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  • 01/20/18--21:36: 'I am never idle'
  • Bollywood actor Anshuman Jha started his career as a theatre artiste at a very young age. He made a name for himself in this world and is best known for his work in the movie Love Sex Aur Dhokha. His performance in his last four releases Yeh Hai Bakrapur, X: Past Is Present, Chauranga and Mona Darling has been widely applauded. Anshuman also turned a producer with Mona Darling under his banner First Ray Films. Anshuman will next be seen in movies Angrezi Mein Kehte, Robinhood Ke Pote and Ishwar. The talented actor talks to Surupasree Sarmmah about his journey in the industry.

    You started your career with the movie Love Sex Aur Dhokha (LSD) which was a hit. How did you get into acting?

    My acting career began long back with Prithvi Theatre when I did my first play at fifteen. It was called Jhagrapoor by Ramnath Tharwal. It all began there. I am from Delhi and used to visit Mumbai to visit my sister. She used to put me into these summertime acting workshops at Prithvi Theatre. One play led to the other and it so happened that during one such workshop, Ramnath Tharwal cast me in his play and then it became a yearly routine. I soon completed my Diploma Acting Course at Barry Johns Academy. I also acted in Berrys Its All About Money Honey. But, as a famous director once told me, I look like a kid, so I should not look for work until I am 24 or 25, therefore, I only did theatre and worked as an assistant director for a few films. I went for a screen test for LSD and they selected me. Thats how it started.

    An experience you cherish from your journey till now?

    The first call of confirmation for LSD. It is so well enriched in the memory. Director Dibakar Banerjee is my favourite filmmaker in India and I had absolutely loved his previous movie Khosla Ka Ghosla. Getting an opportunity to work with him was a dream come true.

    You have also assisted Shubash Ghai for three years, how was that experience?

    Phenomenal! It was like a blessing for me. Khalnayak is again one of my favourite films from the 90s and Subhash Ghai is someone who has given so many blockbusters to the industry. I worked with him on a film called Black and White which was a very different movie than what he usually makes. The kind of exposure I have got working with him taught me a lot. I dont have a Godfather in the industry but I can say I have many guide fathers, who came to my life at different points and guided me to become an actor.

    Which genre would you like to explore?

    My next film is called Angrezi Mein Kehte, which is a romantic comedy. This was one genre I wanted to do and I am really glad, I got a chance. This movie is a comedy with a lot of soul in it. For me, it is not genre specific, but films where I get to work with great and different kind of directors. Zoya Akhtar and Sriram Raghavan are two directors I would like to work with.

    Any advice that changed your life...

    There are a few actually. Shubhash Ghai once told me, more than looking and talking like an actor, you should wait like an actor, dont be in a hurry. Anurag Kashyap told me to keep working on myself. And thats what I have been doing. Whenever I have free time, I keep learning a new craft; either a new form of martial arts or take up dance and singing classes. I am never idle.

    Your all-time favourite movie...

    Rush by Ron Howard. I am a huge Formula One fan and this movie was a delight to watch.


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    A very popular song of the 1920s â€" "I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Ice Cream" â€" epitomised the excitement and glee among young and old alike, at the very mention of the sweet, milky, chilled delight.

    And, if one could grab a scoop every day, it would truly be a dear Dairy Day! It is this growing, craving demand and opportunity that is getting Bengalurus very own ice cream maker â€" Dairy Classic Ice Creams â€" to plan its way through a challenging, yet opportune and rewarding market such as India.

    Beginning with a scoop

    In December 2002, a very passionate
    M N Jaganath, getting wind of a burgeoning demand for ice creams, joined hands with A Balaraju and rented a small place at Doddakallasandra, Bengaluru, and set up an ice cream unit.

    Both boasted robust MNC foundations, with Jaganath having acumen in sales, finance and marketing, while Balaraju had technical experience in the food industry, including the ice cream space.

    "Gradually, we got together with other key employees, who became shareholders, but with specific responsibilities. With the help of angel investors, unsecured loans, equity and other resources, we were able to invest close to Rs 1 crore during inception," Jaganath, who is also a Director of Dairy Classic Ice Creams, told DH.

    "We just took the plunge, and within a few months saw success, as acceptance for our brand, product, and packaging grew. Within the first 3-4 months of launch itself, we went on sale at most departmental stores and supermarkets. Repeat sales were growing, and we wanted to expand," says Jaganath, informing that within just the second year of operations, the young company had crossed Rs 1 crore in turnover.

    The company, which retails ice creams under the popular Dairy Day brand, operated at that premises until 2006. Those days, a few brands such as Kwality Walls, Vadilal, Amul, Arun, and Joy held sway, but opportunities were aplenty. Having worked across the Southern states as part of his previous job, helped Jaganath expand his young companys network. The same year, Dairy Classic Ice Creams moved to its own place.

    Market melt

    Gradually, the company grew from a tiny entrepreneurial venture, to a sizeable ice cream enterprise, all along trying to break the puzzles that the Indian market threw at it.

    While India has seen its fair share of ice cream demand, the market is still nascent at Rs 10,000 crore, which includes both organised and unorganised players at a 35:65 ratio.

    India has amongst the lowest annual per capita consumption of ice creams globally at 300 ml. This compares to a measly amount, when compared with the US at 22 litres, or even China at 8 litres.

    Balaraju lists certain critical factors. "Power shortage and outage is beyond our control. No electricity impacts temperature maintenance of ice cream freezers. Also, lack of efficient cold chain systems in Tier-II cities, and even refrigerated trucks for transportation have posed a challenge," he says.

    However, over the past five years, Indias ice cream sales volume has increased at a CAGR of nearly 13%, the fastest in the world, and is expected to nearly double from 334.4 million litres in 2016, to 657.2 million litres by 2021. And the market is likely to be worth over $1.6 billion by then, according to market research firm Mintels Ice Cream Global Annual Review 2017.

    Meanwhile, in a bid to safely foray in this market, Dairy Classic Ice Creams has successfully been able to use different conventional methods such as insulated boxes with chill pads and eutectic freezers, which initially enabled it to make a mark in Tier-II cities, before actually tapping Bengaluru.

    Another challenge that the Indian market is prone to, is battling low off-season sales, due to misconceptions surrounding consumption of ice creams during cold and wet seasons.

    "During winters, ice cream, with its rich source of protein and fats drawn from milk, offers energy and nourishment that could keep one warm," informs Balaraju, adding that the company has also worked towards sensitising dealer-partners about de-icing techniques to maintain the freshness and quality of their products.

    With urbanisation, better per-capita income, and cold chain infrastructure development, the Indian market is improving. Even eating habits around ice creams are on the up.

    Breaking the industry ice

    The industry across the globe has three generic ice cream flavours, namely vanilla, chocolate and strawberry, with vanilla contributing for maximum consumption; then follow the other flavours. All these are sold as variants â€" cups, sticks, and take-home packs, among others.

    Dairy Classic Ice Creams began selling Dairy Day with 3-4 variants in each category â€" cups, tubs, take-home packs, sticks, cones, and so on.

    "Those days, we had 20 SKUs, while today we have 150 SKUs, with around 30 flavours. Within that we create different shapes, formats, packs, and combinations. Around 10-12 new SKUs may be rolled out every year," says Jaganath.

    But whats different, one might ask. "While differentiators in terms of flavours may not be much, the strength of ingredients, taste, quality, packaging, and pricing, have been the turning point of our business. Our proposition is value for money and mass (in the Rs 5-Rs 50 range)," he says.

    Unique flavours such as black currant, and offering traditionally prepared Matka Kulfi, packed with a stainless steel spoon, 2-in-1 slices, and a No Sugar Added range, have been runaway successes.

