Self-weighing baggage takes flight from Murroe

first_imgAdvertisement Linkedin NewsLocal NewsSelf-weighing baggage takes flight from MurroeBy admin – March 3, 2011 989 €80,000 investment begins to reap rewardsAN ingenious but simple idea from Murroe based Pat Madigan and Noel Regan, has captured the imagination of luggage companies and airlines.They have devised a self-weighing luggage – and the surprise is that it hadn’t been thought of before.Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter Sign Up Pat and Noel struck about the idea when flying to Spain with Ryanair.Pat’s luggage was overweight and he was forced to move personal items from one bag to another in front of a long queue of passengers.“I thought: ‘This is going to be a big problem for people, there has to be a solution’”, Pat told the Limerick Post.That was three years ago, and the pair have now achieved €100,000 worth of sales worldwide through their company Flylight, an online based retailer.Speaking to designer friends, Noel and Pat discovered that a weighing mechanism could easily be built-in to the inside of a piece of luggage.The handle then works as a weighing scales and a button is pressed to activate an LCD screen, where the weight is displayed in kilos. “It wasn’t difficult,” explained Noel. “It took eight or nine months to get the working model together and we started trading in November ‘09”.Noel and Pat are both married and each have three children.They say their families have been very supportive of the venture.The luggage is available to comply with check-in and cabin baggage size requirements for most airlines.Each product comes with batteries and two spares, which are easily replaced, and last for 32,000 hours in standby mode.The production of the suitcases has been contracted to China, while work is also taking place in the old Ferenka plant in Annacotty on new developments for the baggage that will make it more streamlined.Most sales are currently from individuals, but they are looking to expand into the commercial side of the market.“We are working on a major development that will allow us to expand,” Noel explained.“This new innovation will be patented so no other companies can copy it.“We have had interest from luggage companies and airlines. Aer Lingus are very interested and we have made a prototype in their colours that they are looking at for promotions, or for their gold members club”.Before venturing into the luggage sector, Noel was self-employed, working in marketing and promotions, while Pat worked for O2 in detail excellence.The duo now draw on their skills to constantly develop their new company.They put €80,000 investment into the business, and had help with setting up their website from Ballyhoura.Profits are currently going back into the company.They have made sales in China, Australia, Canada, and even sold to a soldier based in Iraq, though 80% of sales are Irish.“We did very well at the Holiday World Show in Dublin. We sold everything we brought with us,” added Pat.“And we have already been short-listed for a number of awards, including the JFC Innovation Awards 2010 and the Duty Free News International magazine award 2010, for best new fashion/accessories product.“LongChamp won this category so we were delighted to be held in such high regard”.He added that the company are going through “peaks and troughs”, but knew that it would be a popular invention. Print Facebookcenter_img WhatsApp Email Previous articleDirections of DPP sought by Judge in “time running” out caseNext article‘Charity week’ wins no favour with residents admin Twitterlast_img read more

Big five battle for supremacy, title in Big Ten

first_imgBRYAN FAUST/Herald photoIt’s March 1 and for college basketball aficionados everywhere the insanity that is March Madness is officially underway. While the expression “March Madness” applies mostly to the NCAA tournament that gets underway 15 days from now, it also includes the final regular-season games and conference tournaments, where teams around the country scramble to make their final push towards a ticket to the Big Dance.Nowhere is that more evident than in the Big Ten, where heading into the season’s ultimate week of play, the conference title is still entirely up for grabs and postseason destinations are still very much in limbo.”In the Big Ten, the standings are crazy,” Illinois head coach Bruce Weber said. “We could end up anywhere from tying for first place to being in seventh place. I think that shows you the parity in the Big Ten this year.””That’s what the Big Ten is about, taking every game one at a time and grinding through the season,” Minnesota head coach Dan Monson said.At 10-4, Ohio State currently sits atop the conference, holding a one-game lead over Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin, which at 9-5 are still very much in the hunt for at least a split of the Big Ten crown.With all four teams having two games left in the regular season, the Illini, Hawkeyes and Badgers, who play a difficult schedule this week, will all be looking for the Buckeyes to be upset either on the road at Northwestern or at home against Purdue Sunday, the Big Ten finale.”We’ve got a tremendous challenge ahead of us,” Ohio State head coach Thad Matta said, adding it would be a disappointment if they didn’t win the conference outright. “The way it is [in the Big Ten] this year, I’ve said this all along, there isn’t a game on the schedule this year I said, ‘I know we’re going to win this game.'”Seeding for the conference tournament, which begins March 9, is also still in the air and for several teams the tournament could prove vital to post-season aspirations.”Is it wild? Yeah, I think it’s Big Ten basketball,” Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan said.Indiana and Michigan are two teams that are considered to be squarely “on the bubble” and in dire need of a strong finish to ensure a birth to the NCAA tournament. That means that the game of week could be when both teams meet Saturday afternoon in Ann Arbor.”I’ve always thought Indiana has been a dangerous team,” Michigan coach Tommy Amaker said. “Unfortunately for us we are catching IU at a time when things are falling in place for them, they’re playing well and they’re confident.””Where we stand now with 15 wins … I’m not sure where we are, but I’m excited to have the team back on track and hopefully we can win some more games,” Indiana head coach Mike Davis said. Although non-candidates for the NCAA tournament, barring a miracle run through the Big Ten Tournament, Minnesota, Northwestern and Penn State also have postseason aspirations for the NIT.”Well, obviously every team strives to the NCAA tournament and until you get beat out in Indianapolis that will be every team’s goal,” Monson said. “If we can somehow win a couple of these games, our last 10 have been a very good record against top-25 team. Were trying to show that we have improved by being able to get some of these guys on our way out.””We’re hoping to gain a little momentum this week and see if we get a couple of wins going into the Big Ten tournament just feeling that we can make some noise there,” Northwestern head coach Bill Carmody said.So rejoice hoop heads, March Madness is officially underway, at least in the Big Ten.”Now it’s boiling down to who has the away games, who has the home games, who can win on the road and who can hold serve at home,” Ryan said. “The last week will tell it all.”last_img read more

