My mother has special nooks and corners, compartmentalised in her kitchen. Her top drawer has the ladle, the spatula, the big stirrer, and also tiny wooden spoons that come free with ice cream tubs. She says it’s perfect for the salt measurement in her macher jhol, the quintessential Bengali fish curry.
Everything is organised in a manner that is found in the army barracks. One on top of the other neatly folded. She finds a sense of continuity in her life with this arrangement.
What is very unique about her is that she folds all plastic bags neatly in a pile and keeps them on one specific shelf in the kitchen. Every time someone is visiting and she wants to pack some goodies for them to take back, she pulls one from the neat fold of plastic bags she calls “packaet”. Puts the dabba in the plastic cover and ties a strong knot of the handles, before handing it to the guest. The packet space is a chalked-out place of pride in Maa’s kitchen.
Once by mistake, I had kept the dustbin black cover with the precious packet pile and to my horror, she pulled them all out, explaining that dustbin covers are not meant to be mixed with the white covers.
I told her plastic is not environmentally friendly. She must move ahead with the times. She isn’t the one to not retort. Pat came her reply, “nor is your lipstick. I saw a show in which animals are treated with cruelty for makeup, so before you buy your fuchsia shade, think about the poor animals.”
Ok! I had lost the argument. Just yesterday I flaunted my new Kiko brand of lipstick to her. Sometimes I think, I must not show her every new thing I buy.
Maa takes pride in me and in her kitchen utensils in equal measure. She boasts of objects that have lasted over 30 years, much beyond the warranty dates.
For example, in my mother’s house, you can find an old yellow plastic Dalda bottle with a green lid. The packaging design has a green coconut tree on the front of the bottle. By now a few branches have faded out, it looks like a coconut tree that is swaying in the nor›westers of West Bengal. Every weekend she cleans the container, turns it upside down to dry it in the sun and again refills it with spices. That container is about 50 years old.
Her pressure cooker that she received as a gift at her wedding is 53 years old. On many sad evenings, she has confided the oft-repeated story to me, about how her sister in law wanted to whack the pressure cooker. But she was way smarter than them. She had said that she had lost the rubber ring of the cooker.
I don’t admit it to her. But it is the best mutton curry that even today on some Sunday noons gets cooked in her 53-year-old Prestige pressure cooker. I get the tart mustard oil mutton curry from her geriatric vessel. It’s as tasty as I can remember since childhood, with succulent pieces of mutton in it. She also has a blender that she uses to mix her Dal that is 70 years old, passed on to her by her mother. I have declined her offer to gift me the blender.
As the years have passed, I have become conscious of not folding plastic packets and instead of using cloth bags to buy veggies and fish. But in my cupboard, you can find an old paper Harrod’s packet, a Louis Vuitton brown paper bag that had my leather bag. The LV paper bag is folded and kept just for the sheer joy of its design and also for my subconscious awareness of the shift in my monetary status and buying capability.
I like to believe that I am more sane and reasonable than my mother. But one can’t ignore the genetics of storing packets that I inherited from her.
Mothers are our first teachers, so if you ever find me packing your leftover food container in a plastic bag, please know that it’s not me. It is my Maa who is working on my subconscious mind to be a little like her.
It is her homesickness that makes her cook the mutton on Sundays with huge potatoes sinking in the gravy. I know she takes pride in her culture. She wishes I understood her need to continue the life she had grown up with.
As I grow older, I have a profound sense of regret, for ignoring her feelings that I didn’t understand was her pride and her habit to hold on to her past.
My mother is a woman who has seen the partition of Bengal. Her family moved and she grew up in Delhi. But her loyalty remains steadfast in her cultural conditioning. I have successfully moved away from the shackles, she tried hard to impose on me. But food still remains a place of soul comfort, in spite of the travel I have taken physically and metaphysically in the past years.
We stay close to each other but in different homes in Bengaluru. Whenever a steel tiffin box with her mutton curry arrives tied in a knot in the plastic packet, I know it’s going to be a hearty meal of my mother’s cooking. Always with lots of aroma, the big potato in it and the best pieces of meat that she keeps aside only for me.
Mohua Chinappa is an ex-housewife turned author.
