Art For Charity

Art For Charity – Celebrated Artists Participate to Commemorate the 35th Anniversary of the Nargis Dutt Foundation

PIGMENT – Colors with Purpose, a fundraiser exhibition is being held by the Nargis Dutt Foundation to commemorate 35 glorious years of the foundation’s service to humanity in Mumbai on June 11, 2016. Through this medium, participating artists lend canvas and lens for a noble cause. The funds raised from the sale of artwork will be channelled towards the support of cancer care, and rural development.

Showcasing over a 150 works including paintings, photographs, hand-knotted silk carpets and metal sculptures by around 35 artists. Revered artists listed below have put together their works specifically for the exhibition:

  • Nikita Padora,
  • Suvigya Sharma,
  • Rajiv Mennon,
  • Nayaana Kanodia,
  • Prakash Bal Joshi.

Other artists who have their work on display among many others are:

  • Brinda Miller
  • Nishant Dange,
  • Arzaan Khambatta,
  • Sudharak Olwe,
  • Ajay De,
  • Narayan
  • Charan Sharma

“The Nargis Dutt Foundation has always strived to keep my mother’s vision alive through collective efforts to provide improved cancer treatment and better quality of living to those affected in the rural areas. It has been 35 year since my father Sunil Dutt started this foundation and we have been trying to realise this mission and I know that my parents would be very proud of what the foundation has achieved today. PIGMENT –  – Colours with Purpose, uses art as a means to help us achieve our goals.  I would like to thank all the artists for very generously coming forward to aid our venture.” said Ms. Priya Dutt, donning the artists cap herself.

The exhibition will be held on Saturday, June 11, 2016, at Garden View, Taj Lands End,
Bandra (W) between 10 AM and 6 PM.

To know more about the Nargis Dutt Foundation please visit:

Source: PR Newswire




Auto Driver Chandra

Please try it yourself!

Try looking for ‘Bangalore auto driver complaints’ on google, well I did, out of curiosity and google threw up 7,79,000 results! Some of them read:

Harassed by auto drivers? Now you can do something…

Auto Complaint Bangalore – Android Apps on Google Play

How to Complain Against Meter Tampering by Auto …

And so on and so forth! Yes if you have had the misfortune of travelling in an auto, driven by a particularly nasty driver, you will understand what it means.

Recently, on my way back from work, I tried to get an auto to go home which is a distance of about 5 or 6 kilometres.  As usual one auto driver asked for Rs. 20 extra (above the meter fare) while another asked a round figure of Rs. 100.

Over the last couple of years I’ve learnt that if I just keep asking enough autos, without loosing my patience, I will eventually find one who agrees for the meter rate. As I turned down the third greedy driver, another auto who was patiently waiting came up to me and asked me ‘Madam, where do you want to go?’. I stated my destination and the man quietly turned the meter indicating he willing to take me. Happy that I got an auto within the 4th try, I got in.

As the driver swung onto the 80 feet road coming dangerously close to a lumbering BMTC bus, I involuntarily gasped. The very observant driver, Chandra told me reassuringly ‘Don’t worry madam, I have been driving an auto for nearly 27 years now and have not had any untoward incidents or accidents so far”.

Noticing that he was speaking in a dialect of Kannada which was from Uttara (North) Kannada, I started a conversation with him and I was happy I did that. Below is the gist of our chat:

Chandra owns the auto he was driving, he considers himself an entrepreneur and is proud to be one. He has worked for nearly 27 years and he never refuses a passenger nor does he charge them extra. He waits till the passenger has asked all the autos in the vicinity before he approaches them so as not to irritate the other drivers. He confidently told me that he earned quite well! He said he had invested well for his retired life…

Unable to contain my curiosity I probed to learn that Chandra was the owner of a 19 acre areca plantation! Chandra told me that he had saved judiciously and purchased land for 60 lakhs in the year 2006 in his native Honnavar. He said that his 3 sons Ravi, Vishwa & Kiran were settled there with their wives and were cultivating the property.


