The four point someone

23 05 2007

Anand has been writing a four part series on “Improving Service” on the tolmolbol blogs. The latest of his post (the third one) deals with “The 3P factor” – People. Physical Evidence. Process. Check out the blog, it has some real reviews by some real people on some real businesses. This lethal combination has obviously got Anand’s famed cerebral strings twanging. The blog post makes for an interesting read.

Also read:
Part 1 : How to improve the services experience
Part 2: The power of the platform

Awaiting his fourth now.

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Thank God! Its 29th April.

30 04 2007

The cricket World Cup is over. God how I have been dying it to be done and over with. Our glorious cricketers proved yet again that cliched saying “Game of glorious uncertainties”. In other words our cricket team played like a bunch of grapes hung out to dry into a delicious old vine only to find that they fermented into a sour tonic water. Anyway, ever since Bangladesh defeated us it did not matter who won the World Cup. So no kicking kangaroo butts, not just yet.

Fortunately, a lot has been happening to keep my mind of the catastrophe. I have been off for a grand 10 day leave (thats why you found me so quiet) . A 10 day leave is an amazing concept that does not happen to us (as in me and my partners) too often. So while I was at it I enjoyed every moment of it. I traveled and saw new parts of India. I attended marriages and I danced, quiet literally, like there was no tomorrow.. I was back on 21st.

Since then I have had a fruitful 3 day trip to Mumbai.

I am well and truly back and expect some regular updates from me.





That day the Cricket died!

16 03 2007

With the 2007 edition of Cricket World Cup underway, it’s only too difficult not to reminisce the 23rd March 2003. India romped into the final after 2 months of solid cricket display and the way we got stuffed that day will leave lasting memories.

I watched that match on the huge screen of our College auditorium. The atmosphere was electric in the audi. People had come prepared for the big show down. The blue jersies were everywhere, faces were painted with tricolours, Indian flags were waving, the sound was almost unbearable. We even had our own cardboard replicas of World Cup Trophies held aloft before the match even began.

What happened over the next 3 and a half hours made me cringe and made the whole auditorium and an attendance of 2000 above go absolutely quiet. I remember one of the early Zaheer Khan delivery which beat Hayden and Zaheer was right under Hayden’s nose staring. It was absolutely top stuff, everyone loved it, the Indian team was aggressive, there were whistles and hooting. From there the plot went horribly wrong.

Zaheer Khan bowled with aggression and bowled everywhere except the right line and length, he was duly carted around the park for fours and sixes. Srinath discovered his slower ball and overdid it to such an extent that his surprise bowl was the faster one. Gilchrist gave Aussies a flying start and a 105 run first wicket partnership. When Hayden followed him to the Pavilion with 125 on the board, the game was on and Indian fight back imminent. Ponting had other ideas though and he simply massacred the Indian bowling with 140 of 121 with 4 fours and 8 sixes. Nehra was the only mainline bowler with an average under 6 and that too just by a shade. Aussies put up 359 for loss of 2 wickets and the auditorium had turned into a silent graveyard.

At that time it would have been a record chase if India would have succeeded. The chances were remote but still there was hope. Sachin was in form of his life and who knows if both he and Sehwag fired, we could have made it. A weak four was all Sachin managed in his stay of 4 balls, from there on it was a lost game. The only shimmer of hope was rain that came pouring down after the 17th over. I was sitting with the Marathi gang at that time and there was an impromptu rain dance to appease Gods on “Moriya re, Bappa moriya re”. I joined in the dance and festivities when someone explained that if no more play was possible, there would be a restart of the match (afresh) on the following day. We all went berserk hoping the rain to go on forever. Half an hour later the rain had stopped the clouds disappeared and with it the Indian World Cup. The replica of World Cup trophy like the Indian team had been smashed into pulp and discarded on the way out of the auditorium.

There was gloom all around, it was a sickening blow to an otherwise amazing performance India had put in. For whole of the World Cup there were only two invincible teams for the rest of the field – Australia and India. And for whole of the World Cup, India lost only twice and both times to Australia.

In interviews before this World Cup Ganguly, Zaheer, Sachin, Sehwag and Yuvraj have all mentioned that they would never be able to forget the loss of the last World Cup and it would scar them forever. And it would not just be them but whole of India who would find it difficult to forget that loss. However, stuffing Australia in Semis or Finals would go a long way to soothe away some of that pain.

So here’s hoping that we kick some kangaroo backside this time around. INDIA! All the way for the World Cup!





Good samaritans and a tale of choked arteries

14 03 2007

Everyday we come across stories of selfless people making lives of other people better. And we have an uncanny habbit of ignoring these stories unless one of those media channels or newspaper tells us that we must be listening. The most heroic and the most unsung of the selfless heroes is the common man, the aam aadmi, who runs to their offices just like you and me, who stands in those innumerable slowly moving queues, who has as many reasons as us to curse the country, the people, the mentality and red tape but they choose to do something over complaining.

Pavan writes about one such creed of people who plain clothed do what the traffic policewalas should be doing in uniforms. I have my own doubts that soon we would see traffic officials coming in to snub out these “do-no-good” people. But still hats off to these people who choose to make a difference.

On a related but different note.  Traffics in major city is crawling. There are too many vehicles and usually too little road infrastructure. We are only adding to the already worsening traffic situation. Stop overusing your 2 and 4 wheelers. Use the company bus, city transport and find people around you who share the destination if you want to take your own car. We need to get the good old carpooling back into fashion for the good of the roads.