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Workforce diversity: A key to improve productivity
A diverse workforce helps an organization bring more creativity and innovations. Diversity practice is not only a leveller. It is also an immense possibility for an organization’s growth
“Diversity” is about embracing the full range of differences that make each unique. Much of the discussion in the public sphere often revolves around gender diversity but as you can see from the graphic below, it is about so much more than that. Beyond the physical, it is also about embracing cognitive, occupational, values, relational and societal aspects of humans as individual beings. It’s pointless to have a diverse workforce without fully including and maximising such diversity. Here are some ways diversity will make your business a better one.
Teams of mixed gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, physical abilities, and work styles are more representative of the customers that companies serve. They offer a variety of viewpoints, they have a wider range of experiences and they produce more innovation. Simply put: A diverse workplace can capture a greater share of the consumer market.
In an increasingly global economy, where the best companies hire only the best people, it makes logical business sense to hire from the widest pool of talent. Access to the largest and most diverse set of candidates eventually makes for a truly qualified workforce — talent is borderless, color, and gender-blind!
Be aware that your customers are watching and acting with their wallets. With social media and an active citizenry, businesses are being held accountable for their every action. To be a responsible business, actions speak far louder than words.
4. EMPLOYER BRANDING
Having a diverse and inclusive workforce is a key talent attraction and retention strategy. In today’s intense battle for talent, having a strong employer branding proposition is key to business success. Not only does it make your company more attractive to work for, but a diverse and inclusive workforce can also help reduce costly employee turnovers.
At the basic level, build awareness and consciousness about how everyone is different and celebrate that individuality. Diversity education and bias training could be part of onboarding. The next step up would be to have action and alignment around diversity and inclusion policies. Implement formal processes, systems, and policies around diversity and inclusion and keep everyone (all ranks and levels) accountable. Simple examples include allowing flexible schedules for parents.
The author Senior Managing Director, Michael Page India & Thailand
BATTERY SWAPPING: SOLUTION FOR EV BATTERY CHARGING PROBLEM
Battery swapping replaces depleted batteries with freshly charged ones at swap stations
Electric vehicles are becoming more prominent in today’s time, especially with the increasing use case in commercial vehicle space, Many Industry manufacturers and solution providers are working on the measures to make electric vehicles more affordable, easy to charge, and economical to operate. One such technology that gives all these benefits to fleet operators is battery swapping. A battery swapping technology, as the name suggests, is a method where a user can swap a battery to keep the vehicle running.
A swapping station that is being installed at any particular location comprises multiple batteries getting charged constantly. An EV user can locate a swapping station, replace the depleting battery with a charged one, put the empty battery on charge, and can go to work. Battery Swapping technology has opened wide opportunities for fleet owners who want to keep their vehicles running without worrying about charging time.
Under battery swapping, EV users replace the discharged batteries with charged ones at the swap stations. It helps to solve the problem of setting up charging stations and also reduces the range anxiety of drivers. Apart from this, battery leasing can help EV consumers to save on the cost of purchasing a battery. It consumes minimum time and requires minimum infrastructure to charge at a battery station which could take hours.
According to the research by 2030, more than 12 million tonnes of lithium-ion batteries are likely to retire. It needs raw materials such as lithium, nickel, and cobalt that have an environmental and human impact. At the end of their lives, batteries also create a lot of electronic waste. Many industry players are working on how to discard dead batteries and extract valuable metals at scale to keep materials in circulation and reduce reliance on mining. We should work on a better solution to keep the battery in use for longer in alternative sectors.
Battery cost currently constitutes about 40-70 percent of the upfront cost for an electric vehicle. If these batteries are decoupled and sold separately, it can help to shift the upfront cost to the energy operator’s network that is shifting the cost of ownership to operations. Battery swapping and interoperability can play a vital role in this as it helps to build the network of the supply chain to boost EV adoption, which in turn will impact faster transition.
Modern mobility solutions have two agendas such as technology transition and mobility as a function. We need an aggressive target with a proper roadmap for battery swapping that will help to change this ecosystem.
Use standard battery technology: Standard battery design, such as pack size, cavity, electric power control unit, and output performance per unit, will make battery switching easier. These innovations serve as catalysts for achieving economies of scale more quickly.
Recycling of EV Batteries: Battery recycling is a huge opportunity for India. Batteries that are being swapped can be built with a recycling-friendly design to enable ease of repurposing. The manufacturing and then recycling of the batteries of these EVs with recycled materials will eliminate sourcing that will positively impact the unit cost of vehicles.
Battery-as-a-service (BaaS): Battery needs to be treated as a service segment like liquefied petroleum gas, or other functional batteries. It is necessary to extend the Incentives to battery-unit to subsidise per-kilometre operations rather than the purchase cost. The gross-cost financing models, along with the standard operating procedure for energy operators can help to explore the financially viable solutions.
