Issuu on Google+

Bahrain BD 1.50 Kuwait KD 1.50

Oman OR 1.50, Saudi Arabia SR 12.00

UAE DH 10.00 UK £ 3.00, US $ 3.00

VOLUME 8 ISSUE 11 NOVEMBER 2009

3600 INFOTAINMENT

Rs. 50

Apartment Buying?

MEET INDIA’S REAL ESTATE IRONIES An Old Man Fights the Times Why We Are Who We Are INSIDE HUMAN BRAINS

Five Ways to Speak Like Obama


Bahrain BD 1.50 Kuwait KD 1.50

Oman OR 1.50, Saudi Arabia SR 12.00

VOLUME 8 ISSUE 11 NOVEMBER 2009

Q2 Doesn’t Better H1 at Indian Banks APARTMENT BUYING?

Meet India’s Real Estate Ironies An Old Man Fights the Times Why We Are Who We Are Inside HUMAN BRAINS

UAE DH 10.00 UK £ 3.00, US $ 3.00

3600 INFOTAINMENT


Bahrain BD 1.50 Kuwait KD 1.50

Oman OR 1.50, Saudi Arabia SR 12.00

UAE DH 10.00 UK £ 3.00, US $ 3.00

3600 INFOTAINMENT

VOLUME 8 ISSUE 11 NOVEMBER 2009

Rs. 50

Q2 Doesn’t Better H1 at Indian Banks APARTMENT BUYING?

Meet India’s Real Estate Ironies An Old Man Fights the Times Why We Are Who We Are Inside HUMAN BRAINS


MAGAZINE www.seasonalmagazine.com Vol 9 Issue 1 November 2009 Chief Editorial Advisor KM Roy Managing Editor Jaison D Editorial Advisor Leela Menon Editor John Antony Director (Technical): John Antony Director (Finance): Ceena Senior Editorial Coordinator Jacob Deva Senior Correspondent Bina Menon Creative Visualizer Bijohns Varghese Freelance Photographer Anish Aloysious Correspondents Bombay: Rashmi Prakash Hyderabad: Iqbal Siddiqui Delhi: Anurag Dixit Editorial & Business Office Seasonal Magazine 36/1924 E, Kaloor-Kadavanthra Road, Near IGNOU, Kaloor, Cochin-17. Ph:0484 - 2345876, 2534377, 2340080 Mob. 09947141362, 09947258505 Bangalore: House No: 493, Block 3 3rd Main, HBR Layout, Bangalore - 42. 09731984836, Email skmagazine@gmail.com www.seasonalmagazine.com UK Office: “CRONAN”, Boundaries Road Feltham, Middlesex, UK TW13 5DR Ph: 020 8890 0045, Mob: 00447947181950 Email: petecarlsons@gmail.com Reg No: KERENG/2002/6803 Printed & Published by Jaison D on behalf of PeteCarlson Solutions Pvt. Ltd. at Cochin. Printed at Rathna Offset Printers, Chennai-14. All Rights Reserved by PeteCarlson Solutions Pvt. Ltd. No part of this publication may be reproduced by any means, including electronic, without the prior written permission of the publisher. UAE Distributor: Malik News Agency & Distributors Dubai

All health related articles are for first information purposes only. Always consult your doctor before taking any decison affecting your health.

EDITORIAL

SEASONAL

the new private First, a small quiz. Here is a recent corporate quote. You have to identify who said the following recently: “As and when I find the market is favourable and I can get good money, I will go for IPOs & FPOs.”

His name is Pranab Mukherjee. That quote above was by him, as reported by at least a couple of top rung newspapers. Well, not exactly. Instead of “IPOs & FPOs”, he had used the word “disinvestment”. But that would have been a giveaway.

You need not strain. Here are the choices: A) Anil Ambani B) Gautam S Adani C) Subrata Roy Sahara D) Vijay Mallya E) None of the above. Since you are smart, you would have zeroed in on Choice E, but should still be hard-pressed to identify who else in the India would match the audacious ambition of the Ambanis, Adanis, Saharas, or the Mallyas. Beaten? Wait, here are further clues about this Chairman & Managing Director. His presides over a giant diversified conglomerate of 242 companies. He is into oil, he is into power, he is into telecom, he is into infrastructure, he is into insurance, he is into banking, he is into every sector worth placing a bet. Still beaten? Well, many of you would have guessed by this time, but for those who couldn’t, I am sorry, the marks go to the quiz master.

Still, we prefer to believe that Pranab Kumar Mukherjee never spoke these words. But there is no denying the fact that the clout of the PSUs and its Boss are both on a steady rise. Today, around 40% of GDP growth comes from PSUs, and while the private sector continues to languish in the financial downturn, the PSUs have collectively achieved more than 20% annual growth. Interestingly, this has resulted in mutual fund companies now making a beeline for launching funds that invest only in PSU equities. Two huge attractions of PSUs as felt by the stock market investors are their monopoly nature and their extremely low debt equity ratio, making them the safest growth opportunities. During the past several years, huge


Anju Banerjee, EDCIL

GK Pillai, HEC

RK Gupta, WAPCOS

Abhay Kumar Jain, BPCL

makeovers and reinventions have been happening in several of the 240 odd Central PSUs. Professional CEOs have been roped in from the private sector, and in some cases, even from abroad. A few turnaround specialists have also turned up from the IAS cadre.

It can be argued that both sectors run on public money – investors, IPOs, secondary markets etc all apply to both – but companies like RIL & ICICI are always private companies. Call its public investors private investors if you like. They are there by choice.

Heavy Engineering Corporation (HEC),

But is it the same with truly public

RS Sharma, NTPC

SK Roongta. SAIL

Projects & Development India Ltd (PDIL), WAPCOS (formerly, Water & Power Consultancy Services), Bharat Pumps and Compressors Limited (BPCL), EDCIL (formerly, Educational Consultants India Limited), Hospital Services Consultancy Corporation (HSCC) etc are some of the remarkable public sector turnarounds in recent years. As an aside, it would be interesting to find out who is the real boss of PSUs - the office of the Prime Minister or the office of the Finance Minister. Whoever it is, the point is simple - the modest abandons power, while the assertive usurps it. Anyway, Dr. Singh and Mukherjee are out to collect a record sum by disinvestment that will be more than what the previous governments have collected in the last two decades. This year alone the collection will be to the tune of Rs. 20,000 crore from top performing PSUs like NTPC, SJVN, NMDC, SAIL, REC etc. Coming back to the Mukherjee quote, what is wrong with it? Isn’t this what all of us wanted – a public sector that is as ambitious and agile as our private sector? Well, there is a huge difference. Reliance and ONGC are in the same industry, both are public limited companies, but there is this huge difference. SBI and ICICI Bank are in the same business, both are public, but again there is this discomforting difference.

P Uma Shankar, REC

Rana Som, NMDC

companies like ONGC or SBI? Forget their private investors, but what about us? The taxpayers? Is our money there by choice? Do you personally believe in recapitalizing Andhra Bank with your money or ONGC drilling that next hole in Iran with your money? Probably not. But you don’t have much choice. It is easy to confuse things between public and private using stock market lingo. But this is a country where the number of retail equity investors hasn’t reached that high figure - 1% - of the population, still. Agreed, NSDL & CDSL has 1.6 crore demats, but on one end there are significant duplicates, and on the other end a lot of empty accounts. It is not the same as the taxpayer base. Again, there is a riddle. Only 3% of the population pay personal tax in this country. And only 11% of the listed companies pay tax. But that is just the income tax or corporate tax. What about the numerous other taxes, levies, & surcharges that we pay whenever we buy, sell, travel, invest, redeem, or avail a service? PSUs are able to shine only on capital from these kinds of accruals. But the media projections are often the opposite. We hear of Bank Chairmen paying hefty dividend cheques to the Government, and organizations like LIC providing more than 5% of India’s GDP. SBI has even stood guarantor to the Indian

RG Rajan, TDIL

VC Sharma HSCC

Government once. One can only pity the intelligence of that lender, whoever it is, to believe in the soundness of SBI more than the soundness of India. But what is the real story behind these PSUs? LIC is 100% owned by the Government and almost 60% of SBI’s ownership is still with the Government. Substitute the word ‘Government’ with the word ‘Indians’ and read that again. Because in one way or other, all Indians are taxpayers too. That is why whenever anyone in the Government speaks of disinvestment, they should pause and think about whose investment they are disinvesting and to whom? It is the public’s money, and it should go to the public too. If that is not entirely possible due to market constraints and to encourage foreign investments, at least make sure that the public gets a fair pie at discounted prices. The concept is akin to the cry for issuing equity shares to people whose land is acquired for developmental projects. How good it would have been for Tata, West Bengal, and the people there, if all concerned had heeded to such a call. Anyway, with some of the biggest IPOs like BSNL & LIC yet to happen, and numerous Nava Ratnas and Mini Ratnas still capable of powerful FPOs, the best opportunity for the true owners – the public – is yet to come. Governments and Ministers are just custodians of this wealth. And here is an interesting afterthought. Last month, Minister of State for Finance SS Palanimanickam claimed in Rajya Sabha to have collated a 100-company list that together owe the exchequer an unbelievable 1,41,000 crore in tax dues. While the list is dominated by private sector giants like Coca Cola, Tata Motors, & Sahara India, we don’t have a clue why this list also includes several public sector companies like SBI & IOC. The evaded figure is interesting, as it is the double the guesstimated sum stashed away in Swiss banks, and more than thrice what India spends on NREGA. John Antony


APARTMENT BUYING? MEET INDIA’S REAL ESTATE IRONIES After nearly a year of lull, Indian real estate is fighting back to its lost glory, driven by steadily increasing consumer demand for houses. But many things can still spoil the party, including a tendency to hike prices, and the still-to-pick-up demand for office spaces. A new real estate

From Chosen Insurer to Choice Insurer 10 WAYS LIC MAINTAINS LEADERSHIP

BANKING FOR ALL IN THE FAMILY WHY WE ARE WHO WE ARE INSIDE HUMAN BRAINS Grief, pain, horror, speed, intelligence, forgetfulness, cravings, mind tricks, déjà vu, and

hyderabad page 2

Karnataka Bank is almost a model private bank – publicly held, professionally managed, and technologically updated. Positioning themselves as of service to all in the family, this South based bank is also furiously shrugging off its hitherto regional image to a more appealing pan India image. With a Director Board packed with banking veterans from SBI Group, Canara Bank etc, and a homegrown, handpicked top management led by MD & CEO P Jayarama Bhat, the bank has attracted not only customer interest, but the fancy of FIIs and domestic institutional investors.


Five Ways to Speak Like Obama Now that we’ve got your attention, you should realize, of course, that you don’t want to speak like Barack Obama. You want to speak like you. Nevertheless, as a student of the art of

SBI

THE TOO-BIGTO-FAIL FEAR HITS INDIA Post Lehman, post Merrill Lynch, & post RBS, the biggest joke doing the rounds in banking circles has been nobody is too big to fail. Because, whenever some wise mind tried to point out the risky games these giant banks played, the stock reply was, “Nah! Too big to fail”. Now it seems that this newfound cautionary syndrome has caught up in India. The country’s central

Will ING Vysya’s Prospects Improve Anytime Soon? STATE BANK OF TRAVANCORE

Of Keralites, By Keralites, But Not For Keralites? State Bank of Travancore is Kerala’s official bank if there is any such designation. It was created by eminent Keralites, and still thrives on Kerala’s huge NRI and

Luxe Lifestyles

Any Car can be a 35 Km Per Litre Car Practically any modern car can turn into a mileage champion with these guys at Ford and Nascar. Here are eight hot tips from this world record setting team in mileage. And wonder of wonders, they set their records in city driving!

hyderabad page 3

Sonam Kapoor’s Weight Loss Mantra 5 Must have applications for Smartphones IPOed, Duped, Ready to be Fooled Again?

Kiwi teenager claims to have unravelled Tendulkar mystery How Obamas Almost Divorced, Twice They are like any other couple when it comes to marital fights. Twice they came close to divorce, claims a new book – one at Michelle’s unable to get pregnant, and the

When Will Diamonds Sparkle Again?

SLASH-SLASH BAD BAD SAYS WEB FOUNDER regulator is also coming to the scene, which can prove to be a real game changer. Where is India’s real estate market headed? Here are several hints from India’s hottest markets like Mumbai, NCR-Delhi, and Bangalore, on the direction.

Studying for Amitabh, Appearing for Rekha Susmita Dasgupta took her PhD on Amitabh Bachchan. Her subjects include how much of an ego trip was Rekha for Amitabh. An interview:

Surviving Financial Crises Losing a job or losing one’s nest egg of savings due to unforeseen circumstances can throw anyone off balance. But here are 5 sure ways to cope and survive.

CHOITHRAM INTERNATIONAL

A World School Delivering World Beating Results


APARTMENT BUYIN MEET INDIA’S REAL ESTATE IRONIES

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

fter nearly a year of lull, Indian real estate is fighting back to its lost glory, driven by steadily increasing consumer demand for houses. But many things can still spoil the party, including a tendency to hike prices, and the still-topick-up demand for office spaces. A new real estate regulator is also coming to the scene, which can prove to be a real game changer. Where is India’s real estate market headed? Here are several hints from India’s hottest markets like Mumbai, NCR-Delhi, and Bangalore, on the direction.

Kumar Gera

Ravi Kiran Agarwall

Lehman Not Around for this Year’s Festivities Navaratri to Diwali to Christmas is the time when real estate developers register over 30% of their annual sales. Starting from late September and extending till late December, this is the time that many Indian households consider as auspicious to buy a new apartment or villa. Except for last year, when Lehman

Sameer Gehlaut

Adi Godrej


G? Niranjan Hiranandani

Brothers collapsed, and pulled with it a slew of global banks, and even India’s credit markets. For the country’s already overheated realty market, the Lehman collapse was the proverbial last nail in the coffin. This time around, there seems to be no more Lehmans to fear – most of them are already buried or have resurrected powerfully in new avatars like Mahindra Satyam & Maytas Infra. The only thing that prevents this year’s festival season better than 2007’s – the best ever till date – is whether developers will hike prices or not.

Rajeev Singh

sectors like IT, banking etc again in growth mode, developers are again resorting to wooing customers with luxury features. They can’t be blamed too with customers with pent-up desires lapping up luxury projects like anything. The 65-storeyed Indiabulls Sky, Primero by Lodha, and Terraces by South Mumbai specialist Orbit Corporation are all witnessing strong demand according to these developers. A recent launch of 1250 luxury homes by DLF in NCR was also a quick sellout, even if it used an army of brokers to pre-sell before the launch.

Luring Pent-up Luxe Desires

Rohtas Goel

PNC Menon

Vinod Goenka

Nusli Wadia

Chhotalal S Ajmera

Boman Irani

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

What disappeared from realty markets – even faster than jobs - were luxury features. When everyone from columnists to bankers to policy makers blamed developers’ appetite to dish out unaffordable luxury features for the realty crisis, many developers – not all of them – had scrambled for cover by launching affordable projects. But with credit returning, stocks booming, and


Northwards or Southwards is the Real(ty) Question Where are prices headed is the million dollar question. Gera Astoria Some say prices will hold up to Diwali, some say up to Christmas, and some say it won’t, and it all depends upon what these developers are selling – new or stalled projects. Developers like Niranjan Hiranandani has put up a reasonable stand that prices may not go up for the next six months, while many others like DLF head Rajiv Singh has opined that it will be determined by pure market prices a.k.a. demand. A lot also depends on whether the projects are new or ongoing or re-launches. Most developers are expecting a 15-30% hike on new projects, while some like DLF are already claiming a 50% hike in select projects.

In the country’s economic capital, it is more a question of where to build. That question has lately started getting game-changing responses with corporate houses like Hindustan Unilever, ICICI Bank, Mafatlal, and many others putting up coveted properties for sale. Deals have started finalizing with some of the biggest names like DLF & Unitech waking up to the opportunity, as well as many medium sized builders. But the one fear from this development is whether it will provide a natural excuse for hiking up final product prices, as the valuations for these corporate properties are already sky high. There are already feelers in the market that many of these properties are only fit for commercial development, if at all. But it remains to be seen how commercial development is feasible in an already oversupply situation of offices in Mumbai.

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

Realty Competition is Land is Getting Freed About to Change Up, Again Last time many conglomerates missed the real estate

Gautam Singhania

Sukhraj Nahar

bus. The boom that rode from 2003 to 2008 changed the entire corporate landscape of India with two development firms even entering the list of 30 most valuable companies – the BSE Sensex. But this time, many in India Inc are not willing to let go of this opportunity – of opening a real estate division. Following Godrej Properties and Mahindra Lifespace models, corporates like Raymond, Bombay Dyeing, &


Hafeez Contractor

Century have recently forayed into the sector with mega residential projects. Expect the Hiranandanis and Nahars to compete with the Singhanias and the Wadias. And the new entrants are playing the game to the book, complete with Hafeez Contractor designs for the first Raymond project. First movers Godrej and Mahindra are also gearing up for the challenge.

RBI Monitoring Real Estate? What has Reserve Bank of India (RBI) got to do with real estate developers? Everything, if recent directives from the country’s Central Bank are any indication. Jokes apart, Reserve Bank is zeroing in on those banks that have a flourishing business with realtors. First RBI came up with a directive for such banks to ensure that all publicity material from associated realtors should

carry clear indication whether the property has any lien with the concerned banks. Quick on it heels, RBI has also come up with a detailed directive on preventing real estate projects becoming NPAs, and in case they do, what to do about it. This is a welcome move as RBI was largely credited with preventing Indian banks from following suit of Western banks during the recent financial debacle. Foreign Money Flowing, Despite Poor Transparency India’s biggest three realty firms, DLF, Unitech, & Indiabulls, and dozens of others are attracting serious investments from US institutional investors. Listed property companies have attracted $3.5 billion in foreign investment this year, despite the fact that Unitech stock has multiplied 95 times within 52-weeks and Indiabulls is still to complete their first project. The reason is simple. A recent report puts India’s housing demand to cross 75 lakh units within the next 5 years.

Mahindra

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

Orbit Roshni


Orbit Terraces..

Project Specific Escrow Accounts Arrive In many western countries this was the norm, industry body Assocham recommended it for all developers not too long back, and Bangalore based developer Lalith Gangadhar Constructions Ltd (LGCL) has become the first in the country to offer a project where the customer money for developing that project will be kept in a separate escrow account that can be utilized only for constructing that project. LGCL promoter Girish Puravankara is implementing this for LGCL Ashiar, a 63 villa luxury project at Bangalore. LGCL has attracted investments of around Rs. 50 crore from Kotak Realty Fund. Many developers are expected to follow suit soon as diversion of customer funds for non-construction purposes, land buying, and completion of older projects, has been a major cause of dissatisfaction with customers, banks, and other stakeholders.

Lodha ithink

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

And Finally, a Real Estate Regulator The draft bill to establish the much-awaited real estate regulator has come, and developers and their industry associations like CREDAI have not taken kindly to its terms. Which is a good sign to start with, as it shows that the draft bill would have addressed many of the longstanding customer concerns. At the same time, developers shouldn’t be squeezed too much, as they already have to obtain close to 30 permits to build. The


SEASONAL MAGAZINE

proposed terms in the regulator bill include registration of the project with the regulator, documentary proof of land ownership, preventing collection of advance before sale deed, a 5% bank guarantee by the developer, provision for full refund with interest in case of failing to meet deadlines, provision for taking over the project by the regulator in case of default, prevention of cancellation of allotment, and many more. The complete verified details of each project will also be available from the regulator’s website. It seems that the principal aim behind the draft bill is to prevent a US style housing bubble that can take the Indian economy itself to its heels during the next boom.


SEASONAL MAGAZINE

Q2 DOESN’T SAVE H1 AT INDIAN BANKS nable to grow their lending business substantially, Indian banks opted to go slow on attracting deposits during Q2, resulting in a five-year low for deposits. While most private banks like HDFC Bank, Axis Bank etc posted good results largely on treasury gains, only IndusInd Bank could come up with an all-round performance. Among the PSBs, Allahabad Bank and State Bank of Hyderabad have come up with good results, but Allahabad Bank has increased their NPA problems further. The best

results are expected from Bank of India, which might double their Q1 performance, while SBI is expected to come up with a 10% rise in net. ICICI Bank is bracing for a decrease in net profit on bad loans, with recovery expected only in Q1. Overall, it was PSBs which could advance their credit growth, while private and foreign banks slipped. The biggest game changer for the industry is expected to come from FinMin that is accelerating the proposal to amalgamate State Bank Group into SBI and find suitable partners for PNB to better compete with a bigger SBI.


Allahabad Bank Makes Best of Opportunities in H1 and the bank faces no emergency recapitalization need. Established in 1865 by European bankers, this Kolkata based public sector bank (PSB) is the country’s oldest joint stock bank. Chairman KR Kamath who took charge in late 2008 is the youngest CMD ever of a state-owned bank, and is known for his articulation. Now his skills would be put to good use at the country’s second largest lender, Punjab National Bank.

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

harman KR Kamath can triumphantly move on to PNB. During his last full quarter at the helm, Allahabad Bank has posted an eight-fold jump in net profit. The key drivers were fee based income and treasury gains. While the former increased 208%, the treasury rise was even steeper. The bank’s decision to park Rs. 128 crore in liquid mutual funds proved wise, as it fetched good returns. The rise in net interest margin to 2.84% was not bad. Together with last quarter’s performance, Allahabad Bank’s H1 net profit growth amounts to 371%. The critical CASA deposits grew by 21%, while the bank has been successful in significantly reducing high cost bulk deposits. The bank was also successful in reducing the overall cost of deposits to 6.30%. Under CMD Kamath's charge, Allahabad Bank’s non-performing assets (NPAs) have gone down,


Canara Bank Betters NPAs, Bullish on MSMEs lose on the heels of Q1’s blistering performance of 352.7% growth in net profit, Canara Bank has done it again. Q2 net growth stands at 72%, much above many of its peers. Treasury and forex gains led the profit growth, and on the latter, it was a turnaround from losses. Chairman AC Mahajan is following a prudent policy in provisions, by setting aside a greater pie for it. On the NPA front, Canara Bank could upgrade a major Rs. 350 crore account – of Ratnagiri Gas & Power – to a standard asset by working closely with the promoters. Canara Bank has also put up a healthy performance in its core business – by reducing cost of deposits to 6.47%, maintaining yield on advances at 10.02%, and maintaining NIM at 2.66%. Against a backdrop of slower credit growth, Canara Bank could grow its MSME advances by a significant 33%, and its infrastructural lending by 60%. The bank is systematically shedding its high-cost deposits, and though it is in no need for additional capital, has enough headroom for Tier-1 capital augmentation.

Axis Bank Grows Amidst Caution, Eyes Lucrative NBFC Sector

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

ven under a less prospective climate for other income like treasury gains, Axis Bank has grown its net profit for Q2 by 32%. Other key drivers were reduction

in cost of funds. Increase in CASA deposits helped the bank cut cost of funds to 5.41 per cent and also post a healthy growth in net interest income. But the real surprise was an income of Rs. 123 crore which Axis could recover from once written-off loans. Due to its high caution on unsecured loans, retail advances could grow only by 7%. This year the bank will add 200 branches, of which 55 were opened in the second quarter. Axis Bank is eyeing a loan growth of 20% and deposit growth at 25%. The private sector lender is bullish on home and vehicle mortgages, infrastructure lending, PoS business, & SME sector. Under Shikha Sharma’s leadership, Axis Bank is planning a new NBFC subsidiary to tap on the momentous growth in this segment. Axis is in the process of applying for the necessary RBI license for this subsidiary.


