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Sunday, October 29, 2006

Patna Man wins Aish's Skirt-Impact Analysis Report

Aishwarya Rai in Dhoom 2 movie
While India and Australia are battling a do or die match out there at Mohali, one out of mind person called Shrinidhi is sitting in front of a computer worrying about who’s going to wear Aishwarya Rai’s skirt.

As I was browsing through TV channels this afternoon (29th Oct 2006 around 1300 Hours IST), I stopped at Sony MAX where Extra innings program, compered by Mandira Bedi and Rohit Roy was going on. They were having a word with their Guest of the day, Miss Aishwarya Rai. After a chat about the movie Dhoom:2 in which Aish had a role, Mandira announced a name (I forgot the name of the winner ,who apparently won some SMS contest I believe.) and stated that this winner (he’s a gentleman from Patna) would be getting a white skirt, which was worn by Aishwarya Rai in Dhoom:2 movie (See the Dhoom:2 poster to get the view of that skirt)

In other words, someone from Patna has got an opportunity to flaunt a skirt which was worn by beauty legend Aishwarya Rai. This post is an attempt to analyze the event and rationale behind it.

Disclaimer: This post is intended purely to be humorous in nature and doesn’t wish to attack anyone’s sentiments/feelings. This is not an attempt to defame Aishwarya or criticize anyone. I’ve used best possible language to voice my view. Sincere apologies if I’m sounding indecent or have hurt your feelings.

As said earlier a gentleman from Patna has got a skirt worn be Aish. The question is, what will he do with it? Since the dress material is meant for a lady I doubt he’ll wear it himself.

Now there’re two things: he has a girlfriend/wife/sister/daughter etc to whom he can gift this or he doesn’t have anyone to gift it.

If he has got some one already fine. If he doesn’t have anyone there’ll be two things: Either he’ll keep this skirt with himself or he’ll try to find someone to whom he can gift it.

If he keeps it with himself fine. Else there’ll be two things: Either some lady will approach him (hearing that he owns it) asking for the skirt or he’ll have to advertise he’s got Aish’s skirt and needs someone who can wear it.

If someone comes to him fine. If he advertises there can be two things: He’ll get a response or he’ll not get a response…

Ok. Enough

Now that this person owns Aish’s skirt the curious point is whom he’ll give it to wear. Since the skirt is designed for a particular body dimension, everyone can’t wear it. This person has now got an additional task-he’s to find someone who’ll fit into it.

Given the length of the skirt, I seriously doubt if any respectable Indian lady would dare to wear this skirt and venture out in public. So he’s to find a lady who’ll fit into the dress and is willing to use it. If he already has a girlfriend/wife/daughter/sister to whom he would have given it but they either don’t fit in or do not want to wear it and he chooses to get an outsider to wear it, he’ll be facing additional problems at home.

Assuming that all works out and he goes out with duplicate Aish (I mean lady wearing original Aish’s skirt), how many people will recognize it and appreciate it? (If no one does what’s the point in all these effort?). Trends set by film stars are copied overnight and duplicate cloths similar to latest ones used by starts would be available everywhere. So how does this lady convince that what she’s wearing is original one directly from Aish’s wardrobe? Will she also carry “Certification of Authenticity” along?

Whoever that person is (who won Aish’s skirt), I wish him good luck.

Too many unanswered but practical questions. Good food for though I believe.

On the other hand, Aishwarya Rai is rich enough to afford hundreds and thousands of dresses per day. However, from a practical view, assuming that she’ll use ten sets of dresses per day, that will be 3650 sets of dresses per year. Further, each set will have several pieces of cloths-skirts, tops, socks, etc etc. So approximately she’ll be using over 10000 pieces of cloths per year. While its true that she’s can make a fortune by auctioning these (not that she hasn’t made a fortune already) what will be the significance, if you get hold of one piece of cloth used by her? Will you boast “skirt worn be Aish on so and so date between this time to this time”? Who actually cares?

