Friday, November 16, 2007

Yeh Dil Maange More!!

I had gone to purchase a Sari for a special occasion. We pointed out to a few saris; each seemed to be more expensive than the other ranging from Rs 5000 to Rs 25000. Well, a passing remark, set me off on this blog…’There seems to be no end to it!’

Our aspirations are rising. What used to be pretty acceptable at one point of time seems to be unthinkable now. Maslow wins hands down in his hierarchy of needs theory. The roti, kapada and makaan desired, are getting more and more exotic and expensive by the day.

The convenient ‘Shivshakti’ chai wala who gave a Rs 3 elaichi cutting chai was good enough to start the day…now upmarket hotels and restaurants woo customers for their Rs 400 buffet breakfast spread and the fad is fast catching up even in middle class families. Eating out was usually on special occasions once upon a time. Now not only has the eating out become a regular once-a-week routine if not more, but the avenues for doing so are not the usual Roopalis and Vaishalis anymore. More exotic cuisines, theme restaurants, more expensive mocktails and cocktails and wines are sought after. Coffee is a cappuccino at CCD at least if not CafĂ© Mocha.

Fashion Street was awesome for the latest stuff in vogue. Well, now of course I visit only malls and buy only branded apparel and hope to visit the designer showrooms once I get my job in place...well, of course, fashion street gets the same designs almost as quickly, and my tailor promises me the same quality and designs but I ld like the designer labels, you know, even if it’s a passing fad, and I may wear the stuff only once!

Well, now a 2 bhk flat in a stand alone building of a decent locality would hardly be ‘fun’. All the amenities are an apparent must…a swimming pool, a gym, a park with a jogging track, a community centre, TT, etc etc are basic necessities, it doesn’t matter that we have no time to visit, let alone use any of the above!

I watch the latest movies for Rs 150 per movie only at multiplexes now. Well, its not that I didn’t enjoy them at the Rs 30 I used to pay to sit in the balcony earlier. But think about the crowd that would be there in the single screen theaters, think of the ambience, think about the food and the quality of the seats….does it matter that I spend 5 times more and finally do end up sitting for only one of movies in one of the screens at a time?!

TVs can’t be just 29 inches. LCD flat screens with home theatre systems are in. Sizes can go up right up to the size of a movie screen!

Earlier: A trip to Lonavala? Sounds like fun!
Later: Let’s go to Simla, Kulu-Manali
Now: Let’s go to Europe!

The ultimate, spending occasion for all. Budgets can range from a modest 5 lakhs to a vulgar 5 Crores for a theme wedding at an exotic location! With wedding loans available, of course the laadli beti deserves the best!

It’s all about Money, Honey!

Monday, November 05, 2007

Gone are the days...

As Kids
I have never climbed a tree
I have never picked berries
I have never chased frogs with a stick
I have never sat under a clear sky counting stars
I have never played with marbles

I have never spent my vacations on Carrom
We never visited all our neighbors during Dusshera or Diwali
Kite flying if at all lasted for a few hours, not months of preparation of the mancha for kite tournaments

I don’t know the folk songs that my mum knows
I have no idea about the ragas supposed to be in a song
I m clueless about most of the rituals and prayers at most festivals and their importance
I m clueless about knitting, embroidery etc. It’s too painstaking anyways.

I don’t think I’ll ever make the Diwali feast with mums diligence takes. Buying is easier.
It’s too hot to play outside. I can play simulated cricket on my computer that’s almost real!
Want a unique solution? Who has the time to think? Google it!

Are today’s urban life and its evils taking away the traditions and culture that India is so proud of? Will the simple joys of the yesteryears totally disappear in the next generation? Honestly, are the rites and rituals that have been performed for several hundred years be reduced to a shadow of what they actually were and then finally disappear forever? Celebrations of festivals u tell me are grand, ah, yes, they are certainly getting grander, not in terms of the elaborate rites that have to be performed. It’s only the moolah spent on the Diwali parties and Ganapati processions that is escalating, God usually just happens to be there alongside. We no longer have the time or have the motivation to do anything on our own without the aid of a hundred gadgets or tools such as Google which have quashed our ability to think.

It’s sad, but it's the inevitable truth, that change is the only constant in life.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Retail Revolution

There are reports splashed everyday in magazines, newspapers, TV channels, about retail being the next big thing in India. Huge conglomerates, Indian and Foreign are lining up to take a share of the pie. Reliance, ITC, Bharti, Future, Birlas, Tatas, all gung ho to increase the organized retail sector from a measly 3% to atleast 10% which still leaves room for much more.

