Monday, October 19, 2009

Whatte pic?

Cheap Skilled Labour
What do u think?
  • Abundance of Skilled Labour (OR)
  • One of the worst cases reported in the aftermath of Global recession
Leave ya comments ppl!!!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Change is good!

A couple of days ago, I took an autorickshaw back home and the meter showed a fare of INR 46, I gave the driver a INR 50 note and walked away without taking back the change. It was like an unwritten code that any change below INR 5 will not be asked! That's when I suddenly thought how the value attached to spending INR 5 has become close to negligible (excluding the BPL families), and the main factor for this being the introduction of the 5 rupee coin.
The 50 paise coins, if any have literally become extinct, and by chance you have one, may be it can add to a numismatics collection. For those who aspire to be called a philanthropist by giving it to a beggar, I doubt he will take it! I wouldn't be surprised if he gives you a 1 rupee coin in return and walks away. :)
So today a 5 rupee coin is spent and kept on par with what a 1 rupee coin was about 5-6years ago. Hence there has been an increase in the spending pattern of the consumers (one may attribute this to many other economic and societal reasons too).
Roughly about a week ago, I was sitting in this coffee shop with a friend, and just as we finished paying the bill and when we were taking back the change I noticed that we had got a new looking coin. It was the new 10rupee coin which was released earlier this year and was also India's first bi-metallic coin. I pondered for a few minutes and I was pretty sure with the way of life changing ever so rapidly (a lot faster than it was 5-6years ago) the new 10rupee coin will gain acceptance and occupy the place of the 5rupee coin more faster than expected.
If the 5 rupee coin took 2-3years to replace the 1 rupee coin, then I'm sure the 10rupee coin will take only about a year.

Indian coinsThe long and short of the story is that the introduction of higher value coins and notes are perfect for marketers. Its literally like a boon. The consumers are now tempted to spend more. Marketers need to now focus on making the product offering more attractive and can worry less about changing the mentality of the consumers with respect to spending.
Economically the 'Indian middle-class consumer segment' (with its ever increasing spending power) which is already the center of attraction for nearly all the global brands will now start to look even more attractive. Moreover the continuosly created demand by the Indian consumers has played a big role in helping the world out off recession (again there are many reasons in this context, I have taken this one as it pertains to the article) and will also help speeden the recovery path.
That's what one new coin can do! :)
Enjoying spending people!! ;)
Change is good, Indeed!!! :D

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

For the Greater Good: Save the Planet, Your Planet!

A common phenomenon all our lives is the fact that when we grow up and have a room of our own, we take care of the room and bear ownership of it, but the rest of the house can go to the bin and we would be least bothered. As time goes on we grow up and buy a house, and now we elevate from ownership of the room to that of the whole house. Normally the elevation should go on, but instead we change from ownership of a house to that of houses. Hence always 'Mother Earth' which is the greater home of ours is always the one losing out. I'm not blaming anyone, as most of us (including myself) are no exception to this phenomenon.
On the other end of the spectrum, just a few days ago the world's most powerful man Obama addressed the G20 summit with one of the key issues there being the 'Global Climate Change'. Its a matter concern that there has been a drastic change in the climate. Unusually horrendous storms and natural disasters seem to rock mother earth once in every 2-3years. And all of a sudden everyone is talking about the need to address this issue.

Climate ChangeIndia is no exception to this. Roughly a couple of month ago, a majority of the northern states in India had announced that there was a drought owing to less than normal rainfall. Southern states saw some rainfall but still weren't content and had power cuts. Well all that has changed so drastically that nowadays the headlines in every newspaper in India talks about the worse floods in over 106years in the two Indian states, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. Surprised? Don't be! As this is pretty much what we must be ready for at the rate at which the climate is changing.
There may still be a few who say, this is a Global issue and 'I can't do anything about it, let him/her do it then I'll think bout it'!
But i'm afraid this time you can't run away from responsibility, because this issue is directly affecting all of us. Can we do anything? I say yes, and it won't take too much of your time or money; and it will either directly or indirectly help the cause:
  • Switch off your bike/car everytime you stand at a signal
  • Walk or cycle whenever your destination is within 2km (this would also do a world of good to our health as most of us know what an unhealthy over-worked high stressed lives that we are leading)
  • Use rain water harvesting
  • Switch off the light/fan/AC/TV etc. whenever you walk out the room
  • If you have an unused garrage space in your compound, instead of converting it to a room for negligible rent. Convert it to an open space to make your compound more greener.
Least by doing this you can surely have a clear conscience and feel good about it, and if all of us can do this small bit, it would be as Neil Armstrong earlier said: "A small step for man, but a giant leap for mankind"!

Save the PlanetPardon me if I sound too stereotype and if this sounds like boring advise,(or gyan in desi style) but people this is more of a plea or a request.
Here's a plea to save the planet,
Doing it is ones own call;
To mother earth we this as a debt,
Else all of mankind may eventually fall!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

"Musharraf is no more bereft of what he deserves"

Well I first thought posting this video as my status on facebook, but then I thought it deserved an opinion and a better reach.



This post is like a second part to my earlier post titled "Terrorists are not born. they are made". It clearly shows how Pakistan and esp. 'Gen. Pervez Musharraf' has taken every muslim for granted and actually dented (or rather call it destroyed) the image of muslims world over. Here is a snipped from the India Today Conclave, which took place in Delhi earlier this year. Its surprising though how the Indian Media which goes gaga even for a lost fingernail has over looked this!!!
It shows how Pakistan has taken Indian Muslims(rather muslims world over) for granted and has always assumed their point of view as the single view of muslims. Here a Maulana shows his displeasure with Musharraf and his actions and asks him to stop interfering or making comments about India.
The same man 'Musharraf' who authored "In the line of Fire: A Memoir" and proudly proclaimed to be the man behind starting talks about Kashmir with India and thought of himself to be the proud s0-called, god knows why, unnecessary saviour (for no reason) of the Indian Muslims(who seem to be more than pleased in their secular motherland India), is being found wanted after the vocal slap from the Indian Maulana.
Looking at his facial expressions at the end of the short video I was reminded of the song "Right Round by Flo Rida". I'd like to quote a couple of lines of the lyrics which is apt for this situation:
You spin my head right round, right round
When you go down, when you go down down
Well i'm pretty sure if he ever decides to listen to an english song (which is as likely as finding life in Mars) this should be the Numero Uno! :)

"I believe Secular Pluralism is the need of the hour,
For it may be too late if we go too far"

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Are you a Blogger or a Forger?

Lately I have been searching the internet and reviewing various blogs (now that every Tom, Dick and Harry writes one). With a number of blogs mushrooming and growing at an exponential rate, I took a second to ponder on how all of a sudden so many people have started expressing their views, and for all you know it may result in the increase in the number of youngsters taking up Journalism as a major.
But alas, that hope and vision would be too farsighted. Too my amusement I found that a majority of these new bloggers use a tool that I would call CCPS (Cut or Copy, Paste and Submit) ;)! All you need to do is copy a line from these blogs and put it for search on google, and you would get the original source in less than a second. A few may raise questions on the reason for this act?

BloggersTo me this can be a result of three possibilities:
  • A noble cause of spreading the intellectual views of the original authors (Highly improbable though ;) )
  • Identity Crisis which in turn leads them to a desperate need for undeserved publicity thereby resulting in copied articles (High probable ;) )
  • Its cool aka kewl to have a blog thereby in a quest for social acceptance! (Probable ;) )
So in the end of the day, the ones whom I thought were worth the title 'Bloggers' are those who posted stuff that was:
  1. Original
  2. Quoted - Due credit going to the original author
Be original, Be a Blogger,
Please don't copy and emulate a forger;
Cheerz to the Bloggers!!!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Bzzzzzzz: Harley is in town mate!

