Read To Win

Three books gently reveal what goes into the modern Indian marriage (and what still stays out of it)

A mix of fiction, nonfiction and personal stories offer multiple perspectives.

“Nobody ever knows what goes on inside a marriage,” says a mother knowingly to her daughter who is struggling to make sense of her marriage while on a leisurely walk through New York’s Central Park. This is a scene from the book Gardens of Love: Stories of a Marriage, by Meera Godbole-Krishnamurthy. What we do know, however, is that the modern marriage, in its many forms and shades, is a fascinating, lively subject worthy of literary examination, again and again.

The “New Indian Marriage” is acquiring a distinctive entity that is far more consciously experienced than it ever used to be, observes psychiatrist Vijay Nagaswami in an essay in the anthology Knot for Keeps: Writing the Modern Marriage. How do couples with equally fervent ambitions make a marriage work? How do the marriages in the generations before us affect how the younger lot view matrimony? How does a modern woman who resolutely turns away from rituals of marriage make peace with the fact that she holds but one tradition close to her heart? In three new books, I found fresh and compelling perspectives on marriage in a contemporary context. In a mix of fiction, nonfiction and personal stories, men and women navigate a blend of new and old world order in hope, and in good humour.

Gardens of Love: Stories of a Marriage

Written and illustrated by Meera Godbole-Krishnamurthy

I don’t know about falling in love with a human being instantly, but when I spotted Gardens of Love on a shelf at a neighbourhood bookshop, it could only be described as love at first sight. This is perhaps what the author intended: the book is a visual delight. I have been sneaking daily glances at the cover illustration ever since, enchanted by a beautifully winding tree lit up by specks of green and red and yellow, with a bench under its shade and a carpet of grass around. It’s a teaser to what lies within: marvellous black and white full-page drawings by the author accompany each page of text.

The book follows a young couple as they reflect on the conflict that has driven them apart in the last few years. She is a landscape architect, he has moved away from the same profession to photography, which she holds against him, among other things. She likes symmetry, he cares less for it.

We discover the broken pieces of the relationship as the author takes us on an intricate guided tour (informed by her own background in architecture): through the tombs of Lodi Gardens, the ruins of Forum Romanum in Rome, the intelligently designed lushness of Central Park in New York and finally, coming to a happy ending – and a new beginning – at the kitschy greens of the Hanging Gardens in Mumbai. The illustrations capture the artistic details of each of the landscapes. We see what the protagonists in the book see.

These four episodes that play out in architecturally very varied spaces follow conversations and silences between the couple, and also between the woman and her mother, and the man and his father. Along the way, our characters probe the ebb and flow of a marriage troubled by the burden of expectations and the clash of individual pursuits. These travels also reveal childhood memories and resentments and how they feed into the marriage in question.

Godbole-Krishnamurthy juxtaposes the landscapes of the four historic spaces with the ragged edges of these relationships, peppering the conversations helpfully with generous bits of history (some of it via the woman looking up Wikipedia on her phone, a nice touch). As the conversations flow, there is an intimate sense of catharsis through an ever so gentle, nuanced probe into modern marriage. All through the refreshing lens of the architecture of nature and history.

Knot For Keeps: Writing the Modern Marriage

Edited by Sathya Saran

A book cover designed like a wedding invitation in golden and silver tones invites us to ponder over a collection of essays on marriage made up of different hues. Like most anthologies, not all the writings are equally inspired but there are many worthy stories here that ride on themes of our times. Sharanya Manivannan’s opening piece, “Apportionments of Love” is an exquisite, immensely personal essay on what it means to be single, along with her humour-laced theories on the institution of marriage – and sex – in a modern, urban context, which I have to say, are spot on.

Kalyan Ray’s recounting (“My Bi Continental Marriage”) of making his marriage to filmmaker Aparna Sen work across continents, helped along by good humour and maturity (brought on by a few divorces between them, no doubt) has an old world charm and is the kind of love story everyone loves to hear at a party.

Rita Mukherjee, who died before the book was released, writes in “A Life Sentence” about how it is possible for love to soar when in fact the relationship is severely threatened by a terminal illness. And what happens when a corrupt system threatens to hold up marital bliss? Journalist Neha Dixit, writing in “The Cost of a Runaway Marriage” did not envisage what it entailed when she and her partner chose to marry through the Special Marriage Act. Linking her personal experience to the stories of runaway couples seeking to formalise interfaith marriages, she paints a grim and bewildering picture.

I especially liked designer Wendell Rodricks’s moving piece “Across Latitudes and Longitudes” on a “love doomed to live between the lines”. When he writes, “Heterosexuals have it so easy”, you know how much perspective matters. In Knot for Keeps, the personal stories clearly trump the fictional pieces, save for Milan Vohra’s plucky, stylised story “What I Hate Most”, written in the manner of a “he said, she said”, with a twist.

The Story of a Long Distance Marriage

Siddhesh Inamdar

Ira and Rohan are a likeable millennial couple. You know them. A pair of 27-year-olds who have low-paying jobs, just enough to pay the rent at their little flat in Delhi’s Shahpur Jat urban village and have a bit left over. They romance at JNU and the once-charming lake-facing cafes at Hauz Khas Village and settle cosily into married life.

Till Ira decides to quit her job and pack her bags to move to New York for a couple of years to study. Rohan, who works at a newspaper, believes he is a modern, supportive husband, who will care for the house and their dog, Momo, while Ira goes on to live her dream. There’s always Whatsapp and Facebook to count on to bridge the distance. But, as the days apart turn into months, it increasingly appears that he undermined Ira and her quiet demeanour, and indeed, the dynamics of their marriage and what it meant to her.

Inamdar writes this everyday story with much affection, with the little details and lived in feel that a reader who has lived in Delhi will appreciate. His voice as Rohan is dominant, offering us a protagonist who may not be as progressive as he thinks he is, but one who is willing to examine what it means to be an equal partner once the mask is off. In Ira, we have a modern woman who’s kind and compassionate but isn’t afraid to see things for what they are and say it like it is, in her own time. The book thrives on an easy, pacy style, creating a sweet story that stops short of being mushy as we watch a troubled marriage looking for meaning and depth in times when the norms are being redefined.

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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.