Thursday, December 15, 2005

KTWV 06 Issue 23: An entry on three of my blogs

Prof. Ajeet Mathur, a good friend, a Mumbai Cathedralite and also a Delhi Stephanian, has just sent me an electronic copy of an article which has just appeared in a publication celebrating the history of Tampere, the major industrial city in South Finland, his present domicile.

I thought it appropriate to provide a link to it on all my three blogs, my personal blog, the Cathedralite Seventh Heaven Blog and the Stephanian Kooler Talk Web Version Blog.

Having read it during its composition stage, I can say that it is hot, hot, hot.

I had dicussed this with him just last weekend and wondered whether he thought some of his more caustic comments would get through the "Editors" (Ari-Veikko Anttiroiko and Antti Kasvio (eds.) eCity: Analysing the efforts to generate local dynamism in the City of Tampere to Meet the Challenge of Changing Global Economy, Tampere University Press, 2005).

He was on his seat's edge.

The book appeared publicly today, and he immediately wrote to me thus:

The Tampere book is published and officially released with my article intact!

With "Communities at Risk" (2003) and this, I have the satisfaction of having given sufficient warning of the shape of things as a dutiful resident as part of my respect for the flag I live under.

I shall post you a published copy tomorrow.

Here is the electronic version. Please feel free to circulate it to those who care or blog it as you wish.

Someday, when I have a personal homepage, I would be happy to provide a link to it for all interested persons to know. But that may not be before March 2006 because I am a technical ignoramous and have other things on my mind now.

Best Regards to you and Annikki,


If Ajeet is an technical ignoramous, I wonder what I am!!

"Communities at Risk" is also another great piece of work by him.

His Discussion Paper "Finland - India - Economic Relations A Twinning Study of Trade and Investment Potential" published in 1998 was a ground-breaking publication.

I had the honour of co-authoring the paper "To Serve or To Rule? Paradoxes of Shared Authority and Appropriated Power in E-governance". It was read by Ajeet at the e-Governance Conference in New Delhi in Decwember 2003 as I could not attend.

Here is an example of the hard-hitting writing of Ajeet in this article:

There are a variety of myths circulating in Tampere designed to foster confidence among residents and prospective partners and investors in Tampere that do not stand up to a reality check. In popular perception, the two universities, particularly the Tampere University of Technology spawns innovations; these innovations are incubated in a virtual science park; and, incubated innovations create new dynamic enterprises attracting large amounts of venture capital thereby creating a multiplier effect for new jobs and enhanced flows of incomes and asset creation. In reality, public money in the guise of projects has been used to fund jobs with soft targets and when a project ends, a 'next big project' is needed to repeat the cycle, since little of lasting value remains. Names of agencies change, agencies merge with each other to acquire fresh identities, new organisations get mandated and organizational forms undergo such metamorphosis that old wine in new bottles is easily mistaken for a new engine of innovation on which hope is pinned for a while until it is dashed again. Hermia was an ingenius institution that enabled students of the Tampere Technical university to be drafted into labouring for companies needing cheap student labour while the flowback from the beneficiaries to the University remains unknown. The total amount donated by Tampere region companies (including Nokia) to Tampere Technical University is about Euro 250,000 according to the list coordinated by the Tampere Chamber of Commerce. With few exceptions, hardly any inventions of the University developed commercially as a return on public subsidies and investments and most of the firms counted in powerpoint presentations evangelising the Tampere model pre-date Hermia or have nothing to do with the Technical University. In making an actual count together with Hermia senior executives, I could locate only 13 enterprises in all under the umbrella of e-accelerator (the number on Hermia's powerpoint slide was 300), of which just two had something to do with the Tampere Technical University. The first pillar of Tampere's business development strategy, Hermia, was entirely focused on technology and real estate brokering, and never organised to provide any international business development expertise to existing firms or to new ventures. Hermia officials candidly admit they have no idea where the medium and large enterprises in the Tampere region obtain international business know-how.

In 1999, a second pillar, Professia Oy was established from public funds (and mandated to develop knowledge intensive business services in 2002). After five lacklustre years of existence, this agency launched a 'Tampere International Business Office' in mid-2004. This old-wine-in-new-bottle initiative never compiled even a starting kit for investors in the region. Most of its budget was spent on staff salaries for its seven employees and travelling to exhibitions and making contacts overseas to entice investors to Tampere. From € 1 million injected into it, an income of € 28,000 was reported which works out to 2.8 percent return on net assets, well below long term market interest rates. On 17.8.2005, Professia Oy merged with Oy Media Tampere which employed seventeen persons with a 2.2 percent return on net assets which is even lower than Professia Oy (according to the press release of the merger announced on 17.8.2005). The fused entity in announcing the merger hints at new horizons and a stronger organisation but its business plan remains unclear. The use of public funds in Tampere is not associated with transparency or disclosure and residents are expected to believe that this old-wine-in-new-bottle that didn't deliver much in five years of functioning will now function as the beacon of new hope. 'Project thinking' with soft targets is a hallmark of the Tampere region. The big breakthrough is always optimistically depicted to be in the future. During Spring 2005, hope was pinned that Tampere would host the ASEM summit in 2006 during the Finnish Presidency of the EU and the wave of traffic that would arise through Euro-Asia business contacts. Meanwhile, Hermia leading the ICT sector big projects was being hived and restructured to give way to the biotechnology and health sector spearheaded by Finn Medi under the ambitious catch-all expression of the next big project BIONEXT.

