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    Though theatrician Vandana Prabhu has directed plays before, she finds helming plays an opportunity to bring out the best in her. She will soon be seen directing A Little Calm Before the Storm, which is being staged as a part of the Deccan Herald Theatre Festival that is curated by Sandbox Collective. The play is being staged on December 5, 7 pm onwards at Ranga Shankara. In a candid chat with Tini Sara Anien, she sheds light on the play and the festival.

    How excited are you to be a part of the Deccan Herald Theatre Festival?

    Im very excited. This is my first time as a director at the festival. I was a part of a production in 2016 as an actor but this is a very different experience. Its always wonderful to be invited to a festival like this one.

    How do you think the audience will react?

    I want them to enjoy my play and I am sure they will. A Little Calm Before the Storm is dark humour; theres a lot of wordplay and the subject is very interesting. It explores what actors would consider when they take up a role, especially when depicting someone like Hitler. In India, while the repercussions of playing a villain are not so strong, as a German actor, one wouldnt touch Hitler as a subject. What actors go through at such a point can be seen in this play. I hope the audience gets the humour and will be able to recreate that sense of class of cultures and opinions.

    What can the audience expect from the play?

    The audience can look forward to some good acting. There are a lot of dialogues and interplay between the characters. Acting without a lot of movement can be quite challenging and that is explored here. The play comes under the genre of absurd theatre and is deliberately ambivalent. Sometimes the audience wants a closure to some issue but as they will find out here, one always comes back to the same point.

    Was it a conscious choice to try dark humour?

    I wanted to work on something which was challenging to perform. Dark humour is always interesting as it is not slapstick comedy. We tried this as a dramatised reading and it was received well by the audience. This gave me the confidence that it will work well with a broader audience.

    How relevant is the play to todays audience?

    The play is great for todays times. With actors who have police protection, the whole Padmavati row and debates on how one can portray evil characters on screen, this play comes in at the right time.

    What is unique about the Deccan Herald Theatre Festival?

    The very fact that the festival promotes theatre and gives theatricians a chance to work with plays which they might not normally pick up, speaks volumes about the festival. I also see a lot of new artistes here, which is a step ahead.

    Youre a teacher and consultant for arts in education and a full-time theatre actor. What do you enjoy the most?

    Teaching is a introspective activity. Children challenge one in many ways. They keep you on your toes. On stage, things are done through a method.

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  • 11/27/17--22:40: 'I am very excited'
  • Miss World Manushi Chillar says she would love to work in an Aamir Khan film as the superstar is known to make socially-relevant movies. Manushi was recently crowned Miss World 2017 at a grand event in Sanya, China.

    The medical student from Haryana said she finds all the actors in Bollywood beautiful but Aamir and former Miss World Priyanka Chopra are her favourites.

    "I want to work in an Aamir Khan film. I think he has some really challenging roles. At the same time, his movies have a message and a connect to the society. So itll be very interesting to do. In the actresses, my favourite is Priyanka Chopra," she said.

    When asked if she has Bollywood plans up next, she said the film industry was not on her mind right now. "I am very excited how this year will turn out. Ill be travelling, visiting continents. We will be spreading awareness about menstrual hygiene where Ill be joined by my other Miss World sisters," she said.

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  • 11/27/17--22:42: The princess diaries
  • Every brides dream is to look nothing less than a princess on her wedding day. For our gorgeous brides to be, we bring to you the most sought-after trends in wedding lehengas to make sure you look stunning on your special day.

    Velvet lehenga

    Velvet speaks regal. It has always been known to impart a grandeur and royal appeal that very few other fabrics exude. What better than an ornately embroidered velvet lehenga in deep hues to make you look like royalty for your winter wedding?

    Take a cue from Sabyasachis range of velvet bridal lehengas in opulent shades of ruby, wine, navy and emerald. Opt for a velvet lehenga or a velvet choli, if not as a coordinated set. An embellished velvet jacket adds the much needed luxe sheen to your wedding reception outfits and looks great in pictures.

    Customise it!

    Samantha immortalised her love for Naga Chaitanya with a love story sari capturing their love on fabric. Weave your prince charmings and your name or embroider your love story on your lehenga to add that personal touch to make it your own. Get creative and add that personalised touch to your wedding with unique customisation ideas onto your lehenga that will not only make it the bridal lehenga unique and the only one in the entire universe but will also serve as a nostalgic reminder of your love.

    Gown girl

    Actor Kishwer Merchant chose a voluminous yet fuss-free Gaurav Gupta lehenga gown for her wedding reception. A perfect choice for the modern bride who aspires to feel like princess on her wedding day without having to deal with multiple pieces and pins keeping them together. Lehenga gowns are the perfect amalgam of traditional with a contemporary twist.

    Belt it out

    A trend that is big on numerous brides this season are lehengas with belts. Found in a wide variety, from zardozi to diamante, harmonising or contrast-coloured, this trend is not only aesthetically appealing but equally functional. It is a nightmare to keep adjusting the heavy dupatta throughout the ceremony and the photo ops. A beautifully embroidered belt can come to the rescue. It not only keeps your dupatta in place and allows you more mobility but also draws eyes to the slender waist that you worked so hard for.

    Off-shoulder lehenga

    Off shoulder is a trend not limited to tops anymore. One of the most flattering trends of this year, off-shoulder cholis look great and let you show off those killer collarbones. Drop shoulder, cape style off shoulder, off- shoulder corset, you name it and they have it.
    There is a flood of off-shoulder styles in the market to choose from with options in full as well has half sleeves for brides worried about baring too much. Make sure you add a statement neckpiece to complement the off shoulder choli.


    Colour blocking seems to have taken a backseat. Head to toe in the same colours is the norm of the hour. Silvers, golds, and grays will be enormous this year with sequin work leading the pack on that. An ever increasing number of brides are selecting monotone metallic hues. The trend keeps in mind the need of the modern bride as the each part of the lehenga can be worn separately later and paired with anything and everything after a wedding. Break the look with colourful jewellery. And if you choose self-embroidery too, its great because it adds depth to the look.

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  • 11/27/17--22:42: For a better tomorrow
  • The draft Revised Masterplan (RMP) 2031, made public over the weekend by the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA), has elicited a mixed response from the public.

    The RMP has proposed measures to curb commercialisation in residential areas, increase the green belt coverage and has also identified a few heritage structures to be preserved for posterity. The plan has zeroed in on nearly 190 properties, both public and private, as heritage.

    They include some of the oldest hotels, parks, markets, theatres, book stores, festivals and fairs.

    Reacting to this, Shilpa Nagraj, an employee with General Electric, points out that trying to retain certain properties as heritage sites is a great idea.

    "Being a old Bengalurean, I would relive old Bangalore every time I visit these places. But the government departments need to work to preserve these heritage sites. They should coordinate with each other to avoid inconvenience to the public. This will help them utilise the tax funds more efficiently," says Shilpa.

    She also feels the new plan must include provisions to reduce the frequent digging up of roads for laying sewage and gas lines.

    In an effort to fight excessive commercialisation in residential places, the plan has also banned commercial activity on roads that are less than 41 feet in width.

    Keerthi Sagar B N, a professional who has been living in the city for the last 28 years, has seen the city grow.

    He feels the grand proposals listed in the masterplan will work only if implemented well. Reacting to the proposal to curb commercial activity in residential areas, Keerthi says this will give pedestrians a lot of space.

    "But this will be done at the expense of many street food stalls and small local markets. The city is known for its wayside eateries and losing them would displace a lot of vendors. The government could look at creating exclusive lanes for walking where no vehicles are allowed and building small complexes where street stalls could be set up at subsidised rates. We should not forget vendors while beautifying the city," says Keerthi.

    But Nadia Zackria, a homemaker, finds the RMP to be over-optimistic.