The mere sight of this on Indian roads, and most of the viewers would drop their jaws with awe. I’m talking about the sight of a Harley Davidson on Bangalore roads. The last time I saw one, it was for display at Leela Palace and supposedly belonged to the GM of Leela Palace Mr. Charles De Foucault.

But come 2010 its no more going to be a rare sight! What I am talking about is the fact that Harley Davidson are going to hit the Indian Roads in mid-2010. After a 2 year negotiation with the Indian government regarding reduction in the 110% import duty, Harley Davidson have decided to price it at INR 7 – 15 lakhs (double of what it costs in the US) and create a niche segment for this bike.

Harley Davidson

Harley Davidson would be entering the 7million strong Indian motorcycle market, which as of now has a very small percentage of super bikes. The superbikes sold in India are mainly the Yamaha R1, Yamaha R6 and Suzuki Hayabusa; which together sell about 400 bikes a year.

According to Matthew Levatich, president and COO, Harley-Davidson they intend selling about 100 units a year and are initially bringing about 15 designs (the flagship Fatboy and Night Rod Special would be the first 2 models to be unveiled) out of their 43 existing models. They are also open to making other types of motorcycles and different engines which would be more suitable to the Indian riders.

The Indian consumer would soon have access to buying Harley’s, Jaguars, Volkswagens, Land cruiser’s and what not. But the million dollar question is:

When will the Indian roads be good enough for consumers to enjoy these street kings to its fullest?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

You need Lady Luck even here :)

Was out for a coffee and having a nice relaxing weekend and saw this interesting signboard on the washroom door. Hope it makes you smile!


Funny Washroom

Saturday, August 15, 2009

'Dreaded Synonyms' - Swine Flue and Influenza A!

  • The most dangerous and widespread ooutbreak after the Hongkong Flu, Spanish and Asian Flu
  • WHO marked this pandemic at Level 6 after over 4 decades
  • Pune in India is the worst affected by this flu
  • Medicine research on a cure for this dangerous flu has amounted to about $390million

Swine Flu
I'm sure you know what i'm talking about - "SWINE FLU". Well, everyday in the newspapers and media you have something about Swine Flu, and unfortunately the news of a casualty from swine flu is inevitable in everyday's news.


But is Swine Flu really this deadly?

I'd like to challenge the fact that it is the most deadliest virus in over decades. Firstly a simple statistic to start off my debate:
  • Over 1.6 lakh people infected around the world with Swine Flu, of which about 1100 people died
  • But every year, about 2.5-4 lakh people die around the world due to normal Flu
Swine flu has a cure in the form of Tamiflu, which has cured a huge chunk of the affected population. Moreover if the cases of death's are seen, most of them have already had other health issues, hence swine flu has only added to this. The recent case of a 26-year old teacher in Bengaluru who died owing to being affected with swine flu, had an acute case of diabetes.

Well when it is seen that this Flu is like any other flu, then why all this panic?
Like always the media should be given credit for creating this frenzy (just another TRP increasing mechanism). But the mechanism has not only increased TRP, but also increased the sales of protective masks.
The marketer too has a role to play in this, with the fact that a protective mask called the N95 is the so-called branded protective mask (Phew :) )!
Economics has its say too - Remember the supply-demand curve. A normal mask costing INR 20 is being sold at increased price of INR 100 - INR 150! When the demand exceeds the supply the price keeps rising till a point where the supply and demand meet.

Now picture this? Every winter when there is a climatic change and the cooler temperatures set in, normal viruses are prevalent everywhere and get into everyone. A few who get affected with viral fever are those whose immune system gives way! Then shouldn't swine flu behave in the same manner being a virus itself? Moreover in America, pigs get swine flu every year during a particular time after which a few die and the rest survive, then how on earth did a human being, only get affected this year?? Unless done on purpose! (Or may be the virus consulted an astrologer and choose the right time to start affecting human beings ;) lol... ).

Swine FluThe more dangerous issue in question is that of Dengue fever which seems to have started flirting with Bengaluru having two casualties. This unlike Swine Flu has no guaranteed medical treatment. There are no specialised drugs.

PRECAUTION
But everything said and done, we are all human and tend to be apprehensive when anything that has claimed lives is on the outbreak. In case you believe in homeopathy, here's a medicine that you may want to have
  • Influenzium 200: The recommended dosage is 5 pills 3 times 3days and it would (as the homeopath's proclaim to make you immune to the Swine Flu virus hence a good precautionary measure
Just like to re-emphasize the age old saying:
"Health is Wealth"
So stay healthy and stay happy people!

Monday, August 3, 2009

They Journey from a Premium to a Mass Market Brand!

‘Bangalore has a galore of promotional offers’

OR

‘Bangalore is on sale’

It’s up to one’s own perception to decide which one more appropriately describes the fact that nearly everything that is sold in retail outlets and company showrooms in Bangalore is being offered at discounted prices. Name it from clothes to jewellery to watches to shoes to mobiles to shades etc has a discount. This has been going on for roughly a month in Bangalore.

For quite some time now, Bangalore has been having discounts and offers running during the months of June and July as in South India (or may be even the whole of India) month’s with no festival in it are considered low business months. Our earlier generations believed in buying clothes, watches, jewellery etc during festivals and hence the peak business days were the once preceding the festivals.

But now times have changed, and Bangalore has by far been influenced and changed to the greatest extent by westernization and increase in purchasing power among the Indian metros. With the IT boom and the fact that Bangalore is now a cosmopolitan with a huge amount of techies, the purchasing power of the people of the age group of 20-35 has increased considerably in the last decade.

I would for one term the Bangaloreans in the age group of 20-28 as “Locomotive Shoppers”. Previous generations believed in Window Shopping, where they would just pass by stores and look at products stocked, on the other hand, Locomotive Shoppers are an extension to Window Shopping where they buy anything that they like (provided it is within their budget) as and when they see it. The product categories that attracts nearly all locomotive shoppers are: Clothes, Shoes, Watches and sometimes even Jewellery.

Bangalore Sale

Aftermath of the Discount Race in Bangalore

United Colors of Benetton (UCB) offers upto 70% off, Levis offers a flat 50%, Tommy Hilfiger offers upto 50% off, Pepe Jeans offers flat 40% off, name the brand and its on sale. I walked into a mall in Bangalore which has most of these Brands and the crowd in that mall was as though something was being distributed for free. As for the Levis store all I can say is that ‘All Hell Broke Loose”!

Say these promotional offers go on for another couple of weeks. What after that? Which sane person would buy a UCB shirt at INR 2500, after having seen UCB offering 70% discount. The premium image of a brand like UCB is surely dented. As for Tommy Hilfiger, I have no words. I doubt people would again ever pay INR 4000 for a shirt from Tommy Hilfiger after seeing them sell it at 50% off. What on earth were the Branding Specialists in these companies thinking??

