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

Cover Photograph:

Ravi Menon

Correspondents Dr. Thomas Nechupadam Tressa Varghese Denisha Sahadevan Sheela Abraham Sreerekha R. Nair Creative Design Ashique K Gilsha Bindosh Marketing Pramod

TIMES

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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


Content

V.P. Nandakumar

12

MD & CEO, Manappuram Finance Ltd.

The Micro- Entrepreneurship

route to financial inclusion

16

18

08

Manappuram

Miss South India Curtain Raiser

Interview with

24

Ravi Menon

A Lot of business over a cup of coffee

Unique Diary


Content

32

Travel

38

Auto Focus

Gadgets

30

40

Books

44 Interview with

Dr. Madhulika Guhathakurta


Content

50

Life Management

52

62

Ask the smile expert

60

What's Going On

56 Interview with

Aishwarya Devan

Movie Review


Editorial The Calendars are being changed; new diaries are organizers are in front of us waiting to be opened. New Year Resolutions are being decided on. Every New Year brings with it a lot of hope and excitement. Hope that the New Year will also bring great success to you. There is small anecdote which the character played by Christopher Walken says in the film Catch me if you can. “Two little mice fell in a bucket of cream. The first mouse quickly gave up and drowned. The second mouse, wouldn't quit. He struggled so hard that eventually he churned that cream into butter and crawled out. Gentlemen, as of this moment, I am that second mouse.” A story that tells us about the hard work we have to do before we attain success. Miss South India, one of the best beauty pageants in India will be held at Lulu Convention Centre, on the 9th of January 2013. Unique Times will cover this elegant show in a comprehensive manner. Tune to our online edition for instant updates. This edition we have an interview with Mr. Ravi Menon, Chairman of Sobha Group. In the interview Ravi speaks in detail about his company. We also have an interview with Dr. Madhulika Guhathakurta who is an astrophysicist at NASA as well as the Lead Program Scientist for NASA’s initiative called “Living with a Star” (LWS). Also we have our regular articles; V P Nandakumar writes about the micro-entrepreneurship route to financial inclusion. Sree Rekha writes about Aurangabad in her travelogue. We also have an interview with Aishwarya Devan, a leading actress in South Indian films Cruise well through the New Year and enjoy your reading.

Ajit Ravi


Unique Diary

Apple v/s Samsung

A

pple Inc’s request for a permanent injunction against Samsung Electronics’ smart phones has been denied. Apple and Samsungs struggle for industry supremacy as they have been involved in the patents dispute. In August it was found that Samsung had copied some of the critical features of the iPhone and iPad upon which Apple had been awarded $1.05 billion in damages. For most of the year, Apple had been successful in its U.S. litigation campaign against Samsung by convincing U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California to impose sales bans against Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 and Galaxy Nexus. In October, a federal appeals court reversed the ban against the Nexus phone, ruling that Apple had not presented enough evidence that its patented features drove consumer demand for the entire iPhone.

V/S

Polar Bears Extinction

T

hough for a millennium, white polar bears have roamed the frozen lands of the Arctic, according to two Russian experts, Nikita Ovsyanikov and Masha Vorontsova, the “monarch of the ice” could be extinct in 25 years time due to human incursions into their traditional habitat. Their present population is 20,000-25,000 globally. Both of the scientists feel that hunting and the trade in body parts are the most serious threat facing in the polar bear. The polar bear has been hunted by the indigenous Arctic people including the Inuit and Eskimos in Alaska and Canada and Yupiks, Nenets, Chukchis and Pomors in Russia. “A high percentage of cubs are lost. Females can’t breed. Individuals become famished. Also, there is pollution, oil drilling and increased susceptibility to diseases,” said Ovsyanikov. “What is needed is more lobbying for the endangered animals,” he added.

Nokia s Lumia Sell Out

Y

es, you might have seen Nokia’s Lumia Smartphones being sold out in many stores across Europe and America, however it’s just too soon to lay a bet that Nokia is on the road to recovery just yet, as the retailers are saying that supplies have been short ever since the lunch of the Lumia. The positive online reviews of waiting lists for the 920, as well as Nokia’s sales deal with China Mobile, have helped Nokia shares rise over 40 percent in the past month. The Lumia 920 and 820 which was launched just last month was a “make or break” deal for Nokia, who used to be an undisputed leader in the mobile phones industry. However analysts are saying that there is no proof that Lumia phones are making significant inroads on market leaders Samsung and Apple or that CEO Stephen Elop’s risk strategy of betting the company’s future on Windows software was paying off.

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UNIQUE TIMES January 2013


&

Women Chocolates

D

id you know that warning women that eating chocolate can make them fat may actually drive some to eat more? The joint study of the University of Western Australia with the University of Strathclyde in Scotland found that low restraint eaters meaning those that are not on a diet showed to have a strong impulse to eat chocolate when presented with negative messaging, including warnings that chocolate could lead to obesity, reported News.com.au. This is so because those not on a diet are less preoccupied with regulating their food intake. Researchers found that the dieters shown the ads featuring thin models prompted an increased desire to eat chocolate coupled with greater feelings of wanting to avoid consumption, or indulged in higher consumption and ultimately felt more guilt. This reaction of a warning having a contrary effect is known as “reactance,” according to lead author Professor Kevin Durkin.

Tattoos

Used for Identification

A

ccording to a provincial minister the terrorist groups in Pakistan have been using tattoos like skulls and horns in order to identify themselves. “One of the terrorists killed recently also had a tattoo on his back,“ said Information Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province Mian Iftikhar. Due to the timely action of security forces, a number of terror plots, including a plan to take over an air base, were foiled, Geo TV quoted the minister.” The terrorists are neither Muslims nor Pakistanis, and they do not deserve to be called humans,” he said. He told reporters in Peshawar that “U.S., Pakistan and Afghanistan

Queen Elizabeth II Q

ueen Elizabeth II, scripted history when she attended a cabinet meeting in 10 Downing Street, becoming the first British monarch since George III in 1781. George I ceased to chair cabinet in 1717. According to BBC’s report the Queen’s father, King George VI had attended war cabinet during the Second World War. Prime Minister David Cameron greeted the 86 year old Queen at the door of Number 10. Once inside, the Queen was introduced to each of the government’s senior ministers who presented her with a gift to mark her Diamond Jubilee after 60 years on the throne. After the Queen and the cabinet had taken their seats, Cameron formally welcomed her to the meeting and outlined the agenda. The meeting started off with Chief hip Sir George Young talking about the change to royal accession rules, to allow a first born girl to become head of state even if she has a younger brother.

January 2013 UNIQUE TIMES 09


Unique Diary

Naseer Hussain Blasts India after Loss

A

fter India’s 2-1 series loss to England in the fourt-match series former England captain feels that India paid the price of thinking that preparing turning tracks could be enough to beat England in the just-concluded Test series as the visitors had better tweakers to exploit the dustbowls. According to Hussain “the tourists were fitter, both physically and mentally, and hungrier for Test cricket. India would not have been able to take four wickets late in a day, after two sessions without a wicket, as England did. India went one up and just thought they could prepare a turning pitch and England would crumble. They showed too much bravado. And England made them pay very heavily indeed for that.”

Man s Escape from NAGGING

Wife

A

36 year old restaurant owner with the surname Bai, came up with an idea which was sure to get him arrested and taken to a nice, quiet prison, reported The Star. Bai went to a supermarket in Taichung city, Taiwan where he clearly stated his plans. He shouted “I am here to rob. Call the police!” he shouted, according to the newspaper. The Man kept yelling and pleading with the workers to call the police. The so called “robber” then bought a pack of cigarettes and went outside. When the police arrive they found him waiting for them in front of the store while having a smoke. Unfortunately for Bai, his plan failed. The police released him once they realized his intention was not to commit a crime that he only wanted to escape his nagging wife.

