Micro - Book Review

Micro is a techno-thriller started by Michael Crichton, who is the king of adventure novels. The theme in most of his novels is about nature versus technology. His Jurassic Park is a master-piece thriller. This book was unfortunately not finished by Crichton. He died before he could finish it in 2008. Science writer Richard Preston was selected to complete the noel and I must say, he was aptly selected. The book was published posthumously in 20011 three years after the death of Crichton.
Micro-Book Review
The story revolves around seven scientists who specialize in various fields of research. These students have high aspirations for their careers and look forward to the work at Nanigen, the leading company in scientific research. They are invited to the head quarters at Hawaii where they are to be briefed about their future prospects with the company. All goes well, till one of the student suspects the chief of the company of murdering his brother. To stop the truth from leaking outside, the chief shrinks all the seven students and makes them part of a micro world where they have absolutely no chance of survival. The seven are initially shocked. The micro world offers them numerous wonders which enchants them for a while. But when survival is questioned, who would be interested in other things? As the students race against time and nature, their survival is not their only challenge. They have to prove that the chief is a crook and a murderer and find the real reason for the murder that has already happened.
The book offers a plethora of information about the micro world including insects and the law of nature. As the story progresses it is so engrossing and mystifying which encourages one to finish the book as soon as possible. It is a good read if you are accustomed to the style of Crichton and are interested in science and the world around you.

Father of the Bride Movie

Father of the bride movie review
Father of the Bride is an American comedy based on the beautiful relationship between fathers and daughters. Steve Martin and Diane Keaton play the parents while Kimberly Williams plays the much loved daughter in the movie. I have a long list of favorite movies which released in the 90s but I wanted to write about this movie in particular. It holds a special place in my heart because it reminds me of my own closeness with my dad. Sometimes we think movies are far different from reality but in rare occasions it helps us understand the intricate beauty of relationships.
There is this beautiful family of four that George and Nina (Steve and Diane) are content with, until their daughter Annie falls in love with an amazing guy. She is convinced that he is the one for her. She meets him in Rome and wants to introduce him to her family. When she breaks the news to her parents, Nina is surprised while George is plain shocked. He refuses to acknowledge what is happening and still treats his daughter as if she is a child. He cannot believe that his daughter wants to get married and leave him. While Nina plays the understanding and mature mother, George is the one who captures our heart with his immaturity and a deep love for his daughter. He plays his part perfectly as the over-protective father who wants to chase any man daring to challenge him and capture his daughter’s attention. He indulges in all sorts of silliness till finally he understands that someday he has to let her go so that she can make her life beautiful with someone who loves her unconditionally as her own father. Nina as the confident wife shoulders the responsibility of balancing the crazy father and the frustrated daughter who cannot understand how such a great father could be so stubborn.
There are many moments in the movie that are endearing. Though the main plot is the conflict of interest between the father and the daughter, the relationships between a husband and wife, a brother and a sister and between two lovers are beautifully sketched. The back ground score is very soothing and awesome. The movie is such a huge break from the regular commercial movies as you can enjoy it with your family. Needless to say, I cry every time during the last part of the movie. I watched it once with my dad after pestering him so much to see it with me. By the end, I’m sure he was in tears but of course he pretended that he was alright ( though his nostrils kept flaring to hide his tears). This movie is very special for every daughter who has a deep bond with her father. It reminds you though everything in life does not happen the way you always want, there is one special person whom you can always count on.

Dr APJ Abdul Kalam

Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam is a well known scientist and administrator of India. He served as the eleventh president from 2002 to 2007. He was a man with a vision and a great knowledge. He understood the power of youth and influenced them to do their share for the upliftment of the society. His speeches are motivating and his writings are incredible. Though he did not have any sound background he is the right example who proved that will and ability to achieve matter more than a affluent background. Even today when he no longer rules the nation, he is the role model for every youngster who wants his life to be meaningful. 

