Archive for: June 2013

Pregnancy as performance art?

Childbirth is a beautiful experience for most mothers. So beautiful, in fact, that some of them want to show it to the whole world, like actress Shwetha Menon.



You know how we complain about pesky baby pictures on our friends’ walls on Facebook because we don’t want to be subjected to every little detail about the tiny one and how he spends his day? Actor Shwetha Menon’s baby has stolen all those babies’ thunder in a big way, because her mommy gave birth to her on Thursday on camera, and that’s going to be part of a movie!

Kalimannu, a Malayalam film, being directed by Blessy, is about the relationship of the baby with her mother, before and after birth, and during the delivery. Through her pregnancy, Shwetha acted in the film. Three cameras were positioned in her labour room, and kept rolling till 45 minutes after the baby was born and Shwetha kissed her on the forehead.

If you’ve started cringing a little already, brace yourself, because we’ve just begun. Shwetha’s case isn’t the first instance of childbirth being presented as performance art, and because we’d like to educate you in ‘pregnancy performance art’, we’re going to tell you all about these camera-friendly mommies.

Read more via Pregnancy as performance art? – Times Of India.

Get a perfect look

There’s a growing demand for cosmetic surgery in India. Though this phenomenon is not as widespread here as in the West, it is definitely picking up, particularly in the metros. Simal Soin tells us why this trend is getting prominent in the country

Photo credit:

Neha (name changed) works in a legal firm in Gurgaon. She is 34-year-old and has done well in her professional life. But ask her about her priorities, and she says without an iota of hesitation: “First, I need to get my lips in order. They don’t look good on my face.”

Neha is one of the many young, aspirant Indians who don’t desist going under the knife. She justifies this when she says: “I have achieved so much professionally, but when I look at myself in mirror, I get the feeling that I am not in control. No doubt, looks aren’t decided by humans. But why should I live with a face which I know I can improve?”

The trend is only getting more prominent by the day. Even the old, married couples aren’t behind. For some it is a way to beat the ageing process. For others, it is all about seeking an experience in the comfort of each other’s company. What’s interesting is that this yearning for beauty is not limited to women anymore. Neither do men nor women keep it a secret from each other anymore. They walk together hand-in-hand and declare to each other: Let’s grow younger together.

Men and women who have spent a better part of their lives are only too aware of each others’ flaws, and they do not mind getting tucked up here and there to cover them. Also, one witnesses growing demand for cosmetic surgery among old divorcees. Though this phenomenon is not as widespread in India as in the West, it is definitely picking up, particularly in the metros.

Read more via No age for a perfect look.

Tianhe-2, the fastest supercomputer

Development of a Chinese supercomputer, reported to be fastest in the world, will have far-reaching ramifications in the cyber world and is sure to break the U.S. monopoly in the field of strategic technology.

Photo credit: The Hindu

According to a survey results announced on Monday, Tianhe-2, a supercomputer developed by China’s National University of Defense Technology, achieved processing speeds of 33.86 petaflops (1000 trillion calculations) per second on a benchmarking test. It earned the supercomputer the number one spot in the Top 500 survey of supercomputers, agency reports said.

The tests show the machine is by far the fastest computer ever constructed. Its main rival, the U.S.-designed Titan, had achieved a performance of 17.59 petaflops per second, the survey said. Five of the world’s 10 fastest computers are installed in the U.S., the survey said, with the two in China, two in Germany and one in Japan.

Responding to reports of Chinese supercomputer, the former chief of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), V.K. Saraswat described it as “a big breakthrough.” He said it would greatly augment the Chinese capabilities in the field of “very advanced cyber systems development.”

Talking to The Hindu, Dr. Saraswat said China had mounted efforts to develop such a machine long ago with the help of IT companies there and achieving such high speed in a supercomputer would boost its capabilities in both scientific and defence fields. It would not be easy for the rest of the world to get to share such highly advanced computing technology from China. “Generally, such supercomputers are meant for use in defence and scientific areas and are not commercially available. China is likely to use it for both offence and defensive purposes,” he added.

Read more via China’s Tianhe-2 ‘is fastest supercomputer’ | The Hindu.

Joy of job; Private banks step up hiring

Leading private sector lenders are in top gear when it comes to expanding their headcount and just five of them, including ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank, added more than 15,000 employees to their payrolls in the last fiscal.

Photo credit: Financial Express

The expanded workforce also seems to be giving them rich dividends in terms of improvements in their employee productivity, shows an analysis of the annual staff details of ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Axis Bank, Yes Bank and Kotak Mahindra Bank.