Ajeet pulls no punches. He tells it as it is.

You can download a pdf copy of the article from this link The Future of International Business in the Tampere Region1 by Prof. Ajeet Mathur, University of Tampere

Hope you enjoy it. I am sure Ajeet would love to have feedback from you on this paper.

It is my homour to share two alma maters with him!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

KTWV 06 Issue 22: First Hemel Hempstead Explosion neighbour checks in

I knew that some of our friends were not far from the Hemel Hempstead explosion in the UK.

I just had a mail from Dr. Anthony Stone, who taught Mathematics in our college during my time there in the 1960's.

Dr. Anthony Stone

He stays just two and a half miles from the explosion spot.

He assured mt that there was no damage at his residence.

Sadly, his wife, Bertha, has been admitted to hospital with a fractured pelvis. Two years ago she suffered a fractured hip.

In 2000, Tony came and stayed a week with Annikki and me when we were living in our penthouse in Torikatu in the centre of town.

Tony is very sprightly, both in mind and body, but poor Tony and Bertha have been having a lot of problems of late.

Do visit his Catend Study web site as it will show you his close and longtime links to India as well as he delving into the inner secrets of mathematics. As can be seen from his site, Tony had a fascinating way of teaching.

Have you ever thought when the 3rd Millenium began? No, it was not 2000!
Or do you know how to calculate the time of day from the shadow?

On his site you will find such fascinating pages as History | India | Links Other Sites | Mathematics | Theoretical Physics | Theology | Time | Transliteration Pages

Take a few minutes to visit the site and send a message to Tony. He will appreciate it.

KTWV 06 Issue 21: An Apology (?) 10 years on????

Those of you who read the Comment attached to the last post on my Kooler Talk blog would have seen a post from Shujoy Dutta where he apologised to me for what he had sent me by email about 10 years ago?


Second, his original email which I posted on the Kooler Talk Web Version site made me work even harder to make the web site and then the blog more inclusive. He thinks he came over as angry. I never thought so. I thought he came over as an individualistic Stephanian - for which I thank the good Lord. Without people like Shujoy, our world would be just plain old boring.

For that I need to thank Shujoy.

Sadly, once again, he has not given me his email address.

I am unable to send him a personal email of thanks. No sarcasm intended.

Also, although he has made it big in the advertising business as the Creative Group Head - copy, in the well known ad agency, Bates India, the web site of the company seems to have vanished from the internet due to a glitch. Bates India is reputed to have done a great ad for Indian Airlines and they have several great clients including part of the account of the Finnish multinational giant - Nokia. (Don't forget to check out the blog entry on my main blog about Nokia and contracts - so that you do not get your fingers and toes burned.)

Truthfully, though, Shujoy's comment has been the ONLY negative comment that I ever received.

I was not hurt as I firmly believe that every person is entitled to one's own views.

My nostalgia for the college, as also my old school for which I also run the international nostalgia site, has been shared by so many of you, as is seen from the vast amount of correspondence and the many copycat sites that have appeared online.

But, there is only one Jacob Matthan, there has been only ONE original Kooler Talk Web Version, and there is only ONE Kooler Talk Blog!

As money has never been a motive for this Kooler Talk Web Version and the Blog, no one can ever accuse me of doing this for any other reason than I believe in what I am doing.

Thanks Shujoy, you helped me 10 years on and you have helped me once again with your recent comment. Please send me your postal mailing address so I can send you a table top calendar of my wife's "Edible Art"!

All that said, I thought that you should read about the work of the team with which Shujoy is associated as it appeared in an online article Indian Airlines, with a bouquet full of warmth

Sumita Vaid Dixit


NEW DELHI, August 16 2005

Let your heart fly' is the message both the ads conclude with.

The idea of associating warmth, friendliness and care with the brand Indian Airlines, came from the brief. "The agency was asked to work out a campaign that would compel people - especially the non IA-flyers to revise their opinion about IA and see it in a positive light. Since perception is a matter of mind and emotions, TV was chosen as the medium of communication. The agency was briefed to deliver a campaign, which is visually pleasing, arresting and one that creates an emotional connect with the viewers," says Manjira Khurana, head, marketing, Indian Airlines.

To that adds, Radharani Mitra, executive creative director, Bates India, "Indian Airlines is all about the heart! What we can say positively as a differentiator is that people feel comfortable being themselves on board IA. Our service doesn't smell pretentious."

