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  • 12/28/17--16:24: Year of the casual chic
  • If fashion were an inbox, its safe to say that nothing that you trash makes its way to the dump. It only hits the recycle bin, to resurface after a few years, or as in case of the cold shoulder, decades. The shoulder-baring trend that was possibly the most rampant this year, made its debut in Hollywood in as early as the 1940s. The likes of Marlene Dietrich have been snapped in cold-shoulder outfits back in the day. There werent as many takers for the trend then, of course.

    However, cut to 2017 and boom! Its part of designer collections, bridal trousseaus and the humble college-goers closet. "This trend is here to stay," suggests designer Dhrishti Thakker. "It always makes one look sexy, without revealing too much skin." A close second was the off-shoulder. Again, this vintage trend featured in everything from luxury wear to high-street fashion.

    Power dressing

    While these two made an obvious splash, there have been many other styles that may have missed our attention - until now. Designer Karn Malhotra reminds us that pantsuits hogged the runway too. He shares, "I remember studying in my college years that American women had spent the past 100 years fighting to wear pantsuits. Pantsuits reflect the power in women. It embodies the strength and can leave you spellbound with their confidence, wit and style. Its a wonder that the two-piece garment, which is inspired from menswear, is now among the most pioneering and powerful looks from women today. There is so much that is experimented with the outfit in terms of fabrics, textures, cuts and length."

    Athleisure

    Speaking of power dressing, athleisure was quite the rage too. And that is why we saw celebrities heading off to brunches wearing their (seemingly) gym wear or ditching the glam quotient to get comfortable in a pair of tights and a sweatshirt. At the airport and film premiers even, it was about comfort over style, this year. Designer Nandita Mahtani is all for it when she says, "Streetwear has never looked cooler and sexier than it has this season. High-street to couture, everyone is still designing and sporting this trend."

    Now if youre one for comfort over all else, the pajama suit trend mustve been one of your favourites this year. From Gigi Hadid, Rihanna and Selena Gomez in the West to our very own Alia Bhatt and Priyanka Chopra, the ladies lapped up the trend that blended comfort and style seamlessly. While the ladies arguably lead the way in the fashion world, it was the quirky fashion poster boy, Ranveer Singh, who was the first Indian celebrity to make public appearances wearing a pyjama suit. "It is a tricky trend though," warns stylist Anushree Ananth. "Its tricky because to pull off a pyjama pantsuit, your hair and makeup have to be on point. Else, you could end up looking lousy. Not the out-of-the-bed look youd hope for. Also, you need oodles of confidence to carry off something like that. Its not for everybody. You have to channel your inner Ranveer Singh," she says.

    Go metallic

    2017 was clearly, a lot of cuts and styles, but as designer Pria Kataria Puri points out, it was about colours too. Metallic, in particular. "This year, metallic was the rage. If you want a bold statement in your outfit, metallic is the way to go," she says. Metallics are more often associated with a party or red-carpet look, but you can make it into a casual-day look as well.

    Continues Pria, "Since metallics are such an attention grabber, you can experiment with by pairing the metallic skirt with a black high-neck top and black pointed-toe flats or a pair of sneakers giving it a sporty look. In my opinion, metallic colours are a trendy and fun way to give your day wear an interesting twist. Whenever Im looking to add a pop of colour or texture to my daytime outfit, my go-to is a metallic piece. The best part is that you can get away with wearing metallics all year round. The silver accordion-pleated skirt has been one of my favourite fall pieces in my wardrobe so far. Its a statement piece that gets a lot of compliments."

    The forgettable

    There was a much wow factor in the 2017 ensemble, but a fair bit of cringe factor too. Of course fashion today is individualistic, but there are a few trends that got a unanimous thumb down. Like matching floral printed tops and pants. "Im not a fan of floral prints, to begin with and an entire set is too much for me," says Nandita. For Pria, it was the harem pants. "Harem or parachute pants I think were a mistake because they make your leg look short and stumpy. Its a style that no matter how much you try, always ends up giving a saggy look at the hips and an unflattering lump at the crotch. Also, the oversized poncho! If not paired properly, it gives a completely retro look and going completely retro is something one should really avoid," she adds. Other pet peeves in the 2017 wardrobe popularly include oversized sleeves and unflattering fringes.

    Lastly, theres a lot that the year gave us in terms of style, that were hoping would spill into the next year because we just didnt have enough of it. "Anything that screams athleisure is here to stay," says Dolly Sidhwani. Also, shirt dresses, T-shirts with sassy/quirky one-liners and oversized or boyfriend shirts are a few things thatll continue to be seen in the next year. Anushree is hoping that the mom jeans make an appearance in India sooner or later. "It hit the international market way before but for some reason, hasnt caught on in India. Thats a shame because it would totally flatter the typical Indian frame. Heres hoping 2018 welcomes it," she adds.


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    The countdown for the New Year is when we start drawing up our resolutions. Getting fit features among the top three goals for most of us. We resolve to join a gym, say no to junk food, get eight hours of sleep and drink at least three litres of water everyday. But what about those who are already fit and have devoted their lives to whipping others in shape?

    Lets take a look at what figures in the to-do list of the countrys best fitness gurus:

    Deanne Panday

    Celebrity health coach and best-selling author Deanne Panday, who has worked on Bollywoods fittest including Lara Dutta and Bipasha Basu, says she believes in leading a holistic life.

    "At 49, I am at my slimmest and fittest. It is important to be self-disciplined and self-motivated. I can do 50 push-ups at a time and my New Year resolution is to include yoga in my routine," she asserts.

    "I am reading a lot and I like being one with nature," she says. Deanne is set to write her third book on holistic health in 2018.

    Yogesh Bhateja

    Yogesh Bhateja, a celebrity fitness trainer and the man behind Sonu Soods enviable body, too has set fitness targets for 2018.

    "I have made up my mind to not compromise with my own physique. I was so involved in training others that, for a while, I didnt get time for myself," he says. Aggressive about his fitness targets, Yogesh, whose clientele includes Neetu Kapoor, Farah Khan and Esha Gupta, plans to create a programme, which is a fusion of yoga, functional fitness and weight training.

    Leena Mogre

    Leena Mogre, leading fitness instructor and owner of gyms in Mumbai and Bengaluru, says, "If being fit is your New Year resolution, dont just depend on a diet. Change your lifestyle," she suggests.


    Leena is also the mastermind behind actor Madhuri Dixits lean physique. She says her resolution for 2018 will include bringing down her body fat percentage. "I dont get on weighing scales. The pair of jeans that I wore when I was 30 is my yardstick. The day it gets tighter, I increase the intensity of my workouts," she reveals.

    Swapneel Hazare

    Swapneel Hazare, who has been the fitness trainer for cricketer Yuvraj Singh, actors Arjun Kapoor and Amit Sadh, says he has resolved to run a 21-km marathon in 2018. "I was training a client for a marathon and wanted to experience it myself. I started off with a 10k run and now I am all set to attempt the 21k mark," he says.

    "In the new year, I plan to learn more animal flow movements, an innovative fitness programme that combines quadrupedal and ground-based movement, with elements from bodyweight-training disciplines," he informs.

    Luke Coutinho

    Luke Coutinho, globally-renowned and celebrated holistic nutritionist in the field of Integrative and Lifestyle Medicine reveals that his resolution for the year is to build up his immunity.

    "Immunity is the first and last line of defence, and the lack of it can predispose us to a number of ailments. With the amount of toxins lurking in our food, air and water, having a strong immunity becomes important. Almost 80% of immunity starts from the gut, so focusing on gut health should be the next on our health agenda. This can be brought about by using safe supplements, following traditional practices and avoiding all that destroys the gut microflora," he explains.

    Mickey Mehta

    Popular fitness guru and holistic health expert Mickey Mehta says promoting the vegetarian way of life will be his fitness resolution for 2018.

    "Only a vegetarian diet can heal you. In 2018, we all need to make wellness our religion. To stay fit, one has to learn to forgive and bless everyone," he says.


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  • 12/28/17--16:30: Time to introspect
  • According to a common perspective, time is finite, linear, which has past, present and future. Or, time is infinite and multidimensional. Our calendar, clocks, concept of hours, minutes, days and years are constructs or rather an attempt to organise our world so that we make appointments, meet people, make business and ensure an efficient usage of time.

    The concept of "efficient and effective" use of time will seem foreign to someone who sees time as stretching outwards, possibly into infinity. New Year parties are a celebration of linear time and a social construct. The new resolution one takes up is a manifestation of the same perspective. But the truth is that resolutions have to come from within and cannot be forced. In order to make them effective, resolutions have to cause an internal change and such changes can only be initiated from the infinite within you. Otherwise its an exercise in futility. Let me remind you, as most newspaper and magazine articles will, that most new gym memberships in January are wasted.

    By now, you are probably well aware of how the story usually unfolds: you tell yourself that you want to get some exercise, lose weight, achieve new sales targets, spend more time with family, and so on. If you are really diligent, you might break this down into specific goals like losing two kilos a month by joining a gym and eating 10% lesser than the normal. But unless you have made a shift within yourself, these resolutions will soon be ignored, or worse still, the oppressive weight of unfulfilled goals will begin to sap you of the very energy you need to attain your goals.

    The end of the year is your opportunity to connect with the end of life, and therefore, with eternity. From the vantage point of the end, we can consider the meaning of the past. In the sense, the end of the year is the end of a chapter of an eternal saga. You are the author of this story, and it is that decisive moment to consider the direction of your narrative.

