IN THIS ISSUE
BioDiesel : From Frying Pan to Your Gas Tank
BY KUMAR PATI
Desi Infotech Meet
BY URVASHI MAJMUNDAR
Bye, Paper Chase : PaperFly’s Virtual Archive
BY ANJALI PAREKH
Publisher’s Note • Infotech India
Business: Rediff Acquisitions
Social Work: Running for Hope • Finance: An Insecure Guarantee
Politics: State Senator’s Visit • Culture: Raag Darbari Kanada
Auto Review: Toyota Highlander • Bollywood • Tamil Cinema
Recipe: Baked Vegetables • Horoscope
The world’s dependence on fossil fuels can be a crippling affliction when oil prices shoot up. Even affluent Western nations have a hard time. Countries like India get shaken to the core as fuel price hikes reverberate through the economy, sending a scary ripple effect of rising prices.
On top of that is the damage to the environment. As India tries to catch up with the Western world, a larger segment of the population will have access to gas guzzling vehicles, and the thought of the extra burden in already polluted cities is enough to make a city planner cringe.
For this reason, we found Dr. Kumar Pati’s interest in alternatives to gasoline particularly interesting, and the fact that Pati is keen to explore its potential in India makes it even more important.
Pati has an eclectic scientific background. He is the former publisher of a leading U.S. alternative health magazine Health World. He has a degree in Western medicine as well as Ayurvedic medicine in an integrated medical degree from the University of Calcutta.. Pati has published many papers on natural health in many countries, and has written books on nutrition. Presently he is a manufacturer and exporter of vitamins, nutritional supplements and herbal extracts to 30 different foreign countries.
Pati says that the usage of edible oil wastes for gas is not restricted to the lab; several U.S. cities are already using it. We certainly hope Pati can overcome the logistical as well as practical challenges in India that introducing a new concept can present. We also sincerely hope large-scale usage of this alternative fuel takes off both in the U.S. and in India.
I learnt that the city of Berkeley, Calif., which pioneered curbside recycling, has scored another environmental first by running trucks that pick up newspapers, bottles and cans on fuel made from recycled vegetable oil.
It smells like one of those all-night doughnut shops. The fuel, biodiesel, is made from waste oil collected from restaurants such as McDonald’s, Dunkin’ Donuts and KFC. Advocates say that although the fuel is more expensive than regular diesel, it burns cleaner, is an alternative to fossil fuels and can be used in any diesel engine. Berkeley’s 10 recycling trucks are “the first municipal fleet to use 100 percent biodiesel,” according to Randall von Wedel, founder of CytoCulture, an environmental biotechnology company that supplies the fuel to the nonprofit Ecology Center that runs the city’s curbside program. Other cities around the country have begun using a blend of 20 percent biodiesel and 80 percent conventional diesel fuel.
Among those using the mixture are school buses in Phoenix, Ariz., and Medford, N.J., and city buses in Cincinnati and Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Research boats in the Channel Islands National Park, off Santa Barbara, use 100 percent biodiesel, as does a pickup truck at Yosemite National Park. Closer to home, San Francisco International Airport is testing both the 100 percent and 20 percent biodiesel fuels for possible use in the shuttle buses that take passengers to and from the long-term parking lots and rental car agencies.
As I have a diesel Mercedes Benz, I drove one day to Berkeley. I filled up the tank for about $35.00. The cost is about $3 a gallon, or about 40 percent more than conventional diesel fuel. I have been using for the last 3 weeks on a regular basis. I do not see any smoke and it burns like regular diesel. The price may come down if the it is produced in large scale, and there are more users. I encourage owners of diesel cars to try this type of diesel. I am thinking seriously of process bio-diesel in Calcutta where the air is full with carbon-dioxide.
From an air-quality standpoint, we must be very concerned about diesel because the particulate matter that is released is an air quality problem and a toxics problem. We need to find ways to move away from diesel used in trucks and other motor cars, yet we all know how widely diesel is used in India.
The biodiesel people in Berkeley said they will open a biodiesel filling station in San Francisco next month, and they plan retail outlets in Richmond, Sacramento and Petaluma as a result of demand from farmers, building contractors, delivery truck operators and drivers of diesel Mercedes-Benz.
How much waste oil is thrown away in India? First of all, since waste oil has no intrinsic value, the oil is used again and again by chefs in cheaper commercial restaurants. Consider how much better off consumers would be if this oil was instead turned over for automobiles.
In the U.S. biodiesel is made from waste oil collected from fast-food restaurants or from virgin vegetable oil, primarily soybean oil in the United States. It is nontoxic and biodegradable and contains no petrochemicals, and burns cleaner than petroleum-based diesel.
I also would like to encourage Indian restaurants to save cooking oil which they use to fry pakoras, samosas or papadam. It is not good for our health at all to re-use the same oil again and again. It is also not good to waste the oil.