That required the agency to replace the 'rational service prism' with an 'emotional filter'. "Today's flyer is too involved in rational brand comparisons but also seeks to bond with a brand emotionally. So far, perhaps she has viewed IA through 'a rational service prism'. We needed to provide her with 'an emotional filter' that'll make her connect with IA at the heart level," explains Mitra.

The need to connect with the consumers was driven by the basic marketing concern - Indian Airlines' poor brand perception. "We have been rated as the most trusted airline in the country as per the latest Brand Equity-ORG Marg survey. Research shows that all our rational product benefits are very well recognized but the brand valuation is not commensurate with this. Therefore, the brand perception had to be improved," informs Khurana. "While the brand's rationale block is solid," Mitra adds, "our task was to envelope it with emotions or intangibles to achieve image leadership."

The ad does send a message of warmth and care, and with the festival season round the corner, it could well translate into packed flights for Indian Airlines.


Creative team : Radharani Mitra, executive creative director, Shujoy Dutta, creative group head- copy; Ashish Rehi, art supervisor, Abhinay Deo, director, Ram Sampath, composer.

Do I have to be a little tongue in cheek? :-)

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

KTWV 06 Issue 20: Celebrate Founders Day

Today is the 124th Founders day of our college, and I would like to extend my best wishes to all those who share the fond memories of College that helped shape my life.

I have sent a note to Principal Dr. Anil Wilson to convey my greetings to all those associated with our great institution.

As this may be the last issue of this blog for this year, may I also convey the very best Season's Greetings to all my regular readers around the world.

Do not hesitate to get in touch with me if you plan to be anywhere near this part of the world so that we can organise a reunion.

To give you an idea how this old critter looks like now, I thought I would share my picture with you.

JM as Father Christmas

And to jog the memory of those of you from the college in the early 60's, so as to visualise this guy who used to be in college with you, here is a picture of me from that era:

JM in the 60's

Have a great Founders Day and an even greater and prosperous New Year.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

KTWV06 Issue 19: Get your FREE 2006 Desktop Calendar

As a prelude to the release of Annikki's book "Edible Art" in 2006, we are pleased to inform you that the 2006 Desktop Calendar, featuring 13 of her beautiful cake designs, will be sent, ABSOLUTELY FREE OF COST, to the first 500 readers (relatives who are in touch with us regularly need not check in) who send us their snail mail (posting) address.

FREE 2006 Desktop Calendar

FREE 2006 Desktop Calendar featuring
13 of Annikki's beautiful and artistic cake designs

As the calendar is being printed and dispatched from our printer in China, please act quickly, as I will be transferring the final database to the printer for posting purposes within the next few days.

You can email your snail mail address to:

Free Calendar Request

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

KTWV06 Issue 18: Hollywood Binge?

I am pleased to inform you about an occasion in Hollywood featuring Stephanian Prabhu Guptara.

(Click to see the enlarged image)

Prabhu Guptara Holywood Lecture

Saturday, November 19, 2005

KTWV06 Issue 17: Sharp increase!

My campaign to identify those who had been in St. Stephen's well as Cathedral and John Connon School, Mumbai(Cathedralites) got a sharp kick a few days ago when I received an email from a consultant in the Phillipines, Ravi Nangia, who finished from Cathedral in 1968 and then graduated in Economics from our college in 1972.

Ravi reported to me two others in his year: Kapil Mathur and Sudhanshu Ranade were from Cathedral and went on to St. Stephen's College.

In a later post Ravi said that Kapil was in Bombay and that he probably saw an article with a by-line by Sudhanshu in The Hindu (the newspaper from Chennai).

Kapil Mathur (68er Savage, Treasurer and Executive Committee Member of the Cathedral Alumni Association 2003 - 2004) seems to be very active in the School Alumni set-up. Here is a picture from the Alumni web site where he is at the cricket match between the Old Boys and the School. Kapil is the one in the blue shirt. Photo by Rajiv Bhatia (Barham'81) I wonder whether he is active in the Stephanian group which is large in Mumbai?

I will try to g4et some comments from kapil in due course.

I was able to track references to Sudhanshu as he has hundreds of references to his work when you search for him in Google.

There is a commernt about him in this online article A fine blend of religion and culture by V. Sundaram

According to Sudhanshu Ranade (author of the articles in The Hindu `The great betrayal' (February 7, `99) ``Religion and Politics'' (August 1, '99) and ``Religion and Politics'' (August 15, '99) the linkage between religion and politics during the Vedic Phase of the Hindu religion ended in a total disaster 2500-3000 years ago. Eminent men including Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Keshab Chandra Sen, Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Swami Vivekananda, Sister Nivedita, Anne Besant, Aurobindo and Mahatma Gandhi (whose academic and other credentials can be considered equal to that of Mr. Sudhanshu Ranade) have all passionately underlined the man-making soul-elevating and nation-building impact of Hinduism through the ages on the people of India. Mahatma Gandhi had professional intellectuals like Sudhanshu Ranade in mind when he observed: ``Rationalists are admirable beings; rationalism is a hideous monster when it claims for itself omnipotence. Attribution of Omnipotence to reason is as bad a piece of idolatry as is the worship of stones believing them to be God. I do not plead for the suppression of reason but for the recognition of `that' in us which sanctifies reason.''

