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Friday, January 02 2015 | Vol. 34, No. 01


Indo American erican News

Gourmet India

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January 02, 2015



January 02, 2015


Gourmet India: Central and Genuine


for over 20 years. While in college for business administration, he worked at many Italian restaurants and got a good handle on how to run restaurants behind the scenes. Hossain has now been in the restaurant business for more than 14 years and says the experience, as owner of an Indian restaurant like Gourmet India, is such that it may not seem high-end but offers highend service. Hossain says that at times, it can be difficult to keep up the reputable standards of his restaurant because it gets costly to maintain as they always prepare fresh food. But he is ready for the challenge because the fact stands: loyal customers keep coming back. So if you’re looking to treating your stomach with bold flavors and timely service, stop by Gour-

HOUSTON: It’s hard to come by Indian restaurants where all the dishes are authentic and more importantly, made from fresh ingredients. Gourmet India is one such restaurant that is centrally located along Westheimer. From chaats to tandoor grills, it is the perfect cure for the cravings of traditional North Indian cuisine. In 1996, founder Mulkraj Lakha brought the talents and appetizing foods from former restaurant, Bombay Palace, to this new location. Now with Lakha serving as head captain of the kitchen, the new owner, Musfiq Hossain, has made sure that customers are aware of his accommodating style of business.

“My first priorities are quality, quantity and the service,” Hossain says. “I always make sure to match the budgets of my customers. Always.” And the menu has a range of food options to choose from. If you’re in the mood for on-the-go

food, Gourmet India offers pakoras to samosas to even spicy papdi chaats. And the vegetarian and meat options are diverse too. From paneer and daal makhani, to chicken tikka masala, chicken wings fresh off the grill and lamb biryani, all Indian food enthusiasts

can find something here to entertain their taste buds. Taaza khaana with achaa mazza (Fresh food with great taste). Also currently, the restaurant serves wine and alcohol – on the house. With a 7-day buffet and a la

carte ordering, Gourmet India is ideal for large gatherings. The current accommodation is up to 110 people, and Hossain is looking into remodeling the restaurant to expand the space even more. As a native of Bangladesh, Hossain has been living in Houston

met India. Gourmet India is located at 13155 Westheimer, Houston, TX 77077. For more information, visit or call (281) 493-5435. (Article & Photo contribution: Vanshika Vipin)



January 02, 2015



January 02, 2015


You Just Can’t Trust Nutrition Labels if You Want to Eat Right and Lose Weight

BY JAWAHAR MALHOTRA SUGAR LAND: “So, as you can see, when you eat, the food goes down to the stomach and then ….,” he draws further down and across the white paperboard, “…. and then to the liver …,” he continues with his drawing, adding the kidney and the route food takes to be metabolized in the body. The diagram gets denser with lines as he gets delves into the anatomy of the process and the explanations get more complicated. But, it is at the tail end of the hour long seminar and, realizing that there may be an information overload, he stops, looking up over his glasses with a smile. With his short, thick spikey porcupine hair and a smile bordering on impish, with a hint of mischievousness in his light humor, Dr. Harpreet Singh finishes his explanations about the nutritional value of the food we eat, especially that which comes with a nutrition label, which is practically everything these days except for alcohol and fresh food. It is a labeling system born out of pressure by the Consumer Protection Agency on the Food and Drug Administration, concluding with the FDA head Dr. David Kessler taking the then controversial step of requiring it on packaged foods in 1994. It has since spread to the European Union and many countries in the world, though the information is not widely understood or used properly. Eliminating some of the confusion and misconceptions is what Singh, 42, has built his reputation on in his internal medicine practice in Grand Rapids, Michigan and at the Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital to which he is attached and is a clinical instructor to medical students. He is also the founder and CEO of VitalChecklist, a Step 2 Clinical Skills mentoring service which has helped students and graduates to enhance their patient centered skills. Born and raised in Ludhiana, Punjab, Singh confessed that as a child he was a stutterer, but learned to overcome it with the use of art and other props. Now, he loves to communicate ideas and his findings as a coach on better nutrition. Singh was on a short visit to the Bayou City at a workshop put together by Dr. Sheela Keswani, a professor of education at Houston Community College and a trained Alternative Medicine practitioner, speaker

The four speakers featured at the nutrition education workshop held last Saturday, December 27, at the Keshav Smriti were, from left, Dr. Sheela Keswani, Dr. Harpreet Singh, Shobit Keswani and Dr. Gangadhar Gattu.

and trainer who has held other better health and living workshops in the area. Unfortunately, due to time limitations she was unable to speak to the audience of about 40 people who turned up for the workshop on Saturday, December 27 at the Keshav Smriti on the far west side, despite it being a rainy, cold afternoon and a long holiday weekend. She gladly gave her allotted time so that Singh, who had traveled from Grand Rapids, could respond to the audience’s numerous questions. Singh explained how to read and make sense of the information on the nutrition labels, starting from the daily caloric intake.

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“The label is based on 2,000 calories, but the Mayo Clinic Family Health Book recommends 1,400 instead for healthy living,” he went on, showing that at 3.87 calories per gram, this rounded out to about 350 gms, half of which should come from carbohydrates and the other half from protein and fat. “Always note that the labels indicate the number of servings in each package,” he cautioned, as people often would consume more than they needed for daily intake. Singh suggested catchy shortcut acronyms like SCAN and SPOT to remember what to look out for if one wanted to eat healthy and explained his iCrush program to cut down on calories and maintain or lose weight. With the 1,400 calorie intake, he broke down each meal to 45gm of carbs three times a day and an equal number for fats, adding 15gm snacks in between for diabetics. He then explained the relationship between blood sugar and carbs: going up fast with bad carbs and slowly with good carbs; and the focus on the glycemic index when it really should be on the glycemic load, which

takes into account fiber content too. The workshop started with a talk by Dr. Gangadhar Gattu, a chemical engineer, slim and not exhibiting any bulging abdominal waistline, and his personal quest to control his diabetes through diet and exercise despite a hereditary family history of the disease. It closed with a short demonstration of deep nostril breathing, similar to that in Vipassana Yoga, by Dr. Keswani’s son Shobhit, a 24 year-old medical student who practices holistic medicine therapy too. “We hope to have Dr. Harpreet Singh here with us for the next year as he launches his VitalChecklist and iCrush programs in the Houston area,” said Dr. Keswani as the program wrapped up. The gregarious Dr. Singh, who was accompanied by his mother and wife Aroma Singh, mingled with the audience over healthy snacks afterwards. He was scheduled to go on to Dallas for a workshop before heading back to Houston for private consultations through January 2 and then returning to Grand Rapids.




