Wednesday, December 17, 2008

WTF of the Day

The shoe throw incident resounds on the net. Check this out! Wacko Game!!

The Shiv Sena guys have crawled out of the woodwork and are doing this!
Ah, enough, laugh along at the WTFs of the world today!!!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Downturn..What and Why?

What is a Business Downturn?

I could not find an answer to this anywhere on the net. At least not satisfactorily common man answers. There is a lot of economic mumbo jumbo being spat out that makes no difference to my idiotic mind. So, what is it and why has it supposedly made people very wary of doing anything positive and visionary at work?

Also, what was a continuous super boom even six months turned into an almighty doom now.

Sampath Nayak is a small farmer in the district of Sambalpur, Orissa. His brother is a cab driver in Mumbai. I asked him about the state of affairs back in Sambalpur. He had this three liner, “The same thing, like before, no electricity, no water, bad seeds and no rains. One Crop and just enough to fill our stomachs once a day. I don’t know whether that is bad or good!”
I have heard about other states and a similar story of gloom through the last few years. So, they are our have nots who have not got any proceeds of the supposed boom.
So, who have benefitted? If we whittle down our country population to 100 and do a simple study, we shall find that the boom will have affected not more than 7 people from among this 100. I may be wrong in my calculations. But this is what the Human Development Index 2007 says.

So, it is gloom and doom for 7 people. Fine. But, these seven now control the loudspeakers of this country. So, if they are shouting doom, then so be it.
The benefits of the boom were never passed on by the companies, real estate barons and Investment banks that made their dough in the near past. It is they who have hit upon tough times. As the hoard turned bad. So, I have another term. Greed. Very known but seldom used.

So, we happily followed the dictum of some guy from a movie out of Hollywood - Greed is Good!

Great, all is fine but now the shit has hit the fan. The guy from that movie is not making a sequel and telling us about what Greed now is. USA is grappling with the aftermath of the mortgage crisis. They have a sound Federal system with its checks and balances. They also have a sound education system that will ensure the learnings from this shall not be forgotten in a hurry. They will make do. What about us?

The downturn in my eyes is:
1. The relearning process. What is right and what was wrong.
2. The required understanding of how a company should make money.
3. The strengthening of Fundamentals. The requirement of any business. Get your facts right.
4. The concentration on Processes and Knowledge development rather than adhocism.
5. The basic understanding that money is not so easily made. It needs diligence.
6. Have to do hard work!

It is not actually a downturn but nature’s way of telling us to be more inclusive in our growth as an economy. Money in fewer hands has to make way for money in more hands. If this fundamental is taken care of, a jitter in NASDAC will not shake somebody’s arse in Raipur. Not that it has even now. Our media just don’t know the business reality of our own country based as they are the two leading cities and rarely if ever travelling to the hinterland except for elections and natural calamities.

So, I believe that is a nice warning bell for predating companies to introspect and understand the nature of country, train its people to work hard and expect suitable results only.

The real alarm is elsewhere. We are deficient of very basic economy and growth differentiators:
1. Our Education is headed southward in Quality. Research and Development is at an all time low. The cities are mass producing engineers and MBAs who have no specialities and Innovation capacity. The hinterland while producing graduates are unable to get them to go up the L&D ladder. So, talent and its usage are still abysmal and what is progress without the Human Resources!
2. Job and wealth creation is a complete sham. Ask an average citizen and he has no clue how to get things going to achieve all this. The inherent idea of all inclusive progress is absent. So, it is herd mentality that prevails. Let’s take IT as a case study. In the mid 90s, just as US realised that there were a lot of jobs at one end of the food chain in the IT industry that could be farmed out to other countries to save costs, we grabbed the chances and progressed as an IT service nation. The turn of the century saw ITES also take the same route. Media went bonkers with the scene and India became the back office of the world. Some companies understood that the basic work would not last them for years and went on to create more products and services that probably would last the test of time. But others, who were simply looking for the buck, are in deep shit now. Even if no one says anything, the writing is pretty much on the wall. No new products, no R&D, no killer apps, no developments from university labs and most importantly, no hunger or appetite for Innovation or invention. So, what wealth creation are we talking about for the man on the street. Only the share market fellas and a few Investment guys doing trade in Land bought their Pajeros and Villas!
3. Bureaucracy does not permit Risk taking and Entrepreneurship as yet. First, the guy is basically risk averse because of the voodoo surrounding business in most communities except select ones and then the government does not promote or support it. Even if they do, conservatism by banks, institutions or peer groups overturns all the enthusiasm into cold sweat very early enough. Numerous guys with stars in their eyes early in life decide to settle for the quiet little job. Roam the countryside and you will find scores of youngsters wanting to set up that pharma lab, small savings company, PVC plant or restaurant settle for a job and lose it forever.
4. The mass at large have no direction. Bad schools that tell you nothing about ideals and ambitions. Colleges where you just go to pass an exam. Teachers who are largely failures themselves. Parents who just don’t have any clue. TV that tells you nothing positive. News that is depressive. Factories that have no excellence. Mentors who don’t impart wisdom. Managers who are busy saving their jobs. Loose tongues, Loose morals, Indiscipline and Impatience have largely fucked the country beyond redemption. Oh and Yes, the politicians and thought leaders are clueless. The bureaucracy is still in the British era. What a state of affairs!

