When you run out of ideas, use IPL. Heres a column in Mint. Nothing wrong with the column, except that it is a waste of paper. There is nothing that I (or similar average Ramus or Ramamurthys in office) would not know about.
Friday, May 30, 2008
Thursday, May 29, 2008
If I throw some money at it maybe I will do it, is a popular self perpetuated belief.
Monday, May 26, 2008
Many of us would have experienced the abysmal customer service in the 80s. You stood at the fag end of an endless queue at the mercy of the teller/representative/whoever. Any customer service you got was a deliverance and you walked out with whatever you got since you did not expect anything anyway. If someone asked you to "take a seat", you fell at their feet thanking them for their help. (Note that all through this, many private businesses like jewellers, clothiers always offered their customers a seat and got good business.)
Cut to the 90s. "Take a seat" became the norm. Banks offered customers a seat. Railways put a seated queue system in place. It is rare to see a place that does not tell their customers, "take a seat, I will be with you in a minute."
Now, this "take a seat" essentially means, "an infinite amount of time ranging from 3 to 30 minutes. Or it means, "Now that you have a seat, please dont crib and let me take my own sweet time to come up with an answer to your question." In the last few weeks, I have seen this happen at automobile service centers, hospitals among things.
Heres the challenge. Get rid of the chairs in front of your reps and promise faster service - sure leave a few chairs so that those who want a seat can sit, but promise faster service. If your customers cannot sit, the reps have to get their job done faster. I really dont want to take a seat, I want to finish my job and get out faster...
If you come up with a harebrained idea like this, the market will respond by producing more diesel vehicles. Or even a "change the engine in your bonnet with a brand new diesel engine" scheme.
Unless of course, the government proactively, retrospectively bans all diesel cars, jeeps and non public transport vehicles.
Of course, there are many other ideas they could come up with like, only trucks, tractors and buses in petrol pumps will get diesel at subsidised rates - not cars and jeeps. Or they could ration diesel to two litres a day or so and open up the black market like the good old days.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Got this from a TOI report on labelling on food. It basically lists the trans fats in food per 100 gm as got from CERCs Insight magazine. In that list pictured here, Masala Dosa is listed as having more trans fatty acids than pizza and cake and even "desi sweets".
I began writing this post a while back. When I started writing this it was all about hope. On the eve of the poll results, it is more a satisfied feeling. I have always thought that Karnataka was unlucky in getting a good government - now atleast, there is some chance given that one party can get to a workable majority.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
The two together summarize the food that is India. Add a bit of bhelpuri or puri or idli - thts it. Make no mistake - the food that India is known for. Even within India. Which is a little sad considering the range of food.
Like I had observed before, the average Ramu who goes to any tourist spot likes to have Chaat and Bhelpuri at any hotel, so the moment they land up and the waiter says, "No Bhelpuri, but we have Kadubu", Ramu instantly takes a dislike to the said hotel. So, every hotel goes to great lengths to ensure that Paneer butter masala, Masala Dosa are available. So, if you are a local food enthusiast and you want to taste it, they are almost lost. Even in a homestay in Coorg, we had to ask for local food - they had all the usual stuff, but local, they had not anticipated.
Monday, May 19, 2008
before he completes all the work down to the last nail. Otherwise, chances are - that that pending work will never get done. That little bit of polish, that tiny bit of cleaning up will never happen.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Kalyanamantapas are a symbol of Bangalore as much as anything else that the city stands for. IT, Aerospace, traffic - anything.
In his column, MJ Akbar praises Indian secularism. Yup, the fact that we have maintained communal harmony by and large is praiseworthy. But who should the credit go to?
Recently, I had this interesting conversation with someone who wanted to pursue a career in accountancy. Nothing wrong with that, except that the justification given was a pretty sad one.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
The latest stop is Jaipur.
I was in Jaipur a few months ago and like every tourist, spent a while in the lanes of Johri Bazaar, Hawa Mahal et al. It is sad to see those lanes bloodied with terror and a government that does not care too much about lives of its citizens.