January 02, 2015 BY JAWAHAR MALHOTRA

Nikhil Agarwal Weds Naina Prakash

SUGAR LAND: One can never tell how the meandering road of Life brings two people together. In the case of this couple, you might say that divine intervention played a major role many years ago when Nikhil Agarwal was still a rebellious teenager. “I would go to the Houston Satya Sai Center every week and asked him to tag along and just sit with me,” recalled his dad Pradeep Gupta. “The center had an emphasis on doing volunteer work and always had many projects going on. This appealed to Nikhil and he got involved with various Seva projects through the Young Adult group at the Center.” Even though he helped at the Center, Nikhil was still a skeptical seeker of faith until a moment two years later when he had an epiphany that made him an ardent follower of the Satya Sai Baba, who has been his guiding light ever since. And when his thoughts turned to finding a partner in life, he naturally considered seeking someone who also shared the same belief in Satya Sai Baba. A professional in a high-tech company, he met Naina Prakash through a website devoted to spiritual matters. Even though she was in California, they soon discovered that they had many friends in common and two years after they met, they got engaged in December 2013. You could say theirs was certainly a union cemented in common beliefs and spiritual values. Ten months later, on Sunday, October 19, 2014, Nikhil and Naina were married in a ceremony held in Bangalore, India where many of the Prakash family relatives still live. A group of close family and friends of

the Guptas from the Bayou City went to attend the elaborate festivities starting with Haldi, Mehndi, Sangeet followed by the wedding and then an elegant poolside reception at the ITC Windsor Manor Hotel in Bangalore . And a much larger group of people, nearly 600 strong, attended the sumptuous and glittery reception that was held for the newlyweds this past Sunday, December 28 at the Sugar

The groom, Nikhil Agarwal, 32, is the son of Kiran and Pradeep Gupta of Houston. He came to the US when he was 16 years old after finishing off at Modern School in New Delhi and has a Bachelors in Business Management from the Bauer School of Business at the University of Houston. He has worked at Laversab, a manufacturer of oilfield and aviation com-

The bride and groom Nikhil with his parents on the left, Pradeep and Kiran Gupta and close friends and business partners Raj and Jugal Malani (extreme right). Photos: A&A PHOTO

puter equipment based in Sugar Land, for the past nine years, currently as its CFO. His mother, Kiran retired from banking several years ago, but his dad, Pradeep is still very active in the Unique Group of Companies, which he co-founded in 1997 with Jugal Malani. Naina Prakash, 28, is the daughter of Usha and Jay Prakash of Fremont, California, where she was born and raised. She has a marketing degree from the University of California and has worked with well known firms like Sybase/ SAP, Workday and others for many years. Her father, Jay, is a consultant in the software industry and her mother Usha is a homemaker. She has a brother, coincidentally, also named Nikhil, who is an aspiring actor and director in the California movie business. After the wedding in Bangalore, the newlyweds went to the Satya Sai Baba’s ashram in Puttaparthi and then to Ludhiana to get the blessings of Nikhil’s dadaji – paternal grandfather –, and on to New Delhi to receive blessings from Nikhil’s naniji (maternal grandmother) before going off to Mauritius for a honeymoon. The couple will make their home in the Houston area.

Land Marriott hotel. The uniquely crafted, boxed and scented invitation card had the hallmarks of the style that Nikhil’s mother, Kiran is known for. And close family friends, Mahesh and Alpa Shah of Dawat Catering made sure that the menu for the appetizers at different food islands and dinner was just as unique and appetizing. Adding to the glamour was the colorful and elegant décor by Pramel Shah of Prashe Décor.

The bride Naina Prakash and groom Nikhil Agarwal pose by the head of the stage.

The newlyweds with the groom’s parents and his mother’s brother Sanat “Sunny” Jain (extreme left) who flew in from New Delhi to attend the reception. INDO AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, JANUARY 02, 2015 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


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WRITERS ... TAKE NOTICE Writers are requested to limit their words to 500. The deadline for advertising and articles is 5 pm on Tuesday of each week. For more information, call 713.789.NEWS (6397) or email us at INDO AMERICAN NEWS • FRIDAY, JANUARY 02, 2015 • ONLINE EDITION: WWW.INDOAMERICAN-NEWS.COM


January 02, 2015


Ten People Indicted in $1 million Bogus Airline Tickets Scam

Sadaqat Ali arrainged in Manhattan Criminal Supreme Court Dec 12

NEW YORK: Ten people have been arrested in what prosecutors call a commercial travel scam in which the suspects used stolen credit cards to purchase airline tickets for customers of online travel agencies. The defendants are each charged with varying counts of second-degree grand larceny, firstdegree identity theft and scheme to defraud, among others. Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance announced the indictments Friday, December 12, saying the suspects were able to steal more than $1 million in total from approximately 200 victims between June 2012 and November 2014. The majority of the tickets were ultimately canceled by the airlines or unusable by travelers, which many of them only discovered upon arriving at the airport for their trips, leaving them stranded or unable to travel. “This alleged scheme left a pregnant woman stranded during a multi-part trip, forced relatives to miss a family wedding abroad, and made it impossible for a son to visit his cancer-stricken father in India,” Vance said. “I encourage individuals to report this type of fraud by calling my Cybercrime and Identity Theft Hotline at 212335-9600.” According to the indictment and statements made on the record in court, between June 2012 and November 2014, the suspects are accused of operating a business involving multiple incorporated travel agencies, including Bombay

eted the money and instead used stolen credit card information to buy the tickets that were later sent to their customers. When travelers arrived at the airport for their scheduled trips, many were informed that their tickets had been canceled or that they would not be able to travel using the illegally purchased tickets, for which they had already paid thousands of dollars. The suspects are identified as: Sadaqat Ali, 48, of the Bronx; Sumit Chawla, 42, of Pakistan;

Zubair Dar, 49, of Queens; Sarfraz Kahn, 51, of Queens; Shah Nawaz Kiani, 29, of Pakistan; Muhammad Asif, 32, of Pakistan; Chaudhary Muhammad Arif, 56,

of Brooklyn; Rana Muhammad Tariq, 32, of Brooklyn; John Doe, of Queens and Manjeet Singh, 40, of Queens Credit: WABC

Sarfraz Khan arrainged in Manhattan Criminal Supreme Court Dec 12

Travel and Tours, Raj Travel, Gandhi Travel, Patel Travel and Maha Guru Travel, and several bank accounts that were fraudulently opened in the name of the aforementioned travel agencies using falsified passports and licenses. Prosecutors say the suspects also placed advertisements in predominately Indian-American publications throughout the U.S, including this newspaper, and purported to offer competitively priced tickets to and from popular destinations in India. Indo American News cooperated with officials and assisted in the investigation that led to the indictments. Travelers seeking assistance with arrangements were instructed to provide names, passport numbers and flight information, and deposit payment checks directly into bank accounts controlled by the defendants. However, in lieu of using customers’ checks to pay for tickets, the defendants pock-



10 January 02, 2015



January 02, 2015

Sewa International Helps Volunteers Celebrate a Unique First Birthday

Family with Sewa Team and guests from the community

Rahul Rao, wife Priyanka and daughter Meera.

HOUSTON: Sewa International has been working with the Bhutanese refugee population, in Houston for the last several years. Recognizing that many refugee children needed extra tutoring in order to succeed at school, Sewa set up a satellite office in Los Arcos Apartment to run after school homework classes for elementary school students. Through this program, Sewa Volunteers help more than 40 students on a regular basis. This holiday season, Sewa International helped to spread the joy of the season in the lives of these children from the less privileged backgrounds. Sewa Volunteers Rahul and Priyanka Rao expressed their desire to celebrate their daughter Meera’s first birthday with the refugee children who participate in the tutoring program in Los Arcos Apartments. Sewa team members facilitated the event and the Rao

family donated money for the Chai pe Charcha bi monthly social event. The family also donated gifts to all the students that attended the event. It was a successful event attended by more than 75 people. Not only was it a unique way for the family to celebrate young Meera’s first birthday, it also celebrated the hard work of all the 45 students who come to the classes conducted by Sewa International. Sewa provides volunteers opportunities to work with refugee families through structured programs like Chai pe Charcha, a bimonthly social event, where chai tea and snacks are served. Chai pe Charcha presents a chance for refugee families to discuss their lives in an informal setting with Sewa volunteers.These types of events have been helpful in integrating with the refugee population as well as helping to bring more meaningful programs for the refugee community. Rahul Rao said, “As sponsors of

chai-pe-charcha event in December, we participated in a gathering with several children from refugee families who are helped by Sewa. The event saw about 50 kids, most of them between 4-10 years old. The event kept the kids involved in games and activities and was well organized. Thanks to Kavita and her team for organizing the event and making chai-pe-charcha a success in community involvement. We would certainly encourage everyone to participate in community service with Sewa; it has been a rewarding experience for us.” If you would like to make an important occasion, such as a birthday or an anniversary, meaningful through community service, please contact Sewa International. If you want to sponsor an event like this please contact Kavita Tewary : educationhouston@ If you are interested in refugee tutoring programs please contact Ruba Alafifi americorpshouston@