The premium brand image has come crashing down and hit the floor hard. Everyone did try to increase sales and cash in on increased purchases, but what about the intangible effect of these discounts on the premium brand image??? If they wanted increased sales and offered discounts to reach the masses, then why on earth are they still called Premium Brands? They should rather be in the category of mass market products!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Next Big Thing: Guitarist Tallan Noble Latz

Well, its been a while since I've written a post. Guess I have to owe that too Poor Health and my Birthday Celebrations (11th July). But I was just browsing the internet today after quite sometime and I came across this video of an amazing kid called 'Tallan Noble Latz'. I couldn't stop myself from writing about him.
Tallan Noble LatzHe is all of just 9 year's old. He is a kid in the US, who recently took part in the famous TV show called 'America's Got Talent' which incidently is the show that the Indian TV channel Star Plus copied blindly and made its own version called India's got talent (A Complete Rip Off).
Tallan Latz was born on September 22, 2009 to Carl and Doris Latz in the United States. He began playing acoustic guitar at the age four!!!! By the time he was five, a video of the legend himself Joe Satriani had a major impact on the boy and he declared "That's what I wanna to do".
At the age of eight, he played on-stage with performers the likes of Jackson Browne and Les Paul. He appeared on the Rachel ray show on January 21, 2009 and recently on the show 'America's got Talent'!
The first time I saw the video of him playing the guitar, all I could think off, is that this kid has got it in him to be the next guitaring legend after Kurt Kobain and Joe Satriani! What's more? His taste in music ranges from Joe Satriani to Led Zeppelin to Jimi Hendrix to Steve Vai to Bon Jovi to even Ludwig Van Beethoven. And his perfect attitude complimenting his guitaring skills would give him a 10/10.
There may be many who play real good music, but only a few who really feel music from their soul and they are the ones who make it big! This kid sure is promising!

Here's the Video of the Kid performing at America's Got Talent:

Friday, July 3, 2009

“Terrorists are not born, they are made”

“Terrorists are not born, they are made” is a saying that I’ve heard quite a number of times. All one needs is common sense to agree with that. But the reason I am writing this post is due to my concern on people trying to curb terrorism without paying attention to the influencing factors that make people terrorists. I for one feel its better to remove a tree from its roots rather than just chop it off superficially!

Tariq Ahmad DarAn instance worth mentioning is that of ‘Tariq Ahmad Dar’, the Kashmir model who was pursuing his career in Bangladesh as a model and actor. He was abducted by the Bangladeshi Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) on charges of being a terrorist and linked to the Al-Qeada, after 6months in jail and continuous pressure from the media and various Human Rights’ Activists, he was finally released on account of insufficient evidence against him. In a documentary on NDTV, he mentioned how life has actually changed for him and how he cant be his normal self again after the abduction. He was kept for days together in an empty room with his eyes closed and no one would listen to what he had to say!

Tariq has come back to India and is trying to live his normal life, which shows his mental and emotional strength. But not everyone can be a Tariq. This can prove lethal, as if the person is not mentally strong, he may loathe everyone and be hungry for revenge. The result is yet another one who strays into terrorism.

We need to stop this from happening:

  • Firstly by being careful while screening and in the investigation
  • Secondly, treating the suspects as human beings and not as third world creatures
  • Finally and most importantly by counselling people (especially those in the age group of 14-30) on how to choose the right path and the importance of having a clear conscience

New York

A movie that I watched last week called “New York” is also based on this very issue. But it brings out the happenings in the aftermath of the 9/11 World Trade Centre crash. It shows how the Muslims were targeted and over 3000 suspected and taken for investigation, and about a year later around 1000 who were seen innocent were released.

The movie is about three Muslims who were in the US after the 9/11. One of them a character called Sameer (played by actor John Abraham) was in detention for being a suspect (for clicking photographs of the WTC for his project at college), he was tortured and he ended up becoming a terrorist just to seek revenge. His best friend Omar (played by actor Neel Nitin Mukesh) tries to bring John Abraham back from the wrong path that he has chosen and the third Roshan (played by the versatile actor Irfan Khan) is a FBI agent who actually is trying to eradicate terrorism in order to remove the hatred mark of ‘Terrorists’ from over the Muslim Community!

I should say a very well shot movie. One of the few Bollywood movies which has a very practical and apt ending. Kudos to actress Katrina Kaif (who plays John Abraham’s wife in the movie) for the superb display of her acting skills. John continues to win hearts of millions of fans with his killer looks and pretty descent acting. But a thumbs down for Neel Nitin Mukesh for his dismissal acting. On the whole I would rate the movie a 7/10!

Peace among Religions

Apart from the movie, I feel we cannot generalize Muslim’s as terrorists just because a few terrorists are Muslims. We cannot have such a biased opinion just because of their association to one community. It would only be provoking them! Instead we should all join hands and stand together in these ‘Testing Times’ for the greater good of all.

“One may be from a different faith,

Each of which is a different path to the almighty.

Please don’t differentiate based on faith as it is not innate,

For it will only make all of us history!”

Monday, June 29, 2009

Global Recession Recovery Team: India named Captain

Montek Singh Ahluwalia
“I think it is reasonable to assume the worst is over. We will now get back to more normal growth,” Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia said about a week ago while addressing the press.


Anand Sharma
“The prime minister is confident that we will be able to take it to 9 percent in the next 24 months. By and large our economy is stable and strong, and we in India have perhaps done better than others in this crisis. India has a sound regulatory framework”, Trade Minister Anand Sharma said about a week ago while he was in London


The above two statements coming from two of the most apt people commenting about the Indian Economy is surely something to cheer about. I presume they are not just giving Indians a motivating speech but rather talking from actual data and facts.

In fact, when you see the pace of expansion in the Indian Economy stabilizing in the first quarter of the this year at 5.8percent (as it was in the three preceding months) as compared to China which showed a drop in its GDP to 6.1percent from 6.8percent (owing to their dependence in overseas sales) in the same period it sure is a great sign of India’s $1.2trillion economy emerging from the worst global slump since the Great Depression.

Why India?

Paul R. Krugman, a Professor of Economics and a recipient of the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2008 recently told how based on IMF’s new World Economic Outlook recessions caused by financial crisis typically end with export booms, which he feels is a disturbing results as it means that the driver for recovery will only be available if we can find another planet to export to.

The above statement by Krugman could very well be the reason why India, this time around could just find itself in the midst of things with an equal chance to add its name of the noble few which may lead the next Global Charge (by providing the extra demand owing to increased consumption).

World Pointing at India

One may argue about the predominant role of developed economies, but the fact that they are either:

  • Bogged down in the substantial quantities of debt that they desperately need to pay off, or
  • Weighted down by those elderly populations who are weakening consumption growth and leading to export dependence (Germany, Japan etc)

may just give India the edge to lead the Global Economic Revival. India could actually be the country that supplies this extra demand required!

“So guess its the hour of realization,

For India is the chosen nation”

Friday, June 26, 2009

Michael Jackson: God's fingers touched him, and he slept!

Michael Jackson Memorial
Its unfortunate that one of the most popular and controversial pop star Michael Joseph Jackson passed away on the 25th June 2009 at the age of 50. His death came as a shock to everyone (especially his loyal fans) who were eagerly awaiting his 50-date comeback residency which was to start at London (over 75000 tickets were sold in less than 4hours for that London show).

He suffered a cardiac arrest at his home in Los Angeles (LA) after which he was taken to UCLA Medical Centre (in a state of coma though) where the doctors were unable to revive him.

His brother Jermaine Jackson formally confirmed the news outside the hospital: "My brother, the legendary King of Pop, passed away on Thursday June 25 at 2.26pm. We believe he suffered a cardiac arrest at his home, however the cause of his death is unknown until the results of the autopsy are known. The personal physician who was with him at the time attempted to resuscitate him."

Jackson is widely credited with revolutionising pop music with albums including Thriller, Bad and Dangerous but his career was tainted with allegations of child abuse. His eccentric behaviour has also earned him a new nickname ‘Wacko Jacko’.

Quick Recap of his Life

Born in 1958, Jackson made his musical debut with four of his older brothers in the Jackson Five before embarking on a solo career. His album Thriller (1982) – which included the hits Beat It, Billie Jean and Thriller – is still the best-selling album of all time, with more than 26 million copies sold. His lifetime sales tally is estimated at 750 million.