    So while Amul and Kwality Walls reign supreme as national players, Dairy Day has been able to hold some fort in its regional playground of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, achieving Rs 30 crore in its tenth year of operation, in a largely capital-intensive industry.

    From the beginning, the company has operated via retail sales, selling through general trade, modern trade, and a little bit through ecommerce. Today, it partners with 25,000 retailers.

    "Designing our expansion plan according to our borrowing power is what dictated growth along our ten-year journey," Jaganath says.

    In 2013, the company set up a new plant of around 65,000 sq feet, over 1 lakh sq feet of land, at Harohalli, Kanakpura, investing
    Rs 30 crore through a mix of finance and own funds, which helped it to achieve Rs 100 crore turnover in 2015-16. "We were on fast-track mode. We had production capacity and selling ability. With more scope, we had to add more infrastructure in order to cater to our expansion plans, and also to grow inside of the factory and outside â€" for instance, we provide retailers with reefer freezers," he says.

    In October 2016, the company went for private equity funding, with Motilal Oswal Private Equity investing around Rs 110 crore, and holding a minority stake. With that investment, Dairy Classic Ice Creams added another 30,000 sq feet facility at Harohalli in April 2017, taking its total capacity to 1,25,000 litres a day.

    Cream of the industry

    Keeping quality high with value, and the drive to grow has kept Dairy Classic Ice Creams refreshed on its march. Even in terms of sourcing, it has taken a practical approach, assured of quality. For instance, it sources milk from the Karnataka Milk Federation (KMF) and a private company in Bengaluru. In a few months, it plans to set up two centres for milk collection directly from farmers. Also, it uses purees and pulps of seasoned fruits, directly sourced from known companies in those businesses.

    "We take care of the total knowledge of ice cream manufacturing â€" from formulation of a products specifications and requirement of the best machinery, to buying the latest technologies and updating each days requirement â€" on our own," Balaraju says.

    Today, the companys turnover stands at Rs 150 crore, growing at 40% CAGR. It is aiming at Rs 500 crore in turnover by 2021. Meanwhile, it also plans to tap all the South Indian states, with some share of Maharasthra too, with a focus on over 50,000 outlets. Dairy Classic Ice Creams is enjoying its success slowly, yet enthusiastically, just like a child would his or her ice cream.


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    When the government rolled out the GST in the middle of last year, it was pretty confident of the new indirect tax regime bringing in desired revenues to help reduce direct taxes significantly for the salaried class.

    In the first month of GST implementation, it did happen. The GST collection was a whopping Rs 92,283 crore in July, and a jubilant Finance Minister Arun Jaitley told the press that the red line had been crossed in the first month itself. The red line was Rs 91,000 crore. He said the government was comfortable going forward, as it expected revenues to keep climbing with the increase in number of GST filers. It was around that time when Jaitley was heard lauding GST compliance, and talking of bigger reforms such as lowering GST slabs from the present four to just one or two. He was also heard talking of bringing in more reforms on direct taxes, and eventually giving relief to the salaried class once the government systematically shored up revenues.

    Six months down the line, the GST revenues have disappointed. There has been a continuous fall month by month and the collections have been down to the Rs 80,000-mark in November, the data for which is available as of now. Worst, officials have confided that the December GST collections are going to be lower than November. The "comfort" about which Jaitley appeared sure about, appears to be vanishing. And, after the last weeks GST Council meeting, the narrative has changed from trust on traders with regard to filing returns, to that of cracking the whip on GST evaders. Emerging out of the meeting on Thursday last, Jaitley said, "So far, we were relying on the unilateral declaration of traders, but we realise it is necessary to build in anti-evasion measures."

    He was visibly pained to reveal that while the number of traders registered under the compliance scheme of paying GST had crossed 17 lakh, the revenue generated through that window was only Rs 307 crore in the July-September period.

    Now, the GST Council is thinking of bringing back some of the relaxed norms such as reverse charge mechanism and invoice matching ahead of the deadline to identify evasion and plug leakages. It has already set the deadline of February 1 for making eWay bill compulsory for movement of goods valued more than Rs 50,000 within and outside a state.

    The eWay bill is an online registration of goods to be transported, the details of which are uploaded by the supplier and transporter. The tax authorities in turn match the eWay bill with the actual consignment to check for tax evasion. While many believe that frequent lowering of GST rates on various goods and services is responsible for constant lowered collection of GST levies, the government suspects payment for many transactions are being done in cash to avoid GST. They also suspect under-invoicing of goods to be the major cause of depletion in revenues.

    A third factor making a dent into GST revenues is believed to be the multiple filing of returns under the regime. To address it, the Council has taken help from Infosys Chairman Nandan Nilekani. He is expected to remodel the return-filing process and eventually bring it down to a one-stage filing in place of the current three stages. The move will also improve timely revenue generation so that month-on-month figures too look healthy. But till now, the cumulative impact of all that is the Centre staring at indirect tax receipts falling short of the Budget target. At the same time, the states are demanding more compensation for their revenue losses. To make some adjustments, the GST Council has authorised allocation of the integrated GST credits of Rs 35,000 crore between the Centre and the states, albeit on a provisional basis. The GST Council is of firm faith that the anti-evasion measures will boost GST revenues to the tune of 25%. Robust revenues are needed for the government to take up bolder reforms under the GST regime. Also, systematic flow of revenues from the indirect taxes and non-tax revenues are required to bring in reforms on the direct taxes side.

    The Union Budget is round the corner. Both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Jaitley have hinted at an overhaul of age-old direct tax laws which moves towards lowering the tax burden on payers. No one knows what is in the finance ministers briefcase which he carries to Parliament on Budget day. Falling revenues may hold him back from giving a big income tax rebate, but 2019 Parliamentary polls looming large can fork that out too.


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  • 01/30/18--21:28: Preparing for your future
  • Today, information is available at the click of mouse or a tap on the smartphone. This is considered to be a major blow to the current education system, which has focused only on students learning lots of different facts and being knowledgeable.

    In this information-rich world, power lies with those who are adaptable to new situations rather than the those who know everything about what used to be cutting edge 10 years ago. Thus, it is important to impart real-world skills in students. Doing so can enable them to connect with what they learn to the world around them, develop problem-solving ability and be able to learn new things constantly. The key real-world skill here is critical thinking and problem-solving.

    For many parents, career is not something to be worried about until a child graduates or finishes his or her studies. Consider the fact that 93% of the companies look at the candidates critical thinking and problem-solving skills over their academic degree while hiring. This clearly shifts the balance in favour of developing critical thinking skills. So, it is important that these skills are developed early so that the students can thrive in the workplace.

    Here are five reasons why starting early helps:

    A younger mind is easier to mould: Its cliched, but true. Younger students have a naturally open-minded way of thinking. Nurtured in the right way, with quality education in critical thinking, the thinking ability of a child can be greatly expanded at this age.

    It improves their interest in academics: Critical thinking provides an approach where students are encouraged to connect what they are learning in the classroom with the real world around them. The approach forces them to engage deeply with what they are learning, to make sense of it and imbibe it even deeper. Students can witness a significant increase of interest in academics when they feel like they are learning something worthwhile rather than just memorising things for the next exam.

    Critical thinking is a habit of the mind: Like any habit, starting early helps. Students who get used to looking at problems in an innovative manner develop the confidence early on to take on new challenges. Over time, this faculty can be developed even further and it becomes ingrained in the childs mind.

    Critical thinking has its own curriculum: Like Maths and Science, there are methodical steps to develop critical thinking at every age. There are building blocks which must be put in place to help students attain the level of thinking required when they enter college or the workplace. A child who starts the curriculum in Class 6 is far ahead of a child joining in Class 8 because there are building blocks which need to be put in place before the Class 8 student can study the higher level material.