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January 02, 2015



14 January 02, 2015


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January 02, 2015

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16 January 02, 2015

Happy Gurpurab : Guru Gobind Singh Ji

‘Guru Gobind Singh’, the tenth Guru, was born at Patna Sahib in Bihar, India on December 22, 1666. He is the last of the Tenth Gurus of Sikhism. He was the son of Guru Tegh Bahadur, who gave his life to protect religious freedom. Guru Gobind Singh Ji was nominated as the Guru by the ninth Guru of Sikhs, Guru Tegh Bahadur who was also his father. After Guru Tegh Bahadur’s death, Guru Gobind

Singh became Guru on November 11, 1675. He lost his father, mother, and all four of his sons to a religious war, being waged by the Mughal emperor, Aurangzeb was keen to see Islamization of Hindus an Sikhs. Guru Gobind Singh established the ‘Khalsa’, a military force of saint-soldiers which he baptized. Guru Gobind Singh is highly regarded by the Sikhs his monumental role in the development of the Sikh faith. He was a learned man. He compiled a number of books and poetry collections in his life. Before his death in 1708, he declared the Guru Granth Sahib, which is Sikhism’s Holy Scripture to be the permanent Sikh Guru. Guru Gobind Singh Jayanti is celebrated by the Sikhs as the birthday of their tenth and last guru Guru Gobind Singh. It is a religious celebration in which prayers for prosperity are offered. This day witnesses large processions and special prayer gatherings at all Gurudwaras.

HAPPY GURPURAB Gurpurab Recipe:Paneer Amritsari Ingredients:

500 gms. Paneer ( Cottage cheese) 2 onions sliced into thin rings 1 tsp. ginger paste 1 tsp. garlic paste 1/2 tbsp. coriander finely chopped 1 tsp. ajwain seeds 3/4 cup gram flour 1 tsp. red chilli powder 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder 1/2 tsp. tandoori masala ( or Tandoori Paste) 1/2 tsp. punjabi garam masala 1/2 tsp. sugar 1 anardana powder Salt to taste


Cut paneer into 1”x1”x1” cubes. Make a thick mixture of flour, salt, ginger, garlic, turmeric, ajwain, garam & tandoori masalas ( or paste) Add 1/2 tbsp. oil, mix well. If the mixture

is still dry then add some water to get toothpaste like consistency. Use this mixture to marinate onions and the paneer cubes. Grill on a bar-b-que skewer or grill mesh till crisp and brown. You can also use the electrical grill cum sandwich maker. Heat remaining oil, add onions, saute till light brown. Add marinate paste, stir well and cook. When dry add grilled paneer, chilli, anardhana powder, sugar, salt.



January 02, 2015


Four Things about Smoking and Lung Cancer

When people think of cancer, they naturally focus on their experience with it in their families, friends and associates. We often pay attention to breast and prostate cancer due to how commonly they are diagnosed. Unfortunately, lung cancer is the deadliest cancer. This is mainly because it is often diagnosed after it has spread regionally to lymph nodes or distantly elsewhere in the body. In this month’s article, Dr. Div Mehta shares information on lung cancer, smoking and prevention. Fortunately, smoking in the Indo-American community has declined significantly. However, it is still a concern and something we need to always be aware of. -Vivek S. Kavadi, M.D. BY DR. DIV MEHTA Lung cancer is the deadliest cancer in Texas, and each year kills more men and women than colon, breast, and prostate cancers combined. In 2014, an estimated 15,520 new lung cancer cases will be diagnosed in Texas, and 11,257 Texans are expected to die from the disease. For years, anti-smoking campaigns have touted the same message – “Smoking Causes Lung Cancer.” Today, you’d be hard-pressed to find any American unaware of the strong link between the two. However, during Lung Cancer Awareness Month in November, it’s important to highlight some lesser-known facts about lung cancer and smoking that can still have a big impact on your health. 1. Smoking causes lung cancer… but not all lung cancer is caused by smoking. According to the American Cancer Society, while cigarette smoking is by far the most important risk factor for developing lung cancer, smoking accounts for up to 87 percent of all lung cancer deaths. This means that there are thousands of people diagnosed with lung cancer each year who have never smoked. Other lesser-known risk factors for lung cancer include exposure to secondhand smoke, as well as ongoing exposure to radioac-

tive gas, asbestos, certain metals like arsenic, radon, diesel exhaust, air pollution, and other substances. Genetics can also make you more susceptible to developing lung cancer. People with a parent or sibling who had lung cancer have a higher than average risk of developing the disease, even if they are nonsmokers. Those who are more genetically prone to the disease should be extra cautious and reduce exposure to carcinogens as much as possible. 2. Screening exams aren’t as readily available for lung cancer. Mammograms help detect breast cancer…but for lung cancer there isn’t a specific screening test. However, recent studies indicate that CT scans can be a valuable screening tool that helps detect lung cancer at early, more treatable stages. This research could lead to an approved screening test in the near future. People ages 55-80 with a history of heavy smoking, who smoke now, or who quit within the past 15 years may be at a higher risk for lung cancer and should consider a yearly low-dose CT to screen for lung cancer, which could reduce risk of dying from lung cancer. It’s important to watch for early signs and symptoms of lung cancer. Lung cancer symptoms vary with each patient. People with these symptoms should consult their physician: • Chest pain made worse with deeper breathing, coughing, or laughing • Coughing up blood or a cough that won’t go away • Hoarseness • Loss of appetite • Fatigue or weakness • Wheezing, especially new onset of wheezing • Breathing trouble, such as shortness of breath • Frequent or persistent lung infections • Weight loss with no known cause Many of these symptoms could indicate a number of other conditions,

but they can also be signs of lung cancer. It’s important to trust your gut – if you are not feeling right, don’t hesitate to consult your physician. 3. Tobacco use causes more than lung cancer. In the United States, the leading cause of preventable illness and death is tobacco use, according to the National Cancer Institute. In addition to lung cancer, smoking can cause numerous other types of cancer including bladder, cervical, esophageal, kidney, lip, larynx, mouth, acute myeloid leukemia, nasal cavity, pancreatic, sinuses, stomach, and throat cancer. Smoking also contributes to heart disease, emphysema, bronchitis, and stomach ulcers. 4. Many states ban smoking to protect residents’ health. The most important thing you can do to prevent lung cancer is stop smoking, or distance yourself from those who do. As of January 2014, 28 states had enacted comprehensive laws banning smoking in all enclosed public places, including all bars and restaurants, with exemptions in select common places like casinos, private clubs, or cigar bars. Texas does not currently have a comprehensive smoking ban in place. However, according to Smoke-Free Texas, 32 cities in the state are currently covered by similar comprehensive smoke-free indoor ordinances. In the absence of a smoking ban, avoid indoor areas like sports bars and restaurants that have a high-concentration of smokers. This includes cigars and pipe smoke, which also increase the risk of lung cancer. For more information on the links between lung cancer and smoking, please visit Dr. Div Mehta isaradiationoncologist at Texas Oncology–Deke Slayton Cancer Center, 501 Medical Center Blvd. in Webster, Texas.



