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Dec 30 20

UK Flight Ban extended by 7 days to Jan 7th

by lara

India’s Civil Aviation Minister on the 30th of December tweeted that the flight ban to the UK will be extended till the 7th of January. However, the good news is that the minister’s tweet also says calibrated resumption of flights to the UK will take place post 7th of Jan.

The civil aviation minister had, a day prior, informed the media that a slight extension in the flight ban may be put in place post 31st December.


Dec 11 20

3 things to know before cracking your next job interview

by Capt. Samarth Singh

When was the last time you were at battle with yourself trying to figure out what to wear for your next interview; perhaps a lucky colour? Or perhaps the dilemma that bothered you the most was whether or not to ask for an incremented CTC?

Either way, here are 3 things to remember before diving into that upcoming, all-important interview.

1. Arrive Early

At the risk of sounding clichéd, arriving early doesn’t just tell the HR Team you are serious about the job, it actually also serves a biological purpose. Research has told us time and again that human beings suffer lapses in judgment under stress. Stress mitigation is fast making its way into many professions and the results are unquestionable. The next time you show up for an interview, try giving yourself a healthy bit of time to just wait and do nothing while you de-stress yourself at the visitor’s lounge; get your heart rate down, recharge and then dive right into that interview.

2. Look positive, feel like a million bucks!

While a sob story may melt a few hearts it does little to influence decisions relating to job competency. A positive attitude on the other hand often tells the interviewer that the candidate is the kind of person who is open to learning, accepting new ideas and being a team player. So dress sharp and feel positive; wear a smile and connect with the interviewer in a way that tells him you are a person who is looking forward to this job if you nail it, and looking forward to exploring the next job interview if you don’t.

3. Understand that the HR team is hiring a potential ‘colleague’

This is probably the most underrated, but the most important area of the interviewer’s goal set a candidate should be cognisant of. While an interviewer is required to check professional competency, past experience, general behaviour and suitability for the job at hand, it is the interview’s paramount responsibility to be able to successfully hire a future ‘colleague.’ The instant you go from being a candidate to a ‘selected candidate’ you become a colleague and from this point onwards, the HR Team will expect you to engage with them as their colleague. You are now part of the team. So try to be approachable and come across as a potential employee who is amicable and easy to work with. A CV that shines may just be inadequate when paired with an individual who chooses to come across as excessively introverted or rigid. There isn’t an exact science or a rule book to figure out this balance, perhaps the best piece of advice would be to just keep it real and be yourself!

Feb 4 16

An Interview with British Philanthropist – Matthew C. Martino

by lara

matthew martino

Matthew C. Martino is a British philanthropist and film executive. He is the founder of arts charity MMBF Trust and The MM Enterprise Award. We held an interview with him.


1.Tell us a little bit about your charity?

MMBF Trust, my international arts charity provides grants and scholarships to actors, filmmakers and creatives. My initial vision for the charity was to support local creatives in London and I’m honestly flattered by the work we have been able to achieve over the years.


2.Could you innumerate some of your philanthropic activities?

My core work is supporting MMBF but I also have an enterprise scheme called MM Enterprise Award which assists young people to start their own businesses and I also enjoy supporting charities close to home such as Haven House who are in Essex where I live and have also grown very fond of Bolton Lads & Girls Club. In an ideal world I would like to help everyone but I’m just not equipped to do so.


3. We hear you run an aviation academy, does this stem from a love for flying?

Yes I’ve been an #avgeek since a very young age and I remember back in Zimbabwe looking up whilst we were being driven to school and admiring the planes that where flying over us. Lets Fly Academy provides training and resources to aspiring pilots.

matthew martino

4. What about the fund you are launching on V day?

I’m launching my all new Matthew Martino Innovators Fund on the 14th of February. I wanted to launch something over Christmas but I just got too busy so I felt it was right to be giving opportunities on such an iconic day in many peoples personal lives. This MMBF Trust -funded opportunity provides 10 groups or individuals with £250 to help kick-start their creative projects. In the past MMBF Trust has funded everything from dance and film projects to music videos and photography collectives. Whatever creative field you work in, we’ll consider your application.


5. We hear you have developed an app? Lets hear about it.

Lets Fly APP, my first and foremost baby in the app development circuit. I developed the App to just add another medium of information for aspiring pilots as well as my book and Lets Fly Academy.

Dec 26 15

For their love of flying – Capt. JP Sharma, Capt. Samarth Singh

by lara
capt. samarth singh, pilot at surat airport, VASU

Capt. JP and Capt. Samarth take to the skies in a good old Cessna 172SP.

Capt. JP Sharma and Capt. Samarth Singh have both got stellar live stories to tell and an undying love for flying. Capt. JP is a retired Indian Air force – ATC officer who thought it prudent to action his passion for flying at the age of 44. He set his eyes on a CPL and from there on has amassed 5000 hours of flying experience on various kinds of aircraft. As of 2015, he is also the holder of an ATPL, the highest grade of Indian Pilot’s License one can hold.

