TAKE the case of our friend Ajanta Burman who brought the crown home for being Mrs India 2023 at the Sheroes Goa function held on November 25, 2023 at the Park Regis in Arpora. This Bengali housewife who does the most amazing Bengali dishes on prior order  adopted Goa as her home whole-heartedly, and can give us a few tips on how to make the best of life and have some oomph-ish fun along the way in the second half of life!

There were several beauties vying for the Mrs India 2023 title but it was a plump Ajanta Burman who sashayed, swirled and did a bit of graceful Rabindra Sangeet-style dancing – to win the crown. She’s a Goan Bengali, mind you.  Take a bow Ajanta. To a query on phone she shared that she is so excited because she is no mood to retire into a closet – the Mrs India crown will now see her travelling to other events to shake a leg a bit, that’s what she would like to do “for I have just recovered from a head surgery when it was touch and go.” All she wants to do is make life rewarding for herself and here’s her ticket to a dream come true surely! There’s a line-up of social events coming up for Ajanta Burman and we wish her all the best. Have fun, woman!


Bihar’s first IPS woman Manjari Jaruhar, with HerKey founder and CEO Neha Bagaria

THAT’S HerKey (formerly JobsForHer) for you, India’s largest career engagement platform unlocking opportunities, learning and communities for women in India. It wrapped up a successful debut event — “The Open Ceiling Women’s Leadership Conclave” —  which took place at Double Tree by Hilton in Goa on November 25, 2023. This was a two-day retreat for women empowered and on their way to being empowered. Here something like 150 women leaders had gathered  for a pow-wow sessions to share and exchange insight into their lives and where they were.

The exclusively women’s conclave witnessed several keynote women sharing their inspirational narratives form nothing or something to something better …offering valuable insight into the world of women in what is still a male-dominated world in India.  

In India, women face a notable drop in representation from entry to leadership roles, with just 10% reaching management and a few in the C-suite. Among the 2,000 listed firms with HerKey, only 10 have women as MDs and CEOs. Despite 100 unicorns, just 15% have female co-founders and less than 1% are led by female CEOs.  

Thus, the crucial need for a supportive community platform for women, says Neha Bagaria, founder and CEO of HerKey. Their platform is to teach women how to shatter the glass ceiling and enter an open ceiling. Special highlights of the conclave included several fireside chats including that of Laxmi Agarwal, the by now well reported acid attack survivor and founder and president of the Laxmi Agarwal Foundation. Laxmi Agarwal has come a long way from victim to successful woman, a power woman; she shared her poignant story making many in the audience weep as well as cheer for her.

There was also Shradha Suri Marwah, chairperson and MD of Subros Ltd who shared her insights on “The Dirty A-Word – Owning Ambition.” Be ambitious, she told the women, the sky is the limit. Daro mat, or so to speak. Altogether women are taking a bow all around us.

Join up HerKey if you wish to be a leader of sustance!  We forget. Manjari Jaruhar, Bihar’s first woman IPS officer, graced the occasion and eloquently spoke on “The Four M’s – Marriage, Mobility, Motherhood, and Menopause – Mending Leaky Pipelines Across the Spectrum.”  Her book “Madam/Sir” was released at the conclave and all women with ambition burning in their heart should make it a point to read it. You may get a copy from Broadway Book Shop or order over Amazon.


THE Directorate of Sports Youth Affairs is conducting Selection Trials to depute Goa State teams at the 67th School Games Federation National School Games to be held at Delhi, Gujarat, Kolkata, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.

The Selection trials will be held for Badminton U/17 boys & girls on Dec 1 & 2Dec, 2023 at Manohar Parrikar Stadium, Navelim;  Yogasana U/19 Boys & Girls on Dec 5, 2023 at Indoor Hall Campal, Panaji; Table-Tennis U/19 boys and girls on Dec 1 at Indoor Hall Campal, Panaji; Chess U/14Boys & Girls on Dec 12 and13 at Manohar Parrikar Stadium Navelim; Archery U/17 boys and  girls on  Dec 1 & 2 at Ponda Sports Complex. The In-Charge officers for the said selection trials are Tulsidas Desai (ZSO)- 9923500519, Anant Sawal (SSO)-9975120049,  Sanjay Shirodkar (ZSO)- 9518753630 Manthan Adpaikar (TSO)- 8080027034, Rohidas Ghadi (APEO)- 9049921228 and Shailesh Gaonkar (TSO)- 8788522700, respectively.

Participants should be regular enrolled students of the School/Jr College they represent and should report to the In-Charge Officer on the above mentioned respective dates at 9 am with their school ID cards/sports cards and 3 passport sizephotos.


