Thursday, 27 August 2015

The story of a new venture Spectrum Academy

I am the one who writes and is more expressive than my husband... bottom line is I am the one who makes the noise!! Capt. Todiwan is a man of a few words. He believes in action rather than words. As a couple I am the one who starts an argument or a fight, I am also the one who'll then not talk and finally when I get sick of not talking to him, I am the person who starts the conversation again.

Capt. Todiwan has set up his Maritime, Hospitality and Travel academy with his partner Vibhor Rastogi and finally the work of 9 months have given birth to the brand new venture Spectrum Academy. I am an advisor to him whether he needs my advise or not. Like most wives I too think its my birth right to educate my husband on a lot of aspects. When the website was up I was the first outsider to see it and I noticed a word press blog attached with it and I was thrilled to read what my dear husband had written as I know him not writing anything long. When I write long emails to him he would reply with an SMS. You can understand my excitement! I have picked up both the posts and have shared them here. 
It gives me happiness all the way to the moon and back!

The first post!

The launch of Spectrum Academy

I have been a part of the maritime industry for over two decades. My job involved me travelling across the globe. Staying in hotels at the port of joining and also at cities I signed off from. Every country and every hotel group had something unique on their platter to offer to the discerning traveler or their guests as referred to in the hotel industry.  That always amused me and attracted my appreciation. When I got married to a hotelier, I learnt so much more about the hotels and the services that they offer.  It gave me another angle to look at things and understand them which used to unnoticed earlier. In fact my wife asked me for specific information and what to observe while I stayed at different hotels, I became a reporter to her. She said that information helped her in her classes and training sessions as she could speak about trends around the globe with specific examples. I was glad she liked what was sent to her.
When I got in touch with my partner Vibhor Rastogi, a Chef trainer and an entrepreneur. I shared with him what I intended to do and the vision that I carried. We clicked on the idea and that lead to the foundation of Spectrum Academy. Hospitality is something that you do from the heart. What really touches the guests is a service that’s good, personalized and that creates ‘Wow’ for him or her. At the academy we would like to share this passion and coach the new professionals that’ll help them take their careers on a fast forward mode. My core industry shipping also needs the finer nuances of hospitality; the shippies especially staff working in the galleys and dining areas also need to upgrade their skills in cookery, bakery, F and B Service and food presentation. At Spectrum we’ll be able to do that. We have designed a few courses and capsule modules that are in demand but not offered at colleges and large training institutes. I am sure this will certainly be of help to the budding professionals and the people who want to learn the basics or some finer nuances of the hospitality profession.
Welcome onboard,
Best Regards

Capt. Rajesh Todiwan

The second post!

Greetings of the day!
It’s my privilege to finally launch the Spectrum Academy website.  It gives us immense pleasure to welcome each one of you here. Partner Chef Vibhor and I intended to host the website and make it running last month itself, but I had to travel on work. It was a prestigious assignment and I had to take it up. It dealt with things that are close to my heart; training the seafarers. I was onboard a foreign vessel. The gist of the whole story is that the assignment was successful and I am happy with the outcome. Now that I am back at the academy and Vibhor has been putting the website together, we are ready to upload the website. We have tried our best to fulfill meaningful and necessary training needs of our valued clients and provide certifications at the same time we’d love to hear from you. Your feedback and suggestions are always welcome. Do get in touch with us at the Spectrum Academy.
I thank all of you for visiting us and look forward to fruitful interactions and learning.

Welcome onboard,
Best Regards
Capt. Rajesh Todiwan

This is very special to me as I know my husband as a man, son, husband, father, master mariner, a true professional. Now I am getting to see another side of him the trainer and an entrepreneur. Wishing Spectrum Academy all the success.

Visit the website:

Monday, 10 August 2015

How a modern man complements his lady

“This is a woman’s job! Men can’t be doing it….” How often have you heard this? I am sure a lot of times. There are stereotype roles for both men and women. Women take care of the home, bring up children and manage the kitchen. Men on the other hand earn and provide for the family. They are supposed to run the outdoor errands. This has been the role-play traditionally followed; probably it came from times when the man was a hunter. Times have changed and roles have followed a drastic alteration from the ancient times. Have we really moved on and adapted to the changes?  Needless to say traditional gender role model may work for some couples but mostly with both the partners having their careers, especially talking about urban areas; it’s not the best option. Villages have their own set of issues. I have seen the women there stretch themselves beyond all boundaries. They manage their home, children, families and also take up something to supplement the family income. All praises for them but it’d be so much easier if they got the due support especially from their better halves. I may not be correct here but it has been an observation.