Dr. Kumar Pati, trained both in Western medicine
The car, named Reva, was developed after six years of research by S.K. Maini.
It is priced at Rs. 249,000. The per kilometer driving cost of the car totals 40 paise compared to Rs. 2.40 for most other four-wheelers.
It does not require engine tuning, oil changing, replacement of spark plugs and mufflers.
Though the launch was a national event, it will be delivered only in Bangalore during the current year
CareerDunia.com will provide information on central and state civil services, various competitive examinations covering disciplines like management, computer, science, commerce and art, various employment-oriented courses and scholarships available within the country and abroad.
At present, Web sites on employment opportunities are available only in English with not a single Web site available in Hindi, Meena Bhandari, managing director, CareerDunia.com, said in a release here.
The Web site, has been launched. It is expected to benefit about 100 million students studying in Hindi medium.
The firm’s operating revenue had crossed Rs. 7.3 billion. BPL operates cellular phone services through subsidiaries in Mumbai and other parts of Maharashtra, Kerala, Goa, Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry.
BPL Communications said in a statement it currently has a 19 percent market share of India’s total cellular subscriber market.
BPL Communications said it was also interested in fixed-line licenses which allow firms to offer mobile services within a limited area using the CDMA wireless in local loop technology, provided the government adopted a transparent process of allocating them.
State-run telecom giant MTNL is the third cellular operator in Mumbai and New Delhi, while state-owned fixed-line service and national long-distance telephony operator BSNL has the option of being the third cellular operator in the rest of the country.
Discussions on the project are at the final stages and the progress of the project will be assessed every three months after signing the proposed “zero year” agreement with MIT, he said.
MIT might put in $800 million for the project while India would have to shell out $200 million.
“We are trying to reach the administrators of the institution to pinpoint the source,” Infosys said in a release.
Following the attack in the early hours of May 7, the service was brought down and was not available till late in the evening when the hacking was rectified by applying appropriate patches.
The Web site contained basic information on products offered to the banking industry and some brochures in an electronic form.
Sources in the company said that other Web sites of the company, including the chat section, however, remained unaffected.
The functioning went offline in the early hours of May 7 and officials struggled throughout the day to set it right.
NASSCOM chairman Phiroz Vandrevala said this was being done in view of the vast potential offered for call centers and back office activities. He said Arun Seth of British Telecom would be the convenor of the forum.
The administrative and structural issues relating to the forum’s functioning would be decided within a few days. The first meeting of the forum is scheduled to be held during the India-IT Enabled Services Conference 2001, to be held in Chennai May 30-31.
India is increasingly becoming the preferred hub for Call Center and back office operations. The Call Center business is one of the fastest growing sectors within the IT industry. This sector contributed Rs. 21 billion in terms of revenue during 2000-01.
All the desi big guns of information technology will gather at the eighth annual conference of The Indus Entrepreneurs, TiEcon 2001.
At this premier event of desi IT, TiE as usual has lined up a formidable array of keynote speakers: Cisco Systems CEO John Chambers, Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina and TIBCO Software founder and CEO Vivek Ranadive.
The theme of this year’s conference is, “Entrepreneurship- Back to Basics.” TiEcon 2001 will be held at the Westin Santa Clara Hotel and Convention Center in Santa Clara, Calif. June 23-24.
“As the times and economic environment change, we need to be agile and responsive to the requirements of our members in areas such as entrepreneurial education, financial rigor and the process of mentoring. Keeping these changes in view, our team has established an appropriate theme for TiEcon 2001, “Entrepreneurship - Back to Basics.” We expect more than 2,500 attendees from around the world,” said Kailash Joshi, president of TiE, Silicon Valley.
Parveen Gupta, Convener of TiEcon 2001 added, “ Current market conditions pose a special challenge to us. As the world’s leading conference on entrepreneurship, TiEcon 2001 focuses on how to succeed in today’s environment, the rules of the game now and the new trends & opportunities.”
Rick Bolander, general partner at Gabriel Ventures, sums up TiEcon: “The ability to bring together every element of an entrepreneur’s world exist at TiEcon that surpasses any other conference that I’ve ever experienced. From workshops, tutorials, industry trends, management practices, leadership, recruiting to financing strategies can be found during the value-packed two days of TiEcon. It truly is a tribute to entrepreneurs in the making and extraordinary commitment of successful entrepreneurs such as Suhas Patil, Kanwal Rekhi, A. J. Patel, B.V. Jagadeesh, Lata Krishnan and countless more.
“These entrepreneurial leaders of TiE have invested in the next generation to not only guide for financial success, but more importantly, to share a way of life. To not only dream, but to rigorously pursue one’s dreams.”
