‘Villager from Guwahati,India gave MIT tech ideas’

“The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, USA, is conducting further research on how to channelise the energy created in shock observers of vehicle into the acceleration, and surprisingly, this idea has been floated by a villager near Guwahati,” said Anil Gupta, professor at IIM-A.

He further added that Kanak Das, resident of a remote village near Guwahati has actually created a simple device which converts the shocks received by his bicycle into acceleration energy, so he doesn’t have to peddle for a few metres after negotiating a pothole.

“Kanak Das came up with this innovation to seek a solution to the bad roads of his village, and when I showcased his idea to the students of MIT, they immediately adopted it, as it can bring huge change in automobile technology across the world,” said Gupta, who was asking budding engineers to look for innovations beyond the traditional set-up.

Addressing a jam-packed audience of almost 500 students, professors and engineers, prof Anil K Gupta, executive vice-chair, National Innovation Foundation, shared some amazing stories of innovation and research done by people living in remote villages of India. He was speaking at theinauguration of NUiCONE 2010, First International Conference on ‘current trends in technology’ at Nirma University campus. He stressed on the need to look beyond the conventional boundaries of Research & Development, and asked budding engineers to reach out in search of new ideas, rather than just rely on organisations’ own research facilities.

To explain his point to the young minds he addressed, he gave some examples of newer ways of ‘people oriented’ research methods adopted by companies like LEGO Toys and Forbes magazine. These organisations have asked people to decide the kinds of toys design they want, and what they want to see on the cover of the magazine.

But some unbelievable and inspirational stories of small time villagers of India held the audience spellbound. In another example, he explained how an illiterate housewife living in a village near Vishakhapatnam came up with an idea to harness the wasted heat of the chulha. ” She realised that majority of the heat of the burning fire escapes from the surrounding gap of the earthen chulha, so she made a three-tier bamboo platform above it, on which she put paddy plants to get heated,” said the professor, who considers this innovation as a major breakthrough.

“Heat also escapes in gas stoves and this idea will change the future designs of kitchens in the world.” He added. ” No engineer, no company, not even ONGC people have ever thought of using such simple yet effective technology to harness heat and make it re-usable,” the professor stated.



Rags to Riches story of Lawrence Rajendran

It is the kind of stuff fairy tales are made of.

From being raised by a single mother who was a government teacher, studying in a government school in the suburbs of Chennai and graduating from a college in rural Tamil Nadu to winning the most prestigious Breuer award for research in Alzheimer’s disease at the age of 35,Lawrence Rajendran has indeed come a long way in life.

Lawrence, who did his schooling and college in Chennai and is currently working as a co-director and assistant professor at the University ofZurich has won the Hans and Ilse Breuer Award worth 100,000 euros for research in Alzheimer’s in Germany.

The clich?, rags to riches, fits aptly in the case of Lawrence. A rewind into his childhood reveals an alcoholic father who abandoned his wife and three children, one of them Lawrence, who was just five. “My mother single-handedly brought us up and ensured that we got quality education,” says Lawrence.

Lawrence‘s interest in molecular biology and biochemistry began in Class X when he was introduced to it by a professor at the Madras Christian College whom he had met by chance.

“I decided to do my graduation in biochemistry. But back in 1995, there wasn’t a single college for men in the city which offered the course and enrolled for it at the Sri Sankara College for Arts and Science in Kancheepuram,” he says.

Rajendran who received the award for successfully deciphering that specific part of the brain which is the source of the Alzheimer’s disease and designing a drug which addresses the problem says he had always been fascinated by the biological aspects of the disease and wanted to pursue his research in this field.

“It was in 2004 that I decided to pursue my research in Alzhemier’s after my guide found out the connection between high cholestrol and Alzheimer’s. The disease fascinated me and from then on I have been doing research in Alzheimer’s,” he says.

Lawrence, who was a gold medallist both at the under-graduation and post-graduation level has been funded by stipends and scholarships all through his student life.“Thanks to all the grants and stipends I received I have been able to achieve so much.”

And now, its Lawrence’s turn to stretch out a helping hand to bright students from economically weak backgrounds. Three years ago, Lawrence started the Research Awareness in Student Environment (RAISE) programme to assist undergraduate engineering students from Tamil Nadu’s rural areas who have a passion for research and also to create awareness on research.

Five students are selected each year who are then sent to study in Zurich and Max Planck Universities. These students are funded by the universities and Lawrence. “I got the German Neuro Science Society award for 25,000 euros which I have set aside to fund students who are selected through RAISE,” he says.