The subscription model of Battery Swapping: BaaS can be available to users at a subscription model to gain the trust of the users and to boost confidence in availability.
Building co-reliance: It is important to identify the value-chain propositionsfor users, drivers, energy operators, urban local bodies, and financing institutions in the swapping of EV batteries. Many start-ups and big EV manufacturers should also work on the inventory of previous existing modes, the infrastructure of land, Space for parking, spaces for charging infrastructure, and EO network in cities.
To deploy the intelligent transport systems technology: Using and promoting the use of digital applications that use databases to aid in the human-to-machine and machine-to-machine interface, which helps to increase EV and battery swapping station usage, traction, and ensure efficient operations, safety detection, seamless delivery, and improved convenience in the EV ecosystem.
Usage and adoption of electric vehicles have been growing at a rapid pace globally. According to the industry standards, an EV is costlier than its ICE counterpart and at least half the cost is from the battery pack. Many manufacturers are offering batteries separately from a vehicle, reducing the cost. In that case, a fleet owner can buy vehicles without batteries and utilize battery swapping to power their vehicles, reducing the initial cost.
One of the major reasons that create a hindrance to buying EVs is the range anxiety and the fear of the battery getting empty without finding a charging station. Compared to petrol or diesel vehicles, EV charging facilities are hard to come by, which raises range anxiety even more, especially when travelling long distances. One or two charging stations are available; the charging process is similar to charging mobile batteries. The best and fastest charger will replenish 80 percent of the battery in almost an hour, that’s quite long considering fuel pumps can fill up a tank in 5 min. In the case of a swapping station, one can simply locate a station and go and replace the empty battery with a new one.
Our government is also attempting to address this issue by finalising the incentives under the battery switching program. The policy mainly targets the battery swap services for three-wheeled auto-rickshaws and two-wheelers such as electric scooters and motorcycles. Under the policy, EV consumers will get incentives of up to 20 percent on the subscription or lease cost of the battery. Technologies that are being used for battery swapping have not yet been popular in India and charging is preferred. Swapping of batteries is a very good alternative to fuelling automobiles in the post-transition phase.
Swappable batteries can not only be compact but eliminate anxiety about range and availability. But it will also mirror the existing network of fuelling stations to facilitate seamless operations. The investment from many private sectors can be leveraged for operations of the supply chain networks and sustenance of energy operators. The battery swapping and network of energy operators becomes a service segment. The availability and connectivity to this energy infrastructure are critical to the operation of these exchanging stations. So, it is most important to establish sustainable business models that can be leveraged to shift this upfront cost to the cost of operating an EV.
The author is Founder & CEO of eBikeGo, India’s largest smart electric two-wheeler mobility platform.
‘MORE FOR FOOD CAMPAIGN WILL HELP INDIA EXPLORE FOOD FROM EU COUNTRIES’
Chef Ajay Chopra is the face of European Union’s ‘More Than Food’ campaign in India. The ‘More Than Food’ campaign is aimed at increasing awareness in India about the food and beverages from the 27 EU Member States through a series of social media, B2B activities, and promotions by highlighting their safety, quality, authenticity, sustainability, and diversity.
In this interview he talks about the vision behind the ‘More Than Food’ campaign in India, authenticity and safety of European Union food ingredients, and the need to take European food to the common Indian household, among other things.
Q. What’s the vision behind the ‘More Than Food’ campaign in India? Also tell us about your association with the European Union as well as the campaign.
A. I am extremely honoured and delighted to be a part of European Union’s More Than Food campaign in India, as their campaign ambassador. Through this campaign, the European Union and I want to help the Indian audience explore the diverse and rich nature of ingredients and agricultural products from its 27 Member States. It aims to create a range of culinary experiences, bringing alive applications of European food and beverages in Indian cuisine. Every product reflects the commitment of European agricultural producers to offer authentic, safe, quality and sustainable products, from farm to fork. All of this is done in accordance with the EU’s high standards of production, processing, and packaging, following robust regulations with utmost transparency, ensuring that each agricultural product is fully traceable, and its origin can be identified at any stage of production or distribution.
Q. As the ambassador for ‘More Than Food› campaign in India, how do you look at the prospects of bringing the culinary experiences to India with this campaign?
