First read: The private life of Mrs Sharma

What can go wrong if a dutiful wife, mother and daughter-in-law comes out of her shell a little with a younger stranger?

As a mother you not only pay for your own sins, but you also pay for the sins of your child. How dare he say such things? How dare such an animal say such things? What does a criminal know about being a mother? What does a man know about being a mother? And what do they even mean, those stupid words? How can one person pay for the sins committed by another person? And why only the mother? Sharma Sahib, where are you? You were supposed to spend a month with us every year. Come back just now! Come back and take control of your son. Come back and pay for his sins. But what do you even know of your son’s sins? Oh, my Bobby, you say. Oh, my poor Bobby. Oh, my sweet and studious Bobby. What do you know of your sinful son?


Many times when I am walking in the market or standing in a crowded train compartment, basically, whenever I am surrounded by a lot of people, I think about how each and every one of these people has or has had a mother, and then I think of all the hours, all the days and nights, all the years that are spent looking after children, and it seems that my head is going to burst. Such a lot of time! Such a lot of care! I wonder if anybody has ever bothered to think that if there are six billion people on this earth, and each and every one of them has a mother, dead or alive, what the total time spent would be on caring for others, on caring and compromise and sacrifice. I am sure that if anybody actually bothered to make such a calculation, that person’s head would also burst.

Obviously there are those mothers who have easy lives. There are those mothers like my mother who were let off from their duties very early or mothers like Doctor Sahib’s wife, modern maharanis, who have one ayah to feed their children, one ayah to clean their noses, one ayah to clean their shit, and what not. But then that is how the world is.


It is night-time. Papaji and Mummyji are sleeping in the hall, and Bobby is sleeping here in the corner on his cot, his headphones still in his ears, a cookbook resting on the pillow next to his cheek. You have to see this boy, this tall, beautiful boy. This man, almost. He would make any mother’s heart burst with pride.

But what am I saying? Am I so stupid a woman that I could forget so quickly that this is the boy who betrayed his mother, who brought shame to her? Have I forgotten that this is the boy who drank?


It is night-time again, and again sleep will not come to me. Maybe now I have met the man who has blood on his hands. Maybe now I know the face of evil. I stood in front of it and spat on it. But then what? I still can’t close my eyes. You won’t find what you are looking for over here. That is what he said. And the truth is that what he said was right.

When I came back home from that man’s shop I prayed. Except for preparing lunch and dinner, the only thing that I did today was pray. I prayed and I prayed and I prayed. I prayed until Mummyji came into the prayer room, and actually caught my shoulders and shook me, and asked me if I was fine. I prayed, but nothing. No answers, no peace, no peace that comes from answers. It seems that God was also saying one and the same thing to me. It seems that He was also saying, Madamji, you won’t find what you are looking for over here.

But was it actually a sin that my Bobby committed? Is drinking such a sin? On Friday, when I met Doctor Sahib at the clinic, one thought came to me, the thought that if Doctor Sahib drinks alcohol, and I know that he does because his bearer had told me a long time ago about how his sahib drinks two glasses of whiskey every evening without fail and from time to time even the memsahib does, so if Doctor Sahib, who is such a respectable man, drinks, then why is it such a bad thing if my Bobby did? Should I have become so angry? Obviously Bobby is just a child, and he drank some cheap country liquor that almost killed him, not the imported whiskey that Doctor Sahib enjoys. Still, was it a sin or just a child’s mistake?


God help me. What am I thinking?


I am not fine, Mummyji, I am not fine. Shake me up again. You are a mother, Mummyji. Only a mother can know the suffering of another mother. Help your daughter-in-law, Mummyji. She has gone mad. Tell your son to come back. You say that every boy has to have his father near him. Mummyji, every woman also has to have her husband near her.


Sometimes the goddess of night can be kind. Sometimes she will sit by your bed and rub away all those big and small fears that trouble you with the lamp-black of night-time, until they cannot be seen any more, so that maybe you can wake up strong the next morning.

Yesterday was a little bit difficult, I can’t lie about that, but today has been much better. Except when I had a small fight on the phone with the mechanic who has still not come to fix the washing machine, and I have been calling him up daily for two weeks now, except for those two or three minutes in the morning, I have felt peaceful. Everything will be fine. I know it. Actually, I have always known it. Yesterday I behaved a little bit oddly, but it was only because I had temporarily forgotten this important fact. I think that you can forgive me. From time to time even people who are normally quite strong can feel that they have been beaten a little bit. Still, as I just said, it will all be fine. In less than two weeks my in-laws will leave for Canada for the birth of their grandchild, and they will only come back in October, which will give me enough time alone with Bobby to fix his life. And in only seventy-nine days’ time my husband will be back in Delhi for his annual leave, and it will be just the three of us again. It will all be fine.

Excerpted with permission from The Private Life of Mrs Sharma, Ratika Kapur, Bloomsbury.

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The next Industrial Revolution is here – driven by the digitalization of manufacturing processes

Technologies such as Industry 4.0, IoT, robotics and Big Data analytics are transforming the manufacturing industry in a big way.

The manufacturing industry across the world is seeing major changes, driven by globalization and increasing consumer demand. As per a report by the World Economic Forum and Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Ltd on the future of manufacturing, the ability to innovate at a quicker pace will be the major differentiating factor in the success of companies and countries.

This is substantiated by a PWC research which shows that across industries, the most innovative companies in the manufacturing sector grew 38% (2013 - 2016), about 11% year on year, while the least innovative manufacturers posted only a 10% growth over the same period.

Along with innovation in products, the transformation of manufacturing processes will also be essential for companies to remain competitive and maintain their profitability. This is where digital technologies can act as a potential game changer.

