Wednesday, 19 September 2012

June 3rd,1985 vs. Sept.3rd,2012

The only significance of these two dates is that these are the dates when a father (myself) and son started their respective careers.
The dates are being used as an indicator of, what seem to me, two different eras.
To me what seemed to be a privilege or an aspiration is today a birthright!
Firstly let’s compare communication…whew what a sea change. From the days of an old-fashioned public phone in our school hostel and, that too, in Housemaster’s office. There used to be long queues for those interested in talking to their families but the real problem arose when one wanted to talk to ‘personal friend’. There used to be a long drawn out silence…waiting for Housemaster to move out of the room.
And now, a personal phone with each student – to message, BBM, What’s App, Facebook … the list is endless.
The second remarkable change is in photography. From the big, bulky looking camera – one only and that too with rare families. Top it up with the trouble of focussing, shutter speed, buying reel and developing limited pictures at an exorbitant cost.
Now, we have smart digital cameras in each family and a camera in each mobile phone. Now shoot whatever, whenever, wherever and just upload and share!!!
Then comes Music…those were the days of LP records, record players… again to be found in lucky homes. Now we have music on phones, Ipods etc….choose your music, volume…it’s your world.
Most irritating part of our lives was booking of tickets…be it at railway stations or cinema halls. I remember standing for hours in queues and mostly when my turn came the window was shut in my face for lunch or urinal break!
Now book tickets online; choose seats, select meals all in the comfort of your air conditioned room.
Does anyone remember the thick airline ticket jackets? A prized possession for a rare breed, an aspiration for some and a source of envy for most.
Nowadays airports are crammed with people waiving insignificant looking e-ticket print outs.
If we move toward in-house entertainment; we have come a long way from Binaca Geet Mala on Wednesday nights on Radio Ceylon to special childrens’ programme on Sunday morning on AIR to now a bouquet of FM channels with no time limits. Kids are busy changing radio channels in cars than focussing on driving.
From the days of Chitrahaar on Wednesday and Friday evenings and Movie time on Sunday evening to an ever growing choice of channels, beaming 24 hours –your choice of genres .Also, not to forget youtube and torrents.
The whole scene is still in the process of evolution and the future is almost unimaginable. But of one thing I am quite sure. The same technology that makes the age gap between my son & I seem huge will ensure that the gap between him and his child will be much smaller. 

Monday, 21 May 2012

Yeh Hai IPL Meri Jaan!!

'Problematic', 'International' -IPL is accumulating names and controversies like never before.
IPL- V  is making headlines with fixing,rave parties,molestation,brawls etc.The fact that this has been the most closely fought IPL has been completely overshadowed.
We have seen brilliant stroke play,excellent fielding,some eye opening spin bowling from a West Indian and many matches getting decided in last over of the game - what more can a viewer / cricket lover ask for?

Alas,what is happening inside the stadium (during matches) is not spicy enough for the media to get eye balls and TRPs.The action on the sidelines and out of the stadium has created enough din that our politicos are clamouring to ban IPL.
By that logic we should ban Bollywood -as it has enough brawls,sensationalism happening across the year.And also state assemblies where members have been caught watching porn.What about the regular brawls happening in parliament and assemblies - where furniture and mikes are thrown at each other.

I am not,for a moment suggesting that these controversies emerging out of IPL- V should be pushed under the carpet.We must investigate and roll out justice as per the law.

What my piece is intending to elaborate is the gains from IPL:

1.IPL has packed a 2 months -3 hour entertainment capsule which comes free to millions of TV households.Just imagine the happiness it brings to those in remote areas who have no entertainment options.
2. It has brought the female folk into the cricketing fold.I have seen many females in the stadiums learning the nuances of  cricket during IPL matches.
3. Just imagine the business and job opportunities IPL generates for numerous people be it aviation,hospitality,security,branding,entertainment,retired cricketers,umpires...the list is never ending.
4. It brings into focus the unknown talent from India and abroad. Shane Watson,Shaun Marsh,David Warner,Pollard and so many other cricketers got into their national teams through IPL.
Our lesser known players who have graduated from Ranji trophy are sharing dressing room with the best in the world,the sharing of experience would do their confidence a world of good.
Today a Chris Gayle is not bothered whether he is selected for West Indies team as IPL,BPL etc.keep his bank account comfortable.Scott Styris has opted out of New Zealand  team citing depresssion but he is happy battling for Pune Warriors.
There are so many national and international retired cricketers who are turning out as commentators.Many deserving cricketers who are not being considered for national side have got an extended run -courtesy IPL(Murali Kartik,Sourav Ganguly,Balaji,Mithun Manhas to name a few).
5. IPL is contributing to social causes and has created a special fund for their benefit.
6.It has put Indian Tourism on World map.The matches being broadcast live in so many countries where people get a glimpse of India and are potential tourist.Word-of -mouth publicity is also being derived from the foreigners touring India for IPL.In a way IPL is helping Government in showcasing India to the World.
7. But the most important benefit arising out of IPL is of psychological nature.Now through IPL India is employing foreigners - cricketers,umpires,commentators,technicians,entertainers,cheer girls etc.The world is now looking at India with the same respect as we do to our employers.
The same cricketers who earlier used to shirk from touring India citing lack of facilities and lack of hygiene as the reason are now going ga ga on TV about beautiful stadiums,world class facilities,warm people which
is creating a positive outlook across the globe for our country.
This psychological change could never be brought about by any authority / body even after spending billion of dollars.

