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The New Stuff

Wish You All A Very Happy New Year

“Another fresh new year is here . . .Another year to live!To banish worry, doubt, and fear,To love and laugh and give!This bright new year is given meTo live each day with zest . . .To daily grow and try to beMy highest and my best!I have the opportunityOnce more to right some wrongs,To pray for peace, to plant a tree,And sing more joyful songs!"
William Arthur Ward

Well, I think this will be my last blog for this year. One more year gone, with some dreams fulfilled whereas many more still waiting to be fulfilled, with some good moments as well as some bad, some successes & some failures, some happiness & some disappointments, some smiles & some tears…but all in all I am happy that one more year has passed ahead & God has given me yet another year to carry on with my dreams…
Do you know the origin of New Year celebration? I found this info to be quite interesting, so thought of summarizing & putting up here. Well, according to online sources (Britannica, Wikipedia etc.), the celebration of the new year on January 1st is a relatively new phenomenon.
  • The earliest recording of a new year celebration is believed to have been in Mesopotamia,in 2000 B.C. and was celebrated around the time of the vernal equinox, ie., in Mid-March.
  • Then later on the early Roman calendar designated March 1 as the New Year. The calendar had just ten months, beginning with March.
  • The first time the new year was celebrated on January 1st was in Rome in 153 B.C. (In fact, the month of January did not even exist until around 700 B.C., when the second king of Rome, Numa Pontilius, added the months of January and February.) The new year was moved from March to January because that was the beginning of the civil year, the month that the two newly elected Roman consuls—the highest officials in the Roman republic—began their one-year tenure.
  • In 46 B.C. Julius Caesar introduced a new calendar & this Julian calendar decreed that the New Year would occur with January 1, and within the Roman world, January 1 became the consistently observed start of the New Year.
  • However, in 567 the Council of Tours abolished January 1 as the beginning of the year. At various times and in various places throughout medieval Christian Europe, the new year was celebrated on Dec. 25, the birth of Jesus; March 1; March 25, the Feast of the Annunciation; and Easter.
  • Finally In 1582, the Gregorian calendar reform restored January 1 as New Year’s Day & most Catholic countries adopted the Gregorian calendar almost immediately.

Since then, January 1st is observed as New Year’s Day in most of the countries. However, if we go culture wise deep, I know most of us have got different new year’s day depending upon our caste & religion but globally most of us now follow Jan 1st as New Year’s Day.
I would like to wish all my blogger friends a New Year filled with New Joy, New Hope & New Beginnings…A VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL OF YOU!!!

Ghar ki Murgi Daal Barabar!

Read it in ET recently as well as many other newspapers about Americans learning Hindi…Majority of the students are now enrolling for Hindi because of different reasons like increasing number of Indian friends and acquaintances, interest in Indian Culture, Bollywood movies, Hindi songs etc…Infact not only Hindi, Americans are showing interest towards other Indian languages too like Bengali, Malayalam etc.

Chalo this is definitely good…now I can see Hindi coming back to India as I am sure that when these Firangis will start speaking Hindi then we the Indians will automatically start considering Hindi to be the “In-thing”. Well, in this era of westernization, one thing which has undergone complete metamorphosis is our language of communication. Rarely one can find today’s Indian literate class communicating in Hindi these days. Forget about communicating on our own, even if people are some where forced to write or speak in Hindi in some forum, they will either very smartly say, “Sorry, I am not very fluent in Hindi” or they will make sure to speak Hindi in such a twisted accent that they can beat even Angrezs in this. And Indian celebrities ka toh kya kehna!!! Most of them can’t speak or atleast try to pose that they can’t speak Hindi at all. Somehow, celebrities esp. from films have got a larger than life kind of effect on most of us and most of us try to do things the way they generally do, so seeing their accent its very much hip these days to either say that “I can’t speak in Hindi” or speak in one of those terribly twisted tongue burr. I happened to see few episodes of this serial known as “Bigg Boss” which is airing on Sony TV these days…I think as per the rule of the game those so called celebrities are supposed to speak in Hindi only and Oh my God, what a drama they do, what an accent!!! Most of them speak Hindi as if they have straightaway landed in that house from America or England. I can understand for people there who are basically from South India and they might not be fluent but what about all others who are either from North or have spent most of their lives in Mumbai??? They speak words with such difficulty & sooo much extra effort!!!
In present age, if you speak in proper Hindi, it’s considered to be so uncool and passé and if you can’t speak proper English in one of those Yankees tones you’re considered to be behenji or bhaiyaji types. Even those who are supposedly speaking in Hindi, for them the new buzzword is Hinglish. I am not saying that speaking in English is wrong. Because of globalization and increasing number of MNCs in India, we definitely need to converse and be fluent in English. Not only our English fluency helps us in professional world rather it helps us a lot on personal front too. Adopting progressive western culture is good, but does this mean that we should be ashamed of our own basic existence and forget our roots completely? Why is it so uncool or archaic to talk in our own language? Infact this situation isn’t true only for Hindi rather its true for most other regional languages too.

But as I told earlier, I think I can see Hindi coming back to us soon…Remember what happened with certain other things for e.g., YOGA. Despite Yoga being of Indian origin and existing in our country for centuries and centuries, we never considered it to be important enough. But suddenly Yoga has become a craze, the hottest lifestyle statement, in vogue kinda thing!!! The highlighted reasons for this fad are many but the most important underlying reason is its sudden acceptance and phenomenal popularity in western countries. When Americans thought its really good, we also thought oh its really good JJJ!!! Who kahte hain na “Ghar Ki Murgi Daal Barabar…”
Let’s hope for some such revolution for our languages too!!!

I am pen!!!