Messi, Puyol & Hernandez B

arcelona has announced on their official website that they have reached an agreement with Hernandez Xavi, Carles Puyol on a contract extension until the summer of 2016, while Lionel Messi will stay with the club until 2018. Puyol’s previous deal was due to expire at the end of the 2012-13 campaign, but now it seems that the 34 year old defender will remain for three more additional seasons. Xavi, midfielder originally had a contract with Barcelona until the summer of 2014, and now has reached an agreement for two more seasons. Messi who was initially under a contract with the camp Nou side until 2016, however after his impressive performances in 2012, Barcelona offered him a new deal till 2018. The Argentinean player scored his 89th and 90th goals of the calendar year in a 4-1 rout of Altetico Madrid to extend his world record haul and cement his status as the world’s top player.

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UNIQUE TIMES January 2013

Stay On


All Futures for Britain Imaginable

B

ritain’s Prime Minister David Cameron has admitted for the fist time that he can indeed imagine Britain quitting the European Union (EU), The Sun reported. Cameron talked of how the prospect of Britain pulling out of the EU after MP’s grilled him about last week’s Brussels summit. When asked if he could envisage Britain leaving the EU, Cameron said “all futures for Britain were imaginable. We are in charge of our own destiny, we can make our own choices.” Cameron, however stressed withdrawal was not his “preference”. He wanted Britain to stay in the EU and to renegotiate relations with the EU (based in Belgium) to seize back key powers.

Two Probes Commanded to Crash

A

pair of the NASA moon mapping probes smashed themselves into a lunar mountain on Monday, ending a year long mission that is shedding light on how the solar system formed. The Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) spacecraft had been flying around the moon, enabling scientists to make detailed gravity maps. Out of fuel as it edged closer to the lunar surface, the probes were commanded to smash themselves into a mountain near the moon’s north pole, avoiding a chance encounter with any Apollo or other relics left on the surface during previous expeditions. On December 6, the probes nicknamed Ebb and Flow, had flown down to about 7 miles in order make one last detailed map of the moon’s youngest crater.

Sachin Tendulkar S

achin Tendulkar, without question the world’s best batsman announced his retirement from One-day Internationals. The batsman from Mumbai ends his career with 49 hundreds, 18,426 runs, 463 appearances, and 96 half-centuries and a world cup win to add to his glory. Sachin will turn 40 in April, exited the 50-over-format rather quietly. The Board of Cricket Control in India’s website announced that Sachin had his decision to the board’s president. The announcement of his retirement was surprising for his fans. Earlier media reported that Sachin had made himself available for selection for the upcoming games against Pakistan.

January 2013 UNIQUE TIMES 11


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

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UNIQUE TIMES January 2013

Finance


The

MicroEntrepreneurship route to financial inclusion O

ne of the surest ways to promote the objectives of financial inclusion and inclusive growth is to kick start micro enterprises and empower our micro-entrepreneurs who struggle against great odds. How can this be done? Let me talk from my experience with the gold loan customers of Manappuram Finance who increasingly happen to be small shop owners, traders, the self employed etc. These are the people who belong to the class of what may be called micro-entrepreneurs. We are familiar with typical micro enterprises like small shops and retail establishments, push-cart vendors, grocery stores, service and repair outlets etc. In fact, micro enterprises contribute directly to society by improving the quality of our lives (e.g. we get to buy fresh vegetables at our doorstep). Moreover, by standing on their own feet, they are not dependent on the government, and don’t strain the social welfare budget. People come into micro entrepreneurship by inheritance, by emulating the examples of others around them, or because of a sheer lack of alternatives. The process of

starting a micro enterprise is always informal and it can even be a spur-of-themoment decision. Micro enterprises cannot get started when complexities are imposed, like preparing project reports, or compliance with many statutory requirements etc. Therefore, for micro-entrepreneurship to take off and thrive, it is essential that entry barriers be lowered. When the entry barriers are high, people low on skills and education are easily deterred. Indeed, the only requirements that may reasonably be expected of a micro-entrepreneur are access to some capital, some contacts, some idea about the business, and a measure of confidence. The other important point is that the major investment of the micro entrepreneur is not capital but time. Therefore, the make or break factor is not ROCE (return on capital employed) but what may be termed ROTE (return on time employed). This is a crucial distinction that must be made before any meaningful discussion on financial inclusion. Too often, with our focus on ROCE, we assume that the cost of capital is the significant

January 2013 UNIQUE TIMES 13


constraint faced by micro enterprises and that a solution to their woes lies in reducing the cost of capital. This is a fallacy. A vegetable vendor borrows Rs.500 in the morning to buy vegetables for the amount. A day’s hard work nets him a profit of Rs.250, i.e. 50% returns in a day. Work out

In a country with low levels of financial literacy, micro-entrepreneurs require access to small loans that is readily available without being tied up in paper work and procedure. the return over a period of one year (with 300 working days) and it’s a staggering 15,000%. No MNC, not even monopoly businesses, earn these kinds of returns. Indeed, a financial analyst looking at these numbers would say this is a great business to be in, but we know better than to go by these (misleading) numbers. Look at the return on his time instead. If he works for ten hours a day, it turns out his fabulous return of 15,000% p.a. is worth exactly Rs.25 for every hour of effort. In such a scenario, if he pays an interest of Rs.50 every day on the amount borrowed, the rate would be calculated as 10% per day, or 3,000% annualised! Is that a crippling burden? When you consider that it still leaves him with Rs.200 in his hands, enough to take care of his family, maybe not. In a micro enterprise, the capital required to get going is always modest. At the same time, since those who take to microentrepreneurship are usually quite poor, they may not have even this modest amount with them. That’s why one of the biggest entry barriers to microentrepreneurship is access to capital. But, it’s not the cost of capital, measured by its annualised rate of interest, that matters, rather its timely availability. Every day lost is earnings for the day lost. The promise of cheap loans entangled in bureaucratic procedure is no help. Indeed, it can even kill the enterprise. It follows that if access to small loans can be eased, you are automatically promoting micro-

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UNIQUE TIMES January 2013

entrepreneurship. Until fairly recently, it seemed that microfinance was the ideal way to fill this gap. However, recent developments have belied the promise. Is there anything else that would work? Consider this. On Nov.30, 2012, the Economic Times carried a frontpage article with the title “Entrepreneurs Bond with Yellow Metal”. It featured the story of Aneesha Binu, a woman entrepreneur in Idukki District (Kerala) who runs a beauty parlour. Aneesha had set up her business with money obtained by pledging her jewellery. Aneesha, incidentally, is a customer of Manappuram’s Rajakumari Branch, and we have come across thousands of examples like hers. We are familiar with how mobile telephones made things easier for small businesses and services. Earlier, the cost of renting a shop or office space, and waiting for the telephone connection to materialise was a huge stumbling block to the common man who wanted to start off on his own. Now, with a mobile phone, anyone can operate from home and be in business overnight. Likewise, many have dreams of starting something on their own but arranging for adequate working capital is a hurdle. With access to hassle-free gold loans, they can get started immediately, without having to go chasing after a bank. Gold loans promote micro entrepreneurship. In a country with low levels of financial literacy, microentrepreneurs require access to small loans that are readily available without elaborate paperwork and procedure. A gold loan is ideal for this purpose. Aneesha’s example proves that gold loans lower the entry barriers to micro-entrepreneurship. That’s why, today, about a third of Manappuram’s gold loan customers belongs to the micro enterprise segment—traders, shopkeepers, the selfemployed etc. They use gold loans as a hassle-free source of working capital to meet the requirements of day-to-day business.


Entrepreneurship

A lot of

business coffee can happen over a cup of 16

UNIQUE TIMES January 2013


The new generation of India, donot bother to spend some extra money for an expensive coffee from an expensive outlet.