Looking back, Lawrence has a lot to be thankful for, especially his mother and sisters who are all praise for him. “He is a gifted and brilliant child. He is a great actor, singer, dancer, orator and writer. He has varied interests and is a voracious reader. You will never find him without a book,” says his sister Florence Rajendran who works as a clinical researcher.

Lily Rajendran, his mother, is extremely proud of her son’s achievements. “Being a teacher I know the importance of education and wanted to give all my children the best education. Lawrence showed great potential even as a child and was excellent in studies as well as extra-curricular activities,” she says.

Though Lawrence only visits his sisters and mothers twice a year, family has always been his first priority, says Lily. “It is because of his hard work, determination and God’s grace that he has achieved great heights,” she said.



US-based Indian creates first artificial kidney

US-based Indian origin researcher Shuvo Roy has created the world’s first implantable artificial kidney. What’s sensational about Roy’s creation is that the organ, no larger than a coffee cup, will be able to mimic the kidney’s most vital functions like filtering toxins out of the bloodstream, regulate blood pressure and produce the all- important vitamin D.

The artificial kidney has been tested successfully on a small number of animals. Large-scale trials on animals and humans are expected over the next five years. Once available, and if affordable, this creation by the Roy-led team at University of California will do away with the need for kidney dialysis.

This will be a boon for all patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD). At present in India, of the 1.5 lakh new patients who suffer from end-stage renal failure annually, only 3,500 get kidney transplants and 6,000-10,000 undergo dialysis. The rest perish due to an acute shortage of dialysis centres and nephrologists to man them.

CKD is rising at a rapid pace in India and the majority of those who perish are either unable to find a suitable organ for transplantation or are unable to pay for the high dialysis costs.

According to Roy, the device has a filtration section to remove toxins from the blood, alongside a compartment with renal cells to conduct other functions of a kidney. He believes the artificial kidney could last for decades and require no pumps or batteries. Patients wouldn’t require anti-rejection drugs (as is required after transplants) either because there would be no exposed natural tissues for the immune system to attack.

The University of California team is awaiting approval to conduct larger scale animal and human trials. Already, it has successfully tested the implant in a few rats and pigs.

“The payoff to the patient community is tremendous,” said Roy. “It could have a transformative impact on their lives…With the right financial support, I think we could reach clinical trials in five years. But it’s hard to say how long after that it becomes commercially available due to the uncertainties of the FDA and commercialization prospects.”

So what would this artificial kidney mean for India? ”It will be a real boon,” said Dr S C Tiwari, director of nephrology and renal transplantation medicine at Fortis health care. He added: ”The biggest problem with CKD patients in India is that majority of them are diagnosed in the final stages where they would either require constant dialysis or a transplant. They would require dialysis three times week. However, of the two lakh CKD patients requiring dialysis, only 10,000 get it, mainly because they can’t afford it. Maybe only 1,000 such patients get it for free or at a subsidized rate in government hospitals. The artificial kidney, when available and if affordable, will be a miracle.” Dr Madan Bahadur, nephrologist with Mumbai’s Jaslok Hospital added, ”Work on creating tubular cells (that perform the biochemical work of the kidney) began a decade back. But bio-chemical engineering has so far not managed to replicate the kidney.”

According to Dr Jitendra Kumar, head of nephrology at Asian Institute of Medical Sciences, the main reason why this artificial kidney will be a real breakthrough is because it will be able to mimic the vital functions of a kidney like regulate BP and produce vitamin D — things a dialysis can’t do.


Motel tycoon Jasani used to sleep on pavements

Four months ago he had been to sardar patel’s house in karamsad. the trip moved him, and albert jasani decided to put up the biggest-ever statue of the iron man of india in the us. for a man who was born on the street, slept on pavements at times without food, and used to sell peanuts in a small corner of anand, the journey from near starvation to taking sardar patel to us is an inspiring tale. albert jasani’s is a true saga of rags to riches.

He began as a dish-washer in US , and now is a motel tycoon who recently built a the royal albert’s palace – a place which hosts vvips from india, including prime minister vajpayee when he was there. “i did all odd jobs. i was a dishwasher, taxi driver, factory worker, security guard, storekeeper and everything that comes under the parlance of labour work. i had no formal education but only a dream to go to america and do something big,” said jasani. from a penniless indian immigrant, today jasani’s networth is over $50 million. he owns a string of motels, restaurants and sizeable holdings in the real estate business. but riches came to him after hard struggle. “summer, winter or rain, i was always on the footpath. in the rainy season, a kind neighbour use to give me a plastic sheet to cover myself.