I am pen, sob sob, sob…
What do you mean by “What Pen or Whose Pen”, Arey baba I am pen, your writing pen which you used to use earlier for writing…See you can’t even recognize me spontaneously now!!! Such is my poor fate now, sob sniff sniff!!!
Yes, I am crying because I am seeing my death slowly-slowly in front of my own eyes. I am undergoing the pain of self-extinction and extermination. You know there was a time when I was being considered the tongue of human mind & people used to tell “Pen is mightier than sword”, but now forget about being mighty; I don’t even find my existence on most of the workstations.
How would you feel when after enjoying a long regal life, you would see your supremacy slowly fading away? I know you will not feel good. Even I don’t feel good by losing all my power to this newer generation. I used to enjoy such imperial existence. People used to adorn me so proudly in their pockets or on their working desks. There was a time when I was being considered one of the most precious gifts for all important occasions like success in exams, competitions, first job, first promotion etc. Not only that, people used to give me as good omen to their loved ones for wishing luck like parents giving me to their kids for writing exams or teachers gifting me to their favorite students for some important contest. What a belief kids used to have in me as their “Good Luck Pen” & with what care they used to keep me for especially using at some important exams!!! Oh I can’t forget the excitements which kids used to have when they used to get me first time in their lives & how proudly they used to flaunt me in their friend circle or to their younger siblings who were still using pencils.
Now all my authority has been snatched away by this newer generation. I no longer enjoy my throne i.e., the pockets of people, I have been replaced by PDAs/Palmtops/Blackberrys & what nots!!! Now I don’t have any presence in my erstwhile kingdom i.e., workstations and office desks. While I am carelessly thrown out in outskirts i.e., drawers of workstations, my premium position has been occupied by this new age key boards. Snifffff….
I know now I am of no use to you & you don’t remember me at all, but I can’t forget the gleam which was there in your eyes on the day when your daddy gifted me to you for the first time & I still remember the proud which you felt when your teacher gifted me to you with your name etched on my body for scoring the highest marks in class. Ahhhh Good old days…An era bygone…
Sob, Sob, Sob…

P.S: This post is dedicated to my earlier hobby of collecting good pens. There was a time when I used to be very fond of pens & my near and dear ones used to gift me different types of pens. Believe me, I used to be thrilled to receive pens as gifts & used to show off my collection of pens to my friends. But now I hardly get chance to use those lovely pens. I think I use pens now only for very few specific activities like signature etc. With all these digitization & online world, my life has definitely become more comfortable but at the same time I do miss my small yet lovely hobby of writing by different pens on different occasions!!!

Job Satisfaction : Myth or Reality?

Hmmm, I am writing a blog after a long time…was caught up in so many things, increased workload, increased traffic (for past so many days, I am spending atleast 4.5 hours on road despite my home being just 14kms from my office, thanks to the pathetic roads…Phewww!!!), & increased home pressure too. But of course like everybody else, the most important thing out of all these which is controlling my life right now is my job,
Few days back, I was talking to this very close friend of mine who is sort of quite level headed & balanced in his outlook. I asked him that despite so many problems at his work front, how does he seem to be so satisfied with his job? He very simply replied in one short & sweet sentence, “JOB SATISFACTION IS A MYTH”. I was quite surprised to listen to this esp. from him as he generally seemed to be not much disturbed by his work front, & he seldom used to complain about his job. So I always used to think that he is sort of satisfied with his job. Seeing the confusion on my face, he further told me that during initial years of his job, even he used to crave for this so called “job satisfaction” thing but he learnt it hard way soon that there is no such thing existing, every job he changed was having some or other problem, so now he has given up or rather learnt adjust.
Later on I pondered over his sentence for long & even I started wondering if there is anyone whom I know who is happy & satisfied with his or her job. Frankly speaking, I get too affected if things aren’t o.k at my work front & many times despite my efforts I also don’t get this so called “job satisfaction” in my work. In my pursuit for more knowledge about this job satisfaction, I decided to check this with few more of my colleagues & friends if they feel satisfied by their jobs & are they happy with their current job, if yes, then how??? Well, well, well, I was quite astonished to find the answer as out of so many people whom I asked, I didn’t find even a single, I am repeating not even a single person who was satisfied by his or her job. The reasons were varied, but the crux was same, “Job Satisfaction is a myth”. Most of them are working because they know that they have to work for money, social status etc. etc. but none of them were so called satisfied by their corporate jobs & the reasons cited by them were either one or many of the following:

  • Financial incentives not proportional to the workload, low salary.
  • Boss is a big pain in life, too demanding.
  • Ever increasing workload leaving no space for personal life.
  • No recognition/motivation for job well done.
  • Sick Office Environment e.g., too political, too much favoritism.
  • Dumb nature of work i.e., work is too dull or boring, non-challenging.
  • Performance Appraisal isn’t an open system.
  • Poor HR policies like leave policy, concern for employees etc.
  • Low or zero promotion scope, too much hierarchy
  • Unhealthy competition, unethical rules.

Hmmm…so some are having good salary but not good work, some are having good work but not good salary, some are having both but not good boss…ha ha ha, reminds me of this sher- “Har kisi ko mukkamal jahan nahi milta, kisi ko zameen toh kisi ko aasmaan nahi milta…”, but whatever be the reason everybody supported that there is no such phenomenon as “job satisfaction” in present age!!!
Well, I am really confused now. Despite such long working hours, increased salaries, increased standard of living, why this huge dissatisfaction? Is it because of general human tendency to be dissatisfied or is it really a myth???

Update: Just heard from a friend right now that he has finally given up his corporate job to pursue his artistic dream. He was working in corporates for past 6 years & he told that not even once he experienced this so called job satisfaction from his corporate assignments, so he finally decided to take this risk & is feeling very happy right now. Well he also informed that his family is not at all happy with his decision as he isn't able to earn sufficient money like earlier. Hmmm... I admire his courage & wish him good luck for his new journey...But I don't know how many of us are prepared for such big risks in our lives??? What about those who are having enough responsibilities & social/peer pressure? Can they take such risk? I don't think so...