Distinguished leaders from business, finance and academia will present their views. Speakers include Dr. Laura Tyson, dean of University of California’s Haas Business School in Berkeley and former chief economic advisor to President Bill Clinton; Bill Draper, founder, Draper International Fund; Hatim Tyabji, former CEO, Verifone; Judy O’Brien, partner, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich Rosati; Umang Gupta, CEO, Keynote Systems; Mike Moritz, general partner, Sequoia Capital; Jim Goetz, general partner, Accel Partners; Geoff Yang, general partner, Redpoint Ventures; Sabeer Bhatia, founder of Arzoo and co-founder, Hotmail; John Kao, founder and CEO, The Idea Factory; Les Vadasz, president, Intel Capital, executive VP at Intel; Greg Papadopoulos, CTO, Sun Microsystems and Roy Whitfield, Co-Founder and CEO, Incyte Pharmaceuticals.
Following the successful launch at the last conference, TiEcon 2001 will again feature “Company Showcase.” Expanded to more than 25,000 feet of space, the showcase provides start-up companies a platform to position their products for investors, partners and prospects.
TiEcon is sponsored by well-known banks, corporations as well as venture capital, law, accounting and consulting firms such as Sequoia Capital, Comerica Bank, Accel Partners, McKinsey & Company, Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, Morgan Stanley, Price Waterhouse Coopers, KPMG, Venture Law Group and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich Rosati, among others.
Established in Silicon Valley in 1992, TiE is the world’s leading organization for the advancement of entrepreneurship. TiE is a not-for-profit organization chartered by entrepreneurs, corporate executives and senior professionals with roots or interest in the Indus region. TiE’s explicit goal is to benefit all entrepreneurs, would-be entrepreneurs and professionals with an interest in entrepreneurship. Today, TiE is a worldwide organization comprised of 500 charter members and 6,000 members from 25 chapters across five countries.
For more information about the TiE organization, the conference, and for press registration, interested readers can visit the TiE Web site at www.tie.org.
Urvashi Majmundar is a freelance writer
That is only the beginning. This stuff has to be shuffled, and that’s when the real fun begins. This paper mini-mountain is stashed away in some East Coast office, but local franchisees and attorneys all over the U.S. need material all the time. But that doesn’t mean you can get it all the time, of course. And to top it all, approximately 25 percent of its documents are misfiled or lost.
Stuff has to be faxed, copied and moved all the time and that leads to wear and tear.
This is where PaperFly comes in. The start-up information technology company, an Applications Service Provider, has a great solution, and like many great solutions, it is exquisite in its simplicity.
All you do is put the material online. Anybody who is authorized can access any material at any time, there are no lost files, and a huge amount of money and headaches are saved.
The result? The company slashes its earlier monthly expenditure on maintaining its documents a stiff $10,000 per month by a whopping 50 percent.
Founded in 1999, this Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company has just roped in Toshiba Solutions Group as a client, and has expanded it s customer base to include AOL Time Warner, AlterEGO, Webpartner and Appshop. It has won the ASP World Class Award for Best Enterprise Service, October 2000
PaperFly is an award-winning Application Service Provider providing best-in-class technology for managing and collaborating on business information at the department level and across the enterprise. PaperFly’s unique capabilities allow corporations to manage, distribute and route information stored as active documents, records and electronic files. PaperFly’s secure and scalable ASP platform, built on Newgen technology allows enterprises to rapidly deploy business information management solutions that are easy to maintain without increasing investment in IT or training.
“PaperFly is emerging as a leader in the ASP industry, providing innovative solutions for managing and collaborating on information assets,” says PaperFly CEO Ajay Narain. “Because we offer our service through the ASP model, companies can immediately deploy our easy-to-use application to achieve significant cost savings and global access to their information assets. Our recent partnership with Toshiba will leverage a network of resellers across the nation who will resell a private labeled version of the PaperFly application to customers ranging from the SME market to Fortune 1000 customers.”
Organizations: The PaperFly solution is designed around the concept of an Organizationwhich consists of a group of registered Users and the Organization’s files.
Remote File Storage: Organizations can store a large number of file types with PaperFlyincluding imaged paper documents and over 200 electronic file types.
Flexible User Base: Registered Users can be employees of a single company or a cross-section of employees from multiple companiesthe only requirement is that they must have an e-mail address.
Controlled Access: Organizations can control what particular Users can do with specific files by granting or restricting a User’s access rights to those files.
Centralized Management: Account supervisors centrally manage PaperFly Organizations by setting User privileges, executing audit trails and much more.
What Users Can do
Add Files: PaperFly offers Users multiple methods for getting information into PaperFly’s secure, web-hosted environment, including e-mail in, fax in and browse up for low volume file transfers and backfile conversion services for transferring large volumes of paper documents.
Find Files: Users can find files stored with PaperFly either by looking in logically organized cabinets and folders or by using PaperFly’s advanced search capabilities, including full-text search of both electronic and image files.
