2014 in review

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The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 26,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 10 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Chennai in the 19th century – Vintage Pictures

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By Somali K Chakrabarti

A city with a curious blend of tradition and modernity, Chennai has a rich historical legacy.

Formerly known as Madras, Chennai was a leading urban location and naval base, at the time of the British rule. Madras derives its name from Madrasapattnam, a fishing village located on the Coromandel Coast, where the British East India Company had first built a trading post in 1639, and followed it up with the construction of Fort St. George.

At that time, the weaving of Cotton fabrics was a local industry and the English invited
the weavers and native merchants to settle near the Fort. Businesses flourished on the crowded streets of the province known as George Town.

Here are a few pictures from the yore.

Outskirts of Madras, ca 1851

Outskirts of Madras, 1851

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Dare to be different to create your own space

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 By Somali K Chakrabarti

 If you don’t have a competitive advantage, don’t compete.            -Jack Welch

Competitive Advantage quote

In a tough market crowded with multiple sellers, only those with a distinct competitive advantage can survive. This holds good not only for businesses, but also for individuals. What renders you a competitive advantage is your ability to be different than others in a way that you stand out of the crowd.

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5 Reasons to Use Dettol Multi-Use wipes

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By Somali K Chakrabarti

Any good habit starts with personal measures. With ‘Cleanliness drive’ gaining traction all over India, ‘Personal hygiene’ also comes to the fore. Tiny measures to keep yourself clean will help you to keep diseases’ at bay and go a long way in ensuring that you maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Good personal hygiene habits go beyond smelling nice and looking clean; proper hygiene also prevents the spread of germs that lead to bacterial skin infections.

~ Why You Can’t Overlook the Importance of Personal Hygiene

 

To up your hygiene levels and satisfy the germophobes 😉 (I admit being one), Dettol introduces Dettol Multi-Use Wipes (http://www.dettol.co.in/).

Dettol Multi Use Wipes

Since the last 5 years, Dettol Hand-wash has been a permanent feature in my house. So, I was more than happy to try out a new product from Dettol – a trusted brand and a name that is synonymous with cleanliness and hygiene.

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NDTV Cleanathon – Resolve for a Swachch India

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NDTV Cleanathon – Resolve for a Swachch India

By Somali K Chakrabarti

When you are surrounded by people who share a passionate commitment around a common purpose, anything is possible. 

With a purpose as imperative as cleanliness and sanitation, which affects every single individual in the country in some way or the other and is driven by none other than the PM of the country, it is but natural that a movement to support the cause will gain traction. The 12 hr long LIVE televised CLEANATHON on 14th December, 2014, a part of “Banega Swachh India” campaign launched by RB India and NDTV was such a unique event that brought together people from all walks and streams of life to create awareness for the need of sanitation and to support the cause. Amitabh Bachchan Swachh India

If my face and voice can become a reason for people to follow the Swachh India campaign, I’m happy to be a part of it. ~ Amitabh Bachchan, Campaign Ambassador

My biggest perk from blogging came in the form of winning Banega Swachh India blogging contest that gave me the opportunity to witness the NDTV Cleanathon event held on the 14th Dec and to contribute to the cause.

NDTV CLEANATHON Event

Mr Amitabh Bachchan, the brand ambassador for the Swachh India campaign, opened the event explaining why sanitation is of such immense importance to all of us. Mr Bachchan, along with co-anchor, Mr Vikram Chandra, executive director and CEO of NDTV looked into the challenges with respect to sanitation that exist in India today and urged people to join hands in the cleanliness drive.

Dia Mirza at NDTV Cleanathon
Cleanliness Initiatives on screen

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Clean India – Sanitation and hygiene starts with You and Me

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By Somali K Chakrabarti

 

*** This post won the Grand Prize for Indibloggers ‘Banega Swachh India‘ #SwachhIndia contest sponsored by Dettol -NDTV ***.  An account of the event is given on the post NDTV Cleanathon

 

There are more cell phones than toilets in India.

It is a well known fact by now that whereas nearly 45 per cent of India’s population uses cell phones, only 31 per cent of the population has access to improved sanitation.

Poor and inadequate sanitation have been a major cause of diarrhea and infections among young children. The other fallout are malnutrition, stunting, premature deaths, wasted time and productivity, and tourism losses.

This is likely to change with PM Modi’s emphasis on cleanliness and proper sanitation facilities, and the launch of ambitious ‘Swachch Bharat Abhiyan’, to make India clean by 2019. No longer it is undignified to talk about the existing sanitation problems and the need to build toilets to end open defecation in India.

To make the mission a success, many corporate houses, NGOs, media and other agencies have joined in to address the rising need of hygiene and sanitation in India. Many initiatives have been taken up for constructing toilets in rural areas, promoting the use of toilets by running  sanitation and hygiene campaigns and developing proper waste disposal and management systems.

RB India and NDTV have partnered to launch “Dettol – Banega Swachh India” and are organising a 12 hour LIVE televised CLEANATHON on 14th December, 2014, which will bring together the entire nation towards better sanitation & hygiene.

See http://swachhindia.ndtv.com/

While there are systemic or behavioral issues to be tackled at the broader level, You and I as individuals, can also do our bit to make India clean and hygienic.

Sanitation starts with You and Me

Much like charity begins at home, sanitation and hygiene starts with you and me.  

