Monday, October 31, 2005

Saving lives

Two Indian doctors in Time's 'Heroes of Global Health' list

New York, Oct. 31 (PTI): Two Indian doctors, who devised a novel programme for bringing down infant mortality rate in rural areas of South Asia, have been named heroes of Global Health by the Time Magazine.

Abhay and Rani Bang, founders of the Society for Education, Action and Research in Community Health, are among 18 heroes of Global Health named by the magazine for their work in solving health problems in the developing world.

The health programme, adopted in India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and parts of Africa, cut child mortality in half for a cost of only 2.64 US dollar for each child saved, the magazine said in a citation.

The other heroes are from Bolivia, China, Cambodia, Congo, Honduras, Kenya, Nepal, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nigeria, Swaziland, Britain and the United States.

"We were looking for people who had pioneered innovative ways to improve the health of poor people around the world," Time Science Editor Philip Elmer-DeWitt said.

"To our surprise, wherever we looked, we found them- from an ex-motorbike racer who dispatched hundreds of sidecar-equipped motorcycles across Africa for use as mini-ambulances to a Thai economist who championed condom use among Bangkok sex workers and headed off what could have been a devastating outbreak of HIV/AIDS.

"The great thing about these projects is that they can be replicated and scaled up-and inspire even more pioneering approaches to improving health worldwide," he added.

According to the magazine, Abhay and Rani Bang decided to work on high child-mortality rate in the developing world, a subject the medical community had long abandoned, after a baby boy died before them without treatment in Maharashtra's rural Gadchiroli district.

They then identified 18 causes of newborn death, from the obvious, like malnutrition, to the surprising, like the habit of expectant mothers of starving themselves and their unborn child for an easier birth, it said.

The duo found no problems that couldn't be treated by a health worker with rudimentary skills, some infant sleeping bags and an abacus on which to record every 10 heartbeats.

They got a seamstress to stitch the sleeping bags and a carpenter to make the abacuses, and they drew up a health training programme that they taught to a newly assembled corps of village health workers.

In 1999, they published the results of their efforts in the Lancet. They had cut child mortality in half--a figure that would fall to a quarter by 2003--for a cost of 2.64 US dollar for each child saved.

The programme is now being adopted across India and in Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan and parts of Africa.

They also identified alcohol abuse as another big issue and began addiction treatment.

And given that half their patients were from Gond tribe and wary of city hospitals, they set up a medical centre named Shodhagram outside Gadchiroli that resembles a village.

The centre has separate huts housing the lab, surgery, pharmacy, wards, library and even a shrine to the Gond goddess Danteshwari, the magazine said. PTI DS MCG
Top Stories

# Chennai

India taking Boeing into the future technology blast

In one more example of the world's discovery of India as the place for cutting edge technology development, most of the designs for building Boeing's next generation aircraft are going to be created and tested by the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore.

IISc, India's premier scientific research institute, has joined hands with Boeing, the leading American manufacturer of satellites, commercial jetliners, and military aircraft, to build next generation aircraft.

Nearly 40 faculty members from various IISc departments -- like aerospace, metallurgy, centre for product design and manufacturing and civil engineering -- are involved in the Boeing project, which is being managed by the Society for Innovation and Development. SID is IISc's commercial arm, which was founded more than a decade ago.

SID undertakes research and development projects based on individual or joint proposals from IISc faculty and scientists, in collaboration with national and international organisations and business houses.

SID Chief Executive S Mohan said Boeing signed a memorandum of understanding with the Institute earlier this year.

"IISc is the only Asian institution that Boeing has tied up with for research and transfer of technology," Mohan told

Boeing's other global partners in research include Carnegie Mellon, Stanford Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Caltech, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign and University of Cambridge.

The IISc-Boeing tie-up says the aerospace major would invest $50,00,000 in research every year for the next five years in the company's projects with the Institute.

"We have identified nine projects in which we will work with Boeing to build next generation aircraft," Mohan said.

To build these new planes, the IISc team has proposed the use of smart structures and the application of lightweight components like nano materials, alloys and their composites.

IISc's areas of focus include developing flaps for the aircraft that are fitted with smart sensors -- so that they can direct wind currents better -- and use of aluminium alloys in high temperature areas as well as in landing gear boxes.

The designs will be tested in a virtual environment being developed at the Institute.

"The Boeing project involves lots of innovative research. It is going to be interesting and very challenging," a researcher involved with the project said.

SID will enable innovations in science and technology by helping industries and business establishments compete and prosper in the face of global competition, turbulent market conditions and fast moving technologies, Mohan said.

The Boeing project is one of SID's many ongoing ones.

IISc launched SID with just one project in the year 1994, and a total financial outlay of Rs 2,25,000. Till date, SID has generated approximately Rs 600 million worth of research projects.

Some of SID's successful projects have been:

* Development of a software tool for performance evaluation of ATM switches
* Development of a 2.7 MW thermal gasifier system
* Development of dynamic surface force apparatus
* Development of high voltage power supplies for airborne application
* High speed oxygen sputtering system
* Initiation of umbrella R&D programmes with organisations like Nokia, General Motors, Honeywell

Design: Dominic Xavier

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Double super computer!

Supercomputer doubles own record
The Blue Gene/L supercomputer has broken its own record to achieve more than double the number of calculations it can do a second.

It reached 280.6 teraflops - that is 280.6 trillion calculations a second.

The IBM machine, at the US Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, officially became the most powerful computer on the planet in June.

The fastest supercomputers in the world are ranked by experts every six months in the Top 500 list.

Blue Gene's performance, while it has been under construction, has quadrupled in just 12 months.

Each person in the world with a handheld calculator would still take decades to do the same calculations Blue Gene is now able to do every second.

BlueGene/L points the way to the future and the computing power we will need to improve our ability to predict the behaviour of the stockpile as it continues to age
Linton F Brooks, NNSA
Linton F Brooks from the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) formally unveiled it at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory on Friday.

The completed Blue Gene/L joins another supercomputing team-mate, called ASC Purple, to get to work on safeguarding the US's nuclear stockpile.

Purple can do 100 teraflops while it carries out simulations of nuclear weapons performance.

"The unprecedented computing power of these two supercomputers is more critical than ever to meet the time-urgent issues related to maintaining our nation's ageing nuclear stockpile without testing," said Mr Brooks.

"BlueGene/L points the way to the future and the computing power we will need to improve our ability to predict the behaviour of the stockpile as it continues to age."

Power players

The machines are part of a decade-long project to develop the fastest computers in the world.

Blue Gene will work on materials ageing calculations, molecular dynamics, material modelling as well as turbulence and instability in hydrodynamics.

Purple will then use that information to run 3D weapons codes needed to simulate nuclear weapons performance quickly.

That analysis had previously taken place in underground nuclear tests.

Their massive brains will be able to perform half a petaflop together - that is half a quadrillion (1,000,000,000,000,000) calculations a second.

In a recent demonstration, Blue Gene/L achieved another first by running a materials science application at 101.5 teraflops, sustained over seven hours on the machine's 131,072 processors.

Supercomputers are playing an increasingly crucial role in working out complex problems quickly.

They recently became a major tool in a range of advanced biological applications, from helping to piece together fragmented DNA information to the design of new drug molecules.

Astronomers have also borrowed their brains to re-create how the Universe evolved into the shape it is today.

Their massive simulation and processing power have also been used improve the accuracy of weather forecasts, help design better cars, and improve disease diagnosis.
Story from BBC NEWS:

In helping someone don't be afraid of getting a little dirty

If you want to help pull a friend out of the mire, don't hesitate to get a little dirty.

- Rabbi Israel ben Eliezer (the Baal Shem Tov)

St. Narcissus of Jerusalem (d. 215)

Life in second- and third-century Jerusalem couldn’t have been easy, but St. Narcissus managed to live well beyond 100. Some even speculate he lived to 160.

Details of his life are sketchy, but there are many reports of his miracles. The miracle for which he is most remembered was turning water into oil for use in the church lamps on Holy Saturday when the deacons had forgotten to provide any.

We do know that Narcissus became bishop of Jerusalem in the late second century. He was known for his holiness, but there are hints that many people found him harsh and rigid in his efforts to impose church discipline. One of his many detractors accused Narcissus of a serious crime at one point. Though the charges against him did not hold up, he used the occasion to retire from his role as bishop and live in solitude. His disappearance was so sudden and convincing that many people assumed he had actually died.

Several successors were appointed during his years in isolation. Finally, Narcissus reappeared in Jerusalem and was persuaded to resume his duties. By then, he had reached an advanced age, so a younger bishop was brought in to assist him until his death.

Banish guilt

Today's Quote

To be what we are, and to become what we are capable of becoming, is the only end in life.

-Baruch Spinoza

Duty of a friend

It is the first duty of friendship to preserve a friend's illusions.

- Arthur Schnitzler, "Anatol: Questioning Fate," 1893

Friday, October 28, 2005

Homeland Security chief speaking

"Homeland Security Chief Michael Chertoff said that he wants to expel all illegal immigrants from the United States. Which would reduce the population of Los Angeles to 142 people." --Jay Leno

Greater Happiness

I always give much away, and so gather happiness instead of pleasure.

- Rahel Levin Varnhagen, letter to Ludwig Robert, 1827

Thursday, October 27, 2005


For the sake of one true penitent, the whole world is pardoned.

- Meir. Talmud: Yoma 86b

Your own life

Today's Quote

If you don't run your own life, someone else will.

-John Atkinson

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Comfortable bed

Today's Quote

Bad habits are like a comfortable bed, easy to get into, but hard to get out of.

Never underestimate the power of ...

