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PREMIUM BUSINESS LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE

TIMES

India’s Regulatory Overkill on Gold Loans V.P. Nandakumar MD & CEO, Manappuram Finance Ltd.

Releasing Value From Soiled and Mutilated Currency Notes. Jiz P. Kottukappally

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FDI in Retail:

What is the bustle all about?

10 Tips for an Entrepreneur

Auto Review

The all new Mahindra Windows 8 Quanto


RNI Reg. No: KERENG/2011/42633

TIMES Managing Editor Ajit Ravi Editor Jebitha Ajit Associate Editor Bejoy George Legal Advisor Adv. Sreelatha Parameswaran

Cover Photograph: Joy Alukkas

Correspondents Dr. Thomas Nechupadam, Tressa Varghese Denisha Sahadevan, Sheela Abraham Sreerekha R. Nair, Amith David, Cherry Mathew Creative Design Ashique K Gilsha Bindosh Marketing Pramod Photographer Jinish, Photogenic Our Patron: Mr. V.P. Nandakumar Printed and Published by Ajit Ravi Pegasus L5-106 Changampuzha Nagar Kalamasserry, Kochi-33 Printed at S T Reddiar P.B. No: 3627 Veekshanam Road, Cochin Contact Ph: 0484 3242220, 3292223, 3046432 Mob: +91 98460 50283, 94470 50283 editor@uniquetimes.org

Our Patron Mr. V.P. Nandakumar * All rights reserved worldwide. Reproduction in any manner without permission of proprietors is prohibited.


India’s Regulatory Overkill on Gold Loans

12

14 FDI In Retail: What is the

bustle all about

20 Joy Alukkas

The Journey of a Jeweller

Releasing Value From

Soiled & Mutilated

CURRENCY NOTES

16


The Lake District of India

NAINITAL

24

Books

28 30 Book

Review

32

48

What is that drives a person to do things?

Mahindra

Quanto

The New

Windows of

Computing

50


54 Gangnam

Style

58

The young

Champion

10 Tips for

Entrepreneurs

52 62 What's

Going On

60

Movie Review

Skyfall


Editorial Thank you for the great reviews for our last edition. The last edition was a milestone in our journey together. Unique Times right from the beginning is positioned as premium magazine, and we are present in all premium spots, take for example the departure launches in Cochin International Airport and other major luxury spots in the city. This issue we have the cover story on Joy Alukkas, the world’s favourite jeweller and his journey from the small state of Kerala to conquer the world. We are proud to feature Mr. Joy Alukkas in our cover page. This edition we have articles on the much debated issue on FDI, a review of the latest edition of Microsoft Windows, a write up on PSY, the South Korean rapper and Sebastian Vettel, the youngest triple champion in Formula One Racing. We also have our regular columns from VP Nandakumar, Jiz P Kottukappally, Sheela Abraham and Sreerekha R. Nair. I am quite that happy to hear from our readers who always give enthusiastic feedback to our regular columns. Wish you all a Merry Christmas and a very happy New Year! Happy Reading

Ajit Ravi


Football

AFC Awards

Unique Diary

The Australian goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer, Manchester United midfielder Shinji Kagawa and his Japanese team mate Yuto Nagatomo have been nominated for the AFC’s first Asian International Player of the Year Award. South Korean winger Lee Keun-ho, who had won the AFC Champions League with Ulsan Hyundai, and Australian captain Lucas Neill, who plays for Al Wasl in the UAE, were shortlisted for the prize. The new honor comes after years of the AFC only nominating players who would be available to attend the awards, which usually ruled out the many worthywinners who played for European clubs. Three Japanese , Aya Miyama, Homare Sawa and Yuki Ogimi were nominated for the Women’s Player of the Year award. Bruno Correa, Ricardo Oliveira and Rogerio De Assis Silva Coutinho are nominated for the foreign Player of the Year.

Future of China in

Xi Jinping's Hands Former Vice President Xi Jinping who has succeeded to becoming the President of China, appeared in public looking quite relaxed while meeting with the world’s media. Xi Jinping spoke with a genuine personal feeling of what needs to be done in the nation of China which consists of 1.3 billion people. Talking of people’s desire for a better life, better jobs, education, and health care, he smiled a chubby smile unlike his predecessor, Hu Jintao. Some of the observers who had the long memories of the old Soviet Union compared it to the early appearance of Mikhail Gorbachev as he had sought to move the USSR towards a more relaxed and responsible system. However this comparison would be an anathema to Xi and his colleagues since Gorbachev is a dirty name in China as the man who relaxed the Party’s grip and brought disaster to it.

The "Homeless" Planet A quiet young “homeless” planet which has been dubbed CFBDSIR2149 for the time being has been spotted by researchers at the University of Montreal for the first time. Having been deemed “homeless” because it does not orbit a star, it is up to seven times the size of Jupiter and freefloating with no gravitational ties meeting the specific criteria of mass, temperature and age in order to be designated as a “planet.” It is the first isolated planet of its kind to be discovered. It is between 50 and 120 million years old, and has a temperature of around 400 degree Celsius. “Although theorists had established the existence of this type of very cold and young planet, one had never been observed until today,” said Etienne Artigau, an astrophysicist at UdeM.

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UNIQUE TIMES December 2012


Apple Tops Again Almost 80 percent of the respondents in the 700 company survey by management consulting firm Booz & Company named Apple to be one of the three most innovative companies for the third year in a row in a new annual survey of the top 10 most innovative companies. Google came in second ahead of 3M, listing in the top 3 by the 43 percent of respondents. “Apple’s innovation focuses on bringing together different parts of an ecosystem and tightly integrating them together with meticulous attention to detail,” said Reticle Research analyst Ross Rubin quoted by CNN. According to Rubin Apple refines consumer capabilities in an approachable offering with broad appeal. Microsoft, the top R&D spender in the software and internet area, was ranked in the sixth place for the most innovative company.

A Study On Circket The Sydney Morning Herald has reported that in a thesis titled “Ageing and Test Cricket Averages; A Statistical Note,” by professor John Mangan it has been stated that the batting average of even the greatest batsmen usually dip if they continue to play into their 30’s. The batting average of cricketers including the great ones of our time usually start taking a downhill turn in their 30’s. Based on a study of 12 of the current and former legendary run scorers, such as Sachin Tendulkar, Ponting, Michael Hussey, Sir Donald Bradman, and Brain Lara, John Mangan came to conclude that the highest batting average was achieved at the age of 29.

Former Maoist

Prime Minister Slapped Padam Kunwar a young activist slapped Maoist Chief and former Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda in public breaking his glasses during a tea party for leaders from different political parties where Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai was also seen to be present. The angry Maoist youths then assaulted Kunwar, causing him to bleed immensely from his nose and face. The police who were rushed to recuse Kunwar from the beatings said that Kunwar was under detention and was being treated at Birendra Police hospital. Some said that the attack no Prachanda may have been “preplanned.” The Home Ministry held an emergency meeting of security agencies and constituted a three member committee, which was headed by Additional Inspector General of Police Nabaraj Dhakal, in order to investigate the attack on Prachanda.

December 2012 UNIQUE TIMES 09


Valerie Eliot

Unique Diary

Valerie Eliot wife of T.S. Eliot, (the greatest poet of the 20th century who passed away in 1965) has passed away at the age of 86 in London. Ms. Eliot had been T.S. Eliot’s secretary for several years at the publishing house Faber & Faber when they married in 1957. Having been almost 38 years younger at the time of marriage, they had a happy marriage as she looked after him closely, their life was largely quiet and domestic. After T.S. Eliot’s death, she continued to guard his literary legacy for nearly half a century giving out the permissions to quote from his works and turning away requests from scholars and the biographers. It is also known that she herself, had edited the edition of The Waste Land.

Hindu-Muslim

BROTHERHOOD In Bihar’s Sitamarhi district, a fine example of the Hindu-Muslim brotherhood is shown as Muslims have been quietly helping the Hindus to construct a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, ahead of the Chhath festival, though the media attention is mainly being drawn to the violence over the expansion of a Hindu temple near Charminar in Muslim dominated Hyderabad’s Old City. According to the President of the Shiva Temple Construction Committee, Muslims are not only donating money for the temple construction, but they are also actively involved in ensuring that it should come up soon. “The construction of the temple will strengthen harmony between the two communities and pave the way for greater cooperation in the future,” commented one of the villagers. Though Sitamarhi town also had a history of communal conflict which was witnessed during the 1990’s through the riots which were caused, time has changed, as a brotherhood is being shown.

Lionel Messi Lionel Messi won the Liga de Futbol Professional (LFP) award for the best player and striker of the 2011-12 La Liga Season. Messi topped the La Liga goal scorer table with 50 goals. The annual LFP awards are based on the votes set in by fellow players and coaches for the best football player in top two divisions of the Spanish League. "For those two awards I want to thank the coaches that voted me the best forward and to my colleagues who voted me the best player, it's a very big honor to be able to receive these awards. It's a great satisfaction and an enormous joy," commented Messi.

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UNIQUE TIMES December 2012


Bal Keshav Thackeray Bal Keshav Thackeray, has passed away at the age of 86 from cardiacrespiratory arrest at his home. Having been one of India's most polarizing politicians he was the leader of the right-wing Hindu nationalist Shiv Sena Party which has dominated politics in the country's richest city for two decades. He was a hero of Mumbai’s Hindu working class, a defender of regional heritage by his supporters and despised as a hot headed bigot by others. His public life was dedicated to championing the right of Mumbai’s “sons of the soil. His death could possibly spark a power struggle in the Shiv Sena, causing a dent in its support with its vote base in Maharashtra.

The Invisibility CLOAK

The researchers of Duke University are in the process of inventing an invisibility cloak which can come in handy for the military operations. The same team had previously developed the invisibility cloak in 2006, however the new one is the improved version of the older cloak. Developed by the scientists of Duke’s Pratt School of Engineering they aimed to solve the problems which the old cloak presented. The new invisibility cloak has a diamond shaped invisibility field where the edges are covered as light passes around the cloak completely causing no reflections. The researchers have yet to figure out as to how to make it work with visible light. This new technology can be used in the military for spying, in radars, and aircraft as well as for hiding small object.

Savita Halappanavar Savita Halappanavar, a dentist living and working in Galway in Ireland has passed away due to having suffered from Septicemia. Halappanavar was 17 weeks pregnant when she was admitted to the hospital in Galway and told by the doctors that she was going to have a miscarriage, after which she requested for an abortion for three days. However the doctor denied her request for abortion saying that because Ireland was a Catholic country they could not abort the baby. After three days, the heartbeat of the baby could no longer be heard and thus was removed surgically after which she contracted septicemia. The Irish Government inquired into Savita’s death through the hospital and the Irish Health Department. Over 2000 people attended a candlelight vigil in front of the Irish Parliament seeking legislation on abortion.