18 January 02, 2015 2015: Year to Debottleneck India

It is always wise to look ahead, but difficult to look further than you can see, former British prime minister Winston Churchill once said. Given the sudden and sweeping changes that we got to see in 2014, it would be both unwise and difficult to look very far ahead into the New Year. For example, last December, who could have forecast that in five months’ time, India would have a single-party majority government; or that crude prices would crash to less than $60 to a barrel in a year. For a change, the unpredictable events of 2014 have worked to the country’s advantage. There are prospects of stagnation in Europe and evidence of a sharp slowdown in China. In contrast, India could grow in excess of 6% by next year, aided by the revival of stalled investments filtering back into the financial system. The fall in crude prices has given India the much-needed headroom, while the changed political equation has injected traction and mobility. If a greater purpose and braver decision-making set new paradigms, perhaps the days and months ahead will indeed see acche din in India. Now, as we head into another new year, I am heartened to see policy resolve. Visionary and ‘doer’ leaders now manage the crucial railways and defence portfolios. The prime minister has energised the bureaucracy to the extent that I run into very few of them on the golf course these days. The leadership’s resolve to make India one of the world’s top 50 places to do business in is one thing; making it happen across far-flung states, districts, small towns and mofussils and departments is quite another. Like businesses, citizens too need effective governance. A high-profile Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Clean India Campaign) is no substitute for functional garbage disposal municipal trucks; likewise, a smart-phone app is no substitute for a properly verified cab. The year 2015, therefore, should be about visible governance, better management of resources, and transparency in interface. The focus should be on eliminating all the root causes holding India back. Let the world look back and remember 2015 as the year in which India got de-bottlenecked. According to a recent data projection by McKinsey, more than half of India’s GDP growth between now and 2025 will come from just eight states (Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and Uttarakhand) - these states are home to just 31% of the country’s population. Until the ‘other’ India - where 69% of the population lives - is hand-held towards the path of growth, this country will struggle to cross the bridge that separates developed and developing nations. Our leaders often glowingly speak of India’s glorious past. With the same fervour, they must now energise people from across the nation and work with them to create a glorious future. 2015 may just turn out to be a watershed year for India. Pawan Munjal, MD and CEO of Hero Motocraft, writing in Hindustan Times.

EDITORIAL/COMMENTARY Holiday Card from India to Opec BY BHASKAR CHAKROVORTI What’s not to love about Opec? There has rarely been a better model of an international body banding together with a mission to stabilise a stubbornly unstable market. As steward of 75 per cent of the planet’s crude oil reserves, Opec can give the US Federal Reserve, the United Nations and Al Gore a run for their money in its power to simultaneously influence the world’s economy, its politics and its climate. For all its efforts, Opec has rarely had much affection directed its way from the rest of the planet in its 54 years of existence. Granted, few have gone to the extremes of Carlos the Jackal, who took it upon himself to kidnap several oil ministers of Opec member countries back in 1975. But the organisation forever remains a prisoner of that pariah of a label: cartel. Further, Opec’s price-fixing — a must for all cartels — unfortunately contributes disproportionately to inflation and economic downturns worldwide. Its stock in trade, fossil fuels, is blamed for making oceans rise, environmental degradation of cities and profoundly distorted weather patterns. Its member governments are generally not terribly popular in the international community, and mostly not even with their own citizenry. Opec’s is, indeed, a thankless task. Despite all its challenges, thanks to the extraordinary leadership of the Saudi Arabians, Opec recently stood up to the upstart unconventional North American producers scouring shale and tar sands for “tight oil”. Opec’s solidarity in not cutting supplies has launched a price war — sheikhs vs shale, as The Economist puts it. Arcane price benchmarks, from West Texas Intermediate to Brent crude, plunged — exactly what the Saudis were hoping for, to slow US shale production by making it uneconomical. Economics professors used to love to use Opec as an example of a solution to one of the enduring problems of game theory — the prisoner’s dilemma. In its November meeting in Vienna, Opec produced a brand new gametheoretic lesson — keep prices lower than a “break-even price”, enough to

Show your love for Opec. Send a holiday card before year-end. deter those rascally entrants. Indeed, the strategy appears to be working in the near term. Already, new well permits for North American shale oil and gas fell 40 per cent in November. By all accounts, behind an agreement on this price cut was a painful process of arm-twisting by the Saudis. Today, it is time for some of us to show a bit of love for Opec for giving us cheap oil. This is especially true for the average Indian, who must pay 110 per cent of her daily income to purchase a gallon of petrol, the secondhighest among 61 countries, analysed by Bloomberg. Opec deserves some love at the very least from Messrs Narendra Modi and Arun Jaitley, hoping to pare back fuel subsidies and trimming one of Asia’s largest fiscal deficits. Indeed, all those leaders of liberal Western democracies who fret about autocratic governments ought to be showing some love for Opec. The discipline brought about by the Saudis has kept countries such as Iran and Venezuela in check. Without sufficient oil revenues, they have less wiggle room to cause trouble, and may even be forced to consider political reforms someday. The Chinese should love Opec, too. They must like their oil at prices below $70 a barrel, given their status as the world’s largest net importer of petroleum and liquid fuels. As you can see, much of the rest of the world owes Opec some gratitude. It has been a tough year for Opec. It has had to grit its collective teeth and fix prices — and keep them low, rather than where member countries would like to fix them: as high as they

possibly can. This could not have been easy. Will the situation get any better next year? Will oil prices be higher or lower than at the end of this year? Making predictions about longerterm directions of oil prices is hazardous for three principal reasons. One is that Opec has a rather miserable record at coordinating among its members, an essential element of the tradecraft of running a respectable cartel. Opec has repeatedly failed to respond on a timely basis in the past when prices fell — in the mid1980s or in 2008. Members have recently had so much on their plates to make them somewhat distracted, and less-than-reliable, comrades in price-fixing over the long haul. No one seems to give a hoot about Venezuela, beset by a litany of problems, with no charismatic Hugo Chavez at the helm. A second reason why it is hard to accurately forecast oil price movements year to year stems from the increasingly wide variations in weather patterns. The extremes of climate change make it harder for producers to ratchet production up or down to meet sudden unplanned spikes or troughs in the need for oil. Third, while Opec and the shale producers may be playing an elaborate chess game around the break-even price, it is clear that the shale industry was propelled by an abundance of spunk and innovative spirit. The drive to innovate and improve productivity is likely to continue and keep pressure on that break-even number, which will keep the rivals on both sides guessing. In an undisciplined world, we must be thankful for the few exceptions that stand firm, despite the odds. Show your love for Opec. Send a holiday card before year-end, expressing appreciation for all it has done for the world this year to their cheerless headquarters at Helferstorfer St 17, 1010 Vienna, Austria. The writer is senior associate dean for international business and finance at The Fletcher School, Tufts University and founding executive director of Fletcher’s Institute for Business in the Global Context.