In 1994, he married Lisa Marie Presley, the 26-year-old daughter of Elvis Presley. The couple separated two years later and Jackson later married Debbie Rowe, a 37-year-old nurse he met while undergoing plastic surgery in 1997. They had two children, Prince Michael and Paris Michael Katherine, before divorcing in 1999.

Jackson had custody of the two children and of a third, Prince Michael II, whose mother's name has never been made public.

Reactions

His unexpected death has devastated fans and sparked a flood of tributes from the biggest names in the music industry. To quote a few:

  • Quincy Jones (the music producer who worked with Jackson on Thriller) said: "I am absolutely devastated at this tragic and unexpected news."
  • Madonna said: "I can't stop crying over the sad news. I've always admired Michael Jackson – the world has lost one of its greats but his music will live on forever. My heart goes out to his three children and other members of his family. God bless."
  • Britney Spears said: "I was so excited to see his show in London. We were going to be on tour in Europe at the same time and I was going to fly in to see him. He has been an inspiration throughout my entire life and I'm devastated he's gone!"
  • Rolf Schmidt-Holtz, CEO, Sony Music Entertainment said: "Michael Jackson's unsurpassed artistry and beloved music brought joy to every corner of the world. We join today with his millions of fans in expressing our profound sadness and we offer our deepest condolences to his family and loved ones. It was a true privilege for all of us in the Sony Music family to work with one of the most talented superstars in the history of music. We will miss him greatly."

Nevertheless its sad that he has had to leave us but:

“Michael Jackson’s death is only physical,

But his life through music is eternal”

May his soul Rest In Peace!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Brand Obama: Packaged Protectionism

Obama is a celebrity and undoubtedly one of the most famous and powerful President around. It is seen that he has received a rockstar’s welcome wherever he goes (recently when he addressed the whole Muslim Population from Cairo University, Egypt).

Well I’m from the school of thought that would call Obama a perfect marketer but at the same time feel that he is not doing a great job when it comes to running the country! This is not a casual comment but my inference from his current activities (mainly his attitude that shows more protectionism than globalization).

Barrack Obama Protectionism

Here is why?

For threatening to end the tax breaks for corporations that ship jobs overseas (overseas aka Bangalore, India :) ) and trying to be the so-called 'saviour of America', he is surely called the 'popular guy' of sorts...

But I feel this move of his, which shows America’s attitude intentions to resort to Protectionism (a mistake that led to the Great Depression to last for over 30years), opens a window for possible Indian companies going global and entering the US market. This may result in Indian companies employing Americans(at a lower wage though) and generating jobs in the US.

Well, from the present actions of Obama, I guess he would not mind this..!!! But this is where I feel its sad that US, the fore-runner in bringing in globalisation is actually back-tracking and resorting to protectionism. Surely, a positive for India in the long run! (that though is only if Indian companies have that kind of a vision and capability)… But this has raised eyebrows on Obama’s leadership and decisions..!

“Obama better take note and Introspect,

Else the downfall of US will be a case studied in Retrospect”

Friday, June 19, 2009

Historia:The New-Born Baby

After the success of this blog I have decided to increase my imprint on the Blogosphere. Well if your wondering what I am talking about especially after reading the title, then yeah the new born baby is the new wing to my blogging armoury. It is a new blog called Historia.
My current Blog (which you are presently reading... lol) as you know deals with the Present Buzz around you. It gives you my take on the current happenings. Whereas the new born blog would deal with the past, and it would be more fact based than opinion centric.
It is my attempt to bring to light a few forgotten or ignored milestones in history which has resulted in a world that we are living in today! So what say? Lets learn together! :)

Buzz Marketing
Thanks a ton, and hope to continue receiving your endless support as always in this new endeavour of mine! :)

PS: First post already updated on Historia. It is titled "English: A 1530year old language"!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

New-Age Indian Temples: A Recession Proof Investment

A "land of temples" is what a lot of people call the state of Tamil Nadu with over 33000 temples in the state alone (most of which are 600-800years old). These temples were constructed over a vast period of time by various dynasties. Gopurams, huge gateways, pillared hallways and a Sanctum Sactorum are a few things that you would find in nearly all these temples.
People goto these temples for different reasons:
  • For peace of mind
  • Place of worship
  • Place of tourism
I'm from the school of thought that there is a supreme power, and people refer to in different forms, which is otherwise referred to as religion.
The other day I had gone to a relatively new temple (built about 2-3years ago) close to a town called Vellore in Tamil Nadu. It was called the 'Golden Temple'. I was in for a shock, not by the amount of Gold used to build the temple but by something that has coerced me to write this article.Golden Temple Vellore
I entered the temple and it had scenic beauty as far as your imagination can go, it had a star shaped pathway around the temple with the different sayings of the head preist there. The temple was shinning in the hot sun especially as it was completely covered with gold. It had a small water body and an artificially made waterfall. All this is attractive and amazing to the extent that it is a perfect display of human creative excellence.
This is where I noticed a few issues or features that really shocked me. Which were:
  • When you enter the temple you are asked to leave your footwear in a small stall for which you pay (like many temples) but here you have to buy a plastic cover to put your footwear in, from another counter which is run by the temple (first instance of a business angle)
  • You have to pay INR 250 per head at the entrance as an entry fee (the ideology of an entry fee is not new but the amount is way to high for any temple)
  • You have to leave your mobile phones and cameras (if any) at another counter for which you again have to pay
  • Then as you walk through the pathway, it is made sure that you pass 3 shops (if i can call it that) where they sell different artefacts and photos of the temple)
  • After you enter the temple if you have paid the INR 250 at the entrance you are made to sit at a distance of 15m from the idol of the Goddess, and if you have entered by not paying the entrance of INR 250 you don't get to sit there rather walk by and see the idol from a distance of 20m
  • For those who sit, there are 2-3 people who are something like volunteers who then tell you that you could get a special puja done with your name and get a small gold petal for which you have to pay a small sum of INR 1508 ;) (I had nearly made up my mind that this temple was more of a business center)
  • Then as you walk back you have 8 people sitting with computers and they ask you to make donations of any denominations if you wish too
  • Just when I thought this was all, at the end of the pathway as you exit the temple they have a juice shop (a noble idea) but which is a litte over priced (INR 20 for a 100ml cup of sweetlime juice) and due to the hot weather at that part of the country, about 9 outta 10 people stop there to take a quick sip (Business center for sure)
Well now guess at times of recession when all businesses seem to be seeing a dip in their revenues this business is probably a sure shot business plan which could be replicated to great effect.
So if your thinking investment think nimble and invest in a temple!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