I

ndia was known as the country of tea lovers, but of late coffee lovers are growing in number, thanks to new lounges and cafeterias which serve varieties of Coffee. The coffee culture is much prevalent among the young generation. Students and young professionals throng coffee outlets and spend their free time in the company of their friends. The coffee market is worth more than USD 230 million and as per industry experts, by 2017, the market will be around USD 410. Starting a coffee chain may be the best decision you can now make. As the disposable income in the hands of young generation increases, the more will they spend on. There are several factors which drive the coffee business ahead. First of all the enhanced purchasing power of Indians over the recent years and most of the families go out especially the young ones. The new generation of India, do not bother to spend some extra money for an expensive coffee from an expensive outlet. Coffee shops also become points of social gathering, especially for the techie young generation, free Wi fi and similar connectivity options make these places quite attractive.

Apart from social meetings entrepreneurs and businessmen find it attractive to sit in coffee outlets and discuss business. These outlets help them to get a meeting place, with all facilities at a rather small price point. Consider the cost of renting a place and two cups of coffee. These people find this ideal place to meet and finalize a deal. The franchise model helps the brand owners to spread their brand far and wide. The world over franchising methods help Coffee brands reach more customers and the only important factor is to replicate the brands quality and service standards to all locations. Training teams are made and recruitment is done at a central level to maintain the quality and service standards. Almost all major brands operate on a franchise model.

opportunity and thus diluted the market. Many brands could not sustain the service demands of the customers and closed down. Another major problem looming is that of an economic slowdown. People like to go out, sit with friends and talk about what is happening in the world. Friends like to meet up in some place and share their friendship. Businessmen will need a place to sit and talk. As long these basic needs are there, Cafe’s will be thronged with people. The only thing you need is to sustain the service levels and quality. The smell should be there not only on the cappuccino cup, but also on your faces. A smile can bring you business like a Coffee.

In India many brands are share the market, but are mostly concentrated in the metro and urban areas. Cafe Coffee Day and Barista are present nationally. Starbucks recently started their first outlet in India. Even this is a lucrative business there is much competition and challenges. Over the recent years several Cafe’s sprang up sensing in the

January 2013 UNIQUE TIMES 17


Watch the beauties bring fire from the heaven and lit up the ramp during the most elegant beauty pageant in South India


Events

puram

Miss dia 013

A Curtain Raiser 20

UNIQUE TIMES January 2013


T

he 10th edition of Manappuram Miss South India 2013 will be held at Lulu Convention Centre, Thrissur on 9th of January 2013. The Pageant aims to discover the freedom of expression and talent of the women of India. This edition of the pageant will bring together the youth of South India and showcase it in its entire splendor, its exciting blend of culture, tourist destinations and natural beauty to the entire world.

Yoga, meditation, personality development, Catwalk, beauty tips, photo shoot, interaction, Talent search, etc. The Miss South India pageant is conceived and executed by Pegasus event Makers. Pegasus was established in the year 2000 as a proprietary firm. Initially the firm was into the event management alone. The idea of conducting beauty pageant under the title Miss South India was conceived in the year 2002 and the said title was crowned for the very first time in the same year. The final event of the pageant consists of three and a half hour program with three sequences and cultural extravaganzas and will be directed by Ajith Ravi Pegasus. The Event would be judged by Miss World 1st runner up Ms. Parvathy Omanakuttan, South Indian Actor Mr. Babu Antony and Actress Ranjini (Chithram fame), Famous Tollywood Actress Ms. Nikitha Narayan, Famous Mollywood Actress Ms. Aishwarya Devan, Famous NRI fashion designer Mr. Sajimon Parayil and Media Personality Mrs. Toshma Biju, In this edition of Miss South India, 16 contestants will walk the ramp on the grand finale. The grooming sessions will start on the 5th of January at PJ Princess, Vypeen,

Cochin. These sessions will consist of yoga, meditation, personality development, catwalk, beauty tips, Photo shoot, Interaction, Talent search, etc.… This will help the contestants to enhance their strengths and overcome their weaknesses. Grooming section will be completely focused on the culture and tradition of South India. The girls are groomed by an expert panel of fashion choreographers and trainers - Mr. Arun Ratna of Fashion Runway, Mr. Sameer Khan of Elite Model Flattt; Ms. Valentina Ravi of Valen’s Model Management, Former Miss South India 1st runner up Ms Geethu Tony Chungath, yoga trainer Ms Nuthan and Jebitha Ajit, MD, Pegasus. The stage for the eve is made to the reality by the team headed by Mr. Diliip of Akshay inco. The handmade Ribbon for the contestants, subtitles and title winners are designed by Mrs. Christeena Jomy, MD of X’tina’s design. The winners will be getting a gold plated crown designed by Mr. & Mrs. Prakashan Parakkat. The title winner will win a Lakh rupee sponsored by Manappuram Group, the first runner up with Rs.50, 000/sponsored by Riti Jewellery and second runner up with Rs.25, 000/- sponsored by MAcare. All the subtitle winners will be given with gifts. Apart from the title winners, the other subtitles to win are Miss Beautiful Hair, Miss Beautiful Smile, Miss Beautiful Skin, Miss Beautiful Face, Miss Beautiful Eyes, Miss Congeniality, Miss Cat Walk, Miss Perfect 10, Miss Talented, Miss Viewer’s choice and Miss Photogenic. The three sequences include the designer saree round, Casuals and Black & black. The subtitles will be judged by a panel of expertise headed by Dr. Thomas Nechupadam.

January 2013 UNIQUE TIMES 21


www.asiavogue.in

You are welcome to

the world of

FASHION

MODELS

PHOTOGRAPHERS

CHOREOGRAPHERS

GROOMING PROFESSIONALS

MAKE-OVERS

HAIRSTYLISTS

ASIAVOGUE You are in fashion


www.pegasusindia.org www.missqueenofindia.com

be the Miss Queen of India Win 2 Lakhs

&

Auditions in Mumbai Delhi Kolkata and Bengaluru

Entries are invited


Interview

24

UNIQUE TIMES January 2013


Ravi Menon:

Taking the

SOBHA LEGACY AHEAD R

avi Menon joined Sobha Developers in June 2004 as a Director and was designated the Vice Chairman in January 2006. He was appointed the Chairman this year in June 2012. Born in Kerala, he did his graduation in civil engineering from Purdue University, USA with a distinction. In a span of eight years, as an executive member of the Board, he has contributed significantly to product execution which has resulted in the Company’s delivery levels increasing from 6 Million Square Feet in the financial year 2004-05 to over 50 Million Square Feet in cumulative during 2011-12, a new milestone in the history of the Company and the construction industry in India as a whole. During the same time, the turnover of the Company increased from Rs. 6,248.34 Million in the financial year 2005-06 to Rs. 14,144 Million in the financial year 2011-12, an increase of around 125%. He has played a pivotal role in devising the corporate strategy, diversifying through product lines and entering into new geographies thereby strengthening the foundation of the Company. He has been actively responsible for the launch of new product lines and attainment of the highest standards of quality. Under his leadership, the Company has consolidated its operations and become a widely recognized and acclaimed brand. A man of details, he has brought about tremendous value addition to the organization in terms of creating Project Management Information Systems, detailed Technology Manual, elaborate Quality Evaluation Procedure, Customer Care Structure, Innovation Culture, and Sobha Academy, which is focused on the Technical and Behavioral development of all employees. He has been instrumental in strengthening the execution by focusing on micro level tracking of cost, quality and time. Highly organized, he aims to transform Sobha into a system driven organization by documenting each and every process of the Company. His objective is to transform Sobha Developers into an organization of the future. For his dedicated service and achievements, Ravi Menon has been bestowed with the ‘Young Achievers’ Award’ at the Real Estate Awards 2012 and the ‘Star Realty Magnetic Young Icon’ award at the Star Realty Awards 2012. Ravi Menon in a conversation with Bejoy George talks in detail about Sobha and what makes his company distinct.

