Saturday, December 24, 2005

Unpredictability and Epsilon

What is one thing that you fear the most? Most of us would answer - the future, in other words something unpredictable. How many of us are comfortable with the idea that there is a remote possibility that we would not be alive tomorrow or the guy/girl you marry wouldn't suit you or for that simple matter, we would not get tickets for a movie at a theater. Not many and I would even say that each one of us is trying to manage(should I say,mitigate) this unpredictability in some or the other way, everyday all the time.

Statistics has a word called noise/error factor given to it, and has ‘epsilon’ representing this factor. Any model can be created to explain various phenomena in life, but an epsilon is always tagged to it, just to say that there are certain things, which are unexplainable and cannot be captured by these models and this is precisely what I am getting at.

I see attempts being made by people to rationalize life, to explain everything, to put blame on luck or God, etc. Life cannot be explained. There are too many events, which just happen and have no correlation or association per se with our scheme of things. No astrology, not palmistry, not zodiac signs will help these. The maturity lies in accepting these things as being purely random and completely uncontrollable (in spite of my passion for ‘free will’ as a driver of decision making). The only way to control these is by learning to control our responses to these events, rather than by trying to control these events themselves.

Despite all the best efforts, not getting what you want could be the work of epsilon factor. The best response here is to control the response to such event and think about ways to diversify/reduce risk such epsilon factor can bring...unpredictability is uncontrollable but mitigation of it is!!

Friday, December 16, 2005


So very often, what we do or how we do a particular job depends on what mood we are in. More often than not, how we perform depends less on ability and more on the mood in which we are in. Some people have violent mood swings, while some have fleeting. But one feature that is common across humanity is mood and its swings.

How frequently have we come across people who act rude although they had no intention of being rude? Accidental rudeness happens alarmingly often (courtesy:Dumbledore), which brings us to the fact that people generally associate mood swings with negative qualities like anger, irritation, sulking etc. Have we ever done a reality check as to whether our mood swings can be associated with positive emotions like happiness, laughter etc; For what is a mood but a function of the perspective you see/feel a situation in!!

The most vivid example of 'mood behavior' affecting the economy is the Stock market, where it is essentially called 'Investor sentiment'. Although this sort of mood is non-distinguishable as it cannot be attributed to a particular person/entity, its 'Mood' decides as to who will be in a happy mood(made profits) and who will be sad(made losses). Marketing departments across companies work overtime to manipulate moods of people-good or bad to buy a product(and the moods cost them billions!!). The most important facet of moods is 'Boss Management', where the answer to what you ask depends less on 'what' you ask but entirely on 'when' aspect(and I am sure most of us faced it-whether its a boss in a company or a teacher in school).

Mood is a very important aspect of human behavior. There could be a difference in the degree but never the absence of it. People vacillate between extreme performances due to 'mood swings'. Hence Management by Moods, I feel is going to be as important and on par with other management theories like Management by Objectives, Management by Walking Around etc.

(For my regular readership, another important 'M' affecting everyone's lives :-))

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The Power of Context...

I have reached the pinnacle of 'busyness'. No one asked me to start a blog. Having started it, it was only reasonable to expect regular posts. From the feeback I get, I realize that the readers have got tired, if not vexed, of visiting the site and finding the same old post for more than a month. While a long hiatus is unexplainable as well as unpardonable, I hope the readership will pardon this and excuse me this time.


I was wondering about the power of context as well as perspective. Sultan of Brunei has his aeroplane fitted with lots of gold...How much do I care? However, if my neighbour purchases a new car, it begins to hurt me. Bill Gates riches don't inspire me for a better performance but if my colleague wins a lottery or gets a promotion...a sudden rush of blood question, 'why not me?' is asked.

People crave for particular things at various stages in life. During childhood, its winning a game; youth is about winning the hand of a particular guy/girl; a career is about a specific job profile and the list goes on and on. Coming to think of it, how does it matter? For example, consider a MBA grad looking for a consulting present, this is the only job that he would ever consider. However, if that doesnt happen, will he brood about the same thing 10 years later?...I think not. His priorities will be to benchmark against the 'best guy' around and surpass him, which will engage his thoughts all the time, consulting being the least on his priorities.

Such is the power of context...a drastic terrorist activity a few years back seemed horrendous while it is commonplace now. Globalisation was opposed by the Chinese back in the '80s while they are the frontrunners at present. There was a time when people used to respect people who stood for morals. Nowadays, technical ineptitude is a greater sin than moral turpitude. The world was not the same before as it is now nor will it ever be the same again. The same holds good for people and their thoughts.

So how do we rule ourselves out of this 'context' and hence be unbiased. Distance gives perspective. It is very important to distance oneself from the context to be able to make the right decision. Another of the easier said than done types!!!