Transfer News:Evra nearing Juventus switch

first_imgJuventus are closing in on the signing of Manchester United left-back Patrice Evra.Evra signed a one-year contract extension with United eight weeks ago, but the defender has since been given permission to leave Old Trafford.The 33-year-old’s move to Turin had been put in doubt following the resignation of manager Antonio Conte, but his replacement Massimiliano Allegri was keen to continue the club’s pursuit of the player.Evra, who has been at United for eight years, is on holiday at the moment, but Press Association Sport understands he could be announced as a Juve player on Monday.Evra will not be the last player to leave Old Trafford this summer.When asked whether there would be any player departures, executive vice-chairman told MUTV on Sunday: ”Yes, I think so. ”The manager makes that decision and a few players have already gone and there may well be a few others that go.”It’s also worth commenting that we’re not in Europe this year (so) there’s less games, maybe the manager takes the view that he wants a tighter squad to bed in.”If you do the analysis over last year, Liverpool performed extremely well with a smaller number of players but that’s a decision for the manager.”Woodward insists he will give his full backing to new manager Louis van Gaal in his quest to improve the squad following their seventh-placed finish last term.The Dutchman has spent upwards of £50million on Luke Shaw and Ander Herrera. He has also been linked with Arturo Vidal, Daley Blind, Kevin Strootman and Thomas Vermaelen.Woodward says there is plenty of cash available to Van Gaal if he decides he needs to strengthen further.”There is no fixed budget. Financially we are extremely strong, we have funds available,” Woodward said in an interview filmed on the club’s pre-season tour of the United States.”Louis is the boss and is assessing what’s going on but we have been in dialogue for some time about targets so there is a lot of work going on behind the scenes… we’re continuing to move forward on some of those targets… so watch this space.”The time he (Van Gaal) spends here (in America)as well, he’ll be able to assess more what he’s got and continue to tweak the decisions if we need to. ”We want to do what it takes to win the title.”Woodward has become tired of seeing targets slip through his fingers.”I want to stop seeing the best players going to other clubs in Spain, I want us to stand out as the best club in the world,” he said.”We’ll do absolutely everything we can to achieve that.”Van Gaal put his 25-man squad through a double training session on Monday at the StubHub Center. United will kick off their pre-season campaign with a match against the Los Angeles Galaxy on Wednesday, before then travelling to Denver, Washington and Michigan to play Roma, Inter Milan and Real Madrid as part of the International Champions Cup.last_img read more

Platinum players work on way forward

first_img21 February 2013 A meeting of major role players in South African platinum mining has spoken out against violence and committed to promoting workers’ right to associate and disassociate with any union. The meeting was assembled by Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu following a violent incident at Anglo American Platinum’s (Amplats’) Siphumelele mine in Rustenburg, North West province on Monday. Thirteen people were injured in a conflict which is believed to have flared up because of rivalry between workers’ unions. Represented at the meeting in Pretoria were Amplats management, the Chamber of Mines of SA, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), the Association for Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU), the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa), and UASA. The meeting, which began on Tuesday and continued on Wednesday, sought to canvass immediate actions to be taken by organised labour, business and the government in dealing with recurrent violence within South Africa’s platinum sector, as well as to look for long-term solutions. Newspaper Business Day reported that the parties had agreed in principle on a protocol on how the various role players should conduct themselves at the country’s mining operations. Chamber of Mines president Mark Cutifani, who is also Anglo American CEO-designate, told Business Day that “the fact that the minister engaged so quickly when we saw a few problems emerge on the platinum side is encouraging, and demonstrates [that] lessons have been learnt from some of the tough issues we saw last year”. All stakeholders at the meeting condemned the violence and committed to promoting workers’ right to associate and disassociate with any union. The parties once again urged workers to refrain from intimidation and violence. The Mineral Resources Department said it would continue to engage all stakeholders in the interest of ensuring that South Africa’s mining industry remains productive. The parties were to meet again on Thursday to further discuss areas of cooperation between labour and mining companies in working towards a long-term industry solution. SAnews.gov.za, with additional reporting by SAinfolast_img read more