Auctioning celebrity materials is very common abroad. This is mostly done with a purpose of raising funds for charity. Billionaires with overflowing wallet would happily shell millions on even small things ever used by celebrities. The trend is creeping into India slowly. Though in this case it was not an auction but was a prize for winning the contest, I’m not sure if we can welcome this or not.

What do you think? Please leave your comments or drop a mail.


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The SMS and Win Mania...

Friday, October 27, 2006

Chennai Police play NYPD:Courtesy Hyundai


If you’ve been to US or at least watched English action movies you will be familiar with while coloured police cars belonging to NYPD (New York Police Department) or LAPD: Los Angeles Police Department.

Ever did dream Indian police would be like that? For the first time, it has happened.

Indian police forces are habituated to Mahindra Jeep, the ever sturdy and robust off road vehicle from Mahindra & Mahindra. They’re good, reliable but weren’t meant for speed. Of late police forces are being equipped with modern vehicles, at least Tata Sumo and Toyota Qualis, cutting heavily into M&M’s market share in this segment. But the concept of using a luxury car as a police patrol vehicle is very new for us.

All fine. Why am I telling all these? Few days ago Korean auto giant Hyundai gifted Chennai Police with 100 Accent cars. For the first time ever in India, our police forces would be patrolling around in a well equipped and high speed car. That’s a good change.
Chennai Police hyundai Accent patrol car
(Above photo created lots of sensation after being lifted by TOI without permission and credit- read details)

I saw this news on CNN-IBN few days ago and wanted to write about it. Was looking for a good photo on this and while searching found that another Channai based blogger has already written about it.

While Chennai Police have got a chance to compare themselves with NYPD, what remains to be seen is will they pickup the skills and efficiency (not that they’re inefficient) of US police departments as well when it comes to reinforcing law and order.

Next time you break the law and choose to speed away, be aware. CCPD (Chennai City Police Department) may choose to give you a chase rather than watching helplessly.
Chennai Police Patrol Bike
While Hyundai’s Corporate Social Responsibility is appreciated, I expect this gives them enough publicity to reverse the falling sales of Accent, which is off late loosing its market share to Ford Fiesta and Chevy Aveo.

The first photo used here is taken from the blog of லோகேஷ் தமிழ்செல்வன். த (Logesh TamilSelvan. D). Second and third photos by author.

Similar posts:
Compare Chennai with Hyderabad and Bangalore
An experience with Chennai Police
Tips and Tricks for minimizing inconvenience with traffic cops

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Bidar, Karnataka's Camry

With leave request denied, I couldn’t make it to my native in Karnataka, Udupi to celebrate Diwali. However, one thing I could do was to cross the AP border and visit Karnataka and get my satisfaction by touching Kannada soil…Hence a visit to Bidar was scheduled and executed.

Bidar, Karnataka’s north most district, is nearer to other state capital than its own (statement by
NR Bhat)). Its just 130 kms from Hyderabad and I visited this place this Friday on my bike. It took 3 hours while going and 3.5 hours while coming (return journey was slow due to reduction in visibility during night). While going I was accompanied with my colleague Rakesh who is from Bidar, while returning I was alone.

From Hyderabad the first 50 kms were a bit rough and the journey was smooth for rest of the way. Bidar has the tropical red soil and a bit hot (Raichur district is still hotter). The Petrol is expensive at Rs 55.21 per liter as against Rs 53.28 in Hyderabad. (53.07 per liter on highway, some 50 kms from Hyderabad)

There’re couple of tourist places in Bidar, main one being the Fort. Bidar fort has a huge potential to become a tourist attraction but is by and large abandoned. There’s no one to take care of these ancient building. I could take my bike anywhere inside the fort, no one to ask. Compared to the Golconda fort I’d visited a month ago this place is huge in area, but highly deteriorated due to bad maintenance. The scenery was good and yet another time I realized how desperately I'm missing a digital camera.

The other tourist place was Gurunanak Bhavan, reportedly the third largest in India (Not sure on this).

