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Pankti Mehta

Mumbai, India
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About Pankti
Pankti Mehta is a journalist based in Mumbai, India. She covers social issues, health, culture, food, travel, higher education and start-ups. She previously worked with the Hindustan Times, and holds an MA in International Journalism from City, University of London.
English Hindi
Feature Stories Content Writing Corporate Content
Business Current Affairs Technology

Paradoxical gastrointestinal effects of interleukin-17 blockers

01 Jun 2023  |  Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases
Interleukin-17 (IL-17) blockers, while beneficial in treating conditions like ankylosing spondylitis and psoriatic arthritis, have paradoxically worsened inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in patients, leading to the premature termination of various trials. The exact mechanism remains unclear, but potential explanations include interference with the gut mucosal barrier, a regulatory role of IL-17A via IL-24, and excessive inflammation mediated by TL 1A. Understanding this paradox could provide insights into the complex role of IL-17 in autoimmune diseases and chronic inflammation.

Postvaccination antibody titres predict protection against COVID-19 in patients with autoimmune diseases: survival analysis in a prospective cohort

01 Jun 2022  |  Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases
A study involving 630 patients with autoimmune rheumatic diseases (AIRD) who received two doses of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines found that postvaccination antibody titres can predict protection against COVID-19. Patients were categorized into good responders (GR), inadequate responders (IR), and non-responders (NR) based on their antibody levels. Breakthrough infections were highest among NR, followed by IR, and least in GR. Significant predictors of breakthrough infections included antibody response, type of vaccine, and use of mycophenolate mofetil. Multivariate Cox regression analysis showed that NR had a significantly higher risk of breakthrough infections.

USW ratifies new labor contract at Century's Sebree smelter

18 Sep 2018  |  S&P Global
Union employees at Century Aluminum's Sebree smelter in Kentucky have ratified a new five-year labor agreement. The contract, covering approximately 500 workers, addresses wages and health care. The Sebree smelter, which recently returned to full operation after a power outage, is one of Century's best-performing facilities. Century is also investing $75 million to rebuild potlines at its Hawesville smelter and operates additional smelters in South Carolina and Iceland.

Indians keep sights on engineering despite threat to H-1B visa

04 Jun 2017  |  www.cnn.com
India's elite engineering schools, particularly the Institutes of Technology (IIT), continue to attract a high number of applicants despite the potential impact of US President Donald Trump's 'hire American' policy on H-1B visas. The intense competition for admission, driven by the promise of high salaries and opportunities to work abroad, remains undeterred. However, the pressure to succeed has led to significant stress among students, with some even resorting to suicide. While many graduates do not pursue engineering jobs, opting instead for careers in IT, consulting, and finance, the global demand for their skills remains strong, with countries like Canada stepping in to fill the gap left by the US.

Customise your wardrobe with these websites

07 Sep 2016  |  Hindustan Times
The article discusses the rise of websites in India that allow users to design and customize their own fashion items, such as handbags, T-shirts, and formal wear. ICustomMadeIt.com offers personalized products and a 'custom concierge' service. Jack Of All Threads enables users to design, market, and sell T-shirts and hoodies. Faaya.in specializes in custom suits, shirts, dresses, and traditional Indian attire. 16Stitches provides an online platform for designing custom shirts with a home visit tailor service. TShirtLoot offers T-shirt customization with the option to use 13 Indian languages. The article highlights the entrepreneurial opportunities these platforms provide and includes testimonials from users who have successfully created and sold their designs.

JoinMyWedding.com: The Startup That Lets You Crash Indian Weddings

16 Jul 2016  |  Hindustan Times
JoinMyWedding.com is a new startup that allows foreign tourists to attend Indian weddings for a fee. The concept was developed by Australian start-up mentor Orsi Parkanyi after realizing there was a market for such a service. The platform was co-founded by Parkanyi, Márti Matécsa, and Pallavi Savant. The website lists a variety of weddings, including traditional Indian weddings and themed weddings like a Lord of the Rings event in Russia. The focus is on India, with weddings listed in several cities and partnerships with travel agents to promote sales. Tickets include accommodation and access to all wedding events, with prices starting at around Rs 20,000. The service is not only for foreigners but also for Indians interested in experiencing weddings from other regions or cultures. Kataria Tours and Travels, a Delhi-based agency, has partnered with JoinMyWedding to offer this unique cultural experience to its clients.