One Young World Summit hits Joburg

first_imgBrand South Africa CEO Miller Matola attended the launch of One Young World.(Image: Ray Maota) Kofi Anna speaks at the launch of One Young World in Johannesburg.(Image: One Young World)MEDIA CONTACTS • Amanda MahlobiCommunications Officer, Waggener Edstrom+27 11 550 5400.RELATED ARTICLES∙ SA is getting plenty right∙ Unpacking the National Development Plan∙ South Africa to host One Young World 2013∙ Young people: own your destiny!Ray MaotaWorld leaders gathered at South Africa’s Soccer City in Johannesburg, Gauteng, on 2 October to open the One Young World 2013 Youth Summit to encourage global youth leadership.Taking place between 3- 4 October, the One Young World Summit 2013 will see 1 300 young people from around the world descend on the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg to develop solutions to some of society’s most pressing global issues.Youth leadership for changeOne Young World was founded in 2009 by David Jones and Kate Robertson. Jones said: “We are a London-based charity that gathers together young people from around the world, helping them make lasting connections to create positive change.“We stage an annual summit where the young delegates, backed by the One Young World Counsellors, debate and formulate solutions for the pressing issues the world faces.”Topics covered this year will include education; global business; human rights; leadership and government; sustainable development; and youth unemployment.The initiative has worldwide support, with global leaders such as United Nation’s (UN) Secretary General Kofi Annan, Live Aid founder Bob Geldof and Nobel Prize Laureate Muhammad Yunus calling for young people to play a more prominent role in tackling global issues.Young people’s commitmentAnnan, who Jones described as the best UN Secretary General to date, praised the ability of today’s youngsters to bring about positive change.“Together with your One Young World colleagues from across the globe, you embody the talent and energy that is driving change, innovation and creativity around the world,” Annan said, complimenting young people’s commitment to changing the world for the better despite their different struggles.“Wherever I have travelled, it has always been the commitment of young people to peace, equity and justice that has given me hope for the future. And there is good reason for your generation to care so deeply about the fate of our planet.“Look, for instance, at the challenge of sustainable development. It will be your generation and your children who will pay the price if we continue to plunder our natural resources, pollute the environment and fail to eradicate poverty and hunger.”Annan added that it as will be the youngsters who will suffer most from the impact of climate change on living standards and quality of life, they should not be shut out from the discussions and decisions that will frame their countries’ future and their lives.Passing on the problemsSir Bob Geldof, who has championed the plight of the poor in Africa, told the 9 000-strong crowd how his generation is failing the next.“Personally I believe we are in a very fraught time now, all generations fail, but my generation, disgracefully, has failed more than others. Coming together today gives a sense of urgency. We meet here in a new country that has proved what positive action can achieve. Last week, in a report that was vaguely noticed, the world’s scientists said we may not get to 2030, we need to address the issues of climate change urgently.”Yunus spoke highly of South Africa’s transition from apartheid to a democratic government and said the world could emulate this.“What South Africa has done – we can do it for the whole world – nobody ever thought apartheid could be over. But South Africa saved humanity’s dignity.”He concluded: “You are lucky to have been born in an age where what was impossible is becoming possible. Each one of you is capable of changing the whole world. Feel that power inside of you and make use of it.”last_img read more

Backupify Makes Your Social Media Data Searchable, Restorable

first_imgmarshall kirkpatrick Related Posts Cloud-to-cloud social media and webmail backup provider Backupify is announcing this morning the imminent availability of a new service called CloudSight. CloudSight will render a customer’s entire archive searchable and available for restoration with a single click.“The [CloudSite] service gives social media and compliance professionals an automated audit trail of customer- facing corporate online communications across all major social media and cloud platforms including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Gmail,” Backupify says. A number of different companies are providing similar services now, but Backupify’s appears unique in some important ways. Update: Unfortunately, it looks like the day of this announcement Backupify has experienced some down time.In the consumer world, YCombinator-backed startup Greplin has made a big splash for promising to render your digital data trail searchable as well. That’s not a business-focused service, though, and doesn’t offer data restoration the way Backupify does.Backupify CloudSight Overview from Backupify on Vimeo.Perhaps somewhere between the two is where the forthcoming Locker Project is aimed. That open-source service, being built by XMPP inventor Jeremie Miller, is based on the premise of turning each user’s data locker into a private application platform. Miller’s service aims to capture each user’s published data – but also the data they have subscribed to, including the data their contacts have published.Backupify fans have begun talking about what kinds of applications could be built on an API for that service, as well. “I’d look to build some cross-network analysis and search tools,” says Hubspot co-founder Dharmesh Shah in a top-voted Quora reply on the topic. “Like: ‘Show me everyone in the San Francisco area that I’ve sent an email to in the last 90 days’ (with location data from Twitter and Facebook, and email from Gmail).”For now there’s no API, but Backupify certainly becomes more interesting with the addition of the CloudSight feature. A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hostingcenter_img Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Tags:#cloud#Products 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

