Delhi Correspondent

Please click on the headings to see the stories


Century ago pictures of life in India
Romancing the Tiger
Delhi Planters Welfare Association

The Story of Discoveries
Curries UK

No dry days in this part of the World
Deals brewing over a cuppa in Africa
City's oldest Church stands under her family Tree
Antique photographs
Corbett's Birthday Treat

Whisky,Delhi's new Wine
Gourmet Tea Sales
More Circa 70's parties
Sunday Lunch Circa 1970's
Nigel Hankin

Posh Spice
It's Hinglish Innit
A Diehard fan gets under bruce's skin
India's Rickshaws
Ageing Brain protected by Curry
DevDas Cameron
Coffee brand replaces Sikh Image
The Royce Rolls back
John Kenneth Galbraith
255 years on Clives pet dies in Kolkata Zoo
Patten Daughter & Dad
Assam renamed
God's to decide Ski Resort fate
Empire's last daughter in the Limelight
Alfred Ford
Oldest surviving locomotive
Assam digs up Stillwell Tree
Harrods Chinese Tea
Interesting Delhi pictures
Stories of Teeth and Tea
Bengal Tea to Tourism
Here's ringing in the old
Low Costs lure foreigners to India
Kimberley Outsources Daddy
Sunday Sentiments

Leh Berry
Outsource religion
Ideal Place for people to retire to
Major Balston


April 5 2015



Chaayos was born in November 2012 out of this premise - a contemporary interpretation of the chai adda, serving freshly made chai. Our focus is on serving your "Meri Wali Chai", a chai made exactly to our customers' liking the minute they place their order - be it an adrak tulsi kadak chai or a paani kam elaichi cinnamon chai. Our option of 12 add-ons gives our customers a total of over 12,000 ways to make their chai at Chaayos.
Nitin Saluja
Sunshine Teahouse Pvt. Ltd
Founded: November 2012
Nitin Saluja. Photo: Ramesh Pathania/Mint
When Nitin Saluja graduated from IIT-Bombay and moved to Houston, US, to work for Opera Solutions in 2007, the thing he missed the most was a good cup of chai, especially after an Indian meal. A few years and much research into Indian tea later, he decided to come back home in 2012 to launch Chaayos in Gurgaon, along with co-founder Raghav Verma.
“Our Indian palates are not compatible with delicate teas. Our objective is simple, ‘Hum humaari chai aapko pilana nahin chahte, aapki chai pilana chahte hain’ (We don’t want to make you drink our kind of tea, we want to give you your kind of tea),” said Saluja.
Each cup of tea is priced between Rs. 38 and Rs. 85, depending on the kind of tea leaves used. Interesting add-ons like saunf (fennel), ajwain (carom seeds) and kali mirch (pepper) add to the flavour.
Sunshine Tea House raised approximately Rs. 2 crore from Powai Lake Ventures in March; Saluja plans to use the money to open at least five more stores in Delhi NCR by the end of the year.

Storm in a saucer

Chai StopLemon tea at Chaayos
Chai Stop Lemon tea at Chaayos

Not everything needs to happen over a cup of coffee, tea can also work wonders. Two IIT graduates, Nitin Saluja and Raghav Verma, believe firmly in this philosophy. Their passion and love for chai made them leave their well-paying jobs to start a chain of outlets called “Chaayos”.

Being a chai person, what could be better than reviewing a dedicated tea café? I was impressed to see the two-level tea café at the Galleria market in Gurgaon packed with tea enthusiasts. The menu is simple yet exciting. Chaayos offers 25 variants of some crazy concoctions of tea. Apart from the classic teas such as Earl Grey, Darjeeling and jasmine, their special teas are also worth a try. I started with Chaayos’ version of desi chai, which comes with the option of 12 add-ons. They include tulsi, adrak, elaichi, cinnamon, ajwain, kali mirch, saunf, mint, laung, moti elaichi and hari mirch. But the best part of the chai was that I was able to differentiate the flavours of each ingredient. For me it’s a master recipe as it is very difficult to maintain the balance of so many strong ingredients.

Gods Chai, a take on the Himalayan tea, had an altogether different aroma and taste. Rose cardamom, an attempt to get flavour out of the two robust aromas, needed a tweak as cardamom totally suppressed the rose flavour. In half an hour I sipped ten odd flavours, each leaving me with its own impression.

Chai for me is incomplete without wai . I mean rusk, sandwiches or biscuits to dip in. And Chaayos doesn’t disappoint with these too, offering some cool roadside stuff such as keema pav, vada pav, bun maska, rusk in a hygienic packing.

Even their innovations such as a maggi sandwich and nutella sandwich in multi-grain bread are among the favourites with the youngsters. People who don’t want to taste the flavourful teas can sip some refreshing fruit shakes, Modinagar shikanji and mint lemonade. Getting the masala sourced from Modinagar, according to Raghav, has helped to retain the authentic flavour of the famous shikanji. But I liked the lemonade better; it had the wonderfully soothing green colour of fresh mint and an icy cool effect — perfect to beat the heat of Delhi in the coming months.

Price: Rs 41 onwards.



March 14 2015    

We are indebted to Kailash Chaurasia for sending this interesting historical collection of life in India a century ago

Amazing collection of photographs depicting life in India
a century ago are found in an old shoebox. A tennis
party pose among tea trolleys:
full-length dresses and sun hats for the ladies; shirt-sleeve order,
neat moustaches and optional pipe for the men.

One image shows buildings in the city of Calcutta lit up over the
Lal Dighi body of water, commemorating a British royal visit,
while another depicts ships arriving at the Chandpal Ghat,
the main landing site for visitors to the city along
the Hooghly River.

All 178 of the plate-glass negatives were found inside a size-nine
Peter Lord shoebox by the Royal Commission on the Ancient and
Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS) in Edinburgh.
All 178 images were found in a Peter Lord shoe-box
in Edinburgh and are about 100 years old.

A tennis party poses (one, far right, with a pipe) among tea trolleys in this photo
taken in India around a century ago.

Two men stick dance in front of a crowd in Maidan,
Calcutta. The dance represents a mock fight between
legendary warrior Durga and the mighty demon
king Mahishasura.


Buildings on the south-east side of Lal Dighi, Calcutta,
lit at night for the 1912 British royal visit by
King George V and Queen Mary.

Archivists have confirmed some of the images were
definitely taken in 1912, when the royals visited.
It was the only trip by a British monarch to India
as Emperor of the subcontinent.


King George V and the Queen arrive in Delhi in 1911.


A crowded riverside with bathers at Chandpal Ghat
in Calcutta, the main landing site for visitors to the city
along the Hooghly River.

A street scene in an unknown location, capturing life in
India at least a century ago.

Ships arriving at Chandpal Ghat, while crowds gather
by the docks.


A Jain temple complex in Calcutta called Dadaji's Temple.
even today it is a sight-seeing place for visitors.


A street hairdresser giving a 'Hindustani haircut' (pudding bowl)
in Strand Road South, Calcutta.


Celebrations for the visit of King George V and Queen Mary
to Calcutta in 1912.

A Muhurram (sacred month) procession through a crowded
Calcutta street with tazieh theatre performance in the
background. Tazieh drama re-enacts heroic tales
of love and sacrifice. 


A group seated in two ferry canoes moored in
a stream at an unknown location.


Waterside with a group of washer-men at a Dhobighat
(open-air laundry zone).

july 27 2012

Romancing the tiger

Nilanjana Dalmia

Jul 25, 2012, 12.00AM IST

Living in the home of a legend that still reverberates

Today is the birth anniversary of legendary hunter-conservationist and author
Jim Corbett. Corbett is a national symbol for conservation and a source of inspiration for wildlife lovers all over the world. But he's also dominated my own life at a very personal level quite by accident, for Corbett's residence in Nainital has been my family home for generations.

In 1870, Mary Jane Corbett took a site on Ayarpatta hill and built a dwelling on it. She called it 'Gurney House'. By her will dated March 3, 1899, she bequeathed the Gurney House estate to her daughter, Margaret Winifred Corbett, popularly known as Maggie. Maggie's brother, Jim, also lived in Gurney House whenever he was not away to the jungles of Kumaon. When Maggie and Jim decided to leave India for Kenya in 1947, they began to look for a buyer for their beloved home.

My grandfather, Sharda Prasad Varma, belonged to a prominent zamindari family in Bihar. He was the youngest Indian barrister ever from Cambridge University. My grandmother, Kalavati Varma, was the sister of well-known industrialist and member of Lord Wavell's Council, Sir J.P. Srivastava. With their cultured upbringing and exposure to Anglicised lifestyles, the Varmas perhaps gave Jim and Maggie the feeling that Gurney House would be in safe hands. Thus, by a registered deed of sale made and executed on November 21, 1947, Margaret Winifred Corbett sold the Gurney House estate along with its possessions to Kalavati Varma.

My father, Prakash Kumar Varma, tells me that Corbett had several offers, some even higher. My grandfather's budget was Rs 40,000 while Corbett wanted Rs 55,000. Corbett did not budge from that figure, so my grandfather bargained and bought the property with all its possessions intact, making it a win-win situation for both sides. Jim and Maggie left behind all their possessions in Gurney House, including his hunting trophies, an African drum, Maggie's hand-embroidered chair and her piano, his boat, their 'dandi', fishing rod, books, crockery and furniture. Corbett also offered his winter home in Kaladungi, now the Corbett Museum, to my grandparents for just an additional Rs 5000! My grandfather refused to buy it because, at that time, it was located in the jungles of Kumaon and was not connected by road.

Likewise, my father tells me that his parents were keen to buy a house in Nainital so that they could educate their children in the prestigious schools of this hill station. My father's siblings studied there and the tradition continued with the next generation too. And so, when my father and his sisters decided to sell Gurney House because of old age and health problems, I stepped in and bought the estate in 2006, so that this jewel in the Kumaon hills would continue to remain a home for the family to visit and enjoy.

Today, Gurney House is one of the few English cottages in Ayarpatta that has not been converted into a modern bungalow or block of apartments. Six years ago, I undertook the house's restoration and sought to reinstate it in Corbett's legacy by commemorating his birth anniversary there every year. Corbett was a conservationist, a naturalist and, in his later years, a prolific writer. His books are well-loved classics. In fact, it is this gift of writing that keeps his legend alive today. It is fitting then, to remember Corbett on his birth anniversary through a celebration of the literary arts in his former home, with visiting authors, readings and panel discussions.

Indeed, nothing would make me happier than for Corbett's lovely cottage to become a centre for literature and literary scholarship over the years. It will always remain a private family home but will once again reverberate with words and ideas, as it did when one of the country's best-loved authors lived in it.



July 17 2012

.Delhi Planters Welfare Association

This was a photo taken a few years ago at Deepika's suggestion at the
conclusion of the Monthly Planters Welfare Association Executive
Committee Meeting held at Kailash's place. The Association has no
premises so has to depend on members to provide/arrange venue
of it's social get-togethers either in their home or elsewhere.,
During the year there is one golf do, an AGM, and five other dos in a
year. Plus Executive Committee Meetings are held once a month at
EC Members'homes . So Committee Members have as many as 19
get-togethers in a year!
In addition to the social part of the meetings there is also the ongoing
task of raising money for PWA causes.

The names in the Photo are shown below the picture


From left to right:

Chandn Kr. Uppal (Assam Company),    Bhushan Chhabra (Williamson Magor)

K N Chaurasia  (Moran Tea Company),    Roop Kumar Patney (Jokai India Ltd)

Arvind Malhotra, (Mylords),    Dipika Nanjappa,   Satyindra Maini (Williamson Magor)

Harinder Nath Chopra, (Goodricke Group Ltd)   Ranjit K Das, (Singlo Tea Company)

and  Vijay Mehra (Rydak Syndicate)

November 2, 2011

Click here to have a close look at the picture using Adobe Acrobat Reader.
You can zoom in to see the faces closer.

November 19, 2010
The story of "discoveries" is the story of chance. And so it was with Tea
--Now read on by
Clicking here to read the article

August 2 2010

Some interesting statistics on Curry houses in UK

To read please click here

July 17 2010

Another classic from Kailash and we thank him

It was probably the April of 1974. Bangalore was getting warm and Gulmohars were blooming
at the IISc campus. I was the only girl in my postgraduate department and was staying at the
ladies' hostel. Other girls were pursuing research in different departments of Science.
I was looking forward to going abroad to complete a doctorate in Computer science. I had
been offered scholarships from Universities in the US. I had not thought of taking up a job
in India.
One day, while on the way to my hostel from our lecture-hall complex, I saw an
advertisement on the notice board. It was a standard job-requirement notice from the
famous automobile company Telco (now Tata Motors). It stated that the company
required young, bright engineers, hardworking and with an excellent academic
background, etc.
At the bottom was a small line: 'Lady candidates need not apply.'
I read it and was very upset. For the first time in my life I was up against gender
Though I was not keen on taking up the job, I saw it as a challenge. I had done
extremely well in academics, better than most of my male peers.
Little did I know then that in real life academic excellence is not enough to
be successful.
After reading the notice I went fuming to my room. I decided to inform the topmost
person in Telco's management about the injustice the company was perpetrating.
I got a postcard and started to write, but there was a problem: I did not know who
headed Telco.
I thought it must be one of the Tatas. I knew JRD Tata was the head of the Tata Group;
I had seen his pictures in newspapers (actually, Sumant Moolgaokar was the
company's chairman then). I took the card, addressed it to JRD and started writing.
To this day I remember clearly what I wrote.
'The great Tatas have always been pioneers. They are the people who started the
basic infrastructure industries in India, such as iron and steel, chemicals, textiles
and locomotives. They have cared for higher education in India since 1900 and they
were responsible for the establishment of the Indian Institute of Science. Fortunately,
I study there. But I am surprised how a company such as Telco is discriminating
on the basis of gender'
I posted the letter and forgot about it. Less than 10 days later, I received a telegram
stating that I had to appear for an interview at Telco's Pune facility at the company's
expense. I was taken aback by the telegram. My hostel mate told me I should use the
opportunity to go to Pune free of cost and buy them the famous Pune saris for cheap!
I collected Rs 30 each from everyone who wanted a sari. When I look back, I feel like
laughing at the reasons for my going, but back then they seemed good enough to
make the trip.
It was my first visit to Pune and I immediately fell in love with the city.
To this day it remains dear to me. I feel as much at home in Pune as I do in Hubli,
my hometown. The place changed my life in so many ways. As directed, I went to
Telco's Pimpri office for the interview.
There were six people on the panel and I realised then that this was serious business.
'This is the girl who wrote to JRD,' I heard somebody whisper as soon as I entered
the room. By then I knew for sure that I would not get the job.The realisation abolished
all fear from my mind, so I was rather cool while the interview was being conducted.
Even before the interview started, I reckoned the panel was biased, so I told them,
rather impolitely, 'I hope this is only a technical interview.'
They were taken aback by my rudeness, and even today I am ashamed about  My  
attitude. The panel asked me technical questions and I answered all of them. 
Then an elderly gentleman with an affectionate voice told me, 'Do you know why we
said lady candidates need not apply? The reason is that we have never employed any
ladies on the shop floor. This is not a co-ed college;  this is a factory. When it comes
to academics, you are a first ranker throughout. We appreciate that, but people like
you should work in research laboratories..'
I was a young girl from small-town Hubli. My world had been a limited place.
I did not know the ways of large corporate houses and their difficulties, so I answered, '
But you must start somewhere, otherwise no woman will ever be able to work in
your factories.'
Finally, after a long interview, I was told I had been successful. So this was what
the future had in store for me. Never had I thought I would take up a job in Pune.
I met a shy young man from Karnataka there, we became good friends and we
got married.
It was only after joining Telco that I realized who JRD was: the uncrowned king
of Indian industry.. Now I was scared, but I did not get to meet him till I was
transferred to Bombay. One day I had to show some reports to Mr Moolgaokar,
our chairman, who we all knew as SM. I was in his office on the first floor of
Bombay House (the Tata headquarters) when, suddenly JRD walked in.
That was the first time I saw 'appro JRD'. Appro means 'our' in Gujarati.
This was the affectionate term by which people at Bombay House called him.
I was feeling very nervous, remembering my postcard episode. SM
Introduced me nicely, 'Jeh (that's what his close associates called him),
this young woman is an engineer and that too a postgraduate.
She is the first woman to work on the Telco shop floor.' JRD looked at me ....
I was praying he would not ask me any questions about my interview
(or the postcard that preceded it).
Thankfully, he didn't. Instead, he remarked. 'It is nice that girls are getting
into engineering in our country. By the way, what is your name?'
'When I joined Telco I was Sudha Kulkarni, Sir,' I replied. 'Now I am Sudha
Murthy..' He smiled and kindly smile and started a discussion with SM. As for
me, I almost ran out of the room.
After that I used to see JRD on and off. He was the Tata Group chairman and
I was merely an engineer. There was nothing that we had in common.
I was in awe of him.
One day I was waiting for Murthy, my husband, to pick me up after office
hours. To my surprise I saw JRD standing next to me. I did not know how
to react. Yet again I started worrying about that postcard. Looking back,
I realise JRD had forgotten about it. It must have been a small incident for him, but not so for me.
'Young lady, why are you here?' he asked.
'Office time is over.' I said,
'Sir, I'm waiting for my husband to come and pick me up.' JRD said, 'It is getting
dark and there's no one in the corridor.
I'll wait with you till your husband comes.'
I was quite used to waiting for Murthy, but having JRD waiting alongside made
me extremely uncomfortable.
I was nervous. Out of the corner of my eye I looked at him. He wore a simple
white pant and shirt. He was old, yet his face was glowing. There wasn't any air
of superiority about him. I was thinking, 'Look at this person. He is a chairman,
a well-respected man in our country and he is waiting for the sake of an ordinary
Then I saw Murthy and I rushed out. JRD called and said, 'Young lady,tell your
husband never to make his wife wait again.'
In 1982 I had to resign from my job at Telco. I was reluctant to go, but I really
did not have a choice. I was coming down the steps of Bombay House after
wrapping up my final settlement when I saw JRD coming up. He was absorbed
in thought. I wanted to say goodbye to him, so I stopped. He saw me and paused.
Gently, he said, 'So what are you doing, Mrs Kulkarni?' (That was the way he
always addressed me.) 'Sir, I am leaving Telco.'
'Where are you going?' he asked.
'Pune, Sir. My husband is starting a company called Infosys and I'm shifting to Pune.'
'Oh! And what will you do when you are successful.'
'Sir, I don't know whether we will be successful.'
'Never start with diffidence,' he advised me. 'Always start with confidence.
When you are successful you must give back to society. Society gives us so much;
we must reciprocate. I wish you all the best.'
Then JRD continued walking up the stairs. I stood there for what seemed like a
millennium. That was the last time I saw him alive. Many years later I met
Ratan Tata in the same Bombay House, occupying the chair JRD once did.
I told him of my many sweet memories of working with Telco. Later, he wrote
to me, 'It was nice hearing about Jeh from you. The sad part is that he's
not alive to see you today.'
I consider JRD a great man because, despite being an extremely busy person,
he valued one postcard written by a young girl seeking justice. He must  have
received thousands of letters everyday. He could have thrown mine away, but
he didn't do that. He respected the intentions of that unknown girl, who had
neither influence nor money, and gave her an opportunity in his company.
He did not merely give her a job; he changed her life and mindset forever.
Close to 50 per cent of the students in today's engineering colleges are girls.
And there are women on the shop floor in many industry segments.
I see these changes and I think of JRD. If at all time stops and asks me what
I want from life, I would say I wish JRD were alive today to see how the
company we started has grown. He would have enjoyed it wholeheartedly.
My love and respect for the House of Tata remains undiminished by the
passage of time. I always looked up to JRD.. I saw him as a role model
for his simplicity, his generosity, his kindness and the care he took of his
employees. Those blue eyes always reminded me of the sky; they had
the same vastness and magnificence.