View Files: Through PaperFly’s powerful imaging processor, Users can view imaged paper documents and over 200 electronic file types.
Work With Files: PaperFly offers an array of features to increase the productivity of Users who work with files, including version control, alarming, annotations and much more.
Collaborate on Files: Users can easily collaborate on files with business partners, suppliers and anyone else outside of their Organization.
Deliver Files: PaperFly offers Users a versatile set of options for delivering files to people outside their Organization, including e-mail out, fax out, print to local printer, web delivery, courier delivery and more.
“PaperFly is changing the way companieslarge and smallmanage their information,” says a company brochure. “We do this by delivering cutting-edge Information Management technology to our customers through the Application Service Provider model.” Its major strong points, the company says, include:
Started in 1999 with $3 million funding led by Tira Capital, PaperFly’s current top management is led by Ajay Narain, CEO, who was former COO and co-founder of Stratascape. Other officers include Tom Stacey, VP Sales; S.V. Vasudevan, VP Engineering; Rajiv Parikh, VP Corporate Marketing and Abha Singhvi, VP Finance and Administration.
Interested readers can visit the company’s Web site at www.PaperFly.com.
Anjali Parekh is a freelance writer.
Rediff.com paid $3 million up front as part of a two-year “earn-out” deal to the shareholders of Value Communications and Value Communications became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Rediff.com India Limited. The “earn-out” refers to additional payments over a two-year period linked to the company’s profit before tax. The transaction is being accounted for under the purchase method.
“We believe this acquisition complements our strategy to aggressively penetrate the U.S. market. Value Communications’ market presence, among 45,000 Indians in the U.S., will add another growth engine to our business and supports our overall strategy of becoming the portal of choice for Indians in India and worldwide,” said Ajit Balakrishnan, chairman and chief executive officer, Rediff.com India Limited.
Arvind J. Singh, CEO, Value Communications Corporation, said: “We recognize the increasing need for Indians living in or visiting the United States to have the ability to communicate overseas in a cost-efficient manner. The combination of Value Communications’ strategic alliances, eCommerce platform and large customer base, nearly 70 percent of whom buy online, with Rediff.com’s existing leadership position, will only further strengthen Rediff.com’s capability to provide value-added services to its users.”
Pardeep Legha is freelance writer based in Mumbai.
Chances are that if you’ve walked around the South Bay lately, you’ve noticed the splash of colorful Asha for Education flyers announcing the “Marathon 2001 Program.” Perhaps you were intrigued enough to pick one up and read about the “Harbingers of Hope,” a pioneering team of 25 runners who last year raised $100,000 for child literacy in India. And perhaps, reading about the program sparked off faraway thoughts of challenges and pushing your boundaries, and you thought “A marathon. I should really do that someday.”
That day had arrived for me Dec 10, 2000, when I crossed the finisher’s line at the Honolulu marathon. It was the culmination of an often punishing but uniquely gratifying five-month-long training program. My relationship with Asha continued after the marathon when I joined the Harbingers of Hope organizing team, a group of talented and dedicated individuals. For two months we single-mindedly publicized our 2001 program. This year, we decided to pick races in October, and to give runners the option of running in Victoria, B.C., or in Silicon Valley two beginner-friendly marathons in ideal running weather.
On April 22, we had our kickoff event at the Santa Clara Marriott our first opportunity to get together coaches, past team members, and this year’s aspirants.
We had an impressive list of speakers for the evening. Abhijit Halder, the Indian consul for community affairs; Abhay Bhushan, prominent entrepreneur and activist; Tony Fong, first class runner and chief coach of the team for both last year and this one; and Mayank Chaudhary, coach of the team.
Jayashree Balasubramanian, who introduced the program to the audience, is head of Asha Silicon Valley, and she created the program last year amidst skepticism. With images of an Asha-funded school in the background, she spoke of the organization’s work, putting the Harbingers of Hope initiative in the context of our larger battle against illiteracy in India. For my part, I encouraged the audience to still their doubts about doing a marathon, the way I had ten months ago.
Abhijit Halder, consul for community affairs at the Indian Consulate in San Francisco, urged the audience to work towards unity in the community, citing the work done for the Gujarat quake as a potent example of what could be collectively achieved.
Abhay Bhushan, chair of social entrepreneurship at The Indus Entrepreneurs, co-founder of several successful companies, and a long-time activist, spoke movingly of doing grassroots work in the villages of India. He encouraged the audience to think of running not just as a physical exercise, but a spiritual one: to notice the trees and flowers on the way, and to think of whose lives were being affected. Bhushan signed both himself and his wife up for the marathon program.
Later coach Tony Fong took the podium to cheers from an audience, which included many members of last year’s marathon team. Fong is chairman of the Pacific Association of United States Track and Field and a passionate and accomplished runner.
