. The important point made in the paper was that burnt-out residents admit to sub optimal care and have made medical errors. The highest burnout range was in general surgery (89 per cent), anesthesiology (81 per cent) and internal medicine (79 per cent), while the lowest was in pathology at 46 per cent. This is understandable because there is little patient or relative interaction. There was also suicide idealization in some, which is dangerous. There were several items that contributed to burnout. Topping the list was lack of time to exercise, excessive time spent on electronic records, lack of time to engage in enjoyable or leisure activity, conflict between work and home responsibilities.

There are several strategies to prevent burnout, the first being the recognition that you are heading towards it. Short breaks or vacations are very helpful in preventing such burnouts.

What A Harvard Professor Believes Megacities Can Learn From The Kumbh Mela


Architecture teacher and ExCampionite class of ’74 Rahul Mehrotra has co-edited a new book about the Allahabad Kumbh, the largest temporary settlement in the world. Once every 12 winters, as the waters at the confluence of the Ganga and Yamuna retreat, the Allahabad district authorities take over the river banks and set about marking large grids in the sand. In a span of just three months, government and municipal officials build an entire city on the 24-sq km expanse, complete with various styles of tent housing, 150 kms of roads, toilets and drainage systems, electricity grids, bridges across the rivers, new bus and train stations and even hospitals.

From January to March, this “pop-up megacity” of the Kumbh Mela is inhabited by a floating population of more than 35 million people, and then quickly dismantled. By the time the next monsoon arrives, all traces of the massive city disappear and the river banks are once more submerged. The Maha Kumbh Mela of Allahabad, held every 12 years, is a site of faith for Hindu pilgrims and a source of wonder for anyone keen to see one of the biggest festive gatherings of people in the world. During the 2013 Kumbh, however, a team of 50 researchers from Harvard University decided to go beyond the wonder and study the fair as a remarkable achievement of temporary urban planning. The result of the multi-disciplinary study is a new book, Kumbh Mela: Mapping the Ephemeral Megacity, published and launched by Harvard University’s South Asia Institute last month. The book brings together in-depth research by the faculty and students from various Harvard schools, including urban planning, public health, business and religious studies. For architect Rahul Mehrotra, the chair of Harvard’s urban planning and design department and co-editor of the book, the Kumbh study raises one important question: If a temporary city can be successfully erected and governed for millions of people every 12 years, why can’t we apply the same kind of planning and efficiency to other urban contexts?

Formal-informal, static-kinetic: Mehrotra, who divides his time between Harvard and his architecture practice in India, was drawn towards the Kumbh because of his interest in what he calls “extreme urbanism”. “The Kumbh is an extreme form of temporary urbanism, and I believe looking at extremes is productive,” said Mehrotra, speaking to at his Mumbai office. At the Kumbh city, a range of government departments work in unison to ensure that there are no stampedes, accidents, epidemics or other public health disasters as millions of pilgrims pass through. And yet, the Mela is just a temporary space that must eventually be dismantled; most of the city is built out of makeshift, disposable or reusable materials that are often stored for future use. But the Kumbh is also space where formalities and informalities co-exist, something that Mehrotra believes is characteristic of all Indian cities. “The ephemeral landscape of the Kumbh is interesting because of the wonderful mapping of the formal over the informal,” he said. “For instance, the grids within the fair are organised formally by the state, but the akharas (Hindu religious denominations) within the grids are organised informally.” The transitory nature of the Kumbh Mela makes it easier for the formal and informal to work simultaneously, but smoothly. And when they work together, says Mehrotra, it in-turn challenges notions of permanence at a more universal level. “Every city has permanent and impermanent components that co-exist,” said Mehrotra, who had also explored these ideas in his 2008 essay Negotiating Static and Kinetic Cities. He describes the “static city” as one comprising the permanent elements it is built on – the concrete, steel and wood, for instance. The “kinetic city” is more three-dimensional and temporary, one that constantly modifies and reinvents itself. “The processions, weddings, festivals, hawkers, street vendors and slum dwellers all create an ever-transforming streetscape,” the essay says. “But when we design cities, we do it mainly for permanence,” said Mehrotra. “My question is, can one make the temporary more deliberate? Can we build cities where temporary elements are given as much importance as the permanent ones? We need to think of reversibility more strategically when designing our cities for the future.”

Good governance: Deploying cities that privilege the temporary could be extremely useful in the context of refugee camps or housing for urban migrant populations. While the Kumbh system may not be completely flawless, Mehrotra believes its model of governance definitely has helpful lessons. The Kumbh is organised with the co-ordinated efforts of the central government, the state government and the municipal authorities, and there is a hierarchy of governance to be followed on paper. “But these hierarchies flip during the actual implementation, when the person on the ground is given a lot more authority along with accountability,” said Mehrotra. The Kumbh has survived as a successful institution and urban system primarily because it has a single purpose and is bound by the faith of millions of Hindu pilgrims. But flexible-yet-accountable governance is also a major factor, says Mehrotra. “In big cities like Mumbai, where there are so many elements of temporary urbanism, this lesson of governance is important.”

Abraham Vatakencherry Bestowed Honorary Post of Advisor (Domestic & International Markets)


We are happy to state that ExCampionite class of ’83 Abraham Paul Vatakencherry has been bestowed an honorary post of Advisor (Domestic & International Markets) SME Chamber of India which is headquartered in Mumbai. All ExCampionites are invited on his behalf for the function mentioned below : MAHARASHTRA INDUSTRY SUMMIT Theme: “Make in Maharashtra – Reformation Plans for Industrial Growth” 7th October 2015 | Hotel Sahara Star, Mumbai | 10:00 am to 5:00 pm

Maharashtra Industrial and Economic Development Association is organising Annual Event – “MAHARASHTRA INDUSTRY SUMMIT” – Theme: “Make in Maharashtra – Reformation Plans for Industrial Growth” on 7thOctober, 2015 at Hotel Sahara Star, Mumbai in association with SME Chamber of India and India International Trade Centre (Investment and Trade Promotion Organisation).

An early reply in this regard from your end would be highly appreciated. Please contact Abraham Paul Vatakencherry +91 9944416829

What You Can Learn From A Billionaire’s World Of Décor Extraordinaire


Everyone would love to live in a billionaire’s home and in India’s financial and entertainment capital Mumbai, there are many such homes, owned by the Who’s Who of corporate India and Bollywood. Very few of us will become billionaires, but there is lots to be learned from such ultra-luxurious homes—tips and techniques that can be replicated even in middle-class homes at middle-class prices.

One such paradise for billionaires is the popular Mumbai address for the rich and famous, Carmichael Road in South Mumbai. This one-kilometer long road houses the elite from India Inc., Kumar Mangalam Birla ExCampionite class of ‘83, a corporate leader whose family legacy is one among India’s most respected industrial empires, is an occupant of one such home on Carmichael Road. While the Birla family has been known for their sharp business acumen for generations, they have also done a lot of social good—ranging from community, rural development and CSR initiatives. And given their legacy that’s generations old, their inherent Indian values of blending modernity with age-old tradition is reflected not only in their professional values, but also in their aesthetically designed mansion on Carmichael Road.

An Illustrious Heritage: The three-storey building is nothing short of palatial grandeur and awe-inspiring craftsmanship, and was earlier known as Anand Bhavan. Another historical facet of the home is that it was the birthplace of India’s former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. With spectacular, well-maintained lawns adorned with fountains, massive arch windows and doors, large pointed arches all around, a swimming pool on the terrace, a private theatre that can accommodate 20 people and an underground parking arrangement, the present abode of Kumar Mangalam Birla and his family is all about luxury blended with heritage and values.

Where exterior infrastructure meets interior grandeur: This one-acre plot is as magnificently built from the outside as it is contemporary, aesthetic and stylish from the inside. Behind a gigantic wooden gate, the entrance is marked by a stone canopy. Ganesh idols and long mirrors are an intricate part of this house, while the lounge area leads to one of the dining rooms. Large spaces both for personal and professional use, multiple grand areas for living and dining rooms are all brought together in this home and so beautifully that each space calls for its own privileged environment. While the ground floor houses a formal living room, the casual living room, the dining halls and an entertainment space for guests, the upper floors boasts of several lavish bedrooms, richly private spaces with striking features and a well-equipped gym. A beautiful spiral marble staircase with a dark wooden animal-carved railing connects these floors, and is in sync with the family’s aesthetic sense. Such animal and bird carvings are a salient feature of Victorian Gothic architecture, a style that the Birlas have wisely exploited in this mansion. On the wall outlining the staircase are wall lamps, paintings and a marble statue of Buddha meditating, while the entry marks the ancestral roots of the oldest and wealthiest business families of the country with a large striking portrait of Aditya Vikram Birla along with his grandfather, the pioneer of Birla industries, Ghanshyam Das Birla.

Perfectly Indo-European!: There are intricate designs on the floor tiles and stairs. Papered or textured walls with wood panels are adorned with either colourful paintings or carved, wooden frame mirrors. With much drama and elegance in the brightly-lit rooms and decorative patterns of this house, the Indo-Gothic décor of this dream abode uses bold, deep and rich colours that add the much-adored splendor and grandeur to this historic building. The silk draperies on the huge arch windows and glitzy fabric used on the sofas give this house the majestic aura that befits the persona of the business magnate, Kumar Mangalam Birla himself. Further, antique tapestries, porcelain figures and wrought iron chandeliers add to the old-world elegance, much in tandem with the old-world charm Carmichael Road itself is known for.

How to achieve the fusion style for your home: Indo-European architectural finesse might not be the style on your mind but décors like these bring out the extraordinary element in homes, and homes should not just be nice, but extraordinary, according to experts in décor from Asian Paints. Taking inspiration from the colour splattered around in nature to something as ordinary as stones, gems and accessories, there are abundant reasons to pamper your personal space with hordes of bright, dramatic colours to spice up that otherwise dull, boring and clinically-adorned house. A well-balanced arrangement of furnishings can also add the right flavor to your rooms. For instance, Kumar Mangalam Birla’s mother Rajashri Birla, who is a famous Indian philanthropist in her own right, has a favorite space in the mansion--a small wooden table and a wooden armchair with a corner tasseled lamp amid the grand suite of rooms. If however, you are all for the Victorian Gothic or Indo-Gothic styles, go for the right texture and bright jewel-tone colours or brocade patterns for your walls and add earthy elements with dark wood furnishings, ornately carved lamps and heavy rugs to balance the bold accents throughout. Wood or wrought-iron carved candlestick chandeliers would add all the drama, richness and elegance that the Victorian Gothic style exudes. Silk drapes and decadent fabrics or glitzy prints on sofas and upholsteries can also act as embellishments to achieve this look. Stone relics and wooden animal statues, on the other hand, can add austere hints of this architecture in your home space. Such small design changes and some experimentation with paints, textures, fabrics, wall aesthetics, drapes, lighting and furnishings can inspire and impress, say the paint experts.

After all, you need not be a billionaire to have a happy, signature style dream abode. Just a look at these ideas and voila—you’ll be ready for a beautiful home makeover in the most elegant, extraordinary style possible and one that matches every budget.

Is 70 Too Old For The UN?


As world leaders prepare to gather next week at the United Nations in New York to ratify the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and commemorate the UN’s 70th anniversary, for many a fundamental question has become inescapable. In the face of growing global disorder – including turmoil in the Middle East, waves of migrants flooding into Europe, and China’s unilateral moves to enforce its territorial claims – does the UN have a future?

Grounds for pessimism are undeniable. Conflicts rage on, seemingly unaffected by upholders of world order. Despite more than two decades of talk, the Security Council’s permanent membership (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) still reflects the geopolitical realities of 1945, not 2015. Denied accommodation in the Bretton Woods institutions (the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund) commensurate with its economic clout, China has established its own alternatives, which other countries have flocked to join. The G-20 seems more representative than the Security Council – and more imbued with common purpose. Yet the UN should not be written off. It continues to serve a vital purpose, and its history suggests that it can be revitalized to meet the needs of the twenty-first century. The UN began, in 1945, as a vision shared by the leaders of the victorious Allies, who were determined to ensure that the second half of the twentieth century did not play out like the first half. After two world wars, countless civil wars, brutal dictatorships, mass expulsions of populations, and the horrors of the Holocaust and Hiroshima, “never again” was not just a slogan: the alternative was too apocalyptic to contemplate. To this end, the Allies sought an alternative to the balance-of-power politics that had wreaked such havoc in the preceding five decades. Their idea – now called “global governance” – was to create an institutional architecture that could foster international cooperation, elaborate consensual global norms, and establish predictable, universally applicable rules, to the benefit of all. The hope that many placed in the UN Charter was soon dashed by the onset of the Cold War. And yet global statesmen made good use of the new organization as a forum to contain superpower tensions. Peacekeeping missions, not even mentioned in the Charter, were devised to contain conflicts around the world, and to prevent them from igniting a superpower conflagration. Thanks to the UN, World War III never happened.

Moreover, the UN’s contribution to peace during the Cold War is not the whole story. Its decolonization efforts freed millions from the yoke of imperialist oppression. Economic and social development rose to the top of its agenda. As global governance has evolved, the UN system has become the port of call for innumerable “problems without passports”: the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the degradation of our common environment, epidemics, war crimes, and mass migration. Such problems require solutions without passports, because no country or group of countries can solve them alone. With universality comes legitimacy. Because all countries are members, the UN enjoys a global standing that gives its decisions and actions a degree of authority that no individual government enjoys beyond its own borders. The binary international order of the Cold War is long gone. Instead, the metaphor for today’s globalized world is that of the World Wide Web, in which we increasingly function through multiple networks. Sometimes those networks overlap, with common participants, and sometimes they are distinct; they all serve our interests in different ways and for different purposes. Many countries once felt insulated – by wealth, strength, or distance – from external dangers. But now they realize that local security forces are not enough to protect their citizens, and that the safety of people everywhere depends on internationally coordinated efforts to combat terrorism, pollution, infectious diseases, illegal drugs, and weapons of mass destruction, and to promote human rights, democracy, and development. The UN has not fully succeeded in turning recognition into reality. But at its best and its worst, the UN is a mirror of the world. As the legendary Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld famously put it, “The United Nations was not created to take mankind to heaven, but to save humanity from hell.”

I believe strongly that the UN needs reform, not because it has failed, but because it has succeeded enough to be worth investing in. As the agreement on the SDGs demonstrates, there is much that can be accomplished with the UN as the lynchpin of our system of global governance. Moreover, the UN has proved a remarkably adaptable organization; it would not have survived so long if it was not. While it must be reformed to accommodate today’s world, all that is needed is a smidgen of the statesmanship shown seven decades ago, when world leaders subordinated their immediate short-term interests to a long-term vision of the kind of world they wanted their children to inhabit. The UN remains the source of laws and norms that countries negotiate together and agree to uphold as the “rules of the road.” And it remains the pre-eminent forum where sovereign states can come together to share burdens, address shared problems, and seize common opportunities. In other words, the UN’s foundations, laid down in 1945, remain strong. But they must be buttressed if they are to withstand the ongoing shifts in countries’ strategic weight. As the UN turns 70, it is time to reaffirm its founders’ guiding vision – a vision born of devastation that remains a source of universal hope for a better world.

ExCampionite class of '71 Shashi Tharoor, a former UN under-secretary-general and former Indian Minister of State for Human Resource Development and Minister of State for External Affairs, is currently an MP for the Indian National Congress and Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on External Affairs. His most recent book is Pax Indica: India and the World of the 21st Century.

When The Twain Met


As the Symphony Orchestra of India (SOI) nears its tenth anniversary, they are all set to explore uncharted terrains by commissioning a piece with Tabla virtuoso Zakir Hussain titled Peshkar. Khushroo N Suntook ExCampionite class of '48 , the founder of SOI gives us all the details.

When Khushroo N. Suntook founded the Symphony Orchestra of India or SOI ensemble, the intention was made clear that it was meant to serve at the forefront in spreading operatic music in its purest form in the country. So it came as a surprise to many when it was announced that a fusion piece featuring Tabla as a soloist element has been commissioned for the upcoming autumn season. It begged the question — How does one make sure that you preserve the purity of a form while experimenting with it? The answer, says Suntook, is quite simple — you make sure the elements fused are compatible and bring in the best to do it. And that is precisely what the SOI have done by roping in Tabla virtuoso Zakir Hussain for the autumn centrepiece titled, Peshkar.

Speaking to us about the intention behind commissioning the piece, Suntook says, “When you commission a new piece, the natural intention is to encourage the artistes to explore something new. And as SOI enters its tenth anniversary, we thought that the time would be ripe to undertake our first commission and in line with the intention of fostering classical music at a domestic level, it is important that it came from an Indian composer.”

Admitting that it is a very tricky turf, Suntook elaborates on why he feels this will work. “I must confess that I’m not a great believer in fusion music. That said, this piece is very different on a number of counts. One, the element fused is a percussion instrument so it doesn’t clash with the string elements of the orchestra because the Table doesn’t have a specific tone to itself. And two is that Zakir’s style of playing is sort of akin to melodious drums. I felt that somehow the two could be incorporated very well. That said it is still a very tricky turf to explore.”

Peshkar, which premieres this autumn will also tour Switzerland and will be played in some of the best venues for classical opera in Europe. Telling us about the piece, Suntook says, “It is a Bartok Concerto, which is a classic composition by the famous Hungarian composer Bela Bartok. The reason why we selected this composition specifically was because it incorporates Hungarian folk elements, which practical speaking has a first cousin relationship with Indian elements such as Tabla. The soloist will be quite prominent in the presentation and accompanist elements will be kept mostly Western. There will also be a wonderful duet post-interval and will also incorporate spoken dialogue.”

With the commission premiering later this month, Suntook believes that not only will this add to the canon of operatic music, but will also expand the audience base that classical western music has in the city. “The whole idea is to spread beyond the usual opera audience and bring in elements that they will find appealing. Opera music is catching on in India, but it is still not as much as in other eastern countries such as China or Thailand. The SOI was created with the sole intention of bringing more audience into the fold and it is experiments like this that make sure that more people are exposed to this form of music.”

Telling us about the response, Suntook says, “Oh, it has been absolutely amazing. It’s unbelievable that so many of our shows are already sold out. That is quite natural considering how huge Zakir Hussain is here, but this is definitely going to be a big event for Opera music in the country as well.”

Apart from the grand premiere, the SOI and Zakir will travel to Switzerland early next year to present Peshkar in Zurich, Geneva and St. Gallen.

Peshkar premieres on September 25 At the NCPA, NCPA Marg, Nariman Point

Now, A Lingerie Website In Ratan Tata’s Shopping List

Ever since he became interested in start ups, many freshers in the entrepreneur business have been blessed by his magic wand. After PayTm, Ola and a several others, everyone in the circuit were keen on knowing where Ratan Tata ExCampionite class of ’49 is further investing. Well, its online lingerie retailer Zivame now. While no information has been revealed about when and how much did the Tata Sons chairman emeritus invested in Zivame, people aware of the development confirmed about the development. However neither Tata nor Zivame have confirmed anything officially. Zivame recently closed a Series-C funding round of Rs 250 crore from Zodius Technology Fund and Khazanah Nasional Berhad, the strategic investment fund of the government of Malaysia. Sources have informed that Tata has invested in the company much before the above findings.

After stepping down an active role in the Tata Group, Ratan Tata has become a superstar investor for many start ups. He has invested in several internet companies and startups including Ola, Cardekho, Paytm, healthcare platform Lybrate and women's clothing brand Kaaryah. Tata also serves as an adviser with Kalaari Capital and IDG Ventures, which have both invested in Zivame. He has invested in nearly a dozen of Kalaari's portfolio companies including Snapdeal, UrbanLadder, Holachef, YourStory and Bluestone. Zivame was expecting to close fiscal 2015 with Rs 50 crore in gross merchandise value, or the total retail price of the goods sold on its platform, on a loss of about Rs 35 crore.

The Preoperative Check

Altaf Patel ExCampionite class of '64

The process of assessing a patient's health risk prior to an operation is a matter of concern to all physicians. As suing becomes more prevalent in this city I see such patients referred to more and more specialists before a decision can be made. Several will see an internist cardiologist, anaesthetist and chest physician and arrive at your office with host of documents for you to study. Some of them even contain diametrically opposite opinions.

I think it is important to consider nature of the surgery when assessing these reports. It is for this reason I am not for cosmetic surgery that requires anaesthesia, unless the indication is compelling or if it causes the patient misery that interferes with his life. Though anaesthesia is generally safe, there is a small but definitive risk of death occurring from anaesthesia. I have known of people who died during tonsil removal, admittedly unfortunate and very uncommon. On the other hand one is often called in to see a condition that will result in death unless operated, like a perforated intestine. In these situations despite the medical comorbidities one must proceed with surgery because there will be little chance of survival without it. Till today I often see colleagues of mine asking whether I would take the risk of the procedure. I gently point out that the risk is to be taken by the patient, not by the doctor. The doctor only stratifies the risk assessment.There are several recommendations from several societies but in essence it's best to use your own risk stratification from your clinical assessment and databases of knowledge. For instance it's common sense that heart disease differs in various patients and there is a distinct difference between a patient who is breathless after walking half a mile to that who is breathless after walking a minute or two. The former has far better cardiac function than the latter. You do not have to be a doctor to assess this; it's just plain common sense. The Society for General Internal Medicine suggests that though preoperative assessment is necessary before all surgical procedures, one should avoid extensive testing for low risk surgical procedures like cataract extraction. They cite unnecessary delays as the reason. This may be true of the National Health Services of the United Kingdom but does not hold good for India. Here a preoperative check could be complete between 24-48 hours in a paying situation, and even when I served as a professor in a large public hospital it could be done between four and seven days and even quicker if it was emergent .

This speaks volumes of the Indian healthcare system in public hospitals; a close-to-free service. This is manned by bright residents, who are focused on the subject, guided by their seniors. Though one has to cope with long lines and lost tempers because of work load, for the number of patients, the system seems very effective. Several authorities make various suggestions. The American College of Surgeons in their "choosing wisely" document suggest that a chest x-ray is not necessary for a patient with unremarkable history and physical examination. Others suggest that a blood count is only necessary if patient is at risk of anaemia and a urine analysis if he is to undergo urological surgery. I would not agree with all these suggestions. Disease does not produce symptoms unless well advanced and the chances of picking up latent heart disease, diabetes, or even a cancer is possible in preoperative testing. So my list would include blood counts, urine and blood sugar, kidney assessment by creatinine, a chest x-ray an ECG and clotting tests as the bare minimum. Based on these the physician may do added testing, like an echocardiogram or a stress test. Nothing is more distressing in medicine than to lose a patient from elective surgery. One must try and assess your medical morbidities properly and address them to keep your surgery as safe as possible.

Dubai, Here’s Your Chance To Shop A Tarun Tahiliani


It's time to splurge because Tarun Tahiliani (plus 34 amazing designers) is all set to takeover Dubai. Heard the news yet? ExCampionite class of '77 Tarun Tahiliani is packed for Dubai as the fashion designer is ready to showcase the creations from his Fall 2015 collection at an exhibition. Organised in collaboration with UAE based event company, SoPritti, the exhibition will be held on September 19 at the Al Murooj Rotana hotel. Besides the opportunity to get your hands on the designer's beautiful garments, one can also meet the designer for exclusive styling consultation during the event. With the festive season around the corner, the event will also see participation from 35 established and upcoming labels from India and the Middle East including Rimple & Harpreet Narula, Varun Bahl, Rina Dhaka and Preeti S Kapoor. And it doesn't stop here! Including Tarun Tahiliani these four designers will also be available for exclusive consultations, so you have quite a bouquet to choose from.

You have saved the date already, haven't you?

Date: September 19, 2015

Venue: Al Yasat Ballroom at Al Murooj Rotana, Dubai

Time: 10:00am - 8:00 p.m.

Kovalam Literary Fest from October 10

The Kovalam Literary Festival is coming back to Thiruvananthapuram after a two-year break.The star line-up of speakers includes imminent poeple like Gopal Gandhi and ExCampionite class of '81 Rajdeep Sardesai.

It will be held at the VJT Hall on October 10, according to founder-director Binoo K John. Gopal Gandhi, the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, will deliver the K.C.John memorial lecture. Well-known TV anchor Rajdeep Sardesai will talk about the 2014 elections, the subject of his book. The book will also discuss the forthcoming Bihar elections. Kiran Nagarkar, one of India’s leading novelists, will read from the last of his ‘Ravan and Eddie’ trilogy which has just been released. Akshaya Mukul is the author of the phenomenal buzz book of this year, ‘Gita Press and the Rise of Hindu India’. Mukul will talk about the origins and rapid growth of the Hindu extreme right ideology in India. “Akshaya Mukul presents us with a rare treasure trove. Mukul tells the fascinating story of how the Hindutva project was seeded and consolidated in the public imagination,” says Booker Prize winner Arundhati Roy.”

This book will greatly enhance out knowledge and understanding of the disturbing situation India is facing and finds itself in today.” There will also be a session on statist violence and the grisly underbelly of counter terrorism. Arun Ferreira, the Mumbai journalist, who was arrested on suspicion of being a Naxal sympathiser, will address this session, along with Manisha Sethi, professor of Jamia Milia University in Delhi, and author of ‘Kafkaland’. In earlier editions, internationally known writers and activists like Fathima Bhutto, William Dalrymple, Binayak Sen, and Mohammed Hanif had read at the Festival. The festival is being supported by Kerala Tourism and Taj Vivanta. Admission is free.

PM Modi To Win West With Star-Studded Business Meetings

A galaxy of super-rich chief executives, techies, entrepreneurs, investors with global giant companies like Google, Microsoft, Qualcomm and Adobe are lined up to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his two day trip to Silicon Valley. This firmament of business does not include some 35 chief executive officers of manufacturing companies and financial institutions who have a date with Modi during a ‘Make in India’ event in New York after he touches down. The West Coast theme is ‘Innovative Entrepreneurship, Digital Economy and Renewable Energy’.

Diplomatic sources confirm that John T Chambers, executive chairman of $47-billion CISCO Technology, Satya Nadella, CEO of $93-billion Microsoft, Paul Jacobs of $27-billion Qualcomm, $66-billion Google’s top honchos Eric Schmidt and Sundar Pichai, ex-Google billionaire Ram Shriram, and Shantanu Narayen, CEO of $5-billion Adobe Systems, will meet Modi on the West Coast. Modi will also meet Silicon Valley’s hi-tech billionaire entrepreneurs like ExCampionite class of '62 Romesh Wadhwani of Symphony Technology Group, Venktesh Shukla of Monta Vista Capital and Naren Gupta of Integrated Systems. The Prime Minister is also slated to visit Tesla Headquarters in Palo Alto in California and meet one of the co-founders of the next generation US automotive and energy storage companies. Modi may miss meeting Elon Musk, Tesla’s founder and CEO, as he is believed to be away from the US during that time. From these stratospheric technologies companies and entrepreneurs, the Prime Minister may interact with Dr Manu Prakash of Stanford, who is a ‘frugal science’ innovator whose 50-cent microscopes have been sold across Asia and Africa. South Block sources said the India show kickstarts in Washington with India-US strategic commercial dialogue with external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, commerce and industry minister Nirmala Sitharaman, power and renewable energy ministry Piyush Goyal interacting with their US counterpart in order to cement the bilateral relationship. After addressing the UN Sustainable Development Summit in New York, Modi has a hectic programme on the West Coast with an address to Indian diaspora at San Jose auditorium. Through innovative entrepreneurship, the PM wants to bring the experience of Silicon Valley start-ups to India without the downside.

“The PM is keen on interacting with the US techies on digital economy which is changing the face of business and trade, for instance, how Uber has changed the transportation landscape. Prime Minister Modi is interested in renewable energy as this could be India’s answer to Climate change. While Boeing Chairman wanted Modi to come to its headquarters in Seattle, CEO of Textron Inc, which manufactures Bell Helicopters, Cessna and Beechcraft, has also placed a request to meet the Prime Minister. The focus of the Prime Minister’s West Coast trip is on leapfrogging the Indian economy through latest technology,” said an Indian diplomat.

Big B, Ratan Tata Join Hands For TB- Free India


"If this disease can happen to me, it can happen to anyone", says Mr. Bachchan who himself was a victim of TB in the year 2000. The United States Ambassador to India, Richard Varma launched the 'Mumbai Dialogue: Towards a TB-free India' along with Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan and Ratan Tata ExCampionite class of ’49, Chairman, Tata Trusts.

Aiming to engage the corporate sector to further strengthen the Government of India's 'Call to Action for a tuberculosis free India,' a group of corporate leaders joined the trio for a dialogue to engage this sector directly in effort to eradicate TB. TB has been one of the deadliest diseases in India. As per the figures from the World Health Organization (WHO) global TB report 2014, around 2.40 lakh Indians die every year and 61,000 suffer from multidrug resistant TB. "United States has invested close to $100 million in last 18 years to prevent and control TB. It has helped over 15 million people. But still a lot needs to be done and only government alone cannot do it as it needs multi-sectoral approach, in which public and private partners need to collaborate," said Mr. Varma. Mr. Bachchan who himself was a victim of TB in the year 2000, said that "if this disease can happen to me, it can happen to anyone. While we all have a role to play, I must say that those who work on ground to detect TB patients and treat them are very important in this fight," said the actor. Calling the need of collective response to this epidemic by corporates and communities, Mr. Tata said that while this disease does not differentiate between the rich and poor, it is a significant economic drain on the latter section. "It results in discrimination at schools, workplaces and within societies. We will do everything possible in our capacity to make this battle against TB, a success," he added. The Call to Action for a TB-Free India campaign is an initiative led by GoI to engage corporate, civil society and community leaders to end TB in the country. The call to action will culminate in a National Summit in March 2016. Dr. Jagdish Prasad, Director General of Health Services, GoI, said that India witnesses four TB patients' death per minute. "I am sure that the private sector and corporate would adopt slums and different districts of India for comprehensive TB control as part of their CSR and supplement the efforts," he said. Mr Bachchan has worked as a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF India for eradicating polio. The social awareness campaign powered by the actor since 2002 proved to be highly successful, with reported polio cases shrinking from 1000 cases in 2002 to 1 case in 2011. In March 2014, the World Health Organization declared India polio free after not a single case was reported for three consecutive years. He along with Sachin Tendulkar have also signed up as Tiger Ambassadors for Maharashtra government to promote tiger conservation this year.

An Issue Of Visibility

Lesbians and gays working in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields are often invisible, writes the University of Maryland, Baltimore County's Manil Suri ExCampionite class of ’74 in a New York Times op-ed.

A recent estimate found that some 43 percent of the LGBT STEM workforce isn't out at work, he says. He adds that his own institution, in a move to increase the visibility of LGBT academics, asked for faculty and staff who were comfortable adding their names to website for students. He says the arts, humanities, and social sciences had about a dozen people sign up, while he was the only person from STEM departments to do so. Suri suggests that this lack of visibility stems both from underrepresentation as well as the culture of STEM fields. The fields are problem-oriented, he says, with even lunchtime conversations focusing on work-related issues. The expression of personal identities then takes a backseat to scientific neutrality as well as to people's immersion into their fields, he says. To break this invisibility, Suri says that "teachers must come out not just to colleagues, but to students — some of whom will need role models, and all of whom must get used to visible LGBT professionals to prepare for future workplace settings." "More critically," he adds, "STEM culture must rein in the pressure to separate professional and personal identities. It should view its workers more holistically, welcoming their interests and differences as sources of enhanced resourcefulness."

Thane School Comes Up Trumps In Top-10 List Of Best Institutions Across India

Several schools in the city and around have appeared in the top 10 rankings under different categories in a countrywide survey. On the top of various tables were Smt. Sulochanadevi Singhania School, Thane, Campion School, Fort, and Dhirubhai Ambani International School, BKC. The EducationWorld India School Rankings 2015 surveys 1,000 schools in 14 categories in 27 cities. The Centre for Forecasting's (C fore) field researchers surveyed a total of 11,660 parents, teachers, principals and educationists. Thane's Smt. Sulochanadevi Singhania School was ranked the best school in the co-ed day category. The school's position last year was fifth. Other schools which made it to the top 10 in this category were Cathedral and John Connon School, Fort (Rank 4) and Jamnabai Narsee School, Juhu (Rank 9). "We can't create miracles overnight but we have a core team that is working on achieving three important aspects of our mission—academics, discipline and cleanliness. We are also focusing on value education to help students learn better," said Zeenat Bhojabhoy, principal, Jamnabai Narsee School.

Campion School, Fort, has bagged the top position in the boys' day school category. Two other city schools made it to the top 10. Two of the top 10 ranks in the girls' day school category were bagged by JB Petit High School, Fort (Rank 5), and Villa Theresa High School, Peddar Road (Rank 10).

"We do not strive to create academic robots but concentrate on human excellence. We don't want our students to be just good at their professions," said Father Francis Swamy, manager, St Mary's School, ICSE. Maintaining its top position in the international day schools category for the third time was Dhirubhai Ambani International School, BKC. "It is a fitting tribute to the dedication and commitment of each and every member of our school community. This recognition makes us, both proud and humble, and inspires us to continue our quest for excellence," said founder and chairperson, Nita Ambani. Ecole Mondiale World School, Juhu, maintained its second rank. Six other city schools were among the top 10 ranks in the category. Kendriya Vidyalaya, IIT Bombay, Powai was ranked the second in the government day schools category. This year, the survey also ranked government residential schools, schools for students with special needs and budget private schools.

Uphold Media Ethics: Sardesai


The media must ask itself questions of ethics, and the time has come to “name and shame” those media persons who have brought bad name to the profession. This was observed by senior journalist and ExCampionite class of ’81 Rajdeep Sardesai while speaking during an event as part of the 4th foundation day celebrations of the Assam School of Journalism.

He said that the media, especially the electronic media, has over the years faced a big challenge with regard to the question of ethics to a large extent and is driven mostly by TRPs. He said that many people who own TV channels have “low ethics”. “Editors want to become Rajya Sabha members and owners are always looking for business opportunities… The time has come to name and shame the crooks in my profession,” Sardesai said. He said that people have told him that most of the news channels in Assam are used by their owners for political purposes. Expressing concern over issues like trial by the media and the media’s tendency to create sensationalism instead of informing the public in an informed manner, Sardesai said, “If you conduct media trials every day, we are going down the slippery slope. We must start asking ourselves ethical questions.” He rued the fact that national media generally tends to gloss over events and issues affecting the North East and other “areas in the periphery”. Pointing to the Sheena Bora murder case, Sardesai said, “It is sad that journalists are spending so much time tracking.

Indrani Mukerjea’s family tree instead of focusing on the floods in Assam.” He said that the recent floods and violence in Manipur did not get any coverage in the media till the homes of ministers and MLAs were burnt down by protesters. He said that “tyranny of distance”, which means incidents in far-flung areas do not get focus in the media, is affecting journalism in India. “In a country like India, there should be no periphery. In reality, we do not have any national news channels in India. We have metro news channels. If Indrani Mukerjea had been an ordinary citizen instead of being a celebrity and the owner of a media house, the case would not have made headlines,” Sardesai said. “Is TV news only about hearing insane voices?... Are we competing in the box office? That way we will also show pornography tomorrow because it sells. Are we in journalism for TRPs?” he asked. “There is something wrong with our system and something wrong with the way our country is evolving if we do not cover the floods in Assam just because floods happen in Assam every year,” Sardesai said. Sardesai said that TV has turned journalists into celebrities and made the common people fear journalists rather than respect them. He said the issue of ethics has to be looked at by all media persons and hoped that the spread of the new media and citizen journalism would make journalism much better.

Why Is Science So Straight?


Many years ago, over lunch at our university cafeteria, I came out as gay to a colleague in the engineering department. “I didn’t realize you were so unconventional,” he said. I tried explaining to him that being gay was innate and had nothing to do with wanting to subvert convention, but he refused to retract his label. Looking back, perhaps he was correct. For I had violated an unspoken convention of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics): the invisibility of its L.G.B.T. members. Let me clarify that my university is very gay-friendly. In fact, two years ago, our L.G.B.T. faculty and staff association created a public website to list those members who were comfortable being “out” to students, to help promote visibility. So far, the college of arts, humanities and social sciences has had 13 faculty members sign up. STEM departments, altogether, have had one — me.

The lack of visibility isn’t restricted to academia. My partner, a civil engineer, recalls meeting just two other gay engineers professionally, in a 35-year career. Statistics are hard to come by, but an analysis by Erin Cech, a sociologist at Rice University, of federal employee surveys found 20 percent fewer L.G.B.T. workers in government STEM-related jobs than should be expected. Underrepresentation is just one factor that reduces visibility. Unlike women and minorities, whose status is usually obvious, sexual orientation is a hidden characteristic. The fact that a sizable proportion of the L.G.B.T. STEM work force is closeted (43 percent, according to a 2015 estimate) further deepens this effect. There is a another, more insidious factor at work. STEM culture is very problem-focused. Conversations, even over lunch, typically remain restricted to work matters (which is very different from what I’ve noticed in arts and humanities settings). A colleague who studied in the math department at Spelman College tells of a surreal afternoon on Sept. 11, 2001, when her professor placidly delivered his scheduled lecture on set theory without once mentioning the attacks.

Being too expressive of personal identity can be viewed as running counter to scientific neutrality. In competitive venues, where complete immersion in one’s field might be the promoted ideal, the mention of an extracurricular pursuit can even be seized upon as a lack of commitment. I remember a young mathematician at a prestigious research institute sharing his love for piano playing after hearing I wrote fiction. “Don’t tell anyone in my department I own a piano,” he requested in the next breath. The pressure to conform is particularly acute in engineering, where, as my partner laments, the training is geared toward everybody arriving lock step at a standard solution. It is unsurprising, then, that Professor Cech and a collaborator have found that heteronormativity is deeply entrenched in the discipline. “Everyone in this field is presumably straight,” a gay male graduate student told them in an interview. In another interview, a chemical engineer working for a multinational oil company describes the atmosphere as “almost militaristic in terms of how they manage people” and said that they don’t even think diversity is an issue. To cope, many gays and lesbians must learn to suppress crucial aspects of their personalities and compartmentalize their lives. The federal survey analyzed by Professor Cech shows the effects of such environmental inhospitality. L.G.B.T. workers in STEM-related fields report significantly lower job satisfaction, both when compared to other STEM workers and to L.G.B.T. workers in other fields.