He proudly said ‘Madam  the property that I bought in the year 2006 for Rs. 60 lakhs is now valued at around Rs. 2 crores. My family works on the land (plantation) and it is enough to sustain us’.

He went on to tell me, ‘Madam, in a couple of years when I retire, my wife Kalyani and I intend to live in Honnavara, life there is so peaceful’. The pride in his voice was unmistakable.

By then we had reached my destination. I requested him for a photograph because I wanted to write about a ‘cool’ auto driver who is also a land owner by his perseverance and hard work…

New Guinness World Record in Bangalore!


Bengaluru witnessed a new Guinness World Record, as more than 900 students from the Mount Carmel college simultaneously opened most drink cans of TWISS – a canned sparkling fruit juice, at their premier Cul-Ah 2016 fest on January 22, 2016.

With this, they broke the existing record of ‘Most Drink Cans Opened Simultaneously,  ‘ set by Ltd CidoGrupa (Latvia) in Ligatne, Latvia, on 2 August 2014, involving 689 people.

Commodore Indru Wadhwani, President of Mallya Hospital, Dr. Jaykar Shetty and  Chartered Accountant Rajesh Narayanan, representatives of Guinness World Records, were present on the occasion. They will validate the record and officially the certificate will be issued in a week’s time.

TWISS is the first ever multi-flavoured sparkling fruit juice to be introduced in India by TWISS Drinks India Pvt. Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of TWISS UK.

Speaking about the record, Mr. Nitin S Menon, Managing Director, TWISS Drinks India  Pvt. Ltd., remarked, “We are excited to be here in India to offer this unique beverage. We are even more excited to set this new Guinness World Record with the active participation of energetic youths. It is unleashing the women power, as this is for the first time ever that women are participating in such large numbers in India for a world record.”

TWISS is available in four flavours – Mango with a twist of Lime; Passion Fruit with a  twist of Orange; Lemon with a twist of Mint; and Apple with a twist of Blackcurrant.

TWISS supports the ‘Make in India’ initiative, as their beverages are canned at a special unit in Pune, Maharashtra.


She was tall almost 5 feet 7 or 8 inches, fair, slim with a good figure. Her name was Mohini. She was the only prostitute of our town in the 70’s and early 80’s. In a small town like ours, she was the talk of the town, women stayed away from her and (many) men visited her surreptitiously.

She was fashionable, wore shades and dressed stylishly in western outfits.  She was referred to as ‘Entu’ or the number 8 – supposedly that’s how she walked. What I remember now is that she walked in a mincing style.

She caused an inexplicable excitement among us children, we were not to even talk about her and that made her an enigma! I still remember Girijakka, the lady who was our help, scolding us, if we even mentioned her in our talk.

Mohini used to live with her only son, about a kilometre away from our house, near a school. I remember my meeting her the first time… and it was a revelation. My childhood friend and I had gone to the school to play and we saw Mohini outside her house. I remember I had greeted her with a smile and what followed was an education of a different kind to 2 young girls from a lady who had seen the worst side of an entire town.

She told us that decent girls (like us) were not to be seen talking to her. She told us about the famous, well known men in our town, who were her customers (without mentioning any names). She laughingly told us, how they avoided her in public. Though we did not fully comprehend it then, it was our introduction to the duality of the world. She had sent us off, warning us not to even mention our interaction with her to our respective families, to avoid us getting into trouble.

I recently heard that she was vacated from her rented house in her old age. That she had no place to stay and used to sleep in a nearby school. Her family (sister) did not provide shelter and Mohini did not have the health nor the means to rent another house. She became mentally unstable and died a sad, lonely death. An end she did not deserve.