    So, instead of making resolutions, I suggest you take the time to connect with the infinite source of wisdom within you. Instead of making a list of resolutions, set some time aside for reflection and meditation.

    * Remember the first memory you have of yourself in 2015 - what were you feeling and what were you doing? How does this contrast with your most recent day? Visualise the significant highs and lows in your life in the past year.

    * Note down the action that made you proudest, and the action of which you were least proud of.

    * Reflect on the fears that inhibited you. Did your fear protect you or restrict you from expanding your life?

    * Consider what you are passionate about.


    * Feel gratitude for what you have - your health, your family, your friends, your life.

    * Reflect on any new people in your life, and those who are not so much a part of it now.

    * Reflect on the infinity of time and the briefness of one year. Consider your existence on this planet and the briefness of it.

    * Accept all that has happened to you, where you are at present. Accept that everything will happen as it should. From this acceptance, you will feel an easy forward-directed flow of energy. This energy will take you naturally towards your goals, without resistance, strife or guilt.

    (The author is psychiatrist and mental wellness expert at Curefit)


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  • 12/28/17--16:32: Quite a mouthful
  • Yes, its that time of year when we all re-evaluate what we ate and get into detox mode. With new trends emerging almost every week, with the promise of better health, have you ever wondered what the ideal diet plan for you is? There were many diets that trended in the year.

    Listed here are a few that gained popularity and have found a large following:

    Trend 1: Paleo palate

    This includes high protein foods, fruit and vegetables, but not grains. The paleo diet comprises foods that can be picked or hunted in nature and does not include foods that need to be cooked. The paleo diet makes less use of grains like rice, wheat and lentils, which are the primary source of the carbohydrates. This regimen has proven to reduce body fat and increase muscle mass. It can also reduce the risk of diabetes, elevated blood cholesterol and hypertension.

    Trend 2: Performance nutrition

    This includes food fortification and supplementation. Food fortification is a relatively simple, powerful and cost-effective approach to curb micronutrient deficiencies. It requires the least number of changes in your existing food habits and is, therefore, easier to incorporate into your lifestyle. The process is inexpensive and is effective in fulfilling nutritional gaps or deficiencies. And because fortification adds a fraction of the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) and recommended nutrients, it is considered safe. Food fortification has been used successfully in several emerging economies.


    Juices are fast becoming an accepted platform for fortification, as they provide a tasty way to induce nutrient intake. A mix of fruits, veggies and iron variants, can be found in a healthy blend of apples, beetroot and carrots that are naturally rich sources of vitamins A and C.

    Trend 3: Mediterranean meals

    This diet is based on foods that are used in the Mediterranean style of cooking. It is primarily a heart-healthy diet that emphasises the use of plant-based foods (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts) on the one hand, and replaces butter with healthy fats, salt with herbs and spices on the other. This diet also limits the intake of red meat (encouraging fish and poultry instead), eating with friends and family, exercising, and drinking red wine (in moderation).

    Research has shown that people who eat Mediterranean food are healthy and have a low risk of diseases. It is not only a great way to lose weight, but it also helps prevent Type 2 diabetes, strokes and heart attacks.

    Trend 4: Go keto

    The ketogenic diet is high in fat, moderate in proteins and low in carbs. Basically, the diet turns your body into a fat-burning machine that makes it possible to lose weight even when youre not working out. Keto diets do not just help with weight loss, they also manage high blood sugar levels and regulate insulin levels.

    The best thing about the ketogenic diet is, you dont have to give up your favourite food. High-fat food is central to the success of the keto diet. For example, you can consume scrambled eggs, spinach salad, garlic chicken, with added fat like butter or ghee. Collard greens, broccoli, cucumber are some of the low-carbohydrate vegetables that can be consumed. You can even eat fruits such as blackberries, strawberries, raspberries and blueberries after the initial high-fat diet phase is over and substantial weight loss is achieved.

    Trend 5: Calorie control

    There is a wide range of food choices in this diet. It offers balanced meals, with an increased intake of fruits and vegetables. To lose weight through a calorie-controlled diet, the first step is to determine how many calories your body uses up in a day or how much you eat to maintain your current weight, and thus how much you will need to eat to shed the pounds.

    This diet varies depending on ones age, body type and activity level. The starting point for women is 1,200 to 1,500 calories per day, while the starting point for men is 1,500 to 1,800-2,500. Following a calorie-controlled diet is a weight-loss plan that works, with tremendous health benefits. As opposed to crash diets, it is simply a form of healthy eating that emphasises cutting down on fats and sugars and encourages dieters to eat more healthy and nutritious foods to stay satisfied.

    Trend 6: Mindful eating

    Mindfulness is the act of focusing your attention on the present and applying it to your meal. Mindful eating means paying attention to the food you are eating and listening to your body signals. This makes you less likely to thoughtlessly plough through a bag of potato chips. The only thing you must do is focus on the food and savour it without any distractions like television or electronic gadgets.

    This New Year, its time to get over your diet anxiety and choose the right nutrition to stay healthy. Heres hoping these diet trends help you to make the right choices and enables you to get set for a fitter and healthier 2018!

    (The author is a nutritionist at Pepsico)


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  • 12/28/17--16:36: Fitness fads that worked
  • The year has almost come to an end and its time to review the fitness trends. There has been a lot of focus on fitness and health this year, and this has given birth to different workout trends that followed the mantra, "fitness can be fun". While some preferred working out alone, group workouts like zumba, pilates or taking up a new sport became a rage. We can easily conclude that there was something for everyone this year.

    There has been a new-found awareness about the importance of fitness and healthy eating. The concept of health is ever evolving and people are now ready to invest whatever it takes to stay fit. Here is a review of fitness trends this year:

    * Chatbots: With everything going online these days, it was time that fitness went online too. The concept of consulting trainers and nutritionists via chats has been on a steady rise. It makes sense to give live updates to your nutritionist or trainer over chat, as they can guide you to the best possible meal or workout when you are in doubt. When it comes to trainers, there is only a limited amount work a trainer can do. Motivation can only take you so far. The right forms, techniques and postures can only be taught when the trainer is with you every step of the way.

    * Wearables: We have always demanded more from our watches, and now, we have created wearable tech that can track all the stats we need during a workout. Wearables are not an absolute must during a workout, but they can help you boast about your numbers later. Wearables have been the number 1 trend in 2017, and with more and more brands venturing into fitbits, smartwatches, fitness trackers, VR headsets etc, its been a common choice among all. Since accuracy is their USP, wearables are here to stay.

    * The gym selfie: Selfies have been on a rise for years now, but there is a sub-segment called gym selfies. Boys and girls only go to the gym for this elusive photograph. Its easy: pump your arms, find a mirror and click. Instant Instagram love!

    * Fitness parties: Dont you just love to party? And when you label a party as exercise, you know that party is good for you. With routines like zumba, western dance, water yoga and air aerobics, these fitness parties challenge you. Three hours long, with a wide range of moves and dances, do you have the endurance to last?


    * Marathon
    training: The craze for running a marathon is at its peak. We all know someone, who knows someone, who is running in a marathon. Its a hard task to run as much and run for that long; the body needs to be trained. There are specialised training programmes conducted by professionals for marathon runners. They are still low-key, but on the rise.

    * Outdoor
    workouts: More and more people have started enjoying outdoor workouts. Nothing can beat an oxygen-rich environment and the real feel of sweat in non-air-conditioned surroundings. Thats where the real burn is. An outdoor workout not only helps you burn calories, but it also re-energises you and is a mind booster.

    * Personal training: There is always a need for guidance when it comes to fitness. A trained professional can guide and coach you to achieve your best potential, and the motivation received during a workout from a personal trainer can be invaluable. A personal trainer understands your fitness needs, your strengths as well as weaknesses, and helps you overcome them.

    * HIIT: High Intensity Interval Training is a rage now, and best part is that it is scientifically proven. It is the best way to challenge your muscular strength and endurance. Functionality research has found enough proof that HIIT is a better way to burn fat and strengthen your cardiac muscles, when compared to a regular cardiovascular exercise routine.

    * Self-defence training: With the growing threat to womens safety, self-defence techniques like kickboxing, krav maga and kalaripayattu not only make for a good workout routine, but they can also be used in the time of emergency. So head to a Muay Thai studio close to your home to learn some dangerous moves.

    The year was ruled by various technology-driven fitness fads such as wearables and chatbots. Apart from these, fitness parties are a great way to motivate each other in a group; self-defence as well as marathon training along with HIIT are fast catching on.

    (The author is a programme director, TrainMe)


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  • 12/28/17--16:42: Revel in small victories
  • Typically, year-end stories are serious, contemplative pieces to be accompanied by introspection and a sigh. They revolve around the dreaded "R" word that emerges from dusty closets every December - resolutions.

    Lofty and often unattainable, they are doomed to be broken, forgotten or abandoned until the end of next year. Most dont even last as long as the leftover plum cake from Christmas. Well, this aint that kinda story. This is a snarky toast to all the things that went right in 2017, and to some of those that didnt. So please, leave your resolutions at the door. All you will need to contemplate the year gone by are your sense of humour and a pencil.

    So, prepare to dance a jig, bring out the bubbly, or at least pat yourself on the back for every item on the list that you have accomplished. (Disclaimer: The categories have been sequenced in random order and are not indicative of any grand design.)

    Work

    If you are one of those fortunate few who have had a relaxed end to the year, then you were able to tap into some of that holiday cheer in the air. If on the other hand, year-end work has burned off your festive spirit, fret not. You can attribute it to the vagaries of working in a VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous) world.