Just the other day, I met an old student of mine, who is a young mother and has a full time demanding job too. I asked her how she was doing and how was life at this juncture. She had lost a lot of weight and looked much older than her age. She shared her daily routine with me and how managing the home, young child and career was a huge challenge for her. She did everything from preparing breakfast, keeping things ready for the child for the entire day, going to work, coming back home in the evening, preparing dinner and finally calling it a day after doing the dishes and everyone had gone to sleep. This was the story the entire week. When asked about getting help at home, she said that she had a very loving husband but he didn’t contribute to any household chores, not even taking the child out to play. She also said that the decision to have a career was all hers so she had to deal with it. I could identify with what she said, that’s the story of a lot of career women. It also saddened me with their plight.

I am so blessed to have a supporting family for which I shall always be very grateful. Coming to think of it, I guess families create cultures that they operate in. My mother in law is a very strong lady; she believes in doing her own things rather than depending on others. She inculcated in her children, especially her sons the need to help around, even doing the household chores. She had work given to everyone, the results of that kind of upbringing are clear to see. All help is there from my husband when he is home, we work like equals and we are a team!

It is important in all relationships to balance things out and share responsibilities. No one feels taken for granted. When we value each other, it is shown through the little things that we do for each other. Helping around preparing a meal, getting the children ready for school, making the beds, setting the washing machine or getting that cup of tea after a long day of work really goes a long way. Such gestures not only show that the husband values you as an individual but also makes the bond of love stronger. These little things that we share do proclaim love, caring and appreciation for one another.

Relationships are to be cherished, what better way than finding happiness in creating that respect and dependability.

Monday, 3 August 2015

Inauguration ceremony of the first year BSc. HS 2015-18

The Apeejay Institute  of  Hospitality , Navi Mumbai welcomed their ninth batch this year. The inauguration of the new batch, B Sc. HS 2015- 18 was on the 15th of July 2015 at a grand function held at The Park hotel. The programme commenced with an invocation song and lighting of the lamp. Students attended the programme with their parents. Principal Mr. Bhuvan welcomed the guests and students. This was followed by the chief guest Mr. Ravi Rawat, Director Operations, The Park Navi Mumbai addressing the audience. The hotel departmental heads and the faculty team introduced themselves to the new students and gave them their valuable advice on the industry dynamics. The students then came up on the stage for their introductions. Some even shared why they were pursuing hospitality education. There was an open house before lunch was served to all.

The  Apeejay  Institute  of  Hospitality  located at CBD Belapur  shares its premises  with  The  Park  Navi  Mumbai. It is an initiative of the Apeejay  Surrendra  Park  Hotels  that  operates its collection of  Luxury  Boutique hotels in India. The  institute  offers  a 3 years   Bachelor’s  Degree programme in Hospitality Studies (BSc-HS)affiliated to the University of Mumbai . AIH is also the center of learning for  Apeejay Surrendra  The Park Hotels. The group's Managment Training Programme, Professional Development Programmes as well as consultancy projects for  the hospitality industry are some of its  additional core activities. The highly accomplished faculty team is drawn from academics, supplemented by visiting faculty from reputed institutions, experts from The Park Hotels and professionals from the Hospitality and Services sector. The institute boasts of a world class curriculum augmented by state of the art facilities on campus with separate hostel facility for Girls and Boys.

Not only academics  but  extracurricular activities are also given equal impetus.  Students have the advantage of getting hands-on operational training at The Park, Navi Mumbai, doing their industrial
training from any of the Park properties  or associated organizations and take up careers with the Park Hotels. 

People I am glad to have met – the bikers and bikers at heart!

My brother in law, Sahil Verma was going for a REO’s (Royal Enfield Owners) 15th August Independence Day Ride in 2012 and that got me interested. He shared the account of the ride with me. This was from Bandra to Nariman Point. For the next one on the 26th January somehow he couldn’t be a part of and I managed to be there. It was being held in Navi Mumbai from Centre One, Vashi to Panvel via JNPT and back. Met Nigel Rich, who was organizing the ride that year. There were more than 600 riders from all over Mumbai and what a spectacular sight they made. I felt so happy riding with them. Infact the lady riders and the pillions had the privilege to lead the ride. Probably that was one of the blissful, happy moments I have experienced in my life. I certainly lived that moment not as a daughter, a wife, a daughter in law, a mother or a sister but just me – Laxmi. All thanks to my mom in law for telling me to be part of the republic day early morning ride.