At the same time, the full-year staff costs also rose for all the five banks.

Together, the five banks saw their cumulative headcount rise by 15,823 persons in the latest fiscal, ended March 31, 2013, to close to two lakh employees.

While HDFC Bank had the biggest workforce (69,065) among the five at the end of the fiscal, the highest increase (6,163 employees) was recorded by Axis Bank in absolute terms.

HDFC Bank’s workforce rose by 2,989 employees, while that of ICICI Bank rose by 3,789 persons to 62,065 during the fiscal 2012-13, shows the details published in the banks’ latest annual reports.

Axis Bank saw its headcount rise to 37,901 employees, while Yes Bank and Kotak Mahindra Bank also expanded their staff strength by 1,382 and 1,500 persons, respectively.

The collective headcount of the five banks stood at 1,99,555 as on March 31, 2013.

Read more via Private banks step up hiring; top-five add over 15,000 staff.

Telegram sevice: a nostalgia

Media in India are reminiscing over the rich history of the 160-year-old telegram service, which is to wind up soon.

Photo credit: BBC News

The government has decided to discontinue the telegraph service from 15 July due to massive losses, sparking a feeling of nostalgia in newspapers.

Editorials are remembering the telegraph service’s importance during the British rule and the role of the humble postman, who was the bearer of all kinds of news, in connecting rural India to cities and to the world.

“The postman fishing out a telegram from his satchel is an abiding image in many of our earlier movies, at least for those of us of a certain age. The recipient would tear it open with trembling hands, for there was always an element of urgency about a telegram,” The Hindustan Times, in an editorial, says.

“Tersely worded, printed out in capital letters, sentences ending with the dramatic “STOP”, nothing can bring it home like a telegram,” says The Indian Express.

The paper adds that cutting the telegraph wires was a “favoured form of nationalist protest” in India during the time of the colonial rule and was “invaluable” to the British during the Indian uprising of 1857.

“The extinct service will leave only memories now of a day and age in which the postman cycled in a hurry to convey the good or bad news, or even better, came with a telegraphic [postal] money order from a generous relative”, writes The Asian Age.

Read more via BBC News – Indian media: Telegram nostalgia.

Modi a strength or weakness for BJP?

He has been called the “Hindu Hriday Samrat”, “Maut Ka Saudagar” (Merchant of Death), Great Dictator and a “Polarising Politician” and yet Narendra Modi’s election victories continue to pile up. The latest sweep in Gujarat by-elections has also bolstered his image as the supreme vote catcher – he won in 2002, in 2007 and won again in 2012.

Photo credit: Reuters via

And yet the Gujarat riots of 2002 shadow his footsteps so doggedly that he fights them every day. However, he refuses to answer questions on the riots.

“The ones who run the Gujarat government are merchants of death,” Sonia Gandhi, Congress President, had said.

Thousands of Sangh Parivar activists have been accused in Gujarat riot cases. The law has reached senior ministers like Maya Kodnani in Modi’s own government. His own Sangh Parivar reportedly turned against him for failing to protect them, but he has kept winning popularity.

He sees himself as a victim; someone unfairly painted as communal by the media, misjudged by pundits, and persecuted by NGOs. His senior police officers are also in jail for encounter killings and he himself faces charges over his role in the riots.

His answer to the accusations has been unleashing an armoury of development in his state – Gujarat. He believes development will wipe out the riots of 2002 from history and memory.

Read more via Is Narendra Modi BJP’s biggest strength as well as its biggest weakness?.

How to handle Migraine?

The pain can be intense and unrelenting. It can derail your daily routine, cripple your ability to think and function normally. Perhaps that’s why headaches may seem like a horrible curse for sufferers. The more chronic patients are often resigned to the pain and mistakenly feel that medical science has no answers. However, it is possible to find relief.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

When it’s all in the head: “There are two kinds of headaches — primary and secondary,” says Dr K Ravishankar, head of the Headache and Migraine Clinic at Jaslok Hospital and Research Centre and Lilavati Hospital and Research Centre, Mumbai. “Primary headaches follow a definite repetitive pattern (cluster headache sufferers may find the headache cropping up at the same time every day). Migraine attacks are often linked to a trigger (unavoidable external conditions such as heat, sunlight or sweat) and it is usually a chronic condition, one that you may have had to deal with for years.” By contrast, with a secondary headache you will be able to establish an underlying cause such as an accident (head injury) or a tumour. There are structural changes within the skull cavity. Pain starts as a new complaint and can keep escalating in a very short time. A secondary headache can sometimes be life-threatening and will require deeper investigation through scans to confirm diagnosis.