    Competitive exams: Fundamental skills like verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning and problem-solving form the foundation of all competitive exams.

    Students who are trained in formal critical thinking skills have demonstrated better technique and grasping power, resulting in better results in competitive exams, when compared to those who only solve question papers.

    (The author is co-founder, Callido Learning LLP, Mumbai)


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    Solar energy has become one of the most prosperous industries over the past decade, thanks to the technological innovations and the constant requirement for alternative solutions that are sustainable and greener. As a result, this field is seeing a surge of employment. Since there is a scarcity of qualified people in this emerging sector, pursuing a degree in solar energy engineering is definitely an ideal choice.

    So, who is a solar engineer? Also called as solar array engineers or alternative energy engineers, they are experts who use the sunlight to generate electricity. In technical terms, solar engineers create solar cells which are capable of collecting and storing the suns rays. Understanding exactly what a career in solar engineering entails is far from simple.

    In essence, their job needs them to plan, design and implement solar energy projects. Doing so is a complex process. After a client consultation, solar engineers will have to do a site assessment and financial assessment. Then, they will have to design an appropriate plan and implement it after taking all the relevant factors into account. In addition to these, solar engineers are also called on to report on a projects efficiency and safety. They may also be asked to deal with outages, crises and system maintenance.

    One can consider choosing a career in the field of solar energy as the field is seeing advancements technologically and has been witnessing extensive financial investment. Other factors that may drive a student to enter the field are the emergence of the concept of alternative energy and increased government initiatives in this regard. The American Society of Mechanical Engineers reveals that around 20% of the worlds electricity is already coming from renewable energy sources and notes that wind and solar energy top the list. As environmental concerns grow, the use of such natural resources will only increase in the future.

    To enter the solar engineering field, candidates will need a bachelors degree in Mechanical or Electrical engineering. However, pursuing Masters degree could open up ones career and lead to higher-paying roles. Other degrees which could be helpful are Industrial engineering, Computer Science engineering and Chemical engineering. One could also consider doing a course which focuses on sustainability or an MBA with a specialisation in Sustainability and Compliance. For engineers who offer professional services to the public, an Engineer in Training (EIT) or Professional Engineer license is a must.

    In addition to these, some of the key skills one will need are:

    * Systems design and engineering

    * Solar systems installation

    * Device fabrication and characterisation

    * Quality assurance and reliability testing

    * Project management and consultancy

    * Strong communication skills

    In addition to these essential skills, it is important that solar engineers have a knowledge in software that will help them create designs and test photovoltaic systems. One such software that solar engineers should be proficient in is the AutoCAD, a computer-aided design program that is widely used in engineering. In Solar engineering, this software is typically used for photovoltaic system layout. To keep up with the technological developments, solar engineers should participate in professional development courses.

    Irrespective of being a very specific field, solar energy is already creating a huge impact in various industries. Solar engineer, photovoltaic engineer and installer, energy management technician and solar thermal installer are some careers that one can consider. Additionally, one can consider taking up engineering and consultancy roles in specialised solar engineering companies, renewable energy companies, oil and gas companies who want to provide renewable sources of fuel, and non-profit organisations.

    A degree in solar energy is challenging and exciting, and is in demand. By becoming a part of the developing renewable energy sector, one can secure a sure-fire career.

    (The author is with edX.org, Delhi)


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    Artificial intelligence, big data and digitisation have changed hiring patterns. As result, the skills required for particular jobs are rapidly changing. For instance, companies in the service sector are looking for generalists more than specialists. These companies tend to hire generalists who are quick to learn new skills across various areas such as public policy, content writing and crisis management. This brings us to the ongoing debate of whether generalists have an edge over specialists in todays work environment. In times when technological innovation and big data are driving businesses, experts feel its important to be open to learning new skills.

    Take for example the number of unemployed engineers. According to All India Council for Technical Education, more than 60% of the eight lakh engineers graduating every year remain unemployed. They either need to align their skills with the industry requirements or reskill to keep pace with the changes. Employees in the IT sector are also facing a similar scenario due to AI and automation. A recent report by a global advisory firm revealed that nearly half of the workforce in the IT sector will be irrelevant over the next three to four years. Hence, many will need to upskill themselves. Additionally, companies today are no longer just hiring postgraduates. Many are hiring undergraduates in various roles as many students bring a fresh perspective, are open-minded, keen to learn and creative.

    Generalists vs specialists

    India has seen a boom in start-ups and new age businesses through bootstrapping. In such companies, employees who have multiple skills are highly sought after. Which is why, companies are now looking to hire professionals who can handle multiple responsibilities.

    Established businesses, with the growing competition from these new age businesses, are also constantly on a look out for generalists who can provide fresh perspectives. Diverse experiences allow people to think more expansively which in turn helps them approach a problem in a different way. Hence, we see many professionals enrolling for part-time courses to upskill. These include courses such as content writing, data science and public relations.

    While there is a demand for specialists in various industries, they will be expected to handle different roles and responsibilities as they grow in the organisation. As a result, they turn into generalists. Sundar Pichai, the chief executive officer of Google, is a perfect example of a generalist. He studied engineering and MBA. At the beginning of his career, he worked in the fields that gave him exposure to both worlds - management as well as engineering. This turned out to be a pathway to enter Google where he led the product management and innovation efforts and eventually became the chief executive officer.

    Another example is Indra Nooyi, chairperson and chief executive officer of PepsiCo. She began her career as a product manager at Johnson & Johnson and later went on to earn a Masters degree in public and private management. After this, Nooyi held various consulting and strategy positions in different companies. Her experience in consulting and strategy and her position as PepsiCos chief financial officer enabled her to become the companys fifth CEO. Elon Musks career brings the whole debate to a conclusion. A business mogul, investor and an inventor, he is perhaps the ultimate example of expert generalists. He has acquired knowledge across a wide range of fields and finds the best way to apply that knowledge wherever he sees fit to make it better.

    Up the ladder

    These examples clearly indicate that companies are in need of generalising specialists who can start their career with niche skills but be open to explore different opportunities. For example, a specialisation in finance and marketing increases your relevance and workability in an organisation. This approach will help you steadily grow in your preferred domain and also be relevant in the job market.

    Being a generalist doesnt mean that you should abandon your commitment to becoming knowledgeable and specialise in the field that you are interested in. But if you aspire to become a leader in the near future, then you have to keep in mind that you will need to develop skills that can help you perform your job better and
    enable you climb up the ladder. Hence, it is advisable to get experience in another field as well or start reading about a different industry of your choice which will also be important for your domain, and which could make you an attractive
    candidate for your dream job.

    (The author is principal, KPB Hinduja College, Mumbai)


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    The positive impact of parental involvement in the education of their children is well documented. Research has thrown light on its importance while recent studies have documented remarkable results. In the 1980s, the idea developed to draw the inputs of the parent as part of the remedial programme for children with inadequate early learning skills so that together with the learning support at school or the remedial centre, the child would stand to benefit. The parent was given guidance and training to carry out the remedial activities at home. This was known as Parents as Teachers programme, which is also referred to as Home Programme.

    A viable option

    A home programme is an individual educational programme (IEP) drawn up for the parent to carry out with the child at home. It consists of a list of goals supplied to the parent who is a facilitator in the teaching of the child with learning difficulties like dyslexia. The parent attempts to achieve the goals over a fixed time frame and the child is regularly assessed to ensure that learning is happening and change is recorded.

    The home programme is a viable option for parents who are willing and able. They may have done some minimal training in teaching or even completed a course in special education but need guided inputs on helping their children make significant progress in reading, spelling or whatever their area of difficulty is. Over the last two decades, home programmes have drawn great interest among committed parents and it is common to witness a massive turnaround in a child who has been under long-term home remedial programmes.