HOUSTON: MALAY VYAS CHICAGO: NAND KAPOOR INDIA: RAJ KANWAR, ASEEM KULKARNI ®All rights reserved. No material herein or portions thereof may be published without the written consent of the publisher. The deadline for advertising and articles is 4 pm on Monday of each week. Please include self-addressed, stamped envelope for return of all unsolicited material. Published at 7457 Harwin Drive, Suite 262, Houston, Texas 77036. Tel: 713-789-NEWS or 6397 Fax: 713-789-6399, email:, website:


January 02, 2015



20 January 02, 2015


2014: The Year of Narendra Modi Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the top news and newsmaker in 2014. He led BJP to a historic election victory and formed a stable government at the Centre. Soon after taking over as PM, Modimadethefirstpolitical move by inviting his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif for his swearing-in ceremony. He bowed at the Parliament gate and played the drum in Japan, walked alongside US President Barack Obama at the White House. -Indian Express

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President Barack Obama escorts Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington. Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivers a speech at Central Park in New York, USA. From left: Russian President Vladimir Putin, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, Chinese President Xi Jinping and South African President Jacob Zuma join their hands at a group photo session during the 6th BRICS summit in Fortaleza on July 15. Prime Minister Narendra Modi wields the broom during a surprise visit to the Mandir Marg Police Station after launch of ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’ in New Delhi. The nationwide campaign aims to clean up India in five years. Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Afghanistan’s President



Mohammad Ashraf Ghani during the 18th SAARC Summit in Dhulikhel, NepaL Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif walks past Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the 18th summit of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) in


Kathmandu, Nepal. India’s prime minister and Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Narendra Modi, bends down on his knees on the steps of the Indian parliament building as a sign of respect as he arrives for the BJP parliamentary party meeting in





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New Delhi, India on May 20. India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi (C) and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (R) enjoys tea cakes during a tea ceremony at the Omotesenke tea hut, one of the main schools for Japanese tea ceremony, in Tokyo


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January 02, 2015


ZEE TV’s Core Proposition Evolves to ‘Har Lamha Nayi Ummeed’

MUMBAI:Launched in 1992 against the backdrop of post-liberalization with its socio-cultural and economic upheaval, Zee TV brought a new meaning to entertainment in India. It created a revolution in entertainment broadcast technology with its content, which mirrored the common man’s life and dreams. Twenty two years later, it still stands tall as a leading player in India and the largest Indian entertainment network in the world. In an exciting development at its annual awards show ‘Zee Rishtey Awards’, Zee TV, India’s leading Hindi entertainment channel, announced an evolution in its core proposition from ‘Ummeed Se Saje Zindagi’ to ‘Har Lamha Nayi Ummeed’ and ZEEL MD & CEO Punit Goenka unveiled an all-new, vibrant and dynamic brand packaging that resonates with its core ethos, while staying relevant to the changing palate of its loyal audiences. Zee TV continues to share a very strong emotional bond with its viewers. It has sustained and grown due to its ability to innovate and keep pace with changing times and expectations. A reflection of the adage that‘Tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today’. In keeping with this thought, the channel announced a new brand identity featuring a new logo with a slogan ‘Ummeed Se Saje Zindagi’ in June 2011, conveying a progressive outlook for the channel. The slogan is a life truth that resonates beautifully with the content across Zee TV’s primetime – be it shows such as Punarvivaah that spoke of rediscovering love in a second marriage, Afsar Bitiya that captured the journey of a small-town girl from modest beginnings to a successful career and self-esteem or any of Zee TV’s non-fiction formats that celebrate the talent of India’s common man, the channel’s shows have presented a beacon of hope to its viewers over the years. Today, Zee TV adds another layer

to its core proposition, making it even more relevant to everyday life scenarios that its viewers are faced with. Zee TV’s new brand slogan ‘Har Lamha Nayi Ummeed’ captures the beauty of re-discovering a new ray of hope with every moment of life. Speaking on the occasion, Zee TV Business Head Pradeep Hejmadi said, “Zee TV’s core proposition ofUmmeed se saje Zindagi was about a celebration and vindication of a woman’s emerging beliefs and a reflection of her changing hopes, dreams and optimism. This essence was embodied by each of our protagonists who emerged as role models and harbingers of hope for the masses. In that sense, Zee TV will always stand for Ummeed. It is the articulation that will change to reflect the changing times. Today, with India poised for growth, there is a feeling of ‘a new hope, every moment’. Zee TV’s new slogan ‘Har Lamha Nayi Ummeed’ captures this spirit and its brand philosophy as also its content will reflect the same!” About the new packaging for the channel, he adds, “Designed and developed by the internationally acclaimed design studio Les Telecreateurs, Zee TV’s aqua blue logo now makes way for a deeper shade of blue, lending it a stronger, more dynamic edge. The new motif of the packaging is a spinning top, originally derived from the left top portion of the ‘Z’ itself. It spins, taking the form of a beautiful flower-like element. Here, each spine is perceived as a new lamha; Every show of Zee TV is a new lamha, a new emotion, a new sense of exuberance, a new cherishable moment. And from this thought stems the new brand slogan ‘Har Lamha Nayi Ummeed’. The color scheme of the new packaging is further fine-tuned to a strong blue for weekday fiction shows evoking the faith and trust of our viewers, yellow for weekend fiction signifying warmth and optimism, orange

for weekend non-fiction that stands for cheer, confidence and celebration. The red packaging for movies and events represents excitement and youthful energy.” Zee TV has rolled out a 360-degree marketing campaign across HSM to unveil the new identity. The creative agency FCB Ulka has conceptualized a simple yet memorable visual device of ‘fingers crossed’ to bring alive the new proposition. The channel has also brought on board ace music composers Salim Sulaiman to compose a very upbeat and memorable audio pneumonic to bring alive the essence of the new brand proposition. Says Nitin Karkare, COO, FCB Ulka, “Har Lamha Nayi Ummeed – the power of the moment that can bring hope/ummeed being the notion and tagline, the creative idea had to be something that not only sticks to people’s minds, promotes a telegraphic take-out of the message but also has a viral potential to become the talk of the town.” In the wake of this brand refresh exercise, the channel will call out to its viewers to share their Ummeedstories – slices of their life that will go on to inspire content on Zee TV as well as be showcased on digital platforms. Some of the most impressive, crowd-sourced stories will even be curated into a book by a best-selling author. Zee TV also plans to encourage its viewers to begin contributing videos of their acting, dancing or singing to an online talent repository, with gratification for the best entries every single month! As the preferred channel for viewers and advertisers, Zee TV continues to grow and evolve, increase brand loyalty and lead content innovation. Zee TV is driven by creativity and innovation, yet still deeply rooted in Indian heritage and values. Consistent with the spirit of ZEE TV, the new brand identity ‘Har Lamha Nayi Ummeed’ is by the viewers, of the viewers and for the viewers.



