Monday, April 29, 2013

Can you please shut up!!!!

The IPL6 has been better I suppose simply by counting the number of nails I must have lost thanks to the last over heroics of the Chennai Super Kings. And there have been some performances that have ensured that mediocrity and excellence were adequately represented along with the average performances in between.

After the CSK I am partial to the Royals from Rajasthan led by Rahul Dravid. This year they are leading the fair play award (just ahead of CSK) and have played quite well, especially in their desert fortress. I am hoping that they will make the playoffs along with the other surprise package the Sunrisers who have fought gamely with a decent side. I would be happy if they also do make it at the expense of the KKR who are busy shooting themselves in the foot constantly this year. The toss off should be between RCB & MI who should both qualify unless RR or SRH will otherwise.

What should be a pleasant viewing exercise is getting disturbed by the attack on our aural senses by the commentators. The basic qualification to be a commentator is to be a player of any repute communication skills be damned. If you notice I mentioned communication skills, sadly many of those in the box lack them and they try to make up for their shortcomings by histrionics or buffoonery the type best exemplified by the man in the bright coloured headgear and matching ties.

Some others use a constipated tone that after a point becomes monotonous to everyone else or a tone of perpetual arousal which is best ignored. And the lure of the money has felled even the diplomatic gentlemen few of whom can be seen squirming in the presence of the above mentioned and grinning and bearing it while speaking their lines.

I have always been irritated by the supercilious tone used by a legend who shares his wisdom on the limited over game and the T20 version when he will be still remembered for one of the slowest ODI innings ever played. On the T20 field semi skilled players may get away but only skilled professionals should take a mike. This elder has made it a habit of joining the buffoon and believing himself to be an entertainer now is attempting to match the verbal diarrhoea line for line and making me drop my head in disgust.

There are some cricketers who by virtue of their education, grooming or innate skills are exceptional on the mike, there is of course one professional who graduated from the radio and has mastered the winning way atleast on the mike. But these are few and far between most of the time it is the simple option of the mute button which helps considerably.

Finally the hostesses may bring the glamour to the space filler shows but can they not find someone who can speak English without the accent? It just seems that Chennai not only has the better team but also has the better hostess.

Whiste podu!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(If you cannot figure out the aural abusers, drop a line)


Sunday, April 28, 2013

(M)ad matters...

You cannot help but get disturbed at the advertisements that are being made these days. A list of the trashiest advertisements on TV will probably become a serial post so I will take 5 ads that make me very emotional and one final bonus that is a classic.

The first is a stereotype. In this case a stereotype of the dumb blonde act.
 Aamir Khan does a drag act and the lady of the house is oblivious to it all. Either Godrej has some bad media planners or they expect that the viewers are idiots, this series of ads stink. And women will decide on buying your products Godrej, this is a sheer disservice to them.

The next is a stereotype that dates back to the classic Hindi movie Padosan, which was a remake of a Tamizh classic.
 If Voltas thinks that South Indians cannot speak Hindi they are still living in a fool’s paradise, keep your products to yourself. And Voltas even if you are from the Tata family, you have lost one prospective customer.

I am at a loss for words when I see this ad. Really I cannot believe that the ad makers and the product makers think that folks will fall for the gas they sell.
Spray Axe and women will tear off your clothes. I am waiting for the day when a product liability lawsuit will be served on these people.

This ad is disturbing simply for the content. This trend started off with the Genelia & Kohli (i think) series of ads and seem to hawk promiscuity rather than time pieces. I am not able to place the connect between the message and the product.
But I do think that such ads should require a not suitable for children warning if it cannot be censored.

This ad is a decent one, with decent product placement but what I find amusing is the placement of one woman wearing a skirt in between.
Why not replace the skirt by the lungi and target a new segment altogether?


Finally a classic. No dialogues, no over the top situations, just a slice of daily life. This advertisement gave us two stars one Aravind Swamy who shone briefly and the “Mozart of Madras” who still mesmerizes us with his magic. Wish they still make ads like this today.

Friday, April 26, 2013

What did we learn when we were young?

How many of us are qualified for the job we do?