People here are friendly, speak typical north Karnataka Kannada and speak Marathi and Telugu as well. Sign boards are all written in Kannada. The city, tough a district head quarter, doesn’t seem like one. Had there been necessary political and administrative goodwill, it would have developed much better. Good thing was that I could make local calls from here to Karnataka mobile numbers. Spent around 20 coins speaking for about 45 seconds each. Bought several Kannada magazines, mainly Deepavali Visheshankas –enough reading for next several months.

There’re no direct road to Bangalore from here. All Bangalore bound buses enter AP travel through AP and reach Bangalore. The internal route, via Raichur and other cities is not good enough, I was told.

No camera, no photos. Returned in evening back to Hyderabad, saw LRMB on VCD player and logged off for the day.

Note: Camry is a Japanese word meaning Crown


You may also wish to read:
Keladi Fort * Bekal Fort photos * Monkeyman in Chitradurga Fort * Skandagiri * Nandi Hills *Alamparai fort and backwaters * Mattur near Shimoga * Kodachadri * Gingee Fort * Golconda fort, Hyderabad * Hampi * Bidar * Madhugiri Fort, Tumkur *

Why hate hate communities?

Of late we’ve seen mails stating “So and so has created Hate XYZ community and is doing so and so…Please do this and this to stop this”

"The Aurangabad Bench of the Bombay High Court had directed the Maharashtra Government to issue a notice to Google for allegedly spreading hatred about India on its networking service Orkut."

The fact: Some individual has created a group on the internet with a sole purpose of spreading negative thoughts about something-Say a country called India.

Our Mindset: Nobody should hate India (or anything I/we like, for that matter) and if anyone say they hate us destroy them (get their community deleted at least)

What we do: Give huge publicity to these communities, forward them to all our contacts, and file a case in court, requesting these communities to be banned.

The result: Whoever said he hates India gets enough publicity all over India for free, people visit this community to see what’s there, and eventually, though his community is deleted, the message he wanted to convey gets conveyed without an iota of effort. Without any problem he can start another community with similar idea elsewhere.

An analysis: Internet is all about freedom of expression. If someone doesn’t like someone or something he/she is free to air his/her expression and others do not have a right or a mechanism to prevent him/her from speaking what he/she wants to speak. Internet is a huge world with trillions of users and the impact of few hundred people spreading some negative thoughts will be negligible, if any. Sometimes we get too sentimental or emotional to think and analyze things beyond a limit. After my analysis of these hate communities I’m left with following questions:

Given that there’re trillions of users in internet and billions of communities, just because a hundred people say they hate India and another 100 crores shout back “How dare you hate India?” does the rest of the world bother? Or a few people liking us or hating us on internet make any difference to our lives?

Just because he/she doesn’t like us should we go and prevent him/her from speaking (It’s their freedom of expression after all)?. Why are we giving them world wide free publicity in doing so?

Do we have a mechanism to prevent them from speaking? We may close one community or two. Another hundred may come up elsewhere in no time. How long will we go about wasting our time and energy on these while their impact, if any is negligible?

Why are we blaming Google for this?
Is Google supposed to monitor who posts what? It has only given a platform for people to share their thoughts and there’s no rule that all thoughts must be positive all the time. For every 100 people who like something there’ll be around 10 people who may not like the same thing. Should we identify these 10 people and kill them?

No one can do moral policing over Internet. Because Google has offices in India Indian courts are in a position to issue a legal notice. What if Google shifts its office outside India? To whom will these people complain? Even if Google blocks these communities they’ll take a rebirth elsewhere.

So why are we wasting our energy and time on this? Why can’t we just ignore them and proceed with our daily activities?

Disclaimer: I love my country, I love India. By posting this writing I’m not supporting those who hate India. Because I analyze everything from an independent viewpoint I found that we’re giving too much importance to these Hate communities. Hence this post.

