Attacks on Indians in Australia are criminal attacks and NOT racist attacks

Another follow-up on the attacks on Indians in Australia

The major problem is that we all are ready to act like ‘educated fools’ and give in to what is being shown on TV by media. Though, I fully sympathize with what happened with Nitin Garg, I believe that the killer did not stop him to ask if he was an international student before attacking him. The major problem is that most students arriving from India come with the assurance that they have entered the ‘safest zone in the world’ which in reality is a fantasy. Most of us coming from India take this city/country for granted and that ‘nothing can happen to them’ and every spot is safe. I truly believe that Nitin should have been more responsible about which route to take to work. Nitin has been living in Australia for a while and would have been aware of how unsafe the area is. It is nothing more than common sense that ‘walking through a dark park in the vicinity of Footscray area is not the safest thing to do’. At the time and place of the crime, it is highly probable to encounter a mentally deranged / drug addict than an educated Australian in a ‘business suit’.

Whether Australia might be a very safe country, it is every person’s own responsibility to safeguard themselves and avoid dangerous situations. The attack would have been averted if he did not walk through the dark park shortcut. I only wish that Nitin would have made a smarter decision to go through an alternative route or taken the option of going in the car offered by his friend. Nitin paid a heavy price with his life to make most students realise to avoid any such dangerous situations.

The recent abuses are the after effects of the Indian media branding Australia as a racist nation in front of the world. What was the Indian media thinking when they published ‘Australian police office in ku klax klan dress’ ??? Did they believe publishing something like this will make things easier for the Indians in Australia ??? This will only increase anger and agitation against the Indians, triggering attacks on Indians for defaming the Australians worldwide.

Another thing that irritates me is the sudden interest/concern of the Indian media for the Indians living in Australia. Every single abuse, small or big makes it to the news headlines. I find this extremely silly and poor journalism as there are no recorded statements from both parties. It is irresponsible journalism to state one side of the story and make them headlines, misleading the readers. In the past two years, the Indians have had an exponential growth in Australia and taxi drivers will always be soft targets at odd hours that they work such as on weekends from 1am – 5am. Most of the passengers at these hours are drunk and such situations have always been common. Most taxi drivers know of such risks and still take their chances as they need to pay for their everyday expenses. I have never heard an IT professional or an accountant being racial abused at work. It would be racism if there are job advertisements or boards displayed around the city that ‘Indians are NOT welcome’. As I have been living here for a few years, I am amazed to see that how the attention has shifted to Australia from USA or UK. I guess the Indian TV viewing public was bored with those country news and Australia seemed perfect meat. I would like to know where the media was when Indians were regularly creating trouble at nightclubs and having open brawls with bouncers or security guards, to which I have been an eye-witness myself many a times. It never made it to the TV when two Indian students were involved in assaulting an Indian woman at a nightclub which led to a massive brawl which resulted in bloodshed. The Victorian Police had to break up the fight and action was taken against the offenders. Another incident that happened a few years ago and never made it to the Indian channels, is of a student breaking a whisky bottle on a head of a neighbour and twice requested him to turn the loud music down on a weeknight. The student was so drunk and went into fit of anger breaking the bottle on his head and killing him. He took the next flight back to India, never to be found. Not too long back, another incident never made it to headlines is of Puneet who was under the influence of alcohol hit an Australian in the middle of the Melbourne city with his speeding car. Not only he never felt guilty about killing an innocent person, he cheated the Australian authorities to take off from the country on a fake passport, never to be found AGAIN.

In the end, stop raising fingers and making pointless claims. Even though, Indian authorities claim that the Indians are being racial abused, I don’t hear planes full of Indian students flying back to a ‘safer’ India. Even if a taxi driver is racially abused, he is more than keen to put on his uniform and get on the road again. Wouldn’t it make more sense for that driver to rush to India and leave the ‘racist’ country of India.

Stop being an educated fool and stop blaming the whole country for something which is only a ‘chain reaction of events gone bad’.


Diamond’s – This man’s best friend

For a traditional diamantaire, Mehul Choksi is on unfamiliar territory. Unlike his brethren from the $10-billion diamond cutting and exporting business who haven’t moved from the old, crowded diamond hub near Opera House in South Mumbai, Choksi operates from the city’s latest financial district. Two years ago, he gave up eye glasses and the assortment table for a chic office to play host to high profile guests, mostly Bollywood actors. He talks of brands, advertising expenditure and balance sheet, something his hush-hush industry has often shied away from.

Even as his peers continue to hunch over the table sorting out prime diamonds, the 50-year-old college dropout — whose clothes come stitched from Hong Kong with his initials embroidered on them — talks passionately about making jewelry, branding and selling them through retail outlets. “The next LVMH (the international luxury group with brands like Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior) will be born out of India,” says Choksi, managing director of the Mumbai-based Gitanjali Gems.