    * There was one 23-minute period a few months ago, when you actually had zero unread emails in your inbox. Bonus points if you also finished replying to all of them.

    * You managed to conquer your to-do list. Once.

    * You added at least one achievement or skill that you take real pride in.

    * You spruced up your LinkedIn profile. Who knows what exciting opportunities the new year will bring?

    * You got a raise. Or at least worked up the courage to ask for one.

    * You accepted that stretch assignment.

    * Offered help to someone, simply because you could, not to gain something from it. And asked for help when you needed it. These are two sides of a coin called collaboration.

    * Youve kept abreast with whats going on in your industry and the business world at large. Irrespective of whether you are in tech or not, the words - big date, AI, machine learning and IoT are not Greek to you. Bonus points if you have a point of view on these you can defend.

    * You worked up the courage to talk to that attractive guy or girl on the third floor. Even if it was only to ask where you could find Anita from HR.

    * You are getting better at networking. A 60-second conversation in the lift counts as networking, right?

    * You have started spending some time every week developing your startup idea. You realise that it has the potential to change the world, but unless you sacrifice some of your Netflix time, someone else might just change the world first.

    Relationships

    * You took your kids out to the park instead of handing them your phone, iPad or laptop to watch videos on YouTube. Sure, they are educational videos, vetted by other helicopter parents. Bonus points if you taught them how to play lagori or gilli danda instead of catching up with your WhatsApp messages.


    * You sat down and had an actual conversation with your parents. Just to clarify, asking if the maid has left or if they have taken their medication does not count as conversation.
    * You complimented your partner after he/she took the trouble to dress up for an evening out. Bonus points if you actually noticed what he/she was wearing. Double the points if you planned that evening yourself. Triple if you planned it with your partners interests in mind.

    * You braved the pre-election road-repairing frenzy to catch up with an old friend on the other side of the town, instead of forwarding that carefully curated husband-wife joke on WhatsApp.

    * Listened, really listened when someone was talking. Without interrupting, without jumping in to list the 16 reasons why they were wrong, and without sneaking a peek at your phone. And without offering the 21 solutions you could think of. It might seem hard to believe, but the worlds problems do not rest on your shoulders. Lets leave that to Atlas, shall we?

    * You walked away from an argument. Agreed to disagree, when you could have told them a thing or two. After all, you read a newspaper now and then and follow all the important people on Twitter. You are therefore, something of an authority on most subjects.

    * You took a step towards being more assertive. Instead of sniping behind someones back, you chose to punch them in the nose instead. Much healthier.

    I, me, myself

    * You lost five kilos. OK, at least one kilo. Or at least did not put on anymore. At the very least, you made up your mind to do something. Buying a new weighing machine counts. Dont worry too much about this one, research agrees that weight-loss resolutions are the first to crumble.


    * You read one book. Yes, even if it was by that author that no one has heard of, about the secret love life of arachnids. The topic is irrelevant; research shows that reading significantly reduces the risk of dying of chronic ignorance.

    * You went on that solo trip you have been planning ever since you saw your colleagues amazing pics on Instagram. Or at least you intend to. Its not easy planning travel these days; so much information on TripAdvisor to process, so many blogs to read. Research, after all, is key. And while youve got your nose to the research grindstone, the next set of pics have appeared on Instagram.

    * You finally got around to decluttering your closet. Bonus points if you donated the spoils to charity.

    * Congratulations, if you have managed to do the same to your life as well. You have evaluated the people in it and the value they bring. You have sorted them into categories labelled keep, toss and toss now! Periodic spring-cleaning of your friend list is de rigueur.

    * You might have accepted a friend request from that weird neighbour across the hallway in a moment of inclusive largess, but he/she is now crouched in a forgotten corner of your friend list, mining your personal moments for nuggets of juicy gossip. Go on, take a deep breath, hit unfriend.

    * You quit one bad habit. Smoking, drinking and gambling are passé; millennial vice lists include overdosing on caffeine, posting your daily routine on social media, not exercising enough, not travelling enough.

    * You invested time in a new hobby or interest. You are not quite sure what to do with your collection of broken mug handles, but who knows, you might just become the next Pinterest sensation.

    * You joined that running group in your locality, or did something vaguely resembling exercise. It doesnt matter that others automatically associate a gym sighting of you with an upcoming wedding, or a recent trip to Decathlon. And so what if your laboured breathing startles the canines in the neighbourhood.

    * You overcame one fear. It doesnt have to be a really big one, like a fear of cockroaches. Even small steps count, like eating out at a restaurant without checking out all the reviews on Zomato.

    Being a civic-minded citizen

    * You did your bit to ease traffic congestion. You took public transport, walked, cycled, or carpooled to work whenever you could. Alright, UberPool counts too.

    * You took one teeny step towards a greener lifestyle - stopped using plastic bags, hosted a green birthday party, started composting kitchen waste, collected e-waste from your neighbours and deposited it at the office drop point.

    * You carry a cloth bag when you go shopping. So what if thats only to save the 20 bucks the supermarket charges you for a bag.

    * You carry your own water bottle, even though it looks so much more fashionable to be seen drinking only mineral water.

    * You held onto that empty soft-drink can or chips packet till you found a dustbin, instead of tossing it out of the car window because look how dirty the roads are anyway, right?

    * You made time to volunteer for a cause. You find the time to teach cricket at the local school, donate books, or have joined your office CSR initiative.

    * Bonus points if you actually did any of the above without arguing about how industries, cows or people from a certain community are contributing xx% more to all planetary ills and therefore change should logically begin with them. Theres so much more we all can do here, but lets begin first, shall we?

    Investments

    * You had bought a bitcoin, if not a couple of years ago, then at least in early 2017, before it began its stratospheric climb.


    * You managed to buy property that is not on a lake bed, is approved by RERA and local bodies, and allows you to take diversions depending on which road is being dug up or filled or white-topped.

    * You know that mutual funds are subject to market risks, and you have read the offer document carefully before investing the couple of thousands that you were otherwise spending at the mall.

    So, how does your scorecard look? Feeling better about 2017 now? For those of you whose pencil was idle for most of this assessment, relax. Theres always next year. After all, thats what Decembers are for. Lets agree not to use the "R" word, though, shall we?


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    Thousands of students apply to various business schools around the world without really introspecting and assessing their strengths and weaknesses. Without proper clarity, the applicants try to gamble their way up and many times, the odds are not in their favour. In this light, if you are a B-school aspirant, it is important to assess your candidature carefully. This is because business schools take a look at various aspects while considering your candidature.

    If you are considering the MBA programme at the Ivy League universities in the US, you will be considered a strong candidate if you have a GMAT score higher than 750, have worked with one of the target group of companies that recruit from the university for four to five years and you have an undergraduate degree from one of the top colleges in the country with a GPA higher than 3.6.

    Additionally, the universities look at extracurricular activities like being a part of a sports team or any charity work you may have done. However, if you have everything from the list above, but still could not go to a top tier university or college, you need not lose heart as you can still work on your profile to maximise
    your chances of getting into a good B-school.

    For a strong profile

    Here are some ways that you can follow to ensure that the university understands your profile:

    Short-term and long-term aspirations: You have to project a great understanding of your short-term and long-term goals. Additionally, highlight what industry you would be getting into after completing the degree and the position you intend to work as (for example, a hedge fund manager). The research will need to be very comprehensive and you should even know the positions that the target recruiters hire for.

    Expressing Why this programme?: You will have very strong reasons for joining that particular programme. Get to know more about the programme by talking to the students and the alumni. This will help you know how that school will help you in your future.

    Make a class visit: It is ideal to make a class visit. Go to the websites of your target schools and identify the class visit schedules. Interview should not be the first time they should see you. Meet them way ahead of the cycle. Ask smart questions and take good notes. When you are building the Why this school? essay, reflect on the experiences you had.

    GMAT score: You need to have a GMAT score between 720 and 770. With a score of 720, an Ivy League admit is not impossible but gets really tough. While GMAT is only one of the factors that they take into consideration, you still have to satiate the demographic needs of the university.

    If you are an applicant from a social services background and aspire to do something in the same area, they might consider you with a low GMAT score as well. You will also need to be aware of
    the schools selection process when it comes to picking up the right demographic mix.

    Extracurricular activities: Dont just state what extra-curricular activities you have participated in. The universities are more interested in the story behind your participation. They want to know why you participated in those activities and what you learnt from them.

    Past experience matters: To make your application stronger, you should have also worked with one of the companies that hire from your target university. There are many companies that are on the top of recruiting charts. If you have been trained at one of the top companies, you have a better chance of getting into top schools.

    Essays: Have a very candid expression while you write the essays. Remember that your essays should not be driven by complex vocabulary. It is more about telling a story of your life. It is more about why did you do what you did and what matters to you the most.

    Along with these, you also need to have strong letters of recommendation. While it may not be easy to qualify for all of these parameters at one go, it is important to work towards it steadily.

    (The author is founder, PythaGURUS Education, Gurugram)


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    There is something magical about watching children dressed as animals, walking on stage and singing an acapella version of the Bee Gees song, Stayin Alive, or filling into the aisles and hanging from ropes to the to the tune of boomwhackers that transport us all the way to Africa.

    For many children, year-end theatre productions, habbas and annual days are not just great ways to showcase talent. They also help them reflect on the journeys of the preceding months and to really take the reins of their own learning. For the people of Bengaluru, these events are part of their memories.

