Khaas Indori Conversation

An Indori guy just walked past, so I thought I would find out what he was up to.

"Where are you going, my friend," I asked.

"To have a poha, come along," he said. We ended up having a kachori alongside the poha..but that's another matter. I wanted to know where he planned to go next.

"Angrezi (English) Classes hain yaar, he said. Aajkal angrezi seekhna bahut zaroori hai."
I agreed wholeheartedly, in English.

I asked him what his ambition in life was. He was pretty clear - "a government job," he said.

"What kind of a job? What do you want to do there?"I wanted to know more.

He looked surprised. "I'll do what others do in a government job."

I started having nightmares. I saw Soorma Bhopali of Sholay fame saying something like "Do rupaye mein license banwaane aaya hai? Kahaan kahaan se chale aate hain..?" to a visitor in a government office, chewing paan while he said it..luckily, I woke up before the nightmare became more graphic. This conversation actually never happened.


Lucknowi Andaaz

We have the last bastion of good behaviour, Lucknow, still standing amidst the falling standards of good behaviour in our country. This was an encounter with one of its citizens. (In Hindi/Urdu)-

Me: Aap ki taareef?

Lucknawi: Ama, hum apni tareef nahin kiya karte. Phir bhi, aapne poochha to bata hi dete hain, is nacheez ko Banda Nawaz kehte hain.

Me: Aap ko nahin lagta Nawaz sahab, ki Uttar Pradesh hud se zyada badh gaya hai, aur ise chhota karna chahiye, taaki woh tarakki kar sake?

BN: Logon ko Awadh ki biryani khane se fursat mile tab  hi to soch paenge hum iske baare mein?

Me: Aaj kal ki shaayari ke baare mein aap ka kya khayal hai?

BN: Dard wahi hai, sahab, magar shaayar nahin rahe jo use bayaan kar saken.

Me: Zubaan se to aap Nawaab lagte hain. Karte kya hain?

BN: Sahi farmaya aapne janab, magar sirf zubaan ke hain..warna aapki sahi khaatirdaari na karte?

Me: Kyun sharminda kar rahen hain mujhe? Bahut shukriya aapki zarranawazi ka,..phir mulaqaat hogi kabhi..



Faster Fene- Film Review

This Marathi film is about a childhood hero of mine, a teenaged boy who likes to solve mysteries, and gets embroiled in them. I enjoyed it immensely, and will recommend it to anyone who likes the genre. It is subtitled in English, so it should be accessible to Non-Marathi speakers.

The higher education mafia is the subject of this movie, and how Banesh " Faster" Fene gets to the bottom of it, with help from an ex-small time thief (a kid) and a female journalist on a crime beat in education!! The hero's character is very tech-savvy, and uses all available digital techniques-endearing (to me).

A master-stroke is the induction of a character who is the actual author of the Faster Fene series- Mr. B.R. Bhagwat, played brilliantly by Dilip Prabhawalkar, a veteran Marathi actor. The suspense and action mostly keep you on the edge, and the tussle between the villain and Fene is interesting and fast-paced.

Amey Wagh fits the bill for the title role. The kid and the girl are good in their supporting roles. A must-watch for anyone who know the character from, their own childhood.

My view about Marathi films is that they have changed a lot, for the better. Hope this trend continues.


Blog Crosses 450000 Views

What keeps you going may be different, but I think blogs/books/conversations keep me going. This blog has been going on for a few years now, and if the readership figures are correct, it seems to get an average of 100 hits a day.

I have also come across a few great blogs along the way, and I want to name a few of them.

Parul Kashyap Thakur's is one of them (she's a former student of IMT Nagpur). Another is a of a cartoonist, Satish Acharya, and one more is that of Vinod Ekbote, who goes book-shopping at Abids in Hyderabad every Sunday. Sowmyashree Gonibeedu also writes poetry on hers.

Harimohan is the one who introduced me to blogging, and he has a very good one. I think every one has a blog inside him/her, but only some choose to write it down. Here's to more people doing it!



Skills You Need

I am all for building skills (This is not a serious post on the subject, in case you are wondering). So the only question is, which skills do we need for survival in today's rough-and-tumble world?

No. 1 would be the Selfie-taking skill

You don't exist unless you are on some social media. Your existence (in peoples'minds) is correlated with the number of selfies you post, preferably with a pout. If you post other pics, ten of them count as equal to one selfie. Get it? There are now phones with two cammeras on each side, so you have no excuses.

No. 2 would be Linguistic Skill.

Yo, bro. Have you met your bae recently? No go? etc...it's called being in tune with the times, and not besura.

No. 3 would be the Ability to Forward

We are not talking Hockey or Football here. Whether it's WhatsApp, facebook, or Insta, you are a nobody unless you can hit the forward button a few times in a day (or night, if you prefer). Again, it is mainly to let your friends know you are alive, and not watching GoT 24x7 when you actually are.

No. 4 would be your Ability to make a Mountain out of a Molehill

Ok, I will simplify this. Say, u are at a mall and getting bored. You have to only Check in, as if in a plane, or attach an unrelated GIF, or anything that sounds like fun, and post it online. It creates the impression that you are a fun guy/gal with no worries in the world.