Dwight Nelson recently told a true story about the pastor of his

He had a kitten that climbed up a tree in his backyard and then
was afraid to come down. The pastor coaxed, offered warm milk,
etc. The kitty would not come down.

The tree was not sturdy enough to climb, so the pastor decided
that if he tied a rope to his car and drove away so that the
tree bent down, he could then reach up and get the kitten.

He did all this, checking his progress in the car frequently,
then figured if he went just a little bit further, the tree
would be bent sufficiently for him to reach the kitten.

But as he moved a little further forward, the rope broke.

The tree went "boing!" and the kitten instantly sailed through
the air - out of sight.

The pastor felt terrible.

He walked all over the neighborhood asking people if they'd seen
a little kitten. No. Nobody had seen a stray kitten. So he
prayed, "Lord, I just commit this kitten to your keeping," and
went on about his business.

A few days later he was at the grocery store and met one of his
church members. He happened to look into her shopping cart and
was amazed to see cat food. Now this woman was a cat hater and
everyone knew it, so he asked her, "Why are you buying cat food
when you hate cats so much?"

She replied, "You won't believe this," and told him how her
little girl had been begging her for a cat, but she kept
refusing. Then a few days before, the child had begged again,
so the Mom finally told her little girl, "Well if God gives you
a cat, I'll let you keep it?"

(Can you see where this is heading?)

She told the pastor, "I watched my child go out in the yard, get
on her knees, and ask God for a cat. And really, Pastor, you
won't believe this, but I saw it with my own eyes.

A kitten suddenly came flying out of the blue sky, with its paws
outspread, and landed right in front of her."

Never underestimate the Power of God and what may appear to be
breaking on one end, is answering prayer on another.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

A cat who risked one of her nine lives to save her mistress

Woman Says Cat Saved Her From Fire

NORA SPRINGS, Iowa (AP) - Linda Froning's cat may have shared one of its nine lives. Froning said she was asleep on a couch last Thursday morning when her cat jumped on her, waking her up to a house full of smoke.

Froning said she called her son, Jamie, a Nora Springs volunteer firefighter who works for Mason City.

Jamie Froning said he told his mom to get out of the house and then called the fire department.

The house was full of smoke when he showed up, he said.

``I was standing on the deck, taking care of my mom, when the couch burst into flames,'' he said.

He said he went into the house and pulled the couch outside.

Assistant Fire Chief Dean Kock said there was a little damage to the family room.

``There is mostly smoke damage,'' he said.

Linda Froning was treated at a Mason City hospital for smoke inhalation and released, her son said.

Happy 40th birthday

Aging Gracelessly

One of the salesclerks at a local stationery store had to be a good sport to survive her 40th birthday. Not only did she have to put up with two large banners that announced "Cathy is 40 today!" but she also had to spend the day with other saleswomen who wore tags saying "I'm not Cathy."

Back to college days

The Lovers of the Heart

In order to form
a more perfect kiss,
enable the mighty hug to promote
to whom we please
but one kiss.

Article 1:

Statement of Love:
The Kiss

Kiss on the hand
I adore you

Kiss on the cheek
I just want to be friends

Kiss on the neck
I want you

Kiss on the lips
I love you

Kiss on the ears
I am just playing

Kiss anywhere else
lets not get carried away

Look in your eyes
kiss me

Playing with your hair
I can't live without you

Hand on your waist
I love you to much to let you go

Article 2:
The Three Steps

If any guys gets fresh with you, slap him.

If any girl slaps you, her intentions are still good.

Guys & Girls
Close your eyes when kissing, it is rude to stare.

Article 3:
The Commandments

Thou shall not squeeze
too hard.

Thou shall not ask for a kiss,
but take one.

Thou shall kiss
at every opportunity.
* Remember *
A peach is a peach
A plum is a plum,
A kiss isn't a kiss
Without some tongue.
So open up your mouth
close your eyes,
and give your tongue
some exercise!!!

Here are a few reasons
why guys like girls:
They will always smell good
even if its just shampoo
The way their heads always
find the right spot on our shoulder
How cute they look when they sleep

The ease in which they fit into our arms

The way they kiss you and
all of a sudden everything
is right in the world
How cute they are when they eat
The way they take hours
to get dressed
but in the end
it makes it all worth while

Because they are always
warm even when its minus 30 outside

The way they look good
no matter what they wear

The way they fish for compliments
even though you both know that you
think she's the most
beautiful thing on this earth

How cute they are when they argue

The way her hand always finds yours

The way they smile

The way you feel
when you see their name
on the call ID
after you just had a big fight

The way she says
"lets not fight anymore"
even though you know that
an hour later....

The way they kiss when
you do something nice for them

The way they kiss you
when you say
"I love you"

Actually ...
just the way they kiss you...

The way they fall into your arms
when they cry

Then the way they apologize
for crying over something that silly

The way they hit you
and expect it to hurt

Then the way they apologize
when it does hurt.
(even though we don't admit it)!

The way they say
"I miss you"

The way you miss them

The way their tears
make you want to
change the world
so that it
doesn't hurt her anymore.....
Yet regardless
if you love them,
hate them,
wish they would die
know that you would die
without them ...
it matters not.
Because once in your life,
whatever they were to the world
they become everything to you.
When you look them in the eyes,
traveling to
the depths of their souls
you say a million things
without trace of a sound,
you know that your own life
is inevitable consumed
within the rhythmic beatings
of her very heart.
We love them for a million reasons,
No paper would do it justice.
It is a thing not of the mind
but of the heart.
A feeling.
Only felt.

This chain started in 1887.
It is a love chain letter.

You then say
the name of the person
you like or love
and then the person will say
"I love you,"
"Will you go out with me?"
NO JOKE!!!!!


You have been chosen
to participate
in the foregoing 'Back to the College Days'


Take this men's health quiz to learn more about important health issues:

Q. A routine physical for men aged between 18-39 should be undertaken every:
A. 1-2 years, B. 3-5 YEARS, C. 6-8 YEARS OR D. 10 YEARS.

Q. The function of the Prostate gland is:


A. 6 GRMS; B. 12 GRAMS. C. 18 GRMS. D.24 GRAMS



a, b, b, a, d, b

Sunday, October 23, 2005

An honest man!

A man was stopped by a game warden in Northern Minnesota recently with two buckets of fish leaving a lake well known for its fishing. The game warden asked the man, "Do you have a license to catch those fish?"

The man replied to the game warden, "No, sir. These are my pet fish."

"Pet fish?!" the warden replied.

"Yes, sir. Every night I take these fish down to the lake and let them swim around for a while. I whistle and they jump back into their buckets, and I take em home."

"That's a bunch of hooey! Fish can't do that!"

The man looked at the game warden for a moment, and then said, "Here, I'll show you. It really works."

"O.K. I've GOT to see this!" the game warden replied.

The man poured the fish in to the water and stood and waited. After several minutes, the game warden turned to the man and said, "Well?"

"Well, what?" the man asked.

"When are you going to call them back?" the game warden prompted.

"Call who back?" the man asked.

"The FISH."

"What fish?" the man asked.

Asserting man

Asserting Himself

A husband was advised by his psychiatrist to assert himself. "You don't have to let your wife henpeck you. Go home and show her you're the boss."

The man was on fire with enthusiasm and couldn't wait to try the doctor's advice! He rushed home, slammed the door, shook his fist in his wife's face, and growled, "From now on, you're taking orders from me. I want my supper right now, and when you get it on the table, go upstairs, and lay out my best clothes. Tonight, I'm going out with the boys and you're going to stay home where you belong. And another know who's going to comb my hair, iron my pants, polish my shoes and tie my tie?"

"I certainly do," said his wife calmly, "The undertaker."

A forward published here for you to ponder -


Things I have learned from watching the news on TV during the last eightdays:

*The hurricane only hit black family's property

*New Orleans was devastated and no other city was affected by the hurricane.

*Mississippi is reported to have a tree blown down.

*New Orleans has no white people.

*The hurricane blew a limb off a tree in the yard of an Alabama resident.

*When you are hungry after a hurricane steal a big screen TV.

*The hurricane did 23 billion dollars in improvements to New Orleans: now the city is welfare, looters and gang free and they are in your city.

*White folks don't make good news stories.

*Don't give thanks to the thousands that came to help rescue you, instead bitch because the government hasn't given you a debit card yet.

*Only black family members got separated in the hurricane rescue efforts.

*Ignore warnings to evacuate and the white folks will come get you and give you money for being stupid.

*Damn, I feel so sorry for all those black folks.

*The only way it could have been worse was to be white

The Rules and the Exceptions

Today's Quote

The young man knows the rules, but the old man knows the exceptions.

-Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.













Today's Quote

Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.

-Michael Jordan

Saturday, October 22, 2005


Home > Business > Special

Get Rediff headlines in your inbox !

How M S Oberoi became India's greatest hotelier

M S Oberoi | October 21, 2005

I was researching India's Industrialists when I met Mohan Singh Oberoi (1900-2002) for the first time. It was 1982, he was no longer a young man. Courtly as always, he offered to make my job easier.

He would write a note on himself, which I could use as background material. The note arrived a week later and lay among my notes for the next twenty years.

As the managing editor of The Smart Manager, it gives me immense pleasure to publish this short autobiography as a tribute to India's greatest hotelier.

The Oberoi Group, founded in 1934, owns and manages thirty hotels and five luxury cruisers across six countries under the 'Oberoi' & 'Trident' brands. The activities of the Group include airline catering, management of restaurants and airport bars, travel and tour services, car rental, project management and corporate air charters.

M S OberoiI was born on August 15, 1900 in a small village, Bhaun in district Jhelum, which now forms a part of Pakistan. The story of my life has been, in many ways, a dramatic one -- full of difficulties and hardships, in earlier days and later a spectacular rise to the position I now hold.