Choksi is already the largest integrated diamond jewelry retailer in India with brands like Nakshatra, D’damas and Gilli under his belt. He also has over 150 retail stores in the US by virtue of two acquisitions his company made last year, which sell well known brands.

He has a flashy ambition. He is aiming to be the world’s biggest jewelry retailer, growing bigger than Tiffany, which had net sales of $2.86 billion last year and has over 200 exclusive stores; at the same time, create a group full of well known brands, something on the lines of LVMH, which owns 50 brands netting it over 17 billion euros in revenue in 2008. For Gitanjali, Choksi unabashedly talks of revenues of $5 billion from his 60-odd brands, from the current consolidated sales of $1.2 billion in the next “few years.”

By any standards, that’s a tall order. Even more so, if you read a little deeper into Gitanjali Gem’s financial statements for 2008-9. The company sold goods worth Rs. 2,700 crore, 40 percent of it on consignment basis for which it gets paid upfront. Its sundry debtors owed it Rs. 1,600 crore, nearly as much as its remaining sales. Its long term loans stood at Rs. 1,600 crore and the company had an inventory of Rs. 700 crore. A mere look would tell you that the company’s cash is not gainfully employed and any default from debtors may well send it into a financial quagmire.

Choksi says though export sales of diamonds were a problem last year due to the slowdown, his sales realisations have long led times. He also wants to be classified as a retail company, as he is making substantial investments in building a chain of stores and associated infrastructure. Says Choksi: “Our business model is changing and some of (the) legacy is reflected in the numbers.”

There is some proof to back up Choksi’s claim. Next week, Gitanjali is opening a sprawling 10,000 square feet retail outlet in a plush south Mumbai mall. He has leased up a dozen more places in the last couple of months when real estate was available cheap to enlarge his retail presence. “Our confidence stems from the fact that our retail jewelry business has been growing more than 20 percent even during the downturn. We want to be there when the tide turns,” says G.K. Nair, Gitanjali’s executive director and in charge of finance.

Though most of the growth in the jewelry business came in recent years, Choksi saw the writing on the wall pretty early. Choksi realized that he was in the lowest end of the value chain, whereas more than 70 percent of the additional value accrued to the companies that sold those diamonds in branded jewelry. According to the International Diamond and Jewelry Exchange, or IDEX, in 2006-07, rough diamonds of $7 billion in the mines were worth $19.8 billion after they were cut and polished by the likes of Gitanjali. They value increased exponentially to $73 billion when they got sold in stores across the world.

Today, jewelry accounts for 40 percent of Gitanjali’s sales but Nair expects that the diamond business to eventually contribute just 20 percent of its increased sales. The company’s retail jewelry sales are growing fast too, thanks to the fast growth of retailing through malls and shopping arcades. But the icing on the cake lies in the profitability. According to a senior industry official, diamond companies profit margins lie between 2-3 percent, compared to 9-12 percent for jewelry companies. Gitanjali’s net margins at 8 percent already seem to indicate that trend.

It wasn’t easy. In an industry known to work more on oral contracts than written ones, Choksi’s move to bring in a corporate-like structure at Gitanjali had been beset with hurdles.

It also didn’t help that the industry is eyed with suspicion and its detractors talk in hush tones about money laundering and “terror money” finding its way into the business. “Back then, about 15 years ago, if I had known the industry as well as I do today, I might have not taken up Mr. Choksi’s offer,” says Nair.

The initial public offering (IPO) in 2006 was a particularly difficult affair. Its two lead managers, known names in the financial world, backed out in the last minute citing “reputation” problems with the diamond industry. Gitanjali went ahead with the IPO with a new lead manager and mopped up the targeted Rs. 330 crore. A year later, the same two lead managers came back and asked to be part of Gitanjali’s latest fund raising initiatives — a $110 million foreign currency convertible bond and a $180 million global depository receipt. They were politely refused. Gitanjali had made a statement.

Choksi also had to go against the tradition and push his business through branding. Though the Gujarati businessman already had 15 brands under him by 1997, it was only after DTC — the trading arm of miner De Beers — introduced Nakshatra in India in 2000, that Choksi had an opportunity to hone his skills in actually building a popular brand.

DTC’s retailing model — giving consignment rights to its site holders like Gitanjali to sell the brand through family-owned retail shops — backfired. Its products didn’t have uniform prices and the site holders and the retailers were under no obligation to sell the brand in preference to their own jewelry items. After four years, Nakshatra had logged only Rs. 7 crore in annual sales. The South African company changed tack and handed over the management to Gitanjali Gems, the most experienced among the site holders in selling branded jewelry.

