Friday, December 31, 2010
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
வழியில் அவளெதிரே நின்றான் - பின் அவளை
It was an eventful year for Tamil Cinema. A 'thalaivar' movie made the entire nation turn Robo-maniac! Few movies reiterated 'a good story can be the real hero' (E.g. Mynaa, Angaadi Theru, Vamsam). On the other hand, light comedies without strong story lines were well received as well (E.g. Boss, Goa, Tamil Padam etc). As usual, some movies with good star performance couldn't do well in box-office (esp. Raavanan, Ratha Charithram). While the old age heroes (Rajini & Kamal) did their part well, the new age heroes (read Vijay & Ajit) terribly disappointed their fans. A good year for the Sivakumar sons!
Here is my listing of top 10 movies:
- 10. Naan Mahaan Alla: The second half just pulled it down to 10th spot. The good performance by Kaarthi and the interesting theme made the film escape with a spot in top 10.
- 9. Paiyaa: Screenplay was the hero. Decent performance by actors with some beautiful songs helped the movie. Lingusamy (my university alum!) didn't disappoint audience like he did with Bheema!
- 8. Raktha Sarithiram: Brilliant performance by Surya. But just the replica of the first part in Hindi. Somehow the movie couldn't gel well.
- 7. Manmadhan Ambu: We expected much more from the Kamal, KSR combo. Nevertheless it wasn't bad. Watchable once!
- 6. Raavanan: Oh, this is the third movie with a killer combo (Maniratnam & Vikram) but bombed in box office. Made it to top 10 thanks to good performance and excellent cinematography.
- 5. Thamizh Padam: An awesome entertainer by the debutant director Amudhan. Completely refreshing.. Every time you watch it!
- 4. Boss Engira Bhaskaran: "Nanban da" - watta tag line! No story, No tears, No logic! Just did the magic of making everyone in the theater laugh!
- 3. Singam: Can easily be rated the best masala movie of the year, with all ingredients of a full-fledged entertainer. Superb performance by Surya as well! Full Paisa Vasool!
- 2. Vinnaithaandi Varuvaaya: The best romantic movie of the year. Technically superior movie with brilliant performance and the interesting screenplay made it almost to the top slot.
- 1. Enthiran: Whatever said and done, it's a Rajni movie. The Numero Uno has to none other than the thalaivar. Not to forget the effort from technicians, quality animations in tamil cinema, the buzz it created and the budget!
The following 5 movies may very well could have been the top 10 but I couldn't watch them fully:
- Angaadi Theru
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Her parents had all the money to buy the toys. But she never played with them. She was expressionless most of the times and didn't react much when people speak to her. When she joined the kindergarten, her teacher and the fellow kids thought she was deaf and dumb. But people soon found that she was more intelligent than many other adults. She read books and spoke like an adult (if at all she spoke!). Why is she like that?
She never got much attention from her parents - the busy business man and the ambitious journalist. It was the grandma who looked after her till the age of 4, after which she liked to be away from Grandma as well. Her parents would hardly speak to her. By the time they were back home, she would be locked inside her room. Her mom was very upset why she wasn't like any other child - when the mom expressed her concern, the kid would simply end the conversation saying "Don't worry, I am well taken care of!". Of course, she doesn't speak to her dad or the servants. Does she talk to anyone at all?
The answers were revealed on the Christmas eve of 1995. Like every other year, the house was well decorated for the Christmas party. No wonder there were many friends for the business man and the journalist. Everyone was having fun while the girl was missing. In the evening, mom saw her when she was dressed in a white gown like an angel. As usual, the girl didn't utter a word in spite of mom's continuous chatter.
Nobody felt she was missing as it was not unusual for people to miss her presence. It was when the dog brought the girl's watch from God knows where. Mom went berserk with grief - She searched all through the house but in vain. Slowly the news reached the ears of everyone in the party. 100 suggestions and 100 comments from all the directions!
The dad was deeply contemplating on calling up his friends for help. There came the ring!
The man on the other side, "Hello. I am Dr. John from 13th Avenue. Is there someone unwell at home?"
Dad felt like hanging up saying it was wrong number but he continued "I don't get you!"
"Hmm.. there is this little girl at my home asking me to visit her home.. to check her elder brother," the doctor revealed.
Intrigued, dad asked "Is the girl approx. 5 years old? Is she wearing white gown? But you see, I have only one child! She does NOT have any siblings!"