Nest Glitch Leaves Some Homeowners Cold

first_imgThe Nest Learning Thermostat lets homeowners control temperatures remotely via an internet connection, the same feature making automatic software updates possible. But an update in December came with a bug that caused some thermostats to malfunction two weeks later, in some cases turning off the heat in the middle of the night.The New York Times was the first to report the glitch earlier this month, noting that an unknown number of the $249 thermostats went on the fritz. A malfunctioning thermostat could pose serious problems for people who had installed one in a second home where pipes could freeze and burst, The Times noted, or to older or ill people without much tolerance for cold temperatures.The problem stemmed from a software update that the company pushed out in December. It contained a flaw that didn’t start appearing for another two weeks. The company didn’t say how many users were affected, but said the issue has since been resolved for almost all customers.Tempers flared, and customers began posting comments to an online forum, complaining about losing heat.“I guess that there’s some comfort that I’m not the only one with this problem,” one person wrote. “But I’ll be a little bit hysterical — WHAT IS NEST DOING ABOUT IT? It’s the middle of January, and we need heat here in the Northeast. I’ve disconnected from wifi in the hope that there will be enough of a charge to keep the heat going.”Another wrote on January 7, “I have 2 Nests and they both died! Woke up to a 60 degree house with no way to turn the thermostat up manually. Took 4 calls to customer service with a wait time on HOLD of over 2 HOURS! Some of the worst customer service I have experienced with a tech company. The only answer was to restart the unit! And that didn’t work. I should have gotten a Honeywell!” Nest posts reset procedure In a statement posted at its website, Nest said that some thermostats updated to software version 5.1.3 or later “may become unresponsive or may not charge the battery efficiently, causing it to shut down.”Nest suggested that customers recharge and restart the thermostat. If the thermostat was on but running slowly, or if the thermostat could not be controlled, a simple reboot should do the trick. If the thermostat was off and could not be turned back on, the company outlined a nine-step process to set things right.Nick Bilton, the Times reporter who initially wrote about the Nest problem, said that it was part of a larger problem in which smart devices go haywire: wireless fobs for cars that can be bypassed by thieves, wristbands that are supposed to keep track of the user’s heart rate but don’t, and malfunctioning touch pads on entry doors.Bilton said that a clause in the Nest service agreement bars customers from suing the company in the event of a problem. Instead, disputes must go through arbitration.“So,” he wrote, “if a pipe bursts in your home because the thermostat stopped working, or if your grandmother falls ill because the heat shuts off in the middle of the night and she doesn’t have a micro USB cable, you can’t sue.”last_img read more

4 Ways Google’s Motorola X And Sony’s Xperia Z Can Still Win

first_imgWhat it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … Sony’s ChallengeFor Sony, the Xperia Z represents something of a restart in the smartphone market. It’s no secret hat Sony has struggled in the smartphone business, a distant follower to Samsung in the Android market. But the Xperia Z is everything Sony’s earlier smartphones weren’t: it’s sleek, stylish and has all the bells and whistles consumers have come to expect. It won’t come cheap, but Sony’s best products never did (and its low-end products were dismal failures). The Xperia Z is a return to form for the Japanese consumer electronics giant.Sony finally has the right product. But it will take more than a better mouse trap to grab jaded mobile customers. To play catch-up, Sony will have take full advantage of the considerable resources at its disposal:1.Tying It All Together. Like Samsung, Sony sells a full line of electronic devices including TVs, gaming consoles and PCs. Sony needs to market these products as pieces of a digital universe offering entertainment and productivity. It should be tied together using the elegant packaging Sony is known for.2.Content. Sony is a unique organization in that it owns content – and lots of it. Sony’s studios produce popular TV shows, movies and music, all of which can be repurposed as mobile entertainment. Unique mobile applications, based on some of Sony’s more popular titles, written exclusively for Xperia Z and able to run on other Sony hardware would help give consumers a compelling reason to buy.Google’s ChallengeGoogle’s obsession with delivering its own hardware into the smartphone market is also hardly a secret. It’s counting on the Motorola X Phone to dazzle. Here’s are are a couple ways Google can make sure it does: 1.A High-End Camera. Smartphone cameras have largely replace point-and-shoot cameras. They offer convenience and many of the same features – like image filtering and photo sharing. But there’s more to digital photography than increasing resolution and panoramic imaging. Google can distinguish itself by offering more advanced digital photography features like augmented reality, high-dynamic-range imaging, low-light denoising and image inpainting. Making them native to the camera wherever possible will boost performance and give the X a competitive advantage.2.A Better User Experience. Android smartphone designers have sometimes been so focused on the inner workings of the hardware, that they’ve overlooked the importance of aesthetics. If the X Phone is to be successful, it must offer a superior user experience. Google can do that by incorporating new user-interface technologies like gesture recognition. biometrics and gyroscopes. According to some of the early rumors, the X Phone would sport a flexible display. More recent reports say that Google has backed out of that plan. If true, it’s a shame. A flexible display would have given the X Phone that extra something the others don’t have.By next fall, there will be two important new entrants in an already crowded field. One will be the latest product from a revitalized Sony. The other, a long-awaited offering from Android inventor Google.But if they really want to have a big impact, they’ll need to do more than just follow the leaders.Images from Sony. Tags:#Android#Google#Motorola#smartphones#Sony Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Related Posts prateek joshi Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement Guest author Prateek Joshi is a computer vision expert at a stealth startup in San Francisco.The smartphone market is about to get very interesting – with big efforts from two giant companies.Earlier this month, Sony’s debuted its new Xperia Z to much fanfare at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. Meanwhile the rumor mill has been abuzz with reports that Google will introduce the long-awaited Motorola X at its annual I/O conference in May. But both companies’ latest smartphone efforts will have to exceed what’s already available to succeed in a crowded market. But the strategies they need to follow are radically different. The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technologylast_img read more

Jeev Milkha Singh qualifies as first Indian to play US Open golf tournament

first_imgDIED: Samar Guha, 85, freedom fighter and associate of Subhas Chandra Bose, in Kolkata. He was a former MP and a member of the Janata Dal (S). RANKED: Shooter Anjali Vedpathak, as World No 1 in the women’s 10 m air rifle event, by the International Shooting Sports Federation (ISSF).QUALIFIED:,DIED: Samar Guha, 85, freedom fighter and associate of Subhas Chandra Bose, in Kolkata. He was a former MP and a member of the Janata Dal (S).RANKED: Shooter Anjali Vedpathak, as World No 1 in the women’s 10 m air rifle event, by the International Shooting Sports Federation (ISSF).QUALIFIED: Jeev Milkha Singh, as the first Indian to play the US Open golf tournament (one of the US professional circuit’s four golf majors.) He made the cut for the money-making rounds and tied for the 62nd place.CHOSEN: For knighthood, Cambridge University professor Partha Sarathi Dasgupta, for his service to economics. Also chosen for the honour is industrialist G.K. Noon.last_img read more