Monday, October 17, 2005


Why does man relish vanity?? This question has been troubling me for sometime. A feeling of excessive pride in oneself, self-importance imposed on self and a craving to be recognised by one and all present around is something each one of us have percieved and felt too. I am surprised at situations where people work themselves to be the center of a conversation or an issue. Some people even go to the extent of holding back knowledge impressing(or is it depressing?)upon others implicitly that they are important, while others make it very explicit.

As a writer, I take pride in writing this this vanity? How do you differentiate confidence and self-belief and vanity and excessive pride? Each one of us wants to be appreciated for the work we have done - however meagre or big. Does man really need appreciation from others to sustain himself and in case he doesnt get the expected, does he really have to go extents to boast about himself? How often have we come across people who put up an impression of a be-all and know-all? How often have we come across people who are self-centered and any conversation other than him/her is utter nonsense? How often have we come across people who can fake at will and convince you whatever they say is the truth? and How often have we come across people who actually make people listen how important they are and why we should strive to become like them, although that would be difficult!! Questions and questions galore, but each one of us know and can relate to each of these situations, as a culprit or as a victim.

Now to the question of why man thinks he is the center of the universe or rather the microcosm in which he is present? One reason is out of purely psychological reasons - low self-esteem. Although every other reason boils down to this, there might be a variety of experiences throughout a person's life which might have forced them to take this route. The other plausible reason might be that people take life too seriously and end up being self-centered and therefore the vanity factor comes in...although the reasons by themselves don't seem to convince the author.

How do we get out of this disease of vanity which seems to affect even the best of people? Humor might be one but then can everyone humor themselves? The other person might think that he is making a fool of himself...again the vanity cycle?!! Even people who think that they don't care what people think about them also come under this umbrella of vanity since they too want others to recognise them as people who think they don't care about others - got my point?? I am in need of some answers as urs truly too, at some point or other has been a victim of this deadly disease called Vanity.

Monday, September 26, 2005


Is there anything called Inspiration and if yes,where do we draw inspiration from and from whom? Does inspiration really mean working harder which eventually would result in more perspiration or is there something more to it. Such a good word to use in every sphere of life - college, work or family. People overuse it or may I say misuse it to such an extent that it becomes such a cliched word that everyone is turned off by a mere mention of it.

To ascertain whether anything like Inspiration exists or do we tend to draw inspiration from others, it is necessary to define what inspiration is or means? Inspiration according to the Oxford Dictionary means three things -

1.arousal of the mind to special unusual activity or creativity
2.a product of your creative thinking and work;
3.a sudden intuition as part of solving a problem

According to the above, inspiration is related more to creativity and less concerning relating it to another person. If creativity is related to an individual entirely - as is usually believed , then why do we often associate inspiration to some person or a third entity? We have speakers who claim to inspire others, various mind management programmes to derive inspiration from, we tend to 'draw' inspiration from famous personalities - how many times do we hear statements like the above. How much of truth is contained in those statements needs to be enquired to bring the dilemma to a conclusion?

Man as a homosapien evolves over time. However, the process of evolution is exponential rather than linear - which does mean that there is some reason which makes him grow faster than usual in this chaotic world. A pillar of support he can rely on anytime, someone from whom he can learn ways of the world or someone who has already been successful at something. I for one, am inspired by people with knowledge - any knowledge powerhouse, one of my friends is inspired by songs of MLTR, another friend of mine is inspired by the books he reads - different people, different ways of getting inspired. Research has proved that when we do hear some 'Inspirational' talk, the effect is directly on the right side of the brain. No wonder many people get inspired but cannot explain the feeling of it - just like creativity and that is where the two ends meet.

All people in this world are inspired by someone or the other. Some people tell it out and some won't. However, in the process of continous improvement, every humanbeing is goaded by some or the other Inspirational factor or should I say Creative factor..??

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Mobile lets me fly...

A couple of days earlier was the 10th anniversary of the foray of mobile communication in India which has been one bumpy and an extravagant ride. While one company converted its assets worth 25 crore to 9000 crore in the space of 10 years (Bharti Airtel), another company which was a pioneer in this field (in fact, this was the provider for the first mobile call in India between Jyoti Basu and the then Communications the way, the company's name is Modi Telstra) was bought by some other. From a handful of users in 1995, we have grown to a user base of over 2 million and it is expected to touch 10 million by 2010 which will make us the 4th largest user base in the world.