A. The idea of this campaign is to create a range of culinary experiences and bring alive applications of European food and beverages in Indian cuisine. The Indian palette is used to a myriad of tastes and with this campaign, we want to bring to the audience a collection of flavours, full of character and history and will give the audience a chance to explore these rich ingredients.
Q. In a country as diverse as India the Food habits vary greatly from place to place. How authentic, safe, and sustainable European Union food ingredients are for Indian consumption?
A. Agricultural products from the European Union are a lot more than just food and drinks. They are a collection of flavours that are bursting with characters, tracing back to its origin. Each ingredient has a unique story to share, which is a heritage that has been passed down through generations. The products are built around quality and tradition, with an emphasis on genuine and unique ingredients that are subject to rigorous regulations at every stage of their production, processing and packaging.
Each EU country or region has employed ancient techniques to produce food and drinks that reflect local weather, cultures, and values. The food and drinks of the EU are produced, processed, and marketed in adherence to comprehensive standards for plant health, animal welfare and environment protection, which are among the strictest in the world.
The EU´s Farm to Fork Strategy aims to make food systems fair, healthy, and environmentally friendly. Sustainably produced EU products are the output of sustainable farming practices and leading innovations in agriculture and food science, and they help preserve the ecosystems and thus are a step forward to ensuring the planet’s health for us all.
Personally, I feel that the ingredients are a treat to work with. To share a personal experience with you, I used Blue Cheese from Denmark and created this beautiful concoction with fried garlic and stuffed them in a naan (Indian bread) and created these gorgeous naan pockets with creamy blue cheese coupled with the sharp flavour and crunch of the garlic. This was just one of the most beautiful dishes I have created.
Q. How keen are you in taking European food to the common Indian household?
A. The entire idea of the More Than Food campaign is to take European food into the Indian kitchen. As the ambassador of the campaign, I am really looking forward to educating the Indian audience of the authenticity, quality and safety of European ingredients. The options of what you can make using these ingredients are endless and over the next few months of my association with the European Union, I will keep my audience engaged and take them through a journey where they understand the different nuances of European food.
Q. What would be your recommended delicacies/preparations to someone uninitiated to European cuisine?
A. I think the best way to start and get acquainted is to prepare a cheese and charcuterie board. It’s the easiest way to get familiar with a host of products and create one platter which will have a variety of flavours. You can use different kinds of cheese, fruits and vegetables, meat and pair it up with wine or even some beer.
Q. You had hosted a Virtual Tasting Event a few months back. What was it all about?
A. The Virtual Tasting Event was hosted basically to kick-start European Union’s ‘More Than Food’ campaign in India. The idea was to get importers, distributors and members of the HORECA sector in India acquainted with the ingredients and flavours from the EU. During the session, the audience got an opportunity to understand the heritage behind each ingredient, as I took them through some interesting stories about European Food. While they loved the anecdotes, they also got a chance to try these products as we curated and sent them amazing hampers with EU products. We wanted them to understand how such high quality and flavorful products come from EU’s member states and we did just that alongside offering some tips and tricks to create a perfect cheese and charcuterie board. It has been a great experience as the Ambassador of the More Than Food campaign so far, and I am sure the journey is just going to get more and more interesting.
INSURANCE COMPANY SHOULD NOT SEEK DOCUMENTS WHICH ARE BEYOND THE CONTROL OF INSURED TO FURNISH, SAYS SUPREME COURT WHILE SETTLING CLAIM
The Supreme Court in the case Gurmel Singh vs Branch Manager, National Insurance Co. Ltd observed that due to circumstances which is beyond the insured control and which the insured is not in a position to produce while settling the claims, the insurance company need not be too technical and ask for documents.
While settling the claim, it is found that the insurance companies are refusing the claim on flimsy grounds and/ or technical grounds further which the insured is not in a position to produce due to circumstances beyond his control, While settling the claims, the insurance company should not be too technical and ask for the document As the insurance company ought not to have become too technical and ought not to have refused to settle the claim on non submission of the duplicate certified copy of certificate of registration as due to the circumstances beyond his control, the appellant could not produce on payment of huge sum by way of premium and the Truck was stolen, once there was a valid insurance. As the appellant was asked to produce the documents which are beyond the control of the appellant to produce and furnish those documents.
An amount of Rs. 12 lakhs along with interest @ 7 per cent from the date of submitting the claim, the appellant is entitled to the insurance and to pay the litigation cost of Rs. 25,000 to the appellant, the court held while allowing the appeal.
the insurance company has become too technical while settling the claim and the insurance company has acted arbitrarily, observed by the court in this case.