(Sudha Murthy is a widely published writer and chairperson of the Infosys
Foundation involved in a number of social development initiatives.
Infosys Ex-chairman & Mentor Narayana Murthy is her husband.)

June 14 2010

Our thanks to Kailash for his sending this descriptive story about the
wettest place in the world--it will remind some of their visit to Shillong
and Cherranpunjee in the past

June 14 2010
Wet clothes on standby in Sohra aka Cherrapunjee

Patrick Bryson

The monsoonal rain doesn't stop much of anything in Sohra, formerly known as Cherrapunjee, the wettest place on earth. Children still walk to and from school, market days are observed; marriages go ahead. The mixture of opaque fog and thick clouds only slows the yellow tourist jeeps and cement trucks. Even the occasional landslide doesn't stop the flow of traffic. Buses merely set people down on one side of the blocked road, the passengers climb over the debris and find a new set of vehicles on the other side waiting to ferry them the rest of the way. 
   Putting up an umbrella does little to help pedestrians because the water comes down sideways on account of the high winds. So for the locals, getting wet is just a part of life from May to October. "Everyone uses two sets of clothes," says Rev Lyndan Syiem, until recently a long-term resident: "Wet and dry. When you come home you change out of the wet clothes and hang them up, wearing the dry ones indoors. Then you change back into the wet ones again when you leave." 
   As well as being a popular tourist spot, which does a roaring trade in potato chips, Sohra - like Shillong - is something of an educational hub. It has plenty of private schools and hostels and more than half the students come from the neighbouring War and Jaiñtia regions. These school kids often cop it twice, getting drenched on their way to classes, sitting in damp clothes all day and then getting soaked all over again on their way home. 
   The only locals seriously affected by the monsoon are the daily labourers - carpenters, masons and coal miners - because it becomes impractical and dangerous for them to work in these conditions. The local cement factory, Mawmluh Cherra Cements Ltd, is the other major employer. Its workers - along with the daily labourers - are allegedly some of the biggest consumers of the local liquor. Alcoholism and broken homes are a significant part of Sohra's landscape.
   May be it's the rain. Stories about how long it can set in for here verge on the apocryphal, with figures ranging from two weeks to 40 days. It's all proper Ark building stuff. It rained so much before Independence that even the British - famed for their love of inclement weather - abandoned the town as a base and moved operations to Shillong in 1866. There had been one too many suicides amongst their administrators. 
   In recent times much has been made of the rivalry between Sohra and Mawsynram over the claim of being the Wettest Place On Planet Earth. But Mawsynram still doesn't have a proper Met office, so it's hard to settle on a winner. Seriously underfunded, Sohra's office also does little to instil confidence. 
   On my visit to Sohra this week, the local officer had no up-to-date information - graphs showing the average yearly rainfall come to an abrupt stop in 2008 - and his grasp of the reasons for the high precipitation was rudimentary. But Met predictions this year are for a normal southwest monsoon, so perhaps we'll be spared the annual story coming out of Sohra in the winter months - the one that complains of chronic water shortages in the wettest place on earth. 
   Speaking of which, attempts to convert the villagers to water-harvesting have not had much effect. The earth in Sohra is rocky and hard, making it almost impossible to dig down to make water pits. Several small-scale projects implemented by the state government, and paid for by the Centre, are struggling. "Ignorance among the local population is a big problem for us," said one state government employee from the water resources department. "The acceptance level of these projects is very low. The villagers consider water collected in a tank to be ‘old water'...Their attitude is: My drum is full, so I'm happy. The rest can go down the drain." In this case down the drain means down into Bangladesh. 
   You don't know what you've got until it's gone. It's hard to believe wars will be fought over water in the future, when we allow so much of it to go to waste in the present. 
   Patrick Bryson is an Australian writer currently residing in Shillong

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May  23 2010 

Times of India - 24.05.2010   Deals Brewing Over A Cuppa In Africa

  Their deals may lack the elitism of a Bharti Airtel taking over the African assets of Zain Telecom, but Indian tea majors have been doing their own multi-million dollar buys in Africa over the past nine months. Sumali Moitra & Udit Prasanna Mukherji report. 
   When the diversified RPG Group - better known for its power, tyre and retail interests - announced last week that it is eyeing gardens in Africa to expand its tea business, it may not have raised many eyebrows among tea barons. The only question could have been that why did it take the business-savvy Goenkas, who own the conglomerate, so long to join the African party.
   For an industry where acquisitions in the past decade were few and far between and limited within the country, the last nine months have witnessed a dramatic change. Indian tea companies - flush with cash following a demandsupply mismatch and fired by a new love for Africa - are furiously chasing deals in countries such as Uganda, Rwanda and the like to emerge as bigger and stronger players.
   If McLeod Russel - a Williamson Magor Group company and the world's largest tea producer set the ball rolling with its acquisition of a controlling interest in a tea factory in Rwanda in August 2009, followed by its takeover of six estates in Uganda in January this year, B K Birla-group firm Jayshree Tea & Industries has not been far behind in the deal-making game, snapping up one company in Uganda and two in Rwanda last month.
   While the African buys, undertaken through wholly owned subsidiary Borelli Tea Holdings, added 16.7 million kg to McLeod's existing tea capacity raising it to about 100 million kg, Jayshree Tea gained slightly over 5 million kg through its overseas foray. Jayshree Tea produced just over 23 million kg last ye a r through its gardens in India. Both McLeod and Jayshree, however, say that their Africa adventures have only just begun and competition is going to get stiffer from now on.
   "There were eight companies vying for the Ugandan firm (Kijura Tea Company) we bought, which just goes to show the level of interest there is in Africa at the moment," Jayshree Tea managing director D P Maheshwari said. "Uganda, particularly, may see a lot more action going forward." On his part, McLeod Russel MD & Indian Tea Association (ITA) chairman Aditya Khaitan pointed out that just about any market in Africa is up for grabs. "Opportunities are there everywhere - be it in Kenya, Malawi or even Mozambique. It is up to the entrepreneurs to decide where they want to go," he added.
So what is it about Africa that is driving the interest of Indian tea giants? Analysts say it is a combination of climate and costs. As in north India, the weather patterns in different African countries enable them to grow tea of the CTC variety, unlike India's principal rival in south Asia, Sri Lanka, which grows orthodox tea. African teas also blend nicely with north Indian teas.

More importantly, tea companies can be assured of large landholdings in Africa, "getting which is something next to impossible in India at the moment", Khaitan said. "If you consider that the bulk of the costs in a plantation is accounted for by labour, the savings accruing on this front in Africa is quite considerable," Maheshwari explained.
   Dhunseri Group chairman and former ITA chief C K Dhanuka, who is also examining the viability of having a presence in Africa, said the other big attraction of that continent is that it is still possible to get gardens  at "reasonable prices".
M c L e o d Russel, for instance, only had to shell out $25 million (excluding the debt takeover) for its acquisition of Rwenzori Tea Investments in Uganda that gave the Indian company access to 15 million kg of tea capacity in Uganda. For the deal in Rwanda, that added 1.7 million kg to its capacity,
   McLeod arm Borelli Tea Holdings had to pay $2.75 million. 
 So is Africa going to be the potential game changer for Indian tea? Khaitan has no doubt in his mind that the continent can only spell good news for his industry even in the short-to-medium term. "The stigma about Africa is no longer there. Africa is now the place to be," he said.

Tea-ing Off

AUGUST 2009: McLeod Russel arm Borelli Tea Holdings acquires controlling interest in Gisovu Tea Company, Rwanda JANUARY 2010: Borelli buys Rwenzori Tea Investments, Uganda APRIL 2010: Jayshree Tea & Industries acquires Kijura Tea (Uganda) and majority holding in Mata Tea Co & Gisakura Tea Company, Rwanda MAY 2010: RPG Group & Dhunseri Group evince interest in Africa buys



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November 9 2009

Again our Delhi Correspondent Kailash has kept us informed and we thank him

Below is a cutting from the Delhi newspaper giving an interesting insight into the past 
and the enthusiasm today's generation have for finding their relatives of many generations ago


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September 24 2009

We have to thankKailash for once again keeps us up to date--this is from 
the New York Times of 17 September

Gourmet Tea Sales Stay Strong in Economic Storm

The global economic crisis may have dampened the 
appetite for high-end goods, but one small daily luxury, 
gourmet tea, has been posting surprisingly strong

Despite Their Prices, Gourmet Teas 
Thrive as Global Economy Sags

By SONIA KOLESNIKOV-JESSOP Published: September 17, 2009

SINGAPORE - The global economic crisis may have damped the appetite for high-end goods, 
but one small daily luxury - gourmet
tea - has been posting surprisingly strong sales, prompting 
some tea brands to consider expanding around the world.

TWG Tea Company

A TWG Tea retail counter in Singapore.

Franck Beloncle/Le Palais des Thés

The tasting room at Le Palais des Thés in Paris.

With names like Silver Moon, Emperor's White Garden, Goût Russe Douchka and Sakura, the teas reflect a  wide range of exotic flavors, attracting an almost religious following among tea lovers. While the rarest teas, like yellow teas, can cost $2,120 for a kilogram, or 2.2 pounds, gourmet teas cost 30 percent more than standard  teas on average, making them an affordable luxury for many.

"There is definitely no crisis when it comes down to gourmet tea; our sales have been increasing every year by 15 to 25 percent ever since we started in 1987," said François-Xavier Delmas, founder and chief executive of Le Palais des Thés in Paris.

He said the company, which is privately owned, posted annual revenue growth of 19 percent in 2007-8, with sales of 9.66 million euros ($14.2 million).

Le Palais des Thés' experience has been similar to that of other luxury tea brands, as well as specialty retailers.

"Demand for quality products has remained strong," said Mark Daley, chief executive of Dean & DeLuca, a gourmet retailer based in the United States. "People are enjoying more time together, more time sharing with friends, more time home entertaining."

Mariage Frères, a French merchant of exclusive teas, will open a boutique in Hamburg in November and another in Munich in December. It plans to expand to London in 2010 and then to New York and China.

Its director, Philippe Cohen-Tanugi, said the company, which posted revenue of 50 million euros ($73.4 million) in 2008, could grow much faster if it developed a franchise network, something it declined to do.

"Believe me, so many have called us for that, we could have opened a store a month and become a Tea Starbucks," he said, "but our rules of management have remained unaltered since 1983: complete integration and central decision taking in order to keep full control on the Mariage Frères image and identity."

Dammann Frères, another French gourmet tea company, which sells about 800 tons a year, used to offer its teas only through businesses like delicatessens and luxury hotels. But last year, it started to market itself to retail customers, opening its first tea boutique in Paris. Since then, it has opened three boutiques in Japan and is considering a second in the French capital and one in London, said Pierre Merlanchon, marketing manager 
at Dammann Frères.

One of the most aggressive players is a new entrant to the market. TWG Tea, based in Singapore, has managed in two years to expand its annual sales to 650 tons from nothing while also securing shelf space at Dean & DeLuca  and getting served in Singapore Airlines' first-class cabins.

TWG Tea's chairman, Manoj Murjani, said he decided to invest $10 million to found TWG Tea with four partners after an investment he made in a small tea company gave him a sixfold return within 18 months.

"We're really going for the high end of the market, and we're thinking big and we're starting big," he said. "From Year One to Year Two, we've grown in terms of revenues tenfold, and going forward, I think we will be growing at fivefold a year." He declined to give specific sales figures.

TWG Tea has one boutique in Singapore and plans to open a second one there in October, then its first in Japan and one in the Middle East in the first quarter of 2010. There are also plans for a shop in New York next year and a counter to open soon at a Dean & DeLuca store in New York.  The company clearly has a strong eye for marketing, positioning itself as an innovator with seasonal creations and developing beautiful, elaborate packaging. TWG teas start at $4.20 for 50 grams, or 1.76 ounces.

As with other specialist tea merchants, it aims to offer a large range of distinctive blends, including White House Tea, a pai mu tan white tea from Fujian, China, blended with red berries and rose petals, created to celebrate the presidential inauguration of Barack Obama.  Gourmet tea remains very much a niche segment of the overall tea market,  which has grown steadily in recent years, largely because of tea's perceived health benefits, market analysts said.

According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, world tea consumption increased to 3.75 million tons in 2007 from 2.95 million tons in 2003, the latest available data.  Data from IBISWorld, an industry research company, show that tea consumption in the United States is on the rise, but it is still only the sixth-most-popular drink (not including tap water), after soft drinks, bottled water, beer, milk and coffee.

Specialty and gourmet tea is a fast-growing segment within the tea industry. In the United States, it is estimated to account for 8.5 percent of the $2.1 billion in sales in 2009.  "The growth in the number of specialty tearooms in the U.S., which is estimated to total over 2,600, has further stimulated demand for gourmet and specialty tea products," IBISWorld wrote in a research note. "Similar to cafes, these establishments are changing the landscape of tea consumption to become a more social occasion."

Even though tea consumption has been more strongly identified with the British, French companies have had a strong hold on the gourmet market for the last 20 years.  "I think that's because unlike the British that are very used to drinking tea,  the French had no preconception about tea; they are willing to experiment," said Mr. Delmas, of Le Palais des Thés.  Mr. Cohen-Tanugi of Mariage Frères said, "The French drink the widest range of teas in the world, bringing the same attention and connoisseurship to the choice of the right tea as they would the proper wine."

Milton Pedraza, chief executive of the Luxury Institute, a market research company in New York, said he thought many tea suppliers had seen tea as a mass-market commodity and sold it that way, leaving space for entrants at the high end of  the market.   "With the growing popularity of tea, there is an opportunity to differentiate at the top level, even in these challenging economic times," Mr. Pedraza said. "There is consumer interest in the premium end of almost any category, and I believe a larger segment of tea connoisseurs can be developed globally. But it will take a great deal of education to help consumers to discern differences and be willing to pay a premium, so it will be a slow build."


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August 18 2009

We are grateful to Kailash our special correspondent from Delhi 
for this story about Jim Corbett--Thank you Kailash

Publication: Times Of India Delhi; Date: Aug 18, 2009; Section: Delhi Times; Page: 34    

Corbett's birthday treat



IN CORBETT'S HOUSE: This was Jim Corbett's birthday party. And Nilanjana Dalmia, who now owns Gurney House,  Corbett's house in Nainital hosted this celebration for the who's who of Nainital. And to be away from Delhi, in Nainital was a pleasant change. The weather was happy - neither hot nor cold, and Corbett's house was a delicious treat. Nilanjana said, "This house is important to me for more reasons than one. First, it is Corbett's house and second, my family grew up here." And Nilanjana has kept Corbett's memories alive in the house. The African drum that Jim played sits pretty in the living room (see pic). Nilanjana added, "I'm doing up a room according to my grandfather Sharda Prasad Varma's tastes now, 
as he was the one who bought the house from Jim."

AND THE EVENING BEGAN ... With Chitra reading out one of Corbett's letters. Corbett had written this letter in 1950 to Jai Lal, his advocate from Nyeri, Kenya. "There are about 120,000 Indians in Kenya and I'm sure they are the richest and the happiest Indians in any part of the world. Their day and night prayer is that agitators will not come here to set the government against them, as was done with the Indians in South Africa. I was very glad to learn from your letter that the president was paying a visit to Nainital," read the letter. There was also a reading by writer Namita Gokhale, who calls
herself a daughter of Kumaon.

AND... Himani Dalmia, Nilanjana and VN Dalmia's daughter, who put the celebration together, said that Gurney House had always had music. And that was followed by a piano recital by Delhi-based pianist Justin McCarthy. Pranav, Himani's bro played the piano too. Himani said that though the house is open for tourists and Corbett fans throughout the year, Corbett's birthday is a special occasion, as it brings out the passion the Kumaonis felt for Corbett. "I've known Corbett all my life but not like the Kumaonis. When we do an event like this, I see his personality coming alive. My fave thing here is the chair Maggie embroidered. This house has always had a strong female presence. Corbett's mother Mary Jane Corbett bought the land in her name and left it with Maggie. Neither Jim nor Maggie got married and their relationship was so strong. They were lifelong companions. From Maggie, this house went to my great grandmother, then to my grandaunt and now it's with my mom," she said. The celebration led to dinner and loads of Corbett conversation. Tykee Malhotra, of the Jim Corbett trust showed the guests a documentary. We also spotted Ashok Kumar, IG, Kumaon Range, Joan Majithia, Neerja Pant and Arun Kapur among others.

