Patralekha Chatterjee

Patralekha Chatterjee

Patralekha Chatterjee

Patralekha Chatterjee

Clean players in a dirty game

Did Alex Paul Menon take his cue from Ernesto Che Guevara and The Motorcycle Diaries?

Death by gender

A battered, bitten and burnt baby battled for her life in Bengaluru. Sounds like a crass tongue-twister but was a real life horror story which unfolded layer by layer over the past week.

One tablet at a time

Everyone knows how Bollywood has helped popularise Brand India. Perhaps, less well-known is the fact that India’s vaccine and drugs industry boosts the country’s image as much. Between 60 to 80 per cent of the vaccines bought by Unicef for the world’s poorest countries, for example, are made in India. Millions of people living with HIV/AIDS across the world have access to affordable life-saving anti-retroviral drugs because of Indian generic pharma companies.

Today, the atlas shrugged

History is about chaps, geography is about maps. This may sound like a tweet-savvy academic in a chirpy mood, but is actually an old saying. Whoever said it hadn’t dealt with a feminist. In today’s interdependent world, however, more than chaps and maps, my worry is about gaps — gaps in knowledge. Just how breathtaking this has become was evident last week.
A survey by Journeys of Distinction, one of Britain’s luxury tour specialists, revealed that more than half of British adults (58.6 per cent) believed that Mount Everest was in England. This created an instant stir here. The Herald, a Glasgow newspaper, also mentions that just over 20 per cent of those questioned also “admit they do not know how many countries are actually in the UK”.

Help Pakistan walk polio-free

What brings India and Pakistan together? The usual stuff, of course — colonial legacy, cricket, Track II diplomacy, peaceniks, shared love of Bollywood and tandoori chicken. Add to that, quirks of nature as during the “great onion crisis” of 2010 when heavy rains devastated India’s onion crop, leading to a sharp spurt in prices and heartburn across the country. Pakistan stepped up to the plate — lorries laden with onions were ferried across the Wagah border, restoring calm to our cooking pots.

In pursuit of happiness

It is good to know that the world is a happier place today than it was four years ago despite everything one has been seeing or reading. It is even better to be told that neither woes, nor wants, nor whinging about corruption has dented our genius for happiness. Last week, French market research company Ipsos declared that the world’s happiest live in Indonesia, India and Mexico.

India’s slip & slide act

When the rich and powerful of the world gather at an alpine ski resort, and the conversation turns to topics like “Is Capitalism Failing?” and “Global Risks 2012: The Seeds of Dystopia”, you know there are no certainties any more.

Internet is calling. Where are you?

As 2011 draws to a close, dire predictions are being made about India’s future. A quick scan of headlines and comments in newspapers and television suggests that we are losing it: our politicians have lost the plot; India Inc. its sheen; the media, its sense of proportion; and a certain 74-year-old man by the name of Anna Hazare his mental balance if you believe various secretaries of the All-India Congress Committee (AICC).

The road to good health

The jury is still out on whether the ideologically charged debate surrounding 51 per cent foreign ownership in supermarket and department store joint ventures in India is on hold till tension thaws or in the deep freeze. But one collateral benefit of the furore has been the spurt of interest in how the ordinary man or woman is faring in other emerging economies which have opted for foreign direct investment in retail. Benchmarking, however, also requires us to pay attention to much else that our peers are doing to improve the lot of their “aam aadmi”.

All’s not well with Bollywood

Education is a bit like broccoli. We all know it is good for us, but most of us have resisted it, at some point or the other, in our lives. Broccoli has more takers if served with tomatoes and fine cheese than plain boiled. So with education. Dress it up differently, don’t force it down the throat, and it goes down better. Which brings me to Hollywood and healthcare. Most people don’t think the two words have much to do with each other. In real life, however, surgeons and the showbiz are coming together.

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I want to begin with a little story that was told to me by a leading executive at Aptech. He was exercising in a gym with a lot of younger people.

Shekhar Kapur’s Bandit Queen didn’t make the cut. Neither did Shaji Karun’s Piravi, which bagged 31 international awards.