Category Archives: Jeevan Chandy

Mozambican Author Mia Couto Wins 2014 Neustadt International Prize for Literature (‘American Nobel’)

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Mozambican author António Emílio Leite Couto (Mia Couto) has been chosen by a jury of nine international authors to receive the 2014 Neustadt International Prize for Literature.

The $50,000 prize is sponsored by the University of Oklahoma, the Neustadt family, and World Literature Today, the university’s award-winning magazine of international literature and culture.

Jurors convened on the OU Norman campus for deliberations Oct. 31 as part of the annual Neustadt Festival for International Literature and Culture.
Gabriella Ghermandi, who nominated Couto for the Neustadt Prize, said of him, “He is an author who addresses not just his country but the entire world, all human beings.”

Couto is the first Mozambican author to be nominated for and to win the Neustadt Prize. He is considered to be one of the most important writers in Mozambique, and his works have been published in more than 20 languages.

Born in 1955 in Beira, Mozambique, Couto began his literary career in the struggle for Mozambique’s independence, during which time he edited two journals. Raiz de Orvalho, Couto’s first book of poetry, was published in 1983. His first novel and the novel that was the representative text for the Neustadt, Sleepwalking Land, was published in 1992 to great acclaim and is widely considered one of the best African books of the 20th century.

Couto is known for his use of magical realism as well as his creativity with language. In her nominating statement, Ghermandi wrote, “Some critics have called Mia Couto ‘the smuggler writer,’ a sort of Robin Hood of words who steals meanings to make them available in every tongue, forcing apparently separate worlds to communicate. Within his novels, each line is like a small poem.”

This year, Couto also received the 2013 Camões Prize for Literature, a prestigious award given to Portuguese-language writers.

WLT executive director Robert Con Davis-Undiano remarked, “Mia Couto is trying to lift the yoke of colonialism from a culture by reinvigorating its language. A master of Portuguese prose, he wants to lift that burden one word, one sentence, and one narrative at a time, and in this endeavor he has few if any peers.”

Upon hearing about his win, Couto responded, “This award is timed perfectly, as Mozambique is about to go through a difficult time. For me personally, this award is certainly a relief, a ray of sunshine, at this sad national moment.”

The Neustadt Prize is awarded every two years and represents the only international literary award for which novelists, playwrights and poets are equally eligible. Often called the “American Nobel” because of its connection to the Nobel Prize in Literature, the Neustadt Prize is considered to be one of the most important literary prizes in the world. Throughout its history, the Neustadt has boasted 30 laureates, jurors, or candidates that have gone on to receive the Nobel, including Pablo Neruda, Gabriel García Márquez, Orhan Pamuk, Mo Yan, and Alice Munro, among others.

Couto is the 23rd laureate of the Neustadt Prize and will accept the award on the OU Norman campus during the fall 2014 Neustadt Festival.

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Indicash network, India’s first white-label ATM network, comes to Kochi

Indicash – First White Label ATMTata Communications Payment Solutions Limited (TCPSL), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tata Communications Limited, launches Indicash ATM network with more than 10 ATMs across Ernakulam district in Kerala. This is in keeping with the Reserve Bank of India‟s (RBI) vision to accelerate growth and improve ATM penetration across the country.

Kerala plays a vital role in the company‟s rollout plans of 15,000 Indicash ATMs across India over the next three years. TCPSL’s aim of enabling financial empowerment to users across India will see a strong focus on tier 2 and tier 3 towns in Kerala. TCPSL will be rolling out 100 Indicash ATMs in the state of Kerala across districts such as Ernakulam, Trivandrum, Kasargode, Malappuram, Palakkad and Thrissur by the end of this year.

Mills & Boon Global Novels Now in Malayalam

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Harlequin Enterprises Ltd., the publishers of the iconic and most widely read romance fiction series Mills & Boon, whose suave, successful and good-looking heroes are the fantasy of millions of women – young and young at heart – across the world, now has a new category of books that cater exclusively to the regional population of India.

