Michael Jackson, the ‘king of pop’ was today finally laid to rest, 10 weeks after his death. Michael Jackson was easily the biggest global entertainer ever. Through the 80s and 90s he enjoyed unfathomable levels of popularity across the globe and India was no exception. Thinking of MJ got me thinking of impact of western culture & entertainment on Indians, and it suddenly dawned on me that MJ was perhaps the last English superstar in India. Read more
Rightrix Research & IndicThreads.com have undertaken a research to gauge sentiment of the insiders to the software business (the developers, architects and managers) and know what they think about the slowdown and its impact. Participating in the survey also gets you 15% off on registrations for the 3rd IndicThreads.com Conference On Java Technology
A new Pepsi ad has coined the phrase ‘Youngistan’ by combining Young & Hindustan. The actor in the ad claims to be an alien from the planet Youngistan. However is Youngistan really a planet in outer space or is India and Youngistan one and the same? I say this as I can’t help but note that India is being totally customized for the young, rich and the healthy. I certainly don’t have anything against the Youngistanization of society. The young definitely should enjoy the prosperity and the growing disposable incomes of new India, but not by steadily ignoring other segments of society.
I get into arguments at billing counters so frequently these days that I wonder if it has subconsciously become one of my favourite pastimes. I have a fairly wide range of causes for these disputes. However the most common cause is that of the cashier gobbling my hard earned paise. The amusing and strange part of the story is that I seem to be losing these arguments with alarming regularity.
The events normally go something like this – I buy goods worth Rs. 99.25 and the cashier announces Rs. 100 as the payable amount. I ask him why he could not even show the courtesy to tell me that he was charging 75 paise extra. The reply is “Ok, Pay 99”. I tell him that it is not about the 75 paise but about business ethics. I next complain to the store manager who barely listens to me before ordering his staff “Take one rupee less from Sir!”
After extensive research at Oak Labs, we believe we have discovered the secret of success in politics. It revolves around the simple concept of “Us vs Them”. The key to getting a mass following, winning elections and being a popular leader lies in the ability of the politician to clearly define an “Us vs Them” pattern.So throughout history and in all walks of life, the successful politician always has a clear understanding of who ‘Us’ is and who ‘Them’ are. It is the ability of the politician to convey this understanding that decides how successful he or she is. Here are some examples of Us vs Them. Rulers vs Natives, White vs Black, Democracy vs Dictators, Indian Cricket vs Aussie Cricket, Locals vs Migrants, Secular vs Communal, Believers in a Faith vs Non-believers, Underdeveloped vs Developed Countries and so on.
A couple of days back, the Tata’s launched the much hyped 1 lakh car, the Nano. The car is believed to be the cheapest in the world and is expected to revolutionize travel in India. The car looks good and also seems to come with a decent set of features. Considering that hardly any Indian companies consider research and innovation a priority, the Nano is a significant achievement for the Tatas.
Every few days, newspaper frontpages announce the Sensex’s march past another milestone, 10000, 15000, 20000 and so on. You have photos of brokers jumping for joy and quotes from experts. Business channel hosts are all smiles and it feels like it’s already Diwali. Media portrays the event as a big win for India.
Why the markets surge when nothing seems to have changed or why they crash suddenly is beyond the understanding of every expert, let alone a layman like me. There’s always some exotic reason put forward, like change in interest rates in Timbuktoo. However the fact is that no one knows. If the experts knew, wouldn’t they be making millions and then relaxing on a private island rather than giving tips on TV all day?
Security today is big business in Indian cities. It’s perhaps the profession that has undergone the most change over the past decade. Not just shopping malls and multiplexes but even small shops, restaurants and housing societies today have an abundance of security staff. A housing society might not have proper water supply but it will have a team of uniform clad and baton brandishing security staff. Makes one wonder if it’s a need of the times or if we are just getting increasingly paranoid.
Security guards in most cases seem to serve more to boost egos than to serve any real security function. Private security men have become a modern day city nuisance. Not only do they often abuse whatever authority they enjoy but they also regularly go beyond the limits of their allocated domain. Has anybody ever seen a security personnel busy performing security related work? Parking management or just opening doors ends up being their primary activity. They naturally get bored and therefore seem to entertain themselves by making people like me perform crazy car maneuvers before they let me secure a parking space…
(Cont…Click the scanned article image on the left). Published as part of my column for the Maharashtra Herald that’s published on alternate Saturdays. )