Such discontent — and invisibility — can contribute to a field’s reputation for being unwelcoming. As a result, young lesbians and gays might sell themselves short, aiming for occupations with little use for their talents, but in which they see more people like themselves. In addition to facilitating greater intellectual fulfillment, diversity in the work force also helps the field. For instance, work by Andras Tilcsik at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto and his collaborators shows that gays and lesbians develop enhanced skills in social perceptiveness — a trait not traditionally sought in engineering settings, but one that could help make them more responsive to human needs. Although there has been a concerted effort to make STEM fields more diverse in terms of gender and race, L.G.B.T. participation has received comparatively scant attention or resources. An exception is a recent grant by the National Science Foundation to address prejudice against sexual minorities in academic engineering departments. Grass-roots organizations like Out in STEM and the National Organization for Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals are taking the lead to provide mentoring and networking — activities that have proved indispensable in the retention of women and minorities. An essential step is to break self-perpetuating patterns of concealment. Teachers must come out not just to colleagues, but to students — some of whom will need role models, and all of whom must get used to visible L.G.B.T. professionals to prepare for future workplace settings. More critically, STEM culture must rein in the pressure to separate professional and personal identities. It should view its workers more holistically, welcoming their interests and differences as sources of enhanced resourcefulness.

Corporations must realize that more profitable alternatives exist for treating engineers as interchangeable units. After years of stubborn resistance, Exxon finally added sexual orientation and gender identity to its anti-discrimination policy in January, reportedly in part to better attract top STEM talent. After the legalization of gay marriage, the country seems poised to ban job bias. Beyond such protections, though, the goal should be to get to a point where STEM fields genuinely recognize L.G.B.T. members as an asset worth nurturing.

Manil Suri, ExCampionite class of ‘74 the author of the novel “The City of Devi,” is a mathematics professor at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and a contributing opinion writer.

TCS Has Rented a 2 mn sq ft 0ffice Space!

This can accommodate 30, 000 employees.

Hiranandani, a suburb in Mumbai that houses various companies and offers clutter and congestion free zone to operate, is going to get a new occupant. The Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) is planning to open a 2 million square feet office space in Hiranandani, which is a sought after option for startups for affordable rates than downtown. This is probably the largest office space acquired by the software exporter in the country. The lease deal of TCS will be for 15 years with a reset clause that will be renewed every three years. As per the terms of the deal, TCS will also hold a soft option to extend the lease by another 2 million sq ft. The office space of TCS will be used for consolidation as well as expansion plans. However, Niranjan Hiranandani ExCampionite class of '66 and managing director of Hiranandani Constructions, has kept his mum on this new move, claiming confidentiality. The new office space will accommodate 30, 000 employees. The monthly lease rent will range between Rs 50 and Rs 55 per sq ft, which will make it to Rs 120 crore to Rs 130 crore annually. Hiranandani Constructions is expected to deliver the office space within two years of the signing of the lease agreement. Presently, TCS has 19 offices in Mumbai and 10 delivery centers in Mumbai and Thane. For the year ended March 2015, the company generated consolidated revenues of $15.5 billion.

Schools Should Go For Aptitude Certificates PM Tells HRD Min

`Need Talented People From All Walks In Politics'.

Regretting that politics has acquired a bad name in the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked talented people from all walks of life to join the political process for a better nation. The PM expressed the sentiments during his interaction with students as part of Teachers' Day celebrations. He also asked the HRD ministry to award “aptitude certificates“ rather than “character certificates“ to students, reflecting their overall personality when they leave school. Noting that he wants to bring a “small change” with this initiative, Modi said character certificate had become a ritualistic exercise. As per the initiative, “every three months a software would be developed and questionnaire would be filled up by friends about what are the specialties in a student. “Does he maintain discipline and is he punctual and whether he is friendly .His parents should also fill it. This will help the student realize his potential and chart his future” the PM said. During his interaction with students, he lamented, “Politics has acquired a bad name in the country. People fear, they cannot come here and that good people should not join it. This has hurt the country much.“

The PM responded to a range of questions including on his days in school and dress sense, during his 105minute interaction with 800 students and 60 teachers from schools in Delhi. Students from nine other states joined the programme through video conference. Emphasizing that political parties are an important constituent in a democracy , the PM said it is crucial that good, intelligent and talented people from all spheres participate. “When Mahatma Gandhi spearheaded the freedom movement, people from all walks participated. Therefore, the Independence Movement was very powerful,“ he said. He asked students to develop leadership qualities and not to get deterred by failure in pursuit of their goals while advising parents to refrain from foisting their own career choices on their children. Modi also called upon the bright minds from various professions to devote at least one hour a week or 100 hours annually to teaching, infusing a new strength in the area of education. When a student from Goa asked him about his favourite sport, Modi said in a lighter vein: “We all know the games politicians play“ He went on to narrate how as a youngster in a family with limited means, he did not pursue any dedicated sport but had learnt how to climb trees. He said he had also learnt swimming while going to the village pond to wash his clothes.

`Mukherjee Sir’ Gives Students A `Social’ Lesson


Teachers' Day 2015 -

He regaled them with childhood stories, recounted the history of modern India and contemporary politics all within a little over an hour. President Pranab Mukherjee, widely regarded for his vast knowledge and sharp memory , used instances from his personal life to give students from the Dr Rajendra Prasad Sarvodaya Vidyalaya a crash course in political science on Teachers' Day eve. Asking the students to address him as “Mukherjee Sir'', the President took to the `lectern' 46 years after he quit his job at Calcutta University . The move described as a “wild idea“ of Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal generated enthusiasm among the 60 students. “If anyone of you feel little bored, you are free to tell me Mukherjee you can stop it. I am no longer a President or a minister. I am just your Mukherjee Sir...I will be happy if you call me Mukherjee Sir,“ he said. Among these light-hearted notes, were serious observations on the political history of India as he talked about the increasing role of social media and the fourth pillar of democracy--media and NGOs --in forming social opinion which he said were the “off shoot“ of a healthy democracy. Recalling a foreign journalist's query about the Anna Hazare movement, he said: “If the people feel that MPs are not doing their jobs, governments are not doing their jobs, they (people) cannot simply sit idle...Through media, and the powerful medium of social DAY media--Twitter, Facebook...they (people) should convey their opinion. These are powerful mechanisms of creating public opinion.“

Speaking impromptu, he described various milestones in India's history, including the crafting of the Constitution, economic liberalization, social sector schemes like NREGS among other issues. Keen not to sound like a dull professor, Mukherjee peppered his talk with boyhood stories admit ting to being an “average student'' who had to walk more than 5km to attend his school. “My school was very far, a little more than 5 km. I used to walk through paddy fields. I used to tie a towel around my waist and an other on my head to protect my books and belongings. I did not want to go to school because I had to walk 5 km everyday ,“ he said. Responding to a question, the President said he was an “unparalleled naughty boy“ who used to trouble his mother, crediting her for all the success he has achieved.

Birthday Special: 5 Memorable Romantic Roles Of Rishi Kapoor


ExCampionite class of '69 Rishi Kapoor doesn’t need any introduction. On his Twitter bio he refers himself as ‘Son of a famous Father-Father of a famous Son. I am the hyphen in between them’.

Perhaps, Chintu Kapoor doesn’t know that his hyphen is a very prominent line in the world of Bollywood. An offspring of India’s oldest filmy family, Rishi is a perfect blend of angelic looks and wit. The legend who was awarded the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008 is turning 63 today. He might have started on a path of doing villainous roles and strong characters, but looking at his face one can’t forget his chocolate boy looks and good boy charm. Touted as Bollywood’s first chocolate boy, Rishi Kapoor has acted in many romantic movies, out of which 12 are with his wife Neetu Kapoor. His cute smile, his perfect stature and his impeccable dialogue delivery, made women weak in their knees. Apparently, he has the same affect now. On his birthday today, we bring 5 roles of him which embodied the words romance and love:

1. Raj in Bobby (1973): During an interview about ‘Bobby’, Rishi exclaimed “There was a misconception that the film was made to launch me as an actor. The film was actually made to pay the debts of Mera Naam Joker. Dad wanted to make a teenage love story and he did not have money to cast Rajesh Khanna in the film.” His character Raj Nath made ladies swoon over him. The teenage love story was set against the backdrop of rich vs poor and was a trendsetter in the truest meaning of the word. Rishi Kapoor won the Filmfare award for best actor and his chemistry with actress Dimple Kapadia set the screen on fire. Till today, one cannot just stop looking at his face which had eyes that cast a spell.

2. Vicky in Kabhie Kabhie (1976): For those who thought, this Yash Chopra movie was about the uncompleted love story of Amitabh Bachchan and Rakhee, you are wrong. The movie revolve around the love of Vikram (Rishi Kapoor) and Pinky (Neetu Singh). Vikram, who is smitten by Pinky, was the perfect boyfriend any girl would wish for. He did not leave her when she needed him the most and went through a lot of ordeal just to be with her. Clad in sweaters, Rishi was as pleasing to the eyes as the picturesque locations where the movie was filmed.

3. Akbar in Amar Akbar Anthony (1977): The ‘Akbar’ of the trio, Rishi Kapoor turned to be one of the biggest reasons this movie was a super duper hit. If Vinod Khanna and Amitabh Bachchan were the strong brooding actors, Rishi lend just the amount of delicacy the movie required. He was again seen romancing his real life wife, Neetu Singh in this one. Akbar was this stubborn young man who understood that his love’s father will make it difficult for them to be together. He sorted to ways like singing "Taiyabali Pyar Ka Dushman" in front of his home and openly confessing his feelings in “Parda Hai Parda. If there was one hero that pointed out, ladka ladki raazi to kya karega qazi, it was Rishi Kapoor as Akbar.

4. Dev in Prem Rog (1982): In a poll by magazine Cosmopolitan, ‘Prem Rog’ featured as one of their top ten 'Most Romantic Films Ever'. Treated as one of the best classics directed by the showman Raj Kapoor himself, ‘Prem Rog’ can drive you to tears and make you smile at the same time. The soul of the movie lay with Chintu Kapoor, obviously. As Dev, the lover who sacrificed his love for a better life for (Rama), Rishi struck the right chords with the viewers. On learning that his forfeit did not ensure a better life for Rama, he takes steps to change her life from worse to good. He depicted all shades of love, from being unable to express his love in the song, "Bhanware Ne Khilaya Phool” to the emotion of being separated from her in "Meri Qismat Men Tu Nahin Shayad". His phenomenal acting earned him the Filmfare award for best actor.

5. Chaand in Heena (1991): Directed by Rishi Kapoor’s brother actor Randhir Kapoor, this movie was a critical and commercial success. A love story between an Indian boy who accidentally reaches Pakistan and loses his memory was considered the most epic love story of all times. As Chaand, Rishi Kapoor gives a convincing performance. He tells you that you need not be in your complete senses to experience affection towards someone. Even though, he gets entwined between cross border enmity his love doesn’t fade away. Heena was India's submission for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film that year and Chaand became the romantic hero who taught you the true meaning of love.

Zubin Adds Another Role


ExCampionite class of '48 Zubin Mehta has been named honorary chairman of the George Enescu International Music Festival in Romania. He inherits the title in 2017 from Ioan Holender, former head of the Vienna State Opera who continues as the festival’s artistic director. Mehta, 79, said yesterday: ‘I can hardly wait to return to Romania. You have the most beautiful festival in the world.’ Mehta is music director for life of the Israel Philharmonic and chief conductor of the Maggio Musicale in Florence.

High End Home Prices In Mumbai Can Correct: HDFC CEO Mistry

Mistry says the RBI may have leeway to cut interest rates by 50-75 basis points over the next one year, but much will also depend on how global events play out. Prices of high end homes in markets like Mumbai have room to correct, and can correct, says HDFC CEO and ExCampionite class of ’70 Keki Mistry in an interview to CNBC-TV18. However, he does not see much scope for reduction in prices of homes in the mid and low end segments. "My sense is given how low inflation is and given more importantly how the global economy is poised where there seems to be very limited chance of any sharp increase in oil prices or commodity prices, given all those factors my sense is that there is room to cut rates and quantum of rate cuts is very difficult to say but I would say 50-75 basis points with a 12 month view but this is obviously dependent on global events settling down," he says. As for banks reducing rates, Mistry said it would depend on the cost of funding for individual banks. "We need to recognize couple of things, one is that banks sometimes have long-term liabilities and if they have a lot of long-term liabilities which they are taken in the past, then those liabilities till they get repriced, their ability to pass on any significant reduction in interest rates to that extent gets limited," he says.

Below is the transcript of Keki Mistry's interview with Latha Venkatesh & Sonia Shenoy.

Latha: The first question is your associate company HDFC Bank ’s big base rate cut. Do you think this is going to trigger a chain reaction in the industry, do you see other banks responding? They are all coming into the housing space? I think every bank is going to look at its cost of funds and determine for itself whether it is in a position to cut rates and if it is in a position to cut rates, the quantum of reduction that it can bring about. So, it is very specific to each bank. We need to recognize couple of things, one is that banks sometimes have long-term liabilities and if they have a lot of long-term liabilities which they had taken in the past then those liabilities till they get reprised their ability to pass on any significant reduction in interest rates to that extent gets limited.

Sonia: By how much do you expect the rates to fall, say in the next six months and if you can also give us your estimates for the next 12 months maybe? If you ask me from Reserve Bank of India's perspective, my sense is that inflation has come down significantly which is obvious, the numbers are there for all of us to see. Wholesale inflation is running negative 4 percent, which is truly very high which means that the manufacturing companies are under some pressure. Retail inflation or consumer inflation is also very controlled. The only uncertainty going forward may be the monsoons but having said that we still have one month to go before we can really take a call that the monsoon is deficit or significantly deficit. So, let’s keep our fingers crossed but my sense is given how low inflation is and more importantly how the global economy is poised where there seems to be very limited chance of any sharp increase in oil prices or commodity prices, given all those factors my sense is that there is room to cut rates and quantum of rate cuts is very difficult to say but I would say 50-75 basis points with a 12 month view but this is obviously dependent on global events settling down.

Latha: Your own lending rates or even bank lending rates, how much will they fall, by an equal measure 75 basis? So that is the point I made in the beginning that unless and until we start seeing or each bank will have to evaluate its own cost of funds and if it believes that it has a lot of long-term liability which will take time for it to get reprised downwards, then to that extent the rate cut or the passing on of lower rate cuts to the system may be a little delayed. It will happen, give it time it will happen but it will take a bit of time.

It Feels Good To Ring The Bell, Says HDFC’s Keki Mistry


HDFC vice chairman and CEO and ExCampionite class of ’70 Keki Mistry rang the opening bell on the BSE day. He was present at the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) on the invitation of ET Now to celebrate the BSE day. On how it felt to ring the bell at the BSE, KeKi Mistry said in a jest, “Very Very nice. I was at the board of BSE for many years but never had the opportunity to ring the bell. So this is a great experience.” However, while talking about the market with ET Now’s Nikunj Dalmia, Chief Editor, Financial Markets, he added, “The mood is a little nervous about emerging markets presently, which got reflected in the last week’s results. But, I think that India stands out and investors also realize the same. Our fundamentals are so much better, the foreign exchange position is good and the reduction in oil and commodity prices is great news. “ The event and the interview was LIVE telecast by ET Now. Besides, the viewers could catch all the updates and special coverage from the BSE headquarters all through the day. HDFC is a pioneer of housing mortgage in India. The leader has turned the concept of selling mortgages into a profitable, professionally managed and world-class enterprise. HDFC is how over 5 million families in India spell the word home.

More Americans Naming Babies After Guns


Parents appear to be arm ing their newborn babies with intimidating names in a tough-guy take on giving them the best start in life. More children are being given names related to guns, knives, historical warriors, dark goddesses and macho movie stars, according to a survey by a US baby name website.

`Danger', `Arrow', `Rebel', Pistol' and `Arson', believe it or not, have also been used. Most popular of all is `Gunner', which was given to more than 1,500 babies in the US last year. According to baby name site Nameberry , if `Gunnar' (meaning “bold warrior“ in Swedish) is taken with `Gunner' the name hits the top 200 for boys. `Cannon', meanwhile, is in the top 1,000. Also on the rise in the US -a nation which has seen significant gun violence this year -for baby boys are `Trigger', `Shooter', `Caliber', `Magnum' and `Pistol'. There has also been a rise in the use of gun manufacturers such as `Barrett', `Remington', `Kimber', `Ruger', `Wesson', `Browning', `Benelli' and `Beretta'. Other weapons are also finding favour as baby names. `Lance' is an old-school choice, but has been increasingly joined by `Mace', `Blade', `Saw' and `Dagger', whilst `Sabre' has been trending for girls. Nine hundred boys were an `Archer' last year, and many baby girls were `Arrows'.

`Hunter' continues to do very well as a first name for newborn babes and has been in the top 50 for boys for two decades in the US now. But it has reached the top 10 in hunt ing friendly states such as Montana, Wyoming, Oklahoma, Kentucky and Maine -and is number three, rendering it practically common, in West Virginia. Meanwhile, five little boys were named `Danger' last year. Even blunter were the 11 named `Arson' and nine called `Chaos'. `Maverick' is up 67 places on last year to 206th place for boys overall, whilst `Rebel' was given to 47 babies. Historical tough guys also live on in parents' hopes for their offspring. `Titus', the Roman military commander and later Emperor, is at its highest rank ever at 285th place for boys. The names of military ranks themselves have also risen, with `Major' going up more than 650 places in the past three years. Mostly absent from the trend are baby girls being given similarly scary , intimidating or tough names. But they're not all called `Sugar' and `Melody' -there has been a rise in name of the Hindu goddess of power and destruction, `Kali', to become the 262nd most popular for girls. `Aela', a character from adventure computer game Skyrim, is also on the rise for girls, as is `Rogue'. But parents mostly focus their dreams of powerful, protective, non-sissy offspring on their sons.Last but not least, final popular names look like a trip to the movies, with `Rocky', `Rambo', `Clint' (Eastwood) and `Sylvester' (Stallone) all on the rise.

Death And Other Uncertainties Of Life

Altaf Patel ExCampionite class of '64

It would help me immensely if I knew when I am going to die. It would give me adequate time for financial planning to live a comfortable life and say my goodbyes to all who matter. However, this is not as easy as it seems. As doctors participating in acute care, we can tell almost nine out of 10 times which patient will not go home; but we strive to keep going in the hope that we are wrong, and we are delighted when one of these hopeless cases recover and actually go home. It is a sense of great pride and joy for all of us.

I remember when my father was ill in his last year of life. There were multiple hospitalizations, and he rallied around to come home each time well. At some point of time it dawned on me that he was nearing his death. I confided in my friend, who is an astrologer. I explained to him that I was at the height of my career and had several academic conferences and commitments and a large practice to deal with, and every time I traveled I feared he would be dead. My astrologer friend provided me a date of death, which I shared with my siblings well in advance. They did take it as strange that a man of science would bother about astrology. I explained that I had not asked but the astrologer was forthcoming in helping me and I did not want to dishearten him.

The date was given of a year hence. My father was actually discharged two days in advance of this date, but I insisted he stay on. It is strange, I thought, how these suggestions without scientific fact could even affect a man of science such as me. On the appointed date, nothing happened till the evening so I left on some urgent property matters that I had to sort out - to learn that he died the next day. So with the most talented doctors declaring him fit to go home, the astrologer was not completely off the mark. He had been uncannily correct on several past occasions on various subjects. He used to argue with me that astrology though a science is not a complete science like medicine; I am inclined to believe that this is correct. I used to treat an elderly gentleman with cardiac problems. He repeatedly came with his son who was in his thirties. I often told the young man hat the father would not live beyond a year. However I saw the duo repeatedly over the years.

One day the old man came to see me without the son, and I asked where he was. He told me his son had died a few months ago of a heart attack. Such are the uncertainties of life. I am therefore surprised by a paper in Lancet from Stockholm, with data about predicting risk of dying within five years of people between 40 to 70 years of age. The strangest predictor of death was asking people to rate their overall health and their walking pace.

The latter I had alluded to in my previous column as my observation. There were certain differences between men when self-reported health was the best indicator and women where a previous cancer diagnosis was the strongest predictor. Walking pace was a strong indicator and men who admitted to slow walking pace have a 3.7 times increase in risk of death within five years. Walking pace in men was an even stronger predictor than smoking, which was surprising. Despite several projections of life expectancy by trials, there will always be exceptions that break the rule.

Rishi Kapoor’s ‘Old’ Look, A Guarded Secret


Rishi Kapoor ExCampionite class of '69 plays an 80-year-old man in Divya Kumar’s Sanam Re and 90-year-old man in Shakun Batra’s Kapoor & Sons. Needless to say, Rishi who is 62, was made to use heavy makeup to look the part. But both the filmmakers are taking care to see that the look is not out before the film is. Says a source, “Rishi’s look for both the roles is being fiercely guarded by the makers of the two films. It is the USP of both Sanam Re and Kapoor & Sons. T-Series, the producers of Sanam Re have rushed forward to ensure they get into theatres first.”Apparently Rishi’s role in Sanam Re is inspired by Philip Noirette’s role in the Italian classic Cinema Paradisio.Sanam Re will release on February 12, 2016 while K&S will be out in March.

Ratan Tata Invests In Infinite Analytics


This is Tata's 11th known personal investment in a new age tech firm. Infinite Analytics Inc, a US-based predictive marketing and analysis company run by India-born founders, has secured an undisclosed amount of funding from Tata Sons' chairman emeritus and ExCampionite class of ’49 Ratan Tata and other investors. Existing investor Nikhil Vora (founder and CEO of Sixth Sense Ventures) and new investors from Silicon Valley and India have also participated in this round, as per a statement. Infinite Analytics will use the money to extend its predictive analytics technology to verticals beyond retail and e-commerce. “We have grown up admiring and respecting Tata’s business acumen and this is a great opportunity for us to learn from him directly. His guidance and vision will definitely help us grow Infinite Analytics into an analytics powerhouse,” said Akash Bhatia, co-founder & CEO, Infinite Analytics. The press statement said that the idea behind Infinite Analytics was born in a class conducted by Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Founded in 2012 by MIT graduates Bhatia and Purushotam Botla, the company specializes in deep machine learning and predictive analytics by merging data from multiple sources to create a 360-degree view of the user. It counts Indian and overseas players such as AirBnB, Comcast, B2W Digital, BabyOye, eBay, Future Group, Infibeam, NBA, NDTV Retail and Trendin among others as customers.

Infinite Analytics' flagship product SocialGenomix provides an advanced personalization engine for the web. It creates a social genome of a user based on his/her structured and unstructured data on social networks. The company had showcased its offerings at the Techcircle Big Data Forum 2014. Infinite Analytics had raised seed capital from investors based in Australia, Taiwan, India, UK and the US. Infinite Analytics is also backed by Tim Berners-Lee and Deb Roy, chief media scientist at Twitter. Last November,, a subsidiary of Tata Sons, had tied up Infinite Analytics to provide personalized recommendations to its online users. For Ratan Tata, chairman emeritus of Tata Sons, the private holding arm of the business conglomerate, this is the 11th known personal tech investment. He has been investing in Indian as well as international tech startups for the past year or so. He has also backed ventures like Ampere, Ola, Paytm parent One97 Communications, Snapdeal, Urban Ladder, Bluestone and CarDekho besides investing in Chinese handset maker Xiaomi. Early this month, Tata participated in a funding round at YourStory, whose content and events compete with some offerings from and VCC Events, which are both part of the 10-year-old VCCircle Network. The parent of VCCircle Network—whose business lines include subscription data products, events, training programs and a subscription-led news website and app focused on the startup ecosystem as well as business at large in India—was acquired by News Corp in March.

Notes of Exchange

Renowned conductor and ExCampionite class of '48 Zubin Mehta returns to India two years after his controversial Kashmir concert on a three-city India tour with the prestigious Australian World Orchestra.

The silence in the majestic halls of the prestigious Sydney Opera House on a cold July evening was quite palpable. After all, the audience that walks its hallowed halls is infamous for being unforgiving. When the serene yet hyperactive Sir Simon Rattle, who on most days conducts the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, placed himself on the rostrum, moments before he was to call the orchestra at hand “an international treasure”, one knew that the concert would go on to become. The Australian World Orchestra (AWO), which played this prestigious concert — the music of which resonated in a cathedral-like setting — will hold four concerts in India in October. The baton will change though. The orchestra, in India, will come under the meticulous instruction of renowned conductor Zubin Mehta, who played with them in 2013 in Australia, and was impressed by “their organic way of playing music”. In the Capital, the concert will take place at Indira Gandhi Stadium on October 30, before which there will be performances in Mumbai and Chennai. “This is the first time such a large number of Australian artistes will tour India. Also, we are melding the two countries, if you see. While Zubin (Mehta) is one of your biggest cultural imports, this orchestra is ours,” says Gabrielle Thompson, CEO of the orchestra. Being held as part of a cultural Memorandum of Understanding between the two countries, the concert in October also marks Mehta’s return to India after being embroiled in much controversy over the concert in Kashmir’s Shalimar Bagh in 2012.

Mehta, who is based out of Tel Aviv these days and conducts the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, is known for his terrifyingly guarded yet completely hypnotic manner of conducting an orchestra, mostly without the score, a fact that is upheld and feared by concert artistes. “There is this stately demeanour to him. If he just looks at us from the corner of his eye, we know he wants more,” says violinist Asmira Woodward Page, who also plays as a chamber musician with String Orchestra of New York City. What’s interesting about the AWO is the fact that all 105 Australian musicians are employed by some of the finest orchestras world over and come together for just a season in Australia. “It’s like this wonderful reunion. Some of them have known each other for ages and the camaraderie shows in the music. In sheet music, where you aim for precision along with an organic style of playing, that becomes important,” says Alexander Briger, Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the orchestra. When in India, the orchestra will play compositions by Brahm, Schubert and Mozart. While Wagner, because of his anti-semitic music, isn’t played in Israel, Mehta has chosen to give it a miss in India too. However, like his last India concert, where he had the Bavarian Orchestra play Kashmiri folk, there are chances that Indian concert halls may resonate with surprise short Indian compositions towards the end. Mehta, who has invited the artistes to India, says, “I was quite impressed by the technical prowess of this orchestra when I conducted them in Sydney in 2013. It is, therefore, with greatest joy that I have invited this orchestra to my country.” “Collaborations where the two art forms collide are extremely interesting and give both the sides a chance to improvise. The maestro (Mehta) hasn’t told us about that yet. But he can throw a surprise,” says Belinda McFarlane, principal violinist with AWO, who is based out of Britain and primarily tours with the London Symphony Orchestra. She, however, isn’t worried about the oral legacy of Indian music vis- a-vis the understanding of written down western classical music adhered to till the last syllable. “I think the integrity of an art form is universal. So for me, even if a country like India and its music is steeped in oral legacy, the music that the orchestra will play will appeal to the people, because at the end of the day it is all about the seven notes,” she adds. The orchestra will play in Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai between October 25 and 30.

Tickets will be available on

Ultratech Well Placed To Take Part In Next Round Of Growth: Kumar Mangalam Birla

Birla said the acquisition of the Gujarat units of Jaypee Cement, which comprise an integrated unit at Sewagram and a grinding unit at Wanakbori with a combined capacity of 4.8 mtpa, is complete.

With the government’s thrust on infrastructure development, housing sector, smart cities and roads, UltraTech Cement chairman and ExCampionite class of ’83 Kumar Mangalam Birla says the company is well placed to meet the expected rise in demand and participate in the next phase of growth. He was addressing the shareholders at UltraTech’s 15th Annual General Meeting in Mumbai. “UltraTech has a strong balance sheet, robust cash flows and gearing levels well within reasonable limits. The company enjoys the confidence of its stakeholders. It has a market cap of over $13 billion. All of these help stoke the company’s future growth and development,” Birla said. He said that despite the Indian cement industry being snowed under the slowdown in the rural economy, lack of investment from both private and public sector and the overall sluggish demand, the company has been able to sustain its revenues and earnings during FY 2014-15 and in the first quarter of the current fiscal as well.

Birla said that the acquisition of the Gujarat units of Jaypee Cement has been complete, which comprises an integrated unit at Sewagram and a grinding unit at Wanakbori, with a combined capacity of 4.8 mtpa. “The enterprise value of the transaction was Rs 3,800 crore besides the actual net working capital at closing,” he said. He also said that UltraTech’s board has approved the acquisition of the cement units of Jaiprakash Associates Limited, situated at Bela and Sidhi in Madhya Pradesh. “With this an additional 4.9 MTPA capacity and thermal power generation capacity of 180 MW will be added. This acquisition will raise UltraTech’s cement capacity in India from 60.2 MTPA to 65.1 MTPA. With the on-going projects underway, the capacity in India will grow to 71.2 MTPA by the end of FY 2015-16,” he said. The company augmented its captive power capacity with the commissioning of 50 MW of thermal power plants and 22.5 MW through waste heat recovery. This brings the total thermal power capacity to 717 MW and waste heat recovery at 33 MW, which meets around 80% of UltraTech’s total power requirement, he said.

Ratan Tata Investing In BlueStone Has Lent The Brand A Sense Of Self-Pride

Says Gaurav Kushwaha, Founder and CEO

Success Quotient is a weekly feature that appears every Friday on Firstpost, which looks at the pains and joys en route to success for a head honcho - whether a CEO, MD or an entrepreneur. The column looks at the ideas that helped launch a company, its highs and lows.

He calls himself a rebel. Or he is a drummer who marches to his own drumbeats. Either which way, 35-year-old Gaurav Singh Kushwaha, CEO and founder,, online jewellery brand, does not like to follow the herd. A computer science graduate from IIT Delhi, he chose not to go the traditional route of going abroad for studies or even applying for a job overseas. From a student whose parents could not get him to trim his long hair (that is for girls, they said) to not going abroad when he got the opportunities, he has come home meeting with success in his online jewellery startup, BlueStone, that got funding even before it was launched to tripling revenues every year since its launch.

Kushwaha talks to Firstpost about how he has led an unplanned life without giving in to family or societal pressures and he has not been affected so far by the peaks and troughs.

Excerpts from the interview:

What did you want to do after graduating from IIT with a computer science degree?: I am from Kota which is famous for producing IIT aspirants and graduates. Almost every friend or relative had an IIT-attending relative. I wanted to do physics at IIT but well-meaning friends said computer science was the 'in-thing’ to do and physics would be extremely gruelling. Computer Science would be far easier and IIT was a fun place to be. At that impressionable age, I listened to their advice. I was very angry with myself for having listened to the advice. The first year was very tough. I had no regrets when I finished the course. However, I was clear I did not want to join the herd and go abroad for work or further studies. I am a rebel of sorts. I don’t like to do what it is suggested or told to me. I don’t plan anything. I have significant risk-taking capabilities and also confidence in my abilities.

So what did you do after IIT?: Right after IIT I did not take up a job. When I was in the third year of studies at IIT, I was working for a company based in Germany. They asked me to work for them when I graduated. I worked for them for eight months and then left. I then joined a start-up where I worked for around two and a half years. For a small period I also worked in the US. I prefer to live and work in Mumbai. With my background in computer science, I got a job at Amazon and then with an IIT batch mate I started Chakpak, a Bollywood site in 2006. I was 27 years old. We decided on the name which was an alias used by a friend on his email. We loved the name. It was difficult to monetize it.

What lessons did you learn from your first start-up?: They were some valuable lessons. First: Team is an important component of a start-up. A start-up is not about its founders. Second: To be present at the right place. If you are playing poker, for instance, you have to be playing at $1,000 table and not $10 table.

How did you hit upon the idea of jewellery online and BlueStone?: I had never bought jewellery before or even wear any. But I realised that jewellery is a big space in India. It is the biggest retail player across all sectors. It is not a horizontal game. Have you ever heard of a poor jeweller? But I still had a question: Would people buy jewellery online? But, I realized if you do it the right way, give the right products, then people would buy. It wasn’t targeted at those in the 40-60 age group, but to the first-time buyer, the newly married couples, may try the medium I wanted to put up a good display of products and for consumers to fall in love with it. I spend six months working on it. When you spent around 10 hours on the internet, it is more likely that you will buy things online than offline. During those three to four years, I came in touch with many talented individuals who have helped me a lot in Bluestone. I knew Vidya Nataraj, who had extensive knowledge on the jewellery industry as she was part of the C Krishnia Chetty family and serial entrepreneur and angel investor, Ganesh K. We got funding of $5 million from Palo Alto, California-based Accel Partners and Bengaluru-based Samaa Capital.

Do you have a factory?: We have one at Mumbai and another at Surat. Maintaining a jewellery inventory is very costly. We have reversed the supply chain. The designs are put up on the site and the prices. Once the order is placed, manufacturing takes place. We have a unique policy of returning the product if the customer is not satisfied. I don’t want any one to be forced to keep something they don’t like after they have bought it. We have 7 percent returns on an average. Usually, someone buys it. Else, we melt that jewellery. We have had to do that just twice in three years.

Were you surprised with the revenues?" I have done things differently. It has not been easy. I am happy with what we have achieved. In the first year of operation in 2012-12, the revenues were Rs 6 crore, in the second year it was 17 crore and last fiscal it was Rs 55-60 crore. I hope it keeps tripling year after year.

Do you plan to go offline too?: We will have to go that way too. I am a big fan of they hybrid model. Technology is changing and evolving every day. Everything is tech driven. Everyone who is online also goes offline. So we would like to have a presence in both places. We want to the leading brand in jewellery in India and globally too.

Ratan Tata invested in BlueStone. Tell us about that.: We were doing Series D with Citigroup. I went and met with Mr Tata. He is extremely sharp but a man of few words. He is not at all aggressive. He is a patient listener. Unlike other potential investors who ask many questions even while one is narrating the plan, Mr Tata was quiet. I told him about our financial model and operations. He said that it was an efficient use of working capital without blocking money. He had only two suggestions. He said that one needs to have a great deal of patience when one is running an online jewellery business. He said one has to be the best and honest in the space.

Mr Tata investing in BlueStone has helped pushed the brand." Yes, it has. Not only in the industry but also within BlueStone. Every one working here feels a sense of pride to be associated with a brand that Mr Tata has invested in.

How do you relax?' I sleep. (Laughs). It is true. I love to sleep. I am an entrepreneur who cannot afford to take off to indulge in hobbies. So during my time off, I sleep. I have a five month daughter. Now, I spend my time with her. I don’t like to shop. My wife takes care of that. She is one of the most frequent buyers of jewellery from BlueStone. My hobby is to sleep. That has been my hobby for some time now!

Birla Close To Jaiprakash Cement Plant Deal


An acquisition would help Birla's conglomerate meet its target of increasing cement capacity to 100 million tonnes in a decade. Ultratech Cement Ltd., backed by Indian billionaire and ExCampionite class of ’83 Kumar Mangalam Birla, is nearing an agreement to acquire Jaiprakash Associates Ltd.'s cement grinding plant in central India, people with knowledge of the matter said. The nation's largest cement maker is in advanced talks to buy the Jaiprakash facility in Bhilai, in Chhattisgarh state, they added. It has been discussing a purchase price of Rs 600 crore to Rs 700 crore ($106 million) for the plant, which has 2.2 million tonnes of annual production capacity, the people said, asking not to be named as the matter is private. An acquisition would help Birla's conglomerate meet its target of increasing cement capacity to 100 million tonnes in a decade, a vision the billionaire outlined in November 2014. It would mark Ultratech's fourth purchase of a cement plant from the Jaiprakash group, which has been selling assets to repay debt.

The two companies are waiting for a nod from state-run steelmaker Steel Authority of India Ltd, which owns 26 per cent of the plant, before finalizing the deal, the people said. Pragnya Ram, a spokeswoman for the Aditya Birla Group that controls Ultratech, declined to comment. Madhu Pillai, a spokeswoman for Jaiprakash, said the group doesn't respond to speculation, while Rakesh Singhal, a spokesman for SAIL, said he couldn't immediately comment. Ultratech agreed in December to buy two of Jaiprakash's central Indian cement plants at an enterprise value of 54 billion rupees. That deal followed its 2014 purchase of a Jaiprakash cement facility in the western state of Gujarat for 38 billion rupees including debt. Shares of Jaiprakash Associates climbed 2.4 percent to 8.70 rupees in Mumbai on Wednesday and Ultratech rose 0.5 percent to 2,905.10 rupees, compared with a 1.2 percent decline in the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex. Jaiprakash has tumbled 65 percent this year versus an 8.6 percent gain for Ultratech.

Ratan Tata Seeks Data On Train Mishaps, Details Of Preventive Steps

2015 07 09 Ratan Tata Invests In E - Copy

Noted industrialist and Tata Group chairman Emeritus and ExCampionite class of ’49 Ratan Tata sought details of train accidents in the recent past and the railways' action plan to prevent such incidents at the second meeting of Kaya Kalp council here. In the wake of the accident yesterday in Andhra Pradesh that claimed six lives, the two-hour-long meeting held at the Railway Board saw the public transporter being asked to prepare the accident data which would be taken up at the next Kaya Kalp meeting on September 11. According to a Kaya Kalp member, Tata wanted to know whether level crossing (LC) gates are being equipped with hooter system to warn road users. When told that some LC gates have the hooter system, he expressed a desire to have the complete data on accidents, including types of accident, casualties and other loss in the recent past and the steps being taken to curb such incidents, the member said. Tata has also asked the two unions which are part of the council to come up with their suggestions on customer satisfaction and employees’ benefit at the next meeting. Referring to the National Transport Policy prepared by the Planning Commission, Tata sought to know the railways’ plan for achieving the targets set in it.