If you fight with a pig in dirty mud, only you’ll come out in dirty cloths while the pig enjoys the fight.Its purpose of making you dirty and having some fun gets served the moment you start fighting, irrespective of the pig winning or loosing the fight. People outside are matured enough to take independent decisions irrespective of who hate and who love India. We’ve proved our potentials and the world realizes our capabilities. So as long as we stick to our principles and values and be honest in what we do, a few desperate people shouting outside is not worth giving a damn. Let us respect their right to expression of speech. Instead of trying to shut their mouth let’s work hard and convince the world that their statements do not carry any significance.

If we demand/beg or insist that everyone should love India do you think the whole world will agree?

Hate communities are out there for everything. Different people hate different things based on their individual judgment. Its neither feasible to please everyone nor dictate everyone to like something.

Few things shouldn’t be demanded. They’re to be commanded.

What do you think? Do you agree with my view?
Note: Sincere apologies if I have hurt your patriotic feelings.




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Sunday, October 15, 2006

SMS and Win !!!

How often do you send commercial SMSs? I mean messages sent to four digit numbers as shown in/for the purpose of TV shows, contests, sms polls etc?

SMS can do wonders isn't it? At least it is projected so. By sending SMS you can win prizes worth several lakhs to crores, you can decide who will win the Indian Idol title. You can win a date with a superstar; you can get a whole bunch of products and services at your door step. You can get your loved ones name on screen of a television music channel, you can get whole lot of information related to astrology, weather, cricket, stock, and you name it.

True. But at what cost?

These SMS are not free. They come at a premium price, much higher than the cost of an SMS sent to another mobile number. On an average each SMS cost Rs 2 to Rs 7 (even more). I’m sure most of the people are aware of this. But people don’t mind rather they don’t care. Five rupees is no big amount for many mobile users and this is the fundamental concept exploited by those who run SMS based activities. Tiny drops make mighty ocean. Even if one lakh people out of several crores mobile users send a message each, one can make couple of lakh rupees in no time.

Luring people to waste their currency by tempting them to send SMS is another way to stay in business for mobile operators. The money is shared by network operator, SMS event organizer, and Govt (as tax). When I loose 5 Rs currency per SMS the actual value is always a bit higher. (For 300Rs talk time if I pay 350 Rs while recharging, the actual cost of Rs 5 talk time is 5.83 paisa). But generally no one cares.

SMS based activities are really convenient and hence have picked up momentum very fast. Appears so simple and cheap, but the volume of money involved behind the screen is very huge. I’m not saying don’t send such SMSs. After all it’s your mobile, your money, your fun.

Another factor to be noted is there's nothing you can do after sending out the SMS. There's no guarantee that you'll be informed who won the contest, no guarantee that your vote is counted, nothing you can do if your message doesn't appear on screen.


Let me know what you think of this…




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Sunday, October 08, 2006

Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai-Comparison of 3 cities

IN past few years I stayed at Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai. This post lists the ups and downs of these three cities-the pros and cons, from my view.

Quick Jump: Bangalore *Chennai* Hyderabad*Hyderabad Bangalore by Bus-Comparison of operators

City Name: Bangalore (Bengaluru)
Garden city and IT capital. Bangalore was not initially designed to grow this big; hence infrastructure limitations are causing a major hindrance to cities growth potential. Facing stiff competition from Hyderabad and Chennai.

-Good things:

1. Multi Language, multi cultural support
2. Cheap Food (No other cities you get Mini meals for Rs 10)(Updated Darshini price:Rs 15-20)
3. Great weather
4. Most number of educational institutions (Ready Man Power)
5. Relatively cleaner better and more frequent Metro Bus Service
6. Daily Bus Pass Rate is cheapest
7. Magazines and movies of all languages available
8. Highest amount of Software export, conducts BangaloreIT.in, annual IT event and still retains IT Capital, Silicon Valley of India tag.
9. Considerable weekend spots and hangout places [Skanda Giri][Nandi Hills][Big Banyan Tree][Mysore][Wayanad][Talakona][Coorg] [Ramanagaram] [Antaragange, Kolar]
10.Volvo City buses details)