As when an appellant produced the registration particulars which has been provided by the RTO and further the appellant had produced the photocopy of certificate of registration and was just being solely on the ground that the original certificate of registration i.e., which has been stolen is not produced and the non-settlement of claim can be said to be deficiency in service. Therefore, the Insurance companies are refusing the claim on flimsy grounds and/or technical grounds, the facts and circumstances of the case. Furthermore, the appellant had tried his best to get the duplicate certified copy of certificate of registration of the Truck. the insurance company must have received the copy of the certificate of registration, even at the time of taking the insurance policy and getting the insurance.
the appellant has not produced either the original certificate of registration or even the duplicate certified copy of certificate of registration issued by the RTO, mainly on the ground the insurance company has not been settled in an appeal before the Apex Court. The bench further noted that the photocopy 5 of certificate of registration and other registration particulars as provided by the RTO, was being produced by the appellant.
The bench comprising of Justice MR Shah and the justice BV Nagarathna observed and contended that, in many cases, it is found that the insurance companies are refusing the claim on flimsy grounds and/or technical grounds.
Bengal cannot be won with good speeches: Arjun Singh
Before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Arjun Singh left the TMC and joined the BJP. This time, as soon as the assembly elections were over, the leader from Barrackpore left the BJP and returned to TMC. After entering the old party in a new way, he became vocal against BJP. The rebel leader shared his views with The Daily Guardian Review.
Q: You returned to TMC after three years. Why this return?
A: This decision has been made for many reasons. The biggest reason is that the Bengal BJP has not taken any decision for me in three years. It was not possible for activists like us who work at ground zero to perform. All the factories in my centre are closed. The BJP should have taken the responsibility because it is under the central government. Instead, I had to fight this battle alone. I thought I would get support from the BJP in Bengal but in vain. Second, I had to face obstacles in my work in the organization. I had told this to the central leadership many times. But there was no solution. So, I was forced to leave the party and join the TMC to bring peace to my area, to save my activists, and to continue the fight.
Q: BJP is saying that your absence will not have any effect on the party. Your comment.
A: If there is no influence in Bengal or elsewhere then it is good for a political party. However, the BJP does not know what the impact is, what the election is or what the booth is. The leaders of the party gave good speeches. However, elections in Bengal cannot be win with good speeches in politics. The BJP leader who gave the speech said that it was not a matter of winning or losing. But winning in Bengal is the main thing. I think it would be better if the BJP says that my departure will not have any effect.
Q: Political experts are of the opinion that you joined BJP for power. What do you have to say?
A: Lots of people before me joined BJP. Did TMC recognise anyone? The way TMC fought against me, did it against anyone? TMC recognised me. They felt that the BJP needed to lose this candidate. They used all their power against me. Why would TMC take so much power against someone like that? This proves that there is no logic in what the BJP is saying. I didn’t use BJP for power.
Q: What’s your next plan?
A: I will relax a little. There are seven MLAs who will work. Then I will fulfill the responsibility given to me by the TMC. I have been working alone for so long, now it is my turn to relax a little.
I NEVER LOST HOPE, SAW THIS AS A SETBACK: AG PERARIVALAN
The Supreme Court on May 18 ordered the release of AG Perarivalan, the convict serving life imprisonment in connection with the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, while invoking its extraordinary power under Article 142 of the Constitution. Perarivalan had sought a premature release from jail based on the recommendation made by the Tamil Nadu government in September 2018. In an interaction with The Daily Guardian Review, Perarivalan shared his journey after his release.
Q: How was the 30 years legal battle?
A: The journey was painful.
Q: How did you feel getting out from four corners after 31 years?
A: I never thought I would get stuck in the case, the journey was very long in jail. My mother had supported me all times. That’s how I overcame.
Q: Did you ever feel that you’ll gain a victory in this case?
A: I never lost hope, I have seen this as a setback, I have worked hard for it.
Q: In the past 30 years, who have helped you and supported you?
A: My mother has always taken my side. A huge team both legally and politically have fought for me in this case.
Q: How do you see the world now? What’s your future plan?
A: The world has completely changed. I’m getting adopted for it and learning it, the future plans haven’t been discussed yet. I will be consulting with the family on the future plans.
Q: Why do you think your release was celebrated across TN and by several political parties in the state?
A: Several parties including AIADMK and DMK have understood my innocence in this case and they have supported me always understanding my situation.
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