I  slept under that plastic sheet for many rainy days,” jasani recalls his days of struggle. one morning in early 1970s, jasani decided to turn his passion for america into reality. “i somehow managed to get into america. don’t ask me how? that’s a big story, but once in uncle sam’s land, i began my task of doing something worthwhile,” he says. absolutely penniless, jasani started with odd jobs and finally after stints in many places managed to land a job in a motel. “i learnt all the tricks of the trade. observed how business was conducted, and finally invested my savings of about four years into a new motel that was coming up in atlantic city. the gamble paid off and since then i have never looked back,” jasani said. few know that jasani, who has helped build many temples in anand and abroad and has great respect for religious heads of the swaminarayan sect, was born into the ‘khoja’ community. his real name is hyder jasani. “i don’t know much about religion. but i feel happy spending my money for noble causes,” he said. besides temples he has also helped build a ‘jamatkhana’ and equipped his village with modern-day facilities.

Currently holding chair of sardar patel memorial foundation and vice-president’s post of the prestigious federation of indian associations in us, jasani has played a major role in influencing indo-us relations and help bring in nri funds for development-related projects in india. among his close friends in us are mayors, senators and policy-makers. he is also on the vvip nri invitee list of the prime minister. not forgetting his roots, jasani has kept two photographs in his office in the royal albert’s palace. he says the two pictures are very dear to him and important landmarks in his life.

In the first picture, little jasani and his father ismael are seen selling peanuts on a pavement in anand. in the second picture, jasani is shaking hands with bill clinton when he was us president. “i will never forget where i came from,” jasani says. his atitude in flie: ‘keep going, dreams do come true’.


Small towns, big achievements

Who would have thought 10 years ago that Amritsar would have greater mall penetration (per thousand population) than Delhi;that Vittorio De Sica’s arthouse classic ‘Bicycle Thieves’ would be shown at an international film festival in Yamunanagar;that the Indian cricket team would be captained with such distinction by a Ranchi boy? Indeed, who would have thought that small towns would be so integral to India’s growth narrative? But is that the full picture? Amidst soaring real estate prices and mushrooming super-luxury car showrooms, there’s also a lament for a vanishing way of life – a time when you could just drop by at a friend’s place. TOI-Crest brings you the story of small-town India 2. 0 and what it has lost and found in transition

Revolution has many colours. But at the Adidas shop on Delhi Road in Rohtak, it’s white. Middle-aged farmers from nearby kasbahs and villages drive in SUVs and ask for the priciest pair of white sneakers. “They hardly bat an eyelid before shelling out Rs 9, 000, the maximum for a pair, ” says Durgesh Sharma, who manages the store. The colour matches with their time-honoured all-white outfit: kurtapyjama and pagri. And as they pay the bill, many also pick up a trendy deodorant, a new-millennium substitute for the traditional ittar.

Five years ago, says Sharma, Rohtak was home to just one big shoe store that stocked most wellknown brands. That was then. “Now you have separate stores for Adidas, Puma, Lotto, Reebok, Woodland, Liberty and many more. Even Nike is coming shortly, ” he says.
It isn’t that this small town in Haryana, about 70 km west of Delhi, has been seized by a sudden shoe fetish. Struck by a tsunami of desires, Rohtak is simply enjoying its affair with hedonism. At least 100 super luxury cars – Mercedes, Audis, BMWs – parade its narrow roads. “I have three Mercedes, all different models, and a white colour Audi, ” says Kamal Mittal, who deals in Maruti cars.

When the Mittals opened the town’s first automobile showroom back in 1992, they sold about 45 cars every month. That number has climbed to 250. Now Tata, Hyundai and General Motors have set up shops adding to that figure;Toyota, Honda and Skoda are coming soon. A fortnight ago, Mayank Agarwal opened his Mitsubishi Motors showroom. He already has three Pajero bookings. “Nobody wants a car jo sabke paas hai, ” he says.

And that’s just the tip of Rohtak’s urge to splurge. At Sheela Cineplex, where the cheapest ticket is Rs 100 and the costliest Rs 200, middle-aged matrons soaked in Bvlgari walk in with Terra handbags. In the evenings, kids shoot pool and gun down terrorists playing Counter-strike in gaming parlours. The town’s young and restless cannot wait for March next year when Rohtak, famous for rewari and gazak, will gets its first multiplex mall, Merion Sky, where they can chew on Domino’s Pizza and down Baskin Robbins ice-cream.