    "The infrastructural projects in the city are commissioned and completed at the whims and fancies of a few people who are rich and powerful. The city is growing at a fast pace but there is no system in place to match that growth. Narrow roads and lack of proper parking space are just some of the problems that Bengalureans battle with almost on a daily basis," says Nadia.

    She feels that the RMP must resort to a more workable method rather than develop an ambitious plan and achieve nothing at the end of the day.

    There is also a plan to increase the green cover as per the directions from the National Green Tribunal. Vinay Srinivas, a lecturer, says, "The need of the hour is to increase the green cover of the city. There are more buildings today than ever before and we are heading towards a very congested city. Development is a good thing but not at the cost of a depleting green cover."

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  • 11/27/17--22:44: It isn't the money, honey!
  • As you meander through life, it is amazing how every twist and turn and every rise and fall teaches you a few lessons. What is life, I wonder at times, is it a blessing or a suffering? Arent we born in this world to exhaust our vasanas (desires)? Then why is it that we keep creating more of them? Why do we keep pushing ourselves towards materialism?

    No Im not against all things that give us pleasure; trust me Ive been known as a shopaholic among my friends. If you ask my husband, you will be told of the amount of exasperation he has gone through while accompanying me during my long shopping sprees.

    Ask him how much he resented us buying a BMW (a dream that I had been nurturing for long); when I bought my Rolex, he didnt say a word, but my mom did-she said, "beta sab ghadi toh ek hi time batatin hain!"

    Could I afford all those luxuries, yes of course I could. Luckily I am not one of those people who step out of their comfort zone to partake in such indulgences. But the point is, did I need them, or did I just want them? The answer is obvious, I just wanted them, and justified the act by thinking, you know in the profession I am in, people expect me to come out of a fancy car, they expect me to be dressed in designer clothes and carry designer bags and wear high- end watches.

    Was I right? Yes, I think somewhere I was. There is a constant need to justify that one is doing well through such extravagant displays. But does one need to fall prey to such expectations? I have now come to the conclusion that one doesnt! So why this sudden realisation? As time went by, by gods grace I started doing better career wise. Now I am working much harder, which tires me out that much more.

    I am sleeping early and waking up early (5 am, to be precise). As a result, and I guess destiny has some role to play in it too, I am getting closer to the more meaningful things in life like fitness, meditation and spending more time with my son at home. My son is my go to guinea pig for all my recipes. Trust me at 10, he has the most developed palate compared to my entire family of grown-ups.

    I have been meeting very accomplished people who are so down to earth, people who despite being far wealthier than me choose to travel economy while holidaying, besides driving around in the smallest cars even to the swankiest parties as they just dont feel the need to own the flashy ones! My initial reaction, as it always is to people like this is, "Hey what are you going to do with all that money?" Well, the answer is not important. What is, is the fact that its not about how much one has, its about how much one truly needs to spend and what are the reasons to spend it. Are you spending because you want to show everyone what you have or are you spending because you really need those things?

    My mother-in-law always tell me, "if you have the correct attitude and are comfortable in your own skin, you could be getting out of a taxi and yet feel like a maharani. I never listened to her earlier, but now realise that those words make sense. Im not trying to dampen the spirit of acquiring things, I love the idea of spending. In fact I spend even more on people I love than I spend on myself.

    My mother and mother-in-law both will vouch for that.. They laugh and tell me that if I had saved up all that I have spent on others, I wouldve had probably way larger bank balance today. But I dont regret that act of mine, In fact, I dont regret any indulgent act of mine whether it was on myself or on others.

    This is life! You live and learn..And through all of this, the lesson I have learnt is that one doesnt need money to buy love, class or attention.

    Lets be content and judge people by who they are and not by what they own, Win people over by loving them unconditionally and not with expensive presents. Lets work hard and let our work do the talking. In short make love your weapon to shield yourself in life, not money.

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  • 11/28/17--22:22: In misty Madikeri
  • We recently decided to travel to Madikeri and surrounding areas with our relatives Uday Kumar and Bharathi. They had arranged our stay in a resort surrounded by thick forest.

    How did we go?

    We left Bengaluru on Friday morning by car. Our main destination was Madikeri and Kodagu but we touched other places along the way.

    What did we do?

    We took the NH 275 and our first halt was at Kokkare Bellur. We observed some pelicans perched on a few trees. Our next halt was Balmuri waters, the manmade bund over Kaveri river. The water and scenery were good but the surrounding was spoilt by the heavy flow of tourists. It was a brief stopover and we soon left Balmuri.

    We entered Nagarahole National Park and headed towards Virajpete. Virajpet is a small town tucked inside forested area, hills and coffee plantations. We stopped for tea and headed to Club Mahindra Virajpet, located inside a forest at a distance of 13 km from Virajpet. The road passed through coffee plantations and entered a forested area, wherein the resort is built.

    On looking through the window of our cottage, I found that the flower and fruits of a wild banana growing in reverse direction! The flower and fruits were growing upwards, which was interesting. I also took a photograph of a wild orchid flower growing on an old arecanut tree trunk just outside the cottage.

    Next morning we headed to Nalknad Palace, which was a hiding place for Chikkaveerajendra, the last king of Kodagu who was arrested by British East India Company in 1834. To reach the place, we had to manoeuvre several steep curves through coffee plantations and forests and after passing Kakkabe, we reached Nalknad Palace. The renovated building is a Mangalore tiled structure with four secret dark rooms where the Raja used to keep fugitives and his opponents. The wall paintings on Nalkand Palace are also interesting. After his arrest, he was deported to Vellore at first, then to Varanasi by the British and Coorg Nest was the building where he was kept along with his wives and assistants. Nalknad palace was the last hideout for Chikkaveerarajendra, who was arrested by the British on the charges of atrocity he committed in his kingdom.

    Located high in the mountains, the Nalknad Palace is a very interesting place to see. There are several homestays and resorts near Nalknad Palace, all tucked inside several forest nooks. On returning from Nalknad, we went to Iguthappa Temple, which is nearby. The recently-renovated temple is located on a small hillock and is frequently visited by the Kodava people.

    After spending about thirty minutes there, we headed to Abbey Falls. The view of the falls is a sight to behold. We returned to Madikeri and the first thing we did was to find a good place for lunch. After lunch, we roamed in Madikeri Fort which is still in good condition. It is interesting to observe that the Palace of Madikeri Raja is still being used as offices of Government of Karnataka. The old church at the entrance of the fort is converted to an archaeological museum.

    At 5 pm we visited Onkareshwara Temple, which looks good with its reflection in the temple pond located just in front of the temple. At around 6 pm, we went to see Raja Seat. The sunset from Raja Seat is a colourful affair with the evening rays filling up the entire valley below, as the spot is located on the edge of a mountain.

    Next morning, we headed towards Dubare Elephant camp. Dubare is located on the banks of Kaveri river and Government of Karnataka is managing an elephant training camp. River rafting is something one should experience.

    After spending an hour in Dubare, we went towards Bylakuppe, which is near Kushalnagar and Bylakuppe is a well-known Tibetan settlement. The settlers were hardworking and earned livelihood by cultivating forest lands and woollen business. They built a colourful Golden Temple as per Tibetan architecture. The mythological drawings depict the stories as per Tibetan tradition and makes a interesting sight. After spending some time in this Buddhist temple complex, we had lunch at Kushalanagar and headed towards Bengaluru.

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  • 11/28/17--22:26: Global themes on a platform
  • Experimenta, International Festival of Moving Image Art opened recently. The week long festival is presented by Goethe-Institut/Max Mueller Bhavan and Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology, in collaboration with Asia Europe Foundation (ASEF) and Pro Helvetia Swiss Arts Council.

