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They escaped death on the night of terror attacks in Mumbai on November 26 last year. Life in the city hasn’t changed much, but for Gulam Noon and Alok Vajpeyi, the aftermath of the terror attacks has brought about a new meaning to life.

Alok Vajpeyiand Gulam Noon | Print Edition: December 13, 2009

Alok Vajpeyi and Gulam Noon
A Year After

They escaped death on the night of terror attacks in Mumbai on November 26 last year. Life in the city hasn’t changed much, but for Britain’s high profile Asian businessman GULAM NOON (below, right) and erstwhile Vice Chairman and MD of Dawnay Day AV Financial Services ALOK VAJPEYI, the aftermath of the terror attacks has brought about a new meaning to life. Noon was in suite 361 of the Taj Mahal hotel on the night of terror attacks while Vajpeyi was caught at the Chinese restaurant “Golden Dragon”. One year on, Vajpeyi, 49, says: “I had earlier intended to give back what I had made after the satisfaction of having made it. But now the context to give is more immediate.” Noon, 73, who came back to stay at his “home” Taj six weeks after 26/11 attacks, says that recollection of the siege still evokes unease because “the threat of terror hangs over Mumbai and India all the time”. There is a sense of renewed purpose in business and philanthropy after surviving an attack like 26/11, he says. His message to India: Mete out punishment to the guilty at the earliest.

Jessie Paul
B2B Brands, Here I Come

She’s overhauled Wipro’s marketing team and written a book called No Money Marketing drawing from her stint at India’s #3 software developer. Now, JESSIE PAUL, 39, the Chief Marketing Officer of Wipro Technologies, has quit and is set to start her own enterprise focussed, not surprisingly, on providing a marketing backbone for B2B brands. “India has a fairly immature marketing ecosystem for B2B brands … we are good at innovation but not at marketing. I want to help change that through (her new firm) Paul Writer Strategic Advisory,” she says. She plans to be a trusted advisor to emerging B2B brands, providing them with strategic marketing advice, crash courses and by building a network for B2B marketers to brainstorm. The vocational coffee planter has given a personal touch to her new company’s name. Over a century ago, her grandfather was a writer, a trusted executive on an estate who took care of everything from marketing crops to accounts. It’s the same kind of trust Paul now wants to build with her future clients.

Product
Mass Market at Rs 26,000 MRP

This is Philips’ first mass market Blu-Ray Disc player in India, even though with a retail price of Rs 25,990 it hardly sounds “mass-market”. In the negatives column, it is more expensive than a Sony Playstation 3, so if you want a simple Disc player, you are possibly better off with a game console. However, the BDP7500 is a video-freak’s dream. It comes with massive support for formats, starting with BD Live 2.0, the latest iteration of the Blu-Ray player format which can support additional content downloaded from the Internet . This is why the BDP7500 comes with an Ethernet port. If you want a stand-alone Blu-Ray Disc player, this is possibly the best one available which is not a Playstation.

Place
The Land of "God’s Finger"

December means holidays and parties, and if a business trip takes you anywhere along the Mediterranean coast, make sure to head to the Spanish island of Ibiza once work is over. Considered one of the party capitals of the world, Ibiza has over a hundred night clubs, most of which stay open through the weekend and, even on weekdays, shut only once the sun has well and truly risen. Head to any of the top clubs here — Privilege (the largest club in the world), Eden, Es Paradís or Amnesia (known for foam parties). For those in search of a bit of history, large portions of the island are protected as world heritage sites. Check out “God’s Finger” in the Benirràs Bay or the monument called “The Egg” erected in honour of Christopher Columbus in Sant Antoni.

A.K. Purwar
The Tireless Banker

After hanging up his boots almost three-and-a-half years ago as Chairman of the State Bank of India (SBI), ANIL KUMAR PURWAR is still sought after for his banking expertise. He has been wooed into yet another chairmanship (non-executive), this time in a mid-sized non-banking subsidiary of India Infoline Ltd, a financial services company. Purwar, 63, is already the Chairman of IndiaVenture Advisors and IL&FS Renewable Energy Ltd. Sure, at Infoline Investmart Services, his role is an extension of his services to group’s subsidiary as he already sits on the board of the holding company since March 2008, Purwar’s banking experience will greatly help this fledgling subsidiary. The company primarily focusses on small business loans and has plans to expand the product basket. Says Purwar: “We will expand the product basket and look for innovative solutions.” That should not be difficult for the seasoned banker who had accelerated the computerisation process at SBI and also pounced on three overseas banks to expand SBI’s footprint internationally.

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