Blazing the Trail

first_imgVerve and venerationAlarmel Valli, 57, Classical DancerBecause She has umpteen prestigious awards dotting an illustrious 50 years in dance, a three-decade-old dance school and hundreds of celebrated international performances.And yet, Alarmel Valli chuckles at the idea of a planned career progression.”When I went on stage for my arangetram, I was,Verve and venerationAlarmel Valli, 57, Classical DancerBecause She has umpteen prestigious awards dotting an illustrious 50 years in dance, a three-decade-old dance school and hundreds of celebrated international performances.And yet, Alarmel Valli chuckles at the idea of a planned career progression.”When I went on stage for my arangetram, I was nine-and-a-half years old and a career in professional dance had not crossed my mind,” she says.”Those days, you learned dance for the love of it and because it enriched your life. To be able to perform was not an important consideration,” she adds.Because It has been 50 years since Valli started dancing and her seasoned approach to the art stands as a strong point of reference to Bharatanatyam tutelage today.With an obstinate desire to transcribe the value she has imbibed,Valli takes great care in teaching her own students at the Dipasikha Dance Foundation with the same spirit that she saw in her gurus.Afew of the forums that she has worked in include Spic Macay in India, the Societa Italiana del Flauto Dolce, The Philharmonic Society in Rome, the international Summer Tanzwochen in Vienna,The Singapore Indian Fine Arts Society and universities across the US.Because As one of the youngest dancers to be awarded the Padma Shri,Valli views her most prestigious accolades including the Padma Bhushan and Chevalier of Arts and Letters Award from the French Government as welcome acknowledgements of her contribution to dance. “Ultimately an artiste’s biggest accolade comes from the rasikas; those who follow you fromsabha to sabha to watch you perform or save money throughout the year to attend your best shows during the December season,”says Valli. She adds, “As an artiste, I would love to see a day when one’s art alone drives home an award.”advertisementNURTURING NUANCE Today,Valli sees a change in the way students are taught natyam. She recalls an adage her guru had coined in her head over the years – ‘more sarakku than minukku’, which loosely translates to more content than embellishment. “Today, packaging often overshadows content. Success calls for not just artistic talent, but PR skills as well,”she says.Valli believes this generation is dangerously dependent on technology.”DVDs and Skype classes may make dance more accessible, but cannot capture subtext.And nuances are what give dance its soul,”she says.Springboard storiesCharukesh Sekar, 28, Independent Film-makerBecause When 28-year-old Charukesh Sekar had approached in vain,more film producers than his brain could register, he decided to demonstrate his craft to the industry by plunging into what he describes as his “most honest story till date”, on a zero budget.”I wanted them to see what I could create, instead of just hearing me out like they do with hundreds of young, wide-eyed aspirants.”The result was Puzhu, an 11- minute short film about two grievously injured friends who oscillate between emotions of love, nostalgia, betrayal and revenge, and eventually try to kill each other. It gave him 1,000 YouTube views in three days – which is unique for an art house film-and a prospective association with Bench Flix – a coveted platform for short film makers to showcase their work and get it distributed, run by director Karthik Subbaraj. The film also went on to gain appreciation from senior film critic and founder of madaboutmoviez.com, Sethumadhavan.Because Good talent can never go unrecognised in this age of social networking. His last film,Life and Death of a Rebel,was shot in the breathtaking expanses of Ladakh and starred actor Ashok Selvan, who went on to act in Pizza 2: The Villa and Thegidi.The film is about a terminally ill patient who takes off to a faraway land to help his loved ones cope with the eventuality.”Previously, if I were to show my film to a potential investor, I would have to pass through 100 middlemen who would only slow down the process,”says Sekar. He adds,”Now with the advent of social networking and video platforms like Youtube and Vimeo, there is no limit to how far your content can go.Afew shares after that and your film can be watched across continents!”he beams.Because Charukesh started young. Amechanical engineering graduate, he traces his love for stories to his early school days, when he would sit with his Tamil language teacher,Mrs. Sujatha, for hours and pen down stories for his school skits. “She taught me how to write a script – to fold a paper in half, write the scene description on one side and the dialogues on the other- I found the process so beautiful,”he says.advertisementALEARNING EXPERIENCE “I am an independent filmmaker; I know the maddening routine of shallow questions, unreturned phone calls and painfully procrastinating timelines that follow our efforts to get a film produced,”says Valli. “But what I’ve learnt is that not all these are unproductive hindrances.They are in fact repeated opportunities for you to raise the bar.” Shekar believes that young filmmakers who are in need of funds to make content oriented, off-beat films must be prepared to use limited resources, as this eliminates any risk of loss for the investors.”If there’s a way your film can see the light of day without any compromises being made on your style and content, it is perfectly okay to cut a few corners,”he explains.THE BIG PICTURE Shekar’s trademark style lies in portraying known concepts in novel sensibilities; he is heavily inspired by directors like Mysskin, Balaji Sakthivel and Rajumurugan who have attempted to show people of the third gender and sex workers in a fresh new light through their films (Onaayum Aattukkuttiyum, Vazhakku Enn? and Cuckoo respectively), in an industry that has used them as comical characters.”That’s how we end up stereotyping them on the streets. But when a mass medium like cinema offers a change in our approach to the subject changes,”he says.Strength in serviceDr V. Shanta, 87, Chairperson, Adyar Cancer InstituteBecause In 