Realising that he needed to do something out of the box to drive Nakshatra, Choksi brought in Samsika Marketing Consultants. The Jagdeep Kapoor-led consultancy advised Choksi to use the fast-moving consumer goods model to sell Nakshatra, a blasphemous advice for the then marketing team that was full of jewelers. They revolted but Choksi ignored them. He got in a new marketing team with experience in selling FMCG products. He opened zonal offices, set up a team of designers, introduced new product lines and tied up with big retail chains like Shopper’s Stop to sell his brand. Over the years, the move has paid dividends.

In 2008, the Katrina Kaif-endorsed premium luxury brand had sales of Rs. 250 crore. This year, it is expected to hit Rs. 400 crore and become the biggest jewelry brand in the country. Last year, Gitanjali Gems completely bought out Nakshatra for Rs. 100 crore. “Today all our brands follow the FMCG model,” says Amrish Masalia, CEO of Brightest Circle Jewellery Pvt. Ltd., the Gitanjali subsidiary that owns Nakshatra. But Gitanjali’s scorching growth, from $300 million in 2005 to $1.2 billion in 2008, has got the industry hooked.

Now he wants to double the retail presence in the US. Similarly in China, where it has production facilities, it is planning to double its retail network to 100 stores. In West Asia, Gitanjali has tied up with Damas International to open 100 stories in another three years. There are talks about a billion dollar acquisition in the US.

Choksi has changed from a diamond trader to a globetrotting executive with the same penchant for board room discussions as for Page 3 parties attended by Bollywood celebrities (25 of whom are his brand ambassadors). The continued branding media blitzkrieg sucks out about Rs. 500 crore a year. Out of his many brands, only about five are profitable. Another three to four have broken even but not made considerable money.

Choksi never sounded more confident. “Tiffany is a brand for classes, but we have brands for masses. Each of my brands should have its own identity and not known for their association with Gitanjali Gems. Each day three to four outlets will be added and a new brand will be launched every few months.” The confidence is reflected in his move to increase prices of his brands when others were slashing to stimulate demand. For Mehul Choksi hasn’t believed in retaining the status quo.

London Dreams

London Dream – *ing: Salman Khan, Ajay Devgan and Asin

I am excited to watch because:
– it is directed by one of my fav directors Vipul Shah (Aankhen, Waqt, Namaste London)
– Ajay Devgan in an intense role after mindless comedies
– Salman Khan plays a rockstar
– Asin’s second Bollywood movie after a great debut in Ghajini
– It marks the debut of ‘Rannvijay Singh’ of MTV & Roadies fame. He is extremely talented and would love to see him perform on the big screen.

The trailer seems interesting but reminds me of the old Amitabh-Amjad Khan movie ‘Yaarana’ where one friend is ready to give it all up for the success of the other. I don’t mind remakes as long as its done well and entertains. Have a look and enjoy it.

40 hour Famine – How much will you donate ?

over 25,000
children die EVERYDAY from hunger and preventable diseases.

over 900 million
people are chronically hungry around the world.

approximately 1.4 billion
live in extreme poverty.


These are not just mere facts or numbers but a lot of pain and suffering. For most of us, hunger is something that lasts only for minutes, hours or till our next meal is prepared or served. This is not the case for almost a billion people, those who are not even certain of when are they going to eat their next FULL meal. We are fortunate enough to be living in one of the developed countries of the world and do not have to worry about hunger. We are also fortunate to be in a situation/position to help and serve people apart from our family. Lets make use of this situation and support organisations like World Vision to feed and support these people and help save lives as well.

This year I’m biting back at the Global Food Crisis and doing the 40 Hour Famine. I’m giving up food for 40 hours to raise money to help hungry kids on the 21 – 23 August 2009 !!

I request you to join me in feeding these hungry kids or providing them with the basic necessities of life.

Please help out by donating on You can enter by famine number 671049591. It does not take long. Remember, it is not about how much money you donate, but about how much you care about human life apart from the ones you are related to.

Thank you for supporting and helping hungry kids!!

P.S. Donations are tax deductible depending on your personal tax position. The minimum amount is $2. You will receive a tax receipt via email as soon as you’ve made the donation.

Top 20 Bollywood Songs – Heard ’em all ??

Yash Blogs presents the list of Top 20 Bollywood songs playing around India. Heard them all ?? Any fav’s in there ? Let us in the comments box. Tell us about a song that does not feature here and deserves to be in here. Enjoy !

