Archive | January, 2012


27 Jan

On a huge cloud, the colour of pink;
I heard it was the contest of juggling.
To make merry and show their skill
Stood a big funny gathering.

Amused, I gazed at one
wearing red boots and a head ring.
Weird cotton balls of all shapes
purple ovals, red circles, yellow squares
and green triangles – he juggled with ease

Soon the crowd turned towards her
One leg on the puff of cloud, one hand in the air
Round orange glasses and curly hair
Pinched myself to believe
As cans and bottles went from hand to foot
and foot to hand ceaselessly

Another wonder followed:
Young little angels in white
Danced around with rainbow hoopla
Eyes full of glee – Oh so bright.
They showed no signs of their burnt wings
and inability to fly.

Sights there were many –
Bubbles of fire, water, earth, wind and air
Balanced the green stout dwarf;
Pens, Pencils, Crayons and sketches
Can never forget,
How the twins were gliding and catching.

As I tried looking further,
The yellow glow grew.
Snapped out of the reverie
Eyes rubbing and blinking
Smiling in trance I sat still,
Realized even life I can juggle and balance at my will.



25 Jan

This seven letter word that starts from ‘D’

Ask anyone the meaning of the word, and you get different answers:

The physics geek says it implies “moving energy”.
The economist would say it describes the  ever-changing macro/micro environment.
The employer seeks this attribute while recruiting and the interviewee makes sure that he displays this particular trait while stating his positives.
It is applicable to electric, magnetic as well as computer technology
The spiritualist uses the word to describe the energy within us and surrounding us
The publicists make sure the new actor displays it on-screen or in papers.

You can use it anytime, anywhere to any advantage 😛






The all pervasive – Dynamic!

Here’s hoping people not only use it when they are at a loss of words/knowledge on any aspect but be truly dynamic in their thoughts and actions, get ahead of “What is” and create stepping-stones for the “new”.


The Marketing-Research Cusp

20 Jan

This is just one of the many contests floating around on Twitter (and other networking websites too) these days – a predictable fall-out of the Social Media penetration(actually – now expansion) – It really caught my eyes and I could not resist ruminating further.

A simple contest  by Cafe Coffee Day looks to me like an extension of Do-it-Yourself (DIY) research ( I am not sure whether it is intended or unintended). But this contest sure has an excellent multi-pronged usage:

1) Promotion of a new product,
2) Social Media Marketing (and hence, in my personal opinion current Word of mouth marketing) and increasing consumer connectivity,
3) Maintain and expand Loyalty,
4) Taste testing and Perception mapping – I agree, Perception mapping is not purely in its traditional, statistical approach but still, providing an image of the product and then seeking (collecting) Top-of-Mind reaction does give the coffee major a qualitative assessment of what their customers think of the new item. Additionally while traditionally taste testing meant contacting people, approaching them and then providing them with some incentive for taste testing, this is a kind of win-win situation where they assess consumer reaction, get a sense of the results with minimal cost and added marketing benefits.

Such promotion-research cusp essentially opens a huge scope for further creative ideas for marketers. However, there are certain pain points that I can think of:

1) Target – A very important aspect of traditional research/ data collection is that the sample ensures optimum representation of the average customer. But in this case, the followers have made the effort of searching  Cafe Coffee Day on Twitter themselves. Hence, in all likelihood they are ardent consumers of the chain. It is very difficult to track the demographic/ psychographic profile of the consumers from the website. Moreover, one also captures only the active social media user segment.

2) User Conversion – Also, a very important aspect of taste testing would be to convert non-visitors to their cafe into visitors. Hence, such taste-testing should be complemented with traditional research as well where one can test whether the new item would recruit new footfalls (especially with the growing cafe culture and growing competition in India)

3) Context – This medium of research also differs based on the context – We should keep in mind the Indian context where internet penetration stands at 7%-8%. Hence, we lose out on more than 90% people while carrying out research activities. The case would be entirely different in countries with high internet penetration.

In spite of the cons, this is just the beginning of social media exploitation for marketing. And even in the Indian context, think of a niche technology major or a study targeting marketers or journalists – Social Media is a great medium.
As for us, we need to think of the ways around these vices, which sure are present.

P.S : I have deliberately blacked out the tweets other than what I wanted to focus on.

Simply Stupid

20 Jan

Dance in the park,
Hop with the unknown kids,
A simple game of ring-around-a-rosy;
Or build your own land of fantasy.
Try being simply stupid.

Put on the yellow hat
with the pajamas and purple tee;
Who said you have to match it?
Ripples in the placid…
How fun it is- just try being simply stupid.

Amidst the wooden panels and sophistication
Spread your hands,
Glide across the bay to the board room;
Oh, for once shun the overt elegance, the formal cocoon;
Try being simply stupid.