Ditto for airports (the most boring places on earth?), bad movies (Yayy, I am watching the latest MSG film-what a handsome hunk!)..

No. 5 is your Ability to Craft a Consistent Image

Out of all this, you must be consistent. If it means you ahve to come across as being crazy (or permanently pouted), so be it. If it is to be a supersonic traveller (here today, on the moon tomorrow, again..so be it)

Finally, you need some sense of humour, to appreciate the above, Mr/Ms. reader..





Harvey Weinstein

There has been a lot of positive spinoff from the Weinstein scandal, and we are at least more aware of the extent to which females are routinely harassed by male colleagues, friends or relatives. This could be step one. If we were under the illusion that it was an emerging market phenomenon, it now stands corrected. Some of Hollywood's most known were targeted. And in the Clinton era, the vulnerable interns who worked for him.

The reasons why women who are harassed don't complain are also generally similar. They are afraid that they will not be taken seriously in a  male-dominated society. The fight usually gets ugly if it gets to a court, with lawyers raking up unrelated issues. In a country like ours, unfortunately, the woman if single, may not be able to find a husband-again, the same patriarchal problems.

Hopefully, the opening up of near and dear ones will at least give courage to more women to oppose unwanted attention (or worse), and stop many attempts in their tracks (and men to support them when they speak up). In a Utopian world, molestation should not happen. But then, we don't live in one.


Golmaal - Not Again!

Golmaal hai bhai sab golmaal hai, is an apt way to start this review. Story golmaal hai, script golmaal hai, actors bahut saare hain, magar roles golmaal hain.

This is what they call a potboiler. But Manmohan Desai was the Boss when it came to potboilers. Just watch Amar Akbar Anthony to see how you can knit together an unbelievable story line and still entertain for 3 hours.

This has too many actors, for one. So their screen time is divided into minuscule bits, not giving anybody a chance, really...Neil Nitin Mukesh gets the really raw deal. They try, though, and there are a few sparks. The music is horrible. Johny Lever's Hyderabadi airline safety announcement was a highlight for me.

The slapstick didn't work for me, particularly in the first half, which is way too long. One of the many questions I had in the second half was- if the ghost had the power to wring a confession out of the culprit, why did you need the rigmarole of an elaborate plan to do it any other way? Well, I don't expect an answer, because there isn't any logic..only (Rohit Shetty) magic!

Lanka Images 3- A Temple

 I liked the pillars. The Buddha statue is serene, and there's an elephant tooth- a recurring theme. All these pics are from the Gangaramayya Temple in Colombo.
 Looking out from the left pavilion.

 A rich tapestry of colour adorns the walls.

 Some more wall decoration.

 This is an unexplained combination of two figures with multiple heads.

 Looking down at one of the halls.

 ..and looking up at the top of another...multiple statues. Decorative door, copper coloured.

This is one of the many murals on the outer wall on the right.

Lanka Images 2- Craft Shopping

Or should I call it crafty shopping? Any which way, it was interesting to visit this showroom, Laksala, which calls itself Sri Lanka in a Shop. Located on Baudhaloka Mawatha off Galle Road in Colombo, it is a beautiful store to visit, even if you don't want to buy.

 At the entrance.
 Store window displays that welcome you..

 Fascinating variety of masks.
..and a pic from inside the store, which reminds you of Cauvery Handicrafts in Bangalore. It has a lot of good stuff made by Lankan craftsmen in a wide price range.

Lanka Images-1

 On the rocks.
 This was a comedy act at the dinner hosted by the conference organisers. Yours truly also participated in the proceedings, by singing a song.
 On a track, by the sea..
 Losing yourself in the loo?
 Live action of Fanni Wong presenting, Jayasimha chairing.
And to unwind from the strain, we went shopping..towards the showroom called Laksala. More on that in the next episode..see you soon.

Traffic Jams- How to Utilise Them

The country's competitiveness and GDP can grow if we do the following (choose any two) during a traffic jam.

Invent a new product. Who says you have to be sitting on the "think tank" in order to think? You can use a traffic jam.

Think of 5 ways to kill your boss-he's the one hampering your productivity, right? (We didn't promise that it would be good for you-only for the country)

Throw apples at the passersby..the demand for apples will directly go up..you can also choose tomatoes, if they are selling at 100 bucks a kilo.

Honk until your battery goes dead..demand for car towing services will increase, and therefore,....

Order a takeaway pizza and desrcibe your location as the ---- jam..he'll understand, he'll deliver..you have managed to contribute your mite to mitigate the unemployment problem.

Write a resume/autobiography/poem/..circulate them to the other people in the jam.you may get lucky and find a publisher among them..or an employer..

Digital Marketing Course- Second Edition

Just started teaching the Digital Marketing course for its second run. In between last year and this year, two important things happened.. a team of our students (Kalaivani and team) won the Google Online Marketing Challenge for Asia Pacific..I happened to be their mentor. Second, I ran an MDP at IIM Indore on Digital Marketing, attended by several participants from industry.