But this was not achieved without incessant toil and a daily fight against tremendous odds. Yet it was a challenge to prove myself. When I look back to those days, as I sometimes do, in moments of leisure, I am thankful that I was able to accept this challenge and make good.

These reflections also make me feel humble for I realise it was with God's help that I achieved what the world calls 'success.'

My father, Shri A S Oberoi was a contractor in Peshawar, who died when I was only six months old. The family consisted of my mother and myself. My earlier days were spent in the little village of my birth. I began my education at the village school. Later, I was sent to the nearby town of Rawalpindi and enrolled in the DAV school from where I matriculated.

After this I went to Lahore to join college and passed my Intermediate Examination. My studies were cut short as our already meagre finances began to dwindle. This was a moment of anxiety in my life as I realised that my qualifications would not get me a job.

However, at the suggestion of a friend, I went to Amritsar, stayed with him and took a course in shorthand and typing.

There was still no job for me on the horizon and I decided to get back to my village, where it would be easier to live than in a big city. There followed a point of waiting and frustration. My uncle helped me to get a job in the Lahore Shoe Factory. My work was to supervise the manufacture and sale of shoes.

For a while, things looked brighter but the star of ill luck was still in the ascendant and soon the factory was closed down for lack of finances and I was compelled to return to my village.

In India the importance attached to marriage is beyond all reason. Here I was penniless, jobless and almost friendless, but in spite of these very real disadvantages, my marriage was arranged with the daughter of Shri Ushnak Rai, who belonged to my village. I think my bright looks may have influenced my father-in-law.

I like to think that in spite of other shortcomings I was a smart lad and he probably assessed that I would make good. The days immediately following my marriage were spent with my in-laws in Sargodha.

On my return to Bhaun, a virulent plague epidemic had broken out. My mother told me that since I could not do any-thing to help in such a situation, I should go back to Sargodha and not risk my life.

Plague, in those days was a terrible killer and people naturally dreaded an epidemic, which often wiped out villages. Sadly, I left full of apprehension about my future.

In this mood of depression, I saw an advertisement in the local newspaper for the post of a junior clerk in a government office. With Rs 25 in my pocket, which my mother had given me, I left for Simla to appear for the examination.

Unprepared as I was, I was unable to pass. This did not lessen my depression. My time was now spent walking around Simla and rambling in the countryside. Being the summer seat of the government of India, the town itself was full of high-ranking officers and members of the Viceroy's Council.

But the hillsides, beyond officialdom were beautiful and there were many walks where one could be alone with one's thoughts.

One day, as I was passing the Hotel Cecil, I suddenly had the urge to go in and try my luck. Those were the days when this hotel was one of India's leading hotels, high class and elegant. It was owned by the line of Associated Hotels of India.

As I entered, I found the manager himself in the foyer. I did not know who he was but one becomes bold in the face of difficulties. I had nothing to lose, so I went up and asked if I could have a job in the hotel.

The manager was a kindly English gentleman named D W Grove. I was also given the post of billing clerk at Rs 40 a month. Soon, my salary was raised to Rs 50.

At my request, on the plea of being married, I was also given living quarters. These were situated on the outer periphery of the hotel and were very humble indeed. When my wife joined me in Simla, we started to settle down in our modest home.

Here we were faced with the necessity of cleaning the place ourselves. The quarters were in a bad shape and far from clean, but we were thankful to have a roof over our heads.

We had to whitewash the walls ourselves, causing blisters on my hands and the consequent discomfort and embarrassment for me in the hotel work.

Soon after I joined the Cecil, there was a change of management. Mr Clarke succeeded Mr Grove as manager. For the first time a small piece of luck came my way.

My knowledge of stenography helped me take over the post of cashier and stenographer to Mr Clarke, and thus began my grounding on how hotels run. I worked and maintained an interest in my job. The fact that I knew my efforts were noted encouraged me.

It was while I was working in this capacity that Pandit Motilal Nehru came to stay at the Cecil, which was his usual place of residence when he came to Simla. He was then leader of the newly formed Swaraj Party but known throughout the country for having renounced a princely law practice to participate in the Freedom Movement with Mahatma Gandhi.

Panditji had an important report, which needed to by typed speedily and with care. I sat up all night to complete the report and when I delivered it to him the next morning, he took out a hundred-rupee note and handed it to me with a word of thanks.

I am an emotional person and had received little kindness in my short life. This gesture of Panditji's brought tears to my eyes and I quickly left the room.

I could not have guessed then that I had met the father of the future prime minister of India, and that I myself would be one day a Member of Parliament during his leadership. One hundred rupees, which the wealthy throw away, was for me a fortune and made a big difference in my salary.

So high was the purchasing power of the rupee that I was able to buy a wristwatch for my wife, clothes for our baby and a much needed raincoat for myself.

In 1924, Mr Clarke decided to go into the hotel business for himself. His contract with the Associated Hotels of India had just ended. He obtained a catering contract for the Delhi Club and asked me if I could join him. I readily accepted the offer. My salary was now Rs 100.

The Delhi Club contract was only for a year and Mr Clarke soon began looking around for new business. The Carlton Hotel in Simla was in liquidation. Mr Clarke was eager to lease it but guarantors were required.

Here I was able to help and thus discharge a part of the moral debt, which his kindness and consideration in the past had placed upon me.

I approached some of my relatives and friends who had means to assist with their co-operation. The Clarkes Hotel in Simla was opened. After five years, Mr Clarke decided to retire and sell out the hotel. He made me an offer saying he would prefer someone who could maintain the tradition and efficiency of the hotel to run it.

Acceptance meant that I would have to mortgage my few assets and my wife's jewellery in order to raise the necessary funds. However, I did not hesitate long.

The opportunity seemed almost a Godsend, as we Indians are a superstitious people. I took over the proprietorship of Clarkes Hotel with the help of a kind uncle who had stood by me in the past. I was now established in the Hotel business.

It is a strange coincidence that nearly every turn in my life has been associated with an epidemic of some sort. In 1933 there had been a cholera epidemic of vast proportions in Calcutta (now Kolkata). The Grand Hotel had been closed ever since, as more than a hundred foreign guests had died. People were afraid to visit Calcutta.

I happened to see the advertisement placed by the liquidators and immediately decided to take over the hotel if I could get in on low leasehold.

The price asked was Rs 10,000 rent a month plus compensation for the goodwill. In return I demanded compensation for the ill will generated by the hotel.

The rent was then dropped to Rs 7,000 a month. I agreed to this figure and had the place cleaned up and refurnished. With the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, Calcutta was full of troops. The British Army was frantically trying to find accommodation.

I immediately improvised 1,500 beds for the troops at Rs 10 per head for board and lodging. I also appointed Mr Grove, who had been my first employer at the Cecil Hotel where he had engaged me on Rs 50 a month, on a monthly salary of Rs 1,500.

Taking over a cholera-ridden hotel had been a landmark in my career. The fact that I converted it and helped the Army in the time of stress and difficulty had come to the notice of the government. In 1941, I was awarded the title of Rai Bahadur by the government of India in recognition of the services to the Indian Hotel Industry.

From now on my good luck was assured and gradually I went on increasing the scope of my activities with, I hope benefit to many and much fulfilment to myself. Everything I did prospered.

In 1943, I bought out the controlling shareholdings of Associated Hotels of India Limited from Spencer & Company borrowing capital against the security of shares of the same company. In this way, I gained control over a big chain of hotels with establ-ishments in Rawalpindi, Peshawar, Lahore, Muree and Delhi.

I employed as one of my general managers, the son of my former boss in Simla, Mr Falleti. The wheel had turned a full circle. I gradually added more hotels to my chain in Darjeeling, Chandigarh and Kashmir. I began to think of building my own hotels, and the first attempt was a small hotel in Gopalpur-on-Sea, in Orissa.

India was now independent. Horizons had widened. I began to feel the world was my oyster -- that I could succeed in anything I attempted. Fortunately, I also realised that it was not good enough to keep launching new ventures if old ones were allowed to suffer. Too often efficiency and high standards once established are taken for granted.

This is a great mistake and my constant aim has been to preserve the reputation of my hotels at the highest possible level. This pays many kinds of dividends. I was elected President of the Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Associations of India in April 1955, and in 1960. I was created President of Honour of the Federation for life.

My thoughts turned to politics. India was forging ahead. By the grace of God any my own continuous efforts, I had established myself in the profession of my choice. I felt I must enlarge the scope of my activities.

My main interest was building India amongst the top-most countries in the hotel expertise, also providing employment for improving the quality of life and helping the young.

I contested the Rajya Sabha election in 1962 and was successful. In 1967, I stood for the election for the Lok Sabha and won with a majority of over 46,000 votes -- not a bad record for a newcomer in politics.

I was able to open the Oberoi Intercontinental Hotel in 1965 -- a joint venture with Inter-continental Hotels Corporation and Pan American. Before this event could take place there were years of work and what some-times seemed innumerable difficulties. The reward for my labour comes through the fact that this hotel has become one of the most prestigious establishments in India.

My hotels continued to expand. Some people refer to them as my Empire. A hotel is a small nation in itself and a chain does perhaps merit the name of Empire. This empire is not an imperialistic one, but rather based on the idea of rendering service. This has always been my wish and my endeavour.

The latest additions are in Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Gulf Area, Egypt and Africa. I must not forget to mention the 550 rooms Oberoi Sheraton in Bombay, going up to 30 floors -- the tallest building in India.

This has been no mean achievement for the village boy, who left his plague infested village in search of a job.

Preface note by Dr Gita Piramal, Managing Editor, The Smart Manager.