December 2012 UNIQUE TIMES 11


V.P. Nandakumar MD & CEO, Manappuram Finance Ltd.

Finance

India’s Regulatory Overkill on Gold Loans

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UNIQUE TIMES December 2012


B

ack in March of this year, when the Reserve Bank of India stepped in with a cap of 60% on the loan to value (LTV) ratio for gold loan NBFCs, it said it was acting to pre-empt systemic risks and to safeguard public funds. The verdict was that the gold loan companies depended too much on public funds and their focus on a single product made them vulnerable to concentration risks. Moreover, there was unease about the big players in the business growing too fast, and fears of a bubble building up in the sector. As with all major policy changes, a final judgment is best reserved until the consequences, intended and unintended, have played out fully. However, more than six months down the line, the initial assessment is not promising, pointing as it does to an element of overkill. Concentration risk in perspective

The Housing Development Finance Corporation (HDFC) is one of the most successful companies in the financial sector today, widely regarded as a blue-chip. HDFC deals in loans to the real estate sector, mainly individual housing loans, and has built up a loan book of nearly Rs.150,000 crores backed by substantial borrowings from the public and the banking system. Housing loans are typically given out for long tenures of ten to twenty years even as the market remains vulnerable to cyclical downturns. In fact, the recent international experience with loans against real estate has been none too happy, with the downturn in the US realty market being the proximate cause for the financial meltdown of 2008. However, in India, HDFC continues to stand tall. Shriram Transport Finance Corporation Ltd. lends mostly against second hand trucks. The company has assets under management (AUM) of over Rs.40,000 crores, substantially funded by banks. Unlike real estate or gold, a truck is a

rapidly depreciating asset whose whereabouts are hard to keep track of. But, thanks to the many innovations thrown up by its focused model, this is not an issue of concern. Today, the company is hailed as a pioneer in truck finance whose efforts have transformed thousands of humble truck drivers into proud truck owners. From a regulatory perspective, both HDFC and Shriram Transport would appear to represent instances of concentration risk. However, from a business perspective, these are examples of the theory of core competence put into successful practice. The focus on a single product

value in the very first year. In a gold loan where the underlying security is immune to depreciation, you get only 60 percent. Existing regulations permit NBFCs to extend unsecured loans to their customers. In this context, expressly forbidding gold loan NBFCs to lend beyond a defined cap on LTV appears to defy logic. If lending without security is permissible, surely lending against security at a low margin should also be permissible. Besides, a uniformly low LTV artificially levels the playing field to the point of the lowest common denominator. It denies the established players a legitimate opportunity to capitalise on

Expressly forbidding gold loan NBFCs to lend beyond a defined cap on LTV appears to defy logic gives their management extra insights into the nitty-gritty of the business. In turn, it enables innovations that help in containing risks in the business. That’s why, even as concentration risk appears to increase, a host of other risks are actually contained, and the business is stronger for the focus. Anomalies As widely noted in the media response, the cap on LTV reduces the usefulness of gold as a financial asset that can be used in times of need. In fact, it hurts the poor who are now forced to borrow from the unorganised sector on more adverse terms. The irony that the RBI, of all institutions, should work to give a new lease of life to India’s old school pawnbrokers and moneylenders did not go unnoticed. Indeed, something similar is already playing out in Andhra Pradesh where media reports speak of usurious moneylenders back in business with a bang now that microfinance players have been silenced. Further, as things stand, it’s possible to obtain 80 percent finance against a vehicle which sheds 30 percent of its

their experience and superior risk management practices. After all, gold loans at higher LTVs are sustainable only if the company possesses adequate risk management skills to handle defaults and price corrections. Required, a recalibration

That the RBI has acted out of its responsibility to prevent critical risks from materialising is not in question. But what has fallen off the radar is a recognition of the potentially transformative impact of gold loans, particularly in monetising India’s vast stock of private gold, and in advancing financial inclusion (about 65% of our gold is held by rural India). By restricting LTV to 60% and selectively applying it to gold loan NBFCs, there’s the risk of stifling the original innovators in the business, and of needlessly reinvigorating the unorganised sector. Indeed, the RBI would do well to keep an eye out for the flip side of it all, and not hesitate to recalibrate its policy responses when the evidence calls for it.

December 2012 UNIQUE TIMES 13


Retail

What is the

bustle all about? 14

UNIQUE TIMES December 2012


I

ndia is all different places when it comes to retailing, there is much complexity involved in the seemingly simple system. Retailing in India is one of the pillars of its economy and accounts for 14 to 15 percent of its GDP. The Indian retail market is estimated to be US$ 450 billion and one of the top five retail markets in the world by economic value. India is also one of the fastest growing retail markets in the world, with 1.2 billion people. India's retailing industry is essentially owner manned small shops, called Kirana Shops. Foreign multi brand retailers were not given access to Indian markets until 2011. Only wholesale operations were allowed for foreign giants. In November 2011, India's central government announced retail reforms for both multi-brand stores and singlebrand stores. These market reforms paved the way for retail innovation and competition with multi-brand retailers such as Wal-Mart, Carrefour and Tesco, as well single brand majors such as IKEA, Nike, and Apple. The announcement sparked intense activism, both in opposition and in support of the reforms. In December 2011, under pressure from the opposition, Indian government placed the retail reforms on hold till it reaches a consensus. In January 2012, India approved reforms for single-brand stores welcoming anyone in the world to innovate in Indian retail market with 100% ownership, but imposed the requirement that the single brand retailer source 30 percent of its goods from India. Igniting a big controversy, the government of India announced the opening of FDI in multi-brand retail, subject to approvals by individual states. This decision has been welcomed by economists and the markets, however has caused protests and an upheaval in India's central government's political coalition structure. On 20 September 2012, the Government of India formally notified the FDI reforms for single and multi brand retail, thereby making it effective

under Indian law While the FDI Debate is still on let’s look at the pros and cons of opening up the retail for MNC giants. One of the major impacts will be a lot of Independent stores will close, leading to massive job losses. For example a retailer like WalMart employs very few people in the United States. If allowed to expand in India as much as Wal-Mart has expanded in the United States, few

million, and India's population of about 1200 million, if Wal-Mart-like retail companies were to expand in India as much as their presence in the United States, and the staffing level in Indian stores kept at the same level as in the United States stores, Wal-Mart alone would employ 5.6 million Indian citizens. in China, the employment in both retail and wholesale trade increased from 4%

So why this urgency? After all, money does not grow on trees. If it has to come, it will come, right? Right. thousand jobs may be created but in the process millions of jobs will be lost. Another problem is the efficiency of retail giants in supply chain management leads to "direct" procurement of goods from the supplier. In addition to eliminating the "middleman", due to its status as the leading retailer, suppliers of goods will also be asked to drop prices in order to assure consistent cash flow. There is the fear that this may not benefit the farmer, or the suppliers of Wal-Mart. The small retailer and the middle man present in the retail industry plays a large part in supporting the local economy, since they typically themselves procure goods and services from the area they have their retail shops in. This leads to increased economic activity, and wealth redistribution. With large, efficient retailers, the corporate profits are not spent in the areas where they're generated, hence killing the local economy. These majors will lower prices to dump goods, get competition out of the way, become a monopoly, and then raise prices. We have seen this in the case of the soft drinks industry. Pepsi and Coke came in and wiped out all the domestic brands. On the positive side organized retail will need workers. Take the example of Wal-Mart; it employs 1.4 million people in the United States alone. With the United States population of about 300

in 1992 to about 7% in 2001, post China opening its retail to foreign and domestic innovation and competition. In absolute terms, China experienced the creation of 26 million new jobs within 9 years; post China announcing FDI retail reforms. India needs trillions of dollars to build its infrastructure, hospitals, housing and schools for its growing population. Indian economy is small, with limited surplus capital. The Indian government is already operating on budget deficits. It is simply not possible for Indian investors or Indian government to fund this expansion, job creation and growth at the rate India needs. Global investment capital through FDI is necessary Wal-Mart, Carrefour, Tesco, Target, Metro, Coop are some of over 350 global retail companies with annual sales over $1 billion. These retail companies have operated for over 30 years in numerous countries. They have not become monopolies. Competition between Wal-Mart-like retailers has kept food prices in check. The need of the hour is a consensus among different political parties and pressure groups. FDI in retail comes with lots of challenges and opportunities. The government should open the sector after taking into trust the people of the country and especially the millions who make a living out of the retail sector. December 2012 UNIQUE TIMES 15


Banking

Jiz P. Kottukappally

Releasing Value From

Soiled & Mutilated

CURRENCY NOTES 16

UNIQUE TIMES December 2012

The author is working as Asst General Manager , Catholic Syrian Bank and the views expressed are the personal opinion of the author. Author can be reached at jizpauls@gmail.com


A mutilated note" means a “note of which a portion is missing or which is composed of more than two pieces”

E

ven though I had purchased an apartment and moved into it almost two years back , till recently I had never given any serious thoughts of joining the local parish. But as my kids had to attend the Sunday classes regularly, I thought it would be better to join the near by parish. For this I approached the parish priest and he was more than happy to welcome me and my family as the new members of his parish. During our conversations he enquired about my employment. When I told him that I am a banker, I could see his face suddenly lighting up with joy. I was a little distracted during my subsequent conversations thinking why the priests face lit up when I told him I was a banker. Would he be requiring a loan for construction of church ? Or would he be recommending some members of his parish for financial assistance to me? Being a banker such thoughts came very rapidly to my mind. I got the answer to my doubts, before i left the church . The answer came in the form of a small sealed cover which was handed over to me by the parish priest. As I looked at him with shock he said to me , with a gentle smile on his face “ These are some of the notes received by us as offerings , during the holy mass. We tried to remit it in our bank account, but they did not accept it as many notes were soiled and torn. These notes have been lying with me for years and I was wondering how to dispose these off . Now with a senior banker as our parishner , my worry of exchanging soiled notes is over”.