Riding on the phenomenal success of the English romantic fiction genre in India, the global leader in romance announced today its ground breaking foray into the Indian regional publishing market with its signature romances available in Hindi, Malayalam, Marathi and Tamil.

As part of this initiative, the much loved brand also announced the launch of the very first two Malayalam titles “Bosinte Pranayini” and “Veendum Thalirkkunna Chillakal”, which will be available across kiosks and all major retail outlets. This feat records another first for the popular publisher in India which has been producing only English titles for the past five years.

Speaking on the occasion Mr. Manish Singh, Country Manager, Harlequin India Pvt. Ltd. states, “There is a growing demand for content in regional languages which is fuelled by growth in literacy & exposure to global trends. Harlequin is publishing content in over 31 languages across the globe and given our commitment to the Indian market, regional language is a natural business extension. We believe that this would further build on the equity & popularity of Mills & Boon as romance is a universal phenomenon that transcends language barriers. This initiative, like all others, is aimed to bring Mills & Boon closer to the Indian readers.”

To enter the world of Harlequin is to travel the globe. With 1,200 authors worldwide, 1,300 new titles per annum, 31 languages and available in over 111 countries, Mills & Boon has maintained its foothold in the romance fiction genre as a market trailblazer for over a century. Having sold 6.05 billion books since its inception in 1949, the company continues to write its own remarkable publishing story.

Mills & Boon Malayalam are available at kiosks, bookstores & organized retail stores for an introductory price of Rs. 99/-

Dove’s ‘Peek-a-Boo’ to Customers who had Stopped Thinking Themselves Beautiful

What is the commonest factor across all bathing soap commercials? Definitely all of them will feature a beautiful girl and speak about beauty and only beauty. Rare exceptions are there: Sharukh Khan had appeared in Lux commercial. But there also the talk point is beauty and fairness. All the commercials speak the same thing and offer magical remedies, though everyone know truth is otherwise!!

Off late I bumped across an ad that is uniquely different, a commercial that speaks about the beauty inside. And it uses Rose Murphey’s ever nostalgic ‘Peek-a-boo’; the song has been used brilliantly to reach out to the customers who had stopped thinking themselves beautiful. Watch it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jFbvq8BYEnI.

The commercial brings out the inner love one has for oneself. It tempts one to think again to be beautiful. The perfect integration of a beautiful song and some ideal visuals brings out one of the finest commercials of recent times. The song’s beauty, love and warmth are transcended into the customers to illustrate the magic of communication.

Rose Murphy (1913-1989) was one of the well known US pianist and vocalist in the last century. She was known as “the chee chee girl” thanks to her habit of regularly singing the phrase “chee chee” in many of her numbers. She enjoyed very good popularity as singer in both US and UK. She was also known as ‘The Girl with the Pale Pink Voice’. Her most famous number, ‘Busy Line’ was used by British Telecom in one of their television commercials in 1990 and it was a huge success then, looks the new Dove commercial also going to win hearts globally.Image

Search goes DuckDuckGo

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Edward Snowden has created problems not only for the US Government; Internet giants like Google, Yahoo and MSN are also feeling the heat now. US government is not yet succeeded in nailing him, where as the giants can’t simply ignore a potential threat which is spreading across the world very swiftly.

Leave the politics part. Let the US- Anti US clash take its own course. People knew that search engine service providers are literally recording all the information about the customers under the pretention of using it for delivering better service. And nobody cared it since there is no other option. What troubles Google & Co now is the resurged concern of the customers on privacy. The Snowden revelation on NSA leaking information from the search engines and FaceBook turned out to be a blessing in disguise for a small search engine, hitherto not much noticed.

www.duckduckgo.com has only one USP. That is, they don’t store any personal information at all. When you access DuckDuckGo (or any Web site), your Web browser automatically sends information about your computer. This information could be used to link the customer and his searches. Unlike any other web site DuckDuckGo do not log or store the info shared by the browser. There is little chance for NSA or NASA or even Assange to leak something which is not stored at all.