Teddy my Best friend

It looks like a duck, walks like a duck, sounds like a duck, chances are it is a duck, is an old Christian proverb. Teddy looked like a dog, walked like a dog, sounded like a dog but behaved like a human being…

Teddy was my pet, friend and family all rolled into one. My husband Udi, and he had a love hate relationship; they loved to hate each other. Teddy thought Uday was a bully and Uday thought Teddy was getting too much attention from me, it was pure Male jealousy!!

Teddy was a gift from Udi. One morning, in August 1990, Udi came home from Mangalore, with a puppy in a hand bag and a feeding bottle. It was the most beautiful puppy I’d ever seen, he was white as snow, a cuddly fur ball, a cute pink belly, a wet nose and soulful squint eyes, we named him Teddy. I was working and pregnant and didn’t want a Dog. We had a possessive and ferocious kitty who hated Dogs. We decided to find a home for the puppy, but the little puppy won our hearts in no time, no house in fact, was good enough for Teddy!! As a Javan proverb says – “Fate decides who comes into our lives and the heart determines who stays”.

Teddy, without doubt, was the devils incarnation, during one of his adventures, he fell into the toilet bottom first, he could not come out, he yelped loudly and my mother rushed to pull him out. While giving him a bath, if the water was either too hot or cold, he used to express his displeasure by howling. My neighbours had good reason to believe we were torturing him.

In fact, when he was teething, I stopped buying leather shoes; he’s chewed at least half a dozen of my shoes. One night I left my new leather sandals near him, the next morning, to be sure, only the sole was available, Teddy had chewed up the soft leather straps.

Our daily walks were always adventurous, one day he picked a cigarette stub in his mouth, my scolding and shouting fell on deaf ears, he just wouldn’t let go of it. He was drooling with the effort of holding it in his mouth. When we reached home, I complained to Udi about it and Udi like a Hero said, “see now, I’ll make him spit it out”, then he bent down and just tapped Teddy on his bums. With lightening speed, Teddy jumped and bit Udi’s nose, then what followed was a wild chase, Teddy running for his life and Udi chasing him. Teddy got a nice spanking that day, and Udi ended up with a Black nose, Udi washed the cut and placed Dettol directly over his nose. From then on Udi called him “Katte” – a Donkey and Teddy would immediately acknowledge it with a growl.

Another day, Teddy caught a Frog, the frog urinated in his mouth, and that was the last he ever went anywhere close to a Frog.

He was 4 months old when our first son, Mayur was born, we expected Teddy to be jealous and hurt the baby. It did not have to worry, Teddy took it upon himself to be Mayur’s protector. Mayur was his personal toy, if any visitor even lifted the baby and took him near the door, Teddy would start growling threateningly.

Teddy loved coffee, if I drank coffee in his presence, without giving him, he would keep staring and drooling till I felt guilty. After a while, he will pick his feeding bowl and bang it on the floor, demanding that I share it with him. Teaching my kids with Teddy close by was fun, I just had to shout to my son, “baby Sit up” and both my son and Teddy will sit up. We just had to bring out the Camera and Teddy was ready for the Photograph, posing away, with his bushy tail up in the air.  I can go on and on writing about his pranks!

Teddy grew up to be absolutely handsome, he was a cross between a mongrel and a Pomeranian. He was about 2 feet high, with busy tail and floppy ears. He had light brown patches on his back and ears.

Teddy was more than a pet, we had the pleasure of his company and his unconditional love for 11 years. One day 13 years back, he went for a walk and never came back and we searched the neighbourhood for many days. I still regret that I did not try hard enough, that I did not place an advertisement.

I could not bear to take another pet and resisted taking a pet for nearly 8 years, till another cute puppy came into our lives. A ginger coloured Labrador, I will write about her in another post.



The Insurance

It was around 9 PM, a warm day in September 1976. I was a 12 year old and my brother 16, we were just getting ready to go to bed and that’s when we heard loud, distressed shrieks ‘fire, fire’ from the portion of our house which was rented out.

My brother and I were in the hall and unthinkingly we ran towards the shrieks and were stunned by the sight that was unfolding before our eyes.