1954 in Madras, when most 27-year-old women were building their lives around marriages or learning new vocations, Shanta was armed with a fresh M.D. (Doctor of Medicine) degree, and had decided to join a scantily-equipped, 12-bedded cottage hospital specialising in cancer care.Started in Adyar,Madras, it was the second hospital of its kind in independent India.Not surprisingly, she was perceived as whimsical and over-ambitious, but six decades on, her decision has successfully transformed thousands of lives.Cementing her conviction was another visionary- Muthulakshmi Reddy, the first woman medical graduate of the country and the first Indian woman legislator – who founded the cancer institute and took her in.Because She found the impetus she needed from hardships.”Dr.Reddy had lost her sister to cancer in 1923.When her son,Dr. Krishnamurthi, returned from the US, she wanted to start a cancer hospital. She had an extremely tough time getting the required permission, and more importantly getting people to see what she saw.They did not understand cancer and there were no facilities for its treatment in the country,”reminisces Shanta.There was a challenge involved in addressing the issue and creating awareness about it.”People were dying of cancer and science was developing parallelly. It was a part of medicine that had not been explored and I saw this as an opportunity,”she says. Because The Cancer Institute’s most significant milestone is its undeterred adherence to its motto,’Service to All’, and Dr. Shanta stands at its helm. Her dedication to the cause has earned her the Magasasay Award and the Padma Shri. Even at 87, she’s available anytime in case of emergencies.advertisementThe Cancer Institute stands as the foremost medical institution to offer highly subsidised and free treatment to almost 60 percent of its annual patients.”I have always worked towards the reintroduction of ideas like empathy and compassion.We work on the basis of service; we don’t earn in lakhs and are discerning about our work ethics and use of resources,”she says.”But the government is still very apathetic,”she adds.OVER THE YEARS Today the institute has earned a reputation for its success stories. Dr. Shanta has watched the scene evolve, as a doctor, subsequently the institute’s director and now its chairperson.”The first cobalt unit – a revolution in radiation oncology – came to us in 1956 from the Atomic Energy of Canada.We’ve seen advancements since then and today I can say that 40 per cent cancers are preventable and curable if detected early,”says Shanta.Into the wildRomulus Whitaker, 71, Wildlife ConservationistBecause He now stands high as the country’s most revered herpetologist and wildlife conservationist.On any given day, he’d be glad to share a Kodak moment with a reared-up king cobra or a fully-grown gharial. But Whitaker’s fascination for these seemingly implacable creatures is no more a surprise today, almost four decades after he started the Chennai Snake Park. Whitaker first came to India as a boy of seven,when his family had moved to Mumbai in 1951. But his attraction to snakes began much earlier, when he spent time catching and petting non-venomous snakes back at home in the US.”Here in India, I was lucky to spend most of my school days in Kodaikanal. I was a lousy student but the forests around me were like heaven.That’s where I really learned the jungle lore-both on my own and from the local tribals and hunters from the hills,”says Whitaker.Because The new headquarters of the snake park in Guindy saw one million visitors in the first year alone, including celebrated ones such as Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi,Sonia Gandhi,Margaret Thatcher and Satyajit Ray.About six years later in 1976,Whitaker gave the country the first crocodile gene bank in all of Asia- The Madras Crocodile Bank Trust and Centre for Herpetology.Today, the centre harbours 18 species of crocodiles, 14 species of turtles, and many lizards and snakes. It also remains one of the best institutions for herpetological research in Asia.Because He is involved in extensive research, conservation and public education on the king cobra and the gharial. In Agumbe,Karnataka, where he recalls encountering and catching his first king cobra in 1971,Whitaker has set up a forest field base, the Agumbe Rainforest Research Station, to do research and conservation “and some chilling too!”. “We have an MoU with the National Center for Biological Sciences in Bangalore and in exchange for their support, their scientists and students use our base for field work,”says Whitaker. In addition to this, he has also made three documentary films on the king cobra for National Geographic, BBC Natural World and Animal Planet and one film on the gharial for the BBC and Animal Planet.THE REPTILE GUY He shared a special camaraderie with the Irula tribals as a child, which became a major impetus for him to start what became a milestone in his rehabilitation work-the Irula Snake-Catchers Cooperative Society.”In the 1970s, the snakeskin trade was booming but also getting out of hand.Abunch of us campaigned to stop it, which it eventually did and all snakes came under India’s Wildlife Protection Act,”says Whitaker. But, he was unconvinced about the condition of the Irulas who were the main suppliers of snake skins in South India and had been hit hard.”These expert trackers and hunters were my gurus and taught me more than I ever learned in college.To repay them, I came up with the idea of setting up the society,”he says. While the Irulas were getting rehabilitated,Whitaker was also working on setting up India’s first reptile park-the Madras Snake Park in 1969, in a village on Velachery Road, south of Chennai.”With the help of my sister and brother, Nina and Neel Chattopadhyaya, and a bunch of our crazy friends, the snake park was set up. But it was pretty far out of town and the 25 paise entry tickets didn’t help us pay salaries or feed the hundreds of snakes.I approached then Chief Conservator of Forests in Tamil Nadu, K.A. Bhoja Shetty, who graciously gave me half an acre of the beautiful Guindy Deer Park (now National Park) on lease to set up the snake park.How the land was given to an American citizen (I only got my Indian citizenship in 1975), I’ll never know,”recalls Whitaker.BACK TO THE ROOTS