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Sunday, October 18, 2009

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Alex Curran lets it all hang out in Miami after snubbing Wayne and Coleen's big day
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Media: Screen queen

Tanvir Gill is a 25-year-old who looks like she is 12. Or so say people on a blog that shows up when you run a Google search on her.

The content of the blog, dedicated to "profiling and discussing the hottest and sexiest TV anchor babes around the world", may be highly uncensored, but points to the celebrity-like status of Gill, anchor and researcher for CNBC-TV18.

For her part, Gill is amused by the comment on the blog, hosted from Vancouver in Canada. "I do look younger than my age, but I found this comment really funny," she said, still confused why she should be a point of discussion at all "My friends who live abroad also say that viewers there can't believe I'm 25."

But Gill is also careful not to let the younger-than-her-years image detract from the hard work she's putting into her job. She recalled some words of encouragement. "A colleague at office said to me, 'Even if people think you look like a teenager, the fact is that the world is listening to you.'"

And the world - at least the business world - is listening to Gill. Easily one of the youngest TV anchors in India -Gill hosts morning shows like "Your Stocks" and "Mid Cap Radar". She is a National Stock Exchange-certified 'Mutual Funds Stocks Advisor.'

"I'm no celebrity," said Gill. "I have been recognised near Nariman Point, but that's because our target audience is concentrated in that area." One might say Gill typifies what's required of a journalist - focus, drive and a passion for news. "One of the perks of my job is that I get to meet many high-profile people who come on our shows; I learn a lot from them."

The journey so far
When you watch Gill discussing market trends with CEOs, or shooting a volley of questions to stockbrokers on television, it's hard to believe that she has little formal training in journalism or news anchoring. Or that the MBA graduate who grew up in Mumbai and Delhi barely made the cut for the general knowledge test when she interviewed for her first job three years ago at Headlines Today in Delhi. The editor from the TV Today Network, which runs the news channel, did call Gill after the audition, but only to tell her that her general knowledge was abysmal. But one thing about Gill had struck him - her confidence and the willingness to learn. Gill landed the job. "Luck had a role to play," said Gill.

But the rise in her career graph has little to do with luck. While her MBA background helped her grasp the world of business, she doggedly honed her skills as a journalist, keeping herself abreast of current affairs and learning on the job.

Seven months into the job, Gill had already been spotted. CNBC-TV18 offered her a job as anchor-researcher in Mumbai. She accepted, and said it was the best thing to have happened to her. "I have my boss, Udayan Mukherjee, (executive editor, CNBC-TV18) and his team to thank for giving me the right opportunities at the right time," said Gill. "But it's not as easy as it sounds. There's a lot of hard work and dedication involved. I still have a lot to learn."

While Gill puts in the hard work and arduous hours required to do her job, she also values her time off work. "Being part of business news has its advantages," she conceded. "I get most weekends off because the markets are closed, something that anchors of general news bulletins don't always get."

Being part of a fast-paced and fiercely competitive industry hasn't changed Gill's innate disposition; she's a happy-go-lucky person who spends time working out and dancing whenever she gets a chance. "I like to have a work-life balance," she said. "I absolutely love dancing, and if I hadn't been a news anchor, I would have taken up dancing on a professional level."

While she doesn't know where television will eventually take her, she does know that she's enjoying herself thoroughly right now.

From the looks of it
Her fans call her "Tanu", according one of them, who has uploaded a video clip of her on YouTube. The same "fan" also calls her a Katie Holmes look-alike, though Gill disagrees.

Gill isn't all about being pretty (though the good looks do help.) "I don't want to deny that looks are important in the television business," she said. "But if only people could see what goes on behind the camera. An entire research team works to script a show and make it useful for the viewer."

Certainly not just another pretty face, Gill is in her office at 7 every morning, waiting to take the day's load. "My job is not about reading news off a teleprompter," she said. "I participate in the research. You have to know the subject and think on your feet, especially in breaking news situations."

The sense of accountability is evident in her voice, on air and off it. "I treat it as a serious responsibility. A lot of hard-earned money is at stake, and investors count on us to guide them."

Once on air, Gill forgets that she's facing the camera. "If I think about the fact that behind this camera are a million people watching me, I will not be able to utter a word," she said. "So the key thing is to focus on asking the right questions to the guests and conveying the right answers to the viewers."