This is the biggest downturn. In the garb of garbled progress we have unitedly pulled down all institutions of the country. So much so, 10 bloody terrorists just wangle their way into our land, rape us and the media beams our abject state to the whole world. What a downturn!!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

0312.I shall remember.

The shouts. The cries. Vande Mataram! I trained my eyes onto an oncoming group of people. Dressed in chaste white Shalvar Kameezes, donning white skull caps, flowing beards, they were devout Muslims. Then I noticed the placards. “Pakistan is a Terrorist State”. Indian Flags aloft. The Group was highly animated. Pretty Large number by any standards. Raza Academy, the people behind this organised walk. They brushed past. Then, the clapping started. Thunderous! All around me were people who stopped what they were doing and applauded this segment of our community for doing what they did. It was then I realised the strength of my country. India.
Let me rewind. Blogs, SMSes. Facebook. Orkut. Everywhere was this call for being there at the Taj on 03.12.08 to send out a message to the entire country, the administration and the Politicians that we were to be no longer taken for granted. Non Cooperation was the word that Suparn, my organiser coined. As the day dawned, I had other pressing matters of the office to take care of. As if in sign of honour of the day, BEST got rid of the electricity in our office building at 8.45 am as I reported for work at my office. I lingered for a while at the chai shop while BEST put things right. The talk was about mundane things in office when someone piped up that he would be going for the march in the evening. Now, I am not really forthcoming about my other life with my office mates. So, I mumbled about me going there too.
Evening 6 pm. I hurried to finish my work at office. Left at 6.10 pm. My driver was smart enough to get to Churchgate by 6.40 pm but after that it was snail pace. I could see the sea of people all over, in “I love Mumbai” T shirts, with placards, flags and other assortments of democratic indignation spilled all over right upto Metro, that old and venerable movie hall. I did not fume. Let the driver be. He instinctively got everything right too. We turned in front of the Mumbai Police Headquarters. I told him that he needed to drop me there and proceed to any parking space that he could get. I would walk it from Regal. Ha! Little did I know that it was the only decision that could be taken under the circumstances.
Manjeet, my friend from PFC had already called and was waiting somewhere near the Ferry place along with our other mates. So, my mission was to get there first. But, what was this. ‘Sea of people’ was an understatement. People on the road. People on Traffic Podiums. People on the dividers. People on cars. Even people on the shoulders of other people. The Tricolour had been freely bandied about. There were scores of them. Banners were there in all shapes and sizes. The grim ones, the smiley ones, the naughty ones, the solemn messages, the concise ones and the silly ones too! Politicians. Pakistan. Parties. Media. CM Deshmukh. Raj Thackeray. RGV. Achutanandan. Naqvi. RR Patil. They were all lampooned.
Then the Cries. Vande Mataram was a crowd favourite. Jai Hind rang out all the while. Then the made up ones. Poor Pakistan bore the brunt. “Jab tak Sooraj Chand Rahega” was another favourite. Scores of youngsters in Tees. I had never seen such an emotional outpouring ever in my life. Absolutely never. There was no breast beating, mind you. Just a response. A huge response to a call given by fellow citizens about the state of our country. There were people from Colleges, from surrounding offices, from the far suburbs, all classes of the society, all religions and all age groups. I saw young kids in shorts doing “Jai Hind”, saw perfectly sane housewives from South Mumbai shouting “Down Down Pakistan” and a very old couple with the lady holding aloft the National Flag proudly and walking erect beside her husband of many years leading a bunch of very boisterous youngsters to an amazing effect. I took my time soaking in this unique and historic happening. I plodded along amidst this amazing humanity. I shouted too. I laughed at some ridiculous slogans too. The occasion was sombre but the people weren’t. The glint in the eye was combative, resilient and intelligent. Nobody was there to make merry. Not one soul did misunderstand the occasion. But they made it their own. It was so freeing, so life giving!
I reached Gateway of India. Manjeet, Raja and Suparn were there with their group. We talked about some normal stuff. Actually, I did not have much to talk. I was overwhelmed. Totally taken in by the sense of occasion. I am not Harsha Bhogle who can reel out a measured take on any occasion leave alone Cricket. I was not Alyque Padamsee or Mahesh Bhatt who could have given a philosophical edge to whatever was happening, anywhere. I just stared and stared. Trying to make a sense of where this could go. Shortly, we were joined by Kartick and Ashish. Kartick told me that he was witnessing history here and then would again be witnessing history back in US in a few days again with the Obama induction. Yes, he was absolutely right. This is history. In the making. And I just hope I can be some part of it!
Lastly, as we were coming back, we could see a large group of people standing still in the middle of all the melee. Went closer. “Jana Gana Mana” was on. I also belted out the last lines as I joined them. A sense of relief swept over me. This is my dear country. India. Redux.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

