Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Branding for PSUs

Couple fo days back on a misty morning at 6, was waiting at the Kolkatta airport waiting for an Alliance Air ATR to take me to Guwahati for a key meeting . The flight was delayed for around an hour. Since I hadn't slept the previous night it would have been too risky to try and sleep at the lounge. There was a clear chance that I would not wake up to my cell alarm. Hence I decided to take a walk around the airport having one coffee per 15 minutes. That is when I saw this rather interesting ad of Indian.
"We do things that other airlines don't - for our nation - like flying to earthquake affected areas, flood hit far flung airports. We evacuate stranded passengers from strife torn foreign lands. Because we work for the nation"

Today I saw an ad for SBI in TOI/Eco Times whose brief was something as follows :

"We would rather open branches in remote areas in our country to serve you than build plush offices for ourselves. Hence we have reach at every corner of our nation"

Interesting takes on existence of PSUs. I am suitably impressed on the messages. I think there is an element of truth in these messages. But would the customers be impressed ?

I had stayed at ITC's Shonar Bangla property while at Cal. They mailed me couple of days later asking me to fill their feedback form on service/food/bar etc. They said they would donate a sum to an orphanage if I would send back the feedback. Most of the other hotel chains would ask for a feedback and say you could be a lucky winner. I never used to reply to the feedback mails but this time I did. Partly ofcourse because I thought Shonar Bangla Sheraton was one of the best hotels I've ever checked in (both in India and abroad). But more importantly I really liked the way they inspired me to fill the form. Excellent service followed by a social "utility" message - icing on cake.
Icing has to be on cake.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

The Departed !!

In between Kalimpong, Noni, the retired judge, Sai and Mutt and the beauty of Himalayas well imbued in the beautiful Desai scripted Man Booker Winner I & a friend of mine decided to see The Departed. I was planning to write about Inheritance of Loss and recommend it without any doubt. But be warned that I'm biased in favor of Indian authors and Man Booker prize winners. So it would eb doubly biased in favor of the very Arundhati Royish Desai novel too.
But The Departed is being recommended in a very unbiased manner. THE Best movie of the year. And up there in my all time Top 15. Not yet a Pulp Fiction, but almost there.Though the story (taken from an HK production) is not top class by itself, the direction, acting and above all the dialogues make it up there among the greatest. Each and every character has done a great job. An ABSOLUTE MUST WATCH.

"No human had ever seen an adult giant squid alive, though they had eyes as big as apples to scope the dark of the ocean, their was a solitude so profound they might never encounter another of their tribe. The melancholy of this situation washed over Sai" From The Inheritance of Loss, Kiran Desai

Thursday, September 28, 2006

What should you do with your life ?

We have all met them. We are them. Them who says," My dream to spend a perfect day would be to sit overlooking a valley in Kenyan forests, high up in a rooftop hut sipping Malibu or kahlua, looking at the Gazelles underneath and listening to the roars of lions & flowing water at a distance.” Funny thing is we never do most of these things even though we can do them!
I had always wanted to be a forest ranger! I wanted to take CAT so that I would study at IIFM Bhopal (Indian Institute of Forest Management) but then made that “Let me make money first and then pursue the dreams” jig. So I went to IIM A and uploaded all wild life movies and safari videos into my comp and enjoyed life. Way things are today, I can afford going to Africa and doing what I wanted at least once a year. But the whole point is that I am not a forest ranger!!! I’m OK overall – cause I’ve a dream job which is fulfilling, intellectually stimulating with a bunch of folks who are fun to work with. But I know of people who are such good photographers or excellent artists who end up writing software codes all their life. People who are as much in love with forests and wildlife treks as I am, ending up selling construction materials in Dubai.
Like an ode to the zillions of us read this article. Nicely written. Must read !

Monday, September 04, 2006

Croc Hunter is No More !!!

Steve is no more - killed at Barrier reef by a sting ray.
That dents the fun on the occassion when Kerala is celebrating Onam. Personally for me as well as all the wildlife enthusiasts the world over.
Wishing you all a happy and prosperous Onam and may Steve rest in peace. We love you Steve and you gave us all many many awesome memories through Discovery as well as other docs.
Today is also Teacher's Day and the Ganpathi eve...So many things happening. Me just going to a place in Fort to have Kerala food. Yummy !!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Japan to raise rates !!

In first time in close to 20 years Japan is looking forward to a rate hike....That essentially a big step from the CB at Tokyo. Ofcourse the key issues for Japanese remains how to make their ageing generation whose main productive years were spent in the gloom of recession to get back to their "youthful" spending ways !! It definitely is not going to be on condoms !! With rate hikes looming on a large number of economies all that talk of Jap hedge funds taking a huge liking for emerging markets seems to be a trifle hyped up. Let us see how things go there. Cheers for the Japs !!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

On Cloud 9 !!

Back to Mumbai. Same lively feel. Excitement unabated even in the crazy rains and marauding high tides. My office being in 22nd floor, I can see clouds flying out across my huge window panes. The sea, which is clearly visible beneath is invisible today - just a misty landscape. Surreal. On the other side of the office the Island City too is coccooned in mist and cloud. From this height the building around and far away are just some huge structures as if in an LOTR movies. Time to time a sea gull and other sundry large birds fly around increasing the beauty of the picture.
Started of the weekend with shopping followed by Cafe Mondegar on Saturday night.Same old everything. Very nostalgic. Sunday was at Leopold. Less nostalgic there. Things seems to have gone from good to bad at Leo. Average service and selections.
Anyways it has been a great home coming !! But for the fact that Brazil and Argentina went out of world cup things have been amazingly exciting and great.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Dreaming still or reality ??!