You cannot however judge the nature of your headache based on the pain. “Paradoxically, primary headaches that do not pose any risk to your life can be extremely painful. And there are cases when the dangerous secondary headache could be associated with a mild headache,” says Dr Ravishankar.

Fortunately, secondary headaches are less common and for most chronic sufferers, it is migraine that does the most damage.

Migraine — a vulnerability of the brain: If you have a family history of migraine and experience frequent headaches that are accompanied by nausea, neck pain, intolerance to noise and light and if your symptoms last for 12-24 hours, leaving you tired and weak after an attack, then you suffer from migraines.

Read more via Managing MIGRAINE | The Hindu.

Amazone in India, e-commerce more competitive

The world’s largest online retailer, Amazon launched its online marketplace in India today making an entry into the increasingly expanding e-commerce Indian market.

The site is designed as a market place that facilitates transaction between buyers and sellers.

The Amazon media center announced the site going live on June 5 stating that currently it will only sell physical books, movies & TV shows.

However additional categories including mobile phones and cameras will be coming soon.

Restrictions on foreign direct investment (FDI) have thus far prevented Amazon from selling direct to consumers in the country, but, by hosting a site where third parties do the selling, the issue is sidestepped.

With Amazon now encroaching India, it will be interesting to see how major retail online e-commerce markets like Flipkart and Ebay will react to this new development.

Read more via E-commerce just got more competitive: Amazon comes to India with an online marketplace – Sci/Tech – DNA.

Why these actors changed their names?

What’s in a name? Just about everything! That’s precisely why celebrities don’t mind changing their birth names. From not finding the name unique enough, to making an attempt to draw good fortune and avoiding sharing it with other popular names, the list of reasons is unending, it seems. From Jiah Khan, Katrina Kaif, Rekha to Akshay Kumar and John Abraham, all these celebrities have re-invented themselves by changing their names.

Photo credit: IBNLive

Nafisa Khan, who committed suicide recently, changed her name to Jiah. The new name was inspired by Angelina Jolie-starrer ‘Gia’. When asked what promoted her to take the decision, the actress had said in an interview that she didn’t want to change as a person. But by being in the limelight, she couldn’t have averted the inevitable. So the new name was just an attempt to preserve her real self.

Feature celebrities portrayed in the photo feature are

  • Jiah Khan
  • Shilpa Shetty
  • Katrina Kaif
  • Akshay Kumar
  • John Abraham
  • Rekha
  • Ajay Devgn
  • Mallika Sherawat
  • Govinda
  • Rajinikanth

Read more via Here’s why Jiah Khan, Shilpa Shetty, Katrina Kaif changed their names|Movies News Photos-IBNLive.

Jiah: an extremely sensitive girl

Sometime in 2012, Rabia Khan, former starlet and aspiring documentary maker, mother of three beautiful daughters, wrote on her blog Food for Soul: The outside world’s influence will not affect us, if we can have a control of our inner world….I try this by starting my day by saying, “This is going to be a great fun, I’m going to be happy doing this, everything will start to go my way!” By doing this I have set my own terms for the day. This will allow us to control our circumstances, instead of being controlled by them.”

Photo credit: Times of India

According to Rabia, she wanted her daughters to write down their negative thoughts on a piece of paper and burn it. This exercise, she believed, would exercise all negative energies and help them get a grip on their lives. Months later, her 25-year-old talented daughter, Jiah, unable to cope with her circumstances, hanged herself in her bedroom. And no, she did not leave a note behind that could be destroyed with all her unhappy thoughts. A distraught Rabia told the police in her statement: “She was fed up with the struggle… she was besotted with Bollywood, but Bollywood had nothing to offer her.”

Jiah Khan will be best remembered for her debut opposite Amitabh Bachchan in Nishabd. Ram Gopal Varma, who cast her as an Indian Lolita, tweeted after news of her death became public: “She was depressed about her career and scared for her future.” The “spunkly debutante,” he added, had confessed to him that “everyone around her made her feel like a failure.”…..

Some of her closest friends say, Jiah, who was an “extremely sensitive girl,” found it hard to tackle the heartbreaks.Sooraj, who was questioned by the police for several hours yesterday, is gearing up for his Bollywood debut in a Salman Khan production.

Read more via Bollywood had nothing to offer Jiah, says mother – The Times of India.