Powered by

Book now, pay later 'with compounded interest'?

Clear skies for Virgin spaceliner
By Irene Mona Klotz
at Cape Canaveral, Florida

Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic has collected $10m in deposits from people wanting a quick ride beyond Earth's atmosphere.

Another 34,000 would-be astronauts have registered for rides aboard a commercial version of the experimental Ansari X Prize winner SpaceShipOne.

The cost to experience four to five minutes of weightlessness is about $200,000 (£113,242).

The project was threatened earlier this year by US export control regulations.

Last year, SpaceShipOne completed two sub-orbital spaceflights in a week to claim the $10m Ansari X-Prize.

Virgin Galactic is paying SpaceShipOne designer Burt Rutan's firm to build a fleet of five vessels for suborbital spaceflights. Test flights are on schedule to begin in 2007, with commercial operations to begin a year later.

"At the moment, we don't see any hurdles," said Virgin Galactic president Whitehorn.

Ship size expands

Since the project's announcement just before SpaceShipOne's prize-winning flight from Mojave, California, Sir Richard and Mr Rutan decided to expand the size of the follow-on commercial version of the vehicle, informally known as SpaceShipTwo.

A final design is scheduled to be announced before the end of the year. But the plan now is for each ship to be capable of carrying six or seven passengers and two pilots, said Mr Whitehorn, who was in Washington, DC this week for a series of meetings and speaking engagements.

"We're very happy with it," Mr Whitehorn said.

The spaceships will be about the size of a Gulfstream Five business jet and like SpaceShipOne, will piggyback a ride atop a larger airplane before its rocket engines ignite to travel beyond the atmosphere.

SpaceShipOne made three trips to suborbital space - defined as 100km (328,000 feet) - including a record-breaking lunge to 367,442 feet (112km) or 69.6 miles above the planet's surface.

Mr Rutan's firm plans to build two mother ships, each about the size of a 737, to carry SpaceShipTwo vehicles into the sky.

Joy rides

To give passengers a bit more thrill for their pricey rides, SpaceShipTwo may be carted a couple of hundred miles away from the take-off sites before being released for launch. That would enable riders to take in a more diverse view of Earth-in-the-round.

Most important, however, is to maximize the time during which passengers experience microgravity.

"When we asked people about what they wanted in a suborbital spaceflight the top three things were weightlessness, weightlessness and weightlessness," Mr Whitehorn said.

The seating compartments on SpaceShipTwo are being designed so that passengers can float around a bit while tethered to their seats.

Initially, Virgin Galactic plans for all flights to take off and land in the United States, Mr Whitehorn said. In addition to flying from the Mojave Airport, where Mr Rutan's firm is based, the company is looking at sites in New Mexico and Florida.

Export issues

The project was threatened earlier this year by US export control regulations, which prohibited British participants from even looking at designs produced by Mr Rutan's firm, Scaled Composites.

Virgin Galactic however finally received a licence and that not only cleared the way for full participation in the project, but also enabled the firm to become a part-owner of a new venture, called The SpaceShip Company.

This firm plans to market and license SpaceShipTwo technology to other companies that want to buy the vehicles.

"We see this is a good precursor for the future as we expand into orbital flight," Mr Whitehorn said.
Story from BBC NEWS:

'My' future trip to Venus ...delayed...

Europe's Venus mission delayed

The launch of Europe's first mission to Venus, due to have taken place next Wednesday, has been postponed.
The European Space Agency (Esa) has not yet announced a new date for the launch, only that it will be delayed by "several days".

The probe is to blast off aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

It will slip into orbit around Venus next year, using science instruments to study the planet from space.

Esa said the delay had been prompted by the discovery that insulation from the rocket launcher had contaminated the Venus Express spacecraft.

"The satellite is contaminated, so they will have to dismantle and re-mount it again," a spokesperson for the space agency told the BBC News website.

Venus Express will also need to be cleaned up to remove any trace of the insulation.

The contaminating material either came from the rocket's upper "Fregat" stage, which helps to boost the satellite into its intended orbit, or from the fairings, which protect the spacecraft during launch.

The spacecraft will carry out the first global investigation of Venus' atmosphere, to shed light on how the planet evolved its hellish climate.

Composed chiefly of carbon dioxide, Venus' atmosphere generates intense greenhouse warming, whereby trapped solar radiation heats the surface of the planet to an average of temperature of 467C.

Experts think Venus could teach us more about how the Earth's climate will respond to the release of greenhouse gases resulting from human activities.

After separation of the Soyuz rocket's three lower stages, the upper "Fregat" stage with the orbiter mounted on top enters a sub-orbital trajectory.

After two burns, Fregat will launch the spacecraft into an escape trajectory that takes it directly to Venus.

In about five months, Venus Express will reach its target and enter an elliptical polar orbit around our nearest planetary neighbour.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Thursday, October 20, 2005

So sayeth Shakespeare

How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a naughty world.

-William Shakespeare

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Kind and understanding man wanted

A Kind and Understanding Man

I want a man who's kind and understanding.
Is that too much to ask of a millionaire?
~Zsa Zsa Gabor~

Best Prize we all have

The Best Prize

Far and away the best prize that life offers
is the chance to work hard
at work worth doing.

~Theodore Roosevelt~

A life long stranger in the house!

The Stranger

A few months before I was born, my dad met a stranger who was
new to our town. From the beginning, Dad was fascinated with
this enchanting newcomer and soon invited him to live with our
family. The stranger was quickly accepted and was around to
welcome me into the world a few months later.

As I grew up I never questioned his place in our family. Mom
taught me to love the Word of God, and Dad taught me to obey it,
but the stranger was our storyteller. He could weave the most
fascinating tales. Adventures, mysteries and comedies were
daily conversations. He could hold our whole family spellbound
for hours each evening.

He was like a friend to the whole family. He took Dad, Bill
and me to our first major league baseball game. He was always
encouraging us to see the movies, and he even made arrangements
to introduce us to several movie stars.

The stranger was an incessant talker. Dad didn't seem to mind,
but sometimes Mom would quietly get up while the rest of us
were enthralled with one of his stories of faraway places, go to
her room, read her Bible and pray. I wonder now if she ever
prayed that the stranger would leave.

You see, my dad ruled our household with certain moral
convictions, but this stranger never felt an obligation to
honor them. Profanity, for example, was not allowed in our
house-not from us, from our friends, or adults. Our longtime
visitor, however, used occasional four-letter words that burned
my ears and made Dad squirm. To my knowledge the stranger was
never confronted.

My Dad was a teetotaler who didn't permit alcohol in his home,
not even for cooking, but the stranger felt like we needed
exposure and enlightened us to other ways of life. He offered
us beer and other alcoholic beverages often. He made cigarettes
look tasty, cigars manly and pipes distinguished. He talked
freely (much too freely) about sex. His comments were sometimes
blatant, sometimes suggestive and generally embarrassing. I
know now that my early concepts of the man/woman relationship
were influenced by the stranger.

As I look back, I believe it was because of the grace of God
that the stranger did not influence us more. Time after time he
opposed the values of my parents, yet he was seldom rebuked and
never asked to leave.

More than thirty years have passed since the stranger moved in
with the young family on Morningside Drive. But if I were to
walk into my parents' den today, you would still see him sitting
over in a corner, waiting for someone to listen to him talk and
watch him draw his pictures.

His name?

We always just called him TV.

~Author Unknown~

New eyes

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new landscapes but in having new eyes.

-Marcel Proust

I know you like one liners, so here they go...

Sign in a travel agency window: "Please go away."

Hummingbirds have forgotten the words.

If you can buy a person's friendship, it is not worth it.

Humility is such an elusive thing. Just when you think you've got it, you've lost it.

I'd never make it on one of those Survivor shows. Every time I even think about eating something like caterpillars, I get butterflies in my stomach.

Change is good as long as I don't have to do anything differently.

People who are wrapped up in themselves are overdressed.

Coincidence is just an euphemism for conspiracy.

George Washington's brother was the uncle of our country.

It's neither conservative nor liberal to be anti-war. It's humanitarian.

Life is like a doughnut. You're either in the dough or in the hole.

When Wal-Mart builds stores in China, will they sell only items imported from the United States?

You like one liners...

Sermons and biscuits are improved by shortening.

If men knew what women laughed about, they would never sleep with us.

If your parachute doesn't open up for you, you've obviously jumped to a conclusion.

If we knew what we were doing, it wouldn't be called research.

Some one liners

A grown-up is someone who suffers from responsibility.

They who are afraid to ask are ashamed of learning.

Blessed are those who can give without remembering and take without forgetting.

Monday, October 17, 2005

New tissue 'grown within minutes'


UK scientists say they can cut the time it takes to grow new tissue from days to minutes.

The lengthy process can be accelerated by simply removing the water present in the starting material, the University College London team discovered.

Following such shrinkage by a factor of at least 100, tissues could be created in 35 minutes.

This speed may one day allow doctors to make tissue implants at the bedside, Advanced Functional Materials reports.

The next stage is to test whether this method could help repair injured tissues
Professor Robert Brown

Currently, scientists make tissues to be used for operations such as skin grafts by building a scaffold of cells that grow in the lab.

However, it can take between one and 12 weeks to grow enough of the required tissue for the surgery.

Professor Robert Brown and colleagues investigated whether they could cut this time down.

They experimented on making a tissue called collagen, which acts as a structural support for skin, bones and tendons.

Spare parts fast

Sucking out the water using a technique called plastic compression meant they could make the collagen in just over half an hour.

The tissue was not only made much faster than that made in the conventional tissue engineering way, it also appeared to be stronger, more like real collagen.