We have made a big leap if we consider the following statistics. A bulky mobile phone cost Rs.52000 with an incoming charge of Rs. 8 and outgoing charge of Rs. 16, while we now have some of the sleek phones for as little as Rs.3000 with no incoming charge and an outgoing charge of Re. 1...It used to take around 2 weeks to get a landline connection, if not more while it takes only around a day or so to go mobile - and that explains the explosion in the consumer base.

Apart from the basic feature of conversing, mobile phones as such have evolved into facilitating transfer of messages, images, video recording, fm radio and an mp3 player all bundled together. Not to mention the furore over the MMS exchanged between thousands of people which created a lot of controversy but died without a whimper. A completely radical use was found in criminology. Mobile phones have also helped the crime authorities to track criminals by a process of triangulation. Without going too much into detail, it is a process wherein the coordinates of a person is tracked using the signal exchange between the phone and the mobile towers near it. Viruses have taken quite some time to jump into the bandwagaon while eavesdropping of mobile phones is much more technical than the ordinary landline and hence the security is leaps and bounds over the landline.

A new technology, which is set to revolutunise the way we interact with others is emerging in this field which is called 3G (Third Generation technology). The transfer rate as of now is 6-8 kbps while in 3G it is 2 Mbps. A quantum jump which would enable people to have video conferencing just like the multinational companies do it everyday.

An interesting scenario if I may say so, when we consider that the boom in the mobile communications industry coincided with the boom in consumer spending and the IT boom. Categories across consumer durables have witnessed a tremendous growth over the past 10 years and not very surprisingly, mobile phones seem to be the priority. Mobile phones have become another extension of our own personality day in and day out. People seem to enjoy the very fact that they don't use the same mobile phone for more that 15 days and change the ringtone every 3 days. The frightening growth in the usage of mobile communication has considerably brightened the lives of a hawker on the street to a CEO of a company. Euphoria is one small word which can be associated with the boom and I am proud to be a part of one in every way possible of the greatest revolutions of the millenium.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005


What's wrong with expectation? Mankind survives on this sole word of 'expectation'. We expect to be happy in the future (ignoring the present of course), we expect to earn a great deal of money, we expect to travel around the world and many many more. We not only expect something out of ourselves but expect something from others also. But most people forget that some others are also expecting something from them and I feel here is the weakest link for relationships.

Say, you(A) are close to someone(B) and you expect something out of them. But, they dont meet your expectation not once but many times over a period of time. Then, you lower your expectation and still 'B' doesnt meet yours. This cycle would continue till you end up with little expectation from 'B'. 'B' brags on and on with his/her own stories least bothered about what 'A' is feeling/thinking amd whats more, shrugs off whatever 'A' is saying. At this particular point of time, you(A) really feel that the relationship is not worth the time, effort and resources. Then there are other people in your life who go great lengths at making you happy, make you feel that you have been with them for years and yet you don't give the required credit. They are excited about meeting you, talking to you or for that matter, just spend some time with you and yet we tend to ignore.
The problem seems to be not with 'B' fundamentally, but with 'A'. 'A' has simply not allocated the right kind of effort towards the right kind of people.'B'is some other person who is interested in something else than 'A' seems to think...a classic case of misunderstanding the extent and depth of a relationship. Well, to say the least, when 'A' is not clear of his priorities, his relationships...does he really have the right to expect something out of somebody? Can't he just take a step back and look at the various relationships he has and allocate the right(let me say, optimum) effort to the right kind of people? Is 'A' looking only at part of the conversation and not the total (or the essence of) communication between him/herself and 'B' and jumping to some kind of conclusion about expectations and the outcomes or is it something else?

Haven't we all gone through this? We can place ourselves at places 'A' as well as 'B' because they are literally two sides of same coin. Can we just take a step back and look at everything else afresh again??

Saturday, July 09, 2005

The Letter 'M'

The most powerful, influential and intriguing letter across all languages is the 12th letter of the Roman alphabet and the 13th letter of the English alphabet - the letter 'M' and my emphasis would be the words beginning with the letter 'M' and just a peek into its magnificient power.

To start with, all ancient civilizations - the oldest ones recorded were that of Mohenjadaro in India, Mesopotamia in the Middle East and Mayan in the Americas. Two of the most powerful dynasties to rule over India in the B.C as well as the A.D were the Mauryan and the Mughal dynasties.

Science has proved that Man evolved from Monkey. Mother is the sole purpose of how a Man exists. We all would like to be Models of perfection. While we had the Mahatma enchanting the masses down here in India, at about the same time, we had Mussolini machinating like a Machiavelli in Europe. While we had the greatest and perhaps the longest epic which enlightened mankind - Mahabharat, we had an equally oppressive 'Mein Kempf'.
While we had Mickey mouse entertaining people all around, we had Model T motorcar to depict what modernity can bring about. We had the beautiful Madhuri, have the sexy Mallika and erstwhile dream of every man - Marlyn Monroe.