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Walking fiesta at Equals Street – a fun filled way to kickstart your Sunday

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By Somali K Chakrabarti

 

Ciclovía, is a weekly city-wide, car-free day in Bogotá, when more than 2 million people come out to cycle, hang out and eat on the streets. It has been successfully running since 1974.

 

Ciclovía keeps cars off the streets in the Colombian capital and brings rich and poor together – if only for a day. ~ theguardian

 

The concept of Ciclovía has, since then, spread far and wide beyond Columbia, and walking events are now organized in different cities around the world.

Walking festivals in India

The concept is no longer alien to India either. Known by name of Raahgiri, a similar event started in Gurgaon in 2013, and has been continuing for over a year. Such events are also organized at Connaught Place in Delhi, in Bhopal, Ludhiyana, Pune, Navi Mumbai and have lately started in Mumbai as the Santacruz – Bandra festival, as the result of collective efforts of NGOs, think tanks, citizens’ associations and cycling groups

Living in Mumbai, one of my main grouse has been the lack of open spaces to walk. So when I heard of Santacruz – Bandra Walking Festival that is organized every Sunday from 7 am to 11 am, with two of the busiest streets of Mumbai – Linking Road and SV Road, being closed to traffic to allow people to walk, there was no way I could keep away.

So, there I was walking at Linking Road with hoards of others who were out on the road strolling, briskly walking, prancing or jogging. What a sight it was to see the traffic packed roads of Mumbai completely devoid of traffic! Children with roller skates whizzed past in glee, there were others on cycles and push bikes, and a few were trying to balance on a segway.

Bandra SC fest - Segway ride
Cycles and Segway ride

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6 Leadership Theories to define Effectiveness of Leaders

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By Bhudeb Chakrabarti

Leadership is the projection of personality; It is a combination of persuasion, compulsion and example that makes other people do what the leader wants them to do. ~ Field-Marshal Sir William Slim, outstanding British and Allied commanders of World War II.

 

What is Leadership?

Leading is the art of influencing and motivating people to perform in a manner to achieve a common goal. The sum total of a leader’s roles, tasks and responsibilities and interpersonal influences constitutes leadership.

A leader should not only be intelligent (with general problem-solving capacity), but should also possess high integrity and character, equally concerned with ends (doing the right thing) and means (doing rightly).

Effective leaders have to work ceaselessly, and communicate with the people to motivate them in an efficient manner.

LeadershipTheories

 

What makes a Leader Effective?

Numerous studies have been conducted and considerable amount of research has been done to find out how a leader becomes effective. Various theories have been postulated from time to time to zero in on the factors that influence the effectiveness of leaders.  Read more

‘Bhopal: A Prayer For Rain’, A film to stir your soul

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By Somali K Chakrabarti

December 2nd, 1984, was one of the darkest nights in the history of Bhopal and that of India, when poisonous gas flare had leaked out of Union Carbide India Ltd’s (UCIL) pesticide plant, killing thousands of people over the next few days.

Thirty years on, a film ‘Bhopal: A Prayer For Rain’ rakes up the memories of the hapless night as it narrates the heart rendering story of Bhopal gas tragedy, one of the worst industrial disasters in India that occurred due to corporate negligence.

Bhopal : A Prayer For Rain

The movie released in the US on 7th Nov and is scheduled to release in India on 5th Dec, 2014. The film is directed by Ravi Kumar, who upon reading Sanjoy Hazarika’s book, ‘Bhopal: The Lessons of a tragedy’, was inspired to make a film on the subject for a younger audience who do not know about Carbide or Bhopal.

The story unfolds through the life of Dilip, a poor Rickshaw driver living in a slum in Bhopal, who struggles on a daily basis to support his wife Leela, his child and his sister. Dilip is elated when he lands himself a job in the UCIL’s pesticide plant – the job helps him to earn wages to feed his family and marry off his sister. The factory is a symbol of progress and prosperity for Dilip. Dilip, however, is not the least aware of the impending dangers on his life and on the lives of his folks. Read more

Lufthansa A380 – Why Bigger is better for Indian aviation

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By Somali K Chakrabarti

 

India Embraces Airbus A380   – The news made headlines in Jan 2014.                                                                                                                                                 

India’s decision to allow Airbus 380 is a welcome decision for India’s aviation industry and for the global airlines that seek to further leverage India’s aviation market – one of the five fastest-growing markets in terms of additional passengers per year.

Consent to let the wide body double-decker plane fly into and out of India, sets the ground for ‘Big being Better’ for India’s aviation.

The world’s largest passenger aircraft, Airbus A380 that can seat 850 passengers in an all-economy configuration, and 550-600 passengers in a three-class configuration, is allowed to land at the airports of Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bangalore, which are equipped with A380 enabled infrastructure including runway, taxiway and aerobridges, and also have higher peak hour handling capacities.

Singapore Airlines became the first carrier to launch commercial flights of A380 on Singapore-Delhi and Singapore-Mumbai routes, followed by Dubai-based Emirates Airlines that started daily A380 flights between Mumbai and Dubai. Lufthansa, not to stay behind to meet growing passenger needs, became the third airline to fly A380 planes to India on November 2014, starting A380 flights on the sought after Frankfurt-Delhi route.

Thus starts a new era in Indian aviation!

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