Mayank Chaudhary, who will also coach the team this year, spoke about the mental and physical rewards of running, and of how central it becomes to your life when training. Mayank is known for his penchant for long distances, being the first Indian to complete the Marathon des Sables, a 150-mile, seven-day run in the Sahara.
There were several onsite registrations that day, and the number has continued to climb; the program now has over 45 people who have filled out a registration. The program’s target is to recruit and retain at least 50 runners.
Asha is currently actively recruiting corporate sponsors as program partners. This is an excellent opportunity for companies to get ongoing publicity through the months of the training program and on race day, and to engender goodwill in the community through supporting this important cause.
For more information on the Asha Harbingers of Hope Program, or to know about corporate sponsorship opportunities, please e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Interested readers can register for the marathon program through the Harbingers of Hope Web site at: http://www.ashanet.org/siliconvalley/marathon/
The registration deadline is May 31, 2001.
- Shobana Narasimhan is a Bay Area-based
People have traditionally seen Social Security benefits as the foundation of their retirement planning programs. The Social Security contributions deducted from your paycheck have, in effect, served as a government-enforced retirement savings plan.
However, the Social Security system is under increasing strain. Better health care and longer life spans have resulted in an increasing number of people drawing Social Security benefits. And as the baby boom generation (those born between 1946 and 1964) approaches retirement, even greater demands will be placed on the system.
In 1940, there were 40 active workers to support each person receiving Social Security benefits. In 2000, there were only 3.2 workers supporting each Social Security pensioner. And it is projected that by 2030, there will only be two active workers to support each Social Security pensioner.
You should consider that as your income gets higher, Social Security replaces a proportionally smaller percentage of retirement benefits. It used to be that you received full benefits only after you reached age 65. But in 2000, the age for qualifying for full benefits began increasing on a graduated scale. By 2027, the age for qualifying for full retirement benefits will increase to age 67, where it is scheduled to remain.
This means that in the future, you will probably have to wait longer to qualify for full Social Security benefits to start replacing a smaller percentage of your pre-retirement income.
Your long-term retirement planning program should recognize Social Security benefits as playing a more limited role when calculating required retirement income. Indeed, some financial professionals suggest ignoring Social Security altogether when developing a retirement income plan.
Note: The Social Security Administration will now assist you in calculating your projected retirement benefits. You can call (800)772-1213 and ask for Form SSA-7004, the “Personal Earnings and Benefit Estimate Statement,” or you can access the form on the Internet at www.ssa.gov. Complete the form, return it to the Social Security Administration and you will receive an estimate of your benefits.
Ree Mitra can be reached at email@example.com.
- Ree Mitra a financial planner with
Chaudhary visited the San Francisco Bay Area and addressed a gathering of Indian Americans April 15 in Newark, Calif. It was partly to thank the community for its support, but the articulate, personable politician also used the opportunity to exhort the community to actively participate in the nation’s political process.
Chaudhary’s speech was part of a monthly program for political awareness jointly hosted by Federation of Indo-American Associations of Bay Area and Federation of Indian-American Associations in Northern California.
Raag Darbari Kanada is a deep and subtle raag . Once one takes a close look at this raag, it becomes abundantly clear how profound Hindustani classical music is, and why this music must be transmitted not through books, but rather through the oral tradition.
Darbari is the foremost raag of the Kanada group. The word “kanada” comes from Karnataka, indicating that raags in this group have their origin in south India. Darbari Kanada was first adopted and named by the master musician Miyan Tansen in the mid-sixteenth century. Tansen, a great dhrupad singer and composer, was the principal court musician in the durbar of Emperor Akbar. To honor Akbar, Tansen named this raag “Darbari Kanada” or “Kanada of the court,” and he composed many bandishes in this raag which are addressed to Emperor Akbar.
Darbari Kanada is a very serious, dignified and often slow-moving raag whose most appropriate time of play is around midnight. This may seem late to us, but in the court of Emperor Akbar, music programs often began around nine or ten o’clock at night and ended at sunrise, making midnight a perfect time to present an artist’s most prized compositions. The vadi swara of this Asavari That raag is Rishab, and samvadi is Pancham. There is some debate about the Jati of Darbari Kanada. Renowned musicologist O. Thakur considers this raag to be SampoornalAudhav because of the avarohi vakra Dhaivat and Gandhar, while equally respected scholar of music Bhatkande classifies Darbari Kanada as Shadhav/Sampoorna. But it is perhaps most accurate to classify this raag as “Vakra-Sampoorna” because its vakra or oscillated swaras are not varjit (omitted) and because it is made up of more than one set of Aroha/Avaroha. Although some musicologists maintain that there are three distinct types of Darbari, it is simpler to consider Darbari as one raag with three different Aroha’s. These are: Sampoorna with andolan and elongation on komal Gandhar and komal Dhaivat; broken Aroha which is vakra in poorvang and straight in uttarang, and occasional Shadhav Aroha, omitting gandhar.