The method has great potential
Professor Tim Hardingham from the UK Centre for Tissue Engineering

Professor Brown said: "Our method offers a simple and controllable means of quickly engineering tissue structures.

"The next stage is to test whether this method could help repair injured tissues.

"Ultimately, the goal is to design a rapid, inexpensive, automatic process for creating strong tissues which could supply hospital surgical units with a tool kit of spare parts for reconstructive surgery.

"The speed and control it offers means that our method could one day be used to produce implant tissue at the bedside or in the operating theatre."

Professor Tim Hardingham, from the UK Centre for Tissue Engineering, said: "The method has great potential for further development in clinical applications of tissue repair where immediate mechanical strength is required.

"Its success in these applications will depend on how it is survives in the body and how it is remodelled by natural body processes.

"It also needs to be known whether it can act as a template that is replaced by normal functional tissue. The present work provides a good experimental basis for these further studies."

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2005/10/16 23:16:25 GMT


Sunday, October 16, 2005

Take it or leave it, things....


Everything is as it is. It has no name other than the name we give it. It is we who call it something; we give it a value. We say this thing is good or it's bad, but in itself, the thing is only as it is. It's not absolute; it's just as it is. People are just as they are.

-Ajahn Sumedho, "The Mind and the Way"


Today's Quote

Hard work spotlights the character of people: some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some don't turn up at all.

-Sam Ewing

Quite a deep phjilosophy

Today's Quote

When the heart grieves over what it has lost, the spirit rejoices over what it has left.

-Sufi epigram

Saturday, October 15, 2005


Far and away the best prize that life offers
is the chance to work hard
at work worth doing.

~Theodore Roosevelt~

Send issue 5286

To remain calm innerly is Godly!

God made us in His image. The way to remember the image of God within us is to retain the state of perfect inner calmness. He who is calm is fit for the kingdom of God.

—Paramahansa Yogananda, in “Living the Divine Existence God Planned for You,” from Self-Realization Magazine, fall 2005.


Today's Quote

Believe those who seek the truth; doubt those who find it.

-Andre Gide

We could learn from the weather!

All of us could take a lesson from the weather. It pays no

>attention to criticism.

Explain that!

Why does a slight tax increase cost you two hundred dollars

>and a substantial tax cut saves you thirty cents.

>We know exactly where one cow with mad-cow-disease is located among the

>millions and millions of cows in America but we haven't got a clue as

>to where thousands of illegal immigrants and terrorists are located.

>Maybe we should put the Department of Agriculture in charge of



Friday, October 14, 2005

Artists and their travel destinations

Travel Destinations

Artists go to: Painted Desert, Arizona

Athletes go to: Olympia Heights, Florida

Candy Makers: Carmel, Indiana

College Professors: University City, Missouri

Ecologists: Green Bay, Wisconsin

Firefighters: Smokey Mountains

Fortune tellers: Palm Springs, California

Geologists: Stone Mountain, Georgia

Gossip Columnists: Grapevine, Texas

Helicopter Pilots: Hoover, Alabama

Home Builders: New Castle, Pennsylvania

Jewelers: Pearl City, Hawaii

Landscapers: Garden City, Michigan

Lawyers: Accident, Maryland

Loan Officers: Fairbanks, Alaska

Lumber Jacks: Thousand Oaks, California

Manicurists: Finger Lakes, New York

Optometrists: Plainview, New York

Pastors: Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Pianists: Florida Keys

Podiatrists: Arches National Park, Utah

Politicians: Dodge City, Kansas

Prostitutes: Pleasure Ridge, Kentucky

Real Estate Salesmen: Loveland, Colorado

Refrigerator Repairmen: Chilum, Maryland

Retired Army Officers: East Point, Georgia

Sailors: Marina, California

Sheriffs: Marshalltown, Iowa

Tree Trimmers: Long Branch, New Jersey

TV Evangelists: Paradise, California
This news arrived on: 10/12/2005



A taxpayer received a strongly worded "second notice" that his taxes were overdue. Hastening to the collector's office, he paid his bill, saying apologetically that he had overlooked the first notice.

"Oh," confided the collector with a smile, "we don't send out first notices. We have found that the second notices are more effective."

What's the difference?

Quick One

Q. What's the difference between a King's son, a monkey's mother, a bald head, and an orphan?

A. One's an heir apparent, the next is a hairy parent, the next has no hair apparent, and the last has nary a parent.

Want to live more healthy and longer, then do the following:

While sitting, working on computer, driving or even walking, we are in the habit of slouching. This keeps our lungs constricted and they are unable to do their work properly, i.e. get enough air/oxygen into our body when we breathe. To improve upon this situation, do the following a number of times in the day: Even while sitting or walking, from time to time, pull in your stomach in, your chest up and stretch, comfortably - not too hard or too soft, and hold it for a few seconds; then leave it. Do this several times during the day and your lungs will start to work much better pumping more air/oxygen in you; moreover your veins will slowly start to loosen the plaque which has built up in them over the years. You will notice the difference in your general health and feeling of well being within days and can look forward to live a longer and much healthier life. In brief: GET OUT OF THE HABIT OF SLOUCHING, slowly but surely.


What a girl is waiting for!
A man with money to burn
A man who is handsome.
A man with a big house.
A man with a fancy car.
A man who will love only her.
She is still waiting!!!

Prayer plus repentance

Prayer does half, repentance does all.

- Joshua b. Levi, Leviticus Rabbah

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Supreme power

Today's Quote

I have learned through bitter experience the one supreme lesson: to conserve my anger, and as heat conserved is transmitted into energy, even so our anger controlled can be transmitted into a power that can move the world.

-Mahatma Gandhi

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


aresh Trehan, Cardiac surgeon
‘Somebody runs away with Rs 600 crore, there’s obviously no question of morality here’
Naresh Trehan is much more than merely the executive director of the recently-sold Escorts Heart Institute in Delhi. As the NRI doctor who came home and brought back modern heart surgery with him, he is almost the pin-up boy of India’s medicare revolution. The Indian Express Editor-in-Chief Shekhar Gupta talks to him on NDTV 24x7’s Walk the Talk programme

Send Feedback E-mail this story Print this story
Posted online: Tuesday, October 11, 2005 at 0000 hours IST

Naresh Trehan • Naresh, tell me a little of what it was like when Escorts began. Because when you came in, in the mid-1980s, you couldn’t import a chappal into this country.

There were many, many people who contributed to the creation of this institution, from the idea to its actual completion in 1988. Mr H.P. Nanda — who unfortunately is not with us any more — Indira Gandhiji, Rajiv Gandhi, the bureaucracy: everybody helped. It was a great homecoming for me.

People said: ‘You can’t do it, nothing moves in India.’ Even Rajiv Gandhi remarked at the inauguration: ‘The first prize goes to you for creating the institute in this environment.’ But it’s been a good run since then.

• Tell me some of your early experiences — dealing with the bureaucracy, your first patients who’d never heard of something like this in India.

Well, at the very beginning, when we got the land, somebody put a stay on it saying it had been donated to the Church by Bahadur Shah Zafar when his daughter converted to Christianity.

The lieutenant governor, Mr Jagmohan, who was a very practical man, stepped in and said: ‘This is nonsense; the government wants to create an institution of this sort so that people don’t have go abroad for heart treatment.’ We used to spend $40 million a year sending heart patients outside.

But that was in the mid-1980s. Today, we have overseas patients from America, the UK, Europe, Australia, Indonesia, Russia ... you name it. And they’re here for surgery. It’s a great reversal and it happened because somebody could grab the vision that was in my head and keep it going, like I said, through successive governments.

We’re now the largest heart institute in the world. We do over 4,000 surgeries and, not only that, we have one of the best outcomes: 0.8 per cent mortality and 0.3 per cent infection rate, which is better than anybody else in the world.

• How would this compare to other famous institutions — Cleveland, for example?

Cleveland would be around one to two per cent. The gold standard for great institutions is one to two per cent mortality and a less than one per cent infection rate. But the most significant thing is that it’s all been done by Indian doctors, Indian staff and Indian nurses. This is what the pride of it is for me.

People used to say: ‘Who can do all this in India? You’ll go alone, what will you accomplish?’ But here’s a living example of what we can do. No foreigner ever set foot here to help us create this.

• That’s the challenge in India: you can set up a world-class facility, but to maintain it is very hard. It’s in the Indian DNA, so to speak, to start taking things for granted after a while, to leave it to technology or even just the next guy, like our cricket line-up.

We’re fully capable of doing it. We do it around the world. But we don’t do it in India because the systems and processes are missing. That’s the first thing I put into place here. The housekeeping chief here has a glossmeter to check the condition of the floor, because bacteria grow if the surface is rough. We’ve made a programme for every floor — each one of them has to be cleaned with such-and-such thing, polished with so-and-so. And there’s a schedule for it so the floor never deteriorates. It begins there ... it’s one of the most important steps in infection control.

• Naresh, let’s go back. You said you had found commitment from Indira Gandhi, from Rajiv and from Mr Nanda as well. From then to now find your institute caught up in such a controversy — how does it look?

From one point of view, it’s a sad story. But, again, you can see it as a transition. First of all, Mr Nanda, who is the chairman of Escorts and the son of Mr H.P. Nanda, ran progressively into a financial crunch in his other businesses. They started losing money.

The Escorts Heart Institute was the main anchor for the healthcare business. We have, like I said, the best results and a very healthy bottomline. His compulsions to sell the place are another story; the problem is, he didn’t do right by me and the doctors. He broke every promise he had made.

• Tell me about some of these promises.