sure many of my fellow bankers would have come across similar unenviable situations. You would have definitely received soiled currency notes from friends or relatives for being exchanged with issuable currency notes, where you cannot say not to them, and if you accept notes , in some cases you lose money. As per the data published by Reserve Bank of India during 2010-11, 13.9 billion pieces of soiled banknotes ( a whopping 21.4 per cent of banknotes in circulation) were processed and removed from circulation. The number of banknotes withdrawn from circulation has been increasing over the years, thanks to the clean note policy initiatives undertaken by RBI. Reserve Bank of India ( RBI ) has specifically instructed that all the branches of banks in the country should provide good quality notes and coins of all denominations on demand and accept coins and notes either for transactions or exchange. In order to make the Note Refund Rules easy to understand and to apply, RBI

mutilated notes would be available at designated branches of banks to all tenderers , whether they are account holders or not. Currently all currency chest branches of banks are considered as designated branches. To make the adjudication process more simple authority has been given to officers at the designated branch to adjudicate mutilated notes presented at the branch. Soiled and Mutilated notes As per Reserve Bank of India (Note Refund) Rules 2009 a soiled note means " a note which, has become dirty due to usage and also includes a two piece note pasted together wherein both the pieces presented belong to the same note, and form the entire note. A mutilated note" means a “note of which a portion is missing or which is composed of more than two pieces” . The soiled notes should be accepted over bank counters in payment of Government dues and for credit to accounts of the public maintained with banks. However

The number of banknotes withdrawn from circulation has been increasing over the years, thanks to the clean note policy initiatives undertaken by RBI. Note Refund Rules 2009 has been issued. Accordingly , while the facility for exchange of soiled notes is to be provided by all banks at all of their branches, the facility of exchange of

Banks should not reissue these notes to the public and should deposit such notes in currency chests for onward transmission to RBI offices as soiled note remittances for further processing. For ensuring this banks

I was in a catch 22 situation and I am

December 2012 UNIQUE TIMES 17


have been directed that notes in the denomination of Rs 100 and above are to be processed through machines conforming to “Note Authentication and Fitness Sorting Parameters� prescribed by Reserve Bank from time to time, before issuing them over the counters or through ATMs. To start with bank branches having average daily cash receipts of Rs 50 lakh and above have been asked to install such machines. Mutilated notes shall be presented to any of the designated bank branches of banks for adjudication. In case of adjudication claims in respect of notes of one rupee, two rupee, five rupee, ten rupee and twenty rupees denomination if the area of the single largest undivided piece of the note presented is more than 50 percent of the area of the respective denomination, rounded off to the next complete square centimetre, full value on mutilated notes of the above denominations shall be paid. If the area of the largest undivided piece of the note presented is less than or equal to 50 percent of the area of the note, the claim shall be rejected. In case of adjudication claims for currency notes of Rs 50 and above , full value of the mutilated notes shall be paid if the area of the single largest undivided piece of the note presented is more than 65 percent of the area of the respective denomination rounded off to the next complete square centimeter. If the undivided area of the single largest undivided piece of the note presented is equal to or more than 40 percent and less than or equal to 65 percent of the area of the respective denomination rounded off to the next complete square centimeter, half the value of the note is payable. If the area of the single largest undivided piece of the note is less than 40 percent, no value shall be payable, and the claim shall be rejected. However if

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UNIQUE TIMES December 2012

the claim of mutilated notes of rupees fifty to rupees one thousand denomination notes consists of a note composed of two pieces of the same note and the two pieces, individually, have an area equal to or more than 40 percent of the total area of the note in that denomination, then the claim may

Prescribed Officer or the Bank, has not been furnished by a claimant within a period of three months from the date of receipt of the notice or letter asking for the information, the claim shall be rejected. Initiatives for popularizing the

any note, which is wholly or partially, obliterated, shrunk, washed, altered or indecipherable but does not include a mutilated note be refunded for full value. Notes which have turned extremely brittle or badly burnt, charred or inseparably stuck up together and, therefore, cannot withstand normal handling, will not be accepted by the bank branches for exchange. Public having such notes should tender these notes to the concerned Issue Office of RBI where they will be adjudicated under a special procedure. An "imperfect note" means any note, which is wholly or partially, obliterated, shrunk, washed, altered or indecipherable but does not include a mutilated note. The value of an imperfect note may be paid for full value/half value as applicable to mutilated notes. Claims which will be rejected Any claim in respect of a note, which cannot be identified with certainty as a genuine bank note or has been has been deliberately cut, torn, defaced or altered, enabling the use of the same for making of a false claim will be rejected. Any note with slogans and message of a political nature written across it ceases to be a legal tender and the claim on such a note will also be rejected. Similarly if the information called for by the

scheme. With the intention of popularizing the scheme all designated bank branches have been instructed to prominently display at their branch premises, a board indicating the availability of note exchange facility with the wordings , "mutilated notes are accepted and exchanged here" . Banks have been asked to ensure that t all their designated branches provide facility for exchange of notes and coins not only to their customers but to the general public as well. Further the designated branches shall , provide exchange facility of soiled and mutilated notes on one of the Sundays in a month. Banks have thus been doing their part for unlocking the value of your soiled and mutilated notes. Now it is upto the public to utilize these facilities for their own benefit.


Are you the one with pleasant personality and style that allures everybody? Are you the one who fire on the ramp? If yes then you can definitely apply for the finest pegeant in South India

TM


Corporate Focus

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UNIQUE TIMES December 2012


“The reputation of Joy Alukkas Jewellery is built on several strong values, like choice, designs, service, convenience and innovation"

W

hen a young business man hailing from Kerala, started a jewellery showroom in Abu Dhabi few would have imagined that it will be the beginning of a long journey. Joy Alukkas has grown from the one showroom and has spread its wings far and wide. Now with over 10 million customers, employing more than 5000 people in nine countries the group is growing fast. For Joy Alukkas there has been no looking back, establishing jewellery showrooms in India, UK, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia & Singapore. Joy Alukkas was the first jewellery retailer to be awarded the prestigious ISO 9001:2008 and 14001:2004 certification and certifications from the Dubai government. Joy Alukkas has been often referred as the world’s favourite jeweller. The various accolades and awards that Joy Alukkas won strengthen this claim. Joy Alukkas was awarded the Dubai Quality Awards Certification by HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai. Joy Alukkas has also the distinction of being the only jeweller

to have been awarded the Superbrand status in the UAE for three consecutive years, from 2010 to 2012. “The reputation of Joy Alukkas Jewellery is built on several strong values, like choice, designs, service, convenience and innovation. Key to several of our accomplishments, the spirit of innovation not only touches our designs and products, but also epitomises our approach as a jewellery retailer of international stature.” Joy Alukkas said in his Chairman’s message. The Joy Alukkas group has expanded into other sectors from Jewellery. The group operations now include Jewellery, Money Exchange, Luxury Air Charter, and Fashion & Silks & Malls. Air Charter Business which the group ventured into has become an instant success. Joy Jets, the aviation division of the Joy Alukkas group is all set for expansion. It plans to add a long range eight seater aircraft which bears a price tag of 4.2 Crores. Joy Jets also plans to raise the fleet to four aircrafts. Joy Jets now posses an Embraer Phenom 100 in its fleet. Joy Alukkas Group is currently in an expansion mode. The group intends

December 2012 UNIQUE TIMES 21


'' Joy, who has been listed by the Forbes Asia magazine as one among the 100 richest persons of India, to increase its workforce from the current level of 5,000 to 15,000 in the next three years, according to Joy Alukkas, chairman of the group. The group has decided to add 35 more jewellery outlets in India and Abroad, which will take the number of shops to more than 100. The group is opening up showrooms in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra. The new showrooms in these states have met with big success. The group is also planning to open a showroom in New York. The Money exchange division of the group has now branches in UAE and India and will very expand to other Gulf countries. The vision of the group is to enhance lifestyles and all the business are aligned to this larger vision. But the group does not forget its responsibility for the society. The group stress on CSR is aligned with the core belief that that the people and the community within which it operate are the cornerstones of its success. The group undertakes various programmes to help the

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UNIQUE TIMES December 2012

ones who are needy in the society. Several awards that Joy Alukkas has won underline the success of this visionary businessman. He wears that success lightly. For him business is the journey he undertook, and values that he kept guided him, success came along.


www.pegasusindia.org

MBA

PEGASUS THE EVENT MAKERS

AWARD 2012

M.A. Yusuf Ali

Wins

MBA AWARD 2 0 1 2

2 Big Brands 5 Jury Members Come together to proclaim the only Malayalee Business Achiever in the world for 2012 Malayalee Business Achiever

World Hunt 2012 MBA Award is a prestigious award given to a business man with an asset base of 5,000 crore and a big heart for social causes.


Sreerekha R. Nair

Travel

The Lake District of India

NAINITAL

24

UNIQUE TIMES December 2012


I

n the Himalayan foothills of Uttarakhand lies Nainital, a picturesque hill station and one of the most favored summer retreats of India. Magnificently nested around the beautiful Naini Lake, it captivates the fascination of the tourist from all over the world. The tall mountains, the green woods, the lake side streets, the colonial styled houses along with the spectacular lake makes Nainital a wonderful tourist destination.The Lake District of India, located in the Himalayan belt amongst the Kumaon hills, is a paradise for nature lovers. A

recorded in history, the three sages, Atri, Pulastya, and Pulaha stopped over at Nainital on their pilgrimage, to quench their thirst. Finding no water, they dug a hole and transferred some water into it to from the sacred lake of Tibet, Mansarovar. Thus the famous lake of Nainital came into existence. Another legend has it that the left eye or Nain of Lord Shiva’s wife Sati fell in this center and formed an emerald eye shaped lake, and thus emerged the city of Nainital. Natural beauty abounds in the state of Uttaranchal's Lake District. Boaters

By Rail: Kathgodam is the nearest railway station to Nainital, situated at a distance of 41kms. Kathgodam is well connected by Railway networks with major destinations of India like Lucknow, Delhi and Kolkata By Road: Nainital is well connected by

motorable roads with major destinations of northern India. Nainital is only one hour drive from Kathgodam which is spread on the hills of the lower Himalayan range. You can take taxi or bus from Kathgodam to reach Nainital. Most number of tourists