So, no Age of Shiva!!

The criminal that is man,
Never blames himself at all,
Others pay for what he does,
Pray for what he destroys.

Is it the Age of Shiva?

Investment Bankers ruled us,
then fell like a pack of cards,
So all spoke of Global meltdown,
and the Bankers partied!

Is it the age of Shiva?

Is it a Cascade effect?
Is the market telling us to stop,
If so, then my milkman does not know,
As he still asks and gets his dough.

Is it really the age of Shiva?

My Ma feeds me an Orange juice,
her beta must keep well,
for there is a lot of work at hand,
and he better have a healthy look!

Is there an age of Shiva?

What goes must come back,
The Laws of motion, they say,
do your best, Gita espouses,
Is Life all that difficult?

And so will there ever be an age of Shiva?

Hold on, easy, as Jeeves says,
Paste a smile on your face,
and work like hell,
For nothing comes easy.

Maybe that Shiva bit...

But will actually come,
Happiness that eludes now,
As rationality would prevail,
Making the world a better place!

So, no Age of Shiva!!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Madhumati - a tale of two generations! (posted in PFC too)

“suhana safar aur ye mausam haseen..hamein dar hain hum kho na jaaye kahin”
There is a Magnet Hypermarket in Mahim near the station on the western side where I buy some of my stuff. Today was another good day to stop by and buy some stuff that one continually needs. Beside it, in a hole in the wall space a “paan bidi ka dukaan” is there with an ever attentive bhaiya in place. I was needing my next pack of Marlboro Lights and that seemed as good a place as any other. A hidden Tape or CD player (I really don’t know which one) threw up this tune...
...and pulled me back into so many memories, so much so that at 1.45 am I sit down to share some of those memories with all of you.
My brother was just about a year old and it was this Sunday when Baba and Ma decided to go to our nearest town Ooty or Ootacamund then and Udhagamandalam now (really don’t know who speaks of it with that name!!). This was a weekly ritual and we always alternated between Coonoor and Ooty. Coonoor, if it was a short trip – the market, tiffin or lunch in Ramchandra’s , a stroll through the main road, Baba’s stop at a book shop near the bus stand and then back. Ooty was another thing altogether. The market was mandatory but there was this nice half a day at Botanical Gardens or Ooty Lake, Lunch at various places – dosas, sandwiches, Tandoori stuff (yes, they were available even then back in the mid seventies), cakes and other nice stuff that a seven year old usually craves for. But, the highlight for my parents was a movie. There was this quaint hall called National back then, don’t know if it is still there, and that is where Baba gravitated once he knew about the name of the movie that had arrived there. Obviously, readers shall understand that this was the only movie hall that used to screen a few English and a smattering of Hindi movies. Why smattering...because those were the Anti – Hindi post Kamaraj days of Tamil Nadu...and a Hindi sentence usually met a retort like “Yenna da..yenne peserei nee!!”