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22 January 02, 2015


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Mama’s Punjabi Recipes Gajar da Halwa (Carrot Halwa)

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For Punjabis, carrots are one of the few vegetables that can be cooked in many ways: as a pickle, pulped as a juice, as a spicy dish with peas or methi (fenugreek) or sweet as a pudding or halwa. And it is as the halwa that carrots are served the most, now not just in the North but all over India. The gajar da halwa (also called gajrela) can be found in any halwai (confectioner’s) shop, in a deep, wide platter, covered with silverleaf. Along with gulab jamun, ras gullas and ras malai, gajar da halwa has to be the most popular sweet dish among Indians. It is mainly eaten during the festivals of Diwali, Holi, Eid-ul-Fitr and Raksha Bandan. Nowadays, this dish that is made of grated carrots, nuts, milk, cream, sugar and ghee or clarified butter, is popular worldwide. The traditional way to make the halwa is to use a large quantity of milk and let in boil till it is evaporated and becomes a tick cream. But, with the use of canned evaporated or thick cream, this has cut down the cooking time a lot. Of course, as we all know, carrots are good for you. They contain almost no starch but have 7 per cent free sugars and get their bright orange color from beta-carotene which is partly metabolized into Vitamin A which is essential for good vision. In North India, carrots can be found in many col-

ors and shapes, mostly black, red, orange and white, each of which have their own taste and cooking methods. The gajar da halwa is usually made with red or orange ones. Ingredients: • 1 kilo gajar (carrots) • 1 cup doodh (whole milk) – use 1 per cent for less calories • 2 cups milk powder (or 1 small can of cream or evapo rated milk) • 1 cup tael (vegetable or sunflower oil) – you can also use ghee (clarified butter) • 2 cups chinni (sugar) • 1/2 cup badam (almonds) Directions: 1. Peel the carrots, rinse in cold water and then grate them. 2. Place in a large kadai (wok), add the milk, stir, cover with a lid and let it simmer over low heat for 30 minutes till the carrots are cooked. 3. Add the oil and stir till most of the liquid has been evaporated and some oil starts to show along the edges. 4. Add the sugar and stir continuously, making sure that the carrots do not start to stick and burn. 5. For a thicker khoya (cream) taste, add some milk powder. Stir well to mix and let the carrots cook over low heat for 10 minutes. Some prefer to use evapo-

rated or condensed milk instead of milk powder. In this case, add less sugar. Turn off the heat and let the halwa sit covered for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. 6. While the carrots are cooking, place the almonds in a small saucepan full of water and bring to a boil for a few minutes, then turn off the heat. Let the almonds sit for 10 minutes then drain the water, rinse in cold water then peel the almonds and then slice them. (If you prefer, you can add packaged blanched almonds, but boiling them also will help to make them softer and tastier.) Add the sliced almonds to the carrots and stir.

Shakuntla Malhotra is a skilled cook of Punjabi dishes made in the old-fashioned style that she learnt as a young woman in her ancestral home in Lyallpur, India before it became part of Pakistan after the Partition in 1947. People have often admired her cooking for its simplicity and taste that comes with each mouthful. Even in her mid-eighties, she continues to cook daily and agreed to share some of her delectable Punjabi recipes.



January 02, 2015

Movie Review: Ugly

BY SHWETA KAUSHAL NEW DELHI: Ugly won’t make your Christmas merry: it is a simple, hard-hitting and dark movie. It shows you how we mess up our own lives because of ego, jealousy and misunderstood notions of people around us. Director Anurag Kashyap earned critical acclaim two years ago for Gangs of Wasseypur, a movie about greed and violence in small-town India. Ugly is set in Mumbai and if not more powerful than Gangs of Wasseypur it is definitely worthy of featuring somewhere on top of Kashyap’s best films’ list. For a film written and directed by Kashyap, actors like Ronit Roy and Vineet Kumar Singh (Gangs of Wasseypur)

are added advantage. Surveen Chawla was supposed to make her debut with Anurag Kashyap’s Ugly but delay in its release made Sushant Singh-starrer Hate Story 2 her first Bollywood movie. Rahul Bhatt makes his Bollywood debut with Anurag Kashyap’s Ugly. Ronit Roy plays a cop in Anurag Kashyap’s Ugly. Ugly does not have over-loaded music, loud background or any of those cliches most Bollywood films survive on. And, without the help of any of these formuale, it still manages to put across its message. Ugly traces a week into the lives of people around a ten-year-old girl Kali (Anshika Shrivastava) who is kidnapped. Unlike Kashyap’s movies, Ugly does not have too much of political and social

innuendos. This one is about human follies and emotions. Ronit Roy plays Shoumik Bose, a character who is indifferent to the people he loves the most. He is brilliant in the movie and for once he is not playing an alcoholic (Udaan) or wife-beater (2 States). Rahut Bhatt is convincing as the bashed-up unmployed man, waiting for the big break in Bollywood and losing all of his personal relations (wife and the kid) in the process. The character of Surveen Chawla, on the other hand, looks forced. Ugly was meant to be her debut movie as well but due to delay in the release, Sushant Singh-Jay Bhanushali-starrer Hate Story 2 was what hit theatres earlier. Chawla is a little over-the-top as a model-actor who is happy changing her partners for the sake of money and is forever decked up in startling blue lipstick and eye-shadow. Tejaswini Kolhapure plays a battered wife and brings out the pain of a barren life perfectly. Unlike the Kashyap-style that we know, Ugly does not have excessive violence. Rather than blood and gunshots all over the screen, all we see is the turmoil of a character just before violence. By using blank screens and abrupt cuts, Kashyap manages to keep the suspense alive and bring across crucial twists. -Hindustan Times

Hindu Groups Target Theatres Screening of PK

AHMEDABAD: Even as Aamir Khan-starrer PK has become one of the top-grossers of the Bollywood with its box-office collections crossing Rs 200 crore in just nine days, controversy over the movie intensified on Monday with Dwarakapeeth Shankaracharya Swaroopananda Saraswati and Baba Ramdev joining the protest and demanding the movie’s ban. In an Art of Living video, spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, while answering a question regarding the significance of idol-worship in the context of what was shown in pk, said: “People who systematically

attack values of this country are up to some mischief.” Condemning generalisation of any sort, he said, “You can’t say all temple are looting money or all ashrams are bad.” Taking a dig at the film personalities, he added: “Each of these actors take home crores of rupees by merely sneezing in front of the camera. And they spend the money in drinking, partying and drugs. Their lives are miserable and behaviour immoral and unethical.” Interestingly, pk in its credit roll thanks Sri Sri Ravi Shankar for let them shooting at his ashram. -Indian Express

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24 January 02, 2015

Lakhvi to Walk Free, India Summons Pakistan Envoy

BY IMTIAZ AHMED ISLAMABAD/NEW DELHI: The Islamabad high court Monday suspended detention orders for 26/11 Mumbai attack mastermind Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi, prompting New

Delhi to summon Pakistan envoy Abdul Basit to register “strong concern” that “Pakistan remains a safe-haven for terror groups”. The move effectively makes the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) commander a free man, though he is yet to be released from a high-security Rawalpindi prison. The Islamabad administration did not confirm when Lakhvi could be released but his lawyer, Raja Rizwan Abbasi told the media he was hopeful of securing his client’s release in the next day or two. Lakhvi was granted bail by an anti-terrorism court on December 18, which raised tempers in India.

Delhi Records Lowest Temperature in 5 Years Dense Fog Hits Flights

NEW DELHI: Delhi on Sunday recorded the lowest temperature in past five years with the mercury dipping to 2.6 degrees celsius, five notches below normal and dense fog affecting 55 flights and about 70 trains. “The minimum temperature recorded at 8.30am was 2.6 degrees celsius. The humidity recorded was 97 per cent and the visibility was less than 50 metres,” a MeT official said. “This is the lowest temperature recorded in Delhi in past five years. It could be the lowest in past decade too but records for the same aren’t immediately available,” the official said. Delhi’s all time low of 1.1 degrees celsius was recorded on 26 December, 1945. The weatherman has predicted a clear sky ahead. “The maximum temperature is likely to settle at 19.2 degree Celsius and the minimum is

likely to touch 3 degrees,” the official said. According to airport authorities, flight operations were severely affected. “55 flights were delayed due to fog and 3 international flights were diverted,” they said. Early morning dense fog also affected movement of about 70 trains including 50 north-bound trains. Four trains had to be cancelled and six of them rescheduled, a Northern Railway spokesperson said. Yesterday, the national capital had recorded the second lowest temperature of the season with mercury dipping to 4.8 degrees celsius, three notches below normal, though the afternoon was comparatively warmer. The maximum temperature settled at 19.2 degrees celsius. -Times of India

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But before he could be released the government detained him for 30 days under section 3 of the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) arguing that Lakhvi may hold public meetings to regroup after the Peshawar school massacre. Lakhvi appealed against the order on December 26. Justice Noorul Haq Qureshi found the government’s argument unconvincing and suspended the detention order, directing Lakhvi to submit a surety bond of Rs. 10,00,000. The Pakistan government plans to appeal the latest decision and Lakhvi’s bail on January 7 when the high court resumes after winter vacation.