He was supposed to discuss all this, tell the doctors. He made commitments that he would let us know what would happen to the institute. Fortunately, we’ve landed up with the Fortis group, which is a very responsible, well-managed system by itself. They are a very respectable healthcare group. They have made promises ... We’re working together. It’s a well-working machine and they don’t want to change anything.

• So as a sweat-equity holding professional, you have no concerns going from the Nanda family to Fortis?

I’ve said this again and again — as long as we continue to work with the ethic, the integrity and the ethos with which we built this place and which brought us to number one, we have no problem. We’re quite happy with the working relationship we have with Fortis. They also want to build a responsible, large system. There’s no problem with that.

Our disappointment is with the way it was done. There were promises to talk it out, to say: ‘Naresh, this is how it is.’ To betray the whole team, which has worked here with me for 17 years ... They feel disappointed, they’re shaken.

But one thing that’s good is that the Fortis team and I have reassured them that nothing’s going to change. The management is the same, our working conditions are the same, our ethic is the same. And not only that, we will move this institute to higher levels.

• And, most important, Dr Naresh Trehan is here. He’s not going to leave.

Yes. Absolutely. There should be no anxiety about it. Some of our patients were calling to say: ‘Are you still here, is the system the same?’ The name is not changing; the quality is not changing. If anything, it will get better.

• This may flatter you, but if I know you, it may worry you — brand Trehan is bigger than brand Escorts in your business.

Well, it’s my baby. It’s something we’ve built with our sweat and blood and we’re very proud of it. I think the fact that Fortis has paid the price it has for the institute says that again — that they’re also happy to be stepping into a place where there is this kind of system, where 4,000 plus operations, 10,000 angiographies and 3,000 angioplasties are done every year. And with results better than in most of the rest of the world.

• And also possibly the only profitable business the Nanda empire had left — the jewel in the Nanda crown.

You could say that. What is our anxiety? There are three parts to it. On the one hand, I want to make it clear to the patients and the doctors that everything is the same. They should feel reassured, we are going to serve with the same dedication and integrity that we always have. That’s one thing I’d like to put at rest.

• And that’s a commitment you have from the new management as well.

The second thing is: there are no issues, no problems in working with the Fortis group which, as I said, is building up a responsible healthcare system that they also want to be proud of. So we have no conflicts there, we can actually enhance each other. If it wasn’t for this public controversy ... We all feel Mr Nanda’s actions have created an unnecessary controversy.

• You used a strong word just a while ago. You said you and your team of doctors feel betrayed by what Mr Nanda did. Is that deliberately chosen? Is it such a strong feeling here?

Absolutely. We are very disappointed. When things can be done right, why do them in a controversial way? Why in the dark of the night? That’s what’s unnecessary about it. Now of course, it’s all in the courts and it’ll be decided by them. We have a great judicial system!

• And a public-spirited one.

Exactly. And the matter being sub judice, the less said the better.

• But, personally and professionally, you do see it as a betrayal?

Yes. Definitely. It’s been 18 years. We built it, I built it with my own sweat and blood. I put my own money into it from the United States. I feel it, naturally. I’ve said it a hundred times: this is my baby and I’m never going to leave it.

And it’s not just me. There are 200 doctors here. The senior team has been here for 17-18 years. They feel let down. But that said, we’re saying good riddance and chin up. We’re looking ahead.

• ‘Betrayal’ ... ‘good riddance’. You’re an angry man now.

(Laughs) It’s not that. I have to say what’s true. On the one hand, as I told you, I’m welcoming the Fortis group and saying we can work together and take this place to new heights. On the other, I cannot not say what the true feelings of the whole team are.

It’s not only me, it’s the whole set of doctors. In the first few days, they were walking around with their chins to the floor. Now I think we’re back on track — they’re all up again, having been reassured, having seen that the functioning isn’t changing. And not only that, we’re going to help them enhance their skills.

• I think the first feeling was that this has happened in the dead of the night, and now Naresh Trehan is going to walk off to his new project, MediCity — that becomes his new baby. And it’s ‘See you later, Escorts’. That, I think, is what dismayed a lot of your staff and patients.

I’m right here. Not only that, our whole team is here. We are working day and night with the same enthusiasm. We’ll make sure that nothing changes, because that’s our pride.

• So if I have a funny feeling in the left of my chest, I can come to Escorts with the same confidence?

Please don’t have it, but we’re here if you need us.

• It had better not happen while you’re not here and while MediCity isn’t yet built.

No, no, there’s no question of it. It’s all a synergy. We’re talking about a synergy between Escorts and MediCity. I’m a person who wants to build positively, to take people along. I’m a people person — I love doing things in alliances, partnerships, provided everybody follows the rules of the game.

• Naresh, let me take you back to that night of the long knives, if I may call it that. What exactly happened? How did you find out? What was discussed with you beforehand? Did you have any premonition?

See, Mr Nanda had repeatedly told us: ‘I’m going through some things, I may have to sell ...’

• ‘Some things’ means financial trouble?

Yes. He’d given us assurances that he would talk to me and the doctors and would let us know whom he would sell to, so that we were on board. It’s lucky that the Fortis group and I have been working together for several years now, promoting the healthcare sector in India, bringing it together, actually, on the CII-India Healthcare Federation platform.

We’ve held roadshows for India overseas. We’ve made the accreditation process for India. We’ve also made the ethical rules for hospitals in India. We know each other very well. Fortunately that’s okay — that’s not my disappointment, that’s my pleasure.

• And that’s why you say good riddance to Mr Nanda?

What did he sell? He sold us, the doctors. It’s not just the shell, this is a well-oiled machine.

This is a man I’ve supported for 18 years. He owes it to us. To take such huge sums of money and to run away in the middle of the night? I think it’s a cowardly act, an unprincipled act. Why should he have done this? Why not sort it out with his brother? Why not make it legal, so that those who buy it or work here feel good about it?

• And if he’d discussed it with you, would this have been done in a different way?

It could have been done properly. There were many options. I just don’t know, I don’t know what drives the man. As you can see, I’m definitely disappointed. Fortunately, we’ve landed on our feet with a group with which we’re going to take this place to a new height. There’s always a silver lining.

• What he sold is the brand. A brand is built by its people. In the service industry, this really is the first in India, which went into the private sector and upper end healthcare, isn’t it?

You should see what we’ve been able to do. On the one hand, we’re working at the highest end of healthcare. On the other, we have such an active community outreach programme. We see hundreds of thousands of patients in their villages because we know they can’t get to us. We’re always on the road.

Just recently, I was in Srinagar where we had 1,000 patients who walked to the city, got whatever transport they could — poor people like you wouldn’t believe. We spent two days seeing them. It just gives you such a great feeling to touch the rural areas. That’s where, I think, we have so much work to do.

• Naresh, I know some of your plans for MediCity. I know that you want to bring in a portable installation for the poor and so forth. Looking at all of that, do you have morality questions about how the money generated from the sale of Escorts is being utilised?

Of course. Look, we have to give back to society. Somebody runs away with Rs 600 crore — there’s obviously no question of morality here. It’s absolutely immoral. These are twists that have been created. But they’ll unravel themselves.

• Inshallah. But tell me, did it genuinely take you by surprise? Did you find out about it as we did? In that morning’s paper and on our TV screens? Or did you know about it a few hours ahead?

I was actually at a judicial function. There were promises made by Mr Nanda that very morning that he would settle all the issues before he sold the institute. And that he’d give me three days. That was the promise given.

Then in the evening, I’m at this function, the phone is ringing ... It’s on the ticker and he’s sold it.

• So it was as much of a surprise as it was for the rest of us — arriving silently, just like a heart attack really? What happened when you came to the hospital, were there long faces?

As I said, there are two very distinct pictures. I want to make it absolutely clear that so far as the hospital goes we are here, undisturbed. The group we’re with was my fallback, I could say. The doctors and I still have the opportunity to continue the ethos of this place. That was a comfort, Fortis’ coming in ... But the disappointment on the other side was terrible. Mr Nanda’s acts were deplorable.

• Naresh, there are two things that all your friends and admirers want to know. One, how do you keep your cool? And second, how do you manage your time? In the middle of all of this, the morning after it happened, you came and conducted your usual 10-12 surgeries.

Of course. And I’ll continue to do it. If you’re doing positive things, it’s not stressful. It’s comforting. You can keep your stamina — I exercise, I jog and run, I do yoga ... All positive activity energises you.

• And you party!

Well I don’t know how late you stay at parties, but I’m in bed by midnight. I sleep for six hours; I’m up by 6 or 6.30 and I’m in Lodhi Gardens or in my gym, exercising for an hour. Or with my yoga teacher. This is a combined thing I do every morning. Then I come to work and I work for 12 hours a day.

The more positive things you do, the more energised you get. It’s just this recent disturbance in my life which threw me off balance for a bit. But I’m back to normal now. You pull the flush and it’s out of you.

• Seriously strong words, Naresh.

That is how I feel.

Monday, October 10, 2005

A great people!

9 Hindus slaughtered in J&K

Mohit Kandhari / Jammu

After killer quake, killers strike--- At a time when people in earthquake-ravaged Jammu and Kashmir were struggling to get their life back on the rails, showing no mercy, terrorists struck Budhal tehsil in the border district of Rajouri, slaughtering nine members of two Hindu families around Sunday midnight.

The killings came barely hours after chairman of the United Jihad Council and supreme commander of Hizbul Mujahideen Syed Salahuddin announced temporary suspension of militant operation in the ravaged areas of Jammu and Kashmir.

Budhal was among the worst hit in Rajouri district as more than 100 houses collapsed and several others developed cracks after Saturday's devastating earthquake.

Reports said a group of heavily armed militants raided Rajnagar in Budhal tehsil at 11pm on Sunday night and separated the male members of Munshi Ram's family before slitting their throats one by one.