Excellent service, variety, with prices attract the modern upcoming Indian consumer. Unfortunately, the road to change is never smooth. It is strewn with obstacles, in this case, cries of ‘Retail Roko’ from the local retailers who had their little shops for a livelihood. When Reliance was forced to exit from UP by the government, I as usual, grumbled about our government being a regressive one and not promoting best retail practices being followed across the world.

I watched a Reliance store being torn down at Bhubhaneshwar, and was shaken by the fury of the retailers. I later went with Mum to get our groceries from Reliance Fresh which was a good 3 kms from our house. Smaller SKUs not being at these outlets, we went to get the same from a Kirana store we used to patronize earlier for all our needs. The shop owner with contempt and bitterness in his voice, asked us, if we would come to his shop only for things that we couldn’t get at the large outlets. It was a moment of truth for me as I realized, how by shifting our loyalty from the Kirana store which was a source of livelihood for a family, we had severely affected their living and for that matter survival. On carrying out a survey for a retail project I realized, how everyone favored organized retail and had completely stopped going to Kirana stores. Obviously, they would be up in arms against the behemoths.

Then there were those enterprising shop owners who spruced up their shops, gave them new looks, offered the convenience of home delivery, proximity to the consumers and tried and succeeded in retaining their consumers or even happily tied up with the larger retail stores instead of getting eliminated. India is facing the winds of change at present, change that is happening at an extremely fast pace. Will it be able to cope up with this change is the question. Moral, ethical, financial dilemmas are faced at every moment. Will the change be marked by bloody wars with huge sacrifices made by a few for the larger good, or will India adapt quickly to it?


Random Ramblings

INDIAAAAAAAAAAAA…..INDIA echoed the shouts of one and all during the nail biting fight to the finish between India and Pakistan. Nothing unites India like cricket does. Generations X, Y, Z, A, B, C.., the rich the poor, everyone exults in the victory of the Indian cricket team. Be it the shoe polish wala who vows to polish 1000 pairs of shoes for free if the cricket team wins to the rich corporate who promises to dole out humongous sums of money to charity or the Indian cricket team if they win or the housewife who does a puja everyday and begs God to let India win or infact does a puja of the cricket team itself(!), It was humorous to see at several Ganesha Pandals, Aartis being done with utter devoutness, not of Lord Ganesha but of huge posters and TV screens of THE Indian Cricket team, and coconuts being broken as THE MATCH commenced.

When the last catch was taken, all India went into a frenzy, shouts and crackers went off in every upmarket locality, the local mohallas, the streets were jampacked with a nation gone crazy with euphoria. Everyone was smiling, celebrating.

I only wish this unity was shown by the nation in more areas than just cricket. Nobody took to the streets in protest when there were blasts at Mumbai, Hyderabad, no one demanded more action from the government who according to reports has hardly spruced up security. We Indians, share our joy together, but shouldn’t the citizens of India also share the sorrows?

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Passions in life??


So, what are your passions in life?? That's the most dreaded question i face...Uhhh...well, passions in life??? 'Listening to music, reading books, and watching movies', the mundane answer loomed large before me. But am i really interested in any of the things mentioned in this prosaic answer?? Music..well, Radio Mirchi is realllly Okkk...i mean, not everyone is totally into music is it??(for u music fans out there, believe me, there are ppl like me who do exist).. Okkk...then, am i interested in movies?? Uhhh...not really..i watch only the bollywood masala, preferably SRK movies!..well, english movies used to come all dubbed in hindi, so never did prefer watching those..just stopped fancying them wen i watched jurassic park and heard 'Bhaago Bhaago, peeche badi chipkali aa rahi hain!!'

Collecting stamps, cars, football, cricket, painting, quizzing, philosophy, trekking, mountaneering, travelling, drama, dance, singing, guitar....welll, i hardly have a finger into any of these pies, so now what??? Am i a total failure??..I have no passions in life :( ..An entirely boring person?? Well, considering the fact that it leaves only books, and again, i prefer the racy Jeffery Archers, and Frederic Forsyths, to all that managerial gyan, that again leaves me with no decent mentionable passion that ll sound a mite impressive!