Railways gave power-point presentations on aspects such as performance, social responsibility, customer satisfaction, employee benefits and adoption of modern technology in public transportation. Data concerning railways of other countries like China, France, Germany and the UK, too, was presented in the meeting to fix a target for Indian Railways. Kaya Kalp was set up to recommend innovative methods and processes for the improvement, betterment and transformation of the state-run rail network. The meeting was also apprised of the huge cross-subsidy given to the passenger segment from freight earnings, the Kaya Kalp member said. Besides two senior railway officials, General Secretary of National Federation of Indian Railwaymen, M Raghavaiah, and General Secretary of All-India Railwaymen’s Federation, Shiv Gopal Mishra, too, are members of the Kaya Kalp council.

Will The Salt Pan Land Announcement Meet the Challenge of a Slum-Free Mumbai by 2022?


The Maharashtra Government has appointed a committee to supervise a plan for optimum utilization of salt pan lands in Mumbai. The salt pan lands in the city and the suburbs will be used for building affordable houses and civic amenities, such as open spaces. “Any good move on part of the state government is welcome,” said ExCampionite class of ’66 Niranjan Hiranandani, MD, Hiranandani Communities. “The fact that the master plan will consider the possibility of housing projects, to build affordable houses for people, on areas that are not ecologically sensitive is also welcome. Beyond the positive aspect, my thoughts are on whether this will help meet the challenge of a slum-free Mumbai by 2022,” he added.

“If one looks at the past decade, the story of Mumbai’s real estate has largely, remained constant: high demand for affordable homes, not enough support in form of restrictive rules and regulations, zoning and permissible FSI norms, excessive time taken for permissions and clearances. I have always felt that the powers that be, from the Centre to the State and the Local Self Bodies – not to forget bodies like Environment Clearance, or the DGCA for height clearance of structures from a flight path perspective – were more of ‘regulators’ than ‘facilitators’,’ explained Niranjan Hiranandani. This has always resulted in directly impacting land availability for real estate development, he said. “To give just one example, salt pan lands in suburban areas, if allowed change in usage, can be used for creation of low cost housing for LIG and EWC segments. This is why appointment of a committee to supervise a plan for optimum utilisation of salt pan lands in Mumbai is welcome. The question is: will it help in meeting the challenge of a ‘slum free Mumbai by 2022’?” asked Niranjan Hiranandani. “It definitely has the potential to impact availability of land for real estate development, but just by itself it may not be enough. The new policies that have been talked about, and discussed; be it the new housing policy for Maharashtra or new norms from the BMC, or even schemes like ‘100 smart cities’ and ‘housing for all’, these should have a positive impact on land availability and usage for real estate in Mumbai,” he added.

How will salt pan lands in the city and the suburbs being used for building affordable houses impact Mumbai’s real estate? “The answer is simple,” said Niranjan Hiranandani. “If implemented properly and in a time-bound manner, things will work out better. But, it needs to be supplemented with other ‘positives’, such as infrastructure projects and policy decisions which will help make it a reality,” he added. “So, the decision on salt pan lands has the potential for not just enhancing the availability of land for real estate development, but it needs support in form of infrastructure development to create the possibility of Mumbai’s LIG and EWC segment of home seekers finally getting their dream homes become a reality,” he concluded.

What Title does Rishi Kapoor Want To Give His Tell-All Biography?


If ExCampionite class of '69 Rishi Kapoor had his way, his long-in-the-pipepline memoir would be titled Son Of A Famous Father, Father Of A Famous Son.

“It is the truth of my life. It’s not easy being the son of the great Raj Kapoor and the father of superstar Ranbir. But considering everything, I’ve done pretty okay for myself,” chuckles Rishi as he gets down to the final lap of his biographical journey. Rishi is man enough to admit the memoir, which is being co-written by a journalist whom he doesn’t want to name at the moment, is delayed only because of him. “I’ve gone through the story of my life. But now comes the tough part. My co-writer and I need to go through hundreds and hundreds of pictures which I’ve accumulated over the years through my great grandfather (Prithvi Raj Kapoor), parents (Raj and Krishna Kapoor) uncles (Shammi and Shashi Kapoor), brothers (Randhir and Rajiv), their children , grandchildren… phew! The pictures are taking longer to sort out than we had thought.” So is Rishi’s biography going to be a tell-all? “It depends on what you mean by tell-all. If you think I’m going to talk about the women in my my life then sorry my friend, not happening. They are married with children and grandchildren. So am I,” chortles Chintu.But he promises a lot of insight into his life as a grandson, son, father and husband.

There is a dispute with the publishers whether to finally call it Son Of A Famous Father, Father Of A Famous Son. “I am told it’s too long and we may have to find another title,”sighs the actor, for once, sounding willing to be cut down to size.

Medicine On Tap – Altaf Patel – ExCampionite Class Of ’64

Over several years of medical practice in the city, I see a distinct change in what providers will provide. I certainly see dental and dermatological clinics mushrooming all over the city. I see on-call doctor's services also being advertised. All this sounds very strange to me. One sets up a relationship of trust between doctor and patient and I would not see another dentist or ophthalmologist if my own was not available, unless of course in an emergency. A feeling of putting your body in a person's hands that you can trust and feel free to discuss your fears and have your anxieties addressed, sounds important to me.

I wonder what sort of services these wholesale clinics will dispense. There must be some satisfaction to this or else they would not survive. I think to some extent the proliferation of the clinics is related to non-availability of doctors, and the delay in providing an appointment on the same day. Though I must admit that even the busiest doctor accommodates you in case of emergency, the only setback is that one has to wait. In a busy practice run by a single doctor, he often has little time and therefore may be unable to spend a lot of time with you. Even so I have known many of my busy colleagues turning over 10 patients an hour (six minutes a patient) and most of the patients are satisfied. I think a little difference exists between the local and the western patient. In India patients are happy of being told what to do and rarely question why. This western counterpart will require reasoning behind such decisions. A doctor patient relationship is such that even where group practices exist, patients prefer one or the other doctor of group. I am therefore surprised at the proliferation of such services providing wholesale medicine on the tap. Leave alone the internet and other sites which may offer advice on some payment. The western world also enlightens us on this practice. Many such clinics are located in chain pharmacies, and even grocery stores. To be fair such services do not address complicated issues and sort of treat sore throats and ear infection. They are however walk-in services at low cost. A study by Ateev Mehrotra, an associate professor of health care policy medicine at Harvard, states that the reason for proliferation of such clinics is the wait to see a doctor. Such clinics are often opened seven days a week and some even on bank holidays. In response to this the American Academy of Family Physicians has advised same-day scheduling, a third have weekend hours as well.

The other issue is to address the expense of such a clinic. In India they may be as expensive as or ever more expensive than doctors' clinics as far as the property is concerned. In the west they are one-third the price of doctors' office property value. In the United States in 2013 the Centre for Studying Health System Change states that there were 1,400 such clinics from coast to coast and other reports suggest that the number of such clinics will double by 2015. American studies also tell us that most of the patient using such clinics are younger. The purpose of many such clinics was to provide service when the doctor was not present, but they seem to be gaining popularity in the west. In this city we are at the beginning of such retail medicine. And it is yet to be seen whether patients will prefer these clinics to doctors' offices. In essence many patients may go in for minor advice and still visit their doctors for a final opinion. Medicine in my opinion cannot be compared to a supermarket dispensing drugs with a different attendant at each counter each time that you visit. It is certainly a profession where the patient develops a trusting relationship with his physician, to the extent that the patient feels uncomfortable when the doctor is not around. I see loads of patients with worried looks when I tell them I will be on holiday. It is interesting to see what the future brings with the concept of retail medicine.

On Iqbal Chaiwala – Kersi Gandhi


Received a friend request from a young lady, yesterday evening, and on confirming that I desired her to be my friend, she sent me a real shocker.

This is what she said, "Uncle, Iqbal Chaiwala has expired."

My mind drifted to approximately six decades in the past.

I was a student in Campion School then. A notice had been placed in our School that Lala's was conducting a tour to Nainital. Those Students who desired to undertake the holiday, should give in their respective names along with the payment for the same. The cost then was a measly Rupees Two Hundred, all found. My primary motive in undertaking this tour was to go and meet the beautiful Marion McClenahann, who was a Boarding Student of All Saints, Nainital.

Marion used to reside in a building, Sea Glimpse, on Walton Road. Had made her acquaintance during the Christmas Holidays when she would come to Bombay from Nainital. Used to treat Audrey Adams and her to Ice Cream cups, which they would demand of me. Just plain friends, never even held their hands, forget about the kissing and heavy petting. Those were the days, the cost of an ice cream cup was just four annas, or one fourth of A Rupee. Went across and met Marion's Mother, informed her of my trip to Nainital and whether she would like to send a parcel for her Daughter. She was overjoyed and asked me to return in two days. Collected the parcel and left for the tour, by train. On the train, we had a bogie to ourself, and there were some students from Cathedral School. One of them was Iqbal Chaiwala. We used to converse aplenty, with want of nothing to do. Partake of our meals together and talk the night away till sleep would finally overtake us. If I remember, he was slightly older than myself. At Nainital, we resided at The Metropole Hotel. Nainital had a lake and the contour of the lake was so similar to that of Ceylon. Every morning and evening, I would row the length of the lake and back. I could feel that my arms and forearms were getting muscular, by this daily exercise ritual. Then decided to go and meet Marion at her School. Had a pleasant talk with her and gave her the present of foodstuff that her Mum had sent for her. On the way I noticed two other Schools. Sherwood and St. Josephs.

Back at the hotel I spoke to Iqbal and asked him whether he would be conducive to the idea of taking on one of the Schools in a friendly game of Hockey. He readily agreed. The next morning we went and met The Principal of St. Josephs, and challenged the school to a friendly game of Hockey. He readily agreed to a game on a Saturday afternoon, followed by high tea in their Dining Hall.

The Saturday afternoon arrived and we arrived at the School premises. I nominated Iqbal to be our Captain. The only problem was that we didn't have a competent Goalie. St. Josephs readily supplied us one of their lads. A grand time was had by all. I truly can't remember who was the winner of the game, but, I do recollect that a fabulous fun time was held by all. Our bespectacled Captain urging us on to score and defend.

Back in Bombay, we all parted as good friends. Iqbal used to reside in Jhansi Castle, three or four buildings south, in line with our school. Even due to the close proximity, I never bumped into Iqbal, ever again. Today, at the Race Course, I heard someone mention some adverse remarks about him. I was disgusted. For me Iqbal, you will always be that chivalrous Hockey Captain, urging us on to victory. It's a bloody shame that I never got to know you better. Be truly happy, wherever you may be. My sincere thanks to Little Lynette for taking the trouble to inform me of his demise.

Rishi Kapoor Sings Really Well: Lata Mangeshkar

Melody queen Lata Mangeshkar is all praise for the singing skills of veteran actor and ExCampionite class of '69 Rishi Kapoor and his “All Is Well” co-star Abhishek Bachchan after seeing them croon on a reality show. The two actors were the guests on a singing talent hunt, where they came to promote their upcoming drama "All Is Well". They took to stage to sing popular songs from their films. While Rishi, 62, sang “Mai shayar toh nahin” from his debut movie “Bobby”. The 85-year-old singing legend took to Twitter to heap praise on the star. “Few days ago, I watched the ‘Indian Idol Junior’ episode that featured Rishi Kapoor and Abhishek Bachchan. They were enjoying the performance of every contestant. When Rishiji was called to sing on stage and he sang ‘Main shayar toh nahi’, I was surprised. I did not know he has such a melodious voice. I give them my best wishes,” Lata wrote.

Zubin Mehta To Come Home With Aussies Plucked Out Of World’s Best Orchestras


Drawn from Vienna & Berlin Philharmonics, London & Chicago Symphonies, Australian World Orchestra to be in India on first-ever international tour

October will arrive with a unique privilege for lovers of Western classical music (WCM) in India. An orchestra that comes into existence for a tantalizingly fleeting period once every two years will be in Mumbai, Chennai and New Delhi on its first-ever international tour. Drawing many of its members from the Vienna Philharmonics and the London Symphonies of the planet, the Australian World Orchestra (AWO) is no ordinary fly-in fly-out ensemble. The high note is that it will be conducted by Zubin Mehta ExCampionite class of '48.

"Our orchestra is one of a kind where musicians of just one nationality who play all over the world get together for a reunion of sorts," says the AWO's founder and artistic director Alexander Briger.

Australia is a blip on the WCM landscape, but its musicians are a rage among the world's top orchestras, many holding the premiere positions of concertmaster—the leader of the first violins and thus the orchestra—and principals—the leaders of the other instrumental sections. Some of them will be among the 46 musicians from international orchestras drawn by the AWO's 81-member India tour formation. The rest are from the best Australian ensembles.

"Come to think of it, we are just 230 years old. When Bach and Mozart were born, Australia hadn't even been discovered (by the British). But now, some of the greatest musicians in the world are Australians. This has happened over the last 30 years or so," says Briger, speaking to TOI on phone from Sydney.

Ten years ago, he was invited to Japan to conduct an ensemble formed by musicians handpicked from major orchestras in that country, which has for long had a rich WCM heritage, and the experience bowled him over. That is when he began to think of an Australian super-orchestra, with the difference that the members would be an international star cast.

Coming up with the idea of a grand homecoming, Briger approached fellow Australian Nick Deutsch, an oboist in the Israel Philharmonic, of which Zubin Mehta is music director for life. In a triumph of logistics—making scores of musicians across the world to find common dates, scouting for funds, snapping up conductors—Briger, with Deutsch's help, cobbled together the AWO. "It started being formed in 2010, but took a year and a half to get off," he says.

The orchestra debuted in August 2011 at the Sydney Opera House under three home conductors, including its founder. For its 2013 season, it netted the top-flight Mehta.

"We always wanted a conductor like Zubin to lead us. He has a wonderful sense of humour and we Australians do too," says Briger. "So well, we were all having lunch, Nick and Zubin and I, and Zubin said the AWO should become the cultural ambassador of Australia. We said you go to India a lot, don't you? And he said why don't you come over there? That's how it began.

"Then Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to the G20 summit in Brisbane last November and he spoke to our arts minister. They formed a cultural pact."

As a result, for the India tour, the AWO didn't have a problem finding sponsors: the Australian government has backed it with $250,000.

Like the AWO, its founder has a rather interesting family history. Briger is the nephew of the acclaimed conductor Sir Charles Mackerras, who passed away in 2010. His surname would have been Brieger had his Volga German ancestors continued to stay in Russia. "Prince Felix Yusupov, the man who killed Rasputin, was a cousin of my father. Because of Tsarist mayhem and the years of the Russian Revolution, my grandfather, a concert pianist, went to Germany and then Paris, where my father was raised. He later shifted to London and finally to Australia," says Briger. What makes the AWO tick, he feels, is an especially strong bond that binds Australians. "That's because we are so far away from the rest of the world."

AUSTRALIAN WORLD ORCHESTRA India tour members | 81 From international orchestras | 46 From Australian orchestras | 35

Top orchestras represented Heavyweights | Royal Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), Berlin Philharmonic, Vienna Philharmonic, London Symphony, Chicago Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Israel Philharmonic

Specialists and other elites | The Hanover Band (London), Academy of St Martin in the Fields (London), BBC Symphony, City of Birmingham Symphony, WDR Symphony Cologne, SWR Symphony Stuttgart, The Halle (Manchester), Festival Strings Lucerne, Salzburg Mozarteum, Munich Philharmonic, Bavarian State (Munich)

Note: Most names contain the word orchestra, omitted for brevity. Some names without the word refer to concert halls

India tour conductor | Zubin Mehta


Mumbai October 25, 2015 Beethoven | Leonore Overture No 3 Mozart, Verdi, Rossini | Arias Haydn | Toy Symphony Brahms | Symphony No 2

October 26 Mozart | Overture to The Marriage of Figaro Mozart | Sinfonia Concertante Schubert | Symphony No 9

Chennai, October 28 & New Delhi, October 30 Mozart | Overture to The Marriage of Figaro Mozart, Rossini | Arias Mozart | Sinfonia Concertante Brahms | Symphony No 2

Shashi Tharoor visits Traquair


AN Indian Member of Parliament, author and former Government Minister, will discuss India in the 21st Century with author and historian William Dalrymple at the Beyond Borders International Festival at Traquair House this weekend.

ExCampionite class of '71 Dr Shashi Tharoor, who recently hit the headlines after he appeared in an Oxford Union debate entitled 'this house believes Britain owes reparations to her former colonies’, will take to the stage at Traquair House on Sunday, August 23, at 5pm. The viral video from the debate showcased an impassioned speech, which sees Dr Tharoor making the case that the UK should pay reparations to those countries that were affected by its colonial past. Rather than a discussion about exact figures or percentages in terms of what is owed to whom, Dr Tharoor simply advocated recognition that a debt is owed. On the issue of whether the principle of accountability is still relevant today, Dr Tharoor said: “Yes, maybe today’s Britons are not responsible for some of these depredations but you’re not responsible for the people starving in Somalia, but you give them aid. Surely the principle of reparations for the wrongs that have been done cannot be denied.” He further reiterated: “The fact of the matter remains that many of today’s problems in these countries, including the persistence and in some cases the creation of racial and ethnic and religious tensions, were the direct result of the colonial experience. So there is a moral debt that needs to be paid.”

Dr Tharoor and William Dalrymple will get to the heart of this debate at the weekend. They will discuss the history of India, including the practical and moral legacy of the British Empire - including the British tendency towards a rose-tinted perspective on this legacy - and its relevance in particular for the India of the 21st century. There will also be a second opportunity to hear from William Dalrymple at one the lunchtime tête-à-tête sessions on Saturday, during which the Beyond Borders International Festival favourite will once again regale the audience with tales of 'Mughals in Kilts.’

Soon, Order New LPG Connections Online


Very soon, customers will be able to order a new cooking gas connection online. State-run fuel retailers are joining the e-tail bandwagon with a web-based system for selling new LPG connections and cooking hobs (stoves) as part of the Modi government's `Digital India' dream. The retailers are also set to launch an easy-to-remember four-digit emergency response number for attending to complaints of leakage, instead of the 10-digit number applicable to many cities at present. The new number will be the same all over the country just like 100 for police. “The online system will allow prospective consumers to get a connection from the comfort of their home. No more hunting for a nearby dealer or making multiple rounds to the dealership. Dealers also cannot harass prospective customers by insisting they buy a stove,“ an industry source said.

The new system will be available on the websites of each oil company and the government's LPG portal, Pahal.This will allow consumers to file an online application form for a new connection. The system will then detect a dealer best suited for the consumer and email or message a customer ID number within 48 hours of applying. After get ting this number, the applicant can make the requisite payment online. Once the payment is made and the verification is completed, the dealer will deliver the regulator, cylinder and rubber pipe to the new consumer. The entire process from application to delivery would be completed within 6-7 days.

Rohtang to get world's highest CNG station: Come 2016, the 13,050-foot-high Rohtang Pass will get the world's highest CNG station. After a successful trial of CNG buses, following National Green Tribunal's ban on diesel-run vehicles at Rohtang, the state government has decided to set up a gas station at the mountain top. Talking to TOI on Thursday, transport minister G S Bali said he will hold discussions with Indraprastha Gas Limited authorities for the same. While one CNG filling station would be set up in Manali town, another would come up at Rohtang Pass, said Bali. “A filling station is required on the mountain pass as people would be stranded for want of fuel in case of leakage,“ he added.

State Aims To Do Away With `No-Fail’ Policy For Schools

The state government has strongly pushed its stand to conduct exams and pass students of classes I to VIII only on merit, in line with the Center's plan to amend the Right to Education (RTE) Act and revoke the `no-detention' policy . If the plan goes through, the state government might restart exams from the next academic year as was done before April 2010 when the RTE Act was brought in. The state discussed the proposal at the 63rd meeting of the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE), held by HRD minister Smriti Irani, in New Delhi. The meeting was attended by representatives from 19 states, including Maharashtra. Ranjeet Patil, in-charge of the state's skill development department, who was at the meeting, said, “We have put our stand strongly before the Union HRD minister about conducting an examination and passing students on the basis of the education quality . It has been seconded by all other state representatives."

The `no-fail' policy that is a key component of the RTE Act was aimed at getting every child in school between the ages of six and 14. The idea was that children who fail should not be drop out of school but stay encouraged to study further. Education minister Vinod Tawde also said the government is in favour of conducting exams up to Class VIII. “No-detention was interpreted wrongly as `no exams' by a few schools. Even now, the state government has a policy to allow students who are weak in specific subjects to reappear within a month of the exam to get promoted." Tawde further said for this, the RTE Act would have to be amended. School principals have welcomed the move. Kalpana Dwivedi, principal, St Joseph's High School, New Panvel, said, “We understand that a lot of students need to get an opportunity to remain in school but there are a few who do not study thinking that they would not be detained. This becomes a big hurdle in the board exams as the basics are very weak. Some parents then blame the school for not teaching properly .“

However, mental health experts warn that the sudden change is not the right thing to do. “The decision to do away with exams was to reduce students' stress but what really causes stress wasn't studied. The solution involved identifying the problem and then intervention, instead of doing away with the exams. Now, bringing exams back without thinking it through might not be the best idea. It will not solve the problem at all,“ said developmental paediatrician Dr Samir Dalwai. Patil also said that, among other things, the state government has suggested that NCC and NSS could be made elective subjects instead of optional.

Aditya Birla Group Launches Bizlabs To Work With Start-Ups


The initiative will work with start-ups in the retail, financial services and mobility businesses. The giants of Indian business are slowly but surely waking up to the increasing disruptive power of start-ups in India. In a bid to gain a toehold in this flourishing ecosystem, ExCampionite class of ’83 Kumar Mangalam Birla - led Aditya Birla Group has launched a new initiative to collaborate with start-ups—something which Tata Group has already started doing. Called Bizlabs, the initiative will work with start-ups in the retail, financial services and mobility businesses—areas where the group has a large presence through firms, including its retail, fashion & lifestyle and mobile phone services units. “Our objective at Aditya Birla Bizlabs is to enable the combination of the technology and ingenuity of the start-up ecosystem with the power and reach of the group’s businesses to create a platform to foster growth and rapidly scale-up businesses. We are excited with the prospect of working with start-ups on a collaborative platform,” said Dev Bhattacharya, group executive president, Aditya Birla Group.

Bizlabs is a 20-day programme, in which the selected entrepreneurs will get access to CEOs and other top leaders of the Aditya Birla Group. “In addition, the selected start-ups will have the opportunity to scale up by entering into a commercial arrangement with the group’s businesses. They may also receive an investment from an independent arm of the Aditya Birla Group,” the company said in a statement. Tata Group is also in the process of starting several new initiatives such as an omni-channel marketplace that seamlessly integrates store shopping and online buying. Offering famous brands besides its own across lifestyle and electronics categories, this start-up, backed by Tata Industries Ltd, will be powered by technology platforms, and systems and processes managed through collaboration with select Tata companies. The moves by Tata Group and Aditya Birla Group are also partly aimed at protecting their business from being disrupted by start-ups. E-commerce marketplaces such as Flipkart and Snapdeal have already raced ahead of their traditional rivals.

Dangerous To Universalize Smart Cities: Rahul Mehrotra


Mehrotra cautions the likelihood of such cities homogenizing all aspects of social life, including spatial environs, in a country as diverse as India. The government’s grand design of building 100 smart cities across country came in for some nuanced criticism from noted architect and chair of the department of urban planning and design at the Harvard Graduate School of Design and ExCampionite class of ‘74 Rahul Mehrotra. “It is dangerous to universalize smart cities,” he said. Mehrotra cautioned the likelihood of such cities homogenizing all aspects of social life, including spatial environs, in a country as diverse as India. “Technology should not be the only agenda while designing a smart city. Every city responds differently and the notion is that every city will carry on a single image,” he said. Mehrotra, son-in-law of famous architect late Charles Correa, was speaking on the sidelines of a lecture at the Centre for Environment Planning and Technology University (CEPT) in Ahmedabad, which is considered to be a premier architecture and planning institute in India. Citing an example, he said Madurai will respond differently from some north Indian city. “You have to do capacity building, study smaller towns that have the potential to become smart cities and need a system that it responds to. Remember a lot of diverse people are going to live in these new cities, so it has to be culturally specific too,” said Mehrotra who recently released a book Kumbh Mela: Mapping the Ephemeral Mega-City in New Delhi. The book, a product of Harvard University South Asia Institute, involved a team from Harvard University, including Mehrotra and other professors and researchers who monitored the grand event in 2013.

“People see photos of Kumbh and they see it as a festival of world’s largest gathering of believers. We looked at it from governance, planning and public health. It is the world’s biggest ephemeral mega city where three million people come together for 55 days and then disappear. It gives an insight of how a temporary settlement of such huge population can be efficiently managed. Such a kind of ephemeral city can be useful in times of Tsunami or other natural calamity. In fact, Kumbh at Allahabad is a fine example of smart city,” he said. Mehrotra, who heads Mumbai-based firm RMA Architects plans to hold an exhibition at Mumbai in January next year called ‘The State of Architecture’. He hopes that the exhibition will trigger a national conversation on the state of architecture and aims to address issues like why the profession is not engaged enough with the public. His ongoing research is focused on evolving a theoretical framework for designing what he calls a ‘kinetic city’—perceived to be a city in motion, temporary in nature, often built with recycled materials and one that modifies and reinvents itself. Mehrotra, who has earlier been involved in various conservation projects including a conservation master plan for the Taj Mahal, has been selected to design a modern library at CEPT. The library would model on the famous Anup Talao built by Mughal emperor Akbar at Fatehpur Sikri.

On the new project, Mehrotra said the area will be cut and carved to build a stepwell and a portion of the building will be submerged. The library, proposed to be built at a cost of Rs.11 crore will have a courtyard and the building will be away from the edges, not touching them.

Tharoor Lauds Indian Community’s Independence Day Parade


The fervour that gripped the minds of the Indians here were visible across the globe on Independence Day. Waving tri-colour flags, and carrying banners that read ‘Independence won and Freedom preserved: thanks to the Indian National Congress’, people celebrated with enthusiasm and fervour. Congress MP and ExCampionite class of ’71 Shashi Tharoor was present at the USA float organized by the Indian National Overseas Congress. “Celebrating India’s 69th Anniversary of Independence at the India Day Parade in New York tops the world in its size and enthusiasm when it comes to spontaneous exuberance of grandeur and pageantry of India in all its colours, cultures, costumes, dances and music”, said Harbachan Singh Secretary General of Indian National Overseas Congress, USA.

Reliance Industries, Bharti Airtel, 9 Others Get RBI Nod For Payments Banks


Companies run by billionaires Mukesh Ambani and ExCampionite class of ’83 Kumar Mangalam Birla as well as telcos Bharti Airtel and Vodafone are among the 11 entities that today got the Reserve Bank's nod...

Companies run by billionaires Mukesh Ambani and Kumar Mangalam Birla as well as telcos Bharti Airtel and Vodafone are among the 11 entities that today got the Reserve Bank’s nod to set up non-lending payments banks as part of the financial inclusion drive. Reliance Industries, which had previously announced partnership with State Bank of India, Airtel M Commerce Services Limited, Aditya Birla Nuvo, Vodafone m-pesa, Tech Mahindra and Department of Posts got the ‘in-principal’ approval from RBI to set up such niche banks. Sun Pharma promoter Dilip Shantilal Shanghvi and Vijay Shekhar Sharma of PayTM also got approval in their individual capacities. Besides, Cholamandalam Distribution Services, Fino PayTech, and National Securities Depository (NSDL) also got approval, out of the 41 applicants.

Payments bank license will allow companies to collect deposits (initially up to Rs 1 lakh per individual), offer Internet banking, facilitate money transfers and sell insurance and mutual funds. Besides, they can issue ATM/debit cards, but not credit cards. Commenting on the development, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said such banks will ensure more money comes into the banking system and will help reach out to people in rural areas. “Various banks are looking at increasing their rural reach which includes big banks like SBI; payments banks will help them realize this,” he added. SBI, the country’s largest lender, will take as much as 30 per cent in RIL’s proposed bank while Bharti Airtel, India’s largest telecom operator, plans to give 19.9 per cent stake in the bank to Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd. A total of 41 companies had applied for the permit but “some of the entities who did not qualify in this round, could well be successful in future rounds,” RBI said, adding that in future it plans to grant such licenses “virtually on tap”. Aditya Birla Nuvo Limited has tied up with Idea Cellular which will have 49 per cent stake in the joint venture.

“The ‘in-principle’ approval granted will be valid for a period of 18 months, during which time the applicants have to comply with the requirements under the guidelines and fulfill the other conditions as may be stipulated by the Reserve Bank,” RBI said.

Photography Isn’t Just About Pressing The Button: Kasbekar


He makes ordinary faces look extraordinary. Undoubtedly, Atul Kasbekar is one of the leading fashion photographers in the country today. "I enjoy clicking people and can certainly make them look good," he smiles. Kasbekar, who has shot the who's who of the fashion and film industry, says he loves clicking Malaika Arora Khan as "no one uses the camera like her". HT spoke to the ace photographer who is making his foray into Bollywood as a producer and also juggling a TV show, managing a celeb management company and photography assignments.

Excerpts of the interview:

What's the best thing about being a fashion photographer? How does it feel making people famous?: (Smiles) The best thing about photography is that no two days are the same. Even if you have shot the same person a hundred times, it's always different the 101st time. For someone like me, who gets bored easily, there is always something new to do.

How difficult is it to make someone look beautiful in photos?: If you are creative and like beautiful things it helps. Not to forget practice makes your art perfect. It's also important that you enjoy what you do. This profession is driven by passion. Your confidence in the craft matters.

When are you most comfortable, behind or in front of the camera?: A part of my job makes it essential that I face the camera, as I judge talent hunts, do television shows and advertisements. So now I have a fair amount of practice in it. (Laughs) However, I prefer being behind the camera --though I'm not uncomfortable facing it.

Do you think digital cameras have made taking photographs easier?: I think there is a certain democratization that has come in. Now, anyone can take an ordinary picture and make it look much better. I know how magical Photoshop is; I have seen how an average shot can be made to look like a million bucks. The art of clicking photographs has evolved and it is not just about pressing the button but what you do after that.

You are currently judging a show which is on the hunt for the next super model. What are the things that you are looking at in your contestants?: I feel what is happening in the modeling industry shouldn't be happening. There was a time when there were super models who concentrated only on modeling, they were not gearing up to step into Bollywood. I am talking about Mehr Jesia, Milind Soman, Rahul Dev, Marc Robinson, Sheetal Mallar, Arjun Rampal etc. The glory days of the super model seem to be over. So when Akash (Sharma, executive producer of the show) approached me, I said yes hoping that a contest like this will give the opportunity to create stars in the modeling world.

Tell us about your future projects.: I am looking forward to the release of my first Bollywood production. The film, directed by Ram Madhwani, is based on the life of Neerja Banot. Sonam (Kapoor) is playing the lead and Shabana Azmi is playing her mother. I had brought the rights two years back and now the film is in the post-production stage. I am enjoying being a producer and at present discussing three-four film projects. Given my love for multi-tasking, I am also busy with my photography assignments along with taking care of my celeb management company.

What would you like to explore other than fashion photography?: I would love to do a bunch of portraits. I have completed two decades in this profession. I have always loved studying and shooting faces. I would love to do serious portraiture, which will be creatively satisfying. I feel each face has a character; every line has a story. It's a challenge to make real/normal people look comfortable in front of the camera. I really like the series called Humans of New York but my portraiture idea isn't inspired by it.

How do you make time for yourself and family?: I am very good at time management. I wake up at 7 am irrespective of the time I go to bed. I then go to the gym. I start early at office and as Bollywood wakes up late, I take care of those assignments later in the day. I hardly socialize now, which saves time. I love watching football on TV or at a stadium.

‘Heritage Campuses Must Be Respected’

Famous architect Charles Correa's son-in-law Rahul Mehrotra and ExCampionite class of ’74 and a noted architect himself, who is designing the proposed new library of Cept University, on Wednesday asked that the existing architecture of heritage campuses be respected.

"Cept is a historic campus. Therefore, we should retain its history while looking into contemporary needs," Mehrotra said, after making a presentation on the upcoming library to students and faculty members. The founder of Planning faculty at Cept University and noted architect Christopher Beninger has prepared a master plan for building. The Rs 10-crore library will come up in place of the dilapidated laboratory building built by the National Building Organization for this project in the 1980s. Interestingly, the proposed new library at Cept University will cause only minor changes to the South Lawns, that were designed by varsity founder and famous architect B V Doshi. This time, the university has been extremely judicious in minimizing disturbance to existing buildings especially after the recent dissonance over changes to structures designed by Doshi. Mehrotra, who is also a Cept alumnus, said: "The library will have a capacity of 1 lakh books. There will be 82 reading rooms, followed by 60 formal reading zones, 16 informal reading zones, 10 digital access stations, 24 carrels and 22 seminar rooms. The building will be a combination of brick, concrete and glass."

Indian Designer Tarun Tahiliani To Showcase In The UAE


Indian fashion designer and ExCampionite class of ’77 Tarun Tahiliani will showcase his newest collection in Dubai this September 19.

The show will be part of the “Fashion, Glamour and Lifestyle” event by UAE-based initiative Sopritti. “I am looking forward to being at Sopritti’s Fashion, Glamour and Lifestyle show. I have a set of loyal clients in this part of the world, and I am looking forward to showcasing my trousseau and other collections to people who appreciate the values I reflect in my design,” said Tahiliani. At the event, he will meet with clients on a one-to-one basis and engage with the audience. His collection entail textile details, Italian pattern cutting, and digital textile printing. Tahiliani creates prêt-a-porter, couture, diffusion, and accessory lines, all of which have aspects of traditional Indian wear combined with international styles. Other designers who will showcase their work at the event include Varun Bahl, Rina Dhaka, and Preeti S Kapoor. Sopritti holds many a fashion & art exhibitions, many of which are in support of a good cause such as raising awareness about less fortunate children in the UAE.

Campion Are Champions


Fort school emerge fourth time lucky by beating hot favourites Don Bosco (Matunga) in MSSA U-16 final.

Campion High School are fourth-time lucky. Having lost the MSSA U-16 Division I final three times before, the Fort school clinched the title yesterday, edging past former champions Don Bosco High School (Matunga) 4-3 via penalty shoot-out. Campion were the finalists four times in the last five years and they had finished runners-up to Bosco on every occasion before yesterday. Determined to turn the tides, the team came into the season with better preparation and planning. "This win couldn't have been sweeter. Last year we could not reach the final and the team finished runners-up every other time. It was really getting frustrating. The entire team was determined to win this year and they did it in style," said Campion coach Wilfred Alwa.

The team took the filed yesterday with a plan. They made sure that they had more supporters at the Cooperage stadium than their rivals. They also ensured that the supporters wore red, the colour of their jersey, and cheered the team at the top of their voice. 'Yesterday we passed a circular that everyone who stays close by and is representing the school in any sport, should come for the match. Though it was a holiday today, you must have seen a huge turnout. Even principal Paul Machado came to cheer the boys. The crowd really made the difference in the end," the coach said. Campion knew the only way to beat the seasoned campaigners like Don Bosco was through tactics. And they did exactly that. "Their players are far more skilful, so we were expecting that they would have more shots on our goal. So started the match with a sweeper back, which helped in defence. The move really clicked as we managed to hold them without a goal in the regulation time," he said.

The match went into sudden death after the teams were tied at three goals apiece after five shots each. "I thought of changing the keeper Aryan Jhaveri but he was confident. He saved the next shot and won us the match. This day would surely be remembered in Campion School's history," the coach said.

Bosco cry foul: Don Bosco coach Leslie Machado said the result would have been different had referee Cajetan Dias given them a penalty. "Who gives an indirect free kick from inside the box? Only when it is a back pass you do that, right? Everyone was astonished with the decision. If there is any foul inside the box, it is a penalty," said Machado explaining a controversial moment of the match.

Tremendous crowd support sees Campion emerge champions in U-16 Division I boy final: Crowd support can be an important factor between a team winning and losing. With Campion School (Colaba) located just a stone's throw away from the Cooperage Stadium, it wasn't surprising to see a host of red shirts turn up in scores to support their school against Don Bosco (Matunga) in the final of the boys U-16 Division I. The Campion faithful weren't left disappointed as they saw their side pip the Matunga school 4-3 in the penalty shootout after the schools were locked goalless after regulation time. Parents, teachers, alumni and students from the Colaba school may have been constantly asked by the referees to stay on the other side of the fence during play. But there was no stopping some from jumping over and running to the pitch the moment Campion 'keeper Aryan Jhaveri dived right to save Atharva Jagtap's spot kick.

The Campion supporters clearly outnumbered Don Bosco's as chants of 'Campion Champions' rendered the air soon after the match ended. Leading from the front with the post-match celebrations on the pitch was none other than their principal Paul Machado. Air-lifted by his students, a jubilant Machado said that he might just give the school a holiday on Wednesday.

"The day after we beat St Lawrence (Kandivli) in the semifinal, I had sent a circular asking the students and parents to attend Tuesday's final and support the school team," said Machado. "Besides, you can see the power of WhatsApp. Just look at the number of red shirts here. Have you ever seen such a turnout for an MSSA game?" With nothing to separate the two sides in an hour of normal time, spot kicks were to decide the winner of Mumbai school's best football team. The shootout saw the match go into sudden death with both sides locked at 3-3. Campion's Jay Maliye shot the ball into the right corner to leave everyone watching at the edge of their seats. Jhaveri saw two of Don Bosco's penalties hit the post, his only save, keeping Jagtap out, in the shootout would be the one to be remembered.