Changing Face of Indian Consumer

Well, I got this image as some funny mail forward but it immediately instigated me to think of this title which very aptly suits this image. This image is cool & thought provoking, isn’t it? Hmmm…see the transmutation undergone by even Indian Sadhus, no more are they forest-meditating “Sanyasis” or “Tapasvis” (Priests) deprived of all worldly pleasure rather they have also evolved into modern Indian consumer utilizing all modern gazettes & gizmos, talking on Nokia 6270 & smoking Marlboros. Indian Consumer has changed a lot, & this evident change can be experienced everywhere now, be it the above image or any of these following indicators which are very much relatable to most of us:

  • From “Roti, Kapda aur Makan” to “Roti, Kapda, Makan aur Mobile”. Well, now-a-days having a mobile is as important as having proper clothes to wear. The products which were luxuries for yesterday have become the necessities of today.

  • From “General Stores” & “Sabji Mandis” to “Big Bazaars” & “Food Worlds”. Yes, the Indian Consumer is having the purchasing power now to enjoy the retail boom. The consumer now understands the concept like “Value for Money”. Gone are the days when one used to hear negotiations like “Thoda aur kam karo, toh lenge (reduce the price, then I will take)”, rather today’s Indian consumer doesn’t mind paying a few bucks extra for the ambience, service & pampering by marketers, for e.g. , “would you like to have some tea or coffee while shopping”!!!

  • From Mehndi in Punjabi Weddings & Sangeet in Sindhi Weddings to Mehndi in Tamil Weddings & Sangeet in Malyalee Weddings. Thanks to Bollywood & other media which have exposed the Indian Consumer to the world of glamour & extravaganzas. Now the modern consumers don’t mind spending on anything which can add allure & fun to their lifestyles.

  • From “Fair & Lovely” to “Fair & Handsome”. Yup, it’s very much true. With increasing westernization, more & more Indian Consumers are getting conscious of their looks & personalities & if you think that only Indian females are conscious of their looks then take a look around. Gone are the days when cosmetic companies used to woo only females for makeover, infact the Indian Male Consumer now forms a good 30% of the total cosmetic products consumption changing the whole concept of cosmetic products selling in India. Hmmm…so the changed face of Indian Consumer isn’t having only fairer females rather fairer males too :-)

  • From HMT, Titan watches to Esprit, Tag Heuer Watches, from trousers stitched by neighborhood tailor to Pepe or Lee Denims, present Indian Consumer has seen the world, is well aware of international brands & is very much capable of affording all such brands. What used to be commodities with aspirational value are now the general commodities.

Well, if we keep on listing such changes, I think the list can go on & on, be it the phenomenal increase in usage of Laptops, successful establishments of food outlets like Mc Donald’s or increase in sales of sophisticated gazettes like ipods, you name it & the present India Consumer is well aware of all such things. Indian Consumers have undergone a sea change & it is this new face of Indian Consumers which have given confidence to big investors & MNCs for believing in India. As Christian Seiwald, CEO of Sandoz GmbH said, “It's the speed - how quickly people are moving. It's their passion and ambition. Execution is something other countries can learn from India."

Earlier a person used to posses a car or a house in his late 30s or 40s but now having a 4 wheeler or house is a thing of late 20s or early 30s. The worried Indian Consumer who used to have difficult times in meeting both ends & always believed in “Save For Future” is now very much enjoying the life with a motto of “Live Life King Size”. The earning capacity has increased & so has got the disposable income. Thanks to booming economy & IT/ITES companies which have contributed in a considerable way to change the face of India. Last but not the least the biggest & the roaring pointer indicating the changed face of Indian Consumer:

  • From “Civil Services” to “MBAs” & from “Defence Jobs” to “IT Jobs”.
    Do I need to say anything else? I am sure not!!!

Media Over Hype

I was watching a TV news channel showing “special coverage” on revelation of Terrorists’ plans in India. After every news item, the clipping for this upcoming “special program” was flashing in a very sensational way claiming some hindi phrases meaning “terrorists’ plan revealed” & blah blah. With genuine curiosity, I started to watch the program but to my disgust, I realized soon that it was totally an over hyped program as there was no concrete proof or facts on which that program was based. It was all on the basis of some assumptions & suppositions, for e.g., nowhere the program used statements like, “humein yeh pata laga hai… (We came to know about this), rather the whole language was humein yeh shak hai ki or humara ye anumaan hai ki… (We assume that, we suppose that…). To add to that they were showing stuffs like, “we think that some famous people like Tendulkar, Amitabh Bachchan etc. might be on terrorists target” or “we think that terrorist can target some premier organizations like X, Y, Z”!!! I mean why are they flashing those assumed targets on Prime News Channel? I think this way they aren’t showing their capabilities rather they are giving more ideas to terrorists & anti-social elements. Even if terrorists wouldn’t have thought of such targets, then too by revelation of such assumptions & hypothesis publicly can give clear hints to terrorists about people & organizations which can be targeted. Also it creates unnecessary chaos & fear in the minds of general public working in such organizations. Its good to make public aware of the facts so that everyone can be alert but unnecessary sensation creation & over hype by media is doing more harm than good to public.