IN a decisive move against the escalating crisis of electronic cigarettes and vaping devices infiltrating into the lives of students in educational institutions, the Goa State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, in collaboration with the Directorate of Education, Goa Dental College and Hospital, and with support from the Rotary Club of Margao Midtown, spearheaded an intensive sensitization program on November 28, 2023, at Matanhy Saldanha Administrative Complex, Margao.

Aimed at over 150 heads of schools and nodal teachers of Prahari clubs across Salcette taluka, this event is not merely a program; it’s a battle cry. It signifies a war against the insidious impact of e-cigarettes on the physical and mental well-being of students and the looming threat of addiction, which poses a grave risk to the very essence of educational institutions.

Amongst the guests were Peter F Borges (chairperson, Goa State Commission for Protection of Child Rights), Sindhu Prabhudessai (deputy director of Education), Rtn Nilesh Loliencar (president, Rotary Club of Margao Midtown) and Rajendra Prabhudessai (deputy superintendent of Police, South Goa) to signal a united front against the challenges posed by the rampant use of e-cigarettes and vaping among students. Peter F Borges stated unequivocally, “The infiltration of electronic cigarettes into the lives of our students demands unwavering attention. In the face of this challenge, we must unite in our commitment to safeguarding the health and future of students.”

 Eminent experts Dr Kashyap Bandodkar (BDS on Bond, Dept of Oral Medicine, and Radiology) and Dr Akshatha Gadiyar (assistant professor, Dept of Public Health Dentistry) conducted the sessions on current scenario of e-cigarette and vaping usage among students. Discussions delved into the health risks, covering both physical and mental well-being. Educators were equipped with skills to recognize early signs and intervene timely. Practical approaches and preventive measures for schools were presented, emphasizing engagement with parents, communities, and stakeholders.


IT’S an amazing story to learn from. It is not the sophisticated imported drilling machines that played the crucial part in the rescue of the trapped workers in the tunnel in Uttarakhand (they were trapped on November 12 while working in the tunnel). It was the ingenuity of the sewer workers or so called “rat miners,” the men who climb down sewage water tanks to clean them. It is these rathole miners
who came squeeze into very small spaces who finally made a difference.

Surprisingly, there were two Goan mining engineers who helped in the rescue operations, namely Amogh Gudekar an Asif Mulla who guided the miner rats who eventually became the heroes. The rathole miners dug through the last 15 meters to rescue the 41 trapped workers trapped in the tunnel. Reportedly the design of the tunnel work was faulty for there was no emergency exit planned in the operations. This is to say machines don’t have street smartness, the rathole miners do and the entire country is talking about them and praising them for the rescue mission.


IF you deposit money in cash in your bank you will have to pay a penalty now. Banks have started levying a fee on cash deposits ostensibly to stop black money. . Banks want customers to shift to ATMs or make payments online. We presume that the real reason is banks wanting to eliminate cashiers from their jobs.

Historically, cashiers have been at the heart of the banks. Maybe the days when you took tokens to deposit or withdraw cash are coming to an end. The worst affected are the poor and marginalized who do not know how to use the ATMs. But even shopkeepers and vegetable vendors are now accepting online payments.


THOUGHT 20 years have passed since the International Film Festival of India was brought to Goa by Manohar Parrikar, there is no real firm infrastructure for the festival in Goa.  Several years ago it was proposed to create infrastructure for IFFI next to the International Centre Goa at Dona Paula. The government took over old GMC premises in Panaji and also built INOX at public cost for a private party. The contract was given to a Gujarat-based company called Inox.

At present opening and closing ceremonies have been happening at the Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Open-air Stadium at Bambolim, while the screenings of films take place at the INOX multiplex auditoriums with other hired venues for the eight-day duration of the festival. Fortunately, the Academy was renovated in time for this year’s just over IFFI. It still has the largest auditorium with 900 seats.

Delegates and media people had to shuttle from INOX complex to Kala Academy and the In-door Stadium for opening and closing ceremonies. Reportedly, it was an exhaustive and exhausting IFFI yet again with too much packed in to entertain both cinephile delegates as also a small group of Goans enamoured by American and  European films, and Hindi and other language films of India.


THE feast of Goencho Sahib or St Francis Xavier is being celebrated from December 4 in Goa. We remember the time when Father Rego, rector of Bom Jesus Basilica invited us to be one of the St Francis Xavier casket bearers during the Exposition in 1994. Every four years the saint’s relics in the casket are taken from the Bom Jesus Basilica to the Se Cathedral. The Basilica is controlled by the Jesuits while the Se Cathedral comes under the Bishop of Goa, now Cardinal Felipe Neri Ferrao. We may note here that there’s usually a fight between the Jesuits who own the St Francis Xavier relics and the Archbishop over the relics during the feast celebration in which devotees from all communities participate for blessings of the much venerated saint.

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