The digitalization of the manufacturing industry involves the integration of digital technologies in manufacturing processes across the value chain. Also referred to as Industry 4.0, digitalization is poised to reshape all aspects of the manufacturing industry and is being hailed as the next Industrial Revolution. Integral to Industry 4.0 is the ‘smart factory’, where devices are inter-connected, and processes are streamlined, thus ensuring greater productivity across the value chain, from design and development, to engineering and manufacturing and finally to service and logistics.

Internet of Things (IoT), robotics, artificial intelligence and Big Data analytics are some of the key technologies powering Industry 4.0. According to a report, Industry 4.0 will prompt manufacturers globally to invest $267 billion in technologies like IoT by 2020. Investments in digitalization can lead to excellent returns. Companies that have implemented digitalization solutions have almost halved their manufacturing cycle time through more efficient use of their production lines. With a single line now able to produce more than double the number of product variants as three lines in the conventional model, end to end digitalization has led to an almost 20% jump in productivity.

Digitalization and the Indian manufacturing industry

The Make in India program aims to increase the contribution of the manufacturing industry to the country’s GDP from 16% to 25% by 2022. India’s manufacturing sector could also potentially touch $1 trillion by 2025. However, to achieve these goals and for the industry to reach its potential, it must overcome the several internal and external obstacles that impede its growth. These include competition from other Asian countries, infrastructural deficiencies and lack of skilled manpower.

There is a common sentiment across big manufacturers that India lacks the eco-system for making sophisticated components. According to FICCI’s report on the readiness of Indian manufacturing to adopt advanced manufacturing trends, only 10% of companies have adopted new technologies for manufacturing, while 80% plan to adopt the same by 2020. This indicates a significant gap between the potential and the reality of India’s manufacturing industry.

The ‘Make in India’ vision of positioning India as a global manufacturing hub requires the industry to adopt innovative technologies. Digitalization can give the Indian industry an impetus to deliver products and services that match global standards, thereby getting access to global markets.

The policy, thus far, has received a favourable response as global tech giants have either set up or are in the process of setting up hi-tech manufacturing plants in India. Siemens, for instance, is helping companies in India gain a competitive advantage by integrating industry-specific software applications that optimise performance across the entire value chain.

The Digital Enterprise is Siemens’ solution portfolio for the digitalization of industries. It comprises of powerful software and future-proof automation solutions for industries and companies of all sizes. For the discrete industries, the Digital Enterprise Suite offers software and hardware solutions to seamlessly integrate and digitalize their entire value chain – including suppliers – from product design to service, all based on one data model. The result of this is a perfect digital copy of the value chain: the digital twin. This enables companies to perform simulation, testing, and optimization in a completely virtual environment.

The process industries benefit from Integrated Engineering to Integrated Operations by utilizing a continuous data model of the entire lifecycle of a plant that helps to increase flexibility and efficiency. Both offerings can be easily customized to meet the individual requirements of each sector and company, like specific simulation software for machines or entire plants.

Siemens has identified projects across industries and plans to upgrade these industries by connecting hardware, software and data. This seamless integration of state-of-the-art digital technologies to provide sustainable growth that benefits everyone is what Siemens calls ‘Ingenuity for Life’.

Case studies for technology-led changes

An example of the implementation of digitalization solutions from Siemens can be seen in the case of pharma major Cipla Ltd’s Kurkumbh factory.

Cipla needed a robust and flexible distributed control system to dispense and manage solvents for the manufacture of its APIs (active pharmaceutical ingredients used in many medicines). As part of the project, Siemens partnered with Cipla to install the DCS-SIMATIC PCS 7 control system and migrate from batch manufacturing to continuous manufacturing. By establishing the first ever flow Chemistry based API production system in India, Siemens has helped Cipla in significantly lowering floor space, time, wastage, energy and utility costs. This has also improved safety and product quality.

In yet another example, technology provided by Siemens helped a cement plant maximise its production capacity. Wonder Cement, a greenfield project set up by RK Marbles in Rajasthan, needed an automated system to improve productivity. Siemens’ solution called CEMAT used actual plant data to make precise predictions for quality parameters which were previously manually entered by operators. As a result, production efficiency was increased and operators were also freed up to work on other critical tasks. Additionally, emissions and energy consumption were lowered – a significant achievement for a typically energy intensive cement plant.

In the case of automobile major, Mahindra & Mahindra, Siemens’ involvement involved digitalizing the whole product development system. Siemens has partnered with the manufacturer to provide a holistic solution across the entire value chain, from design and planning to engineering and execution. This includes design and software solutions for Product Lifecycle Management, Siemens Technology for Powertrain (STP) and Integrated Automation. For Powertrain, the solutions include SINUMERIK, SINAMICS, SIMOTICS and SIMATIC controls and drives, besides CNC and PLC-controlled machines linked via the Profinet interface.

The above solutions helped the company puts its entire product lifecycle on a digital platform. This has led to multi-fold benefits – better time optimization, higher productivity, improved vehicle performance and quicker response to market requirements.

Siemens is using its global expertise to guide Indian industries through their digital transformation. With the right technologies in place, India can see a significant improvement in design and engineering, cutting product development time by as much as 30%. Besides, digital technologies driven by ‘Ingenuity for Life’ can help Indian manufacturers achieve energy efficiency and ensure variety and flexibility in their product offerings while maintaining quality.


The above examples of successful implementation of digitalization are just some of the examples of ‘Ingenuity for Life’ in action. To learn more about Siemens’ push to digitalize India’s manufacturing sector, see here.

This article was produced on behalf of Siemens by the marketing team and not by the editorial staff.