"Er, I don't know about siblings. But she looks like a 5 year girl... yeah, she's in white gown!"
Dad and mom rushes to the hospital in their Benz. She was forcibly brought back home.
The girl was very upset that her parents didn't care about her brother as well. He was supposedly lying in her room with high fever. He was the world to her! The caring brother visible only to the little girl!
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Is it patriotism? Is it money? Is it fame? Is it ego? Is it satisfaction? Is it a sense of purpose?
Hmmm.. apparently, the most powerful force behind the soldiers' motivation is friendship. They see their friends, with whom they have spent their life 24x7, lying next to them, lifeless with eternal silence or screaming with acute pain for life. The adrenalin rush the soldier experiences can make him do the impossible! This is also well portrayed in the recent movie -
Oh, yeah! The director of the Ranjni film also used this logic to magically transform Manikkam into Baadsha.
Sunday, August 29, 2010
Kalladi: Tamil equivalent for "Hit with Stones". I know it rhymes with some names!
The GAMES with all its WEALTH derived from COMMON people, are being played by the colossal corrupt officials. Our politicians are breaking the record in every field - telecom, mining, and now games! Much has been shown in media, debated in news papers - we are simply appalled by the magnitude of the corruption.
The corrupt politicians are afraid of CBI / police, Court & trials, media, opposition party - everything except COMMON man! Because the politicans know that we are true followers of Gandhiji - forgiveness and tolerance (Tolerant to the level of appointing the same minister so that the remaining national spectrum allocation shouldn't be left uncorrupted!) and most importantly indifference. Had Gandhiji been here today, he would have belted all of us for our tolerance and indifference.
Getting back to the games: what should be the way ahead for us, the COMMON people? One way is putting all these controversies at the back-burner and focus on getting the game running - after all, 'It's a matter of National Pride'. Or, teach these politicians a lesson by revolting the game in every way possible as it has been well captured by Chetan Bhagat here.
Agree with Chetan Bhai - Revolt the game! In addition to that, KALLADI - Stone them wherever you see them! There should be nation wide protest against these corrupt politicians - We should bring such a disgrace to them that they should never be able to contest in any election. In fact, they should never be able to get out of their new home i.e. the jail.
Thursday, December 31, 2009
This is the 50th post since the birth of "Weekly Whims". It all started off with this post where I resolved to write 50 posts in 2009. This is the 51st post of the year and I can claim that I fulfilled the only resolution of 2009 . Yes, not all the postings were 100% on-time, nevertheless managed to complete a half century! Not all shots were perfect but still not out and kicking.
It wasn't easy for someone like me who is not a professional writer. Yes, definitely not for a lazy bum like me who used his bike to travel distances less than 100 meters. While some posts made sense, some others seemed like fillers. For many weekly posts, I didn't know what to write till I force myself to write, which made me question myself "Why such a resolution? Why such a stupidity?" The answer was always "You said that this is what you will do. Just do it!" Life is what you say it is!
Sure, we can't control everything that happens to us every time. But with whatever random cards we receive from the shuffled pack, we can use our intelligence, judgement, common-sense, intuition and emotions to make it an enjoyable and meaningful game. Ultimately, it's not just about winning the game.. it's all about how well we play the game with what we are provided and what we receive.
Happy New Year - 2010! Have a great year ahead. :)
PS: 2010 will not have a resolution of 50 posts. But will keep the blog rolling as much as possible.
Where are you from?
When I face this question from people outside Tamil Nadu, I have to explain my place with its circumference. So, my answer invariably goes as "Do you know this place called Madurai?"
In spite of frequent visits, Madurai is one of the most confusing cities to me - Not because of its concentric, lotus-like layout of the central part, but because of its well-convoluted & well-congested roads, and innumerable one-ways! Whatever direction you go, you find temple towers, textile shops, mobs of people and idli kadais! I guess the Idli shops gave the city its stature "Sleepless City".
I think the name "Madurai" should resonate with "shopping". First time visitors of Chennai's T.Nagar are invariably surprised by its crowd and copycat shops - Not the one who is familiar to Madurai! If your town is within a circumference of 100 KM of Madurai and if your family has at least 1 woman, you are dead! In the name of shopping, you would be roasted like the poor little thing that is pierced into the grills of the chicken kababs! Just imagine.. You can't complain much; The grilling is slow, grueling and doesn't have any visibility of completion; You just keep going around the same place again and again! When needed, they scrap a portion of your ass(et) i.e. money. You will not be spared till everything can be completely scrapped out of you.