Starting initially with his quasi-religious pieces, as indicated from the quote above, Sudhanshu appears to have gone up the ladder to be a leading correspondent on a variety of subjects in the newspaper.

Sudhanshu appears to have been at The Hindu for some time, doing book reviews. His recent pieces include many of general interest to me: China's rapid economic growth hits Asian nations differently, Garment exporters: Know your customer, The logic of tax on fringe benefits, savings

I am sure many others may now come forward who have this double heritage!

Thanks Ravi for the leads.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

KTWV06 Issue 16: Stephanians embroiled in Oil for Food Scandal

Natwar Singh , Shri K.
May 23, 2004 Appointed, External Affairs Minister
Nov 7, 2005 Resigned, , External Affairs Minister
Father's Name: Shri Govind Singhji
Mother's Name : Shrimati Prayag Kaur, elder sister of Punjab Chief Minister Amrinder Singh
Date of Birth : 16 May 1931
Place of Birth : Bharatpur (Rajasthan)
Marital Status : Married on 21 August 1967
Spouse's Name : Shrimati Heminder Kumari
Children : One son, Jagat Singh
Educational Qualifications : B. A.(Hons.) History Educated at St. Stephen's College, University of Delhi, Delhi, Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, U.K. and Peking University, Peking, China
Profession : Diplomat, Writer and Political Worker
Permanent Address : " Govind Niwas", Bharatpur, Rajasthan. 321001
Positions Held : 1971-73 Ambassador to Poland, 1973-77, Deputy High Commissioner to U.K.,1977-80 High Commissioner to Zambia, 1980-82 Ambassador to Pakistan, 1982-84 Director, Air India Board of Directors, 1984-89 Member, Eighth Lok Sabha, 1985-86 Union Minister of State, Department of Steel in the Ministry of Steel, Mines and Coal, Union Minister of State, Department of Fertilizers in the Ministry of Agriculture, Oct. 1986-Dec. 1989 Minister of State in the Ministry of External Affairs, March 1998-April 1999 Member, Twelfth Lok Sabha, Member, Committee on External Affairs and its Sub-Committee-I Member, Committee on Public Accounts, Member, Consultative Committee for the Ministry of External Affairs, April 2002, Elected to Rajya Sabha, April 2002 – May 2004 Member, Committee on External Affairs

Refer this article Piecing together Natwar’s ties to see other connections to our college.

Andaleeb Sehgal, 35, paid kickbacks to Saddam Hussein, says Volcker Report. Sehgal, son of Delhi businessman Suman Sehgal, studied at Lawrence School, Sanawar, and St Stephen's College, Delhi. He married Suhani Kumari, daughter of Vijendra and Raymon Singh. Vijendra's mother was the princess of Patiala and is the aunt of Natwar Singh's wife. Vijendra has been a Congress MLA from Nalagarh. Raymon is the grand-daughter of Sir Soba Singh, author Khushwant Singh's father.

Andaleeb Sehgal, is Natwar Singh's son's (Jagat Singh) childhood friend.

I would like someone to get to the bottom of this. It is quite unlike Stephanians of any era to behave in this manner. We are taught better values than THIS.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

KTWV06 Issue 15: Another two located

Recently I had written about some of us who are both Cathedralites as well as Stephanians.

Some of you may have noted a Comment recently which introduced me to two 90er Cathedralites and 93er Stephanians. Welcome to my alma mater blogs, Gop.

My email address for Ranjeev was when he was in the U.K. He has moved on. Can anyone give me his most recent email address?

Gopkiran Rao, Bombay Scottish 88er, Cathedralite 90er, Delhi Stephanian (Eco Hons) 93er

Ranjeev Bhatia, Bombay Scottish 88er, Cathedralite 90er, Delhi Stephanian (History Hons) 93er

Gop has a very nice set of web pages filled with a huge selection of classic pictures.

I chose one which makes my memory cells go back a few years.

Katherine and Gopkiran, LA, 2002

Katherine and Gopkiran, LA, 2002

They certainly are a beautiful couple.

Hope both of you as wonderful a marriage as I have had for the last 38+ years.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

KTWV06 Issue 14: Happy Diwali Stephanians

Jaakko records a Fiery Sunset

Today is the 1st of November 2005.

It is the 37th birthday of Jaakko, our eldest son, who lives in Birmingham, England. Our elder daughter, Susanna, and her family, husband, Chris, and daughter, Asha (8), will be with Jaakko to celebrate the day with him.

To brighten his birthday and also show you the grand festival of lights, I have chosen to use one of his most famous sunset photographs which uses "light", one of Jaakko's most favourite themes.

Happy Diwali to all of you

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

KTWV06 - Issue 12: Letter from Dan O'Connor

A nice letter from Dan - I hope all of you will respond by turning up at the event.