Union Bank Registers Overall Performance in H1 y registering a 39% rise in net profit for Q2, Union Bank has closed the first half of this fiscal handsomely. In Q1, Union Bank had grown their net by 94%. Both figures are YoY. The performance in both quarters was powered by non-interest income, with the quarter ended September 2009 showing a 95% growth. But the core fee income is also looking up and Chairman MV Nair is hopeful of growing this further to 30%. The bank is in the process of shedding high cost deposits, which is dragging down its net interest margin. CMD Nair is working towards a NIM of 2.5-2.6% this fiscal, and 3% next year. In the current scenario of credit growth failing to pick up significantly, the bank has revised its credit growth projection to 18-19%, and has taken the reasonable approach that lending rate revision will have to wait till credit growth pickup. This PSU bank continued to excel on the NPA front, and is now on a major expansion drive that will see 2000 more officers joining. Union Bank is also bullish on growing their PoS business as well as retail / vehicle loans. The Union Bank scrip continues to attract ‘BUY’ or ‘HOLD’ recommendations from leading analysts.

ena Bank is facing fiscal 2009-10 with a renewed optimism, and not without reason. The public sector bank that recorded one of the largest percentage rises in advance taxes during last quarter, has now come up with a reasonable performance in Q2. Net profit is up by 21%, largely on non interest income rising by 47%. The other reason for Dena Bank’s optimism is the upcoming recapitalization drive by the government that will boost its lending power, just in time, that is before credit starts to pick up. Chairman DL Rawal is anticipating a credit growth of 24-25% this fiscal. The bank’s de-growth in net interest income is largely said to be due to an accounting practice that resulted in their profits from mutual funds ending up in other income. In the coming two quarters, the bank will focus on bettering its net interest margin, cost of deposits, and yield on advances. Dena Bank is an agile bank with its government ownership being the lowest of all public sector banks at just 51.2%. The bank has a good exposure to Gujarat, and is bullish on the state’s prospects. Dena Bank is planning 400 new branches and a business mix of 1,26,000 crore this fiscal.

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

Turnaround Half-Year for Dena Bank


Oriental Bank of Commerce Excels in Q2 Loan Growth riental Bank of Commerce has reported a 14.31% in net profit for Q2, driven by robust loan growth, and a consistent drive to reduce cost of deposits. The growth is well-rounded as evidenced by the 16.11% surge in interest income. Loans grew at a scorching pace of 25.2%, while the bank could maintain its margins at 2.02%. To boost its lending power, this PSB has approached the Government for a Rs. 1000 crore capital infusion, so that they are well prepared for H2 when credit growth is sure to be witnessed. The bank is eyeing a credit growth of 20% on sectors like infrastructure, retail, & rural segments. During the quarter ending June 30th 2009, Oriental Bank of Commerce grew its net profit by over 46%, with the total business mix crossing Rs. 1,74,000 crores. OBC is a full service bank – they call it by the name wholesome banking – featuring anytime anywhere banking that addresses retail, corporate, & industrial clients using the latest in technologies like core banking, internet, mobile, & ATMs. The bank is also on a major expansion drive with a new recruitment drive being

announced. OBC’s innovative bancassurance model – but partnered with two banks itself, HSBC and Canara Bank – has already become the fastest grower in the life insurance sector. The bank has a new Chairman & Managing Director in TY Prabhu, who is a Canara Bank veteran, who joins OBC from a successful tenure with Union Bank of India as its Executive Director. Oriental Bank of Commerce has always been in the forefront of social initiatives, be it participation in the national pension plan or poverty alleviation for the BPL classes.

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

BoB Holds Ground With Good Provision Control Ratio y registering a profit jump of 60% for Q2, Bank of Baroda has come up with an impressive overall performance of 72% for H1. Unlike some of its peers, this has been a well-rounded performance with NIM maintained at 2.89%, while gross and net NPAs are significantly down. But the biggest surprise came after the Q2 results, when it came to light that BoB’s provision control ratio is 79.29%, nearly 10 points above RBI’s recent directive that had sent most of the PSBs running for cover and their stocks crashing. Under Chairman MD Mallya, BoB is on an expansion drive of 74 new branches this fiscal. It currently has around 3000 branches. Bank of Baroda is the country’s third largest public sector bank, the largest in overseas operations – even above SBI in this regard, and is the country’s fourth largest bank if one considers private banks too. The bank which recently started its operation in New Zealand, is also the only bank with a full-fledged setup in UAE. CMD Mallya is eyeing a 22% rise in loans this fiscal. The bank is also bullish on its upcoming insurance joint venture.


Healthy H1 for Indian Bank It is not only a case of treasury profits at Indian Bank. The dramatic turnaround that MS Sundara Rajan initiated at the bank continues to power on. The core metric of net interest income continued to post healthy growth, and Indian Bank could report a 31.3% growth in net profit for Q2. Treasury profits nearly doubled. The bank is doing all it can to ensure credit growth, and has sanctioned around Rs. 17,000 crore during H1. Due to cuts on PLR, there was a slight hit on net interest margin, but Chairman Sundara Rajan is hopeful of bettering this during the remaining two quarters. The bank is planning a credit growth of 20%, while it’s target for CASA deposits this year is 2 million new accounts. The bank has been successful in aggressively reducing its high cost deposits. The bank is bullish on the revival in the realty sector, where it has a significant 34% exposure. Indian Bank, which has significant business in Singapore was marginally affected by the decision of the Government there to deploy all deposits there itself.

iding on asset growth and higher margins, Yes Bank has registered a net profit rise of 75% in Q2. It was a similar performance to Q1, where it registered an 84% growth. While margins are expected to be at 3.25%

this year, and Yes Bank hopes to better Q2’s credit growth of 30%, and YoY growth to 40 to 50%. The bank has also enabled a provision to raise up to $250 million (equivalent of Rs 1,150 crore), through a qualified institutional placement issue, either domestically or internationally. Large corporates account for 70 per cent of the loan book, commercial banking accounts for 23 per cent and SMEs for about 6 per cent. The bank could garner good revenues from forex trading, interest rate swaps, and bond arrangements. Yes Bank has made good progress in areas like corporate lending to the country’s medium to large enterprises, since its start in 2004. It is the only Greenfield banking project in India during the past several years. Yes Bank’s newfound strategy titled ‘knowledge-driven banking’ tries to focus on India’s sunrise sectors like food, agribusiness, infrastructure, life-sciences, technology, sustainability, education etc. Promoted by former Rabobank India head Rana Kapoor, one of Yes Bank’s largest shareholders is the Netherlands based Rabobank. A Dutch cooperative bank consortium owned by its customers, Rabobank primarily caters to agriculture and food business.

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

Yes Bank H1 Thrived on Large Corporate Accounts


Five Ways to

SPEAK LIKE

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

OBAMA


1. TALK ABOUT THE AUDIENCE’S CONCERNS Notice that when Obama addressed a joint session of Congress for the first time, he told our story before he told his own. He talked about our sleepless nights, for example, and the college admission that might have to be turned down because of a lack of financing. This was brilliant, and you can do it, too. Start your talk by broadly defining the situation that your listeners face. Then, once you’ve got them nodding their heads in agreement, move on to describe the problems or challenges that are on their minds. Start where the audience is, not where you are. Once you have their attention, you can lead your listeners wherever you want to take them.

2. KEEP IT SIMPLE Throughout the presidential campaign, Obama kept his main message — “change you can believe in” — simple and easy to remember. Sure, some pundits mocked its simplicity, but it served its purpose perfectly as the banner at the front of his parade. You, too, can keep it simple, even if you have mountains of research to report. First, fine-tune your core message. Fierce debate within Obama’s campaign no doubt accompanied the birth of the slogan “change you can believe in,” and similar prolonged discussion may accompany the discovery of your own core message. But once the decision has been made, don’t let that debate show. Chisel away at your topic until you can reduce your presentation to a core message. Once you achieve this, all your complex ideas can march behind it. This is as true for business presentations as it is for political campaigns. Granted, your content may be nuanced and detailed, but so were Obama’s policy positions. He used his simple slogan to make us believe he was the politician for change — something so many Americans longed for — and he appealed to us to have faith (to believe) in the change he was offering us. Obama won people through a simple slogan, which then allowed him to more easily serve up his ideas about meaty topics such as health care, terrorism, and the crumbling economy. We make a serious error if we mistake a complete argument for a persuasive one. All audiences, no matter how sophisticated, have limited attention spans and a limited ability to retain detailed spoken information. Don’t fear that you’re leaving details out; you must be selective. After all, what good is a thorough and detailed argument if it is inaccessible?

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

Now that we’ve got your attention, you should realize, of course, that you don’t want to speak like Barack Obama. You want to speak like you. Nevertheless, as a student of the art of public speaking, you can — and should — observe Obama’s oratorical skills. The greats all learn from other greats, so don’t hesitate. Study Obama’s repertoire, take what you like, and use what you can to improve your own public speaking. Obama is a master at grabbing and keeping his audience’s attention, which is the number one goal of any public speaker. How does he do it? Here are five key lessons from Obama’s rhetorical playbook.


3. ANTICIP ATE WHA ANTICIPA WHATT YOUR AUDIENCE IS THINKING Obama and his speechwriters are certainly aware of the great line by Goethe, “Every word that is uttered evokes the idea of its opposite.” What this means is that when you express one view, the odds are high that people will reflexively think about other, unmentioned aspects of the topic. A presentation that does not deal with this “evoking of opposites” loses the audience’s attention because it fails to address the questions and concerns that come up in people’s minds. So anticipate it. Show your audience that you understand the contrary view better than they do, and explain why your proposal or argument is still superior. Obama did this effectively in his speech on race, in which he attempted to distance himself from theinflammatory Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Obama pointed out, for example, that he won primaries in former Confederate states and that he had built a “powerful coalition of African Americans and white Americans.” But he also acknowledged what was undoubtedly on people’s minds when he said, “This is not to say that race has not been an issue in the campaign.” He went on to say that, yes, Reverend Wright’s sermons were controversial, but, no, that’s not why he must be rebuked. He said that, yes, the clips of Reverend Wright on YouTube make him look terrible, but, no, that’s not the full measure of the man. His speech was powerful and widely praised. It was effective in part because Obama let everyone know that he had thought a lot about race, and in particular about both sides of the controversy surrounding his former pastor. Attack your topics this way, too, and you will be in charge of the conversation. This approach will not only grab and hold the attention of your listeners, but it will also help you win people into your camp, which is what you need to do if, say, your goal is to persuade your board of directors of the wisdom of a seemingly risky partnership.

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

4. LEARN TTO O PA USE PAUSE Obama has mastered the art of pausing. Just check out his presidential acceptance speech in Chicago to see this skill at work. He pauses to let us catch up with him. He pauses to let his words resonate. He pauses, in a sense, to let us rest. Pauses also give the impression of composure and thoughtfulness. Here’s an exercise to help you learn to pause.

* Mark up your paragraphs / in this manner / into the shortest possible phrases. / First, / whisper it, / breathing / at all the breath marks. / Then, / speak it / in the same way. / Do this / with a different paragraph / every day. Here’s what the opening paragraph of Obama’s remarks would look like: * “If there is anyone out there / who still doubts / that America is a place / where all things are possible, / who still wonders / if the dream of our founders / is alive in our time, / who still questions / the power of our democracy, / tonight / is your answer.” Where you pause is up to you; there are no hard and fast rules. But try it. Slowly inhale to the count of three at each breath mark. Speak as though you had plenty of time. The goal / of this exercise / is to teach your body / to slow down.

5. MASTER THE BOD Y LANGU AGE OF BODY LANGUA LEADERSHIP Obama’s body language is relaxed and fluid. It does not display tension or fear. He’s calm and assertive — which is exactly what you need to be to get people to comply with your requests. For the ultimate in Obama smoothness, watch his entrance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. To achieve the body language that’s effective for you, focus on a single attribute — for example, calm — and practice implementing it in the basic motions of your day, from getting dressed in the morning, to leaving your home for work, to greeting your friends and colleagues. Research in the Scientific American suggests that focusing on one word is the most effective way to learn a new behavior. It will probably feel forced at first, but don’t worry. It will soon become natural, and eventually your body language will communicate the right mix of calm and assertiveness. Finally, you’ll need to rehearse. Practice calmly walking up to the lectern or the front of the room. Arrange your papers calmly. Look out to the audience with a sense of command, with assertiveness. Let the silence hang for a moment, and only then deliver your opening remarks. Calmness begets a sense of authority. Behave as if you are in control, and you will in fact gain control and command attention. (From BNET by Sims Wyeth is a trainer and consultant in speeches, presentations, and high stakes conversations.)


KIWI TEENAGER CLAIMS TO HAVE UNRAVELLED TENDULKAR MYSTERY cricketer. Robinson, however, did not enjoy bowling at Virender Sehwag. "He smashed me," said Robinson, who belongs to the same college represented by New Zealand skipper Daniel Vettori. "It was a privilege to bowl to them, pretty overwhelming really," the teenager added. Robinson predicted the New Zealand side had a tough ask of winning the three-Test series against India. "I think they'll go well in Hamilton but it'll be tough in the other two Tests," Robinson said.

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

hat could not be decoded even by legends like Shane Warne is being claimed to have been unravelled by a New Zealand school boy, who feels he can perhaps plot the downfall of Sachin Tendulkar.St Paul's Collegiate student Owen Robinson got a chance to bowl at Tendulkar in the nets at Seddon Park on Monday and realised that the Mumbai batsman may be susceptible to a lofted drive."I found Tendulkar likes to drive and drive on the up and put a few in the air," Robinson was quoted as saying by the 'Dominion Post'."...But he might have just been toying with me though," said Robinson, laughing at the prospect of tearing apart the form of a player who has scored more Test centuries than any other


Luxe Lifestyles

Vacheron Constantin Perhaps the most illustrious ladies watch brand. Featured here is Patrimony, the pocket watch, an iconic object. Material: Platnum 950, Energy: manual, Number of Jewels: 21, Power reserve: 65 hours, Strap: Calf Leather.

Far Niente

Classically structured Cabernets that are soft in texture, rich in flavor, complex and long. The wine displays the typical cassis and blackberry notes along with spicy oak aromas that have become synonymous with the Far Niente "house style." Time enhances the flavors and nurtures the bottle bouquet, offering elegance, and earning Far Niente the reputation for creating age-worthy wines.

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

Harry Winston Suspension by Harry Winston, one of the finest jewellers around. Featured here is Rubellite and Diamond Ring from the New York Collection. Cushion-cut rubellite, 6.04 carats; 198 round brilliant diamonds, 1.14 total carats; platinum setting.


Hermes Hermes from Paris, always vying to be the last word in women's sandals and other stuff. Featured here is Nigh Sandal in gold metallic nappa leather, 2 3/4" heel, size 36 Price: $700.00

Leiber

Sevilla from Judith Leiber's Fall 2009 Collection. Soft crystal trapezoidal clutch features silver plated clasp and coiled top strap option. Comes beautifully boxed with protective signature bag. Price: $2,995

Ferragamo SEASONAL MAGAZINE

Arguably, one of the top-3 luxury brands in men's shoes. Featured here is driver mocassin with metal ornament matt palladium coloured brass. Black matt calf. Removable insole. Rubber sole. Price $475.


Luxe Lifestyles

Porsche Panamera Touted as the world's first sports car for four, this four-door, four-seat luxury sedan, was launched in 2009. It is front-engined with rear wheel drive, with a four-wheel drive version also available. The V8 normal-aspiration versions of the Panamera have rear-wheel drive as standard, while the Turbo version includes standard all-wheel drive with PTM. The Panamera comes with the Porsche Traction Management, a fully-controlled, all-wheel drive system. PTM is standard on both the Panamera 4S and the Panamera Turbo. Optional Sports Chrono Packages include a Sport Plus button, which has tighter damping and air springs and drops the car body by 25 mm.

Audi Q7

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

The available Audi Adaptive cruise control builds on the functionalities of the cruise control system and, within certain system limits, maintains the driver-selected comfort spacing from the vehicle in front automatically. Adaptive cruise control monitors distance to the vehicle in front via radar sensors and automatically reduces speed as well as resumes speed to maintain the driver-selected safe distance. Should there be a risk of a collision, Audi braking guard offers a two-stage alert as well as preparing the braking system in the event full braking force is required. Once the appropriate gap has been established or the vehicle is no longer in front, the optional adaptive cruise control system resumes its normal preset speed. The available Audi adaptive air suspension is an electronically controlled air suspension system at all four wheels with a continuously adaptive damping system. A lowering in ride height results in a lower center of gravity and significantly increased directional stability and sportier handling while a higher ride height results in greater ground clearance and a more comfortable ride. Uniting sporty handling with a high level of ride comfort, air suspension improves the vehicle’s aerodynamics at the same time.


Maybach Landaulet

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

The Maybach Landaulet is powered by the uprated V12 engine which Maybach engineers have developed further for the Maybach 57 S and Maybach 62 S together with the specialists at Mercedes-AMG. Thanks to twin turbochargers and water intercooling, the V12 develops a maximum output of 604 hp from a displacement of 5,980 cubic centimeters. This is continuously available between 4,800 and 5,100 rpm. True to the tradition of exclusive landaulets, the roof can be opened fully at the rear, while the chauffeur’s compartment remains completely enclosed. The passengers are then able to enjoy the clear, blue sky above. Seated in opulent armchairs upholstered in white leather, they are treated to a majestic open-air experience currently unrivalled by any other automobile in an environment of the utmost luxury and exquisite style.


Luxe Lifestyles

BMW 760Li Sedan

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

Two adjustable 8-inch monitors and a DVD player set new standards in entertaining travelling. The monitors can be used to watch TV or listen to the radio, and two DAB tuners and a DVD receiver ensure consistent, high-quality reception. In the Professional version, two 9.2-inch individual monitors are operated via a separated iDrive controller and can be integrated with passenger laptops. Rear-seat occupants are also able to access the navigation system and additional iDrive functions.No matter what speed you're travelling at or road

common page 28

surface you're driving on, you're guaranteed outstanding driving comfort in the BMW 7 Series Sedan. The new shock absorbers send information four hundred times a second to the Dynamic Damping Control system and are now infinitely and independently adjustable for both compression and rebound damping. This means that the dampers adapt to the state of the road irrespective of which Dynamic Driving Control mode is selected, for exceptional ride comfort even when driving hard on bumpy surfaces.


Ferrari 458 Italia Mercedes Benz BlueTEC SUVs Gone are the days of the loud, dirty diesel. Technology has come a long way since Mercedes-Benz debuted the original diesel engine more than 100 years ago. In that time, we've gone from the world's first diesel engine to one of the world's cleanest. And it's not just clean for a diesel vehicle. It's one of the cleanest automotive options on earth. BlueTEC converts NOx emissions into harmless nitrogen and water. And you can go far on a single tank of fuel.

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

Every Ferrari is the result of an uncompromising design approach that integrates styling and aerodynamic requirements. The The 458 Italia takes this to new heights with the Pininfarina design featuring compact, aerodynamic lines, underscoring the concepts of performance-oriented efficiency that inspired this car. The new 4499 cc V8 is the first Ferrari direct injection engine to be midrear-mounted. The seven-speed dual-clutch transmission increases performance whilst providing very smooth shifts even at full throttle. Twin wishbones at the front and a multi-link set-up at the rear tuned for maximum roadholding and superlative handling.

common page 29


We bring you the lowdown on which of the industry's ladies - committed and married - are fasting for the day They're happily married/engaged/in a relationship. And all of Bollywood's ladies fitting the description know the benefits of fasting on Karva Chauth for their beloveds. While some are keeping up the parampara, others offer reasons for skipping the annual tradition altogether. We run you through what they did yesterday...

Equality Zindabad Twinkle Khanna: Akshay Kumar's wife biwi fasts every year and hubby too stays away from food and water on this day. The duo has a quiet get-together at home along with close friends of the couple. Model-turned-actor Rajneish Duggall kept the Karva Chauth fast yesterday on behalf of his wife Pallavee. As she is pregnant, she couldn't fast. So the 1920 actor abstained from khaana-peena and prayed for the health of his wife and the child. Pallavee is due in November and this will be the couple's first child.

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

Helps the wives, too! Kajol: Spotted sitting at the dining table of the Devgn residence, feeding breakfast to beti Nysa. She was observing the fast along with her mother-in-law and sister-in-law. Ajay was heard joking, "I have told her many times not to fast but it is something she likes to do. I don't know how it helps in increasing the husband's life, but I am sure it helps the wives. They fast for a whole day, detox their systems and get healthy, so I think it benefits them more."

Mera doosra! Ameesha Patel: Second year in the row, she prayed for the long life and good health of beau Kanav Puri.


But i'm single! Katrina Kaif: Although other ladies from the Khan family (Seema Khan) stayed without eating all day, Katrina Kaif did not observe the fast. She asks "For what? I am not married."

Savin' it for a seven! Kareena Kapoor: After fasting last year for beau Saif Ali Khan, this year Kareena Kapoor skipped Karva Chauth. She explained, "I am shooting and it's difficult to fast while working. Maybe I will keep karva chauth after seven years."

Mana Shetty: Husband Sunil flew in from Kolhapur to help Mana break her fast on time. Sunil said, "No matter where I am, I have to make sure that I am back by evening on this day. Mana has rung me up to tell me to come home fast as she was feeling hungry."

In transit, must eat! Deepika Padukone: Ranbir Kapoor's mom Neetu Singh follows the karva chauth tradition but Deepika refrained from fasting as she's travelling for work.

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

Honey, i'm hungry!


That family feeling Sridevi: Boney Kapoor says, "Sri has been keeping karva chauth for the last 13 years, ever since we got married. Yesterday evening we went to our parents home in Andheri and celebrated the occasion with dinner there along with my brother Sanjay and his wife Maheep.

On leave Gauri Khan, wife of Shah Rukh, is not keeping karva chauth, as she is in Rome.

Deol all The Deol wives: For Sunny and Bobby Deol's wives Puja and Tanya it was a family affair and they fasted with their mother-in-law, Prakash and tons of relatives who come to their homes for this occasion every year.

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

Karva Chhup! Manayata Dutt: Karva Chauth this year was muted scale. Last year, she had a huge girl gang over and they all broke the fast together. A source close to the couple said, "It was a quiet affair between husband and wife."

common page 32


Is Sreesanth

Fighting Too Hard?

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

When it comes to Sreesanth, BCCI is quick with disciplinary measures. The final warning for the Kerala boy has arrived.

Indian cricket's enfant terrible S Sreesanth has been given a "final warning" by the BCCI to mend his on-field behaviour, failing which he would be suspended from domestic matches. The latest Board missive, dated October 5, was sent to Kerala Cricket Association (KCA) secretary TC Mathews to be handed to the player. 'Young Indian cricketers are losing focus' BCCI has warned Sreesanth against repeating the on-field misbehaviour he showed during the recent Irani Cup championship against Mumbai in Nagpur. "You are hereby given a final warning to ensure that you do not violate the BCCI Code of Conduct. Any repetition of such behavior will be dealt with severely by the BCCI including suspension from domestic cricket matches," the letter read. "As an international cricketer, you have to set a good example for the youngsters who watch and follow the game," it said. "We have to bring to your kind notice that repeatedly you have been violating the BCCI Code of Conduct and your behaviour on the field of play is against spirit of the game of cricket," it added. Sreesanth, playing for Rest of India team, was fined 60 percent of his match fee for abusing Mumbai all-rounder Dhawal Kulkarni, who was also warned.

common page 33


SEASONAL MAGAZINE

Losing a job or losing one’s nest egg of savings due to unforeseen circumstances can throw anyone off balance. But here are 5 sure ways to cope and survive. common page 34


control. I introduce a simple visualization exercise for my clients facing the threat of losing their jobs. Do this: 1. Think of a challenging situation in the past. 2. Now bring to mind the way you handled that situation positively. What were the resources you used there (confidence, self assurance, focus etc)? 3. Keep those same resources in mind and imagine yourself coping with the current situation using those strengths. The trick is to replace unwanted emotions that debilitate and paralyze us with more upbeat and energizing emotions that can propel us towards making a positive life change.