But well...theres hope...I do realise one thing about myself..What i do love doing is trying to be interested in all the things i ve mentioned. Maybe i m not so much into these today, but perhaps, i shall certainly develop a liking which might turn into a passion into one of these very things. The bottom line i reckon, is to try all there is in this world to try. You never know, what you might just lovvve doing and what you might have missed. So, I ve started listening to lots of music, watch lots of the arty movies (okk..i mean non srk movies) blah blah..though i havent got down to painting and collcting stamps yet, i reckon that still leaves a whole lot of things to be tried out there.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Write Way

As a kid, we always had all those crazy ambitions. I wanted to become a doctor, well a nurse actually coz I thought their uniforms were smart!, a librarian, coz then I could sit and read all those million books, a magician coz all those tricks impressed me infinitely and finally a writer. The first few ambitions whirled away as time did, but as I read and read and read I wished, I could write atleast one thriller in my life! However that writing streak just refuses to strike me.

I thought perhaps by reading all the tomes in the world I might just manage to get inspired and write realms of meaningful jibberish. However even after sifting through several Harry Potters, Roald Dahls, Jeffery Archers, Agatha Christies my mind stubbornly refused to comply in writing that best selling thriller.

I shifted to reading Newspapers and magazines hoping to become one of those awesome columnists who make their living out of writing those crazy or thought provoking articles. Well, did I succeed there??...naaah..negative again. Now literary ambitions almost died. I had to hunt for a new avenue for inspiration..BLOGOSPHERE loomed large before me as I delved into the world of blogs. There are people who metarmorphosize the most mundane into acts of supreme excitement and then there are those who go totally mushy mushy in their blogs till u wanna puke, and then there are ones, who tell u all about themselves, their make ups and break ups, and then there are the professional bloggers who write for companies, write for brands etc. There is a huge wealth of information in those blogs that I get to know about.. Anyways, I reckon, writing is an innate talent, some have it, some don’t, no matter how hard they try to write that elusive story.. . No matter which side one falls, I reckon, its worth a try..who knows, wen the write chords ll be struck finally…

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Customer is king!!


Customer is king..or queen…screams every marketing book there is. Customers can just not be taken for granted. Each customer contributes to a companies revenues which makes them the goliaths that they are.

I had a really annoying experience with the new Hutch connection that I had taken up. First, my caller identification service was barred and then... so were my outgoing calls…and this after submitting my documents twice and once even in the official hutch shop! And to add to my indignation, the pesky customer care officials harped on the fact that I needed to confirm that my docs were submitted. Getting to the customer care officials was a mammoth task in itself, with the lines busy forever and then listening to them blaming the hapless me was abominable.

But then customer is king right???....Where did all that evaporate?? I m supposed to be valuable and empowered…Hutch wouldn’t like to really lose me. Keeping my faith in Kotler I spoke to a senior official who mollified me and set things in working order. Phew!! Customer is indeed King!

Saturday, April 21, 2007


I wonder how life would have been had google not been invented, Microsoft Office didn’t exist, Orkut hadn’t come into existence and neither had Yahoo Messenger or Google talk…Imagine doing an MBA without these!! At office it is Ctrl C and Ctrl V all through the day with me grappling with the Brilliant MS Excel..F 1 is my lifeline as I discover Data Validation, Macros, Advanced Filters, Solvers, Mathematical functions, Statistical functions and seek to complicate simple matters!

*Iwantthispresentation.ppt……….Hit GO… and voila…Google digs out all the presentations in the world for me to CCP for my classroom presentation ;-). Caution…there are always others doing the same thing in have to tweak the presentations here and there. Online assignments are a pleasure to copy. All that needs to be done is to change the name of the file before submitting it! Orkutting and bitching abt lectures from one end of the wifi classroom to the other end is another good pastime.

Where is this internet age leading to?? Hasn’t it severely mutilated our ability to think?? …any damn thing that we are expected to think of is thoroughly googled and ideas sought out…Preconceived ideas mar new ones and severly narrow the realms of ones perspective. Gone are the days of the wildest of imagination.. Creativity does not stem from google..Google indeed is a powerful tool for all the information sought but at the end of the day, it ll remain information, never a new idea. An assignment at the end of the day is about new inputs, not old battered ideas. Young brains are sought at companies because they are supposedly teeming with ideas, not because they are search engines..Computers without brains are purchased for that.

The feel of the crinkly paper from the envelope with different stamps has now been replaced with impersonal emails..sadly even those have been replaced by Scraps that are for everyone to see. Now the only place where we do write is during exams..grumbling all along, how much faster typing out exam papers would have been! Now break ups, resignations, pink slips are all doled out using the ubiquitous email..a service that prevents any personal contact between the parties.. ......

Anways, I ve no time for more…I ve to check my orkut and chat with ppl I hardly talk to besides of course googling for this silly assignment that we have to submit tomorrow. Adios!!