To conclude,let's salute IPL for all the positives and not blindly ask for it's ban but try to put check and measures to reduce the negativities.

Also,just look inwards before asking for a ban on IPL!

Monday, 23 April 2012

Fame at any Cost

One disease that’s spreading like wild fire is ” F 20”. Don’t get me wrong…it means Quick Fire FAME like T20 Cricket.

With Media spreading it’s tentacles and creating IMMEDIATE IMPACT, every Tom, Dick and Harry is using it as a short cut to make a mark in his / her profession.

Be it a politician, aspiring actress, sportsperson – no one is interested in working hard for success.

Media has created prominent politicians – who have to deliver controversial comments without bothering about the impact on the already sensitive social fabric.

Aspiring actresses happily pose half-nude and claim to go all the way if Indian Cricket team wins the cup, get splashed in media so much that a producer is encouraged to make a full movie on her life!!! What contributions has that new face made for Indian cinema or socially to deserve a full length feature film on her life? Think only that producer or Media has an answer for this.

Same is the story in Hollywood also. The aspiring actresses/models/singers walk into a party wearing sensational clothes, accidentally release their videos ( meant for private viewing) on internet and achieve instant stardom.

If Media doesn’t come to cover you, Twitter is the new medium to garner headlines. Make controversial comments, post your private pictures and Media will do the rest.

While people with substance do not resort to such tactics, it is new breed of hollow people who are manipulating the Media for their benefits and successfully so.

My simple question to our learned Media friends is that what is the credibility of such persons to deserve so much of coverage; and isn’t it the media's responsibility to project outstanding contributions rather than wasting paper and air time on hollow creatures.

I guess market dynamics have a major role to play, otherwise whole of India would have heard of Anna’s social contribution much before his Lokpal agitation!!

Monday, 16 April 2012

It's Good to be Good

Being humble, polite and being Human always pays in the long run. This is not some preachy sermon but the crux of my 49 years on this earth.

Whether in personal or professional lives, one should erase false barriers of designations, social status and relate to human beings as humans.

In professional life seniority, power of position or being the client may give you, momentarily, a false position of strength but it does not hold you good in the long run.

Similarly in personal life, however rich you may be or how strong your family is or you may be holding the enviable status of son-in-law; all this works for temporary ego massaging but does not ensure sustainability of relationships.

A strong bond is build with friends, family and business associates only when you become a part of their system and relate to them on their level.

I abhor the term ‘Networking’ – I think it is negative and a term for ‘relationships with terms and conditions’.
For me relationships built without any motive or without anticipating any benefit is of lasting nature.

It is commonly seen that we worship the chair more than the person sitting on the chair. People immediately remove names from their lists as soon as the ‘chair person’ is transferred or removed. Just try to remain in touch with such a person all through and mark my words-he will never forget you once he returns to his ‘chair’.

My pre-requisites for working towards a durable relationship are very simple and basic:
  1. One should go the extra mile in getting and then remembering all the important dates of the person… b’days, anniversaries etc. 
  2. We should be part of their celebrations but definitely give them support in their moments of sorrow.
  3. Be honest and transparent in the relationship.
These may appear to be very easy-to-do methods but are very time consuming and taxing. You have to work hard consistently to achieve good results.

I have maintained such relationships with a select band from my school (32 years), first job (27 years), family members (30 years) and I have received the same level of reciprocation, if not more.

The first boss who took my job interview, the person who gave name to my company, the relatives who are concerned about my parents welfare… or any other person who has supported me in my 49 years – they all are part of my inner circle. I will bend backwards to see smiles on their faces, will never forget them.

Having crossed 49, today I am a satisfied person. The time I have invested in developing my relationships has only given me happiness… barring the case of a few individuals who had nothing at all in common with me.

In personal life I have extremely good relationship with my relatives from age 8 to 80… to the point that the in-laws talk more with me than my wife.

I am thrilled to be part of FB and BBM group of my son’s friends where I exchange jokes apart from playing Sunday cricket. I know more about them than their parents and they keep me abreast with youth lingo and trends (so important for a Marketing person).

In my professional life I am in touch with most of my bosses (most of them now retired), wish them on b’days, festivals and enquire about their well being. Many people who have seen highs and lows in their careers can vouch for the fact that once associated, my relationship with them stays the same.

Such relationships built over last 26 years have been mutually beneficial and I am proud to state that I have met many like – minded individuals who have made me cherish and enjoy my professional journey.

Although meeting like-minded people is extremely important in building solid relationships, even in absence of that if you are consistent in your behavior – you may be able to convert ‘opposites’ into ‘likeminded’ individuals.

One should strive to be good, invest time and energy and you shall reap the benefits of strong lasting relationships. Wish you all happiness for all times!