Living the double life: Meet the other Modi, SRK, Sachin and Kejri

28 May 2016  |  Hindustan Times
The article discusses the lives of individuals in India who bear a striking resemblance to famous personalities such as Salman Khan, Narendra Modi, Sachin Tendulkar, Baba Ramdev, Shah Rukh Khan, Arvind Kejriwal, and Rajinikanth. These lookalikes have capitalized on their appearances to earn a living by appearing in advertisements, movies, and political campaigns. However, they also face the challenge of establishing their own identities separate from the celebrities they resemble. The article highlights their experiences, the opportunities and pitfalls of their unique situations, and their aspirations beyond being just lookalikes.

It’s almost downmarket to holiday in Switzerland now

10 Apr 2016  |  Hindustan Times
The article discusses the evolving preferences of India's young, affluent travelers who are seeking unique and adventurous experiences over traditional luxury vacations. Digital and ad film producer Aashish Maini's trip to Finland to experience the Northern Lights in a glass igloo exemplifies this trend. Factors such as the desire for Instagram-worthy destinations, the DINK demographic, and the rise of social media are influencing these travel choices. Travel companies like SOTC Travel, Byond Travel, Broken Compass, and BreakAway are catering to this demand by offering bespoke experiences like castle holidays, Mercedes self-drive tours, and culinary adventures. The article also highlights the growth of luxury food tours, driven by an interest in food cultures and culinary history. Revel Travels has seen significant growth in sending people to music festivals like Tomorrowland, Coachella, and Ultra. The article concludes with examples of extravagant travel packages available to luxury travelers.

Coming Out: A Web Series on LGBTQ Lives and Family Acceptance in India

04 Apr 2016  |  Hindustan Times
The article discusses a new seven-part web series titled 'Coming Out,' produced by 101India, which features the stories of various members of the LGBTQ community in India and their experiences of coming out to their families. The series aims to present these stories in a conversational style without being overly emotional. It highlights the positive reactions and support from the families, challenging the usual negative narratives. Personal accounts include Chanchal Jain's journey towards sex reassignment surgery and the acceptance from his parents, Justine Mellocastro's experience of coming out as bisexual and her mother's eventual support, and Gautam's story of being gay and HIV+ and receiving his family's backing. The series emphasizes the importance of parental acceptance and aims to provide hope and courage to the LGBTQ community.

Meet the new-age Indian bai, who now accepts all sorts of assignments, right from cleaning and cooking to babysitting and eldercare, via an app on her smartphone.

21 Feb 2016  |  Hindustan Times
The article discusses the transformation of domestic help services in India through the advent of mobile apps like Taskbob, MyDidi.in, BookMyBai, and MrRight.in. These platforms offer professional and on-demand services for maids, cooks, babysitters, and handymen, aiming to solve the problem of finding reliable domestic help. They also focus on improving the lives of domestic workers by providing better pay, insurance, and training. The article highlights the benefits for both the workers, who gain financial independence and respect, and the customers, who receive professional services. The success of these startups is evident in their growing customer base and revenue, indicating a shift towards organized and professional domestic help services in urban India.

Going child-free: Indian women opting for lives without kids

03 Jan 2016  |  Hindustan Times
The article discusses the growing trend among Indian women who are choosing to remain child-free to focus on their careers, travel, and personal passions. Archana Sethi, a marketing professional from Mumbai, expresses her view of motherhood as a form of bondage. Manjuri Hazarika, a Delhi-based e-entrepreneur, and Suchismita Dasgupta, a Kolkata-based costume designer, also share their reasons for not having children, which include concerns about the environment, crime, and personal freedom. Amrita Nandy, a social scientist, has researched this phenomenon and is finalizing a book on the subject. The article also highlights the story of Indhuja Pillai from Bangalore, who created a matrimonial website to find a partner who shares her desire to not have children. The narrative illustrates the societal pressures and the evolving attitudes towards child-rearing in India.