Another mall, Sheetal Lifestyle, is ready to take off. And IIM. Yes, the original Indian Institute of Management is all set to have its Rohtak edition. Scholar’s Rosary, a preparatory school for kids, is fully airconditioned. City walls show study-abroad posters. “Earlier, we went to Delhi for a slice of the good life. But now, Delhi has come to Rohtak, ” says Mittal.
Rohtak is emblematic of what’s happening to the happening side of small-town India. Says Gurcharan Das, columnist and author of India Unbound: “Small towns were always centres of substantial business. But the growth in GDP and middle-class income has led to an explosion of volumes. In the 1960s and ’70s, Indians were hypocritical about money. We loved money but nobody wanted to admit it. “

Now the hypocrisy has gone. Consequently, many in Tier II and Tier III towns have dumped their squirrel-like stashing mentality for serious spending. Nothing is an excess anymore. Shopkeepers observe that brand consciousness is at an all-time high. Those who have arrived want to announce it with a super luxury car, a designer wedding or a dream holiday. Sociologist Yogendra Singh explains, “The brand consciousness is arising from a rising contact between city, small town and village. There is a leveling of lifestyles. More media penetration has created new psychologies of consumption. A new value system has taken birth. “

Back in 2008, the R K Swamy/BBDO guide to market planning had named 25 district towns ranging from Erode in Tamil Nadu to Sangli in Maharashtra, from Sangrur in Punjab to Alappuzha in Kerala (Rohtak too was one of them) as emerging markets of consumption, thereby fuelling India’s growth narrative.

The growth, though, as Singh points out, isn’t proportionately distributed among all classes. Far from it, a substantial percentage is either left untouched by it or has emerged worse off. But many with economic muscle and social pedigree have also adroitly located themselves in the sweet spot of emerging opportunities.

In May 2010, Ernst and Young (E&Y ) released a report titled, ‘The new market shehers: Tapping the potential of emerging markets’. For the purpose of the report, India was divided into four categories: top six metros, 22 key urban towns (KUTs) or Tier II towns, 39 rest of urban India (ROUI) or Tier III towns and rural India. The cities and towns were classified on the basis of population, affluence level and growth potential. Some of the key urban towns were Pune, Chandigarh, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Lucknow, Ludhiana, Cochin, Vijaywada, Vizag and Nagpur. Among the 39 rest-of-urban-India towns were Aurangabad, Allahabad, Gwalior, Bhubaneshwar, Moradabad, Rohtak, Faizabad, Hasan, Shimla and Shillong.

The findings are revealing. Between 2006 and 2008, the growth in the number of malls in key urban towns (55 per cent) was twice that in metros (24 per cent). In 2008-09, sales of refrigerators and washing machines registered growth rates in KUTs and ROUI that were almost double the rate in metros.

The E&Y study also provides insights into consumer behaviour. In Surat, it says, women surprised retailers and manufacturers with “their adventurousness in trying out new things and their willingness to pay large amounts for beauty treatments and products. ” Beauty treatments such as age correction, body sculpting and removing skin imperfections have become increasingly popular there.

It’s no surprise, therefore, that the industry is putting its money where the moolah is. According to 2007 industry estimates, about 30-35 per cent of the urban advertising expenditure was spent on KUTs and ROUI. Now they potentially command 40-50 per cent of the expenditure. Samsung’s dealership network has increased from branch offices in 20 towns in 2007 to 50 towns in 2008. Skoda has increased its marketing budget for non-metros from 25 per cent in 2006 to 40 per cent in 2009, the E&Y study says. Simply put, the research suggests “an uptake in the consumption of premium brands and services in KUTs”.

Within the big picture of liberalisation, every town has its own specific reason for its growth: some have benefited from the establishment of small industries, others have flourished as BPO hubs, some have profited from their proximity to a metropolis.

Saloni Nangia of management consulting firm Technopak adds that the consumption uptake is partly spurred by small-town middle-class women working outside homes. “This has improved their quality of life, given them financial freedom. They decide much of their own lifestyle spends, ” she says.

Nangia also points out that with real estate and labour being cheaper, many MNCs have shifted to small towns. Rohtak, for instance, has gained from being Haryana CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda’s town. About 5, 500 acres of land was acquired around it to set up an Industrial Model Township. Integrated townships – Omaxe City and Sun City – are coming up. “In the past one year, land rates have doubled, ” says Jitesh Gupta of Omaxe. The rural elite benefiting from the boom are the ones who want the white Adidas shoes and the Pajeros. They are the driving force behind Rohtak’s romance with conspicuous consumption.

The insatiable hunger for more cuts across regions. Aurangabad, in north-west Maharashtra, wasn’t satisfied buying 150 Mercedes-Benz worth Rs 65 crore;builders, industrialists and others have come together to book 101 BMWs. All the cars will be delivered in January, 2011.