What I feel about these Rides, they are not just to pump the adrenalin rush but they make an individual responsible, disciplined, follow brotherhood and take up social causes in a big, organised way! Thumps up to that! We see youngsters misusing the powerful bikes leading to accidents due to rash driving. Palm Beach Road in Navi Mumbai sees such accidents almost everyday. Apart from the Traffic Police, I feel that the Bikers can organise fun camps and invite the young bikers, no matter what bike they ride; especially college students to join them for rides and let them experience the thrill of biking and responsible driving. I can help, preparing the campaign! if need be write your speeches too!!
I have very young bikers.... my sons! and I certainly wish them as well as other young boys and girls to enjoy speed with safety and discipline. It’s a habit that can be inculcated in young people.

How responsible are these people?
I just loved the rules that they follow,
Rules to be followed strictly for the ride:
1. Be on time for the ride.
2. Helmet for the rider and the pillion is compulsory and do carry your riding gears(if any).
3. Shoes or boots compulsory for the rider.
4. No overtaking amongst each other. 
5. No rash riding during the ride.
6. No breaking file, we will ride in a file of 2.
7. No violence during the ride.
8. Always follow the bike which is ahead of you, all the way. 
9. Headlights will be full time on.
10. Every rider should carry valid driving license along with all necessary documents.
11. Make sure your royal Enfield is well serviced to avoid a break down during the ride.
Violation of the above rules will strictly not be tolerated.

With admiration for the bikers I started reading about them and I am really happy to have connected with some of the best in the country- both men and women. Bharadwaj Dayala is the only Indian biker to have gone around the world on a motorcycle, Sarah Kashyap has done the entire India tour on her bike and another young lady Roshni Sharma earns my appreciation for her biking rides, doing Ladakh just a while ago. 66 years old Col. Sohan Roy’s name was also included in the Limca Book of Records in 2011 for being the oldest rider to ride to world’s highest motorable road, Khardung La, on a Pulsar 220. Another extremely inspiring biker 68 years old Col. MA Kaleem rode solo around India and now attempting a Guinness World record (Longest ride on motorcycle in a single country). Steven Miranda, Sanjay Naidu, Carl Gawli, Jaspreet Singh Monty are some REOs who do so much for the society and support charities. There are clubs all over the country and they do some exceptional work.

These people really inspire and live their passion. They are professionals having successful careers and when it comes to following their heart they take on it like a dream. Always giving the message to ride with safety and follow brotherhood.

From my column

Patience is a virtue

Today I wish to focus on a very simple virtue; it’s not even a virtue but just a quality or a part of one’s behavior – Patience!
We are living in the times of instant gratification. The 2 minute, not just noodles but any food even butter chicken or parathas that only need to be micro waved and had. We are living in the Wi-Fi zones and the moment they grow weaker we get panicky. Our children need things as soon as they ask us. In fact most of us want it ‘yesterday’. Today is already late!

This need for instant gratification is playing havoc not only in our lives but also our internal systems. I see a lot of people getting into depression, the age for it becoming smaller and smaller. Even young children are getting affected. Unchecked it leads to behavioral disorders during the school and college days. Just imagine going through such attacks when one is just opening up to life; taking medication for the same. Not a pleasant experience at all.

As a mother I do notice how my children display impatience and have seen the same among student groups. Why separate young people its common among grownups too. I saw a couple break into a horrible fight at a public place the other day and the incident made me think. The lifestyle has a tremendous impact on our thoughts and behaviors. The biggest reason for such outbreaks I could feel is the lack of patience. We are impatient period! We just cannot wait, we have forgotten what the word actually means.

Patience is not just the ability to wait but it’s how we behave while we're waiting.

Life is all about loving, caring, sharing and waiting. This was all the part of the large families or joint families that we lived in. Patience was but natural as there was a demand for everything one wanted. Imagine the morning wait outside the bathroom, when we look back it does bring back some smiles but that did teach some big virtues too. Those life skills learned have such a strong impact on what we do with our lives as we grow up.
Even the happiest life cannot be without a measure of darkness. Would happiness have any meaning if it was not balanced by sadness? It is far better to take things as they come along with patience and calmness. The stress that we take over things not happening that moment is totally not worth it! All things are difficult before they actually become easy, isn’t it? Can patience be adhered to as a natural virtue?  By all means a big Yes!! Patience defines one’s attitude.
For anything worth having one must pay the price; and the price is always hard work, self discipline, sleepless nights, sacrifice and above all patience. It is simple but not easy. Simple things always manifest into great wisdom and sense of fulfillment. With these thoughts, I am certainly going to make patience a part of my life and inculcate the same in my children. Taking it then with my students, I can visualise the results already. It can certainly handle the stress, aggression, depression and many complexes that are so dominant these days. Let there be happiness around.

“He that can have patience can have what he will.” 
― Benjamin Franklin

From my column
PS: Pictures are taken from Google for illustrations, with due credits, if anyone has any objection, kindly let me know they'll be removed promptly.