Ebrahim who was a heavy weight (fat) was standing outside his room transfixed; his eyes bulging, almost popping out of the sockets, staring ahead at the entrance of the kitchen from where Orange – Red hot flames were shooting out. There was a strange wailing sound coming from his mouth, which sounded more like a prayer. His roommate, the bearded, skinny Yusuf, who was standing next to him immobilized was shrieking, ‘fire, fire’ like a broken record, unable to stop.

The house IMG_0001 (2)that caught fire was my beautiful parental home in Mulky, the sleepy little town of coastal Karnataka. Our house was over a 100 years old, it had solid carved wooden pillars and a wooden ceiling. The staircases in it were also made of wood. The house was in the shape of the English letter T (upper case). While we lived in the base of the T, the horizontal portion was rented out to a couple of Indian origin South African Hindu & Muslim students.

Most households in Mulky those days went to sleep by 8.30 or 9 in the night; the dimly lit, deserted streets gave an eerie look to our town.

That year the holy month of Ramzan had come in September. Now Sudhakar the Malayali cook of the boys was always dressed in a colorful lungi and half sleeved shirts, with a permanently ruffled mop of curly hair. This particular year, he had a tough time as he had to cook for the Hindus during the day and for the Muslims in the evening and early mornings. He was sleepless and dazed most of the time.

He was leisurely regretting his hasty act of chasing his assistant, just a few days earlier in a fit of anger. That particular day, he was in the final stages of dinner preparation for the Hindu boys and was in a hurry to go to sleep. After he lit the Kerosene oil stove to make the last item – Rice, he stepped out to have a shower. Unthinkingly or carelessly he must have flicked the match stick into the dustbin. As he had just that day finished his monthly grocery shopping, the dustbin was full of waste paper, some of which was used to wipe the spilt kerosene oil. Next to the dustbin was the 20 liter plastic can of kerosene oil.

In just 5 minutes the dustbin caught fire, due to the heat the can melted, 20 liters of oil – highly combustible, spread on the floor adding to the fire.

Adjacent to the kitchen was our cow shed, my mother was struggling to shift the panicking cows to a safer place. Her worry was the highly burnable, dry hay stacked in the attic of the shed and she wanted to save the cows.

My dad and a Raghurama, the goldsmith – our neighbor were running to the only house in the vicinity that had a phone, to call the fire brigade from Mangalore – 30 kilometers away! All my dad kept saying was ’Raghurama dada malpuniya’, ‘Raghurama, what shall we do?’ And Raghurama, gave him courage (which he did not feel) saying ‘Shenere Dever ulleru’ which meant ‘don’t worry sir, God is with us’. The fire brigade will reach quickly in the night…

Ignoring Yusuf & Ebrahim, my brother and I rushed (as only children would do) into the blazing kitchen and my brother tried to pick the plastic bucket which originally contained water. As he held the partially melted bucket, he cursed loudly and dropped it.

By then the power went off, as there was a short circuit somewhere, so we could not use the pump to draw water. And the only light was that of the blazing fire. The acrid smell of Kerosene permeated the whole place. Someone trying to pull water from the well, using the rope and pulley dropped the rope into the well. By now the fire was already touching the roof, the tiled roof could have made things even more difficult as the tiles start flying when it catches fire. I had it easy, someone literally pushed me out on to the street to keep me safe in the company of another student who was a nervous wreck! But my brother had a couple of burns, singed hair and eye brows.

Our community saved us that day from losing everything we had. Had it been 30 minutes later, we would have had difficulty in waking up our neighbors. Nearly 50 of them cut their banana plants, coconut fronds and put out the fire by beating it. Not sure how long it took, but it looked like forever to douse the fire.