Looks like we are going great guns with this year's edition too. Should be exciting, with a lot of exercises packed into the course, including creating a blog and populating it. And making a video ad film. Nothing like live projects to liven up a course, as I learnt during my MBA!

This course also runs at our Mumbai campus for part-time and full time students. Looking forward to that too.


Marketing Research Presentations Humour


Marketing Research presentations to their client can be a good example of double-speak! See below-

The data is quite rich in detail, so we have 43 charts
Hopefully you won't notice that the results are totally inconclusive

42% buying intention is not bad taking everything into account
Golders Green is probably not a prime market for Pork Scratchings

Consumers mature into your brand
Your customers are dying like flies

This free newspaper enjoys 80% readership in its distribution area
Most people have to look at it while picking it up to throw it away

The car has above-average appeal to company car owners
No one is going to pay with their own money for this rust heap

The image ratings remained stable between the pre-check and post-check
The advertising made no impression whatsoever

The results are correct within 95% statistical confidence limits
The results don't make sense

There was a significant increase in advertising awareness
Sales remained static

There was an increased level of buying interest
See above

We see a clear pattern
It's inconclusive

A clear trend might be emerging
Let's do some more research

The underlying concept gets a green light
The actual product was rejected

It needs fine tuning
Scrap it

Those who read the body copy found it extremely persuasive
Hardly anyone read the body copy

Message comprehension focuses on four distinct themes
The audience doesn't know what to make of the advertising

Once noticed, the pack communicates evocative attractive images
It went unnoticed

Message comprehension was good
Some of the audience could read

We must allow for rough production values
The proposed advertising is incomprehensible

The advertising takes the philosophical high ground
The advertising is pretentious twaddle

The body copy succeeded in conveying a hi tec image
The body copy was totally incomprehensible


Marketing-speak


These are borrowed, I forgot from where

Customer loyalty
Inertia

Customer loyalty schemes
Bribes

Customer satisfaction
Not made ill or swindled

Satisfied loyal customers are the lifeblood of our company
Why bother with a thank you gift to customers? They've already given us their money

93% customer satisfaction
Most of the dissatisfied customers have left

We have a well-defined niche presence in the market
We don't have enough customers

Target marketing
Those with a pulse

Direct marketing
Junk mail

Database marketing
Targeted junk mail

Database relationship marketing
Personalised junk mail

e-database marketing
Junk e-mail, without postage costs

Does this comply with the Financial Services Act 1987?
Can we get away with it?

Financial adviser
Someone who invests your money until it's all gone

For the benefit of our customers
For our benefit

Customer service department
Keeping complainants at bay

All our operators are busy with customers at present
The other operator is off sick

Down-sizing
Redundancy

Dumb-sizing
Firing the marketing department

Suggestion box
Shredder

ISO 9000
Mediocrity you can rely upon

Added value
More expensive than supermarket own label in order to pay for the advertising

Premium quality
See above

Jumbo, Large, Medium
Medium, Minute, Microscopic

Sun-kissed avocados
Rapidly-rotting avocados

Traditional
Old fashioned

Old fashioned
Prehistoric

Customers wouldn't understand it
I don't understand it

We are always on the look-out for new ideas
What successful case-histories do you have on this?

Originality is essential in our business
We are always looking out for new ideas in calendars

We don't want to be too elitist
Balloons, T-shirts and fluffy dice will do the trick

You can't make changes until you're elected
Tell the prospective client what they want to hear, even if it's wrong

Mystery shoppers
Pseudo shoppers easily identified by sales staff because of their asinine enquiries

We know our staff perform because we conduct mystery shopping
See above

We're sorry you were disappointed in our product
There's nothing wrong with our product, it's your attitude that's wrong

We seem to have a breakdown in communications
You disagree with me

On Keeping a Beard

Why do people grow a beard? This question has haunted me and Gillette for decades. Not sure of Gillette, but my research points at the following-

To save on shaving expenses and pain (sorry, Gillette)

To study the growth of microbes, bacteria in a bearded environment, right under your nose

To look like your bearded hero (who they are eludes me for the moment)

To differentiate youself (a beardo) from a weirdo

To keep the total hair (neck upwards) constant, particularly as you advance in age -heck, I must be in this category now, just had a birthday too.

So what do I do? To grow or not to grow, THAT is the question.


These are a few of my Favourite Things

Exquisite PJs..my first love.

Newspaper. From the days when writer quality was excellent.

Mirchi bajji..all Andhravadus like this.

Sabudana khichdi/vada..all ghatis are fond of this.

Single Malts- an acquired taste.

Tea- Fits me to a 't'- Irani chai is the best.

Biryani- inevitable Hyderabadi addiction

Humour- Love it. Ultimate test of people. Wodehouse and Asterix, ah!

Books- mystery, non-fiction.

Pics- They tell a story.

Chats. FB is fine. Real ones are even better.

Cinema- Bollywood -with all its warts- comes first. Next is world cinema, Bergman, Irani films, Japanese films, Hollywood,..

Gaane- especially Kishore Kumar.



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