Celebrating Corbett's b'day

A view of Gurney House in Nainital


The African drum that Corbett used to play


THE WOMAN OF CORBETT'S HOUSE NOW: Nilanjana (L) with her sister

LET THERE BE MUSIC: (L-R) Justin and Pranav

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 July12 2009

Kailash our special Delhi Correspondent has come up with this 
interesting story --thank you Kailash

Kailash saw this article on HindustanTimes ePaper, and thought it interesting enough to share with koi-hai readers--He also said "Pairing Scotch with Indian curry. I have been doing it for sometime, goes very well. The recipe, ----Whisky tumbler, fill 3/4 with ice, pour 45 ml. scotch, fill with chilled water, goes extremely well with Indian curries.--- Should have patented the idea, now these guys will take the credit for this invention. 

If anyone wishes You can find it at: '
journey through delhi - Whisky, Delhi's new wine'

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March 13 2009

 Antique Photographs
Thanks to Kailash we have a set of antique photographs to enjoy of what india was in 1835

The daughter of an Indian maharajah seated on a panther she shot, sometime during 1920s

A British man gets a pedicure from an Indian servant.

The Grand Trunk Road , built by Sher Shah Suri, was the main trade route from Calcutta to Kabul .

A group of Dancing or nautch girls began performing with their elaborate costumes and jewelry

A rare view of the President's palace and the Parliament building in New Delhi ..

Women gather at a party in Mumbai ( Bombay ) in 1910

A group from Vaishnava, a sect founded by a Hindu mystic. 
His followers are called Gosvami-maharajahs


An aerial view of Jama Masjid mosque in Delhi , 
built between 1650 and 1658.


The Imperial Airways 'Hanno' Hadley Page passenger airplane carries the England to India air mail,
stopping in Sharjah to refuel.

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February 15 2009
Thanks to Kailash we have another addition of 

 Bruno Banerjee's parties --Circa 1970's


Left to Right 
Kailash Chaurasia, Christine Cousins, Bruno Banerjee, Steve Stevenson, and Peter Rex

December 14 2008
We have to thank Kailash for this bit of memorabilia

 From an old pile this photo surfaced, Kailash tells us it is a Sunday Lunch gathering at Ophelia Tea Estate, Moran Assam--circa 1970's

Front Row: Kamal Banerjee, Sally Charlier, Eves Charlier, 
Back Row: Peter Rex, Steve Stevenson, Johnny Hay, 
Bruno Banerjee, Bill Charlier, Harry Singh, Kamal Chaurasia, Kailash Chaurasia

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January 31 2008

From The Times

January 2, 2008

Nigel Hankin

Former soldier who spent most of his life in Delhi and wrote a successful guide to the
idiosyncracies of Indian English

A young man who whistles at a woman is an "eve-teaser". A female educator is a "teachress". World leaders "airdash" to meetings which are not brought forward but "preponed". These are some of the glorious oddities of Indian English revealed by Nigel Hankin in his book Hanklyn-Janklin: A Stranger's Rumble-tumble Guide to Some Words, Customs and Quiddities Indian and Indo-British, first published in 1992 and soon to appear in a 5th edition.

The title is a nod to Colonel Henry Yule's Hobson-Jobson (1886), the classic glossary of Indian words, and to the Hindi habit of using rhymes such as party-warty or chai-wai (tea). Some of Hankin's entries are not so much archaic as evocative of the peculiaries of Indian life. We read, for example, of an "ear cleaner": "An urban itinerant professional gentleman identified by his small red turban into which are tucked his instruments: tweezers, probes and buds of cotton wool."

Revealed too are illuminating, if sometimes debatable, etymologies. "Doolally", for instance, Hankin says, derives from Deolali, the dock near Bombay whence soldiers were invalided home. Khaki comes from Khaak, Urdu for dust or ashes and came into use at the uprising of 1857. The origin of rumble-tumble, slang for scrambled eggs, is more obscure.

Hankin said that the book was "intended as background information for the stranger residing in India, to give meaning to facets of life which otherwise might seem perplexing. I would like to think that it may also be useful to those outside the country concerned with Indian affairs." It has won praise from Indians as well as visitors.

Nigel Bathurst Hankin was brought up by his grandmother in Bexhill, Sussex, after the early death of his father, and her Victorian attitude formed his outlook on life. He first arrived in India en route to Burma with the Army in 1945. The war ended before he got beyond Bombay, but he decided to stay, falling in love with the climate and the bustle.

After Independence he joined the New Indian Army as a captain to stay in the country. Later he had an eclectic career, including running a mobile cinema. He worked for about 20 years for the British High Commission, where among his duties was showing diplomats and their wives the sights of Delhi.

After he retired, this became his source of income. He was known as a guide to "working Delhi, not tourists' Delhi". One of the most interesting parts of the tour was the wholesale market. Through narrow, dingy alleys, the gangly, white-haired six-footer would make his way dodging labourers carrying gunny bags on their heads, cycle rickshaws, carts, stray dogs and cows and often accompanied by the stench from open urinals. The shopkeepers knew him well and would greet him with "Ram Ram Tau" (uncle).

Hanklyn-Janklin was the result of two decades of collecting unusual Indian-English words, beginning in the 1960s. "A doctor at the British High Commission in Delhi gave me a list of 20 Indian words he'd read in his newspaper and asked me what they meant," he recalled. "I suddenly thought if he wants to know, others might too."

Hankin never considered returning to Britain. "I returned for three months in 1982 to visit my brother but it was so dull I went home after a few weeks," he said. "I missed the chaos."

Despite this, however, Hankin never assimilated into the Indian way of life, remaining a detached observer. Even after more than 60 years in India his breakfast consisted of cornflakes, eggs and bacon; dinner always began with soup. This was brought to him by the same servant for 40 years.

Nigel Hankin, author of Hanklyn-Janklin, was born on March 14, 1920. He died on November 30, 2007, aged 87 

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January 27 2008

We are indebted once again to Kailash for bringing the following stories of City tours of the following cities Delhi, Bangalore, Calcutta and Bombay

· The Hidden City 
Ever had one of those moments when you wonder why on earth you live in this urban mess, when you could be breathing fresh air on a farm in New Zealand? It's time for some time travel. 

These neighbourhood walks are guaranteed to make you fall in love with the forgotten secrets in your backyard. Rumours abound in Delhi about a relic from the Raj, who, if found, will give the best tours of the city. Not run-of-the-mill Red Fort runs, but tours from the perspective of a true insider of 50 years, who will take you anywhere and teach you everything. But he's simply a whispered rumour to most people in Delhi. And he insists he wants to keep it that way. "Please don't mention how to contact me. I already have enough business." (A quick Google search will, unfortunately for him, reveal his secret.) Finally, after a few weeks of waiting, my group meets the man-Nigel Hankin-in Chanakyapuri. The thin, 87-year-old Hankin takes one look at us and asks where the car is. We glance at each other. We need a car for a walking tour? "Are you joking? Delhi is 30 miles across! The city itself is seven miles round! No car..." he rages. Hankin, only slightly slouched, in pressed slacks and shirt, likes things done "the Nigel way", as Manjeet Nanner, a repeat client says. Unfortunately, we set up the tour through written notes, so he didn't have the chance to tell us what his way is. A taxi is hurriedly hired, Hankin's disappointment is soothed (until, that is, I ask to stop for water: "You didn't bring any water?"), and off we drive to our walking tour. Hankin will take you wherever you want to go and discuss-albeit reticently at times-what you want to discuss. Interested in pre-Mughal architecture? You'll stick to South Delhi for the day. Need to brush up on the flora and fauna? Hankin will quickly point out the only lane in Delhi where the Flying Fox roosts or the Canna lily in bloom near India Gate. If you don't have a specific place in mind, or period to study, Hankin will take you on the We-Do-What-Nigel-Thinks-Best tour. And since the man gives the distinct impression that he does know best, we willingly follow him. Hankin guides the taxi driver around his favourite points of interest in New Delhi, including the crematorium to see a corpse awash in sprays of river water, the Gurdwara Bangla Sahib to pray and Kingsway Camp to visit "George". We dine at the Maiden hotel in Civil Lines, where he oversees the "pigs at the trough" (i.e. us). Finally, full on the buffet, we get to the walking part of the walking tour: a mad dash through Old Delhi. Of the 12-odd places we visited, only four had been seen by anyone in our group before. Shopkeepers shout "Ram, Ram!" to him and workers give him extra space as he winds through the dark alleys. On the second floor in the spice market, he laments the changing face of Delhi, for the fifth or sixth time that day: "It all used to be so peaceful and beautiful. Thirty years ago, this was a very upscale home and it had a beautiful garden here." Hankin came to Delhi in 1947 and has never left, luxuriating in his adopted city, first as an officer in the British army and then at the British High Commission, where he "moved paper from one table to another." He often took ministers' wives out for casual tours of the city, ordered to keep them out of the ministers' way until at least 5 o'clock. When he retired 20 years ago, Hankin continued the tradition for anyone interested, six days a week, year round. Though, now that he's nearing 88, he claims he's trying to cut back to four days. He takes us to familiar spots and places we've never seen, like the colourful by-lanes of Khari Baoli and Gadodia market, old Delhi's spice den. His tour finally brings me to the 14th century step well which I pass by every day to work, but never visit. Hankin's Delhi is glimpsed down secret corridors and peered at over locked fences. Plus, he's a wealth of knowledge, be it of King George's procession, where to buy nitric acid or how the salt residue on the crematorium's brick marks the last good monsoon in Delhi. And, best of all, I now know where to go if I ever need an axle for my tractor. (For groups of up to five, Nigel requests Rs2,200 and lunch, which costs around Rs1,000 per person.)
(Sadly Nigel Hankin died two months ago)

 Melissa A. Bell Arun's Bangalore Between 7am and 10am on Sundays, Arun Pai hits the climax of his marketing spiel. For a captive audience of CEOs, vice-presidents, anonymous tourists and sharp citizens, Pai sexes up beleaguered Bangalore. Brushing aside the IT stars and the traffic smokescreens, he shows them a city that lived a couple of hundred of years ago. "The Sunday morning Victorian Bangalore walk (at Rs495 per head, including brunch) isn't even profitable any more, but it's the best introduction to what we do," says Pai. "If anyone calls me up with questions or inquiries for a special-interest group, I simply invite them to our signature walk." 

Starting with a half-minute silence under the porch of the Holy Trinity Church, at one end of the super-busy M.G. Road, 37-year-old Pai urges the group to look through the archway into an avenue that, from that angle, fits every straight-and-narrow concept of colonial construction. Suddenly, it isn't so hard to imagine, circa 1791, a garrison marching down the street, intent on the Bangalore Fort, where Tipu Sultan reigns as the only threat to British supremacy in the south. Part extempore actor, part pop historian, part brilliant marketing tactician, Pai prides himself on customizing Bangalore-and, increasingly, non-urban Karnataka-to suit every taste. During the recent India International Coffee Festival, which drew Starbucks director Colman Cuff and Ernesto Illy of Illycaffe to the city, Pai drew up a By/2 Coffee Tour (by/2 being the local equivalent of Mumbai's cutting chai), which steered clear of Koshy's and Café Coffee Days and headed to the legendary MTR for an experience of coffee by the yard. If that sounds suspiciously like making India sound exotic, Pai is quick to defend himself: "This was a group that knew everything about coffee, from beans to baristas. But this method of cooling the coffee was something they had never seen before." If Pai can be pinned down to a single designation, it would probably be this: The Man Who Helps You See What You Look At. Over the past couple of years-Bangalore Walks, largely a one-man show, was launched on 1 August 2005-any number of Bangalore's own, and visitors, have perceived the significance of the missing name in the church plaque commemorating martyred Hussars (an elite British regiment) and appreciated why Bangalore is the only city outside Germany to celebrate Oktoberfest. Exhaustive research, including long chats with elderly residents, meticulous networking ("especially with the security staff," grins Pai) and umpteen dry runs ensure every new tour is a hit. "My walks are about a-ha moments," says Pai. His own epiphany came after an itinerant youth spread across IIT Madras, IIM Bangalore and Arthur Andersen in Delhi and London. "Watching the Beefeaters at the Tower of London, I realized we knew all about the Battle of Trafalgar, but nothing about the Battle of Bangalore." If it's an urban jungle out there, Pai is the GPRS. To culture, history and a lot of fun. (For details, log on to

Kolkata (Calcutta)
Sumana Mukherjee Akhil's Kolkata At 8am, 67-year-old Akhil Sircar, a man of small frame, waits for me at the corner of Beadon Street, North Kolkata. We meet him for a tour of old mansions that has been North Kolkata's pride since the days of the Raj. Sircar's familiarity with the nooks and corners of these meandering by-lanes is unmistakable, as is his wry sense of humour and passion about their architecture and conservation. Most of these houses are about 150 years old, and my naive questions about their history are answered by reprimanding words-"Europeans and Americans were far more interested in architecture than us Indians, you know." A teacher of architecture and town planning by profession and an enlisted conservation architect of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation, he is still fighting lawsuits for the preservation of structures that would otherwise be razed to build multi-storey buildings. 

Sircar began these tours 10 years ago, with the initiative of Conservation and Research of Urban Traditional Architecture, a Kolkata-based organization. Most of his tours, conducted largely during winter, cover two routes: in and around Dalhousie Square, and the other starting at the Beadon Street post office (earlier, the private theatre of Chatu Babu, son of Ram Dulal, the most famous businessman of North Kolkata) and ending at Raj Bati, the royal family mansion of Raja Nab Krishna. We proceed along the second route. Sircar is full of anecdotes from the Colonial era-traders, agents, zamindars and governor generals abound in his stories. Our first stop: Ram Dulal's family estate. The story goes that Dulal once earned a fortune by selling a sunken ship and built a house for his family, another for his mistress and a few Shiva temples scattered around this neighbourhood. The Mitra House at Dorji Para lane once had an open roof. All these mansions have an outer courtyard, an outhouse and an inner courtyard. Other emblematic features include a Thakurbari (holy shrine), always facing the north or the east, Venetian blinds, timber beams, cast iron work in balconies and classical motifs of cherubim and stained glass work on walls and pillars. A little ahead, Sircar identifies a house whose pillars were recently broken down for a car parking area in its inner courtyard. Many descendents of these families now sublet their premises to hosiery shops, printing presses and goldsmiths. Through a three-dome masjid and verandahs like open wharves, we emerged at the Blacker Square, once cursed with a series of plagues. Our walk ends at the decrepit Raj Bati. Around its side walls, Sircar leads us to a sprawling entertainment hall, where the Raja entertained the British because they were barred from entering the main house with the holy shrine. Adjacent to it is a wall with holes carved into them. "The women of the house were forbidden to attend parties that took place in this hall. So, they would peep through these holes and satisfy themselves," Sircar says. Imagine the stories these walls would have been privy to. (For details, log on to

Mumbai (Bombay)
Aishwarya Iyer Abha's Mumbai "Thank you for calling the Bombay Heritage Walks, please note that we will resume our Sunday public walks from June 2007..." It's not the most promising introduction to the BHW, but then persistence has to be a part of the regime when you're trying to track down Abha Bahl, our young Mumbai expert. It doesn't help that her office is a nest at the back of her in-laws' legendary Punjabi Chandu Halwai Karachiwala store in South Mumbai. But then a sweet shop, with a 112-year-old history, is an appropriate address for one of the founding ladies of one of the city's oldest heritage tour guide associations. "We're heritage ambassadors, the public link between NGOs, architects, academia and government agencies," says Bahl. 

Once you trace this 32-year-old mother, you realize she's a professional architect who unwittingly happened on the politics of Mumbai's heritage conservation. Bahl and her partner, Brinda Gaitonde, first set up the tour in 1999 when they were fresh architecture school graduates. Now there are 1,500 people on their mailing list for information on the walks. So, what's a straight-laced southsider doing running around the city for permissions from babus so tourists can look at the finer points of properties like the Victoria Terminus? "I love this city, and it's about more than just tourist maps, it's about spreading awareness for the place we live in," she says softly. Despite her political correctness, Bahl has a pet project-Khotachiwadi. The hamlet of 19th century Portuguese-style homes right in the heart of South Mumbai's trading district Girgaum, is BHW's trademark route. And Bahl's favourite crusade. "The Portuguese rule of Bombay wasn't worth much, except for the neighbourhood architecture they inspired, and Khotachiwadi is the best example of that. We can't afford to lose it,"says Bahl. Today, the area is under threat from builders who want cost-effective and profitable high rises in place of quaint brightly-coloured homes with wooden eaves and wrought-iron staircases. And as one family after another has given way, the 40 houses that used to dot this tiny by-lane five years ago have been reduced to just 32 today. The Khotachiwadi story, which began when the British handed a plot of agricultural land to a farming lord, Dadoba Waman Khota, first came to Bahl's attention in 1998, when she worked on a project commissioned by the Mumbai Metropolitan Region-Heritage Conservation Society. Today, Bahl, an urban design graduate from Berkeley, and her team of five, leads tours through the city, from walks around Mumbai's Fort and banking areas to the offbeat Khotachiwadi route. "Our most special private tour was for Chelsea Clinton, while she accompanied her father, President Clinton, to India in 2000. The hotel called us," she says, obviously proud that BHW has never touted its services. But it's the last thing on her mind as she weaves in and out of Khotachiwadi's tiny side streets that aren't large enough for even two shoulder-to-shoulder. In a crisp white salwar-kameez, her feet in sequin-studded mojris, she's breathless as she checkpoints the sporadic features of the community: the local wafer company that sits between a cross embedded in its backyard and a Ganapati on the front lawn, the polychromatic facades of the houses, the Goan-Portuguese style interiors, and sudden sprouts of open spaces in the middle of the cloistered neighbourhood. Bahl's last stop on the tour is house number 29B, which has just fallen to a builder's cranes. "I have to see this for myself," she says. The construction workers have dug out a massive ditch where a house with a pretty porch once stood. "They're building a basement car park," she says. There's bound to be a mailer going out about this soon. (Bombay Heritage Walks charges Rs100 per head for adults and Rs50 for students, while special groups of five are charged Rs2,500. For more details, email Manju Sara Rajan Copyright © 2007 HT Media All Rights Reserved
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March 6 2007
Kailash again has come up trumps with this description, 
and we thank him.