The tall mountains, the green woods, the lake side streets, the colonial styled houses along with the spectacular lake... splendid holiday spot with a rich treasure of lakes and hills, Nainital is a destination for the young and the old alike. Located at an altitude of 1,938mts above sea level. It shines as a glittering jewel in the Himalayan Mountains and is surrounded with lakes and nature’s bounty. Nainital tourism flourishes during the summer months i.e from April to November, when visitors from the plains come to Nainital to escape the blazing heat of the Indian summer.Nainital tourism provides for boating and yachting in Naina lake. Fishing is also permitted with prior permission from the local authorites. Nainital is referred to as the lake of three sages, or the Tri Rishi Sarovar as mentioned in the Manas Khand chapter of the Skanda Purana. As

flock to hill-ringed Naini Lake, which according to mythology is one of the emerald eyes of Shiva's wife. A hike or horseback ride to the top of Naina Peak (aka China Peak), the highest point, provides stunning views of the snow-capped Himalayas. To share a prime vantage point with family members of all ages, take the aerial lift up to Snow View; there's also a small marble temple at the top dedicated to Dev Mundi. HOW TO REACH By Air: Pant Nagar Airport is situated in Uttarakhand state and is one of the two airports of Uttarakhand. Pant Nagar is the nearest airport to Kathgodam and Nainital as well. It is situated 72kms from Nainital and is well connected by motorable roads

who visit Nainital commences their journey from New Delhi. The distance between Delhi to Nainital is 320kms which can be covered by 9hour drive MAJOR TOURIST SPOTS Naina Devi Temple The deity of the temple is Maa Naina Devi represented by two eyes. The temple was destroyed by the drastic landslide of 1880, and was later rebuilt because the temple was of great importance amongst locals. Naina Devi Temple is located on the northern shore of Naini Lake .Naini Lake (Nainital) Amidst seven mountains touching the sky, the heart of the place is a ravishing lake showering its beauty with pristine and stagnant water. Naini Lake has earned respect since beginning and December 2012 UNIQUE TIMES 25


even the district is named after this enchanting lake. The lake offers ample opportunities for adventure lovers as well with yachting, boating and paddling facilities. One can explore the lake from one end to another watching the dynamic sun setting for the dusk providing peace and tranquility. Naini Lake is divided into two parts Mallital and Tallital. The north end of the Lake is called Mallital and the southern end of the Lake is known as Tallital. Both ends of the Naini Lake have shopping centres with luxury and varied shops. The lake is on its majestically height during the night time when the light of the houses, cottages and hotels situated on the mountains covering Nainital reflects upon it and makes the view invigorating. During night it feels like there’s a city underneath the stagnant water of Naini Lake. The perimeter of Naini Lake is approximately 3.5kms. Nainital is an ideal destination for families, honeymooners, poets and writers, nature lovers and adventure lovers as well. The Mall Road:

Mall road nexuses Mallital with Tallital and thus is busiest road of the town. During peak season (May and June) vehicles are not allowed to enter mall road so that the trade keeps on strolling as this point is famous amongst tourists. Mall road is now named as Govind Ballabh Pant Marg. The road is filled with hotels, restaurants, shopping centres, banks, travel agencies and street shops as well. The Flats:

The Flats is situated on the northern side of the lake where the statue of Govind Ballabh Pant is erected. The Flatts covers a large area touching the lake. The Flatts has a cemented playing ground which is generally used for cultural activities during festivals but you can see kids playing there most of the time. The Flats get crowded in the evening because of the chat bazaar

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UNIQUE TIMES December 2012

and famous Bhotia Market selling their varied and unique products. The divine Naina Devi Temple is situated on the Flatts alongwith a mosque and gurudwara. Zoo:

Govind Ballabh Pant high altitude zoo is situated around 2km from the bus station. The zoo is set at an elevation of 2100mts above sea level providing high altitude animals a sufficient and habitat like environment. The Zoo consists of animals like Leopard , Hill Fox, Siberian Tiger (snow tiger), Palm civet cat, Wolf, Silver Pheasants, Barking Deer, Sambhar, Monkeys, Rose ringed Prakeet, Himalayan black bear, Ghoral, White Peacock. The zoo is closed on Mondays and the entry

Stevens as the summer residence of the governor of North West Province. Presently, Raj Bhawan is the official guest house for the governor of Uttarakhand and for state guests stay. It consists of a two-storied mansion with 113 rooms, a large garden, a swimming pool, and golf court as well. Previously obtaining prior permission was must for visiting. But now by purchasing Entry Ticket of Rs. 30 you can go to explore Raj Bhawan. Snow View Point:

Snow view point offers the invigorating view of snow clad peaks of the majestic Himalayan range like Nanda Devi, Trishul and Nanda Kot. Snow view is the most easily accessible cliff amongst other nearby mountains surrounding

Snow view is the most easily accessible cliff amongst other nearby mountains surrounding Nainital ticket is of Rs. 10. Feeding animals is strictly prohibited in the zoo and eatables are also not allowed (you can take liquid diets). Aerial Ropeway:

The Aerial Ropeway commences at Mallital and is connected with Snow view point situated at a breathtaking elevation of 2275mts above sea level. Snow view point offers the majestic views of puissant Himalayan range. Two trolleys carries passenger from the flatts to snow view point in approximately two and a half minutes of time. The capacity of the trolley cabin is 11 persons or 800kgs of weight. The trolley is opened for seven days a week from 10am to 5pm. The ticket for adult is Rs. 100 and Rs. 60 for child. Governor’s House (Raj Bhawan):

Governor’s House was built in 1899 and designed in the Victorian Gothic domestic style by the architect F.W.

Nainital. The peak is connected by motorable roads and aerial ropeway or cable car. The ropeway is opened for seven days a week from 10am to 5pm. The point has some restaurants, tea shops and even photographers to click your pictures. Charges for cable car is Rs.100 for adult and Rs. 60 for child. Eco Cave Garden

Eco Cave Garden is located one kilometer above Mallital near Kumaon University Campus. This spot is a latest tourism spot of Nainital. Cave Garden offers caves of different kinds of animals which you can explore by going in it. There are no real animals there for sure. Naina Peak/ China Peak:

Naina peak is situated at a breathtaking altitude of 2615mts above sea level. Naina Peak is the highest point of the town and is located 6km north to Mallital. Naina peak is also known as China peak and Cheena peak. Naina peak offers


invigorating views of the enchanting snow clad peaks of the mighty Himalayan range, the bird’s eye view of the pristine Naini Lake and the Nainital town itself. In order to enjoy the celestial beauteousness of this point one must trek 6km by foot or can hire a pony from Mallital or Snow view. But remember the trek of 6km is worth the view from the summit of the Naina peak.

happening market, the Bara Bazaar is a very famous area in Mallital and also serves as an excellent landmark. Nainital is very popular for the variety of different beautiful candles available. Do not miss to buy candles and cane sticks from Bara Bazaar. The other traditional buys include scarves, shawls, woodcrafts, cardigans and so on.

Land’s End:

The Bara Bazaar in Mallital area also houses a lot of restaurants, which serve good food at reasonably cheaper rates. Once you have shopped enough for the variety of handicrafts and even freshly prepared jams from Bara Bazaar, you can be satisfied about having purchased the specialties of Nainital. Nainital is also famous for handmade candles, home-made jams, squashes, juice concentrates and fruit preservatives. One can buy all this and more from authentic shops in Bara Bazaar, The Mall Road, Bhotia Bazaar and Mallitaal. One can also buy fresh Cherries, Apples, Strawberries, Mulberries, Peaches and Blueberries.

The main attraction of Land’s End is the beautiful view of the stagnant water of the Khurpatal. Land’s End is set at an elevation of 2,120mts above sea level offering splendid views of neighboring hills and the green valley with rural houses. In order to reach Land’s End one can drive to Barapathar on a vehicle and then trek 1km to the spot where one feels like the land has really come to an end. SHOPPING AT NAINITAL One can shop a lot in Nainital even while exploring the places. Shopping in Nainital is an astonishing and sometimes enlightening experience. The Mall is the main shopping center in Nainital which has some of the good shops where one can do some shopping Mallital and Tallital are two busy areas of Nainital. A highly vibrant and

jewellery, watches and much more are available in the Tibetan Market. The weather is very pleasant throughout the year except during in winter months. The temperature is not very high at any time but in winters it becomes very cold. The climate of Nainital is regulated by the lake here which showers rain almost every afternoon. The months of January to March are marked by the snowfall which is for a very short time. Average rainfall is 1407 mm. Nainital offeres snowfall to visitors between December and February months.People, from the plains, flock to Nainital in December, to view the first snowfall of the season. Till February, Nainital continues to witness fresh spurts of snowfall. Summer days is the best time for visitors to visit Nainital and its beautiful lake, hills is to visit during the months beginning from April to end of the October. Have a memorable trip

The Tibetan Market runs along the famous Naini lake of Nainital. This market is a shopper’s delight, for you can shop for a variety of items under one roof. Scarves, shawls, woolen clothing, Himalayan bags, junk

December 2012 UNIQUE TIMES 27


Books

Paper Back

Hard Cover

DURBAR

Leading Change

David Baldacci Publisher: Pan Macmillan (2012) Price: Rs. 350/-

Tavleen Singh Publisher: Hachette (2012) Price: Rs. 599/-

John P. Kotter Publisher: Harvard Business School Press (2012) Price: Rs. 795/-

M

n the summer of 1975 Tavleen Singh, not yet twenty-five, started working as a junior reporter in the Statesman in New Delhi. Within five weeks, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi declared the Emergency, suspending fundamental rights and imposing press censorship, and soon reckless policies said to be authored by the prime minister's younger son were unleashed on India's citizens. As the country suffered under the iron fist of an elected icon and her chosen heir, Tavleen observed that a small, influential section of Delhi's society people she knew well remained strangely unaffected by the perilous state of the nation. Before long, members of this circle were entrenched in key positions in the Indian government.

the

FORGOTTEN

ilitary criminal investigator John Puller is drawn closer to home when his aunt is found dead in her house in Paradise, Florida. The local police have ruled the death as an accident, but Puller finds evidence to suggest that she may well have been murdered. On the surface the town lives up to its name, but as Puller digs deeper he realises that this town and its inhabitants are more akin to Hell than Paradise. His belief is confirmed as evidence of strange and inexplicable events come to light. And when he learns the truth about the happenings in this once sleepy town, he knows that his discoveries will impact far more than Paradise.

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Paper Back

UNIQUE TIMES December 2012

I

M

illions worldwide have read and embraced John Kotter’s ideas on change management and leadership. Leading Change is widely recognized as his seminal work on leading transformational change, and is an important precursor to his newer ideas on acceleration: effectively managing operations while seizing new opportunity. Needed more today than at any time in the past, this immensely relevant book serves as both a visionary guide and a practical toolkit on how to approach the difficult yet crucial work of leading change in any type of Freshly designed and with new commentary by John Kotter, Leading Change is a true leadership classic.


Hard Cover

Paper Back

Patriots & Partisans

Proof of Heaven:

by Ramachandra Guha Publisher: Allen Lane Publishers (2012) Price: Rs. 699/-

I

n this wonderfully readable collection of essays, Ramachandra Guha defends the liberal centre against the dogmas of left and right with style, depth and polemical verve. The essays turn a critical eye on topics as wide-ranging as Hindutva, the Communist left, and the dynasty obsessed Congress party. Whether writing about politics or profiling individuals, this book confirms Guha?s standing as India?s most admired historic and public intellectual.