"Problems all around" - An apt status update for Satyam

Well the word Satyam is synonymous with the fraud that has made India look down in shame. New clients refrained from even considering Satyam as a possible service provider. A few existing customers showed displeasure with Satyam. Just when it looked like this giant IT firm was about to sink and add to the loss of jobs due to recession which is already prevalent, recovery steps came in with Tech Mahindra acquiring this IT giant in a bid that was eyed by many.Satyam
But Satyam needs to introspect as they have more issues to take care off else they may lose out on existing customers. This may sound a little stereotype and judgemental but I say this on the pretext of my personal experience with one of Satyam’s SBU’s as a customer.
I’ve been on the internet from 1999 which makes it 10 years. At the beginning Dial-up was the in-thing to use the internet, with the only other option the ISDN was way too expensive. I started off with Satyam as my Internet Service Provider (ISP) and stayed with the Satyam Dial-up which soon came to be called ‘Sify’. I was a loyal customer when I decided to shift from Dial-up to Broadband in 2007 and even then opted for Sify as my ISP.
From a marketers perspective I would have been a customer that they should have given special privileges in order to reward my loyalty. Any sane marketer would have at least taken complaints and suggestions from such customers seriously and done a good follow-up.
Sify on the other hand was far from this. As a customer I spend a good amount on phone calls to the local sify technical incharge and the sify customercare giving constant complaints of faulty connection. I was not able to access the internet for about 10-15days every month. The worst had not yet come.
In April 2009, on one rainy night there was a power surge through the sify LAN cable which burnt my motherboard and resulted in what could be called a ‘mini-diwali’ with a cracker sound from my CPU (Approx incurred loss is INR 8000)
That was it! It had gone too far this time. I called the customer care and mailed them about this daily for 10 consecutive days with no reply from their side. In India acting on such issues legally would have demanded shelling out more money and a positive result if any would come really soon in about 10years time.
So I finally decided to switch my ISP and opted for Airtel Broadband which is widely acclaimed as the best in the country with respect to Internet connectivity and customer service. I requested for an Airtel connection and within 30mins I had a sales manager come home and take a written application. The following day a technical team came home and in less than 24 hours I was connected to Airtel Broadband.
I’ve been using this connection for some time now and my observations:
  • It does cost marginally higher than its main competitor BSNL but it scores way better in customer service
  • BSNL gave me a waiting time of 4weeks to install my connection whereas with Airtel it was just 24hours
  • Airtel inspection team conducts surprise visits to customers to enquire about and check for proper working of the connection on a regular basis
  • Whenever you post a complaint on the Airtel website or make one through the helpline you get a message on your mobile indicating the time deadline by which your complaint would be solved (trust me they take not more than half the time indicated)
  • To top it all, the customer care executives, the linemen incharge of wiring and the technical team of Airtel all knew good English unlike their counterparts in BSNL and Sify!
So guess it is high time Sify improves else it might just vanish in a Jiffy! :)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Racist's – Australian for Character?

With 6 cases of Indians students in the last 22days being at the receiving end of racist attack in Australia it has been a serious issue for the Indian Community and the Indo-Aus ties. The Indian student Shravan Rao from Andhra Pradesh is the unfortunate student to have been worst injured and still fighting for his life, when a group of Australian fanatics put a screwdriver through his brain.

The Indian diplomats have expressed their deepest concern and doing all that is possible to ensure security of Indian students studying in Australia. The Indian actor Mr. Amitabh Bachan has politely refused to accept an honour from the Queensland University in Australia to show the Indian solidarity against this serious issue. The Australian Govt has lately taken critical steps by putting into action a new Special Task Force headed by former elite soldier Duncan Lewis to co-ordinate a response to the assaults and the perception they are hate crimes. They have also passed a law to ensure more stringent punishment for those who are guilty of such crimes.

Racist Australia

This has been the talk of most news channels in India and around the world in the past week. Like every issue even this has its group of stakeholders:

Australia: The Indian students studying in Australia is around 90000 which constitute over 18 percent of the foreign students in Australia. The number students in the fiscal year 2008-09 who have gone to Australia for higher studies has doubled as compared to 2007-08. The revenue from this amounts to a sum of over 2 billion Australian dollars ($1.6 billion) to the Australian Economy. Hence if this issue is not resolved it could badly affect the Australian economy, moreover this could even result in students from other foreign countries not considering Australia as a favourable destination for education.

Indian Students: A cheaper alternative to getting international exposure while going for further studies as compared to the US and UK

Political parties in India: The political parties in the opposition have as usual tried to make use of this by blaming the ruling government, and have tried to create a bad public opinion against the ruling party.

Australian Fanatics: They find themselves losing out on opportunities to Indian students in their own country owing to the recessionary phase around the world, hence lesser jobs and more demand for admissions into Universities. They cannot digest the fact that Indians are far more skilled and have a more developed intellectual capacity hence making them tougher competitors to beat. This is what draws questions on the competitiveness of the Australians. Are they losers or racist? Is a question that is doing the rounds.

How long will this pointless racist intolerance against Indians continue is something that cannot be decided by one person or a handful of people! Such issues require fundamental changes by educating the Australian citizen on how to deal with and accept different cultures. Sure the Australian cricketer Bret Lee has shown interest by going to a couple of universities and has tried to counsel students regarding this, but will this continue and how seriously the Australian government’s initiatives be implemented is a question that only time will tell!

Till then we can only pray for the security of Indian students and stay united for this cause.

Jai Ho!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

"The Big Fat Sri Lankan Lie"

LTTE-Sri LankaFollowing the death of LTTE chief Vellupillai Prabhakaran the communication from the Sri Lankan government invited attention owing to the many loopholes it had. The latest edition of "The Week" magazine has a complete article which brings these loopholes to light.

Lion, Tiger and lies



SRI LANKA

Too many loose ends in Lankan army's version of Prabhakaran's death

By Anita Pratap

Precisely because he is many things to many people, LTTE leader V. Prabhakaran’s death has been greeted with joy by the Sinhalese, grief by his Tamil supporters, and relief by many who hope his death will bring peace to beleaguered Sri Lanka.

But is he really dead? Speculation is rife only because journalists are not allowed in, and independent verification is impossible. I was sceptical of the first report, which said he was killed while fleeing the war zone in an ambulance. No way. Prabhakaran would not do something so idiotic. Remember, the Sri Lankan army told us that Prabhakaran and his cadres were surrounded in a tiny patch of land, less than 1 sq.km. The area was so small and so well surrounded that anyone coming out on a bicycle would be spotted and stopped.
(Image Inset:
A war crime? The death of Charles Anthony, Prabhakaran's son, raises questions)
So logically, what chance would an ambulance have of sprinting past unnoticed? If he had to flee from such a tiny war zone, he would have scurried out through an underground tunnel.
And then came the picture of Prabhakaran’s corpse. The first question: if he was killed in an ambulance, how come his body was discovered in a lagoon? The picture looked fake. Top of the head was blown off, but the face was clear and the eyes wide open. Prabhakaran’s most distinguishing feature are his eyes, which seemed artificially wide, as if someone was trying to prove it was indeed him by grabbing attention to his eyes. It reminded me of the front-page picture of the terrorist killed in a shootout in Ansal Plaza in New Delhi a few years ago. I had said then that I found it hard to believe that the terrorist had died that way with the gun in his hand. I have seen innumerable civilians, soldiers and guerrillas lying dead in battlefields. They don’t look like this. I instinctively felt the picture was stage-managed. Forensically, I did not see how it was possible that a guy involved in a massive shootout could die so perfectly posed. Subsequent investigations reinforced these doubts.

That is the same feeling I had when I saw the picture of Prabhakaran’s corpse. Far from setting my doubts to rest, the picture convinced me that something was fishy. The initial version was that soldiers had “shelled” the ambulance, which caught fire and was destroyed. If you pummel an ambulance with artillery shells or rocket propelled grenades, it will explode. So, if Prabhakaran were inside, his body would have been blown to bits. At the very least, charred. And when his dog tags and identity cards surfaced, the whole thing seemed even more of a set-up. Besides, Karuna’s and Daya Master’s identification of Prabhakaran’s body has as much credibility as a confession extracted in police custody.
I am not saying that I know for sure Prabhakaran is alive. What I am saying is that this version of his death does not ring true. I have said before that Prabhakaran will never be captured alive. But there is one more thing I would add. If he knew there was no way out, he would not only have killed himself but have made sure his body was not found. There are two reasons for this. One, he is a keen student of military history and knows if his body were found, it would be desecrated by the victorious Sinhalese soldiers. All triumphant soldiers have done this through history. I can still vividly recall the dead Afghan leader Najibullah hanging from a Kabul lamp-post, cigarette stuffed in his nose, body bloated and beaten black and blue by the victorious Taliban. I have seen videos of dead female LTTE soldiers being stripped naked and paraded by gleeful Sinhalese soldiers.
Many detest him, but one must understand Prabhakaran’s psyche. He is an extraordinarily proud man, one who believes he is fighting to restore the honour and glory of the Tamils. There is simply no way he will allow himself to be desecrated and bring eternal shame and dishonour to his people. So not only will he swallow his cyanide, have his bodyguard shoot him to make his death doubly sure, but he will ensure that his body is blasted to bits, so that no corpse ever surfaces.