But till then Lakhvi may walk around free. An official, however, said the government may detain Lakhvi in another case. “Since the release of Lakhvi from jail will draw flak from across the world, especially India.” Foreign secretary Sujatha Singh expressed ire for the “mockery of assurances” by Pakistan and the failure of the prosecution to take ‘urgent action’ against Lakhvi’s bail order. The latest move has once again brought into question Pakistan’s resolve to fight terrorism with an even hand, as promised by PM Nawaz Sharif following the attack on a Peshawar school earlier this month.

Lakhvi belongs to Pakistan Punjab’s Okara district and Islamabad Monday requested the Punjab home department to issue detention orders so he could not move to Okara. “This is a challenge for the Sharif government as Punjab is under the PML-N party headed by Sharif’s younger brother. They must detain Lakhvi under the MPO in Punjab to show they are serious about fighting terrorism,” said analyst Abid Hussain, adding “otherwise we will know that the government cannot touch the ISI’s assets and this is the message being given.” -Hindustan Times

3 from IIT-Bombay Score a 100 percentile in CAT

BY VINAMRATA BORWANKAR, MUMBAI: Three boys from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay are among the 16 candidates who scored a 100 percentile in the recent Common Admission Test (CAT) 2014, an entrance exam for admission to India’s premier Indian Institutes of Management and 70 other top B-schools in the country. Vibhu Gupta and Anurag Reddy, both fourth year students of the institute and Harshveer Jain, who graduated from IIT-B in April both have scored a 100 percentile. The total number of candidates from Mumbai who scored a 100 percentile was not available. “We do not yet have city specific details on the number of

candidates who have scored a 100 percentile yet. These might be available later in the week,” said CAT convenor, Rohit Kapoor. Gupta a resident of Kandivali, is pursuing mechanical engineering at IIT-B and aced the examination in the first attempt. “I did not take any full time coaching but practiced regularly through test series and mock CAT tests. The paper this year was relatively simple and with the new pattern I could attempt more questions,” said Gupta. With a placement offer already in hand, Gupta is hoping to get admission at Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIM-A). Reddy, who is pursuing electrical engineering at IIT-B is originally from Nalgonda near Hyderabad. He

aims to secure admission at IIM-A and specialize in Finance. “When I joined IIT, I was introduced to economics and finance and I developed an interest in it,” said Reddy. His interest for mathematics as a child helped him ace the test. “From when I was young, I would solve a lot of mathematics and aptitude problems and thanks to that I did not have to prepare for mathematics at all,” he said. Jain had to juggle work and preparation to secure the top spot. “I took up a job in a startup soon after I graduated so preparing for the CAT did not mean long hours of theory. I spent the weekends solving practice tests and looking at the solutions to know how to be able to do my best in the three hours,” said the 22-year-old. Jain’s hometown is Indore but he has been in Mumbai for his undergraduate studies in engineering physics at IIT-B and work. He aspires to get through IIM-A or Calcutta. Among the other top scorers in the city is 22-year-old Jay Shah who secured 99.51 percentile. “I prepared only up to October and after that I had to start studying for my CA exams which were scheduled for November,” said Shah, a B.Com graduate from NM College, Vile Parle. Pranay Shah, a final year student of VJTI, Matunga scored a 99.59 percentile. -Times of India

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CEO Tony Fernandes Now Searches for Right Words

AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes ponders during a press conference at Juanda International Airport in Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia on Sunday.

BY SCOTT MAYEROWITZ NEW YORK:Tony Fernandes is more than just the CEO of AirAsia: He’s the brash personality and cheerleader-like figure who gives the discount carrier its soul. A flamboyant executive who loves race cars and soccer--and is known for speaking his mind, sometimes inappropriately-- Fernandes has opened air travel to millions who previously couldn’t afford it. Now, with one of his planes and 162 people onboard missing, Fernandes faces what he’s calling his worst nightmare. AirAsia flight tragedy: More than 40 bodies, debris found in sea “We will go through this terrible ordeal together,” he told his staff via Twitter hours after Flight 8501 disappeared Sunday. “Be strong,” he said in another message. “Continue to be the best. Pray hard.” In an age when many corporate

leaders are insulated from their customers and staff, the Malaysian-born, British-educated Fernandes is a vocal leader who enjoys interacting with the public, at airports and on social media. AirAsia passengers often tweet him photos of their vacations, which Fernandes then shares with his followers. He’s posed for photos with Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao and hosted Asia’s version of the reality TV show “The Apprentice.” And he has a personal credo: “Believe the unbelievable. Dream the impossible. Never take no for an answer.” Fernandes’ reach extends well beyond airlines. In 2011, he bought a majority stake in the English Premier League club Queens Park Rangers. He is often seen in the soccer team’s blue-and-white jersey, which bears AirAsia’s name in bold red across the front. He also has funded a Formula One racing team, making lavish bets with owners of competing teams.

But his heart remains in travel. Fernandes, 50, pioneered low-cost air travel in Southeast Asia, opening up skies previously dominated by full-service carriers like Singapore Airlines and Thai Airways. In 2001, he resigned as vice president for Southeast Asia at Warner Music to enter the airline business, a longtime dream. With some business partners, he bought struggling AirAsia and its two planes for just 26 cents and assumed its $11.4 million in debt. He was, in many ways, ahead of the industry curve: He sensed a need for low-cost flights to serve a quickly growing middle class in what’s now the world’s fastest-growing region for airlines. Passengers queue at the AirAsia service counter at the Changi International Airport on Sunday. In the third air incident connected to Malaysia this year, an AirAsia plane with 162 people on board went missing on March 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E) The International Air Transport Association predicts that routes to, from and within the Asia-Pacific region will carry an additional 1.8 billion annual passengers by 2034, for an overall market size of 2.9 billion. Within two decades, the region is expected to account for 42 percent of global passenger traffic. “Air travel is made for Asia,” Fernandes told The Associated Press in 2002. “You can generally drive from one end of Europe to another or take a train, but that’s not the case here. You want to try driving from Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok? Good luck, mate!” In some ways, Fernandes’ career echoes the empire Richard Branson created with his Virgin Group. (Fernandes once worked as an accountant

for Branson’s company.) AirAsia has expanded beyond Malaysia with affiliates in Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and India, as well as a long-distance airline, AirAsia X. Fernandes has also launched the no-frills Tune Hotels and a mobile phone company and financial services arm, just as Virgin did. There was even one time when Fernandes beat Branson--well, actually his Formula One racing team finished two spots ahead of Branson’s. The two businessmen had placed a wager on the race. And in May 2013, it was time for Branson to pay up. Branson had his legs shaved, put on lipstick and squeezed into a red skirt to serve as a flight attendant on an AirAsia flight from Perth, Australia, to Malaysia. In a possible act of revenge, he spilled orange juice on Fernandes, a passenger on the trip. “He looked at me, I said, ‘Don’t you dare,’ and the next thing I know,

he tipped the whole tray on me,’” Fernandes told the AP at the time. “I was walking around the flight in my underwear for a while because I didn’t bring another pair of trousers.” Fernandes has had his own share of mishaps. On the day Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 went missing, Fernandes said on Twitter that the aircraft’s radio had failed but that the plane landed and all were safe. He later deleted the tweet. That plane still hasn’t been found. A few weeks later, AirAsia had to pull its inflight magazine for an article boasting that its well-trained pilots would never lose a plane. The magazine was printed before Flight 370 disappeared. But it was a painful poke for a country reeling from the loss. Now, Fernandes must find the right thing to say as his own plane is lost at sea. -Hindustan Times