Paper Back

A Neurosurgeon's Journey into the Afterlife

How to Unblock Everything on the Internet

by Eben Alexander Publisher: Simon & Schuster (2012) Price: Rs. 350/-

by Ankit Fadia Publisher: Vikas Publishing House Price: Rs. 175/-

N

ow To Unblock Everything On The Internet is the 15th book written by the cyber security expert and ethical hacker Ankit Fadia. This book comes to the rescue of all those who are deprived of information on blocked websites: Social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter; stock trading websites; USB ports; applications; chat software, and so much more. It teaches simple ways to unblock access to everything on the Internet, whichever part of the world you are in. Of interest to students, office-goers, travellers in fact, just about anyone in front of a keyboard readers are advised to exercise caution in usage, taking the utmost care not to contravene existing laws.

ear-death experiences, or NDEs, are controversial. Thousands of people have had them, but many in the scientific community have argued that they are impossible. Dr. Eben Alexander was one of those people. A highly trained neurosurgeon who had operated on thousands of brains in the course of his career, Alexander knew that what people of faith call the “soul� is really a product of brain chemistry. NDEs, he would have been the first to explain, might feel real to the people having them, but in truth they are simply fantasies produced by brains under extreme stress.

H

December 2012 UNIQUE TIMES 29


Book Review Baradwaj Rangan is going to change all those faults for you with this – technically wonderfully written book on Mani Ratnam, one of the best film director we have in India now.

R

arely do we come across a book that beautifully graphs the career of a film personality. There are umpteen books which had written splendidly about super stars and Directors, the people they connected with, the achievements they had, and all of them at the expense of the real genius (if) they were. Baradwaj Rangan is going to change all those faults for you with this – technically - wonderfully written book on Mani Ratnam, one of the best film director we have in India now. Conversations With Mani Ratnam, the title may make us think of it as a compilation of newspaper articles or Sunday supplement interviews. But it turns out that it is something not in those lines but a great effort from the part of a seasoned journalist to present before readers some meaningful talk with one of the best minds in modern Indian Cinema. Baradwaj Rangan is a very familiar name to serious movie goers as they rely on his film reviews and writings on 30

UNIQUE TIMES December 2012

film in various magazines and newspaper. Being a film and music critic and recently also a scenarist of a Tamil Movie, he knows the fine nuances of film making and uses it effortlessly to bring out a beautiful biopic on south India’s much celebrated and one of India’s best noted film director. Conversations with Mani Ratnam is a record of the freewheeling conversations that Rangan had with Mani Ratnam. Through the conversations he is trying to bring out Mani Ratnam’s life, his movies and all the scenes behind them. A wonderful exploration into Mani Ratnam’s art of film making happens. In the introduction to the book Rangan describes how the book came into being and the process that went behind writing it. Rangan fixes the position of Mani Ratnam in Tamil and national film context. Then slowly each chapter tries to deal with the nineteen films that Ratnam made, from his first film Pallavi Anupallavi to Raavan/Raavanan. Mani Ratnam fondly recollects how he came into

movies, his trials for becoming a Director and then how each of his films was made. It will be very surprising to read about how Ratnam learned the art of film making. It has all the charm of a fairy tale as we wonder only real genius can then make films like Nayakan which is reckoned among one of 100 must watch movies. Rangan posts questions in such a candid way that everything one would wish to know about Ratnam’s film is here. Mani Ratnam tells about his collaborations with some of the greats in Tamil and other film industries in India like Gulzaar, Baalu Mahendra, Kamal Haasan, A R Rahman, Illayaraja, P C Sreeram, their method of working and how his films were conceived and executed. Ratnam deliberates on how he shot Nayakan with Bombay background, how Anjaly was shot with the host of kids and Baby Shaalini, how he chose his heroes and heroines et al. Conversations have been designed beautifully and carry a lot of photographs from Mani’s life and movies, and posters of some of his works. Even though written in a question answer format there is never a dull moment. The foreword is written by A R Rahman, with whom Mani Ratnam transformed Indian film music itself. The book also has a filmography and the list of Ratnam’s achievements as a film director. Every chapter titled with the name of film that they discuss, begins with a small intro into the respective film. So even if you have not seen the movie there won’t be any alienation. Conversations With Mani Ratnam becomes a fitting addition to Indian Film industry which is celebrating its 100th anniversary. The book is a must read if you are a film freak interested in reading good stuff on Indian films. It will also satisfy a general reader who wants substance in the content.


Mahindra

QAUNTO

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UNIQUE TIMES December 2012


M

ahindra has met with some good success recently. XUV 500 marked a major shift in the perspective of customers. One can go back a few years and say that all the changes began with Scorpio and after some years with the Xylo. Driving on the success of this new generation SUV, one can easily forget the old ubiquities jeep and may be the Armada and the Armada grand. The Mahindra team will be quite happy that the launch of Quanto has met

However, Mahindra has, of course, decided to make the Quanto seem like a crossover now. with some real success. Quanto was one among the most anticipated launch of the year. Mahindra understood the demand in the market and wanted to tap into the lucrative market. The new mini Xylo, codenamed ‘U203’ which was later on named as Mahindra Quanto. The basic design of the car is pretty similar to Mahindra Xylo which the car is based on. The similar ladder-frame body frame is seen in Quanto as well. Under the bonnet, Quanto holds an altered version of diesel motor along with same suspension system and interiors. The 1.5L diesel engine here is is coupled with five speed manual gearbox that would deliver some good performance. The success of Ertiga and Duster in Indian market may augur well for the Quanto. The Mahindra Showroom was buzzing with activity on the day of the launch. Mahindra has already garnered more 10,000 bookings.

a while ago means that the Quanto can now retain some more of the Xylo’s earlier features which include the headlamp combination. Mahindra engineers have worked hard to bring down the size of the Quanto under the 4 metre mark. The decreased length along with a 1493 engine will qualify Quanto for the excise duty benefits. Low prices mean that the customer is benefitted. Quanto looks like an MPV and SUV put together, where the SUV aspects look more prominent. The seating arrangement of the Quanto is quite comfortable except for the last row of jump seats. The jump seats are foldable and offer some very congested seating space. Quanto gets a new engine; the architecture is borrowed from 2.2 litre MHawk engine. The new engine is sized down version and it has a displacement of 1493 cc and its common rail. The engine produces a maximum of 100 bhp and a peak torque of 240 NM. The engine is fitted with a twin-scroll turbocharger and intercooler. The engine rather less noisy when compared other three cylinder engines. With the twin turbo charger the Quanto is sufficiently powered. The top end model is fitted with top notch infotainment equipments of. The car is fitted with a single CD player with USB interface and AM/FM radio. The speakers accompanied with the music system. Mahindra Quanto is available in four different models and the prices start at 6 Lakhs for the base model.

Looking from the front, the Quanto is almost a clone of the Xylo, off with some small cosmetic changes such as the more defined bonnet lines and the new panel above the grille. Some changes that were affected in the Xylo December 2012 UNIQUE TIMES 33


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Festival

The Season for Joy In Washington D.C. 36

UNIQUE TIMES December 2012


T

he fire place is all lit up, and all gather around with a hot cup of chocolate full of tiny little marshmallows in hand. The smell of the Christmas pine tree decked with colorful candy canes, red & gold baubles, and tiny ornaments wrapped in tinsels, and lights wafts in the air. The children are anxiously waiting for the first snowfall of the year when they can stick their tongue out to catch a snowflake on the tip of their tongues. And finally when the snow does arrive on a very cold night, your eyes are in for a treat the next morning. You wake up to look out your window to find the tress, and grass covered in a thick blanket of snow. The children hurry downstairs to turn on the news to hear the announcement “Schools CLOSED!" With joy they run to grab their jackets, mittens, hats, and pull on their boots to go jump into the snow to make snow angels in the fresh pile of snow, throw a snow ball fight or two, and to see who can build the bigger snow man. Finally December has come around again with its holidays and it’s once again time to wave another year so long, farewell, adieu 2012! The sun has begun to set earlier, and nevertheless despite December being

the month of the cold season it has come to be known as the “season of joy.” And indeed it is a time of joy in Washington D.C. with celebrations everywhere what with Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa around the corner. Hanukkah brings on eight days of joy as it is celebrated for eight days (this year Hanukkah starts on December 8th according to the Hebrew Calendar) where a candle is lit for each night for 8 days whereas Kwanzaa starts from December 26 to Jan 1. Christmas celebrations fall on the 25 of every year of course, and the children make sure that they place the cookies and the milk for the good old St. Nicholas to eat as he flies down the chimney on the eve of Christmas to place the presents underneath the tree while all are asleep. When you walk into the malls there are red and green colors all over and reminder for the children that Santa Claus is coming so they better not be naughty if they want to get onto Santa’s Nice List. Children line up to see Santa Claus so that they can hop on his lap and let him know what it is that they want for Christmas, while parents rush around in a hurry to buy presents. On December 2012 UNIQUE TIMES 37


occasions when I take a stroll down the sidewalk during the evening time to the nearest Starbucks joint to order my usual grande peppermint mocha with two shots of espresso or to the nearest Barnes & Nobles bookstore the trees along the sidewalks decked in golden lights puts a smile on my face. At home, it’s a time when families as they get together to see relatives whom they have not seen for a long while or since the last get together. Everyone spends their time in the kitchen, baking cakes, making gingerbread houses, baking sugar cookies shaped as a Christmas tree, or a Menorah and drinking eggnog. The smell of cinnamon buns and peppermint fill the kitchen as children run around laughing merrily grabbing the cookies off the tray even though they are told not to touch them as they are still hot! Stories of The Grinch and Mr. Scrooge are told, and Christmas carolers come about singing carols. In Washington D.C December has always seemed to be a time when everyone is reminded that giving is more important than receiving bringing families together to celebrate another year’s end and another year’s beginning. People spent their time volunteering at the homeless shelter, hospitals, and visiting the old age homes in order to do their duty of spreading the joy of the season. Though some would say that the holidays is simply a rip off where Hallmark makes bank, for others especially the children, it is a time where problems can be forgotten for a moment’s time and even the adults become children as they reminisce about their childhood. And soon after the rush and bustle of the holidays come to an end worldwide everyone prepares to sent the year off into history, welcoming the New Year 2013, crossing fingers and hoping that the coming year will be better than the last. So as 2012 finally comes to an end, it is once again time to make a list of resolutions as to what you will achieve in the year 2013. So remember to make the best of the year 2013 and have a Happy Holiday and a Happy New Years to all! And children remember you better not cry, you better not pout because Santa Claus is coming to town.