Early Life
Kalam was born in the coastal town of Rameswaram. His father was a fisherman and his mother was a housewife. His parents were Tamil Muslims. Since his family was poor, Kalam had to work early in life to supplement the family income. He used to deliver newspapers early in the morning to earn money. His elementary education was in his hometown Later he did his studies in Trichy where he graduated in physics and then joined MIT for a degree in aerospace engineering. Even form a young age he was honest and hardworking, the very qualities that would catapult him in life.He wanted to become a pilot with the Indian Air force but he could not pass the examination.

After Graduation 

After his graduation from MIT, his skills were absorbed in Defence Research organization (DRDO) where his job was to design helicopters for the army. But he was not happy with his job there. Later he moved to the Indian Space research Organisation (ISRO) where his life would change forever. He had the opportunity to work under the famed space scientist Vikram Sarabhai. Kalam was part of the first SLV that was launched from India. He fell in love with the concept of rockets. He expanded the scope of ISRO and provided employment to a lot of budding engineers. He was the key person of the advanced missile program and developed the missiles like Agni and Prithvi. Today he is the nation’s top nuclear scientist.

First Leader 

Kalam was fondly known as the people’s president. He won the presidential elections in 2002. He was the first bachelor to occupy Rashtrapathi Bhavan. He won his opponent by a large margin. His term was peppered with moderate successes in governance and criticisms to a certain extent. He wanted justice as a whole for the nation and delayed to act on mercy plea submitted by criminals. he was one of those rare leaders who was genuinely concerned about his people. After his term, there was much speculation about Kalam wanting to contest a second term for presidency but reports later confirmed that he was not ready for a second term. The political atmosphere at that time was not conducive for Kalam. He is the third president who has received the country’s highest honor, the Bharat Ratna award.

Published works 

Kalam has published a lot of works in English and Tamil. Most of his works are around nuclear science. Famous books written by him are India 2020 (which talks about his vision of the youth of India by the year 2020 and Ignited minds. Wings of Fire is an autobiography done on Kalam which captures every important event in his life. There have been several biographies done on the life and work of Kalam. In addition to this, Kalam’s life has been captured as a documentary too.

Well Deserved Honors 

Apart from receiving all the highest honors of the Government of India, Kalam has been awarded the many awards from around the world.

He has received honorary doctorate from 40 universities.Some of them are:

Nanyang University, Singapore
University of Wolverhampton, UK
Oakland University
University of Waterloo
Simon Fraser University


Hoover Medal (USA)
King Charles II Medal (UK)

As he closely associates himself with youngsters motivating and guiding them, his 79th birthday has been announced by UNESCO as the World Students Day.

A true role model 

Abdul Kalam was a man of integrity who knew the value of hard work even from an young age. His status did not deter him from achieving what he wanted. His failures translated into success so huge that nobody remembered his failures anymore. He was grounded and simple. His intentions were true and good and he was not afraid to voice his concerns. He fought against corruption at various levels through the support of youth. Had he wanted to become the president a second time, he surely would have been. He had that kind momentum going for him. He was a man of simple interests. He loved playing the veena and enjoyed writing in Tamil, his mother tongue. He is one of those persons who remembers his origin no matter how high life takes him. India is honored to have seen a leader like him who had the courage to stand for what he truly believed in.Bottom of Form

How to open a clothing boutique

Starting a business is a huge decision and it involves a lot of complexities. The major factor that decides this is the opportunity. Next is the capital. The beauty of small businesses is that though it can appear small, it can actually give great returns. But before reaping the gains there are a lot of preparations to be done. Before getting into a venture, ask yourself why do you want to start a business. You need to have a strong motivating factor other than money. Profits are the products of your interests and efforts. You need to have a strong reason for opting the small business route. Once you identify the reason, the rest can be sketched out gradually.
The first and foremost step is to create an original business plan. A clothing business is in fact huge as there are many combinations in terms of clothes, colors, labels, price and desirability. You need to be sure which sector of clothing interests you. A boutique essentially means a store that specializes in a particular style of clothing. So these are the factors you must consider while drawing up the plan.

Business Plan: 
1. The vision and mission of the business:
The vision talks about long term goals of the business while the mission answers the question ?why do we do this business?'