26 January 02, 2015 Dhoni Retires from Test Cricket: A Remarkable Man BY SAMBIT BAL MS Dhoni left his Test team much like he led it - without fanfare and an overt display of emotion. Indian cricket will know what it has lost only after he is gone A poker face - in triumph or disaster - was one of MS Dhoni’s most distinguishing traits as India captain A poker face - in triumph or disaster - was one of MS Dhoni’s most distinguishing traits as India captain. There is always sadness when a sportsperson retires. Even when you know his time was up. If we, as sports writers and sports fans, were not moved by such moments we might as well be writing about fishing. Or mining. Or banking. Writing about sport invariably involves caring about sportspersons and what they do. We might never fully comprehend their actions and we might sometimes completely misread them, but the quest for empathy is central to writing about sport. Dhoni wasn’t India’s greatest Test captain. But then who was? After leading India to its first World Cup win in nearly 30 years, he presided over India’s worst run in Test cricket overseas, including a 0-8 washout in England and Australia in 2011-12. He didn’t seize the moments that mattered, too often he hung back, played the waiting game, took the feet off the pedal, let the game drift, and gave the appearance that he didn’t care enough about winning and didn’t hurt enough about losing. He could be judged on his methods of course, but only he could have been privy to his motivation and his desires. And how much could he really be blamed for a serially malfunctioning batting group that consisted of four of India’s greatest? Or a group of pace bowlers who simply couldn’t construct a few sessions of bowling without losing their lines, lengths and the plot? That said, though, as borne out by results, a case can be made that he was in his element, in his comfort zone, leading India in one-dayers and Tests at home. He had worked out his limited-overs strategy to perfection. That he was

MS Dhoni captained in 60 Tests, easily the most for a wicketkeeper, Australia v India, 3rd Test, Melbourne, 5th day, December 30, 2014

India’s best ODI batsman and one of the best finishers in the history of the game allowed him to captain in his own tempo for he knew if everything failed he could back himself to win a game off his own bat. And in home Tests, he had found a way to make optimal use of his limited bowling resources because he could rely on the certainty of the pitches. But captaining India is only partly about tactics. Increasingly, as Virat Kohli will soon discover, it is about keeping your wits and your sanity. Early in his career Dhoni grasped the futility of adulation, because he was also exposed to the repercussions of failure. While researching his profile on Dhoni for The Cricket Monthly, Sidharth Monga made an important discovery about what shaped Dhoni’s outlook towards success and failure on the cricket field. In 2007, in a matter of months, Dhoni had the taste of two extremes: the over-the-top celebrations after he had led India to an unexpected win the World Twenty20 in South Africa, and the depraved vilification in the wake of India’s early exit from the World Cup in the West Indies. It convinced Dhoni that in order to stay

real, he had to develop a detachment, that he couldn’t take either success or failure too seriously. From this emerged a cultivated air of indifference and what he regarded as a healthy cynicism towards the media. “Dhoni’s decision is well timed. The series has been lost. He is not abandoning a team in disarray because despite the score line India have fought hard, and there is a captain hungry and waiting” © AFP Anybody who has attended a Dhoni press conference would know how he spoke a lot without really saying anything. Just when you thought you had managed to extract a newsy quote from him he would go on to contradict himself in a manner that would render both his statements practically useless. Dhoni wasn’t being too clever by half, he was just making it impossible for you to pin him down. In India, where the media was often part of the circus, Dhoni, an intelligent man, built his defence around deliberate banality. Early in his captaincy he gave an interview to ESPNcricinfo on the premise that we were a media organisation that focused on the game. He was candid and spoke

openly about the challenge of managing the older players. That was newsworthy and we led a story with it. It promptly spread across television channels, which gave it their twist. Dhoni was upset, denied the quotes and didn’t speak to us, or anyone else, for the most part of his captaincy. It worked up some of my colleagues, but it didn’t bother me: his main job was to lead India as well as he could, not explaining it to the press. In fact, one of Dhoni’s biggest contributions to his team-mates was his ability to create a cocoon around the young team for the intensity of public scrutiny and inquisitions by the media could easily distort impressionable minds. And his ability to stay focused on the present, without the burden of the past and worry about the future, allowed him to conduct the most high-pressure job in cricket with a calm that was nearly surreal. It is futile to guess what prompted his decision to leave Test cricket at his juncture and whether it was carefully thought out over the past few months, or came about in recent days. After Nasser Hussain watched Michael Vaughan lead the England ODI side with refreshing vigour in 2003 he instinctively knew his time was up. Did Dhoni go through a similar moment of epiphany watching Kohli lead the team in Adelaide? Whatever the reason, Dhoni’s decision is well timed. The series has been lost. He is not abandoning a team in disarray because despite the score line India have fought hard, and there is a captain hungry and waiting. When he was appointed captain Dhoni was the leader India needed. And at the moment of his departure, if only from Test cricket, it’s hard to escape feeling that Indian cricket will know what it has lost after he is gone. Despite everything that can be held against him, he was a uniquely remarkable man. A lot is said about his proximity to N Srinivasan, but Dhoni didn’t owe his position in Indian cricket to that. He created it through the force of his personality. Sambit Bal is editor-in-chief of ESPNcricinfo.


Awesome in White, Awful in Colours BY OSMAN SAMIUDDIN

It’s the journey, right? That’s what matters, right? Because if it’s about anything else, like reaching targets and goals, then nobody sent that email to Pakistan. For ages now, every year of theirs has felt like a pretzel inside a roundabout on Groundhog Day: winding here, winding there, tacking right sharply, u-turning, screeching to a halt, speeding up again. Then ending up where you began. Or is that just the career of Misbah-ul-Haq as played out in the head of Shahid Afridi? For is it not these two who, evermore, have come to represent, well, something of Pakistan cricket in this modern age? What that something is I don’t know, nor do I know how it could even be possible for two such contrasting men to represent one entity, but again this year, Pakistan lived a whole year as Afridi and a whole year as Misbah. Like Misbah, they were so good in Tests in the UAE that at times it felt like this was the Pakistan of the ‘80s and ‘90s, and that Dubai and Abu Dhabi were as impregnable as Karachi, and Sharjah as unbreachable as Sharjah again. Abroad, like Misbah, Pakistan were not so good, losing two Tests carelessly to Sri Lanka. So of course they won and lost four Tests apiece. Far be it from Misbah and Pakistan to provide conclusiveness to anything. They did not win a single ODI series this year, and in fact were not very good at the format at all. But they were, like Kim Kardashian, impossible not to watch, no matter what they were doing, breaking the internet on good, bad and ridiculous days. The lack of series wins is an important statistic, given how fluid Pakistan’s ODI line-up was this year. Only three men who played in the first ODI XI of the year played in the last (Umar Akmal was the third). As preparations go for a World Cup, it is pitch perfect. PCB ended up with probably its most democratic and right-minded constitution. And still nobody will say today that it is a particularly slick-functioning board.


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