Media over hype has become a raging fad these days. There are so many examples where media presents the story in such scandalous way that it gets on to my nerves. Rakhi Sawant kissing Mika??? Did that story need so much of time & coverage on all news channels? I was personally irritated to the maximum level possible by seeing those clippings again & again on all news channels. That story was totally absurd & never deserved such an attention by media at all!!!
The story of Prince, it was indeed very bad for the kid & his courage to survive in that pit was really praiseworthy. All of us wanted him to be rescued & nobody would like any such tragedy to happen to such a small kid, but what was the need of all those hype of direct telecast by news channels, showing some unnecessary interviews, then some channels announcing free education to the kid, some announcing cash rewards etc. etc. etc… Suddenly all such channels decided to cover it soooo extensively & announcing such huge rewards!!! Wasn’t that too much??? I wonder if all other poor kids who would be in Prince’s neighborhood might have got inspired to fall in similar pits so that they can also deserve such media attention & huge rewards from channels & politicians.
Another over hyped coverage which comes to my mind right now is “Aishwarya Rai-Abhishek Bachchan” matrimony alliance prospects. I can’t forget all those interviews by pundits discussing their horoscope details & news correspondents talking so intently to those pundits for the kundli matched details. That was so melodramatic & so over hyped by all these news channels. I think if Aish & Abhishek would have been watching TV that time, then such coverage would have made even them switch off the TV immediately.

Media is meant for making public aware of the right news & happenings in the environment. It is meant for making people knowledgeable & informed of their surroundings. Almost all the news channels are available 24x7 now with an intention to provide us the right info anytime of the day, but I think despite their good intentions, now-a-days most of the time such news channels are messing up their good work because of this over hype & too much sensationalism. As they say excess of anything is bad, in the same way all this overload from news channels is just resulting in their loss of image & increased doubts on authenticity of the info provided by them.

Ad or Mad : No more bombardment with nonsense ads please

Hey folks any gusses how many brands did BIG B endorse last year??? A dozen, two dozen??? Nah dear its more than three dozens. Yes, BIG B had endorsed 39 brands in the year 2005. Well, its not only BIG B who is being hooked by marketers, there are many others like Shahrukh Khan (endorsed 21 brands in 2005), Amir Khan, Preity Zinta, Sania Mirza & the list is endless… from Bollywood, Sports or Television who are being used in n numbers of commercials these days. As per Adex India, in 2005, the top seven entertainment stars, Amitabh Bachan, Shahrukh Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Preity Zinta, Aishwarya Rai, Smriti ‘Tulsi’ Irani, and Paresh Rawal endorsed a whopping 111 brands between themselves, featuring in 202 creative executions for 67 advertisers (Source of this info: Economic times).

Infact the easiest way out to advertise any product these days is just to get the product endorsed by some celebrity. So what if your commercial is having no message, nil creativity & absolutely no meaning, still it will be able to catch attention of consumers because of some glamorous celebrity singing & dancing in the commercial. For ex., the concept of “PEPSI TV”…Has anyone understood the same(If yes, plz explain me the same)? I think that’s the worst ad which any agency can make & I sometimes wonder on the marketing team of the company who approved such commercial. That ad makes no sense at all but the noticeable thing in that ad is the presence of three famous bollywood stars viz., Sharukh Khan, Priyanka Chopra & Kareena Kapoor. I wonder if that ad has made sense to anyone at all??? Wasteful clutter of celebrities, zero brand message & total bakwaas!!!

Now imagine a bollywood king like Shahrukh Khan using Navratna Talc as a substitute of AC!!! I wonder what Shahrukh Khan is upto - Pepsi TV, Chota AC!!! Lets see, what else will come from him. This ad is a total misfit between the product & the celebrity endorsing it. Come on guys, you are playing with the concept of celebrity endorsement itself as no consumer is foolish enough to believe that SRK will be using Navratna Talc & hence using him as your endorser is again a total waste.

Similarly there are ads like Navratna Oil, Boroplus etc. being endorsed by BIG B. These are the ads which have really misutilized the concept of celebrity endorsement & because of this nonsense & meaningless use of celebrities in advertisements, the concept of celebrity endorsement has lost its meaning at all. I can still understand BIG B endorsing Parker but why Navrtana Oil or Pudin Hara where the ad makes no sense at all except for the fact that BIG B is present over there.

The concept of Celebrity Endorsement has undergone phenomenal changes since 1936 when Addidas gave free shoes to Jesse Owens during Berlin Olympics. After that many marketers used this concept as a sure shot way to make their brands successful in the market. In India, perhaps the first brand to use celebrities was Lux but this concept picked up its pace in the field of advertising in 1980’s with Kapil Dev & Vinod Khanna endorsing some famous brands. However, those endorsements were quite appealing because of the right fit of the product as well as the right message being communicated to the consumers. But slowly-slowly the concept of celebrity endorsement started getting over exploited because of the myth of the marketers to consider it as a sure shot way to success. The consumers have evolved & now-a-days we all know that so & so is endorsing that brand not because he believes in that brand or has used that brand rather because he is being paid a heavy sum of money to do so.

Now-a-days celebrity endorsement is being used as a substitute to creativity & right advertisement ideas. Despite the presence of some very famous celebrities, there are advertisements which are total disaster & make people change the channel immediately & at the same time there are advertisements which are not using any celebrity at all but still manage to leave a smile & impact on consumer’s mind like Fevicol, Hutch etc. This over-exploitation & misusage of celebrity endorsement is slowly & slowly leading to the death of creativity in ad world. Its high time now that advertisers should wake up & relook the usage of celebrities in the ads!!!

Sabse Bada Ruppaiya

I was discussing today’s TOI article on waiting time for darshan in Tirupati with one of my colleagues who just happened to visit this holy place last weekend. I asked him how he managed to complete his trip in just two days when it is mentioned that the waiting time for even paid darshan is 60 hours right now. He just laughed & casually told that the waiting time is 60 hours who pay the standard paid darshan charge which is perhaps Rs. 60/- per person. There are some unofficial charges also & you get the entry as per the amount which you pay over there. He very casually told that he paid Rs. 600 per person & he managed to have the darshan in 5 hours. He had gone there with 5 family members & so he spent Rs. 3000 to have a darshan to the God!!! Then few other people also who were sitting with us cited their stories of spending some x, y, z amount of money to have darshan over there.