R Explore alternatives U L E 2

Stories of survivors show that those who made it out from extremely life-threatening or challenging situations did so through presence of mind and creativity. Thus, keeping a clear head and exploring alternatives could help you out of the crisis. There are several encouraging stories about people who lost their job, but used the moment to explore their deeper strengths. This helped them realize that they could do things apart from their mundane job. Sometimes it takes a crisis for us to realize our hidden potential and talents. Marketing and capitalizing on these talents creatively could provide you with a much needed alternative source of income. When a single sneeze induces fear that you may be affected by the pandemic flu, talking to someone who has recovered, or exploring the ways to keep yourself safe or prepared, can help.

common page 35

R Draw lessons U Every crisis leaves in its aftermath something to L learn from it. Perhaps the economic crisis or the flu, also has a lesson for our materialistic E epidemic world. 3 Look upon this as an opportunity to learn to spend less, save and live within means. Learn to value things, people and life. Learn to take care and proper preventive measures to protect yourself from getting affected. Seek support from your family. Looking up to them in these hours will make you feel stronger and better.

R Take care of your U health L Anxiety can sometimes provoke people to do things ╓ like going on spending sprees, E irrational or neglecting their health and family. As Kit 4 Yarrow, marketing and psychology professor at Golden Gate University says, ╜When people become anxious around job loss, ironically, they tend to spend more. Shopping is one of the most psychologically soothing activities we have." It╙s important that you keep yourself physically and mentally fit. Eating right and staying fit can improve your immunity and help you fight diseases or infections. Remember, prevention is always better than cure. Besides, a strong mind and a positive attitude will make you stronger and be prepared to face any eventuality. This will also help you to take the right financial and employment related decisions. Staying calm and mending troubled relationships with family and friends will also go a long way in helping you tide over crisis. Last but not the least╦

R Remain spiritually U anchored L They say, we turn to God in times of crisis. The economic crisis may be a good E present opportunity to strengthen yourself spiritually. 5 Praying is said to have the power to send out positive energies to the universe and manifest thoughts into reality. At a basic level, it provides the meditative reprieve that is necessary when one is hit by the negative emotions of trauma. Hvovi Bhagwagar is a psychotherapist and behavior skills specialist

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

R Control emotions U is a common reaction to any crisis. L Panic But this “emotional hijack” also causes an E already challenging situation to spiral out control. So the first and most important 1 of step is to get one’s emotions firmly under


SEASONAL MAGAZINE

Grief, pain, horror, speed, intelligence, forgetfulness, cravings, mind tricks, déjà vu, and even ghost sightings are nothing but a brain function. You can control your brain – that is, yourself – with this knowledge by tweaking on your food and other stuff.


WHY WE ARE WHO WE ARE

re women more emotionally aware than men? Why does your arm hurt during a heart attack? Could people who see fairies be telling the truth? These are just some of the questions answered in a fascinating new book on the brain. Written by Rita Carter, a leading science and medical writer, it provides extraordinary insights into the way our brains work - and why we behave and act in the ways we do. A woman's emotional side of the brain is better connected to the analytical side - making them more likely to be in touch with their feelings.

be why women are more emotionally aware. It may also allow emotion to be incorporated more readily into thought and speech. When doing complex tasks, women use both sides of their brain, while men use the side more obviously suited to the task. To test your corpus callosum, try the following: Close your eyes and spread out your hands, palms facing upwards. Get someone to touch one of your fingertips (say, on the right hand) and with your opposite hand try to touch the corresponding finger with the thumb of the same hand. If information is flowing properly between the hemispheres, you should be able to do this without opening your eyes.

ARE WOMEN MORE IN TOUCH WITH EMOTIONS?

INCREDIBLE SHRINKING BRAIN

There are a number of structural and functional differences between male and female brains. The human brain is divided into two hemispheres that do different things. They are connected by the corpus callosum, a thick band of nerve tissue that carries information between the two. This band of nerves is slightly larger, on average, in women than in men - which means the emotional right side of the brain is better connected to the analytical left side. This may

common page 37

The adult human brain weighs 31/4lb and has the texture of a firmly set jelly. It contains 100 billion neurons electrical cells that send signals to one another. You're born with nearly as many neurons as you'll ever have, but as you mature you make new connections. In childhood, thousands of new connections are made every minute. The rate at which neurons join up slows with age, but continues through life. Contrary to popular perception, you continue to grow new brain cells in adulthood, but with age, the total number of neurons decreases and the connections degenerate, causing the brain to shrink. After the age

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

INSIDE HUMAN BRAINS


of 20, brain mass decreases by an average 1g a year; by the age of 90, your brain will have lost between 5 and 10 per cent of its volume. There are also changes in the shape of the brain, with grooves widening - affecting the ability of the neurons to connect - and the forming of tangles and plaques (small disc-shaped growths). Alcohol shrinks the brain. However, regular aerobic exercise has been shown to increase brain volume, suggesting it can help to maintain brain health in older people.

WE'RE HALF A SECOND BEHIND THE REAL WORLD It takes half a second for the unconscious mind to process incoming sensory stimuli, yet we are not aware of this time lag. When you stub your toe, you get the impression of knowing about it straight away. This illusion of immediacy is created by an ingenious mechanism that backdates conscious perceptions to the time when the stimulus entered the brain - we are tricked into thinking we feel things earlier.

CUTTING CARBS IS BAD Glucose is the brain's only food and the brain is by far the body's hungriest organ. Though it accounts for just 2 per cent of the body's weight, it requires 20 per cent of its glucose supplies. This is obtained from carbohydrate, which is transported to the brain via the bloodstream. It consumes 420 calories a day - around a fifth of your daily calorie intake. Because the brain can't store glucose, it must be readily available at all times via the blood supply. Without oxygen or glucose, irreparable brain damage occurs after just ten minutes. This is why prompt resuscitation is needed in cases of cardiac arrest - to get the blood supplying glucose and oxygen to the brain.

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

PAIN - IT REALLY IS ALL IN THE MIND Just how much you respond to pain depends partly on the cingulate area the inner part of the big valley that runs across the top of the brain from front to back. People can develop the ability to tone down activity in this region by learning to shift attention away from the pain stimulus, creating a painkilling effect. Burns victims experience

pain relief when using virtual reality glasses to immerse themselves in a cooling environment - this distracts attention away from pain.

WHY HORROR FILMS ARE SCARY Certain brain cells are activated when you move, and also when you see someone else moving. This means we unconsciously mimic the actions of others and thus share, to some extent, their experience. These mirror neurons, as they are known, also allow us to know what another person is feeling, without having to think about it. The discovery of mirror neurons is among the most significant neuroscientific discoveries in recent years. They mean that when you see someone doing something, in your brain you do it, too - for instance, when you watch a person running, the bit of your brain concerned with planning to move the legs is activated. And when you see another person expressing an emotion, the areas of your brain associated with feeling that emotion are also activated, making emotions transmittable. Emotion mirroring is


thought to be the basis of empathy. Autistic people often lack empathy and have been found to show less mirrorneuron activity. Mirror neurons explain why emotion is whipped up in horror film audiences - seeing someone else looking frightened makes you feel scared yourself.

reminders of the deceased activate an area of the brain associated with reward, pleasure and addiction, suggesting that prolonged grieving can be a form of addiction.

REAL DR STRANGELOVES It seems unconnected to a cardiac attack and yet arm pain is a common sign that the heart is in trouble. This is because it's a form of referred pain. This occurs when nerve fibres from areas that receive a lot of sensory input, such as the skin, and nerves from low sensory input, such as the internal organs, enter the spinal cord at the same location. The brain expects to be receiving the data from high sensory areas, so misinterprets the location of the pain. For instance, in a cardiac attack, pain signals from the heart converge with those from the arm as they enter the spinal cord. The brain interprets them as coming from the arm rather than the heart.

YOU'LL NEVER FORGET EVERYTHING Our memories are distributed throughout the brain, so even if one part of an experience is lost, many others will remain. One benefit of such a distributed storage system is that it makes long-term memories more or less indestructible. If they were held in a single area, damage to that place - for example, from a stroke or head injury - would eradicate the memory completely. As it is, brain trauma and degeneration may nibble away at memories, but rarely destroy them entirely - you may lose a person's name, but not the memory of their face. Memories are formed by a group of neurons firing together. If the same neurons fire together often, they eventually become permanently sensitized to each other, so that if some of them fires, the others do as well. When you recall an experience, you recreate it in essence by reactivating the neural patterns that were generated during the original experience that was encoded to memory.

WHY DO SOME PEOPLE NEVER STOP GRIEVING? Losing a loved one is hard, but most people do recover in time. However, for 10 to 20 per cent of bereaved people, the pain endures and this is referred to as ' complicated grief'. One study using brain scans found that in such people,

Some people have a hand that is no longer under conscious control. It seems to move on its own, almost as if possessed by another intelligence - just like the character in the 1964 film Dr Strangelove, whose right hand tried to kill him. Anarchic hand syndrome, as it is known, is due to an abnormality in the areas of the brain that send signals to the muscles. These areas inhibit many of the signals sent to the body, but in this syndrome they slip through to produce actions beyond conscious control.

WHAT CAUSES CRAVINGS? As a 'reward' for performing functions essential for the survival of the species, such as eating or reproducing, the brain releases opiates that create sensations of pleasure. Sugar-rich diets heighten these reward signals, so the more sugar you have, the more you want. This can over-ride self-control mechanisms and lead to addiction. It's the same with mothers bonding with their babies. Brain scans have shown that when a woman sees a picture of her baby smiling, it triggers strong activity in the brain reward system. Pictures of other babies smiling produced a much weaker response.

HASN'T THIS HAPPENED TO ME BEFORE? Deja vu is characterized by a sudden intense feeling of familiarity and the sense you have experienced the same moment before. One explanation is that a situation triggers a memory of a similar experience in the past and wrongly 'tags' it as familiar, creating a sense of recognition without bringing to mind the previous event. Jamais vu is when you're in a situation that should be familiar, but which seems strange. You may suddenly find your own home to be unfamiliar or for a second not realise that the person approaching you is someone you know well. This is thought to be a glitch in recognition whereby the emotional input that usually accompanies familiar experiences fails to occur.

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

HOW A HEART ATTACK CAUSES ARM PAIN


IS THAT A FAIRY OR ARE YOU HAVING A BRAIN SEIZURE? Supernatural sightings vary according to culture. Fairies were once commonly seen, while today people report seeing alien beings. Whatever the nature of the sighting, there may be a far more prosaic explanation. Claims of being abducted by aliens, for instance, seem to be more common when the magnetic effects of the sun's radiation are high. One theory is that radiation causes tiny seizures in susceptible people, creating hallucinations. Seeing ghosts may be due to tiny seizures in the temporal lobes - the part of the brain concerned with emotion as well as hearing, language and memory. Malfunctions in this area could be responsible for the weird effects reported in such sightings, such as feelings of ecstasy or intense fear, and the sense of an invisible presence. Out-of-body experiences - looking down on yourself - are linked to reduced activity in the parietal lobes, the area of the brain that controls our sense of space and time.

LEARN A LANGUAGE TO STAY YOUNG

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

Being fluent in two languages, particularly from childhood, enhances cognitive skills and might also protect against the onset of dementia and other age-related cognitive decline. One reason for this could be that speaking a second

language builds more connections between neurons. Studies show bilingual adults have denser grey matter, especially in the part of the brain where language and communication skills are controlled. The increased density was most pronounced in people who learned a second language before the age of five.

THE SECRET OF EINSTEIN'S GENIUS Most brains are the same, but there are small differences. Einstein's brain was found to be wider than normal, and part of a groove that runs through the area involved in math and spatial reasoning was missing. It's possible this meant his brain cells could communicate more easily (they didn't have to connect over a gap), giving him his talent for describing the universe mathematically.


SEASONAL MAGAZINE

Reliance ADAG IPOs Coming: Will Markets Soar or Crash? ith Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani (Reliance ADA) Group trying to launch three IPOs this year, the moot question will be whether the markets will soar, or crash, as after the much hyped Reliance Power IPO in 2008. India’s third largest private business conglomerate, Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (Reliance ADAG), is planning to launch the initial public offerings

(IPOs) of three group companies – Reliance Infratel, Reliance Life Insurance, & Reliance Mutual Fund – this fiscal. In tune with Reliance ADA’s and Chairman Anil Ambani’s larger-than-life ambitions, these IPOs promise to be big affairs, with Reliance Infratel pegged at Rs. 5000 crore, and the size of Reliance Mutual Fund & Reliance Life Insurance expected to be equally big.


But so was the IPO of Reliance Power last year. In fact, it was bigger – at Rs. 11,700 crore, it is India’s largest IPO till date. Reliance Infratel Ltd is a subsidiary of Reliance Communications Ltd (RCOM), the flagship company of Reliance ADA Group. It is in the business of creating and maintaining wireless communication towers to RCom and other mobile operators. Reliance Infratel’s IPO was originally planned for 2008 to collect Rs. 6000 crore, but was abandoned due to adverse market conditions. Reliance Life Insurance and Reliance Mutual Fund, the other two Reliance ADAG companies planning IPOs this year are subsidiaries of Reliance Capital Ltd, the Group’s financial business wing. Reliance Mutual Fund is India’s largest, while Reliance Life Insurance is the fourth largest private insurer. As per existing rules, Reliance Life Insurance can’t go for an IPO now as there is a 10-year lock-in period before private insurers can divest their stake. Reliance Life Insurance has completed only 5 years in operation, but has applied for a waiver in this regard. Central Law Ministry is understood to have taken a favorable view in this regard, while Finance Ministry has referred it to the Insurance Regulatory Development Authority (IRDA). Though IRDA had earlier rejected Reliance Life Insurance’s application on existing rules, there is a high probability that the Government would clear it after coming up with a new set of rules for IPOs of private insurers.

Tuesday registered the highest ever intra-day fall of 2273 points, calling for a halt in trade twice, and FinMin intervention. The official reason for the fall? US recessionary reports, and not any liquidity-crisis due to IPOs in progress. During February first week, Reliance Power refunded around Rs. 1 lakh crore to unsuccessful bidders. But within those two weeks Sensex had lost nearly 4000 points to trade at 17,000+. The rest was left to the listing of this scrip. On February 11th 2008, Anil Ambani – before sounding the opening gong at BSE - apologized to around 4.5 lakh investors for being unable to consider their application to make them rich. But by the end of the day, they were thanking him, while the chosen 41.7 lakh were licking their wounds when Reliance Power closed its first day on the bourses at 373, down Rs. 77 from the issue price, with Sensex also registering an 834 point fall. Brotherly bears had been assigned to wrap up the task. India’s biggest IPO today closed trade at 164.85. Its 52-week low is 82. It wasn’t always like this with the Reliance Group. Before the Group split into two conglomerates led by brothers Mukesh & Anil, Reliance and its founder Dhirubhai Ambani had a reputation for wealth creation among lakhs of investors. However, the ongoing tussle between Mukesh Ambani and Anil Ambani continues to be of concern to India Inc and the stock markets.

But the debatable point is how these mega IPOs from the Reliance ADAG stable would impact the stock market.

But where did this money come from? January 18th was a Friday. The very next Monday explained everything. On January 21st, the Sensex dipped the highest ever in its history – by 1408 points – and on

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

It was on January 15th 2008 that Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group opened the mother-of-all-IPOs to collect Rs. 11,700 crores of public money to do business. With BSE Sensex scaling highest ever heights of 21,000+ on January 8, the whole of India thought, why not? Regulators and authorities facilitated wholeheartedly with extraordinary tools for this fund collection, and by the time Reliance Power IPO closed on January 18, it had mopped up over Rs. 1,00,000+ crore from the market as application money alone, with investors submitting 72 times more applications to be a part of the Ambani empire.


O. P. Bhatt, Chairman State Bank of India


ST ATE BANK OF INDIA STA

THE TOO-BIGTO-FAIL FEAR HITS INDIA Post Lehman, post Merrill Lynch, & post RBS, the biggest joke doing the rounds in banking circles has been nobody is too big to fail. Because, whenever some wise mind tried to point out the risky games these giant banks played, the stock reply was, “Nah! Too big to fail”. Now it seems that this newfound cautionary syndrome has caught up in India. The country’s central bank, RBI, often noted for its excellent and dynamic banking regulations has now come up with a stunner – all banks have to set aside funds to cover 70% of the total worth of bad loans. Technically called Provision Coverage Ratio (PCR) for Non Performing Assets (NPA), this has earlier been anything between 10100%, with the average being 51%. But some banks like, the country’s biggest – State Bank of India – always had a problem with this line of reasoning. Until recently, their PCR has been just 38.72%, and only on RBI prodding a couple of months back that it was hiked to the present 45.1%. But RBI is not impressed. There is no waiver even for the country’s largest bank that controls nearly one-fourth of Indian banking. SBI’s profitability is going to be hit, as the bank will have to set aside Rs. 3800 crore from their profits. SBI Chairman OP Bhatt has always maintained that his bank’s PCR is small due to the better quality of their NPAs. But conservative peers like PNB have set aside 90% and HDFC Bank has set 68%. Anyway, why is RBI so adamant about 70% PCR? One reason might be the Indian banks’ aggressive new initiative to woo millions of home-loan seekers with an ascending interest rate pattern. SBI had pioneered this scheme, and received wide applause for it. But this kind of loans where the interest burden starts light and gets heavier over the loan-term is said to be a major contributor to the subprime homeloan crisis in US. Just imagine a couple in their 40s, taking a 40 lakh home loan in 2009. For the first four years, everything goes fine, and after that the higher interest regime sets in, just-in-time when their other burdens like children’s higher education / marriage sets in, and their employability and earning capacity decreases. Is RBI foreseeing this scenario in India?


There is only one Indian bank in the world’s top 100 banks. SBI could either rest on this laurel or develop an insecurity. OP Bhatt decided for the latter. He worried about why SBI was not in the top 50. Even deep, Bhatt boasted that he wanted SBI to be in the top 10. Surely there were peers who laughed at his insecurity as well as his ambition. But lately, their faces are sporting an incredulous look as this Chairman & Managing Director has started walking the talk. Bhatt knows that SBI has lost enough time and resources against the likes of ICICI Bank in the domestic market and Bank of Baroda in the overseas market. From natural strongholds like corporate and PSU lending to newfound bullish sectors for SBI like retail loans, this CMD is putting up a consummate play that, maybe for the first time in its history, is forcing SBI to behave like the giant that it really is. The bank is of a unique size and stature that enables it to stand guarantor for even Government of India, as was the case during Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar’s tenure. SBI is performing well on the safety and reliability fronts, as always, and on the home-loan front, with a newfound vigor. The bank is also betting big on expanding its point of sale (PoS) network by another 6 lakh terminals, which is a figure that is bigger than the total number

of a s i k n The ba ize and s unique t enables tha e r u t tor a n a st r a u nd g a t s o ent t m it n r e v n Go e v e the r o s f a w s ,a of India ring Prime u case d Chandra r Ministe s tenure. r’ Shekha

Chairman of the State Bank of India, (SBI) O. P. Bhatt, UK Trade & Investment Minister Lord Davies


of terminals operating in the country. Rubbishing theories that SBI’s new home loans would create a US style sub-prime crisis – due to its ascending interest rates – Bhatt stuck to his guns and found endorsement from customers as well as from sheepish competitors who followed suit later. Bhatt’s superb articulation skills have made him one of the most-watched and most-endearing CEOs of India Inc. Whether it is boom time or bust time, SBI has steered clear of numerous aggressive practices – most notably proactive marketing – to grow the loans business. Instead, Bhatt has focused sharply on an opportunity that is open only to SBI - the upcoming consolidation among the State Bank Group entities. Fighting too many vested interests in these group banks as well as the bureaucracy, Bhatt has already achieved one merger and is all set to do the second. During August of 2008, State Bank of Saurashtra was merged into SBI, and recently Bhatt has obtained almost all clearances to merge State Bank of Indore with SBI. This merger would take SBI branch strength to over 15,000 and the total business close to the magical figure of Rs. 10 lakh crore. State Bank Group is a unique banking conglomerate arrangement where the Chairman

SBI is p erfor m ing well on t safety he reliabil and ity as alwa fronts, on the ys, and home-l oan front, w newfou ith a nd vigo r. of all associate banks is the same as SBI’s, while the MDs are different. When the amalgamation of State Bank of Indore takes place, only five more associate banks would be left in the group - State Bank of Bikaner & Jaipur, State Bank of Hyderabad, State Bank of Mysore, State Bank of Patiala, & State Bank of Travancore. Chairman Bhatt has been able to press on initiatives like this group consolidation due to two personal strengths. Firstly, starting his career as a probationary officer in SBI way back in 1972, Bhatt is an insider like no other. He has also extensive experience in SBI’s associate banks. Just before being appointed as MD of SBI in April 2006, Bhatt was the Managing Director of State Bank of Travancore (SBT), the associate bank based out of Kerala. Two months later, in June 2006, he took over as the Chairman of SBI, which was incidentally on another of his strengths. Being a younger top performer, Bhatt was the natural choice as he would have a 5-year term, which is the longest in SBI’s recent history. That gave him the mandate, and to this day Bhatt has tried to bring in the kind of sweeping changes that the bank’s majority owner, Government of India, had envisaged for him. Quarter after quarter and year after year of good results have also made the SBI scrip a darling of the bourses. Ace investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, often dubbed India’s Warren Buffet, considers SBI as one of the three stocks that will deliver most value over the long term. The biggest challenges before SBI are what to do with its massive deposit flows, and how to ensure employee productivity. Last year alone, SBI recruited 33,000 staff, while this year would see the infusion of another 13,000. The bank is yet to have a performance-linked pay structure as is in force in its private sector competitors. Seasonal Magazine gets answers from OP Bhatt about the challenges and the ambitions before SBI:


Inside the Obama's rocky marriage: How lonely Michelle nearly walked out on ambitious (and henpecked) Barack President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle came close to splitting up as he tried to build his political career, according to a new book. Left alone for long periods as her husband pursued his political ambitions, Michelle considered walking out of the marriage after eight years, it is claimed. But fears that daughter Sasha had the life-threatening illness spinal meningitis brought the couple back together. Enlarge Look at my wife: Barack Obama gives wife Michelle an approving look at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute dinner in Washington D.C. on September 16. A new book has explored the often-rocky state of the Obama marriage According to author Christopher Anderson, the illness in 2001 helped forge a new bond between the couple. Anderson's book 'Barack and Michelle: Portrait of an American Marriage' suggests a troubled union as Mr Obama attempted to make his way in Chicago politics. Michelle, 48, is quoted as telling her husband: 'You only think about yourself.

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

How Obamas Almost Divorced, Twice They are like any other couple when it comes to marital fights. Twice they came close to divorce, claims a new book – one at Michelle’s unable to get pregnant, and the second when Obama became a bit too carried away with politics.