37 UNIQUE 38 UNIQUETIMES TIMESDecember December2012 2012


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Gadgets

htc One X

Samsung Galaxy S Duos S7562

1.5 GHz Processor 8 MP Primary Camera 1.3 MP Secondary Camera Supports Only Micro SIM Price: Rs. 32210/-

0.3 MP Secondary Camera Android v4.0 OS 5 MP Primary Camera Dual SIM (GSM + GSM) Price: Rs. 16900/-

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UNIQUE TIMES December 2012


Gadgets

Asus

Sony Xperia U

Eee Pad Transformer TF300TG-1A314A Tablet

8 MP Primary Camera Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) 1.2 MP Secondary Camera 10.1 inch Touchscreen Price: Rs. 42265/-

Asus

PadFone (Brown, Wi-FI, 3G)

Android v2.3 OS 5 MP Primary Camera 0.3 MP Secondary Camera 3.5-inch TFT Touchscreen Price: Rs. 14990/-

Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) Operating System 4.3 inch Super AMOLED Capacitive Touchscreen Qualcomm Scorpion Dual Core 1.5 GHz Processor 8 MP Primary Camera Price: Rs. 64960/-

December 2012 UNIQUE TIMES 41


Gadgets

10

BlackBerry

B

lackBerry 10 is an upcoming proprietary mobile operating system, developed by Research In Motion for its BlackBerry line of smartphone and tablet handheld devices. It is based on QNX which was acquired by RIM in April 2010. RIM has claimed that there is no single line of code from the current BlackBerry legacy OS present in the new QNX based OS. The platform was originally called BBX but this was changed when RIM was blocked from using the BBX trademark after legal action from BASIS International, who already uses it for their software. The RIM CEO, Thorsten Heins, has said that the company is considering licensing BlackBerry 10 to other OEMs. BlackBerry 10 smartphones are scheduled to be released in Q1 of 2013..

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UNIQUE TIMES December 2012


Samsung

Series 5 ultrabook (Series 5 535U4C)

S

amsung Series 5 ULTRA touch is the first touch-enabled ultrabook by Samsung. The ultrabook has a 13.3-inch HD SuperBright 10-finger multi-touchscreen with a resolution of 1366X768 pixels and 3rd generation Intel Core i7-3517U processor. It runs on Windows 8 operating system. Major features of this ultraboook include up to 12 GB RAM, 500 GB of hard drive and 24GB ExpressCache (SSD). There is one full HDMI port, an USB 3.0 port and two USB 2.0 ports on this ultra book. It comes with 4-cell battery that will give up to 6.7 hours of backup. Samsung Series 5 ULTRA Touch is selling in India for Rs. 64,990.

December 2012 UNIQUE TIMES 43


Life Management

Sheela Abraham

Anger makes you smaller, while forgiveness forces you to grow beyond what you were. Cherie Carter-Scott 44

UNIQUE TIMES December 2012


W

e get hurt by the actions or words of another at some point of time in our journey of 'life'. These hurts leave us with strong feelings of anger, bitterness and resentment which in turn can make the life miserable and very dull. This is the juncture where each one of us to practice ''forgiveness'. If we don’t, then there is no charm or thrill in life. So it is always a better choice to forgive those who hurt us and enjoy our life. Forgiveness doesn’t deny the other person's responsibility for hurting us and it doesn't minimize or justify the wrong. The act that hurt or offended always remains as a part of the life, but forgiveness can lessen its hold on us and help us to be focused on important and positive things which can lead to feelings of understanding, empathy and compassion for those who are responsible for the hurts. Being unforgiving brings anger and bitterness into every relationship and new experience. Our life might become so wrapped up in the hurt and cannot enjoy the present. The result we might become depressed or anxious. And we may feel that our life lacks meaning or purpose, Forgiveness can be challenging, especially if the person who did the hurt doesn't admit wrong .what can be done is to, consider the situation from the other person's point of view. Ask one why he or she would behave in such a way. Perhaps anyone would have reacted similarly if faced the same situation. In addition, consider broadening our outlook. Expect occasional imperfections from the people in our life.Remember those who have forgiven us and reflect on those occasions when we hurt others. This will definitely lessen the pain caused by any hurt from others. Getting another person to change his or her actions, behavior or words isn't the point of forgiveness. Think of forgiveness more about how it can change our life — by bringing peace,

happiness, and emotional and spiritual healing. Forgiveness can take away the power the other person continues to wield in our life. If we haven't reached a state of forgiveness, being near the person who hurt us might be tense and stressful. To handle these situations, remember, it is our choice - to attend or avoid specific functions and

not just a religious or sentimental act because it is "the right thing to do." If our forgiveness isn't genuine, resentment will poke its ugly head out at the most unexpected times—like when a couple get into an argument, they start dragging up events from the past that they still feel resentful about. Obviously those things haven't been forgiven. Forgiveness may not forget the past but it can bury it.

Do the best. If choose to attend, don't be surprised by a certain amount of awkwardness and perhaps even more intense feelings. gatherings. Do the best. If choose to attend, don't be surprised by a certain amount of awkwardness and perhaps even more intense feelings. Do the best to keep an open heart and mind. This would be an experience to move forward with forgiveness. Forgiveness is a commitment to a process of change. To begin, you might:

• Consider the value of forgiveness and its importance in the life at a given time • Reflect on the facts of the situation – our reaction, and how this has affected the life, health and well-being • When we are ready, actively choose to forgive the person who hurt us. • Move away from the role as victim and release the control and power the offending person and situation have had in our life • As we let go of grudges, we never define our life by how we have been hurt. We might even find compassion and understanding. Forgiveness can lead to:

• Healthier relationships • Greater spiritual and psychological well-being • Less anxiety, stress and hostility • Lower blood pressure • Fewer symptoms of depression

Forgiveness is essential perhaps not so much for the wrong that has happened to us, but because of our resentment towards the one who has wronged us. Lack of forgiveness is caused by this resentment—a mixture of hurt and anger. Therefore, to forgive genuinely, one needs to face and deal with his hurt and anger. To resolve our hurt and anger, we need to be totally honest and admit exactly how we feel. Then we need to get these feelings off our chest-not by lashing out and hurting the other person, but by "speaking the truth in love,"4 or by writing out our feelings until they are completely dissipated. To forgive another, however, is not to ignore justice. Pope John Paul forgave his would-be-assassin, but the man stayed in prison, and rightly so. And where we want others to forgive us, if we are genuine, we will want to do all in our power to make a just restitution. Christmas time !!!! celebration Time !!! Do not let any discouragement creep on us . Let us embrace Peace and joy. Forget , Forgive and move forward.

&

Merry Christmas a very Happy New year!

Forgiveness needs to be genuine and ligious or sentimental act because it is December 2012 UNIQUE TIMES 45


Ask the Smile Expert Dr. Thomas Nechupadam

treatment to prevent the

DENTAL DECAY I have a son of 3 years of age he already have some teeth filled. He brushes twice daily but gets teeth decay very fast. Is it because of calcium deficiency? Do you have any treatment to prevent the dental decay?

Nechupadam Dental GCDA Complex, Marine Drive, Kochi - 682 031 Cont: 93872 77213 www.smiledotcom.com 46

UNIQUE TIMES November 2012

Dental decay or caries is common in young children. The caries activity has to be assessed in children for specific prevention plan. The major reason for dental caries is not calcium deficiency but fluoride deficiency and irregular tooth morphology (pits, Fissures and cracks) that helps food to adhere to tooth surface. The fluoride application by a dentist and a regular use of fluoridated tooth paste can reduce dental caries. The pits and fissure need to be corrected by fluoridated dental sealants that laminates the teeth from bacteria and also releases fluoride increasing the resistance of teeth against caries.

I am 45 years old. I have dark front teeth. The teeth are becoming darker from the time I met with an accident ten years ago. There is no other problem except the color. Can you tell me why this color change is happening and what is the treatment for this condition?

The front teeth has become non vital and the blood cells inside has been getting differentiated into the ionic composition. The iron in the blood is responsible for the dark shade of the teeth. A proper root canal therapy and a good ceramic crown will correct the cosmetic problem. I am a model.I am 24 years old and have one tooth on each side which are not aligned and not touching the lower teeth. Can I correct without braces, since putting braces will make me lose my business? Yes you can correct it using veneers and /or crowns. Another way to correct it is by using lingual orthodontics as the braces will not be seen outside.


Ask the beauty expert

Is it better for my hair to change the shampoo and conditioner I use every few months?

Only if you are unhappy with how your hair looks or feels. Hair is reactive to products in general, so changing your shampoo and conditioner can create a different effect. For example, if you want more smoothness, try a hydrating shampoo, which deposits moisturizers that close the hair cuticle. But if you are using hair care that you love, there is no reason to make a change.

How can I get my fingernails to grow?

How can I get my fingernails to grow? They split in every direction possible and break with the slightest pressure.

Start by keeping your hands out of water as much as you can — that means wearing gloves when you do the dishes. Water dries out nails, making them more likely to break. You can also try taking vitamin B that helps promote healthy nail growth.

Tressa Varghese Director, Phoebe International December 2012 UNIQUE TIMES 47


Leadership

What is that drives a person to do things? Vinod Kumar Advisor VIMPACT Consulting vinod@vimpact.org

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verybody wants to survive. Primarily there is an intense need to survive. The survival of the body is perhaps the most intimate and closest need to a person. So, the chief drive is to keep the body alive. Then comes innate desires. There are gross desires such as an urgent need to satisfy the senses such as taste, sight, hearing, smelling and touch. Among these senses, perhaps the sight, taste and touch are the most intense. Therefore, food and sex and then sleep become the most immediate needs. Further from this is the need to learn. This is driven by curiosity. Intellect starts developing at this stage. Also is a development of memory and the individuality and identity. The person will want to express his new found identity. He starts identifying himself with things he thinks he owns. There begins ownership and proprietary. So now, we began with the need to survive, graduated to gratification of senses and then to satisfy curiosity and finally to establish one’s own identity. It is at this point a person feels completed as stage 1. Stage 2 in hierarchy will be to protect all of stage 1. To categorise things and to sought the environment. One begins to put nomenclature to things, objects, and other situations. Then the person learns to sought diversity and variety into specific and respective categories. Slowly he evolves into the world of structured learning. This learner now starts creating structures around himself in all attributes such as interacting with the environment, creating shelter for himself and developing other infrastructure for his comfort and convenience. He starts organizing his environment, people, and resources so that it is easily understood and can be communicated. Now begins the stage 3 of interaction, communication, protection and evolution. Suddenly there is organized and structured method of inference and conclusions.