January 2013 UNIQUE TIMES 25


Sobha is known for its quality. How do you ensure the same? Sobha Developers was established in 1995 with a clear vision to transform the way people perceive quality. Today 302 projects later, Sobha is a brand trusted for perfection. Sobha has an in-house Quality & Safety Department, comprising experienced German master craftsmen, that ensures the quality of the product at every stage of construction.

courts, restaurants, and research centres. Some of Sobha’s prestigious clients include Infosys, Taj, Leela, Dell, HP, Timken, Biocon, Institute of Public Enterprises, and Bosch amongst others. We understand Sobha has constructed over 50 million sq. ft. of space. Can you provide us with the latest data in terms of completed projects? As of September 30, 2012, in the past 17 years, Sobha has completed 81 residential projects and 221 contractual projects covering about 53.73 million sq.

Sobha's backward integration literally means that the Company clearly has all the key competencies and in-house resources to deliver a project from conceptualization to completion It is our assiduous attention to details, constant innovation, meticulous execution and strong adherence to international standards that helps us differentiate from others and add significant value to our products. What are Sobha’s broad product verticals? Sobha is primarily focused on residential and contractual projects. The Company’s residential projects include presidential apartments, villas, row houses, super luxury apartments, luxury apartments, semi-luxury apartments and plotted development along with amenities such as a clubhouse, swimming pool and shopping complexes. In all its residential projects the Company lays strong emphasis on environmental management, water harvesting and high safety standards. On the contractual side, the Company has constructed a variety of structures for corporates including state of the art offices, convention centres, software development blocks, multiplex theatres, hostel facilities, guest houses, food

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UNIQUE TIMES January 2013

ft. of space. How many projects are in the pipeline as on date? The Company currently has 39 ongoing residential projects aggregating to 24.54 million sq. ft. of developable area and 17.35 million sq. ft. of super built-up area, and 41 ongoing contractual projects aggregating to 9.93 million sq. ft. under various stages of construction. Please elaborate on Sobha’s backward integration model. The backward integration model is one of the key competitive strengths of Sobha. This literally means that the Company clearly has all the key competencies and in-house resources to deliver a project from conceptualization to completion. Backward integration includes an interiors division with one of India’s largest woodworking factories, a metal works and glazing factory, and a concrete products factory. The Interiors Division is engaged in wood work and manufacturing wood or wood based products of international quality, superlative finish and incredible durability


Detailing is the key to the success of our projects including doors and windows, wooden floorings, ceilings, panels, pillars and staircases, and custom built furniture for commercial and residential use. In addition, this division also includes an inhouse wood working design studio and a dedicated design team that provides interior design schemes and production specific drawings. The Glazing & Metal Division carries out metal fabrication work such as aluminum windows and doors, structural, and architectural glazing. The fabrication activities are carried out at the factory premises, whereas assembly and the installation are carried out at the project sites. The Concrete Block Making Division manufactures concrete blocks, pavers, kerbs, water drainage channels, paving slabs and related landscape products. What is the architectural design expertise that Sobha has?

conceptual plans are prepared. On approval of concept plans, drawings for marketing and statutory purposes are prepared. This is followed by the preparation of good for construction drawings, which entails preparation of a comprehensive set of drawings, comprising of architectural, coordinated structural engineering and services drawings. On an average, the count of the total number of drawings for a typical residential building would range between 350 to 400 numbers. And, in order to prepare these drawings, approximately 2800 man hours are spent. Detailing is the key to the success of our projects. Many of our details are standardized and well documented. Interestingly, about 40 percent of the total set of drawings are detail drawings. And it is these details that help our engineers to precisely construct all the finer components that make Sobha’s buildings truly world-class. Please explain the measures you take to ensure environmental friendliness in your projects and the different Quality certifications that Sobha has obtained. We try our best to bring in eco-friendly measures at every stage of development. Our commitment to sustainability comes to life through a well-structured management process that is pivoted around the PDCA principle “Plan – Do – Check – Act”.

Architectural Design is the process of integrating the Client’s functional requirements with the Architect’s ideas and the environment. Sobha’s Architectural design studio comprises of Architects, Graphic Designers, Model Makers and 3D Visualizers and is equipped with the best of technology.

Our attempt is to ascertain the Genius Loci, i.e. ‘the guardian spirit of a place’ during the initial stages of identifying land parcels. We observe and identify the specialties of that place and its surroundings and make every attempt to retain the inherent character of the land.

The design process begins after the technical feasibility study of a potential piece of land. Once found feasible,

Our buildings are planned along natural contours in order to minimise earth cutting & filling. We, in fact, capitalise on January 2013 UNIQUE TIMES 27


the contours available to create different levels in our plan. This prevents not only soil erosion but also reduces pollution.

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UNIQUE TIMES January 2013

water management techniques are also used to prevent soil erosion. Many of our developments subscribe to the green guidelines laid down by IGBC (Indian Green Building Council) and LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). Such initiatives are highly appreciated by our customers.

In all our projects, we lay strong emphasis on environment management practices like rain water harvesting and recycling of waste. More than 40% of our construction area is dedicated to green spaces. A Sobha home is designed for maximum ventilation and natural lighting, thereby curtailing the use of electricity during the day. For instance, the size of the window and its orientation is planned in a manner that reduces the requirement of air conditioning and prevents the glare through direct sunlight.

How do you interact with your customers?

We use solar lighting, water efficient fixtures, energy efficient lifts & equipments, reflective ceramic tiles, insulation materials, heat-resistant paints and heat-repellent glasses that are in synergy with the environment. Storm

Sobha has an in-house Customer Relationship Management (CRM) team as well as a unique Customer Care Cell (C3). The CRM team keeps customers informed about the progress of our projects and provides any other after-sales services

We were one of the first companies in the industry to obtain the ISO 9001 certification. We have also received the OHSAS 18001:2007 and ISO 14001:2004 certifications for our Environmental, Health and Safety Management System.


that the customers may require after the completion of the sales process. The C3 provides support to customers during the one-year warranty programme.

intense training to make them adept in specific work skills like tiling, granite masonry, gypsum works, water-proofing, electrical, and plumbing works.

Our focus on customer relationship management has yielded significant results over the years, in the form of satisfied customers, higher levels of transparency to customers and improvement of internal processes

The Technician Supervisor Model adopted by the Company for on-thejob training at the sites stresses on the importance of hands-onexperience.

The company has a full-fledged training centre - The Sobha Academy to deliver a better customer experience. The outcome of this concerted effort is high referral sales. How do you train your workforce? Sobha nurtures its talent pool with a myriad of skills and capabilities. It’s the only company in the real estate sector to have a full-fledged training centre - The Sobha Academy. Set up at Bangalore, it is a unique centre for learning that offers both the management staff and workforce specially designed skill development programmes. In order to make Sobha’s staff more proficient, the Technical Training Department at Sobha designs and coordinates modules which relate to the various aspects of technical operations. These training sessions aim at providing all-round, functional training of the various processes that are followed at Sobha sites, with specific emphasis on critical tasks and detailed procedures. The Sobha Academy conducts courses for tradesmen, who are the key resource of the Company’s project sites. Fresh recruits are given

The comprehensive in-house construction handbook on building construction activities communicates the best construction practices to the execution team across the organization at all the project sites. Additionally, a knowledge management system also offers learning opportunities to the employees. Sobha is known for serving the community. Can you throw some light on Sobha’s CSR initiatives? The Company believes that for the overall well-being of the society, a comprehensive and sustainable development of rural India is a must. It is in this context that Graamasobha, a unique social developmental programme was initiated by the organisation in 2006 in two grama panchayaths Vadakkenchery and Kizhakkenchery in Palakkad district of Kerala. The programme covers key human development verticals like education, health, employment, water, sanitation and housing besides various social empowerment measures.

the rural poor.