That Sunday was one of those rare Hindi days and the movie was “Madhumati”. I am not going to harp on the movie here. I know most of you admire it for what it is or has come to represent over the years. But, I cannot begin to tell you about the happiness on the face of my father after he manages to buy those three tickets from the ticket window. He educates Ma about all the erudite people behind the film. Bimal Roy, Ritwik Ghatak, Salil Choudhury, Shailendra, Dilip Kumar, Vyjantimala, “Sar jo tera chakraye” Johnny Walker,Pran, Hrishida and a host of others that I did not even begin to comprehend then. (Actually, I would not have remembered even this so vividly but for his narration of this same episode years later when both of us sat in another dark theatre in Chandrapur and saw that smash called “Golmaal” by Hrishida.) There is some time to go for the film to start. Ma feeds my brother so as to keep him quiet for the next couple of golden hours. Baba is fidgety. I have acquired a strange affinity for the Box office window through which some people were getting their tickets.
The bell rings. We queue up to get into the hall. Well, there are not too many people and so we are able to claim our seats in a jiffy. The Fims Division documentary about 20 point programme, an Emergency thing, is duly shown. I think that was obligatory back then. All halls showed practically the same documentaries. As the FD film was finishing, Baba asks us to keep quiet and watch the movie with considerable interest. For a shifty seven year old, that is a tall order.
The magic starts. For me, the songs, the background score, the supernatural thing, the Bicchua dance, Madhumati being killed by Pran and the “that Aaja Re strain” when Madhumati reincarnates and Dilip Kumar is trying to find her, all hold me in complete thrall. The film is over. I have many questions. Baba is not very enthusiastic answering any of them. Ma tries to do some justice but with another crying infant in her arms, she also is not able to satisfy my curiosity. The thirst remains!
Some years later, Baba has become the Durga Puja Cultural secretary (that is a very honourable position for any culture loving Bong) and he has to arrange for entertainment for four days at the Puja premises near the Factory. I have no clue what he did in between but this is how the Entertainment programme card reads:
MAHASHASHTI – Film: Jana Aranya (Dir: Satyajit Ray)
MAHASAPTAMI – Film : Kaapurush/Mahapurush (Dir: Satyajit Ray)
MAHAASHTAMI – Theatre : Sajano Bagan (Wr: Manoj Mitra, Dir: A.K.Majumdar)
MAHANAVAMI – Film: Madhumati (Dir: Bimal Roy)
Does not that card speak of the pride of a film loving Bengali with all the enthusiasm of filterless Panama cigarettes, broad white pyjamas and half kurta or fatuas as they are known?!
Also notice how cleverly the cultural secretary has inserted his own directorial virtues among two of the best India has produced – ever! RAY – MAJUMDAR – ROY!!
Not that he did any badly, my first interaction with shades of night and day on the same stage was through this play – Sajano Bagan. It got converted into a movie later called “Bancharamer Bagan” in Bengali and it was also made in Hindi in the eighties.
But Madhumati comes, plays to full house and in 1977, 19 years after the movie was first released receives a rapturous ovation from the entire canvassed theatre in their Navami finery. Mind you, there are Army generals, colonels, staff, Cordite Factory officers, workers and even some manual workers in the audience. The power of great cinema!
The more relatable outcome, Baba is mobbed by his seniors who drawl, Majumdar Saheb, aaj to kamal kar diya, haan, very good, Congratulations, and all that. Whoa! That was Bimal Roy who did the magic and not Mr. Majumdar. But who cares, it is the Power of great Cinema!
Baba bounced in that reflected glory for many weeks after that.
He is no longer there. I miss his enthusiasm for good cinema. But, the CDs are there and his enthusiasm has crept into the next gen ever so nicely. Only, can somebody do another movie like Madhumati ever again?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Broadcast Media - goons????