1. Chor Bazari / Love Aaj Kal

Niraj Shridhar, Sunidhi Chauhan

2. Dhan Te Nan / Kaminey

Sukhwinder Singh, Vishal Dadlani & Robert Bob Omule

3. Pehli Baar Mohabbat / Kaminey

Mohit Chauhan

4. Aahun Aahun / Love Aaj Kal

Saleem, Neeraj Shridhar & Suzie Q

5. Twist / Love Aaj Kal

Neeraj Shridhar

6. Ye Doorian / Love Aaj Kal

Mohit Chauhan

7. Khudaya Ve / Luck

Salim Merchant

8. Raat Ke Dhai Baje / Kaminey

Suresh Wadkar, Rekha Bhardwaj, Sunidhi Chauhan & Kunal Ganjawala

9. Om Mangalam / Kambakkht Ishq


10. Hai Junoon / New York


11. Aaya Re / Jashnn – The Music Within


12. Kuke Kuke / Life Partner

Shaan, Debojeet Daata & Antara Mitra

13. Tu Ne Jo Na Kaha / New York

Mohit Chauhan

14. Ajj Din Chadheya / Love Aaj Kal

Rahat Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

15. Jee Le / Luck

Shruti Pathak & Naresh Kamath

16. Genda Phool / Delhi-6

Rekha Bharadwaj, Shraddha Pandit & Sujata Mazumdar

17. Masakalli / Delhi-6

Mohit Chauhan

18. Nazrein Karam / Jashnn – The Music Within

KK & Shreya Ghoshal

19 Tennu Le / Jai Veeru

Omer Inayat

20. Lakh Lakh / Kambakkht Ishq

Neeraj Shridhar

A Great Indian mystery solved

Finally, a great Indian mystery solved

For centuries, Hindu women have worn a dot on their foreheads. Most of us
naively thought this was connected with marriage or religion.

The Indian High Commission in Canberra recently revealed the true story.

When a Hindu woman gets married, she brings a dowry into the union.
On her wedding night, the husband scratches off the dot to see whether he
has won:-
A – a taxi licence in Adelaide,
B – a convenience store in Melbourne,
C – a service station in Perth,
D – a kebab shop in Brisbane, or
E – a take-away cafe in Sydney.

If there is nothing there, he must take a job in India answering
telephones giving technical advice to Telstra and Optus customers in

Source: Indian High Commission, Canberra

What does your facebook status reveal about your emotional state?

Believe it or not, but your facebook status can say a lot more than you write. If you are a regular facebook status updater (sounds like a new profession) like me, it can say a lot about your personality. Most of the time you are unaware of what it might filter out to the other person reading it. As everyone looks at one thing differently, it is funny how and what your status update would seem to the person reading it. Also, a lot of people you havn’t met for a long time, also get a feel of your personality or the emotional state you are going through and then you see a barrage of supportive comments start to pour through. Amazing !

Have a quick read of how some of the status updates might appear to others. Funny Read but makes sense.

The boaster
They say: “James is sipping cocktails in Hawaii.”
Desired message:I’m on an expensive, exotic holiday without a care in the world.
Real message: Look at me, look at me. My life really is much more fabulous than yours.

The attention-seeker
They say: “Sarah is still feeling down. Sigh”
Desired message: I’ve been feeling a bit low but don’t worry about me.
Real message: I’m really quite needy and would like some attention from you.

The intriguer
They say “Jess has had the weirdest experience.”
Desired message: Jess’ life is a bit random and interesting.
Real message: I have a story (that I think in interesting) and I want you to ask me about it.

The emotionally fragile
They say: “Ruby is feeling a little teary after the break-up but all’s good.”
Desired message: Ruby is sad but is a real trooper
Real message: Ruby hates her ex and cannot stop crying.

The angry one
They say: “Gareth is argh, I hate the world today.”
Desired message: I feel frustrated today — are you with me?
Real message: I’m short-tempered and want you all to back off. Scary.

The practical one
They say: “John has lost his phone, let me know your number.”
Desired message: I value all your friendships and want your numbers back so we can keep in touch.
Real message: Finally, I might get my hands on Kate’s mobile number.

The vain one
They say: “Olivia says hello cream cakes bye bye hips.”
Desired message: I love eating and don’t care about my weight.
Real message: Look at me, I’m thin, beautiful and can eat what I want. Please compliment me.

The shameless promoter
They say: “Andy is looking forward to seeing you at his DJ night at Alpha.”
Desired message: Running a great night and it would be fun to see you there.
Real message: Please, please come. Only three people turned up at the last night.

The career show-off
They say: “Sonia gets to interview Brad Pitt”.
Desired message: Work is going well and wanted you to know about my upcoming interview.
Real message: Look how fabulous my job is while the rest of you are writing about the farmer’s market in the local rag.

The family man/woman
They say: “Vivian thinks baby Burt gets cuter every day.”
Desired message: Just wanted to let you all know, the baby is doing well.
Real message: I have the best-looking baby ever. Takes after his mum. Seriously.

The bore
They say: “Conner has just made toast.”
Desired message: Conner has just made toast.
Real message: Conner is extremely, extremely dull. And has just made toast.


Add any if you have in mind in the comments section. Lets see how creative or funny your facebook status updates can be.