The world today runs around Money. No wonder that two of the biggest brands in the world are McDonalds and Mont Blanc. We have advanced weapons in Machine guns and Missiles, again developed by Man due to excessive itch on his Medulla oblongata.

One of the greatest revolutions of the 20th century was Marxism, one of the greatest mysteries unsolved being the Mummy and one of the most mind-boggling roles in Movies being the role of Morpheus in Matrix. Think of controversy, and one of the greatest controversies involves Mary Magdalene. One of the most feared groups in today's world is the Mafia and the costliest drug available is Marijuana. Not to leave all us far behind is the Murphy's law which would remind us of the reality everytime we think of some mouthwatering prospect.

From the Macrocosm to Micro-organism, this letter influences everyday, every moment. From the Morning of our life to our Mourning, this letter is forever to stay with us and that my dear friends in summary is the magnificience of the letter.

P.S: Last but not the least, my HR Head's name is Mandeep Maitra (For God's sake, save me from this letter 'M').

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Number perfect - The Agony and Ecstasy of Seven

This blog is dedicated to one of the favorite articles I had read in recent times in the ET. It talks about the fascination for the number seven that the author has and the expanse of knowledge about a particular number. I similarity I can relate here is my fascination for all the words beginning with the letter 'M'. Will blog about it in the near future. I actually put this in the electronic form rather than save it as a paper draft...the impact was such. Enjoy the article!!

The seven rishis, the seven circles of marriage, seven generations and seven reincarnations. The Egyptians had seven gods, the Persians had seven sacred horses, the Japanese have seven gods of happiness and luck, the Greeks had the Pleiades star cluster - also known as the Seven Sisters, Rome was built on seven hills and the Sun God Surya's chariot is believed to have seven horses. Seven days make up the week, there are seven ancient wonders, seven colors in the spectrum, seven seas formed part of ancient lore, seven continents constitute our planet and seven musical notes make up a raaga. Strangely enough, even the Companies Act in India requires a minimum of seven people to form a public limited company and behavioral scientists believe that seven is the optimal number for group dynamics. Few numbers have found as much mention or captured the imagination of mankind like the way number seven has. Management best sellers have been written - Stephen Covey not too long ago made a small fortune writing the 'The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People' - and movies have been made - AKiro Kurosawa a long time ago made the classic 'Seven Samurai' - around No. 7.

It's not hard to see, therefore, why stockbrokers and investors across the nation had been itching for the sensex to scale 7,000. The wait is finally over no that 7,000 is here. Dalal Street is getting ready to uncork the champagne and all set to party. While currently everyone associated with the markets is in (where else but) seventh heaven, they would do well to remember that Ms. Sensex can take you to heaven quickly and bring you back to earth even quicker. And while it is unlikely that in this euphoria we think of anything but the largely pleasant association with the number seven, market men in particular would do well to remember that mankind's woes are largely brought upon itself by none other than the seven deadly sins.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Recently I read this poem by Betty Midlers and it struck me as a poem written for the present times that we are in. I will quote one of the paragraphs here...

From a distance, we all have enough
And noone is in need
There're no guns, bombs nor disease
No hungry mouths to feed
From a distance, we're instruments marching in a common band
Playing songs of hope
Playing songs of peace
They're songs of every man.

Quite profound are the thoughts, but how many people would actually sit back and think about them. We are at war perenially, whether it is a proxy one or real. The whole world is in turmoil, millions of people die everyday due to war and yet we have the guts to say that the Tsunami was an international disaster when just over a million had passed away.

I shudder to think of people who do not have access to a square meal, of people who are perenially worried of an explosion, of people who suffer from diseases and yet do not have access to medicines due to their poor economic condition. Yet, what gets publicized in the media are the gangster wars, expansive coverage of lavish weddings, the frequent change in political conditions and coverage on some stupid case going against some individual.

And we have people who are the very cause of destruction being named Person of the year, getting a Nobel Peace prize and we have people who are not recognized just because they are from a Third World country. Here, I am reminded of a quote by Mark Twain who said"It is better to deserve an honour and not recieve it, than to recieve one and not deserve it".

Oliver Holmes had said "The great thing in the world is not so much where we stand as in what direction we are moving" and I sincerely feel that it will not be long before people begin to find their direction and go back to the fundamentals which are beyond money, power and evaluate as to what gives them happiness.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Celebrity - How? Really??

I have always wondered what makes a celebrity?? With all these shows like Channel V popstars and some other channel's Indian Idol, can anyone become a celebrity or does it take something really special to become a celebrity?