If the rising number of viewers tuning in to her shows is any indication, Gill is definitely asking the right questions.
****
Consumer Protection

Consumer Protection Act – The Cornerstone of Consumer Movement

The need for empowerment of consumers as a class cannot be overemphasised and is already well recognised all over the world. The level of awareness of the consumer can be taken as an indicator of the progress of a country. Hence recognising the need for equipping a consumer, to be vigilant and empowered with respect to his rights as a consumer, the concept of celebrating National Consumer Day emerged and there could have been no other better day than celebrating it on 24th December every year to commemorate the enactment of Consumer Protection Act in the year 1986 which has proved a cornerstone in the history of consumer movement in the country.

Basic features of Consumer Protection Act

Government enacted the Consumer Protection Act (COPRA) in 1986 to provide a simple, speedy, and inexpensive redressal mechanism to address the grievances of the consumers which has been not only preventive in nature but also compensatory in nature. The Section 6 of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 has defined six basic rights of the consumers :-
i. Right to safety
ii. Right to information
iii. Right to choice
iv. Right to representation
v. Right to redressal
vi. Right to consumer education.
What constitutes a Consumer?
Section 2(d) of the Act defines consumer as a person who buys, hires or avails of any goods or services for a consideration which has been paid or promised or partly paid or promised. According to Section 2(d)ii of the Act the term consumer also includes the user of such goods or beneficiary of such services. Thus as per this definition even a child purchasing chocolate is a consumer.
The term consumer, however, does not include a person who obtains such goods and the services for resale or for any other commercial purpose.
Common problems faced by Consumers
With liberalisation and globalisation and greater thrust towards privatisation accompanied with heightened awareness on account of increased availability of information and media exposure today’s consumer has changed radically. There is a growing concern for environment protection and healthy consumption. At the same time the consumer wants greater value for the money spent by him. However, inspite of best efforts during the course of consumption a consumer may encounter many problems. Some of the significant problems are listed below :-
· Adulteration
· Spurious goods
· Use of deceptive/incorrect rates
· Supply related problems
· Variation in the contents of the packet
· Defective goods
· Poor after sales services
· Deficiency of service
· Not-honouring the terms and conditions of sales and service
· Non-fulfilment of guarantee/warrantee
·Misleading advertisements
·Hidden prices components
.Price discrimination
· MRP
Grievance Redressal mechanism under CPA
An aware consumer can approach Consumer Protection Act at three different levels. For complaints that involve payment of compensation upto Rs. 20 lakh, the consumer can approach District Consumer Court. For complaints above Rs. 20 lakh but less than 1 crore, consumers can approach State Consumer Commission. For complaints above one crore, the aggrieved person will need to approach the National Commission for redressal of his grievance.
Documents required for complaints
In order to substantiate complaints the consumers should have following documents :-

* Cash memo/receipt
* Warranty card duly signed and stamped by the vendor/company
* Catalogue/brochure of the concerned product/service
* Insurance policy, if applicable
* Job card if applicable
* Invoice
* Who can file a complaint?
* A complaint can be filed by

* A consumer to whom goods are sold or delivered or agreed to be sold or delivered or such services provided or agreed to be provided.
* A Voluntary Consumer Organisation (VCO)
* The Central Government
* The State Government, Union Territory Administration
* One or more consumers where they are of same interest
* In case of death of consumer, his/her legal heir or representatives
* Grounds to File a Complaint

Any allegation in writing made by the complainant against the trader or service provider should enlist :-



* Adoption of any unfair trade practice or restrictive trade practice.
* The goods bought or agreed to be bought suffer from one or more defects.
* Services hired/availed, or agreed to be hired/availed, suffer from any deficiency.
* The trader has charged for the goods or services a price in excess of the stipulated price i.e. MRP or displayed on goods or on the package.
* The goods or services being offered to the public are hazardous to life and safety.



Limitation period

A complaint can be filed within two years from the date on which the cause of action has arisen. However, a complaint may be entertained after the period if the complainant had sufficient cause for not filing the complaint within such period by recording its reason for condoning such delay.
Format of Complaint
A complaint filed in the District Forum should contain the following information :-

· The name, description and the address of the complainant

· The name, description and address of the opposite party or parties

· The facts relating to the complaint and when and where it arises.

· Documents, if any, in support of the allegations contained in the complaint.

· The relief, which the complainant is seeking.
Maximum Retail Price

The concept of maximum retail price (MRP) has not really been very well understood by the consumer. Issues relating to MRP could be broadly summed up as below :-

* MRP has in most cases been used as a price at which the retailer sells the goods. In a sense the MRP has become Minimum Retail Price. However, few retailers cut marginally in the MRP.