    Priyanka Shah, for instance, grew up watching plays in Bengaluru and the 1998 production of The Sound of Music produced by Ashley Williams from Sophia High School remains one of her favourites. "It was staged by both the students and the teachers. Seeing the seniors enact the characters and sing the songs was wonderful and such moments stay with you forever," she says.

    Valuable life skills

    While theatre and the performing arts are all about that final performance, for many children, its the journey that counts as much as the end-result. Team work, coordination, vertical grouping and understanding complex entrances and exits on stage, these are skills that they learn from theatre, and these are the experiences that stay with them for life.

    For instance, Bethany High School has staged huge productions like Shrek and Pippin in the past. While they were massive successes, the stress has always been on the experiences that the children would acquire in the process, instead of just a successful show. After all, a huge Broadway style musical has so many moving parts.

    Miriam Andrews, an acclaimed theatre director who has helmed seven Bethany productions in the past, believes that these plays are about two crucial learnings â€" acquiring life skills and giving back to the community. "Children who were not trained in theatre or were originally shy, turned into powerhouse performers," says Miriam. "Everyone, right from the 6-year-olds to the 16-year-olds, have become a huge family. I have also introduced something that helps children a great deal. We have two casts. When the main cast is performing, the extra cast acts like a buddy system, cheering them or prompting them on when they sing or act their parts, so much so that the backstage energy is always high, and the entire group becomes a tight-knit community."

    The biggest takeaway from staging a play is that even toddlers learn from a show! During the annual school play last year, the tiny tots at Gaia preschool had to deal with an unexpected situation â€" the power went off and the mikes played truant. Says Rekha DSouza, director of the preschool, "The children were initially taken aback but did not hesitate to continue with their performance quickly. Nothing could stop their enthusiasm on stage."

    For Megha and Akshara, students of Aurinko Academy, the sky is the limit. The staff and management leave it completely to the students to decide what they want to do. "In January 2018, we will be holding a bazaar, where we will make and auction items that we have made from recycled material," says Megha.

    Says Chetana Keni, founder of Aurinko Academy, "Our annual days are not about showcasing talent insomuch as the children showing their parents what they have learned the past year. For instance, History is one of the favourite subjects in school, and this year, during the annual day event, our students want to enact small scenes from History and mythology, especially untold and unacknowledged stories from Mughal and Maratha histories."

    For the children at the Vidya Soudha Public School, the annual day was all about discovery and satisfying their curiosity. Says Monica Rajan, a nursery teacher in the school, "Our annual day had festivals as its theme from Class 1 to 10, and the highlight of the event was the bathukamma that the students performed, a Telangana dance that none of us had heard about before."

    Staging ideas

    As much as the spotlights and the music thrill us, all the school productions have something else in common - they deal with themes that are larger than the craft. In a memorable scene from Every Inch Upstream, a large-scale Broadway style theatrical extravaganza staged by the students of Inventure Academy, the ghost of Enid Blyton makes a surprise appearance. Some of them remember her books with joy, but the others want to break away from her legacy and embrace the future that will, among other things, give its women more ambitious roles to play.

    This idea of change was germane to the play. Says Anoushka Shyam, one of the script ideators, "We spoke about the problems we face as friends, peers, daughters and what we wanted to do to bring about change. We also talked about our identities and the changes that are happening within us, and that is how we decided on the concept of change being the core of the play." From writing the script and designing the set to the music and the choreography, the students were involved in every aspect of the production, and the individuality of the script shines through in every line and scene of the play.

    Another school that gives its children a free rein is Headstart Academy. Says Samta Shikhar, head of the theatre department in the school, "We offer diverse theatre workshops and experiences for the students. If the students are interested, we collectively develop it into a play. As a facilitator, I love to work with the reality of the children, instead of coming up only with my ideas."

    In the beginning of 2017, Samta brought a short story written by Slawomir Mrozek to class. The story was called The Elephant and the students of Class 11 immediately saw a lot of potential in the material. The result? The students adapted the story into their own play titled Better than the Real, which they staged earlier this year. What makes Better than the Real unique is that it was an emerging script, continuously developed and improvised by the students.

    For an adult, Slawomirs story is primarily about corruption, but the students wanted to do a take on education because they came from that reality. Says Anika Pravin, one of the actors in the play, "We had just finished our board exams and we had witnessed the stress, the importance placed on marks and formal education. We immediately saw a connection between our situation and the story of The Elephant."

    While performances are great ways to display talent, they are primarily learning experiences. Says Nooraine Fazal, the co-founder of Inventure Academy, "It takes a lot of heart to involve 500 students in such a big event, but the benefits to our students are tremendous. The life skills that they learn, defer gratification, and discipline their thinking, creates multiple pathways to success. We have seen children who are struggling emotionally and academically transform completely thanks to the production."


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  • 12/12/17--22:48: Work on your weaknesses
  • Its that time of the year when all your hard work is going to pay off. Pre-boards are around the corner, and they can help you reach your true potential. They can function as the ultimate litmus test â€" with your exam strategy playing a crucial role. Remember that even the slightest change in your approach to the question paper can impact your final score. Here are five areas to effectively work on to help perfect your strategy:

    Organisation

    With limited time remaining, it is imperative to make self-organisation a top priority. If it is, indeed, one of your weaknesses, draft a daily timetable, and follow it until the very last minute.

    Or, if you feel that your daily schedule is becoming monotonous, create a weekly one instead. It must guarantee a set number of study hours every day. But dont forget to take breaks - sparing enough time for sports and other relaxation activities.

    Balance

    While it is important to grasp what remains in the syllabus, it is equally important to revise the concepts youve already mastered. The ability to perform optimally in the exam relies on the art of having perfected the balance between studies and revision. Take some time out to figure out exactly what you need to revise. Stronger areas will need gentle polishing, while others will need more time.

    Difficult concepts

    This is the cause of worry for a majority of students. But it shouldnt be so, since you still have enough time to strengthen tougher concepts. In fact, you will realise that the remaining three months will do wonders for your learning and revision. Keep all self-doubts at bay, and delve right into the subjects. It is essential to thoroughly and comprehensively study the entire syllabus, rather than just specific chapters which you find difficult to grasp.

    Breakdown the coursework, subject-wise, into different topics, depending on their level of complexity, and make sure you cover the basics before engaging with more advanced themes. But never waste too much time on topics that drain your time and energy. If you are having difficulty with a particular concept, spend some time going through some of the frequently asked questions on it.

    Study material

    Despite planning well, students often ignore their National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) coursebooks. They are more than sufficient for you to secure over 90%. Especially when you are short on time, try and focus on them, along with past question papers.

    Time management

    Systematic study is key to achieving success during any examination. Break down the number of days left for pre-boards and assign it to particular sections and topics. It has been observed that studying different subjects in a day, with proper allocation of time, engages different parts of the brain, thus improving your overall retention capacity. Make use of learning apps, and other tech-based solutions, to plan out tasks and set reminders for everyday tasks.

    It is important to utilise the pre-boards as a sounding board to keep a track of your performance. Careful evaluation of each paper will not only help pinpoint any shortcomings in your preparation, but also further strengthen the areas in subjects where you have been scoring well already. But you must take care to not stress or panic too much, if the results are not favourable. Instead, push yourself harder each day to improve upon your mistakes.

    The ideal option is to manage your time in a way that helps you deliver your best during the exam. You need to identify your pattern early on, and plan your entire preparation schedule accordingly. You must also be strong during these vital months to overcome all major distractions.

    Pre-boards will help you come to terms with the status of your preparation only to add more fuel to it. Theyll make you aware of all the areas that are time-consuming, and need practice. More importantly, theyll help you stumble upon the areas that need fixing. Remember, it is just as important to know your weaknesses as your strengths. And it will only help you deliver your very best!

    (The author is with Toppr.com, Mumbai)


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    Trends and decor ideas around your living rooms have changed a lot over the years. However, the concept remains the same. It is a space where we spend time with our family and friends and have the most fun. This also makes it that space in the house which needs a constant makeover.

    Do away with the TV

    A living room should be a space where you can have conversations with family members, play games and have fun. With a TV around in this particular room, all the mentioned activities become less possible. Instead of fitting in a television and different cabinet for the same, utilise this space for having more seats.

    Go in for a theme-based look

    One of the biggest changing trends in the living room is going for a theme-based look instead of traditional interiors. Some of the popular themes are the modern look, the Mediterranean and the industrial look. To achieve a Mediterranean look, play a lot with white and Mediterranean hues. To create such interiors, minimalistic wooden furniture with distress polishes as well as arched walls with a very breezy look is the way to go.

    Choose organised chaos

    Its time we step out of the box and go beyond a living room with matching sofa sets and dining. Get experimenting and go for an organised chaos look. Where everything is different including materials and products. Where stress is also given on the internal architecture of the space.

    Make it cosy

    Opting for statement lighting as well as comfortable couches with coffee tables and a low seated lounge area should be sought to make the atmosphere cosy. Some of the products such as a lounger or mismatched chairs of different colours, textures and materials will uplift a living space giving it a creative and quirky look.

    Get smart

    With everything getting digital and smarter, its time to make your living room smart too. Make your home a smart home where everything can be controlled by an app. Therefore, in terms of cutting edge technology, choose to have either Amazons Alexa or Google home. This will make your home smarter and more efficient.

    (Courtesy: Ayushi Kanodia Designs)


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    The wall clock is about to fall because the nail is loose, the doorknob needs fixing, and the kitchen faucet is dripping. Its difficult to go and look for a plumber or carpenter every time a minor fixing is required. So lets make a list of a few tools that will help you with these small projects:

    Screwdriver & hammers

    Screwdrivers will help you when you want to install light switches, tighten the kitchen cupboard, or open the lids of metal cans. As for hammers, make sure that you buy a lightweight hammer with a strong metal, which means the strength required to use the hammer shall not reverberate your arm. A hammer will help you with driving nails in the wall to hang pictures, assemble furniture, and also break apart objects when required.