From: Daniel O'Connor
To: Jacob Matthan
Date: 07-Sep-2005 10:02
Subject: ssc

Dear Jacob

I'm not sure how uptodate you keep your website - I look at it now and again, but am not entirely clear when I'm reading the latest or something earlier.

I taught and was chaplain 1963-72, so I often recognise names of people I remember.

I've just written a memoir of our time at the college,

"Interesting Times in India: a short decade at St Stephen's College"

which Penguin India (c/o Thomas Abraham, whom some of you will remember) have published.

You can get it through the various Indian web bookstores, and we're hoping to give it (plus a book I've done on an earlier about a well known Stephanian, C.F.Andrews and his time at the college - title

"A Clear Star: C.F.Andrews and India 1904-14"

which DC Publishers (Alokeroy Chowdhury, whom some of you will remember) will launch at the Nehru Centre in London on the evening of 24 Nov 05.

I hope any Stephanians in London at that time will turn up - it would be very good to meet again.

Best wishes.

Dan O'Connor
Daniel O'Connor
15 School Road
ST ANDREWS, Fife, KY16 0BA, U.K.
tel. 01334 - 871326

Sunday, August 28, 2005

KTWV06 - Issue 11: Completed the article for "The Stephanian"

Several weeks ago, a new correspondent, Yakub P. Mathew, a Stephanian Malayali, also with the name Jacob, but much junior to me, who did his BA (Hons) Economics during 1982-1985 and then his MA (Eco), and who is at present a banker with HSBC, New York, alerted me to the fact that "The Stephanian" was bringing out an issue, and maybe I should contribute a piece, the deadline being end July.

As summer was here, the deadline passed, and I had not done anything about it.

So I wrote to the editors at the beginning of August asking whether they were still interested.

There was a prompt answer - Yes, and could I get it to them by the end of August.

I completed the piece called "Kooler Talk - A revolution in the making" and was able to send yesterday it with a couple of quite topical scans before the new deadline.

Hope you will enjoy it when it comes out!!

Sunday, August 07, 2005

KTWV06 - Issue 10: 100% Reunion AGAIN!!

Professor Ajeet Mathur who lives in South Finland in the largest Industrial town, Tampere, was here for a brief visit. He arrived by the early morning train at 07:30 and left by the train at 16:00 hours the same day.

Ajeet and me

Ajeet and me

In the meantime we managed to have two alma mater reunions.

Like me, he is a Mumbai Cathedralite. But also like me he is a Delhi Stephanian.

And we are the only two Cathedralites and Stephanians in Finland.

So, whenever we meet, it is a Reunion with 100% attendance.

There are few who share this unique combination:

  • Cathedralite 54er, Stephanian 58er Rahul Bajaj,

  • Cathedralite 56er, Stephanian 60er Ranjit Matthan,

  • Cathedralite 57er, Stephanian 61er Ashok Jaitly (Tony),

  • Cathedralite 58er, Stephanian 62er Dr. Peter Philip (Tubby),

  • Cathedralite 59er, Stephanian 63er Jacob Matthan (Dead Chicken),

  • Cathedralite 59er, Stephanian 60er The late Jacob Eapen (for a very short time a Stephanian),

  • Cathedralite 59er, Stephanian 63er Sujit Bhattacharya,

  • Cathedralite 70er, Stephanian 75er Professor Ajeet Mathur

If you know of anyone else who has this combination - please do let me know.

Monday, August 01, 2005

KTWV06 - Issue 9: Padma Shri Award to Mammen Mathew (exclusive pictures)

In January of this year I blogged the great news of my fellow Stephanian and my cousin being awarded the Padma Shree. I am now able to give you the exclusive pictures of the event as they were sent to me directly by Mammen.

The President of India, Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, conferred on Mammen Mathew (Kandathil, Stephanian, commonly known to all of us as Rajen) the PADMA SHREE Award.

Mammen Mathew receiving the Padma Shri Award

Stephanian Mammen Mathew receiving the Padma Shree Award
from President of India, Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam

This important news was announced on Republic Day at New Delhi.

Mammen studied journalism on the job at Bristol in Wales and then in the USA. In 2002 he received the rare honour of being appointed as a Reuters Trustee, the first Indian to be appointed to this position. He has been the Chairman of the Indian Section of the Commonwealth Press Union, President of the Indian Newspaper Society, and the Editors Guild of India, and has also been on the Press Council of India.

Today, he is the guiding spirit of the Malayala Manorama Newspapers Group, India's most outstanding newspaper and magazine publishing centre, founded by our greatgranduncle, Kandathil Varghese Mappillai, given shape by our grandfather K. C. Mammen Mappillai and then guided in turn by the late K. M. Cherian and then K. M. Mathew, till Rajen took the helm.

Mammen and his father, K. M. Mathew

Mammen and his father, K. M. Mathew,
who was also awarded the Padma Bhushan in the mid-nineties

Mammen's daughter-in-law, Miriam (Anu) Mathew (née Paul), is also a Stephanian. She was a leading executive in a US bank till she returned to India to take the helm of Manorama Online. Her husband Jayant, is also in the newspaper business.