During my IIM B interview, the panelists after explaining why IIM B is better than IIM C for industry interactions as well as consulting to small scale industries asked me,
"So Suhas, let us say you are going to live in an ideal world for the next two years and if everything were to go as you would dream in your most optimistic dreams, where do you see yourself two years down the line ?"
Just to toe the optimistic fantasy line I laughed and said," I would get into IIM A, would go on to top the batch and get a gold medal there & would join McKinsey and Co as a consultant!!". Understanding that I had played the optimistic fantasy line too far the panelists also laughed !
Two years down the line I am glad I got atleast two of the three dreams played out for real in my life ! I did go to IIM A !! And now I have got an offer to join McKinsey and Co !!
I also understood the power of dreams!!

"I realize, small aim is a crime" - Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam

Monday, March 06, 2006

Placements - Get, Set, Go !

The D Day is here ! The annual spectacle starts tomorrow at IIM A ! Probably the second biggest in it's history after 2000. This one is going to be one helluva ride !! The feeling is same as you have when you sit on a roller coaster waiting for the final kid or family to get in for the operator to close the handle and pull the plug ! Or Brazil versus France, or the India- Pakistan quarters.
Personally I am cut off from the thrill slightly cause I'm going in with downside protected (Thanks to a PPO) :)...May it go well for the whole batch !

N.B At last count more than 50% of IIMA guys shift from their first job in an average of 6 months. SO much for the spectacle !! But that is a different story hunh !! :))

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Africa, I Love you !

Just finished reading Chinua Achebe's classic "Things Fall Apart" which speaks of the vibrant culture in a village Umuofia in (Probably Western) Africa and how the life of fun loving people around here is affected by Christianity. It showcases how amazingly colorful and in depth the African culture was before the whiteman and his all savoring religion branded it as the "Dark Continent".

Achebe fiercely resents the stereotype of Africa as an undifferentiated "primitive" land, the "heart of darkness," as Conrad calls it. Throughout the novel he shows how African cultures vary among themselves and how they change over time.
It is the white missionary's inability to recognize that the Africans did not wish to change which leads to the breaking up of the villages in this region. The missionaries represent the ruthlessness of the white man in Africa. The villagers were asked to be obsequious to the white man and his religion or suffer the consequences. The way they force their world view on the natives clearly shows how forecful impingement of religious/cultural dogmas can ruin lives and ways of living. Most of the "developments" that the christians were trying to bring forth could be classified as "modernisation and routing evil" from the African society if we define the ways of west as "modern and eminently acceptable for humanity".

Keeping aside any of these larger issues the beauty of Achebe lies in anecdotes, songs and adages prevalent among the natives. COuple of which comes quickly to my mind is - one a lyric and nother a story about mosquito and ear !
Once a mosquito wanted to marry an ear. Ear said," How can I marry someone like you who has such an ephimeral life?. I dont know in how many hours u would be dead or be killed?". Thus rejected by the ear mosquito took a vow that whenever it shall meet the ear, it shall hum around it to make it acknowledge its vibrant life ! An to this day it stays !!!
And the lyric was (with my own naughty modifications;))

When I hold her hand, she says,"Dont Touch".
When I hold her feet, she says,"Dont Touch"
But when I hold her full grown breasts,She pretends not to know !!

Achebe's is "hold her waist beads, she pretends not to know - which is though equally naughty would be lost on readers who might not know the connection between waist beads and making love in Africa. Hence this destruction by yours truly !!)

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Its bliss at A !!

Chaos, our cult fest starts tomorrow. College is ready for 4 days of fun with Jal, Strings, Indian Ocean, Shivamani etc. Sidin has left consulting to become a full time writer. The last time we met (couple of weeks back) he had hinted it but we never thought it would be so soon !! Am sure he is gonna be a successful writer. So we have now someone along the Rashmi Bansal lines from our college. In another news, another friend of mine got into a software firm for a humungous 16 L per annum salary !! Two incidents at two different levels of spectrum...one leaving a 10+ L job for writing which would be a highly unstable but inspiring profession (which shall keep him "happy"!) and another one taking a high paying job in an industry which I would at best say too stable and boring for my liking !! That also leaves me with a sense of "What is to be done in the next 2 months?" when I too shall have to take a call on my career ! I do have an offer from a consulting firm so that I can take a few risky calls given that my downside is limited ! But at the end of the day I know I dont have the guts of Sidin to take up a job as a wildlife guard or a cricket administrator (two jobs which would closely come to what I would call dream!!). I would mostly take a very conventional job atleast out of campus and see where it takes me. But for sure I want to spend couple of years in forests either in India itself or going back to Africa. The day I left Tanzania & Kenya I had decided that I would go back to spend some time associated with forest conservation and eco tourism. Kerala itself would present me with some opportunities. So all in all I'm inspired enough by Sidin to think of these alternatives but not enough to get into these presently. I'd rather have one more brand in my CV (sic) before I do that !! Life is definitely worth living to its fullest. Thats what we would be doing for the next 4 days atleast !!!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Going home !!

I am going to Kerala. Taking a week break before starting the preparations for the Final Placements which would mark the last fight at A !! Since I have only 2 classes over the next 9 days and that too law (which is as interesting as a fully clothed Mallika Sherawat) I thought I'd rather spend it with my family - having hot dosas and watching India Pak series. It was a sudden decision when day before yesterday I looked at my time table and discovered that there are only Law classes left for the next 2 weeks !!
Chaos, IIMA's cultural fest will start on 27th. Check out our pseude looking website. I'm sure it was not designed inhouse ;) Cuz it looks good !!