Historically, the city is associated with its great culture -especially amazing temples and tamil poetry. Yes, the temples still remain the same. I doubt the "tamil" aspect of the city. The city's slang doesn't have any resemblance to the poetic tamil. Yes, it's not as scr**ed as Madras Tamil - Nevertheless bad enough that one finds it difficult to associate it with "Sanga Thamizh".
From ancient times, the city is also known for its valor and bravery. I think it's true till date. People's weapons speak more than their mouths - Be it the local thug or the women at home! No wonder, the city has one of the most treacherous political mafias and goondaism. So, given an option, try not to get into any conflict with Madurai-tes. ;)
It's anybody's guess why I like the city irrespective of all its pitfalls. :)
Saturday, December 19, 2009
A friend of mine (who happens to be a working-woman) once asked me - 'I am working. How can my prospective mom-in-law ask me 50 savarans of gold as dowry? I like this guy but this is ridiculous. I can't budge to all his mom's demands just because I like him.'
Fair point. Why should she? But.. till her marriage, she probably can't openly fight with her prospective in-laws. It's a bit ironic that even today, the dowry system hasn't been uprooted in many sections of the society. How can we eradicate it? As the famous dialogue goes - to beat the system, you have to be part of the system. How about showing the greedy in-laws a detailed financial model showing them that the girl is much more precious than the 50 savarans? Here is what the numbers speak.
- Ideally, if you are a working woman earning around 20,000 per month, you should ask your in-laws apporx. 1000 savarans (979 to be precise!). Suppose they say that they want 50 savarans, subtract it out and ask for 929!
- The Net Present Value - NPV of of the working woman (only the salary included) is Rs. 1.3 Cr while that of 50 Savarans is mere Rs.6.6 lakhs. Nearly 20 times more precious!
- In Year 2040, the girl's Cumulative Future Value is around Rs. 13 Crores, while that of the 50 savarans is just 66 lakhs.
If you need the excel sheet to support these figures, let me know (for guys: to convince your parents not to ask for dowry.. for girls: (a) to make their in-laws feel embarrassed when you tell them your NPV or cumulative future value.. (b) to convince your hubby on why he should let you go to work (i.e. if you prefer to work). And if you are a non-working woman, don't bother - your monetary value could be very high as well considering the insane amount of household work you do - from teaching your kids to cleaning the vessels to managing your in-laws!
Hope the figures keep the greedy people's mouth shut!
Assumptions behind the model:
- Gold price assumed at current market prices. Inflation assumed at 8% based on historic data from 1970 to 2009. If we ignore the 2008-09 boom in gold price, the figures could be still lower.
- Girl's salary per month is Rs. 20,000/- with an increment of 10% per year and every 5 years, she gets a bonus of additional 10%. This is still conservative as wage inflation for Indians is as high as 15-20% these days.
- The girl's NPV calculation is very conservative as well. No retirement or pension benefits assumed. Assumed to work only till the age of 55.
- The flight rarely takes off on-time. When it lands, there shall be guaranteed delay! God save you if it is your connecting flight!
- The captain realizes that the flight is out of reserve oxygen just before the take-off (and tries to fill it in 20 mins but fails even after an hour..)
- The air ghostesses are lazy, completely out of shape (and at times, a rude). Also, they are as oblivious as the passengers on any information about the flight or its timings.
- People running the airlines don't have any intension of making it profitable.. Here is a sample: Only airlines with Non-refundable tickets priced higher than refundable tickets..
You need either the Passion or a Focus on Financials or a Sense of Service (to the society) to run an organization. They killed the Passion of Tatas to nationalize the airlines. Of course, they ensured it's running consistently in loss (who cares? after all, it's tax payers' money!). Forget about the sense of Service as the word doesn't feature in the airlines' dictionary. High time to sell the airlines!
Thursday, December 03, 2009
730000000000000000000. Can you even tell how much rupees this could be? Difficult indeed! According to outlook magazine (source), it's just the portion of Indian public money (in rupees) identified as scam, corruption and other illegal forms since 1992. I was so surprised and disturbed when I read that the money, swindled by some politician, is equivalent to 1/5th of his state's budget. It hits hard as it is one of the poorest states of the country with significant tribal population.