* MRP are fixed by the manufacturer and not by the Government. However, a large number of consumers have been made to believe that MRP is fixed by the Government. In some cases MRP is followed by local taxes etc. which is totally illegal.
* Role of regulators in helping the consumers

The battle for consumer protection has to be fought by many agencies. The Consumer Protection Act has been rightly defined as the “Magna Carta of Consumers”. However, since the authority of products and services available in the market is huge the Central Government has realised the importance of regulating the functioning of important industries in public interest. Industry regulators have been set up in various sectors so as to enable the consumers suitable redressal on their grievance pertaining to these industries :-

S.No.


Industry


Regulator

1.


Banks


Reserve Bank of India

2.


Insurance


Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority

3.


Telecom


Telecom Regulator Authority of India and TDSAT

4.


Capital Markets


Securities and exchange Board of India (SEBI)

5.


Electricity


Central and State Electricity Regulatory Commissions



Independent regulatory agencies are empowered to regulate the specific industry relevant to their area of function. Regulators are meant to be independent in not just by the political establishment but from the market players as well. Ability of an institution to deliver consistent regulatory environment over time and their level playing field for all stake holders is a crucial determinant of regulatory efficiency.



Need is also being felt for setting up regulatory mechanism for other service sector agencies such as broadcast and cable, airport and others.



CPA – What has been achieved?



Thanks to the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, our country has a vibrant consumer movement today due to the efforts of Government, consumer organisations and the establishment of consumer courts. India is the only country in the world which has exclusive courts for consumer redressal. This has been internationally praised including the developed countries. The Consumer Protection Act has succeeded in brining about fair play in the supply of goods and services to a large extended. However, the rapid changes in the consumption pattern of the modern day consumer is bringing new challenges in the consumer movement in the country.



The changing face of Indian Consumer



The rise of the young and urban consumer has been a feature of India’s economic transformation for the past decade and median age of consumer is mid-twenties. This young group of consumers is not nervous in shelling out on credit for pricy global brands. In rural areas, the massive market of 700 million people is attracting the global companies to make a beeline for India.

Young Population



15-34





0-14





Highest proportion of population below 35 years (70%) in India…



Changing consumer demographic



l Increasingly affluent, with bulging middle class

l The youngest population in the world

l Increasing literacy levels

l Higher adaptability to technology

l Urbanization is a continuing trend

l Increasing "consumption" mindset in India



How effective have been the Consumer Courts!



While a lot has been written about delays in disposal of consumer cases, the actual statistics speak otherwise. As on 28.02.07, the overall disposal was 90.33% in respect of District Fora, 72.31% in respect of State Commissions and 80.6% in respect of the National Commission. On pursuing the overall disposal rate, it is clear that the high disposal rate of cases in consumer courts is a trend setter for all quasi judicial organisations.



S.No.


Name of Agency


Cases filed since inception


Cases disposed of since inception


Cases Pending


% of total Disposal

1.


National Commission


45798


36914


8884


80.60%

2.


State Commissions


392978


284154


108824



*****

Brian Charles Lara
Born May 2, 1969, Cantaro, Santa Cruz, Trinidad
Batting style Left-hand bat
Bowling style Legbreak googly

"I want to be remembered as an entertainer," Lara said while announcing his retirement at Bridgetown.

Truly Lara is a great entertainer.

Brian Lara the 10th of 11 children, learnt his game at the Harvard Coaching Clinic, where he was enrolled at the age of six, and although at school he played for Trinidad's junior football and table tennis side, it was cricket which really drew him. Aged 14, he made 745 runs at 126.16, earning him selection for the Trinidad Under-16 team. A year later he was in the West Indies Under-19 side. In 1990, aged 20, Lara became Trinidad and Tobago's youngest captain, leading them to victory in the Geddes Grant Shield. In that year he made his Test debut, scoring 44 and 6 against Pakistan. No-one since Bradman has built massive scores as often and as fast as Lara in his pomp. Even his stance was thrilling - the bat raised high in the air, the weight poised on a bent front knee, the eyes low and level. Then the guillotine would fall, sending the ball flashing to the boundary. In the space of two months in 1994, Lara's 375 and 501 not out broke world records for the highest Test and first-class scores, but sudden fame turned him into a confused and contradictory figure.


What do they know of genius who only its flaws know? No contemporary cricketer has invoked the word so commonly; none has had it so consistently prefaced by the word flawed than Brian Lara.

A genius, by definition, demonstrates exceptional creativity or ability. Romanticism saw it as a driving force that was beyond a person's control, almost identical with the Classical notion of genius as divine madness. Writing that Garfield Sobers was as typical of West Indian cricketers as one could get, CLR James invoked another concept of genius that linked it with the dominant spirit of a place - its essence.