Rajen and his family

Mammen and his family, wife (Prema) on his left,
son (Jayant) behind him, father (K. M. Mathew) on his right,
and Stephanian daughter-in-law (Miriam) on the far right

The other Award Winners in our family:

1. The late Mr. K. M. Cherian - first awarded the Padma Shree and the later he was given the Padma Bhushan.
2. Mr. K. M. Philip (Stephanian Dr. Peter Philip's (Tubby) father) was given the Padma Shree three years ago ago.
3. Mr. K. M. Mathew (Mammen's father, and also grandfather of several Stephanians) was given the Padma Bhushan, nearly a decade ago.
4. The late Mr. K. M. Mammen Mappillai (Grandfather of several Stephanians), received the Padma Shree half a decade before he died in 2003.

Mr. K. M. Mathulla, founder of H.M.T. (Hindustan Machine Tools - India's largest producer of machine tools) and a die hard Kandathil, got a Padma Shree some 20 years ago.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

KTWV06 - Issue 8: A new picture....

By incessant demand may I introduce a new picture of....

Wander over today's entry in my Jacob's Blog

(Please note: My main server is being serviced and hence pictures from there will not display on any of my blogs till the morning of 20th July 2005)

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

KTWV06 - Issue 7: Please watch this on your computer

Please, please watch this video on your computer.

If the link does not work please try this URL

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

KTWV06 - Issue 6: Boycott Call by Jury of Conscience at the World Tribunal on Iraq

The Jury of Conscience, after the final session of the World Tribunal on Iraq, after 2 years of deliberation, included the following recommendation:

7. That people throughout the world launch actions against US and UK corporations that directly profit from this war. Examples of such corporations include Halliburton, Bechtel, Carlyle, CACI Inc., Titan Corporation, Kellog, Brown and Root (subsidiary of Halliburton), DynCorp, Boeing, ExxonMobil, Texaco, British Petroleum. The following companies have sued Iraq and received “reparation awards”: Toys R Us, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Shell, Nestlé, Pepsi, Phillip Morris, Sheraton, Mobil. Such actions may take the form of direct actions such as shutting down their offices, consumer boycotts, and pressure on shareholders to divest.

May I request all my readers to take steps and pass this information on to at least five of their friends.

To read the entire verdict and recommendations of the Jury of Conscience, please visit my blog page:

Friday, March 25, 2005

KTWV06 - Issue 5: A difference of culture

(I owe my secular, liberal view of life entirely to my life in my alma maters, Good Shepherd Convent, Mysore, Bishop Cotton's School, Bangalore, Cathedral and John Connon Boys' High School, Bombay and St. Stephen's College, Delhi.)

For the full text of this blog entry please visit my main blog entry for this date and time at Jacob's Blog 07:30 PM, 25th March 2005

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

KTWV06 - Issue 4: My 80,000 friends

One of my corresponents (who shall remain unnamed) wrote to me

"Dear Jacob,

Even I would have 80,000 friends if I forwarded all the e-mails I got to every one I know !!

Just kidding.

Somehow, I prefer a more personal approach, more one-on-one -- too shy to have my mails all over the place."

Actually, I rarely forward emails unless there is a specific purpose to be served.

I replied thus to my correspondent:


What you say is absolutely true that the number of contacts could grow by forwarding emails, but in my case there is a slight difference (and my fault) in that I get personally involved with all the people I deal with.

For instance this is an email I got yesterday from my a Finnish and a Hungarian friend whom I introduced day-before-yesterday to a Mumbai couple:


Had dinner last night with Ashok and Malathi, and they invited us to stay with them already on the phone before they had met us. .......

Today, we will call Fazila at 4 pm and we should meet her tonight unless something came up. Malathi asked us to invite her for dinner at their's tonight as well, so we will call and ask to see if that is ok.

They are really great people and thank you for linking us up (ildi's words)."

You see how it works.

All my worldwide friends are great and wonderful people and I always try to link the right types, knowing each person's background and character.

That cannot be done by only forwarding emails!!!

When I started "Findians Briefings" as a free hard copy in-house journal, it was just for a few hundred Finnish and Indian businessmen interested in trade between the two countries. Within three months it had snow-balled into 7000 copies which I could no longer afford to produce it as hard copy. That was why I started putting it on internet.

Within a year the readership was in 90 countries and covered over 50,000 people!! And it grew and grew. I was producing it from my attic with an obsolete Mac PowerBook.

When I launched Seventh Heaven and Kooler Talk, it again blew up out of all proportions.

The secret was personal "nostalgic involvement" (and it still is). Plus it is a close one-to-one relationship with my audience which involves a 24 hour reply and action cycle. Some contact me once a year, some as often as two or three times a week. Their husbands / wives, children, grandchildren, are all important to them (and me).