I think these days the concept of “paid darshan” is existing at almost all famous religious places where our famous Gods give the darshan faster & clearer to those who are willing to offer him bigger money. I haven’t personally visited Tirupati but have experienced something similar at all the famous religious places visited by me, be it Shirdi, Siddhivinayak or ISKON temple. I have visited Shirdi thrice, first two times with my husband & the last time with few of my relatives who had arranged some highly influential VVIP passes. First two times, we had to wait for 5 to 6 hours in a queue to have darshan & by the time we reached the Samadhi, the organizers just didn’t allow us to even stand there for few seconds for having a complete darshan. Everybody was passing in queues & some three to four queues are allowed to enter at a time near the Samadhi area. Those who were in the last queue didn’t get even the chance to touch the holy Samadhi of Sai Baba. First time, even I was in the last queue & hence I didn’t get the chance to bow my head or touch the Samadhi completely. Later on I was being told that “sab Baba ki kripa hai, woh unhi ko Samadhi tak aane dete hain, jinki shraddha sachchi hoti hai”. I was actually upset over the fact that even after waiting for so long I didn’t get the proper darshan. Second time, I went in the middle queue & finally got the chance to bow my head on the holy Samadhi & have a darshan. However, last time I experienced a completely different scenario. Because of this influential VVIP pass of my relatives, we got the chance to enter the place in few minutes only. Also to my surprise, we not only got a faster entry at the morning aarti time rather we were allowed to sit in the space just near the Samadhi & attend the complete aarti very properly. Infact there was a lady standing in the normal queue who was crying a lot to allow her to sit near the God’s Samadhi. She was having a small paralyzed child with her & she was standing there for the whole night to attend the early morning aarti & pray for her child. She wanted her child’s limb to be touched with baba’s Samadhi but she wasn’t allowed to do so as she was in the normal queue. I felt so guilty of sitting there with that pass that I actually offered to exchange my place with that lady but the security officer turned my suggestion down by saying that there was no place for me to move back & send the lady ahead. After coming out, I was just so disturbed by that lady’s wailing & was wondering on the concept of this “PAID DARSHAN” or “SPECIAL DARSHAN”.

I really get astonished on the power of money. Why is this concept of Paid Darshan existing at all famous religious places now? So much of corruption & bribe is happening in the name of these so called special darshan arranged by pundits & organizers of the temples. It has become so easy for those who have got money to have a darshan of these famous Gods whereas the poor & the needy ones are just left behind standing in the queue. Infact I think because of these special darshan facilities, the normal crowd has to wait longer & even after their loooong wait they never get the chance to have as good a view of the God as a special person gets. I think God is supposed to be unbiased & equal for all, then how come God is doing partiality with its devotees? Is money really that powerful that it can influence God & make even him partial???

Indian Institutes hiring European Professors

Read it in yesterday’s TOI that India is looking forward to recruiting professors from foreign countries especially Europe. This step is mainly taken to overcome the scarcity of quality faculty in India. To attract such foreign talents, they have been offered really good pay packages & few of them have accepted the offers also.

Well, to begin with it’s a praiseworthy step and its great to know that now Europeans will come to our country for doing a job. Agreed that the quality of education will also improve if we will have better faculty. But have we ever wondered on the fact that why are we facing a scarcity of quality faculty in India? Is it really because Indian professors / teachers aren’t good and aren’t having the right talent or rather there is some elemental problem because of which there is a shortage of good faculty members in India?

Now, I personally don’t agree to the first scenario i.e., Indian Faculty lacks talent. Had it been true, they would not have been hired by the top most institutes of the world. In fact we all are aware that these days Indians are the deans & professors in some world renowned business schools & technical colleges. When Indians can make it up to such top institutes & colleges, then why are we facing this scarcity in our own country? Its not because Indians aren’t talented enough rather its because they aren’t being paid enough to survive in their own country. I know of many MBA Grads & Tech Grads who despite their interest in academic career don’t decide to enter into teaching profession because of the salary packages being offered in India. They compromise with their interest & take up some corporate job & if at all they decide to have a career in academics, they end up selecting some foreign institute where they are paid far better salaries.

To throw some light on the real scenario, I am quoting here some excerpt from Economic Times dated 21st Feb.’2006 :
A typical B-school in the US, the UK, France or Singapore offer salaries in the range of $80,000-1,20,000 a year depending on industry experience. In contrast, an IIM professor gets anywhere between $11,000-14,000 a year. “Even if we select a few candidates, there is no guarantee that they will ultimately join IIM-A. Our selection criteria matches the best institutes of the world. However, our salaries don’t,” says Professor Bakul Dholakia, director of IIM-A. His dilemma is not misplaced.

With this kind of package being offered in India, who would like to enter into teaching profession? In fact this scenario is not only for professional or premier colleges, rather in general colleges too, the professors are so underpaid & sometimes they don’t get salaries for months. Resultantly, they take private tuitions & take course to unfair means to earn their living which results in corruption & poorer quality of education in the classes.

If we can offer better packages to European or any other foreign faculty then why can’t we offer a better package to our Indian faculty? If the Indian talented faculty members are given enough financial motivation, then I am sure we will have many Indians who would not opt to settle abroad & then we need not look outside for good quality professors.

Which are the four most important communities for any country??? I think its Teachers, Police, Doctors & Defence Personnels. But the mockery is that unlike any other country, in India these are the lowest paid communities. No wonder, we are facing shortage of good & talented people in all these four communities in India.

Update: Would like to add one more excerpt here-
Economic Times dated 8th May'2006
Rs 34 lakh. Rs 4 lakh. Two figures, vastly diverse, yet closely connected. The first is the maximum salary that an IIM Ahmedabad graduate bagged this year. The second is the maximum salary drawn by an IIM-A professor under the government pay scale.

Of course I agree that these profs must be making money through consulting etc. But the point is that their salaries as profs are nowhere comparable to any corporate salary or decent salary level existing in India today

Do Ghosts Exist?