That brings me to the second reason why he would ensure his body was never found if he had to commit suicide to evade capture. Remember, one of his favourite heroes is Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. Even today, there are people who believe that Bose is still alive. The mystery and the mystique remain. If Prabhakaran’s body is never found, no one can be sure whether he is really dead or alive and the conspiracy theories will spin forever—keeping him alive in people’s imagination. Purpose served, especially if he is dead.

I do not rule out Prabhakaran’s death. I don’t think he was killed, more likely he took his own life. If I were to pick a day that he decided to commit suicide with his top cadres, it would be May 16.
In my last article published a month ago in THE WEEK (Crouching Tiger, May 3) on what I expected Prabhakaran’s next move to be, I had written, “He will be watching the Indian elections closely to see which dispensation takes charge in New Delhi. He will be watching to see if there is a popular upsurge of support in Tamil Nadu for the plight of Tamils across the Palk Strait. …He will be watching President Barack Obama who rightly analysed that conflicts stem from our perception of the other.”
On May 13, referring to the “desperate, humanitarian crisis” in Sri Lanka, Obama urged the Tigers to “lay down their arms” and the government to stop the “indiscriminate shelling that has taken hundreds of innocent lives”. Tiger spokespersons said they were willing to accede to Obama’s request, but the Sri Lankan government refused to slacken or halt the final onslaught to wrest the last piece of land from Prabhakaran’s grip. On May 16, the Indian election results came out and contrary to media punditry, the Congress made a resounding comeback. That spelt doom for Prabhakaran: his implacable foes will remain in power for another five years. Instead of an upsurge in Tamil Nadu, staunch LTTE supporters like Vaiko were routed. Prabhakaran has been waging this battle alone for the last three years and he knows what it has cost him—his cadres, the Tamils civilians and the diaspora. It has been truly horrific. Surviving another five years of this isolation with a hostile Congress establishment at the helm in India and an impotent international community is very hard. Getting Eelam in the near future in such hostile international circumstances is impossible.
In the past, after he was routed, Prabhakaran started all over again from scratch. That is why I had said I could envision him continuing the war. But with Congress’s victory, Tamil Nadu’s political defeat and adamancy of the Sri Lankan state to disregard even the American president, I can see why he saw the futility of continuing his struggle, deciding then to fight unto death.
In his introduction to an absolute must-read 1964 book, The World of Yesterday by Austrian author Stefan Zweig, Harry Zohn talks about the three times that Zweig had to start his life all over, caught up as he was between the two world wars. Writes Zohn: “Too exhausted to start a fourth, Zweig took his life in Brazil soon after completing his autobiography, at a time when the prospects for the realisation of all that he had ever striven for looked particularly bleak.” Zweig and Prabhakaran are complete opposites. But this, I think, sums up Prabhakaran’s mood on May 16. What lends some credence to my theory is that several members of the Tamil diaspora said they began getting calls from their LTTE contacts in Vanni, tearfully bidding farewell. That most of the top rung of the LTTE’s military wing are dead, points to mass suicide.

Rumours began circulating in the blogosphere on May 16 that Prabhakaran and 300 of his top cadres had committed mass suicide and blown themselves up. In fact, Sri Lanka’s army website posted an item at 17:51 on May 17 from the battlefront: “Self-ignited LTTE explosions [were] heard and witnessed in close vicinity. Likelihood of Tigers committing suicide en masse or burning of LTTE assets on their own has not been ruled out.” Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa announced victory and end of war. On May 17 afternoon, the LTTE, issued a statement: “This battle has reached its bitter end. We remain with one last choice—to remove the last weak excuse of the enemy for killing our people. We have decided to silence our guns.” The statement blamed the silence of the international community, the impunity with which the Sri Lankan government ignored urgent appeals, used words like “desperate” and “saddened”, referred to “bitter end” twice. And added: “Against all odds, we have held back the advancing Sinhalese forces, without help or support…. Our only regrets are for the lives lost and that we could not hold out any longer.” It reads like a suicide note.

For an even more absurd reason, I am inclined to believe that he could have committed suicide on May 17. Prabhakaran was very superstitious and once confessed to me that the number 8 is very unlucky for him—even though he is born on November 26. So he never undertook major offensives on 8th, 17th and 26th of a month. I reported that. And the Sri Lankan army took it easy on those days. But Charles Anthony, his son, couldn’t care less about superstition. Many of the operations he commanded were on 26th, precisely to surprise the army. On April 26, 2006, an LTTE suicide bomber tried in vain to assassinate Sri Lankan army commander, Sarath Fonseka, who since then became Prabhakaran’s mortal enemy. From this superstitious perspective, it is perhaps not a coincidence that the likely date of Prabhakaran’s suicide is May 17. When Prabhakaran told me about his superstition regarding numbers, I read Cheiro. According to Cheiro, people born with the birth number 8 are destined for great successes and great failures! If he has indeed committed suicide, this prediction certainly rings true for him!
On May 18 at 3 a.m. Vanni time, the LTTE political chief B. Nadesan and its peace secretariat director Puleedevan telephoned their European contacts requesting them to ask the ICRC to evacuate about 1,000 of their wounded cadres and LTTE’s civil officials. But a few hours later, the Sri Lankan defence ministry claimed they had found the dead bodies of Nadesan, Puleedevan and Anthony. The LTTE accused the Sri Lankan government of “treachery”. Their version is that their international contacts told them that arrangements had been made with the Sri Lankan military to discuss “an orderly end to the war”. So as instructed, Nadesan and Puleedevan, unarmed and carrying white flags, contacted the 58 division of the Sri Lankan troops operating nearby. But they were shot and killed. If this is true, under international conventions, this would be a war crime. The number of dead bodies shown on Sri Lankan websites indicates that this war on terror ended with a bloody massacre.

Sri Lankan army released pictures of Anthony’s corpse on May 18. Up until then, they had been releasing old pictures of a bulky Anthony in battle fatigues looking at the camera sulkily. But now two photos were released—one in which he is alive and the other his corpse. The strange thing is in both pictures he is wearing the same blue shirt. The explanation then could be that he, with Nadesan and Puleedevan, had gone dressed in civilian clothes with white flags to the 58 division. Pictures were taken, where he looks clean-shaven, relaxed and neat. And then something went wrong and a massacre followed some time later (the dead Anthony’s face has stubble). All Tiger fighters wear combat fatigues, so if he was fighting, Anthony should have been wearing battle dress. But the army’s version is that Anthony and others arrived dressed in civilian clothes on what was a suicide mission. But then that doesn’t explain the picture of Anthony alive.
Intriguingly, it took another whole day before the government released the picture of Prabhakaran’s dead body. If Prabhakaran did indeed blow himself up along with his top cadres, then there can be no body to parade. In which case, the Sri Lankan government came up with a Prabhakaran “double”. How weird is that? But the answer could be simple—the army was under pressure to show a dead body as proof. No one will believe otherwise that Prabhakaran is dead. If the Sri Lankan military has evidence that Prabhakaran did indeed blast himself, then they can be certain he will not surface to dispute their claim. On May 20, Sri Lanka’s defence ministry website carried a bizarre announcement: “We are not going to comment on how he died.”