Capt. Samarth Singh is a serial entrepreneur having been associated with various Indian startups like Resume Online Inc., Hybrid Content (India) Pvt. Ltd., Arch Ship Management LLP, Carbon Positive and (Samarth Singh Consulting) His love for flying has made him a keen hobby flier. He is a member of the Bombay Flying Club and often pairs up with Capt. JP Sharma to share the love for flying. Capt. Samarth Singh is rated for a Cessna 152, Cessna 172, Diamond DA42 and Beechcraft King Air B-200.


May 12 15

Skywest Airlines Plane Crashes at LAX. All 43 survived. #planecrash #crash

by lara

A SkyWest aircraft crash landed at Los Angeles Airport’s runway 24L at 8:30 AM on Monday morning after it reported a landing gear issue. The main landing gear of the aircraft only partially deployed requiring it to land one wheel short.

In a display of courageous and skillful flying the captain managed to save all of the 43 souls on board.

In a Sky5 news video, the aircraft is seen approaching the runway and flaring (i.e. pitching nose up) to land right after which the left wing makes contact with the runway and skids as the aircraft comes to a grinding halt. Thankfully, there was no sign of fire, just a little bit of smoke from the wing grinding the asphalt.

SkyWest is a subsidiary airline of United in the USA. The plane was on a short scheduled flight from Monorail, California to LAX. It was evacuated immediately after stopping on the runway with passengers being loaded onto airport coaches.


Mar 30 15

Indian NAVY loses its first woman officer in the line of duty

by Capt. Samarth Singh

A native of a village in Rajasthan’s Jhunjhunu district Indian Navy Lieutenant Kiran Shekhawat lost her life in the recent Dornier aircraft crash off the coast of Goa.

Her loss has come at a time when many women’s rights groups and NGOs across the country are lobbying for a more wider role for women in the armed forces especially in combat roles.

Lieutenant Shekhawat was put to rest with full military honours at Kurthala village in Mewat, Haryana and the funeral was attended by several VIPs, politicians and personnel of the armed forces.

Lieutenant Shekhawat was an avid music lover, a fan of Enrique and had a passion for flying all along. She was assigned a flying role as an observer in the Navy tracking possible enemy vessels and threats within Indian territorial waters.

Mar 24 15

Germanwings Airbus A320 goes down in the alps. 150 dead.

by lara
Copyright Stefan Slegenthaler

Copyright Stefan Slegenthaler

24th March 2015

A Germanwings Airbus A320 has crashed in the French alps. All 150 on board including flight crew and 16 school children are believed to have died in the crash. The flight was operating a scheduled Barcelona, Spain to Dusseldorf, Germany route.

It made a Mayday call shortly after reaching its cruising altitude after which it descended from 32,000 feet to 6000 feet in a span of 8 minutes. French radar lost contact with the aircraft at 10:30 AM local time.

Search and Rescue have based themselves in a small hamlet with access to an aerodrome a few miles from the crash site. The place the airplane went down is an alpine stretch known for skiing and hiking. Search and Rescue are expecting weather and snow and have said the first bodies will be airlifted only on Wednesday.

Germanwings is Lufthansa’s low cost carrier meant to compete with European low costs carriers like Ryan Air and Easy Jet. The Airbus A320 that crashed has been in service with Lufthansa since 1991. The Captain of the aircraft reported had 6000 hours of experience on this aircraft type.

This is indeed a sad day for Commercial Aviation.

Mar 20 15

Is the real estate boom in Ulwe finished? – #realestate

by lara

“The combination of rapid construction of buildings and lack of basic infrastructure often leads to stagnation.”

Ulwe has been in the news for a few years now as a real estate haven that offers promising returns on investment over the next few years. Five of the most commonly attributed reasons for possible escalation are:

  • Proposed Navi Mumbai Airport
  • Proposed Sewri – Nhava Link
  • Seawoods – Ulwe Link from Palm Beach Road
  • The SEZ in Ulwe
  • Baman Dongri Railway Station which is to be connected to the Harbour Line

As someone looking to invest in Navi Mumbai, you’ve probably heard these reasons from every broker / builder you’ve come across. However, a trip down to Ulwe, which by no means is a short drive brings up some very valid points. To start with, getting to Ulwe requires you to drive, practically the entire length of Palm Beach Road which beings you to the new NMMC Headquarters with the large Indian flag. A right at the junction and another 15 minutes brings you to a huge node of development, Ulwe.

ulwe real estate investment home

Dusty Broken road in Ulwe.

Buildings after building have been built here in the past 5 years and as of March 2015, are selling for 3500 – 5000 per square foot depending on the position of the construction. An under construction property could be picked up for peanuts, something ready to move into (which is rare) can be bought for 5000 upwards.

“Once you enter Ulwe, the first thing that strikes you is the sheer expanse of development. What also strikes you is the sheer lack of basic infrastructure like Roads, Street Lamps, Pavements, Sidewalks etc.” 

One doesn’t really need an expert to know that when rapid development occurs without the basic infrastructure in place, potential for stagnation develops.