I know, I know that I am asking a very weird question. I also know that my this post is very different from all my earlier posts. Was debating with myself, whether to put up this post on my blog or not & finally decided to go ahead with it as I always wonder on this question.

Frankly speaking whenever I watch some horror movies or any such stuff, I watch it with full enthusiasm & then later on get scared by having some bizarre thoughts or remembrance from the movie. My family members make a good fun of my this habit of getting scared esp. in darkness & I always try to defend myself by saying that no I am not scared of ghosts etc., its just that I remembered some scene from that particular movie & so got scared. A few days back I was reading in some newspaper that Mr. Bachchan (BIG B) used to get scared on the sets of his new horror movie & he used to imagine that some ghost will appear from here or there at night. It just brought a smile on my face & I silently thought, “Et Tu, Big B”!!!

I remember during my hostel life, once a hostel mate told us that she can call spirits through some planchet method & we all got just so thrilled by listening this. After that with full planning & excitement, we all gathered in one of the rooms at 2 a.m. & this girl did some this-that & told one of the girls to hold a coin. She told that if the coin will start moving then that means the spirit has come & all of us can ask one question from the spirit & whatever the spirit will answer will come true. I also don’t know how that coin start moving, maybe the girl who was holding the coin was so mesmerized & influenced by the spirit caller that she would have started moving it on her own. After that everyone was asking all sorts of questions about their result in exam, about their boyfriends, about their career, marriage & what not and the revolving spirit was answering questions in yes or no. It was really exciting at that moment of time but I can’t tell you my feelings later on. I was so dead scared in my room….ha ha ha…I used to imagine spirits in everything right from my wardrobe to the box below my bed… I can’t even describe my hallucinations of those days…hee hee hee….Finally one day I called up my mom & told her about our adventure & she scolded me a lot on believing & participating in such games. She told me that there is nothing known as ghost & no such spirits exist which can answer such stupid questions. She always prays a lot for our well being & nothing would happen to me. After getting this assurance from mom I felt better.

Well, my conscious & rational mind says that there is nothing known as ghost or spirit & such things don’t exist at all. On the other hand my same rational mind debates that if we can believe in God then why can’t in Ghost??? Maybe we want to believe in God & not in Ghost because natural human mind generally accepts & believes in such facts which are favorable & good for us.

Do really Ghosts exist or is it just one’s psychological perception??? Me still trying to figure out the same...

How can I get myself converted to SC/ST/OBC?

This is exactly what you get if you aren’t SC/ST/OBC…Would like to request our HRD Minister just one thing – If you are introducing so many policies & quotas in favor of SC/ST/OBCs, then why not introduce one more policy viz., how to get converted to SC/ST/OBC??? Atleast we will not get a treatment like as shown above & at the same time it will become far easier to get admitted to the top professional institutes of the country.

Yesterday watched the treatment given by Delhi cops to one of the most respectable & educated clan of the country i.e., Medicos & was shocked to observe that they were handled in such an inhumane way – dragging, teargas, water cannons, misbehavior with girl students!!! This is what you get in a DEMOCRATIC country like India (BY the people, OF the people & FOR the people) if at all you would raise your voice against any unjustified & irrational policies issues by the Govt.

The reservation/quotas have now been increased to 49.5% from 22.5%. The reason being manifold but the most important cited is the upliftment of these classes. Was 22.5% reservation less enough for uplifting these classes??? What about the quality of students coming out of such colleges? The students who generally get admitted through reserved quotas in premier institutes find it very difficult to pass the internal exams or courses because of their weak educational foundation. Resultantly either they pass such exams with lots of difficulty or leave the courses mid-way. Now imagine 50% of the seats going to such students, that means 50% compromise on the quality of students. This will not only spoil the image of such premier institutions rather we will lose some real talented professionals also. Because of lack of suitable opportunities & seats in India, the real deserving meritorious students will migrate to those foreign countries where they will find future doors opened for them.

I also wonder, how come no other netas are finding these policies to be absurd!!! Do all of them really want the upliftment of such classes or are they insecured of losing the SC/ST/OBC votes during the elections? On one hand we claim to be a developing and forward looking country whereas on the other hand we are encouraging this caste based discrimination!!! This country hasn’t got any caste disparity, rather it is suffering from economic disparity. Gone are the days when SC/ST/OBC were the poor community. I have met so many people who belong to such community but are having a far better financial status than us.

My dear Minister Sa’ab, if you really want some reforms then do something for the ones who really need it ie., poor students. Instead of compromising on merits by introducing such caste based quotas in professional colleges, it will be better if you can provide some financial aid policies to real meritorious students who find it difficult to fund their own studies at some premier institutes. Instead of reserving the seats for them at premier professional colleges or jobs, it will be better if you can take care of their primary & secondary education so that they can have a strong foundation & can get into such professional colleges on the basis of their own merits & not on the basis of your reservations/ quotas!!!

Piece Of Cake

Just finished off the delicious, tasty & yummy “Piece Of Cake” & mmmm….I am still relishing its taste. It was simply great, so delicious & so funny. FUNNY??? Yes, funny. Arey I am not speaking of any cake from some famous bakery shop rather I am speaking of the“Piece of Cake” baked by Swati Kaushal. It was such a fun read & kudos to Swati Kaushal for coming out with such a relatable & captivating story.

Piece of Cake is about a 29 year old girl Minal Sharma who has got loads of attitude with a hyperactive conscience. Its about a girl who is struggling hard to survive & succeed in the tough corporate world without losing her ethics & morale. The best part is that the character Minal is not someone who is really idealistic, i.e., neither an extraordinary combination of beauty & brains type, nor resembling to any of those present generation very beautiful mangal-sutra, sindoor & gold clad Bollywood/ TV female protagonists who are an idealistic bahu, patni, ma, tyag ki devi & what not at their home and at the same time running a successful business empire or having a great corporate career. Minal Sharma has been given a very realistic image, a simple girl with average looks who has to struggle hard to fight against pompous people like Rana Bhatia (opposition character in the book) in her organization & at the same time facing the nuances of matrimonial candidates selected by her mother & juggling hard to find a suitable match for herself.

