Friday, 30 April 2010

“…and I let my love to fly away!”

Hari hails from a small town. A typical middle class guy who has seen how his father has struggle all his life to meet two ends. Business went through ups and downs but his father never allowed his children to feel the pinch. His mother was a house wife and devoted all her life to bring up her two sons; Hari and Shyam - her hope, her world. Hari always knew he is going to make it big, always longed to give his parents luxury in their life.

Hari was a simple guy. Introvert, he believed in talking to himself, analyzing and speaking to others only when required. Down to earth in demeanor, with a determination to do big in life. A typical sweet, caring and understanding person. No fancy outfit, no passion to chase branded stuff. He always took right decisions; always put other’s interest before his own. He was always found in the “good books” of people whom he met.

He got through a premier B-School in Mumbai. Two years of grueling studies took everything out of him. But he kept reminding himself, "all this just for my parents". That thought kept him going. In the journey to create his destiny, he found a beautiful lady. A beauty he always wished for in his dreams. She was Anushka, flawless beauty. Happy go lucky, outgoing girl. It was his birthday and incidentally Anushka came to him asking for an assignment. Hari was always ready with his assignment. He helped her in scoring some addition marks and in the mean course, winning her heart. They started doing their assignments together. And then they sat together in lectures, went to canteen together, shopping and hanging out. They started enjoying each other’s company. They never realized when two years of college was over. They were deeply in love and their relation was pure.

It was last day of the college, Anushka and Hari went to City’s pub. Hari being a teetotaler, Anushka ordered large Smirnoff vodka with orange juice and a soft drink for Hari. It wasn’t for the first time Anushka was boozing with Hari. Every sip of vodka taken by Anushka, made Hari feel awkward.

Hari always felt awkwardness when Anushka boozed or smoked. He always showed his displeasure when Anushka wore trendy outfits. Anushka always listened to Hari. She changed her set of friends. She changed her habits. A teetotaler, pure vegetarian and simple clothing. But sometimes she wanted to unwind herself, like the last day of the college. At the same time, she wasn’t enjoying her new avatar. She was not able to carry herself the way she used to. She had become Hari’s Anushka and not the Anushka she was. But every time just a glimpse of Hari, cheered her up and changed her thoughts.

When you are in love, your partner recognizes your problem even if it is not expressed. Hari always knew that Anushka is not happy with the changes. He always thought she was burdened with his likes and dislikes. Thoughts started flickering. “Just for me, she changed herself but is she enjoying her life? Shouldn’t I give her more space and allow her to live more independently? Can’t I do this much for her happiness? But what will my parents say?”

His conscious always scolded him for his selfishness. The guilt feeling was talking a toll on his health. He knew it isn’t going anywhere in long term. Long term views paralyzed him. “What if Anushka changes after marriage? My parents would die! And how can I allow my love Anushka to die every day just for me!" Perplexed, confused, gripped into deep thoughts, lost in the musing… parents asking for justification for their hard work and expectations, mother’s depressed face, Anushka sacrificing for him but always wanting to break free, Mr. Rao, Strategy professor, shouting on his face “face the odds head on, don’t be a quitter!” Friends forcing him to convince parents but he knew they won’t!

After lot of contemplations, he decided to listen to his head in the game of love, love for his parents and love of his life, Anushka! and, and …he let his love fly away!

fOoD fOr ThOuGhT:
For the first time, after writing a post, I am in deep thoughts! Was Hari right? Was that the only solution? Was he right in punishing himself and his love? What was Anushka’s mistake?

Monday, 26 April 2010

Strategy: Why Videocon wont “pakad life ka any signal”!

Glued to swanky Videocon ads aired on television these days? The advertisements depict various stories trying to connect emotionally with the viewers. Be it “naye kharche ka signal”, “naye job ka signal” or “naye dosti ka signal”, the company scores well when it comes to creativity. They have also managed to showoff India’s biggest brand Sachin Tendulkar every now and then. 100 cities in 100 days look aggressive from outside. But advertisement can only create awareness about a product; strategically the company seems to be lost out, before the battle really begun!