When you curse on someone next time while you drive your own car or bike, don’t forget you are a part of the problem, so just smile and endure.





Living life – city size – country wide – tolmolbol.com!

27 02 2007

We recently launched our first portal offering for the Indian web (& mobile) users! Please do visit http://www.tolmolbol.com.

What we are!

Tolmolbol is a consumer-centric city portal that helps ordinary folks like you and me get to know our neighbourhoods better. We unveiled tolmolbol.com at Proto, 2007 (Jan 20th, 2007) in Chennai (the Indian version of Demo), a conference that brought select Indian start-ups together.

Our goal is to make tolmolbol your friendly neighbourhood web-guide where you can:
* search for information about local businesses or professionals,
* voice out your opinions and reviews,
* forge a network of friends,
* communicate and discover upcoming events,
* place classified ads,
* reach out to your community,
* share information with others to make informed shopping decisions, and
* SMS information regarding businesses, events and classifieds to your mobile phones (for free).

What we are not!
* an out and out social networking site.
* Orkut, Hi5, Low5 or for that matter any other USD 300 script copying MySpace.
* Yellow Pages – yellow pages don’t tell you if you should be visiting a place, we would like to be the one who can help you decide that.
* Niche/lifestyle reviewing site
* We are not an auctioning/bidding site 🙂 (due to the confusion with Tol Mol ke Bol programme)

Our slogan – “Get local, be vocal!”. So we hope to see you on www.Tolmolbol.com, giving back to your community and your neighbourhood.

iLeher.com (a top-notch blog covering Indian technology startups) covered the interview with the tolmolbol team on their blogs. You can find out more about tolmolbol at this link.





Ever The Twain Shall Meet…

7 02 2007

Mark Twain, undoubtedly, was the master of wit and sarcasm. And his work lives on, as hillarious (if not more) as it ever was. I obviously am in no position probably to comment on Twain’s literary genius but everytime I read piece of his work I find hard not to laugh even if I am reading the same work for the nth time now.

I was recently reorganizing the books that I have piling on in the bottom shelf of my almirah. And I found Mark Twain’s Selected Works. Its a small collection of Twain’s stories and essays which I was probably reading for the third time. And the most interesting of his essays must definitely be “Fenimore Cooper’s Literary Offences”. Though I do like James Fenimore Cooper’s – “The last of the Mohicans“, but I still love the way Mark Twain goes about dismantling Cooper’s style of writing.

Excerpts from the essay
He begins with:
“There are nineteen rules governing literary art in domain of romantic fiction — some say twenty-two. In “Deerslayer,” Cooper violated eighteen of them.”

While explaining how predictable Cooper is:
Every time a Cooper person is in peril, and absolute silence is worth four dollars a minute, he is sure to step on a dry twig. There may be a hundred other handier things to step on, but that wouldn’t satisfy Cooper. Cooper requires him to turn out and find a dry twig; and if he can’t do it, go and borrow one.

On Cooper’s defying the logic:
“…even the eternal laws of Nature have to vacate when Cooper wants to put up a delicate job of woodcraft on the reader.

This is mean but its wicked:
There have been daring people in the world who claimed that Cooper could write English, but they are all dead now…

Twain’s description of native Indians waiting to step onto an ark/boat and overpowering the occupants, is a laugh riot in itself. And Twain ends it like only THE Twain could:
Counting these out, what is left is Art. I think we must all admit that.

You must read Twain to know what wit is all about, to understand how sarcasm works, and most importantly to laugh your butt off.

Read Fenimore Cooper’s Literary Offences at Project Guttenburg.
For great Mark Twain collection go to
http://www.mtwain.com/.





Munh ki baat suneh har koi – Who understands the heartache?

28 01 2007

I still remember that slow serial “Neem Ka Ped” on DD National. Though I loved the serial for its sensitivity in portrayal of the life of a bonded labour (Pankaj Kapoor) but the reason I remember it always is its title song “Munh ki Baat” by Jagjeet Singh. I could listen to it the whole day without changing tracks.

It went something like
“Munh ki baat suneh har koi
Dil ke dard ko jaane kaun?
Aawaazon ke baazaaron ki
Khaamoshi pehchaane kaun?”
(Everybody can hear whats spoken
but who can understand the heartache?
Is there someone who can understand the silence of noisy markets?)
P.S. – Forgive me for the poor and semi-literal translation.

I have been listening to this song for over a decade now and its still my favourite. (And I am listening to it as I write.)

Life, journey, aspiration, reflection, everything that makes you and most importantly looking inwards to find yourself. The song is so philosophical and relevant, that it never stops amazing me.

The part that draws me most to this song and that which I feel I relate to would be:
“Woh mera aaeena hai ya
Main uski parchhaee hoon!
Mere hi ghar mein rehta hai
Mujh jaisa hi jaane kaun?”

A word for word translation alone would not do justice to this peice , so let me give you my interpretation as well.
Is he my mirror or am I his shadow.
The “he” here is in essence you and your reflections about yourself.
And I find that the person staying in my own house resembles me but is not the real me.
This goes on to build from the line above and explores/suggests how what you are on the outside is different from what you really are!

Its a must listen for everyone of you who like gazals and philosophy. Let me know if you need a copy!