Even smaller, wannabe towns that have escaped the attention of management consultancy reports have discovered ways to gorge and indulge. Ask Ishita Swaroop. Her company 99labels. com sells firang fragrances, handbags, lingerie and watches online and 32 per cent of her buyers come from towns like Jorhat, Jammu, Hajipur, Sambalpur, Dimapur. There’s Ranjan Kumar (name changed on request) from Chandausi who recently bought Bwitch lingerie for his wife online – “I enjoy ordering intimate apparel for my wife without discomfort, ” he says – and Julia Manchong (name changed) from Guwahati has bought perfumes from D&G and Police.

But the need to flaunt greed is only one side of the small-town growth story. Those who are yet to join the gravy train are working hard at it. Das narrates a story that illustrates the small town’s fibre. “I did a Bharat darshan while working on India Unbound. In a Tamil village, I met a 14-year-old named Raju, who served tea and coffee at a wayside dhaba. In the evenings, he was learning computers. He confidently told me that he had found the secret of success – learn Windows and 400 words of English. His hero was Bill Gates and he wanted to be the richest man in the world. Raju reflects the spirit of small-town India: hunger, ambition, a willingness to work hard. “

Fulfilling that ambition now appears accessible. The expansion of media, including the recent growth of the DTH industry, has democratised experiences and aspirations. Aditya Swamy, channel head, MTV India, found this while interviewing contestants for the channel’s Roadies show. The Tier II town lads, he says, are not short of social confidence in any way. “They dress the same way, use the same gadgets, consume the same net content. There is a homogenisation of young people. Only the small town guys have a hunger to prove themselves more, ” he says. One edition’s winner, Ashutosh Kaushik, ran a dhaba in Saharanpur. A majority of MTV’s Facebook community belongs to Tier II towns. As Nangia says, “City and small-town India are on the same page now. “

This has caused, as Singh says, “a blurring of identities. ” Today, the term ‘small town’ is perhaps explained by what it is not: it is neither metro nor hinterland. Marketing survey categories such as Tier II and Tier III towns fail to fully decode their mindscape, their soul. Even within small towns, there are hierarchies of population, economics and mentalities. But though they are in different stages of development, in different moments of history, most are united by a common desire for the good life. The binge isn’t just a reflection of a nouveau riche behaviour;it is also an indicator of how middle India has been liberated from its past, from the Hindu rate of consumption.

Which is why towns that once swore by grandmother’s pickles and maa ke haanth ka khana (food cooked by mom) are now enjoying eating out. Towns like Allahabad and Kota are saying ‘I’m loving it’ to new McDonald outlets. And Jalandhar and Patiala are feasting on aloo da tikki burgers. “About 70 per cent of our new outlets are in Tier II and Tier III towns, ” says Rajesh Maini of McDonalds.
Similarly, Nagpur, that once boasted of only Soaji (spicy Nagpuri cuisine) joints and highway dhabas is now biting into Subway sandwiches, sipping cappucino at Cafê Coffee Day. And that’s when it is not in the hookahjoints. The first mall, Landmark, came in 2003. The number has gone up to eight, four with multiplexes where young girls try out Revlon and Maybelline. Three more are in the works.

The truth is that middle-class Indians love to shop. As Das points out, “Even in our hypocritical socialist days, the few who went abroad and who had money were famous for shopping till they dropped. There has also been an austere, Gandhian streak in our society but it was always an aspiration, limited to a few. Today India is a consumptiondriven economy and this is also a part of the small-town ethos. “

The question is: In a country with so many versions – India Shining, India Invisible, India Ignored – can the small towns, driven by an expanding moneyed class in them, in nearby mofussils and villages, continue to flourish as growth hubs? Or will the larger contradictions bring them down?

Amit Mitra, secretary general, Ficci, believes that just as the future of economic reforms lies with the states, the future of consumer and knowledge products lies with small towns. “The challenge for small towns would be overcoming the limitations of urban planning and civic facilities. If these aspects are taken care of, small town will be big for business for long, ” he says.

Das sums it up succinctly: Small town 2. 0 is a crucial part of India 2. 0. 

With inputs from Deepender Deswal in Rohtak, Falguni Banerjee and Vaibhav Ganjapure in Nagpur

Top six cities now contribute a mere 27 per cent of urban consumption;the share of key urban towns or Tier II towns and rest of urban India (Tier III towns) is now 73 per cent Around 50 per cent of high-end TVs are sold outside the metros UFO Moviez, the country’s largest digital theatre chain, has more than 1, 000 screens across India. Of these, 80 per cent are in Tier II and Tier III Towns

Social networking site Bigadda gets roughly 50 per cent of its registered users from non-metro cities. Almost 60 per cent of Bigadda’s page views come from such cities

Gaming arrived rather late in smalltown India. But already gaming portal Zapak’s 40 per cent gameplexes are in non-metros
According to Planning Commission in 2007, the government pledged 29 billion dollars to make Tier II towns economic hubs by 2014 

Source: Ernst & Young’s May 2010 report titled, ‘The new market shehers: Tapping the potential of emerging markets’



A World Cup miracle

Qatari fans celebrate at Souk Waqif in Doha

The whole of Qatar erupted into a bundle of flag-waving Middle Easterners when the nation performed a football miracle to bring the World Cup to the region for the first time in its history.