Last week, happened to watch my all-time favorite movie 'Indian' again. What can we really do about these corrupt guys? Capital punishments as in the movies 'Indian' or 'Anniyan'? Don't think any amount of moral lesson is going to change these people.. How about stripping them and run over by road rollers? Stone to death? Throw into hungry tiger's cage? Burn alive? Peel the skin off like an orange? And spray salt and pepper on it? Let the elephant to beat him to death? Suck the blood till nothing is left? Place innumerable needles all over the body? Hang upside down till he dies of hunger? Treat them like a dry fish? Freeze them to death? Tie the 2 ends of his body with the trucks moving in opposite directions? Use like a door-mat in Mumbai local trains or in crowded stations like Dadar or Andheri during peak hours? Chop them into pieces, prepare special hyderabadi human biriyani and serve it hot to animals in the zoo?
All these may sound very violent or inhumane. But can these beings ever be considered human beings?? Also, it's not as if they don't understand what they are doing.. conscious blunders.. they are very much aware that it's against the welfare of the people and society.. Still they do it to satiate their limitless greed.. Moral science, Justice, Systems, Policing, Karma, God etc won't help! Get the force called fear to drive away this greed! Even if the killing is cruel, it's justified as it serves a greater purpose of teaching an important lesson to the rest of the country!
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Long live the short stories..
It was my 22nd birthday. I am usually lazy to visit temples. Up on my mom's insistence, we decided to put a salaam to Lord Shiva. It was half past 6 in the morning. After having the quick dharshan of Mr. Shiva and his wife, we sat in the temple. I was half-asleep. When I had my eyes closed, mom thought I was in deep meditation. For a moment, she found a great saint in her son. (After all, she knew that spiritual Guru is not a bad option for an aimless and jobless maverick!) Her short-lived happiness vanished soon and she whispered to my ears "Dei erumai-maadu, ezhunthiri da" (Wake up, you beautiful buffalo!)
I slowly opened my eyes.. Just blocking the view of Shiva was a beautiful young girl in lemon yellow saree. Wow, what a beauty! She was tall, lean and instantly attractive! Maybe a mix of Nandita das and Katrina Kaif, I thought! I felt like being in heaven. For a moment, I wondered whether Lord Shiva, like my mom, mistook my nap as meditation and gave a free pass to heaven. The confusion was resolved by mom's voice 'Let's go!'.
I told her, 'Ma, Dharshan is not yet over. Please wait for another 5 minutes.' My mom didn't have a clue of the Dharshan I was talking about and replied 'As you say - it's your birthday' The lemon-yellow-saree's eyes were completely closed and her lips murmured something. I was watching her closely like a doctor examining the patient. She was done with the Dharshan and was preparing to go around the temple.
I told my mom, 'Get up, mom! Let's go around the temple.' Mom said 'You forgot or what? We have already completed one.' I replied, 'Ma, that was for Shiva.. let's do one for his wife' Mom got a little angry, 'You can't play with the rules of the Gods.. it has to be either 1 or 21 rounds. I don't have time for 21.' Like an unhappy kid who was refused a toy in a shop, I thought of playing tantrums. Realized I was a grown up and hence told my mom, 'Ok then, wait for a minute - Lemme finish the last part of the dharshan.' The last dharshan was delightful.
After the dharshan, we went back home. I felt "what a way to start the year". In a single day, I would have thought about her more number of times than my family and friends put together. While I know it was pure stupidity, I felt it was God's signal for something. (Human beings have the bad habit of referring to God for all favorable reasons). I wondered how can I meet her again - Maybe in the temple again? Why not?
5.30 AM, the next day. The alarm clock started blaring near my ears. My dad, who was used to hearing my alarm at 7.30 was perplexed. But as usual, he chose to ignore - He thought I would snooze it. But I got ready and was ready to leave the house at 6 AM.
Before leaving, I informed my mom, 'Ma, Shiva opened my eyes yesterday in the temple. Decided to go to temple everyday.' Mom gave a doubtful look but didn't inquire further.
I sat in front of Lord Shiva and nearly waited for 30 mins. 300 questions in those 30 mins - Will she come today? Will she come alone? Will it be lemon yellow again? Should I talk to her today? Should I propose to her today itself? Should I ask her name? Will someone in the temple realize my intentions? Will Mr. Shiva will get angry for misusing his temple?..... Before the 301st question, the beauty entered the scene. Sky blue was the lucky color that day. It was a simple chudidhar but I felt it was extremely pride to be chosen by the beautiful lady.