The style of writing is really humorous with all those satires & funny dialogues by Minal. Having worked on a similar portfolio, I found the story to be too interesting & so relevant. I was so engrossed in that book that I almost jumped out of my seat while reading the chapter where Minal realizes that her ads have been leaked, as if it has happened with me!!! Good lord, what a misfortune. But hats off to the determination & spirit of Minal that she took on everything & finally managed to prove herself right.

Swati Kaushal herself being a management graduate from IIM & with her work experience in similar field has managed to give a very pragmatic picture to the corporate world. I think it’s a MUST READ for all brand/product managers as it will give them a very true insight to a real marketing career & I am sure they will enjoy every bit of it.

Giving in to life

Ritu committed suicide…Oh my god, I can’t believe this!!! Why has she done this? Was she really this weak? But she seemed so confident & so lively…Ritu was one of my professional acquaintances, with whom I was interacting almost daily. From her external appearance, she seemed to be so confident, so enthusiastic, so optimistic…always in some bright & bold outfits, always speaking of her dreams & wishes to grow in life…always speaking of her party packed & shopping filled weekends…In fact sometimes, I used to be envious of her “happy” life. I was so wrong; it was all so showy & so pretentious!!! In her suicide note, she had written that she can’t cope-up with the challenges of life & she is tired of unfavorable circumstances in her life.
Last week, read about the suicide of model Kuljeet Randhawa also. Shocking again…Then about Nadira, who was also living alone for past 30 years…Sometimes back, Parveen Babi & before that Nafisa…The list is endless…
Well, frankly speaking was definitely shocked with all these celebrity deaths because of loneliness & depression however wasn’t affected too much, but the death of Ritu has left me pondering & thinking…I don’t know how many people like Ritu must be giving in to life these days, but such celebrity deaths definitely throw lights on the fact that increasing number of people are giving in to the pressures of life these days.

For past few days, even I am feeling sad & perhaps depressed (well, don’t know if its depression or what). Not happy with so many things in my life. I am aware of certain facets of my life, which can’t be changed at all. I also know that its better to adjust with the circumstances which can’t be changed but somehow not able to adjust & not able to come to terms with the reality or maybe reality is too hard to adjust.
Apart from personal life, professionally also things aren’t very smooth. So much unhealthy competition, so much trick games, so much manipulation & so much to fight!!! Sometimes, feel like giving up all the desire to achieve something in life & live a very peaceful & low profile life. Sincerely wish for just living for the moment & not worrying about tomorrow…But can’t help it.

Day in, day out we are so much bombarded with phrases like “Strategic Planning”, “Vision”, “Goal”, “Future Map”, “Competitive Strategy”, “Way Ahead”, “Right Positioning” etc. in our professional lives that we have simply forgotten the meaning of phrases like “living for the moment”, “be yourself”, “simple thinking” etc. in our personal lives. You simply can’t afford to live for the moment & not to think ahead. If you aren’t going to rack your brain & think strategically, then you will have to really face some tough difficulties as so many people are just eyeing on you to take your position away by any means. If you aren’t aggressive, then you can’t survive only, forget about growing ahead!!! If you aren’t super confident & extrovert, you simply can’t accept it in public as in today’s age there is no place for a normal introvert person. Its better to pretend to be confident & optimistic than to accept your real self. In personal life also, you need to have so many things not only to have a proper existence rather also to meet the expectations of your peers & family. You need to have a decent job & apart from basic necessities like decent accommodation & food, these days you need to have some inevitable gazettes & gizmos without which your life can’t function at all. The earning capacity has definitely got increased but so has got the expenses. The job scenario has definitely got changed, but so has got our expectation from jobs. The living style has definitely got more advanced but so has got the levels of stress. Depression, anxiety & stress are the buzzword these days and are mostly associated with the youth. It has become as common a disease as flu or cold.

Sometimes, I really wonder on the quality of our lives. Why are so many people giving in to the pressures of life? Is it because life has become very difficult or is it because our expectation from life has changed? Is it because we aren’t able to achieve desired things in our lives or is it because we want to achieve too many things too early in our lives?

Update on 14the Feb'06 (10:07p.m.): Please note that this blog is not about death of any particular celebrity rather its about common people like us.I have left a detail comment in comments section for those who have misunderstood it to be a blog on celebrity deaths. Ritu is not a fictitous character.She was one of my known friends whose suicide had left me shocked & made me ponder over our lives.

15 Park Avenue

Hey in case, if you haven’t watched this movie & you intend to watch the same, then I would suggest not to go ahead with reading this post as this post reveals the story of the movie & I know many people don’t like to know the story of the movie before watching the same. I am neither a movie reviewer nor a psychiatrist or so but then too thought to write about this movie as this movie relates very well to a normal human psychology.

Watched this movie last weekend. Amazing movie & excellent acting by everyone!!! Kudos to Aparna Sen for making such a remarkable movie. Well, she has always made great movies but I really loved this movie for everything except the end. It was an open-ended movie left to the imagination of the viewers. Frankly speaking I was so deeply engrossed in the movie & was so eager to know the reality that I desperately wanted to know the end. My eagerness for a finite end resulted in some disappointment when I realized that it was an open ended movie. After all what happened to Mitthi???