Qatar, the smallest nation bidding for the right to host the 2022 tournaments, is a sports-mad peninsula that juts into the balmy waters of the Persian Gulf.

But to many in the Western hemisphere, it is still an unknown land in a region that has, until very recently, not been associated with world-class football but rather with terrible conflicts.

All that will and must now change – and it is to Fifa’s credit that the Middle East has finally been given a chance to break those dusty stereotypes.

As a journalist and writer born and raised in Qatar’s capital of Doha, a former fishing and pearl diving town that has become a bustling metropolis uniting people from around the world, I encountered a real sense of euphoria amongst Qataris following the outcome of Thursday’s vote in Zurich.

But now the hard work for Qatar really starts.

The first issue the country is likely to face concerns security. In a region riddled by conflicts and recent wars, will it be safe to travel to the Middle East for football’s biggest competition?

Qatar is, from experience, one of the safest places in the world.

Crime rates are very low and visitors to the nation’s streets can comfortably walk around Doha at night without feeling threatened.

Growing up in Qatar means I have witnessed the country’s incredible sporting revolution first hand.

The progression has been breathtaking. But when I first reported on Qatar’s intentions to bid for the World Cup early last year, the hopes of a football-crazy nation were still more dreamy than expectant.

From the likes of Boris Becker, Stefan Edberg and Goran Ivanisevic, who competed in the ExxonMobil Open in 1993, to the impeccably organised Fifa Youth World Cup in 1995 and progressively onwards, Qatar has continually invested in hosting sports events and sports stars of world stature.

In many ways, Qatar’s victory is a story of persistence, fuelled by great investment in sports infrastructure that culminated momentarily in the 2006 Asian Games in Doha.

But critics who suggest that the 2022 World Cup is solely about money are surely wrong.

Qatar has a special touch in making the visiting sportsmen – and women – feel the special Arabian charm that the country exudes effortlessly in exhibiting its very best side.

Qatari people are warm, friendly, hospitable descendents of the Bedouins who first inhabited the desert-covered peninsula and let any visitors feel at home in their tents.

Nowadays, the city is becoming a modern metropolis of art, culture and education – and one of the most important impacts of the decision to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar will be to break any negative stereotyping that exists.

Qatar has a football team that reflects its cosmopolitan composition.

My good friend Sebastian Soria is the main striker of the team that is currently preparing to launch an attempt to win the 2011 Asian Cup on home soil in January.

The Qatar Sports Club striker of Uruguayan origins was candid when I asked him this summer about Qatar’s chances of hosting a World Cup. “I think we can host a fantastic tournament,” he said. “And why not dream?” Now the dream has become a sporting reality.

Much work remains to be done but it will be confronted with incredible passion and pride.

As a country with a current population of almost two million, many of whom are foreigners, Qatar 2022 will be the most compact World Cup of all time.

It will be a charming competition, displaying the very best of the Middle Eastern cultures and Arabian traditions.

It will certainly be a tournament with a great amount of football fever. Qatar is hot in the summer months, as any long-time resident will confirm, but cooled stadiums with magnificent designs are set to rise from the beautiful golden desert sands in the coming years.

In many ways, the decision to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar is a sporting miracle.

The people of Qatar – and by extension those of the Middle East – have finally been given a chance to show their true potential.

It promises to be a brave new world for the beautiful game.

Skyfire 2.0 for iPhone

Experience the world’s hottest mobile browser with Skyfire 2.0 for iPhone.

Vibrant Video
watch videos, including Flash, while browsing your favorite sites

Explore Related
find related content & media to the page you’re browsing

Social Sharing
one-click sharing with facebook and twitter

User Agent Switching
load pages for either mobile or desktop

Private Browsing
keeps your browsing private, with no data trail


  • Adaptive streaming technology ensures optimal utilization of network and processor bandwidth (preserves battery life)
  • Sharing to Facebook and Twitter – it’s simple!
  • Facebook Quickview – Check your Facebook News/Wall without opening another app or page
  • Intuitive and finger friendly user interface for easy browsing experience
  • Load full desktop webpages on your mobile device
  • Multi-tab browsing – open up to eight windows and browse simultaneously


Air Force One

Air Force One over Mount Rushmore

No matter where in the world the President travels, if he flies in an Air Force jet, the plane is called Air Force One. Technically, Air Force One is the call sign of any Air Force aircraft carrying the President. In practice, however, Air Force One is used to refer to one of two highly customized Boeing 747-200B series aircraft, which carry the tail codes 28000 and 29000. The Air Force designation for the aircraft is VC-25A.