Joshua Machado, may be boasting amongst his friends that he is the first captain of a Campion side to win the Division One title. It was his mother Trinida, who was more delighted than any of the players. "You saw some parents praying with the rosary hoping that we win the shootout. We know what such situations mean to our kids. Don't forget, I'm the mother of the first winning captain from Campion," she said. "The parents seem more excited than us. Our selfies have stopped, but it seems we know who are the real kids today. But it really makes a lot of difference to see so many people rooting for you," said Joshua.

Navroz Mubarak


Navroz Mubarak


Best Wishes


Don’t Let Docs Play God – Altaf Patel – Excampionite Class Of ’64

I remember as a young intern taking consent for procedures like spinal taps, and removing fluid from the abdomen and lung cavities for examination in patients. The consent I took because my seniors insisted. I often wondered how relevant that was and what a waste of paper and time it was. As I moved to a surgical internship, I had often to make sure a check list was done prior to surgery. Often the consent form was not filled and there occurred a furore in the operating room when the operating surgeon asked if this was filled. It was a small form, often signed by the patient with me instructing him where to sign and he often signed without further question or hesitation. Over the years, the cases of negligence instead of being heard by medical councils are heard by courts of law. This itself is strange because I do not expect learned judges to understand nuances of medicine or the thought process of clinical decision making.

Ever since suing made its appearance, the informed consent forms have been redone by a number of hospitals to safeguard the hospital and doctors against acts of negligence. In essence patients still sign them the same way, without batting an eyelid or asking any further questions. Much like downloading something from the internet, where you click "I agree" without bothering to read the fine print. However well worded these forms are, my legal friends tell me that you cannot give away your statutory rights even by such signatures. I am therefore not surprised when I read an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association that says that an informed consent is taken by only 3 per cent of patients with stable heart disease. It is important that as responsible physicians we explain the benefits versus risks of the procedure. An article in the New England Journal of Medicine clearly states that evaluating thousands of patients tells us that cardiac angioplasty improves symptoms in the short term but has no effect in reducing the risk of a further heart attack or death, except in certain unusual circumstances. In my own opinion few patients realise this, and the doctors do not enlighten them.

According the article in the JAMA of 1999, several points should go into the delivering of informed consent. The patient must be aware that they are very much party to the decision making. Complete discussion of the issue and the decision taken should be recorded. Any alternative therapies must be discussed with their pros and cons and a discussion of the uncertainties and beyond-control possibilities. The physician must also assess the patient's understanding of the situation and explore patient preference. It's fine to play God as most doctors do, but it's even better for god to listen to his subjects' wishes. The article in the JAMA also tells us surprising facts: Only 3 per cent of such informed consent was properly taken and in only 14 per cent was a limited definition of the procedure made with discussion of alternatives and the risks involved. Though most doctors discussed the procedure, only half involved the patient in decision making; other alternative therapies were discussed only in 25 per cent of cases. As far as cardiac interventional procedures such as angioplasty were concerned, if the patient knew that they had a role in decision making there they were five-fold more likely to avoid angiography. When alternative therapies are explained, they are 10 times more likely to opt for an alternative. If the uncertainty of procedure and occasional ominous outcomes were discussed, patients were 20 times as likely to avoid a cardiac intervention like angiography.

It would be a good situation where patients discuss with their doctors all the alternatives and not let physician play god anymore.

Ratan Tata invests in

Tata Group Chairman Emeritus and ExCampionite class of ’49 Ratan Tata has invested an undisclosed amount in the online start-up entrepreneur stories portal, adding yet another online company to his long list of investments. The company also received funding from Vani Kola (Kalaari Capital), Karthee Madasamy (Qualcomm Ventures) and T V Mohandas Pai, the company's founder and the Chief Editor of the website, Shradha Sharma announced in a blog post on Monday morning. The online portal covers stories about new, little-known entrepreneurs and stories about start-ups. It was started seven years ago by Sharma, who wanted to tell stories about "entrepreneurs who are not superstars yet but have the spark, drive and hope." Prior to this, Ratan Tata has invested undisclosed amounts in several online portals, including Snapdeal, e-tail furniture portal Urban Ladder, CarDekho, Ola Cabs, and so on. When he retired in 2012, Ratan Tata had let it be known that he wanted to reach out to people and have them draw from the trusts' expertise

Pioneer Spaceman Calls On Students To Join Up


India's first spaceman, Rakesh Sharma, called upon students of St Xavier's to become a part of India's space programme as a lot of exciting opportunities were awaiting them in the days ahead.

Sharma, who was a part of the Indo-Soviet manned space programme between April 3-11, 1984, logged in a total of 7 days 21 hours and 40 minutes in the Salyut-7 orbital space station along with his two Soviet crew mates. “A lot is going to happen in the coming years since we are going to moon and Mars.There are various sub-disciplines in space technology and there will be lot of openings in the future,“ he told the packed auditorium at Malhar, the annual festival at St Xavier's College. “Today's science fiction will become tomorrow's reality. We should not export the conflicts on earth to other planets,“ Sharma said. According to the pioneer spaceman, though there was a lot of exposure to aerospace technology in India, the teaching methods should change and become more application-oriented and innovative he felt. Space tourism, Sharma feels will happen first in the western countries, and will move to India in a few decades as the country's space projects are under government control.

While hoping that the country's manned space programme will take off once the LVM3 rocket becomes operationalized, he added that a larger picture was needed about this project backed by a precise road map. About his own experience in space he said India looked beautiful from space, but Africa looked more beautiful. “When I said India looked beautiful remember at that time I was talking to the prime minister of India, Indira Gandhi,“ he said in a light-hearted manner. “We were over trained for the space mission. When we actually got there, it seemed like any other day in office. It was quite an anti-climax,'' he explained, adding that a bit of luck combined with fitness in mind and body helped him get selected.

The Birlas Cementing A Legacy


A decade before Tata Sons was even born, Seth Shiv Narayan Birla laid the foundation of the Birla Group in 1857. The now $41-billion (`2.5 lakh crore) Aditya Birla Group, the largest conglomerate led by ExCampionite class of ’83 Kumar Mangalam Birla, is the product of a humble journey that began in the picturesque town of Pilani in Rajasthan, when the late Seth Narayan set his sights on cotton trading. Successive generations have ensured that the group’s first love for textiles flourish. Currently, the Birlas enjoy an undisputed position in viscose staple fibre and are also the fifth largest acrylic fibre producer.

One of the company’s flagship brands, Grasim, which was started as a small rayon weaving unit at Gwalior, has now evolved into a successful business unit. Over the years, the group diversified into other key sectors like metals, cement, agri-business, power, financial services, telecommunications, retail and IT. The group’s vision is driven by values such as integrity, commitment, passion, seamlessness and speed. The country’s third largest private sector firm by value employs more than 1.2 lakh spanning 36 countries and draws over 50 per cent of the total revenues from its overseas operations. Besides the other segments like the MP Birla Group or Birla Corp, the Aditya Birla Group has pulled off some of the boldest global buyouts, including the $6-billion Canadian Novellis purchase in 2007. The deal instantly catapulted Birla’s non-ferrous metals company Hindalco Industries into the world’s largest rolled-aluminium producer.

Watch: Shashi Tharoor Urges Nation To Save Girl Child


On the occasion of India's 69th Independence Day, senior Congress leader and ExCampionite class of ’71 Shashi Tharoor shared a YouTube link on microblogging website Twitter in which he has uploaded a video giving a clarion call in support of saving a girl child. Notably, PM Narendra Modi had also earlier launched a scheme - ‘Beti Bachao-Beti Padhao’ - seeking to address gender imbalance and discrimination against the girl child. This was the fourth major scheme of his government after Jan Dhan Yojana, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and ‘Make in India’ campaign.

Young Heroes Of India: Inspiring Stories Of Grit


India Today brought together six young Indians, young heroes who should inspire an entire generation. As India enters the 69th year of its Independence, India Today is celebrating with inspirational heroes. Indian citizens who typify the great Indian dream, the dream of an equal, free and inclusive society. India is a young country as 65 per cent of country's population is under the age of 35. Which is why India Today has brought together six young Indians, young heroes who should inspire an entire generation. Here they reveal their inspiring story of grit in conversation with India Today Group Consulting Editor and ExCampionite class of ’81 Rajdeep Sardesai.

Tapas Bhardwaj: The 18-year-old student of DPS RK Puram scored 91.4 per cent marks in CBSE 12th Board exams and emerged amongst the toppers in his school where he studied with normal children. Bhardwaj is now preparing to become a law graduate. Tapas, who has no vision in both his eyes since birth, appeared for the exams with the help of a scribe and scored 457 of the total 500 marks. "I believe that at every point of time there is a challenge and we need to overcome it. We should not succumb to circumstances. There should be a desire, determination, direction, decision and then we will surely reach the destination," says Bhardwaj, who has also topped in the law college entrance test. Apart from studying what keeps this topper student engaged. The guy is a gadget freak. "I love to have all latest electric gadgets. I want the top most gadgets available in the market," Tapas says.

Ira Singhal: The 31-year-old UPSC topper is the first physically challenged woman to top the civil services exam in the general category. When asked what message she has for the young India, Singhal said that she is glad of the fact that her success has got people thinking. "Getting this rank isn't my achievement. For me the achievement will come when I get into the field and change things," she says. "I wish my country to be free. Free from prejudice. Stop letting the world judge," she adds. And what's the change that she wants to bring in? "The mindset of people in our country needs to change. People are judged for little things. People make perceptions about others based on what they see. No body goes into the depth. No body explores people's potential," she says. Ira topped civil services in her fourth attempt and when asked if she ever felt of giving up, the reply was, "I wanted to work with people directly and it was very clear in my mind. I was very clear what I wanted out of life."

Shubham Jaglan: This kid is all of 10 but his feats are certainly big. Jaglan, a son of a milkman from rural Haryana, created history by winning the Junior World Golf title in Las Vegas recently. Many describe him India's answer to Tiger Woods but this golf prodigy has plans and the talent to write a new history in the sport. He has already won over 100 tournaments. What is the secret formula of his super success at such a young age? The reply from this ever-smiling young man was short and simple, "Nothing, just work hard. That's the only key to success. There are no shortcuts." Jaglan started playing golf when he was just 5. and when asked what attracted him towards this sport, Jaglan says," I am from a wrestling family but grandfather was the one who took me towards golf and from the first day I just loved it."

Kiran Kanojia: She comes from Faridabad and is an IT engineer. Kanojia lost left leg while battling thieves in a train in 2011. But the tragedy has not stopped her from pursuing her career. She a marathon runner and India's only female 'blade runner'. Despite losing a leg in an unfortunate incident, Kanojia went on to become an IT engineer. Where did this courage come from? Kanojia says, " The incident happened just before my birthday. I was in the hospital for six months recuperating. I was physically and mentally depressed. One day, I fell down in the bathroom. I was in severe pain. The doctor told me that there are surgical pins in the amputated leg and you can't run. This was day when I decided that I will run no matter what." "My father has been my biggest inspiration. When am low, he's always there for me," Kanojia says.

Brijesh Saroj: A son of daily wager Saroj comes from Pratapgarh, Uttar Praesh. He scored 410th rank in IIT-JEE and is currently studying electronics and electrical communication from IIT. Notably, his brother Raju secured 167th rank in IIT-JEE. Despite adversities, Brijesh and his brother cleared what is considered to be one of most difficult exams in the world. What is his success formula? "My father used to tell us how badly the society treats an illiterate. He worked as a daily wage earner in Surat and whenever travelled on train from Surat to Pratapgarh he noticed how others behaved with people like him. He felt it was important that my kids study otherwise they will have to face the same humiliation like me," Brijesh says. "My teacher in the village used to tell him eat a meal less but make sure that your kids study," he adds. "My father and mother were not even aware what IIT means. When IIT-JEE results were announced they only knew that my sons have succeeded in achieving something good," Brijesh says highlighting the importance of his feat. Talking about his dream, Brijesh adds," I want that no kid from my village, district and country becomes a Chotu or a Pinku at the roadside dhabas. I have already started working towards achieving this aim. I have adopted 10 children. I want child labour free India."

Anand Arnold: This 28-year-old man from Ludhiana is India's first wheelchair body builder. Arnold suffered a life threatening spinal cancer at the age of 15 but he didn't allow the disease to dissuade him in anyway. He has won 3 Mr. India titles, 12 Mr. Punjab titles and 27 other body building titles. When did he started body building. " After my operation I was very depressed. I didn't show it my mother, who was already suffering because of my disease. My coach then motivated me to take up body building," says the man with 20-inch biceps. "I want to inspire people through my struggle," Arnold adds

Celebrating Independence


Freedom In Mind Faith In Words Pride In Our Hearts Memories In Our Souls Wishing You All A Very Happy Independence Day.Let Us Spare A Moment To Remember All Those Who Laid Down Their Lives To Give Us A Free India

Style Quotient Partners With Tarun Tahiliani


Style Quotient Jewellery Pvt Ltd, the creator of designer silver jewellery, has collaborated with the czar of the fashion world and ExCampionite class of ’77 Tarun Tahiliani to launch a contemporary yet traditional line of designer jewellery under the brand ‘TarunTahiliani’.

The entire Tarun Tahiliani range will be made available to the interested jewellers across the nation by Style Quotient, which will create an exciting business opportunity for all to collaborate with the designer jewellery brand. Prasad Kapre, CEO and Director, Style Quotient Jewellery Pvt Ltd, says, “We are offering designer silver jewellery for those women who embellish different looks for social events, parties, family functions, weddings etc. Moreover, silver is projected to be the new gold in the coming years with respect to investment and personal jewellery preferences due to its affordability and excellent scope for creativity and design innovations. We believe our tie up with Tarun Tahiliani will bring us excellent business opportunities and help position our brand in the luxury designer jewellery segment.” Tarun Tahiliani adds, “I have always been fascinated by jewellery for its attributes, seductive powers and its incredible ability to inspire and enhance every look. This new line of hand-crafted, silver based jewels by Style Quotient Jewellery is mixed with semi-precious stones, pearls, beads and much more to create masterpieces of allure and desire. We together have worked with a fantastic pool of designers and craftsmen to add gleam to the silver jewellery and hope our new collection is appreciated and worn across the globe.”

Jawani Diwani (1972)


The movie was a hit despite the eminently forgettable pairing of Randhir and Jaya.

What joy it was! Not Randhir Kapoor ExCampionite class of ‘64, not Jaya Bhaduri, but a man who contributed awesomely to the success of this hit. It was a hit despite the eminently forgettable pairing of Randhir and Jaya. It was an era when music was the dominating element and enlisting Rahul Dev Burman for the job ensured half the battle was won. With the assurance of RD, backed by the irrepressible Kishore Kumar, where was the need for the filmmakers to fret over the performance of the actors. In this case, there was nothing to rave about the cast at all with the exception of Balraj Sahni, a stalwart known for his versatility.

Melody has become a casualty in times when cacophony passes as music. Not that the movies of more than three decades ago were marked by quality compositions always. The decline became pronounced since the ‘80s and the degeneration has continued with no place for poetry in lyrics. It is a reflection of times actually. The period from 1950 to 1980 was unforgettable for music lovers with a galaxy of composers making the task easier for the producers. Films revolved around the music and songs were an essential part of the success. Music was a strong theme for filmmakers and there was immense respect for song writers and musicians. It seems a forgotten art now. RD was a rare phenomenon. Music was an innate quality that flowered under the guidance of his illustrious father, Sachin Dev Burman. From his debut in 1961 in “Chhote Nawab” to his last quality offering, “1942: A Love Story” in 1994, RD entertained his fans with a brand that was his own. “Teesri Manzil” (1966) established RD in the minds of producers who could now invite scripts where music was the soul and everything else, cast and plot, secondary. He commanded his price and space in a competitive industry and earned a high pedestal through sheer magic with his talent. In “Jawani Diwani”, he produced scintillating stuff and literally carried the film on his shoulders.

The story was ordinary and the actors disappointing. Jaya Bhaduri, having won the hearts of the film goers with “Guddi”, “Piya Ka Ghar” and “Uphaar”, was a complete misfit in the role of a college student, the lost look hardly befitting the character, carrying a doll to parties. It was comical given the fact that Randhir Kapoor too had little to offer, other than prance around, depicting a generation that was at conflict with the changes in the society. “Mere Apne” had so stunningly highlighted the ambitions and frustrations of the youth but “Jawani Diwani”, again using the students as the tool, fell flat in dealing with the subject. Romance was portrayed essentially through RD’s tunes. The variety that he brought was amazing. Pancham, as he was known to his friends and admirers, pumped life into what would have ended as a mundane narrative involving two college students falling in love with each other and achieving their goal after some hiccups. There is a villain too, some slapstick humour, and a predictable happy ending. The plot does not appeal but the music lingers. RD was the best ambassador for youthful and romantic genre not to forget the classical touch that he brought to songs. Songs from “Jawani Diwani” impressed a cross-section of music-lovers. “Yeh Jawani Hai Diwani” was a peppy number and went down well with the young brigade. “Saamne Yeh Kaun Aaya” could be heard at most parties. “Nahi Nahi Abhi Nahi” and “Agar Saaz Chheda Tarane Banenge” became popular too but he icing on the cake was “Jaane Jaan Dhoondta Phir Raha” which had a distinct RD touch, a unique blend of instruments that only he could use.

RD gave music that reached out to all kinds. “Jawani Diwani” came on the heels of “The Train”, “Kati Patang”, “Hare Rama Hare Krishna”, “Buddha Mil Gaya”, “Amar Prem”, “Caravan”, “Bombay To Goa”, all acknowledged more for RD’s music than anything. Kishore Kumar was a constant factor in RD’s rise and the two combined to give true meaning to the term musical hit. But for RD, most of these films would have sunk without trace. Their success was a tribute to RD’s maverick personality and his ability to innovate. “Jawani Diwani” was one such glorious offering, remembered even today only for its music.

Cox & Kings Plans To List PGL And Meininger

Travel company Cox & Kings is reportedly planning to list its UK-based education travel subsidiary PGL and German hotel arm Meininger Shared Services GmBH in the next few years , its CEO and ExCampionite class of '78 Peter Kerkar said. "We have to get (the companies) to the correct size and see if the market environment is correct...," said Kerkar. PGL is part of the Holidaybreak Group which was bought by Cox & Kings in 2011-12. Kerkar reportedly said that "Today, if we take just education, if I was to list it today, I would get a 15 times multiple of its Ebitda (as valuation)."

‘Real Estate (Regulation And Development) Bill A Welcome Move': Niranjan Hiranandani


Media reports have been mentioning about the new Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill, and its possible impact the larger real estate ecosystem. The media reports also mention transparency in the sector as something that would increase real estate buyers' and investors' confidence.

“Anything that brings in a structured, transparent format of working is much-needed in India’s real estate scenario; the new Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill fits in perfectly,” said Niranjan Hiranandani ExCampionite class of ’66 and MD, Hiranandani Communities. “Real estate needs to get recognized as an ‘industry’ as per the definition, so that real estate companies get treated on par with companies in other industries, I hope the new Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill will help us achieve the same,” he said. Giving the example of structured institutional finance at competitive interest rates, Niranjan Hiranandani said a real estate company should be able to get access to the same sort of options as regards institutional finance, and if the new Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill makes it happen, the real estate industry will obviously support it. “It is not just real estate investors and real estate buyers, transparency in the sector would also be positive for the industry,” he said. “Transparency is a good concept, the real estate industry has been working towards it since past few years – self regulation is something we are all working towards achieving, so in concept, it is something we are in sync with,” he said. “The only odd aspect is if the entire onus is on the developer, with no responsibility being fixed for other stake holders – that is plainly unjust and unfair,” said Niranjan Hiranandani. “So long as all stake holders are treated equally and fairly as regards apportioning blame in the event things go wrong – it should be a positive step for India’s real estate,” he concluded.

Romesh Wadhwani, Azim Premji, Shiv Nadir On Forbes 100 Richest Tech Billionaires List


Indian American and ExCampionite class of '62 Romesh Wadhwani, as well as Azim Premji and Shiv Nadar of India, were included on Forbes’ 100 Richest Tech Billionaires list, which was published Aug. 5.

Wadhwani, the founder, chairman and CEO of Palo Alto, Calif.-based Symphony Technology Group, was No. 73 on the list. Valued at $2.8 billion, the 67-year-old entrepreneur is the recipient of the 2013 Forbes India Non-Resident Philanthropist Award and sits on the boards of the Kennedy Center and the Center for Strategic and International Studies. In July 2015, he announced plans to commit up to $1 billion to the Wadhwani Foundation to fund entrepreneurship in India. He has held value in the potential growth of businesses in India for some time. India-West profiled Wadhwani, who made his first fortune in 2000 when he sold his software firm, Aspect Development, in the Jan. 10, 2014 issue of India-West He told India-West at the time that “There really should be simplicity in starting a company in India,” adding, “We don’t want to be an angel investor… We want to provide the support they need to learn the principles of entrepreneurship.” Wadhwani earned a degree in electrical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology before getting a Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon. After working as CEO of American Robot, Wadhwani moved to the Silicon Valley to found Aspect Development.

Premji and Nadar came in at No. 13 and No. 14, respectively, on the Forbes list. Premji, 70, is the chairman of Bangalore-based Wipro. The company reported a 10 percent rise in revenues last quarter. He is valued at $17.4 billion. Premji's private investment arm has stakes in e-tailer Myntra, now part of Flipkart, and e-commerce company Snapdeal. Premji is among Asia's most generous tycoons, having given away more than $4 billion of his fortune. Wipro was set up 70 years ago by his father as Western India Vegetable Products.

Nadar, 70, is founder and chairman of HCL. The Indian philanthropist gets the bulk of his wealth from software services outfit HCL Technologies, which reported net profits of $1.2 billion on revenue of $6 billion in the year ended June 2015. Nadar has diversified into healthcare with HCL Avitas, a new firm in partnership with John Hopkins Medicine International, which has opened 10 clinics in Delhi. His newest venture is HCL TalentCare, a skills development firm that provides training to fresh graduates. The Forbes top 100 Richest Tech Billionaires list was topped by Bill Gates of Microsoft, who is valued at $79.6 billion.

Padma Shri Prof. Mustansir Barma To Receive G.M. Modi Award For Innovative Science And Technology


The Gujar Mal Modi Science Foundation has announced the name of Professor Mustansir Barma ExCampionite class of '66 as the recipient of the prestigious ‘Gujar Mal Modi Award for Innovative Science & Technology’ for the year 2015. Professor Mustansir Barma is a Distinguished Professor and Former Director, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR). Professor Barma is highly acclaimed for his path breaking work in TIFR particularly in the areas of Statistical Physics.

Professor Barma, 65, has contributed to the research and training in new areas of Science with the establishment of a new campus of TIFR in Hyderabad. Prof Mustansir Barma plays an indispensable role in guiding several Ph.D. students and postdoctoral associates at TIFR. He has delivered lectures on several national and international platforms and helped to organize, several schools and conferences in the subject. For his exceptional work in Statistical Physics, he has been elected to the Fellowship of the Indian National Science Academy, the Indian Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Sciences, India and the Academy of Sciences of the Developing World (TWAS). He was awarded the INSA Young Scientist Medal, the Bhatnagar Prize, the R. S. Goyal Prize, and the S.N. Bose Birth Centenary Award of the Indian Science Congress. Currently he holds the J. C. Bose Fellowship. He served on the Science Advisory Council to the Cabinet and the Science Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (SAC-PM). Prof. Barma was conferred the Padma Shri in 2013. Announcing the details for this year’s award, Mr Satish Kumar Modi, President of Gujar Mal Modi Science Foundation said, “Prof. Mustansir Barma, Padma Shri, has achieved remarkable position in the field of Science and Technology. His research on cooperative effects in complex systems has had a strong impact in the field of Statistical Physics, in particular, in the areas of phase transitions and systems far from equilibrium. We are honoured to include him in our list of awardees that have made outstanding contributions for the society.” Prof. Mustansir Barma joins the impressive list of previous awardees, which includes names like Prof. Satish Dhawan, Late Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam and Prof. U.R. Rao. M. Hamid Ansari, Hon’ble Vice President of India will present the award to Prof. Barma on 14th August 2015 at a ceremony in New Delhi.

About Gujar Mal Modi Innovative Science and Technology Award:

Gujar Mal Modi Innovative Science and Technology Award is among the highest cash awards in the country in the field of Science and Technology. The award was instituted in 1988 in the memory of the great industrialist of India, late Rai Bahadur Gujar Mal Modi of Modinagar. It is given each year to a person who has demonstrated the qualities of excellence and innovation through outstanding research and providing leadership in the development and promotion of Science and Technology in India.

Summer Day In London

Long lunch

Long lunch with lots of wine on a lovely summer day in London with dear school friend Neeraj Nayar: memories of Campion school and cricket came alive. You can take a man out of his school, can't take a school out of old mates.

Sleep Long, Sleep Right – Altaf Patel – ExCampionite class of ‘64

When I was a student researching the biological need for sleep, the text book made clear-cut recommendations. It said babies sleep much of the day and the elderly require less sleep, but the average adult required around eight hours of sleep. All through my college days I could not function well with less than nine hours of sleep and I found that my classmates did with much less. There were even those who made do with four hours a night. I often thought that they were lucky as they had more time to study, an important asset in a competitive world. I find my wife needs around six hours, and her clock is set so that she wakes at dawn. Waking up at the same time gives me eight hours of sleep, still considered by some to be adequate.

There are several disadvantages to sleep deprivation and an important part of a health check-up is to determine how the patient sleeps. The real issue is determining if the patient wakes up refreshed. Sleep deprivation produces significant disturbances in physical performance and mental alertness. There may be memory impairment and disturbances in cognition. This is important for students burning the midnight oil for examinations. Sleep deprivation is associated with a poor quality of life. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of USA estimates that each year drowsy driving results in 100,000 automobile crashes, 71,000 injuries and 1,550 fatalities. Chronic loss of sleep may contribute to diseases such as heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes and obesity. A strange form of sleep disturbance that is congenital and puts the sleeping person at risk of death is called Ondine's curse. The tragic love story of Ondine has also been made into a famous opera. She was a nymph...a breathtakingly beautiful water goddess who fell in love with a handsome man, Palemon, who was engaged to another woman. He was also smitten with Ondine and wooed her, breaking off his engagement. He vowed that his "every waking breath would be a pledge of love and faithfulness to her". Mythology has it that when nymphs wed and bear children, they lose their youthfulness and age. That is exactly what happened to Ondine. Her husband began to philander and she came across him snoring, with another woman in his arms. She had enough magical power left to curse him into upholding his marriage pledge of faithfulness, so that for as long as he was awake he would breathe and if he fell asleep his breath would leave him.

The National Sleep Foundation of USA states that adults should target between seven to nine hours of sleep. They have also delineated a new category of six hours, which may be appropriate for some. An article on sleep by Van Dangen and his colleagues, published in 2004, is enlightening. It tells us that different body functions may require different quantities of sleep; so cognitive function may be good even with six hours of sleep, but perhaps not physical endurance or performance. Data from the National Center for Health Statistics tells us that 10 to 30 per cent of US adults sleep less than six hours per night while the average for the military is a little more than six hours. Another interesting fact is that should we sleep shorter hours like four or less on successive nights we tend to get cumulative sleep debt. This may not be the same for everyone; for example, one person may require six hours of sleep and another eight, for optimum performance. This phenomenon may be genetic. An article by Warby SC on sleep, reported in 2004, suggests that it is unlikely that a single gene may be involved. Much ongoing research is also targeted at sleep deprivation, with a view to find those individuals who are resistant to sleep debts.

We are still scratching the surface. We do know that weight gain or appetite changes are common in those who sleep less than seven hours a night. Going back to the original question - how much sleep do we need? I often tell patients that we need such an amount that when we awake, we feel refreshed. This is usually between seven to nine hours, though it may be six for some. Further research will make the situation clearer.

Exclusive: Tarun Tahiliani Has Some Serious Advice For Brides-To-Be


Looking like a doll from 300 years ago on your wedding is passe, says couturier and ExCampionite class of ’77 Tarun Tahiliani. Held at the Taj Palace in New Delhi, the annual Vogue Wedding Show is a one-stop-shop to assembling the big fat Indian wedding, be it the hottest wedding trousseau or the most extravagant table settings. At the luxury wedding fair, we caught up with fashion designer Tarun Tahiliani on all things fun and fashion. Owner of one of the busiest stalls at the exhibit, attired in black, the designer greets people affectionately and compliments random people on their style. That's Tarun Tahiliani for you. People are going gaga over his creations, with girls fawning over a feathery looking, blush pink gown. "It's been great to connect because we have had a fantastic response. We aren't selling from here, we are engaging and doing a huge promo for our latest collection, Our Eclectic New World," he says.

On his latest collection: "In a nutshell, it's all about lightness. I'm very bored of the heritage story and going back to looking like our grandparents. I think we need to be cognizant. If you look around, most of the women are in western clothes, including yourself, so I don't think for a wedding, you should suddenly look like a doll from 300 years back. It's really passe and it come into the realm of costume. The whole thing is irrelevant. Our modern lehengas come with a little choli, with the lehengas cut short in the front. The skirt bounces when the bride moves. You can just put on a body suit or shirt and dance in the night. A lot of girls also want toned down, monochromatic things they can wear with one necklace, because they want to be themselves. For menswear, it's more bespoke with lots of tailoring details. We are taking Indian wear and making it contemporary."

On choosing Lisa Haydon as his showstopper: "Lisa is modern, a free-spirited wild child I identify with. She's exactly what I have described to you. She embodies this lightness, she says what she thinks and she is what she is. She's athletic, she doesn't define herself by what bag or shoe. She's cool and she'll get married with her hair open and glistening body."

On Lisa being the perfect runaway bride: "Well she did run away once. She was engaged to be married."

On his friendship with Isabella Blow: Isabella Blow, the famed editor (her CV included Tatler, Vogue and The Sunday Times) who was credited with discovering models such as Sophie Dahl, Stella Tennant and one of the biggest names in fashion, designer Alexander McQueen, shared a close relationship with Tarun Tahiliani. "She was a great friend of mine. She would come and stay with me, she'd cook for me, we used to cry together, we used to laugh together, we were nuts! I took her to Pakistan, she was a riot. She was unhappy. She tried to commit suicide five times and she finally died on the fifth attempt. The first time she was dressed up in couture and dropped off a bridge." How did Tahiliani respond to that? He simply said, "You silly girl, your petticoat's open, like a parachute and instead of landing in front of a car, you landed on the car. It's something we always laughed about."

On being called the Karl Lagerfeld of India: "That was a very kind thing of Isabella to say. It's something I think about sometimes and it puts pressure on me to live up to it. What is it about him, his indefatigable energy, he's disciplined which am not and his ability to keep re-inventing himself. He's intellectual and he never mistakes clothes for some festival of freakishness. It's always wearable and I love that. God, I think that's an idea to live up to. You know, clothes, they are not some installation for me at all. I keep asking brides, 'Can you sit?' Even our veils are now cut in panels, so you see the way it sits. All the work we put is inside and Karl does that."

On projects other than fashion: Besides fashion, Tahiliani has tried his hand at other projects but not all have worked out well. He collaborated with Ferns N Petals some time back to design a special range of floral arrangements that used exotic flowers and unique arrangements. Today, the line's no more. "I shut that down, because every time the flowers changed, the arrangements looked different. I didn't like that. I'll only give my name to things that can be kept identical, so I'll do watches, I'm doing gold and silver jewellery and we are also working on a perfume." The designer has also worked on extremely niche interior projects in the past, having lent his expertise to properties like The Sol and The Park. Talking about his current line-up he says, "I do very niche interior projects as it takes too much time and I don't do formula projects. I'm doing three beautiful houses, a hotel in Goa, and another Indian restaurant."

On his upcoming ready-to-wear range: There's something else though, that has him (and us) visibly excited, "What I'm really excited about is my ready-to-wear range. Again, Lisa's my muse for that and we have this video which will debut soon. We have done drapes, and dhoti skirts and simple things and the whole video is her just changing clothes."

On individuality in women: The man who has dressed the likes of Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Deepika Padukone, feels women need to keep just one thing in mind in order to get it right. "Be yourself, aim for individuality. All the girls look the same these days with their lenses and poker straight blonde hair-that's so dated! If three women walk in, in an identical BCBG or Prada dress, they look the same, but if three women walk in, in identical sarees, they look different, because it's draped differently on their bodies."

On experimenting with drapes: But we don't really see Indian women going out there and experimenting with different styles of draping sarees. In fact the one they seem to largely have a fetish for is the nivi style of draping. "To be able to drape your saree in different styles, you have to be comfortable with the idea of draping, which most people are not. Our magazines are not teaching them anything. Our magazines are too western, they are just chadhaoing the west."

Cox and Kings Ltd Net Profit @ Rs 135 Crore – 5% Increase In Q1FY16


Cox & Kings Ltd. the leading holidays and education travel group having operations in 22 countries across continents, has announced its financial results for the first quarter FY 16 on August 07th, 2015. The company has reported consolidated net sales of Rs 684 crore up by 5% Q1FY16 as against Rs.649 crore in Q1FY15 (computed excluding the Camping division sold last year). The EBITDA (excl. forex gain/loss) stood at Rs. 333 crore up by 3% (y-o-y) as compared to Rs. 323 crore in Q1FY15 (computed excluding the Camping division sold last year). The Net profit grew by 5% to Rs. 135 crore as against Rs.128 crore in the corresponding period last year and EBITDA margins stood at 48.7% as against 49.8% in Q1FY15 (computed excluding the Camping division sold last year). The standalone net sales was up by 16% to t Rs.192 crore as against Rs 166 crore in Q1FY15. The EBITDA for the quarter up by 17% to Rs. 120 crore as against Rs.102 crore in the corresponding period last year and PAT was up by 31% to t Rs.78 crore as against Rs.59 crore in Q1FY15.

Peter Kerkar, ExCampionite class of '78 and Director, Cox and Kings Ltd said, " Our performance for the quarter was strong despite the high base , partly driven by Leisure India. We are poised to aggressively expand across business lines over the next few years. Each of our businesses have unique and identifiable growth drivers. Mr. Peter Kerkar, Director, Cox & Kings Ltd. was honoured by The British Travel and Hospitality Hall of Fame as one of the seven inductees into the Hall of Fame this year. The British Travel & Hospitality Hall of Fame, honors outstanding business achievement in the Travel, Hospitality, Leisure & Tourism sectors.

Architects Have To Get Away From The Position Of Arrogance: Rahul Mehrotra

rahulmehrotra - Copy (2)

Architect and conservationist and ExCampionite class of '74 Rahul Mehrotra on his new book, why the notion of smart cities is flawed and how he became an architect. At the entrance of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya in Mumbai sits a steel and glass visitor center reflecting the proud stone facade of the prestigious museum. Another facade for a corporate building in Hyderabad has a green tapestry of seasonal plants. A house in Alibaug uses three courtyards to measure privacy. The mastermind of these pieces of architecture, Rahul Mehrotra, 56, knows one thing about materials and spaces: when traditional meets contemporary, they must both understand each other and become friends. In this interview, Mehrotra, who heads the Mumbai-based firm RMA Architects, argues that architecture must move away from its elitist perceptions. Excerpts:

Tell us a bit about your new book Kumbh Mela: Mapping the Ephemeral Mega-City. Everyone’s seen photos of the Kumbh and the spectacle of it being the world’s largest gathering of believers but the Harvard team looked at governance, public health and its ephemeral urbanism. For 55 days, there are over 3 million people on the river bed, there are roads, pontoon bridges, tents, clinics and social centers, for a city as big as Bangalore, maybe. What’s amazing is how an event of this magnitude is created with minimal documents, sometimes its plan is simply drawn in the sand. It challenges the notion of building for permanence.

What shaped your design aesthetics? I think I became an architect because my parents moved homes very often. While the rest of the family despaired at the thought, I was always excited about the new possibilities to rearrange the house, and in retrospect, my most memorable moments growing up were moving homes. We also traveled a lot, so one got exposed to different spaces and places. Naturally, this led me to consider studying to become an interior designer. It was architect Ranjit Sabhiki, a family friend, who advised me to study architecture instead. My years at architecture school (CEPT University) in Ahmedabad were a great influence too. Ahmedabad has both contemporary buildings by Le Corbusier and Louis Kahn as well as the early works of BV Doshi, Achyut Kanvinde and Charles Correa, and also fabulous traditional architecture. In those five years, simultaneously working in traditional neighborhoods and looking at new buildings equipped one to move within these spectrum. Rahul Mehrotra, Interview, Architect, Conservationist, Kumbh Mela book, urban landscapes, Green Wall, Social house, EYE A sand quarry was converted into a social housing project for mahouts and their elephants on the foothills of Amber Palace and Fort near Jaipur

What made you pursue conservation after you returned from Harvard? I came back in 1989 from the US, having spent three years studying urban design and having worked there for a year. I heard Rajiv Gandhi speak at Harvard in 1987, and that motivated me. It was his “I too have a dream” speech. They were hints about liberalization and promises of a new India. Conservation was already happening in Bombay for over a decade, with people such as Cyrus Guzdar and Jamshed Kanga among others, but their efforts were focused largely on listing buildings. I found it limited by nostalgia. So through a series of discussions, we shifted the debate to urban conservation; of looking at precincts and critical masses of buildings. It allowed us to address legislative questions and tweak bye-laws. At a more personal level, besides saving buildings, I wanted to react to the system of blanket FSI (Floor Space Index) and building bye-laws, often standardized for an entire city. These rules result in an all-pervasive building pattern, regardless of whether they are single-room tenements or luxury apartments, offices, hospitals, or even schools. Such an approach obliterates any sense of cities being viewed as a group of precincts, neighborhoods and communities. Since the heritage legislation was put into place in April 1995, Mumbai has different precincts marked as conservation zones. That’s how parts of Bandra were saved, Khotachiwadi was saved and why the Fort area doesn’t have any new high-rise buildings.