"All geniuses are merely people who carry to an extreme definitive the characteristics of the unit of civilization to which they belong," he said. Simply put, genius is exceptional, extreme and talented. One might even add: obsessive.

When we describe its behaviour as eccentricities or flaws; what we might term its failings, we are really trying to draw a phenomenon into manageable frameworks for our understanding. We are looking with ordinary eyes at something that lives at extraordinary boundaries.



Applauding the batting of Brian Lara, we summon the word genius to describe him and his feats. What we have seen out there in the middle is the result of a mind driven by an obsession. A child, little bigger than his bat, standing by the road hoping to get a ride to practice. A thin young thing who would bat at marbles, who would wear out his little army of bowlers because he never wanted to stop. He wanted to be the best and he worked untiringly at it, following his path, heedless of the consequences that would become the tragic touchstone of his career.


Like his methods or not, it is primarily through Lara that West Indies cricket has lifted its ante and become a sport with money for players. What Kerry Packer pioneered in the late 1970s with his World Series Cricket that revolutionised income levels was taken to maturity by Lara's success and his close attention to maximising revenue


Hardly anyone needs convincing that it is a single problem - Laraesque or otherwise - eroding West Indies cricket. If you take them all into consideration, they amount to a decaying culture of decadence. West Indies cricket has been living on borrowed time, shamelessly plundering the spoils of a past generation without any real effort to create its own halo.

Take him on the field, that incredible appetite for runs: not only has he scored more runs than any other Test batsman in history; he has scored the biggest hundreds, all of them thrilling, yet patiently constructed. How does one reconcile this with the flashing temperament of our contemporary players who can provide little more than a spot of excitement before succumbing to yet another injudicious stroke? Lara has been both builder and destroyer - to the extreme.

He has the capacity, the stamina and the focus to build massive innings more consistently than any other player. He has carried West Indies cricket for many years. In its darkest hours, you have to admit that if Lara were not on the team, few would pay money to watch the Windies play. It must have been a heavy load.

In his long career, he has built many rooms for the house of cricket, kept it alive even when its breaths were shallow. He has been the inspiration for many young cricketers. At the same time, just as he has often presented two conflicting faces to the world, he has been a great destroyer. Destructive to bowlers and devastating captains as he demolishes their best bowlers and finds every gap in the field.

Within his own camp he has been accused of countless misdeeds, some say he has been more destructive than constructive. As divided as he seems, so too has he been divisive. We have loved and hated him just as much as he must have loved and hated us. For people like Lara, carrying the mantle of hero must be to perpetually stand in solitude - even in a crowded party. Who understands you? Who is your friend? Your every gesture is open to misinterpretation, your every move the subject of rumour and speculation. His has always been a guarded veneer; innocence and trust abandoned his face very early. The possessive public etched its own lines onto his demeanour and in a society that cannot yet decide what it wants of its heroes, or its leaders, the lines have no clear shape.


We know that he has left a legacy. In cricket he has been a sparkling champion. He has been a sublime sportsman, never defacing his sanctum. Yet his behaviour has been baffling and distressing at times, making it hard to form a consistent image of the whole. Truth is, we are all some of this and some of that - Brian Lara takes it to the extreme.

The perfect genius.

One of the most enigmatic characters in world cricket, Brian Charles Lara's batting was intriguing, and at times obtrusive too. His style was unique, and he was a master of all conditions and a reliable match-winner.

He was the best against the best, unpretentious and a pure joy to watch. Brian Charles Lara was a master at the crease; a batsman with qualities that placed him among the all-time greats of the game.

If ever there was a batsman after Don Bradman and Viv Richards who terrorised the bowlers, it was Lara. He wielded such a destructive bat that left the opposition wounded and demoralised. Such was his dominance that he could propel a contest on an electrifying course with ridiculous ease. He could rattle an in-form bowler and demoralise him.



He was a player who had no fear of failure. The most significant feature of his batting was that he never allowed the occasion to dominate him. He had his own set of rules.

The signs of greatness were evident early in Lara's career when he made his first class debut for Trinidad and Tobago against Barbados, falling eight runs short of a century against an attack that included Malcolm Marshall and Joel Garner. It marked the beginning of a journey that put him alongside some of the most exciting batsmen in the game.

One of the most enigmatic characters in world cricket, Lara's batting was intriguing, and at times obtrusive too. His style was unique, and he was a master of all conditions and a reliable match-winner.

His monumental run-making was always interesting to watch and his spirit to excel was the lone bright spot in the West Indies cricket for the past so many years.