There are many reasons than one. First of all, “Pakdo Life Ka Har Signal" message given in the ads with the company’s reasoning that it underlines Videocon’s commitment to deliver an efficient service through a strong network. When you launch a new product, customer looks at the novelty. What is the value add if I switch from the existing one. And when it comes to changing service provider and number, the reason should be really out of the box. Videocon has emphasized on good signal or connectivity. But when you compare the level of competition, Videocon seems to be in a totally different space. Each service provider is focusing on value added services, promising customers better utilization of money. Good connectivity is not a ground to compete anymore. It is assumed that it has to be good.

Vodafone is trying to empower customer with its Power to you campaigns. DoCoMo is going for caller tunes and low calling charges. Aircel is focusing on connecting with social networking sites with its Pocket Internet add-on. Airtel is again promising on lower call rates and higher value added services. Videocon seems to be boarding the bus when everyone else seems to have taken the flight!

Industry is burgeoning with new entrants. The leaders, the likes of Airtel and RCom are facing problem retaining customer. The prices are falling, profits are hurting, and outlook seems to be bleak. Analysts are shrugging off telecom companies. 3G spectrum is only going to add to the worries of these companies by increasing the capital investments, not promising quick returns.

fOoD fOr ThOuGhT: Videocon doesn’t seem to be in the right industry at the right time. The strategy also isn’t promising. The brand value isn’t so high that people go gaga about the product. Hope somebody is listening and taking corrective steps before it is too late!

Saturday, 24 April 2010

The irrationality is increasing with every passing day!

A friend of mine said to me, “Its 1.00 pm, lets go for lunch.” I wasn’t really hungry. But I just got up and moved towards canteen. The reason was simple, I wasn’t hungry but if I would have gone to canteen anytime after 1 o’ clock, I would have to stand in long queue waiting for atleast 15 mins. So there was no connection between hunger and eating food. The food that I eat is not exactly what I want to, but there is no option for replacing it. If I try to reason out many of my actions, I would not have any logical explanations for that.

The irrationality is growing with every passage of time. I get up every morning not because I had enough sleep, but because if I don’t, I would get late. I go to sleep not because I feel sleepy, but because I have to wake up early the next morning. While going for sleep, by default the brain calculates how many hours of sleep I am going to get tonight, missing the "soundness" part of it.

When I go to somebody’s place, I drink water if it is offered without a thought that I really needed it or not. If I refuse for some snacks or food that is offered, host tends to become angry. Almost all Indian hosts are beyond any reasoning in this matter. If I say that I am full and would vomit even if I eat a piece, it would make no difference in the behavior of the hosts. The host neither listens to nor believes what the guest says. His own agenda is to prove what a wonderful host he is.

I want to stay with my friends, the way I use to. But somehow they stay so far now, that a phone call or gtalk is the only immediate options left. We use to go to Marine drive in the evening just like that, now we need to plan it atleast a week before. Feels like talking for long hours with mom, but when she calls up, it doesn’t last for more than 3 mins. “Howz life?” is the question I see in my scrap book, not knowing how to respond to such a vague question. What is the expected answer to such a question? They say the world is becoming small but we seem to be going away from our loved ones!

There is no relation between what I studied and what I do. There is no connection between what I say and what I do! There isn’t slightest similarity between what I want to do and what I am doing! Do I really want to be what I am? Am I better off today or would I be better off if I try to be what I always wanted to be?

fOoD fOr ThOuGhT: Is this what you call the urbanization effect? Do you guys also behave in the same way as I am, or am I the odd one?

Monday, 19 April 2010

Should engineers be stopped from joining IT companies?

A friend of mine uploaded a video which contained comparison of Indian and US education system. He posted his comment on the video. Another friend gave his thoughts and then I joined. In minutes few other friends joined and it became a serious, intellectually driven discussion.