Lots of things happening in India and all over the globe. The media is doing its job and reporting it faithfully. I armed myself with the nearest available remote and did a quick scan as one might put it. Here are some samples:

NDTV - We are good all other channels are bad..karatkaratkaratkaratkarat
INDIATV - Bhoot...Raju Srivastav..Arushiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii
Headlines Today - Biker gang in Delhi, Rape in Noida, Bluelines accident again...
Star News - Arushiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii
Aajtak - Black Magic..Arushi..Dhoni's female bodyguards..Live telecast of Katrina's birthday

Why are we subjected to all this?
Because TRPs govern these pathetic channels. Because they are businesses too and at the end of the day have to defend themselves in a boardroom. Because there is a growing audience for such crap!!!
Who decides this crap? Us or some private eye who goes around snooping into people's living rooms!!
I am befuddled and am sure many others are too...

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Sixty Days Up!

Yes..I have finished sixty days in my new organization..all very nice and rosy even now..I have my fingers should be like this all the way..I love my assignment..that's saying a I was this cynical Bong all my life..measuring what is at the other end of the rainbow all the while.

Major pluses till now -

1. A veritable parade of talent at work everyday. Whoa! never seen such brilliant people in one collection before this. Sometimes, I just have to shut my trap and listen to them speak, interact or think aloud!!(tough, that for a true blue Bong!!)
2. Lots of good work to do. I itch to get to office everyday..hope this goes on and many decisions to make..process contributions to make or even be in steering sessions that shape up developments as they happen..Man, it reminds me of my cheffing days when a Biryani or a kebab used to get creatively done through painstaking mis en place!
3. Finance, a subject I had blissfully ignored during Operations, is my area of work and I am having to hear my brains creaking into place even to understand basic things..hopefully, It shall get better as I plod along??!!
4. My belief, that no plot of land is bad and no location is great or awful is now being strengthened. I am working with two not so great locations knowing fully well that what I shall put into them shall make the location a "Great Destination"!

This is one Big Opportunity and I am humbled by what I see everyday! India's largest REIT..That's cool!!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

No Panic Stations yet!

My blog has been left untended for the last 25 days or so. Ah, not an excuse but I had actually been busy doing the shift from Pune to Mumbai and the shift in paradigm, from my old job as a Business Head of an Entertainment company to a new job that looks at Urban Developments, an amalgamation of Retail, Entertainment and Leisure!
Well, the shift is complete and I have steadily settled down to my usual play all round the wicket, as they say! Land acquisition to Pioneering Developments, have to do all in between and more. That brings me to an important question. Is India ready for such galactic progress in Urban zones?

Why I ask so?
1. Our Urban zones are still populated by the very poor and the very rich. The middle class is..well..still in the middle, I do not yet find them hugely aspirational or risk taking. In fact, they have been pretty sceptical of the progress even while they surreptiously take part in it. Some sectors have done well, need based but I'll give that - Telecom, Infra, White goods, FMCG, Media, etc. As the middle class is, wants to wear good clothes, put on decent fashions, eat the right stuff, carry the right phone, see the right channels, save well and use money judiciously, we have seen the Business boom in those sectors who cater to such basic needs. But, Lifestyle and Entertainment still rank pretty low and Our BIG Developm ents may have to stretch limbs to catch this middle class without which we are actually done for!
2. Urban roads and Transport are a concern and very few cities are able to address that very correctly. Our developments may depend on them for succor.
3. People to service these Lifestyle Developments - where do we find them? These sectors are still considered as non serious sectors in the minds of Parents, Teachers and the youth themselves. So, quality people are not to be found in a hurry. So, I have to confront a YSL seller who cannot pronounce the "Yves St. Laurent" correctly. How is it gonna sell?
4. Paucity of Thought Leaders in Retail and Realty sectors - So, we have the same Anchor Stores, Multiplex and Vanilla shops peeking at us from various nooks of the same city!!

These are Destinations and have to be propelled as Tourism ventures with the potent mix of Fun, Film, Food, Fashion and Finesse. Customers, who when coming in have to be looped in with enticing and compelling "Stay" reasons.

But, glad that we are all starting to give primacy to that customer. A day shall come when we shall have the Password to his heart and mind too!

The Sensex is down. Liquidity has been sucked out of the market. Funders are pretty much wary of putting their money where their mouth is. Land prices are showing no signs of touching Mother Earth. This is not a pretty picture. But, no Panic Stations yet, we live in hope and make the best of what we have now!!

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Mithya - Art of a thriller!!