    Pliers & wrenches

    Pliers give your fingers an extra grip to hold small things. You can use them for twisting wires, holding something that has a round surface like a rod or wire, and it can also be used a part of tasks which involves cutting a wire. All plumbing fixes require a wrench. From a clogged sink to a dripping faucet to stuck radiator valves, all of them require the strength of a wrench. Make sure you buy a large monkey wrench as you would need it in a situation where you need to turn off a jammed plumbing valve.

    Utility knife & cordless drill

    A utility knife helps you cut strong packaging, strip wiring, or scrap painting. Its also a better replacement for a kitchen knife. In a utility knife, you can also replace the blade easily, plus you need to keep separate knives for cutting your packages and cutting your vegetables. Aside from a utility knife and screwdriver, a cordless drill is a must-have tool in your kit. It is quite useful when it comes to hanging shelves and assembling DIY furniture.

    Measuring tape & light

    Practically, every household needs a repair or an upgrade periodically that requires measuring. May it be for painting a room wall or purchasing a new sofa or a bed. A 25-foot tape shall suffice; and when you are buying the tape, buy a carpenters pencil as well to mark your measurements. Emergencies that take place under the sink, back of the cabinet or in a dark corner of the basement are most difficult to solve without appropriate light. It is mandatory to keep a flashlight in the toolbox. It would also be really helpful when the electricity of the house goes out.

    Broom

    A broom will help you sweep dust and debris outside as well as inside your home. Many homes keep two brooms, the standard one which has stiffer bristles and a shorter base. And a wide broom that is equipped for cleaning debris outside of your home. A broom shall help you clean dry product spills, wipe the floor and also clean up broken glass.

    Mop

    If you have a tile or wood floor, you need to have a mop in the house. Ideally, keep two mops, a wet one and a dry one. While dusting, you can use a dry mop, and a wet one, along with hot water, and soaps especially designed for floors can be used for cleaning dirt and stains.

    Baking soda

    Baking soda is the oldest and best cleaning remedy. You can keep an open box in your refrigerator to diminish stale odour or to clean your drains, bathtub, pots and pans.

    Bleach

    Bleach is absolutely necessary for cleaning white surfaces such as the bathtub, toilet and sinks and the white tile bathrooms. It is also required for sanitising these surfaces. The purifying properties of the bleach will disinfect germs, just make sure you keep these products away from the reach of the children. The best part about these is that besides being reasonably priced they are also DIY tools. Although, once in a while, get a professional cleaning done as they have the expertise to cover the areas that you might miss.

    (The author is city head- Bengaluru, SILA)


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    The average modern homebuyer is a tech-savvy millennial marked by his or her need to be constantly mobile and connected. So, its quite possible that they hunted for the perfect apartment through their smartphones, took a virtual tour of the property and struck the deal with the builder online, eliminating the need for middlemen and agents. Clearly, homeownership is no longer the drudgery it once was. This new trend is sending the residential real market into a tizzy with annual property market sales projected for $462 billion by 2025. The new breed of homeowners will most likely earn double incomes and will not shy away from employing an entourage of domestic help, drivers and cooks. Majority of them now opt for shopping for their day-to-day needs online and have it delivered to their doorsteps.

    What do the numbers say?

    Builders must move beyond their plain vanilla properties and rethink their strategies for their apartments. Unfortunately, in most gated communities, there exists a gap between expected security and what is actually offered. Our research shows that 20% of domestic help and 30% security guards change jobs every month. There is a whopping 50% rate of annual decline among delivery boys.

    Another layer of complexity is added when the quantum of inbound traffic is unmanageably huge. On a daily basis, a gated complex of about 400 flats is likely to experience 800-1,200 external footfalls driven by deliveries of all kinds, courier boys, cabs or autos and hundreds of maids, cooks, maintenance and other staff.

    As a result, identity verification and security take a huge blow. Not only is the manual method inconvenient and inefficient, it is also a major guzzler of a communitys budget with a very little impact on crime prevention. Thankfully, rapid innovations in the home security space â€" both globally and locally - offer apartments and gated communities access to an array of hardware and software solutions to keep their premises safe and secure.
    The most prevalent ones are:

    Home alarms

    Subject to where they lie in their spectrum of capabilities, home alarm systems provide the easiest protection against neighbourhood burglaries by protecting major points of entry on the premises. They are often connected to a cellular station for emergency contact. On the flipside, home alarms are essentially pieces of hardware that require the residents themselves to take responsibility for repair and maintenance. They are also suited for individual homes and can rarely be scaled upwards to gated communities with thousands of residents.

    CCTV

    CCTV has been one of the earliest entrants in the home security market. Owing to the relatively low costs of installation, businesses and homes alike have been invested in the concept of monitoring and cracking down on crime in the vicinity. CCTV camera comes with a monitor to which it transmits recorded images. The monitor, in turn, sends these images to the videotape or DVR which are rich sources of information (and legal evidence).

    However, the CCTV depends on hired monitoring. A growing number of residents are also opting for fake CCTVs just to keep potential perpetrators at bay. But we must not forget that an experienced thief will be able to differentiate between fake and authentic devices in as much as a glance. Therefore, CCTV cannot solely serve at the first line of defence. Even when viewed from an ethical perspective, the jury is still out on whether CCTVs are a violation of citizens privacy or a necessity to deter neighbourhood crimes.

    Keypad access control systems

    Keypads work on the principle that is most familiar to users - on a password. We
    already do it while banking and logging into our emails, so taking it a step further with a four-or six-digit passcode for home security is as straightforward as it can get.

    Keypad access works with minimal glitches until it is extended to multiple users. Like most passwords, the one in your house can also be compromised if it is predictable or remains unchanged for a long period. There are also chances of your employees or guests memorising the pattern you key in each time or tailgating on the sly. Therefore, users of this kind of security must be alert and responsible with their passwords at all times. In most cases, standalone keypad access control systems are deal-breakers for communities that have a heavy footfall every day.

    Biometric authentication

    Biometric authentication is catching on as one of the more secure methods of authentication in bigger gated communities. Technologies such as face recognition, iris scan and fingerprint recognition essentially record the unique patterns present in an individuals respective body parts, store them as codes and tag them exclusively to the individual they belong to for future use.

    Keeping imposters off limits with biometric authentication can be all too enticing theoretically but it comes with its share of logistical challenges. Though biometric authentication systems are highly priced, they still suffer occasional lapses in their read rates. This means you could well be presenting your body part to the reader several times before it recognises you and lets you in. It is perhaps the last situation a resident would want to be in, especially in bad weather or emergencies.

    While there are myriad technologies emerging in the home security marketplace, they only offer one piece of the jigsaw in the big picture. They are also capital-intensive and their benefits tend to decline over time.

    Where do we go now?

    There is a dire need for homes of the future to make way for simple, comprehensive and intelligent solutions that address modern gate management challenges. Read real-time domestic help management, digital validation of all staff, complete attendance management, stickerless vehicle parking management and much more in an affordable manner.

    Take, for instance, mobile applications based on algorithms such as behavioral intelligence augmented authentication (BIAA). They can be downloaded instantly on the users and security guards smartphones with the assurance that all exchange of data is securely stored in the cloud. Wherever a resident may be, he or she will be updated in real-time on the whereabouts of visitors on the premises. Communities that have already jumped the bandwagon have witnessed substantial savings in the range of 10-15% in costs. In addition to automated and digital attendance, time saved on the manual registry and intercom communication and avoidance of car stickers.

    The way we see it, the gate management of the future will no longer need expensive, standalone technologies that call for tedious installation and maintenance. Think touchless residential security where people and their vehicles move in and out seamlessly without manual intervention yet authenticated with unseen technologies running in the background.

    (The author is CEO & co-founder, myGate)


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    The Architectural League of New York has awarded its Presidents Medal to Prince Karim Aga Khan IV on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture. The Presidents Medal is the leagues highest honour and is bestowed on individuals to recognise an extraordinary body of work in architecture, urbanism, art or design. Prince Karim Aga Khan is the current Imam of Ismaili Muslims. In the words of the medals citation, "for the extraordinary work of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture and the recognition, scholarship and investment it has catalysed and supported, which has raised the quality of urban and rural environments around the world."

    The citation added that the Aga Khan "has demonstrated the capacity for architecture to be encompassing and inclusive, through his probing search to conceive anew the nature of cultural identity and continuity, his openness to innovation and experimentation, and his unwavering commitment to pluralism as a foundational principle of human community." The Architectural League of New York nurtures excellence in architecture, design and urbanism, and stimulates thinking and debate about the critical design and building issues of our time.


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  • 12/18/17--16:24: Of catchy characters
  • On an uneventful day after work, Ella Longfield boards a train back home from work in London. Lost in her thoughts, she is obsessing over her decision to buy a trashy magazine in order to appear more "with it" to younger people - a typical bad decision in the day of a woman barrelling towards a midlife crisis. She is a mother, has a loving husband, and is engaging in a mental duel with herself about decisions she wishes she had made differently. Two young men, ostensibly of questionable backgrounds, board the same train, and proceed to flirt with two young women who are on their first visit to big bad London. The flirtation leads to the twosome making plans to show the girls around, and Ellas maternal instincts prompt her to protect the young women, another decision she grapples with before choosing to stay silent.