    The festival that will go on till December 3 will witness pathbreaking films of Chick Strand, Peggy Ahwesh, Kidlat Tahimik, Kamal Swaroop, Rox Lee, Keith Sanborn, Peter Hutton, Ruy Guerra, Sarah Maldoror, Fernando Birri and Uday Shankar. Some insights are expected to be offered by artists from Thailand, France, Germany, Italy, Phillippines, USA, UK, Sri Lanka, Mexico, Argentina, Switzerland, Belgium, Australia, Vietnam, Canada and India.

    Philippines-based film maker Kidlat Tahimik inaugurated the event with festival director Shai Heredia by opening the Experimenta catalogue.

    The event started with the screening of Monangambee and Mueda, Memoria E Massacre, curated by Nicole Wolf, senior lecturer in Visual Cultures, Goldsmiths, University of London. Nicole Wolf personally presented and showcased these films, giving a brief of both the movies.

    Sarah Maldorors 1969 movie Monangambee showcased how the Portuguese ignored the Angolan culture, treated and imprisoned people, who opposed colonialism. The second piece, Ruy Guerras 1979 film Mueda, Memoria E Massacre, was based on the public massacre of over 600 people by Portuguese governor in Mueda.

    The audience varied from students of film studies to movie-makers. Kamal Swaroop, one of the jury members was happy seeing many youngsters being interested in such films. "Youngsters have bought a new dimension for the experimental movies," he said. "Way back when we were in FTII, there were very few takers for such movies but today, I see a good response to these," he added.

    "We are looking forward to interactive sessions with eminent filmmakers as we get to learn a lot from them," said Tanmaya, a student of Srishti.

    Films are screened from 12.15 pm to 9 pm at Max Mueller Bhavan. For more details, log on to

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  • 11/28/17--22:28: Bulletin Board - Nov 30
  • GAT 2018

    Gitam University invites applications to write the computer-based GITAM Admission Test (GAT) 2018 for admission into its undergraduate and postgraduate courses in Engineering and Pharmacy. The last date to apply is March 26, 2018. For more details, visit

    MSc course

    University of Sheffield, UK is inviting applications for MSc (Eng) Semiconductor Photonics and Electronics course starting in September 2018. For more details, visit or email

    Culinary course

    Academy of Pastry Arts has introduced an expansion culinary course for its students. The course aims to provide students to get up to speed with new know-how of the cuisine world. For further information,

    BSc courses

    Indian School of Business & Finance (ISBF), an affiliate centre of the University of London, invites students
    to apply for its three-year undergraduate BSc (Hons) programmes. The last date to apply is December 10, 2017. For more details, visit

    Business courses

    IMS, Noida invites applications for the Postgraduate Diploma in Management and Postgraduate Diploma in Management - Entrepreneurship. The last date to apply is March 31, 2018. For more details, visit

    Environment fellowship

    Harvard Kennedy School invites application for The Louis Bacon Environmental Leadership Programme, which is a fellowship programme for the international students who are interested in preserving and enhancing the environment. The last date to apply is December 4. For more details, visit


    Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India invites women applicants for Women Scientists Scheme (WOS-A) 2017-2018. This is meant for women between the ages of 27 and 57 who have a desire to return to mainstream Science after a break in their career. The last date to apply is December 31. For more details, visit

    Data Entry internship

    Rentomojo is hiring interns for data entry profile in Bengaluru. Students with knowledge of MS-Office and MS-Excel can apply by December 11. The stipend is Rs 10,000 per month. To apply, visit

    Young India Fellowship

    Ashoka University invites applications for the Young India Fellowship 2018-2019. The fellowship trains a group of young individuals to become socially committed agents of change. The last date to apply is December 17. For more details, email or visit

    KCNS 2017 announces Kalpana Chawla National Scholar (KCNS) 2017, a scholarship exam initiative, for the young generation of India. The KCNS exam is applicable to students of Class 5 to 9 of CBSE, ICSE and State Board affiliated schools. The last date to apply is December 5. For more details visit or email

    PhD fellowships

    INSEAD invites applications from candidates for the PhD Fellowship 2018-2019. All candidates admitted to the programme are automatically provided with INSEAD Fellowship for five years of full-time studies. The last date to apply is December 15. For more details, visit or email

    Poetry contest

    Delhi Poetry Slam has announced the competition for young poets known as Free Verse Poetry Competition 2017. The competition has been introduced to encourage young poets so that they can recognise their talent. Poets above the age of 13 are eligible. The last date to apply is December 17. For more details, email

    Kalakriti Fellowship

    Sanskriti Foundation invites applications for the Kalakriti Fellowship. This scholarship is for the young artistes between the age group of 25 to 40 years. Anyone having 10 years of training in classical dance can apply. The last date to apply is December 31. For more details, visit

    Essay contest

    The Central Ground Water Board (CGWB), Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Government of India invites applications from students up to 18 years of age for 3rd National Essay Competition on water-related issues 2017-2018. The last date to apply is December 31. For more details, visit

    Talent scholarship

    The Centre for Cultural Resources and Training (CCRT) invites applications for the Cultural Talent Search Scholarship Scheme 2017-2018 from students of 10 to 14 years of age. The last date to apply is December 15. For more details, visit

    Scholarship contest

    Istituto Europeo di Design has announced the International Scholarship contest for the undergraduate course. The last date to apply is December 4. For more details, visit

    Research fellowship

    The Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation invites applications from researchers in the field of social sciences and humanities for Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Research Fellowship 2018. The deadline for application is December 4. For more details, visit

    Photography contest

    Sony World Photography Student Focus Competition 2018 invites application from candidates of age between 12 to 19 years. This competition is looking for good composition, creativity, and clear photographs. The last date to apply is December 4. For more details, visit

    Journalism fellowship

    Applications are invited for John S Knight Journalism Fellowships for the academic year 2018-2019. Each year, up to 20 fellows from around the world are selected to explore solutions to the most urgent problems facing journalism. The last date to apply is December 4. For more details, visit

    Cambridge Trust Scholarship

    The Cambridge Commonwealth, European and International Trust, University of Cambridge invites applications from graduate students for Cambridge Trust Postgraduate Scholarship 2018. The last date to apply is December 6. For more details, visit or email

    Illustration contest

    House of Illustration in partnership with The Folio Society has announced the Book Illustration Competition 2018. The competition is for both students and professionals. The last date to apply is December 17. For more details, visit

    Operations internship

    Decathlon Sports India is hiring interns for operations profile in Bengaluru. The last date to apply is December 11. The stipend is Rs 7,000 to 14,000 per month. To apply, visit

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    Remember your school days, when you had to attend tuitions before or after school hours, just to make sure that you supplement your school learning with something extra and ensure that you ace your exams? Well, how about supplementary learning for working professionals, particularly those who have just started working?

    While it may sound off-putting, this is something that one can consider to help grow their career. And to keep up with the times, theres no better path to supplementary learning than through online courses.

    Why do online classes click? Besides the most obvious benefits of not having to travel to a physical location, online learning has a lot of strategic benefits that make it a better choice than classroom learning. Take anonymity for instance. While you might hold back on clearing a doubt in a physical classroom due to the fear of making a fool of yourself, in an online class, you can clear the doubt from the instructor in real time without fear.

    Now, lets look at a slightly more serious reason. Its common knowledge that the current education system makes you a theoretical master of most subjects, but when you embark on your professional journey, you find that the industry expects something entirely different. This by no means suggests that your college studies are useless. They are not. You just need to build on it and understand practical applicability of everything youve learnt in college. For this, you need to understand how the various theories apply in the real world. Online courses may help you get this practical experience.

    But before you start an online course, its important to know what to look for in an online course. In this light, you will need to identify a course that gives you maximum practical experience and allows you to simulate real-life scenarios and challenges. Depending on your career aspirations, you can choose a career path best suited for you and supplement it with online courses.