The militants killed Munshi Ram's two sons in front of him before murdering him, sources said. They also killed his brother and his nephew.

Those killed in the attack have been identified as Munshi Ram, Kaka Ram, Hans Raj, Sobha Ram, and Vicky. Survivors told the police that after carrying out the merciless killings, one of the militants contacted the local police station in Kotranka, informing them that they were leaving behind gift packets for them.

Soon after, the same group of militants reached nearby Gabbar village under the same tehsil and killed four members of another Hindu family with sharp-edged weapons.

Here again the ultras targetted all the male members of the family. Gurdeep, Punjab and Kashmir Singh, the three sons of Kartar Singh were killed as was Kartar Singh while the fourth son, Karnail Singh was critically injured in the attack.

The militants also killed one Satbir Singh and Nazir Hussain in the area during their killing spree, they said. Sources told The Pioneer that Abu Usman, a militant commander of Hizbul Mujahideen Peer Panchal Regiment (HMPPR) is suspected to be behind the killings.

"It is his handiwork, he was active in the area for a long time and was also involved in the killing of Hindu families working in the coal mines in Kalakote," sources told The Pioneer. However, no militant outfit has claimed responsibility for the killings so far.

Security forces have launched a massive search operation in the area to nab the militants. Police sources say the nine men could have been killed on suspicion of being informers.

On Monday, a bullet-ridden decomposed body was also recovered by the troops in Mardwaha-Daccan area of Doda district, sources said adding that it was supposed to be of one Renzo Gujjar who was abducted by militants and later killed.

Meanwhile, the security forces recovered 11 grenades of UBGL along with the shell of a rocket launcher close to the bed of Tarna river under Supwal police station in Kathua district on Monday morning.

Want to survive - learn a foreign language!

Mother Mouse

A mother mouse and a baby mouse are walking along, when all of a sudden, a cat attacks them. The mother mouse yells, "BARK!" and the cat runs away.

"See?" says the mother mouse to her baby. "Now do you see why it's important to learn a foreign language?"

Sunday, October 09, 2005

feeling good!

oday's Quote

Kindness makes a fellow feel good, whether it’s being done to him or by him.

-Frank A. Clark

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Younger and drinks

"I married a younger man. Ten years younger than I am. I figure it like this: If you can't find a good man, raise one." --Unknown


"Murphy told Quinn that his wife was driving him to drink. Quinn remarked that Murphy was a very lucky man, because his own wife makes him walk to the pub." --Unknown

Friday, October 07, 2005


Today's Quote

A loving person lives in a loving world. A hostile person lives in a hostile world: everyone you meet is your mirror.

-Ken Keyes Jr.

Suggest a heading

"Republican majority leader Tom DeLay was indicted and he was stripped of his congressional leadership powers. When asked what it feels like to lose all his power, DeLay said, 'I feel like a Democrat.'" --Conan O'Brien

All work and no play makes........

ArcaMax Publishing, Inc.

From the ArcaMax Publishing, Jokes Newsletter:
Learning from the Past...

In 1923, Who Was...?

1. President of the largest steel company?

2. President of the largest gas company?

3. President of the New York Stock Exchange?

4. Greatest wheat speculator?

5. President of the Bank of International Settlement?

6. Great Bear of Wall Street?

These men were considered some of the worlds most successful of their days.

Now, 82 years later, history tells us what ultimately became of them.

The Answers:

1. The president of the largest steel company. Charles Schwab, died a pauper.

2. The president of the largest gas company, Edward Hopson, went insane.

3. The president of the NYSE, Richard Whitney, was released from prison to die at home

4. The greatest wheat speculator, Arthur Cooger, died abroad, penniless.

5. The president of the Bank of International Settlement, shot himself.

6 The Great Bear of Wall Street, Cosabee Livermore, also committed suicide.

However, in that same year, 1923, the PGA Champion and the winner of the most important golf tournament, the US Open, was Gene Sarazen.

So, what became of him?

He played golf until he was 92, and died in 1999 at the ripe old age of 95! He was *very* financially secure at the time of his death.

The moral here:

Forget work.

Play golf!

This news arrived on: 10/05/2005 Copyright © 2005 ArcaMax Publishing, Inc., and its licensors. All rights reserved.


Humble yourself here, and you won't be humbled hereafter.

- Ben Zoma

What else God told you to do, Mr. President!

Sify Home >> News & Info >> News >> Fullstory
sms news

God asked me to invade Iraq, says Bush
Friday, 07 October , 2005, 07:58

London: US President George W Bush allegedly said God told him to invade Iraq and Afghanistan, a new BBC documentary will reveal.

Bush made the claim when he met Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas and then foreign minister Nabil Shaath in June 2003, the ministers told the documentary series to be broadcast in Britain later this month.

The US leader also told them he had been ordered by God to create a Palestinian state, the ministers said.

Shaath, now the Palestinian information minister, said, "President Bush said to all of us, 'I'm driven with a mission from God. God would tell me, George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan. And I did. Then God would tell me, George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq... And I did. And now, again, I feel God's words coming to me, go get the Palestinians their state, get the Israelis their security, and get peace in the Middle East. And by God I'm gonna do it'."

Abbas, who was also at the meeting at the Egyptian resort of Sharm al-Sheikh, recalled how the president told him: "I have a moral and religious obligation. So I will get you a Palestinian state."

A BBC spokesman said the content of the programme had been put to the White House, but it had refused to comment on a private conversation.

The three-part series, Elusive Peace: Israel and the Arabs, charts the attempts to bring peace to the Middle East, from former US president Bill Clinton's peace talks in 1999-2000 to Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza strip.

The programme speaks to presidents and prime ministers, their generals and ministers, about what happened behind closed doors as the peace talks failed and the intifada grew.

The series is due to be screened in Britain on October 10, 17 and 24.

Acquaintance or friend!

Good Morning

Friend: has never seen you cry
Best friend: has always had the best shoulder to cry on

Friend: never asks for anything to eat or drink
Best friend: opens the fridge and makes herself at home

Friend: asks you to write down your number.
Best friend: they ask you for their number
(cuz! ! they can't remember it)

Friend: borrows your stuff for a few days then gives it back.
Best friend: has a closet full of your stuff

Friend: only knows a few things about you
Best friend: could write a biography on your life story

Friend: will leave you behind if that is what the crowd is doing
Best friend: will always g! o with you

Friend: would delete this letter
Best friend: will send this back to me and all of their friends

Friends Forever!

Written with a pen

Sealed with a kiss

If you are my friend,

Please answer this:

Are we friends or are we not?

You told me once, but I forgot.

So tell me now and tell me true,

So I can say, I am here for you.

Of all the friends I've ever met,

You're the ones I won't forget.

And if I die before you do,

I'll go to Heaven
And wait for you.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Buddhist wisdom

Because it lacks consciousness, I must admit that a word cannot praise me. Undoubtedly, the cause of my delight is that another is delighted with me.

But what does it matter to me whether another's delight is in me or someone else? His alone is the pleasure of that delight. Not even a trifling part of it is mine.

-Santideva, "Bodhicaryavatara"

From "365 Buddha: Daily Meditations," edited by Jeff Schmidt.

You want to live LONG - stop sulking keep learning


1. Throw out nonessential numbers. This includes age, weight and height.

Let the doctors worry about them. That is why you pay them.

2. Keep only cheerful friends.

The grouches pull you down. (keep this In mind if you are one of those
3. Keep learning:

Learn more about the computer, crafts, gardening,

whatever. Never let the brain get idle.

"An idle mind is the devil's workshop."

And the devil's name is Alzheimer's!

4. Enjoy the simple things.

5. Laugh often, long and loud. Laugh until you gasp for breath.

And if you have a friend who makes you laugh, spend lots and Lots of time
with HIM/HER.
6. The tears happen:

Endure, grieve, and move on. The only person who is with us our entire life,
is ourself. LIVE while you are alive.

7. Surround yourself with what you love:

Whether it's family, pets, keepsakes, music, plants, hobbies, whatever.

Your home is your refuge.
8. Cherish your health:

If it is good, preserve it.

I f it is unstable, improve it.

If it is beyond what you can improve, get help.

9. Don't take guilt trips.

Take a trip to the mall, even to the next county, to a foreign country, but
NOT to where the guilt is.

10. Tell the people you love that you love them, at every opportunity.

And if you don't send this to at least four people - who cares?

But do share this with someone.

8 attachments — Download all attachments View all images
19K View Download
16K View Download
15K View Download
15K View Download
13K View Download
8K View Download
11K View Download


It doesn't get bigger than this.

The Final Four in Fame Gurukul had a truly memorable Gandhi Jayanti. On October 2, contestants Qazi Touqeer (left), Rex D'Souza (far right), Ruprekha Banerjee and Arpita Mukherjee met the honourable President of India, APJ Abdul Kalam!

Their memorable day began with a visit to Delhi's Jama Masjid, where Qazi did his Namaz. Then it was off to Rashtrapati Bhavan. The President addressed them on science, peace and the competitive spirit.

In return, the contestants sang Vaishno Jayanthi for the President. They then went to pay homage to Mahatma Gandhi at the Gandhi Smriti, where they prayed for the father of the nation.

Catch this special episode of Fame Gurukul on Friday, October 17 at 8 pm, only on Sony Entertainment Television.

Who you think are the happiest people on earth?

Indians, world's 4th happiest people

October 05, 2005 18:44 IST

India has the fourth happiest population in the world, even ahead of Britain and Canada, a survey indicated on Wednesday.

The survey, carried out across 30 nations, found that only those living in Australia, the United States and Egypt are more upbeat.

The most miserable population was the Hungarians.

