Thursday, August 31, 2006

Birla’s appoint McKinsey for its retail foray

According to The Economic Times, The Aditya Birla Group announced that it had appointed consulting firm McKinsey as advisors to its retail plans. The consulting group will be responsible for the company’s entry as well as on the various formats which will be launched. McKinsey also works with The Future Group (formerly known as Pantaloon Group) and KSA Technopak works with Reliance Retail.

The Birla Group has already started hiring people for their retail venture and has brought in Vijay Kashyap, Head HR of Shoppers’ Stop and Sanjay Badhe, Head Operations. The group’s retail foray will be spearheaded by its apparel and textile division, Madura Garments, which owns and retails brands such as Louis Philippe, Van Heusen, Allen Solly and Peter England.

The future

Always remember that the future comes one day at a time.

--Dean Acheson

BMW in India

BMW announced that it will start manufacturing and selling cars in India from next year from its wholly-owned subsidiaty in Chennai. The company is targeting reaching an annual sale of 1000 units.
Peter Kronschnabi, president of BMW India, told reporters: "We have optimised our cars for Indian conditions after a stringent test ride of 25,000 kilometres. With increased ground clearance, engine protection sheet and an extra air filters, we will carry about 10% localised content in form of car seats and door panels. BMW 3 Series will be followed by 5 series saloon in a gap of few months, with which we expect to achieve our target of 1000 units in the first year."
Read the full article here.

Designing your own credit card

A new trend spotted by that lets you customise not only the look of your credit card but also certain key variables such as reward rates, interest rate and card fee.

Read the full article here.


When the game is over, both king and pawn go into the same box.

--Italian proverb

Reliance Retail plans take shape

Business Standard reports that Reliance Retail has purchased about 40,000 sq ft of space at Star City Mall in New Delhi’s Mayur Vihar, which will become the anchor tenant for the mall, which is being developed by Mahatta Towers Pvt. Ltd. According to sources, the space will be used as a food and grocery supermarket.

Another location chosen by the company was in a mall developed by Omaxe Constructions in Greater Noida which has been leased and will be developed as a hypermarket format store. In Ahmedabad, the company has purchased 200,000 sq ft of space in the Iskon Mall, which will be developed as a hypermarket. The company has also purchased space in Jamnagar and Rajkot.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Two versions of history

History teaches everything including the future.

--Lamartine (French Poet)

We learn from history that we do not learn from history.

--Hegel (Philosopher)

The City of Falling Angels-John Berendt

I finished reading a fabulous book about Venice, City of Falling Angels written by John Berendt, bestselling author of Midnght in the Garden of Good and Evil. All the characters in the book are real people, who lived in Venice, shaped and were shaped by this enigmatic city. Its a great way to get to know the city, its history, philosophy and culture.

The people of Venice are who have made the city into a cultural center from master glassblower Archimede Seguso, nicknamed 'Mago del Fuoco' or Wizard of Fire, poet Ezra Pound, Peggy Guggenheim, Isabella Steward Gardner, the eccentric Boston art collector and many others. A definate must read for anyone interested in the history of Venice, with lot of extras about glassblowing, architecture, The Fenice opera building and art thrown in.

Make your own path

If you want to succeed you should strike out on new paths, rather than travel the worn paths of accepted success.

--John D. Rockefeller

Books, books and more books

Some of the best books I have read have been picked out randomly while browsing in a bookstore. Growing up I read all the right books for each age, progressing from Ladybird Books to Enid Blyton (Mallory Towers, St Clares and Famous Five) to Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys to Agatha Christie, Mills and Boons, Danielle Steel and PG Wodehouse to Sidney Sheldon, Jeffery Archer, Irving Stone, Howard Fast and John Grisham. Somewhere along the line I added historical romances to the list (curtsey my sister) especially those set in medieval times in England and Scotland.

Now, my favorite types of books are a combination of travel, history and biographical facts. I discovered this type of book when I had to select books to sell at an art gallery where I worked. I had to select books that not only I would be interested in reading and that opened up a whole new world of books to me.

I found that I loved reading about places, people and history in a story form with characters who have interesting lives and thoughts rather than a dry listing of facts about a place.
Some of the interesting books in this genre that I have read are:

City of Djinns-William Dalrymple
Delhi, its buildings, its Sufi mystics, its history and its eccentricities. Absolutely superb.

Chasing the Mountain of Light-Kevin Rushby
This book traces the history of the Koh-i-noor diamond from the mines at Golconda to the Mughal Palaces of Agra and Delhi to Maharaja Duleep Singh in Amritsar.

Under the Tuscan Sun-Frances Mayes
About the history, people and life of Tuscany full of interesting facts about the region. Made into a movie of the same name but nowhere close to what the book is actually about.

Taj-The story of Mughal India-Timeri Murari
I loved reading this book. It tells the story of Arjumand Begum from when she first meets Prince Khurram at the Meena Bazaar and simultaneously also about how the Taj Mahal was built by Shah Jahan as he grieved for her.

Jahanara-Lyane Guillaume
The story of Shah Jahan and Arjumand Begum's first child Jahanara.

Kulu, The End of the Habitable World-Penelope Chetwode
Covers the 140km trek from Simla to Kulu done by Penelope and her mother in 1931 when her father, Phillip Chetwode was the Commander-in-Chief of India and then again in 1963 on her own in a less grand way. An amazing book, it really goes into the history of Himachali architecture especially the temples.

Grandmother's Footsteps-Imogen Lycett Green
Penelope's granddaughter Imogen retraces the trip over the Jalori Pass from Simla to Kulu.

The Bookseller of Kabul-Asne Seierstad
The daily life of an Afgani family after the liberation of Kabul from a western journalist's perspective.