Mithya starts off as benignly as good pulp thrillers generally do - doing a nice sketch of the protagonist, replete with his small dreams, manipulations and limitations. But boss, what transpires after that is what I have not seen before on Indian screens as yet. The film goes beyond the pages of a racy thriller and puts in a poignant story of a manipulated human being.

I cannot tell you the story, not any more than what all other reviews are telling or summaries on various websites. That would be too hard on people. Good cinema lovers shall do well to troop to the nearest movie hall and see the film. I have enjoyed it and have resolved to open a McD bottle (alongwith that free glass as in the movie, now where is that going to be on offer - Krishna wines??) and then discuss the movie in all its glory with friends, movie lovers and the likes!

Suffice to say, character sketches have never come so razor sharp in the near past. Ranvir Sheroy has so many shades to his character that he is something of a mystery somewhere in the second half, and this when he has a very commoner feel when the movie starts. I have found another good actor called Brijendra Kala, or so the credits say, playing a henchman's role. Gosh, one cannot take an eye off this guy when he is on view!

Some fabulous oneliners populate the movie. It must be, Sourabh Shukla is there as a writer here and going great guns as always. Some onliners shall go on to be very popular too. But, "Samundar mein nahake aur bhi namkeen ho gayi ho!!" takes the cake for its inventiveness!

I found that while the humour is there all through, I felt sad for the protagonist. That is where this story crackles. The poignancy never leaves you right through just as troubles never seem to leave Ranvir. This is a nice story in itself without any gimmicks.

I also liked the fact that it did not delve too much into the character sketches of the supporting cast and concentrated on the lead character's plight all through. The support cast was almighty and performances are galore. The pitch of each of the support cast was perfect including 1 minute cameos of Honey Irani, Suhasini Mulay and the likes! Of course, do I even need to mention the competence of Vinay Pathak, Saurabh Shukla, Harsh Chaya and some others!!

Naseer acts as a Bhai here. I was a little disappointed with his character. He could have been much more. A wee bit lazy, I felt..or may be that's just the way the director visioned the role. Neha Dhupia wants to do good films but needs to be more expressive to do well in such movies. The director, of course, has cast her as a dumb belle here.

That brings me to Rajat Kapoor's work. As a director, this is his third attempt and very different from his other movies. He has adorned his frames with a lot of dark shades suitably colouring his characters to tell a poignant story of lies and deceit. He then employs the technique of moving the story ahead with conversation, clever twists and a mood that towers over his scenes. This mood is solemn with humour rounding off the rough edges of every scene.

He concieves a lot of scenes from the POV of Ranvir, the Bhais and the women. This gives a wholesome round look to most scenes. Impeccable are many scenes, but some notably more so -

1. The photography scene of VK by the henchmen.

2. The Chai scene between Ranvir and Irawati (very well concieved character, hers)

3. The Punju scene at Honey Irani's place.

4. The first boat scene.

5. The classic asking for breakfast and lunch scene by VK.

6. VK's bathroom scene as Raje bhai.

The Editing merits a mention and so does the Camerawork. They create the moody scenes with a flourish. Plenty on view here in terms of craft. I was not enamoured by the songs. The background score is not harsh, a ploy in many thrillers these days!!

Mithya has a lot of cinematic substance. People may find it slow or not enough masala type. But go see it. ( Sorry, I will do a star exercise here)

Monday, January 14, 2008

Nandigram - The Root Cause

I hail from Medinipur, the very district that has a town called Nandigram within, in West Bengal. I am surprised that the nation, its intellectuals, bureaucracy and law makers shuddered at what happened in Nandigram. To me, Nandigram has been happening for the past three decades very overtly and smugly, aided and abetted by the chosen few of the ruling Left Front.