So does design have solutions for urban landscapes? Design is not the only solution. I believe design is powerful because it is a synthetic mode. Architects, designers, and planners have the abilities to synthesis, to take various problems and turn them into spatial solutions. Unfortunately, our engagements as architects in India have become too site-specific, and we don’t collaborate enough across disciplines. What I learnt during our recent project to map the Kumbh Mela is that when you have an out-of-the-box problem, inter-disciplinary transgressions happen easily. In this project, public health, engineering, divinity and design worked together as partners. Architects have to get away from the position of arrogance. You have to understand that in collaborations, hierarchies get flattened and that the voice of a sociologist, an economist, an activist or a government official is as simultaneously valid as our own voice as designers.

Can you tell us about some instances of fruitful community participation? I think the Urban Design Research Institute (UDRI) in Mumbai is doing some incredible work in Mumbai using these forms of partnerships. What PK Das has done to restore Bandra’s waterfront is a great example. Of course, the form of patronage was different with a politician getting involved. What’s happening in Nizammudin basti (with Aga Khan Foundation) is another good example. However, it is problematic when either one of these models is promoted as the ideal example or as best practice. Every practice has a different configuration, depending on the area and city. That’s the fundamental problem with the smart cities concept.

Can you explain that a bit more? The problem with the notion of “smart cities” is that it sets up the environment to be fashioned in a single image, it’s not about cultural specificity. The only way to get people involved in the city imagination is to respond to local needs and aspirations. To be socially relevant, cities have to grow out of the roots. They cannot be transplanted so easily. Currently, the idea of a “smart city” is about blanket replication. This will result in gated communities and a flattening of the city, driven by infrastructure and investment. They will create a form of exclusion. What the government should be saying is, “let’s have great cities. In the next 20 years, let’s make 100 cities great places for working, living and recreation”. There is usually a divide between the one who designs and the one who implements. How do you bridge that? This is precisely why I am interested in conservation. It informs our practice in building contemporary buildings. As architects, we create a rapport with workers and respect their skills. We value our relationship with craftspeople by getting them into the process early and getting their feedback and working with them closely. As a result, I am interested in contemporary craft. Using traditional materials such as wood, lime and stone is what we engage with in conservation projects but in our new buildings we also extend our involvement into new materials. The second important lesson we have learnt from conservation is about the life cycle of materials. Buildings have problems when materials with two different life cycles intersect. If something that lasts for 100 years is intrinsically linked with a material with a 10-year life cycle, then you will have trouble. And when you begin to think about separating material with different life cycles, then this has implications on design configurations. These are simple things, it’s common sense.

Tell us a bit about ‘The State of Architecture’, the exhibition that you have planned at NGMA, Mumbai, in January 2016. My co-curators Ranjit Hoskote and Kaiwan Mehta and I have had many conversations about this and have been wanting to do this for a few years now. We feel there is a lacuna in conversations on architecture. Kaiwan edits Domus and Ranjit is an art critic, and with our different voices, we thought it would be an exciting experiment, where we have multiple curatorial hands evolve something for broader public consumption. Also, in Mumbai, urban conversations have matured and a lot wonderful things are happening at some schools of architecture. So many professionals are now engaged in the conversation about urban issues but conversations around architecture are absent. We hope the exhibition will trigger a national conversation on the state of architecture. We are not focusing on weekend homes and private residences, which, while being important crucibles for innovation, are finally a landscape of private indulgence. Instead, it is aimed as a critique and will reflect on why the profession is not engaged enough with the public realm; to ask if there is a crisis of patronage?

‘Radha Bol Tune Ye Kya Kiya': Rishi Kapoor’s Epic Tweets On Radhe Maa Pack A Punch

ExCampionite class of '69 Rishi Kapoor twitter account is quite the source of entertainment. Known for his witty sense of humour, Rishi Kapoor often puts up candid tweets about his co-stars, current affairs and his opinion on the same. The latest news to have captured the senior Kapoor's attention is the controversy surrounding 'Godwoman' Radhe Maa. Just a couple of days ago, a video of Radhe Maa surfaced on the internet where she is seen dancing to a bollywood number, and images of her in a red mini skirt also went viral. Radhe Maa has been missing since, and several reports claims that she has gone underground. She has also been accused of instigating dowry harassment and threatening phone calls to former devotees. This Zee News report claims that she is hiding with her supporters in a hotel in Aurangabad at the moment. Meanwhile, in true Rishi Kapoor style, the tweets about Radhe Maa are quite epic. Rishi Kapoor seems to be making fun of babas, and sadhus as a concept in general:

 Make up,lipstick,eye shadow,jewellery et al. for discourses? Is that my friend Bappi Lahiri without his glasses?

 The next Baba! "Rishi muni Rishi" Already an actor so all geared up for the Dhongee rip off!

 Singing "Bol Radha Bol tune Ye Kya kiya?" And then "Radha on the dance floor". Courtesy films Bol Radha Bol and SOTY

 An aspiring FTII student blessing an spiring FTII Principal. Jai ho Radhe Radhe!!!

 Jaago India Jaago!Kamzori ka faida uthaya ja raha hai by these actors. I am too, but I entertain not deceive. Sochna!

Media Programme


A three-day media advocacy programme for State journalists, jointly organised by All Manipur Working Journalists’ Union (AMWJU) and Manipur Development Society (MDS), has kick started at Secure Office complex auditorium, AT Line, North AOC from today.

Principal Secretary (Information and Public Relations) Letkhogen Haokip, DIPR Director Salam Somorjit and AMWJU president Wangkhemcha Shamjai attended the opening function as chief guest, guest of honour and president respectively. The Telegraph Special Correspondent Khelen Thokchom and AIR Imphal News Editor A Ibomcha Sharma spoke on the topics, ‘Dress code and personal appearances of journalists’ and ‘Social media and its pros and cons’ respectively.

On the second day tomorrow, India Today Group Consulting Editor and ExCampionite class of '81 Rajdeep Sardesai will speak on investigative journalism and ISTV Chief Editor Brozendra Ningomba on freedom of media and its challenges. Indian Journalists Union (IJU) president SN Sinha and IFJ executive member Sabina Inderjit will speak on media ethics, rights and responsibilities and women journalism and gender discrimination in media houses respectively.

On the third day on August 9, PRO (Defence) Lt Col Ajay Kumar Sharma will impart knowledge on defence correspondence course while IJU former general secretary Sreenivas Reddy on financial and social security of media and IJU general secretary D Amar on emergence of trade union activism in media.

When Ratan Tata said YES


You have to be daring and think out-of-the-box, says Hemalatha Annamalai of Ampere Vehicles whose social consciousness caught the attention of Ratan Tata

“In 2000, China sold 40,000 electric vehicles. In 2015, they are selling 32 million vehicles. Why not India?” Hemalatha Annamalai asked Ratan Tata in an e-mail. Hemalatha is the founder and CEO of Ampere that designs and manufactures Electric Vehicles (EV) including E-scooters, E-cycles, E-trolleys, and special purpose vehicles for the differently-abled.

Not only did Ratan Tata ExCampionite class of '49 respond to her mail, but also spent 10 minutes with her when he visited Coimbatore. And, he has made an undisclosed personal investment in the Coimbatore-based electric bike company. Ampere Vehicles factory at Sulur near Coimbatore is a flurry of activity. “We want to use the investment to scale up our operations and take our company to the next level. We want to strengthen our products and focus on large-scale production and make it faster, better and cheaper. In the electric vehicles industry, executions are challenging. We want to make a difference to it. We have started our talent hunt for sales, marketing, and R&D.”

Hemalatha says it was her precise, to-the-point mail that got Tata’s attention. “He receives over 10,000 mails and yours has to stand out. I wrote to him about the need for the auto industry to be democratized. It should be technology intensive and capital light. Most commercial players focus 80 per cent on building brand value and just 20 per cent on technology. I also emphasized on having manufacturing units in villages.” The seven-year-old company is now gearing up to become a world-class manufacturing facility. “You have to think-out-of-the-box and dare to do new things,” says Hemalatha. The Ampere Mitra series, the three-wheeler load carrier, is totally indigenous. “It carries loads up to one tonne and the battery requires about 6-8 hours of charging. Our customers, especially from villages, are happy. The four primary components of the vehicle are the battery, motor, controller and charger. Sixty per cent of our components are indigenous and we are working towards making it 100 per cent.” It is not about the size any more, says Hemalatha. “What is important is your contribution to society. In 2010-11, we sold 1000 electric scooters.” Ampere V60 Retro is an E-scooter with an intelligent battery designed for the differently-abled. Ampere Trisul offers low-cost mobility for textile mill workers. Textile workers use it to cover a distance of 12-13 km every day within the factory with ease. Ampere WMS (Waste Management Solutions) vehicle comes with adjustable partitions for carrying wet and dry wastes. Ampere supplied 30 WMS to the Kurudampalayam Panchayat. “We trained 300 women on how to operate it and a team led by Shanthamani are doing an excellent job. Of the eight tonnes waste that is generated there, four tonnes are collected using electric vehicles. It has empowered many families.”

Hemalatha hopes the Tamil Nadu Government will support women entrepreneurs. “The industry has to be democratized. Finances should be rapidly available for companies. The Government should work closely with industries to create awareness. It should support manufacturing units who want to become fully automated. The market is bullish now. Many players have shown confidence. Empowerment must happen at all levels.” Favorable government policies, and import-export tax structure, tax subsidies will go a long way, she adds. “Relaxation in VAT and Central Sales Tax (CST) will be encouraging. In China, there is zero VAT for electric vehicles. The Tamil Nadu Government should enforce tax-friendly measures. Exemption in any form will be great boost to the industry.” Her vision is to become a Rs. 100-crore company in the next three to four years. “We want to hire engineers, especially from middle-class families, who can contribute to R&D. Currently, 25 per cent of my workforce is women. I want to create more women managers,” she says. Hemalatha’s day starts with yoga and meditation. She says it gives her the strength to face challenges. “My mentors have encouraged me and given me time selflessly. I want to prove them right. Ratan Tata liked our company’s goal. Any manufacturing facility creates instant jobs. We want to empower homes in tier II and III cities in a systematic way. Once there is job creation, everything falls in place. When you employ an individual, the entire family is empowered. The whole ecosystem flourishes.”

A meeting to remember: Meeting Tata was inspiring, says Hemalatha. “His beautiful choice of words, the length and breadth of the meeting….it was phenomenal. He gave me 10 minutes, but we spoke for 45 minutes at the first meeting in December in Coimbatore. He kept repeating, ‘very interesting’ about our product line. He understood my concept. He saw my cycles, scooters, e-trolley and load carriers. He was happy to see a lady entrepreneur. He also spoke about how he wanted to make the Nano a car with dignity.” Hemalatha met Tata again in Mumbai. “He asked me about the financial model of the company. He said, ‘I am here to give you a little push and support from my side’.”

Grasim Industries’s Q1 Revenues Up By 15%


Grasim Industries Ltd, a part of the Aditya Birla Group, reported a consolidated net profit of Rs 485 crore for the quarter ended June 30, almost unchanged from the net profit of Rs 487 crore in the same period last year.

The Kumar Mangalam Birla ExCampionite class of '83 - led company has the second largest capacity to manufacture viscose staple fiber (VSF), makes caustic soda, and also holds a 60.3 percent stake in the conglomerate’s listed cement-making firm UltraTech. Grasim’s consolidated earnings reflect UltraTech’s earnings, to the extent of the former’s holding in the company. Grasim’s consolidated revenues rose by 15 percent year-on-year to Rs 1,657 crore, aided by growth in turnover for all three businesses, notably the VSF segment. Its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) rose marginally by three percent to Rs 1,531 crore in the same period. The minor growth in operating profit was driven by higher Ebitda reported by the VSF and caustic soda manufacturing operations. Ebitda from the cement business fell marginally to Rs 1,282 crore in the April-June period from Rs 1,296 crore a year earlier. Grasim’s standalone business (excluding cement) posted a 21 year-on-year percent rise in Ebitda to Rs 238 crore and a 15 percent increase in revenues to Rs 1,657 crore. Net profit from the standalone business remained flat at Rs 106 crore.

VSF, which is a substitute for cotton used in making textiles, did well due to “rising prosperity in emerging economies and high cotton prices in China (leading) to substitution”, according to Grasim’s latest investor presentation. An increase in prices of caustic soda in line with international prices aided earnings growth in the chemicals business. The cement business remained an under performer with off take, capacity utilization and prices coming under pressure due to low demand in the absence of infrastructure growth. Grasim had a net debt of Rs 5,296 crore as on June 30 and a debt to equity ratio of 0.17:1 and a debt to Ebitda ratio of 0.86:1. The company’s share price gained 1.52 percent on the BSE to close at Rs 3,808.35 per share on Friday. The benchmark Sensex lost 0.22 percent to end the day at 28,236.39 points.

The Old Order Changeth Yielding Place To New

IMG_459498172335871 - Copy (2)

As per a circular to the parents of boys in classes 1 to 4 Campion School has introduced an entirely new House System. Given below are the details pertaining to each house. In doing so it is hoped that students get to know a little about the role played by these well known personalities in history and how their great work can be carried forward.

1 Colour: Grey Name: M K Gandhi House Day: 2nd October Stands for: Peace & Non Violence Motto: Truth In Service

2 Colour: Green Name: Rabindranath Tagore House Day: 7th May Stands for: Vision & Composition Motto: Knowledge Is Power

3 Colour: Orange Name: Shivaji Bhosale House Day: 19th February Stands for: Bravery & Courage Motto: I Can & I Will

4 Colour: Purple Name: C V Raman House Day: 7th November Stands for: Invention & Determination Motto: Dare To Dream

Telangana Government Invites Ratan Tata for Launch of T-Hub Next Month


The Telangana government invited renowned industrialist and ExCampionite class of '49 Ratan Tata for the inauguration of 'T-Hub', a technology incubator being set up in Hyderabad from next month. Telangana IT and Panchayat Raj Minister K T Rama Rao met Ratan Tata and explained about the "digital initiatives" being taken by the Telangana government, a state government release said in Hyderabad. "He (Ratan Tata) was told about the largest technology incubator being set up in Hyderabad called T-Hub. Tata gave some valuable suggestions on how this incubator can leverage the presence of pharmaceutical industry and the defence and aerospace industry to innovate new products for them," it said. "Had a great interactive session with Ratan Tata and briefed him on Telangana's vision in IT, sought blessings for T-Hub," the release quoted Mr Rama Rao as saying. "Tata has been invited to inaugurate the T Hub building next month," it said. Mr Rama Rao, son of Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, also called on Anand Mahindra, Chairman and MD of Mahindra Group, later in the day, it said. "The possibility of investments by various Mahindra group companies in Telangana was discussed. Minister interacted with Anand Mahindra and invited (him) to visit to Telangana." "Mahindra accepted the minister's invitation and he will visit Telangana to discuss further on potential investments. Mahindra applauded the minister for his commitment to promote newly born Telangana state," the release added.

Lisa Haydon To Be Tarun Tahiliani’s Muse @ Bridal Fashion Week


Lisa Haydon will be the showstopper for designer ExCampionite class of '77 Tarun Tahiliani's line at the upcoming Indian Bridal Fashion Week. "Queen” actress Lisa Haydon will be the showstopper for top designer Tarun Tahiliani’s line at the upcoming BMW Indian Bridal Fashion Week. Tarun will present his collection “Our Eclectic New World” at the five-day fashion extravaganza (August 7-11) on August 8. The designer said he chose 29-year-old Lisa not for her star status but because she is his dear friend. “Lisa Haydon will walk the ramp for us. She is a dear friend. She will be the showstopper. I don’t see it as an actress walking for me. I see her as a a model,” Tarun said

The designer said his new line draws inspiration from the splendor of ancient India and melds it with the buoyancy, lightness, finesse and froth that he thinks are the trademarks of today’s generation. He aims to blend opulence of Indian textile, embroidery with the sensibilities of modern generation, which the designer believes prefer light and comfortable outfits rather than heavy-weighed clothes for their D-day. “I feel there is an overdose of everything now. We are going over the top with the bridal wear. So, we should be low key and go back to basics. That is what I am doing this time,” Tarun said. The designer, known for his bright colour palette, is going for subtle shades for his collection this time. “People would be disappointed if they are expecting very bright colours. This time I have used heavy jewellery so I have kept colours like beige, cream. It is about going minimalistic.” Tarun feels his collection displays a sensual grace that has its roots in Indian history but resonates with contemporary lightness. He said his love for layering evolves into a sensuous vibe with contoured paneling that fits the body like a glove. “The silhouettes will include paneled veils, jackets, kurtas, sarees and lehengas in beige on Basra, Basra creams in French knots, tiny pearls and more, for both the couture this festive/bridal season,” said the designer.

‘Hindu Terror’ A Reality, Says Rajdeep Sardesai; Gets Death Threats


Noted TV journalist and columnist Rajdeep Sardesai ExCampionite class of '81 received threatening tweets over his tweets wherein he said ‘Hindu terror' is a 'reality' which ‘can't be denied'. In the same tweet, he had also said, ‘Islamic terror' is a ‘global reality' which 'can't be denied'. Around 10 PM on Friday (31st July), Rajdeep Sardesai tweeted on his twitter handle @sardesairajdeep: "My view: ‘Islamic terror' is a global reality, can't be denied; ‘Hindu terror' highly localized, can't be denied." A few minutes after the tweet, Rajdeep got a threatening tweet from this twitter handle ‏@Jitu345: "@sardesairajdeep aapko ek din ek Hindu terrorist hi supurd-e-khak karega" (You will be buried by a Hindu terrorist one day). And soon Rajdeep was rained with abusive and threating tweets. Debate on 'Hindu terrorism' erupted in India.

Birla In Talks With PE Firms To Sell Insulator Unit

The group wants to sell the unit since it is a low-margin business, looks for a valuation of 1.5-2x annual revenue.

Aditya Birla Nuvo Ltd (ABNL), part of the $42-billion Aditya Birla Group, has started talks with private equity (PE) investors to sell Aditya Birla Insulators, according to two people aware of the development. ABNL may sell the subsidiary for Rs.800-1,000 crore, one of the two people indicated. Both people declined to be identified. Aditya Birla Insulators, which makes high-voltage porcelain insulators used in power generation, transmission and distribution, posted a revenue of Rs.548 crore in 2014-15, up 8% from a year earlier. The group, which wants to sell the unit as it is a low-margin business, is looking for a valuation of 1.5-2 times its annual revenue, the first person said. A group spokesperson declined to comment. The firm’s website says Aditya Birla Insulators is India’s largest and the world’s fourth largest manufacturer of insulators. According to industry experts, the market size of electrical insulators in India is approximately Rs.2,000-2,500 crore.

“Overall slowdown in power transmission and distribution (T&D) projects and import of cheaper Chinese equipment affected the insulators business badly and the group wants to discontinue the business,” said the second person cited earlier. The industry had requested imposing anti-dumping duties after cheaper imports hit local manufacturers, the firm had said in its 2014-15 presentation. The finance ministry had imposed an interim anti-dumping duty on imports of insulators from China on 16 September 2014, and later extended it till 15 September 2019 to create a level playing field for local manufacturers. “The long-term imposition of anti-dumping duty on cheaper imports from China for five years will provide sustainable relief to the domestic players,” Sushil Agarwal, whole-time director and chief financial officer, ABNL, said at the company’s 2014-15 earnings conference on 14 May. In May 2014, a labour strike at the company’s Rishra plant in West Bengal affected production. It was restarted in June, after the company signed a long-term wage settlement with workers. “The potential for network investment is substantive given initiatives for 24x7 supply, new urban development, inter-regional transmission and system strengthening, and while some states are aggressively investing, many are constrained by inadequate institutional capacity. The equipment industry is suffering from a combination of inadequate flow, lack of standardization and import substitution,” said Kameswara Rao, leader (mining, utilities and energy) at consultancy firm PwC India. The $4.4-billion ABNL started exiting non-core businesses a couple of years ago. In May 2014, ABNL IT and ITES Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary, had divested its business and technology outsourcing firm Aditya Birla Minacs Worldwide Ltd to a group of financial investors led by CX Partners and Capital Square Partners at an enterprise value of $260 million (around Rs.1,650 crore).

“Usually, once the management determines that it cannot or does not want to invest additional resources (both capital and management bandwidth) on a particular business, it is best to divest; otherwise, it impacts the return ratios. And rather than sustaining a non-core business, one would rather monetize its current value and use it for core operations,” said Sanjeev Krishan, partner and leader (private equity and transaction services), PwC India. In 2013, ABNL divested its carbon black business to the Mauritius-based holding company of the group, SKI Carbon Black (India) Pvt. Ltd, for Rs.1,451 crore. “The assessment of core and non-core is a key one and a business may be assessed as non-core if, in spite of enough time and effort, raising its competitive positioning has been hard. This can happen,” Krishan added.

Perils Of Being Firstborn

- Altaf Patel ExCampionite Class Of 64

Does birth order make a difference to the attitude of parents or the health problems experienced by any one of the children?

Most members of large families seem to agree that younger children receive more love. An only girl or boy child gets appreciated more. Studies on firstborns tell us that they are more likely to enter professions such as medicine or law, while younger siblings are more likely to take up the arts. It is not surprising therefore that of the first 23 American astronauts, 21 were firstborn. A 2007 survey of CEOs found 43 per cent to be firstborn, while only 23 per cent happened to be the youngest child. Younger siblings are also more likely to be sporty and engage in adventure sports. Much of this may be explained by the attention the firstborn gets. It is estimated that these children get 3,000 more hours of quality time from their parents than their younger siblings. On the other hand, as mothers grow older they admit that they feel closer to their youngest child. There are certain health hazards that come from being firstborn. It has been suggested that birth order may be considered a modifiable risk factor for obesity, with the firstborn being more likely to be obese. The growth of a first born child in the uterus is restrained and they often have lower birth weight, which they must catch up to after birth.

There are risk factors for obesity, cardiovascular disease and metabolic disease later in life. Studies tell us that firstborns see a four-fold increase in fat mass in early adulthood compared to those born later. A New Zealand study also tells us that such children have greater insulin resistance, with a difference of up to 21 per cent between firstborn and successive children. Firstborns have higher blood pressure than their siblings, though the study did not find much difference in their cholesterol levels. However, insulin resistance and high blood pressure can lead to a metabolic syndrome later in life. This is characterised by central obesity, high blood pressure, likelihood of diabetes and increased blood fats, all of which contribute to heart disease - a widespread problem in India. On the other hand, firstborns are found to be generally 3 cm taller, though that is not really a health advantage. Researchers explain these differences by noting that during a first pregnancy, the uterus has to go through certain changes to feed the baby. These pathways then become well developed during subsequent pregnancies.

It was also hypothesised that the mother, being under unusual stress during her first pregnancy, secretes hormones that may be detrimental to the baby. Other studies on firstborns suggest they see a higher incidence of allergies. Food allergies show an incidence of 4 per cent among firstborns, as compared to 3.5 per cent among the second-born and 2.5 per cent in those born later. Firstborns are also more likely to develop allergic rhinitis and conjunctivitis, and the reason provided by researches is that multiple pregnancies help build the immune systems of children born later. On the other hand, birth order seems irrelevant in the development of asthma. Winston Churchill, Hilary Clinton and Oprah Winfrey all count among firstborn children. Most Nobel Prize winners for science were firstborn and many Nobel Prize winners for literature have been younger siblings. Ultimately we must accept our birth order and everything that goes with it, for it is not something that is under our control, however much we may complain about it.

It Is 50: 50 Whether RBI Will Cut Rates During The Next Review: Niranjan Hiranandani

In its third bi-monthly monetary policy review which will be announced on the 4th of August, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is as likely to announce another rate cut as it is likely to maintain status quo, said Niranjan Hiranandani, ExCampionite class of ’66 and Managing Director, Hiranandani Communities.

In its third bi-monthly monetary policy review which will be announced on the 4th of August, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is as likely to announce another rate cut as it is likely to maintain status quo, said Niranjan Hiranandani, Managing Director, Hiranandani Communities. The Reserve Bank Governor Raghuram Rajan had cut the repo lending rate by 25 basis points to 7.25 per cent during the review on 02 June 2015. This brought the cumulative rate cut to 0.75 per cent since January this year. “Any rate cut helps reduce the overall burden for home buyers and has the potential to boost residential real estate sales,” said Niranjan Hiranandani. From the RBI Governor’s perspective, the signs are mixed, said Niranjan Hiranandani. “In June, retail inflation rose to an 8-month high of 5.4 per cent, while the overall Wholesale Price Index (WPI) based inflation was (-) 2.4 per cent. So, when considering the current macro-economic situation, the RBI Governor will have to consider the divergence between wholesale and retail price inflation rates,” he said. There are three aspects which are likely to impact RBI Governor’s thought process when he takes a call on whether to further reduce the rates: the monsoon, global crude prices and perceived weakness in the rupee. “All three are likely to play out in different ways across the rest of 2015, clarity on these three is likely only after the calendar year ends – so, will he go ahead and announce a rate cut on 4th August? I think the jury’s out on this; in my opinion it is a 50 : 50 whether we will see another rate cut from the RBI,” he added.

If the RBI cuts rates, logically it should boost investments and growth. “I am hopeful of further rate cuts, and hope that the RBI will take the right call at the right time on this,” he concluded.

‘Prem Rog’ Clocks 33 Years, Rishi Kapoor Thanks Fans


ExCampionite class of '69 Rishi Kapoor starrer "Prem Rog" completed 33 years of its release and the veteran actor has thanked his fans for the support given to him. The romantic film revolves around a poor villager played by Rishi, who faces a family's wrath for pursuing the love of an upper class widow essayed by Padmini Kolhapure. "31st July 1982. Prem Rog. 33 years back. Thank you all for your patronage," the elated actor tweeted. Directed and produced by Raj Kapoor, "Prem Rog" also stars Shammi Kapoor, Tanuja, Nanda, Raza Murad and Om Prakash. Rishi and Padmini have also been seen in movies like "Zamane Ko Dikhana Hai" in 1981, "Yeh Ishq Nahin Aasaan" in 1984, "Hawalaat" in 1984" and "Pyar Ke Kabil" in 1987.

Vinod Kumar ExCampionite class of ’64 No More

1964VinodKumarWe regret to inform you of the sad demise of Vinod Kumar ExCampionite class of '64 on 28th July 2015. The Kumar family requests all his friends and loved ones to join them for a Chautha (prayer ceremony) to offer their heartfelt condolences. Date: 1st August 2015 Time: 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Venue: Jhulelal Mandir Near Maker Tower "H" Cuffe Parade Mumbai 400005

Mesage From Raghuvir Aiyar ExCampionite class of ’80


Greetings from K S AIYAR & Co. and 3D ART GALLERY which is operated by us for a noble cause at our offices at Mahalaxmi.

I am happy to pen this mail and invite you with a personal request for your attention, time and support, to an event being organised by us as an Open House, on Monday August 3 and Wednesday August 5, 2015 from 6 to 8 pm, for sale of paintings in a Group Show by known and upcoming artists. Please do make it convenient to attend the Open House on either of the days.

While we are all preoccupied with our professional and social commitment, our hearts surely want to reach out for the noble cause of social and economic up-liftment of the most needy, especially in villages. While there are many organisations who endeavour to do this, we at K S AIYAR along with HRIDAYAANGAN, an organisation for the up-liftment of villagers, have arranged this event, the sale-proceeds of which will be for the stated objective. K S AIYAR & Co. has chosen to be a catalyst by partnering in this event and hosting the Open House exhibition to support the cause being supervised and conducted by HRIDAYAANGAN, a social service initiative of Ms Usha Nair, known to us for many years and the Curator of 3D ART GALLERY. It is our faith and confidence that the proceeds of this exhibition will reach directly to the target audience under her supervision and direct involvement. Such activity which has tremendous relevance and cannot be successful without your personal support. I request and call upon you to make the exhibition and sale a great success by joining us at an Open House. I am happy to share some details about the project undertaken by HRIDAYAANGAN, in a ppt and a movie file, which will give you a bird’s eye view. (links to both are hereunder)

PPT file HRIDAYAANGAN, outlining the project details (

MP4 file captures details of activities at the village during the current year (

I shall be more than happy and remain grateful for accepting my invitation and should you need any further information or details on the project please feel free to contact me. I look forward to your gracious presence. Driving directions are provided in the footer. With best wishes,

Raghu Aiyar - CEO & Senior Partner And ExCampionite class of '80 K. S. Aiyar & Co #F-7, Laxmi Mills, Shakti Mills Lane, (Off Dr E Moses Road), Mumbai 400011, India 9122 / 6655 1770 ; 2493 2502 x 211 (Board) 9122 / 6655 1775 (Direct) 9122 / 6655 1774 (Fax) - Since 1897 - Celebrating 118 Years of Excellent Client Service

NewGen In Saddle, India Inc Takes Giant Strides

Three years ago when Harsh Goenka bemoaned the decline of Marwari entrepreneurs in India, Flipkart and Snapdeal were minnows. The business community that once built the foundation of India Inc was at a crossroads, the lack of zeal and grit painfully at display among the new generation. According to the chairman of RPG Enterprises, the options for Marwari kids were limited: They could sell their family jewels and splurge, or turn professionals and add value to others’ enterprises, or step out of their cocooned existence and chart the unknown like their famed forefathers.

Not sure if his call fell on ears of youngsters studying in country’s premier engineering institutes, Flipkart and Snapdeal, with young Marwari boys at their helm, have emerged the poster boys of India’s start-up revolution. Political patronage and crony capitalism were on the decline, the loot of natural resources like coal, ore and telecom waves, had just come to an end, under the watchful eyes of the country’s apex court. A wave of new-age businesses and entrepreneurship supported by ideas, technology, research and branding was sweeping the shores of a stunned Republic. The equations have changed. New conquerors — call them Pepperfry’s and Tinyowl’s — have emerged from nowhere and are fighting an online battle, on equal footing. Venture capitalists and private equity firms have swamped the otherwise dry investment scene, rolling out millions of dollars, and turning old-gen businessmen jealous, their eyes popped out. Their ways of raising bank funds by pledging shares and family properties are suddenly passé. Old economy looked squarely jaded.

Top industrialists like Ratan Tata ExCampionite class of '49 turned venture capitalists, generously contributing to the start-up revolution. Wealth amassed from old economy businesses changed its colour, and became seed capital for new-age entrepreneurs. The symbolic Indian tiger, reared but rarely roared in the confines of domestic markets, underwent a metamorphosis to produce a Make-in-India tiger. People, who saw the US of 1970s in new India, outnumbered the naysayers who prophesied an apocalyptic dotcom bubble, or its second coming. So that’s about the past and the present. All along the way, India has remained a land of contradictions. Poverty and famines have been historical realities. But of the 1.2 billion population, over 900 million today wield mobile phones. About 22% of the population is still below the official poverty line. But that doesn’t stop us from dreaming big. Expectations are high that India is on course to overtake China to claim the position as the world’s fastest growing economy in a year. Growth in Asia’s third-largest economy is likely to accelerate in the coming years even as much of the world, including China, slows down. While the new-gen businesses went on a euphoric trip, traditional business houses are reinventing themselves. Anant Goenka, the flag bearer of RPG Group, has now revamped strategies dexterously implemented by his father, and charted a new course. Rajiv Bajaj, on his part, abandoned the iconic ‘Hamara Bajaj’ scooters that once ferried the entire family, and carefully rebuilt a motorcycle-driven model for Bajaj Auto. The Davids of the e-tail battleground, Bansals (of Flipkart and Snapdeal) are not making it easy for Amazon and Alibaba, the global Goliaths. Thousands of other new-gen entrepreneurs from across the country have kept their flags flying high. Most of the future may look like a part of our history. But we still have a long walk into the future.

Deposit Rates May Come Down: HDFC Bank


HDFC Bank expects deposit rates to come down if the RBI cuts interest rates in the upcoming policy on Tuesday. The RBI is due to announce its third Bi-Monthly Monetary Policy 2015-16 on August 4. “If there is a policy cut, it would imply that banks would be induced to try and cut their deposit rates because that is the indication that the cost of money is going to come down. “It’s only when the banks reduce their deposit rates that they can re-calibrate their base rate,” said Paresh Sukthankar, ExCampionite class of '77 and Deputy Managing Director, HDFC Bank.

Seeing a 25-50 basis points cut in the policy rate during this fiscal, he added that meaningful movements in base rates would have to follow changes in deposit rates. There has been a slight pick-up in deposit growth and, more importantly, deposit growth is outpacing loan growth, he said. “So, when you look at it in relation to each other, there is probably some room for deposit rates to come down and I think that would be the case in some months,” he added. He was speaking to the media on the sidelines of the launch of HDFC Bank’s CSR initiative, Dhanchayat. The bank plans to reach 5,000 villages over five-six months.

Understated Bling Is Cool: Tarun Tahiliani

  • “Buoyancy, lightness, finesse and froth match the mood of today’s new generation. My love for layering evolves into a sensuous feel with silhouettes that fit the body like a glove,” he says. And there are those gold, shimmer, gems, jewels, laces, brocades, hues and tints... his designs are a splendor galore. ExCampionite class of ’77 and Designer Tarun Tahiliani, best known for fusing tradition and contemporary in his creations, accepts that his work is a spectacle of “understated bling”.

    “Bling is what we Indians love,” he says, adding that it can be downplayed. I love Rajasthan. I love Sindhi embroideries, beiges, greys and Swarovski crystals. So I guess, understated bling is cool, chivalrous and the king.” Soon to attend the three-day luxurious wedding exhibition Vogue Wedding Show, starting from August 7, the noted designer will showcase some of his best trousseau and couture pieces with glimpses of real jewels. He labels the Couture and Bridal Collection of 2015 as ‘Our Eclectic New World’. Sharing and revealing much more than what one could ask for—from his treasured moments to his outlook on diverse subjects—Tarun Tahiliani spills the beans in an exclusive interview to, all about his likes and dislikes, and unveiling privy affairs.

    Fashion week mania: Fanatics have turned fashion weeks merely into an “over-hyped” and publicized affair. “Sadly, fashion weeks are more of sponsor parades. While they are excellent for brand communication, their relevance at market places is diminishing,” Tahiliani says. “Pigeons flying around a cavernous hall with trance music is not exactly conducive to business, and at the FDCI, we have failed in the development, exposure and training for real business,” the designer says, adding, “However, Amazon is still the best for business and Lakme gets the most press coverage. The rest are not worth mentioning.” Lakme India Bridal week is the best platform for bridal trousseau.”

    Celebrities in style:Celebrities are fantastic fodder for the press, but Bollywood seems to squander their style,” says the designer who has been in the business for almost 25 years. According to him, “Deepika is the most gorgeous and statuesque, but for style no one comes close to Rekha. I’ve seen her for years. She knocks me out.” “Sonam also looks wonderful, but in the style of someone who loves to dress. Priyanka Chopra has great potential,” he says. “Whatever happened to the oomph of Elizabeth Taylor or someone as simple as Glenn Close, style and personality cannot be divorced or it would make one look like a marionette,” Tarun adds.

    Special shoots and best work-experience: Tarun says that working with Mehr Rampal and Shilpa Shetty has been his best experience. He then quips, “Loved my shoots with Katrina and Deepika.” Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie, Rekha. They are cool. They reflect themselves, not over the top, just the way they are,” says the 51-year-old designer. He adds Sean Connery and Homi Adajania too in the list.

    Fashion, now and then: Tarun paints a splendid picture of the world of fashion. “There is no doubt that fashion has progressed by quantum leaps and bounds in the last 15 years. There are fashion weeks, trends, glossy magazines, some multi-brand boutiques of note and a thriving handloom scene. Designers have started their own stores, and brands have been established.” Divulging his thoughts, he adds, “Yet, I have this sinking feeling every time I sit at an airport or at a mall that somehow women looked more elegant 15 years ago. That the humble saree that has been tossed off for the light dress did more to soothe the Indian curves, and that while clothes are more practical today, something of feminine grace is lost. That authenticity is missing as ‘aspirational’ Indians move from juicy tailoring to ‘jewelled’ Indian couture in a breath, devoid of any style of their own.” He feels that everyone seemed to have their own style before ‘fashion’ was born. It was the time when “the humble drape caressed the woman’s curve”. Is pop culture the end of civilisation? Tarun wonders.

    India as a fashion country at the global level: I think all eyes are on us,” says Tarun, as India is having “an international moment”. He says, “We’re slowly becoming an economic powerhouse, but in terms of international fashion, I think we are at least 10 years behind. Things are slowly changing, so I think we have the potential to catch up to it.” Tahiliani feels that the major hurdles are: “We don't think grandly. Also, we suffer from inefficiencies and need to be much more professional.” He spells out his inspirations as ‘enduring’. “I love dull zardozi, I love jamewar, I love cut work, I love anything textured, beige on beige, I love layering,” he says. The popular designer loves the Indian idea of looking through multiple layers as an old painting or miniature. “I love chikankari worn with zardozi, velvet, and mirror work. To me it’s fabulous because we’ve always had a wonderful culture of ‘jugaad’ and splicing things together. His other favourite word is collage.

    Indian roots and connection: After completing his education from abroad, did the thought of getting settled strike him or not? Tarun reveals, “Of course it did strike me. In fact, for a while, I ran a parallel studio in New York. We did lovely dresses but the buyers kept trying to make me into a Western dress designer – and I was just too Indian in spirit, Westernized as I may appear.” Sketching his connection with India, Tarun says, “I dreamt of the smells of the Kumbh, Rajasthan, the songs and thumris. I don’t understand but that belongs in my psyche and flows with my instincts. So I decided to return – and as I travelled with craft, I learnt India and more and more about her. We’ve been savaged by corrupt leaders and politicians, and people live in shocking poverty in ghastly towns and cities, but this is my country and I am deeply attached to the idea of living here. We’ve been fortunate to pioneer a bridge between Indian craft and modernism, our past and our future.”