Whitaker believes that there is a lot of scope.”The biggest threat to the environment is a combination of human greed and the inability to understand what needs to be done. But the positive aspect is that there are beautiful, functional models of ideal forest and wildlife conservation around the planet.There is no need to reinvent the wheel when we can learn and borrow from such success stories,”he says.Crafting careersDivya Jhaveri,30, Ritu Jhaveri,25, Designers and founders,Wild RoseBecause The entire profit from the sales at Wild Rose is kept aside for the education and upliftment of underpriviledged girls. “The idea of educating girls came forth from both of us. We’ve both been brought up with a lot of luxury. While we’ve always been encouraged to achieve, we’ve never even had the pressure to earn for the family. And the idea that kept repeating in our heads was,’Wouldn’t it just be great if other girls did not have to carry the burden of education?”say the sisters.Because What started as a creative necessity for the older sibling Divya five years ago has become the driving force for the sisters to imagine, explore and showcase new design sensibilities to make beautiful home accessories under their brand,Wild Rose. In addition to filling her fashion void, Divya was also creating pretty decor items for home, which her mother loved displaying.”But then I took a break for four years and was introduced to the Bihar School of Yoga, where I saw the beauty and fulfillment of seva – or selfless service.People worked hard and helped for one another unconditionally, and I was deeply inspired,” she says. By the time she returned to Chennai, the philosophy was ingrained in her head and she started looking at it as a prospective business-cum-philanthropic idea. She took in her younger sister Ritu to further give shape to it and started the brand Wild Rose that could give them the platform to design and also help the underprivileged.BecauseThe sisters plan to reach out to deserving girls through known, trustworthy sources and focus on aiding their higher education and possibly, employment opportunities.”We are looking at financing girls at the college level or at a point where they can become breadwinners of the family.We have now been connected to a girl from Assam, who wants to do a teacher training course.After looking at her mark sheets,we will provide her with the necessary aid.We are also working closely with the schools supported at our ashram,”says Ritu.NURTURING IDEAS Ritu believes that the nobility of the founding idea has helped the store grow.The sisters owe their gratitude to their gurus-Sw.Satsangi and Sw. Niranjan of the Bihar School of Yoga and Shri Parthasarathy Gopalachari of Ramachandra Mission Chennai. “People often wonder how we have managed without any formal training or employing any labour. But we’ve constantly been guided in the right direction. For instance, our drivers also act as carpenters for our merchandise and they have taken up a keen interest in mastering the craft.Our maids help us in the embellishment of the products and love the creative outlet it provides them.We have a warm, informal working environment where we share ideas and give them shape,”says Divya.SHOW AND TELL Wild Rose now largely caters to marriages and corporate events with a wide range of gifts and home accessories.They make candle holders, tissue boxes, bags and finely embellished clocks and mirrors.Their signature style uses a lot of shimmer and mirror work and their products are priced from as low as Rs 350.The brand has already been showcased at five exhibitions this year, with another one coming up at The Park in September.”Exhibitions remain our prime focus this year.We want our products to reach out to as many people as possible, so that we have a steady flow of clientele and can make profit.We believe with effort and goodwill, there’s a long way to go,” says Divya.Tune inVishal Chandrashekhar, 29, Music DirectorBecause He has worked in over 400 short films, 40 national ads and four feature films and also composed the song for Kingfisher IPL this year within just a few hours.Though he started composing for films in 2001, it wasn’t until Satosh Sivan’s film Ceylon in 2013 that Chandrashekhar started believing that he was on the right track.”I sat there for four-and-a-half hours, not even blinking. I watched every frame and heard every tune; it was amazing and unnerving all at once,”he says.Though the film was pulled out of theatres within days of its release, owing to its sensitive story that followed the Sri Lankan war, Chandrashekhar’s own spirits remained high.Because His music for latest sci-fi film Appuchi Gramam opened to critical reviews from leading webzines and the media.”I see no conflict creating music for commercial films,” he says.”After you have learnt the finest aspects of music, a commercial film can challenge your potential to produce with versatility. Striking that balance is a lesson in itself and I’m lucky to have learnt it from the right people,”he says. Because In an industry where creative differences between directors and music composers are constantly put on the table, Chandrashekhar has honed himself to be honest, flexible and yet uncompromising.”What results in the end is of most importance; as individuals, we can never become bigger than that,”he says.MODEL STUDENT A student of AR Rahman’s KM Music Conservatory, Chandrashekhar owes a significant part of his evolution to the training he received at the celebrated institute.At this point, the young composer drew his own innate style from the cultural influences he witnessed while growing up.”I studied in 17 schools and my teachers came with demographically varying sensibilities.Today, I can see all their styles influencing my music,”adds Chandrashekhar.SPIRITUAL SOUNDS Chandrashekhar hopes to compose an album on Lord Shiva someday.”That would be something I do for myself and the grace that has brought me where I am,”he concludes.The godfatherVidyaakar, 61, Founder, Udavum KarangalBecause The calm, 10-acre facility in Thiruverkadu that serves as a haven for 630 abandoned children, children with disabilities and mentally challenged and destitute men and women, is proof to the sweat and service that Vidyaakar has invested in it for the last 14 years.However, his association