    A day later, Ella learns of the disappearance of one of the girls she saw on the train - beautiful Anna Ballard. Cut to one year down the line, and Anna still hasnt been found. Ella is not just consumed by guilt over her inaction and refusal to follow her gut instinct on that fateful night, but also has been receiving threatening letters that are driving her to desperation. Added to the letters, new evidence comes to light that the other girl with Anna on the train, Sarah, may not have told the entire truth about what really transpired the night Anna disappeared. Is there more to Annas disappearance than meets the eye? And why is someone targeting Ella? Who is this mysterious letter writer? How are all of these characters connected? Read Teresa Driscolls I am Watching You to find out.

    Driscoll, a former journalist and BBC TV presenter, has covered her fair share of crime during her journalist years, and is said to draw upon her experiences while on the crime beat to inform the characters and plots of her mystery novels.

    As a narrative writer, she pays close attention to characters, and each one feels fleshed out in this novel, a feat that is difficult when writing about a ragtag bunch of characters with more dissimilarities than you can count on your fingers. You can tell that Driscoll reaches into a fount of empathy she has obviously felt towards the families she must have encountered while covering crime for over 25 years.

    From the lead character Ella Longfield, whose narrative is recounted in the first person, to Annas parents, who are themselves battling marital issues, to Sarah and her parents, to Matthew the private investigator looking into the letters that Ellas been receiving, and a horde of secondary and peripheral characters that make up this London mystery, not one of them feels like they dont belong in the story.

    Driscolls greatest achievement has to be that she makes her readers genuinely care and feel invested in each of these characters, their individual quirks, their backstories, lifes little details that haunt each of them, their foibles, and flimsy attempts to stay together. And she makes the reader feel like they can relate on some level to every single one of them.

    You will remember not just their stories and their connect to this mystery, but also their names, something you dont really expect from a novel that is home to so many characters in a little under 300 pages. The narrative itself flits between first-person and third-person accounts, where some of these characters become the custodians of their link to the story.

    To help things along, Driscoll calls to attention who the narrator is at the beginning of each chapter: the witness, the father, the private investigator, the friend, and the ominously italicised Watching to distinguish the letter-sender from the rest of the bunch. Sentences and paragraphs and indeed chapters, are rendered in a staccato move-the-plot-breezily-along fashion, so pacing also gets a big yes.

    Where Driscoll falls short is the biggest disappointment of all: plot. The whole joy of reading a mystery novel for someone who loves mystery novels is to be able to pick up on the clues the writer peppers her narrative with. Speak to any mystery buff you know, and they will tell you they knew who the murderer/killer/culprit was somewhere halfway into the novel.

    The mystery reader always picks up on clues, and solves the mystery, and that is the most fun part. In her bid to construct a patchwork quilted narrative, Driscoll makes the cardinal sin of not being able to tie it together, and the ending comes so very out of left field that the reader is left with a zombie-like feeling of what-in-the-world-just-happened. Perhaps stringing together this interlaced narrative demanded so much in terms of characterisation that the plot had to inevitably suffer. Or perhaps Driscoll was so invested in her characters that she was confused as to whom to pin the tail on towards the end.

    Worth a read for the characters, but not so much if you like a good mystery.


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  • 12/21/17--15:58: This force is strong
  • While they tell tales of Death Stars and daddy issues, the Star Wars movies are also stories about duality: how goodness and evil can coexist - on the same planet or inside the same person - and what happens when they collide on an intergalactic scale. These themes are revisited once again in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the eighth episode in the science-fiction saga that George Lucas started in 1977. The Last Jedi is the first to be written and directed by Rian Johnson. It follows the resounding success of The Force Awakens, directed by J J Abrams in 2015, about two young heroes, a scavenger named Rey (Daisy Ridley) and a renegade stormtrooper named Finn (John Boyega), caught up in the search for Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill). Here, Johnson, Ridley, Boyega, Hamill, Driver, Serkis, Isaac, Christie, Gleeson, Tran and Dern discuss their work on Star Wars: The Last Jedi and some of the questions it raises. These are edited excerpts from that conversation:

    Audiences have a strong sense of what they think a Star Wars film should look like. But Rian, you make films that are personal and idiosyncratic. How do
    you do that in a Star Wars movie?

    RIAN JOHNSON: I dont think you try to. It would be bad news if you came into this saying, How do I make this mine? Youre just desperately trying to make a good Star Wars movie - to me that means that its a balance between opera and bubble gum. It should make you come out of the theatre and feel like youre 10 years old, and want to grab your spaceships and start flying around. On top of everything else.

    As you make your way through Star Wars High, there are actors you were paired with and worked with closely on the last film. What was it like to have those relationships scrambled and rearranged on The Last Jedi?

    OSCAR ISAAC: What Rian did so well was that he asked the really tough questions. Not only of the characters, but also about the themes that Star Wars brings up. What is it to be a Jedi? What is it to be a hero? What is it to be, in my case, a hotshot pilot? And then try to find the opposite of that - the hardest thing, the thing thats furthest away, and have that be what the character has to deal with. Even in pairing the characters, hes taking away what you know, and making you as uncomfortable as possible.

    Was it bittersweet to have Finn and Rey, our heroes from The Force Awakens, split up?

    JOHN BOYEGA: It was horrible when I read the script for the first time and I wasnt with her. We auditioned together. We went through this whole experience together. To be split apart was scary for me. But then I understood that is something that we could draw from - something that Finn really feels, and Rey really feels. And then I was like, Oh! Rian does know what hes doing.

    DAISY RIDLEY: I felt the same. When I read the script, I didnt cry right away. I was like, Wobble, wobble, wobble, Im probably going to cry and I need to see Rian. Then I went into Rians office and I was crying my eyes out. Im not great with new people. I think Mark can attest to that.

    ADAM DRIVER: No one says, No, youre great! Everyone else is like, Yeah.

    RIDLEY: I find it really difficult to relax. And then thats influencing someone elses performance. You dont want to be the thing thats holding something back, when theres me, going, So ... howd you get into all this? Mark and I were lucky enough to have proper rehearsal time, and then we could talk through everything with Rian.

    We were just getting to see the relationship between Luke and Rey before the curtain came down on Episode VII. In Episode VIII, were you able to pick up where you left off?

    MARK HAMILL: We had no relationship in VII. Its left up to the audience to decide if he knows who she is. They established earlier that I had a telepathic ability with my sister - would I know whats going on now? Would I know I lost my best friend? Thats all left up to the audience, and thats in the great tradition of the cliffhangers that inspired George in the first place. Continued next week. Two years, in this case. But dont worry, its only five months until the next one. Great marketing there, Disney. What are they going to
    do, fire me?

    RIDLEY: To me, I was working with Mark, I wasnt working with Luke. I was nervous because I was working with a new person and I wanted to do my best, and I wanted the scenes to go well. Luke is regarded in this way, and Rey does understand that. We were able to pick up right where we left off, chronologically, and it worked very well.

    Is it uniquely satisfying to play a villain in a Star Wars movie, where you get to be especially villainous?

    DOMHNALL GLEESON: It was a delightful surprise, having people come up to me after The Force Awakens and say, You were so bad in that movie. It meant a lot to me.

    GWENDOLINE CHRISTIE: Its always exciting to be bad, isnt it? Its particularly resonant at the moment, the idea of, what is a better use of human energy: to serve the group or to serve the individual?

    Andy, you play Supreme Leader Snoke, one of your many motion-capture characters, so theres a whole other layer to your performance.

    ANDY SERKIS: Theres a gold lamé layer. The Supreme Leader as Hugh Hefner, thats something that I particularly grabbed onto. The luxuriousness of it all. The thing about Snoke is, leaders are fearful people, because when youre in a position of maximum power, you can only lose power. And that fear drives nearly all decisions. It makes you want to destroy others. But when youre creating a villain character, its about humanising - theres something important in the task of creating Snoke to find his vulnerability because that makes him even more dangerous and despicable.

    This is the first Star Wars movie for Kelly Marie Tran and Laura Dern. What is it like to be initiated into this franchise?

    KELLY MARIE TRAN: It is both horrifying and amazing. Obviously, I was intimidated, but I never felt intimidated, personally, in Regina George fashion. Every single person sitting here was honest and open. I was allowed to go to set when I wasnt working and watch them perform. I felt like I was in this epic acting school that I didnt have to pay for.
    Someone just gave me the key.

    DERN: I have to discredit you, Daisy, with your comments about yourself. When my daughter came to set, she said, Oh my God, Mom, do you think we get to see Rey? I was like, Oh, we dont want to bother people. And then your trailer door opened, and you went, Laura Der-rrrr-rrn, Laura Der-rrrr-rrn. My daughter was like, Shes the most welcoming person.


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  • 12/21/17--16:00: Hitting the wrong notes
  • Either Bollywood is fast running out of fresh tunes, or like its favourite bwoy Karan Johar, loves its own work a little too much to bear. 2017 is the year of the rehash, no wait, year of the rehash with migraine-inducing rap thrown in as proof of having done some work in the music studio.

    Run through any top 10 charts of the year and you will hear many of the songs that were your pet earworms while growing up. Remember those songs which dominated the Top 10 programmes on the mint-fresh Zee TV, Hungama and other channels in the 90s? Admittedly not as blameless as we 90s kids assumed they were, but treasured nevertheless, most of them have been snatched from our collective memories and rebirthed into pounding, grotesque versions.