Stop the car-give him a lift
An interesting chat on the way;
You may become friends forever..
I know, full of caution you used to be,
Listen to your heart and try being simply stupid.

Dark today could mean light tomorrow,
Question what is;
Armed with belief, stretch your faith
Who cares what would they say
Plate full of delicious opportunities and different tastes,
If you just try being simply stupid.


God of budding Flower, anyone?

17 Jan

Rs 25k reward for information on sex selection in state” – the latest scheme by Rajasthan Government to fight sex determination/ female foeticide and punish organisations and people involved.

I am not against the “yojna” but I am absolutely not convinced that it is the “Solution”

Sure, the government would be able to catch hold of people who engage in and in fact, aid and escalate such practices. The Government would be able to curb it to an extent ( two assumptions: corruption in this case would be negligible, government/ police authorities are not among the racketeers; one fact: there is always some goodness around)

But I am concerned about its effectiveness because this scheme is the treatment of an overt symptom and not the cause of the illness.

The root of the problem is “Gender Discrimination” – the deep-routed mindset in India that considers women folk to be of lower worth/ importance than men, which is shockingly present even among the most educated and respected people and sometimes in women themselves.

Now, till we fix this rotten seed, would such schemes be of any help?
Even if abortions are eradicated, the girl child would grow up in a family that does not respect the softer (and stronger) gender. The result can be as worse as Child/Forced marriage, Dowry, Less Education, etc. which leaves its effect on her whole life and persona.

I believe if each one of us can play ‘God’ to a girl we know (or to oneself, if you are a female), make small changes in ourselves and learn to speak up, such schemes would just not be needed.

Here is the quick top-of-my-head list:

1. Tell her a girl she can study as much as she wants. Help a girl seeking studied/ career guidance; Talk to her parents if they feel part-time job/ internship is not for her or if they are “allowing” her to study. Education is now a birth right, dear parents-who-say-that!
Don’t let her believe being a girl, she can take only so and so course – Motivate her by sharing stories of those who have made it in spite of odds one can think of. She can go and be the bread-earner or be the perfect home-maker or be an eclectic mix of both, if she so desires.

2. It does not always start and end at marriage. Yes, marriage is an important aspect of life but everything does not start and end at marriage. Do not take her to parties and social occasions just so that people can see her, take her if she enjoys them. Do not ask her to dress so that she looks thin and petite – she has every right to feel good. Teach her to cook and do household chores to become self-dependent and not because it is a sale-able quality in the marriage market.  And yes, she does not need to stop studying to get a suitable boy

And yes do tell her this – she does not have to be married to start working on her dream. The time to do anything is “right now”.

3. Let her believe. And sometimes when the surroundings are tough, make her believe in herself, not to accept things just because she is a woman. She can get ahead and fulfill all she desires with a little support from the family. A female is a juggler who knows she can balance everything she wants and can effectively include more tools in her juggling act as time passes.

4. Respect and trust her. It will build her self belief and would make others respect her too. She does not need to shy away from speaking up just because she is a female. Listen and make others listen.

And it will all come back to you full circle. Respect begets respect.

So, look around you and pick up your favourite bud and help her turn into a beautiful flower who is known for herself and not her father or brother or husband or son 🙂

P.S : I am not a feminist but an “equalist”. I realize I become too preachy at times 🙂

Give a ride!

16 Jan

Nope, it is not about car or bike rides or some God-forbid case when I got swindled or the countless rides we make to Government departments for the simplest of tasks.

This post is a result of the latest mental dilemma I faced which again led me to question  – What is the problem with simple logic? and/or Humble demeanour?

There is an uncanny symptom floating in the residential complex I live in – one of the symptoms of an ailment called “status maintenance by stupid actions” among few residents. There are hundreds of times when I stumble upon this ailment in the conduct of people. But “Recency effect” is forcing me to write about this particular symptom.

“The Anti-carpool syndrome”

Let me explain: There have been many occasions when I have seen several people going to the same place/ area/ marriage/ event. You would say what is new in that? It goes like this – The source and destination of these people are the same. Every family would take their cars but they won’t travel together. So there would be 4 cars leaving from a single complex for the same venue with 2,2,2,3 members respectively. So, simple mathematics – Total no. of people = 9; No. of cars =4; Fact – 5 people can easily accommodate in a self-driven car; So, taking 2 cars on that occasion would be sufficient.

But no one asks each other to travel together – “Bhai, hum to tashan aur shaan se jayenge”; “Jab hamari gaadi khadi hai toh kisi aur ko kyun poochhhe”, etc. is the logic I have heard on giving my innocent suggestion.