I completely focused on the job at eyes - noticed all the tiny little things she was doing. She went to the Nandi statue in front of Shiva and told her wishes secretly into its ears. I felt like telling her "why do you whisper all your wishes to the lifeless bull?? I'm standing here.. a real bull, who can fulfill all your wishes"
I followed her when she went around the temple. She halted and noticed me following. She gave a look and asked "what do you want?" I have never become so nervous in my life. I didn't know what to say. Just blabbered "some viboothi please" (viboothi is the ash Tamilians wear in the forehead as symbol of God-knows-what). She cleared off the viboothi in her hand to the small stainless steel bowl kept for collecting the viboothi. She replied with her sweet voice "you can take it from there" I thought of asking her "Will you die if you let me take it from your hand? Or will I die if you apply it on my forehead?"
I applied the viboothi distinctively on my forehead. (Till date, I had eaten more viboothi than applying them on my forehead!) I was wondering whether I should apply it all over the body like the Axe deo spray. Will this new spray help the girl fall for me? I also wondered - would viboothi ever come in different variants like Chocolate, Musk, Lemon, Spicy Black, Sports, Cool Blue etc. Before I was back from my dreams, she wasn't there.
I made it a habit to visit the temple everyday. For the entire next month, I was very regular. The schedule was very simple. I would go at 6 AM, dream about her for 20-30 mins, follow her when she went around the temple and most importantly ask for "viboothi please". She never got tired of it. She always pointed to the near by stainless steel bowl. It was a bit confusing - Had she not liked me, she would have shouted at me. At the same time, things haven't improved at all than point to the bowl. Stupid it may sound, but I had resolved to speak to her only when she gave the viboothi from her hand - a gesture of she accepting me.
It was Dec 10. The 31st day of my visit to the temple. My hunch told me something substantial will happen today. She didn't come till 7 AM. I went berserk and searched her all over the temple. Around 7.30, I returned back to our usual place in the temple. There she was - a bit late, but she was dazzlingly beautiful that day. I felt I should tell her my intentions today as things have gone too far.
My heart started beating faster. I was already sweating. May be tomorrow? No, I remembered what my dad used to say "Do it today as tomorrow never comes". (Though I never used it for studying) I slowly approached her. Idiot, you should have at least brought a rose - my mind was getting upset. It immediately contradicted itself - Ignore me. I am a little bastard - go ahead and show your heart to her.. girls like a loving heart more than the roses.
I was very close to her. A cute little girl came running towards the lady. The little girl had a beautiful rose in her hair - I was in 2 minds to pick it from her hair and give it to the lady. At that instance the unthinkable happened. The little girl asked the lady "Who is this uncle, mommy?" For which the lady gave a fitting reply, "Who knows? Maybe a mental case.. poor fellow.. but very religious. Likes viboothi a lot like you.."
That day, before I asked "Viboothi please", the lady offered viboothi. I was very disappointed and said "No viboothi please" and never ever applied that ash on my forehead.
While coming back home, I liberally used all the bad words I know, at the makers of Olay, Santoor, Lakme, Garnier, Fair & Lovely and zillion other products which make it difficult for guys to differentiate between married and unmarried women.
Let's think of a common Indian. He can get an entire medical check up done from the click of a mouse; Get an insurance with in 5 mins from online service providers; Can compare the policies to through sites like policy bazaar; Can discover the right rent / price for the house through innumerable tools like Makaan, MagicBricks, 99acres; Find the best loan rates through Bankbazaar; Get the best discounts on books from indiaplaza, flipkart and, best travel options from aggregators like ixigo; Can research about gadgets and gizmos from Naaptol, Compare India and ebay.in; Of course, leading the charts are online banking sites and job portals..
The list keeps growing everyday! Let's call these E-nablers - they simplify the otherwise mundane, tedious tasks. For e.g. to get an overseas travel insurance for my parents, all I had to do was spend 5 mins over internet, which otherwise would have swallowed one day.. If India's E-nablement can be so advanced, no doubt about developed economies.