 The Sobha Academy has been created to empower the rural poor to break away from the vicious circle of poverty, ignorance, deprivation and exclusion by providing their children high quality education comparable to the best anywhere in the world.

 The Sobha Health Care Center has redefined the limits of a primary health care institution run anywhere in the country.

 Sobha’s Hermitage is the epitome of humanity, tendering love, care and support to the neglected segments of society - senior citizens as well as young widows and their children.

 Sobha Vocational Training Center (SVTC) with its advanced resources and facilities aims at providing functional vocational training.

 The Sobha Community Center’s core purpose lies in organizing social functions and feeding the poor, several of whom are fed free every single day.

In the history of Indian villages, our initiatives are perhaps the first of their kind, undertaken with so much investment in designing, developing and delivering state-of-the-art infrastructure to the poorest of the poor. Graamasobha stands as a successful model for others to follow to usher development at the village level.

Various social institutions have been established for the development of

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Top Gadget Launches of 2012

he iPad Mini is a mini tablet computer designed, developed, and marketed by Apple Inc. It was announced on October 23, 2012, as the fifth major product in the iPad line and the first to feature a reduced screen size of 7.9 inches, in contrast to the standard 9.7 inches. It features similar internal specifications as the iPad 2, including its display resolution. It was released on November 2, 2012 in nearly all of Apple's markets

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he Samsung Galaxy Note II is an Android Smartphone marketed by Samsung and noted for its combination of a large display, and software optimized for an integral self-storing stylus. Because the display places the device at the large end of the Smartphone and small end of the tablet size ranges, the Galaxy Note II has been called a hybrid of a phone and tablet, or a phablet.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 2

iPad Mini

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he iPhone 5 is the sixth generation of the iPhone and succeeds the iPhone 4S. The phone is a slimmer, lighter model that introduces a higherresolution, 4-inch screen in the series with 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio support. The phone also includes a custom-designed ARMv7 processor called the Apple A6, an update to Apple's mobile operating system known as iOS 6, and support for LTE.

Iphone 5

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Nokia Lumia 920

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okia Lumia 920 is a Smartphone developed by Nokia that runs the Windows Phone 8 operating system. It was announced on September 5, 2012, and was first released on November 2, 2012. It has a 1.5 GHz dual-core Qualcomm Krait CPU and a 114 mm (4.5″) IPS TFT LCD display, as well as a highsensitivity capacitive touchscreen that is covered by the curved Gorilla Glass. It supports inductive charging and is compatible with Qi Inductive Charging; further, it features an 8.7 megapixel PureView camera with optical image stabilization for still images and videos. It comes with 32 GB internal storage.

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Samsung Galaxy Camera

Top Gadget Launches of 2012

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he Samsung Galaxy Camera is a point-andshoot camera which combines the photographic capabilities of a small super zoom camera with the versatility and connectivity of a small tablet computer with 4.8 inch screen, running on Android 4.1.. Samsung announced the camera in August 2012 with the slogan "Camera. Reborn." The camera also features Wi-Fi, GPS and also has 3G capabilities to share the photos from anywhere to anywhere. The Samsung galaxy camera features a 16 Mega Pixels CMOS sensor and 21x zoom.

icrosoft Surface is a series of tablets designed and marketed by Microsoft. It was announced on June 18, 2012, by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer at Milk Studios in Los Angeles. The Surface comes in two versions: one with Windows RT and another with Windows 8 Pro. The Windows RT model uses an ARM CPU, while the Windows 8 Pro model will use an Intel CPU. Both models are able to install new applications via the Windows Store, however only the Windows 8 Pro model allows the installation of traditional third-party desktop programs.

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Microsoft Surface

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Apple MacBook Pro with Retina Display

he iPad is a line of tablet computers designed and marketed by Apple Inc., which runs on Apple's iOS operating system. The first iPad was released on April 3, 2010; the most recent iPad models, the fourth-generation iPad and iPad Mini, were released on November 2, 2012. The user interface is built around the device's multi-touch screen, including a virtual keyboard. The iPad has built-in Wi-Fi and, on some models, cellular connectivity.

The New iPad

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he MacBook Pro is a line of Macintosh portable computers introduced in January 2006 by Apple Inc., and now in its third generation. Replacing the PowerBook G4, the MacBook Pro was the second model, after the iMac, to be announced in the Apple Intel transition. It is also the high-end model of the MacBook family and is currently produced in 13- and 15-inch screens, although a 17inch version has been offered previously.

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Interview

LIVING WITH THE

STAR

Dr. Madhulika Guhathakurta

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eing the daughter of a RBI Banker, the late Mr. Suchandra Guhathakurta and Mrs. Rani Guhathakurta, Dr. Madhulika Guhathakurta is a Kolkata born Indian native who is an astrophysicist at NASA as well as the Lead Program Scientist for NASA’s initiative called “Living With a Star” (LWS) . Having grown up in an intellectual environment where there were more books in the household than there were furniture, and with a father who was a mathematician by training and a philosopher, Dr. Guhathakurta is an admirer of Tagore’s poetry, and of the night sky which has fascinated her since her childhood. After having received her Masters in Astrophysics from the University of Delhi, she moved to the U.S. at the age of 22 in order to pursue her PhD in Physics at the University of Denver. In 1993 she joined NASA, and in 1998 she begin working at the NASA headquarters, and throughout her career she has had the chance to work as a scientist, mission designer, instrument builder, directing and managing science programs and teacher and spokesperson for NASA’s mission and vision in the Heliophysics Divison. Having achieved much throughout her career, we sit down for a chat to find out more about her and her success as an astrophysicist at NASA. Dr. Madhulika Guhathakurta talks with Denisha Sahadevan about her life and experience in NASA.

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WHAT IS YOUR SPECIALTY HERE AT NASA? I am an astrophysicist by training and at graduate school I specialized in just one star, the Sun. In my research career I expanded this specialization to include the study of sun’s effects on earth. And today I am the science manager of a program called “Living with a Star” (LWS).

HAVE YOU GOTTEN TO DO ANYTHING UNIQUE WHILE WORKING FOR NASA?

environment test-beds (orbital laboratories for new LWS concepts), all with the objective of providing science with societal impact. NASA’s LWS program gave rise to another initiative know as “International Living with a Star” (ILWS) where all the space faring nations (27) of the world come together to cooperate and collaborate on the system science of

heliophysics combines all of these different physics into one single discipline. Heliophysics can be described as an environmental science, a unique hybrid between meteorology and astrophysics. It is the science behind “space weather” which is weather outside of our atmosphere. What weather phenomenon do we observe outside the Earth's

Heliophysics wasn t even a subject when I studied at the university. It is a brand new discipline which NASA developed.