Sounds wierd? To me, it feels wierd. Stupid Logic. Period.

Why stupid? – Simple benefits of Carpooling. I am listing them out under three heads

1. Personal benefits – Dude, you are going to a party to socialize and enjoy, right? Why not extend it to your dear neighbours? Don’t they say – “Raat savere koi ho ya nahi ho, padosi hamesha hote hain.” Neighbours come before relatives.
I always remember my college days for this: when going to the institute, parties, birthday treats, movies, picnics, anyplace together – we would take our cars turn by turn, chart out the optimum route to pick up everyone and travel together, what fun it used to be! Songs, jokes, gossips, bullying the target of the day, stopping by those momo-shacks.Pure Bliss.
And believe me, experience tells me you can have as much fun with your neighbours minus the bullying. 🙂
Not to forget, you build upon  your social network, develop your communication and adaptability skills and your kids too learn the trick if they are accompanying (Warning: Make sure your kids are not the “paste-chewing-gum-on-seat” breed)

2. Financial Benefits – I need not mention, everyone saves on the petrol/ diesel and car maintenance expenses. You take your car this time, your neighbour will take the next time. Again, simple benefit. That reminds me of a mock-image I saw today: “2020- SBI giving Petrol loans”. And yes, you save on the parking charges too.

3. Environmental Benefits – And not at all the least, you contribute in doing your bit for combating pollution. 2 cars instead of 4 : pollution comes down by half. And an indirect benefit is less honking. So you end up fighting not only air but also noise pollution.

And in case, your car breaks down – you are not left alone 😛

Friendship, Camaraderie, Savings, Less socially harmful and Fun while travelling – what else do you want? So be selfish, “Go Carpooling”. As I said, simple logic. But many fail to understand.

And yes, if you are sensible enough and have neighbours/ colleagues with the aforementioned ailment – Be humble. Go, initiate. Give a ride yourself – Ask them if they would like to accompany you and set the trend.

Happy you. And Cleaner, Greener, Better India.

The spark in today’s trivial

12 Jan

Today was any other day …
The drill to get up, the small chores at home, the addiction to a switched-on laptop with umpteen web pages open, intact …
I came from my small afternoon walk, tired and breathless thanks to the abundant flab that loves me unconditionally – Curse them all you want but they won’t leave 😛
The door bell rang-Papa, and as often happens, he had stuff in his hand – a water pipe to replace the broken one for the plumber, bread, couple of other knick-knacks my mother would have asked him to bring and a couple of letters/ bills/ couriers.

I immediately pounced at him for the bunch of envelopes to be opened – the cause of attraction was a bright blue pack-and he immediately held his hands back ( Why is he is so tall?, huh!). After a short fight, I got hold of the envelopes (thanks to all other things he was holding in his hand) and attacked the bright blue one. 😀
It was nothing but some promotion material of a new establishment (that would be a topic for another blog), but it sparked a thought and a trail down the memory lane …
How I wish it would have been a letter sent by a loved one? – a small little surprise in that bright blue package.
And immediately my collection of small letters flashed in front of me – little nothings that mean a world to me –
letters written once or twice a year by one of my school friends, my sister’s experiences written neatly with an ink pen when she stayed alone for the first time, a rugged piece of paper torn from a note-book with a message from one of my best friends (sent from the other end of the classroom), an empty Tetley tea bag holder with “pagal”  written in it, scrapbooks, another best friend’s letter in the first year of work and more …

My graduation and post-graduation days were special – for the usual reasons? Yes, but there was more to it.
Birthdays – we worked no ends to make it special for everyone in the group. And the handmade gifts and surprises we thought of, in spite of no income and  the little pocket money we had! Football themed cake along with a football shaped black and white album filled with his baby pics and our comments for a soccer fanatic friend; taking the kid of the group to an old fort (after changing two/ three metros and a bumpy auto ride) with a handkerchief tied over her eyes, arranging twenty-one small gifts under a tree for her 21st birthday; working for months to contact a friend’s school buddies to get small personalized videos from them; heart-shaped handmade paper album sewn together with needle and thread containing printed posters of another buddy with top actresses and hilarious captions… and many more.

However tech-friendly we become, huge surprise parties we throw and cash we spend now, those moments were priceless!
We have all moved on to different places – studies, work, home and the practical life, some are in the country while some are outside – but wouldn’t they re-act the same way if a bright blue package knocks at their doorstep?
Yes, they would. So, go collect all the addresses and the next time you are very happy, having nothing to do or are just blue with no one to talk to – go grab some pieces of fresh crisp paper, pour your heart out, pack in a few old photographs, tie it with a ribbon and send across your bright blue package!

While I work on mine, until next time. Ciao.

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