This movie is about a young girl Mitthi (Konkana Sen) who is schizophrenic & lives in her own imaginative world. Her elder sister Anjali (Shabana Azmi) is a professor & divorcee. She has put her life on hold to take care of Mitthi & her mother (Waheeda Rehman). Mitthi was in love with Jojo/Joydeep (Rahul Bose) who wanted to marry her & even after several warnings from Anjali to Jojo about Mitthi’s psychological illness, both went ahead and got engaged too. After engagement, Mitthi went ahead with an official journalism assignment to some small town & was gang-raped by some political goons. Jojo left Mitthi after that as he realized that he wasn’t having the courage to spend his whole life with a girl like Mitthi. Mitthi became further depressed & her schizophrenia got aggravated. She hallucinated about being married to Jojo with five kids & living in her house “15 Park Avenue”. She is constantly looking for this address, an address that doesn’t exist at all. After few years, Jojo meets Mitthi in Bhutan where Anjali has taken Mitthi & her mother for a break & Jojo has also come with his wife Laxmi (Shefali Chaya) and two kids. He starts suffering from guilt consciousness for deserting Mitthi at the time when she needed her the most. He decides to help Mitthi find her house at 15 Park Avenue. They are searching for this house & then suddenly Mitthi disappears. The other scene shows that she has found her house & family at 15 Park Avenue. The movie ends with a scene where Anjali, Jojo & Karan (Mitthi’s Doctor) are looking for Mitthi & 15 Park Avenue…

Believe me, some of the scenes keep coming to my mind especially Mitthi’s rape because of the way they have been shown. So true, so real & so raw. The rapists after raping her repeatedly left her callously in the corridor & the way they threw her sandals over her…… it gives me goose bumps to even think of that scene. The way Konkana Sen hallucinates…it doesn’t appear even once that she is acting on screen & that she is not someone real. The end was left open to the viewer’s imagination. Well, thought & read of many interpretations to that end but none seemed to be convincing enough.

Personally by my own analysis I interpret the end as following:
I think if hallucination is the attribute of schizophrenia then, all of us are schizophrenic in nature to some extent as we all imagine for certain things. We all have got an imaginary world, which is different from our real world, & in that imaginary world we hallucinate to do such things, which we want to do but might not be able to do in our real world. Sometimes, our desire for that imaginary life becomes so dominant or overriding that we start believing in that imaginary world & forget our real existence. Maybe sometimes we want to run away from our real existence & desperately want to have a life as that of our imaginative world and if we aren’t able to do so, then for our personal satisfaction we start imagining that life strongly so much so that we forget our real entity. When this desire or urge of imaginary life supersedes the reality then it might be known as psychological illness “schizophrenia”. The same happened in that movie. Mitthi is schizophrenic & hallucinates about her married life with Jojo at 15 Park Avenue as she was madly in love with Jojo & desperately wanted to get married to her. When it didn’t happen, her dormant schizophrenic trait dominated her reality & she started believing in a house at “15 Park Avenue” which was hers & Jojo’s house & where she was happily living with her kids. The last scene shows that she has suddenly disappeared & now Jojo, Anjali & Karan are so desperate to find her that even they start believing that she has gone to some house at “15 Park Avenue” & they have also started to ask from everybody around the same address, an address that doesn’t exist at all!!! Where she disappeared is still incomprehensible to me…

Hey wait, wait…why am I imagining the end!!! Is it because I am so desperate to know the end that I have myself started to imagine an end & believe in that…Oh my god, some dormant trait of schizophrenia or what…Ha Ha Ha…Hey friends, do let me know if you can think of any other interpretation to the end of this movie!!!
UPDATE: Yesterday someone told me that the actual interpretation of the movie was that it was Anjali (Shabana Azmi) who was schizophrenic & not Mitthi. Is it really true??? Oh my God, if this is true then I think that I haven't understood the movie at all...

You dont drink!!!

Does anyone remember the old ad – “Arey yeh PSPO nahi janta where everyone exclaims & looks so astonished & the guy who asks about PSPO looks so embarrassed & fool…Well, every time I go to a party, I remember that ad because of the exclamatory reactions which I have to face from the people. Last week also I went to a party & again faced the same problem. I was being offered drink & I very courteously told that I don’t drink & again the same exclamation – “AREY, YOU DON’T DRINK!!! WHAT, YOU DON”T BOOZE!!! COME ON YAAR, SO OUTDATED!!! YOU ARE LIVING IN GANDHI’S AGE!!!” These are few of the comments, which I generally come across. Every time, someone offers me a drink & every time, I have to listen to one of these or similar kind of sentences. I face similar reactions in almost every party I go & if it’s a corporate party, then toh you are completely tagged as archaic, antiquated, unprofessional & what not. Frankly speaking, I think I still get to listen to lesser comments as being a female, not drinking is somewhat acceptable in India but if you are a male & if you have gone to some parties especially corporate or professional parties and if you don’t drink then toh forget it. You will not only be tagged as antediluvian, unprofessional etc. rather people will start expressing doubts on your masculinity too & will pass comments like -“BE A MAN YAAR“. The worst is that those who drink will make sure to convince others for drinking by giving some illogical & out of the world reasons. O.K. you love boozing, then carry on, why do you convince others for considering such drinks as if its elixir of life kinda drink & why do you attach some kind of weird stigma to those who don’t prefer to drink? The worst is that I find many people giving in to the pressure of such peers & friends & start drinking as they think that if they will not booze then they will be considered conservative & unprofessional. Well, till date I am not aware of any study or research, which proves that boozing enhances your intelligence or professionalism. Also not heard of any report, which testifies that if a male doesn’t booze then that means there is some serious problems with his masculinity or any formal analysis which concludes that if a man doesn't drink then he is not a man enough. Still so many people find it to be such an important code of conduct for parties.
Well, I seriously wonder if boozing has really got some connection with being modern, forward, progressive & professional? Is it really such an “in thing” which can’t be avoided at all??? Why can’t those who don’t prefer to drink accept it openly? Why do people especially males need to give some lame excuses for not drinking? I don’t want to sound like a wisdom tree but believe me, I am not aware of any of the benefits of boozing, but yes, I am definitely aware of the tremendous hazards & terrible aftermaths of boozing…

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