Also, there is a sorting and classification of material and people. To enable these interactions, there comes in place some understanding of the code of conduct, social norms and other rules and regulations. Further invention of tools of interaction becomes inevitable. The ownership criterion and leadership eligibilities then become established. Hierarchy

But here is a catch. Who will appropriate one’s journey out of niche and fringe living into the realm of metaphysics and philosophy? How will you authenticate that someone is a master who has seen all attributes that have gone into the niche and fringe living? It is not easy to discover the limitations within the realm of niche and fringe living such as the

What is the drive? How to achieve it? and sequences become factored into their corresponding slots. The evolution then brings forth the sharing of knowledge, educating each other and trainings. They have now conversed and evolved into one social creature or organism. Stage 4 But change is inevitable. Just like a unicellular mutates inside to be become multicellular, so does social structure start to divide itself to its own replica. Slowing everything that is unique mutates into multi. In other words, the one multiplies into many. There is a new drive. The drive to extend one’s reach, dominance, influence and control. Slowly every motion will start getting departmentalised. To convenience this model of social development, many interactions become institutionalized. How to exit this dimension into its maturity? The maturity is the chief and core living where there is much integration as opposed to division, where there is much permanence as against change; there is much wisdom as opposed to subordination and subservience. Stage 5 evolves the society further into art, music, beauty and other extremely refined formats of living. Much sophistication in every attribute and aspect of living becomes a necessity. The evolution to finer details of philosophy has now begun.

impermanence, the imposition of change, and potential disconnect amongst everything. What happens with this boundary of fringe and niche living is in itself an unfathomable phenomenon. All the drive to achieve something which is within this boundary is limited and finite. The true accomplishment must be to arrive at a new drive established on unending energy and enthusiasm. A connectivity which is devoid of the flaw and defect of the intellect, memory and ego complex. What is the drive? How to achieve it? This drive alone is human energy. It is extremely spontaneous and explosively potent. It has within it the cool and chill of the Iceberg and yet the warmth and life support of the sunlight. This is called human energy. Stage 6 our limited understanding of the psychometrics created the framework and the rigid box into which we have trapped human intelligence. Our deterioration began when we perceived human as a resource to be exploited. We created a mainstream and attempted to drape everyone with our own selfish mainstream. We branded that mainstream as human capital. Today we experience the draught of innovation, creativity and intuition. The new drive is a spark and a spontaneity called human energy.

December 2012 UNIQUE TIMES 49


Technology

The New

Windows of

Computing

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W

indows 8, the latest release of the much popular Windows operating system by Microsoft, met with good success. Windows 8 is available for PC’s, tablets and mobile phones. Windows 8 introduces significant changes to the operating system's platform, primarily focused towards improving its user experience on mobile devices such as tablets to rival other mobile operating systems like Android and iOS. Windows 8 has a host of advantages. It incorporates new technologies like USB 3.0, UEFI firmware, near field communications, cloud computing and the low-power ARM architecture, new security features such as malware filtering, built-in antivirus capabilities, a new installation process optimized for digital distribution, and support for secure boot (a UEFI feature which allows operating systems to be digitally signed to prevent malware from altering the boot process), the ability to synchronize certain apps and settings between multiple devices, along with other changes and performance improvements. Windows 8 also introduces a new shell and user interface based on Microsoft's "Metro" design language, featuring a new Start screen with a grid of dynamically updating tiles to represent applications, a new app platform with an emphasis on touch screen input, and the new Windows Store to obtain and/or purchase applications to run on the operating system. Windows 8 was released to mixed reception—although reception towards its performance improvements, security enhancements, and its improved support for touch screen devices was positive, the new user interface of the operating system has been

widely criticized for being confusing curve . Despite these shortcomings, 40 million Windows 8 licenses were sold during its first month of availability. There are certain features that a user will certainly fall in love with. Windows 8 is much faster to boot when compared with older Windows editions and other operating systems. This is s result of careful architecture and allocation of resources. One can say booting a Windows 8 PC is like a song. Windows 8 features an all new Desktop. The tile arrangement or the Metro UI is quite gorgeous. It can be customized according your requirements. The apps can also do some real time integration. Windows 8 has a drastically improved search function. The search function is very powerful and displays results instantly. Windows 8 also features a Windows to Go function, which enables the user to make a copy of their OS even to the very basics into a thumb drive. Once the drive is connected to another windows 8 PC, the user will get an exact replica of his OS. This feature will come in quite handy, when you need to re-install the OS. Development of Windows 8 started before the release of its predecessor in 2009. Its existence was first announced at CES 2011, and followed by the release of three pre-release versions from September 2011 to May 2012. The operating system was released to manufacturing on 1 August 2012, and was released for general availability on 26 October 2012. Most of PC manufacturers are now offering a free upgrade or at a nominal price. Windows 8 go for it. December 2012 UNIQUE TIMES 51


10 Tips for an Entrepreneur

1

1. For an entrepreneur the journey can be quite lonely and full of setbacks, at least in the beginning. You have to believe in yourself, which is very important and stand behind your convictions. Be in the entrepreneurial path, you must believe in your convictions so that you would stand behind your beliefs. Optimism will take you to the shores of victory.

2

Avoid wastage, you cannot emulate a corporate giant with your expenses; let your strategies focus on lean process and efforts. The less you waste, the more you will have to spend.

4 5 6

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Protect your people in their difficulties and help them, then your people will stand by you when you are in need.

Creativity is very important. Don’t stop innovating. Innovate and invent constantly. Products and processes should be constantly improved by innovation. Innovation should become a day to day habit.

Think big and always think big. Once you think big all your efforts will be aligned to making it big, and that can bring in a drastic difference.

Be optimistic, life is full of challenges. You have all the ability to overcome your advantages and achieve success.

8 9

3

7

Communicate your vision regularly with your people. Hear from them, so that you will get a better perspective. Go back to the floor; so that you will find something you can immediately make changes for better workflow. Clarify the ideas so that people will share your same vision.

Speed is very important, ideas are important but implementation is the most crucial. Entrepreneurs should get things done quickly to be successful.

Support talented people around you. The environment should conducive for talented people to grow. This environment will attract more talented people. In the longer this will help your enterprise to innovate and grow faster.

10 Lead from the front, you should not hesitate to do that. If you are not sure about your success then who else will be.


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STYLE

The Korean Wave that swept the world. 54

UNIQUE TIMES December 2012


the United Nations, PSY has become an "international sensation" through his song "Gangnam Style."

G

angnam Style” swept the world off its feet, and made celebrities and politicians dance to the famous horse dance. This K-pop single by South Korean musician PSY is now breaking all records.. The song was released on July 15, 2012, as the lead single of his sixth studio album PSY 6 (Six Rules), Part 1. Once it was released on YouTube the song has no stopping and is now the most viewed video in YouTube surpassing Justin Beiber’s Baby The phrase "Gangnam Style” refers to a lifestyle associated with the Gangnam District of Seoul. The song and its accompanying music video went viral on August 2012 and have influenced popular culture since then. "Gangnam Style" received mixed to positive reviews, with praise going to its catchy beat and PSY's amusing dance moves in the music video and during live performances in various locations such as Madison Square Garden, The Today Show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and Samsung commercials. On September 20, 2012, "Gangnam Style" was recognized by Guinness World Records as the most "liked" video in YouTube history. It subsequently

won Best Video at the MTV Europe Music Awards held later that year. It became a source of parodies and reaction videos by many different groups, organizations, and individuals, including The Oregon Duck, midshipmen from the United States Naval Academy, and the North Korean government. By the end of October 2012, the song reached the number one position in more than 30 countries including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom As the song continued to rapidly gain popularity and ubiquity, its signature dance moves were performed by many business and political leaders including Google's executive chairman Eric Schmidt, the British Prime Minister David Cameron, and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, who hailed the song as a "force for world peace." The song's influence on political activism was exemplified by the film Gangnam for Freedom. It was produced by the British sculptor Anish Kapoor to advocate the freedom of expression and had subsequently won the support of various human rights organizations including Index on Censorship and Amnesty International. According to

According to the news agency Agence France-Presse, the success of "Gangnam Style" could be considered as part of the Korean Wave, a term coined by Chinese journalists to refer to the significant increase in the popularity of South Korean entertainment and culture since the late 1990s. "Gangnam Style" is a Korean neologism that refers to a lifestyle associated with the Gangnam District of Seoul where people are trendy, hip and exude a certain supposed "class." The term was listed in Time's weekly vocabulary list as a manner associated with lavish lifestyles in Seoul's Gangnam district. PSY likened the Gangnam District to Beverly Hills, California, and said in an interview that he intended in a twisted sense of humour by claiming himself to be "Gangnam Style" when everything about the song, dance, looks, and the music video is far from being such a high class. “People never actually from Gangnam proclaim that they are—it's only the posers and wannabes that put on these airs and say that they are "Gangnam Style"—so this song is actually poking fun at those kinds of people who are trying so hard to be something that they're not.” The musician said The song talks about "the perfect girlfriend who knows when to be refined and when to get wild."The song's refrain Oppan Gangnam style has been translated as Big brother is Gangnam style with PSYreferring to himself "Oppa" is a Korean expression used by females to refer to an older male friend or older brother. During an interview with The New York Times, PSY revealed

December 2012 UNIQUE TIMES 55


that the Korean fans have huge expectations about his dancing, so he felt a lot of pressure. In order to keep up with expectations, he studied hard to find something new and stayed up late for about 30 nights to come up with the "Gangnam Style" dance. Along the way, he had tested various "cheesy" animal-inspired dance moves with his choreographer, including panda and kangaroo moves, before settling for the horse dance which involves pretending to ride a horse, alternately holding the reins and spinning a lasso, and moving into a leg-shuffling side gallop. During an interview with Reuters, Psy claimed that "Gangnam Style" was originally produced only for local Kpop fans, and he later said the same thing during a speech at Oxford University. On July 11, PSY and his music label YG Entertainment started releasing several promotional teasers for "Gangnam Style" to their subscribers on YouTube ] On July 15, 2012, the full music video of "Gangnam Style" was uploaded onto 56

UNIQUE TIMES December 2012

YouTube and received about 500,000 views on its first day. Korean popular music (K-pop), considered by some to be the most important aspect of the Korean Wave, is a music genre that relies on cultural technology to adapt to the tastes of foreign audiences and has now grown into a popular subculture among teenagers and young adults in many places around the world. Although it has spread to the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and parts of South America, its reception in the Western world has so far been lukewarm. However, social media networks such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter have made it easier for K-pop musicians to reach a wider audience in the West. According to Mark James Russell from Foreign Policy, while the Korean wave "may not (yet) turn heads in Los Angeles or London," this could soon change because of the Gangnam Style phenomenon. Some Critics tried to write off Gangnam Style. Some called it an overnight success. But nobody can

underestimate the kind of hard work gone behind the making of the song


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Sports

The young

Champion 58

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I think everything that could go wrong, went wrong