    The tie-up with drapes: “Sari transcended fashion. It’s timeless. It needs to be saved and reinvented,” Tarun says. Tarun Tahiliani put his first step forward into fashion when he co-founded the first multi brand shop ‘Ensemble’ with his wife, Sailaja 'Sal' Tahiliani. He feels that it “kicked off the whole idea of homegrown Indian couture”. Elaborating how he came up with the idea, he says, “My wife, Rohit Khosla and I conceptualised it. We discussed about the need for a designer store that acknowledged quality, gave designers an Indian voice and an expression of freedom. To this sense, Ensemble was born in December ‘87. The store became a sensation heralding a fashion and retail revolution in India.” With his timeless designs, Tarun has blossomed in the fashion industry since the past 25 years. But time will tell whether his fresh collection hits the bull’s eye or misses the boat at the forthcoming fashion weeks!

Microsoft Launches Windows 10


Microsoft Corporation today started rolling out its new operating system Windows 10 around the world, including India, with a host of new features through which the longtime market leader in PC software will attempt to lure back consumers who gave up on Windows for mobile devices. Holding a mega function here, with India being a critical market, as part of celebrations in 13 countries, Microsoft said Windows 10 will become available today as a free upgrade 1 or with new PCs and tablets. The upgrade to its customers would be available for a year from today as part of the celebrations, the company said.

Armed with new innovative features like Cortana, an Xbox app and Microsoft Edge, the long-awaited Windows 10 would be available to computers and tablets in 190 nations. The company said the most secure Windows ever, Windows 10 is delivered as a service and kept automatically up-to-date with innovations and security updates. Windows 10 offers one experience that will become available on the broadest range of devices, including PCs, tablets, phones, Raspberry Pi, Xbox One, HoloLens and more — with more than 2,000 devices or configurations already in testing. The new Windows Store and Windows Software Development Kit also became available from today, opening the door to new and innovative app experiences on Windows 10. Bhaskar Pramanik, ExCampionite class of '66 chairman, Microsoft India, said, “Windows 10 is the best Windows ever. It is more personal and more productive. It’s safer and more secure.”

After Shashi Tharoor’s Speech, UK MP Keith Vaz Says Return ‘Koh-I-Noor’ To India


British Indian MP Keith Vaz called for the world-famous 'Koh-i-Noor' diamond to be returned to India during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's UK visit in November. Vaz's comments came in response to Congress MP and ExCampionite class of ’72 Shashi Tharoor's recent stirring speech at the Oxford Union calling for Britain to pay reparations to India for 200 years of its brutal colonial rule. "I welcome Dr Tharoor's speech and the endorsement of its message by Prime Minister Modi. I share their views. These are genuine grievances which must be addressed. "Pursuing monetary reparations is complex, time consuming and potentially fruitless, but there is no excuse for not returning precious items such as the Koh-i-Noor diamond, a campaign I have backed for many years," said Vaz, the longest serving British MP of Asian descent. Modi is due to arrive in the UK in November, and Prime Minister David Cameron has gone out of his way to maintain a strong bilateral relationship. "What a wonderful moment it would be, if and when Prime Minister Modi finishes his visit, which is much overdue, he returns to India with the promise of the diamond's return," Vaz said. The Koh-i-Noor was mined in medieval times in the Kollur Mine in Andhra Pradesh's Guntur district. At one time it was considered the largest diamond in the world. The diamond was originally owned by the Kakatiya dynasty, which had installed it in a temple of a Hindu goddess as her eye. It passed through the hands of various invaders and was finally confiscated by the British during the Raj. Today the diamond is a part of the Crown of Queen Elizabeth II. But till now Britain has refused demands to return the diamond to its country of origin.

Specialties:Capital Markets And Securities Law Compliance, Mergers And Acquisitions And General Corporate Law.

Low cost housing will be possible with rationalization of taxes as tax collection from real estate has increased tenfold and consolidation of land prices which have increased by 4 times in last 5 years, mentioned Niranjan Hiranandani, ExCampionite class of '66 and Managing Director, Hiranandani Group of Companies while speaking at CII's 7th edition of Real Estate Conclave 2015 held in Mumbai. He further stated that the corporate participation in the real estate market has helped in increasing the reputation of the sector. "The Hon'ble Prime Minister has a vision of housing for all by 2022 and the industry should make its objective to releasing it. The sector for a long time has been catering the high end demand in the market and needs to reassess its strategy with the 70% of the demand existing for affordable housing", added Hiranandani.

In context to Mumbai, Hiranandani stated that the development of infrastructure with Cross Harbour Bridge, Metro connectivity, River project for 24 X 7 water supply and open spaces on the reclamation lands are required for growth of real estate. The 4000 acre of salt pan land in Mumbai alone can create 5 lakh units of at Rs 2000 per sq ft and improvement of the slums around the city with development in slum policy for making it effective can solve the affordable housing in Mumbai. The vision of Project Naina shared by the Hon'ble Chief Minister of Maharashtra is expected to add around 2 times the land area of Mumbai to the city making housing for all a reality, added Mr Hiranandani.

Arun Nanda, Past Chairman, CII Western Region & Director, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd while addressing the CII's Real Estate Conclave mentioned that real estate is the only industry which has unlimited demand if there are realistic expectations. In case real estate is not sold then there is mismatch in builder expectations and the consumer demand. He also added that the sector is one of the most regulated sectors putting in huge unwarranted cost in place in turn escalating the prices. The real estate industry needs to go back to the drawing board and design products as per the customer needs for catering the customer demand. The industry also needs to take cautious steps while getting investors with unrealistic expectations on board and avert from giving into the artificial land prices of the market.

The theme of the summit Re-moulding around change was conceptualized keeping in mind the change across the globe in regions like America, Europe, Asia Pacific and China which are growing at a different pace mentioned Puri, Chairman - CII (WR) Real Estate Conclave 2015 and Chairman & Country Head, JLL, India. Speaking about the construction sector he mentioned that for the year 2014 the sector was valued at USD 240 bn compared to USD 90 bn in the year 2009, witnessing a demand for residential segment at 86% and commercial at 14% in 2014. He also added that the transparency index of 120 countries constituted by JLL sees Australia leading with India ranking at 40 and China at 45 which is a good sign of Indian markets. Speaking about the future of the sector Puri mentioned that in the year 2015 the demand is expected to be better for commercial space with demand of 13 mn sq ft out of which 40% is expected from Bangalore and remaining 60% spread out in other regions. The demand from retail segment will be encouraging with participation of foreign retailers. The opening up of FDI has also been encouraging with USD 25 bn coming in through the equity route in the sector. There is also an urgent need of the sector to focus on business sustainability by bringing in trained manpower and gender diversity in the sector, added Puri.

Project Nanhi Kali Invites You To Be Part Of 2nd Edition Of ‘Proud Fathers For Daughters


Top photographers Atul Kasbekar, Jaideep Oberoi & Colston Julian to capture special father-daughter moments in aid of girl child education. Ace photographers & ExCampionite class of '81 Atul Kasbekar, Jaideep Oberoi and Colston Julian have come together to support the cause of girl child education by raising funds for Project Nanhi Kali. As part of this unique initiative – titled Proud Fathers For Daughters - the three photographers will capture precious moments between fathers and daughters on August 1 – 2, 2015 in Mumbai.

All the proceeds from this event will be donated to Project Nanhi Kali and be used to educate hundreds of underprivileged girls across India. “This is the second edition of Proud Fathers For Daughters, with the first one receiving an enthusiastic response last year. At the first edition, photographers Atul Kasbekar and Daboo Ratnani captured the special bond between almost a hundred father-daughter pairs, helping fund the education of nearly 250 underprivileged girls. This year, we are really grateful to Atul Kasbekar, Colston Julian & Jaideep Oberoi for their support, and look forward to an even stronger response as we celebrate this very unique relationship in a very special way,” said Sheetal Mehta, Trustee and Executive Director, K.C. Mahindra Education Trust. Several well-known faces such as director Nikhil Advani, restaurateur AD Singh, businessperson Dharmesh Jain and senior leaders from the Mahindra Group such as Hemant Luthra and K N Vaidyanathan were photographed with their daughters’ at last year’s event.

Many top celebrities have also lent support to this initiative by posing as father-daughter pairs for Kasbekar’s expert lens. These include Anil Kapoor and daughter Sonam Kapoor, Rishi Kapoor and daughter Ridhima Kapoor, Javed Akhtar and daughter Zoya Akhtar, Sachin Tendulkar and daughter Sara Tendulkar, as well as Alyque Padamsee and daughters Raell and Shazahn Padamsee

Why APJ Abdul Kalam Was A 21st Century Feel-Good Guru

rajdeep-profile_091814043227Rajdeep Sardesai ExCampionite class of ‘81

The former president was till the very end the boy from a little village in Rameshwaram who had risen from a life of poverty through hard work, merit and knowledge. "So, what do you know about missiles!" It was a question asked with a directness that disarmed me completely. We were travelling with President APJ Abdul Kalam to Bihar and I was attempting to profile India's new president. As a student of economics and law, I knew very little about missiles, a fact which I readily confessed to the president. "Don't worry, I will teach you!" he said with typical enthusiasm. For the next half hour, in the regal surroundings of the Raj Bhavan, I was given a basic science classroom lesson by Dr Kalam. The eyes twinkling with excitement, the smile cheery, the voice bubbling with child-like energy, the positive spirit that typified India's "People's President" shone through. I was hooked, as were millions of others, by the sheer simplicity of the message and the infectious charm of the man.

A few years later, he agreed to do an interview with me on the lawns of Rashtrapati Bhavan. On hindsight, it was a mistake to even attempt a walk the talk format with President Kalam. He was in his seventies, I was in my forties but if you'd watched the interview, you would have wondered who was the younger man. "C'mon, walk faster!" he told me as I struggled to keep pace. When we launched CNN IBN, I met Dr Kalam with a special request. "Sir, we want to do a Republic Day programme with you!" He was hesitant, perhaps realizing that acceding to one request might lead to many more. "Sir, we will only have children in the audience asking you questions!" I told him. It was the easiest way to his heart: he could never say no to the young. The lawns of Rashtrapati Bhavan were opened up as was his soul. In the company of children, Dr Kalam was eternally youthful, not the first citizen of India, but just a friendly uncle with a kind word for all. In 2007, at the Ramnath Goenka journalism awards, I had the privilege of receiving the award from President Kalam. When a question and answer session followed the award ceremony, Kalam refused to sit in the front row. Instead, he came and sat cross-legged on the stage, asking us why we didn't focus more on science and technology in the news. It was a bizarre scene: pompous editors sitting on chairs while the easy-going president was on the stage floor asking us questions! This was quintessential Kalam: unconventional in style, be it his floppy silvery mane of hair, or inviting an audience to send him questions to his personal email: "please write to, shall I repeat!"

In a way, he was a 21st century feel-good guru, someone who could connect with a diverse India by the sheer magic of his persona. What was that magic? Quite simply, it was his ability to stay rooted and unaffected by the trappings of power, a true aam admi in a VVIP khaas admi universe, someone who was above narrow political affiliations. He was till the very end the boy from a little village in Rameshwaram who had risen from a life of poverty through hard work, merit and knowledge. There may have been far greater missile scientists than him but few had been trained in the journey of life like Dr Kalam. Which is why he represented the classic new India aspirational story: rooted in a civilization past where he could play the Rudra veena and recite Tamil poetry and yet live comfortably in a world of satellites and missiles. The combination of the spiritual and the scientific, of tradition and modernity, laced with eternal simplicity, was just irresistible. And when he smiled, he urged you to to smile with him because in Kalam's world the glass was always half full, always looking to the future while being conscious of the past, a world where India 2020 co-existed with a rich cultural heritage.

Post-script: It is perhaps fitting that Dr Kalam breathed his last words amidst the ignited minds of students at IIM Shillong. A karmayogi till the very end, he couldn't have asked for a better audience to say farewell to. And here's a final thought: why don't we declare his birthday as National Students day and offer hundreds of scholarships to poor, meritorious students, many of whom could then dream of making the long journey from Rameshwaram to Rashtrapati Bhavan like Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Kalam.

Bridal Fashion Week To Begin From August 7

Designers like Abu Jani, Sandeep Khosla, Anita Dongre, Ashima Leena, Falguni Shane Peacock, Gauri Nainika and ExCampionite class of '77 Tarun Tahiliani will showcase their creative excellence in bridal couture here from August 7-11. Other names who will showcase their works include JJ Valaya, Jyotsna Tiwari, Rina Dhaka, Shantanu Nikhil and Suneet Varma, said a statement. Sponsored by BMW with Swarovski as the Fashion Partner, the event will be held at DLF Emporio here. It promises to bring alive the latest trends and designs in bridal couture.

HDFC Posts Marginal Rise In Standalone Profit In First Quarter


Housing Development Finance Corporation (HDFC) reported a marginal increase of 1.2 per cent in its standalone profit at ₹1,361 crore for the first quarter ended June 2015. This was helped by a 17 per cent growth in net interest income but limited due to the dividend accounting procedure. Missing analysts’ estimates, the country’s largest mortgage lender said the results were not comparable, as the dividend payment of ₹315 crore from HDFC Bank, received in July 2015, will be accounted for only in the second quarter. In the previous fiscal, it had received a dividend of ₹269 crore from HDFC Bank in June 2014 and accordingly the income was accounted for in the first quarter.

Gross non-performing assets were stable at 0.69 per cent though it increased sequentially, while spreads were also stable at 2.31 per cent (2.28 per cent a year ago). The fourth quarter gross NPAs are always the lowest, it being seasonal and a historical trend, said HDFC Vice-Chairman and CEO & ExCampionite class of '70 Keki Mistry. HDFC’s loan book increased 14 per cent to ₹2.31 lakh crore (₹2.03 lakh crore). The average size of loans was at ₹23.41 lakh with an average term of 12 years and an average loan to value of 63 per cent of the loan. Individual loan book growth after adding back loans sold grew 23 per cent. Non-individual loan book declined as there was repayment of two large loans during the quarter. The bank sold ₹3,870 crore loans to HDFC Bank during the first quarter, while for FY15 it had sold ₹10,949 crore. Mistry said the company will raise ₹5,000 crore through a QIP of bonds attached with warrants which will be converted into shares at a certain period of time yet to be finalised. This will be converted at a premium, the quantum of which will be in the range of 25-40 per cent. HDFC has three major subsidiaries — HDFC Standard Life Insurance Co, HDFC ERGO General Insurance Co and HDFC Asset Management Co. Its main business is lending to individual home buyers and builders.

NSQF Himachal Pradesh Project Records A 524 Strong Placement


40 companies and 833 students participated 524 students placed. Hiring companies from diverse industry sectors - Automobiles, Health Care, IT/ ITes, Retail and Security

Himachal Pradesh State Government’s Education Department and Wadhwani Foundations announced the successful culmination of the first ever National Skills Qualifications Framework (NSQF) led placement drive in the state. The initiative witnessed successful placements of 524 students, trained under NSQF and program managed by the Wadhwani Foundations’ Skills Development Network (SDN). National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), concerned Sector Skill Councils and their affiliated Vocational Training Partners played a key-supporting role along with Wadhwani Foundations, leading to a better future of the students. The placement drive that recently concluded involved 40 companies and 833 students participating across nine different locations, including Shimla, Mandi, Hamirpur and Kangra. Companies like Eureka Forbes, Fortis Hospital, Max Hospital, Platinum Chevrolet, Saini Motors (Tata), Himtex Textiles, G4S Securities were present at the placement drive to select suitable candidates. The students, who secured placement with the companies, have been offered salary package ranging between Rs. 5,000/- to Rs. 9,700/- per month, with the highest salary of Rs. 15,000/- per month.

Congratulating the students and also the officials dealing with the program for launching and sustaining this visionary program, the State Project Director, Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) Shri Ghanshyam Chand said, “The only way of expanding skill training is to foray in mainstream education. NSQF has opened window of opportunities for secondary school students in Himachal Pradesh. The program benefits students at grassroots level and improves their future, and its success is firmly established by the success of the graduating students getting employment in organized sector. I must thank efforts of the State Education Department and our Knowledge & Technology Partners, Wadhwani Foundations, whose program management has shown commendable results in quick time. The industry has also shown exemplary commitment and vision in undertaking such a path-breaking recruitment exercise.” Vocationalisation of Secondary & Higher Secondary Education scheme aligned with National Skills Qualifications Framework (NSQF) was launched in the state of Himachal Pradesh in 2013 with 100 schools and 5000 students. The vocational courses initially included Automobiles, Health Care, IT/ ITes, Retail and Security. Agriculture and Travel & Tourism were later introduced in the second year with an addition of 100 more schools. Himachal Pradesh’s State Education Department, with support from Wadhwani Foundations and other stakeholders, have trained over 500 vocational trainers in implementation strategies and e-learning programs in the schools.

Exhilarated by the remarkable outcome of the placement drive, Manish Mohan, Executive Vice President, Skills Development Network (SDN), Wadhwani Foundations said, “At Wadhwani Foundations, job fulfillment through transformational technology and digital pedagogy led education is our primary goal and the successful placement of over 524 students is a wonderful indicator of the NSQF’s success in Himachal. I would like to thank the RMSA, State Education Department and NSDC for their unstinted support, and the innumerable students and teachers for making this happen. It is now imperative that we sustain this momentum of student placements.” “The initiative witnessed a dramatic progress with the addition of 300 schools and incorporation of the telecommunication sector in the curricula, taking total strength of schools to 500, with 1200 vocational trainers and more than 42,000 student enrolments in the state, in FY 2015-16.” Manish Mohan further added. Initially, Wadhwani Foundations focused on setting up the program followed by institutionalizing the basic policies and guidelines, and strengthening of a core program management team consisting of technical officers, school coordinators, principals and district coordinators through specialized training and providing technical support. Regular school visits were conducted by specialists from the Foundations to identify fundamental issues, prospects and hurdles. Skill development training was made more informative and interesting by using multi-media based e-content, which has been widely accepted and appreciated by students as well as the vocational trainers.

Shalini Thakur who completed her XII standard along with Level 4 in Healthcare sector from GGSS Portmore, Shimla is now working with Portea Health Care Company with a salary of Rs. 11,500 per month. She is extremely grateful to her teachers and other mentor on her successful placement. Shalini Thakur says, “I come from a lower middle class family and our financial condition is not good so I wanted to take up a job. When NSQF project came to Himachal Pradesh, I was the student of first batch of Healthcare domain. As I took admission in this domain, I was not at all aware about the benefits of this domain. But thanks to the Faculty, Ms. Hemlata Kaundal, I was taught the advantages of Healthcare domain. Moreover she inculcated confidence in our personality and helped in developing our communication skills, always motivating us to give our best. Now I stand on my own feet.” Commenting on this placement initiative, Abhineet Malhotra, Sales and Marketing Head of Swastik Solutions said, “We are pleased with the output of students and confident about their productivity. Quality of students who appeared in interviews has been of high standard. I would like to congratulate NSQF and Wadhwani Foundations for giving the industry skilled students who are ready to take on the private world. We conducted interviews in Shimla, Mandi and Dharamshala and received candidates of high skill potential in the Retail sector. All thanks to HP – NSQF for imparting of knowledge and skills to students across government schools in H.P.”

About Wadhwani Foundations: Founded in 2000 by ExCampionite class of ’62 Dr. Romesh Wadhwani, the Foundations’ primary mission is economic acceleration in emerging economies. With large-scale education led initiatives driving skill development and job creation, the Foundations have launched five high impact education, training and research focused Initiatives in India that will lead to creation and fulfillment of 25 million jobs by 2020. To leverage entrepreneurship as a catalyst for job creation, Wadhwani Foundations established the National Entrepreneurship Network (NEN) in 2003. NEN inspires, educates and supports emerging entrepreneurs. Since inception, NEN has resulted in 2,000 new start-ups with 12,000+ direct and 50,000+ indirect jobs, and is now tracking 1,500+ new companies each year. For skilling, vocational education and training led job fulfillment, Wadhwani Foundations have set up the Skills Development Network (SDN) which supports multiple high school, college and employer initiatives for entry level mid-skill jobs through a digital/video curricula and pedagogy.

Opportunity Network for Disabled (OND) is aimed at mainstreaming the educated disabled into sustainable high quality corporate jobs through a business value proposition. Research and Innovation Network (RIN) aims to upgrade India’s research eco-system by catalyzing ‘Centers of Innovations’ in partnership with existing research Institutes. Policy Research Centre provides data driven research inputs for informed policy actions towards creating an education led human-capital driven growth economy. Wadhwani Chair on US-India policy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Washington, D.C, aims to accelerate India-U.S economic activities primarily through channels of skilling and education.

Keep On Walking Altaf Patel Excampionite Class Of ’64

My heart used to go out to an elderly Maharashtrian woman who habitually walked in my area. Her nine-yard sari tucked efficiently at the ankle, many inches above her shining white trainers, she would walk slowly before stopping every 10 minutes.

I presumed she had a heart disease that produced the disabling symptoms which made her stop every time. Over the ensuing months and years, I noticed she had changed to stopping every 20 minutes to a half an hour - thereby implying that her cardiovascular status had improved. I noticed she had difficulty in resuming her walk, a clinical symptom of Parkinson's disease. Yet, come wind, rain or storm, at 4.30 every evening she would be out walking on Carmichael Road. I often wanted to initiate a conversation with her, but always failed to do so. One day I noticed that she did not arrive at her usual time, and then I did not see her again for close to a month. I wondered where she was and feared the worst. Eventually my walking schedule shifted to the evening and I forgot all about her. Intermittently however I would find time to walk at 400 pm, and one day, after a long lapse, I saw her walking again. This time I noticed that she stopped every 5 minutes or so and I wondered if the gap had cost her her physical fitness. I am greatly in support of walking. In the 1950s and 60s a lot of people walked. Time was not as important as it is today and cars were expensive. Walking was thus a common way to commute. How strange it is now, where the poor man walks because he has to and so conserves his health, while the rich man travels by cars and needs to walk on a treadmill to preserve his.

I used to use a treadmill at my club. At that point of time there were two treadmills in the dressing room of the club. One, much to my annoyance, perennially malfunctioned. In a bid to get to work quickly, I would often have to suffer using the only working treadmill. Often this was occupied by a man in his early sixties, who had the stamina to use the treadmill for more than an hour, and I would have to ask him how long he would be to decide whether to abort the idea. One day he struck up a conversation with me and he told me that he ran every day on a treadmill because his family had a history of untimely death from heart disease. I thought he was doing an admirable job. A few months later I found the treadmill empty on a Monday morning and the dressing room hamal informed me that the man had passed away from a heart attack the previous night. He had been healthy and even worked out for an hour on the morning of his death. It made me wonder whether the treadmill was really as effective as walking.

These incidents have repeatedly raised the question: "How soon does one lose their aerobic fitness after stopping exercise?" I spent these last few weeks talking to my fellow sportsmen and exercise enthusiasts to discover what they think about the issue. Everyone agreed that after a few months of relative inactivity they lost their aerobic fitness, but no one could pinpoint a time frame. Personally, I find that if I miss a weekend of exercise, I find it difficult to perform the same exercise on Monday morning. Studies conducted by the Florida State University attest that there is a rapid fall in fitness in the first three weeks of rest, but a more gradual decline after that. Exercise helps the body in several ways. The heart rate at rest decreases as does the maximum heart rate, and the pumping capacity of the heart increases. Blood pressure and the thickness of the blood decreases, while there is an increase in muscle mass strength and bone strength. Blood sugar and body fat also decrease. Remember to never stop exercising, and if you have to, then continue to do a little exercise as long as you have no serious medical condition.

Dentsu Aegis Network CEO Ashish Bhasin On Reasons Behind Success At Media ACE Awards


The exchange4media Group’s Media ACE Awards were hosted in Mumbai. Of the ten award categories, Ashish Bhasin, ExCampionite class of ’81 & Chairman and CEO South Asia, Dentsu Aegis Network took home the Radio City Hallmark Award of the Year, which aims to recognize the CEO/Chairperson/Head of the Network of agencies who has contributed to the growth of their company, and the industry at large. Speaking about his win, Ashish Bhasin said, “This means a lot to me because everyone knows that our group has had a chequered history. In 2008 when I took over, Carat had roughly about 40-45 people. Today we are 1700 people strong and we have the entire gamut of all our global brands represented here, whether it is Isobar, iProspect, Posterscope, Vizeum, Carat and all the Dentsu brands also, which have now come together. It has been a tremendous journey for us; we’ve moved through a lot of difficulties from being nobody in the market to now being the fastest growing agency group for two years in a row.”

He went on to add, “It really means a lot when it does get recognized because the journey obviously is full of a lot of challenges and obstacles so these milestones make you feel that it’s worthwhile.” The exchange4media Group’s Media ACE Awards initiative is an attempt to recognize Indian media agencies for their work and contribution to the Indian media industry. In its inaugural year, the Media ACE Awards took the first step with media service brands. The award-winning work in this area demonstrated leadership and direction that has helped in moulding the nation’s media landscape. Geetu Verma, Executive Director- Food & Refreshments, Hindustan Unilever Limited, was the Jury Chair for the Awards this year.

Ratan Tata Inducted Into Automotive Hall Of Fame 2015


Tata Group chairman emeritus & ExCampionite class of '49 Ratan Tata was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame for his contribution to the automobile industry. The ceremony was held in Detroit, where Tata was joined by former Ferrari chairman Luca Di Montezemoloand the founder, chairman of Penske Corporation, Roger Penske, who were also being recognize for their contribution to the automobile industry. Ratan Tata was lauded for the growth of Tata Group under his chairmanship, and the turnaround of Jaguar Land Rover under his mentor ship. Tata Group has grown to 96 companies across 56 countries, employing over five lakh people and churning out revenues over $100 billion. By taking over JLR, Tata helped save 33,000 jobs in England, "while preserving the rich tradition of performance and style that are the signature of these marques. Clearly his vision is the reality,” Michael Martini, Automotive Hall of Fame chairman said.

Music Was Probably My First Language: Zubin Mehta


Two years after the controversy over his Kashmir concert, renowned music conductor & ExCampionite class of ’48 Zubin Mehta,79, is set to return to India, this time for a collaboration with Australian World Orchestra in Delhi in October. Over a telephonic conversation from Tel Aviv, he talks about what really happened, his memories of Bombay and why he is in constant touch with his friends from India

Your last visit to India, for the Shalimar Bagh concert in Kashmir, became controversial. Looking back, do you think it could have been done differently? Well, we didn’t do anything wrong except make music there. It was a group in Kashmir that opposed the concert. The people of Kashmir didn’t oppose it. The thing is, that when the concert was televised in Kashmir, 70 per cent of Kashmir saw it. The negative views were aired half-a-week before the concert took place. The state government, of course, was on our side as was the central government. I’m glad we did it. I would do it all over again.

Discord in the Valley continued even after you left. How do you react when arts and politics collide? We played our concert the way we had decided to. The fact that we played Kashmiri music with Kashmiri musicians was very well-received. Kashmiri musicians were threatened before the concert, but not one stayed back. They all turned up and we were very proud. It was a positive experience all through. I know there were negative comments. It came from the separatists and they were not successful in stopping the concert.

You have never shied away from taking a political stand — be it performing with your orchestra in war-torn Sarajevo and Bosnia or playing Wagner in Israel, where his music and ideas are considered anti-Semitic. I happen to be the music director of an orchestra that lives in a state of crisis and has done so for the last 60 years. It’s not that every time I come to Israel, bombs go off. Sometimes, yes. Last year, we had that barrage of rockets from Gaza, which — thank god for the iron dome that Israel has developed — was stopped. Otherwise, half of Tel Aviv would have been in ruins today, considering how many rockets were fired. As for the Wagner concert, we tried that as far back as in the year 1981. We haven’t tried it since then. I’m very sorry that we are not playing it, but it will happen again one day. But one has to consider the emotions of the people there. People are still living with numbers on their arms. They don’t want to be transported back to the days of terror. One can understand that.

You call Tel Aviv home these days. Your designation says you are ‘conductor for life’ for the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. What has been your relationship with the country? Initially, when I first came here, after seven years in Vienna, it did seem closer to an Asian atmosphere and that was helpful. My official home is Los Angeles, but I still consider India my home.

You’ve founded the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music, a unique Arab-Israel partnership with the Tel-Aviv University to promote music education among Palestinians. How did that come about? It’s a foundation we have in northern Israel, in an Israeli-Arab town. We cannot teach beyond the West Bank, Israelis are not allowed in Ramallah. But in the town of Nazareth and Shwaram, we have about 150 young students, who also study Arabic music and are coached by Arab teachers. They are supervised by members of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and we have had great results. I have a music school at the University of Tel Aviv. In that school, there are some seven or eight Arab students from the north, who are being taught full-time by the Philharmonic members. My dream is to have an Israeli-Arab track in the Israel Philharmonic. And it will happen one day. There is no bias in the orchestra against the Arabs. We have an Arabic soloist. A very fine Arabic pianist plays with us sometimes.

How difficult is it for you to invite certain artistes to Israel? Do you see some of them rejecting the idea of collaboration because of the policies of a country you live in? Some great artistes just don’t come because they do not agree with the politics of Israel. They don’t tell us directly, of course. Some don’t come because we are not a rich orchestra and we don’t pay much. But if you look at our season’s calendar, we are fine with world class artistes and conductors. We’ve got to nurture the future generation.

Let’s go back a little in time. Tell me about your years in Bombay in the ’40s and ’50s. What do you remember of that city? I remember everything. That is why it makes me really sad when I go back to Bombay now because of what it has become architecturally. I left when I was 18, so I wasn’t a child. I remember the British leaving. I remember (Jawaharlal) Nehru saying goodbye to Mountbatten. I remember going to the cricket matches, the Parsi pavilion, going to St Mary’s school. It still comes back so clearly. I stay in touch with my friends of those days even now. Sometimes, even on a daily basis. You know why? For the cricket scores. I just have to know those.

Growing up in a home where music was an intrinsic part of life, was taking it up as a profession a natural progression? Did you ever want to do something else? I never really wanted to do anything else. My parents brainwashed me into trying to become a doctor. Obviously, they could never convince me. I studied two semesters of medicine at St Xavier’s college. But I knew it wasn’t for me. There was not one thing in our house that didn’t have music in it. Music was probably my first language. I knew it even before I knew how to speak Gujarati.

You moved to Vienna in 1954, when you were 18, from a country where music was deeply rooted to the oral tradition. Could you take me through that time? How was the music different? I never felt any bias against me in Vienna. I had boys from seven religions in my class at St Mary’s school. We made fun of each other but there was no hatred. When I went to Vienna, I heard anti-Semitic remarks for the first time. It was shocking to me, but as an Indian, I never experienced any bias. I did feel it quite strongly when I was in Liverpool though. The Bombay Symphony Orchestra, founded by my father (Mehli Mehta), was hardly a well-knit orchestra. It comprised Parsi amateurs, Goan folk musicians and some members of the Navy band. So you can imagine the culture shock I got when I heard a real orchestra play in Vienna for the first time. And that orchestra was the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, which even today is the world’s greatest orchestra. My ears just popped open.

What goes on in your mind, while you are on that rostrum (for an orchestra) or while you are in the pit (for an opera)? Only the music. Believe me, it’s a combination of presentation and interpretation, of breathing with the musicians. All the work you have done in rehearsals comes to fruition at the concert. So there is immense amount of concentration.We have to have the knowledge, technical command and control to convince 100 musicians of our interpretation. To do that and present a programme in four rehearsals, it takes a lot of expertise and experience.

Do you find time to listen to Indian music? Yes, I do and enjoy it immensely. This month, I’m going to Salzburg for a speech and there, my dear friend Alarmal Valli is performing. I’m quite excited about that.

Why E-Commerce Must Listen To Kumar Mangalam Birla


LimeRoad, the Gurgaon-based online fashion retailer for women, lets users create and share collages – pieces of clothing, shoes, bags, other accessories – to present a complete look. The site calls them scrapbooks. There are more than 1.5 million on the site. Thousands of them are created by women from unexpected places, such as small places in Jharkhand.

Suchi Mukherjee, Lime-Road’s founder and CEO, once spoke to one of those women to say the looks she had created were absolutely lovely. Would she like to come to a press conference the company was holding in Patna? That wouldn’t be possible, the Jharkhand woman said, her family wouldn’t let her travel. But she was happy doing the scrapbooks. Every time she did one, she felt she had soared beyond her place. To Mukherjee, that was a magical moment, the kind that makes her pinch herself. Is it really happening? She need not pinch herself a second time. It is all happening in the world of consumer internet. It has become an avenue for people from Jharkhand to Jorhat to express themselves. This expression takes various forms. A fellow in Jammu, looking for a particular book, just orders it on Flipkart. His father may have had to travel to Nai Sarak in Old Delhi for one that was difficult to find. A rich businessman’s son in Ambala no longer travels to Delhi to buy Ralph Lauren shirts. Any of several e-commerce sites delivers it to his doorstep. The mother of a toddler in Ghaziabad, when she needs baby diapers or wet wipes, just orders it on Firstcry. This writer took a fancy to the Merkur razor, which is made only in Germany and was praised by Esquire magazine. It took 12 days to come, but a dealer in the United States delivered it through Amazon. This convenience manifested itself early in the immense popularity of the railway ticketing site IRCTC, which saved millions the torture of travelling to a railway station, spending hours in sweaty queues, and facing a rude man at the counter. Now it has turned into a people’s movement and is driving the sales of... of nearly everything. Why, you can even order tea on the Internet. It will come to you nice and hot.

The access and convenience are reasons why e-commerce will live forever, at least until a better technology overtakes it. But that is no reason to be sanguine. Online retailers will still do well to pay heed to what Kumar Mangalam Birla, ExCampionite class of ’83 & chairman of Aditya Birla Group, told The Economic Times in an interview. “At the end of the day, the financial investor will also have to make returns. One thing I am sure of is that you can’t have unlimited access to capital funding. Therefore, the question that comes to my mind is whether the deep discount model is sustainable at all.” That strikes a chord with the people who have been wondering whether the success of e-commerce is all about the discounts. It cannot be. The discount model has already been tried out by offline retail, which now finds itself being overtaken, especially in the consumer’s mind, by the online kind. Secondly, there is a reason why some online guys are more successful than the others even though many are playing the same discount game. Even in the new world, the old-world factors of quality, assurance and customer experience count. What’s more, within the world of online commerce, distinct identities are emerging. So while women express themselves on LimeRoad, ShopClues is the Karol Bagh online – you will also find the high-end stuff there, but you would go there to get the best possible at the lowest price and the largest collection of it. Still, sooner or later, investors will want to see returns. Some day they will have had enough of GMV – gross merchandise value, the total value of all transactions – that is now generally accepted as a measure of performance for an online marketplace. E-commerce needs to take the next step and earn the consumer’s loyalty, stop him from site hopping merely in search of a lower price.

G Shankaran Nair, chief strategy officer of Servion, which makes solutions that enhance customer interaction through phone, chat, social media, and email, hits the nail on the head. E-commerce companies have a lot of data, he says. “But they use that data only for customer monetisation. They should use some of it to win customer loyalty.”

A contemporary twist to The Merchant of Venice

If you tickle us do we not laugh? Do we not die? And if you wrong us shall we not revenge? If we are like you in the rest we shall resemble you in that......the villainy you teach me, I will execute, it shall go hard but i will better the instruction......

Shylock’s dramatic monologue is one of Shakespeare’s greatest piece of writing in The Merchant of Venice. It is a very relevant play not just for showcasing human being’s desire for love and hatred, generosity and greed, forgiveness or the lack of it; it is a deep satire on society then and now. The Jews lived in a ghetto in those times, in Venice and were allowed to ply their trade for only two weeks of the month and were generally despised by the Christians. Shylock, a moneylender, is one of the Jews and he spoke these lines when he was asked to give mercy to Antonio whose pound of flesh he demanded in return for the loan he had given him.

The play is supposed to be a comedy, but it is actually a dark tragedy with the death of evil Shylock who is hated by all. The contemporary twist that the director of the play presented on July 12 by Masque, Vikram Kapadia, ExCampionite class of ’76 professes to give the play is largely cosmetic. By simply altering the characters to represent this age and giving them mobile phones and setting them in contemporary locales does not give the play a new twist. For that characters need to be worked on. Shylock played by Vikram Kapadia himself, was a shadow of the original character in Shakespeare. Antonio was quite good as a merchant, played by Luke Kenny. Neil Bhoopalam, was wasted as a talent playing Price of Morocco and Prince of Aragon. Yuki Ellias as Portia was a dim reminder of the original Portia. Tubal played by Nikhil Sangha, was authentic as the only Jewish man in the play and Shylock’s friend.

The story is a classic tale of love and deception and the final meeting of lovers. Bassanio, a young Venetian, needs a loan to help him woo Portia, a wealthy heiress. He reaches out to his friend Antonia to bail him out. Despite having no liquidity himself, Antonio heavily invested in his fleet of ships at sea and so he cannot refuse Bassanio. He approaches his arch enemy, Shylock. Shylock agrees to Antonio’s demand with a pound of flesh cut off from Antonio, as collateral. Meanwhile, Portia is on display. Her father’s will stipulates that she must marry the man who chooses the right casket out of a trio of gold, silver and lead. The suitors come from far and wide, each more unappealing than the last until Bassanio arrives and selects the correct casket of lead. Antonio’s fleet is shipwrecked and he finds himself at the mercy of Shylock. Even as he is losing the case, and Shylock is preparing to cut out his pound of flesh, Portia arrives and uses her brains to outwit the Jew and save the merchant. Portia then goes back to Belmont and awaits Bassanio who discovers that she disguised herself as a young lawyer to fight the case for Antonio. The play was presented by Aadyam, Aditya Birla Group.

Enjoy The Summer Without The Sunburn

Using the right sunscreen correctly is critical to protecting your skin against harmful ultraviolet rays If you think using a sunscreen with the highest SPF (Sun protection factor) will help protect your skin from the harsh summer sun, think twice.