Surprisingly many of us end up doing jobs that we did not study for and this makes you wonder why we studied those courses. I did Computer Science for my graduation and followed it up with a MBA. To increase the employment options most management courses offer dual and even triple specializations for those willing. I opted for Systems and Marketing as it was a lighter paper.

I got placed on campus in a Non Banking Finance Company to sell loans. More than a decade later I am in another industry where again my college degree contributes very little to my daily job. I am in the business of inter personal relationships which requires 90% of soft skills like etiquette, grooming, language, tone etc take precedence over other things. And most of management is simple common sense.

I chose management because I did not find computers very exciting during my course and thought that management may be more interesting and it was. I got placed in a NBFC and as per the rules of the institute if I wanted to decline I had to wait till the end of the placement rounds and then sit again which I decided against and so I ended up in sales in a NBFC but for some it seems to be a planned route.

Many aspirants for a B school degree are engineers who study science in school, then take a management degree and end up in the world of banking & finance. On the way they deprive the commerce student of a seat in his chosen field and end up taking a job for which the student would have trained right from high school. Also the engineer if from a core discipline deprives another worthy aspirant of a seat and worse reduces the supply of core engineers by one.

And it seems that Human Resources Management requires little or no qualification, which is actually true. You cannot be taught a course to handle people; it comes from within and from the upbringing. So you will have a chemical engineer, with a B school degree managing the work force of a Fast Moving Consumer goods company.

Something is seriously wrong somewhere...

What we should teach our children

I remember two subjects that nobody cared for much in school. Though your opinions may differ and may even consider maths or science as suitable options; I am only referring to Catechism / Moral Science and History & Civics. When I see the state of the nation around me I guess this lack of interest or importance has affected us very badly.

Let us examine each subject starting with Catechism or Moral Science. Having studied in a missionary school Catechism was always the first subject of the day and it aids character building. Moral Science for the non Catholics also attempted the same but somewhere character lost out to scores and people just ignored the subject. The shocking rape crimes that have stunned the nation shows moral deficiency and morals are inculcated in the childhood. I think it is a pressing need to ensure that moral science gets elevated to a major paper right through school and even in college. Surely it will make a change in character building?

The next paper is History which was clubbed with Civics. Sadly the paper becomes redundant in High School. By the time students come out of high school they forget national pride, delight in their heritage because they are focussed on marks and only marks. By the time they finish college civic sense gets replaced by cynical sense when they blame the ills of the world around on someone else when the root cause will be at home. Today students seldom know their political leaders, the laws of the land, duties, roles and responsibilities and it seems unfair to expect them to be good citizens.

I have observed the earlier government trying to bring equality with the Samacheer syllabus and despite the best efforts of this government it has survived. I only wish that one day this syllabus will incorporate these two major papers for the next generation desperately needs it.
I would love to take these classes part time, but will there be takers?

(Images courtesy Google Images)
P.S. The second image is from Bhavia's blog : )

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

PDA in Chennai

I have been pleasantly surprised by PDAs on the roads of namma Chennai recently. For the uninitiated, the PDAs under discussion are not the gadgets that disappeared with the advent of the smart phones like the pagers (remember them) but Public Display of Affection. These will be the type that would set off the moral police into a tizzy. For further understanding you can watch this.

One interesting addition to the usual boy & girl combination that I noticed was a two wheeler. In one instance a girl gave a big hug to a boy on the bike on the road, in another a girl riding a scooter turned back, kissed the boy behind and drove on without pausing a moment. I watched with amusement that girls are taking the initiative even if it has to be on the road.

Genuine acts of affection should not raise eyebrows or stir up the moral brigades even if they are public but when they go overboard it will be better to get a room or at least a car. ; )



 (Images courtesy Google Images, video courtesy Youtube)




Friday, April 19, 2013

Some more unanswered questions

My last post was on the death penalty and I realized that I ended up on the wrong side of the spectrum I wanted to discuss. However the comments from the readers opened my perspective and I realized that though not intended to speak for the family of the accused they also leave behind at times a destitute legacy.

