Friday, May 29, 2015
Saturday, October 16, 2010
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Sunday, September 12, 2010
My younger nephew quite proves the PEST theory with his generally amused and sometimes bemused expression while observing his older brother. Case in point the 'nice' picture my mother wanted me to take of the two brats. The younger one was quite surprised at his shrieking elder brother which reminded me of how I used to observe my elder sister as a kid.
Anyway the break last weekend really helped me relax. Spent some time at home after 6 months. The 2 kids in the house really is good fun. The elder one has started talking coherently though he gets his grammar from his mother while the younger one just gurgles away in delight when someone is close enough for him to observe. He is quite uncomplicated and cries only when hungry. Reminds me of the Hero Honda ad Fill it, shut it, forget it. In this case it is Fill it, burp it, forget it :D.
I used the break to hog away all around Mumbai. Met quite a few friends in between sampling Mumbai's delicacies. Went to Juhu beach and Mount Mary church which is an annual affair for the family just around the fair. As kids we used to visit the fair with parents but nowadays it's impossible to visit it. Mumbai over the last few years seems to have grown exponentially in population and traffic. The local trains are so crowded that more and more people are moving to taking their vehicle to office which means choked highways and roads. Wonder when the metro is going to come through. The only place left to grow now is the sea.
The sea is what makes Mumbai special. It's the only place you can't see people, though nowadays at bandstand couples seem to pop out from behind rocks which are almost within the sea. I remember as a teenager visiting Juhu beach with friends watching the waves breaking on the seashore with the sea breeze snatching away the noise of the city and giving us Mumbaikars those few moments of total calm.
Anyway the break also meant a break in my gym routine and my guitar class. My most patient guitar teacher has been trying to teach me chords so that I can finally in my life claim to carry a tune. There is still quite a lot of discord in my chords and he is quite tired having to explain the reason behind a certain system of music and why a chord is so but it is fun. I may not become a santana (Don't bet against it) but it satisfies the need to learn something new. The language classes haven't happened yet and I don't even have a lack of mobility to blame, though I still am not comfortable driving. Dad and my friends tell me that practice will help perfect my driving which is what my guitar teacher tells me about my strumming. So if you see a guy practicing chords on his invisible guitar while driving a car, it could be me multi - tasking ;).
Monday, August 23, 2010
Sunday, August 15, 2010
This year I decided I must usher in independence day watching Peepli live after hearing so much about it. So with my new found confidence in my own driving I headed out to DT Mega mall to watch Peepli live. Peepli live is this nice movie full of dark humour. It takes the very real issue of farmers being forced out of agriculture and presents it most beautifully. The media part is funny. Reminds me of a story - The Wait -II I had written ages back.
Peepli made me remember this statistical model being created on economic spending in India which had good rains as a very important variable. Good rains means good farming which means a good economy. On one side we have the worlds heaviest rainfall (Cherapunji) and on the other side we are still dependent on the rains as a source of irrigation. One of the biggest ironies of life was my house in Mumbai facing water shortages just 10 months after Mumbai was flooded.
We have the capability to create the world's best supersonic missile - Brahmos, have a space program that many developed nations don't, have the ability to create a 35$ touch based computing device and the world's cheapest reliable motor car and yet every June/July we look to the skies. And believe me it's not just the farmers. Every bank, every mobile company, every fmcg co looks to the skies and keeps their fingers crossed praying for good rains. Good rains are like that first tile in a huge domino pattern. Unless that falls nothing else can happen. Companies in India change their strategy basis rainfall. Amazingly even after 63 years of attaining independence, we are a nation running on prayers only. And this from a race which is celebrated for being among the first users of irrigation evident at Mohenjadaro and Harappa.
Coming back to Peepli, it's strange how two movies from the same production house show an agricultural India dependent on the rainfall. The first one Lagaan was based in 1893, the latest one Peepli live based in 2010. We very happily cheered when the farmers beat the foreign invaders responsible for the sorry state of affairs in a game of cricket, wishing that we could've been part of that team and whacked the englishmen for a six. In Peepli live we sympathise with the farmers knowing fully well how bureacracy has required us to wait for a passport, a PAN card, even a gas connection. You know nothing can be done. It's India, run by Indians. Who do we whack for a six now? Who is the enemy?Where is the foreign hand we can blame??
My grandfather's generation left school/college in 1942 to join the quit India movement. Millions of Indians like him won us our Independence. For his generation, politics was everything. They voted because they knew what it had taken to get the right to vote and they wanted to choose the right people. Our parents learned from them. As of my generation, we find it a nice holiday. Granpa's generation would fight for their rights. Remember how Grandpa took a station master to task because he took a complaint about overcharging on his platform lightly. Recently when I had a problem with service on a couple of things, I did exactly what he did and it worked. Independence is not about Indian bureaucrats replacing the english ones. Independence is about knowing your rights and making sure no one violates them. We Indians fought for independence for our own rights and now when our countrymen make a mockery of it, we take the crap, crib like hell and continue existing.