    Lets consider this in the case of professionals in the technology field. For instance, if you have Java and SQL experience, Big Data and Hadoop will be easier to pick up. Doing so ensures two things: first you are future-proof and second, you stay globally relevant. A few other things that you will have to look out for include the nature of the course, who the instructor is, the platform of dissemination of content and feedback from previous learners.

    While there are plenty of courses available online, there are some that have caught the attention of many. This is particularly true in the technology segment. Some of the popular ones here include cloud computing, big data, data analytics, and emerging technologies such as augmented reality. Additionally, by learning new technologies with real-life examples, you will have the ability to gain mastery over them faster.

    Stamp of authority

    Most professional and well-recognised online courses come with certifications that you get once you successfully complete the course. Some of these certifications are in association with the creators of specific technologies, while some are affiliated to universities. Having these certifications adds weightage to not only your CV but you as well, as it will showcase your mastery over the subject matter.

    So, what are you wanting for? All you need to do is embark on a journey of learning over an internet connection.

    (The author is CEO, Edureka,

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    School safety has become a primary concern to parents, schools and society at large. The increasing number of students engaging in violent behaviour is not only shocking, but also quite disheartening. Some continue to believe in the worst myth that nothing can be done to prevent violent behaviour. In order to curb such behaviour, the school administration may spend time in implementing punitive measures rather than in preventive measures.

    Interplay of various factors

    However, such punitive discipline strategies appear to aggravate vandalism, aggression and anti-social behaviour among school students. Creating an unhealthy atmosphere would foster violence and aggression. Is it not the time, then, for parents and teachers to work together to prevent violent behaviour by identifying and treating it? But what causes such extreme behaviours in students, particularly teenagers? Constant exposure to risk factors such as child abuse, poverty, family pressure and conflict, drugs and alcohol during their early development can result in such behavioural pattern. The longer the children witness these, it is likely they will be exposed to harmful developmental consequences.

    The development of anti-social behaviour involves a complex interaction between biological and environmental factors such as home, school and society. However, a factor that cuts across all three of these areas is an aversive atmosphere. Various studies indicate that aversive atmosphere promotes anti-social behaviour such as aggression, vandalism and violence. For example, when a parent slaps a child, he or she often goes off and broods alone or responds by hitting a younger sibling or toy.

    Parents and teachers often criticise and punish inappropriate behaviour, but fail to reinforce good behaviour in early childhood and being harsh in punishing misbehaviour can lead to anti-social behaviour. Furthermore, teachers who often spend more time focusing on negative behaviours in class may support and even escalate aggressive behaviours in troubled students. Also, children sometimes may engage in such behaviour as to gain attention.

    One other major problem is that many teachers and parents do not positively react to the desired social behaviour. Lack of monitoring by adults can be a factor leading to aggressive behaviour in teenagers. Recent research suggests that risk-taking among teenagers is driven by a mismatch in the earlier maturation of subcortical reward centres in relation to the prefrontal cortex, which is essential for cognitive control. Psychologists point to potential warning signs that one can look out for when teenagers commit acts of violence. These include signs such as often refusing to listen to parents and teachers, disregarding the feelings and rights of others, relying on violence to solve problems, believing that life has treated them unfairly, and mistreating others.

    Initiating changes

    Schools can take up various measures to create constructive environment to address the contextual factors within school that would appear to promote anti-social behaviour. Here are some measures that can be implemented:

    Consistent rules for conduct: Communicate rules and discipline strategies directly to the students. Fewer problems may occur when students know and understand the rules for conduct. Involve students in the establishment of the rules and state each rules positively to help students know how to behave. Inform parents about the schools rules and review the rules periodically.

    Multiple opportunities: Repeatedly experiencing failure in schools can result in more behaviour problems. Schools should create multiple opportunities for success and provide various methods of coaching. Classroom discussions, group study and peer group learning would help students who are falling behind in studies.

    Social skills: Many students dont have the social skills necessary to relate to teachers and peers. Hence, they need to be taught how to make requests, negotiate, handle criticism, and how to make appropriate decisions. Very often, students are punished for their misbehaviour rather than being taught the necessary social skills. Hence, students should be taught appropriate social skills in the classroom.

    Social support system: Many students are provided with material items but lack a good support system to encourage, appreciate and monitor them. Students need people who listen to them. A student who has good support system would always share the mind mapping and metacognition of his or her world with others.

    Respect, value and commitment: Of late, these terms are getting outdated. The value of human life, respect and dignity needs to be taught at home and in schools. Stories of good people, value and commitment of relevant reading materials, and the self-sacrificing mentality can be used in classroom settings for discussion and role play.

    Teacher-student relationship: Students who are undervalued at home need much more attention and care from teachers and peers. But teachers limit their interactions with students to suggesting improvements, providing little praise for good performance. Here, teachers are not only missing an opportunity to increase compliance and improve academic achievement, but are also sending a message to students that they are not valued. This can be harmful to children who are already devalued by peers and who have few positive interactions at home.

    Intervention programme: There should be some sort of screening system to detect at-risk children as early as possible so that they can benefit from an intensive school-based intervention programme.
    A school intervention programme teaches an adaptive pattern of behaviour that is intended to encourage effective parentâ€"child, teacherâ€"student and peer-peer relationships, and facilitates academic growth and personal development. The training of parents and their involvement in the intervention programme is integral as it will help parents join hands with the teachers in helping the child manage the daily hassles.

    There are various determinants of anti-social behaviour and most of the evidence suggests that school is a major contributor. Until we address these factors, we will only continue to temporarily suppress students violence and behaviour problems by relying on punitive measures.

    Punitive measures are not the solution and cannot prevent violence in the long-term. Therefore, the contextual factors need to be addressed by the family and school. Significant efforts should be made in the school to build the values and skills necessary for students to enter into society. The success of these efforts may depend upon providing a positive school atmosphere that facilitates the overall development of

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  • 11/28/17--22:34: Talent matters, not scope
  • Dear Sir,

    I am a Class 11 student and have taken up Science stream. I aspire to become a psychologist, but I fear there are less opportunities for me in India. While I plan to study my BSc and MSc in Bengaluru, I am not sure if I should go abroad to obtain my PhD in Psychology. Could you let me know which countries have scope for Psychology?


    Dear Aurora,

    Glad to see your interest in human behaviour. It is an evergreen field, though it may not be financially as rewarding as some other careers. Once you acquire your Masters from a reputed university, you can take up employment or internship in an organisation that is working in the field of Psychology you are interested in like marital, industrial, children, career or addiction.

    Employment opportunities are continuously increasing in each of these areas. Enroll for PhD only after gaining some work experience and when you are sure about
    your specialisation. You can decide at that juncture whether you would like
    to study in India or

    Dear Sir,

    I am studying in Class 12 and have opted for Science. I am planning to change my stream to Commerce as I find it more interesting. Can I shift to Commerce
    for my undergraduate studies? Please inform about the colleges that offer quality Commerce education at the UG level. I would like to do an MBA as well. Please guide.


    Dear Anusha,

    You can get admission to BCom after taking up Science in Class 12. But ensure that you know everything about the Commerce field and what specific area you would like to work in. Read Class 12 Commerce textbooks.

    Most reputed degree colleges offer BCom and their cut-off varies from year to year. It is better to check out with them when it is time for admission. It is better to do MBA after you have gained work experience.

    Dear Sir,

    I am II PUC student. As I am not interested in a career in the field of Science, I took up the Commerce stream. Now, I am interested in studying English literature. However, I am unclear as to what career opportunities I may get after studying English. Some are insisting that I continue with Commerce as it has more scope. Do let me know about the career opportunities with a degree in English literature.

    A Student

    Dear Student,

    There is nothing preventing you to move from Commerce into literature, but as you have mentioned, you should be clear about your job opportunities. Dont go by general advice of scope. If you are good at something you will be able to make a success of your job, which can be in journalism, writing, documentation, translation, advertising, Big Data, to name just a few.