Enjoy your next Currie please

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February 16 2007
We are again indebted to Kailash for spotting this realistic look at language today, and to amuse us Thank you Kailash

  It's Hinglish,innit?

By Sean Coughlan
BBC News Magazine

English and Hindi mesh in Mumbai

Hinglish - a hybrid of English and south Asian languages, used both in Asia and the UK - now has its own dictionary. Is it really a pukka way to speak?

Are you a "badmash"? And if you had to get somewhere in a hurry, would you make an "airdash"? Maybe you should be at your desk working, instead you're reading this as a "timepass".

These are examples of Hinglish, in which English and the languages of south Asia overlap, with phrases and words borrowed and re-invented.

It's used on the Indian sub-continent, with English words blending with Punjabi, Urdu and Hindi, and also within British Asian families to enliven standard English.

A dictionary of the hybrid language has been gathered by Baljinder Mahal, a Derby-based teacher and published this week as The Queen's Hinglish.

Goodness Gracious Me used Hinglish

"Much of it comes from banter - the exchanges between the British white population and the Asians," she says.

"It's also sometimes a secret language, which is being used by lots of British Asians, but it's never been picked up on."

And in multi-cultural playgrounds, she now hears white pupils using Asian words, such as "kati", meaning "I'm not your friend any more". For the young are linguistic magpies, borrowing from any language, accent or dialect that seems fashionable.

And the dictionary identifies how the ubiquitous "innit" was absorbed into British Asian speech via "haina" - a Hindi tag phrase, stuck on the sentences and meaning "is no?".

Birmingham balti

It's also the language of globalisation. There are more English-speakers in India than anywhere else in the world - and satellite television, movies and the internet mean that more and more people in the sub-continent are exposed to both standard English and Hinglish.

Balti - bucket or curry?

This collision of languages has generated some flavoursome phrases. If you're feeling "glassy" it means you need a drink. And a "timepass" is a way of distracting yourself.

A hooligan is a "badmash" and if you need to bring a meeting forward, you do the opposite of postponing - in Hinglish you can "prepone".

There are also some evocatively archaic phrases - such as "stepney", which in south Asia is used to mean a spare, as in spare wheel, spare mobile or even, "insultingly, it must be said, a mistress," says Ms Mahal.

Its origins aren't in Stepney, east London, but Stepney Street in Llanelli, Wales, where a popular brand of spare tyre was once manufactured

But don't assume that familiar Asian words used in the UK will necessarily translate back. "Balti" will probably be taken to mean bucket in India rather than a type of cooking, as this cuisine owes more to the west Midlands than south Asia.

Ad land

In south Asia, Hinglish has been given a modern, fashionable spin by its use on music channels and in advertising. And it's appeared in the UK on programmes such as Goodness Gracious Me and the Kumars at Number 42, with a catchphrase about "chuddies" (underpants).


Pyjamas, caravan, bungalow

Doolally, cushy, dinghy

Pundit, thug

The exporting of words into English has also caught the attention of the south Asian media, with the Times of India reporting: "Brand India has shaken, stirred and otherwise Bangalored the world's consciousness." Yes, "to Bangalore" is another Hinglishism, meaning to send overseas, as in call centres.

The arrival of Hinglish and the influence of Indian words on English are also a reflection of the rise of the Indian sub-continent as an economic power-house.

Language expert David Crystal has described India as having a "unique position in the English-speaking world".

"[It's a] linguistic bridge between the major first-language dialects of the world, such as British and American English, and the major foreign-language varieties, such as those emerging in China and Japan."

But there are much older crossovers between English and the languages of the Indian sub-continent, with many words imported from the soldiers and administrators of the British Raj.

These borrowed words include "pundit", originally meaning a learned man; "shampoo", derived from a word for massage; "pyjamas", meaning a leg garment and "dungarees", originating from the Dungri district of Mumbai.

Even the suburban-sounding "caravan" and "bungalow" - and the funky "bandana" and "bangles" - were all taken from Hindi words.

Pick and mix

It's not only the south Asian languages that have fused with English to take on a new identity.

Turning out the vote in Spanish and English

There is Spanglish, used in parts of the United States where people shift seamlessly between Spanish and English, and where hybrid words are created - such as a sign "No hangear" meaning "No hanging around."

Advertisers in the Far East use a form of fractured English too, as much for its visual impact as its meaning.

But this pick and mix approach should be embraced not resisted, says Ms Mahal. It's natural and inevitable that languages will adapt and change to whatever is around.

"There might be puritans in any culture who say you can only be the master of one language, and that you shouldn't try to cross two languages. But do we only have one fixed identity? I don't think so, I think we can step in and out of different identities - and we can do the same with languages.

"People might say this is my language, this is way it has always been. Well, it hasn't. Shakespeare's English was different from Chaucer's. The evolution of language is never going to stop."

Add your comments on this story, using the form below.

As George Orwell wrote in 1984, the fewer words we have, the more restricted our thinking becomes. With this in mind, I embrace the evolution and expansion of any language (especially the one I use). Adding words to your language, allows for more freedom of thought and expression. However, it does also mean you need a better spellchecker.
DS, Bromley, England

We have always used a mix of English, Gujarati and Swahili in our everyday language. It is so embedded that we do not realise it. So all this is natural and continues to evolve as more mixtures of languages occur. It's great listening to people in Kenya and those here as well those from India. We just mix more as we expand use of the internet as well.
Kiran Chauhan, Leicester

I love the integration of foreign languages into the English language. It's one of the reasons I studied it, and one of the reasons etymology was my favourite subject. Let's face it, English is a mish-mash of foreign languages with added dodgy pronunciation and spelling!
Martje Ross, Lancaster, UK

This is gruntling news - a most appointing story for anyone who enjoys flirting with language. And let's not overlook the claims of Honklish and Singlish too, lah! All those dynamic Chuppies (Chinese-speaking upwardly-mobile people) can't be wrong . . . !
Tom, Lewes

The latest fashionable version of Thai also contains a lot of English words. To the with-it crowd, "chill chill" now means relaxing and "hiso" (from high society) posh. For example, a commonly said phrase "pai nang chill chill kan" translates to "let's go and lounge around."
Nophol T., Bangkok, Thailand

I would query the origin of "innit" as from "haina". My father told me off for saying innit in the sixties, it is from "isn't it", especially around Bristol. Check Dirk Robson's books, Krek waiters peak brissle, and Eurekal.
Dave Gibbs, Weston super Mare, England

As a British Asian, I grew up in West London in the late Sixties/early Seventies, whilst my cousins grew up in the West Midlands. The origin of the word, "init" is pure Brummie - and we (in the South) adopted it after listening to our cousins.
Gurmit Flora, London

I agree with Dave Gibbs about the origin of "innit". In rural Gloucestershire I was being corrected by my parents well before 1950 for using innit istead of isn't it.
Les Giles, Great Missenden, Bucks

The previous comments about "innit" being from "isn't it" are indeed correct, but your respondents have missed the point being made. English has many forms of these so-called "tag questions" depending on the sentence: "isn't it", "aren't we", "weren't they", "don't you". Hindi has just one ("na" or "hai na"), just as French ("n'est-ce pas") and German ("nicht wahr") do. The usage being described is that these English speakers now use "isn't it" (reduced to "innit") in ALL cases, and not just where you would expect it grammatically. The suggestion is that it's the way it's being used that has been influenced by other languages, not the etymology of the word itself.
David E Newton, London

To Dave Gibbs and Les Giles: The article doesn't claim "innit" comes from "haina". It only states "innit" was introduced into Hinglish as an invariant tag (in the same way "haina" is used in Hindi), i.e. a tag that can substitute any other kind of English tag (English: "We've seen this movie before, haven't we", Hinglish: "We've seen this movie before, innit").
Wim Vandenberghe, Hässelby, Stockholm

Very good article. You can also add other Indian words like cash (From kasu - Tamil), catamaran (Kattu maram - Tamil), mango (mangai - Tamil), juggernaut (jegannath -Sanskrit).
Arun, Stratford, London

Another example of the erosion of Britishness. Why isn't there an article on how Asians that come to Britain are becoming more British, instead of the locals becoming more foreign? Why is the BBC so terrified of Britishness?
John Alexander, Portsmouth

I had always wonderd why there is a pub in Southall called "Glassy Junction". Now I know. Thank you for enlightening me!
Steve Burns, Reading

Hinglish? Sounds good to me. Language should be alive. And to Mr Alexander of Portsmouth - I might live in Quebec but I still consider myself a Brit. Its just that my concept of "Britishness" includes using local French argot terms in my everyday speech. Learn to live with it.
Chris, Verdun, Quebec

It is the greatest strength of the English language that it adopts anything it can use to enrich itself. This is one of the reasons why English is such dominant language internationally and why it is supremely well suited to the production of poetry and literature of so many varieties. Hinglish is a wonderful example of a living language in action, evolving to meet the needs of its speakers. I can't wait to call somebody at work and "prepone" a future meeting!
Amanda, Bradford, UK

A very good article indeed. Indians have no doubt got their language embedded into English but in doing so they have also made their language(at least spoken one) 'corrupt'. You would see more and more of younger generation speaking English rather than their mother tongue (which could be one of the hundreds of languages India has). Let us take the case of Kashmir (where I am from). Kids are actually discouraged to speak Kashmiri (their native language) by their parents/elders which I feel is disgusting. No doubt English is a must in today's world but not at the expense of one's mother tongue. This has reached to the point in Kashmir where over 95% of people cannot write Kashmiri and a slighlty smaller percentage cannot read their language. By the way, I can read Kashmiri to some extent but cannot write it, which I really feel sad about.
Saqib, England

Well, I am originally from Wales, and can certainly vouch for the strong existence for a 'Wenglish' (mixture of Welsh and English). Great fun to use and just another way of expressing oneself.
Ruth, London

It is all well and good enriching languages, but I think the Indians have gone one step too far to try and destroy thier own language. If you listen to an Indian news broadcast one in Hindi and the other one in English you will find that the news in Hindi uses a lot of English words and the news in English is pure English.This applies to all programmes whether it is in Engand or India.
Ram Maharaj, London

English is so rich because it has never been crystallised like German or French. As long as it keeps growing and developing it will remain predominant as the most democratic language of all. However, people in Britain must accept that it is no longer our language and that we will one day be simply speaking a dialect of a much wider common tongue.
Andy Crick, Oxfordshire, UK

Fascinating! I was checking out the BBC take on our election and found a new source of interesting news stories. We do not say "Innit" here in the US, but the use of the word "like" cannot be, like, described, like, you know?
Whitney Wetherill, Clinton Town, Hunterdon County, New Jersey, USA

On the derivation of 'caravan'. Does this have Indian roots or Arabic. There is a city in Tunisia named 'Kairouan/Qairouan'. Arabs may have borrowed it from he Indians like the numerals though...
Khan, London

This is a truly delightful piece. English, whilst basically a Germanic language, is already a glorious concoction of French, Nordic, Latin, Greek with trace elements of Celtic and much else besides. I see no reason to be other than grateful that we have such a wonderful language and additional Hindi elements will only add to its richness. English is a prime example of Saussure's principle of diachronic change. Long may it be so.
Dr Ian Sedwell, Weymouth

Don't forget Franglais, Chinglish, Konglish, Janglish, Singlish and Texmex. These dialects will always appear where main languages meet.
Glenn , St Helens

February 16 2007

Veenu Sandhu
New Delhi, January 27

ARMED WITH a photograph of
Bruce Willis and a couple
of thousand dollars,
John Joseph Conway, a 43-year-old
firefighter from Chicago,
checked into Sir Ganga Ram
Hospital on Tuesday. 
He had a bizarre request to make
to hospital's plastic surgeons:
he wanted to look like
his hero Bruce Willis.

Now, recuperating from his three-hour-long surgery, which cost him $1,600, Conway says, "I am a firefighter... I need to look the part.  I wanted to improve my jawline.  Bruce Willis has a nice, strong jaw."

Dr. Vivek Kumar, one of the three plastic surgeons who operated upon Conway on Thursday, says: "After he contacted us on e-mail, he said that as a man who jumps into burning buildings, people in the community
look up to him and he needed to maintain his macho image." The doctors studied his face for three days to give him the look he wanted.

A couple of hours after the procedure, the fireman says he is "very satisfied".  He plans to bring his 63-year-old mother here for a $1,500 face lift.  "My 40-year-old sister, who is studying to be a teacher,
will follow."  Between the three of them, the Conways will pay $4,600 for the medical procedures, post-operative care and hospital stay here.  Back home, it would have cost them $40,000.

The Conways are part of the burgeoning influx of medical tourists flocking to India's hospitals, because treatment is not only cheap but also at par with the best in the world.  This is Conway's second trip for surgery to India.  He was last here in April
2005 for an eyelid surgery that cost him one-fifth of what he would have had to pay in the US. "With the money I saved, I got to see a new country - incredible India," he

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India's rickshaws

Colonial yokes are not bad for all

Feb 1st 2007 | KOLKATA
From The Economist print edition

The world's last rickshaw-pullers are battling against extinction

SOME very poor men, perhaps 18,000 of them, went on strike in Kolkata on January 24th to protest against a ban on their livelihood, ostensibly imposed for their own good. Much good may it do them. The Communist government of West Bengal has long wanted to outlaw rickshaws, of the original man-pulled variety, that now exist only in Kolkata. Last December it did so, on the grounds that man-powered transport was inhuman.  But what else are the thousands of rickshaw-wallahs, in one of the world's poorest cities, to do?

Beg, is the best guess of a group of rickshaw-pullers on Debendra Ghosh Road, a typically crowded alley in central Kolkata. Like most of their fellows across the city, they are migrants from Bihar, India's poorest and third-most populous state. Earning around 150 rupees ($3.50) a day, with an average fare of 20 cents, they are not flush. But with an annual income of a little over $1,000, after paying rent on their rickshaws, they make roughly double West Bengal's average. "I may not like it, you may not like it, but I have children to feed," said Mahendra Paswan, a rickshaw-wallah for 26 years, with bare feet, a
blue-check lungi, and six offspring in school.
West Bengal's government sees the rickshaw trade as an outworn symbol of the colonial yoke. "A disgraceful practice that flourished when the British lorded over the people," is how Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, the chief minister, has described it.

The rickshaws are used by Kolkatans of all classes, especially in streets too narrow for taxis. But the chief minister, despite his Marxist mantra, has been furiously opening the state to business over the past six years. His vision, which includes making West Bengal one of India's top three producers of information technology by 2010, is apparently incompatible with the herd of "human horses" on Kolkata's streets.

The rickshaw-pullers are going down battling. When the government started destroying unlicensed rickshaws a few years ago, they formed themselves into a union to fight the ban. "We are all faced with ruin," lamented Mr Paswan, who fears that cycle-rickshaws, which the government says it wants instead, are even more arduous to operate. In the meantime, Mr Paswan can offer a pleasant trot across Kolkata, an excellent way to view to view the city's fine colonial buildings.
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November 1 2006
Our thanks to Kailash for the following twos stories, and letting us see how others see us !


New York: A diet containing curry may help protect the ageing brain, according a study of elderly Asians in which increased curry consumption was associated with better cognitive performance on standard tests.

Curcumin, found in the curry spice turmeric, possesses potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

It's known that long-term users of anti-inflammatory drugs have a reduced risk of developing Alzheimer's disease, although these agents can have harmful effects in the stomach, liver and kidney, limiting their use in the elderly.

Antioxidants, such as vitamin E, have been shown in protect neurons in lab experiments but have had limited success in alleviating cognitive decline in patients with mild-to-moderate dementia.

Dr. Tze-Pin Ng from National University of Singapore and colleagues compared scores on the Mini-Mental State Exam (MMSE) for three categories of regular curry consumption in 1,010 non-demented Asians who were between 60 and 93 years old in 2003.  Most of the study subjects consumed curry at least occasionally (once every 6 months), 43% ate curry often or very often while 16% said they never or rarely ate curry.

They found that people who consumed curry "occasionally" and "often or very often" had significantly better MMSE scores than did those who "never or rarely" consumed curry.  "Even with the low and moderate levels of curry consumption reported by the respondents, better cognitive performance was observed," Ng and colleagues report.

Curry is used widely in India and the prevalence of Alzheimer's disease among India's elderly ranks is four times less than in US.
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 November 1 2006


Vijay Dutt  --London, October 18 

AS ANY Indian fed on Bollywood lore will tell you, think Devdas and you cannot but think Paro.  Now, even the British stiff upper lip is quivering in agreement.

Which is why, when Indophile David Cameron, known as the Tory answer to Tony Blair, was "re-christened" Shriman Devdas Cameron at a pre-Diwali reception at Bhaktivedanta Temple in Watford by Gauri Das, president of ISKCON in Britain, pat came the reply," I am told the name Devdas is very popular in Bollywood.  I hope the next time I go to Mumbai I will be able to meet Aishwarya Rai.

That Aishwarya was Paro to Shah Rukh Khans' Devdas in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's movie might have been lost on many Britons but Cameron is a well-known Indophile - he has even started a blog on his travels to India this September.  And going by this remark, he seems to know his Bollywood. 