With temperatures in the UAE soaring as high as 50 degrees in summer, many people go shopping for sunscreen with an SPF higher than 15. However, experts say the difference in protection offered by sunscreens with different SPF’s is not all that significant. Dr Mukesh Batra, ExCampionite class of ’67 founder and chairman of Dr Batra’s Group of Companies in Dubai, said there is a very slight increase in the level of UVB protection between sunscreen with SPF 15, and SPF 30 and 50. “SPF 15 will block 93 per cent of UVB rays, SPF 30 will block 97 per cent of UVB rays, and using SPF 50 will block 98 per cent of rays,” said Dr Batra. For those regular tanners who are light-sensitive, or have a history of skin cancer, the negligible difference in SPF levels could make a difference. “If it takes 20 minutes for your unprotected skin to start turning red as a result of sunburn, using SPF 15 sunscreen will theoretically prevent reddening 15 times longer [300 minutes],” he said. Dr Batra explained that due to this common misconception that using higher SPF sunscreen will offer more protection, may people often spend more time in the sun under the belief their skin is protected. According to experts, the key to saving your skin is quantity and frequency of sunscreen application. The secret to protecting your skin when you’re spending a day under the sun or on the beach is reapplying sunscreen every two hours. Studies show that most people do not use enough sunscreen for it to be effective, said Dr Batra. “Dermatologists suggest applying 1-2 ounce of sunscreen with at least an SPF of 15, 20 minutes before going outdoors to help the skin absorb it well, and reapplying every two hours.” Regularly applying waterproof SPF 30 sunscreen should be sufficient if you are spending a day on the beach as activities like swimming and towel-drying could decrease the effectiveness of sunscreen, explained Dr Batra. Another common myth is that people with dark skin can skip using sunscreen altogether. While they may not get sunburn as easily as people with fair skin, those with dark skin are also susceptible to skin cancer, sun-spots, wrinkles and other skin disorders. Dr Batra said research suggests that melanoma, a form of skin cancer, is usually fatal in dark-skinned people because they do not use as much sunscreen as those with fairer skin. “It is evidenced that people with dark skin have an increased amount of melanin, which provides them with natural sun protection, and some have a natural SPF of 13 that filters twice as much UV radiation,” he said. However, using sunscreen with a minimum of SPF 15 is recommended to all people regardless of skin colour.

Dr Reem Al Kaddah, specialist dermatologist at iCare Clinics in Dubai, also pointed out that other widely-believed myths include the belief that there are different levels of SPF for different skin types, and that applying sunscreen will reduce a person’s vitamin D levels. She confirmed that studies have shown that applying sunscreen has no impact on vitamin D levels, and contrary to popular belief, people should also apply sunscreen on cloudy days. Most sunscreens are made to suit all skin types, she said. For those with dry skin, using cream and ointment-based sunscreens is ideal, whereas people with oily skin should look for water-based sunscreens to avoid exacerbating breakouts. For sensitive skin, using hypo-allergenic and fragrance-free sunscreens is recommended to help sooth the skin. However, the level of sun protection and SPF has the same impact on all skin types and skin colours.

Vienna Philharmonic Summer Night Concert 2015 Airs On THIRTEEN’s Great Performances, 28/8

Led by guest conductor Zubin Mehta ExCampionite class of ’48, the world-renowned Vienna Philharmonic returns for its 12th open-air concert, this time with a distinctly Scandinavian flavor, in the magnificent gardens of Austria's Imperial Schnbrunn Palace. The Vienna Philharmonic Summer Night Concert 2015 airs on THIRTEEN's Great Performances, Friday, August 28 at 9 p.m. on PBS. (Check local listings.)

Mehta first conducted the concert in 2005, and earlier this year he was again leading the orchestra on From Vienna: The New Year's Celebration 2015 also seen on Great Performances. The concert soloist on this occasion is the internationally acclaimed Austrian piano virtuoso Rudolf Buchbinder. This free outdoor concert, recorded in May, allows the distinguished orchestra to make classical music accessible to establish a following beyond its usual core audience. The annual event is produced by the ORF, and transmitted live or delayed in more than 80 countries worldwide. In past years, the concert has been conducted by Bobby McFerrin (2004), Zubin Mehta (2005), Plcido Domingo (2006), Valery Gergiev (2007 & 2011), Georges Prtre (2008), Daniel Barenboim (in 2009 when GREAT PERFORMANCES first began airing the concerts on PBS), Franz Welser-Mst (2010), Gustavo Dudamel (2012), Lorin Maazel (2013) and Christoph Eschenbach (2014). The Austrian pianist Rudolf Buchbinder plays Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg's Piano Concerto in A minor, which was first performed in Copenhagen in 1868. That famous work is followed by the piano piece Soire de Vienne (inspired by the waltzes of Johann Strauss) by the pianist and composer Alfred Grnfeld, who was born in Vienna in 1852.

A piece by Christian Sinding, one of Grieg's contemporaries, follows. His songs and symphonies have been largely forgotten, but his 1896 Rustle of Spring endures. Also from Grieg is one of the suites taken from the incidental music he composed for Ibsen's classic play "Peer Gynt." The Swedish-Finnish composer Jean Sibelius helped strengthen Finland's independence movement through his music. His symphonic poem Finlandia, which DATES back to 1900, was used from the beginning as the "secret Finnish anthem" and was so popular that it was even banned by the Russians. The concert ends as it does every year with a performance of the great Viennese waltz Wiener Blut by Johann Strauss II. But the penultimate piece is the Copenhagen Steam Railway Galop by Danish composer Hans Christian Lumbye who was so in awe of Johann Strauss Sr. that he began to compose in his style, earning him the title "The Strauss of the North." The full musical program is as follows:

Richard Strauss Wiener Philharmoniker Fanfare op. 109 Edvard Grieg Piano Concerto in A minor, op. 16 (Buchbinder soloist) Alfred Grnfeldt Soire de Vienne (Buchbinder) Christian Sinding Rustle of Spring, op. 32, Nr. 3 Edvard Grieg Peer-Gynt-Suite Nr. 1, op. 46 Jean Sibelius Finlandia, Tondichtung op. 26/7 Hans Christian Lumbye Copenhagener Eisenbahn Dampf Galopp Johann Strauss II Wiener Blut, "Viennese Spirit" Waltz

GREAT PERFORMANCES is produced by THIRTEEN PRODUCTIONS LLC for WNET, one of America's most prolific and respected public media providers. Throughout its more than 40 year history on public television, GREAT PERFORMANCES has provided viewers across the country with an unparalleled showcase of the best in all genres of the performing arts, serving as America's most prestigious and enduring broadcaster of cultural programming. The series has been the home to the greatest artists in the areas of drama, dance, musical theater, classical and popular music, providing many with their very first television exposure.

5 Billionaire’s Daughters Who Are Making It Big In Business


In a country in which killing girl child is still followed as a custom and women empowerment campaigns are a daily scenario the top most billionaires and business groups are making bringing in a change by involving their daughters to their business firms and let them take control of things. Anayashree is the billionaire daughter of industrialist & ExCampionite class of ’83 Kumar Mangalam Birla who is taking a different path in order to develop her business skills. The Oxford University student considers her mother as a role model and dreams of becoming a social entrepreneur. Pursuing her passion, she started the Svatantra Microfin, which provides credits for the women in rural villages of Madhya Pradesh to buy sewing machines and fund start-ups. Svatantra has over 20 branches in several districts of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh and more than 100 employees. Anaya is looking forward to nationalize her firm.

Realtors Defer Reits On Tax Concerns

Even though the regulatory framework for launching real estate investment trusts (Reits) is in place, taxation issues seem to be forcing developers to postpone Reit issuances.

Last year, market regulator Securities and Exchanges Board of India (SEBI) had published elaborate guidelines for issuance and listing of Reits, yet not a single issue has been floated so far, as tax-related issues are restraining companies from going ahead with their plans. While few developers were said to be considering launch of Reits and getting their commercial properties listed, there is serious hesitation in going ahead with their plans in view of three levels of taxation, industry experts said. Developers have been looking forward to the government doing away with MAT and dividend distribution tax (DDT). While experts agree that doing away with MAT has removed a major policy hurdle, they are divided on the existing regulation over DDT. They anticipate that Reits would take at least a couple of years before gaining momentum. According to regulatory sources, SEBI may soon take up the issue with the government. ExCampionite class of ’66 Niranjan Hiranandani, MD, Hiranandani Constructions, told FC, “Everybody was expecting that Reits would be a complete pass through without any taxes to make them attractive for investors. That has not happened.”

Hiranandani said his company has no plan to launch Reits in the near future, but may consider it at a later stage once the issues are sorted out. “While the government is looking into the matter, developers investors are not keen on Reits until more clarity,” said Sanjay Dutt, executive MD, South Asia, Cushman and Wakefield. Dutt said developers were bothered by tax-related procedural issues: Developers usually set up SPVs for individual projects. So, if they have four projects and want to launch Reits, then they would have to register the four SPVs in a new company, for which, they would also have to pay stamp duty and registration free. There was also no clarity on gain on dividends tax and they wanted MAT to be exempted. Major developers who have expressed interest in listing Reits are DLF, Embassy Office Parks — a joint venture between the Embassy Group and private equity behemoth Blackstone, and another joint venture firm between RMZ and Qatar Investment Authority. While the global funds backed Reits aim to raise Rs 5,000 crore and Rs 9,000 crore, DLF has said it would launch two Reits, one on commercial assets and other on retail ventures, with plans to raise up to Rs 6,000 crore. “While MAT exemption will encourage developers for Reit listing, the DDT payable will still act as a deterrent for foreign investors,” said Rajeev Talwar, executive director, DLF. He, however, said the company would go ahead with its Reit plans this financial year.

According to a JLL report, dividend distribution tax may remain as one of the key challenges. Current rent yields are not very attractive compared with risk-free investment options like G-sec bonds. However, office rents are 15-40 per cent below the peak rents of 2008. With the economy improving and India gaining more attention from domestic and foreign firms, rents may rise further. Also, with better transparency, coupled with rising demand, cap rates may compress, resulting in higher capital values for office assets. However, this will be a gradual increase and should take at least two to three years. “Since the majority of hurdles have been cleared, we expect the launch of the first Reit in India by the first half of 2016. If the progress takes place at the expected pace, over the next three years, the Reit market has the potential to grow to $15 billion,” according to the report.

Sibling Show


Targeting a turnover of Rs 1000 crore by FY2017, bothers Alok and Anuj are determined to take their father Jagdish Saxena’s vision to the next level. Will the infusion of bold and complementary new strategies from both sons be strong enough to weather the competitive times ahead? Or will sibling rivalry play the spoiler?

Opportunities don’t happen. You create them,” is a common motivational quote which possibly best defines the journey of Mumbai-based company Elder Pharma. It was founded by Jagdish Saxena in 1987 and after his demise in 2013, is currently being managed by his sons: the elder Alok Saxena ExCampionite class of ’81 and the younger Dr Anuj Saxena ExCampionite class of ‘83.

From the archives: Interestingly, company lore has it that the patriarch had no plans to set up his own pharma venture. He joined the Indian Air Force in 1960, and quit three years later to join Sarabhai Chemicals. Two years later, he joined Tata Fison Industries, where he put in a long stint, going from a liaison officer for their pharma products, agro chemicals and industrial chemicals division, to Sales Manager of their pharma division at Mumbai with added responsibility of Delhi. In 1973, he joined Martin & Harris as Marketing Manager and was promoted as Director in 1975. In 1978, he joined Walter Bushnell, as Managing Director. In 1987, the company shocked employees when it announced that it was shutting down its pharma division. Concerned about the future of the 300-odd employees of his division, Saxena senior took the bold step of investing his personal funds to launch his own pharma company. Even though this was his first venture, all the 300 employees, including key personnel from the pharma marketing division, who were about to lose their jobs decided to join him. The company was up and running by 1987.

Story behind the name: While deliberating on many options, inspiration struck senior Saxena when he was on holiday in Australia and saw a trailer truck for the first time, which had the world ‘Elder’ written out along its side. Struck by the sight, he decided to name his company, Elder Pharma. For the next two and a half decades, Elder Pharma came to be defined by his continuous efforts, be it making the company a successful brand or developing new products like Shelcal. After his demise on October 11, 2013, the responsibility passed smoothly onto the shoulders of his two sons, both of whom already had key responsibilities in the business. 20150731ep17

Alok Saxena: Recalling the lessons learnt from his father on business and life, as he joined him after leaving law studies, at the age of 22 years, Alok Saxena, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer avers, “This has been a great journey for me. We started with a small operation and have built great brands. I think this journey for me still has a long way to go.” Till the demise of his father, younger son Dr Anuj Saxena’s involvement in the company’s activities was much lesser as he was pursuing a full time career in the TV and films industry. Today, he is working full time with Elder Pharma. Explaining the division of responsibilities, Alok says, “Anuj is the COO of the company and takes care of all domestic operations while I handle international business.”

Dr Anuj Saxena: Recalling his successful stint on the small screen, spanning TV and ad films, Anuj points out that he waspart of some of the most successful television shows like Kkusum (Sony), Kumkum (Star Plus) Saara Akaash (Star Plus), and Prratima (Sahara) to name a few. Another passion he indulged is was to run a restaurant in Mumbai. Anuj managed to strike a balance between his responsibilities at Elder Pharma and his on-screen career. As he explains,“I was always a part of the Elder team, even while acting and would manage my time in such a way that I could devote six to eight hours to Elder, involving myself in operational and decision making roles.”

Difficult choices: After showing a steady growth graph for several years, the company started facing a financial crisis. Dealing with the issue called for some hard choices, selling off Shelcal and 29 other brands to Torrent Pharma, for Rs 2004 crores in 2014.

Explaining the hard choices before the company Anuj says, “Over the last seven to eight years, Elder grew and spread its wings and invested in various acquisitions in India and abroad, which is expected to generate major revenues and profits – but in the long term. These investments resulted in certain short term fund issues, forcing us to take a practical and business decision of selling off our brands to Torrent; keeping in mind the longevity and future of the group.”

When the announcement broke in the market, the obvious question was why does the company have to sell such an impressive and performing brand like Shelcal? Is it because the company is facing financial issues? Answering such hard hitting questions, Anuj says, “With competition increasing and market conditions getting tough, our company decided to take certain pragmatic decisions which involved selling-off of vour key brands.”

20150731ep18But the company clearly believes in the Shelcal brand, and hence retains the international rights which will help the company in growing further. Expressing the possibilities of regaining momentum from Shelcal among the international markets, Anuj informs, “Elder sold only the rights for the brands in India and Nepal and we still have the international rights for the brands. Currently, brands like Shelcal and Chymoral are under registration in a lot of African and South Asian countries and we expect it to increase in the next two to three years. These brands will grow and will contribute to the business turnover. We will register these brands in more countries in times to come. Our initial response to Shelcal internationally has been extremely positive and encouraging.” According to the company’s press release issued in this June, Elder Pharma has commenced exports of Shelcal to more than 25 countries, and targets to receive Rs 100 crores from global sales. For FY2015-16, the company is likely to notch up sales of over Rs 25 crores with demand coming from countries like Cambodia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Maldives, Zambia, Uganda, Yemen, Guyana, Burkinafaso, Cameroon, Congo, Ivory Coast, Gabon, Papua New Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Burundi, Rwanda etc. Shelcal is currently exported in the form of 250/500 mg tablets and syrup but new line extensions are also being planned which will include Shelcal CT (Calcitrol), Shelcal OS (alpha Calcitrol) and Shelcal HD (high dosage of Vitamin D3). The company is also targeting the markets of Europe, CIS and LATAM. Shelcal’s European thrust will be spearheaded by Neutra Health, its wholly owned subsidiary in the UK which will market it across the EU. Sold through the ethical route, Shelcal has found support from health conscious persons as the source of calcium used in it is from ‘oyster shell’, which provides calcium in its purest form. With international markets under his wing, Alok projects that with the overwhelming response and acceptance of its product in all these markets, the company is looking at a strong prescription base in over 70 countries by March 2017.

Building a new superbrand: A logical and major part of Elder Pharma’s future growth strategy is to develop other products as successful as Shelcal and expand the geographical reach of the company. Spelling out some of this blueprint, Anuj reveals, “Going forward, our mother brand is going to be Eldervit. Eldervit falls in the category of multivitamins and minerals and Eldervit Injection enjoys very strong brand equity in the Indian market. In terms of opportunity and market size, Eldervit has much bigger and better opportunity as it is mass market and the size of the market is much bigger when we compare with a calcium supplement, especially for osteoporosis and other such diseases. The idea is to obviously capture all other markets as well. Currently, Elder Pharma is predominantly present in class I and II towns in metro cities. With products like Eldervit, we would eventually spread our base to the interiors, wherein we would explore the mass population to get maximum returns.” Building Eldervit into a super brand will obviously be no cakewalk, given the profusion of brands in the supplements category. Even more so when you consider the change in management. Perhaps unfairly, but Shelcal’s success is largely attributed to the late Saxena senior’s expertise with marketing and promotion strategies, even though both sons were very much part of the company. But there are already signs that both sons have learnt their lessons well. Predicting the future of Eldervit and other promising brands, Dr Saxena says, “I personally feel the brands like Eldervit and some of the anti-infectives like Formic have the potential to be a bigger brand than Shelcal. We are also working on new molecules and brands in the years to come to increase our market presence, both in size and value. “

An example of this is Anuj’s role in helping the company diversify its business portfolio. According to him, “The Elder Health Care Division/Company took full form under my leadership after 2006, when our company foresaw the huge potential of the fast moving health goods (FMHG) sector. Before that, there were a few brands in Elder Health Care and its team. However, the team and the company came into force as an independent existence in 2006, when I took charge.” Under his leadership, the company launched several products in FMHG segment like mouth wash AMPM, which the company has since re-launched with an addition of a range for smokers/tobacco users. It has also expanded its Solo range of OTC products with the launch of the Solo range of inhalers for nasal congestion. The newly re-launched AMPM has the key ingredient ‘triclosan’, an antibacterial and antifungal agent. The new version of the product is available in three variants: AMPM PLUS, AMPM SPECIAL and the newly launched AMPM NICOFRESH which is specially formulated for smokers/ tobacco users. In addition to triclosan, AMPM NICOFRESH contains sodium perborate which helps remove smoke and tobacco tar. The oxygenating effect of NICOFRESH hits one of the most stubborn sources of sulphur-producing bacteria and stops it at its source. While justifying the re-launch of the AMPM product and the company’s focus to strengthen its presence in FMHG, Anuj says, “The FMCG brands like AMPM and Solo have just been reintroduced in the market. It is too early to comment, but I am hopeful that in times to come we can see the success of the same. In the next one to two years, we will focus on our existing brands port folio, but at the same time we will be doing the homework to keep new products ready and at an appropriate time we will launch them, as and when needed.”

While sharing the company’s business strategies to revamp its presence in both the markets, he mentions, “As we restructure, going forwards, we will obviously concentrate on the prescription market because that has been our strength. However, we will also slowly increase our FMCG/ OTC brands exposure. Till now Elder Health Care was responsible for the sale and marketing of the FMCG/ OTCS brands. Going forward, the brands will now be marketed and distributed through the Elder Pharma distribution chain. The advantage that we have within the group is that a lot of our FMCG/ OTC brands require chemists for placement of the products and this is where we have an edge over a lot of other companies. We will exploit our inherent strength in the years to come.”

Challenges galore: The company has received a considerable amount from Torrent but has it been enough to put an end to the question mark on its financial viability? Going by market buzz, the business environment of the company has not changed much and it is still in the process of settling its debts. Fending off these queries head on, Anuj informs, “The challenges the group faces today are the liabilities that still need to be cleared off, but which are more than sufficiently covered by our assets and brands. The support of employees at all levels has also been a major factor in turning around the cash flow situation of the company. The current products of the company are in great demand and are enabling the company to generate good cash flows. We expect a complete turnaround in our financial position by FY 2015-2016. Every organisation, big or small, goes through such challenges and we are no exception, but it has been a huge learning which we hope will stand by us in the long run. By FY 2017 Elder Group (domestic and international) is expecting a turnover of Rs 1000 crores.”

Bumpy road ahead?: Unfortunately, business is not the only arena where the family is finding it difficult to sustain its identity. There seemed to be some turbulence on the personal front as well. A year after the death of Saxena senior, a legal case was filed for division of his assets. The legal battle pitted Anuj against the rest of the family members ie; Alok, mother Sneh and sister Shalini. Giving an update on the developments of the legal dispute, Anuj says, “Keeping the best interests of the business, employees and the shareholders, the family is working out a solution to settle the matter. Hopefully it will happen soon.”

Nurturing their father’s vision: Saxena senior has played a mentor’s role in his children’s life. Now it’s time for his children to nurture the father’s vision for Elder Pharma to its fruition. Both Alok and Anuj have geared themselves up to take up their father’s responsibilities and are trying their best to improve the company’s present performance. Reminiscing about his father and his advice, Anuj says, “His guidance was crucial to us but we are working along the lines he used to take decisions. In the past two years, I have involved myself in – and successfully restructured – every aspect of the group, from finance, accounts, sales, marketing, HR, administration etc. I think that this is the right way to make the company grow because it was important for me to understand the real situation of the company before I embark on rebuilding the group.” Though the company is a family-run business entity, the promoters value professionals as well. As Anuj mentions, “We have a very professional team led by my brother Alok and by my late father and founder Jagdish Saxena. There is a substantial delegation of authority in our organizational set-up.” While mentioning his father’s dream which he had set long before starting his final journey, Alok unveils the ultimate goal of the founding family saying, “We are looking at making Elder Pharma one of the top companies in the healthcare arena.” Many companies start out as a dream, but it takes executors to weather the challenges and translate a dream into reality.

Elder Pharma is facing several challenges but the founding family has already shown the courage and pragmatism to take difficult decisions as well. Navigating the road ahead will need creativity and courage but above all, a speedy resolution of all tangles on the personal front.

Your Real Learning Starts Now Ratan Tata As Chief Guest At Great Lakes 11th Convocation

Great Lakes Institute of Management, Chennai, held its annual Convocation with Chief Guests Mr. Ratan N Tata, Chairman TATA Trusts participating in the convocation interaction and Mr. Faizal E Kottikollan, Founder and Chairman, KEF Holdings, Dubai deliv.

“Your real learning starts now, the tools, experience and exposure have been given to you, but what you make of it in life is what you do after you graduate Ratan N Tata, Chairman TATA Trusts.”

Great Lakes Institute of Management, Chennai, held its annual Convocation with Chief Guests ExCampionite class of ’49 Mr. Ratan N Tata, Chairman-TATA Trusts participating in the convocation interaction and Mr. Faizal E Kottikollan, Founder and Chairman, KEF Holdings, Dubai delivering the presidential address. The Convocation was held on July 15, 2015. A total of 611 students graduated this year across 5 different full-time and executive programs including PGPM, PGDM, PGXPM, PGPM (Flex) and PGP-BABI. Six best outgoing students and four academic toppers from each program received Gold medals during the graduation ceremony.

Speaking on the convocation as Chief Guest, Mr. Ratan Tata, Chairman–TATA Trusts, said, “I express my deepest and genuine congratulations to the graduating class. The purpose of this curriculum given to you at Great Lakes will be realized once you leave this place. And that is when your real learning starts. Just be yourself and be driven by the desire to make a difference. Your real learning starts now, the tools, experience and exposure have been given to you, but what you make of it in life is what you do after you graduate. There will be thousands of occasions when you have to make difficult decisions and you have to ask yourself whether you are taking the right one, however, difficult or unpopular that may be.” Mr. Ratan Tata also took questions from the students and talked about the support young startups need. He mentioned that “I see this as an opportunity to encourage and support young start-ups in new space (e-commerce and e-retailing), which in my view is, going to change the face of the Indian merchandise and marketing. So, in a small way, because I am not a wealthy person, I have invested in some 10 companies. Some of them will succeed.” On being asked by a student about the lessons that can be learnt from the launch of Tata Nano car, he said it was a really an exhilarating experience to produce a car that was affordable and could be purchased for Rs.1 lakh. But, it was a greatest mistake to brand it as the cheapest car instead of most affordable one. It caused a negative impact on the market. People did not want to be seen in a cheapest car.

Delivering the convocation address, Mr. Faizal E Kottikollan, Founder and Chairman, KEF Holdings, Dubai, said, “Today, as you graduate, I wish you all to be different and think different. Just hold on to your values as it is these values that will define you as a good human being.”

Welcoming the gathering, Dr. Bala V Balachandran, Founder, Dean & Chairman, Great Lakes Institute of Management, said, “It gives me great pleasure to welcome our Chief Guests to Great Lakes. I feel proud to be present here on the 11th convocation ceremony of Great Lakes in the presence of our honorable guests. I firmly believe that it is a confluence of diverse thoughts and ideas which makes an institute grow and reach even greater heights. I can say with conviction that today’s graduands stand by this very principle of diversity at Great Lakes. No doubt that these graduates are among the best in the world and have the potential to become catalysts for change. I wish each one of you a great success in your career ahead. The world is out there, awaiting for your contributions and the knowledge that you acquired at Great Lakes will definitely lead you to a positive change. Step out and make your alma mater proud.”

Besides academic toppers, medals and certificates were awarded to nearly 70 graduates in the following categories - Dean’s Merit List, Domain toppers, best Empirical Study and Committee contributors. One of the highlights was, twenty graduating PGPM students from Great Lakes who completed their 6 weeks exchange program with University of Bordeaux, France in July 2015, will also be receiving their MBA (Level- M2) degree in European Business Administration and International Business from University of Bordeaux subsequently during Bordeaux University’s graduation ceremony.

Highly ranked Great Lakes Institute of Management was founded in the year 2004 in Chennai. The B school offers PGPM and PGDM programmes with variety of specializations. Prof Bala V Balachandran, founder and dean of the B school is a J. L. Kellogg Distinguished Professor (Emeritus in service) of Accounting and Information Management, Northwestern University, Illinois, USA; Executive Professor and Strategy Advisor to the Dean, Bauer College, University of Houston, Texas, USA. The institute accepts CAT/XAT/CMAT/GMAT scores for admission. In 2014, Great Lakes was accredited by Association of MBAs (AMBA, UK) for its PGPM and PGXPM programs and became the youngest B-school in India to receive this prestigious international accreditation. In 2015 another international accreditation from SAQS (South Asian Quality Assurance System) has been awarded to Great Lakes Institute of Management.

Keeping It Out Of The Family – Altaf Patel ExCampionite class of ’64

A very controversial report on Britain's first Asian woman to receive a peerage, Baroness Flather, appears in the press. In it, she claims that couples should have their DNA tested before marriage to ensure that they are not cousins. Flather states that this practice is rampant among Pakistanis from Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, and, in an opinion piece for the Daily Mail, warns of "the tragic consequence of causing disproportionately high rates of disability among their offspring because of the far greater risks of genetic disorders".

Baroness Williams, a former Secretary of State for Education and Science and member of the House of Lords has said marriage between first cousins is against the law and the church does not condone them...I pause to think: is Williams referring to religious laws of the church or law of the country? I cannot understand what the law will do if both parties are consenting. To be fair it must be pointed out to such consenting couples the dangers of such union by genetic counseling. It is uncommon in parts of the world to marry your own cousin; although I know several people married to their first cousin. Mating of such close relatives can cause genetic defects. Every one of us carries recessive genes. Only when this piece of genetic material comes across another piece like this does a trait or gene become manifest. This is nature's way of limiting birth defects. Consanguinity or inbreeding is certainly not the recommended thing to do. Marriage between first cousins who share a set of grandparents and the chance that an inherited piece of genetic material is one in eight. In many parts of the world such marriages are not legal. In such marriages the risk of a disorder is 1.7 to 2.8 per cent. The highest rate of consanguinity is in North Africa, the Middle East and South Asia, according to the European Journal of Human Genetics. Usually, the understanding that such a union entails a genetic risk is low in these marriages and it is imperative that the couples be informed as to the hazards. In a situation where such a marriage takes place by choice, there is little one can do besides counseling. A study from Brazil tells us that people with major histocompatibility complexes which are diverse tend to choose each other - simply put, they tend to choose mates that are different to them genetically. This is an evolutionary strategy and ensures healthy reproduction. Different genetic backgrounds identified in many animal and human species by mating shows preferences for particular kinds of body odor, which is why a person can detect sexual interest from another by proximity. Consanguinity was practiced by royalty. Spain reached its height of power under Habsburg rule and to maintain this royal heritage, they began to intermarry. There were cousin marriages and uncle-niece marriages. This caused the House of Habsburgs to die out with the passing away of Charles II of Spain in 1700. He was physically disabled, mentally retarded and bald at 35 years. He was an epileptic, had a large tongue which made it difficult for him to speak; the result of 16 generations of inbreeding. Similar situations or even closer mating occurred with the Egyptian pharaohs married their sisters.

Cleopatra, whom history described as a woman of beauty and intelligence, was the result of a brother-sister marriage and great granddaughter of another brother-sister marriage. In the tribes and castes of Andhra Pradesh and other Southern States menarikam is a marriage between maternal uncle and his niece or between cousins. Brahmins have a lineage called gotra and it prohibits marriage in the same gotra; presumably to have healthy offspring. The global prevalence of consanguineous marriage was estimated in 2009 as 10.4 per cent. Congenital malformations are often a result of a consanguineous marriage, disorders that make you blind, like retinitis pigmentosa and lebers congenital amaurosis. There are at least 4,968 such genetic diseases of which consanguinity puts you at risk. It is best to go in for genetic counseling when such situations arise, but given the times we live in, such inbreeding is uncalled for.

Small, Medium Manufacturing Sector Gets Very Low Share Of Private Equity Pie

ExCampionite class of ’49 Ratan Tata spoke about his personal investment choices here earlier this week, he was open about his preference for e-commerce and new tech companies. The reason? “They (disruptive tech companies) will change the face of India,” he said. And well, they might — like they did to the US in the 70s and 80s. But in the mad rush pour in the moolah into the fast growing upstarts, private investment is largely by-passing an unglamorous but vital portion of the economy — small manufacturing. Ratan Tata is by no means the only private investor to choose new tech over the latter. When investment is fueled by market economics, the rate of return is king. With the kind of growth figures that new tech service companies are clocking up, it is no surprise that money flows into them. According to figures sourced by Express from VCCEdge, a tracker of Private Equity and Venture Capital investments, manufacturing has cut a sorry figure over the last five years when it comes to attracting investment. From Fiscal years 2010 to 2015, private equity investment into the sector was around Rs 7,916 crore. The same kind of investments into e-commerce, IoT and IT/New Tech was just shy of Rs 17,000 crore — more than double the former. What’s more, the average ticket size of these investments was a lot higher in manufacturing, Rs 16.63 crore, than new tech, Rs 9.75 crore. A clear sign of investment in the former sector flowing into larger concerns — leaving SME manufacturing struggling for funds. “This is a fundamental issue that has stunted manufacturing growth in India for a very long time,” asserted M Suresh Babu, professor of economics in IIT-M. The scale of the problem is huge. There are about 26 million MSMEs in India — most with hardly any access to funding. According to the Union MSME Ministry’s report in the 12th Five-Year Plan (2012-2017), 45 per cent of manufacturing comes from the sector. One that suffers from a serious credit gap.

Because, when private equity is barely interested in manufacturing SMEs, these rely almost exclusively on bank lending to finance seeding and scaling up. “Private equity is largely tech biased because that’s where the returns are. They find investing in large concerns easier, but for small enterprises the margins are very low, they cannot provide good exits fast enough,” pointed out P V Sahad, founder of VCCircle Network, “They have to rely mostly on debt financing — from banks.” Bank finance however, is still woefully inadequate. According to Hasmukh Adhia, Secretary, Ministry of Finance who quoted from NSSO data in March this year, the average borrowing by these enterprises through banks and any formal financing channel is a meagre Rs 17,000. And only 5-7 per cent of the total Rs 11 lakh crore capital in the sector came from banks. But banks are leery in lending here, government quotas aside, because of poor returns and credit worthiness. “Most have very low profitability and are not attractive undertakings,” said a banker, who did not want to be named. With both avenues of funding stifled, one because of lack of interest and the other due to constriction, SME manufacturers are a sorry lot. The opportunity in, and importance of, the sector is huge. Because economists say that disruptive technology can only produce sustainable growth in an already industrialized economy. “When the industrialized countries changed into hi-tech ones they already had an established industrial sector. But ours is hardly developed. The rush into service based companies, which is what is happening mostly, is us trying to jump over a vital layer of the foundation,” asserted Babu. “That model can only work in small countries,” he said.

And while service based new-tech companies grow, there is a ceiling to that growth if domestic productivity, wages and consumption is still stagnant — which is what a poorly growing manufacturing sector promises. The government is trying. Initiatives in the last few months — the most important of which is the Mudra Bank — seek to funnel in more funds here. “But government driven investment is what we’ve tried since Nehru. Then the complaint was that there was no space for private investment. Now, there is space, lots of it, and yet private investment is elusive,” stated Babu. That investment, into small manufacturing, is vital if the economy can grow holistically. For SMEs who currently struggle for funds, the only answer lies in differentiation. “There are a very few firms who invest in this space. But for others, if you cannot show innovation and differentiation, you will not be attractive,” advised Sahad. The verdict: Spruce up. Differentiate. Explore less explored sectors, and the investment will flow in.

Designer Tarun Tahiliani Talks About Fashion’s Changing Perceptions


When I came back to India (from the USA; he studied there for a year) over two decades ago, my first challenge was to change Indian preconceptions. For instance, I like simple tailoring, but from an Indian point of view, I did too much beige, khaki and toned-down colours. Indians love colour, and mostly wanted shocking pink, orange and lime green. For me, that was too ‘costume’. So, I astutely took the best of both the east and west, and came up with something unique. India is the embroidery capital of the world, and couture is more about hand embroidery, not so much about shape and form. I just started marrying this aspect with ready-to-wear techniques of pattern and fit. Previously, no one knew how to cut a pattern or a sleeve.

Ten years ago, people were simpler, and even then, they were more used to going to tailors to make their clothes. Today, no one wants to go to a tailor, unless it’s someone who is specialized in doing something. Also, people are much more brand-conscious now. Back then, India was coming out of socialism, and if someone had a Chanel bag, it was a big thing. Everyone was thinking and buying local at that time. So, very few people could even afford to go abroad, especially with the kind of foreign exchange regulations that existed then, forget shopping there. It was the far end or faded reminiscence of the Gandhian values. Top industrialists drove in ambassadors; a Mercedes was a big deal. Today, it’s a different culture.

‘DEMANDING’ FASHIONISTAS: Unlike earlier, Indians now understand western principles of cut and construct, fit and finish, and designers have to deliver. As Indians become wealthier, their standards are more exacting, and the industry is gearing up for just that. India’s propensity to consume is gaining an international audience, and this is changing the competitive landscape. Indians, who live here, are on the cusp of a new way, which is a wonderful fusion of the two worlds we inhabit. This, for me, is the next big thing, where a true confluence in ideas results in a contemporary Indian style that is not completely ‘ethnic’ or ‘western’, but is a true synthesis, and has a global identity and relevance. I think that we come from such a vibrant culture of layering, whether it is through simple elements like tattoos, dots, black threads, kohl in the eyes or fresh flowers, that for me, there is no reason why we should be minimalistic. Even if one wore the simplest white fabric with the right drape, it has a kind of body that very few couture garments can have, if someone knows how to drape them properly. No one can stop the cycle of life and talent. The old order has paved the way for new. One must embrace and encourage this.

There is no doubt that fashion has progressed by quantum leaps and bounds in the last 10 years. There are fashion weeks, trends, glossy magazines, some multi-brand boutiques of note, and a thriving handloom scene now. Designers have started their own stores, and brands have been established. Yet, I have this sinking feeling every time I sit at an airport or at a mall that somehow women looked more elegant 15 years ago. I feel the humble sari, which has been tossed off for the light dress, did much more to soothe the Indian curves. While clothes are more practical today, something of feminine grace is lost. That authenticity is missing as ‘aspirational’ Indians move from juicy couture to ‘jeweled’ Indian couture in a breath, devoid of any style of their own, which everyone seemed to have, before there was ‘fashion’. This was when the humble drape caressed the curve, which I now have to go to the Kumbh Mela to see. Is pop culture the end of civilization as I knew it; I wonder.

(Tarun Tahiliani ExCampionite class of ’77 has been in the business of fashion for almost 25 years)

Getting Ratan Tata To Invest In Your Startup

Ratan Tata is like Gulzar: Gulzar turned lyricist in the 1960s and wrote lines like humne dekhi hai in aakhon ki mehekti khushboo... haath se chhuke ise rishton ka ilzaam na do. I have seen the fragrant smell of those eyes, don’t formalise it as a relationship by making it physical. Doesn’t that take your breath away, even half a century later? Gulzar, though, is not lingering on those lines. But, at 80, he still can shake it with songs such as Horn OK Please. Ratan Tata’s first big assignment as a corporate manager was in the 1970s at radio maker Nelco. It shut down because of an economic slowdown and labour problems. He plodded through other assignments, such as Empress Mills and Central India Mill, both textile makers, before being appointed as the head of Tata Industries and eventually as the Tata Group Chairman in 1991. He showed a remarkable capacity to embrace new concepts such as globalization and innovation. Tata companies were among the first to go international by acquiring overseas companies. The Nano is not a great success but it is a remarkable innovation. That adaptability and acceptance has kept Tata, 77 years old now, in business even after he retired as Tata Group Chairman at the end of 2012. Perhaps in a more interesting way now than before. Tata is a great backer of startups. But how does he choose them? How do you make him invest in your startup? Just ask him, according to some stories. According to reports, Nidhi Agarwal’s Kaaryah was rejected by 113 investors before she, at her father’s suggestion, found ExCampionite class of ’49 Ratan Tata’s email and wrote to him. And he decided to invest.