    This learning can be augmented by incorporating blended learning. Blended learning is a mixed mode method of teaching where a part of the face to face teaching is replaced by online content or web-enhanced instruction. This approach is beneficial for students, providing the convenience and flexibility associated with online learning, freeing up time for other activities. Blended learning also develops a skill set for each student that otherwise would not be possible in a classroom.

    Lets take the case of Kyla, who was not able to read or spell beyond two and three letter words when she was eight years old. After an assessment with a professional, it was shown that she had visual and auditory dyslexia. This explained her difficulty to benefit from routine methods of teaching. Her mother swung into action and enrolled for a course in teaching children with learning disabilities, while simultaneously enrolling Kyla for a home programme so that she could give her child a sound, professionally guided remedial programme.

    Every month, the goals were updated and informal assessments continued as the child gradually picked up reading and then spelling. What ensued was a phenomenal success story. The remedial home programme paid off and the child successfully completed her schooling through National Institute of Open Schooling and has gone on to study graphic designing in Singapore. While the concept of blended learning had not yet surfaced at that time, the same scenario remains for many children who today could benefit from this kind of learning methodology.

    Beneficial outcomes

    While blended learning has its own challenges, the benefits are not to be bypassed. This is particularly true in a country like India where access to remedial services are very difficult, classrooms are unmonitored and unsuitable for children with dyslexia to survive without learning support, and where digital platforms are increasingly serving as tools for information and knowledge. Blended learning offers hope to millions who are dyslexic and are in risk of developing social and behavioural issues. Here are some ways that blended learning can help students:

    * While the home programme is limited - as in, it only outlines goals and may suggest activities but largely leaves the bulk of responsibility on the parent - a blended learning programme could explore the childs potential in exacting ways like individually prepared word lists, worksheets and detailed guidelines for the parent on implementation.

    * It also provides a platform for continuous interaction and intervention whenever needed. If trained teachers were to adopt the blended learning programme, then many more children could benefit.

    * As classrooms are sometimes overcrowded, children are left behind in basic skills like reading. While some are identified but do not receive help, others remain overlooked till secondary factors like behavioural issues crop up. Even for children who are identified and assessed, finding a trained person to provide a remedial programme within reasonable travelling distance and affordability becomes difficult.

    * Blended learning also offers time flexibility. This allows teachers to feed in information at his or her convenience in an online platform and the child can log on and access the work at a suitable time.

    * Face to face interactions are very much a part of the whole deal, just with the additional provision of online resources to further facilitate the process. Many parents are committed to their childs progress and are imploring learning support personnel to guide them in teaching their children.

    The case for blended learning remains to be implemented in India in order to be evaluated for its benefits. Pilot studies show that blended learning is essential in school education and is a method to bring educational advantages to all students, urban as well as rural. Though theorists may be sceptical, professionals at the grass root level will attest to its need.

    Blended learning should be used as a tool rather than a means and should only supplement rather than uphold an entire programme. At the end of the day, if it serves the purpose of indirectly contributing to the childs progress, then the world of education technology would have truly arrived.


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  • 01/30/18--23:36: Those good old days
  • This photograph was taken in 1960 when I was in H A Sanitary Board Middle School at Yemalur, near HAL Airport. Hindi was not a part of our regular class syllabus but the students had to register with Mysore Hindi Prachara Parishath, Pampamhakavi Road, Chamarajapet, Bengaluru, for classes like Prathama, Madhyama, Pravesha and Uttama. I successfully completed pravesha pariksha under the guidance of my teachers. I was born at Muthanallur, Anekal Taluk and later my family shifted to Bellandur. After completing middle school. I joined Acharya Patashala, Narasimha Raja Colony, behind the famous Bull Temple, Basavanagudi. I remember in 1960s that there were no proper roads. I had to cross barren and waste lands to board the school bus to reach Acharya Patshala in N R Colony.

    After my education, I joined Industrial Training Institute at Bannerghatta Circle (Diary Circle) and completed my ITI successfully. In 1963, I joined Indian Army, EME and was trained in both Military warfare and technical aspects at Bolaram, Secunderabad (Andhra Pradesh), now Telangana. After the successful completion of training, I was posted to areas like Sikkim, West Bengal and Jammu and Kashmir in the subsequent years of my service.

    I was discharged from the Indian Army Service on my request in 1973. In the same year, I joined Indian Telephone Industries Ltd., Dooravaninagar as a technician. We shifted to Halasuru and I remember that I used to cycle from Halasuru to ITI Ltd. It was cold and the roads were nearly empty. The tall-tree lined stretches across the city added to the charm.

    We would hang out in Lalbagh, Cubbon Park, Hesaraghatta, Halasuru Lake and Sankey Tank during the weekends. We would later enjoy a meal at MTR near Lalbagh and Vidhyarthi Bhavan in Gandhi Bazaar. We would move around the city in BTS (Bangalore Transport Service), now BMTC. There were double decker buses those days.

    Time has flown by, life styles have changed and people seem to have forgotten to sit together, talk, share and laugh. The citys quiet stretches have now become busy and the rushed pace has become a part of daily existence .


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    Sharmiela Mandre began her career in the Kannada film industry with Sajni. She found her feet after the success of Krishna with Ganesh. Some her other notable films include Navagraha, Venkata in Sankata, Kari Chirathe, Dhan Dhana Dhan and Mumtaz.

    She recently acted opposite Chiranjeevi Sarja in Aake and with Shivarajkumar in Leader. Sharmiela will be seen playing the role of a photographer in a yet-to-be-titled Kannada film.

    Inspiration
    Dr Murali Manohar
    "My uncle Dr Murali Manohar has been my mentor and guide. He has been instrumental in shaping my career and has been helping me make the right decisions when it comes to my career. He taught me patience. Another thing that I like about him is that he is an upfront person and doesnt mince words. He says what he thinks. My parents have also inspired me in different ways."

    Actor
    Audrey Hepburn
    "I have always looked up to actor Audrey Hepburn. She has maintained herself well and has inspired many a young actor. Her acting skills are phenomenal and I admire the way she carries herself. Theres also a sense of innocence about her that I like. She wonderfully balances her professional life with her commitment towards social work. Her Breakfast at Tiffanys is my all-time favourite."

    Author
    Paulo Coelho
    "I like Paulo Coelhos books because theres a sense of unpredictability about the subjects that he chooses. He always manages to infuse life into his writings. There are a few authors whose work is easily predictable and you know what is coming next, but Paulo has managed to keep that curiosity alive."


    Travel
    Cappadocia
    "Travel is one thing that I spend money on. I dont like visiting the same places again. So I make it a point to explore new destinations. But the one place that I would like to revisit is Cappadocia in Istanbul. The hot air balloon available there takes you around the city and that in itself is an unforgettable experience. Closer home, Coorg is one place that I would like to take off to whenever I get a chance. I go there whenever I want to spend some quiet time."

    Food
    Thin-crust pizza
    "I am a foodie and I love Mexican and Indonesian dishes. But if there is one thing that I cant get enough of its non-vegetarian thin-crust pizza. That is my comfort food and I generously help myself to it whenever I am feeling low. I also cant resist a South Indian thali and I am also most content with a plate of appam and stew."

    Music
    Frank Sinatra
    "I have always enjoyed listening to Frank Sinatras songs and I have lost count of the number of times, I have listened to Strangers in The Night. I listen to his songs especially when I am feeling low. It cheers me up. I also enjoy listening to tracks by Michael Jackson, ABBA and Elvis Presley. These musicians have created songs that are timeless and those that one never gets bored of listening to."