How much is too much? Navigating privacy and family life on social media

15 Nov 2015  |  Hindustan Times
The article discusses the concerns parents have regarding the privacy and security of their children when sharing personal information and photos online. Gurgaon-based blogger Vaishali Sharma decided to blur her son's face in photos after discovering his image was used without permission. Mumbai-based gynaecologist Munjaal Kapadia has set rules for what he shares about his family online. Experts like Dr. Samir Parikh from Fortis Healthcare advise parents to consider their children's future feelings about online information. Natasha Badhwar and Kiran Manral, both writers and parents, share their experiences and perspectives on sharing family life online. The article also touches on the negative effects of social media competitiveness on children's self-esteem.

Being the change: When holiday trips turn into philanthropy

18 Oct 2015  |  Hindustan Times
Travel bloggers Piyush Goswami and Akshatha Shetty have embarked on a journey across rural India to document local cultures and assist communities in need. They started Rest of My Family (ROMF), a crowdfunding campaign that has raised over Rs 20 lakh to support grassroots initiatives such as providing access to water and electricity for the Van Bawariya tribe in Rajasthan. The couple, who began their journey in 2013, have traveled extensively and are working on projects related to healthcare, sanitation, education, nutrition, child labor, and female infanticide. They partner with NGOs and rely on freelance work for income. Their efforts have already made a difference, such as helping a young boy named Mari to receive vocational training and funding his brother's education. The campaign has received significant contributions, including a notable $5,000 from Dubai-based businessman Gautam Kulkarni.

Fitness on the Go: How New Apps are Revolutionizing Workouts for Busy Bees

06 Sep 2015  |  Hindustan Times
The article discusses the rise of fitness apps in India that cater to busy individuals who struggle to maintain regular gym memberships. Atish Parikh, a medical intern, and Dashmeet Singh, an account manager, share their experiences with apps like FitPermit and Phyzo, which offer flexible pay-as-you-go or subscription-based access to a variety of fitness classes and gyms. These apps, including others like FiTicket, FlexiPass, Labhle, and Fitternity, are gaining popularity in cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Pune, and Bengaluru. They provide convenience for users and help gyms generate revenue through walk-ins. The article also mentions the business models of these apps, which earn through commissions or subscription fees.

Day care for senior citizens in Mumbai, but it's not enough

17 Aug 2015  |  Hindustan Times
The article discusses the scarcity of senior day-care centres in Mumbai, particularly for those with dementia. It highlights the challenges faced by families and the importance of such facilities for the elderly's mental well-being and security. The only dedicated dementia day-care centre in Mumbai, run by the NGO Dignity Foundation, can accommodate 20 patients and is crucial for families like Vijaya Patil's. The BMC had a draft policy in 2013 to create a day-care centre in every ward, but it has not been implemented. The article also mentions other centres like the one run by Family Welfare Agency and the community centres by Adhata Trust, launched by the Mahindra group. The challenges faced by these centres include finding trained social workers and affordable space in Mumbai. The need for government involvement to extend these facilities is emphasized.

Medical marijuana battle: 'Legalise cannabis' call finding support

31 May 2015  |  Hindustan Times
The article discusses the case of eight-year-old Vedd Raaj, who suffers from severe epilepsy and autism, and his parents' search for cannabis oil as a treatment, which they believe is their son's only hope. Despite cannabis being banned in India, there is a growing movement to legalize its medical use, supported by evidence of its benefits for various conditions. The article highlights the recent Medical Cannabis Conference in Bengaluru, the involvement of oncologists and activists, and a public interest litigation filed in Pune. It also addresses the government's contradictory stance on marijuana, law enforcement perspectives, and concerns about cannabis abuse leading to other disorders or drug use. The article explains how cannabinoids in cannabis interact with the brain's receptors to alleviate symptoms of various diseases.


22 Jun 2013  |  Hindustan Times
The article discusses a documentary titled 'Mango Girls' by Mumbai-based filmmaker Kunal Sharma, which highlights a tradition in Dharhara village, Bihar, where families plant ten mango trees for every girl child born. The revenue from the mangoes funds the girl's education and wedding, addressing issues like female infanticide, dowry, and global warming. The tradition also helps in ecological restoration, as the region was once a forest. The film, co-produced with American filmmaker Robert Carr, includes endorsements from Indian celebrities and aims to spread the message internationally. Sociologist Lakshmi Lingam suggests that the government should support such initiatives by providing land or alternatives like livestock where land is scarce.