I have done a lot of things that you may call unique! From 1993-1998 at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, I was the project scientist on “White Light Coronagraph” (WLC) experiment which was part of a payload on SPARTAN (Shuttle Pointed Autonomous Research Tool for Astronomy) 201 missions. This was a free-flying payload that studied the solar wind and the sun's corona to increase our knowledge of sun’s effects on the Earth. This was truly an unique experience in that I was able to work in a laboratory for instrument and spacecraft development as well as interface with astronauts who were assigned to deploy this payload. In addition the science from these series of missions and Ulysses mission established the beginnings of sunearth connection science. At NASA headquarters, since 2001, I have been the Lead program scientist for a program called “Living with a Star” (LWS) within NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. This program is quite unique in that LWS plan consists of flight missions, supporting targeted research and technology, and small space 46

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sun-earth and sun-solar system connections. I served as the chair of this group for the past four years and remain as a member on its steering committee. With the help of LWS program I was able to produce three advanced graduate school level text books, (Heliophysics Vols I, II and III) published by Cambridge University Press. These are first of its kind text books to articulate the system science that LWS program strives to understand and to address the science of space weather. This new science is called Heliophysics. Can you please tell us about the field of study of heliophysics? Heliophysics wasn’t even a subject when I studied at the university. It is a brand new discipline which we have developed. It encompasses the study of the system composed of the Sun and its interaction with the planets and other objects in the solar system. It is a combination of many different sub-disciplines, solar physics, space physics and plasma physics. These are all very traditional sub-disciplines in our field that were all pursued separately, and

atmosphere? We live in the outer atmosphere of the sun. All objects in the solar system experience space weather created by the Sun. Space weather can be described as conditions and phenomena in space and specifically in the near-earth environment that may affect space assets or space operations. Most of the time the Earth’s atmosphere and its own magnetic field protect us from the more violent effects of solar storms. But our communications, TV, weather, scientific and military satellites as well as our space explorers are subjected to the effects of space weather. Like weather on the Earth, Space weather comes in different forms and different strengths. However, space weather is governed by an 11-year solar cycle that allows us to predict, at some level, when effects are likely to be most severe. This period is called ‘solar maximum’ and is likely to occur between 2012 and 2015. Modern society depends on a variety of technologies that are susceptible to the extremes of space weather. These events can disrupt the


operation of power grids, railway signaling, magnetic surveying and drilling for oil and gas. Magnetic storms also heat the upper atmosphere, changing its density and composition and disrupting radio communications and GPS units. The storms’ charged particles can be a hazard to the health of astronauts and passengers on high altitude flights. What impacts will Living with a Star Program have on our understanding of space weather? Until recently, forecasters could barely predict space weather in the limited vicinity of Earth. Interplanetary forecasting was out of the question. This began to change in 2006 with the launch of the twin STEREO probes followed almost four years later by the Solar Dynamics Observatory. These three spacecraft now surround the sun, monitoring active regions, flares, and coronal mass ejections around the full circumference of the star. No matter which way a solar storm travels, the STEREO-SDO fleet can track it. This has improved our ability to predict space weather with longer lead time. Can you please explain further the importance of knowing about the space weather and its relationship to Living with a Star Program? As I mentioned earlier, more than 500 active satellites circle the Earth. We rely on them for TV, telephone, internet, GPS navigation and weather forecasting; all are vulnerable to space weather. Humans orbit Earth, too, onboard the International Space Station. The ISS is located inside Earth's magnetic field, so it enjoys a degree of protection, but future astronauts en route to the Moon and

Mars will be outside the magnetic bubble. Their spaceships are going to be in direct contact with the sun's atmosphere. NASA's Living With a Star Program was formed in 2001 to deal with this reality. If we're going to live inside the sun's atmosphere, we need to learn more about it—especially how to predict the storms, The basic strategy is the same as weather studies on Earth: We're going to launch a fleet of 'weather stations' – spacecraft that observe different aspects of sun’s atmosphere and its impact on Earth. LWS has four missions in various states of operation and development. Together they will surround and explore the sun-earth system in ways no spacecraft has done before. The Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO): Launched in February 2010 it is providing HDTV quality photographs of sunspots and solar flares, revealing the onset of storms

and energized by space weather. Solar Orbiter Collaboration: Solar Orbiter is a mission from the European Space Agency which will station itself at an inclination of about 30 degrees from the sun's equator, providing the first truly polar view of solar magnetic field. The equatorial view from Earth limits studies of solar polar magnetic field—a problem Solar Oribter will remedy. It is in development for launch in 2017. Solar Probe Plus: This is the most exciting mission of all. It is a heatresistant spacecraft designed to plunge deep into the sun’s atmosphere where it can sample solar wind and magnetic fields in situ. No spacecraft has ever been as close to the sun as Solar Probe Plus will go, only 7 million km from the surface. That's unexplored territory, and we expect to learn a great deal about the sun's atmosphere by going there. It is in development for launch

LWS has four missions in various states of operation and development. Together they will surround and explore the sun-earth system in ways no spacecraft has done before. in never-before-seen detail.

in 2018.

The Radiation Belt Storm Probes: There's no point in studying the sun if we don't understand what it does to Earth. Launched in August 2012, this mission makes the crucial SunEarth connection. Wisps of the sun's atmosphere can become trapped by Earth's magnetic field, inside radiation belts, where energetic particles lie in wait for astronauts and satellites trying to leave or simply orbit the planet. The Radiation Belt Storm Probes (two of them) will explore these regions and discover how they are populated

You came to the U.S. as a student to do your PhD in Physics, was it easy or tough for you as a student? I went to a relatively small school where I was the only female graduate student in a class of 10-15 graduate students. Before my fellow graduate students got to know me, they were really upset with me because my grades were typically higher than theirs. This was a difficult situation but in about five months they got to know me as a person,

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and we became friends. While in India at Delhi University during my M.Sc., I never experienced this sense of resentment from my male classmates because I did better than them in exams. So the first time I felt discriminated as a woman was in my first few months of graduate school and I thought to myself that I have come from a third world country to a first world country and this is where I feel my first gender discrimination”! But since then I learnt to navigate the situation and never felt discriminated under any circumstance. What I realized is that once you get to know people all of these pre-conceived notions about people/gender etc dissolve and this is true in every situation in life whether it’s religion or race or something else, once you make the effort to get to know someone none of these barriers matter because ultimately we humans are allmore alike than not in our dreams and desires and pursuit of life. India and China seem to be taking more of an interest in the space programs nowadays than the usual players such as U.S., Russia, and France. What is your opinion? I think I am really glad that space is now becoming an international frontier. U.S., Russia, Europe, have already advanced in this area and India, and China still have to catch up to that. So the fact that these countries are taking interest in space science research and leading scientists, and engineers is a wonderful thing. With limited resources in every country I think we need a lot more players in this field. After all space doesn’t belong to any one country, it belongs to all. What are your thoughts regarding India’s space program?

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I am pleased to see that the Indian Space Research Organization has made great progress from an engineering standpoint with great achievements. Now I think that the country needs to enable it’s scientists so that they can be in the fore front of space science research. Would you please tell us about the space cooperation between the U.S. and India? Well there has been the Chandrayan Mission, where there was cooperation with the NASA and ISRO. There is a future dialogue going on for Mars mission and in general there is a good dialogue in space science cooperation between India and NASA. Have you always aspired to be an astrophysicist? When I think about it the answer is yes, I was always interested in science. From my very early years when I was a little girl in Kolkata I was absolutely fascinated by the night sky and always wondered about the stars. My aunt told me that when someone dies that person becomes a star in the sky and I wondered about where we came from and where are we going. These are just very fundamental human questions which I have always been intrigued by. I love the night sky. Whether your career had given you one particular highlight? I don’t know about one highlight. But I think what my career gave me is working with some of the best minds in the world. You know interaction with them on a daily basis. For me it is stimulating. And I don’t work with only NASA people, right? I have also been Chair for ILWS for four years and work with people all over the world, and they are about as smart as they get. I have loved sharing some of my

knowledge with the general public. That is something that if I were just a pure researcher I wouldn’t have time for. That has been extremely joyful. At NASA, we are privileged to see, to know so many things that ordinary people don’t get a chance to experience – some of our imagery! I came up with a story line to share the LWS program and show some o these exquisite imageries. I helped in the creation of two major planetarium shows, “Cosmic Collisions” and “Journey to the Stars” in partnership with American Museum of Natural History in New York and National Air and Space Museum in DC. I also helped in the production of a 3D IMAX and planetarium show featuring the STEREO mission, “3D Sun”. These shows are running all over the world. Children, general public, older people, are learning something about the cosmos that they had no way of knowing otherwise. So these are some of the highlights, I would say.