The secret beauty of Raag Darbari Kanada is generated by its special use of microtones around komal Gandhar and komal Dhaivat. These notes are rendered with a very specific and special andolan. The andolan for Gandhar is approached in a meend from Rishab to a place near Madhyam, but not quite approaching it, and then moves into three or four slow oscillations around komal Gandhar, somewhere between very high Rishab and relatively high komal Gandhar. A similar andolan is taken around komal Dhaivat. These unique features of Darbari Kanda give this raag a sort of “imbalance” or tension, creating a feeling of longing or unsatisfied desire which is ultimately resolved by the use of Rishab and Pancham, vadi and samvadi These swaras re-establish a sense of peace and stability.
If all this seems rather vague and “wordy,” it is not at all surprising. The difficulty we face in trying to describe or explain Raag Darbari Kanada demonstrates why the classical music of India cannot be learned successfully from books or even from recordings. This music must be passed down orally from guru to shishya in the parampara tradition, because it is so subtle that it must be heard, and then sung or played, and then corrected by the guru to be really understood. In the classicasl way of teaching, a guru very rarely explains anything. He or she simply sings or plays a phrase over and over, allowing the student to repeat the phrase until the student “gets it right.” This kind of teaching generates learning that is not just intellectual understanding; it is knowledge of the body and learning of the heart. Music learned in this traditional way becomes part of the student’s very being, and without this kind of knowledge, real Hindustani classical music is impossible. Performing raaga is not just mastering songs or compositions. It is learning and understanding raagas the way we learn and understand out first language, our mother tongue. The subtlety and complexity of Raag Darbari Kanada is an excellent demonstration of the importance of the oral tradition and the guru-shishya parampara in the classical music of India.
- Habib Khan is a well-known sitarist based in
Well, there are trucks and there are trucks. And then there is the 2001 Toyota Highlander SUV. So, while I drown myself in the curmudgeonry on the efficacy (or lack thereof) of the sport-ute mastodons taking over our highways and byways, people like Toyota spring these little surprises on us. You’re going to see many more than “only one” of these Highlanders on the road.
Based on the Camry platform with unibody-based construction, the newest Toyota issue starts its life as an automobile and continues the evolution through the many facets that sum up sport utility vehicles. Taking the mechanical end a step further, both the standard aluminum 4-cylinder engine and the DOHC V6 are certified low emission powerplants. The mid-size Highlander is available in either front-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive. So it was with a large sense of anticipation we took the Highlander on a journey to its “home” turf.
And what could be more fitting and comfortable to bring the Highlander to its official mountain home at Northstar-at-Tahoe outside Truckee. The snow was deep, the skies blue and the sun bright as we pointed the Highlander up Highway 267 and took some runs around Northstar’s new Lookout Mountain. The next few days were going to be a tester‚s delight both on and off the road.
Getting back to my obsession with big is bad and bigger is badder, The Highlander is as close as you can get to a one-size fits all attitude. A five-passenger interior with room to stretch in firm, holding high-back seats and plenty of headroom. Behind the rear seat is a generous cargo area accessed through the rear lift- up door and low sill. The seats are split 60/40 or can be folded flat for more storage space.
The drive train is mated through a velvet-smooth 4-speed automatic transmission with alternative snow drive-mode. Pushing up circuitous Highway 80, the flexible transmission handled the climb and curves without a whimper or the hunt and pick for the right gearing. The 220-horsepower, DOHC, 24-valve, VVTi V6 is a gentle workhorse, the full-time AWD is definitely the way to go these days.
It was an interesting experience as we parked the shiny, Electric Green Mica in the village plaza of Northstar for some picture taking. The skiers heading to their various abodes were all taken by the machine and, although the Highlander has only been around a short time, most of the people knew right away what is was.
All the basics are standard equipment in the handsome and well-thought out interior. Graphics are visible and easy to read, controls big and accessible. Just a touch of chestnut grain trim for class and hardy, plush upholstery, power everything, 6 cupholders, 4 grocery retainers, four bottle holders, map pockets, deckbox and a lot more stuff space. There’s even an eyeglass holder in the upper console. A pretty neat package of ergonomics and amenities.
Finally the usual misspoken hyperbole of “drives like a car and pulls like a truck” has a sense of validity to it. From Northstar we head south down the edge of Lake Tahoe on Highway 28 to Heavenly and all the lovely mechanics of the underpinnings made it a thoroughly enjoyable trip. The road curves, the road bends, the road goes up, the road goes down. We had fun.
All this physical exuberance enhanced by the standard 4-wheel independent suspension, 4-wheel disc brakes with ABS and fat stabilizer bars back and front. The factory added limited slip differential was just an added plus. My passenger couldn’t help commenting on how, as we slithered through the curves at a nice clip, the ride was nearly flat and gripping.