Incredible India journey: A challenge to visit all UNESCO sites

13 Apr 2013  |  Hindustan Times
Ajay Reddy was inspired by a tweet to start GoUNESCO, a challenge to visit all UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India within a year. Participants earn points for each site visited, with the goal of either visiting all sites or accumulating the highest points. The challenge, which began with Reddy's friends, expanded to 50 participants through social media. Winners receive prizes like hotel vouchers and magazine subscriptions. The 2012 winner, Jai Bharathi, expressed amazement at her experiences. GoUNESCO has become an annual event, with Reddy seeking larger prizes from sponsors. The article also mentions a global challenge to visit all UNESCO sites worldwide. The participants, who come from various professions, managed their travels cost-effectively, often planning around public holidays and weekends.

That’s the spirit!

29 Mar 2013  |  Hindustan Times
The article describes a repetitive pattern of partying that the author seems to have observed. It paints a picture of a typical party scene that includes a standard set of elements: a playlist featuring artists like David Guetta and Swedish House Mafia, common alcoholic beverages such as beer and rum-and-coke, plenty of small talk, and a memorable individual who gets excessively drunk. The description suggests a sense of monotony and predictability in the party culture being referenced.

VS Naipaul at Thinkfest in Goa

03 Nov 2012  |  Hindustan Times
Girish Karnad, a playwright, was interviewed by Pankti Mehta from HT at the Literature Live festival in Mumbai. The discussion focused on Karnad's recent criticism of VS Naipaul, who was awarded at the festival. Karnad defended his decision to speak out during the festival, stating that it was the right time to question the award. He critiqued Naipaul's non-fiction work on India, which he believes is Naipaul's most important work, and expressed concerns over Naipaul's statements about Muslims and Indian culture. Karnad also addressed questions about the fairness of his critique and his refusal to engage in a dialogue with Naipaul's friend, Farrukh Dhondy. The article also briefly mentions Naipaul's appearance at the Think fest in Goa, where he spoke alongside Arab poet Adonis.

Let education not be special

20 Sep 2012  |  Hindustan Times
The article discusses the benefits of inclusive education for differently-abled children in Mumbai, India. It highlights the story of Yazd Contractor, a dyslexic student at The Cathedral & John Connon School, who benefits from studying in a regular school rather than a special school. The article features opinions from parents and educators who support the inclusion of differently-abled children in mainstream education. It also mentions ADAPT's decision to integrate students from their learning centers into regular schools. The challenges of large class sizes and the need for more special educators are acknowledged, as well as the importance of social integration for differently-abled children.

On the counter

14 Jul 2012  |  Hindustan Times
The article discusses the challenges faced by standalone fine-dining restaurants in Mumbai, such as The Table and Indigo, in procuring high-quality ingredients, which are essential for maintaining the consistency and quality of their dishes. Chefs like Alex Sanchez and Rahul Akerkar emphasize the importance of good ingredients and the difficulties in sourcing them locally due to inadequate storage and transportation facilities. As a result, many restaurants resort to importing ingredients, which requires building relationships with reliable international vendors. The article highlights the efforts of chefs to overcome local supply issues and the reliance on both local markets and imports to ensure the quality of their offerings.

International Food Brands Flock to Mumbai's Culinary Scene

23 Jun 2012  |  Hindustan Times
The article discusses the trend of international food brands like Yauatcha, Hakkasan, and Serafina opening outlets in Mumbai, which is becoming a hub for culinary innovation. Smriti Parekh, an advertising professional, expresses her delight at Yauatcha's Mumbai branch, which reminds her of London. The article explores why Mumbai is an attractive location for these brands, citing the city's evolving tastes, lack of competition, and aspirational market. Ka Hospitality's VP, Jeetesh Kaprani, and brand strategist Elisha Saigal provide insights into the market dynamics. The article also touches on the challenges of maintaining authentic flavors and the cautious approach towards introducing less familiar cuisines. Vittorio Assaf of Serafina highlights the Indian upper-middle-class's affinity for Italian food as a reason for their expansion into Mumbai.

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