SEASONAL MAGAZINE

I never thought I'd have to raise a family alone.' Anderson said Mr Obama tired of his wife's constant nagging. 'I love Michelle, but she's killing me with this constant criticism,' Barack is quoted as confiding to his grandmother Madelyn Dunham. 'She just seems so bitter, so angry all the time.' Anderson also reveals that the couple went through heartache before Mrs Obama conceived her first child. Anderson, who wrote a biography of Princess Diana called 'The Day Diana Died', said the couple talked to friends about using IVF or even adopting. Speaking on the CBS 'Early Show' today Anderson said Mrs Obama almost walked out on the marriage. He said: 'I think she could have walked at one point. She felt abandoned.' 'The strains in their marriage, they've been very open about,' he said. 'During the period when he was in the senate ... he said it was a dark time in their marriage. It was angry all the time.' Anderson, who interviewed over 200 friends of the couple for the biography, also spoke about Michelle's heartache at not being able to conceive.First dance: Barack and Michelle Obama take to the floor at the Neighbourhood Ball, their first stop of the evening 'For five years they tried to have children, and they were very concerned about their ability to have them before Malia came along. 'And, in fact, one of their best friends has gone on record as saying when she became pregnant, she was afraid to tell Michelle, because Michelle had been trying so hard and she didn't want to break her heart. 'They discussed adoption with some of their closest friends and then, fortunately for them, Malia came along in 1998.' Anderson also said that Michelle gave the thumbs down to Hillary Clinton as her husband's running mate in the election. And he claimed it was she who persuaded him to adopt the 'Yes, we can' slogan - which he considered corny. The author insists the couple, who celebrate their 17th wedding anniversary next month, are stronger than ever. He said: 'Our first non white first family is really the most down-to-earth couples we've ever had in the White House. They're comfortable in their own skins.'


SEASONAL MAGAZINE

Surgery, not Medicines, for

IFCI Head Office


IFCI Atul Kumar Rai, CEO s a developmental financial institution, IFCI helped build some of India’s critical projects. But is today’s IFCI groping in darkness, unable to find a sustainable business model? With Government calling for the induction of a strategic investor in IFCI urgently, the problems plaguing the developmental bank are once again in the spotlight. It is not clear what prevented IFCI from following the route of ICICI and IDBI in converting themselves to private banks, which is in fact an international model, as developmental financial institutions became unviable. Though IFCI’s profits have halved during the past year, its holdings in other companies should fetch it good returns in the long term. But there are no indications yet from IFCI on how to utilize these stakes.

Questions to CEO Atul Kumar Rai’s office on these issues went unanswered at the time of publication. IFCI also needs to develop a brand equity leveraging on its contributions to many of country’s critical projects.

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

Despite IFCI unable to replay a Rs. 1573 crore loan from Government at 0.1% interest rate, and despite it being converted to a grant, IFCI is still in doldrums, signaling a serious assetliabilities mismatch. Restructuring has been in place since 2002, at the expense of further growth.


SEASONAL MAGAZINE

INSIDE INDIAN BANKS STRONG ROOMS OR DEADWEIGHTS

Shri P. Jayarama Bhat Managing director


KARNATAKA BANK

BANKING FOR Karnataka Bank is almost a model private bank – publicly held, professionally managed, and technologically updated. Positioning themselves as of service to all in the family, this South based bank is also furiously shrugging off its hitherto regional image to a more appealing pan India image. With a Director Board packed with banking veterans from SBI Group, Canara Bank etc, and a homegrown, handpicked top management led by MD & CEO P Jayarama Bhat, the bank has attracted not only customer interest, but the fancy of FIIs and domestic institutional investors.

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

ALL IN THE FAMILY


angalore headquartered Karnataka Bank stands testimony to many things. India’s heritage in successful private banking, the district of DK’s heritage in being the cradle of Indian banking, and the importance of healthy all-round growth in banking, are just a few. Founded in 1924, Karnataka Bank has grown organically and inorganically to an enviable size as far as the country’s private banks are concerned. Over the years, it has amalgamated into itself oncecomparable institutions like Chitradurga Bank, Bank of Karnataka, and Sringeri Sharada Bank. And the growth was not just in size, but in stature, driven by quality offerings. Today, though being a traditional private bank, Karnataka Bank’s systems and processes can give even the best new generation banks a run for their money. Partnering with software majors like Infosys, the bank has implemented solutions like core banking, mobile banking, internet banking, online shopping, ATMs, demat services, insurance / mutual fund, dedicated NRI services etc. The bank’s brand positioning is to be of service to all in the family, all across the nation. Now with a homegrown MD & CEO like P Jayarama Bhat at the helm, the bank is all set to scale greater heights. This fact is also not missed

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

RBI Governor visit to Bangalore

by the bourses with respected analysts putting ‘BUY’ or ‘HOLD’ on the scrip. Seasonal Magazine in conversation with P Jayarama Bhat: The finance ministry and RBI are urging banks to consolidate by way of mergers and acquisitions. Are there any such plans on Karnataka Bank’s radar? No, not really. I mean, we are not averse to mergers and acquisitions, but as of now, we don’t have any such possibilities on our radar. Isn’t that uncharacteristic for a bank that has amalgamated into itself at least three banks? Again, not really. The problem now is that there are not many suitable targets. I mean, certainly not before us, that is, banks that are fit for a takeover. But Federal Bank, comparable to Karnataka Bank on a few counts, could find a target in Catholic Syrian Bank… True, but I think it has got more to do with both of those banks sharing a common cradle, that is, based out of Kerala etc. Anyway, if we were to consider an acquisition it would have to be a strategic fit, and not on any other counts.


Chairman felicitating MD

Yes, we have been bullish on IT implementation and customer services based on IT, so that we advance in our competitiveness compared to other banks. We have implemented core banking, mobile banking, internet banking, online shopping, ATMs etc on a significant scale. But apart from a token presence, as with many regional banks, is this going to be really important for you? Yes, why not? This is certainly not a token presence that we are speaking about here. We already have significant presence in around 20 states and union territories.

Coming back to growth concerns, without an inorganic strategy at least for the short-term, how do you plan to grow organically? We plan to grow from 455 branches to 475 branches this year itself. Out of these 20 new branches, we already have licenses for around 10. And we are also working to jumpstart our geographical spread. You mean spreading out of your home state? Yes, but not only out of Karnataka, but out of South India. For some time now, around 50% of our new branches have been in the North Indian states.

Which are the North Indian states that you are more bullish about? Almost all, but I should specifically mention UP, Punjab, Bihar, & Chattisgarh. We expect significant business from these states. Despite being a mid-sized bank, you have been bullish on IT implementation, and IT based products. What is the business logic? Yes, we have been bullish on IT implementation and customer services based on IT, so that we advance in our competitiveness compared to other

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

Speaking about cradles, Karnataka Bank comes from an even more successful cradle – the district of DK… Yes, definitely. DK has been home to around 22 banks, of which around 5 are real heavyweights. Karnataka Bank too has benefited from being a part of this pioneering banking culture.


banks. We have implemented core banking, mobile banking, internet banking, online shopping, ATMs etc on a significant scale.

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

But with most banks implementing all these technologies, is there really a competitive edge any more? But if you don’t have any one of these, it is a competitive disadvantage (laughs). Anyway, the real edge is the way we have implemented these

technologies. We have implemented 100% CBS, and that is a feat considering our spread among rural areas. Know what, many of our rural branches don’t have proper connectivity or even stable electricity. So we got our IT vendors to work around these problems using innovative technologies. Who are your IT vendors, and can you mention some of these enabling technologies for the rural areas?


Well, for power we have used solar panels / storage batteries, and for connectivity we have gone in for VSATs. Our software vendor is Infosys which has implemented Finacle as our enterprise-wide system, and our hardware / networking vendor has been IBM. But business-wise does all these tech expenditure prove viable? Yes, and in a tremendous fashion. You will be surprised at some numbers. 6 to 7 years back, before implementing these technologies, we were a 4300 member organization. After implementing these IT infrastructural projects, our business has multiplied 4 to 5 times. At the same time, our human capital has grown only by less than 1000 people to reach 5200, during this same time frame. So, business-wise this has been the most valuable decision. You being a homegrown MD & CEO, is it a distinct advantage in leading this kind of private sector bank? For some time, we have been having this advantage. My immediate two predecessors were from the bank’s rank and file itself. And as you rightly said, this has been a huge advantage. For example, I joined here as a probationary officer and has spent my entire career here. I know my team-members intimately and they have ready and rapid access to me.

How professionally managed is the bank? I and the entire top management are all professional appointees. Our Director Board is one of the best in business with banking veterans like our Chairman Ananthakrishnan; Canara Bank veteran RV Shastri; Sitarama Murthy, formerly with State Bank Group, and many other similarly equipped professionals. The Karnataka Bank scrip has fared well on the bourses for some time now. Can you comment? Well, we have a unique ownership structure that eliminates promoter groups and the associated vested interests. Our equity is perhaps the most widely held one among all private sector banks in the country. I think no investor is holding more than 5%. Of course, FIIs are there whose total stake amounts to less than 31%. I think this kind of capital structure and our profit-making performance quarter after quarter has reflected favourably on the bourses. You have been a well-wisher of Kanara Entrepreneurs. From a banking per spective, can you explain what contributed the most to DK being this banking cradle? Well, I have thought of this often. I think the distinct advantage was a combination that DK enjoyed. Our fathers and grandfathers were highly educated yet not at all rich. That is what I call an explosive combination. It drove innovation, and managing other people’s money scientifically for their own ad vantage was one of the wonderful outcomes.

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

I and the entire top management are all professional appointees. Our Director Board is one of the best in business with banking veterans like our Chairman Ananthakrishnan; Canara Bank veteran RV Shastri; Sitarama Murthy, formerly with State Bank Group, and many other similarly equipped professionals.


SEASONAL MAGAZINE

STATE BANK OF TRAVANCORE

OF KERALITES, BY KERALITES, BUT NOT FOR KERALITES?


State Bank of Travancore is Kerala’s official bank if there is any such designation. It was created by eminent Keralites, and still thrives on Kerala’s huge NRI and domestic deposits. But when it comes to loans, SBT prefers to help corporates outside the state, often through bigticket loan syndications. Ditto is the case with the bank’s customer service – winning accolades outside the state, and drawing flak inside Kerala. Is it something wrong with SBT or something wrong with Keralites? Are they expecting too much from their own bank?

AK Jagannathan, Managing Director MD of SBT before moving to SBI in 2006. SBT is known for its support for sensitive sectors, and was recently noted for surpassing its targets in delivering loans to farmers. At the same time, it caters to the diverse needs of its modern customer base. Recetly SBT tied up with Sundaram BNP Paribas to deliver their mutual funds through SBT branches. State Bank of Travancore is a full service bank complete with core banking, internet banking, mobile banking, ATMs, home loans, vehicle loans, multi-city cheques, online tickets / bill payments, 3-in-one savings / demat / trading accounts, e-Tax, microfinance, MSME financing, reverse mortgages, and international credit / debit cards. Owing to its presence in Kerala, SBT also has one of the most extensive NRI and Forex services in the country.

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

erala headquartered SBT is not only a worthy child of the State Bank family. It is also a worthy adult with a mind of its own. Mergers are not something for State Bank of Travancore, which has taken into its fold not less than 10 banks during its 64 years of existence. But this time, things would be different, no doubt, as it would be SBT which would be taken in by its parent since 1960, State Bank of India. But that merger is still far off, as SBI has prioritized the takeover of smaller, unlisted, and less healthy group banks than SBT like State Bank of Indore, State Bank of Hyderabad, and State Bank of Patiala. SBT on the other hand is a listed entity, and has the unique credentials of never failing to make a profit and never failing to deliver dividends in its history. But FY 2008-09 and the present year should be exceptions, anyone will agree. But at SBT, there is no need for such exceptions. For 2008-09, SBT registered a rise in net profit of 57.43% and a dividend payout of 130%. It was a record, and it clearly showed the bank team and its leadership could effectively rise up to the challenges. And in 2009-10, this momentum only continues to gather steam with SBT posting a 337% rise in Q1 YoY. SBT’s Managing Director AK Jagannathan is a veteran of the State Bank Group, having worked in State Bank of Mysore, State Bank of Hyderabad, & State Bank of Patiala, before taking up the assignment of Chief General Manager of SBT in October 2008 and later as its Managing Director. He is the perfect complimentary partner to SBI’s & State Bank Group’s Chairman OP Bhatt. Incidentally, Bhatt was the


SEASONAL MAGAZINE

WILL ING VYSYA’S PROSPECTS IMPROVE ANYTIME SOON?


here is no doubt that ever since its start in 2002, ING Vysya Bank has been an underperformer compared with its peers in the country’s private sector banking. Despite having a big ticket international name of ING, this new generation private sector bank - which was in fact a marriage between an old generation private bank, Vysya Bank, and the Dutch banking major, ING - has been able to come up with only lackluster performance. It was almost a squandering of an opportunity as ING Vysya was the only almost foreign bank that Shailendra Bhandari , CEO was allowed to operate as a fully Indian bank, complete with the inclusion of the ING name in its brand identity. All other foreign banks like Citibank, HSBC, & Standard Chartered had to put up with quite a number of restrictions in expanding their operations. Now, with its first Indian CEO in place, the promoters of ING Vysya Bank must be hoping for a drastic change in the bank’s fortunes. But it is not clear what kind of experience the promoters are expecting from Shailendra Bhandari, who has got exposure to both Citibank and HDFC Bank. ING, it should be noted, had to approach the Dutch Government to stay afloat, much like Citibank. ING Vysya’s headline profits for the first quarter were impressive at 42%, but to realize that net interest income grew only by 9% is not comforting. The bank continues to suffer from worsening gross and net NPA levels.

The bank’s CASA deposits ratio needs improvement, and it is not clear how ING’s retreat into its home markets internationally, would affect the prospects of ING Vysya Bank in India.

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

Due to its origins in an unlikely merger, the bank continues to suffer from a hybrid culture. For example, its workforce is divided 60:40 between an older group under the IBA remuneration norms, and a newer group under CTC terms. Lack of pensions is also a grievance with a section of the employees.


SEASONAL MAGAZINE

Andhra Bank Facing Unique Problems?


Beneath Andhra Bank’s healthy numbers lie some challenges that are unique to this Hyderabad headquartered public sector bank led by veteran banker RS Reddy. For the first quarter of FY 09-10, Andhra Bank came up with reasonable numbers. Though the 230% rise in net profit was largely driven by treasury income that is highly unlikely to be repeated, the bank’s net interest income (NII) growth was reasonable at 30%. However, the bank has a tough road ahead, owing to its exposure to sensitive sectors, SMEs, capital inadequacy, workforce revolt, & Andhra’s unique drought situation.

Similarly, Andhra Bank has a huge exposure to SMEs, a segment that is said to take maximum time to recover in India. The bank was also in news recently for admitting that a section of its educational loans without collaterals are overdue, with possible slippages into the NPA segment. Andhra Bank seems to be fed up with lending to PSUs, with Chairman RS Reddy opining that such lending is not viable for the bank. But Andhra Bank itself being a PSB that enjoys all government and public support, such a stand will be heavily criticized. Andhra Bank had recently lost around Rs. 2 crore in the Rs. 5.5 crore cheque forgery case involving the PSU, State Finance Corporation. Andhra Bank has recently approached Government of India for recapitalization, so as to have a capital adequacy ratio (CAR) of 12%. The bank has asked for Rs. 1150 crore, even while peers like Allahabad Bank, Canara Bank, & Bank of India has indicated that they don’t suffer from the same issue. Andhra Bank’s all 1500 branches were paralyzed for a day recently when its managers went for a strike alleging ill-treatment. The strike was stunning on two counts. Firstly, it was led by the bank’s senior managers, and secondly, another nationwide strike

However, the bank has a tough road ahead, owing to its exposure to sensitive sectors, SMEs, capital inadequacy, workforce revolt, & Andhra’s unique drought situation. by officers of all banks had just preceded this strike, signalling that there are issues unique to Andhra Bank. The ill-treatment and overwork alleged by senior managers are said to be an outcome of avoiding fresh recruitments for long. RBI has registered cases against some Andhra Bank managers for submitting fake currency notes, making the bank one of the five banks to have such cases registered against it. There are also chances that the drought situation in Andhra – that CMD Reddy has termed unprecedented – may weaken the prospects of this mainly Andhra based bank.

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

Andhra Bank has one of the largest exposures – at 42.14% - to retail lending that falls under the sensitive sector. Even while a major retail player like ICICI Bank scaled back their retail lending quickly, Andhra Bank’s ratio of retail lending is even larger than the country’s largest bank, SBI.


4 STEPS TO BETTER REPORTING

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

I’M OK; THE BULL IS DEAD


eating around the bush is the accepted norm when it comes to reporting project statuses to managers. But there is so much to gain to all concerned if these four simple steps are kept in mind while reporting. Believe it or not, this also work wonders in families.

1. Punch line: The facts; no adjectives, adverbs or modifiers. “Milestone 4 wasn’t hit on time, and we didn’t start Task 8 as planned” or, “Received charter approval as planned.” 2. Current status: How the punch-line statement affects the project. “Because of the missed milestone, the critical path has been delayed five days.” 3. Next steps: The solution, if any. “I will be able to make up three days during the next two weeks but will still be behind by two days.” 4. Explanation: The reason behind the punch line. “Two of the five days’ delay is due to late discovery of a hardware interface problem, and the remaining three days’ delay is due to being called to help the customer support staff for a production problem.” Notice the almost reverse order of these points in comparison with the common reporting style in which team members start with a long explanation of why things went wrong. Using the four steps described above, the project manager learns the most important information

first, then he learns supporting information to help complete the story. At first, reporting this way wasn’t a comfortable thing to do. It forced us to get to the point quickly and not resort to obfuscation. But not only did I learn to practice this style of status reporting at the office, I also taught it to my children. It was put to the test a few years later. It was past midnight, long after the time my son Raj, then 17 years old, should have been home. He was new to driving, and it was a stormy night. His mother and I were anxious and concerned about his well-being. Finally, the phone rang. It was Raj, and he said, “Dad, I’m ok; the bull is dead.” Thank God my son was fine, but the comment about the dead bull intrigued me. We didn’t own a bull. Where was he? How did the bull die? And why was he telling me about it? Then he said, “The car is damaged but operable.” All right. He had gotten into some type of accident, the car wasn’t a total loss, and there was a dead bull (still a great puzzle). I wondered whether our car insurance covered dead bulls. He then explained about the location of the accident and informed me that a person nearby

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

Early in my career, when I worked as an engineer, my boss had a process by which the engineering team was expected to report project status. He insisted that we use the following steps, in the specified order:


had called the police and that he (Raj) had taken a few pictures of the accident scene. At this point my wife woke up and asked, “Is that Raj, and is he ok?” I told her, “He is ok; the bull is dead.” This got her attention, and she was now wide awake. Though a bit angry that Raj was so late coming home and that he had gotten into an accident, I was impressed by his calm demeanor and his ability to keep his wits about him. Raj went on to say, “You don’t need to rush. I’ll explain when I see you.” I hung up the telephone and began to get ready to drive to the scene of the accident.

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

At this point my wife, still puzzled by the information she had, inquired about the details. I repeated to her, “He is ok, the bull is dead, and he will explain the details when I get there.” A bit annoyed, she said, “This is one of your punch-line things, isn’t it?” I was greatly impressed by Raj’s succinct way of giving me the right information in the right detail

without going into unnecessary explanations. In journalism, this is known as the inverted pyramid style, which begins with the conclusion, followed by the most important facts and, finally, the details. This contrasts with academic writing, which opens with a problem statement, elaborates on the background, discusses influencing factors and finally states the conclusions. When the academic approach is used to give project status reports, people who are still awake for the punch line are silently praying, “Please, God, kill me now.” That’s precisely why I start with the punch line. For many project team members, starting with the punch line can be disconcerting, but we have found that once they become accustomed to it, they truly enjoy the clarity of the message and the time saved in getting the point across. Try it, you’ll like it. (From Computerworld. Gopal K. Kapur is President of the Center for Project Management in San Ramon, California)


INDIA DOESN'T HAVE ANY FAST BOWLER: PATAUDI ew Delhi: Mahendra Singh Dhoni's captaincy left much to be desired, but it was the lacklustre performance of the pacers that let India down in the Champions Trophy, according to former skipper Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi. According to him, Dhoni got his moves wrong at times, but it was the lack of fire in the pace attack that saw India crash out before the semi-final stage. "India's bowling was poor in South Africa. You cannot expect to win 50-over matches in these conditions if your bowlers bowl like this," Pataudi said. Ponting third batsman to pass 12,000 ODI runs "We got away with it in Sri Lanka as wickets there suited us. Here, the pitches were more helpful to seamers and we have not just got the right seam bowlers. Spinners cannot do the job in South Africa," Pataudi told Karan Thapar in the Devil's Advocate programme on CNNIBN. Pataudi said the pacers had no role in India's tri-series triumph in Sri Lanka, which was possible because of strong performance by the spinners. One of the most elegant players of his era, Pataudi was disturbed by the tendency of the Indian pacers to gradually slow down.

captaincy in South Africa but the former skipper was not ready to call for his head either. Recalling how Dhoni let Pakistan off the hook by withdrawing in-form Ashish Nehra and operating with part-timers while holding back frontline spinner Harbhajan Singh, Pataudi agreed criticism of Dhoni was not entirely without reason. "I have no choice but to agree. I think that must be one of the reasons we failed to perform in South Africa," Pataudi said. "But there are deeper reasons for it. The captain takes the decision, it may go right or wrong. It's easy for us to criticise, but that is not the only reason why we did badly in South Africa. "They (Pakistan) would have been under pressure as Harbhajan was bowling well, but again it's the decision we must leave it to the captain," he said. Dismissing claims that Dhoni should be sacked, he said, "Media tend to over-praise far too quickly and then of course they have to bring it down. Dhoni is a good captain and he will become a better captain."

He, in fact, went on to say that India doesn't have any fast bowler at all.

"I don't think they are fast to begin with. I consider 90 mph fast but these guys are bowling 80mph. They are not fast, at best they could be called medium fast," he said. Pataudi did not seem to have been impressed by Dhoni's

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

Full Coverage: Champions Trophy 2009


SEASONAL MAGAZINE


When Will

Diamonds Sparkle Again?

otswana leads the world in mining them out. India cuts and polishes 91% of the supply. Belgium controls 80% of its trade. And USA consumes around 50% of the production. And like everything US, diamonds were also bubbling. In fact, the precious stones were in a bigger bubble than the country’s infamous realty bubble. From 2003 to mid-2008, the US and worldwide demand – bubble demand if you prefer so – skyrocketed diamond prices by 38% to 81%, depending upon the level of finish. But then came Lehman. The bust started with US diamond retailers, and traveled all the way to Belgium, then India, and finally to its source, Botswana. Around 1250 US diamond retailers have closed down in 2009 alone, with the final tally expected to be around 3000. Included are centuries old luxury retail chains, and a couple of diamond chain stores owned by legendary investor Warren Buffet. Nobody could see it coming. In Belgium, hundreds of traders became directionless, in India more than 4,00,000 diamond workers – which is 60% of the industry – lost their jobs with many committing suicide, and the whole economy of Botswana took a massive hit that will take years to repair. With Buffet himself unwilling to predict a reversal in fortunes anytime soon, diamond industry is predicted to be the slowest to recover post-recession in India and rest of the world. Consumers just don’t believe that these sparkling gems are worth the precious money, anymore. Diamond’s plight is especially striking, in contrast with how gold performed during the recession, thanks to the precious metal being used as a refuge by the financial markets and investors when both stocks and real estate just melted away. Seasonal Magazine brings you this fascinating story from Bloomberg that takes you from Surat in Gujarat, to Antwerp, to New York City, to Jwaneng in Botswana, and back to India’s diamond district.

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

Do consumers fear that these sparkling gems are worth the precious money? Diamond’s plight is especially striking, in contrast with how gold performed during the recession. A fascinating story that takes you from Surat in Gujarat, to Antwerp, to New York City, to Jwaneng in Botswana, and back to India’s diamond and jewellery showrooms.