Air Force One is one of the most recognizable symbols of the presidency, spawning countless references not just in American culture but across the world. Emblazoned with the word “United States of America,” the American flag, and the Seal of the President of the United States, it is an undeniable presence wherever it flies.

Capable of refueling midair, Air Force One has unlimited range and can carry the President wherever he needs to travel. The onboard electronics are hardened to protect against an electromagnetic pulse, and Air Force One is equipped with advanced secure communications equipment, allowing the aircraft to function as a mobile command center in the event of an attack on the United States.

Inside, the President and his travel companions enjoy 4,000 square feet of floor space on three levels, including an extensive suite for the President that features a large office, lavatory, and conference room. Air Force One includes a medical suite that can function as an operating room, and a doctor is permanently on board. The plane’s two food preparation galleys can feed 100 people at a time.

Air Force One also has quarters for those who accompany the President, including senior advisors, Secret Service officers, traveling press, and other guests. Several cargo planes typically fly ahead of Air Force One to provide the President with services needed in remote locations.

Air force One Video  Tour : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GSwasXqNA04

Air Force One is maintained and operated by the Presidential Airlift Group, part of the White House Military Office. The Airlift Group was founded in 1944 as the Presidential Pilot Office at the direction of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. For the next 20 years, various propeller driven aircraft served the President. In 1962, President John F. Kennedy became the first President to fly in his own jet aircraft, a modified Boeing 707. Over the years, several other jet aircraft have been used, with the first of the current aircraft being delivered in 1990 during the administration of President George H. W. Bush.

Click here and explore the Air Force One


Manasvi Mamgai

Manasvi Mamgai, 22, won the Panataloons Femina Miss India World 2010 contest in Mumbai yesterday (April 30). She will go on to represent India at the Miss World contest later in the year. Neha Hinge, 23, was crowned Miss India International, while Nicole Faria won the Miss India Earth title.

What was special about the event was the presence of stars, particularly those with a bit of a history between them. So Salman Khan was there, and so was Vivek Oberoi who was performing songs from his move ‘Prince’. Sania Mirza was there with hubby Shoaib Malik, and so was Shahid Kapoor, also perfoming at the event. Former Miss Indias Lara Dutta and Neha Dhupia were there too.

Name :  Manasvi MAMGAI
Age :  22
Height :  173
Languages :  Hindi & English
Manasvi was born in New Delhi and is currently living in the ‘City of Dreams’, Mumbai. Manasvi enjoys Adventure Sports, Travelling, Reading and is a professionally trained actor. Her ambition is to become a successful actor and Philanthropist. Personal motto: ‘Be the change you want to see, be the difference you want to make’.
Favourite Music / Books ?
I loved Paulo Coelho’s Alchemist. It really inspired me to follow my own dreams. Music to me is my life and I have a vast range of music genres in my collection but classic rock, blues and spanish guitar is what I love the most.  
Describe yourself
I am a passionate person full of zest for life. I live in the moment, giving my 100% to everything I do. I hate to see things done in halves, if it is something I believe in and have my faith in it, I do it to perfection.  
Favourite food ?
Being a complete food-person, I enjoy all cuisines but nothing comes close to my mothers home cooked food.  
Future ambitions ?
To become a successful actor and philanthropist.  
Special Talents ?
Professionally trained in acting and a national level skater.  
Tell us a little something about your Country ?
Bounded by the majestic Himalayan ranges in the north and edged by an endless strech of golden beaches, India is a vivid kaleidoscope of landscapes, magnificent historical sites and royal cities, misty mountain retreats, colourful people, rich cultures and festivities.  
Any other interesting facts ?
Won more than 40 competitions in dance.

‘The Miss World 2010 Contestants’

Young Indian’s who dare’s (Part 1)

Rikin Gandhi, 29, CEO, Digital Green



An aerospace engineer from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a licenced private pilot, who was accepted to the US Air Force, he now finds himself a hero among the farmers in India. Moved to see that most of them have little access to better farming techniques, Gandhi, who is based in Delhi, decided to use his handycam as a tool for social networking. The method was simple: the farmers record their problems, solutions and success stories and the Bangalore-based Digital Green, an NGO headed by Gandhi, ensures these videos reach those who need them most. Although video has been tried many times in agriculture extension before, the Digital Green system differs from previous work by using cost-realistic technologies, like pocket video cameras and pico projectors. “We keep the videos localised in terms of language, socio-economic background of the audience,” Gandhi says. Digital Green, which received a $3-million grant for three years from the Gates Foundation, has covered over 300 villages and aided over 17,000 farmers in Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

The Journey: Born and raised in the US, he “reverse-migrated” to India to help start a bio-diesel venture in Maharashtra, which later failed. “He is a rare person who is using his knowledge and skill to improve the human condition,” says Magsaysay Award-winner Deep Joshi.