    Dear Sir,

    I scored 91.5% in Class 12 and I am now studying Mechanical engineering. But most of my relatives have advised me to take up Electronics and Communication. However, I am unsure. Could you let me know about the scope for Mechanical engineering?

    A confused Student

    Dear Student,

    Please do not make your career plans based on scope. Scope for any field keeps changing frequently and you will be working for 40-50 years in the career you select. If you are good at what you are doing you can progress smoothly. And you may be living in one country and working for an organisation in another country. Go by your aptitude. Mechanical engineering is more hands-on, people-oriented and based on Physics. Electronics is math based, requires good concentration, and analytical skills. If unsure, get an aptitude test done.

    Dear Sir,

    I am studying BCom. Simultaneously, I am doing Company Secretary (CS) course. However, I am interested in photography. Now, I am stuck in a dilemma on whether I should continue with CS or take up photography. I am planning to buy a DSLR camera. I am afraid that if I buy a camera, I may neglect my studies. How can I strike a balance between my studies and passion?

    A student

    Dear Student,

    I agree that your interests and studies are in a very wide range, and you will have to make a choice in one of the two directions. Since you are already studying Commerce and Company Secretary course, it may be better to focus on those studies, since hard work is required to succeed.

    There is nothing stopping you from taking up photography if you do not want to pursue a career in the field of CS. If you have talent, you can build up your creative skills and become a successful photographer. Otherwise, you can keep photography as a hobby and part-time vocation and continue in the field you are already qualified.

    Dear Sir,

    My 18-year-old son is studying in II PUC with Physics, Chemistry, Maths and Biology as his electives. Though he took up that stream on his own, he is very playful and not serious in studies. What are the courses he can take up, apart from engineering, upon completion of his studies? Additionally, what is the scope for the course?


    Dear Suma,

    Please monitor his marks in the Science subjects he has chosen, so that you will know his capabilities. If he is intelligent and even with minimal studies he is scoring well, he can continue in the field of Science by taking up courses in fields such as engineering, pure sciences, medical, paramedical, or data sciences. If he is not scoring well, then it will be better to assess his strengths, that is, is he people-oriented, is he creative, can he convince others, does he have talent in languages, etc.

    The career decision should be taken based on his skills and aptitude and not on the scope of any field. There is no point in taking up a career which has a good scope if he does not have talent and inclination, because he will not be successful or happy.

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    There is so much confusion going on when it comes to seeking admissions in BTech or BE courses offered by engineering colleges in India. The JEE (Joint Entrance Exam) is the most sought after entrance exam. One is required to appear for this exam to seek admission in the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), National Institutes of Technology (NITs) and other Centrally Funded Technical Institutes (CFTIs). The Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology, Thiruvananthapuram also admits students who qualify in both JEE Main & JEE Advanced exams. However, students are ranked only on the basis of their JEE Main ranks.

    However, other than JEE, there are several major entrance exams that one could opt for to get admission into reputed science and technology institutes. Some of the important exams include Kishore Vaigyanik Protsahan Yojana (KVPY), an initiative by the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, and the Birla Institute of Technology and Science Admission Test (BITSAT). Heres a brief overview of these tests:

    The JEE

    The JEE is conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE). While the JEE Main exam enables students to gain admission in the NITs, the JEE Advanced enables students to get into the IITs. Heres what the exam will be like for the coming year:

    JEE Main: The exam can be taken as computer-based or as a pen-and-paper-based test. This is a three-hour-long exam and students will have to answer 90 multiple choice questions (MCQ) from Physics, Chemistry and Maths. Each question is worth four marks and if answered incorrectly, one mark gets deducted.

    JEE Advanced: This is conducted in two parts and students will have to appear for both. From 2018, this paper will only be conducted as a online test. Each paper carries questions from Physics, Chemistry and Maths. Each paper has a duration of three hours. The type of questions asked and the marks they carry vary each year.

    Most students prepare for their JEE exams in two years (Classes XI and XII). Some start early (Class IX), while there are many who start late. Whatever time you have in hand, be careful to manage it well.


    The Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru conducts the KVPY exam to attract students interested in conducting scientific and engineering research studies. After the written exam, shortlisted candidates have to appear for an interview. KVPY is conducted for three different levels: KVPY SA exam (for Class XI Science students), KVPY SX exam (for Class XII Science students) and KVPY SB exam (for first year students of BS, BSc and integrated five-year MSc programme).

    The KVPY exam is a single paper with 80 questions that are worth 100 marks. The duration of the paper is three hours. There is negative marking in the exam.

    The SA Exam has two parts:

    Part I has 15 questions each from Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Mathematics. Each question is worth one mark.

    Part II has five questions each from Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Mathematics. Each question is worth two marks.

    The SB and SX exams have two parts too:

    Part I has 20 questions each from Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Mathematics. Each question carries one mark. Students have to solve questions of any three of the subjects.

    Part II has 10 questions each from Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Mathematics. Each question is worth two marks. Students have to solve questions of any two of the subjects.

    There is no prescribed syllabus for any of these exams. However, those appearing for the SA exam can consider brushing up on the concepts learnt up to Class 10, up to Class 12 for the SX exam, and up to the first year of the degree syllabus for the SB exam. Keep in mind that KVPY focuses on the conceptual understanding of the topics and your analytical abilities.


    The Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS), Pilani conducts the BITSAT online test in May every year. The exam has 150 questions and carries a total of 450 marks. This engineering entrance exam has an additional section which tests students on English proficiency and logical reasoning.

    The BITSAT is a three-hour paper. The paper has four parts: Physics, Chemistry, English and Logical Reasoning, and Mathematics. Each question carries a total of three marks. There is negative marking and one mark is deducted for each incorrect answer. Students can choose to solve the paper in any order they like. They can also choose to solve 12 extra questions to score higher. However, once they choose to submit the original 150 questions and solve the 12 extra questions, they cannot go back and change answers of the original set of questions. The preparation for BITSAT is much like JEE preparation.

    (The author is the co-founder,

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  • 11/28/17--22:38: On my Pinboard
  • Actor Vinaya Prasad has acted in almost all the South Indian languages. She made her entry into the Kannada film industry in a big way in 1990 with Ganeshana Maduve. She has since then given a series of superhit films such as Karulina Koogu, Aathanka and Bannada Hejje in Kannada.

    She is remembered for her impressive performances in films like Manichitrathazhu in Malayalam, Indra in Telugu, Chandramukhi in Tamil and Koti Chennaya in Tulu. She has won the Karnataka State Film Awards for Best Actress for Aathanka and the Best Supporting Actress for Bannada Hejje. She is presently working on television series in Malayalam called Ammuvinde Amma and will soon be seen in Kannada-Telugu bilingual film Rajaratha.


    "I find Kajol to be a tremendous actor. She is someone who doesnt care about facial structure or body language because she focusses more on doing justice to the character given to her. I think she is a realistic actor. I also admire Audrey Hepburn. She has amazing performing capacities and easily fits into any role. She too concentrates more on the character in hand rather than on herself."


    "I can listen to music at anytime of the day. I grew up in Udupi which is a cultural hub. I have been exposed to a lot of music and have been to several live concerts. Earlier, the person who composed the tune and the one who wrote the lyrics were different. Hamsalekha has given Kannada film industry an elite combination of both poetry and music by writing lyrics and composing the music. I also admire K Kalyan and Jayanth Kaikini for their powerful lyrics and melodious music. I have always enjoyed going to the concerts of Pt Bhimsen Joshi, M Balamuralikrishna, K J Yesudas and Bombay Jayashri."


    "I have visited Madikeri during all seasons and I can still go back there anytime. I love the landscape and weather. Its fascinating to watch the merging of greenery with the skies. I hope to plan a vacation to Bhutan and Meghalaya sometime soon. I enjoy spending time in any place that is connected to nature. If you take me to Dubai, I would prefer visiting the beaches rather than moving amidst the buildings."