    Take the trippy Tamma. In the original, Sanjay Dutt, wearing a golden jacket and nothing inside (not joking), and a curly-haired Madhuri in an eye-hurting glittery outfit, danced ineptly on chairs to much cheering and clapping. One would think a song that already has so much bling (and Bappi Lahiri) needs no embellishments. But no. The new version, which has garnered over 250 million views on YouTube, has been blingified further with some Ameen Sayani impressions and Badshahs rap thrown in for extra headaches. The result is strident cacophony, but going by the number of views, it has nonetheless got its fans approval.

    There is an anaemic Humma from Ok Jaanu; there is the unforgettable Tu Cheez Badi Hain Mast rehashed in a movie called Machine. The new version helpfully shouts at you in a deep baritone every now and then - change - just in case you wondered what happened to the original. Laila O Laila from Raees saw Sunny Leone swaying to the rejigged version of the classic Zeenat Aman number. Another huge hit of the year is the stalker-favourite Chalti Hain Kya 9 se 12 from Judwaa 2 (and 1). The second version does not sound too different from the original and thats not saying much, unfortunately.

    Composer Tanishk Bagchi seems to be the (idle) brain behind most of these reappearances. But to give him his due, the peppy version of the Nusrat classic Mere Rashke Qamar is a winner. The Sufi number retains its essence thankfully, whether due to the soothing lyrics or the powerful voice of Rahat, it is hard to say.

    All was not doom and gloom, however. There were some gems, however rare, that deserve a mention. Barfani, sung beautifully by Armaan Malik from Nawazuddins movie Babumoshai Bandookbaaz, is one of the nicest numbers this year.

    Ik Vaari Aa from Raabta, though a typical Arijit Singh number, scores high on melody as does the title track from the same movie. Baarish from Half Girlfriend is a song that will probably stay in minds for longer than 2017. Both the versions (one by Ash King and another by Atif Aslam) are equally good and do make one think of all the joys and sorrows rains bring. A song from the sleeper hit Hindi Medium that got lost in the melee is Hoor, a sonorous afternoon number with a gentle lilt.

    Better times may just be on the Bollywood music horizon though, considering the recent releases. Tiger Zinda Hain has some good numbers including the instant hit Dil Diyan Gallan, as does Padmavati. Ghoomar is already on the charts and if the movie manages to release anytime soon, its other songs might also sneak in.

    Hopefully, 2018 will see Bollywood look beyond itself and create music that is not dug out of musty cupboards full of self-love. Karan Johar, take note.


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    Its never too late for retirement planning. It is possible to plan for retirement even at the age 50.

    Reduction of expenses: We need to control over household spending, even as the income from employment continues to flow in. As the number of dependents drop and the need for newer physical assets like a house and car reduces, expenses as a percentage of income should ideally drop.

    In retirement, the income ceases, but the spending persists. If the income from assets one uses in retirement not cover the expenses that a household is used to, an inevitable compromise in the quality of life will follow.

    Expenses can be classified as mandatory and discretionary. Mandatory expenses are the ones that the household cannot do without, discretionary expenses are those driven by the lifestyle and leisure preferences of the household.

    When income increases and more money is available after meeting mandatory expenses, many households increase the discretionary expenses. When these expenses are habitually incurred, they create a lifestyle creep, or the insidious conversion of discretionary expenses into mandatory ones.

    Not too late: Some people express that they did not start early as mandated by retirement planners. They worry if it is too late already. What the advocates of early saving miss, is the power of quantity. The reality of many households is that large amounts are available to save only as one advances in age, and income.

    It is true that Rs 10,000 saved for 30 years at 8% will become a valuable Rs 1 lakh. But given that the monthly salary of a typical 52-year-old when he began to work 30 years ago was merely Rs 3,000, saving Rs 10,000 a year is a tall order. However, with a current salary of Rs 2 lakh a month, setting aside Rs 50,000 a month is not a tough call. This sum would also grow to become large in the limited time it has until retirement.

    The percentage of income that a household saves should progressively increase with time. Beginning with a 20% saving rate in the 20s, a household should ideally reach a 50% saving rate by the 50s and with increased income in the later years, set aside more towards retirement.

    If a household took 15 years to build its first million in assets, it will typically find itself able to build the second million in the next 10, and the third and more in the next five.

    Debt-free before retirement: We need to get rid of all debt by either transfer or paid before retirement. For example, parent took loans to send his children to the best schools for higher education. The children will soon graduate and hold paying jobs that should enable them to repay the loan. The parent should seek a transfer of the loan to the child and relieve themselves of the debt.

    Ideally, your retirement corpus should earn enough income to simply replace your salary income when you retire. However, not everyone has saved enough and even if they have, the corpus is not invested such that it can generate adequate income. Loan repayments burden the already fragile corpus and its earnings. It is a good idea to strive towards debt-free 50s as a financial goal.

    Get job before retirement: Begin to work towards your next career even as you continue to earn and thrive in the current job. It is a bad idea to begin seeking a job after retirement, when the networks, contacts, and connections have all severed from the job you were doing earlier. Find out what you would like to do, and work towards securing it early.

    A concrete plan for what you would do after retirement, and investment of time, money and energy in securing that pursuit, will help tide over the constraint of not having an adequate retirement corpus. Earning for a few years after retirement means you do not draw on your corpus and thus give it the ability to grow in value.

    Assets allocation: The textbook prescription is to have 30% in property, 30% in equity, and 30% in fixed income. The balance 10% could be in cash and gold. The property is likely to be the one you live in. The equity will secure your retirement, growing in value and protecting you from inflation. The fixed income will deliver the income for your expenses.

    It is possible even at 50 years, to realign assets to this ratio, provided you havent invested in too much property, do not overspend, and are willing to build assets through aggressive saving and investing habits.

    (The writer is CIO at LIC MF)


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    The equity market had an outstanding year in 2017. Benchmark Index Nifty 50 gave a return of nearly 28% (till date), while the Nifty Midcap 100 and Nifty small cap 100 outperformed with returns of 44% and 50%, respectively.

    This is a great achievement, given that they were in the backdrop of two major reforms -- Demonetisation and GST -- which had impacted the economy as well as the market. Despite several geopolitical issues, global markets too climbed to their record highs.

    The government continued its focus on reforms like GST, IBC, RERA, infrastructure development, Direct Benefit Transfer, Housing for All, PSU Bank recapitalisation plan, etc. during 2017, which were well received by the market. Strong liquidity, both from domestic as well as international investors were also supportive throughout 2017.

    On the macro front â€" GDP growth was seen slowing mid-way through the year (5.7% in Q1FY18), but witnessed some recovery later (6.3% in Q2FY18). Corporate earnings growth was still elusive, even as there were some signs of improvement in the Q2FY18 results. H2FY18 is likely to see better growth on the back of healthy demand during festival season.

    In a major boost to the government reform process, international rating agency â€" Moodys upgraded Indias sovereign credit rating to Baa2 from Baa3 after a period of 14 years (last in January 2004) citing continuous improvement in economy and fiscal metrics. The rating agency has forecast Indias GDP growth at 6.7% in FY18 and 7.5% in FY19.

    The Union Budget for 2017-18 witnessed many changes. The 92-year-old Railway Budget was merged with the Union Budget, classification of plan and non-plan expenditure was done away with, and the budget was advanced to February 1 rather than the customary last working day of February.

    There were seven state elections during 2017, including key states like UP and Gujarat. BJP (the ruling party at the Centre) formed the government in six of these states. This was seen as a positive development for the equity market, as a sign of political stability and continuity of reforms process.

    The year 2017 was a landmark year for IPOs. More than 150 public offerings came to the market and together raised nearly $11.5 billion. The year also saw equity issuances of companies from several new sectors, such as life insurance, general insurance, AMCs and new-age small finance banks. The outperforming sectors during 2017 were consumer durables, real estate, metals, telecom and BFSI, while the ones which under-performed were Pharma and IT. Going ahead, equity market is expected to continue to deliver consistent returns in 2018 driven by stronger economic growth and recovery in corporate earnings. However, the scale of returns expected would be in the range of 10-15% owing to a high base and normalisation of valuations playing out in 2018. Our year-end target for Nifty is about 11,450-11,650.

    Some of the themes that we believe should do well in 2018 are:

    n Cyclicals like cement, infrastructure and capital goods, which are expected to benefit from higher government spending. Some top picks would be L&T, Sadbhav Engineering, KNR Construction, UltraTech, JK Cement.

    n GST beneficiaries like jewellery retail, footwear and building material are expected to benefit from the value migration from unorganised to organised players. Here the selection would be stocks like Titan, PC Jeweller, Havells, Pidilite and Nilkamal .

    n Rural recovery sectors like auto, FMCG, vehicle financing, etc. Top picks are Maruti, M&M, Dabur, Britannia, M&M Financial Services, Shriram Transport Finance.

    (The writer is Head- Retail Research, Motilal Oswal Group)


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    The name Titan has always been synonymous with watches. Be it Sonata, Titan or Fastrack brands, Indias middle-class loyal customers have been associated with the brand for over three decades now.

    What started off as a watch company in 1984 with a joint venture between the Tata Group and the Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation (TIDCO), the Titan Company has explored beyond watches and jewellery brand Tanishq, and is trying to carve a niche for itself in eyewear, accessories, and sarees brands.

    Headquartered in Bengaluru, the company enjoys 65% market share in the organised sector of the watch category, clearly indicating its leadership position. It is the worlds fifth largest watchmaker today.

    "If you take the total market, our volume is 25%, and 40% by value," says Bhaskar Bhat, Managing Director of the Titan Company. Bhat, who was recently appointed as Director on the Tata Sons Board, says that the company has been growing very well and expects to grow by at least 15% in FY19.