The Tory leader was delighted at the array of rituals that welcomed him at the Temple and went around showing his "Kaleva" - a red thread - on his right wrist.  To the over 200 members of the Hindu community, he said, "I hope this would be my lucky charm for the Prime Minister's question Hour." He also promised to take special care of the small statue of Lord Balaji which was presented to him.

In his keynote address, Cameron praised India and the role of the Indian community in Britain.  "The festival of lights sends a message of hope and optimism that all of us, of whatever faith, can embrace enthusiastically.  Much of what I have to say to you... is about the kind of Britain I want to see for everyone.  But first, I'd like to say something about the Hindu community.  It's no surprise that you have become such a successful part of British society."

He pointed out, "Many of the values that Hindus brought with them when they arrived here are those traditionally associated with Britain: tolerance, honesty, enterprise, and respect for the law."

"Hindus make up 1 per cent of the population of England and Wales but only 0.025 per cent of the prison population.  You live independently of the government but never shirk from contributing to society." The BJP would love Cameron.  There were more paeans to the unemployment of any minority community.  And you help to strengthen (aspects) that have been in decline here, such as commitment to the family.  Hindus are more likely to stay married than people from any other community in Britain."

Heralding a change in the Tory approach so far on selection of parliamentary nominees, Cameron said, "I also want to see more Hindu MPs....In the past ten months I've moved my party back to the center ground of British politics.  People deserve a real choice of government.  I will make sure that there is always a sensible and moderate alternative to vote for."

He warned of the challenges ahead. "I have no doubt that Hindus will play a full part in meeting those challenges.  Not just in the fields of business and enterprise, where this community have made an amazing contribution out of all proportion to its size.  But also n the public sector where so many Hindus serve as doctors, as chemists, as civil servants".

Cameron was full of praise for "the dynamism of the Indian economy and the vibrancy of Indian democracy.  There is a "clear sense that here is an emerging super power" and reiterated that" I want to see a new special relationship in the 21st century between Britain and India.  Not simply because of our shared heritage, values and the English language.  But also because of the challenges we face together.  Key issues such as the impact of globalisation and the threat of terrorism.  And, of course, the need to create and maintain successful, pluralist, multifaith democracies."
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Yudhvir Rana / TNN

  Amritsar:  Sikhs here are pleased after a Scottish coffee brand changed the label on its jars that showed a Sikh servant serving coffee to a Scottish soldier.  Reports said the new label on ‘Camp' now shows a Sikh drinking coffee along with a Scottish soldier.

After the incident, Sikhs are hoping that their incessant campaign to acquaint the world with their distinct identity would not only restore the turban's pride but would also help in lowering incidents of hate crime against their community.

Welcoming the move, Ajaybirpal Singh Randhawa, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) municipal councilor and secretary general of the party, said, "With the Scottish company changing the label of their product, incidents of racism against Sikhs are likely come down."  "Filmmakers here should take lessons from the incident and stop portraying Sikhs in comic roles.  A sub-committee has been constituted to search the internet for denigrative images of Sikhs and take appropriate measures to change them," Randhawa said.

Shiromani Youth Akali Dal (Badal) president Gurpartap Singh Tikka said the party had issued messages to its units across the world to intensify the movement to restore their pride and motivate Sikh youths not to cut their hair.

"We have asked them to identify similar denigrative images of Sikhs and take up the issues with concerned authorities,"  Tikka said.  Similar instructions have been issued to SYAD leaders in India.  "It is a matter of pride for us and we will hold a rally in support of turban pride," he said.

DIGNITY RESTORED:  As opposed to the old label, new label on Camp shows a Sikh drinking coffee along with a Scottish soldier.

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September 20 2005


The good times are back again?  Once upon a time in India, a Rolls-Royce was the ultimate in luxury and maharajas thought nothing of buying half a dozen at a time.  But with independence, this emblem of British rule stopped being sold in India.  The maharajas lost much of their power, status and money and the market for 1 m pound cars dried up.  The Rollers were left to rust, or sold to Europe and America.

Now, with the Indian economy expanding at a dramatic rate and the ranks of wealthy entrepreneurs swelling, the Rolls (now owned by BMW) is ready to make a comeback, says Jeremy Hart of The Sunday Times, London.  In May, Rolls-Royce joined luxury brands including Ferrari, Porsche, Louis Vuitton, Dior, Chanel and Bulgari and opened its first Indian showroom.  Mumbai's Navnit Motors hopes ultimately to sell 30 Rolls-Royces a year, especially if the luxury tax, which adds 107% to the Rs.3.5 crore cost of a Roller, is cut.  Last year Yohan Poonawalla, 34, owner of a biotech company, bought the first modern Rolls-Royce Phantom sold in India.

In its glory days of the 1920s and 1930s, Rolls-Royce executives coined the phrase "doing a Mysore", referring to the Maharaja of Mysore who bought his Rollers in batches of seven.  India was one of Rolls-Royce's biggest markets, making up 20% of global sales.  Indian princes demanded custom-built models for tiger hunting, "purdah" models with thick curtains on the windows, and jewel-encrusted ones that had to be guarded during trips to the garage to prevent pilfering.
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May5 2006Once again we have to thank Kailash for keeping us 
informed, the use of the word Scotch has been left as is, 
but should say Scottish when referring to people with 
roots going back to Scotland and Scotch when referring 
to the greatest drink

Kailash writes: Following appeared in the Hindustan Times 
recently,enjoyed reading the one on John Kenneth Galbraith 
who was US Ambassador during 60-62, highly respected and
trusted American here even in cold war years.  


AN INTELLECTUAL giant who stood six feet eight inches
tall, taught Economics at Harvard University, served
as ambassador and was a member of think-tanks under US
presidents, would be expected to be a serious person.
But not so John Kenneth Galbraith, Former US envoy to
India, who died on Sunday at the age of 97.  In his
book Ambassador'ss Journal he wondered why most women
in underdeveloped nations had overdeveloped bosoms.

Galbraith was a Scotch-Canadian and proud of it.  He
recounted his early days in The Scotch, a book meant
to please the author and not the people.  But it had
the typical Galbraith touch, brilliant wit and humour
and full of whimsical nostalgia.  He recounts that
first names like John, Jim, Malcolm and Dan abound
among his fellow men.  But there was no confusion.
Because there were Big Johns and Little Johns, some
Black Johns and regrettably there was a Lame John, a
Dirty John and a Bald John.

While some Scotch Canadians believed in large
families, others pondered over the question whether a
wife was really economically essential.  The moral
code was strict in the community, and to father an
illegitimate child was to be an outcast.  An
adventurous Macllum boy who was courting one of two
sisters would sneak into the girls' badrbedroomnce, to
avoid a suspicious father, the young man hid himself
between the two sisters under the sheets and by
mistake got the wrong sister pregnant.  Of course, he
did marry her but his standing in the clan went down,
explains Galbraith.

Courtships and illicit affairs were difficult in the
community because of the lack of suitable meeting
places.  Even normal endearments sounded out of place
when most men referred to their wives as ‘my auld
woman' or ‘my auld lady' A swain could not take his
girl to the barn because that would make his
intentions clear.  The region was bitterly cold for
most of the year and undressing fully was difficult.
With passion sidelined, the main Focus was on earning 
money.  The Scotch worshipped money for its own sake.  
They earned it and did not spend it wastefully.  As Galbraith explains, the Scotch agreed with Dr Johnson's views, 
"A man, who keeps his money, has in reality, more use for 
it, than he can have by spending it."

The community was heavily dependent on farming.
Tapping maple trees for syrup was a major event.  A
team of two Scotch found that commercially produced
syrup lacked the flavour and switched back to the
traditional method.  The syrup was kept in open tubs
which attracted falling leaves, moths, a couple of
field mice and their droppings.  When this concoction
was boiled, the original flavour was restored.

This humour was the essence of Galbraith's life.  The
Scotch is an unalloyed delight.  It has the flavour of
the traditional maple syrup.
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Kolkata: When he was born, the Americans were still
plotting their independence, the French fiddling with
the concepts of justice, equality, liberty and
fraternity.  The British were sailing for far-off
lands on wooden ships powered by sails.

When he died, Voyager had already set off on its
10-year journey to Pluto.  Two hundred and fifty five
years - that's how long Addwaita lived, spending his
early years in Robbert Clive's garden and his last 130
years or so in the Kolkata zoo.

The giant Aldabra tortoise was possibly the oldest
animal on earth.  He died in the zoo on Wednesday
morning, of liver failure.  He's survived by no one.
He had been a bachelor all his life.

The story goes that British seafarers brought Addwaita
along with three other mates from the Seychelles
Islands and presented them to Clive.  The four lived
in Clive's sprawling Latbagan estate at Barrackpore.
Three of the tortoises died in the foreign environs.
But Addwaita survived.  A tortoise of simple habits, a
vegetarian quite happy eating wheat bran, carrot,
lettuce, soaked gram, bread, grass and salt Addwaita
didn't need much more.  Not even a partner.

For the past few days he hadn't been keeping well.
"We were keeping a close watch on him.  A special
attendant had been engaged.  He had developed a wound
on his chest.  A crack also developed around the
wound," said forest minister Jogesh Burman.  But
finally, it was liver failure.  "This morning, zoo
keepers found him immobile.  Immediately, the zoo
director was informed.  Officials rushed there with
the vet who was treating him.  He was declared dead,"
said a senior zoo official.

"He was cremated, but his shell will be processed and
preserved in the zoo," said the forest minister.  It
was Burman who had given him the name - Addwaita.
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March 18 2006

This is part of the story below about Chris Patten;s daughter which was missed on the first communicationof February 6 

An academician-politician, and father of an actor who has invoked feelings of intense patriotism among thecountry's youth in Rang De Basanti - Chris Patten ishere on a mission

Last time, the world saw him, Hong Kong's last governor-general Chris Patten was bidding a teary goodbye to then British colony, Hong Kong.  The year was 1997.  Nine years down the line, the academician-cum-politician is in news for a completely different reason.  He is the father of Alice Patten -whose character Sue started a revolution not just in Rang De Basanti but in the hearts of the Indians too.

"I have been coming here for two decades now and I amhappy that Alice has continued the tradition," says the proud papa. "A little before her audition, she was asked if she'd be comfortable with Hindi.  After all, she had to speak that language in the film.  Without
telling them, she took a quick lesson that same afternoon and gave the audition in Hindi itself.  That must have impressed the film-makers and, of course,her being a linguist helped,"  Chris recounts.

Needless to say, Alice got the role.  "I was happy that not only was she acting in an Indian film, she was also acting with finest actors of this country like Aamir Khan and Om Puri," adds Patten.

Talking about the intense feelings of patriotism that the film evokes, he says, "This is something that people anywhere can identify with.  The feeling of patriotism is so strong that it can get to anyone in any part of the world whether you're Indian or British."  And Rang De Basanti has today taken over his other favourite Hindi film, Lagaan.  "Both the films have been terrific.  They represent the fact that Indian films are not for just mass entertainment, they're serious stuff.  And films like these are making people across sit up and take notice."

Now that the daughter has done her bit for India. It's dad's turn.  "India is the largest liberal democracy which will, one day, change the world. Consequently, we want to strengthen relations between the two countries in different spheres and attract more students from India to our universities," he says.  It was during his days at Oxford that Patten's political innings began.  The most memorable moment, however, remains his stint in Hong Kong.  "I was there as the governor for almost five years and must say it was most exciting to be part of an important moment in the history," he says.

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February 6 2006

THE ROUTE to fame in Britain for most actors, it seems, is via Bollywood. The latest example is Alice Patten, daughter of the Chancellor of Oxford University and the last British Governor in Hong Kong. She had never been written about or interviewed as much for her acting talents as after her stint in Rang De Basanti.

Ironically, she is the girl who had cried as Hong Kong blipped out of the Empire. "I became a symbol that day." She reminisces. "The human face of a little bit of history."

On her stint in Bollywood, she says, "Bombay is extraordinary, but there is hierarchy you will never find in London.
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February 28 2006Kailash kindly sent this from the Khaleej Times of todayIndia renames Assam state to Asom

28 February 2006

GUWAHATI, India - The government in India's restive Assam has renamed the state Asom, saying Assam was the corrupt version of its original name used by British colonial rulers.

"We have decided to revert back to Asom which was used by the indigenous people instead of Assam, a corrupt version left by the Britishers," state government spokesman Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Tuesday.

Assam is in India's remote northeast and was ruled by the indigenous Ahoms for six centuries from 1228. Ahom means "uneven" as the region has many hills.

The original name came from the Ahom dynasty which ruled before the British occupied the state more than 150 years ago and set up tea gardens and oil refineries.

In the past 26 years, thousands of people have died in separatist violence in the state, linked to the rest of India only by a tiny strip of land.

The powerful rebel group, the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) -- fighting for independence for the the state of 26 million people -- has been writing the spelling of "Assam" as "Asom" since the outfit was formed in 1979.

In the past decade, several Indian cities have been renamed to reflect local cultures, such as Bombay to Mumbai, Madras to Chennai and Calcutta to Kolkata.  
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February 18 2006
It is interesting world we are living in, what will happen in the next ten years? 

The two items below are in continuation of the the grandson of Henry Ford's venture in the Himalayas.

 Thank you Kailash for keeping us informed of items of interest which are not usually reported in the international press

Manali, February 15

FORD VERSUS Kullu gods has reached its finaround.Snow and rain battered Manali is preparing for the clincher in style. The bone of contention is a $150 million Himalayan Ski Village (HSV) project, slated to come up on the outskirts of Shuru and Prini, two villages in Manali.

A brainchild of Alfred Ford, grandson Henry Ford, the resort has pitted the local oracles against the maverick Iskcon devotee, who goes by the Indian name
of Ambarish Das.

Representatives of nearly 300 Kullu deities will congregate on Thursday for a "Badi Jagati Puch (grand convention)" to decide the fate of the $300 million venture.

The ski blizzard has been raging through the slopes for almost two months now.Ever since the deal was inked. HSV demanded water rights from the streams and grazing land, which the villagers resisted. Other issues include environmental degradation, felling and apprehension over the use of chemicals to preserve snow on the slopes for a longer period. The resort, which Ford has promised will give the Swiss destinations are run for their money, will be spread across 100 acres.

HSV proposed, but the Gods disposed. In an unusual request, the Jamlu Devta, through his oracle, demanded a "Jagati Puch" for a final say. "That's just what I am doing," clarifies former BJP MP Maheshwar Singh, the erstwhile "king" of Kullu, the caretaker of the chief deity of Raghunathji  Busy preparing for the "Puch" at Naggar Castle, he brushes off allegations that the proposed village has become a veritable political yo-yo.
"There is a ski-lift near Jagatsukh. No one opposes it," he says. But this "Jagati Puch", he says, is "not because the Gods re against development but because they don't want their sacred land, in the upper reaches, to be desecrated".

By Jagdish Bhatt / TNN

Kullu: The "gods" have spoken. Alfred Ford cannot make his $500-million Himalayan Ski Village here.
Devis and devtas of Kullu valley gathered on Thursday to pass a judgment on Ford and his ambitious plans for a ski resort in this scenic region. And they were clearly not impressed with either the Ford scion's grand venture or his frantic claims of being a Hindu.

Ever since Ford announced his project for the area, propelled adequately by local politicians, the region has been ravaged by a fierce debate that has pitted profit against piety.

Descendant of the erstwhile Kullu state, Maheshwar Singh, who also doubles up as the vice regent (first servant) of Lord Raghunath and a BJP leader, had earlier said that all the gods and goddess would congregate on this day to decide - through their human mediums - if Ford could go ahead with the resort.

"In the jagati (congregation of gods), we had invited the various devtas and devis of the valley. Over 90%of the about 175 deities who had come here were against the proposed ski village," Singh, a former BJP MP, said triumphantly.  Singh further remarked, "The gods of the region have given their view. There is no platform above the jagati and at least at the religious level the verdict is final."

Going a step further, Singh said that "each of the deities" had been spoken to and the view on the project being inimical to the interest of the people was unanimous.  The deities apparently also said they would leave the place and the people will have to live without their blessings if the go-ahead was given for the ski plan. The jagati on Thursday was called after a gap of 36 years, the last being held in 1970 when the valley was hit by a famine. Jagatis are held only to decide in case of exceptional situations.

There are others, though, who say the whole thing is a BJP-engineered hogwash."We will get better livelihood, more facilities and enhanced infrastructure if the resort comes up," said Teja Thakur in Solang Valley. "Villagers here do realize the good things that will come with this," Thakur said.
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While Harry Ford's company is battling over an overhaul plan that involves laying off 15,000 workers and shutting down plants across the United States, thousand of miles away, his great-grandson is embroiled in a curious controversy that has pitted him against local gods.

A $500 million project proposed by Alfred Ford and approved by the Congress-led Himachal Pradesh government, to turn some of the hills into a ski resort, is confronted by the local deities of the area.

First it was Jamlu devta, the most important deity of Kullu, who "advised" the locals against the project through an oracle. He also asked king of the erstwhile Kullu state, Maheshwar Singh, to hold a congregation of all devtas on the issue. Singh is the ex-chief of BJP's state unit and a former party MP.

The latest salvo that the company has to defend itself against is that the promoter isn't a Hindu. Jamlu devta too had ‘warned' that the project would bring in people whose beliefs were not in tune with Hinduism and they would ‘pollute' the area.

These charges have led the promoters of the project to

highlight the ‘Hindu' credentials of Henry Ford's great grandson. Incidentally, Alfred Ford, chairman of the Himalayan Ski Village company, is a devotee of Lord Krishna, a teetotaler and a vegetarian. Married to a Hindu woman from West Bengal for over 20 years, he is known as Ambarish Das in Iskcon circles.