The factory also added a host of options that substantially upped the price tag. But, if you’re going to be cool, do it in style, I always say. Even so, the price is still far away from the usual Mastadon bloat. Beginning at the top is the roof rack system ($220), 8-way power driver‚s seat ($390), power tilt/slide moonroof ($815), 3500-lb. Towing package ($290), Appearance Pkg. ($890), Convenience Pkg. ($320) and Limited Slip ($390).
Al Auger, our automotive editor has been writing about cars for over 30 years.
Bollywood: | Guftugu | Hindi Film Review |
Alas, he found himself thrown in jail instead. The charge was serious, as he had been caught buying cocaine. It turned out that he was caught in a trap set out by law enforcement officials to nab drug dealers. Dad Feroz rushed to his rescue, and acted with good sense. If my son has committed the mistake, he must live with its consequences, he said. Fardeen also apparently impressed the cops with his upfront attitude, and so the upcoming star may not become a jail bird after all.
He is out on bail now, and it’s not only his fans who are crossing their fingers. Joining them is a bunch of nervous producers whose schedules would go haywire if their star performer ends up doing time instead of shoots.
The brain child of Bharat Bala, who produced marvelous music albums “Vande Mataram” and “Jana Gana Mana,” the film will have an all-Indian cast and will be shot in North India. It will cost over $5 million to film.
Meanwhile, film makers are still looking for someone to play Shah Jahan. Anybody interested?
Manisha is going to do a revealing role in Abhay, with Kamal Haasan. We mean that quite literally. Manisha Koirala in the buff, to put it bluntly.
Manisha is very open and frank about it. The role demands it, you see, as the character she plays is trying to seduce the character played by Kamal Haasan. So she has to go the extra mile, she says.
Right now he is busy on his foreign film project, Love at Times Square this is the famous Times Square of New York, where the New Year’s bash takes place. Lucky Ali has been signed in to compose the music as well as play the lead role. And if the past is any guide, expect the irrepressible film maker to spring a pretty newcomer to play the heroine.
Kalpana Lajmi gave her the chance, and now Raveena Tandon is thrilled. So, it seems, are the jurors of the National Film Awards, who have given her the best actress award for her performance in Daman, Kalpana Lajmi’s offbeat film about marital rape.
She has since been partying and having a great time but that’s not all. Recently she went to Govinda’s TV game show Jeeto Chhappad Phaad Ke, and that’s exactly what she did. She came home with Rs. 2.5 million and a compact car. Things are looking up for the Bollywood beauty, and it’s about time, too.
So how does Mahesh Bhatt feel about this? Ever the unconventional dad, he has none of the Raj Kapoor phobia, for instance, about family women going into films. As far as he is concerned, the more the merrier.
The scene was shot recently on the banks of Raj Ghat in Varanasi, and it took 150 people to light the lamps and line them by the bank of the Ganga. The line ran nearly two miles, and the scene was filmed by a camera on a moving houseboat. Ayesha Jhulka, Sharbani Mukherji and Poonam were filmed for the song.
Winners were flown in from all over India for a “Sky Party with Hrithik” where the young Bollywood sensation was down-to-earth, much to the delight of his adoring fans. He danced with one questioner to show her a few dance steps, answered a slew of questions, after inviting fans to ask whatever they wanted to ask him. He sang a couple of songs from his smash hit Kaho Na Pyar Hai.
No wonder the teenage heartthrob’s following remains as amazing as it is massive.
This has set off a flurry of activity. Gadar Ek Prem Katha was supposed to be released June 15 after rescheduling, but now its owners are having to rethink that, because this is a period film as well. Bas Itna Sa Khwaab Tha was also scheduled for release on June 15. It may be moved a week or two ahead. Trouble is, that may clash with the release of Shararat. And both films star Abhishek Bachchan.
Shararat director Gurudev Bhalla, however, says he is not budging from his release date.
Hindi Film Review
Whatever skills he lacks as a film maker and the viewer of his latest film will painfully discover that they are considerable he has apparently balanced it with timing the release of this long-hatching disaster ever so sweetly.
As the world advances, India considers adding astrology to college courses. And here we have a film where an astrologer’s prediction plays a key role in the hero’s life.
Tony (Govinda) is a happy-go-lucky tourist guide in the fictitious town of Malaga in Goa. He is told by an astrologer that a beautiful blue-eyed princess will descend from the skies for him. And guess what, that’s exactly what happens when Sonia (Aishwarya Rai) arrives all the way from Austria in search of her mother’s grave. Tony figures this is the lady of his dreams, and ingratiates himself assiduously (given Govinda’s loud antics, one is tempted to say excruciatingly).