    Titan, which is known for its exclusive designs, recently introduced We, its third line of smart offerings. Specially designed for the woman of today, We has a range of smart features such as phone finder, fitness, thinking about you, safety alarm and network.

    "A couple of months ago, we entered into a partnership with Amazon to sell our watches in the US market. Its early days, but what we get to know is that non-Indians are buying the Raga watch. Almost 65% of watches we sell are bought by non-Indians," says Bhat, stressing on the huge opportunity and market for watches.

    Titan is clear that its smart watches will be Analog and not digital. "We will have Analog smart watches." In the last one year, Titan has introduced smart watches under the brands Juxt, Juxt Pro, Sonata Act and Raga We.

    The companys total income reached
    Rs 12,717 crore in FY17, compared with
    Rs 11,105 crore in FY16, a 14.5% growth. In the last financial year, the companys income from watches was Rs 2,028, crore and jewellery at Rs 10,237 crore, and its net profit witnessed a 9% jump at Rs 762 crore.

    Its not just watches that contribute to the companys revenues, for years now, its jewellery division Tanishq is doing extremely well. Titan, mainly with the performance of its jewellery division, maintained its performance run rate in Q1 this fiscal, by achieving 42% growth in revenue and 43% growth in profit before tax. All retail formats of the company recorded good overall and same store growth. With 55% retail growth and 51% same store growth, Q1 FY 18 recorded a great sales performance by the jewellery division.

    The introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) has helped many organised players like Titan.

    "GST introduction from July 1 went against good performance in the second quarter. A lot of sales bunched up in the last week of June, which witnessed a very huge sale. We played our cards well and we never relaxed in the last 18 months both on cost and new product innovation. GST and demonetisation have led to migration from the unorganised to the organised sector," says Bhat.

    According to its annual report, while Tanishq is the overall market leader, its share in certain segments and cities is much lower than where it could and should be. Thus, the companys thrust in the next few years is on capitalising on the following opportunities: The wedding segment - this segment accounts for nearly 60% of the jewellery market and Tanishqs presence in this is small; High value diamond jewellery, low market share cities, and Middle India.

    Looking beyond India

    While Titan is exporting watches, the company is now planning to enter the West Asia market through its jewellery brand Tanishq. It has plans to enter through partnership and looking at opening stores in malls there. "We have not introduced any product, but are evaluating various options. It could be through a partner. The Indian diaspora loves Indian jewellery, and it will be sold as Tanishq," Bhat says. Apart from jewellery and watches, Titan is doing well in eyewear, and of late, its pinning hope on the fragrance market and also Indian ethnic-wear by introducing branded sarees through Taneira.

    Domestic expansion

    Titan Eyeplus, the eyewear business of the Titan Company, is the third major venture of consumer business by the company. Launched in March 2007, the company is optimistic about the future of its eyewear business.

    It will soon start rolling out frames from its manufacturing facility in Chikkaballapur. "We have 483 stores across the country, and we want to double our footprint in 3-4 years. In this fiscal alone, we have planned 50-60 stores," Titans eyewear unit CEO Ronnie Talati says. It has opened 37 new stores in the first six months of FY17-18 alone.

    Titan is now focusing on aggressive growth of its eyewear business. Along with eyewear, it is also focusing on the fragrance market. Titan launched fragrances under the Skinn brand in 2013.

    Skinn fragrances have been developed and designed to cater to the Indian audience by the finest in the world of perfumery - Nadege Le Garlantezec, Olivier Pescheux, Michel Girard, Fabrice Pellegrin, Harry Fremont, Alberto Morillas and Nathalie Lorson.

    Its branded perfumes are priced at an attractive price-point, and it is the unique selling point of the offering.

    "Skinn can become much bigger," Bhat adds. Titan is planning to launch body mist shortly under the Skinn brand.

    Indian ethnic-wear is the new space that Titan has identified, and it is also seeing huge opportunities and growth in this space. The space is being explored through its Taneira brand, which sells hand-woven sarees. Titan hopes that this category could turn as its fourth lifestyle vertical in the future.

    Also, the company is exploring silk sarees. "We have two stores in Bengaluru and the initial consumer response is quite good. We are also looking at taking our saree brand beyond Bengaluru. We are looking at Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Chennai markets. Our next Taneira store will be in Delhi," Bhat says, adding, "We are profitable in the first year itself".

    Online sees huge potential

    Bhat says that online sales is going to increase in watches from 2% to 10%, and online is the fastest growing channel. Last year, Titan acquired 62% stake in Chennai-based online jewellery retailer CaratLane. "Five years from now, jewellery will double and watches will grow at between 10% and 15%. The total size of the company will be Rs 30,000 crore to Rs 50,000 crore, depending on how the market responds to the GST era," Bhat says, adding that the jewellery business alone will grow to Rs 25,000 crore in the next five years.

    He is confident that the Titan Company would grow at a consistent 10%. "This percentage is guaranteed. There is a huge aspiring population - the middle-class - they want new products, brands and our understanding of the Indian consumer is what gives us a competitive advantage. We are confident that we understand Indian consumers better than anyone else," says Bhat, sitting at his new office in Electronic City, Bengaluru.

    With over 7,400 employees and a market capitalisation of over Rs 75,995 crore, the Titan Company is confident of retaining its leadership position across categories in the coming days.


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    The debate on challenges to get a job versus retention of the same continues, re-skilling is the buzz word as it is imperative to job retention or moving up the ladder. Even the outlook to jobs has changed, it is no more job for life, it is job for a career, so obviously the catalyst is learning, exposure, money, perks and benefits.

    Jobs are changing, and it has been witnessed in the past as well. The study of changing scenarios clearly depicts that in every decade or at the end of every decade, there is a change in every job sector, and the one who is adaptable to the needs of the industry will survive. Technology will play a major role; in fact, it is going to dominate the nature of jobs available in the future and thus the nature of jobs will change in 2018 and days ahead. For example, sectors like e-commerce and manufacturing will also move to automation.

    As per the Government of Karnataka, there are more jobs opening up in the technology space for techies with the right skills and those who can adapt to newer skills.

    The state capital, which presently generates one third of Indias technology and startup jobs, is seeing more global firms set up centres or expand capacity as they look for talent in areas of analytics, Big Data and cloud computing, even local firms which have had adoption of automation, to deliver traditional services are expanding teams in newer areas, thus creating opportunities for job seekers.

    Needless to say, the change in job scenario is all across, for example, customer support, with the shift to automation wherein, only escalated customer queries will be attended by a human officer. Those in customer service profiles will have to stay abreast of the latest technology. They must know how to manage technology from a higher end. The skill sets required for customer services will be different. A lot of companies are already using data analytics to track consumer behaviour. Having said that as rural banking is very different from urban banking, not all jobs will demand an immediate makeover of skill sets. GST reforms will have a major say in creating more jobs, for instance, sectors like automobile, logistics, retail, e-commerce, media and entertainment, and cement, which are benefited by GST, will see 11-18% increase in hiring. The IT & ITeS sector will see 10-12.5% boost in hiring. Consumer durables, pharmaceuticals and telecommunications will create 10-13% more jobs. Artificial intelligence will create more jobs globally.

    Tech adoption in Gurukul

    Colleges have to bring changes in their curriculum, make it relevant to industry demands, else following curriculum, which is in isolation of industry requirements will not help young minds and talents.

    This is one of the prime reasons why top companies are hiring from Tier-I institutes only, very evident that these institutes collaborate with the industry and design and teach the curriculum best suited for a job seeker.

    Curriculum needs to have long-sighted plans, with ingredients of tech-savviness, exposure to industry practices, and also promote entrepreneurship.

    In terms of other industries, construction and engineering have recorded a growth of 46% in hiring in November 2017 over the same period last year, indicating signs of recovery in the job market. With GST in place and move from informal to formal segments, this industry is likely to create an increase of 10-12% more jobs in the same sector and allied sectors.

    It is quite obvious that there will be 20% increase in jobs in the contractual space as well. These would be opportunities for job seekers who would like to get a head start on their careers, and as todays mantra is a job for a career, adoption to fixed-term contractual jobs, which impart learning and also infuses confidence and awareness with the corporate world will be high in 2018 and the years to come.

    GST has been an advantage in the true sense as formal segmentation will create more jobs and largely in fixed-term contracts space, thus jobs which had been informal will transform into ones with social security and benefits, having all regulations in place.

    An analysis of November 2017 vs November 2016, gives one some confidence about the good times ahead in 2018, and with the right mindset to re-skill and openness to adapt, we look to have good times ahead.

    The Indian IT Industry will create approximately two lakh jobs in 2018 and this is primarily due to the increased and planned investments in areas and fields of automation and digitisation. In sections like mobile solutions and manufacturing (using AI) and FinTech, there will be a need to have 18-20% additional staff and these requirements will be across entry level, sub-to mid-level and mid-levels.

    As per the TeamLease Outlook report, as India is heading towards Digital India, the industry requires 50% more workforce equipped with digital skills, the opportunities in digital technology include government initiatives, artificial intelligence and robotics. Modern cloud-based applications and frameworks that offer scalability and inter-operability will see a huge demand for re-skilling in 2018.

    E-commerce, Payments Banks, logistics and hospitality sectors will easily see an additional need of approximately 50,000 staff in the first 6-7 months of 2018, and these would be in the mixed gamut of permanent jobs and also fixed term contract
    .

    (The writer is Assistant Vice President, TeamLease Services)


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