"When Alfrred Ford visited Kullu valley two months ago, he went to all temples that he could, to pay obeisance to deities as they were his priority over business," the company's senior director Ajay Dabra said.
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February 4 2006
Kailash has once again provided us with a piece of history and we thank him

The Railway serving Darjeeling has been operating for well over a century and here is the reports of what has happened since

Smitten by the magic of a ride on the DHR (now a Unesco world heritage property) 10 years ago, British railway baron and chairman of Chiltern Railways Adrian Shooter bought the world's oldest-surviving DHR locomotive - model number 778 built in 1889 by Sharp
Stewart and Company, Manchester - to restore it to perfect condition and run it in his personal garden.

The Indian government had sold off the locomotive to Hesston Steam Museum in 1960, not realizing what it's worth would be 40 years later, after being declared a world heritage by Unesco.

Shooter shipped the locomotive in a container from the US to a steam rail workshop in Tyseley. Birmingham, where he got it restored to perfect running condition. He now runs the train in his private garden. He has laid tracks over 1.5 km, making the loop
in the shape of the number eight. He has also built a station that looks exactly like the original Sukna station in Darjeeling besides laying a pathway that criss-crosses over the rail tracks, exactly the way it is in Darjeeling.

He has also purchased an Ambassador car to run along the train, a common sight in Darjeeling.

Here are a few photographs taken from the website

world's oldest-surviving DHR locomotive - mo del number 778 built in 1889 by Sharp Stew art and Company, Manchester




DHR loco 19B at Tyseley, Birmingham, on 19 Jan. 2003, following its move from the US to the UK. Photo by David Churchill.
Date: 2003-03-28

  Another shot of the DHR loco 19B. On the right is Adrian Shooter, who purchased the locomotive. Photo by David Churchill.
Date: 2003-03-28



One more look at DHR loco 19B. Photo by David Churchill.
Date: 2003-03-28

 and a report from Wales

The Ffestiniog Railway's FR50 Gala (30 April - 2 May 2005) had a distinctly Indian flavour.
Star of the three-day event was Adrian Shooter's restored Sharp Stewart 0-4-0ST No 19. Built in 1889, the splendidly restored locomotive, complete with its two newly built carriages, was in action on all three days and later also worked a special charter train up to Tan-y-Bwlch.
Adding further colour to the event, the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway Society (DHRS) transformed the Ffestiniog's Minffordd Station into 'Sukna' - a station on the DHR - complete with such authentic local touches as prayer flags, and Indian station signs. For hungry or thirsty passengers there were stalls selling such Indian travel necessities as chai and samosas, mango juice and Cobra beer.
Said DHRS Chairman David Barrie "We were delighted to support our Ffestiniog Railway friends with such a major event. The DHR deserves all the publicity it can get and by seeing No 19 and visiting 'Sukna' we hope that many other people will be encouraged to plan a trip to the line'
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We are yet again indebted to Kailash our Delhi Correspondent 
for passing on to us these two  interesting items--thank you Sir

January 12 2005
Assam digs up Stillwell tree
RAHUL Karmakar  Guwahati, January 5

ASSAM IS digging its roots with gusto.  After ferreting out the descendants of Lady Curzon and Robert Bruce - the tea pioneers - last year; it has
tracked down the "offshoots" of two American soldiers who helped pave the historic Stillwell Road linking India and China during World War II.

Officials said Ron Bleeker and Otto G. Metheke III would figure in the line-up of 50 foreign invitees to the Dehing-Patkai festival, a three-day ethnic carnival, slated from January 7 at Lekhapani in eastern Assam's Tinsukia district.  Forefathers of most of these 50, mostly Britons, were part of
American General Joseph Stillwell's band of builders, who laid the 1,738 km road connecting Ledo in Assam and Kunming in China's Yunnan province.

"A bit of research and networking helped us locate the descendants of those involved in building the road," said Assam forest minister Pradyut Bordoloi.  The minister said he would have ideally liked to invite Gen Stillwell's descendants, but they could not be traced.  Part of the Stillwell Road, now dilapidated, runs through Bordoloi's turf Margherita.

"While Bleeker's father was a foot-soldier, Metheke's father was an army doctor posted at a hospital in Namduang Gate near Zero Point, the road's origin," Bordoloi said.  Tinsukia district authorities said the decision of invite the pioneers' descendants was to draw global attention to the plight of the road in view of New Delhi's "Look East" policy.  Both India and China have been trying to reopen the link to give border trade between India, Myanmar and China a leg-up.  A recent report said using the road would slash the distance between India and China from 6,000 km to 1,300 km.
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January 12 2005

 Harrods brings exotic tea from China, at 8.5 pounds a cup
By Chris Brooke   Daily Mail, London.

It is almost as expensive as a glass of champagne.But at 8.50 pounds, Harrods is promising to present connoisseurs with the perfect cup of tea.  The store is to start stocking Tieguanyin tea, a rare Chinese variety which sells for 1,700 pounds per kilogram - or around 8.50 pound per cup.  Believed to be the most expensive in Britain, the tea is said to have an
exceptional aroma and taste.

Those who stock up their caddies with Tieguanyin will comfort themselves with the fact that the same tea leaves can be used seven times without any significant  deterioration in quality.

It is said to have a ‘sweet and smooth' taste with ‘notes of autumn fruit'.  The tea produces a 'fragrant, orchid like aroma' when poured.

To brew a perfect cup of Tieguanyin, fresh mineral water should be boiled to exactly 100C, or 212F, then poured rapidly on to the leaves in a teapot.  About five grams of the tea should be used per brew and the third of the seven servings will give the best flavour.

Hafizur Rahman, senior tea buyer for Harrods, said the Chinese tea had a magnificent taste.

High in antioxidants, which remove harmful chemicals from the body, it was a very healthy drink, he said. "Of the thousands of teas I have tried this is one of the best," he added.  Tieguanyin is almost three times the price of Harrods's previous most expensive tea but the store expects a strong demand.  "The tea connoisseur will be interested," said a spokesman.

"There are people who consider really good tea like a fine wine.  At the end of the day, wine is just fermented grape juice but people pay a lot of money
for it because if gives them pleasures."  Tieguanyin is a premium variety of oolong tea which comes from Anxiin the Fujian province of China.

Daily Mail, London.

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January 2006

Kailash has very kindly forwarded some interesting Delhi photos--Thank you for taking the time and trouble to show us today's pictures

Soldiers marching by India Gate rehearsing for 
the 50th anniversary of Independence

Safdarjang Tomb, one of the last examples of 
Mughal architecture built

A Shop Keeper with trays of nuts, legumes,pulses 
for sale in Old Delhi

Birds eye view of fruit and vegetable market 

A typical crowd scene in busy Chandni Chowk

A statue commerorating Gandhi and the salt march of 1930

A fountain in a broad pool of water outside the Lok 
Sabha, the Delhi Parliament

Slightly crowded auto-rickshaw on road outside Delhi

A monument marks the spot of the assasination of 
Mahatma Gandhi in Birla House

Protected sacred texts at a shrine of Nizam-ud-din Chisti. 
Chisti was a Muslim saint who died in 1325

Sunday cricket on the flat grounds of Coronation Durbar

New Delhi Traffic

A view of New Delhi from Jama Masjid 

Pottery figures at Sanskrit Museum of Indian terracotta

Magnificent Rajasthani moustache and the proud owner

The fairy Queen of Delhi reputed to be the oldest (1855) 
working steam engine in the world

The elephants of Delhi are used mainly at festivals and 
wedding parades

A 16th century eight-tiered bridge called ATHPULA in the 
Lodi Gardens

Stores selling Rajasthani fabrics at Janpath market

Bangles for sale. The bangles are usually worn by married 
women and smashed on the death of their husband

The Lion emblem on the gate leading to 
Rashtrapati house in Delhi, the President of 
India's official residence

India (New Delhi) Nehru Place

The Grand Hyatt Hotel in New Delhi

The Lotus Temple New Delhi

Red Fort structure # 2
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October 26 2005
Kailash has diligently kept us abreast of what's happening in the Tooth business and Tea Marketing
Thank you Kailash

Stories of Teeth and Tea

By Vividha Kaul / TNN

New Delhi:  Her might not be a million dollar smile,
but it comes close.  After mortgaging her house again,
spending 50,000 pounds and 400 hours on getting her
teeth fixed by dentists in UK, US and Denmark,
45-year-old Julie Pharro has finally been able to say
cheese in Delhi.

Pharro's dental troubles began three years ago when
she went to a private practitioner in the UK to get
six of her teeth recrowned.

"The doctor led me to believe that 10 of my teeth
needed treatment and immediately offered me a
discount.  I paid his 3,500 pound, but he just
destroyed my teeth.  They became bulky and
uncomfortable,: she says.

Then, the long journey to get her smile back began.
"I went to five dentists in the UK, and with each
sitting, my teeth became progressively worse.  I've
friends in the US so I saw a couple of dentists there
too, but its very expensive," she says.

Next stop was Copanhagen, where she fell sick after
the first day of her treatment.  As cosmetic dentistry
is not covered under health insurance, all costs have
to be borne by the patient, "I am in a debt of over
50,000 pounds.  I am just living off credit cards at
present.  That's what led me to look for an Indian
doctor on the Internet," she says.

Her search ended with Dr. Bela Jain, senior
consultant, Ganga Ram Hospital.  And the damage done
to her teeth by previous dentists - at the cost of
50,000 pounds (roughly Rs.40 lakh) - has finally been
rectified through a 12-day treatment, all of which
cost her Rs.1.5 lakh.

The treatment which she had in the UK for recrowning
her teeth would cost her about Rs.40,000 at any
highend private hospital here.

"Cosmetic dentistry sells a lot in the UK so dentists
there are too busy minting money.  They see you for
not more than an hour and at intervals of three to
four months.  So you go back with half treatment and
by the time you return, they don't even remember you,"
she says.

In Delhi, however Pharro was made to sit eight hours
before the dentists on Day 1 itself.  "After about 11
days of treatment, I think she has got what she was
looking for.  Here, the treatment is start-to-finish
as opposed to the six-eight months it would take
there," said Dr. Jain.

Pharro is hoping to recover the cost of treatment from
the first dentist who allegedly spoilt her teeth.

"I met a solicitor and medical expert before coming
here and they think the doctor has been negligent, so
I may go to court or may reach an out-of-court
settlement," she says.

Unlike other medical tourists, Pharro has no plans to
visit the Taj Mahal.  "I came here just for my teeth,"
she says.

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All the tea in China is proving to be a lot of tea
these days.  China has began selling the surplus
overseas.  The trends point to it soon becoming the
world's leading tea exporter.

China still has millions of tea lovers who lavish the
same attention on their beverage that oenophiles
devote to wine.  The finest grades of green tea, made
from the most delicate baby leaves and roasted in a
pan by hand, sell for hundreds of dollars a pound in
Shanghai and Beijing.

But Coca-Cola, Pepsi, McDonald's, KFC and other
Western businesses have come up with many other ways
to slake thirsts in China, especially that of young
Chinese, Shifting tides in tastes are creating waves
over winners and losers both at home and abroad.
Teahouses in China already are being replaced by
coffeehouses.  Starbucks, with more than 140 stores,
has spawned a cottage industry of copycats.

With tea in abundance in China, more and more is being
shipped abroad, by third-generation tea farmers like
Pan Jitu, who wants to supply green tea to Starbucks
stores in the US.  "Many people love tea now, so I
foresee our business will grow," he said, standing
amid his rows of tea bushes, as women in broad hats
plucked tea leaves in the surrounding hillsides.

EXPANDING SALES by Chinese tea growers are causing
alarm in other developing countries that depend on
growing tea, like India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia,
Bangladesh, Kenya, Malawi and Zimbabwe.

While the growth of China's textile industry with the
end of global textile quotas has attracted more
attention as a threat to poor countries, China's tea
industry also poses as challenge to some of the
world's poorest nations.  China is now poised to
become the world's poorest nations.  China is now
poised to become the world's largest tea exporter by
tonnage, overtaking Sri Lanka this year and Kenya next

Wide swathes of people across Asia depend on the tea
industry for survival.

YET, CHINA'S re-emergence as the world's leading tea
exporter invokes a centuries old pattern: the British
East India Company, which bought its tea from China,
held a monopoly on supplying Britain until 1834.  Only
when that monopoly was broken did other countries
become big exporters.

The saying "I wouldn't do that for all the tea in
China" came to mean a refusal to do something even for
a large and valuable payment.

The history of tea itself reaches back to ancient
times in China.  The earliest known literary
references date back nearly 5,000 years, when Emperor
Shen Nung is said to have discovered the infusion when
leaves dropped into his hot water by chance.

Green tea is widely believed to have some medical
benefits.  Black tea, which may have similar benefits,
is used in everything from Darjeeling to Earl Grey and
is made from the leaves of the same tea plants as
green tea, though processed differently.

FOR THE last three years, Beijing has set as its top
goal the alleviation of rural poverty and high income
inequality between coastal cities and rural areas, to
the benefit of the tea industry.

Municipal and provincial governments now vie to offer
subsidies to an industry seen as an answer to
lingering poverty and unemployment in the countryside.
They pay up to half the cost for the planting of new
tea farms and the building of tea-processing

Beijing has also eliminated an 8 percent tax on tea
production as a way to increase rural incomes.

GOVERNMENT SUPPORT helped produce an 18.9 percent jump
in Chinese tea exports last year, to $437 million, in
a global market that is nearly stagnant.

For the global industry, the worry is how much Chinese
tea will be arriving in world markets.

That flood of tea will grow only if people in China
keep switching to other beverages.  Starbucks sells
tea, as well as coffee, in its stores in China, but it
has found that Chinese customers prefer the coffee,
said Christine Day, the company's president for Asia
and the Pacific.


8.7% increase in Chinese tea production last year.
Tea consumption in China only grew 2%.  Which is why
china has huge surpluses to export.
18.9% increase in Chinese tea exports last year.
Since overall global demand remained the same, this
meant Chinese tea exports were done at some other
country's cost.
437mn of dollars worth of tea exported by China last

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New York Times



HT Corporate Bureau
New Delhi, October 13

THE LOW-PROFILE Appejay Tea Ltd. on  Thursday said
Apeejay Surrendra Group, a leading tea producer, would
acquire the entire tea business of UK-based Premier
Foods plc for 80 mn pounds ($140 mn).

Apeejay Group is the third largest exporter with a
total tea crop of 21 million kg spread over 17 gardens
in Assam through two companies Apeejay Tea and Empire
& Singlo, and has an employee base of approximately
40,000.  It has now become the second Indian tea
company after Tata Tea to make a global acquisition.
The company has 30,000 acres under tea plantations.

Karan Paul, chairman of Apeejay Surrendra Group who
took over the reins in July 2004 told the Hindustan
Times from London, "The acquisition has been done
through an SPV, Apeejay International Tea, and the
entire deal is a leveraged buy-out with ICICI acting
as the advisor.  It has taken us three months to crack
this deal."

Almost overnight, the Rs.600 crore Apeejay Surrendra
group has thus doubles its turnover.  Karan Paul heads
a group with diverse interests in tea, shipping,
hotels and financial services.  "We have been pushing
for growth since 1999-2000 and while I agree that we
were low key, last year we put together internally a
business plan.  This is in many ways a culmination of
that plan.  Overnight we will add Rs.650 crore to our
group turnover and more importantly, Premier's tea
business is extremely profitable.  It has an annual
cash flow of close to 15 million pounds sterling."

Apeejay will be buying Premier's entire tea business,
including the 100-year-old Typhoo brand, London Fruit
and Herb, Lift, QT and other associated brands for
which the entire consideration will be paid in cash
and the transaction is expected to complete shortly.

The company will also acquire its extensive own label
contracts, and the Moreton tea manufacturing facility
in Merseyside, which employs 249 people, it said.  On
December 31, 2004, Premier's tea business had net
sales totalling 70.2 million pounds sterling.

Apeejay believes the Premier tea business would
benefit from increased investment and focus combined
with the company's extensive experience in the global
tea market and vertically integrated approach.  It
does not expect any redundancies at the Moreton plant
as part of the transaction and anticipates recruiting.

In many ways, this acquisition signals the coming of
age of Karan Paul.  After all, the family has gone
through much trauma.  During the height of the
militancy in Assam, his father and then chairman
Surrendra Paul was slain by ULFA insurgents.  Paul
reckons that the deal provides the prefect platform
for Apeejay to leverage its own brands as well.  He
said, "The UK will now allow us to expand our
international operations and focus on the continent
and US with Premier's iconic brands as well as our own
brands.  All this while, we have been exporting bulk
tea from India, now we can focus on branded tea as
well."  He said,  "The Premier tea business has strong
growth potential, a well-run factory and a committed
and experienced workforce.  We are confident that our
commitment to increasing the investment both behind
the brands and own label business combined with our
extensive tea experience will enable us to ramp up
market share.


HT Corporate Bureau
New Delhi, October 13

TATA TEA Ltd's subsidiary Tetley US Holdings signed a
definitive agreement on Thursday to acquire FMALI Herb
Inc and Good Earth Corporation.

Tata Tea, the first Indian company to make an overseas
foray in 2000 when in a leveraged buyout it purchased
Tetley for $432 million, has now pouched U.S.
specialty tea brand Good Earth reportedly for $32
million, sending its shares higher.

The world's second-largest branded tea company will
buy Santa Cruz, California-based FMALI Herb Inc. and
Good Earth Corp., which sells herbal, fruit-flavoured,
medicinal and traditional teas, through its
subsidiary, Tetley US Holdings Ltd.

Good Earth has a strong presence on the western coast
of the United States, and a 3.7 percent share of the
specialty tea market, with a turnover of more than $16
million, Tata Tea said.  "This acquisition is an
important contribution to our plans for growing the
Tata group's tea business around the world," Ken
Pringle, executive vice-chairman and chief executive
officer of the Tetley group, said in a statement.

"We believe there is real potential for growth in the
specialty tea sector of the US market and elsewhere in
the world," Pringle said.  Good Earth will continue to
blend and pack teas in Santa Cruz and retain the brand
name, which is licensed to FMALI Herb Inc., according
to the statement.  Tata Tea has been divesting its tea
plantations to focus on brands.