Life Management

Avoid Blame Game and be Responsible

''If you take responsibility for yourself you will develop a hunger to accomplish your dreams.'' Les Brown

Sheela Abraham 50

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oday, our society is being infected by an illness that could be dangerously contagious and eventually seriously affect our entire nation. It’s nothing but the irresponsible “blame-game” we all tend to do every time. .This can weaken any one which would reflect on our nation in due course of time. We see people not being responsible on what they do. For instance, for failing in any situation, people often put the blame on others. Irresponsible parents blame teachers when their children do not do well in academics. Politicians blame the opposition party for everything. No one is ready to accept personal responsibility for their own failures. When we fail to accept personal responsibility for our actions, we inevitably fall into the blame-game trap. As long as we do this, we will never resolve our personal or national problems A story about some sea gulls in a fishing village is worth mentioning here. For many years, they were fed on the scraps the fishermen left and when the fishing industry in this area was closed, they had forgotten how to find food for them. In the end, these sea gulls died of starvation. The same principle applies to us too. When we are over-dependent, we destroy our growth and maturity. One of the great principles we need to stress on to keep our society healthy and productive is the principle of personal responsibility. It's a principle that needs to be programmed and etched into our belief system from our childhood. It has to start from the family teaching how to demonstrate at every phase of our lives. This will reflect in our behavior and manners. Though we are not responsible for our upbringing, we are fully responsible for what we become. It is interesting to see how people view responsibility now days. Following examples will make clear what I am trying to convey.

"If a man cuts his finger while slicing a mango, he blames the Knife. "If a person is a chain smoker for many years and die of lung cancer, the family of the victim blames the tobacco company.

This is the fundamental principle one must adopt if plan for happiness and success in life. In my profession , I have met many who are reluctant to take responsibility for their not up to the mark performances and failures.

You are in charge and each event in your life is the result of choices you made or making "If a person crashes into a tree while driving home drunk, he blames his vehicle or the median on the road. "If children are unruly and irresponsible, the blame falls on television. This is the pattern of our life. We are reluctant to accept the responsibility for our choices and accountable for our actions. We are comfortable to be in ‘’not my fault’ status. It is important to know, two of life's greatest abilities are dependability and responsibility. Both are closely related. When Dependability keeping the commitments we make, Responsibility is realizing that we are responsible for our actions. No matter what happened in the past, we are responsible for what we do about it and for what we become. As another has wisely said, "I may have been a victim in the past, but if I remain a victim, I am now a willing volunteer." As long as we fail to accept personal responsibility for our lives and blame others for the difficulties we have, we will never overcome them. No matter what situation we are in, we are always contributing something to it. Our responsibility is to see what that is and to correct it. It is true that people who take complete responsibility of their 'life' experience joy and confident in any circumstance. They are able to make right choices and be accountable for them. We are responsible for our Lives. This is the fundamental principle one

According to them, everything is someone else's fault. No one can live your life for you. When we repeatedly do anything for others that they can and need to do for themselves, we can make and keep them over-dependent, immature and irresponsible. It is not the loving thing to do. It is being irresponsible. You are in charge and each event in your life is the result of choices you made or making. So, empower yourself behaving responsibly to make life meaningful. Here are some steps you can take to become a more responsible person  Listen to the experienced 

Don't nose around in other people’s business

Stop making excuses

Do any work assigned gracefully and timely.

Give hundred percent commitments in whatever you are asked to do.

Be genuine in everything you involve.

BE trustworthy

Listen to yourself.

 Try to be the best and shine wherever you are. 

Be accountable for everything.

Some of us are prone to believe that our failures are created by others. What we need to understand is that YOU and I are responsible for what we become. Need of the hour is nothing but personal responsibility.

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Let Justice Be Done


Ask the Smile Expert

I had undergone orthodontic treatment 7 years back but there are some spaces left in my upper and lower jaw. Some of my teeth look shorter while others are longer/ larger. I am a professional model but I am not able to smile confidently as my photographers always like my non-smiling picture. I do not have time for braces as I am busy with my career. How can I improve my smile? How long it will take without braces? The size and shape of the teeth can be altered by gum contouring and veneers to give you a better smile. The spaces between teeth could be closed by nano ceramic restorations in a single appointment. The gum contouring and veneers may need 2 appointments and maximum of ten days to correct the problems. You can have smile simulation prior to the procedure to understand what can be done for your teeth. My father 78 years old has lost most of his teeth. He has been wearing a removable denture for quite sometime. Recently we changed the denture as the old one were loose. Now he looks different and older and complains that he is not able to chew. Can you fix the teeth permanently. Is it necessary to take out all teeth before doing dentures?

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

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When you replace an old worn out denture you will have a fresh look. If you can get the photographs of your father during his younger days, we can try to make the approximate facial profile while making the new denture. The existing healthy teeth have to be preserved to get better retention and support. You may choose to go for implants to permanently fix the teeth to the jaw, if your father has no medical complications.


For Amanat, India's brave daughter, Our humble homage. Let justice be done now.


Ask the Beauty Expert

What's causing my toenail fungus? Toenail fungus is actually athlete's foot (often picked up from shared showers or borrowed shoes) that has spread into your toenails. The most effective treatment is a prescription antifungal pill, but be warned: These treatments are only 70 to 80 percent effective at best, and even when they work it takes nearly a year and a half for the toenail to fully grow out. Prevent a recurrence by wearing shower slippers every time you rinse off at the gym and by not borrowing shoes.

How can I get rid of dark circles? Here are some natural remedies for dark circles under the eyes: one is bananas— the potassium helps eliminate circles under your eyes; the second is by using real lemon juice and honey—it’s a natural lightener as well. Mix one tablespoon of lemon with four teaspoons of honey. Smooth on dark spots or under eyes, wait 15 minutes, and rinse!

Tressa Varghese Director, Phoebe International

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Interview

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Aishwarya Devan A

s a humanities student studying at the Kendriya Vidyalaya NAL in Bangalore, the daughter of Mr. Devan, a bank employee and Mrs. Devan, a homemaker, Aishwarya Devan a fashion fanatic had originally dreamt of becoming a fashion designer. But when a Telugu movie director approached her through Facebook asking whether she was interested in movies everything changed as it led to her taking the first steps into the world of Indian cinema. Having made her debut in the film industry through the Tamil film Yuvan in 2012, this well to do talented actress has already had snatched roles in around six films within the year. She has already worked with big time actors like Prithviraj and Mohanlal, and now her dream is to become a Bollywood queen.

How would you describe yourself to be? I am a very silent person when it comes to my work place. I hardly speak to people on sets. It takes some time for me to open up when am working with people whom I haven't worked with before. People call it my attitude but that's how I am, but I see to it that whoever works with me should feel that I am a sweet girl. Otherwise I am a fully outgoing person, I live up to the fullest with my family and friends. What was it like working with Director Bala in the movie The Hit List? I knew Bala as an actor. He is hard working, and talented as well, being able to work with him was too good of an experience. Please tell us about your experience in working with Mohanlal sir in the movie Karma Yodha?

By Denisha Sahadevan

Working with Lal ettan was my dream and I must thank director Major Ravi sir for making my dream come true through the movie Karma Yodha. I

didn't have much combination scenes with Lal ettan but still there was so much to learn from the bundle of talent like him. It was definitely a learning experience. Of the movies which you have done so far do you have a personal favorite? Karma Yodha. I think this film is where I get to prove more as an actor than a heroine. The role which I have essayed has so much to perform. Could you please share with us as to what it was like working with Prithviraj sir in the movie Simhasanam? Prithviraj is very hard working and very professional as an actor. He is very friendly. Working with him was a very good experience. He was very helpful on sets as I was new to the Malayalam industry. Which directors/actresses/actors do you aspire to work with in the future? I would love to work with directors like Renjith sir, Lal Jose sir, Aashiq Abu, and Gautham Menon

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I used to watch TV a lot when I was a kid, and I wanted to be like every other actress or model. I wanted people to know me when I step out.