with humanitarian work began much earlier in 1980, when he started collaborating with a local charity in NSK Nagar to help the poor understand their rights and avail them. In about three years, his efforts elevated with his first case – an abandoned child who was left behind at a cinema hall after a night show.”When we couldn’t find any takers for him, I decided to foster him myself at home. It soon became an impromptu centre for anyone who needed help after that,”says Vidyaakar, who registered it as Udavum Karangal in 1983. It was only nine years later in 1994, when they relocated to the bigger campus in Thiruverkadu.Because As of today, his work has touched more than a 5000 lives,many of which are restored with well-paying jobs, families, businesses and marriages. March this year saw Abhilash, a B-Com student from Udavum Karangal, receive the Outstanding Performer Award from his alma mater, St.Thomas College of Arts and Science.Another resident, Nithya Kalyani, received a gold medal for her degree in social work from the Madras School of Social Work, and is now happily married. While such success stories are many, their inspiration is always their only parent – ‘Pappa’Vidyaakar.Because In the last five years,Udavum Karangal’s focus has intensified towards rehabilitation.”We don’t take in abandoned children anymore. Instead we send them to Childline India Foundation for adoption. The children we house here are mostly those born to psychiatric patients,”he says. Further facilitating the NGO’s motto of restoration and value-creation is Udavum Karangal’s school in Thiruverkadu, which is open to both in-house children and children from outside.Another successful initiative is Jeevan – their community outreach programme, which includes services like a school for nursing, student sponsorship programme, day care centre, computer centre, school for special children, school of tailoring, a crche and legal services.THE DEVELOPMENT DIMENSION “We are now solely working on empowering communities. Even when we find women who are destitute,we try to trace them back to their families, where they are restored, so long as it favours their wellbeing,”he says. He adds, “If our kids don’t fit into mainstream schooling, they can opt for private education.” Every single person here must be on the track to development.Rib-ticklersKarthik Kumar, 36, Bhargav Ramakrishnan, 27, Founders, Evam Standup TamashaBecause Even though it has been assumed for years that Chennai is unforgiving about the digs taken at its cultural conditioning and lifestyle choices, Karthik Kumar and Bhargav Ramakrishnan saw remarkable scope in some healthy home-grown humour and came out with Evam Standup Tamasha in 2012.This of course after a few months of treading carefully with little spoonfuls of experimental humour they called ‘comic monologues’, which were performed at “pubs, dingy bars, auditoriums and drawing rooms of friends before launching officially,”as says Kumar.Because After their first comic monologues series turned out to be a hit, the duo decided to rope in more talent and started looking for new performers who could hold an audience with their tales. “Standup comedy is a truly unique and extremely challenging art form.We were quite reluctant to go about calling ourselves standup comedians early on.We instead called it comic monologues, slice of life comedy and many other things before branding ourselves as standup comedians,” says Ramakrishnan.Because Their work offers younger audiences a great forum to share social, political and cultural ideas.”It’s the closest one can get to pop culture wherein the youth absorb new values and ideals through a show.And believe it or not,most standup comedians are peace loving, diversity embracing artists,”says Kumar.The duo ventured into the space with self-scripted pieces, which were also autobiographical in nature.”We started telling tales that would be cathartic when narrated-and catharsis could lead to some great laughter and emotional release in an audience.When we learnt to channelise this release with comedy as the final filter, it led to an organic segue into standup comedy,”says Kumar.MAKE ‘EM LAUGHThe performers of Standup Tamasha draw instances from their own lives, which helps them personalise the jokes and also put them across with ease. Popular references include relationships, girlfriends,hometowns, new towns, offices, bosses, sports, Indian-isms and politics. “Life is boring and tedious until we choose to paint it with comedy, and then everything just becomes ‘material’ for the show. For instance,my first set in 2010 was all about how Sathyam Cinemas had removed the separators between the urinals in the men’s room.Though this was a small event, it had left many men in the city confused and disoriented,”laughs Kumar.NO FUNNY BUSINESS They have also had to face some not-so-amused audiences who have made their displeasure evident. “I remember an aunt coming up to me after my first show; she stayed back half an hour to lecture me on how I must never do this again, ever,”says Kumar. Interestingly, the audiences they remember most are always the ones that didn’t take the show well. “From drunk hecklers, scandalised bosses and enraged oldies to people who did not share our point of view,we have been through the lot and that has made us tougher performers,”says Ramakrishnan. “But whenever we are doing a show,we always ask ourselves where, when and for whom are we doing it.That discretion we’ve learnt and maintain,”he adds. But despite these minor disapprovals, this group of young performers has remained unstoppable.TRICKAND TREAT They earn the credit for breaking into the city’s long-preserved mould against standup comedy, which rarely any other group has been able to penetrate. Evam Standup Tamasha now has autonomous operations in Singapore, having done over 10 shows there already.They recently completed their seven-show debut tour in the US and will be heading back there for a five-week, 25 shows tour in October.Apart from Chennai, they have also launched in Mumbai,Coimbatore,Kochi and Bangalore.”The secret is to customise and re-contextualise the issues.We have understood you must be one among your audience and yet different from them; it’s a strange combination, but remains the most effective one,”says Kumar.last_img read more