I shall present here a few truths that govern people of rural Bengal forever:

1. Land is still with a few and the others can till that land for money on daily or result basis. They are known as “Borgadaars”. This is a corrupt system and is malleable by the local CPM honcho.
2. All transactions are governed by the party and not by BDOs or Gram Panchayats. Other party or Govt. Machinery orders are ignored. People also adhere to the Party dictates because they are persecuted otherwise.
3. Party writs are final and anybody opposing have a “Life” problem.
4. Elections are rigged and steered. All know it and even if somebody opposes, he is hounded out of his abode into the jungles or out of that area itself. He cannot return to that area, no matter what happens!
5. Party controls all. SFI controls students. WBTA controls teachers. They supply posting lists and new recruitment lists. The Industry is controlled by CITU, the ghost behind Bengal’s Industrial downfall. At one time, they even governed officer postings!!
6. Party controls land. Party bids and party makes the contractual decisions. In Nandigram, party bosses and a few others have already made crores on Kickbacks and that is why they face such a dismal scenario.
7. Party controls all contractual work in the state. This is a big thorn as there are people who do want to make a decent living without bribes and they have to exit the state.

Bengal is now at a very crucial juncture as a polity or a society. After Nandigram, people have realized that all that the Party does even for its cadres is not good or right! This realization has made these people look upto the Naxalites, The Trinamool Congress (a rowdy community, If I may say here) and assorted disgruntled factions of other Left Front entities. They are not a solution. In the meanwhile, the social structures have gone from bad to worse. A raped woman told a friend of mine, “Whom do we go to and what good will happen…things like this shall keep on happening!”

People there do not know who Salim is or what “a chemical hub” is. They are scared as all they know is their land and that is being taken away. Actually, most of them are CPI-M fellas themselves!!

Development is needed. We know that. But where is the machinery that includes people in the decision making process???

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Good 2007..

Mmm..Yes..2007 was an eventful year!

Many things got done and many more got into pipeline as promises for an even more eventful 2008..

2007 began with my daughter Antara and Ma coming down from Kolkata to live with me here in Pune. Yes, it was back to home cooked food again!

MA, at work helped get over the first few quesy months nicely. VT, lended me an associated interest in Brands. This interest, I cultivated actively and have emerged stronger in Marketing at the end of the year!

I got new acquaintances in SA, JD and JZ. JZ turned out to be a childhood friend from Chandrapur. Working with him has turned out to be a pleasure.

The redoubtable K arrived from Kolkata in April. I had made a friend in SP who helped me get K placed in a good Realty firm here in Pune. It turned out to be smooth sailing for her.

Sales had perked up in the summer and promised so much more at WF.

The rains disappointed me in many ways. In terms of Co. Sales and in personal terms.

WE took a short holiday in Goa. Unpredictable K did another trip there afterwards.

WE also took a trip to Hyd to S&L's place. S has done well with himself and L. It was a pleasure to be with them and watch a lot of movies more than anything else.

I went there again and was witness to the Hyd. blasts. It was scary. Lucky to be alive!

Met Sagar and others from the college gang again. Was good to see them!!

Been busy in the last few months, with work and home. Have watched my fav movies consistently..

Spent some quality time with Antara and K and it feels good!!

In all, a good Year!

Friday, January 04, 2008

Low Cost Marketing - Go for it!

1. Narrow the market focus. Create a picture of the ideal client: what they look like, how they think, what they value, and where you can find them. Start saying no to non-ideal clients.
2. Differentiate. Strip everything you know about your product or service down to the simplest core idea. Make sure that the core idea allows you stand out.
3. Think about strategy first. Take everything you’ve done in steps one and two and create a strategy to own a word or two in the mind of your ideal client and prospect.
4. Create information that educates. You are in the information business, so think of your marketing materials, web sites, white papers, marketing kits as information products, not "sales" propaganda.
5. Package the experience. Put visual elements around every aspect of the marketing strategy that you adopt. Use design to evoke the appropriate emotional response from your ideal prospect.
6. Generate leads from many points. People learn in different ways. Your lead generation efforts must allow your prospects to experience your firm from many different angles and views.
7. Nurture leads along the logical buying path. There’s a natural way for your prospects to come to the conclusion that you have what they need. Build the lead conversion system for before, during, and after the sale.
8. Measure everything that matters. Certain things always matter. The secret sauce is in finding and measuring the intangibles – those things down on the shop floor that eventually add up to profit.
9. Automate for leverage. Embrace the Internet or else. Create access, stimulate community, capture innovation, and build knowledge to automate the basic delivery elements of your information business.
10. Commit. Resist the temptation of the marketing idea of the week. Create daily, weekly, monthly, and annual marketing calendars, make marketing your new habit, and find the money to stick with the plan.
The rest as they say is just “lage raho”!!