For too long, celebrities were an alchemic creation, taking a mystical combination of ability, timing and blind luck to suddenly pop into our midst. We marvel at these Godpeople, who seemed to be one of us while being so utterly celestial. It was never clear how exactly one turned from flailing duckling to cruising swan and that was part of the mystique surrounding celebrities.

A consumer society needs two opposite powerful forces to pull against each other. We must believe that celebrities are impossibly distant and yet know that anyone can become one. Just like fashion, which makes us feel uniquely individual while making us conform rigidly to the current notion of what's in. This tension between apparent inapproachability and the manifest accessibility propels us in an ascending spiral of desire. We want more because there are things we cannot have, but people just like us have managed to get.

Be that as it may, as a country we have certainly made progress. We are now our own hypnotists - we have found a way to publicly collaborate in manufacturing a god-like being through all the shows possible and still retain some belief in this God of our own making.

Sunday, May 15, 2005


There are search engine companies, there are some more search engine companies and then there is GOOGLE! I am impressed by the way this company is growing. Google Search, News, Groups, Blogspace, Scholar, Maps, toolbar, Watch, directory, Picasa, Keyhole.. and ofcourse GMAIL!! The phrase "I am going to Google" or "Have you googled for this?" is quite common these days. They are beating every other company in the field.

Yeah Yeah Yeah. I am happy. I had been googling and regoogling and reregoogling stuff on the internet ,and today finally I stumbled onto a pretty useful chunk of useless data required for my job. In fact, on a philosophical note , the more I live life , the more I become aware of the importance of "Google" in supporting the human race.

When we guys were on the brink of a nervous breakdown making our assignments, it was "google devta" which came to our rescue. We downloaded a decent amount of information from the net and ended up making something which we still have got no clue about . During my MBA course, google was used more than any financial or economic model ever devised. Be it a report on the cigarette industry of India , a survey on the bicycle usage in Finland , or an outlook on the undergarment industry of Zimbabwe - every burning need has the one and only Lord Google to satisfy it.

And not only the professional life , google has had a pretty divine imprint on the personal aspects of my life too.I still remember that "kaali amavas ki raat" (too much of scary hindi movies ?), when as a nervous 18 year old, I typed down "britney spears pics" on the sacred google bar , leading to a very informative and educational online session. Then there was the sunny afternoon , when a frustrated friend of mine , tired of carrying around the "single-ready to mingle" tag line, angrily punched in "how to get a girlfriend" on google's website. I still occasionally google the names of girls I've had a crush on in my short lifetime , hoping to find them somewhere ,with the culmination being a happy and teary reunion , with the girl telling me how much she admired me secretly.

But even our newtonic genius called google fails at times.Recently , I had to find out about the acquistion of "Ruchi Biscuits" (where do these sell?) by "Shyam group" of companies(what do these guys sell?).So I googled about it, but it so conspired that I ended up reading the review of a South Indian flick with a hero named shyam and the lead actress called ruchi. But this can be classified as an off day for google ,the knight in the shiny armour for students , engineers , summer trainees , sex maniacs , parted lovers around the planet.

May the Great Google live on!!!

Wednesday, May 04, 2005


Finally, after a lot of confusion, deliberation, discussion (oops...Dialogue, my HR Prof would kill me), I have joined HDFC. Thats about my employment and since the major issue is resolved, I would like to get back to serious blogging business.

I was just thinking...why did the confusion arise in the first place? One point clearly hit me, clarity of value I hold very close to my heart, yet, I did not follow it this time. I think this is where they say that Wisdom comes above Knowledge. I was confident of my knowledge, yet when it came to taking a critical decision in my life, it failed me. I feel this is where Wisdom comes into play. I started talking to senior people, various points were being raised, yet one common thread in all the discussions pointed to their clarity of thought.

Taking this discussion(oops again...dialogue) further, I think the experience and the character of a person decides how and what you think. Many of you might differ with Helen Keller as to what she has to say, but I strongly believe in it.
She says
"Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired and success achieved"

Thats a statement made by a person who actually went through all the sufferings in life. Learn, Learn and Learn...this is what my parents continously emphasize. The past one month has broken down some of my misconceptions, taught me a lot about various facets of life reminding me of one of the beautiful quotations I ever read -

"Play the game of your life such that when the master referee scores against your name, it is not whether you have lost or won that counts, but how you have played the game".

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Confusion at the point of Fusion

Long Long ago, So Long Ago, I updated my blog and now after a very long time, I am writing again. Sorry folks!! I myself am confused thoroughly that I didnt know what to write.

So, whats the confusion? I got a Day Zero placement in HDFC bank. However, after some ponderation, I realised that I might not fit the Banking sector after all. Why? How? Thats a long story which I wouldnt like to elaborate.