Sarang is of the view that engineers should not join IT companies. The companies are bulling them, killing talent. We are working for US companies, increasing dependency. We need to step up and change our mentality from job seekers to Job creator. We are so much dependent on other countries for work, what will happen if they stop outsourcing? We should look for creating robust economy. He is of the opinion that India is an agri-economy. We should produce more farmers; help the poor condition of farmers. If a farmer’s child becomes engineer and joins MNC, who would do farming activity? Narendra agreed with Sarang’s most of the views.

Kalyan is of the opinion that IT industry has empowered the youth, the future. As compared to our father’s time, the salaries paid are lot better. He is of the opinion that job creators are always few in numbers as compared to seekers. The balance is always in this ratio. He also agrees that agriculture is taking second preference due to growing and lucrative corporate option.

Nikhil emphasized that education is not about jobs. Can Education make us a good citizen, well mannered person is important a question as whether it can give us means for living. Just realizing a fat pay cheque doesn’t serve the purpose.

I am of the opinion that IT companies have helped in strengthening Indian economy. Young, talented people are getting employed. The economy which was poor pre IT revolution is now called a developing economy. It might have increased the dependency on other countries for work, but then IT is always a support industry. It supports core business activities to function effectively. We should not be worrying regarding what if outsourcing is stopped for India. We are now a part of their successful business model. We are important entities and it might happen that we change the business model and leave the MNCs high and dry. IT is providing jobs to Bsc graduates, who had no option earlier.

The spending capacity of new, young breed has helped propel various industries to grow. Retail industry has seen exponential growth due to high spending, media and movie industry, housing industry – at the age of 26 years people are buying house taking loans, sale of automobiles is on the roll, banks are hugely benefited by confident young borrowers, government is spending on infrastructure like never before, high tax collections from working class is also the underlying reason.

fOoD fOr ThOuGhT: IT industry has helped the economy in many ways to grow than one. It is the backbone and the Indian economy is now rightly called as service based economy. It has created some world class institutions and leaders like NR Murthy, Pranav Mistry, to name a few. Do you still think engineers should be stopped from joining IT companies?

Friday, 16 April 2010

Isn’t advertisements making more noise than sound these days!

The advertisements that are aired currently on television simply lack the creativity, content and innovation. The appeal for any product is just not been able to communicate effectively, whatsoever. Companies are now spending more on buying advertisement space (slots) rather than innovating and capturing mind space of viewers. They are bombarding ads with poor content on television.

The Havell’s adv where a person is shown given capital punishment makes no connection with the product. The godrej Jio safety systems adv with all graphics fails to impress. Pepsi’s "Youngistan Ka Wow" make little impact when you compare with the amount company has spent to rope in the two stars. The Zoozoo created by Vodafone was a big hit during last IPL season. But now the company seems to be dragging the concept, covering up the creativity gap. The IDEA Ungli cricket tops my list of failed creativity. What a waste! How many people are actually buying Idea connection for the same, or how many are giving answer to those dumb questions! The HDFC insurance ad where two friends are travelling in taxi, one about to leave the country is again not impressive.

On the other hand, Sprits ads are really cool. The one with “he just love dogs” and the recent one shown in Advasi setup make sense as an audience. Yes, the Tata Tea “Jaago re” ads are cool and meaningful. The likes of “Centre Shock” ads and the creativity of Happydent white chewing gum ads are just not comparable with any ad currently aired. The Airtel music and the one which had lot of lines “conspire, inspire, confession, celebration…” wasn’t that just amazing! Or the “AAla re…, aala re, aala re – soft drink company Pepsi Co’s ad featuring Tendulkar was an instant hit. The Fevicol ad “pakede rehna... chodna nahi...” where a man is trying to save a woman, only to see her falling as a carpenter lifts Fevicol bucket kept above the television or the one in which creaky bus is shown with unimaginable number of passengers holding/hanging with the bus! Feviquick ad were a fisherman applies feviquick on a stick and catches fishes as soon as he puts that stick in water. The Cloromint Panwari ad was so humorous.

fOoD fOr ThOuGhT: Hope the creativity quotient is back in the advertisements, may be after the IPL saga is over. Companies should try to capture mind space of viewers. By the way, I would love to know which ones are your favorite or is on top of your mind!