All this is bad news for Tony’s childhood friend Nina (Namrata Shirodkar) who nurses a tender affection for Tony. The poor woman has a lot of free moments in her hand now, which she uses to cook and clean for her wayward target of affection..
Sonia’s mother had left her father years and years ago. The reason is a bit of a mystery, but one result of that is her Austrian father (played with dreadful hamming by Saeed Jaffrey) has an abiding hatred for India.
So here they are, Toni and Sonia, the man in love, the woman looking for her roots. The story is headed for an interesting turn, right?
Of course not. This is a Bollywood phillum, folks, so instead of looking for Sonia’s mother, the two love-birds sing and dance. And sing and dance. And sing and dance . . . ad nauseum, and the world is their village. Literally. You would have thought they are in Goa, but come on, you don’t expect a factual technicality like that to keep them from springing up all over the world, do you? So the result is Tony and Sonia go all over the world, but story seems to go nowhere.
So now Honey Irani, the script writer at the root of this disaster, springs another surprise. In the hallowed tradition of Bollywood coincidence, where given time, virtually everyone runs into one another, it turns out that Toni happens to know Prem, who surprise, surprise, is an old flame of Sonia’s. Why exactly Sonia had left him earlier is another implausible story that would strain the patience of even the infinitely gullible Bollywood movie-goer. A complicated tangle of pathos follows, but not to worry.
Of course, from this mess of a story, all loose ends are tied up in the peremptory fashion that is standard fare in Bollywood, complete with a lachrymose (and implausible) story about why Sonia’s mother had left her husband. Honey Irani leaves no implausible angle unexplored, and even the angry dad comes around in another unconvincing twist of the story.
Director Deepak Sareen apparently used up all his sense of timing in releasing the film, because the film is a jarring pastiche of mismatched shots taken over a period of years, where Aishwarya and Govinda have many avatars. There is Aishwarya the dilettante, unsure and a bit raw in skill (this in shots taken in the earlier years), there is a more svelte and suave Ash (shots taken in later years), there is the egregious Govinda of earlier years with his loud, hamming humor, and alas, only a slightly more bearable Govinda who sensibly decided to polish up his comic routine.
The real question for the viewer at the end of the movie is: What was the point? The cinematography is eye-catching in parts, and the music also passes muster occasionally, but it all adds up to a dead loss, because the vapid, illogical story makes very little sense even by the infinitely elastic standards of Bollywood. As for acting, what’s to act? Aiswarya’s main purpose appears to be to look pretty, which she does, Govinda varies between insufferable and utterly insufferable, Namrata Shirodkar has nothing much to do, and Saeed Jaffrey, truly, should be shot. To think that it took all of five years for Tips to create this monstrosity!
Hey, Bollywood, wake up! The writing is on the wall, fellas. Satellite TV is all over India, and viewers are not going to shell out the moolah for junk, no matter how gaudily you dress it up . The crippling failure rate of Hindi films in recent times is an omen the viewers are clearly serving notice here. Get your act together and use some intelligence in crafting films, or your albela days are over.
Rating: ** (Mediocre)
Tamil Film Review:
In the process, he falls for his sister’s friend Kamakshi (Abita) who is tortured and harassed by her sister-in-law Nandini (Vichitra), and Kamakshi’s mother (Manorama) and brother (Mansur) are helpless spectators. Once, when Kamakshi’s son gives her a violent shove, it is Kaalai who rushes and supports her in his arms. He sternly warns people that if they harass “Amma,” they would one day regret it. Even the politically naïve will catch on that Kaalai was not talking about Kamakshi’s mother here. There are more gems of this type in the dialogue strewn throughout the film.
After the initial hesitation the timid Kamakshi reciprocates Kaalai’s love. The duo elopes and gets married. But Nandini’s men are not willing to leave them alone. She sends forth her henchmen who assault Kaalai and Kamakshi. They survive the violent assault, but athe doctors warn Kaalai that Kamakshi’s health would be endangered if she were to bear a child. Kamakshi, however, has other ideas. She adrugs Kaalai and seduces him. She conceives, but there is nothing to worry for, as usual, the doctors are proved wrong and she delivers twins. The rest of the story is traces the vindication of Kaalai’s stand.
It’s not as if the film is all that bad. The early part is humorous, Ramarajan being quite comfortable in the lighter scenes. If only he had concentrated more on the script, rather than merely thrusting lines with political overtones, the movie would have been better. Mansur Alikhan plays the reluctant villain to the hilt.
In association with Chennai Online
Mix the flour in one cup of water and add to the stew.
Cook for three minutes.
Grease a baking bowl and fill with stew mixture.
Spread bread crumbs and cover the top with grated cheese.
Bake in hot oven at 160 degrees or grill till the crust is brown.
Seema Gupta is a homemaker
May - June Horoscope
Bay Area-based astrologer Pandit Parashar can