It was my dream to work with Lal lettan and through the movie Karma Yodha it came true. I would like to work with Mammootty sir and Jayaram sir. I admire Shobana madam, so I would love to work with her. What do you find to be the most captivating about the acting world? What is it that drew you into the world of acting? An actress. I think actresses are something which the film industry is incomplete without. I feel Heroines pull in people towards the acting world and I am glad that I am a part of the industry which I feel is overall captivating. The glamour, and fame drew me in. I used to watch TV a lot when I was a kid, and I wanted to be like every other actress or model. I wanted people to know me when I step out. What are some of your favorite movies? Manichitrathazhu, Chithram , Amaram , Black. A recent would be 22 Female Kottayam. How supportive is your family when it comes to your acting career? My family is fully supportive to the profession which I have chosen. They totally understand every aspect of film

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industry. Especially my mother. My mother was, is and will be with me in every stage of my life. What differences have you found in your life after having entered into the film industry? After entering into film industry I have become much more responsible, careful, and independent in my life. Life is more colorful. I am enjoying it to the fullest. Who would you say is your inspiration in life? My mother. Do you have any other interests other than acting? Other than acting I love singing.. I love Indian music. Have you signed on for anymore upcoming projects? As of now I haven't signed any. I will take up projects only after January.


The King of event management reaches the tinsel town


Movie Review

by: Cherry Mathew Philipose

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The book that Ang Lee terms as ‘fascinating and mind-blogging’ posed a challenge in terms of screen adaptation

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ng Li’s Life of Pi is a visual treat and has to be savoured in its full glory in the darkness of a theatre with those 3-D glasses on. No other type of viewing would do justice to that experience. When Ang Li decided to adapt Yan Martel’s 2001 book of the same title movie goers would not have expected anything less than this. The book that Ang Lee terms as ‘fascinating and mindblogging’ posed a challenge in terms of screen adaptation; however, in the words of the Yann Martel Ang Lee had this capacity to capture the ‘small and the intimate as well as the large and the spectacular’ with equal felicity. Movies are not meant to be preachy and Life of Pi, though handling a complex subject about the existence of God, too toes the line. Is there a god and does that god care are questions left to the audience to ponder. Life of Pi is the story of a sixteen-year old boy Pi Patel in a life boat castaway in a sea where he has to survive with a tiger for over two-hundred days. The 3D technology is brilliantly exploited to visualize what goes inside the mind of Pi. It captures the journey of a person in relation to the nature, to the self. The film is in the form of a flashback. The opening sequence takes us through a wonderful private zoo with a tamil lullaby in the backdrop. Once the title credits are done we’re carried away to the living room of the adult Pi who’s entertaining a Canadian writer. The writer is experiencing a writer’s block and was in Pondicherry where he heard met ‘mamaji’ through whom came to know that Pi has a wonderful story to tell. So he came all the way to listen to that story and

the story unfolds – of how Pi got his name, his childhood, his early trysts with religions, his life at Pondicherry. Over the course of the day the wonderful story of Pi is told and along with the writer the audience is all awe-inspired about the story. In the end, at the behest of the Japanese insurance company Pi tells a new story that really catches everyone off guard. The US official trailer terms it as a life of adventure, hope, and triumph. The book that talks about faith, illusion, and hope was once dubbed as not suitable for the screen. However, in the hands of Ang Lee that ruling has to be taken back. The very fact that the director can engage the audience with a movie that predominantly has only a sixteen-year old boy and a tiger at sea scene after scene itself bears testimony to the craft of one of the greatest directors of our times. The adult Pi is played by Irrfan Khan and through him the transitions in the movies are well played out. He is like the ‘soothradhar’ found in Indian theatre tradition – helping the audience in finding their feet in this epic saga where faith and hope are put beyond its normal tests and have to meet their spirituality counterpart. The character of sixteen-year old Pi is brilliantly portrayed by Suraj Sharma who with his innocent, lost looks brings out that coming-of-age of a boy whose trip half way across the globe turns out to be a personal journey of introspection. The film that took four years to make already has three golden globe award nominations to its credit and might make it big on Oscar night.

January 2013 UNIQUE TIMES 61


What's Going On

Vidya Balan

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ctress Vidya Balan and Disney UTV managing director Siddharth Roy Kapur were married in a quiet ceremony which wove together Tamil and Punjabi rituals. Both the Tamil and Punjabi traditions kept in mind for their exchange of vows in what was a completely privat affair, according to close friends of the couple. The ceremony tok place at the Green Gifts bungalow inupscale Bandra, and was only attended by the couple’s family and close friends. The bride looked simple, and said to have changed her wedding attire thrice.

Madonna in the Lead

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hough this year’s pop charts have been dominated by the younger singers in the industry, it is the veteran music stars, led by Madonna, who are commanding big money in the tour ticket sales, according to a new Billboard list released on Tuesday. Earning an estimated $228.4 million in ticket sales from her sold out ninth worldwide tour in support of her 12th studio album “MDNA,” Madonna, has topped Billboard’s List of Highest grossing live tours. The top five highest grossing tour acts of 2012 included Bruce Springsteen, E Street band, Pink Floy’s Roger Waters, Crique Du Soleil’s homage to the late Michael Jackson, and Coldplay.

Asin Takes a Break

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sin has enjoyed a success rate of over 80% in the film industry, and five of her six Bollywood releases have turned out to be successful, however instead of signing some more films, Asin has decided to take a step back and take a break. A source close to the actress said that “she has taken a break and would be reading new scripts after her holiday.” Understandably, after enjoying a good record in Hindi as well as South cinema, she has now declared that her role has to be really substantial before green l lights a film. “Till someone comes to her with a meaty role, she is staying away. Neither does she wish to get repetitive nor does she want to do a part just for the sake of visibility,” said a friend of Asin. 62

UNIQUE TIMES January 2013


Jolie to Direct WWII Film

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niversal Pictures and Walden Media announced that Academy Award winning actress, director and producer Angelina Jolie is in talks to direct the WWII drama “Unbroken.” The film is based on Laura Hillenbrand’s 2010 best seller “Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption,” chronicling the life os Olympic athlete Louis Zamperini, who was captured by the Japanese navy and detained at a prisoner of war camp after having suffered a near fatal plane crash and surviving on a raft for 47 days.

Sajid Khan T

his director believes that he understands the taste of the viewers so well that he is confident that his films will never fail. Sajid Khan’s three ventures “Heyy Babyy”, Housefull”, and “Housefull 2: The Dirty Dozen did brisk business at the box office. He is very much sure that his next film “Himmatwala” a remake of 1983 will follow to be a hit as well. “I have learned films by watching them, and I make films as an audience member. I know what the audience wants, and that is why my films will never flop,” said Sajid. He has guaranteed that “Himmatwala” will run full house and people will not get tickets for three days.

Leaked Scrip Fake

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irector Michael Bay debunked the “Transformers 4” rumours, saying that the leaked scrip is not his film. The Plot details from “Transormers 4” emerged on the internet recently. With Bay dismissing the reports, he says only he and screenwrier Ehren Kruger are in possession of the story. “Some internet sites reported that some document recovery guy has found a legitimate 120 page script of “Transformers 4”. I can absolutely 100 percent say this is completely false,” Bay stated. “The upcoming installment of the action movie will feature Mark Wahlbery in the lead role, replacing former star Shia LaBeouf. The movie is due to be realsed in 2014.

January 2013 UNIQUE TIMES 63



Unique Times-January2013