    Swami Vivekananda

    "I am deeply influenced and inspired by the works and teachings of Swami Vivekananda. I had gone to Vivekananda Kendra in Kanyakumari to learn yoga and meditation when I was only 10 years old. I have read almost all his writings. From my childhood, I have always had a helping nature and this quality of mine was further nurtured after I discovered Swami Vivekanandas preachings."


    "I am a very simple eater and a complete vegetarian. I prefer eating only native food. I relish avial, which is a Kerala dish, with rice. I like it because it has all the vegetables in it. And if it is less spicy, then I like to eat it as a meal. I also like any vegetable parathas which I have with a generous helping of curd. I love cooking and I must say that my cooking is enjoyed by all at home."

    Kota Shivaram Karanth

    "I have always followed and admired the writings by Kota Shivaram Karanth, Kuvempu, Da Ra Bendre and Gopalakrishna Adiga. Shivaram Karanth has learnt, studied, researched and written on almost every topic. Two of his best loved works are Hucchu Manasina Hattu Mukhagalu and Mookajjiya Kanasugalu. Gopalakrishna has immensely contributed to Kannada literature through poetry and prose. I also follow the writings of Sudha Murthy. She is a humble, polite and a down-to-earth person and her journey as a writer has inspired me no end."

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  • 11/28/17--22:40: The corridors of learning
  • It is my pleasure to recall my Prabhata Shishu Vihara elementary school in Basavanagudi, where I studied fifty years back. This was in the 1960s.I would like to express my gratitude to those who provided me with the valuable education that has guided me to become an educator today.

    I grew up in that Bangalore where horse-driven carriages and bullock carts were common. The modes of transportation were limited to bicycles and few cars. My mother was a homemaker while my father was a manager in a Belgian-owned electrical firm.

    I walked everywhere to go around, as our home was in the centre of the neighbourhood. We lived on Police Station Road for many years before we relocated to Jayanagar. My greatest memories are from my school days. Originally, my school was located on the corner of Police station road and DVG Road, under a small, thatched roof. Early in the 1960s, the school was relocated to Puttanna Road, Basavanagudi.

    Since the school was located in a prime location like Basavanagudi, we had access to Bugle Rock and Sir M N Krishna Rao Park. Bugle Rock hosted many events such as the popular Kadale Kai Parishe which I thoroughly enjoyed.

    I recall my evenings walking to BP Wadia Indian Institute of Culture as well as going to the Krishna Rao Park and Lalbagh. My school was funded by Prabhata Kalavidaru, a family who lived in VV Puram at that time. The school was taken care of by the Prabhata Kalavidadaru Academy and Jayasimha Das and his family.

    I would look forward to my classes, especially social science, mathematics and the sciences. We took our seats on the carpet floor as no desks were present. My classmates were a mix of boys and girls. My favourite teachers were M D Lakshmi Devi, the headmistress and the Social Science teacher, Vanaja. They were highly disciplined and commanded respect.

    One of my favourite moments was getting the opportunity to perform a few plays with the Association of Prabhata Kalavidaaru at the Town Hall. It was the only venue to perform plays during those times.

    My classmates and I used to play cricket on the streets during breaks. Later in my school years, on Fridays, all students were given flavoured milk, which was granted by the United States Department of Agriculture. I can still taste the sweet, rich flavour of the milk.

    On Saturday mornings, the teachers used to take us to MN Krishna Rao Park for additional play time. On November 22, 1963 classes were cancelled as we heard the news of the assassination of the then US President John F Kennedy.

    Our then Prime Minister, Nehru visited Bangalore during my school years and we lined up on DVG Road, waving the Indian flag. Later, I attended Central College and then went to Indian Institute of Science. I then went to the United States to pursue my higher studies.

    I still visit Basavanagudi during my trip to India and reconnect with my memories. I now live in Chicago, Illinois. I am the Professor of Business and Economics at the University of Phoenix.

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  • 11/28/17--22:42: Triple treat on stage!
  • Theatre is a powerful medium and what better way to connect with the youth than let them represent themselves through stage presentations. For the first time, the Deccan Herald Theatre Festival, curated by Sandbox Collective, has introduced a section for young student theatre groups from colleges in the city to perform with professional theatre groups.

    Three colleges will be performing at the festival at the first edition of the DH Inter-Collegiate Theatre Fete. The plays will be staged on December 4 at Alliance Francaise de Bangalore. Bengalureans will be treated to a triple delight with three plays, Woyzeck, The Actors Nightmare and Draupadi.

    The play Woyzeck will be presented by St Josephs College of Commerce (SJCC) at 5 pm. Woyzeck is an incomplete play by German playwright Georg Buchner, which is centered on Woyzeck, a soldier in a small town in Germany. He lives with Marie and a child born to them but they are not married to each other and are hence shunned by the society.

    The play examines the psychological turmoil that Woyzeck faces when he is being subjected to inhuman treatment by his Captain and when Marie decides to look elsewhere for pleasure and comfort.

    Lolita Pinto, a postgraduate student with St Josephs College of Commerce, who is a part of the play, says that they found the play relevant to todays time.

    "The struggles that Woyzeck faced are ones that people face today too. The play is very challenging as it doesnt have an end. It resembles oppression faced by poverty-stricken people in the Third World countries," she says. "We are thankful to Deccan Herald for giving us such a big platform to display our talents. We feel blessed to be able to explore theatre though we are not experts in the form," adds Lolita.

    The Actors Nightmare is a short comic play by Christopher Durang, which will be presented by Mount Carmel College at 6 pm. The play involves an accountant named George Spelvin, who is mistaken for an actor and is forced to perform in a play for which he doesnt know any of the lines.

    Sahana Venkatesh, a BBA student of Mount Carmel College, who is acting in the play, says that theatre was a passion she wanted to explore. "The very fact that I could get the audiences attention is what drew me to it. To see the reactions of people while I enact can be really powerful. When it comes to The Actors Nightmare, from the first few moments we worked on the script, we have received the best feedback possible," she says.

    About being part of the festival, she says, "Theatre is gaining momentum and for us to be able to perform at such a festival where big names in the field will be performing is truly an honour. The play is a comic rendition and connects to actors and people from all walks of life. It depicts how things might seem haphazard but will slowly fall in place."

    Draupadi will be staged by the students of Christ University at 7 pm. The play is a multiplication of several positives and negatives. It will make one laugh, cry and probably look within. This play is inspired by the personal experiences of the actors.

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  • 11/28/17--22:44: Batting for an equal world
  • Kevin R Schneider always had pets and adored animals but he also ate meat.
    As he grew older and continued to be exposed to more information, especially about issues of American factory farming of dairy and meat, his ideas began to change. He gathered information on having the fundamental rights of nonhuman animals recognised and respected.

    Today, as executive director, Nonhuman Rights Project, Kevin joins animal rights lawyer Steven Wise in drawing peoples interest towards the issues related to human-animal conflict.
    He was recently in the city to give a talk to the students of National Law School of India University, on the concept of animal rights and personhood.

    In an interview with Nina C George, Kevin sheds light on this rather extensively debated topic.

    Human-animal conflict is a widely debated issue. What is being done in India to fuel the interest in the same?

    I must stress that we dont really have an in-depth view of this issue on the ground in India, and we would never pretend to know enough to tell Indians how to deal with these issues. The issues we litigate right now in the US are vastly different and I think less complex than the issues of human-animal conflict like you see in India and elsewhere.
    That said, my hope is that the issues we are bringing to the fore in our lawsuits will continue to help frame the discussion about what rights mean in practice, especially in the natural world.

    What drove you to join Steven Wise?

    I recognised about 10 years ago that Steven approached the problem in a fundamentally different way, and I thought correct, way. Instead of focussing on conditions of treatment, he focussed on the rights.
    This resonated with me.