The comments from my readers made me think further and wonder if justice is indeed retribution to the family of the victims. Those accused of violent crime have broken families, orphaned children, widowed brides and whether they face the gallows or not, the future sufferings of the families of the victims will remain unmitigated.

Of what use is this sentence to an orphaned child? Will justice care for him / her? Those who vehemently support for the lives of the accused can spend some time to mitigate the suffering of the victims. An eye for an eye does not work anymore but it makes you wonder if this is the reason for crime to go about unchecked. Is justice really justice for the victim if it will not ensure any compensation for the loss suffered?

I am disturbed by this because I have given a few claim payments to the nominees of deceased policy holders and usually this payment will be the only recourse they had and even this was available because some kind soul sold this insurance when they did not perceive the need.
Death throws up so many challenges for those still living...

R.I.P. Really?

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Unanswered questions...

The recent debates and activism for and against the death penalty made me think of another aspect of the death penalty that somehow does not figure in the mind space of these activists.

Most of those facing the death penalty seem to be convicted of murder and these days death is being handed out to the “rarest of the rare” cases and it makes you wonder if a killing of another person(s) is an everyday occurrence. And what merits certain murders to be termed thus?

Death is inevitable and everyone is mortal. What is uncertain is the time of death. Working in the life assurance industry I am an evangelist for protection, protection of the financial status of the surviving family of a deceased. Life assurance is simply a step in that endeavour. Few people plan for their death and fewer plan for the social security of their loved ones in their absence. The abysmal insurance penetration of our country is a testament to this.

With this back ground I wonder about the plight of the families of the victims who may be left helpless with the unfortunate demise of the bread winner. Is this justice then a fair retribution & can this put food on the table? Having been taught that one must forgive seventy times seven, death may not be the solution. The question remains what happens to those who are still living a half life because someone has robbed them of their support.

Should not the convicted criminal make good at least the financial loss caused by him / her? Will these activists who fight against the death sentence contribute money to save other lives from hunger? Will the state step in?

I wonder...


7 random things on my mind

A bomb blast in Boston sent my time line on Twitter into frenzied activity. The media fell over itself and the world leaders rose together to condemn the outrage. I am with the outrage, this was not on. But I am also with the other incidents which passed by as a statistic in some death register. Bomb blasts, mob violence, traffic murders like the one in Jaipur and many more did not evoke much reaction. It is difficult to understand why an American and now a Chinese life is worth more than that of others.

These days it is quite common to see many angels on mercy speeding on the road with the lights flashing and the siren blaring. I am talking about the brave heart ambulance drivers who put their lives at risk to reach patients to the hospitals at the earliest. They are indeed angels of mercy and nowadays it is heartening to see that the average citizen is letting the ambulances pass on and unwittingly may have saved lives. If only someone had called an ambulance on the highway in Jaipur maybe two lives could have been saved.

Traffic deaths are rising and many deaths can be avoided by simple discipline. Yet discipline on the roads is disappearing faster than the footpaths and together they keep adding to the fatalities. It will be impossible to police this city considering its sprawl and its growth but function traffic lights can help. Often these lights stop functioning and it becomes a free for all. Compounding this is the failure of the law enforcers to follow the law. Last night a police jeep seeing the jam ahead decided to drive on the wrong side. This opened the dam literally with many others following the jeep ensuring that both lanes were blocked.

Patience is a virtue and our roads can teach us that if only we cared to learn. To reach on time in this traffic madness it is obvious that one has to leave early. Failing to do that leads to laws being flouted, tempers getting raised and the inevitable treatment for pressure one fine day. All it needs is some proactive planning and some relaxed driving for the time gained in breaking a few rules on the road will be insignificant compared to the time that can be wasted in the event of an accident. People can listen to the radio, pray or even create blog posts in their mind while patiently waiting for the traffic to clear. And if the time spent on the road is longer then maybe another song can be heard or a prayer said or a post composed.