Monday, May 12, 2008
This is the second time that Amit Varmas column, has triggered the thought that what is happening in IPL is the similar process that has happened across all liberalized sectors in India.
The first time the thought was triggered, blogger decided to eat my piece up and I lost the thoughts and patience to reconstruct it.
I wanted to draw a parallel between the columns and what happened in IT industry for the employees. What is happening in IPL may or not be replicated in the quota governed model of the national team, but in IPL there is no place for quotas. (Mayawati, heres your chance.) In the national team, it is still not easy to say goodbye to a non performer and until very recently, we thought there was no alternative to Kapil Dev and Gavaskar or even Parthiv Patel. But with IPL, the playing field, has become level. Dhoni and Gony play for Chennai. Yo Mahesh for Delhi and Robin for Mumbai. The war is clearly for talent and performance, not quotas, not politics not conspiracy theories. And we can see three layers deep into the Indian team. Who said we had no fast bowlers or batsmen or fielders?
Before the IT industry came about, India did not have any industry worth its name. Of course, we had SAIL and Telco and Tisco, but the IT industry was really a product of liberalization (1991, credit to which should entirely go to PV Narsimha Rao, especially after seeing Manmohan Singhs current pathetic solo performance). Prior to the IT industry, the only way to get a job was to have "influence" and then there were no real industries; it was all a function of licences and what not. Also, offices were bad smelly places with a mai-baap culture. The big selling point was "I cannot pay you much, but you can learn". The IT industry came along and very rightly, sucked employees of all underpaid industries - including ISRO, HAL and many other places. Many industrialists cried foul, but ultimately, everybody's pay got better. Offices improved, work conditions improved and people began to believe in merit - there are barely any tenure based promotions in the IT industry. If you dont perform you get to say good bye to your job which in a government scenario was next to impossible. Some airlines are still trying to figure out in the courts what is the ideal weight for an air hostess while Kingfisher and Jet seem to have no such problems.
What is happening in IPL is clearly, the liberalization in Indian cricket - (perhaps world cricket as well, but I will let that pass). The argument against IPL is a similar argument we have seen against IT, private banks and we will continue to hear against private agriculture (its not Ravi, he has linked to a piece), until someone breaks the locks.
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Friday, May 09, 2008
In Uncle, nephew, people, there is a dissection of the MNS, Raj Thakeray phenomenon and how it relates to Marathi speaking people in Mumbai. In Churumuri, is an argument that essentially says, replace Marathi with Kannada and you have the same story.
Why should people feel insecure about outsiders - dont they add to the diversity, culture? Take my example. Having spent half a lifetime in Mumbai, I love many things about Mumbai and Maharashtra - including the forts, Shivajis legacies, the plays, the local culture, festivals and the food. Why am I a fan of the state?Because of my cultural exposure. And having spent 8 years here in Bangalore, I am beginning to like Karnataka for a variety of reasons (I hate it for others, but that's mostly political). The history, the food, the culture. I see it as a collective culture.
Why the cultural insecurity of each language, state, heritage? Partly because we dont take pride in our collective Indian heritage, culture. We do not recognize the commonalities. There is nothing to be proud of, say many. One big factor to blame is our education system - the Macaulay education system if you will. As parents we need to ensure that children grow up believing that his culture is in no way inferior to any other culture. So, if people were secure that their culture will grow regardless of who comes in and goes out, this insecurity would not arise. Politicians, as usual, like to feed on insecurities.
Tuesday, May 06, 2008
- Everyday I return from work, I have 3 hrs of power packed intense cricket.
- The wife doesnt' complain - infact she enjoys it too (or atleast pretends to). Already it has very good TRP's.
- Whether the cheerleaders get the people to the ground or the stars or the cricket or just the easier availability of tickets - IPL will succeed.