A wooden swing hangs from a motorcycle chain on a porch in western India where Vilas Khoyani rocks her 7-monthold son, born eight days after her husband committed suicide. How they ended up in this two-room house starts with an unsold bag of diamond jewelry in Phoenix. Gadi Giladi was visiting stores in Arizona on Sept. 15, 2008, the day Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. filed for bankruptcy. The salesman was sent away by jewelers who stopped buying as they watched television news of the unfolding crisis that wiped out more than four years of diamond price gains. “They wouldn’t even let me open my bag,” said Giladi, who was carrying bracelets, earrings, pendants and rings priced from $200 to $4,000, many made with tiny diamonds of the type polished in India. “Every store, they were watching CNN, and they’d say, ‘Oh my God, what’s going to happen next?’” What Giladi saw in Phoenix that day, diamond polisher Mahesh Khoyani wouldn’t feel for two months: an economic tsunami set off by Lehman’s collapse that drove down Christmas sales by more than 20 percent at U.S. jewelry counters, halved imports of uncut gems by traders in Antwerp, Belgium, who could no longer get credit, washed away the livelihoods of 400,000 diamond workers in India and shut mines in Botswana.

NO RECOVERY The industry -- which employs more than 1 million people from Jwaneng, Botswana, to Surat, India, to New York’s diamond district -- faces two more years of turmoil, and prices may not return to pre-crisis levels for at least a decade, said Richard Platt, managing director of WWW Diamond Forecasts Ltd. in Eastbourne, England.

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

Platt, who created pricing scenarios when he worked at Johannesburg-based De Beers Group, the world’s largest diamond supplier, said prices for rough stones, up 40 percent since March, are “unjustified by retail sales” and will probably fall over the next 12 months. Polished prices will stagnate after a 4 percent rise, he said. That means more hardship in the jewelry business in the U.S., where sales have fallen every month this year through June and aren’t expected to recover anytime soon; in Botswana, which is bracing for a 50 percent drop in diamond revenue in 2009; and in India, where 240,000 polishers and cutters may not be able to return to work for at least 18 months after the recession ends, according to Vasant Mehta, chairman of the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council in Mumbai.

“We should just go home,” said De Nys, 45, as he read the list of prices faxed to his hotel room in Shanghai, where he had gone to hire a diamond-cutting company. “This cannot be real.” “We relied on diamonds, and they betrayed us,” Vilas Khoyani said, staring into space outside her parents’ home in Sanathali, 814 kilometers (506 miles) north of Mumbai, where she lives with her two sons, Diviesh and 4-yearold Tushar.

UNHAPPY GOOSE Like housing in the U.S., diamonds spawned a bubble in which easy-to-obtain credit made buyers willing to pay higher prices and created a false sense that these polished rocks were perpetually rising stores of value, said Christopher Ellis, president of Consensus Advisory Services LLC, a Boston investment bank that advises companies on restructuring. Prices rose 38 percent from the end of 2003 through mid2008, buoyed by growing U.S. household wealth, which peaked at $64.3 trillion in the third quarter of 2007. Rough stones rose 81 percent over the same period, said Platt. About half of the world’s polished diamonds are sold in the U.S., according to De Beers. “It is possible to pull too many diamonds out of the ground and cut and polish too many of them and try to cram them down the gullets of the American customer,” Ellis said. “It’s like making foie gras. You wind up with a very unhappy goose.”

ROUGH STONES The aftermath of Lehman’s crash laid bare how the credit glut pumped up valuations of the billion-year-old sparkling gems. In the six months following the bank’s collapse, as credit markets froze, prices for rough stones fell 40 percent and those for polished gems slumped 19 percent, according to data from WWW Diamond Forecasts and PolishedPrices.com, which provides pricing information.


CANNOT BE REAL That same month in Belgium, which handles about 80 percent of the global trade in uncut diamonds, the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC), a trade association, canceled a conference and dinner scheduled for November featuring Virgin Group Ltd. Chairman Richard Branson. On Oct. 28, Dirk De Nys, a senior buyer for IGC Group NV, which cuts, polishes and resells diamonds, cursed into his mobile phone when a colleague told him of a 35 percent plunge in auction prices for rough stones. “We should just go home,” said De Nys, 45, as he read the list of prices faxed to his hotel room in Shanghai, where he had gone to hire a diamond-cutting company. “This cannot be real.” It was real. Imports of rough diamonds to Antwerp fell 50 percent from October through August in dollar terms compared with the same period a year earlier, according to data from the AWDC. The value of polished stones shipped from India, where 11 of every 12 diamonds sold in the world are cut and polished, tumbled 59 percent in November from the month before, according to the gem council in Mumbai. That was devastating for Mahesh Khoyani, a diamond polisher since the age of 15, whose pay had jumped by 50 percent to 12,000 rupees in October with overtime. His factory in Surat, a city that is home to more than half of India’s 710,000 diamond workers, closed on Oct. 28 for Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights. It never reopened.

JWANENG MINE By late December, the wave had rolled back to the source, in Botswana, where Goitseone Kgosi, 26, a contracted equipment repairman, lost his job at the Jwaneng diamond mine, the richest in the world. The pit, run jointly by De Beers and the government of the southern African nation,

shut for four months. “They told us that Americans weren’t buying diamonds,” Kgosi said in July, as chickens and dogs roamed around him on a dusty sidewalk in Jwaneng. “I had to move out of the room I rented. I didn’t have money for food.” Diamonds, among the world’s hardest natural substances, proved unable to withstand the pressure from the worst recession since World War II. Global diamond jewelry sales are down as much as 10 percent this year, after expanding to about $73 billion in 2007 and running at a similar pace in 2008 before the slump began in October, according to Russell Shor, senior industry analyst at the Carlsbad, California-based Gemological Institute of America.

FORTUNOFF, WHITEHALL Decades-old U.S. chains including Fortunoff Holdings LLC, founded in Brooklyn in 1922, and Whitehall Jewelers Holdings Inc. of Chicago, started in 1895, have sought bankruptcy protection. Irving, Texas-based Zale Corp., whose shares have dropped 73 percent since Sept. 16 last year, said it shut 118 stores in the quarter ended in July, bringing the number of closures in the first seven months of this year to 191. In all, 1,261 U.S. jewelry stores, wholesalers and manufacturers folded from January through July, a 53 percent jump from a year earlier, according to Dione Kenyon, president of the Warwick, Rhode Island-based Jewelers Board of Trade, which rates the creditworthiness of businesses in the industry. The total this year is expected to be about 3,000, Kenyon said.

BUFFETT’S BLING Jon Bridge, whose family has sold jewelry in Seattle for 97 years, said he grew so accustomed to rising sales that he faced more crises on the boards of charities. That changed in October, as the co-chief executive officer of Ben Bridge Jeweler choked down dinner in his home office and pored over reports showing a 20 percent decrease in sales, the most he had seen. “This wasn’t just a bubble, this was a balloon, a hot-airballoon explosion,” said Bridge, a great-grandson of the founder of the 75-store chain, owned since 2000 by Warren Buffett’sBerkshire Hathaway Inc. Bridge blamed easy credit and inflated incomes for exacerbating the bust. “We were living a fairy tale for the last 10 years or so, and you can’t do that,” Bridge said. The chain has closed three stores in the past year. Buffett’s

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

Everyone along the supply chain had bought into the bubble, including Mahesh Khoyani, who dropped out of school after the fifth grade and was 29 when he died. He took out a loan last October, as disaster curled his way, to finance construction of a 400,000 rupee ($8,206) twobedroom house for his growing family in his ancestral village near Rajkot, a city of 1 million in the western state of Gujarat.


president of RCDC Corp., a diamond seller located on a block of West 47th Street with gem-shaped street lights that is New York’s diamond district.

FLORIDA RETIREES More than 90 percent of diamonds entering the U.S. pass through New York, mostly through this block, according to the 47th Street Business Improvement District, a nonprofit group. The gems, folded in parcels of white paper, are graded, cut and traded behind steel security doors, then sent to retailers around the country. Some 2,600 businesses crowd into the area’s pavilions and exchanges, many of which trace their roots to the 1940s, when Orthodox Jews in the trade fled Europe. Grossbard said he was stunned when a broker came into his office in August 2008 asking $700,000 for a 7-carat radiant-cut diamond. Twenty-five years ago, he said, a similar diamond might have cost one-tenth of that. “Do you realize how many retirees are on South Beach walking around with $700,000 on their fingers?” Grossbard said he asked the dealer. Lehman’s downfall dealt the industry a double whammy: First, it sparked a run on the $3.6 trillion money market industry, which provides short-term loans called other jewelry-store company, North Kansas City, Missouri-based Helzberg Diamonds Shops Inc., has shut 19 stores this year, reducing its total to 233. Buffett, 79, told Bridge employees not to expect a quick recovery. The billionaire investor, who receives a mailed copy of Ben Bridge’s weekly sales, met Bridge and other executives for lunch in May at Chandler’s Crabhouse on Lake Union, north of downtown Seattle. “We are deeply in this - in a recession --and it’s going to take a long time to get out of it,” Buffett said over his usual meal of steak and a cherry-flavored Coke, according to Bridge. Buffett didn’t respond to e-mailed questions.

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

1-CARAT SPIKE Asking prices for diamonds of 1-carat or more shot up in late 2007, according to data from the Rapaport Group, a New York-based provider of diamond prices, as investors moved into commodities ranging from soybeans to oil. The trend heightened in early 2008, amid signs the subprime-mortgage crisis in the U.S. was broadening with the forced sale of Bear Stearns Cos. to JPMorgan Chase & Co. De Beers lifted the price of its diamonds by 16 percent in the first half of last year, generating a 10 percent increase in revenue to $3.74 billion. By mid-2008, traders were flipping loose stones back and forth like Florida condominiums, said Stan Grossbard,

commercial paper used by businesses worldwide to cover everyday expenses. That led banks to stop extending credit in general, hurting jewelry stores and diamond wholesalers worldwide.

CONVERSATION IN KATHMANDU The demise of what was once Wall Street’s fourth-largest investment bank also wrecked the wealth of baby boomers who accounted for 40 percent of U.S. jewelry sales, according to Nick White, a former chief operating officer at Zale. “They’ve lost a ton of money in the market,” said White, now an independent consultant and custom jeweler in


Beaver Dam, Kentucky. “They’re not going to be buying that really big stone for the 50th wedding anniversary.” For Giladi, 54, a West Coast sales executive for jewelry maker Oro Alexander Inc. in Encino, California, the Lehman hit to his business came in real time. Unable to sell anything, he cut his trip short. Four months later, 10 stores on his sales route had closed, said Giladi, who grew up on a farm near Tel Aviv and got his start in the jewelry business in 1989 after a chance conversation while vacationing in Kathmandu, Nepal. More of his customers are likely to disappear if sales don’t rebound by December, Giladi said. Many have already seen their credit rating plummet, meaning they might not be able to pay.

ANTWERP DIAMANTAIRES “Right now, it’s dangerous to sell,” he said. With reduced commissions, Giladi’s income will be down as much as 70 percent this year, he estimated. In March, he sold a cabin he owned in Big Bear, California, a ski area two hours east of Los Angeles by car, as he prepared for an earnings slump he expects to last three years. The shock waves rolled across the Atlantic Ocean to hit Antwerp’s cutters and traders, also known as diamantaires, Antwerpsche Diamantkring exchange, which has 6-meterhigh (20- foot) windows and parquet flooring laid in the shape of a diamond. They decided to stop almost all purchases of rough stones and to cut, polish and sell those in stock in IGC’s factories in Laos, Thailand and Botswana. The company also slashed its payroll to 900 from about 1,500, De Nys, who joined IGC 22 years ago, said in an Aug. 26 interview. Outside his building on Hoveniersstraat, Antwerp’s main diamond thoroughfare, groups of Indian men dressed in dark suits and bearded Orthodox Jews in hats and long coats huddled in conversations.

De Nys called a company meeting after seeing the fax showing a plunge in prices for rough stones at an Oct. 23 auction by BHP Billiton Plc. That was the same day former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said a “oncein-a- century credit tsunami” had engulfed financial markets.

MEMO SYSTEM The firm’s executive committee met on Nov. 3 in IGC’s Antwerp office, seven floors above the practically deserted

CREDIT PIG October’s price dive was exacerbated for traders because they had become creditors for their customers, said Martin Rapaport, founder and chairman of the Rapaport Group. Stones were often sent to clients under a so-called memo system that allowed retailers and wholesalers to increase their stocks even if they didn’t have the cash to buy the gems outright, Rapaport said. The practice mushroomed over the past decade as traders enticed customers to boost their own volumes to profit

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

in October. Trading houses in Antwerp, which became Europe’s diamond-cutting center in the 15th century, sell to buyers including Tiffany & Co. and Cartier.

Fiddling with a box of 1-carat uncut gems in his office, De Nys said IGC had shelved a May plan to bring its factories up to 70 percent capacity by this month from 50 percent. He doesn’t see any rebound in polished diamond prices or demand.


from rising prices, he said. In recent bankruptcies, chains had as much as 25 percent of their inventory on memo, according to Consensus’s Ellis. “We took a cash cow and turned it into a credit pig,” Rapaport told dealers packed into a ballroom at the Venetian Las Vegas for a jewelry trade show on June 1.

DIWALI IN SURAT Nobody can afford the old inventory-based system, said Rob Broedelet, head of ABN Amro Bank NV’s international diamond and jewelry group for the Americas. This year, credit to the industry is down 20 percent to 30 percent and people may be shifting to a just-in-time manufacturing and purchasing system, he said. “It’s going to be potentially a major change,” Broedelet said.

DIAMOND DUST Inside Dhola’s fourth-floor shop, Khoyani would squat beneath a fluorescent light on the dirt-encrusted floor. He would place a rough stone, mounted on a holder called a dop, on a scaife covered with oil and diamond dust. He didn’t talk much, Porsia said, other than to ask for more work. “He would keep telling Dhola to give him more stones to polish,” Porsia said. “He needed the money to pay for his house.” Instead, the work disappeared.

“He would keep telling Dhola to give him more stones to polish,” Porsia said. “He needed the money to pay for his house.”

The ripples had scarcely been felt in Surat when many of the city’s 400,000 diamond polishers headed home for Diwali, the most important holiday for Hindus, who make up 80.5 percent of India’s population.

Khoyani took a bus 420 kilometers northwest to the village of Jasdan to make a 150,000-rupee down payment on his house. “He was talking about saving more money, taking loans and paying for it before our second child was born,” his widow, Vilas, said in a July interview in heat of 38 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit). “We could never afford to buy a house in Surat.”

BOLLYWOOD MUSIC The city of 2.9 million people on the banks of the Tapti River has been a diamond transit point since the 1600s. During the past decade, the number of three- and fourstory workshops in Surat’s narrow lanes swelled, packing the streets with gem traders and porters bearing plastic cups of sugary tea while Bollywood music blared from the buildings.

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

Surat was quieter when Khoyani returned in midNovember. He was told his factory would remain closed for several more weeks. He went to see Laxman Dhola, who operated a workshop with four scaifes, or rotating wheels that resemble record turntables and are used to polish diamonds. Dhola paid 20 rupees for each rough diamond polished, said Praful Porsia, 21, who worked alongside Khoyani. Polishers would get about 10 stones a day to turn into tiny 0.05-carat gems for the types of bangles and necklaces sold by Giladi.

As exports of polished diamonds from India plunged, more than 160 members of the council for the gem and jewelry industry ascended a marble staircase to a banquet hall at the Karma Liquid Lounge restaurant in Mumbai on Nov. 14. They decided to appeal to all diamond traders to stop importing rough stones for a month, according to Sabyasachi Ray, the council’s executive director. The move was unprecedented, said Mehta, the group’s chairman.

Imports of rough diamonds in December fell 91 percent from the same month the previous year, to $85.8 million, based on council data.

SWALLOWED PESTICIDE There were days when Khoyani wouldn’t polish a single stone, Porsia said. He fell behind in his payments to the builder and to an uncle, who loaned him 50,000 rupees, said Dinesh Ruparalia, Vilas’s brother and a former diamond polisher. On the morning of Dec. 28, Khoyani left home in Surat to pick up a newspaper. Instead, he swallowed pesticide. He collapsed in his wife’s arms on his return, Vilas said. He was dead when they got to a hospital at 10 a.m. “He was scared after hearing about the slowdown, but I had no inkling he had lost all hope,” the widow said, speaking in Gujarati as her mother poured milky tea from a kettle into stainless-steel saucers. At least 16 diamond polishers killed themselves between Oct. 11 and March 20, said K.M. Patel, assistant labor commissioner in Surat, citing a report compiled by the local government. Some 413,780 of India’s 710,950 diamond workers lost their jobs, according to a Feb. 26 report by the Reserve Bank of India, the central bank. Almost half of those were in Surat. Dhola shut his factory in April, said Porsia, who now works in a shop on the first floor of the same building. Dhola couldn’t be located.


It was December when Kgosi lost his job and Botswana’s economy went into a nosedive. More than 5,200 miners were told to lay down their tools at the open-pit Jwaneng mine, which produced 15.6 million carats in 2006, and three other mines. Unlike the miners, who continued to receive their salaries, Kgosi, a contract worker for Mechanical Construction Botswana, which repairs equipment, lost his monthly paycheck of 1,500 pula ($226). “The general manager and foreman spoke to us,” Kgosi said. “They said they didn’t have money to pay us.” Diamonds were discovered at Jwaneng in 1972. The mine, run by a joint venture called Debswana Diamond Co., opened a decade later. It is now 300 meters (984 feet) deep and about 2.5 kilometers long. It and the three other Debswana mines that were closed accounted for 20 percent of the world’s diamonds by volume last year, according to the Kimberley Process, a global body that certifies diamonds and restricts the sale of illicit gems.

IT WAS HARD Kgosi couldn’t afford the 250 pula-a-month rent for a room in a house in Jwaneng, a town of 17,000 dotted with openair bars, where people drink Chibuku, the local sorghum beer, beneath trees that line the roads. So he went back to his native village of Serowe, 400 kilometers to the northeast, to herd cattle. “It was hard,” Kgosi said. “I went to my sister for help. She gave me money for food.” He got his job back in March, before the April 15 opening of the mine. Even with three of Debswana’s mines back in operation, the company said on Sept. 8 that it may produce only 17 million carats this year, about half the 32 million mined in 2008 and the least since 1994.

NOT FOREVER Botswana’s economy contracted 20.3 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier, largely because of the closure of the mines, which account for half of the government’s revenue, official data show. The country posted its first budget deficit in five years in the fiscal year that ended in March. That will widen to a record 14 percent of gross domestic product in the current year, according to official estimates. The government was forced to turn in June to the African Development Bank for a $1.5 billion loan, the first time in 17 years it sought credit from the lender. It also cut public spending by 6 percent. Botswana’s economy will probably shrink 6 percent this year and may experience several years of “subdued growth,” said Razia Khan, head of Africa economic research at Standard Chartered Plc in London.

“There is a growing realization that the government won’t be able to spend at the levels it has,” said Khan, who grew up in Botswana. “Everyone knows that diamonds are not forever.”

NEW REALITY De Beers, the 121-year-old company that marketed its gems as a sparkling measure of love with the tagline, “A Diamond Is Forever,” slashed production by 91 percent in the first quarter of 2009, cut 23 percent of its workforce, or 4,700 people, and borrowed $500 million from shareholders, including Anglo American Plc, which owns 45 percent of De Beers. The way of doing business for diamond buyers and industry workers has ended and isn’t coming back, according to Rapaport. “Friends, it’s not going to get better,” he told jewelers and traders at the Las Vegas trade show. “This is not a crisis, it’s a new reality. It’s not just about money. It’s a shift in social values.” That view is shared by Johann Rupert, chairman of Geneva- based Cie. Financiere Richemont SA, the owner of Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels. The company reported a 16 percent decline in five-month revenue on Sept. 9. “People are reluctant to be seen purchasing luxury goods,” Rupert said. “Previously we relied on the feel-good factor. Now even people with the money have the feel-guilty factor stopping them from buying.”

VACATION IN MONGOLIA For salesman Giladi, business was so slow in July he took the month off and went to Mongolia, spending $3.50 a night to stay with families in their tents in the countryside. The trip inspired him. “We need to trim down, not spend too much and be very careful,” he said. Vilas Khoyani is already doing that. She left Surat at the end of January and took her two children back to the village where her parents live. She canceled the house her husband had ordered, leaving her with 100,000 rupees to subsist on. “The money is not going to last for long,” Vilas said as she held out a photograph of her husband taken on their wedding day. “I just want to live my life with dignity.”

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

BOTSWANA MINES


PICKING A HOME in 2009

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

AN INVESTMENT FOR LIFE? OR A HEADACHE FOR LIFE?


SEASONAL MAGAZINE

As the Indian real estate industry went through one of its most difficult phases, the men were differentiated from the boys. Who were the responsible players in the real estate industry who struggled enormously to honor commitments to homebuyers during this difficult phase? And, who have been the less diligent players who were taken by surprise, and whose customers were in for nastier surprises due to this?


PICKING A HOME in 2009 AN INVESTMENT FOR LIFE? OR A HEADACHE FOR LIFE?

Will They, Won’t They? From one of India’s most valuable companies, Unitech plunged to be the most worthless, and is now climbing back. The question before Unitech home-buyers and stock-buyers are the same. Will they, or won’t they? For Unitech, it has to. There is no other go.

Sanjay Chandra , managing director of Unitech

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

Can India Handle Bullishness? From their IIT backgrounds, to their rapid-rise ambition, and to their aggressive business stances, the three Indiabulls have built up an empire that often sports the shadows of controversy. Their first completed project is yet to be, but they are India’s 3rd largest listed realty firm, and is now playing promoter to the Indiabulls Power IPO.


Strategies to be Back in Shape It didn’t take long for Sobha Developers to plunge from one of India’s most successful listed realtors to well, just another troubled developer. But the Menons are fighting back elegantly, by breathtakers like the Infosys Global Education Centre, Sobha Saphire at Business Bay, Dubai, and of course the unavoidable sale of land parcels across the country to better their balance sheet.

Sameer Gehlaut, Indiabulls

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

PNC Menon Sobha Developers


PICKING A HOME in 2009 AN INVESTMENT FOR LIFE? OR A HEADACHE FOR LIFE?

Can Hiranandani Repeat Powai Elsewhere? At their home-turf of Powai, Hiranandani enjoys good things like wonderful margins. But with many in the trade catching up at Powai, also in margins, can Niranjan Hiranandani recreate the magic at Thane, Panvel, and elsewhere like Chennai? Or will Hiranandani / Hirco consider affordable options for the first time?

Niranjan Hiranandani

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

For PURAVANKARA, Cricket, Lanka, and Beyond

Ravi Puravankara

Puravankara Projects was one of the most battered realty stocks as well as brands during the downturn. But it seems Ravi Puravankara’s strategy to go dead slow on new launches, and instead continuing unabated on ongoing projects, has placed the firm in a good shape now, with many almost ready homes to sell. The group is also entering IPL and betting big on post-war Lanka with residential projects.


Manju Yagnik, Nahar Group

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

Once only the contender, Nahar Group is now almost the incumbent in Powai, with that rare precious resource to dispense – ready to occupy homes. But the decision by Sukhraj Nahar and Manju Yagnik to jack up prices to 7800 levels may prove risky soon.

Sukhraj Nahar, Nahar Group

Nahar Too Becomes Inaccessible?


Can DLF Carry This Burden? Rajeev Singh, DLF

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

When creating arguably the country’s largest realty brand through the largest realty IPO, had the Singhs unwittingly created something that won’t fit into their mouth? DLF continues to be Indian realty’s flagship, attracting brickbats and scrutiny. Can the group handle this burden?