    How does lifestyle interfere with human-animal conflict?

    Unquestioning consumption is a big problem. We are all basically good as humans, but we have a regretful capacity to abide injustice when it is socially normalised. In previous social justice movements, the courts have been a vital counterpart to other measures like protests, legislation, and ballot initiatives (like gay marriage, antislavery, womens rights, etc). The circle of moral consideration should always be expanding - our culture of consumption can be a barrier to this.

    Why did you choose chimpanzees for your study?

    There are a number of strategic reasons why we are beginning with the species that we are (great apes, orcas, elephants). For one, they have been intensely studied and we know so much about the inner lives of chimpanzees that we did not know so many years ago. One of our board members Jane Goodall was a pioneer in teaching and showing the world just how complex their cultures and their inner lives are. Everything from teaching to grieving to communication and language to adoption of unrelated infants by adult males - an insurmountable mass of evidence that shows these beings are like us in fundamental ways that should entitle them to at least basic fundamental rights.

    How do you plan to make people more sensitive to this issue?

    From the legal perspective we continue to put forth the best arguments that we can, using the most accessible language that we can while also bringing in science and explaining it in a way that makes sense to both judges and to the general public. We also have plans to work with artists and writers to help explain these issues.

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    Of course he is an icon and the epithet fits him to a T, but there are no walls around.
    The balletic grace is recognisable from those performances on screen. Actor Hrithik Roshan speaks thoughtfully, the retorts precise and quotable, at times philosophical. There is much more than the Greek God sobriquet but less of the celebrity halo around him.

    The actor, who was in Bengaluru recently to launch the new HyperChrome Collection of Rado, chatted with Anupama Ramakrishnan on what is it is to be Hrithik Roshan.

    Kaabil has received rave reviews. What is Kaabil to you?

    Kaabil has been my most beautiful experience. It is incomparable to anything else that I have done so far, a truly magical experience for me. If you ask me why, I dont know. It could be because of the basic passion that I derived out of the script or perhaps that it was a small team that came together and wrapped up the film in 70 days, which by way is the fastest film that I have churned out in my life.

    Coming to contemporary films in Bollywood, is the spotlight more on the effects now than the actors calibre?

    Its futile to try and assess that. There is no way you can. You know where your passions lie, you try and explore that in the film that you are working in. I think what is most important is the content of the film. If the script literally makes you cry, makes you hair stand on end, makes you laugh, that is when you know its worth it.

    You are playing a mathematician in the biopic Super 30, based on Patna-based Ananth Kumar. The question is how good were you in Math in school?

    I wasnt good. I wasnt bad. Come to think of it, I wasnt super good in Math or any subject for that matter. I was above average though. But I am super curious about Math. Everything in the planet, be it science or any kind of theory, has its basis in Math. It is in every single aspect of our lives.

    Why did you choose to go for Super 30?

    The story - it has a wonderful story.

    You have also done endorsements. How has your journey with Rado been?

    Its been six years since I have been associated with Rado now. I have increased my watch collection in the process. You know, I wasnt always a watch enthusiast but I did have aspirations. My father used to wear this brand and I had a hidden desire to be like him. It was when I got associated with the brand that I discovered my fascination for watches.

    Your dedication to fitness is legendary. Hard work, would you say?

    Yes, very hard work. But its a work that I enjoy doing, where I discover new skills. I enjoy being functional, being innovative with my physicality. I also keep looking out for what new can be achieved.

    Is there anything you wish to tell youngsters who would like to step in to your shoes, dancing-wise?

    Just keep dancing because it is transcendental. Getting lost in dance is an experience every single person should have. When I say dancing, I do not mean good dancing, I mean letting your body move, and exploring
    where your body goes according to the music.

    Tell us the secret of your flexibility? Does lot of practice go into it?

    Every day. I stretch twice day. I spend 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes at night. Dont know whether you have to do it, but I have to do it. Maybe my body is not as strong as other peoples but I have to do what I
    have to do. If that inspires you, you should do it as well. I work very hard for it.

    How tough has your journey been?

    It is supposed to be tough. You are supposed to get hammered and moulded and allow the stimulus to shape into what you want to become, theoretically speaking. I have been hammered really really well (laughs).

    By your dad?

    By all my gurus who I have worked with. I allow them to contribute to my life, to teach me. If the journey wasnt difficult, I would not have been sitting here. I would have been so bored.

    What is the best thing about being an actor, and the worst?

    Nothing. It really depends on the filter through which you want to look at the things that you have to do. Attitude is what makes the difference between an adventure and ordeal. At times, I also had to change my filter. If I am looking at something and complaining, I simply got to change my filter.

    So paparazzi dont bother you?

    Whom to complain to? What is the point? I dont complain of anything.

    Any role you desire to adorn?

    No predetermined characters. I just let the universe bring me the things I desire.

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  • 11/28/17--23:18: How play helps learning
  • We all send children to school to be educated and try and ensure that children learn all they are supposed to learn during the time they are in school. In early years, young children learn while playing. But of what value is this learning from an academic context or from a schooling point of view? How can play best support education?


    If we look at the primary and secondary years, education in our schools is largely theoretical seldom backed up by any practical experiences. For instance, when children learn about the concepts of work and force in Physics, it usually starts
    with learning the definitions, seeing some examples in the form of pictures in a book, then a discussion on the same, and finally questions and answers. Now, let us look at how geometry is introduced. Somewhere in Class 3 or so, children are introduced to a chapter in Mathematics that says a line has two points, a triangle has three points and so on.

    When children reach high school, practical elements are introduced. This gives them a slightly more hands-on experience with the concepts, but this is largely limited to Science. Education, hence, largely stays theoretical or goes from theory to mild practice.

    Let us visualise a scenario where the opposite works, where learning is largely practical and then theory is introduced. A young child playing with a geometry toy begins to identify shapes early in life. She or he then starts noticing shapes in nature, and begins relating various objects to shapes, like saying a cloud looks like a triangle.

    If better geometry toys are given, the child eventually starts discovering shape as a property of all objects and looks at geometry as a study of shapes rather than a branch of Mathematics. When this child finally begins formal studies of geometry in school, she or he has already absorbed many practical aspects of this area and is now very comfortable learning and identifying various geometric shapes by themselves.

    We often find that when a seven-year old is given a word problem like Mohan has eight marbles and Ayesha has 16 marbles, find the difference, children struggle to identify which operation must be implemented and asks the parent or teacher what they must do - add, subtract, multiply or divide. This is largely because subtraction has been introduced as Maths sum with the help of counting on fingers.

    When a child plays with a toy that introduces subtraction effectively, the child immediately grasps the practical meaning of terms like take away from, what is left behind, how much more, and connects them
    all with subtraction. The theoretical questions in the book now become a lot simpler
    for the child.

    When children play with the right learning toys, they are introduced to the practical elements that they need.

    Practical to theory

    When education becomes practical to theory, it becomes more meaningful for the child. Practical to theory is how we learn to cook, how we learn to play a sport, how we learn to play an instrument. Why then do we choose to follow a route that reduces learning for academic learning? Playing with the right toys can change the direction of learning and make it enjoyable.

    Even more importantly, playing with the right toys encourages children to be inventive and perseverant. If they dont get it right, they will keep trying till they get it done. Toys are the most patient teachers and give children infinite opportunities to practice with them over and over again. They are important tools of learning for children and help them build confidence.

    Not only do toys create independent learners, they complement the education system as well. As Martin Luther King, Jr once said, "The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character -
    that is the goal of true education."

    (The author is co-founder,
    Skola Toys, Bengaluru)

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    The introduction of RERA followed by the roll-out of Goods and Services Tax (GST) seems to have plunged the real estate sector into an array of sudden confusion. Nevertheless, the goal of the government to make housing affordable to the vast majority along with building a robust infrastructure for the country may come a step closer in the wake of these drastic changes.

