On the Write Path
India's top B-schools are churning out novelists like never before. First, there was IIM-A's Chetan Bhagat, who became a best-selling author. Then banker Ravi Subramanian (a former IIM-B grad) wrote If God was a Banker. And now Amish Tripathi, 35, National Head (Marketing & Product Management), IDBI Fortis Life Insurance, is set to enter the league of novelists. Tripathi, an IIM-C graduate, has just launched The Immortals of Meluha—the first of what he calls his "Shiva Trilogy". "The inspiration came from years of reading mythological stories and discussions with my father," says Tripathi. What is unique, however, is the book's marketing strategy. A short film on the book has been released on YouTube and publishers Tara Press is distributing the book's first chapter for free. Looks like another finance expert has caught the writer's bug.
— Anusha Subramanian
The Wizard of Jazz
He creates magic on the piano, a skill that's ensured success for him and fantastic business for his regular recording labels, ACT and Sunnyside. Son of Indian immigrants, Vijay Iyer, 38, a PhD in Technology and the Arts from the University of California, Berkeley, teaches at New York University during the day. In the remaining waking hours, he is busy racing to the top of the music charts. Now, Iyer is celebrating the success of his latest album, Historicity, voted America's best jazz album of 2009 by both the Music Critic's Guild and The New York Times. It has also done good business, with amazon.com selling over a thousand copies of the album every week for the past month. "There were probably several hundred albums released last year, but I'm known as a conceptual composer who makes 'difficult' music, so I guess it had an element of surprise," laughs Iyer. His previous albums, Blood Sutra (2003) and Tragicomic (2008), have all been critically-acclaimed. Historicity, however, has elevated him to the league of legends.
— Anumeha Chaturvedi
Manish Bhatt and Raghu Bhat
They are creative minds who have put their heads together to turn entrepreneurs. Manish Bhatt, 40 and Raghu Bhat, 37, have just launched their own ad agency, barely three months after quitting as creative heads at Contract Advertising. With their brainchild "Scarecrow", the duo is determined to get into the big league. Fast friends who share a common surname (though spelt differently), they have also roped in Joy Sengupta, former client servicing head at Contract, as a partner, and Concept Communications owner Vivek Suchanti as an advisor. "Scarecrow is a fully functional agency with Suchanti helping us out on the financial front," says Manish. Behind well-known ads such as Aegon Religare's "KILB", the team already has some big clients in the kitty. "The infrastructure is already in place and we have four accounts, including one from the Religare Group," Manish signs off.
— Shamni Pande
Canon's baby Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR) camera gets a fresh boost, with another 50 added on to its earlier 500D model number. The 550D, though, has some key features that another, more expensive sibling, the 7D, also offers, for a lot less. What makes the 550D special is the camera's ability to shoot full-High Definition (1080p) video at 30 frames per second. It also has a new 18.1 megapixel sensor; a nine-point auto-focus system and a large high-resolution 3-inch wide-aspect ratio LCD screen. Along with Canon's standard 18-55 mm kit lens, the 550D should cost around Rs 50,000 in India. But, expect Canon India to keep the existing 500D on the market as well, at a reduced price.
— Kushan Mitra
It's a tiny kingdom, known for its abundance of oil and pearls. In recent years, however, Bahrain is raking in the money from another industry as well—tourism. In 2009, eight million tourists visited the country, which, at 665 sq. km, is smaller than the King Fahd International Airport in neighbouring Saudi Arabia (the largest airport in the world)! Yet there's actually a lot to see here. The 2010 Formula I season kicks off here on March 12, but if cars racing at 300 kmph are not your thing, lounge around at one of the many beaches, check out the amazing coral reefs or visit the majestic Qal'at al-Bahrain castle (an UNESCO World Heritage Site). Also spend a day at the Bahrain National Museum, where artifacts used by the island's first settlers 9,000 years ago are preserved.
— Dhiman Chattopadhyay