So what next? I do not know. Something is on the cards, will let u guys know once I confirm it.

I think this is one of the most unstructured write-up I have ever written, but that explains what is going on in my mind right now.

Anybody has any CEO openings, dont forget to contact me...I am available.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

LAST BLOG from B-School

My last blog from B-school. My B-school days are coming to an end in another 12 days and that’s it…however there are some exams to write and hence I do not know when I would write my blog again, but surely it wouldn’t be before I complete my exams. We went on trekking today. We thought of going to a mango grove on the other side of a mountain, however due to some miscalculation, we ended up at a coconut-mango grove...which we enjoyed thoroughly. And that sums up my days in the B-school.

Looking back, it’s been one huge ride for me over the last 2 yrs. After the dejection of losing out on the CAT, I got through this school with some effort. I was not sure of the place and the environment and how I would go about handling it. I was a completely opposite personality to what the place demanded. However, the passion of doing a MBA just pushed me through the first few days. And boy! After that, it was just Masti, MASti and MASTI.

Apart from the academic rigor and the usual B-school stuff, I went through a rapid as well as a steep learning curve on all the aspects of life – people, cultural, sports and just about everything. I learnt to handle 30 people to complete projects on time, first as a junior and then as the head of the dept., learnt finer aspects of script writing and acting (although I am still bad at both, considering the standards of this place), learnt Table tennis, painting and of course blogging apart from other mundu aspects.

I also found my ideals down here. An ideal speaker, an ideal computer genius as well as hacker (oops!), a financial wizard, master artists, fantastic actors, terrific sports players…u name it and they are in this place. Down the line, any day I need any sort of motivation I can think of these guys and I would know what to do. Such is the talent, such is the brotherhood of this place.

I feel very sad at this point of time that I have to leave so early. Because without doubt, these have been the best two years in my life, two years where I can look back and confidently say that I have learnt something.

I am reminded of my signature in my mail…something which I strongly believe in.

Perfection is the Goal.

GOD tolerates Excellence.

Recently, I came across this quote which complements the above, which explains why I have to move on.

Advance and never halt, for advancing is perfection. Advance and do not fear the thorns in the path, for they draw only corrupt blood - Khalil Gibran.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times” said Charles Dickens. I couldn’t fathom how do two situations co-exist for quite a long time, but I think I have the answer right here, right now. It was the best of times, for surely I have enjoyed my stay and moving toward my goal, it’s also the worst of times since I am leaving the place I love so much.

Last but not the least, I would like to put the whole experience in three lines – “The woods are lovely, dark and deep/But I have promises to keep/And miles to go before I sleep…”

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Advertising Adversity!

Hurrah! Tests are over and I am going to slog sleep today…haven’t had a good night sleep for the past week. That aside, as promised the article on advertising is up on the blog…Enjoy it and don’t forget, comments are always welcome!

“Freedom without opportunity is a devil’s gift and the refusal to provide such opportunities is criminal” – Anonymous.

I beg to differ with the above statement if it concerns advertising of today. Just take a look at these figures and you will know why. Basic education for all in this world would cost $ 6 billion, while the expenses on cosmetics in the US cost $ 8 billion. Water and sanitation costs for the world would come to around $ 9 billion while ice-cream costs in Europe costs $ 11 billion. Basic health and nutrition for all would cost $13 billion while expenses on pet foods in US and Europe cost $17 billion.

Hankering ‘after more’ has left the society in a constant state of chasing a mirage! In US, a sixth of its total GDP is spent on marketing and advertising. Most of it is tax-exempted – which implies that people pay for the privilege of being subjected to manipulation of their attitudes and behavior. To support the advertisers are the various laws of economics. One such law is the Law of diminishing Marginal utility – which states that the satisfaction you would derive out of using a product would diminish over time or repeated usage. Advertisers are known (or meant) to accelerate the pace of this law. This essentially means that you get satisfaction only for a short period of time. For example, you buy a Skoda Octavia. The utility you derive is only for a period of time. In a short time, you will come across another ad regarding the advanced version of Skoda Octavia – Skoda Octavia SX. Then, you will feel dissatisfied at your car and would aspire to buy a new car. A satisfied man is an advertiser’s nightmare – but you can rarely find a satisfied man in a capitalistic society and hence you can understand why ad agency revenues run into millions. The ideology of capitalism makes us all into connoisseurs of liberty – of the indefinite expansion of possibilities, but have we taken it too far.

The world’s headlong rush towards crass commercialism, meretricious materialism and mindless consumerism can only be stopped by a tsunamic effort. What will allow us to unleash our venom at the sheer fluff of empty-headed hedonism that consumerism creates?