Yesterday’s paper tells folks in Chennai that soon you can be driving on the road for more than two hours and still be in Chennai. It may not be news for those who are doing the commute already on the OMR but for those who bought property years ago falling for the pitch “near Chennai” will have a smile and feel extremely lucky as they will find themselves to be a part of Chennai metro even if their address will read Arakonnam or Kanchipuram. The question on my mind is will these new areas of Chennai be spared the 12 hour power cuts that are prevalent in the rest of the state.


There was a debate on radio recently the objective was to find out whether success comes from hard work or luck. There was a strong pitch for both options and one or two wise souls took the middle path attributing both to success. I personally believe that smart workers make their own luck, providence is their bonus. Let me explain with the earlier example, to reach a destination on time taking a route with bumper to bumper traffic one needs to be extremely lucky if he leaves at his usual time, however a smart worker will leave early (it is hard work, trust me) plan his route and he will ensured that he has made his own luck to reach his destination with possibly time to spare.

Protection is achieved by planning & proactive behaviour. Wearing a helmet or a seat belt are examples of protection. Sadly people do not bother with either another thing they ignore is insurance both for life and for non life including health. Recently one cover that I reluctantly took helped me when I least expected it. It was a protection plan for my credit / debit cards and when my cell phone & my wallet were stolen it just took one phone call to block all my cards including my SIM. Unfortunately I did not mark my IMEI number and so the phone could not be traced but still it ensured peace of mind. I suggest folks look up such plans and go for them, because by the time we need them it may be too late.

Thursday, April 11, 2013


(Picture courtesy Google Images)

This is another CBC inspired post actually a part of the CBC called the Chennai Bloggers for Social Action (CBSA) running a contest to spread awareness on child sex abuse (CSA). I am not a fan of writing for contests but this seemed a good cause so here are my thoughts on this topic that is often swept under the carpet.

The best way to avoid CSA is to minimize or remove the opportunities for potential abusers and here are a few opportunities I have observed that are common:

1)   “Baby, give this uncle / aunt a kiss”: I ask why the baby should kiss anyone. Especially if they are not family. Do grown up children kiss every one? If so why must little kids? At a very tender and impressionable age this behaviour is plain silly and potentially dangerous. The child may not be able to discern between an angel and a devil.

2)   Unwarranted touch: at a very young age children must be sensitized to an unwelcome touch on any part of the body as the child may be too young to understand an unwarranted touch. Besides do folks go around touching everyone?

3)   Studies have shown that many abusers are known to the children and sometimes are related to the children. Therefore it is imperative that children are not left unattended regularly. With nuclear families and working parents this peril goes largely unnoticed.

4)   Another opportunity that seems to have been missed or ignored by parents is the autos which transport the children to school. Autos plying on school trips are usually overloaded and I have watched with horror children sitting on either side of the driver and on the rare occasion sitting on the lap of the driver. I simply cannot understand how this is being permitted by any parent with commonsense. Not only is it a life threatening risk the risk of abuse is in plain sight of all. Sometimes the money saved may be very costly.

Our children have a wonderful future; so we need to protect their present.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Let there be peace on earth

Peace be with you...

A beautiful song that is a part of the carol singers’ ensemble but it can be used any time of the year, by everyone. 

Peace begins from inside and then spreads everywhere.  The sign of peace should come out from the confines of churches to the roads where road rage is becoming very common and people are even being killed because of rage.

“Let there be peace on earth” is being used by the Chennai Traffic police for a campaign that asks people to spread peace by not honking. Yes you read that right. Let there be peace on earth so please stop using your horn.Road rage, indiscipline and impatience are making motorists abuse their horns these days. A horn is used to warn others of the oncoming vehicle and is required especially to ward of jay walkers or when there is a curve on the road but why would anyone want to use the horn when the traffic is at a standstill? 

In a city where traffic jams are common and many of these jams are caused because of indiscipline is there any use of blaring the horns? Will that help in clearing the traffic? There have been days when I have given the wheel to D and waded in to the traffic jam and regulated the vehicles to restore the flow. Usually it takes one person to start and few others join with just an unspoken acknowledgement. For people like me to get the jam cleared by regulating traffic when a policeman is not available is the most obvious solution. But for many the only way out of a jam is to use the horn.

They say empty vessels make more noise...

(Image courtesy Google Images)