Ok, let's change gears.. With these E-nablers, people should ideally have more free time than good ol' days.. right? In reality, we spend less and less time in real world. No doubt, E-net is not just an E-nabler, rather an E-ducator, E-ntertainer and E-connector. But aren't these facebook, secondlife, mails, blogs, videos, online news etc etc taking more share of our life than they should ideally take?
[PS: And you now know why the weekly post got delayed so much ;)]
Sunday, November 01, 2009
It's a small world and we are well connected. Seems like most parts of the world can be reached from the nearest city in less than 48 hours. Very interesting maps here - http://www.newscientist.com/gallery/small-world/. How would the maps look if we include data networks as well such as fibre optic cables, under sea cables, wireless towers etc?
Some tips for M.S. Dhoni here.. Head or Tail? As per the research, you should ask for what's facing up while tossing the coin,
A coin is more likely to land facing the same side on which it started. If tails is facing up when the coin is perched on your thumb, it is more likely to land tails up.
And, here are 50 reasons why Mumbai is City No. 1!
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Here are some ideas to escape, when you are being asked for Status update by your boss..
- Psychological plays: Exploit the weaknesses of your boss. Few samples of HIS weaknesses..
- Forgetfulness? Tell it's the same status as 5 mins before - Let him lose his hair trying to figure out the last status.
- Laziness? Tell you need his feedback on the last update sent. He would never ask where's the status again.
- Micro-management? Preempt him by giving status updates as frequently as possible. Micro managers are typically interested in the quantum of updates than quality.
- Perfectionism? Convince him that quality work needs longer time to get updates.
- Technological plays
- Use the technical ignorance of your boss - Say that the status has been updated in the never-heard-before module of frequently-heard utilities like SAP, BI, SalesForce, SharePoint etc. Your boss will frequently talk about them but never understands the head or tail of using them.
- Rely on the unreliable. Spam is one. Windows. Hardware. Software. Mobile phones. There are lots to help you!
- Frivolous plays
- Take Boss's diversion OUT: What's your boss interested in? Katrina Kaif? RajniKant? Big Boss? F1? EPL? Sensex? Real Estate?.. There should be few things that excites him more than the appreciation of your boss's boss.
- Keep your diversion IN: "Look" serious at work - It can be GTalk, Facebook, Y! Games or an online Sudoku. After all, status updates are an unproductive usage of one's time!
Monday, October 19, 2009
Around 1 AM. It's the day following Diwali. We were back from the movie Blue. Like heavy fog in hill stations, the Mumbai streets were filled with thick layer of pollution. "Man, crackers and Fireworks dent our environment" was be our initial reaction. And it's natural for people to resolve to not burst crackers quoting reasons such as Pollution (Air, Noise) and Child Labour. I was just wondering whether bursting them is so bad..
As a kid, I used to love bursting crackers. My place is ~25 km from Sivakasi - with my relative running a fireworks factory, we get loads of crackers for free. The crackers are kept not in small bags or boxes, rather in large jute sacks. Then, for a week, it's complete fun with friends and cousins.. To give you a sample..
- Hold the cracker in hand and throw it up in air just before it bursts - You will get chided by the trespassers for doing so
- Burst high intensity crackers (such as atom bomb) inside the coconut shell - The kid whose shell couldn't be found out is the winner!
- Tie a thread between poles and have rocket / train crackers zooming between them
- When you are tired of bursting crackers one by one, take a pile, light it up, run and hide behind your door. You will have real fun! :P
Obviously, all these seem risky today. Nevertheless they are complete fun those days. Even today, while I personally didn't burst crackers, I love watching them sitting on my window. Festivals like Diwali and the associated fun and celebrations like fireworks are the major element of happiness for people, esp. for the middle class which travels in metros and other public mass transit systems.
India's 80% of fireworks production seem to be from Sivakasi. People estimate fireworks industry to be ~Rs 1,500 Cr. (Source: ET, I'm pretty sure some consultant would have done the estimate. Neither can we accept nor deny! Turns out to have a per capita consumption of Rs. 12 in India. If we assume 20% of the population bursting crackers, it would be a reasonable Rs 60/- per head). This industry is the bread and butter for some 40,000 people in and around Sivakasi. With increasing awareness on environmental issues, this is not going to be a growth industry (This year they have estimated a drop in 20-30% in sales due to awareness programs and poor monsoons). On top of it, it is one of the most difficult businesses to be in - safety and legal issues, constant threat from activists, need for continuous innovation and some levels of copying from Chinese industry. Life is really tough for these people. While the economical impact from this industry may seem minimal on the country's economy, at the individual family levels, the problem could be intense.