I conclude with the hope that atleast India’s cultural a.ka. advertising producers will preserve their tactical gift of revelation-by-surprise, eluding both commodifiers and the regimenters, the color-blind ecclesiarchs and the color-drunk publicists.

---the article ends here.

Go ahead and rate it!!!

Monday, February 28, 2005

gone with the wind

i thought that the closing months of my MBA would be really cool and i can enjoy myself thorougly. But what i have and am experiencing for the past 15 days and still going...i think i better shift to the opposite bandwagon. tests are going on now and each subject's portion is like some final examination portion in a school...weightage 25%.

but i have resolved that once my tests finish on 4th, that day my blog on Advertising is going to hit the Net.

got to study for the next test...Knowledge Management...i just hope i manage the knowledge optimally to get a good score. bye

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Something...Guessing around??

Sorry guys…pretty late update this time around. Was busy in some management simulation game throughout the week (more on it later). Some of my friends complained that I was taking myself too seriously in the first three blogs…so I embarked to write on something little bit casual this time around. To start off with, three news bits which left me wondering…

1) Call it the ripple effect or the nipple effect, it seems that advertisers are wary of pumping money into the 39th SuperBowl games in the US (American football for the uninitiated). The reports say that this is as a result of the Janet Jackson’s Bare-all episode last year, courtesy Justin Timberlake…although they covered it up by creating a new English phrase: Wardrobe malfunction. I was actually thinking about the reason behind the advertisers move and I was shocked when I found the answer. Guess what it is?? Ethics… silly. The same US advertisers who pump money urging people to have more junk food and shorter and shorter clothes…it is ethical u see?? B.S.(More about advertising in the next blog).

2) Steve Jobs, I thought was an excellent entrepreneur with amazing technical ideas. But recently I found that he is also a management guru, specializing in marketing. How else can one explain his fantastic marketing idea of the iPod Shuffle which left competitors flabbergast in one of the latest tech shows in the US. Usually all the music players have a little screen to tell u which song is playing and which songs are in the pipeline. However, iPod Shuffle doesn’t have any and Steve Jobs marketed this as a Unique Selling Proposition of the product. Take off a feature of a product and call it a USP…his competitors think he is crazy, but the customers are buying the idea and the sales are zooming. Beat that for a marketing tactic.

3) Pfizer has recently declared that it wouldn’t supply AIDS medicine to Africa at subsidized rates. The reason they gave was that if they export the AIDS medicine to Africa, then the virus may mutate itself against the medicine and hence become even more dangerous, rendering future medicine ineffective. Therefore, they said in the Greater good of Humanity, they declined to offer their medicine to Africa...ethics and morality again, my dear.

Back to urs truly, I finally watched ‘Troy’, exactly eight months after I thought that I have to watch it. I hate giving movie reviews on my blog but briefly, the movie was very well shot although Helen could have been a lot more prettier….:-).

Coming to the last week’s management simulation game, it was called the Threshold Competitor. The whole class was divided into teams of 6 each. We had to sell plastic products and the game was computer simulated, encompassing almost all the facets of business. My team included Shravan, Harish, Aashish, Raghu and Pranav and the team’s name was ‘Khuss Unlimited’(Try to guess the meaning...). Needless to say that our team won…but in the process, my whole week got screwed up. But I am really happy that we won and the effort was worth it.

I admit that it is quite a long blog, but I just couldn’t resist the flow of thoughts. The next blog is on Advertising…coming up very shortly in a blog near u…J…bye.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Nation and Nationalism….what’s wrong with you??

I wrote this article for one of the newspapers. I do not have any idea whether it is going to be published or not. Just read on…and rate my chances of this being published….anyway, u guys are lucky to read this before it is published…J

Today’s nationalism is not about a large entity called the ‘Nation’. Rather, it is nothing but a “pathological sense of inflammation”, a grievance about the real and imaginary wounds inflicted on people and a sense of not being able to choose one’s own destiny.

Otherwise, who could explain the uproar over the usage of the word ‘Sindh’ in our National anthem disputing whether such a word can be used hence. Even more shocking is the serious consideration the Supreme Court is giving to this issue when there are other very important matters to look into. The English sing “God Save the Queen”. Since this is not relevant to our times, will they think of changing it to say - “God Save Tony Blair”. The Singaporean National anthem is in the Malay language, which is not even one of the recognized languages of Singapore. Yet, do they raise an upheaval about it??

Another important issue is that of the match-fixing scandal, which we have brushed down the carpet but are never sure when it would raise its dirty hoods again. Dirty?? Did I say Dirty?? In a nation where corruption is touching a billion lives on a daily basis, where the majority of us are involved in some corrupt practice or other, why should we expect just those eleven cricketers to be honest? And why should it be front-page news for weeks when it is of no consequence to the lives of majority in our country? Why doesn’t the media talk about how the corrupt politicians are letting down a billion people every moment instead of igniting our passions about a few cricketers?