    Since the new tax regime is situated in the 'one nation, one tax' policy, it is meant to create a uniform structure and ease the burden on the consumer. With the implementation of the said changes, a question does arise, 'what are the effects of the indirect tax regime on the real estate sector?'

    Under the GST umbrella

    GST unified all indirect taxes levied on transactions concerning goods and services. Accordingly, any supply of goods or services with respect to the under-construction property will attract GST either in the hands of centre alone or in conjunction with the state and union territory, depending on where the goods or service has been supplied from and where the supplier is situated.

    It is important to note that transactions relating to immovable property have so far been kept out, though there is no denying that the government has made its intentions clear to include such transactions under the GST regulations as well.

    The effective resolution of the teething problems and the level of transparency achieved for transactions already under GST will determine whether and how soon such transactions are brought under the new indirect tax regime.

    Effect on homebuyers

    How does this paradigm shift in the tax structure affect common homebuyers? The direct impact is on the cost of acquisition of the under-construction property, it is expected to go down. This is because GST at the rate of 12-28% would be applicable on goods in place of the erstwhile excise duty (approx 12.5%) along with value-added tax (approx 12.5%), and would now be available to the developer as input tax credit to be utilised to offset the outward liability.

    Under the erstwhile tax regime, the credit of value added tax could only be utilised to set off the VAT liability and service tax or excise duty against service tax liability in the hands of the developer. Cross fungibility was an issue and would often result in an increase in the cost of the property.

    Once the developer gets the benefit of reduced rates on inputs and input services, he is obligated under the anti-profiteering provisions to pass on the benefit of increased availability of input tax credit to the home-buyer.

    Further, the rate of GST on under-construction property i.e. in respect of which no occupation certificate has been issued is treated as services in the hands of the developer at the time of transfer. This attracts GST at the rate of 18%. However, GST is only applicable on two- third value of the property as one-third value is considered as the notional value of land.

    In case of ready to move in property sold after obtaining the occupation certificate, input tax cannot be utilised and the cost of which gets embedded into the price of the property that is ultimately borne by the end consumer.

    The fine print

    Even though the purchase of under-construction property seems to be profitable for a consumer or a developer, the desired benefit of complete credit fungibility is still not achieved due to the peculiar provisions set out under GST. For instance, the notional value of land is deemed to be one-third of the contract value.

    This logic is flawed since, in Tier-1 cities, the value of land often makes up more than one-third of the contracted value determined by principles used for the purposes of payment of stamp duty. On the contrary, there are many cities and small towns where the value of land is relatively less than one-third of the contract value.

    Yet another roadblock is present under the valuation rules. Taxes which do not form a part of the GST regime are included in the value for calculation of GST. This results in a cascading effect as the consumer is effectively paying tax on another tax.

    When developers get any structure constructed for the purposes of commercial leasing in their own name, they are not entitled to claim the credit of GST paid on works contract service provided by any sub-contractor which forms a major chunk of the input services availed. This again escalates the already high cost of commercial leasing, making the whole exercise unprofitable.

    Another point that is missed out is on extending the benefit of reduced rate of 12% applicable to persons directly dealing with the government to the sub-contractors knowing very well that in such one-sided arrangement, it is always the sub-contractors who shell out 18% of the tax.

    With frequent meetings of the GST Council, it seems that these issues will get highlighted provided effective representation is made by the participants.

    It is commendable that even under grave oppositions from innumerable stakeholders and with no serious testing of the IT infrastructure, the government went ahead and introduced the GST. However, it will take few more months if not years for the industry not only to grapple with the mammoth change but also to realise the positive effects.

    Nevertheless, unlike in the case of all other sectors, the work of fine-tuning the law through the various meetings of GST Council needs to be facilitated for real estate, as the pulse of any growing economy is its infrastructure.

    (Rashmi is associate partner, Anjali is associate, Khaitan & Co.)

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    Most of us aspire to own a home that can be called a designer home. A designer home has different connotations for different people: for some, its those glamorous homes they see in magazines or on TV, for others its just a home thats been customised as per requirement. However, what most people will agree on is the perception that a designer home is something for the rich and not for the middle class. However, that isnt entirely true. Heres how you can get a designer home on a budget.

    Planning is key

    List out everything you need for your home, segregating it into essentials and non-essentials. Essentials are must-haves - like a kitchen or a wardrobe, which fall under the fixed furniture segment. You also have some essential loose furniture elements like sofas, dining tables, etc. Non-essentials are everything else.

    The key difference between a designer home and a normal home is that people who dont use a skilled designer or a proper budget plan for their home end up spending most of their money on the essentials as they miss seeing the complete picture. Adding character through decor and design becomes an afterthought, which never happens. This is why many homes lack the designer element.

    We recommend that you split up your budget. Percentage can vary over budgets but as a rule of thumb, whats below should leave you with enough room to give your home some designer flair. Use 60% of the amount for fixed essentials, allocate 20% for loose essentials, 12% for decor and furnishing and 8% for lighting.

    What makes a designer home a designer home? Its simple! It needs to have a good designer. If you are considering freelancers or small design firms, ensure that you do a thorough background check, look at their completed projects, and speak to their clients. Most importantly, know whether they understand you and your style or not.

    Arent good designers expensive? Yes, typically they are. But with the advent of technology and the online design boom, you can now get access to a great team of designers with loads of experience at virtually zero cost. You can do this by choosing to build your home with a professional online design and build firm. At these companies, a design solution is part of the service - so, your budget doesnt take a hit.

    Custom-made designs

    Get the design personalised and tailored to your needs. At the same cost, you can personalise almost any design or make it look different. For example, get your wardrobe shutters to be cut at an angle, why make them straight? Or customise them with a theme of your choice. A good design doesnt cost extra, it just requires extra thought. Add a quirk to every room. This can be done on a maximum of two walls in a room.

    You could also add wall clocks or artwork, bring home posters or art that reflects your personality. It is better than a plain white wall. The average cost for a large painting or clock is between Rs 8,000-10,000.

    Most designer homes make a statement about the dwellers, a collage of funky posters or family photos can help you make a statement too. Ideally, you can place them on one wall of your living room.

    For your master bedroom, you could use textured paint. You could either use a custom-made texture or concrete or brick-textured paint or simply add some wallpaper to enliven the room. Pick patterns that are bold and combine them with subtle colours. The wallpaper is the showstopper of your room, while the furniture is subtle enough to bring out the style.
    Designer wallpapers can cost you about Rs 125 per square feet, which is about 12,000-15,000 for a regular wall.

    Make a style statement through your furniture in the living room. You just have to add one piece of furniture that stands out and is not cliched. It could be a refurbished centre table or a chair made from recycled material or in a geometric form. The creative piece of furniture will give your living room a unique atmosphere. The price of recycled tables or chairs starts from Rs 10,000.

    Small touches

    Lighting is an important part of any designer home as it makes a statement and accentuates walls or art placed in the room. Buy focus lights for two or three walls and one designer floor lamp or pendant lamp for each room. Each light may cost you between Rs. 5,000-10,000.

    Bric-a-brac adds charm as well as a personal touch. Bring out those souvenirs from your holidays and ask your designer to find a place for them. You can also find some quirky pieces online. Buy three to five of these for every room and place them in the line of sight to add value to bland walls or furniture. You wont spend more than Rs 10,000 for the entire home and it will change the ambience of your home.

    Making these additions will not add more than Rs 70,000 to your initial budget but will take your home from regular to a designer one. Before you begin designing your customised home, try and visualise all of this in 3D or virtual reality so you know how your home will look at the end. Try different styles before you find the one that suits you best.

    Designer homes need not be expensive. It all depends on how you visualise your space and what choices you make. They are no longer accessible only to the elite, they are now accessible to people like you and me.

    (The authors are architects, designers and founders, Design Cafe)

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