Soon after the Edward Snowden spy story broke out earlier this June, the daily searches received by DuckDuckGo got hiked by 50%. From serving 1.7 million searches a day at the start of June, it hit 3 million searches within a fortnight. The Guardian published a story on the rise of DuckDuckGo. (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jul/10/nsa-duckduckgo-gabriel-weinberg-prism).  There upon traditional media across the world find it as a hammer to hit Google &Co.

The founder of DuckDuckGo,  launched a series of companies that went sideways. But NamesDatabase.com was a hit and he was able to sell it to Classmates.com for $10 million. This has given him courage to launch his own search engine- DuckDuckGo in 2008. DuckDuckGo is the World’s only search engine which ensures cent percent private search. It positions itself as a better search engine that respects your privacy.

What DuckDuckGo lacks is image search, as well as maps search. But it gives an option to get Google and Bing search images. More services including image search are expected from DuckDuckGo. Now it’s a David and Goliath play, let’s wait and see.

Monsoon, Coffee, Malayalee…

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“Love to spend a rainy evening over a hot coffee…”
All most all the coffee enthusiasts would love to have this as their status on their social platforms. When arrive together, Rain and Coffee always have some kind of soothing or relaxing effect on a tired or troubled mind. Psychologists will put it simple as rain soothes mind and coffee refreshes the body.
What reminds me of this coffee-rain connection is the Economic Times article on Monsooned Malabar Coffee. (http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2013-07-13/news/40553982_1_indian-coffee-coffee-board-monsooned-malabar). It says the ‘Monsooned Malabar’ coffee – a distinguished premium variety from the Mangalore coast is a much sought after variant across Europe. Its special taste and aroma, quite milder than fresh coffee, is made by exposing the coffee beans to moisture and wind through a nine month long process. The unique flavour is developed in the coffee beans from Malabar Coast only, which is from Mangalore (Karnataka) to Kannur (Kerala).
It’s Monsoon time in Kerala now. A lot of travelers are coming to the state to exploit the Monsoon moods. It is one of Kerala’s unique products which do well in the market. When Rain and Foreigners are pouring into the State together, what would be the typical Malayalee (Keralite) doing? Sitting back on an easy chair, enjoying a hot coffee?
Try Monsooned Malabar this time, for a change

 

Conversation Prism: Not Just a Flamboyant Poster

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When one sees the colourful poster given here with, it is quite natural to remind about the theory of refraction of light which was taught in one of those old physics classes. The vibrant VIBGYOR colours still fascinates every one. So does the social media.

When Brian Solis and Jesse Thomas decided to come out with an info-graphic representation, showing all the vibrancy of social conversations, they named it as Conversation Prism. They conceived the white light entering the prism as the focused stream of conversations that are often grouped, but not separated by voice, context, source, or outcome. Theytookthe beam of conversation and blast it into a spectrum of discernible vivid light.

Conversations across networks were passed through the prism and got refracted. Each shade of color represents an entirely unique reflection of light, meaning separating context and intention by network. But, as the social web grew, the refracted light got shaped into a circle to help people understand that the days of one audience, one voice, one story were over. Now conversations take place in communities, obviously far beyond Facebook and Twitter.

The first version came out in August 2008 and the target was to provide a visual representation of the true expansiveness of the Social Media and the conversations that define it. It mapped the then social media spectrum completely. The social media landscape has been evolving all the time as several platforms expired and several others sprout up. Conversation Prism also has changed with it. Hence Conversation Prism entered its fourth edition, earlier this month.

And why should one resort to this clourful collage? Certainly it’s a piece of art but it work more as a motivational tool for the social media strategists. It will always remind your team that social media is beyond Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. It familiarizes the wide horizons of social media world. It has become an international symbol of organizing the massive social media landscape into different categories.

In the latest version of the Conversation Prism 122 services removed from the chart and 111 services has been added. It reflects the current changes in the social media environment.Physical posters and digital downloads of version 4.0 of Conversation Prism are available at the Conversation Prism website (http://www.conversationprism.com )Image