Most critics acknowledge Lara's mastery while playing on bad pitches. It is a reflection of his batting skills that bowlers always dreaded the sight of him even when they managed to extract the maximum advantage from the pitch. Even on wickets where the other batsmen struggled, Lara would middle the ball with ease. That was one reason why his batting brought endless joy to the spectators around the world.

Sachin Tendulkar always marvelled at Lara's capacity to make big scores. In his childhood, the Indian maestro loved playing for a weak side in neighbourhood matches because it put extra pressure on him to perform. "It was always a joy to do well against a stronger opposition," Tendulkar would say. It was similar in Lara's case as he was forced to play for a weak side, not in neighbourhood matches but at the highest level in international cricket.

As Ian Chappell recently pointed out, playing for a weak team was tough for Lara because he was often fighting a losing battle. It was unfortunate that even after scoring 600 runs Lara ended up on the losing side in a three-Test series in Sri Lanka as the host prepared treacherous pitches to help its off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan. Very few batsmen have fared so brilliantly in the most adverse conditions as Lara took his batting skills to great heights.

History has witnessed many batsmen with fascinating skills dominating the game, but few can match Lara's aggression and confidence. At times he might have come off as an arrogant man at the crease but then he always backed himself to perform, and he rarely failed. It was a delight to see him dancing down the pitch to the spinners. It was so audacious and effective as he made the last-second adjustments to despatch the ball over extra cover or mid-on. It was also breathtaking to watch Lara pick the ball literally out of the wicketkeeper's gloves to unleash a late cut. Often he would daringly whip across the line, the bowler jumping in anticipation only to watch the ball being deftly caressed to its destination. He was a master of timing.

In the words of Ian Chappell, Lara shall remain the greatest under-achiever too. The fact was endorsed by the great Viv Richards too. "He did not realise his potential," he wrote, and rightly so. Lara played to entertain, not to accumulate runs for individual honours. He was the Mozart of batting, creating symphonies as he elevated the art of batting to a new high. Lara did not believe in brutal annihilation of the bowling. He had his own way of dominating the contest and it was simply amazing that he could do it single-handedly. To have scored 277 in only his fifth Test match and a world record 375 in only his 16th is a testimony to his greatness. The same year he also scored that mind-blowing 501 not out against Durham. Though he lost the world record to Australia's Matthew Hayden, he regained the mark in his 106th Test, slamming 400 not out against England.

A look at his list of 350 plus scores reveals the significance of Lara's knocks. They came against better bowling attacks, especially the 400 not out which the West Indian scored during England's resurgence as a cricketing nation.

The best part of Lara's batting was the purity that marked his strokeplay. He drove nonchalantly, pulled imperiously and cut delicately. And his defence was very compact. He truly personified attractive batsmanship.

Glenn McGrath, Anil Kumble, Shane Warne, Muttiah Muralitharan, Allan Donald... the list of bowlers who valued Lara's scalp the most is very long. The mighty West Indian knew how to decimate attacks. Sadly, captaincy was one aspect that Lara failed to grasp. He was often accused of being aloof, self-centred and very demanding as a captain, but it was also true that Lara found it increasingly difficult to come to terms with the administrators on various issues. However, he never let his colleagues down, standing by them in the most exacting situations. He may have been unpopular with some of his team-mates but then a genius would always want to have his way.

One should also realise that it was just not easy for Lara to keep going when after having done so much for his team he got little support from his team-mates.

Lara, after all, was a batsman who had to be taught little during his career. To make others understand the gravity of the situation and to help them tune their skills would not have been easy and he probably gave up trying to do so somewhere down the line before one final effort towards the fag end of his glorious career. Lara was confident that his side was good enough to make the semifinals of the World Cup at home, but West Indies' disappointing show was too much to take for the great sportsman. In fact, earlier he had announced that he would be retiring from ODIs after the World Cup, but soon followed it up with his decision to quit Test cricket too. It definitely is not the best way to end a glittering career.

If Lara was a part of the decline of West Indies cricket, it was his misfortune. Again at the cost of being repetitive, one would like to remember Ian Chappell, who said in defence of Lara, "The West Indies would still have lost as many matches even if Viv (Richards) would have been in the team." The bowlers under Lara were no way in the class of the bowlers who played under Clive Lloyd and Richards.

True, Lara was an under-achiever, but we would love to remember him as a batsman who was the best against the best.



The retirement of Brian Lara means that for the first time since the West Indies achieved Test status in 1928, the team will not have one of the truly great players in the world among its members. In this sense, Lara's retirement marks the end of a West Indian era, not just the Lara era.

.

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