Again to give an instance, Shallu, mother of Rohit and Rahul read the blog, got her 90 year old mother involved, generating a huge audience from Madras and Bangalore. Now Rahul's photography is on the blog. Within a few hours I had readers clamouring for more. I posted the short note about Rohit's wife's (Kavita's) book "Brahmins and Bungalows : Travels Through South Indian History by Kavita Watsa" . That has generated an enormous response from people I had never heard of before yesterday!!

To give you a couple of examples that you would be more familiar with: How else would I have stepped in and taken care of Sadhana's daughter, and her relationship leading to marriage with a Finn, even though I have never met Sadhana in my life? Or why would I search and locate Barbara Rossi for Gracie as I have never personally met Gracie in my life (knowingly)? Both Sadhana and Gracie are part of my absolutely lovely personally unmet friends, but we know each other intimately through our correspondence!!!

In the old days it used to be called "pen-pals" whom I have termed as "e-pals".

When I wrote the article "Greed : Missile of Black Gold", I hadliterally hundreds of people all over the world (professors to housewives) who were saved from losing large amounts of money and life in the Nigerian Scam. All of these people have become dear friends even though I do not "know them from Adam"!!!

When my domain name in Canada collapsed, there was utter chaos, but now it is slowly getting back to normal as I restore normal communications with this circle of "friends". (JM: This has proven to be the most difficult of the tasks that I have
ever undertaken.

There are hundreds of journalists and writers that I know who send out automated replies when people write to them about their articles. I have never done that, so that is why my circle of friends and readers is so large and growing. Of course I get criticism, but I answer them with a principled answer which may conflict with the opinions of the correspondent. But we soon agree to disagree and remain friends. (Unless of course it is so blatant as in the bizarre exchange of e-correspondence with the "educated" American!!)

What is the secret behind Malayala Manorama and its immense readership? My grandfather's personal involvement with his audience, something I learnt from him in the 50s!!

It is a philosophy which is built into the organisation and does not depend on who is in charge today. Rajen, Thambi and Chacko are really introverts, but Malayala Manorama continues to grow because of a philosophy laid down in its early years which has remained unchanged.



Monday, January 31, 2005

KTWV06 - Issue 3: Stephanians, hip, hip, HURRAH!

The President of India, Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, has conferred on Mammen Mathew (Kandathil family, Stephanian) the PADMA SHREE Award. This important news was announced on Republic Day at New Delhi. This award has made it a record for any one family in Independent India (see below).


Mammen, former US President Bill Clinton and former Indian President Shri K. R. Narayanan

Besides being my dear and constant companion when we were together in St Stephen's College, Delhi, Mammen was also very dear to both Annikki and me when he came to England. It was Mammen and his friends who campaigned for me and made history in the college by getting a second year student elected to the post of JCR President of the College. Together we made the JCR from a dumb unloving unfriendly place into one of the most liveliest places to hang out in.

Later, I was one who was involved in giving him the courage to choose his life partner, Prema!! I still remember him sweating away in the car when he went to see his to-be for the first time!! He ran through more than a few of my handkerchiefs and hand towels at that time!!

Mammen, with another outstanding Stephanian classmate, architect Ramu Katakam, who is also now a member of the Kandathil family by marriage, hitch-hiked across the globe from India to London to land at my doorstep in the mid 1960's. Both were going places, and Mammen has shown us the way to the top.

I must mention the other two of the four Stephanian musketeers of Mammen’s year, Azhar Siddique, who went into hotel management and made a great name for himself in that field, and Suresh Mehra, who runs one of the finest garment export houses from Hyderabad.

Mammen studied journalism on the job at Bristol in Wales and then in the USA. In 2002 he received the rare honour of being appointed as a Reuters Trustee, the first Indian to be appointed to this position. He has been the Chairman of the Indian Section of the Commonwealth Press Union, President of the Indian Newspaper Society, and the Editors Guild of India, and has also been on the Press Council of India.

Today, he is the guiding spirit of the Malayala Manorama Newspapers Group, India's most outstanding newspaper and magazine publishing centre, founded by our greatgranduncle, Kandathil Varghese Mappillai, given shape by our grandfather K. C. Mammen Mappillai and then guided in turn by the late K. M. Cherian and then K. M. Mathew, till Mammen took the helm.
Mammen is assisted by his two younger brother, both professionals, Philip Mathew, also a Stephanian and father of 2 Stephanians, Amit and Riyad, and Jacob Mathew , sadly not a Stephanian but the father of one, Harsha.

Mammen's daughter-in-law, Miriam Mathew (née Paul) was an outstanding Stephanian and a leading executive in a US bank till she returned to India to take the helm of Manorama Online. Her husband Jayant, is also in the newspaper business and a student of our leading Stephanian friend, Sreenath Sreenivasan, Professor of Journalism at Columbia University and an expert on convergence journalism.