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    As shivers grip the market, investors worry about the implications of the social media restriction

    A Bengaluru restaurant recently began accepting bitcoins, signalling growing acceptance of the cryptocurrency. but with Facebook banning ads for cryptocurrencies on January 30, fears have resurfaced in a big way.

    Among investors, the buzzword is cryptocurrencies ---bitcoins being the most celebrated of them all---although not many understand how it all works. In Bengaluru, there has been a steady rise in investor interest. Facebook has now banned ads that promote cryptocurrencies.

    Vivek Belagavi, who heads financial services technology for PwC India, explains bitcoins are linked to blockchain technology, a software platform for digital assets. "When it comes to the future of the bitcoin, it is strongly linked to blockchain technology. Blockchain technology users are gaining traction," he told Metrolife.

    He sees potential in bitcoins, but has a word of caution when it comes to trading. "Trading in bitcoins should have the same level of market information and regulatory oversight as other instruments like securities," he says.

    About Facebook banning ads, he says, "It is linked with protection. If some countries are not allowing it, FB wouldnt want to be known as a platform promoting it. If it is a tradable asset, there should be investor protection."

    V Balakrishnan, founder and chairman, Exfinity Ventures, believes bitcoins are here to stay. "It is a fact that people are worried about the security layer while the government is concerned about illegal transactions. But these issues will be addressed," he says.

    He sees bitcoins evolving as an alternative asset group. "The Facebook ban on ads is fine as they dont want mis-selling of assets. Some of these could be shady," he says.

    Anupama Ramakrishnan


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    Women arent taking to driving cabs in a big way. Which means theres a road hump ahead for pink autos as well.

    Autos will soon come in pink. Equipped with GPS-enabled tracking and driven by women, the autos are driven by women, and meant exclusively for women passengers.

    Bengaluru already has a host of services in pink: cabs, Hoysala, and even seats on BMTC buses.

    The biggest challenge for pink cab services has been finding women drivers. Pink cabs were announced for the first time in India in Bengaluru, but not many are visible on the roads.

    Go Pink cabs are equipped with GPS, pepper spray, and panic buttons, and are meant exclusively for women passengers. In fact, the enterprise is women-driven.

    Anuradha B M, co-founder of Go Pink Premium Cabs, says hiring women cab drivers is not easy.

    "Our network reaches out to Whitefield and HSR Layout and we hope to expand our area of operations soon. But we need to find more drivers, and that has been a challenge," she says.

    Sharmista BS, a homemaker who uses cabs often, says pink cab services are not an option.

    "Since they are driven by women, they dont go everywhere and at all times. When the cab driver doesnt feel safe at work, how can a passenger be? These services need foolproof security systems," she says.

    Police vehicles
    Sowmya Prakash, project manager with an MNC, has seen pink Hoysalas parked across the city, but with men sitting inside.

    "More women should be present in the vehicles and the vehicles should be on patrol, not parked," she says.

    T Suneel Kumar, commissioner of Police, Bengaluru City says pink patrols now number 108.

    "Each pink Hoysala has a woman police officer or woman constables and two or three male personnel. Of 6,000 calls we get every day, about 400 to 500 require pink patrol intervention," he explains.

    Suneel Kumar says more vehicles are coming up with women police personnel.

    Pink seats on BMTC buses are welcome, but arent always used by women, says Swapna Narayanswamy, administrator and project coordinator with an MNC.

    "Most buses are crowded during peak time and one finds men sitting on womens seats," she observes.

    She calls for spot fines and stringent implementation of rules.

    Sharmista adds, "If pink autos are to come in, fixed and structured rates and distance-friendly rides should be assured to all passengers. Else the purpose is lost."


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    As shivers grip the market, investors worry about the implications of the social media restriction

    A Bengaluru restaurant recently began accepting bitcoins, signalling growing acceptance of the cryptocurrency. but with Facebook banning ads for cryptocurrencies on January 30, fears have resurfaced in a big way.

    Among investors, the buzzword is cryptocurrencies ---bitcoins being the most celebrated of them all---although not many understand how it all works. In Bengaluru, there has been a steady rise in investor interest. Facebook has now banned ads that promote cryptocurrencies.

    Vivek Belagavi, who heads financial services technology for PwC India, explains bitcoins are linked to blockchain technology, a software platform for digital assets. "When it comes to the future of the bitcoin, it is strongly linked to blockchain technology. Blockchain technology users are gaining traction," he told Metrolife.

    He sees potential in bitcoins, but has a word of caution when it comes to trading. "Trading in bitcoins should have the same level of market information and regulatory oversight as other instruments like securities," he says.

    About Facebook banning ads, he says, "It is linked with protection. If some countries are not allowing it, FB wouldnt want to be known as a platform promoting it. If it is a tradable asset, there should be investor protection."

    V Balakrishnan, founder and chairman, Exfinity Ventures, believes bitcoins are here to stay. "It is a fact that people are worried about the security layer while the government is concerned about illegal transactions. But these issues will be addressed," he says.

    He sees bitcoins evolving as an alternative asset group. "The Facebook ban on ads is fine as they dont want mis-selling of assets. Some of these could be shady," he says.


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  • 01/31/18--05:36: Those good old days
  • This photograph was taken in 1960 when I was in H A Sanitary Board Middle School at Yemalur, near HAL Airport. Hindi was not a part of our regular class syllabus but the students had to register with Mysore Hindi Prachara Parishath, Pampamhakavi Road, Chamarajapet, Bengaluru, for classes like Prathama, Madhyama, Pravesha and Uttama. I successfully completed pravesha pariksha under the guidance of my teachers. I was born at Muthanallur, Anekal Taluk and later my family shifted to Bellandur. After completing middle school. I joined Acharya Patashala, Narasimha Raja Colony, behind the famous Bull Temple, Basavanagudi. I remember in 1960s that there were no proper roads. I had to cross barren and waste lands to board the school bus to reach Acharya Patshala in N R Colony.

    After my education, I joined Industrial Training Institute at Bannerghatta Circle (Diary Circle) and completed my ITI successfully. In 1963, I joined Indian Army, EME and was trained in both Military warfare and technical aspects at Bolaram, Secunderabad (Andhra Pradesh), now Telangana. After the successful completion of training, I was posted to areas like Sikkim, West Bengal and Jammu and Kashmir in the subsequent years of my service.

    I was discharged from the Indian Army Service on my request in 1973. In the same year, I joined Indian Telephone Industries Ltd., Dooravaninagar as a technician. We shifted to Halasuru and I remember that I used to cycle from Halasuru to ITI Ltd. It was cold and the roads were nearly empty. The tall-tree lined stretches across the city added to the charm.

    We would hang out in Lalbagh, Cubbon Park, Hesaraghatta, Halasuru Lake and Sankey Tank during the weekends. We would later enjoy a meal at MTR near Lalbagh and Vidhyarthi Bhavan in Gandhi Bazaar. We would move around the city in BTS (Bangalore Transport Service), now BMTC. There were double decker buses those days.

    Time has flown by, life styles have changed and people seem to have forgotten to sit together, talk, share and laugh. The citys quiet stretches have now become busy and the rushed pace has become a part of daily existence .


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  • 01/31/18--15:52: Bulletin Board - Feb 1
  • Education Fair

    Representatives of Management Development Institute of Singapore will be in Bengaluru on February 1 to guide students who wish to pursue higher education in Singapore as a part of the education fair conducted by Edwise. The fair will have representatives offering counselling and one-on-one sessions for students aspiring to study in Singapore. To know more, visit www.mdis.edu.sg.

    Video internship

    GroomX is hiring interns for Video Making and Editing profile in Bengaluru. Students with knowledge of Adobe Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro and Video Editing & Makingcan apply by February 12. The stipend is Rs 8,000 per month. To apply, visit www.bit.ly/DH-208.