E

verything that could go wrong went wrong,'' Sebastian Vettel said after he finished sixth at the Brazilian Grand Prix, just enough to protect his lead over rival Fernando Alonso and become F1's youngest three-time champion at age 25. He found himself in trouble after his car spun around the track and others zoomed past. He had to overcome all negatives to reach his third straight championship title. The spectators then saw a very emotional Vettel. He was full of emotions and wept on his final lap as his Red Bull chief shouted congratulations at him on the team radio. The trouble didn’t end there, he was pushed to the last position, and he had to work with a slightly damaged car with no radio communication. Vettel couldn’t reciprocate to his teammate’s enthusiasm as he had no radio communication. Vettel changed the record of legendary Brazilian driver Ayrton Senna, who had become the youngest triple champion at the age of 31. The last race of the season was also the last F1 race of Michael Schumacher, the greatest F1 driver. The 43-year-old German had joined Mercedes in 2010, having first retired in 2006 with Ferrari. His second stint was rather unsuccessful as he

failed to win a single race in three seasons. Vettel was born in Heppenheim, then West Germany. He has one younger brother, Fabian, and two older sisters, Melanie, a horse rider, and Stefanie, a physiotherapist for disabled children. Vettel suggested in an interview that he was terrible at school, but he earned his final exams with a respectable grade, however. He also mentioned that his childhood heroes were "The three Michaels", who were Michael Schumacher, Michael Jordan, and Michael Jackson. He stated that he wanted to be a singer like Michael Jackson, but realised that he could not as he did not have the voice. Vettel also is a fan of The Beatles, collecting several records, including Abbey Road and his favourite song being "Drive My Car". In an interview on Top Gear, Vettel stated that he was a fan of British comedy such as Little Britain and Monty Python's Life of Brian. Vettel lives in Switzerland amongst other racing drivers and is a fan of German football team Eintracht Frankfurt. Vettel has described himself as competitive, private, and impatient. Vettel also appears in advertisements for Head & Shoulders.

overtaking under yellow controversy lost steam after FIA found that the overtaking move by Vettel was legal. But it needed the help of some zoomed cameras to find it out. This F1 season will be remembered for its thrilling finish, the expectations of fans and changing fortunes. The last race in the season will remembered as the last race of the 7 time world champion Michael Schumacher and for Vettel’s crowning glory as the youngest triple champion. On the other hand, Vettel thinks that repeated success doubles the pressure and it is becoming harder to win each year. The Red Bull team has admitted that this was definitely a tough and long season even if they won the constructors’ title in the end.

The championship victory nonetheless sprang some controversy. The

December 2012 UNIQUE TIMES 59


T

he much awaited Bond movie has hit the cinemas and diehard Bond fans are going gaga over it. The film also celebrates the 50th anniversary of Bond Films franchise. What is this film all about? Well it’s a film about betrayal, loyalty and commitment. It is something where somebody is trying to kill MI6 and MI6, through Bond, is trying to kill them before they could even reach MI6. The plot revolves around the motives of that somebody who wants to bring down the towering MI6 edifice and Bond’s efforts to thwart that and protect its top lady M – which if one reads closely can be dubbed as ‘mother’ for Bond whose traumatic childhood is revealed in this movie like never before. Like many other Bond movies of later days Skyfall too begins with that epic chase of Bond where to the audience’s

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dismay Bond is killed, accidently of course, by his own agent from the MI6. Well can Bond die ever? Quoting him in the film when ‘resurrection’ is his past time how can he die? The tragedy at the MI6 HQ brings Bond back to M, played by Judi Dench, once again with all her gregariousness of playing that role. It is her failure to guard an important MI6 dossier in a computer disk that drives the story forward and brings back Bond from the dead. Now that Bond is back he takes up on him retrieving the disk that has very sensitive information about the NATO secret service agents in international terrorist networks. The run after that trail leads Bond into one of the best Bond villains ever played on the screen – Javier Bardem who himself happened to be an MI6 agent once. He is not bend on dominating the world; but has personal reasons to hate MI6 and that keeps him (and the movie) going.

Bond movies are not meant to be that simple and Skyfall is not an exception. Things take unanticipated twists and the criminal is at large again and this time he knows where to find his target and we are all taken to Bond’s summer residence from which this film takes its title – ‘skyfall’ – and to the eventual climax. The return of the Bond from the dead and his subsequent MI6 training sequence reveal the frailty in him rather than the superhuman character which other movies project. He finds it difficult to be what he was once. May be this is what prompted some of the movie critics to dub the effort of Craig who once and for all laid to rest who’s the greatest Bond actor on screen as ‘he made Bond human’. Now off to Bond girls. Every Bond movie has a new girl and this one has two – one in the form of his MI6 colleague Eve (Naomi Harris) and another as a Eurasian woman (Berenice Marlohe). However, the


the British secret service and has elements of patriotism stitched into the main fabric of the film real Bond girl is the ruthless M who keeps all her double O seven agents including Bond under her thumb. More than in any other Bond movie M plays a major role here and her controlling and demanding more nature leads to her downfall. Towards the end the Oedipal type relation that Bond has towards M is brought forth well by Sam Mendes granting her the title of the best Bond girls ever. Skyfall is more English than any other Bond film in more than one ways. It has its location largely in England and Scotland. It talks about the British secret service and has elements of patriotism stitched into the main fabric of the film. No Bond movie is complete without its gadgets. In this one, however, there are not many except the gun that will work only in Bond’s hands. He still drives his [car’s name] and does not think twice when it comes to woman – in that way the archaic image of Bond is kept alive. However, the gadget guru no more is an old, scientist looking man but a young, geeky looking chap. Q this time is tech-savvy [check whether previous movies have young Qs] and is played by Ben Whishaw.

Through Skyfall the audience is taken around the major global destinations – starting from Istanbul via London and Shanghai to end up in Scotland. The making of a Bond movie is always a daunting production experience for all those who are involved primarily because of the anticipation that it builds in the Bond fan community. They expect a lot from the film and sadly know all of Bond’s secrets. So to surprise them and make them say ‘the new film is NOT as we know Bond; this is better’ is a challenge that through Skyfall Sam Mendes and his crew (or should it be Bond and his men) successfully took on them and delivered. The title song through Adele’s voice sings of an end; however, the closing credits surreptitiously tell us there is more to come our way.

December 2012 UNIQUE TIMES 61


What's Going On Jab Tak Hai Jaan As you watch “Jab Tak Hai Jaan” you cannot simply seen it as you have seen any other movie, it is being called the “swansong of one of the defining directors of the Indian film industry.” You cannot help but think of Yash Chopra’s legacy while watching his last film. Every scene being straight out of a postcard, everything is perfectly in place as you even watch Shah Rukh Khan and Katrina Kaif kissing on a lush, green meadow, you just think that Mr. Chopra knew romance so well. In the film Yah Chopra makes some references to the new generation’s idea of romance, as worlds like “sex” and “relationship is thrown around carelessly, but it is very obvious that the old world romance was his cup of tea. For the man who made “Kabhi Kabhi” and Silsila”, “Jab Tak Hai Jaan” though not a exactly a swan song, is a reminder of why his brand of romance worked.

Tom Hanks On Playing Walt Disney In the new Hollywood film “Saving Mr. Banks” Tom Hank’s plays the role of the iconic animator Walt Disney. Hanks was concerned about taking on the role due he felt that he would not be able to do it with justice. When Hanks starred in the film “Da vinci Code”, he did as much research as possible because he did not want to disappoint Disney’s die hard fans. And the same goes for this movie. “Walt Disney was a very tough, competitive and a very loyal businessman that invented an art form that is still going great guns today,” commented Hanks. Therefore Hanks wants to be as accurate as possible, and not upset anybody. To prepare for the role he went to the Disney Family Museum at the Presidio in San Francisco, California, where he met Walt’s daughter Diane Disney and other staff who invited him on a day when it was closed. Seeing every piece of film and audio, he has 39 hours of informal interview which Mr.Disney did.

Bipasha Basu Actress Bipasha Basu who entered into the film industry in 2001 with “Ajnabee” is shedding the lime light on the women of the Hindi film industry as she feels that there is minimum opportunity for the female actors in the industry. “In Bollywood, there’s not much choice for us except to be safe and look pretty and do some nice dance numbers,” Bipasha told US in an interview. Though the year of 2011 released films such as “The Dirty Picture”, “No One Killed Jessica”, and “Saat Khoon Maaf” which showed a trend for women to find prominent roles in the film industry, Bispasha says that it’s just “luck”, which doesn’t change anything. “As much as we say that the film industry is changing, it is a very hero-centric business and it will always remain that,” said Bipasha. She does however think that there are some intelligent filmmakers who are in fact making films which are not about being feminist but about making an entertaining film with the heroine having to do something. 62

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Gomez and Bieber's Split Gomez and Bieber ended their two year old relationship over trust issues and now Justin Bieber reportedly has put a beep on exgirlfriend Selena Gomez’s name which appears in his upcoming song “Beauty and a Beat.” Sung by Nicki Minaj, Bieber’s new song which had Gomez’s name in one of the lines were which was “Justin Bieber, you know I’m a hit ‘em with the ether, buns out wiener, but I gotta keep an eye out for Selena.” The Sun quoted a source saying that “It’s too late for Justin to remove the lyrics from his album. But there’s no way he’s going to be singing it or have anyone else sing it including Nicki at his concerts. He knows it would just rub salt in the wounds for Selena and there would be a huge backlash from his girl fans, so it’s easier forgotten.” Such a caring thought.

Geneila D’Souza The 25 year old actress, who married Riteish on Feburary 3rd of this year, said that she has not signed on any new films yet as she is enjoying her “post marriage break”. She has been eagerly waiting for a break after having worked in the five film industries such as Bollywood, Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, and Malayalam on a constant basis for a decade. “I started my career at a very young age and worked for 10 years and all 365 days without taking any break.” I feel I deserve this break now after marriage,” say Genelia. The actress who was last seen with her husband in the movie “tere Naal Love Ho Gaya”, says that life has not change after marriage, the only thing which has changed is that she is seen less on TV. However there are off screen matters which have been keeping her busy. Genelia will soon be seen in Anees Bazmee’s “It’s my life” and a zombie comedy “Rock the Shaadi,” films which were signed before marriage.

Channing Tatum Named "Sexiest Man" Alive Remember the movie “Step Up,” with the oh so ever charming Channing Tatum stealing the hearts of women with his dance steps, and now with the latest summer movie his “Magic Mike” which set hearts fluttering? Well ladies Tatum has been named the sexiest man alive by People Magazine. The 32 year old actor who is married to actress Jenna Dewan Tatum first thought that everyone was just messing around with him when he heard this news. Tatum is now joining a long list of the Hollywood heartthrobs who also have received the “sexiest man” title from the magazine including Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp, Ryan Reynolds, George Clooney and Matt Damon. Tatum is currently training to play an Olympic athlete in his upcoming film “Foxcatcher.”

December 2012 UNIQUE TIMES 63


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