But the story gets more curious. The LTTE is silent about Anthony, but has issued a statement that Prabhakaran is alive and safe. But few believe the LTTE, so rumours are now rife that Prabhakaran will give a television interview to prove he is alive. That will be a bombshell if it happens, suggesting he had waged an elaborate war of deception, complete with his own “double”. Any move he makes will be picked up by the Sri Lankan intelligence. But that is if he is alive. A Sinhalese blogger said: “He is alive and well—in hell.

But all these conspiracy theories can be quelled. The international community can force Sri Lanka to share the DNA tests done on Prabhakaran and Anthony and verify if they match Prabhakaran’s sisters’ who live in Canada and Europe. If they match, all speculation can be put to rest. India and the four co-chairs—the United States, Europe, Japan and Norway—should insi
st on this.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Week 20 - 21: Roger that mate!

Well, a usual Monday morning on week 20 of the year '09 in India,
  • Most normal people cribbing about Monday morning blues.
  • The media was busy with their follow-up to the nations verdict of elections 2009 which was to be on saturday of week 20
  • The Sri Lankan army busy fighting the LTTE (a fight that has been prevalent over 3 decades)
  • The sensex hovering around the 11000's
  • The Royal challenger's Bangalore (RCB) just back from their loss to Mumbai Indians in the IPL pushing them further down after a promising start to their second IPL campaign
  • Chelsea fans elated about thrashing rivals Arsenal at the Emirates :)
  • I was all set to receive my Doctorate from Harvard (Location: Rajiv's subconscious state of mind!!)
Tuesday's Twister
RCB win a humdinger against Kolkata Knight Riders(KKR) in the Indian Premier League. KKR somehow manage to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, its a Ross Taylor show.

Wellness Wednesday
My friend MJ was close to having his first day at work and I had finished receiving my doctorate and was just shaking hands with the President of India immediately after a 2 hour press conference(Location: Rajiv's subconscious state of mind)!!

RCB Thursday
RCB continues with their unexpected second victory in a row against Chennai Super Kings(CSK) in the IPL

Friday the 15th
CNN-IBN and NDTV the most watched channels and they give a over-exaggerated build up to India's 15th Lok Sabha elections. Every news channel predicts a close fight and expects UPA to have a slender lead.
The post-poll prediction of news channel reveals an unexpected loss for the the opposition party leader Selvi Jayalalitha in Tamil Nadu

Sensational Saturday
The nation gives a clear mandate for Congress and its allies the UPA. The UPA has finally borne fruit for its exceptional track record in its previous term 2004-2009. The Indian PM Dr.Manmohan Singh would now be only the second PM after Jawaharlal Nehru to do a second term in office. Rahul Gandhi's unrelenting efforts are rewarded as the UPA does an emphatic job in the state of UP. Rahul is labeled 'The Mastermind of the Congress'!
In the other side of the globe the English Premier League title has been retained by Manchester United for a 3rd straight year (sob :'( )

Simple Sunday
Most people if not all have a lazy sunday morning by making up for all lost sleep through the week and the late saturday night bash. News channels are gaga about the election 2009 results. CNN-IBN boasts of being the best to predict the outcome of the elections.
The famous ex-railways minister accepts his mistake of ditching the Congress just 1week before the elections and sees that as the primary reason for his poor show in the Elections

Golden Monday
The Indian Stock Market creates history. For the first time the sensex hits the circuit breaker twice and trading is stopped for the rest of the day. The first circuit was hit when it increased by 10% in just 60seconds and the second circuit breaker was hit when it touched 20% in a mere 15seconds. Traders elated and the Sensex closed at 14272 with a 2110 point gain over its opening price
Another shock as the KKR beats CSK by mistake as many would call it in the IPL. Its is their 2nd victory in 13 games! :)

Tuesdays are always twisted
Sensex starts to stabilize. PM having resigned along with the resignation of his previous cabinet is busy deciding portfolios. Speculation has its say on whose going to be a minister in the Cabinet.
In a country not so far away, one of India's troubled neighbour's Sri Lanka declares that the LTTE Chief Vellupillai Prabhakaran is dead and releases photographs of the same. The Sri Lankan president has annouced that the war against terror is over and rehabilitation process would start soon. But the evening has its own twist as there seems to be a lot of inconsistencies on the news about Prabhakaran's death. There are two different versions of his death from the President and the Army chief, the LTTE chief's ID card is recovered from a combat site(highly improbable) and the DNA reports are ready in a mere 12hours!

Now guess that's quite an eventful transition!! Phew!!
What's in for the rest of week 21? Only patience can tell.
But with such an eventful back-drop be sure to expect something that would take your breath away!!!
Cheerz and happy week people!! :)

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Its "Nano-ing" from the house of the TATA's!



First a successful launch of the Tata Nano - "The world's cheapest car", which helped Tata's raise about 25billion rupees ($500million) with over 2.03lakh bookings even before the car's release.

And now its time for 'Shubh Griha'.. Wondering what that means?
Well, it is the name of Tata's next project. It is again targeted at that segment of the Indian population that has for long been ignored. Tata's are now building Nano Housing in a place called Boisar in Mumbai.

These houses would be priced between Rs 3.9 lakh-Rs 6.7 lakh. It would have three variants:
  • A one-bed room flat with a hall and kitchen in an area of 465 square feet
  • A one-room flat with a large kitchen in an area of 360 square feet
  • A one-room flat with a small kitchen in an area of 283 square feet
TATA Housing has tied up with State Bank of India (SBI) and HDFC to help buyers with finance options. Application forms will be available at SBI branches across Mumbai at a cost of Rs.200 and booking should be made in next 20-days along with the initial booking amount of Rs 10,000 through bank pay order at selected branches of SBI across mumbai

Again it is evident that TATA has always aimed at catering to the common man. So guess this is something for the general Indian public to cheer about amongst all this pointless election hungama...
Kudos to The Visionary himself 'Mr. Ratan Naval Tata"!!!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

When I spoke to the whole of Namma Bengaluru...

Rajiv S Perumal
About a couple of weeks(21st April 2009) ago I got a chance to write an article on Elections 2009 in India which was published in India's leading newspaper 'The Times of India'. Just wanted to share the article which gave me my one day to fame. :)

The e factor of Elections '09


Just when you thought you’ve had enough of banners, flags, pamphlets and the like, here comes another blow for all netizens who thrive on the Internet and cringe at the mere mention of politics. I’m hinting at the various social media advertising initiatives, which one has been forced to endure, with the coming of Election 2009.

There are user profiles made on networking sites like Orkut, Facebook and Twitter by numerous politicians which are updated on a regular basis. Not to mention the BJP ads featuring in Orkut. That’s not where it ends, we also have text messages pushed to mobile phones throughout the country. To add to it, tech-savvy states such as Karnataka, Maharashtra & Goa have people receiving auto-dialler calls. If you thought this is an invasion of privacy, then I wonder how you would react to Bluetooth downloads sent to over millions of people every day, in strategically chosen areas, that have high footfalls.

S.Niranjan Kumar, an engineering student from Bangalore says, “I hate the fact that whenever I open my Orkut homepage, which is customized to suit my needs, I see a banner ad canvassing a party below my friend list.”

Priyanka Shetty, a techie from Bangalore says, “I don’t see how social media advertising helps, because I surely wouldn’t consider changing my vote after reading ads online. Besides, I’m sure this would be the view of any educated netizen”

In contrast, there exist companies like BuzzGain which have been involved intracking traffic and monitoring webpages, who point out that ‘Advani’s website has about 25,000 hits per day and Rahul Gandhi and P Chidambaram are among the most frequently mentioned names in various blogs’. Youngsters are under the notion that election campaigning this year has an online arm to it.