Saturday, 10 April 2010

You realise summers have arrived when...

Summer is knocking at our door. With the start of April month, summer has marked the beginning. Yet there are few things that make you realise, yes summers are here...

When you constantly nag "It is so hot everywhere!" You feel like talking bath everytime you sweat. When you invariably start drinking more cold drinks. Every second advertisement aired on television is that of soft drink or an air conditioner. You see lot of meaningless cometitions in soft drink ads. Nothing satisfies like a glass of "Roof Afza" Sharbet. When you see sugar cane juice stall "Ganne ka ras" and instantly stop by. You finish one and order for second with extra masala. When lemon juice is sheer delight to consume.

Eveyday dinner at home has added dish of "Aam ras" or "aam panaa". Ice creams are always a welcome. You get engrossed in Ice golas!You plan to buy bright coloured clothes. You find yourself applying tons of sunscreen lotion before stepping out. When you find children playing cricket even in scroching heat and mothers are always after them asking them to get back. Find kids relaxed after the exam pressure is over and excited about their summer vacation outtings. They are always excited about going to Nani's or Mama's place and meeting their other cousins.

fOoD fOr ThOuGhT: Rather than food for thought it should be drink for thought! Hey do you guys miss the golas sometimes, or the kulfis, kids programmes on Doordarshan channel..."Chuti Chuti", "Dekh bhai dekh", "Super Samurai". Do you feel like going back and getting engrossed in those comic books again?

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Am I becoming a football fan!

I am a die heart cricket fan. Cricket is religion. You remember statistics better than any school time poetry. Effortlessly each shot played by Sachin Tendulkar is registered in the mind, forever. He is truely the God. The dedication, the passion, the focus, the fitness, hatsoff. I have GBs of matches stored with me like the 434 runs chased by SA over Australia.

If you are born in India and you dont follow cricket, something is wrong. It is also a good topic to break ice and do friendship. You can discuss cricket for days at length. The IPL fever has gripped whole nation and the world to a large extent. But I think it is overdose now. Too many matches happening, loosing the charm. Though it has helped people make money in the "business" of cricket.

Football is something I never got attracted to. People run against each other, kicking legs instead of ball, throwing themselves on opponents. I remember in my school days, we use to play football hitting each other's legs with the hard edge of "Bata" leather shoes. The ball use to quietly sit on the ground, still, and we use to kick each other. Now-a-days, everyday on my breakfast table, my friends keep discussing about Arsenal and Barcelona matches. The only thing I know is Ronaldo, Ronaldineo, David Bechkam and few others. I developed interest and thought of understanding it. I started with remembering team names and clothes players wore only to realise that teams can change their clothes, if their colour of clothes is matching or close to the opponent's colour of clothes. That means if this rule would have been applied in cricket, matches between Pakistan and South Africa or between India and Sri Lanka would have been played with either of the team changing their clothes colour. Funny, isnt it? And then there are too many leagues. English premier, Spanish league.

I was chatting with yet another friend of mine who is die heart Arsenal fan. He was telling me few intricacies and why people are Arsenal fan. They have "gameplan" and "pass through strategy" and they dont jump on others. They play serious football. He shared a youtube video link with me. I watched it. I watched it twice. And I got a feeling, isnt it more crazier than cricket. The answer wasnt clear but I think I should explore football more.

fOoD fOr ThOuGhT: Why cant I bring revolution the way Lalit Modi has brought through cricket IPL in India. Starting a Football league, something like Indian Football League, would be fun. Heard Shilpa Shetty and Raj Kunder planning to start one. Hmmm, already some takers!


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