"We were only a marginal player in the US tea market
(with Tetley) with a presence in black tea and a small
presence in specialty," Tata Tea MD Percy Siganporia
said.  "What this acquisition does is give us critical
mass in specialty, which is very fast-growing.  It
gives us not just the brand, but also knowledge of the
US market," he said.




Mumbai, August 7

  WHEN 56-year-old American insurance agent Ron Morton paid $375 for a large brass bell at an antique shop in Florida last month, he had no idea he was buying  a piece of India's - and Mumbai's - history.

It is only later that he found out that the bell that now hangs in his Charleston home was once the property of the Great Indian Peninsular Railway (GIPR), the company that ran India's first train from Bombay's Bori Bunder to Thane on April 16, 1853.

"Over the week of July 11, I was visiting my parents in West Palm Beach, Florida," Morton said in an email to the Hindustan Times.  "There, I visited Culpepper & Co., a business that specialises in nautical and tropical decor.  I was looking for a brass bell that was large enough to have a good tone.  I saw the GIPR bell, and felt it was something unique, a conversation piece."  Morton also felt that "if the bell had a name, it most likely had a history".

According to Morton, Culpepper & Co. had no idea what they were selling.  They did tell him though, that they had acquired the bell from a breaking yard north of Mumbai while on a visit to India a few years ago.

"When I bought it," Morton said, "I thought it was from a ship or a boat.  It was only after doing some simple research that I discovered that it was a railway bell."

Rajesh Agrawal, the Indian Railways' Delhi-based executive director (heritage), said bells were once an essential item at railway stations.  "Hung bells were used to signal arrivals and departures, and sometimes a bell would be rung along the length of the train to communicate a message.  After temple bells, railway bells were probably the closest to the common man's life."

Sources in the Central Railway (CR) - successor to the GIPR - said that stationmasters have the custody of several old bells at CR stations in Mumbai.  But no one could guess how one of those bells found its way to a scrapyard, from where Culpepper & Co. picked it up.  

Agrawal said: "The bells are no longer required, and very few have been preserved.  It appears they have been scattered very far and wide."

Clearly, far and wide enough to reach halfway across the world.  
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The lush green world famous tea estates at West Bengal's Siliguri district are all set to become a hot tourist spot.  The West Bengal's State Government has inducted a novel concept of "Tea Tourism".  The state's tourism department has been sanctioned Rs. 8 crore by the Centre for expanding and developing the required infrastructure requisite for this plan.

RRP Singh, General Manager, West Bengal Forest Department Corporation, said that work had already started on developing the infrastructure in and around the tea gardens in North Bengal.  Singh said that they also had plans to develop Golf courses around the scenic tea gardens.

"The project is related to tea and keeping this in mind, we have brought in the concept of tea tourism.  There are a lot of beautiful bungalows in the tea gardens.  The scenery is also very picturesque.  The villagers have developed the area and now we are all set to launch the concept of tea tourism," said Singh.

Efforts are also on to rope in the Asian Development Bank and UNESCO for the project.  West Bengal has 183 tea gardens belonging to British era, besides over 500 tea gardens planted in recent years.  The tea industry forms the backbone of the state's economy.

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April 13 2005
Once again Kailash keeps us well informed--thank you Sir!
Low Costs Lure Foreigners to India 
for Medical Care


Published: April 7, 2005

BANGALORE, India, April 6 - Until recently, Robert Beeney, a 64-year-old real estate consultant from San Francisco, lived in pain. But when he finally decided to do something about the discomfort, he spurned all the usual choices.

His doctors advised that he get his hip joint replaced, which his insurer would pay for, but after doing some research on the Internet, he decided to get a different procedure - joint resurfacing - not covered by his insurance. And instead of going to a nearby hospital, he chose to go to India and paid $6,600, a fraction of the $25,000 he would have paid at home for the surgery.

This winter, Mr. Beeney flew to Hyderabad, in southern India, and had the surgery at Apollo Hospital by a specialist trained in London, Dr. Vijay Bose. Two weeks later, Mr. Beeney said that he was walking around the Taj Mahal "just like any other tourist."

Mr. Beeney's story is becoming increasingly common, as Europeans and Americans, looking for world-class treatments at prices a fourth or fifth of what they would be at home, are traveling to India. Modern hospitals, skilled doctors and advanced treatments are helping foreigners overcome some of their qualms about getting medical treatments in India. Even as politicians and workers' groups are opposing the corporate practice of outsourcing, Mr. Beeney and patients like him are literally outsourcing themselves - not only to India but also to Thailand, Singapore and other places - for all kinds of medical services from cosmetic to critical surgeries.

About 150,000 foreigners visited India for medical treatments in the year ending in March 2004, the Confederation of Indian Industry, a leading industry group, said. That number was projected to rise by 15 percent each year for the next several years. The consulting firm McKinsey & Company, a management consultant based in New York, said foreign visitors would help Indian hospitals earn 100 billion rupees (about $2.3 billion) by 2012.

"Health is an emotional issue; it's not like buying a toy or a shirt made abroad," said a health care analyst for McKinsey, Gautam Kumra, who is based in New Delhi. "Nevertheless, you cannot deny the power of economics."

For some foreigners, like George Marshall, a 73-year-old violin restorer from Yorkshire, England, India's hospitals also offer speedier treatments. Last year, Mr. Marshall said that he started having trouble finishing a round of golf. An angiogram showed two blocked arteries in his heart. With the British National Health Service, Mr. Marshall would have had to wait three weeks to see a specialist, and six more months for coronary bypass surgery. "At 73, I don't have the time to wait," Mr. Marshall said. "Six months could be the rest of my life." Nor could he afford the £20,000 ($38,000) for surgery at a private hospital.

After an Internet search and a chance meeting with a businessman who had gone to India for surgery, Mr. Marshall traveled to the Wockhardt Hospital in Bangalore in southern India last winter. His surgeon, Vivek Jawali, had trained at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London. The men chatted about British politics and Dr. Jawali gave Mr. Marshall his cellphone number and said that he was available 24 hours. A surprised Mr. Marshall said that in the British health system, "you are just a number, but here you are a person." Travel expenses included, the surgery cost him £4,500 ($8,400).

While the number of patients from the West is still small in India, the trend is expected to grow as populations age and health costs balloon. In India, cardiac surgeries cost about one-fifth of what they would in the United States; orthopedic treatments cost about one-fourth as much and cataract surgeries are as low as one-tenth of their cost at American hospitals.

Mr. Kumra, the McKinsey health consultant who also advises the auto industry, noted that a corporation like General Motors spends $5 billion on health care annually. "When you buy a G.M. car, you are helping G.M. fund $2,000 or $3,000 towards health care costs of retired workers," Mr. Kumra said.

To curb spending, corporations are being forced to look at creative low-cost solutions. For instance, radiologists working for Wipro, a software and information technology company based in Bangalore, analyze X-rays and scans from United States hospitals for a fraction of the cost. A diagnostics firm, SRL Ranbaxy, based in New Delhi, tests blood serum and tissue samples from British hospitals. Health specialists say that sending patients to India for treatment is not as unthinkable as it was 20 years ago.

"India is well-positioned to expand into this area of outsourcing," said John Lovelock, an analyst in Ontario on global industries for Gartner. "India is equipped to provide long-term in-patient rehabilitation services, which are very labor intensive, require large facilities and are under serviced in North America," he said.

In the last four years, the Apollo Hospital chain, which has 18 hospitals throughout Asia, has treated 43,000 foreigners, mainly from nations in southern Asia and the Persian Gulf. Last year, 7 percent of its 5 billion rupees ($114.9 million) in revenue came from medical services provided to foreigners.

Apollo's founder, Dr. Prathap C. Reddy, 73, a surgeon trained at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, said that health care in India had drastically changed from the time he returned to open his first hospital in 1983. "Then, all rich Indians rushed overseas for medical help," Dr. Reddy said. Now, he has 200 doctors on his staff who are qualified to work in the United States, and has many wealthy Indian expatriates as clients.

Still, some hospitals in India are discovering that affordable costs and foreign-trained doctors may not be enough to make India a global health care destination. The country's dilapidated airports, garbage-strewn streets and overcrowded slums can put off even the hardiest foreigners.

"Some foreign patients arrived at the airport and took the next flight back," said Dr. Reddy, who has been trying to persuade the local government in Chennai, formerly known as Madras, to clear a slum next to his hospital there. "I can change the insides of my hospitals, but I cannot change the airports and roads," Dr. Reddy said,

The challenge, said Harpal Singh, chairman of Fortis Healthcare, a chain of hospitals based in New Delhi, is to get the world to understand that India is a complex country. Acknowledging that foreigners might feel more at home having surgery in sleek hospitals in Singapore or Thailand, which are competing to woo them, Mr. Singh said, "We have to project that India is capable of delivering first-rate as well as shoddy work." Fortis, part owned by the country's biggest drug firm, Ranbaxy Laboratories, has a chain of four hospitals in India and another six on the way.

Indian hospitals are also working to ensure that they meet international standards. The Indian Healthcare Federation, a group of 50 hospitals led by Dr. Reddy, is developing accreditation standards for hospitals.

One doctor in India held up as first rate is Dr. Naresh Trehan, a cardiac surgeon based in New Delhi and the executive director of Escorts Heart Institute and Research Center. Dr. Trehan, 58, who studied cardiac surgery at the New York University School of Medicine and worked there for a decade, returned to India in 1988 to open his own cardiac hospital in New Delhi. The hospital now conducts 4,000 heart surgeries a year with 0.8 percent mortality rates and 0.3 percent infection rates, on par with the best of the world's hospitals.

Last October, Dr. Trehan performed surgery on Howard Staab, 53, an uninsured self-employed carpenter from Durham, N.C., to repair a leaking mitral heart valve. Mr. Staab paid $10,000 for his surgery, his round-trip fare to India and for a visit to the Taj Mahal. In the United States, his options included surgery costing $60,000 at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C.

To take advantage of patients like Mr. Staab, Indian hospitals are expanding. In the Gurgaon suburbs of New Delhi, Dr. Trehan is building a $250 million multispecialty hospital modeled after the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. In the same neighborhood will be Fortis Healthcare's Medicity, a 43-acre hospital complex for foreign patients, which will have special immigration and travel counters and interpreters, with the idea of branding itself the Johns Hopkins Hospital of the East.

"We're gearing up, and the doors of Indian hospitals are wide open to the Western world," Dr. Trehan said.
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Kailash passes on to us the tale of outsourcing with a difference
Thank you Kailash

March 12 2005
Kimberly, publisher of conservative Spectator outsources Daddy


Outraged over what he termed as "malicious" reports in
two British papers, M J Akbar has slapped legal
notices on them seeking substantial damages, apology
and retraction. "Legal notices have been issued to all
these papers.  We are taking substantive action
against anyone who has named me and who had indulged
in the malicious, defamatory and false accusation,"
Akbar said.  His lawyer said notices had been sent to
The mail on Sunday, The Sunday Mail, The Sunday
Telegraph and The Sunday Times asking them to refrain
from publishing or printing Akbar's name.

Unnamed 'friends' of Quinn are quoted to agree it was
'impossible Akbar and she had been lovers.
Interestingly, late on Sunday, it emerged that clues
to Akbar's identity had been leaked to the media by
sections of the Labour Party, supportive of Blunkett
and keen to out Quinn as a vampish throwback to a
1920s culture of 'hedonism'.

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Vijay Dutt
London, March 5

HERE'S ANOTHER shocker from the British Isles: the Sun
has speculated in a two-page spread with the headline,
'Did Kimberly have an Asian baby? that former Home
Secretary David Blunkett's ex-lover Kimberly Quinn's
second son may have an Asian for a dad.

The British tabloid has kicked off a great guessing
game: it is asking readers, on the condition of
anonymity, whether Lorcan's dad is an Asian media
figure, a  TV host, a household name, a current
affairs presenter or a married MP.

The Spectator staffer who handed out the scoop
suggested the possibility of the father being an
Indian media figure.  He is quoted as saying, "Quite a
few names are being bandied about (who the dad may
be).  There is a suggestion the baby may appear to be
of mixedrace parentage... There is talk of Kimberly
having had a fling with a media figure... in India.
There is also talk of another media figure in

The report follows a DNA test, which has proved
Blunkett (father of Kimberly's first son, two-year-old
William) who had a three-year long affair with
Kimberly, publisher of the Spectator, is not Lorcan's
dad.  Neither is Stephen Quinn, Kimberly's husband
(publisher of Vogue).

Kimberly's second son Lorcan was born a month ago.
Her first son, two-year-old William, is Blunkett's.

According to the Sun, Lorcan's father had a fling with
Kimberly while she was still seeing Blunkett.  DNA
tests ordered by a court have revealed that Lorcan was
conceived between 21-24 May last year.

By Rashmee Roshan Lall/TNN

London:  The waves of scandal over an adulterous love
affair, that involved one of the most senior figures
in Britain's ruling Labour Party and the publisher of
a Conservative-leaning magazine, appear to be finally
lapping Indian shores with sections of the British
media naming a leading Indian journalist as the
possible father of the woman's new baby.

British tabloids and The Sunday Times, London, have
gone to town with news of the 'Indian media tycoon'
who has been 'dragged' into the paternity battle
between former British cabinet minister David Blunkett
and Spectator magazine publisher Kimberley Quinn.

Amid mounting public fascination with Quinn's apparent
facility for multiple overlapping relationships and
liasions, the Indian media figure named is said to
have been the fourth man engaged in an affair with the
twice-married Quinn at the same time as Blunkett.  But
Asian Age editor M J Akbar was quoted as firmly saying
that his relationship with Quinn was anything other
than that of 'good friends'.

Describing the speculation that he is the father of
month-old Lorcan as 'absurd', Akbar admitted he had
known Quinn 'for many years'.  He insisted they were
'just good friends and soberly added: "These are
serious issues and in all honesty, I feel very bad for
her.  She must be going through hell." He said he was
not even in London last May, the time Lorcan was

Unnamed 'friends' of Quinn are quoted to agree it was
'impossible Akbar and she had been lovers.
Interestingly, late on Sunday, it emerged that clues
to Akbar's identity had been leaked to the media by
sections of the Labour Party, supportive of Blunkett
and keen to out Quinn as a vampish throwback to a
1920s culture of 'hedonism'.

Meanwhile, Quinn's husband, Stephen said it was
'totally absurd' to suggest the boy looked Asian when
in fact, "he looks like an Irish rugby player".
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February 17 2005
tells us of the follow up to the previous storyandwethankhim 

--the following about Tom Hunter & the CBI in
India is interesting, also the response to Karan
Thapar's article, poor Karan he is misunderstood/gets
carried away?

By David Smith

BUSINESS can be "enormously proud" of its response to the tsunami disaster and is generating huge amounts of
goodwill in the countries affected, according to Sir Digby Jones,
director-general of the CBI.
Jones, speaking from Chennai in India which was hit by the giant wave, said the CBI had been overwhelmed by
calls from business offering help.  He was especially
struck by the response of UK firms in India.
"The companies operating here, and I'm sure it has
been the same in Thailand and elsewhere, are working
closely with local communities," he said.

He gave the example of HSBC, which is intending to buy
hundreds of fishing boats to replace those destroyed by the tsunami, and P&O, which worked to get the port
re-opened quickly.
Isoft, which has 1,000 "offshored" workers in Chennai,
matched the day's pay donated by its workers.
"I wanted to see for myself how business was coping
and how it could help, and it's good news," said Jones, "Chennai is open for business and people herefeel very proud of the fact that the Indian government
has said it doesn't want aid from other governments.
They are proud that they are developing so fast that
they can stand on their own two feet.  They feel very
much at the top of the developing world.
"They lost a few containers at the port, but they were
back in business within 24 hours.
All power to P&O's elbow, because P&O has made a huge
success of Chennai.  You can always judge an organisation by how it deals with a crisis and it
deals with a crisis and it dealt with that very well."
Normally the CBI does not make donations, but this time it has given several thousand pounds to an appeal
launched by the Confederation of Indian Industry. "The goodwill is enormous," said Jones.  "Britishcompanies have been quick off the blocks and I am
proud of that." UK firms would play their full part in
the reconstruction of the infrastructure destroyed by
the tsunami, he said.
"The real problem is 300 kilometres to 600 kilometres south of here.  All the way along the coast you have
literally thousands of people who eat what they fish. Nobody knows how many of these people there were andhow many were lost.  The Indian economy won't be
affected by the loss of these subsistence fishermen
but it is a huge human tragedy."
His comments came as businessmen and companies were
boosting their contributions to the disaster.
BP has pledged pounds 3m, while Vodafone and the FA Premier League are each giving pounds 1m.  Diageo, thedrinks giant, has budgeted more than pounds 500,000
for disaster relief.
Scottish Water has flown out thousand of bottles, while BT
Group has provided expertise as well as cash. Other donors include Wolseley, the plumbing group,Royal Dutch/Shell and Cable & Wireless, the
telecommunications company.

Tom Hunter, one of Britain's best-known
philanthropists, is to give pounds 1m to the tsunami
appeal.  It will be spent on rebuilding ruined schools in south Asia and helping to provide an early-warning
system against any future giant waves.
Hunter said he wanted to be sure that aid to Africa and to other Third World regions did not dry up while
everyone focused on the tsunami.
He was skiing in the French resort of Meribel with his family when the earthquake struck on Boxing Day.  He
said this weekend:  "We heard about it, but we did not realise its enormity until we saw the pictures on
Ewan Hunter, chief executive of the Hunter Foundation but no relation to Tom Hunter, has been in talks with
the Treasury on how best to spend the money.
He said: "We wanted to assess the position thoroughly and ensure that any funds we applied went to a
long-term solution.  It seemed to us the short-tem
funding needs had been largely addressed."