    Yale Young Global Scholars

    Yale University invites applications for Yale Young Global Scholars 2018 from students between the ages of 15 and 17. A student must have one or two years to complete high school after they attend the programme. The last date to apply is February 6. For more details, visit www.bit.ly/2FkAAqC.

    MSc Sustainable Engineering

    The University of Strathclyde, Glasgow is inviting applications for MSc Sustainable Engineering: Offshore Renewable Energy course starting in September 2018. For more details, visit www.bit.ly/1R3Menx.

    Business courses

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

    Business Analytics course

    Virginia Tech India Research and Education Forum has launched a one-year postgraduate programme in Business Analytics. The programme, which starts this month, is accepting applications from students and working professionals. For more details, visit www.vtindia.res.in or email admissions@vtindia.res.in.

    Media courses

    Pearl Academy has introduced two new undergraduate courses, Media & Communication and Advertising & Marketing for the academic year beginning in July 2018. Both these courses are of three years duration. The last date to apply is April 14. For more details, visit www.pearlacademy.com.

    Graphic design contest

    Internshala has launched the second edition of Internshala Graphic Design Contest in association with PUMA for students who wish to advance their careers in the field of graphic designing. The last date to enrol is February 4. To participate, visit www.internshala.com/i/8750.

    Executive PGDM

    IMI New Delhi announces admissions to its Executive Post Graduate Diploma in Management for the academic year 2018-2019. The course content is tailored to cater to the needs of experienced middle level managers who wish to take up leadership roles. The last date to submit the application is February 12. For more details, visit www.admission.imi.edu.

    Science courses

    Indian School of Business & Finance (ISBF) invites students to apply for its three-year BSc courses in Economics and allied subjects. The last date to apply is April 25. For more details, visit www.isbf.edu.in.

    Postgraduate fellowship

    The University of South Florida (USF) has announced the launch of APJ Abdul Kalam Postgraduate Fellowship. The student award is open to an exemplary Indian student who has graduated from or is about to graduate from an Indian university and is seeking to pursue a PhD degree in specified Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics programmes at USF. The last date to apply is March 15, 2018. For more details, visit www.usf.edu/world.

    Ashoka University admissions

    Admissions to Ashoka University are now open for the current round which will close on April 2, 2018. You can apply for a three-year BA (Hons) or BSc (Hons) degree from a range of pure and interdisciplinary majors. For more information, email admissions@ashoka.edu.in.

    Management courses

    The World University of
    Design (WUD) has announced admissions for 2018-2019 session for its Management programmes.

    The last date to submit applications is April 2. For more details, visit www.bit.ly/2rWjQDo.

    International scholarships

    Newcastle University is offering 200 partial Vice-Chancellors International Scholarships to assist international students to study an undergraduate degree or postgraduate Masters degree.
    For more details, visit www.bit.ly/2nuCZXF or email scholarship.applications@ncl.ac.uk.

    Design courses

    The Indian Institute of Art and Design (IIAD), in collaboration with Kingston University, London, is offering full-time four-year BA programmes in Communication Design, Interior Architecture & Design and Fashion Design. The last date to apply is March 31, 2018. For more details, visit www.iiad.edu.in.

    MSc course

    University of Southampton, UK opens applications for its MSc in Unmanned Systems Design programme. The course will begin in September 2018. Although applications deadline is June 30, 2018, early applications by February 28, 2018 are advisable. For more details, visit www.bit.ly/29DGuoJ or email PGTapply.FEE@soton.ac.uk.

    Breakthrough Generation Fellowship

    The Breakthrough Institute invites applications for Breakthrough Generation Fellowship 2018 from final-year undergraduates, college graduates and postgraduates. Participants from any country can apply for the scholarship.

    This is a 10-week fellowship programme, between June and August. The last date to apply is February 13. For more details, visit www.bit.ly/2nrEqWS.


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  • 01/31/18--15:54: Have a strong sense of self
  • Dear Madam,

    I am a 14-year-old boy. Though I like to hang out with my friends, I get into fights very quickly. Also, if someone hurts me I get an urge to hurt him back. My mother says that this
    attitude is not good. Also, I am not comfortable sharing my feelings with anyone else except my mother because I feel that people judge me on that. Is it good or not? Please guide.

    Rahul

    Dear Rahul,

    I am very happy that you reached out to me for help. It requires a lot of courage to reach out for help, but you have absolutely done the right thing. It is quite normal for friends to fight to some extent because there will always be some disagreements and conflicts. So some fighting is normal, and you can also agree to disagree. Being friends does not mean that you have to agree about everything. However, it is important to be self-reflective and try and understand why you feel the need to fight. Is there another way of expressing your point of view without it ending up in a fight? Do you feel that you are not heard unless you talk loudly and aggressively?

    We cannot control what people say and do, to us and about us. However, we can control how we react and respond to what people do and say. When someone hurts us, we can choose to hang on to the hurt, not forgive them, and let the need to be revengeful eat us from the inside. Or we can choose to let them know that we did not appreciate their behaviour and then move on. Often we feel we should not forgive someone because we dont want to let them off the hook. But the reality is the need to be revengeful actually destroys us more than the other person.

    Also, we tend to feel hurt when someone says something about us. But most of the time what the world says to us is a reflection of what we internally feel about ourselves. And when someone says it out aloud we get hurt because we think that the world now knows our secret reality. However, if we feel strong and capable about ourselves, and believe in ourselves, then we are able to disregard what other people say because we know it is not true. Remember, just because someone says something about you that does not become the truth, unless we think that it is the truth.

    I have covered a lot and hope it has been helpful. However, if these are issues you may be struggling with, it will be helpful for you to talk to a counsellor who can help you understand this better. You could either meet someone personally, or even call the Parivarthan Counselling Helpline at 76766 02602 where you can speak to a counsellor for free.

    Dear Madam,

    I have a son who is studying in VIII standard. He is a smart boy and his IQ was also good earlier. But for the past three years, his concentration and presentation skills have become very poor. I have tried many methods to help him but it has not yielded results so far. He also gets distracted in the classes. I believe he should gain knowledge more than just getting a good score in the exams. Unfortunately, he is not showing interest in anything. Please suggest how I can help boost his confidence.

    Charitha

    Dear Charitha,

    Please take him to a psychiatrist or clinical psychologist for an assessment. This may not necessarily be something that is within his control and that he is doing willingly. Please get the help of professionals so that you can truly support him. With the right support and guidance he will be able to get back on track. I am not necessarily saying there may be a problem, just that the path forward is very different if there is a problem and if there isnt, you should know which path to go down. All the best.

    Dear Madam,

    Of late, my 14-year-old daughter has started comparing her situation with her peers - eating habits, clothing, travel plans, etc. I want to convince her that is not in good spirit as every individual is different. Please guide.

    A mother

    Dear mother,

    It is very normal for adolescents to be influenced by peers in all aspects of life. That is why it becomes so important to give them a strong sense of self and help them build their self-esteem and self-confidence. Getting her some help from a counsellor at this stage can reap rich dividends as it will help her develop a different perspective. Also, be mindful of the example you are setting for her. Children most often do what they experience and see, not what is told to them. As parents are you exhibiting similar concerns and anxieties about your peers.

    Dear Madam,

    I am a BSc student. Though I am intelligent and liked by everyone, I am very conscious about my looks. This affects my performance in the college, particularly in cultural activities. Also, I am a bit concerned if girls like me or not. Is it normal in this age?