2. The executive summary:
This gives the exhaustive details of the business. It answers all the general questions of why, what, how and when of the start up

3. The financial outlay:
This is the part where you have to work out the initial capital, working capital, start-up cost, maintenance costs and costs that are generally expected. The financial outlay will be continuously altered as you get the ground reality of your project.

4. Marketing plan:
This section discusses in detail about your customers. Who are we catering to? What are their needs? How does my shop fill their needs?

5. Operation details:
What is the operation plan of your business? Who is going to manage it? How to manage it?

6. Stakeholders:
Who are the interested party in the business and how will this impact you? What are your commitments?

7. Growth plans:
You should decide about your tentative growth plan. This is not a fixed column because your plans are based on guess work. In five years my turn over will be this much. Yet your guess should be calculated and reasonable instead of random. You also have to chart out your SWOT analysis (Strength, weakness, opportunities and threats) and act on them.

8. Competitor Analysis:
It is very important to evaluate competitors in the same line of the business as they will directly eat into your profits. Try to study them carefully and come up with unique ideas that might lessen the competition.

Before starting on the interior work, you must decide on a theme for your clothing store. For example, if your store sells casual clothes for man and women you can have a beach theme and choose your decorations accordingly. Your walls can be painted with blue, green or yellow to give a casual look. Attention must be given to every aspect of the interior namely, the ceiling (natural or false) clothing arrangement (shelves or hangers), flooring (wood or tiles), lighting(bright or dim) , display (paneled or glass) and the walls (wall paper or paint). Every expense and idea has to be accounted and then carefully evaluated. The first look of the shop should be appealing to the customer. The customer sees the shop before choosing the clothes. The ambiance should be bright and welcoming.If your space is small, you can make it look bigger by placing mirrors and painting the walls with bold colors instead of subtle colors.

Before you indulge in bulk purchases you must be confident of choosing the necessary dressing style. The next step is to find out the various locations which are suitable for bulk purchases. Certain materials may be cheap of more appealing in one city than the rest. Find out such unique combinations that work for your store. All through the selection process, keep your target customer in mind and cater to their needs. The first time is always going to be tough as you do not have a clear ideas what clicks with the customer. Nevertheless, make sure you have a rough idea of what you are getting into.


In other words you have to think about the various marketing channels you can use to promote your new store. This depends heavily on your locality and the demographics you are dealing with. For example if you are customers are factory workers, an advertisement in the internet will not do anything to your business. Bear in mind that marketing initiatives can consume a lot of money. So make sure that the results are worth the money. Think beyond traditional advertising through banners, boards or flyers. If you want to give discounts to pull in the crowd make sure you have a plan in place. Word-of-mouth marketing is the most underrated technique. Do not ignore that. Though there are so many promotional activities, your shop's quality is the biggest marketing blessing. Make sure you earn the good will of the customer.

Another deciding factor for the success of the shop is pricing. This is a major governing factor for small businesses. The price when too low raises doubts about the quality of the clothes, while prices that are too high might discourage customers from entering the store. The price and the profit margin must be calculated based on the purchasing power of the average customer in that area. Also it should be more or less in the same area as that of competitors.

Selecting the correct location is half the job done. The store should be in a location of maximum footfalls. Remember that not all customers passing by come into the store, not all customers walking into the store buy. When the location is ideal it is easier to convert the footfalls into purchases.

The opening ceremony is the first face of the shop. So try creating a positive buzz before the important day. Come up with simple and beautiful incentives for your customers during the first couple of months till the customer is comfortable about the shop. If budget permits, host a party and invite everyone to step in for free gifts or discounts. Spread the good word to who ever walks into the shop and encourage them to do the same.

Final word:

When we talk about a small business, it need not ideally be a single line of business. For example, though the main line of business could be clothes, you can even focus on accessories or shoes to go with your clothes well. This will create a niche for your budding business in the market. It is also shown that customers are more prone to visit a single stop shop. But these ideas should be able to mix well with your main line of profits. Over whelming the customer might not prove to be good. Take it one step at a time and slowly expand.


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