Too Much to Sort Out for Emaar MGF The overseas clout of Emaar and the domestic influence of MGF were not enough to save Emaar MGF’s 2008 IPO. The 2009 IPO proposal is more realistic at just over half of last time’s figure, but is Rs 3850 crores realistic enough? Whether they can pull off the Commonwealth Games Village will be the real test. Diversions like the recent ED investigation can however play spoilsport. Mr. Shravan Gupta EMMAR MGF

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

Mohamed-ali-alabbar EMMAR MGF


IPOED, READY TO BE

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

Hoping to ride a stock market that has more than doubled - from 8000 to 17000 – in less than 8 months, an unbelievable 32 companies have lined up at SEBI with their draft red herring prospectus for their Initial Public Offers (IPOs) this year. Leading the pack is the real estate and infrastructure sector with 10 IPOs, including names like Reliance Infratel, Emaar MGF, Sahara Prime City, Lodha Developers, & Nitesh Estates. It is as if the market regulators and the real estate industry wants everyone to forget what happened to DLF, Sobha, Puravankara, and all other high-flying realty IPOs of


DUPED,

FOOLED AGAIN?

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

2008-09. Investors lost 75% to 95% of their investments in these IPOs within a matter of months. Later, even a doubling stock market hasn’t been able to prop them up to even their offer prices, let alone capital appreciation. The fate of this financial year’s IPOs hasn’t been brighter either, with many of them listing or trading below their offer price. The issue with these public issues continues to be simple. Most of them are way overpriced. The only worthy question now is, are there any real jewels among the fake ones lined up now? Seasonal Magazine finds out.


NITESH ESTATES

Too Young for an IPO?

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

Young entrepreneur Nitesh Shetty does everything in style, but the company’s IPO runs the risk of being premature. Barely 7 years into operation, Nitesh Estate’s geographical spread is mostly in a few South Indian cities alone, and their IPO might remind people about the IPO of Puravankara Group. Despite having several completed projects, Puravankara had struggled to complete its IPO. And it seems an unfortunate coincidence that the Nitesh IPO would have company in another realty IPO, that of Emaar MGF, for whom it is a second chance


The Board of Directors of Nitesh Estates at the inauguration of the Nitesh Sales Gallery. Mr. L. S. Vaidyanathan, Mr. G. N. Bajpai, Mr. Subir Raha, , Mr. Nitesh Shetty and Mr. Darius E. Udwadia.

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

after abandoning their IPO bid last time. At the same time, the primary market would have strong alternates like the IPOs of Godrej Properties and Lodha Developers. Like many real estate companies, Nitesh too faces a slew of customer complaints, which may again hog limelight during the IPO season. Nitesh Estates had recently inducted two directors, one formerly with Citibank, and one from a Middle East PE Fund, indicating how poorly the promoters understand the Indian investors, among whom there is no love lost for such MNC financial houses.


GEOJIT BNP PARIBAS

Growth Prospects for Geojit BNP Paribas

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

It is India’s first online brokerage, the country’s only brokerage backed by a state financial institution, the country’s only brokerage to have an MNC banking partner, and the only broking house to attract the fancy of celebrity investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala. A solid rebound result in Q2 has put the focus back on Geojit BNP Paribas and its Founder & MD CJ George, about how this pioneering brokerage would fare against bigger competitors like ICICI Direct, India Infoline, & Motilal Oswal, in the coming quarters. oday, Geojit’s story is not only CJ George’s story. It is the story of Europe’s lead bank, BNP Paribas. It is the story of India’s No 1 investor, Rakesh Jhunjhumwala. It is the story of

KSIDC. It is the story of tens of thousands of Geojit shareholders. Not to mention its over 4.95 lakh clients and its around three thousand of employees working from over 500 branches across India and Middle East.


All through his life, CJ George has been a man of initiatives. In the mid 90s, he foresaw the advent of web based brokerages. Since he had no money for that, or not much in assets to get such debt, he walked into KSIDC with a strange request – why don’t you buy equity in my company and thus fund

my Internet brokerage? It was unthinkable then, and even now. The equity taken by KSIDC in Geojit remains the only instance of a state run financing firm taking shares in any brokerage in India, till date. Anyway, armed with those funds, CJ George would make Geojit India’s first online brokerage by the turn of the century. In 1995, George again took the market by surprise by opting for an IPO, which was in typical Geojit style, oversubscribed 15 times. Soon came in to Geojit, India’s Warren Buffet, Rakesh Jhunjhumwala. And in 2006, came the biggest move of them all, when George agreed to the proposal of Paris headquartered banking giant BNP Paribas to buy 34% of his baby, making himself second in ownership in the company he started. His reasoning was – and is still – sound: “It was good for my investors, good for my clients, good for my employees, so it should be good for me too.” Indeed, it was, with share prices soaring and major investors including KSIDC marking Geojit as their biggest investment success. This Managing Director credits the decision to bring in BNP Paribas for the current financial strength of Geojit even under the recession – the company is reportedly sitting on a cash pile of Rs. 300 crore. This stockbroker claims to steer clear of proprietary trading to keep their clients’ trust intact.

CJ George

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

But the most inspiring story of them all is still CJ George’s. Because, the seed of all this has always been this unassuming gentleman who still feels proud to say that “I hail from a village in Ernakulam.” Starting as a modest stock-broking operation in the late 80s, Geojit is today not only one of India’s largest stock brokerages, but a total asset manager for its huge client base – spanning asset classes like mutual funds, derivatives, life and general insurance, currency futures, and real estate.


SEASONAL MAGAZINE

Rupert Murdoch


Rupert Murdoch has had enough. His dinosaur newspaper empire – the largest in this globe – is threatened to extinction by the likes of Google and the free news aggregators. Nobody believes he can stop the slide. But Murdoch is not known to lose battles either. The old man is embracing some of the hottest new technology like Amazon Kindle and other personal digital readers to push a paid online subscription model for his newspapers. Undoubtedly, if he wins, this planet’s newspapers also win a critical war against the everythingfor-free Net.

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

AN OLD MAN FIGHTS THE TIMES


War is Rupert Murdoch’s natural state. When he launched the Fox Broadcasting Company, in October 1986, he went to war against the hegemony of CBS, ABC, and NBC. With Fox News he crossed swords with CNN’s Ted Turner. At Sky, his satellite-TV system in the U.K., he went up against the BBC. He’s battled China, the F.C.C., the print unions in Great Britain, and, recently, most of the journalism community in his takeover of The Wall Street Journal. He relishes conflict and doesn’t back down—one reason why he’s won so many of his fights and so profoundly changed the nature of his industry.

Now he’s going to war with the Internet. It hasn’t been a good year for Murdoch—the largest publisher of newspapers in the worst year in newspaper history. His purchase of The Wall Street Journal is widely seen as one of the worst moves of his career—News Corp. has already taken a $3 billion write-down on the purchase. His beloved New York Post, always a money loser for him, is now suffering such great losses that Murdoch is considering a partnership with or even sale to the Daily News, the Post’s arch-enemy. His once highly profitable newspaper groups in the U.K. and Australia are faltering. News Corp.’s share price has been among the hardest hit of any major media company. And yet, Murdoch, at 78, would double-down in a heartbeat: he strategizes constantly about how he might buy The New York Times. But first he might have to save the newspaper business itself. As it happens, he, unlike almost everyone else in the business, believes newspapers are suffering not at the hands of technological forces beyond their control but at the hands of proprietors who are weaker than he is.

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

After fulminating for a year about how people on the Internet should pay for news, he made it official. Announcing in August the biggest losses his company has ever sustained, he added that he’d had enough and if people wanted to read his newspapers they could bloody well pay for them. I should say I am not a neutral party here. Two years ago, I helped found Newser, a news aggregator that summarizes the stories of other news providers, which, along with the Huffington Post, the Daily Beast, and Google News, has become a focus of the print world’s antipathy. (When I tried to explain Newser to Murdoch, he said, “So you steal from me.”) The current battle for how the Internet will “monetize” news divides pretty cleanly between

managers of established media properties and people who spend their working lives in the newmedia business. Traditional media managers, who once rushed into the Internet hoping to establish new businesses as well as their new-media bona fides, have all now been chastened by its economic realities and want to take back their free content. “Obviously we will all be closely following Rupert’s efforts in this direction,” said John Huey, Time Inc.’s editor in chief, when I contacted him—a curious throwing up of the hands from Time Warner, the world’s largest magazine publisher and the world’s largest media company, which has tried more strategies on the Internet than any other traditional media company. Almost all Internet professionals, on the other hand, think that charging for general-interest news online is fanciful—“Rubbish … bonkers … a crock … a form of madness,” in the description of Emily Bell, who has long run the Guardian newspaper’s Web site, one of the industry’s most successful—and, in fact, it has been tried before and failed. “It’s Groundhog Day,” adds Bell. The New York Times tried to levy a subscription charge for its columnists but reversed course and declared itself free again. Even Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal, the model of subscription content online, has made more and more of its site free. I have—in nine months of conversation with Murdoch, writing his biography after he bought the Journal, in 2007— often argued the nature of Internet culture with him to little avail. Murdoch can almost single-handedly take apart and re-assemble a complex printing press, but his digital-technology acumen and interest is practically zero. Murdoch’s abiding love of newspapers has turned into a personal antipathy to the Internet: for him it’s a place for porn, thievery, and hackers. In 2005, not long after News Corp. bought MySpace, when it still seemed like a brilliant purchase—before its fortunes sank under News Corp.’s inability to keep pace with advances in social-network technology—I congratulated him on the acquisition. “Now,” he said, “we’re in the stalking business.” Internet business strategies are often an intractable issue for media companies because they involve turf wars among contrary skill sets, business models, and corporate cultures. The result is usually bureaucratic stasis. But News Corp. isn’t like other media companies. Murdoch can cut through and level all bureaucratic confusion and inaction. If he says it


SEASONAL MAGAZINE


will be paid, then all the voices, which in other companies would tell you why this, logically, might not work, go silent at News Corp. The logic of the situation is remade around Murdoch’s logic. Where, in another company, Internet responsibilities might reasonably be given to those most enthusiastic about the medium, London is ground zero in Murdoch’s Internet war because the executives there are the ones most devoted to newspapers. (His 36year-old son, James, who seems determined to do even more of whatever his father would have done, is responsible for the London operation.) There has been, as it happens, a significant turf war in London, which might have produced a classic stasis, but which became a solution. The Times of London and The Sunday Times, historically separate papers, have long shared a Web site, controlled, to the consternation of the Sunday editor, by the daily. The decision (after a long political tug-of-war) to separate the two suddenly became an opportunity in the new Murdoch logic of making people pay. Because The Sunday Times has not had a Web site before, it would not, if it launched one with a pay wall, lose any users. Everybody who subscribed would therefore be a plus. In Murdoch-think, there is, too, the magic of the Sunday paper. Murdoch believes people can’t do without a Sunday paper. (Two years ago, he personally supervised the makeover of the Sunday New York Post.) Ipso facto, if people can’t live without their Sunday paper, then they’ll buy it on the newsstand or pay for it online—no matter that it comes out once a week and the Web is a minuteby-minute medium. And then, Thelondonpaper. Three years ago, Associated Newspapers—publishers of the all-powerful Daily Mail— launched the free afternoon paper Standard Lite (later London Lite), forcing News Corp. to launch its own free sheet, Thelondonpaper, which undermined News Corp.’s other papers. Murdoch never shuts a paper and never backs down from a war. Except now, with his new war against free, there was suddenly the logic to do what everybody had been begging him to do: close the damn free thing— which he did, suddenly, in August.

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

Still, saying that when Murdoch speaks things happen does not mean that anyone in the company has quite figured out what exactly he wants to happen. Will Fox News charge for its online content and cede the online market to CNN and MSNBC? What happens to the New York Post, whose site, because of its outdated technology, is often hard to access—even for free? And whither MarketWatch, the free financial-news site bought by The Wall Street Journal’s parent company precisely because it wanted a free site? It is difficult not to sound catty when discussing News Corporation’s adventures with the Internet. But the litany of its failures—even more extreme than those of most other media companies that have struggled unsuccessfully online—is, I think, relevant to understanding exactly what

Murdoch might really be trying to do. From the failure of Delphi, one of the first public-access Internet providers, in 1993, to iGuide, the precursor to Yahoo and Google, which closed within months of its launch, to his son James’s aborted Internet-investing spree in the late 90s, to the great promise of MySpace, which was shortly flattened by Facebook, to the second launch of Pagesix.com, which Murdoch closed this year, after four months of operation, Murdoch’s Internet starts and stops have engendered at News Corp., in the description of Peter Bale, who once ran the Web site of The Times of London and now runs MSN in the U.K., a relative “fear or abhorrence of technology.” In one of my favorite Murdoch stories, his wife, Wendi, who had befriended the founders of Google, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, told me about how the “boys” had visited the Murdochs at their ranch in Carmel, California. When I marveled at this relative social mismatch and asked what they might have talked about, Wendi assured me that they had all gotten along very well. “You know, Rupert,” Wendi said, “He’s always asking questions.” “But what,” I prodded, “did he exactly ask?” “He asked,” she said, hesitating only a beat before cracking herself up, “‘Why don’t you read newspapers?’” Murdoch’s son-in-law Matthew Freud—married to Elisabeth Murdoch, and one of the most well-known P.R. men in the U.K.—explained to me what he believes is the essence of Murdoch’s approach to business: Murdoch is not a modern marketer. He runs his business not on the basis of giving the consumer what he wants but through more old-fashioned methods of structural market domination. His world, and training ground, is the world of the newspaper war - a zero-sum game, where you wrestle market share from the other guy. Curiously, his newspaper battles have most often involved cutting prices rather than, as he now proposes to do on the Internet, raising them. (Murdoch has contributed as much as anyone, with his low-priced papers, to the expectation that news is a de-valued commodity.) But more than being about cost, his strategy is about pain. What he is always doing is demonstrating a level of strength and will and resolve against which the other guys, the weaker guys, cower. He can take more pain than anybody else. While others persist in the vanity of the Internet, he will endure the short- or medium-term pain necessary to build a profitable business. He is also a scold who can intimidate the market into doing what he wants it to do. Part of his premise now is to invite and scare other publishers and content creators into a selfcreated monopoly. If everybody charges, consumers will have no choice but to pay. If all publishers have the opportunity to get paid, why wouldn’t they take the money?


“What Murdoch seems to be talking about only has a logic if you don’t introduce the behavior of the audience into the equation,” says Emily Bell.

And, indeed, by announcing his all-paid-content intentions, he has, almost single-handedly, not just made the paid model the main topic of digital strategy in other traditional publishing companies but imbued it with nearly the force of a fait accompli. “It’s a done deal,” says a journalist I know who’s suffered in the downturn, arguing that Murdoch, for so long journalism’s great debaser, is now its last protector. The Murdoch plan is, however, in the estimation of almost anybody whose full-time job is occupied with digital business strategies, not just cockamamy but headscratching. It seems that Murdoch has, in a fit of pique, made certain pronouncements which may have to be humored by the people who work for him, but which will be impossible to implement and will have no business consequences. Or that Murdoch, a man with something of a divine gift for acting in his own self-interest, has a plan not yet quite evident to other, mere media mortals. The position of Internet professionals is straightforward: while it’s possible to charge for certain kinds of specialized information—specifically, information that helps you make money (and that you can, as with an online Wall Street Journal subscription, buy on your company expense account)—there are no significant examples of anyone being able to charge for general-interest information. Sites where pay walls have been erected have suffered cuts in user traffic of, in many cases, as much as 95 percent as audiences merely move on to other, free options.

Murdoch believes that The Sunday Times has certain franchises so valuable that he will surely be able to capture a paying audience. Jeremy Clarkson is one of News Corp.’s strongest cases. Clarkson, who writes a column about cars, is a veritable British institution—everybody consults Clarkson before buying a car. He is, according to in-house estimates at the Times, now responsible for 25 percent of timesonline.co.uk traffic. The thinking is that, even if a pay wall cuts Clarkson’s traffic, there are enough fanatical Clarkson readers who will pay enough to make a paid Clarkson more valuable than a free, ad-supported one. But the problem is for Clarkson: Murdoch’s potential gain is Clarkson’s loss. It’s an almost intolerable loss—most of your readers (and their constant and addictive feedback). “When we opened the Times site to free international traffic,” says Peter Bale, “suddenly our columnists were getting speaking engagements in Milwaukee.” At The New York Times, it was the op-ed columnists themselves who objected most of all when a paid wall choked their readership and notoriety. Murdoch has a larger problem still. It is, after all, not the Internet that has made news free. News in pennynewspaper or broadcast (or bundled cable) form has always been either free or negligibly priced. In almost every commercial iteration, news has been supported by advertising. This is, more than the Internet, Murdoch’s (and every publisher’s) problem: the dramatic downturn in advertising. Or, in a sense, the plethora of advertising created the online problem. When Time Warner’s Pathfinder launched the first ad-supported site, in 1994, it quickly created a juggernaut of wild advertising growth online. It was a simple proposition: more traffic, more advertising money

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

In the Murdoch view, media only really works as a good business if it achieves significant control of the market— through pricing, through exclusive sports arrangements, through controlling distribution (he has spent 20 years trying to monopolize satellite distribution around the world).

There is, alternatively, the compounding and intoxicating effect of free. While there may not yet be a way to adequately monetize free traffic, it has opened up, for many publications, great new audiences. The million-circulation New York Times has an audience of more than 15 million online. The U.K. paper The Guardian, with its 350,000 circulation, has become, online, with 10 times its print readership, a significant international brand. One theory about the decline in the fortunes of The Wall Street Journal (which allowed Murdoch to buy it) is that, because of its paid wall, the Journal was not a factor in Google searches, causing a fundamental decline in its importance, impacting its brand and standing with advertisers.


- and a free site got vastly more traffic than a paid one. But the recession has, at least temporarily, dimmed advertising’s promise, creating something of an end-ofthe-world panic. And no one’s panic seems to be greater than that of Rupert Murdoch, who has a habit of finding himself with his back to the wall during times of recession (in the early90s recession, he almost lost his company because of its great debt load). It’s Chicken Little panic. It is hard to imagine that when advertising growth resumes there will not once again be a rush to encourage traffic growth, but right now, the news business, supported for a hundred years by advertising, whose core skill has been selling advertising, believes it must right away, this second, re-create itself with a new business model where advertising is just the cream on top and where it’s the consumer who pays the true cost of newsgathering.

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

But what if Rupert isn’t really interested in a new business model? There may be earnest men trying to unlock the secret balance between the expectation of free content and the exceptions and the methods that might allow for micro or other incremental payments. But what if that’s not Rupert? “Rupert isn’t very nuanced about this,” says Merrill Brown, the former MSNBC news chief, who is now a consultant to a venture trying to promote an online charge system.

Murdoch, at 78, doesn’t, practically speaking, have the time to see the online world into maturity - nor the intellectual interest to want to be part of the effort. Rather, his strategic effort may more logically be to slow it down. The mordant joke among journalists is that, with any luck, the older among us will make it to retirement before the business entirely collapses. This may be part of Rupert’s own thinking. It is not so much that he wants people to pay to read Jeremy Clarkson online; he wants them, or a portion of them who might otherwise have read a free Clarkson online, to return to the newspaper. It is not, what’s more, merely that Murdoch objects to people reading his news for free online; it’s that he objects to - or seems truly puzzled by - what newspapers have become online. You get a dreadful harrumph when you talk to Murdoch about user-created content, or even simple linking to other sites. He doesn’t get it. He doesn’t buy it. He doesn’t want it. Every conversation I’ve had with him about the new news, about the fundamental change in how people get their news - that users go through Google to find their news rather than to a specific paper - earned me a walleyed stare. The more he can choke off the Internet as a free news medium, the more publishers he can get to join him, the more people he can bring back to his papers. It is not a war he can win in the long term, but a little Murdoch rearguard action might get him to his own retirement. Then it’s somebody else’s problem. (By Michael Wolff).


ANY CAR CAN BE A 35 KM PER LITRE CAR

Practically any modern car can turn into a mileage champion with these guys at Ford and Nascar. Here are eight hot tips from this world record setting team in mileage. And wonder of wonders, they set their records in city driving!

1) Accelerating smoothly up to the posted speed limit.

2) Applying the "Pulse and Glide" technique while maintaining the flow of traffic. 3) Anticipating traffic signal timing and traffic patterns, and slowing down to minimize stops. 4) Coasting up to red lights and stop signs to avoid fuel waste and brake wear. 5) Minimizing the use of vehicle systems such as heated seats and air conditioning. 6) Keeping windows closed whenever possible to reduce drag. 7) Minimizing excessive engine workload by using the vehicle's kinetic forward motion to climb hills, and use downhill momentum to build speed. 8) Avoiding bumps and potholes that can reduce momentum. These tips can be used in any vehicle, not just hybrids, and that's the important thing to remember here. You don't have to buy a Ford Fusion to get better MPG. To this list we could add: Keep your tires properly inflated, make sure your air filter is clean, don't carry unnecessary weight, plan your route in advance, etc. And the best of all: Drive less (or don't drive at all)!

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

s a way to demonstrate the fuel efficiency of its 2010 Fusion hybrid, Ford created the 1,000 Mile Challenge. The goal was simple: To drive 1,000 miles or more on a single tank of fuel (17.5 gallons) in an unmodified Fusion hybrid. The route used sounds like it was pretty varied, with one part of it in Washington DC that had about 30 light signals (so it wasn't just highway driving). The results were pretty impressive, though not quite the 124 MPG that the Honda Insight got in a different hypermiling challenge, but the Fusion hybrid is much bigger and heavier, and it is not sure if the Insight did city driving. Which techniques did the Ford team (which included "NASCAR star Carl Edwards, high mileage trailblazer Wayne Gerdes and several Ford Motor Company engineers") use to achieve this respectable 81.5 MPG average over 1,445.7 miles? Nothing too esoteric:


STUDYING FOR AMITABH, APPEARING FOR REKHA Susmita Dasgupta took her PhD on Amitabh Bachchan. Her subjects include how much of an ego trip was Rekha for Amitabh. An interview: Is there an Amitabh before and after ABCL? There is definitely a before ABCL and after ABCL Amitabh. The ABCL tragedy, like all stupendous failures have split Amitabh into a before and after image. The trauma of having failed appears to have drastically changed the person whose image was that of the invincible.

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

What is Amitabh, the husband, like? As I could observe, and at that point of time I was nearly 20 years younger, Amitabh and Jaya were ideologically apart. For Jaya, there was a distress about why Amitabh did the films that he did. Jaya would have loved it were Amitabh to remain in the Hrishikesh Mukherjee camp and graduated later to Satyajit Ray (Manik Kaku for her; Jaya is exceptionally wellconnected). But Amitabh went into rather “cheap stuff” with which she was not comfortable. To the best of my mind, this was the basic reason for a kind of stand-off. Jaya and Amitabh were dutifully husband and wife but I felt that the romance in the marriage was lacking. Also Jaya is a ‘Bong’ woman, the oldest among three sisters, and most probably the brightest, daughter to a doting father and that too an important one. She is a Bhaduri,


an upper caste Barendri Brahmin, who are very proud people. But slowly as Amitabh got involved in his career, he himself became the centre of all attention which was very difficult for Jaya to swallow. After all, at the time of their marriage she was the star and he the also-ran. The change in the power position within the marriage as Amitabh became successful also changed the soft, intense and emotional romance which Jaya and Amitabh had.

