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Showing posts from January, 2007

The best way to loose customers

Ok ... Here’s a tip from TATA indicom - how to weaken your market position as a new entrant by scaring away new customers ... It so happens that I am planning to buy a data card and have 3 options – Reliance, Airtel and Tata indicom. Since I own a Reliance phone I wanted to try a data card from a different provider ... so I went to Google and typed ‘Tata Indicom data card’ – the link I got was for tarrifs of the service. Thereafter I went to ‘Contact Us’ section and after selection of 3 dropdowns I got a number for their wireless service: 022 55990121 On dialling this number I get a message that this number has changed .. kindly visit 9223001951 to obtain the new number ... So I go to 9223001951 and got the new number 022 67990121 On calling 022 67990121 I was informed that this number was only for wifi services and I need to dial 9220000121 for wireless services (they don’t even have an internal call transfer mechanism!!!) On dialling 9220000121 I am routed through 2 option sequ

The truth is not out there!

The two articles [ 1 , 2 ] could not have been any more different – one on Poland’s tilt towards anti-communist Catholicism, and the other by a Communist leader in India about the relevance of the first battle of Indian independence (this year marks 150th year of the 1857 mutiny). Yet, both represented the failure of politicians to separate religion from politics. The first article describes, how, in post communist rule Poland, Catholicism is being equated with anti-communism, so that when the newly appointed archbishop was accused (and conceded guilty) of having helped Russians as a spy, there is a paradox of kinds. However, by getting the archbishop to resign, the politicians have scored a point that might just help them win the next election. On the other hand, Sitaram Yechury starts the other article, by making a hero out of Bahadur Shah Zafar who was the (notional) head of the 1857 revolt. By posturing Zafar as a Mughal ruler and quoting RSS’s anti-Muslim stance (in a completely

We need to increase productivity
A tale of two Indias – Part II

In the previous post I had emphasized on how ‘Wealth Creation’ is the only long term solution to alleviating the marginalized ‘ other India ’ and I also talked about how it creates certain chain reactions. However, in another post I had lamented about the sheer number of people that one finds in corridors and hallways in Indian offices. While these two might seem unrelated rants – they indeed are related. Wealth creation has always been misconstrued (especially post Indira Gandhi politics) as creation of jobs. Sometimes I feel even the new fangled corporate sector gets carried away with this. Many times when I might raise concern to some data centre managers about lack of security for the data centre and the need to put in place sophisticated mechanisms like biometric scanners – the usual immediate response is to propose an increase in number of security guards instead. Similarly I find the policy of having too many cleaners around objectionable. I remember learning about the conce

A tale of two Indias (Part I)

In spite of the chants from ‘India Shining’ (by BJP 3 years ago) to ‘India Poised’ (by Times of India, NOW) - neither the poverty nor the infrastructural weaknesses of India are hidden from anyone of us. We all see child beggars on the roads everyday, inhale dust, cement and vehicular gases every hour, pass by the slums on the pavements and sniff the smell emanating from decaying waste in our neighbourhood. Each one of us is aware of the ‘two Indias’ and each one us realizes that the gap needs to be narrowed. And each one us, so I would like to believe , wants to do something about it! But only some of us seem to be doing something about it. Anouradha Bakshi who runs ProjectWhy is one such individual. She says (in an email to her network of supporters) – “Our lives are replete with the passing the buck syndrome, with trying to find someone to put the onus on. maybe it is time we are honest enough to realise that this has failed and that we need to look at ourselves and see how we

Evam is back ...

Evam is back with a lot of shows for you! Chennai-ites should gearn up for fun times.... Whats more, buying tickets for an evam showing has now become easier, with the launch of our own Box Office at www.evam.in . All you have to do is click on the show of your choice, choose the denomination of the ticket and the number of tickets and we invite you into ‘club evam’. No money transactions, no credit card payments – just convenience. Helping us stay in tune with you. Tickets once blocked, will be reserved for you at the Show, by my Box Office team – you just have to collect them and pay. We hope you will all use this unique service to purchase your tickets. I must warn you that the home page may take a tad bit to download – considering this is our first online effort – things will only get better from this point on. So log onto www.evam.in and see you at our shows – looking forward to busting your Stress! And do remember – evam150 starts this weekend- Now showing ‘ ART by evam ’ on

Reminiscences of the West

Ye Office hai ya Lok sabha? On resuming work in Indian Offices, after a stint in the West, the most significant difference that you notice in the office milieu is the sheer abundance of people – a testimony to India’s population. In the UK, offices – especially corridors, lounges and hallways are mostly empty. However in India there are all kinds of people standing in these alleys – cleaners, security guards, receptionists etc. Many times a single reception desk is manned by two receptionists; there are separate cleaners to wipe doors and clean toilets, the lift has a 'lift-man' just to press the buttons and sometimes even the water filter is manned by a peon!! Clear the roads - of garbage, vehicles .... and people I was sitting on the window of a BEST bus travelling to office at around 9 AM when suddenly I had an urge to play some mind games with myself. I closed my eyes and imagined the scene if Mumbai roads* were to become like roads in London. The conversion made by my

Maths, Science and Beauty

Excerpt from the book: Machine Beauty: Elegance and the Heart of Technology [ italics mine ]: Gelernter suggests that the dichotomy between art/beauty and science/technology has led to inadequate academic training of computer-science students. He points out that the greatest minds in science and industry have always pursued beauty . ‘Machine beauty is the driving force behind technology and science,’ he says, and yet ‘beauty bothers us.’ Somehow it’s perceived to be softer and less rigorous to train computer scientists in art, music, architecture, and design. However, Gelernter sees these disciplines as closely aligned with the mathematics and science that are the foundation of technology. Because of this lack of aesthetic education, much user interface has been poorly designed. I had written similarly but from a different perspective in my post: In Romance with Mathematics ...

Meritocracy is not an absolute law

There are two kinds of people who are successful in the industry …. The first who have great talent The other who have great contacts .... and they both need each other... however the rarest of most respected are those who have both. For me the biggest difference in the transition from Academics to Professional circles has been the realization that meritocracy is not an absolute law. While in schools and colleges too, there would be some difference between different students due to their upbringing, but ultimately it was meritocracy which ruled. There are always students who do not have proper guidance at home or resources to make it to the ivy league, but unless the disparity is huge (like a slum child vs. rich brat), the meritorious always end up with a better career, even though the amount of hard work put in might be a little more for the unprivileged. Probably this is the true testimony of the Indian educational system where higher education is within reach of middle class. With

The Commoner’s Celebrity Antics

Nowadays the whole society is taken over by the same antics which earlier were limited to celebrities. Whether it is people dancing on the street or public booing the ‘Nach Baliye’ dancers in the TV show – all the emotions, actions, sounds and gestures are cosmetic. One feels the artificiality overwhelming on occasions like the New Year’s. I am not against people going to parties or discs on the New Year’s Eve (even though I myself don’t have a preference for that). But what I find objectionable is the some people partaking such activities not because they enjoy them, but just out of peer pressure – the very next day they would end up sick, tired (and not having enjoyed themselves) sullen, sometimes even backbiting about how dull the party was or how awful the dinner was. It is even more troublesome when they choose you as the agony aunt. I am the last person who could have any solution to these problems. But, the most frustrating part is that they do not even expect you to suggest a