We live in times of guided missiles and misguided men. Caught between the prophets of imminent apocalypse and peddlers of optimism, we expend little effort towards self-criticism and consequently on a movement towards self-possession. Can we dream of a Nation which ingrains Gandhian philosophy for real and not as hogwash? A philosophy where the issue is not about trivial usage of words or money, but about ‘Nationalism’ in the true sense. ‘A man’s reach should exceed his grasp or what’s a heaven for’, said Rudyard Kipling. Let us so live life, that when we come to die…atleast we can have the glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Where am I and What am I doing?

Or is it We?? I think this is one thought that troubles most of us. Where am I, What am I doing and do I really love what I am doing?? I think these are the questions to which every MBA or a post-graduate student would like to have an answer to.

I came in here to a reputed B-school hoping to find my unique purpose in life – unique as we all are, or so I thought. Let me generalize the tone of speech and shift to We. Once in I don’t think most of us have managed to resist the charm of being one among the crowd, being accepted by one and all. Isn’t it amazing how all of a sudden all our dreams, all our aspirations seem the same – different as we all claim to be? And what is more amazing is how predictable a life we’re all set to lead – busy, cash rich, with no time to spare for anything but work.

We’ve turned into disinterested youngsters who treat the classroom as though it were personal rooms. We treat the professors as though we’re doing them a favor by listening to them. We treat attendance as the be all and end all of existence. Lectures hold as much meaning for us as an advertisement that we zap through disinterestedly. Better still; lectures are where we catch up on our sleep – the busy all important souls that we are, its impossible to catch sleep back in our rooms. And of course the great communicators and thought-leaders that we all are, we never miss a chance to criticize a lecturer for his flow of thoughts or the matter/manner which he speaks.

What is really sad is that not all of us were like this when we walked in here. But to be accepted as one of the crowd it is important to blend in – to do what the majority does. The few of us who do want to stand by what we believe in end up being ridiculed by the rest. After all being conscientious is so uncool! And staying awake in class – you have got to be kidding! What kind of loser are you if you stay up through class – and god help you if your reason happens to be sheer respect for the elderly individual who is teaching you (Talk about Moral dilemmas!!).

And what have we learnt by making lots of presentations, project, assignments?? How to put in header and footer, insert bullet points, make a colorful power-point presentation and never mention the help that Prof. Google does for you. Google is compared to God for copying and pasting information, Microsoft an Angel to make presentations and talk about real Stuff – u got to be joking, who is going to listen to us anyway.

So how do I evaluate myself and move from this situation to a much better one which I love. I am looking for some serious answers. I just hope I would answer them before I finish my MBA….Think!!

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

"Sarvam Ekam"

Everything is One, and that is the Ultimate truth - so the Vedas proclaim. So is the title of my blog "Sarvam Ekam", since I wanted to blog the truth and nothing but the truth about myself, my friends, ideas and in general about life.

So, why did I choose Republic Day of India to be my inauguration day on the blogger's community? Simply because of two reasons - One, Republic indicates free and I wanted my thoughts to flow freely on the blog and two, sheer coincidence :-).

To start with, I wanted to blog down one of my favorite quotes which I personally think indicates the essence of life.

When Faith is present, there is Love.
When Confidence is present, there is Love.
When there is Love, there is Truth.
When there is Truth, there is Peace.
When there is Peace, there is Bliss.
When there is Bliss, there is God.

I think all of us in this journey of life are trying to attain happiness in every act of ours, yet we find that it is either ephemeral or non-existent. Each line of the above quote indicates the progression towards that happiness which is eternal, which I feel is the right way to go. I am not that spiru as the above lines might indicate, although I am trying really hard to learn the fundamentals….still trying.

Humor is one part of my life which I can’t do away with. Although this is not meant to demean anyone, I found this piece I read yesterday a bit funny. When Buddha got enlightened, it seems this was the first sentence he spoke “Oh monks! Realise that when you take a deep breath, you are taking a deep breath, Realise that when you take a medium breath, you are taking a medium breath and Realise that when you take a low breath, you are taking a low breath”. That’s enlightenment for you. Next time the Prof. asks you any question about “Customer Value Proposition” or “RF Signal Processing”, you know what to answer, right?.

I think I would sign off here. Although I have been postponing blogging for quite some time now (I wanted to start on the eve of New Year), nevertheless I have resolved to blog as regularly as I can. Mid-terms start tomorrow, got to go and start studying….bye.