Tom Hunter is among Britain's 100 richest people, with
a fortune of pounds 500m.
He sold the Ayr-based Sports Division chain for pounds 290m in 1998.  Since then he has invested in property
and in retail ventures with Green, helping him to buy
The son of a grocer from New Cumnock, a former mining village in Ayr
shire, Hunter graduated from Strathclyde University in business and marketing but had troublefinding a job.   His father had started a sideline selling trainers and Hunter realised that was wherethe future lay. He started selling sports shoes from the back of a
van, then obtained franchises within stores before
building the Sports Division retail chain.

FROM HINDUSTAN TIMES  ( 'Sunday Letters')


"DESPITE OUR Security Council ambitions and our preening as a regional power we are and remain a poor
country."  This is what Karan Thapar stated in his article on January 9 (Them and Us, Sunday Sentiments).According to his article, it was due to the fact that
India is a poor country, that India should accept
America's overflowing aids and several other
international aids.  Mr. Thapar has classified the unity and bondage of Indians and their urge to helpthe tsumani victims, as a "false pride" and "misplaced
I am a great fan of his and would ask Mr. Thapar not
to consider this just as a 15-year-old's intense nationalism, but as "Indian pride", not "false pride".If he is incapable of accepting this fact, I would
suggest him to write in London Times rather than
Hindustan Times.
Shohini Sengupta, Dehradun.

WHY WALK away from the "uncivilised" country only for
the New Year's Eve?  Do it forever.  And yes, the millions contributed by that "civilised country" maynot be even & trickle when seen against the backdrop of trillions looted by them during their "civilised"
occupation of "uncivilised" countries.
R N Dogra, Noida.

WILL SOMEONE please tell Karan Thapar on behalf of us less civilised Indians that we would love it if he
moved to civilised Britain on a permanent basis, and
take his column with him?
Amit Kaushik, on email.

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January 2005
Kailash sent in the following item of interest He said 
"Last night I saw Tony Blair on CNN making statement in the British Parliament on Tsunami, and the following appeared in the
Hindustan Times one of the two predominant newspapers published in Delhi . The author Karan Thapar works for BBC world in Delhi , though  not a noted author, he writes a small column for the Sunday Edition of  HT."

Thank you Kailash for keeping us informed of the Delhi

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 Sunday Sentiments

Asked why I always spend new year's eve in London my stock reply is "Because I want to start the year in a civilised country!". The riposte usually provokes anger although, occasionally, it also invites derision. Inevitably I end up quarreling and I'm not
sure I always win the argument. But this year thetrumps are entirely in my hands. In facts, to be honest, I'm a little amazed at the strength off my case.

Let's start with the incredible generosity of the British people. Their country is almost 7000 miles away from Sumatra , the epicenter of the Boxing Day earthquake and tsunami waves. But since the 28th, when public appeals for money first started, the British have raised over 100 million Pounds. That's more than the American public, more than France and Germany combined, more than all the Scandinavian countries put together. And yet the population of the United Kingdom is only 59 million, two thirds of Germany and only a fifth of the United States !

In fact, on the 30th, by when British public donations had reached 35 million Pounds, the sum offered by the British government was only 15 million. As soon as this became clear the Blair cabinet raised its contribution to 50 million. Everyone knew what had happened: the British had shamed their government into trebling its pledge. Since then, of course,
continuing donations from the public have more than doubled their figure and on Thursday it crossed 100 million Pounds. Consequently twenty four hours later the British government, already once humiliated by its own public, promised to match their donation pound for pound. Paradoxically that might only further fuel the giving.

So who's giving the money? Both ordinary folk as well as well-established British companies. Soccer stars like Dwight York have contributed in hundreds of thousands, Harrods, the famous department store, has pledged 10 pr cent of its December sales, the football league has give millions.

Now I know comparisons are odious but they can also be instructive. According to The Hindu, by last Wednesday the Indian Prime Minister's National Relief Fund has received 308 crore rupees. By then the British public had contributed over 622 crore! And
remember, unlike us, very few British are personally affected.

But it's not simply money. So voluminous is the donation of old clothes, pots and pas that on the 3rd Oxfam had to appeal for 10,000 volunteers to assist with the contributions. Meanwhile, the generosity carries on. And I wouldn't be surprised if the appeal launched by George Bush wasn't provoked by British taunts. " America is the world's richest country" I heard commentators repeatedly say on British TV "but it also seems to be the stingiest!"

But if the British have surpassed themselves by giving we, in India , have turned up our noses ad claimed we don't need help. I find this inexplicable if not also unforgivable. It's false pride and misplaced nationalism. Despite our Security Council ambitions and our preening as a regional power we are and remain a poor country........

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October 2004

  ENGLISH, FROM its inception in the hoary 5th century,has been a borrowed tongue.  This unique
characteristic of enriching its vocabulary mainly by
adopting words from other languages - especially Latin
and French - has stemmed the reputation of English as
one of the most vibrant spoken languages. 

For Indians, there is reason to gloat.  In independent
India, the use of English as an official language was
often derided as a colonial hangover.  Yet, It now
seems that we desis (natives, locals) can boast of
having had the biggest influence on the growth of
contemporary English.

According to a British linguist, Hinglish - the
bastardised version of English spoken in India - is
soon set to become the most common spoken form of the
language in the world.  India has long valued an
education in the English language, as a result of
which some 350 million Indians now speak it as their
second language.  This itself exceeds the number of
native English speakers in Britain and America.  Since
English is the common string connecting India to the
West, the latter may have found it easy to pick up
shreds of Indian languages commonly used by English
speaking Indians.

If an official stamp was missing, the Oxford English
Dictionary filled this gap when it included Hinglish
in its repertoire.  The very fact that English - the
second largest spoken language in the world - has
shown itself to be inclusive of the environment in
which it's spoken should seal its reputation as the
language of a globalised world.



He has decided to live forever or die in the attempt


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 May 2004

Defence lab squeezes crores out of Leh berry
 Times News network Friday Sept 10 2004

by Sanjay Dutta

LEH: Tucked away from public gaze in the high altitudes of Ladakh, a defence laboratory is quietly proving that all government research isn't aimed at increasing the size of files.

  The Defence Research and Development Organisation's Field Research Laboratory here has squeezed a Rs 5-6 crore business out of seabuckthorn, a berry that grows wild in the high valleys of the Ladakh region.

Sold under the 'Leh Berry' brand, the juice has notched up annual sales of over Rs 5-6 crore. At present it is marketed by Ladakh Foods Ltd in joint venture with agriculture ministry's Small Farmers Agri Business Consortium and Nafed.

"China has a Rs 17,000-crore seabuckthorn market. Russia, Finland and Canada are the other major markets. We are now utilising 10 per cent of our potetial," says Sanjai K Dwivedi, who along with O P Chaurasia developed the technology to extract and preserve the juice.

Dwivedi said that Dabur, Kohinoor and Arctic Deserts were among the major food processing firms seeking the technology patented in 2001.

Locally known as 'Tsermang', the FRL started research on the berry in 1992 in search for a tasty health drink that doesn't freeze in the sub-zero temperatures of Siachen or Drass-Kargil areas.

Locals have been aware of the medicinal properties of seabuckthorn and using its berries, leaves and roots for food, fodder and firewood.

Genghis Khan used it to improve the memory, stamina, strength, fitness and disease-fighting abilities of his army. Soviet Cosmonauts on board the Mir space station used seabuckthorn cream to counter radiation. It is also known as the king of vitamin C.

But the juice could not be stored more than a day, limiting commercial viability. The FRL technology has enabled the juice to be transported from Leh to the Godrej Foods Division plant in Raisen, Madhya Pradesh, for packaging.

It also doesn't freeze in minus 20 degrees centigrade, making it a favourite with the troops.

Dwivedi said that the berry grew in about 11,000 hectares in the Nubra, Indus, Suru and Zanskar valleys of Ladakh. It is also found in parts of Uttaranchal and Sikkim.

Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council officials see the FRL technology as a financial boon for the local population. The council now wants to run the cultivation and harvesting operations in the co-operative sector.

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Want Christian priests? Outsource to India

Prasun Sonwalkar, Indo-Asian News Service

London (IANS) Outsourcing has crossed one more frontier - religion. Now Christian priests in India are conducting ceremonies for the West!

A shortage of priests out here has fuelled a global market in prayers-for-cash.

When Michael Schumacher won the Australian Grand Prix last month, a German fan paid for a thanksgiving mass apparently in honour of his hero. The fan, however, was unable to attend: the service was held thousands of miles away in Kerala.

As British and American companies outsource their high-tech and service work to India to take advantage of cheap skilled labour, the Roman Catholic Church is also doing the same.

Faced with a shortage of priests in the West, European and American clergy are outsourcing "mass intentions" - requests for services, such as thanksgiving and memorial masses for the dead - to priests and congregations with time on their hands.

Each mass is said in front of a public congregation in Malayalam, the local language. Rates vary from country to country: a request from North America or Europe can net a priest three pounds or four pounds; poorer countries pay less.

The Times reported that Kerala Christians trace their heritage back to the 1st century AD. Many believe that St Thomas visited the region in AD 52 and established seven Christian churches. Roman Catholicism was introduced by the Portuguese at the end of the 15th century and today about a third of the population is Christian.

Reports from Kerala say bishops have had to limit priests to just one mass a day to prevent them from denying others a slice of the pie. Most of the requests are posted or e-mailed to Kerala bishops, who then share them out among the clergy. Priests who have worked in the West receive direct requests from friends and contacts there.

Father Benson Kundulam, who lived in Paris for several years, recently held a requiem mass in Cochin for a man in France mourning the death of his father.

"It doesn't matter where the person is from, we treat the request the same," he is quoted as saying.

The money, he says, is the last thing on the priest's mind.

"It is a religious duty to say the mass. We do it the same, whether it is an Indian paying a few rupees or an American paying dollars."

His colleague, Father Tony Paul, who has not travelled abroad, gets far fewer foreign requests and more Indian ones, which earn only a third of the money. "If you don't get personal requests, it is up to the bishops to hand them out," he said.

Church officials say that prayers for the dead have been outsourced for decades and that the tradition has been thrust into the spotlight only because of the controversy over corporate outsourcing in the West.

"Priests and bishops abroad have no choice but to send them here or else the mass intentions would never be said," Paul Thelakat, the spokesman for the Cochin archdiocese, told The Times
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Indo-Asian News Service

April 2004--The following appeared in the Times of India.  

DEYA - Michael Caine's Indian Curry Restaurant in London.
The Indian curry's love story seems to have no end.  Its latest convert is Michael Caine, an actor known for his fastidious tastes when it comes to choosing films at least.  Opening shortly, on April 29, in London's Curry Street is the Hollywood legend's light 'n' tangy Indian restaurant 'Deya', glorified by The Guardian for serving gravy delights without ghee and hot masalas.  Truely it's a re-definition of Indian cuisine.

Burping along with Caine on this project are two Indians, Raj Sharma and chef Sanjay Dwivedi of Zaika, London's only Indian restaurant with a Michelin star.  Deya's launch, will be attended by Hollywood's who's who, dipping fingers in the gravy of Murgabi Mussalam and Kokum nariyal rattan.  Says Raj Sharma, "We're re-inventing Indian cuisine to provide an alternative to the usual curry house menu.  This is Michael's dream project.  He's tuned-in to the minutest details of the restaurant.  He wants everything to be Indian.

London's going crazy already, we've had queries from Cincinatti, New York and Sydney.  We're feeling very hot, hot, hot..."

Right now, Caine's busy finishing his shooting, to hurry 'n' curry some last minute changes.  Says Michael Caine, "This project was the first venture that really exited me.  I'm a great fan of the Indian curry and I'll enjoy overseeing it.  At the porch end of my life, I don't want to regret I didn't want to regret I didn't do this," adds Caine, who won an Oscar in 2000 for Cider House Rules and was nominated for his role in The Quiet American in 2003.

Says chef Sanjay Dwivedi, "We've evolved a very modern and healthy Indian cuisine.  The main course is light but traditional.  We're serving dishes like Rogan Josh, Butter Chicken and Goan Fish Curry minus the overbearing spicy gravies.  I'm  using my French influence to create a menu that does away with ghee, heavy oils and cream.  We're going to make Londoners taste Indian food that's more than spicy butter chicken."
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  March 2004- Kailash reports: Making a pitch for another item for outsourcing, the following blatantly self serving article appeared in the Times of India a few weeks ago, thought it might interest/amuse Koi Hais


Packing off Britain's elderly to India is an idea worth considering.  It makes sound economic sense for all concerned.  The prohibitive cost of living and health care makes England an unattractive place to live in for those who are no longer part of the workforce.  India, on the other hand, is easy on the pocket and more so given the attractive pound-rupee conversion rate.  The abundance of paid help, the availability of modern conveniences and world class healthcare system, all combine to make India an unbeatable destination for anyone who has the money to pay for it, particularly the elderly from other countries.  As a sweetener to
this deal, throw in the fact that English is spoken and understood
widely in India.  India is also a country of many climates.  As opposed to England which is mostly dull, grey and cold, India's widely varying climatic conditions offer a spectacular range of choices for the immigrant elderly.

While on the subject, let's also demolish the notion that India's
gen-next is self-centered and uncaring.  For all that the Indian young seem in a hurry to achieve their economic goals, they are also raised in an environment that values and respects the elderly.  No matter how modern their exterior and how aloof their manner, their core is essentially Indian.  Treating the elderly with respect is almost a subconscious response in India and manifests itself in everyday life.  A few stray incidents of elderly people being badly treated doesn't mean that is the way things happen on a large scale.  The traditional Indian respect for the elderly, more value for their money and the availability of world-class facilities, all make a compelling cases for the aged to
move from Britain to India.

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as reported in the Hindustan Times

Man Aman Singh Chhina
Roorkee, November 7

IT WAS nostalgia time at the St John's Church in IIT-Roorkee on Friday when a British veteran of the Bengal Sappers, Major H.R. Balston, and wife Janet renewed their marriage vows.  They chose to relive their romance and wedlock amidst comrades and memories of yore.
The couple had tied the knot at this very church on July 31, 1943. Their dream to celebrate the diamond jubilee of their wedding at the same place and during the bicentenary of the Bengal Sappers had come true.

Maj Balston (83) and his wife (78) were treated to a special churchceremony by the British delegation attending the Sappers' bicentenary. It was a special moment for 19 British officers and their wives who sang
psalms along with children of the Sunday church.  Among those present were General Sir George Cooper, former Adjutant General of the British Army and Maj Gen Lyall Grant, both veteran Bengal Sappers.

An emotional Janet recalled how she fell for her Captain 60 years ago."My father was a professor at theThomason College (now IIT Roorkee) when I attended a New Year Eve party at the Bengal Sappers Centre.  It was love at first sight," she said.

Their courtship continued even after she left Roorkee to work as a nurse in Mussoorie during World Was II.  She said the Bengal Sappers hold a special place in their hearts and they were lucky to celebrate their
diamond jubilee at Roorkee.

The couple had also celebrated their silver jubilee here in 1968 and took part in the 175th anniversary celebrations of the Bengal Sappers in 1978.

Speaking to HT, Gen. Cooper and Gen. Grant said the cantonment retains its old charm.  "We drove around and could identify some old buildings,including the one in which I stayed," said Cooper.

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   This was probably a sign of the times and inevitable but looks like the accountants are winning !!!!!!!!-----Editor

Kolkata (IANS) The Indian Tea Board will shut down its offices in London and New York to reduce costs, but its Dubai and Moscow establishments will stay, according to board officials.

The state-run agency that promotes export of Indian tea will try to clinch deals through foreign embassies, having done so successfully earlier, a source said.

The decision to downsize the Tea Board's overseas establishments has, however, not gone down well with some people who argue that exports to Europe and the U.S. cannot pick up if the agency does not promote its own teas.

Indian teas hold only 19 percent, 20 million kg annually, of the British market, losing badly over the years to Kenya, which claims 43 percent. The U.S. market imports seven percent of Indian teas, but is seemingly growing fonder of these.

The two overseas offices are being scrapped by the Indian commerce ministry, apparently to reduce New Delhi's financial burden. However, industry experts are already beginning to count the losses from the decision.

"The London office promoted exports to Europe, particularly Britain, Germany, France and Italy. Can we now hope to increase exports after doing away with the office?" wondered a Tea Board official.

In 2002, India's tea output was 850 million kg, of which 193 million kg was exported.

The Indian tea industry, which is reinventing its export markets because of stiff competition from countries like Sri Lanka, Kenya, Indonesia and Malawi, is turning its focus away from traditional markets like Russia, Central Asian states and Britain to look towards the Middle East.

The decision to retain the Dubai office seems to have been taken because the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is one of the growing importers of Indian tea.

Tea prices have fallen by about 30 percent in the past four years.

The Tea Board has hired two market research firms to survey consumption patterns in countries like Chile, Russia, Syria, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Germany.

Indo-Asian News Service


Flood-hit elephants block traffic, drink beer

Guwahati (IANS) Elephants fleeing a flooded wildlife park in India's northeastern state of Assam are making merry -- blocking road traffic and guzzling homemade rice beer. With hundreds of wild animals migrating to the adjoining Karbi Anglong hills, some Asiatic elephants have strayed into a tea garden colony close to Kaziranga National Park, 220 km from here. And soon the elephant herd discovered rice brew tipple and started feasting on it before furious villagers chased away the animals with flaming torches, firecrackers, drums and cymbals. "We now fear that the Kaziranga elephants will make it a habit to enter our colony after getting a taste of rice beer," said Madhu Ram, a tea garden worker. "The elephants sipped to the last drop before smashing the earthen cask in which the beer is brewed." A group of about 64 elephants also blocked a highway that crisscross the park while taking leisurely took a stroll on the main road before disappearing to the thick jungles on the other side of the sanctuary. Elephants apart, witnesses said, a tiger also blocked highway traffic for about 15 minutes. "The tiger was relaxing on the highway, and people stopped their vehicles to watch the scene before the cat vanished into the thick undergrowth," a roadside hotelier said. "Animals like wild boars and deer are straying into human settlements in the fringe areas of the park with the floodwaters increasing by the day inside the sanctuary." Indo-Asian News Service

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