With his children, Amitabh is doting, pampering, blind with affection and only pretending to be firm, but very interested to be a part of their lives and eager to go to any lengths for their well-being. The daughter is interesting, I am not so sure that she feels the same way towards her parents as they feel towards her. I get this strange feeling that Shweta is seeking to move out of her parents’ very doting shadow and that marriage helped her have some independence that her extra protective parents robbed her of. Abhishek loves and would love to continue to be under the parents’ protection. What about the Rekha episode? Is there reason to believe the affair happened, despite Amitabh’s denials? Yes, it is a matter of great speculation for me as well. I always sided with Amitabh when he denied all on Rekha. But, only recently, I saw this television footage in which Amitabh suddenly got up and moved away as Rekha came near where he was seated. This makes me believe that yes, they did have an affair. The sudden getting up and moving away was a giveaway. It was almost a pose of fleeing from Rekha. Why would a man want to do that if he is not guilty of something? I believe Amitabh knew from day one that he wasn’t serious about Rekha. Also, he’s very, very class conscious. Rekha was perhaps an ego trip. How do you think Abhishek fares, being Amitabh and Jaya’s son, and now Aishwarya’s husband? Abhishek reminds me of Prince Salim and he has the Prince Salim syndrome. In today’s world, Abhishek’s appeal lies in a certain sense of being chaperoned, someone who seeks and has security and, on the basis of an assured lifestyle, can afford to be nice to one and all. Just as Amitabh’s image crashed with failure,

Abhishek’s image can crash if the shadows of persons chaperoning him are taken away. The image contains the shadows of the biggies that he nests among. Was he behind Abhishek joining films? Yes, he was totally behind Abhishek’s joining films and if I were to have my opinion, then to push him to cinema. That’s why I say that Abhishek is Prince Salim, the reluctant heir of Akbar when his heart was away in Venice, Rome and even Spain. Amitabh is projected today as the loyal friend. What drives his friendships with Anil Ambani and Amar Singh? I feel that Amitabh has never been a loyal friend. Loyalty has never been his characteristic trait. Anwar Ali and Amjad Khan are at least two who Amitabh never even acknowledged. I have seen him rather standoffish with Javed, Salim, Prakash Mehra - the persons who made him. Amitabh never attended Hrishida’s funeral. He refuses to acknowledge Desh Mukherjee or Tinnu Anand. So, he looks for friends as far as he has something to gain from them. The Amar Singh episode is strange. He must be really gaining something out of Anil Ambani and Amar Singh and that gain has some connection with the loss in terms of money. Why do you think he is still working? Is it insecurity, to consolidate a space for Abhishek or love of acting? Amitabh is still working, yes, what you suggest, to consolidate Abhishek’s career, but to the best of my understanding, Amitabh is Bhishma, he wishes to prove that he is immortal as a star. I think that Amitabh is seeking immortality by constantly reinventing his image to suit each new age that he lives in.

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

How is the superstar with his kids? Is his rapport different with Abhishek and Shweta?


SEASONAL MAGAZINE

IT IS A CYCLE FOR THIS NOBEL WINNER

This year’s Nobel winner of Indian origin, Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, is still to own a car, and bicycles to work. An engrossing look into the laureate’s simple life in United States. nstead of pursuing a career in scientific research, Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, who shared the 2009 Nobel Prize [ Images ] in chemistry with two others, would perhaps have practised medicine, but for a sudden impromptu trip of his father. More than four decades ago, Venkatraman, then a Baroda resident, got the national talent award after finishing his high school. Venkatraman, known as Venky to his friends and colleagues,


also got admission at the Baroda Medical College. His parents, father C V Ramakrishnan and mother Rajalakshmi, themselves scientists, wanted their son to take up medicine, not science. "You know what, this kid refused to study medicine. When I had gone out of Baroda for some work, my son quietly went to Baroda University, instead of the medical college, to enroll himself in undergraduate studies in physics," senior Ramakrishnan, who now lives in Seattle, recalled as he spoke with rediff.com.

They just reconciled themselves to what they thought would be the uncertainties of the career of their would-be-researcher son. Venky himself said that although he was exposed to science at an early stage in his life thanks to his parents, and did not want to study medicine, his parents did not push him to become a medical doctor. His early interest in science, and following his completion of the undergraduate degree in Physics from Baroda, brought him to the US where he did PhD in Physics from Ohio University followed by a masters in biology from the University of California, San Diego. Since then he had not looked back. "Right since his school days Venky was good at mathematics and physics and wanted to go into details of everything that he would study," the proud father said. Venkatraman, who has been a visiting scientist at MRC Laboratory for Molecular Biology at Cambridge, England [ Images ], was given the Nobel Prize for his studies of the structure and function of the ribosome, a structure in each cell of the human body that synthesizes proteins. Venky, who started working on ribosome since 1978 and the other two co-Nobel laureates, Thomas A Steitz of Yale University and Ada E Yonath of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, worked out in different areas and completely worked out the structure of ribosome. What does it spell for humankind?

The senior Venkatraman, who started the bio-chemistry department at Baroda University way back in the late 1950s, said that the work done by his son and two other scientists is going to open up new vistas for pathogenic infections in human bodies. In a customary interview with the editor-in-chief of the Nobelprize.org, Ramakrishnan said one of the first things that the researchers did was to try and determine the structure with antibiotics, with known ones that bind to ribosome. Those gave us a very good idea of how they interacted with ribosome and a good idea of why certain mutations would cause resistance and how you might design better antibiotics,' he said. None of the three researchers worked in collaboration but had occasional meetings to discuss what they were doing in their respective fields. How does the father, who once discouraged his son from pursuing scientific research, feel now? "Of course, I am proud and happy that he has made it. You know what, those days in India – my wife and I were from lower middle-class

"Right since his school days Venky was good at mathematics and physics and wanted to go into details of everything that he would study," the proud father said.

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

The parents, however, did not push him to become a doctor, though the senior believes Venky would have obliged if they did.


"My son did not believe what he heard from the secretary until he spoke to the chairman of the Nobel Committee," he said. Nor did he. The senior Venkatraman got phone calls from local news papers 'wanting to talk to his son who has got a Nobel Prize' late at night without knowing that the latter does not live in Seattle. But he did not believe any of then until he asked them 'hundreds of questions' and was fully satisfied that his son actually got the Nobel Prize. "A few hours later when Venky called his father to give him the good news, the senior told him that there was 'no excitement ' as he has already come to know about it. "My son, who did not want to wake me up in the middle of the night, just laughed," he said.

families -- the belief was that a good career meant either to be an engineer or a doctor and without that children would not have a decent life, nor would they earn much. The thought used to be influenced more by economics than anything else," 83-year-old Ramakrishnan said. Venky's career in scientific research had taken many unexpected turns. Even after he chose to study science, perhaps he would not have been where he is today but for a decision that he took soon after his PhD. Venky, who started as a theoretical physicist, decided after his doctoral thesis that many more interesting things were happening outside of Physics.

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

My PhD work was on a problem that was not particularly interesting to me at the time. I used to subscribe to Scientific American and I found that there were all these wonderful discoveries happening in biology and I also knew that a number of physicians had gone into biology and been successful. So I decided to switch,' he said.

The father described his son as well his daughter Lalita Ramakrishna, a professor at the Infectious Diseases Center at the University of Seattle Medical Center, who is more into research than medical practice as people leading a simple and ordinary life. He said Venky does not own a car and goes to work in bicycle. "He keeps a low profile. He is very helpful to people, especially young people, and will help them whether in terms of giving advice for their studies and above all he is very friendly with people," he said. "He always keeps a very low profile and that is how he has been since he was a child," he said. Has his Nobel laureate son done anything apart from being steeped into research? The father said that Venky and his sister have been avid bicyclers and love trekking. "Venky would go up to 25 miles bicycling. He is very interested in nature. So is his sister," he said.

And that brought him into the world of Ribosome Structure and function.

Both Venky and his sister, according to the father, have a benevolent streak. They both donate money to UNICEF, Ramakrishna Mission, of which their parents are great followers and to Doctors without Borders. Then he spills a secret.

Although he has been working for over three decades on it, Venky perhaps never believed that he was a candidate for a Nobel prize.

"I do not think he is a very spiritually oriented person," he said in response to a question in the context of his son's philanthropy. "He just likes to help people."

"When the Secretary of the Nobel Committee called my son in London [ Images ], he said 'you must be kidding with me and trying to fool me," his father said.

Despite being in scientific research that consumes much of his time, the Nobel Laureate also finds time for gastronomical indulgence.Let me tell you this as well. My son, who is a vegetarian as is his wife who is an American, loves to cook Indian vegetarian food every Sunday despite his busy work schedule. He just loves it."

The reason Venky thought so, the father explained, was that during this season when Nobel Laureates are selected, a lot of their friends make prank calls speaking in Swedish accent and trying to fool people.

common page 102


Sir Tim Berners-Lee

Slash-Slash

BAD BAD

SAYS WEB FOUNDER London: Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of the world-wide-web, has finally accepted that he could have created the web without the two backslashes, //, that Internet users often grumbled about.

symposium on the future of technology in Washington DC: "Really, if you think about it, it doesn't need the //. I could have designed it not to have the //."

Almost two decades after his codes brought a new technological revolution in the world, Sir Tim said that 30 years ago when was in the process of developing the network he could not imagine that the omission of a single slash could become a nuisance for net users.

He added: "There you go, it seemed like a good idea at the time."

The Times Online quoted Sir Tim as saying at a

common page 103

He put up his index finger said: "People are having to use that finger so much." Sir Tim is presently the director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), which keeps an eye on the progress of the web.

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

The problem with // is that if the URL or web address has only one slash it shows a syntax error and the website fails to open.

Sir Tim told the audience: "Boy, now people on the radio are calling it 'backslash backslash'."


RAJAGIRI SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING & TECHNOLOGY

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

RASET Races Ahead rom an equal start by self-financing engineering colleges, Rajagiri School of Engineering & Technology (RASET) has raced ahead with consistent performance in placements and ranks. The secret is simple. Faculty and students are empowered with updated knowledge from sector leaders routinely. November will witness a Faculty Development Programme on Recent Trends in Microwave Technology sponsored by AICTE and led by experts from IIT Delhi, NIT Trichy, and similar institutions, while during December, RASET will host an IETE sponsored National Conference on Communication, Signal Processing, & VLSI Design – RASCON 09 – led by experts from IISc Bangalore, IIT Chennai, and several private and public sector industries in the sector. RASET Director Fr. Jose Alex has clearly identified this winning strategy to advance as the first among equals in engineering education.


nfazed by the downturn in the private sector, Rajagiri could place 178 students of its 2008-09 with tech majors, mainly TCS, Infosys, & Wipro. And bracing for a tougher 2009-10, Rajagiri School of Engineering & Technology (RASET) is exploring all options including opportunities in defence and public sector too. Signalling that difficult times is suited for strategic tie-ups, Rajagiri also entered into twinning programs with Australia’s prestigious RMIT University and Malaysia’s Taylor’s Fr. Jose Alex, Director

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

And the students themselves are inspired from a campus and culture that saw personal visits and speeches by eminent leaders like Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, and NR Narayana Murthy, & Kris Gopalakrishnan of Infosys.

College. BTech students can study the first two years at Rajagiri and the next two at Melbourne or Kuala Lumpur, with just an additional year leading to MTech. Earlier, through Rajagiri International School for Education & Research (RISER), they had forged similar international exchange programs with USA’s


Western Michigan University and State University of New York, UK’s NEWI, Ireland’s AIT, Australia’s JCU & ACU National, & Thailand’s Assumption University. Rajagiri’s momentum clearly springs from its CMI roots, a Christian congregation that delegates visionary educationalists to head its prestigious institutions. RASET’s Manager, Fr. Dr. Antony Kariyil was formerly Principal of Bangalore’s renowned Christ College for 8 years, while, RASET’s Director Fr. Jose Alex, a postgraduate in social work from Mumbai’s prestigious Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), was the Principal of Rajagiri College of Social Sciences for 13 years. RASET’s Principal Dr. J Issac is an alumnus of IIT, Mumbai, and has headed similar institutions for 15 years in his long teaching career spanning 40 years.

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

These educationalists take their inspiration from the hardworking Rajagiri students, who brought home eight top-three university ranks in 2008. And the students themselves are inspired from a campus and culture that saw personal visits and speeches by eminent leaders like Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, and NR Narayana Murthy, & Kris Gopalakrishnan of Infosys.

common page 106


Foodies drool over these two dishes with unabashed abandon, making sure they don't waste a morsel. A visit to a Mughlai restaurant without ordering them is akin to blasphemy. And they are hugely, if not singularly, responsible for lending saddi Dilli its jovial, boisterous image. Yes, we're talking about butter chicken and tandoori chicken. This year, these two iconic dishes turned 90. From their birth in a tiny samosa-cum-sherbat shop in Peshawar in 1928, their post-partition introduction to Delhi from a tiny corner in Daryaganj to their present day global renown, they have mapped a long and laudable trail. It all began when a young Kundan Lal Gujral began helping out at a small shop called Moti Sweets in Peshawar (now in Pakistan). In 1929, at the request by the shop's owner, he 'invented' these dishes. "The owner wasn't well and told my grandfather to make him a light chicken dish," explains Monish Gujral, Kundan Lal's grandson. "In those days, the tandoor was used only to bake

breads. He decided to cook chicken in it, and what came out was tandoori chicken. He put it on the menu and changed the shop's name to Moti Mahal," he adds. Soon after came the butter chicken. Instead of letting leftover pieces of tandoori chicken go waste, an inspired Gujral came up with a rich, creamy gravy to dunk them into. The butter chicken or murgh makhani was born. In 1947, Gujral migrated to Delhi and set up a shop at Daryaganj. The rest, as they say, is history. Its popularity reached such heights that Maulana Azad, then education minister, told the visiting Shah of Iran: 'Going to Delhi and not eating at Moti Mahal is like going to Agra and not seeing the Taj Mahal'! Ask him about the secret ingredient and Gujral says: "my grandfather's love." Today, these venerable dishes have acquired international stature. Among the Capital's diners, Gulati, Karim's and Pindi rank among the top places for these dishes. Says Zain-ul-Abedin, co-owner, Karim's, "Logon ki zabaan par sharaab ke baad butter chicken aur tandoori chicken hi hota hai.

" Food blogger Siddhartha Khullar, who counts Moti Mahal restaurants as his favourite place for butter chicken, says the dishes have played a "very important" role for India's culinary map. "Everyone I've met all over the world knows two things about India - butter chicken and naan.

common page 107

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

It's become very common. Thirty to forty years back, no one had heard of it.


3 Stunningly FUTU Dental Clinics Unfortunately, keeping a healthy set of teeth involves regular visits to the dentist; dreaded periods of time which involve your face being prodded by metal instruments whilst you’re tilted horizontally in what is nearly always a cold, white, uninteresting room. The need for a sterile environment is understandable, but that doesn’t mean dental offices must look as plain as possible. Luckily for some, certain dental clinics have begun to hire creative people to give their places of work a much-needed makeover, and so far the results are looking promising. Here are just three of those stunners, each one commendable for its fresh approach and surprisingly inviting appearance.

Architects: x Architekten Location: Oberösterreich, Austria Client: APK Pensionskasse AG Construction: Polycarbonate, PVC, Glass, Wood Constructed Area: 525 sqm Project Year: 2006-2008 Photographs: Max Nirnberger

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

Brauner Wegner Priehn Dental Practice Should you ever find yourself in Northern Germany with toothache, you could do worse than to seek out the sublime Brauner Wegner Priehn Dental Practice in Hamburg. This blue and brown beauty was designed by J. Mayer H. Architects and finished earlier this year, and the results are amazing. Should the USS Enterprise ever need a new dental clinic, they could definitely approach these guys.


RISTIC

GKK Dental Ambulatory

Minami Nagano Dental Clinic

Located in a farming village within Nagano, Japan, the beautiful Minami-Nagano Dental Clinic was designed by architect Hiroki Tanabe and offers space for both a dental clinic, as seen in the photos above, plus separate living space for the dentist and/or staff. The three shells house clinic, waiting room and residence are linked by pathways.

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

Following a forced relocation, GKK Dental Ambulatory’s new premises were completed in 2008 by X Architeken. Situated in Upper Austria, the clinic’s incredibly minimal, stark interior would resemble the inside of an ice cube if it weren’t for the stripes of colour added by the dark wooden seating and reception desk.


Heartbreaking is So True

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

The sad connection between depression and heart disease.

common page 110


epression leads to elevated inflammatory proteins in the human body, according to researchers at Indiana UniversityPurdue University Indianapolis. Led by Dr. Jesse Stewart, researchers found that depressive symptoms are associated with increases over time in interleukin-6, an inflammatory protein that predicts cardiovascular events. On the other hand, levels of interleukin-6 were

not linked to subsequent increases in depressive symptoms. The new study is the first to examine both directions of the depression-inflammation connection and to measure the physical symptoms of depression, such as fatigue and sleep disturbance, in addition to the cognitiveemotional symptoms, such as pessimism and sadness. While many previous studies have linked depression to increased inflammatory protein levels measured at the same time, but they couldn”t speak to which is the cause and which is the effect. “There is two-way communication between the brain and the immune system, so we had to determine whether activation of the body’’s immune system sent a signal to the brain to affect mood and behavior or whether the depression activated the immune system,” said Dr. Stewart. The participants in the study consisted of 263 healthy men and women aged 50-70 years at the start of the study. They were tested at baseline and again six years later to determine their levels of depressive symptoms and interleukin-6. Levels of C-reactive protein, another inflammatory protein, were also measured but were not related to depression.

“Promotion of inflammation may be one pathway through which depression may ”get under the skin” to negatively influence cardiovascular health. The link to cardiovascular disease demonstrates that there may be physical as well as mental health reasons to treat depression,” said Stewart. The study has been published in the latest issue of the journal Brain, Behavior and Immunity.

common page 111

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

Stewart said that the strength of the association of depression with future heart disease is similar to that of traditional risk factors like smoking, high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol.


Loosing Excessive weight often is big challenge for normal human being. It requires discipline and motivation to do so. Every one knows advantage of loosing excessive kilos , every one knows health issues related to excessive weight yet loosing weight is not easy for many. Sonam kapoor , the sizzling hot diva of bollywood lost 35 kgs to look good before her savariya. This is what she says about her mantra that worked to indiatoday. In all fairness, it was my mother who helped me get rid of my excess weight. The first thing she did was to keep me off the stuff I was so fond of chocolates, ice creams, fried foods and sweets. My goal was to lose 35 kilos. I started weight training with trainers Shervir and Monisha; artistic yoga and Power Yoga with Bharat Thakur; Pilates with Yasmin Karachiwala and general fitness with trainer Zarine Watson. My training in Kathak helped me too. It's a vigorous form of classical dance and helps you get a toned body. In addition, Zarine put me on six small meals a day that are low on carbs and high on protein. My breakfast consisted of oatmeal and fruits. Post-workout, I had brown bread with egg whites. Afterwards, it was a protein shake with juice. Lunch comprised dal, sabzi, one ragi roti, salad and a piece of chicken or fish. The evening snack was high-fibre crackers with chicken cold cuts or egg whites. At dinner, it was soup, salad and a piece of chicken or fish. I followed this routine for a year and lost 35 kilos in all! I understand that doing 3-4 classes , kathak is not every ones cup of tea. It involved lot of investment of both money and time. But eating brown bread , salads , not eating chocolates , ice cream , replacing high calorie food with low calorie food without compromising in taste can be done for every one.

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

After all staying fit , looking attractive and feeling good about one's body is enough motivation to do so. Isn't it?


BELATEDLY, EGYPT SPOTS FLAWS IN WIPING OUT PIGS PIGS WERE THE CHAMPION GARBAGE CONSUMERS IN CAIRO. OTHER ANIMALS JUST DON'T SEEM UP TO THE TASK. CAIRO — It is unlikely anyone has ever come to this city and commented on how clean the streets are. But this litter-strewn metropolis is now wrestling with a garbage problem so severe it has managed to incite its weary residents and command the attention of the president. “The problem is clear in the streets,” said Haitham Kamal, a spokesman for the Ministry of State for Environmental Affairs. “There is a strict and intensive effort now from the state to address this issue.” But the crisis should not have come as a surprise.

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

When the government killed all the pigs in Egypt this spring — in what public health experts said was a misguided attempt to combat swine flu — it was warned the city would be overwhelmed with trash. The pigs used to eat tons of organic waste. Now the pigs are gone and the rotting food piles up on the streets of middle-class neighborhoods like

Heliopolis and in the poor streets of communities like Imbaba. Ramadan Hediya, 35, who makes deliveries for a supermarket, lives in Madinat el Salam, a low-income community on the outskirts of Cairo. “The whole area is trash,” Mr. Hediya said. “All the pathways are full of trash. When you open up your window to breathe, you find garbage heaps on the ground.” What started out as an impulsive response to the swine flu threat has turned into a social, environmental and political problem for the Arab world’s most populous nation. It has exposed the failings of a government where the power is concentrated at the top, where decisions are often carried out with little consideration for their consequences and where follow-up is

often nonexistent, according to social commentators and government officials. “The main problem in Egypt is follow-up,” said Sabir Abdel Aziz Galal, chief of the infectious disease department at the Ministry of Agriculture. “A decision is taken, there is follow-up for a period of time, but after that, they get busy with something else and forget about it. This is the case with everything.” Speaking broadly, there are two systems for receiving services in Egypt: The government system and the do-it-yourself system. Instead of following the channels of bureaucracy, most people rely on an informal system of personal contacts and bribes to get a building permit, pass an inspection, get a driver’s license — or make a living. “The straight and narrow path is just

common page 114


Cairo’s garbage collection belonged to the informal sector. The government hired multinational companies to collect the trash, and the companies decided to place bins around the city. But they failed to understand the ethos of the community. People do not take their garbage out. They are accustomed to seeing someone collecting it from the door. For more than half a century, those collectors were the zabaleen, a community of Egyptian Christians who live on the cliffs on the eastern edge of the city. They collected the trash, sold the recyclables and fed the organic waste to their pigs — which they then slaughtered and ate. Killing all the pigs, all at once, “was the stupidest thing they ever did,” Ms. Kamel said, adding, “This is just one more example of poorly informed decision makers.” When the swine flu fear first emerged, long before even one case was reported in Egypt, President Hosni Mubarak ordered that all the pigs be killed in order to prevent the spread of the disease. When health officials worldwide said that the virus was not being passed by pigs, the Egyptian government said that the cull was no longer about the flu, but was about cleaning up the zabaleen’s crowded, filthy, neighborhood. That was in May. Today the streets of the zabaleen community are as packed with stinking trash and as clouded with flies as ever before. But the zabaleen have done exactly what they said they would do: they stopped taking care of most of the organic waste. Instead they dump it wherever they

can or, at best, pile it beside trash bins scattered around the city by the international companies that have struggled in vain to keep up with the trash.

potential swine flu outbreak, a decision that could have been made anytime over the past three months, while schools were closed for summer break, critics said.

“They killed the pigs, let them clean the city,” said Moussa Rateb, a former garbage collector and pig owner who lives in the community of the zabaleen. “Everything used to go to the pigs, now

Officials in the Ministry of Health and other government ministries said they had not made this decision — and that they had counseled against pre-emptive school closings.