The Mission: To expand to 200 villages in the next six months, 400 additional villages in a year, and 600 more in the next 18 months.

The Challenge: To ensure that extension officers and field staff are visiting remote locations.

The Muse: Astronauts “who are the perfect blend of brains and brawn.”

The Mentors: Farmers in India. “They do the hard work to give India the second highest farm output in the world.”

Ajjay Agarwal, 33, Chairman and Managing Director, Maxx Mobiles



He dropped out of Class IX from Mumbai’s Children’s Academy and joined his father’s electronics trading business. The boy who took pride in being quick at calculations, delved deep into duties, taxes, commissions and profit margins in no time. Today, Ajjay Agarwal heads the country’s fifth largest mobile phone brand. From a Rs 5-lakh start-up in 2004, it is now a staggering Rs 920-crore company, selling four lakh mobile phones per month. Over the next two years, the company will invest Rs 2,500 crore to boost manufacturing. This year, he got a $20-million investment from Singapore-based Star Holdings (Asia).


The Mission: To become the No. 1 Indian mobile phone brand in the country in the next 18 months.

The Journey: He set up his own import business in 1992. In 1997, he switched to importing mobile accessories from China and then started manufacturing them in India in 2004. Four years later, he entered the market of mobile phone manufacturing.

The Mentor: “I learn from what I do and see. I am my own mentor.”


“Agarwal is an aggressive man who can work round the clock and cares more about product quality than the price. He has successfully built up a local distribution network.”
Lee Chak Lau, Director, Star Holdings


Gyanesh Pandey, 33, CEO and Co-founder, Husk Power System



It was the desire to work in the village that brought Gyanesh Pandey, an electrical engineer from Banaras Hindu University (BHU), to Bihar from Los Angeles where he was working as a senior yield enhancement engineer with a company called International Rectifier. Pandey established Husk Power System (HPS), which uses rice husk to generate electricity, with Manoj Sinha and Ratnesh Yadav who were looking for a technology to fit their model for six years. Sinha is an electronics engineer, who is now based in the US while Yadav is involved at the ground level with Pandey. Today, HPS supplies eight to 10 hours of power to 18,500 households in some of the off-grid villages, where the state-run electricity board doesn’t reach. Over 1.5 lakh rural Indians benefit from this and around 250 people are employed. Sudhir K. Singh, director, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, says, “He is a rare mix of commitment, vision and management skills.” 

My Mantra: “Be an abstract thinker. The way we usually work things out is not necessarily the only or the best way available.”

The Mission To make villages in India livable. Their NGO, Samta Samriddhi Foundation, supports the education of over 250 children at Tamkuha. They also employ women to make incense sticks using plant byproduct.The Challenge To find sustainable technology to achieve rural growth. “Managing people at ground level is tough. We have created a paradigm. We have to now sustain it.”

Rujuta Diwekar, 32, Sports Nutritionist


She’s the sports nutritionist behind Kareena Kapoor’s size zero figure. She’s also the fitness specialist who made books fashionable for those who can’t read without moving their lips. Rujuta Diwekar helps the rich and famous lose weight and gain confidence. Her first book, Don’t Lose Your Mind, Lose Your Weight, sold over two lakh copies and earned her a loyal following beyond the celebrity stratosphere. “Slimming is not about cutting calories, but improving nourishment, body composition and taking a holistic approach to health. Weight loss is a byproduct, not the goal,” says Diwekar. As fitness expert Leena Mogre says, she always knew what she wanted. “That’s the reason behind her success.” 

The Journey: Born to an engineer father and a professor mother, Diwekar chose to go against the grain, unlike her sister who is an IIM graduate. After post-graduation in sports science and nutrition from SNDT College in Mumbai, she set up her own gym in 1999. She’s all set to expand the Diwekar franchise with her second book on women and weight loss.

The Chill Out Zone: Spends two months every year in the Himalayas or the US. Also did a teacher course from the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Academy, Uttarkashi.

The Muse: Her grandmother and mother for their healthy lifestyles. Anil Ambani for his discipline and Kareena for her work ethic.