    Akash

    Dear Akash,

    It is very normal for youth of your age to be concerned about being liked by members of the opposite sex. The important thing to focus on though is to like yourself, not worry so much about what others are thinking about you. Whether someone else likes you or not, you must like yourself. You cannot control what others think of you, and it is not important. However, you can control what you think of yourself and that is very important. The universe eventually reflects back to you what you think and feel about yourself. Also, it is way more important to be liked by others for the person that you are, rather than for your good looks. Attraction based on looks is short-lived. So, focus instead on being beautiful on the inside.

    Dear Madam,

    We have put our daughter in an open school. She asks too many questions and sometimes they sound really silly. Also, she has the habit disrupting the discussion if she has some knowledge about the topic. Many times, she doesnt contribute much to the discussion but spoils the flow. While we feel proud about her inquisitive nature many a time, we have many awkward moments as well. So far, we have always appreciated her ability to ask questions, though sometimes we have stopped her from interfering. Please guide me as to how we can go about to use her trait constructively.

    Confused parents

    Dear parents,

    I do hope your daughter does not read this column because the way your question is framed, she will feel badly judged and put down. A child does not always have to ask intelligent questions? And who are we to judge whether a question is intelligent enough or not? In the words of Carl Sagan, "There are naïve questions, tedious questions, ill-phrased questions, questions put after inadequate self-criticism. But every question is a cry to understand the world. There is no such thing as a dumb question." There is no stupid question because stupid people dont ask questions.

    What is the contribution that you are looking for from her? What is the flow that she is spoiling? These are questions to ask of yourself and introspect. What is holding you back from accepting her the way she is and celebrating her curiosity, her desire to participate, and her desire to understand the world. Are you able to accept her unconditionally and non-judgmentally, and if not, then why not?


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    The environment is a popular topic of discussion today, and the concept of recycling construction materials has become more important than ever before. Currently, most of the construction waste is transported by open trucks and dispersed in the nearby areas.

    We often see construction debris dumped along the roadside without any proper provision for disposal.

    For sustainable development in the construction industry, there is this massive need to reduce the diminution of natural resources, reduce disposal of construction and demolition (C&D) waste into landfills, and encourage recycling and reuse of C&D waste.

    Why recycle?

    Recycling C&D materials can bring in significant benefits for our environment. Million tons of asphalt pavements and concrete are generated annually. If recycled, it would save a lot of energy. In addition to saving energy, recycling can also keep all the debris out of the landfills. Poorly managed landfills face a number of operational hitches and groundwater contamination.Such challenges can become quite expensive in the future, but recycling construction waste can help circumvent them.

    In addition, recycling offers financial benefits for construction business owners. There are many recyclers who charge very little to accept construction waste, which can be reprocessed, particularly if it is separated from other materials. Furthermore, recycling can decrease your material transportation and dumping costs.

    Recycling is essentially transporting debris and other waste to the recycling facility; these facilities can use it for different purposes. The waste is either processed to form the same material or is re-purposed.

    So, what can be recycled? Well, the list of construction waste which can be recycled is ever-changing. Technological advancements are creating opportunities to recycle more and more C&D materials instead of sending them to landfills. Here are few options for recycling and reusing construction materials instead of discarding them:

    Concrete: Demolitions, road paving and other projects containing concrete produce thousands of tons of waste every year. Concrete can be broken down and recycled as the base course for building footpaths and driveways, and also be recycled into markets which use crushed stone.

    Asphalt: Every year, thousands of cubic yards of asphalt pavement and shingles are disposed of. Waste asphalt can be crushed and recycled into new asphalt for paved roads. Recycling asphalt pavement generates large energy savings as a result of the energy-intensive process of producing asphalt binder from oil.

    Gypsum: Gypsum recyclers remove any contaminants like screws and nails and separate the paper from gypsum. After that, it can be grounded into powder or turned into pellets, which can be sold to manufacturers who use gypsum for different applications.

    Wood: Annually, a considerable amount of waste is generated from wood framing and other wood products. Clean, unprocessed wood can be used as timber or grounded and used to produce engineered board, mulch and boiler fuel.

    Metals: Metallic waste is engendered by cut/fall-offs, which remain after materials are trimmed to fit particular areas. Metals can be melted down and converted into new metal products. They can also be sold for scrap. Common recyclable metals comprise copper, steel, and aluminium.

    How do you incorporate it in your plan?

    Recycling isnt just about putting your plastic containers or aluminium cans in the blue bin. What about the building materials in your home? Are they contributing to the environment negatively? There are several benefits for you and the construction companies if you incorporate construction material recycling into the building plan. Here are a few:

    Reduces greenhouse gas emissions: Recycling construction waste helps in reducing the production of greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants by decreasing the need to extract raw materials and transport new materials to long distances.

    Saves landfill space: Recycling lessens the need for new landfills and their related costs.
    Saves energy: By eliminating the need to extract and manufacture new raw materials, a lot of energy can be saved. This also reduces the environmental impact.

    Saves money: By reducing transportation cost, disposal costs, and the cost of new construction materials, a lot of money can be saved.

    Why build green?

    The construction industry is the second largest producer of greenhouse gases and demolition waste. How do you think we pay for this loss? The answer is: with sustainable architecture. This kind of architecture strives to minimise the destructive impact that buildings are having on the environment today.

    Green buildings use less energy, natural resources and produce less waste and greenhouse gases. Such buildings are healthy for the people living or working inside as compared to the regular structures present in the country. Building green is just not about building efficiently, but its about creating buildings which optimise the use of local and recycled materials, local ecology, and most importantly, built to reduce power, material and water requirements.

    So, what are you waiting for? Lets make earth a better place! One way or another, recycling is the way of the future.

    (The author is marketing manager, Wienerberger India)


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    The fast pace of our contemporary lifestyle has most of us burning the candle at both ends. With limited time, we are constantly on the lookout for tips on how to reduce the time we spend in the kitchen. As we enter a new year, many of us will be prioritising our resolutions, cultivating new hobbies, and putting in place a roadmap to living a more fulfilling 2018. The best way to free up more time for these pursuits is to spend less time in the kitchen. For this, it is crucial to have the right cooking tools and gadgets to make life easier.

    Cooking becomes a much more pleasurable experience when we take away the laborious and time-consuming element from the preparation work. Today, kitchen appliance brands are listening to their customers and paying heed to their needs by coming out with a plethora of products to help the home chef. Kitchen tools high on innovation and packed with features is the answer to your problems.

    What are some of the interesting tools out there that can help you speed up your cooking? Here are some essentials.

    Every Indian kitchen needs a vegetable cutter, as vegetables are an important part of our diet. A vegetable cutter ensures that the vegetables are chopped in a fine manner and saves the time and effort of the cook and significantly reduces the preparation time.

    It is also crucial that every kitchen has an electric chopper to make light of tedious tasks like chopping onions, mincing meat and cutting fruits.

    Rotis, a staple in every Indian home, are tedious to prepare. A roti-maker can help you make fluffy and round rotis. The roti-maker kneads the dough as well, thereby saving a lot of effort and taking away the hassle of kneading the dough yourself.

    The key to saving time and effort is to opt for kitchen gadgets that can multi-task. Normally, we use multiple cookwares like kadais, handis or pressure cookers to cook a complex dish. But go for an appliance such as a clip-on pressure cooker, which offers the options of sauteing, steaming, frying, boiling and pressure cooking all in one pan itself. Indeed, the humble pressure cooker has undergone a huge transformation.

    The rice cooker is another such gadget that should have a place of pride in every Indian kitchen. From rice to porridge, soup, stew, pulao, idlis and steamed vegetables, this multi-functional gadget truly takes away the hassle of cooking.

    And if you happen to be a novice cook, then consider a microwave pressure cooker that offers an exceptionally speedy experience. Enjoy delicious home-cooked food with zero effort. The microwave pressure cooker can be used for cooking, heating or even steaming, thus allowing an escape from the hassle of the morning rush. All you need to do is put the contents in the cooker, place it in the microwave and set the timer.