Maybe fairy tales do happen. But it will not be wise to count on them. If you are serious about getting Tata, you should go through every line of what he said at the recent convocation of Great Lakes Management Institute in Chennai. Here is the gist. You must not come across as someone chasing valuations. “Just collecting funds from investors over selling a concept and walking an insensitive way to look at business. There has to be a sense of responsibility.” Linked to that is commitment. “These are the kinds of judgment you make when you meet the founders — what their level of commitment is, will they just walk away at a particular time after making gains, or will they be committed to staying and building an enterprise?” And passion. “You get impressed by those who have good ideas and no support, but great passion to achieve what they do.” Tata walks the talk. You can see that in each of the 12 investments he has made in startups beginning with the first — wind energy company Altaeros — right down to his latest: Coimbatore-based electric bikes maker Ampere. The two are working on solutions to the issues of energy and pollution. That is the theme. Tata prefers those that help improve the common man’s life, typically by working in the areas of health, woman empowerment, access to Internet, etc. “I am interested in supporting anything that seems to have the potential of changing India.” So he has invested in Snapdeal, which gives access to all kinds of goods to all kinds of people in all kinds of places — buyers as well as sellers. Ola, which solves an everyday problem for those who live in a city that has bad public transport — that is, nearly every city in India.

Agarwal’s Kaaryah is an interesting case. It sells a blend of western and Indian formal clothing for women in 18 different sizes — the usual is six — which accommodate differences in proportions of the Indian woman’s body and address issues like gaping buttons on shirts. These creative types usually face the problem of financial support, because their concept often appears vague and esoteric. “It is important to nurture them; it’s important to support them. The creative ones usually face the greatest problems in finding support, because they are doing things others have not done before.” Of course, the startups receiving Tata’s money benefit from it in many ways. The buzz has it that investor interest and valuations shoot up. The founder of a public relations agency was recently kicking herself for letting go of a client in which Tata has just invested. The journalists she used to chase earlier are now chasing her to talk to the founder of that startup. And she has been apologizing saying they no longer work together.

How Driving Virtual Buses On Your Phone Could Help Save Mumbai’s Iconic BEST


A gaming company has pledged to the undertaking one month’s revenues earned from its game based on BEST buses. But the service needs a lot more to revive its declining fortunes.

In 1926, the Bombay Tramway Company ushered a new era in India’s public transport as it launched a bus service from Afghan Church to Crawford Market. As more bus routes were added, the service flourished, transporting lakhs of passengers in just two years. Around 90 years later, that history has faded, as also that success. The tramway company’s successor, the Brihanmumbai Electrical Supply and Transport Undertaking, is struggling for funds and passengers, with its fleet occupancy declining by 58% in the first quarter of the current year. The undertaking recorded a loss of over Rs 950 crore last year, and the figure is expected to cross Rs 1,000 crore for the first time this year. “BEST is facing a grim situation,” the undertaking’s general manager Jagdish Patil told Mumbai Mirror. “Statistics reveal that all BEST bus routes have stopped making profits for the last financial year and that the daily number of passengers has come down below 32 lakh.” If this wasn’t all, the non-ticketing revenue has gone for a dive too, with BEST losing almost Rs 8 crore in ad revenues between 2011 and 2013.

To make sure that the beleaguered bus service doesn’t ride off into the sunset, one Mumbai-based mobile gaming company is doing its bit. This week, Games2Win announced that it’ll pledge to the entity one month’s revenues earned from its game based on BEST buses. The game allows players to operate a red BEST bus and park it in BEST parking lots in the city. “We wanted users to drive vehicles that surround them and in conditions that are relatable,” explained ExCampionite class of '85 Alok Kejriwal. In a short period, it has crossed 2.5 lakh downloads across iOS and Android. When news reports highlighted BEST’s problems, Kejriwal said, “we decided that we could simply use the game’s revenues for a month to help out the organisation and the response has been great”. Kejriwal informed that while games on average earn a couple of lakhs a year from advertising, BEST Bus 3D Parking could collect a larger sum because of the “affinity value”. “We want to help BEST out as much as we can,” he said. “It is an iconic street property which you won’t find anywhere else. From London to America, cities pride themselves on such things and use souvenirs to make money and flaunt their services, so why can’t we do it here?” Kejriwal plans to collaborate with BEST to launch merchandise that could boost the buses’ public image and generate some extra cash. “It’s a mode of transport that has a huge historical value and is, at the same time, safe and efficient, so we can’t let it just disappear from Mumbai’s streets.”

Rescue mode: On its part, BEST has decided to inform commuters about its financial situation through public meetings every Sunday. The undertaking, meanwhile, is brainstorming on solutions to help revive the ridership and profitability of its buses, which are losing out to like taxis and shared autos. As an immediate measure, the organization has come up with a handful of “innovative ideas” to woo back passengers. One of these involves BEST ticket checkers and officials screaming into microphones near railway stations in the morning to inform travelers about their inexpensive tickets and the destinations the buses halt at. For the long term, BEST has sought dedicated bus lanes in six parts of the city – to increase operational efficiency and to reduce travel time – aside from concessional passes for students. Meanwhile, it has tweaked some bus routes to accommodate more stops near offices and asked its drivers to halt at stops for a little longer to fill the buses to their capacity.

Gaming the system: Imagined as a tribute to the bus service, the game BEST Bus 3D Parking was launched “four-five months ago”, said Alok Kejriwal, chief executive officer of Games2Win.

Sachin’s Precious Picture With Sara


Very rarely does Sachin appears in public with his children, Sara and Arjun. In this precious capture, a smiling Sachin and his doting daughter Sara pose for a lovely moment. At 18, Sara looks all grownup and graciously complements her legendary father's legacy with her simple charms. The affectionate duo posed for hotshot photographer & ExCampionite class of '81 Atul Kasbekar in support of the Nanhi Kali campaign. The Nanhi Kali campaign, with its tagline, 'Proud fathers for daughters,' aims at bringing awareness towards underprivileged girl children. The campaign encourages fathers and daughters across the country to take part in the initiative and get photographed by the top lens men, Atul Kasbekar, Jaideep Oberoi and Colston Julian. Apart from Sachin, the campaign also roped in stalwarts like Gulzar, Rishi Kapoor, Anil Kapoor etc for this year.

Branding Nano As Cheap Car Was Mistake: Ratan Tata


Answering a question on the Nano car, Tata said the mistake was branding the model as the cheapest car instead of affordable car. He said people did not want to be associated with a cheap car. Branding Tata Motors small car Nano as a cheapest car was a mistake and was one of the reasons for the model not taking off as expected, ExCampionite class of '49 , chairman emeritus of Tata Sons, said.

Tata, who was here to participate in the 11th convocation of the Great Lakes Institute of Management, also took some questions from the students. Answering a question on the Nano car, Tata said the mistake was branding the model as the cheapest car instead of affordable car. He said people did not want to be associated with a cheap car. Brand Gurus had earlier expressed similar views to IANS and said a car in India is a status symbol and people do not want their car to be known as a cheap car. Tata urged the graduates to focus on those things that make a difference to people and always ask themselves whether what they are doing is right. Later speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the function Tata, the former chairman of the Tata group reiterated the same point on the Nano's branding strategy. He said the small car was designed by people with an average age of 25-26 and was a success beyond expectations. However, he said the one year delay in the car launch allowed rumours to float around about the car. Tata who is investing in start-ups said he was looking at those outfits that would help the common man. Stating that it is important to nurture start-ups and support them Tata also urged the entrepreneurs to be a long term player and build an institution than cashing out early. According to Tata, he is keen on investing in health and connectivity sectors. He said there is an opportunity in e-commerce and e-tailing in India which are expected to change the face of merchandising and marketing in the country.

Dr. Romesh Wadhwani Announces Commitment to Wadhwani Foundations of Upto USD 1 Billion

Announcement on the occasion of 'World Youth Skills Day'

• Says Entrepreneurship and skilling are the two magic keys to India’s economic and job growth

• Finds the long-standing mission of the Wadhwani Foundations to be fully aligned with the focus of the government on promoting skills development and entrepreneurship

• Cites two MoUs with Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (MSDE) and Department for Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD) as collaborative efforts with Indian Government for higher impact

Re-enforcing his vision of accelerating economic development in India and emerging economies, ExCampionite class of ’62 Dr. Romesh Wadhwani, Founder and Chairman, Wadhwani Foundations today announced a commitment of USD 1 billion to Wadhwani Foundations. Silicon Valley based Dr. Wadhwani made this announcement via a video address at the SKILL INDIA launch campaign organized by Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) with Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi as the Chief Guest. This event was held at Vigyan Bhavan today to mark the first ever World Youth Skills Day [15th July 2015]. During the event, Prime Minister formally launched ‘National Skill Development Mission’, unveiling the new ‘National Policy for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship 2015’ and rolling out MSDE’s flagship scheme, “Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikash Yojana - PMKVY” nationally– the pilot phase of which began earlier.

Dr. Wadhwani’s increased commitment to the Foundations comes at the time when the focus of the Government on promoting skills development and entrepreneurship, and the long-standing mission of the Wadhwani Foundations to accelerate economic development through entrepreneurship and skills development seem to be fully aligned. Wadhwani Foundations’ two major ongoing initiatives - National Entrepreneurship Network (NEN) and Skills Development Network (SDN), have already had a significant impact on job creation and job fulfillment in India and now the Foundations is looking forward to partner with Government of India and state governments to further scale-up of its initiatives to help India create and fill 25 million jobs, in the organized sector, by 2020. During his video address at the event, Dr. Romesh Wadhwani, Founder and Chairman, Wadhwani foundations said, “Entrepreneurship and skilling are the two magic keys to India’s economic and job growth. Recently, the honorable prime minister said that India has a large number of hands to work and even larger number of dreams to realize. So correct. I am grateful to the honorable Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to Minister Rudy, to other honorable ministers in the audience, to Secretary Sunil Arora and other dignitaries for their support on entrepreneurship and skills development in India.” “India needs to create 25 million high quality jobs over the next few years. So I thought that the best mission for the Foundations will be to accelerate job creation through large-scale initiatives. For example, our National Entrepreneurship Network (NEN) and Skills Development Network (SDN) initiatives have already created 2000 new companies, tens of thousands of skill possessions, 500 colleges that now teach entrepreneurship and a 100,000 student entrepreneurs.” Dr. Wadhwani further added.

In Oct. 2014, when Dr. Wadhwani [along with a group of top Indian- American CEOs, venture capitalists and higher education leaders] met Prime Minister Modi in New York, he was extremely impressed by the Prime Minister’s resolve to people’s movement and found his commitment to job creation and skills development extremely encouraging to Wadhwani Foundations’ efforts of accelerating economic development by transforming education to create millions of jobs. The core model of Wadhwani Foundations is to enter into private-public partnerships with Indian government and with state governments on entrepreneurship and skills education, developing new sources of capital, creating a mentor network etc. As a result, the Foundations has signed MoUs with the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (MSDE) for program management of specific projects relating to Skills Development and Entrepreneurship, and Department for Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD) [Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment] to facilitate training and employment of 25,00,000 PwDs by 2022.

Given India’s demographic dividend, it acquires special significance. With 54% of our population below 25 years of age, India is sitting on a massive workforce – an unprecedented resource for wealth creation that has the potential to outpace much of the world and turn India into a global HR engine, if equipped with the right skills.

About Dr. Romesh Wadhwani: Romesh is a successful Silicon Valley entrepreneur and philanthropist with passion for wealth creation. After building three large scale successful companies in three decades, the last of which was sold for over $9 billion, Romesh founded the Wadhwani Foundations in 2000 to which he has committed to donate most of his wealth. Romesh envisions high impact social change in emerging economies through sustained economic acceleration. He is a member of the Gates Buffet Giving Pledge. Romesh is also the Founding Chairman and CEO of Symphony Technology Group, a 12 year old PE firm comprising of 23 companies, with a combined revenue of USD 3.5 billion and 18,000 employees. In August 2012, Romesh was appointed by U.S President Barack Obama as General Trustee, Board of Trustees of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington DC, a key administration post. Romesh is also a Board Member of Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington DC. He is a proud recipient of the prestigious 'Non-Resident Philanthropist' award at the Forbes India Philanthropy Awards 2013 and also features in Forbes 400 list. Romesh obtained a B. Tech degree from IIT Bombay and an MS and Ph.D in Electrical Engineering from Carnegie, Mellon University.

About Wadhwani Foundations: Founded in 2000 by Dr. Romesh Wadhwani, the Foundations’ primary mission is economic acceleration in emerging economies. With large-scale education led initiatives driving skill development and job creation, the Foundations have launched five high impact education, training and research focused Initiatives in India that will lead to creation and fulfillment of 25 million jobs by 2020. To leverage entrepreneurship as a catalyst for job creation, Wadhwani Foundations established the National Entrepreneurship Network (NEN) in 2003. NEN inspires, educates and supports emerging entrepreneurs. Since inception, NEN has resulted in 2,000 new start-ups with 12,000+ direct and 50,000+ indirect jobs, and is now tracking 1,500+ new companies each year. For skilling, vocational education and training led job fulfillment, Wadhwani Foundations have set up the Skills Development Network (SDN) which supports multiple high school, college and employer initiatives for entry level mid-skill jobs through a digital/video curricula and pedagogy. Opportunity Network for Disabled (OND) is aimed at mainstreaming the educated disabled into sustainable high quality corporate jobs through a business value proposition. Research and Innovation Network (RIN) aims to upgrade India’s research eco-system by catalyzing ‘Centers of Innovations’ in partnership with existing research Institutes. Policy Research Centre provides data driven research inputs for informed policy actions towards creating an education led human-capital driven growth economy. Wadhwani Chair on US-India policy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Washington, D.C, aims to accelerate India-U.S economic activities primarily through channels of skilling and education.

Will Climate Change Exacerbate India’s Illegal Immigrant Problem?

Drought and incessant flooding in neighboring countries can lead to large scale migration to India, said a report on climate change. Climate change in south Asia could increase illegal immigration into India. Drought and incessant flooding caused by climate change in India’s neighbours such as Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh could lead to large scale migration to India. Such huge migration combined with the shift from rural to urban areas, putting more pressure on Indian cities already stretched in terms of resources, said a report on climate change, written by energy analysts and experts from the UK, the US, China and India, and released worldwide on Monday. “High degrees of climate change could increase the risks of state failure in countries that are economically underdeveloped, resource stressed, or already unstable for other reasons. In South Asia, drought in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and incessant flooding and loss of land to the sea in Bangladesh, could put those countries’ governments under great stress, and precipitate large-scale migration into India,” said Vice Admiral & ExCampionite class of ‘69Pradeep Chauhan (retired) of the Indian Navy in the report.

“In India, this migration would combine with an internal population shift from rural to urban areas, further increasing demographic pressure in cities—many of the largest of which—including Kolkata, Chennai and Mumbai are coastal, and will be increasingly vulnerable to flooding both from sea level rise and from more intense rainfall,” added Chauhan. This may further exacerbate the country’s Maoist problem and the government may face overwhelming temptation to use the military to handle it, added the report that comes five months before a summit on climate change in Paris in December, where global leaders are expected to strike a new global climate deal. Chauhan, who is a former commandant of the Indian Navy and assistant chief of Naval staff, said that both the influx of internal and external migrants, and the increasing variability of the monsoon, could further destabilize the “Red Corridor”. Explaining this as a swathe of economic deprivation and mis governance cutting through almost all the eastern states of India where Marxist-Leninist rebels are waging a campaign of violence against India, Chauhan said, “The temptation to solve this problem through military intervention could become overwhelming.” The main authors of the report include the UK special representative for climate change David King, Harvard University’s Center for the Environment director Daniel P. Schrag, China’s National Expert Committee on Climate Change member Zhou Dadi, CEO of Indian thinktank Council on Energy, Environment and Water Arunabha Ghosh and senior fellow of US thinktank Brookings Institution, Qi Ye. Apart from unprecedented migration, the report highlighted that climate change could increase the appeal of terrorism in failing states.

Jaguar Land Rover Saviours To Be Awarded Coventry’s Highest Civic Honour

Two of the men heralded as saviours of car manufacturing in Coventry are set to be awarded the city’s highest honor. Coventry City Council will agree to make ExCampionite class of ’49 Ratan Tata and Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya honorary freemen of the city ahead of a full council meeting at 2pm today. Mr Tata is the owner of Jaguar Land Rover which recently announced a £600million investment in the region, including plans to make its Whitley site the company’s global research and development hub. The Telegraph has previously revealed that the company eventually plans to open additional sites in Coventry with the aim of returning mass vehicle production to the city. Lord Bhattacharyya is chairman of Warwick Manufacturing Group and one of the men behind Tata’s takeover of JLR. A report to councilors recommends the pair be awarded the honor “in recognition of the investment of Tata Steel into Jaguar Land Rover which has enhanced and protected the status of car manufacturing in the region, the Jaguar Land Rover brand and particularly the employment of its employees and many subsidy suppliers, supported by the Warwick Manufacturing Group”. A date for a ceremony to mark the award of the titles has not yet been set.

The award of an honorary freeman title is the highest honor the city council can award individuals. It has only been handed out on 13 previous occasions, the last time in 1999 when late Labour MP Mo Mowlam was recognized for her role in drawing up the Northern Ireland peace settlement. It was first awarded to Andrew Carnegie in 1914, the donor of Earlsdon, Foleshill and Stoke libraries. The full council meeting will follow, including discussion about the city’s bid to become UK City of Culture in 2021. The council is set to agree to pay £250,000 to fund the bid which could generate tens of millions for the local economy if successful. Plans for Coventry to join Birmingham, Solihuill and the Black Country in a West Midlands Combind Authority are also set to progress. The council will agree to delegate power to Labour council leader Ann Lucas to continue consultation with other councils.

To squat or not to squat – Altaf Patel ExCampionite class of ’64

Although they have their advantages, sitting toilets also make way for a host of ailments, particularly piles. Much of our age-related back problems can be blamed on the fact that man was meant to be on all fours. You can look at it as the price we pay for being bipedal or standing up. Women give birth lying down, but this posture, too, has been questioned. In factm in the BC years, it is said that women gave birth standing, sitting, or kneeling. A famous drawing from Egypt depicts Cleopatra kneeling to give birth. The birthing chair dates back to 2000 BC and a 1961 survey tells us giving birth lying down was the norm in 18 per cent of cultures. In fact, laboring upright has been quoted to have various advantages like more efficient contractions, shorter labour, less maternal pain and fewer forceps application. It is also claimed that the baby has better oxygenation because the great veins and aorta are not compressed by the uterus in the standing position. Not a great degree of medical literature exists on the issues, and the national institute for health care excellence in the UK recommends that women should be discouraged from lying down in the second stage of labour and should be encouraged to adopt any other position they find comfortable. It is the obstetricians that find the lying posture most suitable to inspect and monitor delivery

So, as the human moves through time, he chooses to do things for his comfort not necessarily what is best for him. The same situation occurs with toilets. So, for the 60s, when Western toilets adorned the abodes of the Western-educated, you now see them everywhere. They do provide a great degree of comfort — in fact, too much. And, the question arises that is this an ideal position to defecate. I have shared dwellings with several roommates and thankfully all had excellent sanitary habits. However, some spent their time reading, some phoning, and some even drinking coffee. The strangest roommate I had spent his time studying in the toilet and I often joked with him that he should carry a commode to the exam hall and it would be easier for him to perform. I note that the Swiss are annoyed with the toilet habits of Southeast Asians and the Middle Easterners.They are upset about people squatting on toilet seats and disposing used toilet paper in other locations rather than the toilet bowl. In fact, it is funny to see pictorial signs saying 'no squatting on toilet seats'. The Indian toilet is prevalent not only in Asia, Africa and the Middle East, but can be found in South America. I remember vividly an Hinglish film where a Western executive arrives in Delhi. On the way to his hotel, the taxi driver suggests another more convenient hotel and gives him a roadside sherbet to drink. His bowels acting up he has to run to the toilet on reaching the hotel. Ushered into the toilet he stands looking confoundedly into the hole in the ground he sees there, wondering what to do.

It also amazes me how the average Indian manages to squat for long periods while waiting and some villagers are happier squatting then sitting on a chair. In actuality, the squatting posture while defecating helps you to do your business without wasting time. It is often said that sitting is an unnatural position to pass stools. This may be correct in the sense that animal defecate easily while squatting and this provides a natural passage to bowel contents devoid of any major kinks. The Israel Journal of Medical Science, April 1979 , claims that the prevalence of bowel disease such a haemorrhoids, appendicitis, polyps and diverticulitis and ulcerative colitis are commonest with Western toilets compared to squatting toilets. Worse still, Eastern countries replace squatting toilets with Western thrones, such as Thailand and a host of others.... If you have ever been to Japan, not only is there a sitting toilet, but it also massages you and has an automatic bidet to clean you up which is a fancy gadget. It is correct that the squatting procedure given you more of a clear passage and it is possible that a host of ailments, particularly piles, may be due to a sitting toilet. Not a lot of medical literature exists on the other ailments possible, but it does seem logically probable. In fact, constipation may be more common with the Western toilet. In her book, Charming Bowels, a German microbiologist Giulia Enders has praised the squatting position for defecation. The book has sold on a million copies. A small stool is now being suggested to convert the Western-style toilet to a squatting position toilet. Like most situations of life, the human chooses comfort over what is good for him.

So, time to go back to squatting.

I Wonder How The Ecommerce Business Can Be Sustainable: Kumar Mangalam Birla

2015 06 22 Making The Money Business Work At Birla

ExCampionite class of '83 Kumar Mangalam Birla, the renowned Indian industrialist and chairman of Aditya Birla Group, has raised concerns over the sustainability of e-Commerce industry. As per an Economic Times report, the industrialist said that the deep-discount model followed by Indian retailers is unsustainable and will soon come to an end as investors would surely demand returns.

In an exclusive interview, Birla said, "I understand the valuation play. At the end of the day the financial investor will have to make returns. One thing I am sure is that you can't have unlimited access to capital funding. Therefore the question that comes to my mind is whether the deep discount model is sustainable." This is the first time Birla spoke after his name surfaced in the coal mine allocation controversy in 2013. He termed the entire incident as 'shocking' and said that the group had bounced back after that. "It was a shock and was completely unexpected. But it did not come in the way of our growth as we are a resilient group. It is best not to get emotional about these things," he expressed. When asked if the entire incident was a part of political vendetta, Birla responded negatively. Birla, along with former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was summoned in the coal block allocation case but in April this year, the Supreme Court of India stayed the orders by the lower court.

Meanwhile, praising the Narendra Modi-led government, Birla said, "When you get a business or a company that is ailing, I do not think turning it around in one year is realistic. I have a lot of faith in this government...Two sectors have taken off - one is coal in terms of production of coal. For the first time in many years, we are not struggling and have sufficient coal in our plants, which is a very big deal. Roads have taken off, which is big." The ET report also mentioned Birla group's plans in the near future. As per the reports, the $41-billion group will invest more in its non-commodity business, including a $7-billion investment in Idea Cellular, India's third-largest telecom company by number of subscribers. Along with that, the group also plans to get into the health insurance, housing and finance and also garment business. The group would also foray into generation of solar power, one of the priorities of the NDA government

Wadhwani Foundations

Founded in 2000 by ExCampionite class of '62 Dr Romesh Wadhwani, Wadhwani Foundations is engaged in economic acceleration in emerging economies. The Foundation focuses on large-scale initiatives in job creation and skill development. They have five initiatives in India.One of them is the Skills Development Network, which supports multiple college, high school and employer initiatives for entry level-mid-skill jobs. This project works in close tandem with Ministry of Human Resource Development and State governments and provides support to vocational education programmes in 500+ high schools and 200+ UGC colleges and 100+ companies. The programme uses a technology platform for skilling by integrating online/in-class skills education through a digital/video curricula and pedagogy.

Another of their initiatives is the National Entrepreneurship Network (NEN), a platform for entrepreneurs to come together, network and reap mutual benefits. The third is Opportunity Network for Disabled, which helps educate the disabled and place them in corporate jobs. Fourth is Research and Innovation Network, aimed at upgrading India’s research Eco-system by catalyzing ‘Centers of Innovation’ in partnership with existing research Institutes. Finally, we have Wadhwani Foundations Policy Research Center, which provides data driven research inputs for informed policy actions towards creating an education led human-capital driven growth economy.

“When I enrolled in Healthcare under Wadhwani Foundation’s initiative, I felt a positive change in many ways. I got the opportunity to interact with doctors, nurses and others, and these kind of networking opportunities are very beneficial for the students who are not financially strong, providing them an opportunity to work,” says Megha Thakur, a Class X student of Government Girls Senior Secondary School, Portmore, Shimla.

Says Ajay Kela, President and CEO, Wadhwani Foundations, “In India, and globally, there is an enormous gap between the skills needed by the industry and what academia is producing, resulting in a deep fracture in the talent supply chain. By 2020, almost 60 per cent of India’s population of 1.3 billion will be in the working age group of 15-59 years. If adequately skilled, this demographic could make India a global human resource powerhouse. To achieve skilling at scale, Wadhwani Foundations is developing multi-media enabled technology solutions while integrating online/in-class skills and self-learning pedagogy that can reach thousands of students simultaneously through the cloud platform.”

The Rajdeep Sardesai interview: ‘Today, you are expected to be a bhakt or a permanent critic’

2015 07 13 The Rajdeep Sardesai interview - Copy

One of the best-known faces on television news says he is neither, as he talks about the state of India and the controversies surrounding him. In his most in-depth interview to date, well-known TV journalist anchor & ExCampionite class of '81 Rajdeep Sardesai spoke about his complicated relationship with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the crisis of credibility in the media, being the favorite target of online trolls, how it has been tough getting over the break-up with CNN-IBN and why it is factually incorrect to label him a ‘Congressi’.

Your chat with Lalit Modi was perhaps one of the most talked about news interviews of the year. After talking to you, he was forced to shun all TV interviews. Do you think the interview damaged his prospects? I don’t think it damaged his prospects, but it surely showed up Lalit Modi and the Indian establishment for what they are. Here’s a person who’s "most wanted" on Indian shores and ministers are being asked to resign on his account. All this while he’s sitting in the luxury of the Aman Hotel by the Adriatic Sea! To my mind the contrast was striking and ironical; it was almost a parody on Indian politics. Someone is living a life of luxury in a foreign country, while back home he’s being called a fugitive – while possibly nothing’s been done to bring him back all these years. The interview exposed this aspect for sure. Did it incriminate him? That only time will tell. However, Lalit Modi is a man who’s made it clear that if he goes down he will take others with him.

There is a perception that the media backed off after Modi named names. That’s rubbish, I don’t think the media has backed off; every story has a shelf life. A story sustains itself based on the credibility of the people at the heart of the story. If Lalit Modi is able to back all he says with hard evidence, then the story will stay relevant. If Modi tweets and scoots and then expects the media will stay on the story, it’s not going to happen. He will have to back all his claims with hard facts that incriminate people, or face the heat himself as the ED goes deeper into his dealings.

Finally, there’s no resignation forthcoming, so did the opposition fail in building pressure on the BJP over LalitGate? I think LalitGate was used by the opposition to build a perception against the government. A government whose prime minister had said, “Na khaoonga na khaane doonga” (I won’t take bribes and won’t allow others to), was for the first time, finding itself on the back foot over the issue of propriety. So the opposition got a handle to beat the government with, especially before the monsoon session of parliament. In terms of perception, the opposition has achieved what it wanted. Interestingly, I think Lalit Modi, too, achieved what he wanted: that he can’t be singled out for his acts, that many in the BCCI and the opposition were also in on it. Meanwhile, the BJP, too, by its strategic silence and unyielding stance also has sent out a clear message: that the media will not dictate the agenda of this government. The PM has made it clear that he’s not Manmohan Singh and will not sack ministers depending on what the media is broadcasting. Will this rigid position harm the long-term perception of the party? That remains to be seen.

Recently Akshay Singh from the India Today Group died under mysterious circumstances while covering the Vyapam scam. Two journalists were also set on fire because they dared to take on politicians and the mining mafia. Has the media lost its ability to work together to generate pressure on the system? I don’t think so. Look at the Lalit Modi and Vyapam cases. There is a lot of concerted media noise. Of course, you will have the occasional one-upmanship; it’s unfortunate, but it happens. My bigger problem is: Does it take the death of a journalist for us to realize the scope of the Vyapam scam? The acronym Vyapam stands for ‘Vyavsayik Pareeksha Mandal’ but perhaps it’s not seen as good TRP material! Then there is what I call the tyranny of distance; something that happens so far away from Delhi rarely excites the media. So we in the media have to ask ourselves: did it have to take the death of a journalist for Vyapam to become 9 pm news? Similarly the death of Gajendra Singh at Jantar Mantar made farmer suicides prime-time news. While such deaths happen daily and are rarely covered, we in the media also have to ask ourselves the tough questions. What does it take for us to realize the importance of a story?

Are journalists under a lot more threat today? Journalists have always been under attack. We register something when it happens closer to Delhi. But take a look at far-flung areas of India and you will see regular attacks happening. Today, journalists are not only under threat from the gun, but also from a section of people who want to take down the media. On our part, we have to ask ourselves why we have allowed ourselves to face this deeper credibility crisis that makes us soft targets today. Do we stand up united when the profession is under attack? I remember when the Shiv Sena had attacked the IBN office five years ago, many channels didn’t run the story, because the ‘competition channel’ was under fire.

When you say that journalists are not under threat from the gun alone, are you hinting at social media? Has all the negativity of Twitter affected you personally? I guess anyone would be. If there is a large army out there that has decided to take down Rajdeep Sardesai, at some stage I will be affected by it. That said, I also take pride in the fact that I have been able to get under the skin of so many people. The worst thing that can happen to a journalist is being ignored. So if there is a large section on social media that follows me and yet wants to target me, I treat that as a badge of honor. Just like anyone else on social media, I have a right to dissent. But you don’t have the right to abuse me. That has been one point that I am unable to get across to the multitude of people who live under the garb of anonymity or are part of ‘armies’ who are immersed in doing bhakti of their party leaders.

The prime minister recently called a meeting of 150 influencers on social media, many of whom were habitual abusers on Twitter. Does this ploy of calling select followers and asking them to behave work? After all, the BJP’s track record of getting the various Senas to fall into line hasn’t been great. No, they never have, and at the end of the day, leaders have to realise that they are judged by their followers. I am not saying that Modi is actively encouraging his followers to indulge in this kind of behaviour, or that Arvind Kejriwal and Rahul Gandhi are asking their followers to abuse others, but the fact remains that it is happening. This reveals a growing intolerance in society and the unwillingness to have a genuine dialogue. On Twitter, there is no dialogue. If Modi has asked his followers to stop the abuse, it’s certainly not working. Those who use words like ‘presstitutes’ must realize that they are tarnishing an entire profession. When the prime minister himself uses words like “news traders”, then it almost gives a licence to his followers to abuse. Yes, there is a credibility crisis, but to label professionals as “news traders” because some of us haven't stopped asking questions is crazy.

Do you think a lot of trolls are organized? (Laughs). Well, either Indians have a lot of time on their hands or this is extremely well-organized and well-paying for a few. I am sure it’s organized. Look at the manner in which trends are built systematically, be it feku or pappu. What this has done is bring down the quality of conversation in social media and to reduce it to one-upmanship.

Does Twitter punch far above its weight? It just takes a few hundred tweets to build a #trend, and then it manages to influence newsrooms about what stories to follow. Of course. I believe these days, companies can fix trends for you, and if newsrooms are getting influenced by social media trends then it’s terrible. Twitter is a double-edged sword; it can be a great source of dialogue and information that can deepen democratic practices or it can be a noxious chamber of hate and anger that targets people and builds enemies. Twitter now needs to decide what it wants to be.

After May 2014, has the media space changed in India? Nothing changes in a year. It is a continuing process. There has certainly been a decline in quality and there has been a growing tendency of the ruling dispensation to either co-opt or coerce the media to toeing its line. In that sense, it’s a big worry. But the credibility crisis is the biggest issue for us, and we have to answer for that. We have to ask whether we have become arrogant as media persons. We were supposed to be the cockroaches, always on the hunt to ferret out news. We are not the badshahs. We are the ones who question the badshah. In the past year, we have been happier taking selfies with the prime minister than asking him questions.

After your farewell speech, some of your colleagues asked you to start a venture of your own and you said that you thought CNN-IBN was your own. How hard has it been for you to let go of a channel that you built from scratch? It has been very, very difficult. It still has not fully sunk in. But then you have to move on. Strange how suddenly things hit you. Phil Hughes died on the cricket field playing the game. I was watching it and I said to myself, “Here I was agonizing about what happened to CNN-IBN and there was a guy who was playing the game he loved, and he died.” While the parting has been emotional, personal and difficult, I tell myself that worse things could have happened. So I try to gripe less now.

Do you think that your exit was inevitable after Reliance took control of CNN-IBN? Was the Google Hangout with Kejriwal just an excuse for executing something that was already in the works? I have no idea. These questions should be asked to Raghav Behl and to Mukesh Ambani. I am a professional journalist; for twenty-seven years, that is what I have done. I am not a businessman, so for me to analyses this call is difficult. Maybe the proprietors wanted a particular kind of editor. Maybe I was not that kind of person.

Maybe because you would have proven to be non-conformist in your ways and in your political views? I believe that newsrooms are where ideas are contested, where a reporter can walk up to me and say, “Sir, you are wrong.” I don’t think a newsroom is a place to be a dictator or where business interests collide with the news. There are editors out there who are hatchet men of corporates or are simply there because they are pliable. You said conformist? Well, I am certainly not a pliable person.

Has the incident made you more disillusioned with the profession you have been associated with for so long? Over the past year, I have become more philosophical. A year ago, I was far more idealistic, but my idealism is being battered by what I see around me. Maybe I am a dinosaur in today’s media world, especially with all this grey hair.

Dinosaur? But then you will invite the charge that you are not relevant any more. That is for the viewer to decide. But my core journalistic principles will not change. That much I am clear about. I will still be excited by the breaking news story and a big story that will shake the system, but my cynicism stems from seeing the kind of compromises people around me are making in the industry, compromises to stay “relevant”, as you put it.

Fair point, but even as you remain uncompromising in your principles, are you physically dried and dusted to do what you have been doing all these years? Well, if I were tired, then in the past nine months I wouldn’t have been able to put a book out, market it aggressively and play a small role in the re-launch of India Today Television. So I am not tired, or retired. I am just older and wiser. If a story breaks, like LalitGate, I will stay up all night, reach Montenegro, do whatever it takes, negotiate with Serbian camera persons who don’t get English, but still get the story in.

In your book, 2014 The Election that Changed India, you have said that you’ve been as neutral as possible on Modi and kept the focus on the campaign he ran. How difficult was it for you to remain neutral after covering what you have in 2002? The book is my evidence on where I stand on Modi, the positives and the negatives. I believe that a book is something that is lasting and permanent. I have thought long and hard about it and I have put it all down. I have admiration for all politicians at one level, but as an observer I have the right to question them and critique them. For example, I believe Modi is a 24x7 karmayogi politician; at the same time I also believe that he hasn’t satisfactorily answered a lot of questions on 2002. I also may have questions about the ideology that Modi represents but at the same time I have respect for the fact that he’s someone who’s come through the hurly-burly of politics in this country. Similarly, I believe that Lalu Prasad was one of the flag-bearers of the Mandal agitation that changed Bihar’s landscape. That doesn’t mean I don’t have the right to criticize him for bringing in family raj and criminalization of politics in the state. Have I got emotionally entangled with the Gujarat riots? Possibly yes, because that was and is a story that I have strong feelings about.

If your coverage of 2002 defined you, has your reportage on Modi shaped your image of how you are perceived as a journalist? Maybe. Please remember this is also because in the past decade Modi has played a large role in the national media discourse and not just my journalistic discourse. From a politician who used to come into our studios [as a BJP spokesperson] at 30 minutes’ notice to the politician whose India’s number one neta, it has been a remarkable rise. I have followed the Modi story and can claim to have a bird's eye-view of the story and an understanding of the man. As a result have I got too closely identified with Narendra Modi? May be.

There seems to be a power play going on between the two of you. At the HT summit you questioned him on his changing the development track. He retorted with a comment on the saffron colour of your kurta. In the election campaign, you interviewed him seated on the footboard of a bus, while Modi towered over you. He and I shared a good journalistic relationship for a very long time. We had a constant dialogue earlier. He was also one of the first people to call me when my father passed away. While the relationship had its ups and downs, I have always seen it as a journalistic relationship in which I am an observer, a critiquer. Unfortunately, society got polarised. You cannot be an objective observer any more; either you are a bhakt or you are a permanent critic. What if I am neither?

You view this as professional from your side, but has Modi been personally affronted by your journalism, questions and critique? I don’t know. That’s a question you have to ask him. From time to time, I am told he has taken offence, but the Modi I knew appreciates the fact that there will be times when a journalist will be a critic, while there will be praise as well. A negative comment doesn’t mean that there is breakdown in the relationship. I keep saying this. Modi became the PM. Mai to wahi ka wahi reh gaya! Mai abhi bhi raat ka show karta hoo, jo 15 saal pehle karta tha. I have remained where I was. I am doing the same night show that I did 15 years ago.

What happened at Madison Square Garden? Did you misjudge the crowd? Did you think this couldn’t happen in America? I should have walked away from the incident. I shouldn’t have got into a slanging match. It was unprofessional of me. I have accepted that. However, I stand by the questions I asked. Modi was in the US, we were having a big show in Madison Square, in the same country that had denied him travel documents for 11 years. Isn’t it valid to ask whether the US was in the wrong for so long?

Was it a valid question to ask, given the situation of frenzied fans? They could have been frenzied fans, but I was not there as a cheerleader. A journalist doesn’t become a cheerleader because there were frenzied f