On Foot-Guided Walks in England, France and the United States-Adam Nicholson
I have a long was to go to catch up on the 26 listed walks in this book. Most of the walks are in country settings and a few energetic ones in New York, Los Angeles and London.

The Other Boleyn Girl-Phillipa Gregory
About Anne Boleyn's little known sister Mary who had an affair (and 2 children) with Henry VIII before he married Anne and made her Queen of England.

Anne Boleyn-Anthony Crowell
All the details about King Henry VIII's second wife Anne Boleyn. An old movie "Anne of a thousand days" is a worthwile to see to get a complete picture (no pun intended!!).

There are just so many, many more interesting books that I have read and hundreds more waiting to be read. Each new book brings with it a fresh perspective, new ideas and deeper thought besides, of course, basic knowledge.

Container Gardening

I absolutely love container gardening. I have been collecting books for years about how to have an interesting container garden with the kind of pots and plants one chooses.....Now, I finally have a teeny, tiny one and the high point of my morning is to go see if any new buds are appearing in the mini-garden on my balcony.

What is it that makes me smile each time I investigate for new buds and flowers in my plants? A sense of accomplishment, maybe? That I managed to make them flower? Not that I really did anything except water them, besides I almost killed them by putting tea leaves that were too hot.

One of the really interesting books about container gardening is the Ultimate Container Gardener by Stephanie Donaldson. It has a nice format, lots of pictures and tons of interesting combinations of flowers and situations/placings. Another good book is the Reader's Digest-Container Gardening for all Seasons, which has all the basic know-how as well as some very inventive displays.

The Vinca flowers continuously and it is a delight to see new buds almost everyday. My bougainvillea was reluctant to flower at first but now every third day new buds are appearing. The most prolific of all is my little pot of May flowers.....lovely deep blue flowers that open only on bright sunny days.

My favourite type of plant is a flowering shrub, especially the mediterranean ones. Some of my favourites are Hibiscus, Cistus or Rock Rose as its usually known, Bougainvillea, Geranium, Plumbago (Cape Leadwort), Oleander (Nerium), Zinnia, Passiflora, Jasmine, Champa, Motia, Raat ki Rani, Ixora, Pentas, Vinca, Clematis and Tuberose.


To have that sense of one's intrinsic worth…is potentially to have everything…

— Joan Didion

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Some structure

This is really be able to write and instantly publish.....I am thoroughly enjoying having a place to say and do as I please. Blogging has become pretty much mainstream now. When I first started blogging in august 2004, not many people knew about it, which is not the case anymore. It still hasn't cought on like wildfire though....only one person I know personally is blogging, and that is weaver...Here's to more blogging...

Now on to creating some structure to the blog. I will primarily be writing about my personal interests, experiences, travels etc. The other major focus of this blog will be innovations in technology, communications, marketing, advertising, retail, globalisation etc. This is the stuff that really makes our world today, that differentiates it from 20 years ago and even 2 years ago.

Progress and Paitence

All our progress is an unfolding, like the vegetable bud. You first have an instinct, then an opinion, then a knowledge, as the plant has root, bud, and fruit. Trust the instinct to the end, though you can render no reason. It is vain to hurry it. By trusting it to the end, it shall ripen into truth, and you shall know why you believe.

--Ralph Waldo Emerson


Out of clutter, find simplicity.

From discord, find harmony.

In the middle of difficulty, lies opportunity.

---Albert Einstein

Wishful thinking

As we begun our descent into Bombay, I saw a familiar sight of bright blue rectangles on the ground amidst the houses. They immediately reminded me of the numerous swimming pools that people have in the States. Private swimming pools are very common there; one sees them over almost all cities, especially in the suburbs. I was always amazed at just how many people have pools in their back yards.

Here in India it is a rare sight. What I was seeing were not swimming pools but plastic sheets covering rooftops. There are acres and acres of shanty-like houses with plastic sheeting as protection from the rain as one approaches the airport. It is a sad view one sees of Bombay, the financial capital of India and supposedly the most progressive and developed city in the country.

I wonder when, if ever, this view will change.


Happiness is…equilibrium. Shift your weight.

— Tom Stoppard, The Real Thing

Himalayan Dhaba

After absolutely ages, I read a bad book. An incredibly horrendously written story that takes you nowhere, teaches you nothing and leaves you wondering why you didn't give up halfway.

I am most disappointed with this book because of its setting. It is set in a little charas infected village above Manali. I love books about the mountains of Himachal, I collect them quite seriously, and this one is such a waste of a name.

Himalayan Dhaba is written by a doctor named Craig Joseph Danner who worked at a primitive hospital nearby in the early 1990's. It showcases all the negative issues of the region, the hippies, the haphazard construction of ‘hotels’ due to the tourist boom, the freely available drugs and of course dreadlocked sadhus. What book on India written by a foreigner would be complete without them?

Best to stay away.


Eighteenth century Turkey is wonderfully recreated in this engaging novel of sultans and harems as seen through the eyes of Aimée du Buc, a thirteen year old girl who is kidnapped by pirates as she travels from her school in France to her home in Martinique. Renamed Nakshidil (“embroidered on the heart”), she becomes part of the sultan’s seraglio in Topkapi Palace, where she learns new sets of rules for etiquette, for survival and for happiness.

It is the first novel for Janet Wallach, who has earlier written a number of biographies. A very enjoyable and fast read, I finished it in one day. Read it if you like history, the mysteriousness and politicking inside harems and most especially romance.


Hello first post on Weaver....looking forward to writing up a storm.
Hmmm, so my last post really post was to be a take off point for tales of all kind.....Not too good of a start....but there's still hope as I plan to be posting regularly from now on. The Blogosphere's changed quite a bit since this blog was started and while it stagnated others have rushed right past.