With the number of internet users being only a small percentage of the Indian population, I don’t subscribe to the opinion that social media advertising will have a telling effect on the upcoming elections. Yet, the million-dollar question still remains, “Will this response to online advertising have an impact on the voting pattern?” Only time will tell!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

"Shoe-cide attack"

Well guess you people would have already seen it and spoken about it - I am talking about the 'Great Indian Shoe Trick' ;) or you can call it 'shoe-cide attack' as my title goes! In fact I was one of the thousands watching the live telecast of the Home Minister's speech when this incident happened.

Incident: The Indian Home Minister P. Chidambadam was delivering the Congress's promise of effective handling of terrorism if they win the elections. Immediately after this addressing there was the Q&A session, and this is when the shameful act took place. A journalist named Jarnail Singh staged a protest regarding the 'Jagadish Tytler issue' and about the CBI giving him a clean chit. To this the home minister replied back that this was not a political forum to raise such issues, and Jarnail singh in an emotional outburst hurled his shoe at the home minister! The reply from the home minister was commendable in the fact that he didn't get aggitated rather he calmly asked the security to escort Jarnail Singh out of the conference gently!

Well all said and done, there are many questions that come to a common man's mind:
  • Was Jarnail Singh in that conference only to raise the issue of jagadish tytler?
  • Was this a plot to spoil the decorum of the Congress's press meeting?
Repercursion:
  • Jarnail Singh was immediately taken to prison but released a short while later. He then expressed his regret to what he had done. He even said that being a journalist it was not right on his part to behave that way, and that the mode of protest was wrong but he still requests the issue of the 1984 riots not be politicised.
  • There was news about Akali Dal deciding to felicitate Jarnail Singh with money for this act of his.
  • The media made a nice issue out of it by showing the video a hundred times throughout the day and started raising their own questions on whether this act would affect the voting pattern and whether Jarnail Singh shoed away the congress in this election.
On the lighter side, A Comparison between the Chidambaram shoe-attack and Bush shoe-attack
  • Journalist involved in both cases
  • The Bush attack was done with a formal leather shoe, whereas the Chidambaram attack was done with a jogger
  • The Bush-attacker was sentenced to 3 years in jail whereas the Chidamabaram-attacker was released in less thatn 3 hours!
  • Bush responded with humour whereas Chidamabaram responded calmly!


Friday, April 3, 2009

Your new 11-digit cellphone number is _______!


Guess its time for Indians to start sharpening their memory coz from Jan 2010 Indian's are going to have 11-digit cellphone numbers. Its official and DoT have also confirmed that all the 10-digit numbers would exhaust by August this year.
Think about it, the different numbers possible in 10digits are 10^10 = 10billion different combinations of cellphone numbers. Which is more than 10times the Indian population(theoretically speaking it means every Indian already has 10different numbers.. lol.. :P) !!! But even that is not enough to cater to the Indian communication needs, thereby needing an extra digit from Jan 2010.
A little bit of mathematics here using simple combinations would tell you that the total number of extra numbers as a result of adding that 1 extra digit is 15937424601 (thats a little over 15billion different new numbers)!!! Phew...
Guess its goina be pretty long before we talk about 12digits...!! :)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Is Election 2009 any different?

Many of you would surely wonder that every election has these controversies and issues, so whats special about elections '09? Well people this is not a time to stereotype the elections coz there are quiet a few changes from all the previous elections:
  • TV ads by both the Congress & BJP in popular TV channels such as Mtv, Star Network etc to reach to a greater audience
  • Ads on social networking sites, such as Orkut!
  • Parties launching websites to reach the Indian Netizen Segment. Seems like Web Advertising firms are cashing-in big time during these elections
  • Initiative taken by Jagore.com launched by the TATA Group and Janaagraha to ensure that there is a increase in the number of people who exercise their right to vote. Their vision is to have all the 1billion voters in India exercise their right to vote
  • All news channels making innovative ads and slogans to ensure that the people prefer them to get regular news updates. As of now CNN-IBN seems to be doing the best among the lot, with its Ad that shows how CNN-IBN has been the first to bring all previous controversies to light and that it would continue doing so during Elections '09 with its positioning 'Elections 2009=CNN IBN'
Well i'm sure there are more surprises in store both with respect to the elections and the other factors associated to the elections... Before I sign off this post, just thought of reminding all my readers to make sure that all of you people exercise your VOTING right! Happy electing! :)

Elections 2009 Update - March Madness!


Well the last month (March '09) has been an eventful one when you talk about Elections '09! It has had its rightful share of controversies, issues etc etc. So here's a quick recap for those of you who've missed it:
  • L K Advani the prime ministerial candidate for the BJP and NDA, launches his website. Well you enter the website and you have an mp3 file which has Advani addressing the so -called netizens of the country himself
  • Congress and the UPA looks like its loosing its alliances(PMK from Tamil Nadu, Lalu Prasad Yadav & Ram Vilas Paswan deciding to pitch in for each other in their respective states) as the elections come closer, but they still seem confident that these are just baseless rumors and that post-election it would have many more alliances. Well with the comendable efforts taken by the Congress during its 5-year tenure from handling terrorist attacks to making the railways a profitable PSU to waving-off a Rs. 60,000 crore loan of farmers to even running the country effectively during Global Recession, Congress's confidence seems justified.
  • Varun Gandhi comes into the spotlight with what many call a publicity stunt by giving his hatred speech in UP, in which he proclaimed to be the so-called saviour of the Hindus and an anti-muslim!
  • Election Commission(EC) of India issues a warning to BJP to defer fielding Varun Gandhi as its candidate from UP. Later Varun Gandhi is jailed for potential threat to communal harmony
  • Then it was time for sports to play its part with the Elections. The Indian Premier League(IPL), which was supposed to by played from the 14th April 2009 onwards, doesn't get clearance from the Home Minister P. Chidambaram: This was owing to the various state government's refusal to be able to provide security during the month of April owing to elections. The IPL schedule was changed twice before the IPL Board decided to shift the IPL this year to South Africa. Opposition party BJP hits on Congress, proclaiming that this would send wrong signals to the world. But with all the terror threats and the recent attack on the Sri Lankan cricket players in Pakistan, it seemed a very sensible but a difficult decision by the Home Minister.
  • Meanwhile, actor Sanjay Dutt is named as the Samajwadi Party's(SP) candidate at Uttar Pradesh(UP). But sadly for him just a day after naming him as their candidate the Supreme Court(SC) refused to stay his conviction(for possesion of Arms during the 1993 Mumbai blasts). Hence he is not allowed to contest for the seat of a MP from UP. But surprisingly both the major parties(Congress & BJP) felt that the decision by the SC is just
  • When one thought that March has finished having its share of issues for Elections '09, on the last day of March a group Supari killers (said to have connections with Chotta Shakeel) are arrested in Bangalore. The Intelligence Bureau(IB) then say that this group of killers (called the D-gang) had intentions of killing Varun Gandhi and Pramod Mutalik. Now if this is a real threat or just another publicity stunt to divert media attention from Varun Gandhi's hatred speech is for us to wait and watch
On the whole elections '09 has already had its share issues. But it surely has a lot more to come as we have only seen the Tip of the Ice-berg. :)
But everything said and done, one thing I am sure off is that all the parties contesting this year would surely have a good amount of their manifesto dedicated to providing 'Better Internal Security'. In fact, its going to be the key proposition by all the parties in Elections '09!!!