We had to ensure that the wooden ceiling didn’t have any burning embers left, so we removed the hot tiles and let the light September drizzle into the burnt out kitchen. By the time all this was over, it was well past midnight. My sad but grateful mom served all of us tea and light snacks and heaved a sigh of relief…

Fire Insurance was unheard of in those days, I remember many Diwali’s when, someone or the other used to come to my dad and request help to raise funds to rebuild their home. It is the goodwill earned from this selfless act that saved us.  Our relationship with our community was the only insurance we had.

Gandhi – The master PR practitioner


Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi who is hailed as the father of our nation in my opinion is one of the most effective PR practitioners. He was a master strategist and understood his target audience very well and crafted the communication accordingly.

Although he held no office, he was able to captivate the minds of India’s millions, and also took control of Congress and its highly educated, sophisticated and cynical leadership. It was his passion, careful consideration and discipline which got him the recognition.

Let me discuss briefly the reasons why I think he was the ultimate PR personality:

The Salt march:

The Salt march was probably one of his most powerful campaigns which had a wide spread support. The Salt Acts imposed on Indians prohibited them from collecting or selling salt. Indians were forced to buy salt which was a natural resource and a staple in the Indian diet. The British, who, in addition to exercising a monopoly over the manufacture and sale of salt, also exerted a heavy salt tax.

Gandhi the brilliant strategist thought that a Mass civil disobedience was the best way to tackle this issue. In March 1930 Gandhi and 78 of his close associates marched from Sabarmati ashram, some 240 miles to the Arabian sea to take a pinch of salt. He informed the government well in advance about his intention to break the law to make salt. The British government threw people in jail for violating the law and censored the press. Despite that, the Media covered the event in great detail and  people across the nation followed suit even though Gandhi was already in prison. Jails in India were filled with 60,000 Satyagrahis whom the British imprisoned.

Effective use of media:

Gandhi was probably one of the greatest journalist of all  time, and the publications he ran and edited were probably the greatest ones the world has known. In 1904 in South Africa, he had taken over the editorship of the ‘Indian Opinion’ and published it in English, Tamil and Gujarati, sometimes running the press himself.

He is known to have written on all subjects; he wrote simply, clearly and forcefully. His writing was passionate and burning indignation. He believed that the objective of a newspaper, is to understand the popular feeling and give expression to it; to arouse among the people certain desirable sentiments, and the third is fearlessly to expose popular defects. He took up journalism more as a service to public and he was devoid of any personal ambitions. He used his writing as a vehicle to present his various experiments to the public.

Signature style:

He believed in powerful symbols and designed a headgear as a symbol of Indian unity which later came to be known as the Gandhi Topi. His own dress was one of the foremost and most visible symbols he adopted–the loincloth and shawl of homespun fabric –which he deliberately chose, after careful consideration, to show solidarity with India ’ s grinding poverty.

This eventually got him a name of ‘half naked fakir’ from Sir Winston Churchill. This way of dressing was Gandhi’s rebuke to the pretensions of the imperialists and became his trademark attire.

By the time that India’s independence was won, the homespun cloath or Khadi was inextricably woven into the fabric of India’s life. Even today Khadi is the unofficial uniform of India’s political leaders.

Powerful Orator:

Gandhi is seen as one of the world’s great inspiring public speakers. He could inspire all classes of people whether they were freedom fighters, thinkers or even the farmers. He was very articulate and considerate in expressing his thoughts. His talk was authentic and could move the whole nation into action.

He created influencers who believed him and championed on his behalf. The way Gandhi worked was to identify the Sarpanch or the administrative head of a village, influence him to practice the simple, ideal ways of the Gandhian philosophy, after which the whole village followed suit.

Campaigns for social justice:

Gandhi launched himself into campaigns for social justice; especially the two movements where he actively participated – the Champaran movement to save the indigo plantations and the Kheda Satyagrha – mill workers union in Gujarat. Gandhi supported the causes by resorting to satyagraha and wrote letters to the various editors of publications informing them about the development of the movement that he was participating in.   The government finally relented and relief was provided to the aggrieved.