Lets dissect each one of the five points in favour of Ulwe.

  • The airport has been rumoured to become operational ‘soon’ for the last 10 years. The proposed airport has lead to an entire township, ‘Kharghar’ to escalate leaps and bounds and now the same trick is being tried for Ulwe.
  • The proposed Sewri – Nhava link has had a similar story. It has been in planning for many years and only recently have we heard that the Japanese company contracted to build it has reportedly run into funding issues.
  • The Seawoods – Ulwe link off palm beach road is nothing but a mere shootout off Palm Beach Road which will marginally reduce the distance to Ulwe, but doesn’t really make much of an impact cost wise.
  • The SEZ in Ulwe is more of a business friendly proposition. One can argue that the jobs it creates will lead to more people settling into Ulwe, but that brings us back to the lack of basic infrastructure. Cache 22 situation, yes?
  • The Baman Dongri Railway station is by far the only tangible advantage that one can assume will become operational in a year or two.

The fact is that Ulwe has been talked about for many years now but the returns it has offered are certainly not up to the mark. Investors are having a tough time trying to resell their initial investments and the Cash-Cheque components are warped in favour of the investors. Furthermore, most of the building in Ulwe are awaiting their OC (Occupancy Certificates) before which it is illegal to occupy flats / shops.

With the lack of basic amenities, no restaurants and public sanitation, one can only hope, real infrastructure catches up with the building development in Ulwe before a genuine buyer can expect to see some real return and some real quality living in Ulwe.

Lets leave you with a few pictures of Ulwe clicked in March 2015. You be the judge. Your likes, comments and shares mean a lot to this discussion. 

ulwe real estate investment home

Ulwe Skyline and Substandard Road Infrastructure.

ulwe real estate investment home

Slum on the Street Side. Broken Road in Ulwe.

ulwe real estate investment home

Inactive Construction Site in Ulwe.

ulwe real estate investment home

Flyover Project in Ulwe.

ulwe real estate investment home

Flyover Project in Ulwe. Reliance SEZ in background.

Dec 23 14

NPS, the Indian answer to Social Security!

by Capt. Samarth Singh

10481922_900743299944205_3322028448771900140_nGovernment of India introduced the National Pension System (NPS) for new employees of Central Government (except for the Armed Forces), joining Government service on or after January 1, 2004. NPS is regulated by Pension Fund Regulatory & Development Authority  (PFRDA). The PFRDA Act was passed on 19th September, 2013 and the same was notified on 1st February, 2014. NSDL e-Governance Infrastructure Limited (NSDL e-Gov) has been functionaing as a Central Recordkeeping Agency which provides for the core infrastructure for the NPS and is critical for its successful operationalization. The scheme, open to all Indian citizens above the age of 18 is aimed and ideally suited for the youth and middle-age alike. Like any other investment, the NPS works best if one starts planning early for their retirement.

The objective of the NPS is to offer structured retirement benefits to the masses while inculcating a habit of regular savings among them. NPS is a cost effective and transparent platform wherein contributions are invested in various pension fund schemes opted by you as a subscriber. The NPS Trust, monitored by PFRDA, ensures that proper checks and balances are inbuilt within the schemes. You can access your account details online and check your fund value on a day to day basis.

NPS offer two options – Tier I and Tier II. A Tier 1 account is non-withdrawable and is meant to save for post-retirement. Tier 1 accounts are designated as Exempt-Exempt-Taxed (only the amount withdrawn as lump sum is taxed) from a taxation standpoint. A Tier 2 account is a simple voluntary savings scheme which can be withdrawn anytime upon a subscribers required but does not entail any tax benefits.

The process of setting up an NPS account is very simple. You need to apply for a PRAN or Permanent Retirement Account Number with any of the 37,000 touch points called Point of Presence Service Providers (POP-SP). Once allotted, your PRAN does not change irrespective of change of jobs, location or tax status.

For more on the National Pension Scheme, visit

Nov 30 14

Book Review – A Pluperfect Gift

by Capt. Samarth Singh

A Pluperfect Gift_final_coverA Pluperfect Gift by author Shalabh Bansal is a special read for more than a few reasons. It is a unique narration of Samar and Arisha’s love story and their journey through the formative years of their relationship right through to a very touching outcome. The reader’s perspective and state-of-mind however, places the outcome at various different and relative emotional conclusions. There’s no doubting the fact that different readers will interpret and connect with the climax differently.

The author’s roots are glaringly stark throughout this book with the simplicity and the humility of the settings. This is a read that doesn’t paint lavish pictures to appeal to one’s emotions, rather keeps it simple, sweet and manages to squeeze a tear or two every few chapters. While it is a work of fiction, its hard to miss the many references to everyday happenings. Whether or not they were or are a part of the author’s life is a guessing game, but rest assured, practically every reader will end up connecting to the story line at some point or the other.

A Pluperfect Gift, or a ‘better than perfect’ gift is an emotional book, deep and meaningful, not very long and split into crisp chapters which makes this the perfect travel and/or weekend read.