A woman picked through garbage in Cairo. A delicate balance of trash collecting has been upset, and garbage is everywhere. there are no pigs, so it goes to the administration.” A woman picked through garbage in Cairo. A delicate balance of trash collecting has been upset, and garbage is everywhere. Related The recent trash problem was compounded when employees of one of the multinational companies — men and women in green uniforms with crude brooms dispatched around the city — stopped working in a dispute with the city. The government says that the dispute has been resolved, but nothing has been done to repair the damage to the informal system that once had the zabaleen take Cairo’s trash home. The garbage is only the latest example of the state’s struggling to meet the needs of its citizens, needs as basic as providing water, housing, health care and education. The government announced last week that schools would not be opened until the first week of October to give the government time to prepare for a

It appears to have been ordered by the presidency and carried out by the governors, who also ordered that all private schools, already in class, be shut down as well. “We did not propose or call for postponing schools, so the reason is not with us,” said an official in the Ministry of Health who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to speak to the news media. The heads of three large governorates, or states, in Egypt announced Wednesday that their strategy for keeping schoolchildren safe was to take classes, which on average are crowded with more than 60 students, and split them in half and have children attend school only three days a week, another decision that was criticized. There have been more than 800 confirmed cases of H1N1 in Egypt, and two flu-related deaths. “The state is troubled; as a result the system of decision making is disintegrating,” said Galal Amin, an economist, writer and social critic. “They are ill-considered decisions taken in a bit of a hurry, either because you’re trying to please the president or because you are a weak government that is anxious to please somebody.” Cairo’s streets have always been busy with children and littered with trash. Now, with the pigs gone, and the schools closed, they are even more so. “The Egyptians are really in a mess,” Mr. Amin said.

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

too bureaucratic and burdensome for the rich person, and for the poor, the formal system does not provide him with survival, it does not give him safety, security or meet his needs,” said Laila Iskandar Kamel, chairwoman of a community development organization in Cairo.


FROM

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

CHOSEN INSURER TO CHOICE INSURER


Shri. T.S. Vijayan (Chairman)

LIC was not self-made. It was chosen from among many, more than 50 years back. Chosen to be made the only operator in life insurance. But the acid test came in 1999. The sector was deregularized, with multiple private operators entering the sector. Most predicted a la BSNL for LIC, if not an untimely demise. But Life Insurance Corporation of India has

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

10

WAYS LIC MAINTAINS LEADERSHIP


SEASONAL MAGAZINE

emphatically proven that it has a long long life ahead. The private life insurers are yet to do a la Airtel or la RCom. A more honest statement would be that they are unable to do it. Unable to even figure out how to stop the LIC express. And then comes the double whammy for them – the worldwide financial meltdown. When even giants like AIG reeled, LIC found opportunity in distress. Their November 2008 launch, Jeevan Aastha, a close ended single premium plan went on to become a smash hit, with a record breaking first premium collection of Rs. 10,000 crore within 45 days. From its long-back status of the chosen insurer, LIC has become the choice insurer. What is powering the LIC juggernaut? Seasonal Magazine identifies 10 of LIC’s winning strategies:


Focus on Core Business In an ever changing business and investment environment, where the temptations for losing one’s way have been numerous for a financial company, it stands to LIC’s credit that it has never lost its focus on its core business – insuring lives. This has ensured LIC’s edge against competing investment platforms like recurring deposits, mutual funds, or equities. Because the pitch is, an LIC policy does all that, but it also insures life. LIC EDGE 2:

People Power There is no doubt that people power continues to be LIC’s trump card. Even in 2008-09, LIC registered a 12.66% growth in its formidable army of agents, which now stands more than 13.44 lakh. Even while comparable financial organizations like SBI struggle to have a performance linked pay structure in place, this is a human resource pool that works entirely on performance status. LIC’s Post Recruitment Orientation Training (PROT) is

reputed to make top performers from average sellers. It also goes to LIC’s credit that it didn’t opt for VRS or retrenchment for its salaried employee base, instead making them productive through HRD initiatives. LIC EDGE 3:

Claim Performance LIC continues to be the most believable life insurer around, based on actual claim performance. During 2008-09, LIC settled over 1.49 crore claims, with 97% maturity claims settled on or before date, and 93% of non early death claims settled within 20 days of intimation. Outstanding claims under death is 2.21% and that under maturity is just 0.26%. LIC EDGE 4:

Technology Edge Post de-regularization, LIC had moved swiftly to implement the latest paradigms in the area of IT implementation, so that the new agile competitors don’t have an advantage over it. Lately, LIC has started setting the standards in IT implementation,

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

LIC EDGE 1:


more and more saturated, LIC early on diversified its attention to rural markets, and with excellent results. LIC continuously recruits and develops special rural agents, and the insurer has opened a lot of satellite office in rural areas. The recently launched Jeevan Mangal and the repositioned New Jana Raksha plan have been quick hits with farmers and rural people.

LIC EDGE 7:

Widest Portfolio Shri. Thomas Mathew T. (Managing Director - LIC) and its new EDMS project all set to be completed shortly, it will be LIC who is going to enjoy a huge edge due to technology. LIC EDGE 5:

Alternate Channels It was once thought that alternate channels like bancassurance would sound the death-bell for LIC. Instead the company quickly adapted to the possibilities of the bancassurance model, and today has tie-ups with 34 banks on corporate agency model, and with 57 banks on referral model. And wonder of wonders, LIC’s alternate channels business is growing at a blistering pace of 32% annually. LIC EDGE 6:

Rural Reach

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

Instead of waiting for the urban markets to get

LIC has more than 50 different plans catering to the different needs of different segments of the society. LIC also has 13 Pension and Group Schemes. Whatever be the need, LIC has a suitable policy to match that need. From conventional plans like endowment assurance, and money back plans to the contemporary unitlinked plans to serve a wider category of customers, LIC offers Unit-Linked Health Insurance Plan, Term Insurance plans, Plans for Women, Pension Plans, and a wide range of children's plans, too. LIC EDGE 8:

Investment Business LIC continues to be the country’s largest investor. Even in a difficult financial year like the present, LIC has pumped in more than Rs. 1,00,000 crore of investments, of which over Rs. 22,000 crore is into the capital markets. LIC’s profits from equity this year is fast


Shri. A.K. Dasgupta (Managing Director - LIC) approaching Rs. 5000 crore, but it remains a net buyer. LIC is also powering the nation’s infrastructure, corporate debt, and government securities. Apart from profits, this gives the organization a lot of leverage with the Government, corporates, and the various funds. LIC EDGE 9:

Sensing Dangers Ahead LIC’s response to the Swaroop Committee has been quite rational. The organization reiterated that insurance continues to be a sold product and not a bought one, and as such the agents should not be meted out a bad deal. LIC EDGE 10:

Credible Ownership Shri. D.K. Mehrotra (Managing Director - LIC)

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

Needless to say, LIC ownership continues to be a major competitive advantage. The 100% ownership by the government makes it risk proof and in the present economic climate, it is a huge advantage recognized by the customers.


nal e s r A ive Execut os that can transform eyso,urlaopftfoicpes,

and with the user interface to beat, the phone has spun out a n m o iz h g p t , 3G eigh s. Take whoppingly large ecosystem desktops e Here are h – c t lf a e w rs r athe s you e , a G w ll L e ll , around itself along with an a w y n d s o a ,S , an netbooks HP, Apple , h s obsessed, die-hard cult following V it T w l D e LC lev the next o that is impossible to reason with. t . x t e h ig im f T the C, & T H , h Its latest avatar, the 3GS (the S c e git Nokia, Lo stands for speed) boasts more than 75,000 applications (spanning virtually every imaginable subject, genre and kind, all downloadable at the peck of a finger), a 3-megapixel auto-focus camera that has the unique ability to alter focus with a tap, one large 32 gig memory gob, voice control functions, video record and edit, and a digital compass. A VoiceOver screen reader articulates what appears on the iPhone 3GS display, allowing visually impaired users to make calls, hear their email, listen to web pages and run applications. Battery-life, though beefed up,

mode for mobile use. Ruefully, the fact that there are just two USB ports pockmarks this premium offering. And ah, the lack of a spill resistant keyboard will also be frowned at by sloppier souls. Still, an outstanding – if – pricey – piece of portability.

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

HP TouchSmart The 3rd generation 23-inch HP SmartTouch all-in-one PC (single unit screen-cum-CPU) launches soon, wearing the impending touch-amenable Windows 7 operating system and a host of new finger-friendly applications that up the ante in personal desktop computing. The 2nd gen TouchSmart, already here, is pretty damn special in itself. iPhone-like multi-touch, flick, pinch and zoom abilities aside, the space-cruncher panel PC boasts a TV tuner and wireless keyboard, mouse and full-function remote control. To make the large screen surface area more durable, the TouchSmart deploys optical sensing (instead of capacitive or resistive) technology to gauge the position and movement of your phalanges. Optical touch technology uses two optical sensors located at the corners of the screen. These sensors track the movement of any object close to the surface by detecting the interruption of the light source (infrared LED) and calculating the touch location. Such well-built hardware and a much improved, intuitive user interface portends a paradigm shift in the way we will soon interact with our machines

iPhone 3GS As the benchmark in all things touch

accelerometer to protect and prepare for drops etc are noteworthy. A dynamic Graphic System on the handsome, vibrant 13.1 inch screen allows you to switch between discrete and integrated GPU without needing a restart, thereby permitting an enhanced graphics mode for the office and a power-efficient

LG Scarlet II

continues to be the iPhone’s only bane. Until a mobile miracle maker can leapfrog all this, the iPhone is set to rule – hearts, heads and handhelds.

Sony Vaio VGN–Z46GD The Vaio Z46GD features a rugged carbon fibre casing that ensconces a swift Intel Core 2 Duo Processor P9700 (6M Cache, 2.80 GHz, 1066 MHz FSB) coupled with a chunky 6GB of RAM. The ample gigs of memory and raw processing panache make working on its pre-installed Vista a painless affair. A fingerprint reader plus Trusted Platform Module (TPM) security chip combo for data security, and a hard disk

The slim, elegant second edition of LG’s Scarlet LCD TV sports a (surprise-surprise) red bezel trim and a glossy black back, while it’s signature circular ‘recess’ in the bezel serves as a unique touchsensitive power button. The 1.6 inch- thick panel features full HD (1920 x 1080) and IPS (In- Plane Switching), 5oocd/m2 brightness, a 178/178 viewing angle, 100,000:1 contrast 2.4ms response, DivX playback, Bluetooth connectivity, as many as three HDMI ports, two component-in ports, a PC input (Mini D-Sub), one RS-232, plus USB 2.0 inputs for viewing / playing JPEGs, MP3s, MPEG4 movies etc. On the performance front, the Scarlet II offers excellent image quality in terms of vibrancy anc clarity. HD reproduction is also superlative. The high (2.4ms) response time ensures no noticeable ghosting, movement trails or blurring. Deeper blacks would have further improved the picture quality. The inbuilt speakers (neatly concealed


under the bezel) are capable of handling both wailing violins as well as boom and bass with impressive resonance and clarity, even at top volume levels.

Nokia Booklet 3G Netbook The latest big gun to leap atop the netbook bandwagon is, believe it or not, mobile maker Nokia. Dubbed the

neck and legs while you’re sitting. An arched base and an air flow chamber between the Lapdesk’s base and top further ensures heat dissipation. Now that’s on cool product!

Timex Expedition WS4 With a widescreen multifunction dashboard face, this rugged watch gives you an at-a-glance altimeter, barometer, compass and thermometer right on your wrist. A four to six hour weather forecast indicates approaching precipitation and storms etc. Other features include a target altitude setting and altitude alarm for climbers, a 100-hour chronograph, a 100-hour timer and alarm, and a night light. Water resistant up to 50 metres, the WS4 boasts a chunky 50 mm composite case with a stainless steel top plate.

Booklet 3G, Nokia’s just announced aluminium-bodied netbook will run Windows on an Intel Atom processor, boast a 12 – hour battery life and tip the scales at just over a kilo. It will also flaunt a 10.1 inch high-definition display, connect to Wi-Fi as well as cellular wireless networks to keep you connected, and feature assisted GPS tracking. Pricing has been set at $810. Availability is still up in the ether, though

Logitech Comfort Lapdesk Here’s something nifty that’ll help protect you from notebook heat, while giving you some degree of neck and leg comfort. The aesthetically pleasing, lightweight Logitech Comfort Lapdesk (Rs 2995) has a four – layer heat shielding design to insulate you from the warmth emanating from your

HTC Diamond 2 The Diamond 2 is one of the very best Windows mobile devices ever invented. Its 5 megapixel camera is second to none, delivering very good output for a phone camera. (It does lack a flash though.) Its battery life can best the

competition by more than half a day. It supports all popular audio/video formats and has a good, non – tinny speaker. Calls to and fro are clear and drop-free. There’s WiFi (config is a cinch), there’s Bluetooth, plus GPS, a microSD memory card slot, FM radio, an accelerometer, and a mini USB 2.0 jack. Currently running Windows Mobile 6.1 on a Qualcomm MSM7200A, 528MH processor, the Diamond 2 masks the chunkiness of the OS with an eminently useable TouchFlo 3D interface that’s both slick in look and smooth to flick. The large (3.2inch) WVGA (480 by 800 pixel) screen is bright, crisp, vibrant and above all, responsive. However, the resistive touch screen’s impotence at multi-touch and at following your fingertips into instinctive, intuitive pinch/spread movements to zoom in and out of pages and photos leaves you forlorn and fumbling. There’s also the oft-compulsive dependence on the accompanying stylus, necessitated by the slim scroll bar and pretty cramped keyboard. The Diamond 2’s web browsing abilities too, though fairly competent, could do with some improvements given what the competition offers. The Opera browser is nice to an extent. Scrolling is super smooth. Web page display is crisp. Text is eminently sharp and readable in small point-sizes as well. But at times you can click on a link and nothing happens. Hitting the back button sometimes results in a blank page. Tabbed browsing is limited to two pages – restrictive, but there. You can add up to four ‘push ‘pages that can be set to refresh every 1 to 24 hours. A useful Zoom bar at the base of the screen helps you zoom in and out of pages. It’s disappointing that the same Zoom bar has not been efficiently deployed in other spheres – as a volume control, for instance. (Source: M Magazine. By Ashish Bhatia)

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

laptop’s base. It’s 12 degree angled riser also positions your notebook at a viewing angle that’s more comfortable for your


CHOITHRAM INTERNATIONAL

A WORLD SCHOOL DELIVERING WORLD BEATING RESULTS Indore’s Choithram International School led by Managing Trustee Satish P Motiani and Principal Dilip Vasu is Central India’s first IB World School and Cambridge Centre, and has been delivering excellent results in international exams. Choithram International belongs to Choithram Group, the largest and most reputed NRI Group hailing from Madhya Pradesh with a track-record of 65 years and operating in 26 countries, currently headed by Dubai based business leader LT Pagarani. etting a vision par excellence, Choithram dreams of a future of profound growth and splendid development.

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

This is Choithram International, the only IB World School and Cambridge Centre in Central India offering world class education. It provides a perfect and conducive setting for meaningful education and creating a centre of academic excellence. The school offers PYP, MYP, & DP, all the three programmes of the IB. The school started offering the Cambridge IGCSE (Grade 10) from 2006 and since then 4 batches have passed out with excellent results with ICE Certification. The school also offers the Cambridge ‘A’ Level in both the science and commerce streams. Within a short span, the results of these board examinations at Choithram International (CI) speak about the mission, vision and exalted purpose on the campus. Palkesh Asawa and Yash Bhambhani in 2007 topped all India in AS (Grade 11) commerce and science

streams. Recently, CIE declared the toppers of November 2008 exams, and again Choithram International stood at the national and the global platform. Alokik Mishra topped the world in IGCSE Accounting (0452) and the country in Economics (0455). Moreover Samyak Jain of AS Level stood as all India topper in Physics (9702) and Palkesh Asawa in Economics (9708) in A2 Level. The school offers exams in both the sessions i.e. May / June and Oct / Nov. These results show the commitment of the institution towards the modern teaching approach and educational initiatives. The school with its child centred approach and collaborative learning and working environment believes in keeping everyone updated on the latest in the field of education. The school community provides everyone an opportunity to be well-informed and well


The institution draws all its material and human resources to polish the fundamentals to achieve efficiency. The school community encourages the students to give an extension to their dreams in the form of actions and focused efforts. We have nurtured the environment of dreaming and accomplishing, with continuous efforts. The administration, staff, and students have the courage to set higher goals and face challenges with perseverance. Special care is taken when guiding the students on the subject selection in IGCSE & A Level. Specific benchmarks are set for the same keeping in mind the child’s aptitude and interest.

attitude drifts away from the traditional teaching and learning and that makes complete difference. The uniqueness of the institution lies in its belief in “everything is possible” and “open-minded attitude”. Looking forward approach with energizing communication and interaction are the key words to describe the efforts of the school community in a short span of CI history.

The assessment in the school includes the formative and summative tasks and tests which prepare the students for problem solving and analytical skills. The challenging worksheets and assignments skill-fully designed result in a supportive environment since the beginning. The individual attention given to each student with freedom and flexibility in methods provides a guiding light for managing the exams and assignments. The lack of fear element on the school campus brings out the best in everyone.

Choithram Group has been a pioneer in the field of education. Choithram International, the youngest member in this family, since its inception has been growing from strength to strength. Choithram International is a World School. Successfully running the International Baccalaureate Primary Year Programme, Middle Year Programme, the school has also got its authorization for Diploma Programme. The school proposes to commence the Diploma Programme in January 2010. The subjects offered are Language AEnglish, Language B-Hindi or French, Business and Management, Economics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Mathematics. Spread in sprawling, lush green campus right in the heart of the city, the school provides ideal environment for the young learners. State of the art infrastructure and the hostel, provides a haven for the children away from home. Catering to international education, the School’s is the most affordable in South Asian region.

The dedication of the teaching staff with their 24X7 readiness and availability for their students and positive

Madhya Pradesh & Chhattisgarh – constituting Central India – was never a stronghold for international

SEASONAL MAGAZINE

connected. The innovative environment with a balanced approach in curriculum gives a comprehensive texture to the school policies and implementation. We promote flexibility and creativity and emphasize on the high standards of personality development.


Thakurdas Pagarani, Founder, Choithram Group

LT Pagarani, Chairman, Choithram Group

schooling. To correct this, it called for an international organization of repute. Preferably with local roots. Enter Choithram Group. Probably the largest and most reputed NRI Group hailing from MP. With 65 years of international track-record and operating in 26 countries. Under family scion Satish P Motiani’s able leadership the T Choithram Foundation started their first international school – Choithram International – in 2004 at Indore, Central India’s economic capital and their beloved hometown. The first IB & IGCSE affiliated international school in Central India, Choithram International draws on the international expertise of the Group as well as the Foundation’s long experience in public schooling. Though sparing no expense to come up with a full-facility campus, complete with a brand new indoor stadium, Choithram International is an undisputed leader in affordable international schooling – with fee coming up to only one-fourth of comparable international schools. It is a legacy imbibed from Group Founder Late Thakurdas Pagarani who was not only a globe-trotting entrepreneur but an exceptional philanthropist who started enduring institutions that provides healthcare and education to the poor. The multibillion Choithram Group has operations in 26 countries including North America, Europe, Africa, Far East, South Asia, and their stronghold of Middle East – where they run one of the largest supermarket chains. Dubai based family scion LT Pagarani currently heads the Group as its Chairman, while it’s Trusts in India are headed by Satish P Motiani, son-in-law of Thakurdas Pagarani, as the Managing Trustee. In their home-turf of Indore, Choithram Group has been running a hospital and a few schools, for the last 36 years. The Choithram Hospital & Research Centre (CHRC) has

Sathish P Motiani, Managing Trustee, T Choithram Foundation

been the city’s leading hospital, complete with stateof-the-art critical care facilities. The hospital is noted for its significant free services to the poor, even while being one of MP’s most modern hospitals. The original Choithram School at Indore has two campuses – the North Campus is at Nipania and the South Campus at

Dilip Vasu, Principal Choithram International

Manik Bagh. MP’s first school to have permanent CBSE affiliation, Choithram School has over 2500 students on its rolls. In education too, the Group has a significant charitable initiative – Tirath Bai Kalachand School at Palsikar Colony of the city, which offers subsidized or free education and has a formidable strength of 1000 students. However, it is in the formation of Choithram International – the Group’s first international school – that a perfect synergy has been struck with the Group’s international stature and its local expertise. Choithram International is currently headed by its Principal Dilip Vasu who was earlier with reputed international schools in North & East India.


5 Must have applications for Smartphones Have you ever wondered what will you do with the Smartphone that you have bought? We have selected five free applications for your smartphones, be it Windows Mobile powered, Symbian powered or even your Android powered smartphone these applications will make your life easier and will help you make the most of your smartphone. 1. Fring: Fring rolls the benefits of instant messengers and social networking in to one. It combines multiple IM profiles in one dynamic profile. When you are online on Fring you are logged in to all services at once. It supports all popular IM services like Yahoo, Windows Live, GTalk, Rediff and Skype. You can also make phone calls using the Skype in/ Skype out or any other Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) enabled network. This works on almost any service that utilizes the VOIP protocol and on any Wi-Fi network. You can also chat or change your status on popular social networking services like Facebook, Orkut, Myspace and Twitter. Please visit http:// www.fring.com for a full range of features supported by Fring. 2. Facebook: Facebook is one of the largest social networking websites and the Facebook application brings it right to your smartphone. This app allows the user to update status, read and post new wall posts and upload new pictures directly to Facebook. But it would not allow you to run Facebook applications or do live chat with other online friends. Go to http:/ / w w w. f a c e b o o k . c o m / mobile/ to download the app for your phone. 3. Viigo: You are on the move and are missing all the RSS

feeds you have subscriber to on your computer. Enter Viigo. This one application would let you get all your RSS feeds on you Blackberry or Windows Mobile phone. It is easy to set up and allows you to synchronize your Google reader account with the service too. The latest version also gives access to you multiple Twitter feeds and allows you to tweet from the device itself. Go to http:// www. v i i g o . c o m / download to download Viigo. 4. Google Latitude: Thanks to Twitter and Facebook you now know what your friends are doing at any point of time. Imagine if you could also share your current location with them. Google Latitude is one such app. Making it even more powerful is the fact that Google Latitude is integrated with Google Maps so it allows the user to locate friends and navigate to them too, if they want to meet. The app also lets you set different levels of location sharing in which user can control different levels of privacy with tagged friends. Download it from http://www.google.com/latitude. 5. Opera Mini: Viewing web pages on a mobile device is filled with challenges. Be it the size of the screen or the processing capability of the phone. Few phone manufacturers and browsers have got it right. Opera is one of the few who have actually got it right. Arguably, one of the most widely used browsers on the mobile, it is a must have freebie. The key benefit of using Opera Mini is that this browser processes page requests through Opera’s very own web servers and off loads much of the processing away from your smartphone. It also caches Web pages allowing the Web pages to load faster on your mobile device. Download it from http:/ / w w w. o p e r a . c o m / m i n i / download/


common page 128


Bahrain BD 1.50 Kuwait KD 1.50

Oman OR 1.50, Saudi Arabia SR 12.00

UAE DH 10.00 UK £ 3.00, US $ 3.00

3600 INFOTAINMENT

VOLUME 8 ISSUE 11 NOVEMBER 2009

Rs. 50

Q2 Doesn’t Better H1 at Indian Banks APARTMENT BUYING?

Meet India’s Real Estate Ironies

dubai cover


Bahrain BD 1.50 Kuwait KD 1.50

Oman OR 1.50, Saudi Arabia SR 12.00

UAE DH 10.00 UK £ 3.00, US $ 3.00

3600 INFOTAINMENT

VOLUME 8 ISSUE 11 NOVEMBER 2009

Rs. 50

Q2 Doesn’t Better H1 at Indian Banks An Old Man Fights the Times

Why We Are Who We Are Inside HUMAN BRAINS


Bahrain BD 1.50 Kuwait KD 1.50

Oman OR 1.50, Saudi Arabia SR 12.00

UAE DH 10.00 UK £ 3.00, US $ 3.00

3600 INFOTAINMENT

VOLUME 8 ISSUE 11 NOVEMBER 2009

Rs. 50

An Old Man Fights the Times APARTMENT BUYING?

Meet India’s Real Estate Ironies

Q2 Doesn’t Better H1 at Indian Banks


Seasonal Magazine - November 2009 Issue