The other Award Winners in our family:

1. The late Mr. K. M. Cherian - first awarded the Padma Shree and the later he was given the Padma Bhushan.
2. Mr. K. M. Philip was give the Padma Shree three ago back. He was the World President of the Y. M. C. A. after many years of outstanding and honorary service in the Indian Y. M. C. A. At the age of 92, he is still physically and mentally fully active and still takes part in many business functions. His wife is also fully active at the age of 85. She was the leading light of the Mumbai Y. W. C. A. for many many years. A dearer lady so full of fun and laughter one will not find on this earth. His two children are Sen Philip and Dr. Peter Philip (Tubby, Suresh, a fellow Stephanian of my era, an outstanding economist, the business brain behind the launch of the FIRST Kooler Talk, classmate of such leading Stephanians as Sayeed Rizvi, Sarwar Lateef, Zaffar Hai).
3. Mr. K. M. Mathew (Mammen's father) was given the Padma Bhushan, nearly a decade ago. His wife, the late Mrs. K. M. Mathew, who passed away in 2003, surpassed all what her husband and her children have done in her service to the women and children of India. His daughter, Thangam, Mammen’s sister is the mother of 2 Stephanians, Adit and Rohan. (See above for details of his sons - Rajen, Thambi and Chacko.)
4. The late Mr. K. M. Mammen Mappillai, half a decade before he died in 2003. His wife, is a hostess extraordinaire, a person who has made any person entering over the doorstep feel as one of the family. KMMM, aided by his six brothers (Cherian, Oommen, Eapen, Varghese Mappillai, Philip and Mathew) and one sister (Mariam, my late mother ) and the sister-in-law of their deceased brother, (Mrs. K. M. Jacob), built the MRF tyre company by their sense of unity and devotion to one another as well as the entire Syrian Christian Malayali Community. Kochappachen was physically assisted by his wife’s brother, now retired Technical Director of MRF, Kurian George (my dear friend in Chennai who keeps me abreast of all the best news from India these days) and technically, mentally and morally assisted by my late father (Kuriyan Matthan). MRF was stabilised and brought forward as India’s leading tyre company by his son, the late Ravi Mammen, and is now run in the family tradition of professional management by his two surviving sons, Vinoo and Arun. Vinoo is the father of 2 Stephanians, Samir and Rahul. His only daughter, Remani is an outstanding artist running her own creative art design company.

It is important to mention Mr. M. K. Mathulla, founder of H.M.T. and a die hard Kandathil, got a Padma Shree some 20 years ago.

Friday, January 28, 2005

KTWV06 - Issue 2 : What a GLORIOUS day!!

Today, January 28th 2005, is truly a Glorious Day.

It is 38 years since Annikki and I got married in a small beautiful English town called Shrewsbury in Shropshire.

Sadly, we are barred from visiting that town by our local friends. When we visited there the last time, about 14 years ago, as we drove into the town, it was hit by an earthquake!! :-)


As my mother used to say, if I had been married to an Indian, I would have been thrown out on the streets a long long time ago. Annikki deserves that cup the my father used to say was his trophy for having been married to Ammachi for all their years together!!

And here is a recent photograph of us with 2 of our 3 grandchildren . Asha and Samu.


Annikki's mother is in her interval care in the Old People's Home. Mika is also at his 3 day a month interval care.

We were able to sleep late. We are looking forward to a day of shopping - Annikki as usual at the fleamarket, while I potter around a few shops - looking for nothing particular in mind as I have everything I need. After that we will choose to dine at some restaurant, one of the vast array of friends' restuarants to choose from - Chinese, Thai, Indian, Turkish, Greek, Mexican and, of course, Finnish. Depends on what we feel like in the evening. Maybe not Turkish, as we did that last year and maybe not Chinese as we did that the year before!!

Many thanks to all the rest of you who remembered us through emails on this great day.

As we enjoy another honeymoon year, it is on to the 39th!!!

Friday, January 14, 2005

KTWV06 - Issue 1: Proud to be a Stephanian

BBC Hard Talk on BBC World on Thursday 13th January 2005 featured the Indian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, none other than my good friend and Stephanian colleague, Kamalesh Sharma. Kamalesh had just gone into the MA course when I joined as a fresher in 1960.

On my very first night in college, there was a knock at my window after dinner. It was a time when all us freshers were living in fear of who would catch us to rag us. But for the rest of this story kindly visit

Katy Issue 7 14th July 1996.

Kamlesh had previously been the Indian representative at the United Nations, where he had faced some tough interviews, and one on them was on BBC World Service Radio. It was after this that I was able to re-establish contact with my old friend.

Kamlesh stood up as a true diplomat when faced with the aggressive questioning on Hard Talk.The whole objective of the interviewer was to question why India had rejected to receive Aid from the developed world and seemed to be focused on "India's pride" and the "desire of India to be a superpower in the region". Some of the questioning, as is usually the case in Hard Talk, bordered on the ridiculous!!

I was impressed by how Kamalesh stood up and in a quiet and gentle manner brought the aggresson down in a manner which made the interviewer look quite ridiculous with her one track mind. His Stephanianness stood out above all!!

You will be able to download and see the interview in a day or so from the

Hard Talk Web Site.

It is not yet on the web but should be in a day or two.

Well done Kamalesh!!