So, to summarize, blindly saying "Don't burst Crackers" (Or increase taxes to reduce consumption) is like saying "Stop traveling in cars" or "Close down thermal power generators". It's not to downplay the ill-effects on environment. It's just to say that our efforts should be to find out economically viable alternatives than to shun the crackers. How about Eco-friendly crackers, Smoke-less crackers, Noise-less crackers, Fire-less crackers.. but all of them completely Fun-filled! :)
Wednesday, October 07, 2009
- Cumulative Emissions by country in the last 250 years - US alone has contributed to 30% of emission, top 3 countries contributed to nearly half, and top 6 to nearly two-thirds. So today, when the top emission countries preach to developing nations to look after their emissions, it's like a serial rapist advising people to follow celibacy.
- Shakespeare's Favorite words - Yeah, the word "Love" is the clear winner. Distant competitors are "Beauty", "Mine", "Sweet", "Eyes" etc
- Alcohol Consumption Worldwide - Do you believe that world-wide per capita consumption is the highest in Uganda? People in Uganda drink 60 times an average Indian drinks. (Poor India ranks 157 out of the 182 countries considered - I'm pretty sure the consumption of our special rural preparations such as toddy, kallu etc are not taken into account. It grossly underestimates the capabilities of people in Rural India - I know of few villages where most men easily drink couple of liters of kallu everyday, whose alcohol content easily outweighs the drinks in developed nations). Most of the European countries rank top in the list.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Life can change in a second. It's the theme of the ads of Tata DoCoMo, which introduced per second billing in India. It is an immediate success in India.
Hmm.. Life can change in a second. How true it is! Irrespective of how hard / long you think and plan, all it needs to make a life changing decision is a second. :P
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Last week had been quite a bit of travel. Talking to people of diverse nature is quite an experience. From a 3rd standard little boy to college friends to the practical cousins to the elderly aunts & uncles, people carry interesting thoughts about world. Of course, they vary quite a bit in their concerns and opinions. Nevertheless, a lot can be learnt by listening to people!
Sunday, September 13, 2009
4 AM! Everyday! When you and I would be fast asleep! It is the time when the farmers / vendors from the near by villages reach Dadar Station in Mumbai and try to sell their basket of vegetables. Selling is not an easy job! Irrespective of the freezing cold or the scorching sun or ruthless rains, they just need to sell. Competition is very stiff with a very long queue of people sitting on the floor and selling - Less to differentiate one from another - everyone competes on the price. And their business risk is no less! They take a huge inventory risk - If you don't sell by end of the day, it's GONE for one and all. For the kind of hard work and the risk, are they reaping enough returns? Single and simple answer is NO!
Look at artisans, people who are skilled at making handicrafts. Or the person who repairs your watches. Or a weaver. Or a factory worker - In chemicals factories. In biscuits companies. They make TANGIBLE things and are SKILLED at making them. You and I can't imagine being skilled like them. Nevertheless they get paid in fractions of what you and I would get paid for.
The last category is the most difficult of the three. People who do the toughest, most risky jobs and the jobs people feel uneasy to do. To give a flavor of what I have in mind: Sweepers / scavengers in a city like Mumbai with large slums like Dharavi and Govandi. Or workers who migrate from villages to cities for the construction of high-rise buildings, [each of which, unfortunately seems to suck the lives of at least few workers during the construction - nobody cares about them and the death news is never made public]. Or those who work in dangerous environments like mines, fireworks / fuel / power plants. Their lives are more vulnerable than ours. Still they get paid in peanuts. In relative terms.
So, it's not the hard work, the risk taking abilities, the skills or the vulnerable jobs, which decides the level of salaries / returns. Then, what's deciding them?
Intelligence is probably a necessary condition. Today's information age has definitely placed undue weightage to intelligence than others (probably it's supply-demand equation!) Second is Environment (e.g. your family, school, college, friends etc) and the exposure, support and guidance it provides. Third is what they call Luck - the timing and the opportunity. Unfortunately, you don't have too much control over these three.
I am not downplaying the importance of hard work and attitude. Yes, they are necessary and important. Just that they don't play the primary roles, they should ideally be playing. At least, when it comes to Money!
It is very hard to accept it. The only way I put myself to peace is by telling - after all, money is not everything!