GfK NOP, a market research company, questioned around 30,000 people in the survey.

The survey found that those in their 50s were the most downbeat, regardless of which country they were from.

Australia was the most cheerful nation, with 46 per cent of the population saying they were very happy. Americans were second, with 40 per cent of the US population saying it is happy.

Britain shared the fifth happiest spot with Canada. One in three Britons is 'very happy' with the quality of life. Only 7 per cent of the population is disappointed with how their lives have turned out.

A separate poll, meanwhile, has named Vancouver in Canada as the world's best place to live.

The Economist Intelligence Unit ranked 127 cities by rating them on factors such as stability, personal risk, healthcare, culture and environment, education, infrastructure and the availability of goods and services.

All the cities that fell into the top 'liveability' bracket were in Canada, Australia and Western Europe.

Melbourne, Vienna, Geneva and Perth made up the rest of the top five.

But London failed to make a big impression, coming in a lowly joint 47th. It was ranked on a par with Dublin and Los Angeles, but way behind Paris (16th).

"In the current global political climate, it's no surprise the most desirable destinations are those with the lower perceived threat of terrorism," said Jon Copestake, editor of the EIU report.
The worst places to live were Algiers in Algeria and Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea because 'many aspects of daily life present challenges.'
7333: The Latest News on Your Mobile!

You desire GOD or his worldly gifts?

I sat hours and hours in meditation seeking God—and then at last I found Him. Sometimes, even when I sought with the most urgent effort and expectation, still I didn’t find Him. But when the heart was filled with great devotion and was drunk with His love, then He was there. Yet when I would try tangibly to hold on to Him, He would slip away. He wants to make sure whether we want Him or His gifts. That is the drama of life—to choose God or the offerings of the world.

—Paramahansa Yogananda, in “Living the Divine Existence God Planned for You,” from Self-Realization Magazine, fall 2005.

The bird will fly away from the grasper

Today's Quote

The bird of paradise alights only on the hand that does not grasp.

-John Berry

Wednesday, October 05, 2005


Today's Quote

The only way on earth to multiply happiness is to divide it.

-Paul Scherer

Lord of love

I have realized the Lord of Love,
Who is the sun that dispels our darkness.
Those who realize him go beyond death;
No other way is there to immortality.

There is nothing higher than him, nothing other
Than him. His infinity is beyond great
And small. In his own glory rooted,
He stands and fills the cosmos.

-Shvetashvatara Upanishad

From The Upanishads,

A New Day, A New world each morning

The world is new to us every morning--this is the Holy One's gift and every person should believe they are reborn each day.

- Baal Shem Tov

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

You want to live healthy and long, then don't slouch or slump!

Posture, also, is important to good health. Poor posture constricts the healthy flow of the life energy in the various body parts and vital organs. The best posture is chest out, shoulders back, stomach and abdomen in, and buttocks tucked under. Don’t stand with a swayback or with hunched shoulders. Don’t sit in a slumped position with the spine out of alignment, hampering breathing and the free flow of life energy in the spine. Psychologically, a hunched posture suggests a defeatist attitude. Always sit and stand erect. Be a master of yourself, with your mind on the infinite power within and around you.

Swami Paramhans Yoganandji

While sitting on the computer or driving the car or even when walking, we are in the habit of slumping or slouching. To counteract it, and as you remember these words, from time to time, pull in the stomach, pull the chest and the torso upwards, stretching it somewhat, and hold this position for a few seconds. Then return back to your normal posture. Do this several times in the day and your lungs will get a chance to work better getting more air/oxygen in your body and you will also loosen the plque in your veins which is building up all the time; which will allow you to live healthier and longer life.


Home > News > Columnists > Dr Prafull Gajanan Vijayakar

Get Rediff headlines in your inbox !

In defence of homoeopathy

October 03, 2005

I was amazed at the wide publicity given to the report in The Lancet, which has made a damning attack on homoeopathy, saying it is no better than dummy drugs.

The report quotes a Swiss-UK review of 110 trials which found no convincing evidence the treatment worked any better than a placebo.

External link: 'Homoeopathy's clinical effects are placebo effects'

I feel the findings are of people who conducted the trials and did not achieve results. I think they were not fit enough to use this beautiful science or were not qualified enough or did not understand how to gauge the reactions of a patient. Perhaps their follow-up was considered in the parameters of allopathy.

Homeopaths abroad are not qualified or have not graduated as those in India. India is the only country where there are 200 institutions which are working according to government regulations which set up the curriculum as per the instructions of an elected body like the Central Council of Homoeopathy or the Central Council of Research in Homoeopathy.

We are the only country which has the in-depth infrastructure to rule this science. Our students study for five-and-a-half years before getting qualified. Homeopaths abroad are either those who have done six- month courses or weekend courses or those converted form allopathy.

There is a Supreme Court judgment which holds that those qualified in one science and practising another are 'quacks'. By that reckoning those damning homoeopathy are no better than quacks. Besides, abroad, homoeopaths are not allowed to treat all diseases.

So how did those who conducted the trials operate? These are questions that beg answers.

Some Indian practising homoeopaths are also to blame. They don't take pains to co-relate science with advances of modern science. Nobody takes pains to standardise science which is why this has happened. I would blame our Indians who go abroad and tell the world that there is no cure in homeopathy for pneumonia or rheumatoid arthritis.

I have lectured in Russia and Brazil, which is the next best country after India in homeopathy. The home country, Germany, alas, has allowed the science to become obsolete, just as India allowed the Sanskrit language to die.

I would like to ask a simple question to the detractors. Was the founder, Dr Samuel Hahneman, a fool to start homoeopathy?

Remember, he was a practising allopath who turned to homoeopathy becasue he found no cures in allopathy for relapsing ailments like coughs and colds, allergies, hypertension, asthma and thyroid. They were never curable but only controllable.

Dr Hahnneman went in search of a science which could eradicate these ailments. A science, which would be one step ahead of the one he was already practising.

For this reason I started Predictive Homoeopathy based on the theory of suppression, immunology, genetics, embryology, human bichemnistry and neuro-endocrinology.

I have had wonderful results in curing rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, alopecia, and psoriasis. My thrust now is on cancer and we are close to a breakthrough.

Dr Prafull Vijayakar is the President of the Indian Institute of Homoeopathic Physicians. He is also an honorary physician and professor Smt Chandaben Mohanbhai Patel Homoeopathic Medical College, Mumbai, and director Predictive Homeopathy Academy for Charities & Research).

Saturday, October 01, 2005


Life's a dance. Put on your dancing shoes.

-Steve Winwood (submitted by Charles Paul)

Wise man

Today's Quote

He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.

Twentyfirst century tourism - Have desire will travel to...

Last Updated: Saturday, 1 October 2005, 04:43 GMT 05:43 UK
E-mail this to a friend Printable version
'Space tourist' blasts off to ISS
Gregory Olsen undergoing pressure test before the launch
Mr Olsen says he is neither tourist nor astronaut
Fare-paying "space tourist" Gregory Olsen has blasted off on a Russian Soyuz rocket bound for the International Space Station.

His rocket streaked into the clear blue sky at Kazakhstan's Baikonur launch site at 0955 local time (0355GMT).

The US businessman and scientist is taking a 10-day trip to the ISS. He is the third person to holiday there.

The ticket price was not disclosed, but it is believed the electronic sensors expert paid up to £11m ($20m).

Two other people have so far taken a holiday on the station: fellow American Dennis Tito in 2001, and South African Mark Shuttleworth in 2002.

"I'll be most relaxed and happy after the rocket takes off," Mr Olsen said at Kazakhstan's Baikonur cosmodrome ahead of the launch.

"Nowadays, everybody can fly every week. The same will be true with spaceflight - there will be more tourists after me," he was quoted as saying by the Associated Press.

'Flight participant'

He was joined in his Soyuz capsule by Commander William McArthur from the US, and Russian Flight Engineer Valery Tokarev, who make up the 12th International Space Station crew.

The rocket entered orbit nine minutes after take-off, having shed three booster segments on schedule.

They are heading to the orbiting outpost to relieve Expedition 11, Sergei Krikalev and John Phillips, who have been in space since April.

'Tourist' doesn't do justice to all the work I've put in, or the work that the people at the Gagarin centre put in
Dr Gregory Olsen
Krikalev and Phillips will return to Earth along with Mr Olsen on 11 October.

Mr Olsen, 60, is the chief executive of New Jersey-based research firm Sensors Unlimited.

The company develops and produces high-sensitivity film and photo cameras and works with the US space agency, Nasa.

Apart from testing new Sensors Unlimited equipment in orbit, Mr Olsen plans to take a number of self-designed experiments. These will involve growing crystals on board the ISS and may have applications in his imaging business.

His trip, therefore, will be something of a working holiday - which is one reason why he prefers the term "space flight participant" to space tourist.

Tokarev labelled Mr Olsen as "scientific investigator of the International Space Station."

"The term 'tourist' doesn't do justice to all the work I've put in, or the work that the people at the Gagarin centre (outside Moscow) put in preparing us," Mr Olsen said.

However, he said: "I will not participate pretending that I'm an astronaut or cosmonaut. There is so much knowledge needed to operate this vehicle."

Commercial break

McArthur, 54, a retired US Army colonel, is a veteran of three space shuttle flights, including one to the ISS and one to the Russian space station Mir.

Tokarev, 52, a colonel in the Russian Air Force, has made one previous spaceflight, to the ISS aboard a space shuttle.

During their stay, Expedition 12 will do two or three spacewalks, to install equipment and carry out maintenance.

And alongside nearly four dozen scientific experiments to be conducted on the station, the two men will do some commercial filming for a Japanese TV advert about instant noodles.