- For the cricketers - its the best learning ground, to have Ghoni rub shoulders with the Shaun Pollocks of the world is the best work experience one can call for.
- These domestic cricketers can now claw their way into the Indian team thanks to some good visbility - and actually its performance that will call shots - quotas could take a backseat.
- IPL success should be owed to ICL - seems like ICL started it off, but IPL has backing of big bucks. What about ICL, well, we will see.
- Enjoy IPL, let the players make money (Outlook magazine has tried its best to say IPL is not working - but tough luck to Outlook)- I mean it is market forces that determine the pay - any excesses will always result in lower payouts.
- What Ranji couldnt do, IPL has done it in such a short while - providing exposure to the lesser known cricket stars - and throwing up some real good ones. No more talk of talent shortage in Indian cricket. Finally we have a replacement for everybody!
- The new formula for IPL success will be - just retired Australian bowlers and a local batting line up. (we will know for sure in the next few weeks)
- Again, great exposure for International class cricket for our budding stars.
- Shane Warne!
- National integration - Dhoni/Goni for Chennai, Uthappa/Harbhajan for Mumbai - it doesnt get better than that. (Btw, wonder what Raj Thakeray thinks of Bhajji for Mumbai?)
Sunday, May 04, 2008
And when I say Bangalore, I mean what Bangalore stands for (see this, from a survey in 1998). The so called Silicon valley, is a little more than a silly valley today. A rather neat article in todays TOI exhorts Bangalore to vote "Only if we vote will we get a better Bangalore". Couldnt find it online though.
The city must vote so that the efforts of some political parties to scuttle development in the city and focus the attention on self aggrandizement in the name of welfare comes to nought. It must vote so that these parties are left doing what they are best at, infighting. It must vote to throw out parties (whose leaders by the way are richer than the richest CEOs in the city and own tons of land in all parts of the city and state after "social justice and welfare" for many years now) who held the city to ransom over the last few years. It must vote because this is the chance that the delimitation exercise gives them to exercise their franchise and speak with their vote. It must vote with one voice and give the mandate to the party which promises development and development only.
It must vote, for every single road dug and left unfinished. It must vote for the road development work ignored over the past few years.
It must vote, for the sad state of electricity in the state. (Bangalore has power cuts nearly every day and each time it rains, the power is switched off. The city incidentally has most of its power delivered via overhead lines and not underground.)
It must vote, for the poor attention to infrastructure - the long pending BMIC project which has been held to ransom, by guess who? And that is just one example.
It must vote, for the sad state of public transport.
It must vote, for the acres of encroached spaces.
It must vote, if the city has to live up to the sobriquet of Silicon valley.
At the end there is no guarantee if anybody will deliver. But this much is clear. That if it is a coalition, some dirty tail will wag the dog, the poop of which is here to see for Bangalore. In the last 5 odd years, so much could have done, yet barely has any progress been made that directly impacts the population here.
So, all you people, go out and vote. Take your time out and speak out for the city, for its survival. Speak out, next Saturday, the 10th of May for the city...
Saturday, May 03, 2008
The foreign hand or the conspiracy theory was one of the big things that impeded our success, or we had ourselves believe. This was our pet theory that prevented our minds from seeing perfection. Ironically, the foreign hand, itself was foreign! As Tyler Cowens says in his book, Discover Your Inner Economist: Use Incentives to Fall in Love, Survive Your Next Meeting, and Motivate Your Dentist, (in a chapter on Self Deception), "In atleast life in the Soviet Union was remarkably simple. If something went wrong, the citizens always had something or somebody-other than themselves-to blame."
Friday, May 02, 2008
The retail revolution is supposed to be hurting the kirana, but the kirana is not your regular government organization. It wont roll over and die, it will try to make the best possible deal in the market. Like I had written before it is the Kiranas who take advantage of some of the newer retail stores bargain deals. Every time I am at Reliance, I see them buy a whole bunch of their requirements from Reliance - taking advantage of all the deals.