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Indian Democracy - Tolerant or Weak?

We feel so good and proud when we are called the world's largest democracy.Many recent developments have raised certain questions - is our democracy alive and kicking or just an excuse!

Our democracy is tolerant when we play host to Afzal Gurus and Kasabs for more than a decade and are still undecided on their future because of vote bank politics.
We are  'Democratic' and use only Diplomatic channels of Talks and Negotiations even after being repeatedly kicked and abused by all our neighbors ( size of country doesn't matter to us).Our neighbors provide safe haven to all offenders against our country and also ensure that supplies of arms and ammunition is never interrupted for anyone who is willing to take on our Republic.
Every time a news item reports such deals,it is followed by pictures of our PM or FM exchanging pleasantries with leaders of such we are (of course) a largehearted democracy.

Our never-ending legal processes and weak-kneed responses have categorized us as a nation where you can get away with anything.We always hide behind our so-called 'Democratic Legal process -where law takes its own course'.

But all is not lost,we also have a very strong and intolerant side to our Democracy.
We suddenly change colors if anyone dares to attack the MOST POWERFUL FAMILY.
The whole government machinery gets activated super-fast and harassment process starts immediately.

CBI,Income Tax and all relevant departments start working overtime to dig out cases against such 'Offenders'.

We also start banning Social Media sites and also take strong offense against Public Debates on trivial issues like 'Corruption'.
In our Democratic system any debate outside Parliament is considered as 'Insult' and 'Dangerous' to democratic institutions.

All this leads to an apt and simple graphic representation of the situation.
Just go back down the memory lane and recall the old poll symbol of Congress party...yes Cow with calf.

Now a days we are using all undemocratic measures to protect this 'old and dated' symbol of the ruling party!

Our democracy -thus is very flexible besides being the largest.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Getting Personal

I have always been in a quandary on how personal I should get with others and also vice-versa.

Getting personal with others for me implies to first put them at ease, bring them on the same plane and then talk on one-to-one basis.

On the other side,if people get very easy with you, they start taking you casually and forget the fine line dividing personal and professional relationship.

One thing I personally abhor is while getting personal, shallow people start attacking others for what they feel that 'others' lack and they have in abundance.

A supposedly stinking rich person with half baked education and values has no right to put down another person in his close circle by commenting negatively on their 'purchasing power'.

Similarly,all these so-called 'plastic beauties' who spend lakhs on enhancing their photogenic features, at times trash others for being so 'plain looking' or for repeating their dresses!!

But friends, Getting Personal is not only about negativity, it has lots and lots of positives-only the 'touch' has to be really 'personal'.

I have few simple examples from my daily life which i practice repeatedly because of the RESULTS of personal touch.

The formula is very simple-just start giving NAMES to all the faceless people you meet through the day and you will feel the difference.

I venture out of my home at 6.15 am and am greeted by a loud NAMASKAR by the colony guard and Street cleaning guy; I reply with equally vociferous NAMSKAR...their name and add kaisey ho aap?
The smile lights up their face, i am treated as royalty and street in front of my home is much cleaner than others.
Recently I had booked a Radio Taxi and got customary message from operator giving cab and driver's details.As soon as the driver called,I greeted him by taking his name and believe me I got so much respect through my 45 minute journey that cannot be bought by paying huge tip also.

If we know our boundaries, Getting Personal is an experience we surely will cherish for ever!

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Arrogance = Downfall

Two recent incidents have fortified my belief that Downfall definitely follows Arrogance!
The no.1 Test Team of the world thought that they can sleep walk and still retain their ranking. Solid hammering by England must have blown away many egos and perhaps shown them that you have to work harder to retain the Top Slot.
They reached England after having tough time against not-so-fancied West Indians and after only a 3-day tour opener, they walked straight into Test matches against a side who preferred to miss many a lucrative opportunities and focused on dethroning India.
Contrast this with their last tour Down Under, where they reached much in advance, took time to get acclimatized and prepared to win the tough tour.
The lesson is clear, you have to keep on working hard, sharpen your skills, out-think and out-play opposition.
You cannot just rest on past laurels and whenever you get free time either take rest or practice instead of giving those precious hours to sponsors.
The second instance is the way UPA government has handled Anna-Ramdev-Anna recently.
While on ground all democratic norms have been totally overlooked, it is the blatant ARROGANCE of all UPA spokespersons in Media that has pained me a lot.
They seem to have forgotten that we are still a democracy and that they have been elected by us to ensure our welfare and not fill their own coffers.
The second innings of UPA and lack of credible opposition has led them to believe that they are the SUPREME POWER and the only option available.
All their spokespersons come with a distinct agenda which they follow blindly and ruthlessly. In most of the debates they either have got into tiffs with others or have used un-parliamentary language or have rebuked the correspondents.
What they have not done is to provide their voters correct and consistent information. Their stance swings like a pendulum.
With their arrogant behaviour, they now seem to have lost all respect for all democratic institutions and come across as clearly unprepared and as a party which thinks MIGHT IS RIGHT.
While our Cricket team ruled only for 20 months, it will be interesting to see when ARROGANCE will show similar fate to UPA.