    Make 2018 your best year ever and ensure that you have plenty of time to pursue new endeavours by making sure your kitchen gadgets work for you.

    (The author is executive vice president, TTK Prestige Ltd.)


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  • 01/31/18--21:44: Get on the floor!
  • A great renovation calls for change in colours of the wall, new furniture and a unique interior theme. A major factor which is often ignored is the floor. Cliched white marble floors are everywhere and are rather outdated. This year, replace your flooring with an array of options available and update your home:

    Cork: Cork is the material that you find as the closing mouthpiece for a wine bottle. Corks act as a good material for floors and especially your homes since they are all-natural. Corks are made from the bark of the oak tree and also have antimicrobial properties, which reduce allergens at home. They are fire-resistant and easy to maintain. Also, their lifespan ranges from 10-30 years.

    Bamboo: Another natural flooring which is gaining popularity is bamboo flooring. Bamboo is not actually wood but a grass that acts like hardwood. It is easy to maintain and install in your home. Also, the material is light and can come in different hues.

    Reclaimed wood: Reclaimed wood is basically recycled wood from old beams, antique floors and old logs, but it could be expensive because of a short supply. But a similar texture can be achieved for a lesser price and is more durable.

    Glass tiles: Recycled glass from wine bottles and beer bottles can be converted into beautiful glass tiles. These tiles can be used as flooring as well as on the bathroom and kitchen walls.

    An advantage of using this type of renewable option is the fact that these tiles are non-absorptive and wont catch mould in a damp environment, making it easy to maintain, and it wont stain!

    Concrete: Polished concrete is gaining popularity as an innovative sustainable
    material for homes. Traditionally, concrete is a layer put before the actual flooring is placed. But when the concrete is polished and made according to homeowners taste, nothing needs to be put over it. Hence, this type of polished concrete is durable, easy to clean and never needs to be replaced.

    Rubber: This type of flooring that is made from recycled tires is found mainly in local gyms and neighbourhood playgrounds. But now, it is slowly creeping into our kitchens and bathrooms. Rubber flooring is not only easy to walk on but is water-resistant too, making it durable and long-lasting.

    Carpet flooring: Carpet flooring is one of the most affordable forms of flooring and its quite trendy to have it in your bedroom or living room. With advancement in technology, carpets are becoming better in terms of quality and texture. It also makes for warm spaces in your home.


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    Often, we notice animal heads or rugs made of animal hide as decor pieces in homes; they boast of jungle encounters and tell tales of the past generation. Displaying animal decor is a sign of love for animals, but it does not mean one has to hunt real animals. If youre an animal lover, dont shy away from displaying animal decor in your home as it reflects your passion for animals.

    Now, if youre not sure about the animal-inspired decor ideas and if they will blend in well in your home, worry not, take it one step at a time. Gradually, you will be able to get creative and feel comfortable in your space.

    To begin with, simply throw in a cowhide rug on the floor and pair it with metallic accents. Or, place a metallic animal figurine on a nightstand to add some animal feel. Animal prints can draw a lot of attention when used in the living room, study or bedroom.

    Living den

    Make your guests feel like royalty by getting a seat upholstered in tiger-print fabric. Or, incorporate these prints into a royal chair, where you can sink in for a good read. Use a lot of spots and stripes to incorporate the jungle feel. Experiment with furniture and get your stool legs done in the shape of an elephant or horse feet.

    Such items will not only look classy but can be treasured heirloom pieces. Furniture designer Arushi Thapliyal says, "Consider a side table decked up in shades of black and grey, making it a versatile element that camouflages into a variety of colour schemes. Place it in the centre and make a bold statement. Tuck it away to the side and it adds visual interest to an otherwise empty corner."

    Versatile & bold

    Animal prints are the easiest to incorporate. You can use them on cushion covers, upholstery, table runners and table mats. Animal designs printed on cushion covers is an in thing these days and one can actually choose from a variety of designs of birds, dogs, bunnies and tuskers.

    Mohini Shastri says, "I love the black and white stripes of the zebra and have a zebra-print rug in my study. It actually adds flair to the study room and sets the tone for reading and writing. The directional lines inspire focus."

    But if youre spoiled for a choice of prints, then simply pair a striking animal print with neutral background tones. There are many options in the market from a tiger rug to a cowhide ottoman to zebra prints. You can have them around black or white settings to create an animal appeal. You may want to use certain colours to make way for certain animal print decor items or animal print upholstered furniture. Deep oranges, tans, browns and deep greens set a perfect jungle theme for you to embellish with knick-knacks and fittings.

    Cosy rugs

    While real hide rugs are not a home accessory anymore, you can use synthetic and machine-made rugs for your space. Look for tiger-striped or leopard-spotted rugs and see how beautifully they gel, or even better, camouflage with the surroundings.

    Keep in mind that faux hides can be difficult to clean at home, so its best that they are placed in a low-traffic area and it can steal the show. Its about experimenting and introducing newer elements with time. Gradually, you would develop a decor that speaks your mind. For those still hesitant of prints, animal patterns dont have to be in-your-face to make an impact. "For a client who was hesitant in using animal prints, but really liked the concept, I suggested cheetah print chairs with raised spots. We kept the fabric a subtle yellow to not make a bold statement and yet make for an elegant seating," shares Arushi.

    Break the monotony

    If youre someone who goes for the simple black or white decor, animal decor will be easier to incorporate into your space. Get some spotty cheetah or jaguar prints or jungle prints to refresh simple tones. A dash of the print can also climb up the wall or stairway through photo frames, wallpapers or ceiling colours. One can use animal prints liberally on duvets, upholstery, rugs, bed sheets or bathroom tiles. "My family loves animals and we have a background of military forefathers. Bringing the huntsmans chivalry and our love for animals together, I have incorporated animal patterns as and where I could," says Navleen Mehta.

    Make it stand out

    Go bold in using stripes, polka dots and animal prints. The trick is to keep the print small enough to avoid any visual disturbance. If youre uncomfortable with mixing and matching, purchase pieces one at a time and grow the room as you see fit. There are no set rules for home decor, youre the king or queen of your home, so design it the way you like it best.


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  • 01/31/18--21:44: A case of the double sink
  • The kitchen in Indian homes is a sacred space, an important part of every home. Its where our meals are prepared, and the dishes washed. In effect, we end up spending a significant amount of time in the kitchen. In such a scenario, a convenient kitchen would really help. So, how about accommodating two sinks in the kitchen? Yes, this two-sink concept is trending in our country now, though it is very popular abroad.

    A simple concept, wherein two sinks are designed side by side in a kitchen, as opposed to one. A double-sink bowl offers the option of washing the dishes in one, and thawing and washing vegetables, meat and fruits, in the other. You can also use the sinks to segregate vegetarian and non-vegetarian food items while preparing to cook the meals. These sinks also come with a drier, thereby allowing you dry your dishes.

    The advantages of a two-sink kitchen are aplenty, especially when you dont have a dishwasher. For instance, you can prioritise cooking over doing the dishes; place heavy utensils or dishes in one, and use the other sink for other purposes; divide the tasks among family members, thereby saving time. Such intelligent kitchen ideas, based on our lifestyle and convenience, are a welcome addition in an urban set up where we are hardpressed for time.

    In the two-sink space, there are a variety of options available in the market. While the premium brands are offering double-bowl sinks in various models, two separate sinks can be bought and put together with a countertop, which allows you a say in the size of the sinks, depending on the space available and individual requirements.

    Agreed, the cost of the double-bowl sink can be quite prohibitive, but the convenience it offers makes up for it. That said, if this idea is executed with proper planning, it is definitely worth the effort.


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