Independence is not just your right to choose, it's your right to demand. I choose who runs my country. I choose what I watch on TV. I choose what to drink and what to eat. I decide what happens when people I gave the power to help make my life better screw up. Stop blaming the government for your woes and demand accountability. The Indian government doesn't decide what happens to you because it's you who decide what happens to them. Remember Aamir Khan's famous Rangeela dialogue:"Apun public hai public, jisme apna paisa vasool nahin, uska dabba gul". Independence is exactly that. It's a right to a better life because you deserve it. When you get a raw deal in India, you don't take it on the chin because that would be insulting all those people who lost their lives, their education to give you freedom. India is more than a Gujrati lawyer's dream. It was the dream of a million Indians speaking a 100 languages and dialects, worshipping a few lakh gods of a life where we Indians could lead a better life through the power of choice, the power to demand.
Honour their sacrifices. Stop existing, start demanding. India is what we make of it.
Sunday, August 01, 2010
There is this view from my balcony, where I can see the metro between two buildings. So yesterday being Saturday, I decided that I need to get a picture of the metro. So I took out my camera and was busy adjusting the controls when I heard a rustling below my balcony and looked down to see this pair of pigeons on the AC duct of the house below me.
It is a hastily taken shot with an overcast sky which really doesn't do justice to the potential of my camera but I just had to take it before the two flew away. I had initially named it Cooo which is quite lame, but renamed it 'luv is in the air' because think about it. With two pigeons in love, love is quite literally in the air.
Pranay (which also means luv :D)
Monday, July 26, 2010
If I had a penny for every time this guy ate the buds on the flowering plant I've bought, I'd probably make enough to buy a proper plant. Initially he would fly off when I tried to go to the balcony, which then progressed to flying off when I was a foot away to now posing when I get my camera out. He seemed unfazed even when I clicked him with my flash on. He just looked back at me with a semi annoyed look.
On second thoughts it could be a female pigeon. She preens in front of the camera. Acts indifferent and yet poses and flutters her wings cooing away to glory while eating away the buds on my plant while acting coy. Classical female behaviour this. Any ornithologist in my group of friends who can determine his/her gender.
No jokes on the camera angle :D
Sunday, July 18, 2010
One of the best examples of endorsement was this certain lady in my college. This nice looking lady had a very normal life till one day one of the more visible guys discovered that he had a thing for her and hence she was cute. Suddenly this lady became the centre of affection of many a male. Funnily the guy who started this moved on within a week but the attention continued. Conversely I know this good friend of mine who never got around to openly admitting this thing she had for a guy because her friends did not find him that cool. This was all endorsement at a very unconscious level.
Peer pressure is probably the best form of endorsement. Remember that gadget/accessory/clothes/computer game you bought just because your group of friends believe it's awesome. Peer pressure is endorsement by exclusion, a form of collective endorsement. Hush puppies (yes, read the tipping point), Ipods, Tazos, etc all became successes courtesy collective endorsement aka peer pressure.
Most people actually take endorsement to be just celeb endorsement or expert endorsement. Once upon a time when celebs did much lesser endorsement, people actually went and bought a lux believing that it was the soap of the stars. They bought the product because of the celeb endorsing it. Today most celebs work best as a clutter breaker. Yes a trustworthy celeb lends an aura to the product provided people believe that he/she uses it. Expert endorsement too has its limitations unless it's done really well.
In fact endorsement is best leveraged when done subtly. A celeb/expert pushing it down your throat might be (quite literally) tough to swallow. However that same endorsement done by a friend works. This is the most potent form of endorsement which we marketeers call word of mouth (WOM). Getting high WOM on a product is what most brand managers dream of. Imagine multiple believable endorsers. Conversely bad WOM can cause the product to tank. Many movies have been the victims of bad WOM. Some never got the chance.
Which is why the future of endorsement is in social networking, user generated content and subtle product placements. Twitter, Youtube and FB will decide the world of tomorrow. The consumer is empowered. The marketeer of today needs to have a concept which can work through these media. In the future GRPs won't be measured, communication would be measured through WOM.
So the next time you see a beautiful lady at the mall and feel like commenting to your friend or a movie on the first day which you like/dislike strongly and want to tweet about or any product experience which you put on your status message. Pause and take in the moment because that one action of yours in todays networked world could decide the future of the entity under observation. Endorsement is a power and with great power comes great responsibility.
BTW heard Udaan is a great movie :D.