11. Good number of public gardens in almost all locality. (Though open for few specific hours in morning and evening, these are good places to inhale some fresh air and relax)
12. Maximum number of malls and multiplexes
13. Kamat Restaurants on all important highways on the outskirts of Bangalore. Ideal place to have food while planning a trip. Couldn't find any decent restaurant on highways outside Chennai (except ECR)
14: Bangalore now is the only city in South to have Metro. Chennai has local trains and metro is under development.
15: Major industries: Toyota, Volvo, Infosys, Biocon, Wipro, ISRO, HAL, NAL, BHEL
16. Lots of self drive car and bike rental options

Cons
1. Over crowded roads and unbearable Traffic
2. Land cost and house rent-too expensive
3. House advance-10 months rent min (Other cities 1 to 5 months rent)
4. Highest Petrol Cost
5. NO local trains (Both other cities have it) [update: metro is operational now, but covers a very short distance]
6. Shortage of Hotel Rooms and high cost
7. No stable government for past few years
8. Cost of transport high and No concept of Share Autos
9. Very strict traffic police, who accept bribe happily
10. Several under construction flyovers

11. Competition is very high for almost everything-space, jobs etc, compared to other cities

City Name: Chennai (formerly Madras) [Go to TOP ]

A typical south Indian city, kept itself away from influences of north India but Chennai businessmen are now forced to learn Hindi to prevent loosing business from IT people. People here are loyal to either DMK or AIADMK. Politically stable and slightly economic compared to other cities. More temples and religious places than other two cities, but not many places of tourist interest as such.
canal 
Pros:

1. Cheapest Petrol
2. Only city out of three with Beach and Sea
3. Share Autos available
4. Cheapest Bus fares [2011 update: new fares are almost at par with Bangalore]
5. Local Trains
6. Accessible via Sea, Air and Rail
7. Out of all 3 cities under considerations, Chennai is the only one in Metropolitan Category (Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkatta are other 3 such cities). This means your company allowances for food and stay etc will be maximum for this city.
8. Preferred of late by major manufacturing Companies (Dell, Motorola, Nokia, BMW, Hyundai, Nissan, Ford etc) for their production units. (More employment opportunities)
9. Stable government and less red tape
10. (NEW) Volvo City buses
11. Presence of US Consulate (and many more consulates)
12. Very good number of trekking spots and mountain ranges within 100-200 kms range. [Read travelogues: Yelagiri * Talakona * Tada Hills * Parvathamalai, Nagari, Nagalapuram ]


Cons:
1. Language barrier for North Indians. No Hindi speaking people and signboards
2. City Buses are extremely aged, overcrowded and unclean (Some new buses, including Volvo are introduced recently, but most of the scrap buses still rule the road)
3. Hotel Stay bit expensive dues to 25% luxury tax
4. Hot atmosphere and humidity
5. Meals cost relatively high
6. Least number of weekend spots/picnic places

7. Not enough gardens...Beach is the best and only place for walk...
8. Both Hyderabad and Bangalore have two airports now, while chennai has only one...Not a major shortfall but having second airport helps...
9. Toll roads right inside city-additional expense if commuting on OMR...

City Name: Hyderabad [ Go to TOP]

The city appears to be strong enough to absorb the impact of IT boom and expand itself rapidly. Living here will not be a problem. Similar to Bangalore in operational aspects. Famous for Biriyanies and hasn’t changed much in past one year.
Golconda FortPros:
1. Widest Roads and minimum traffic jams (except a few regular traffic jam spots)
City with lots of rocks- Maximum driving pleasure for adventure seeking persons as the roads include lots of ups and downs and turns giving a sporty feeling
2. Liberal traffic police-You can see vehicles of all states (Registered in states other than AP) driving comfortably in Hyderabad.
3. Metro Trains
4. Magazines and movies of all languages available
5. Share auto facility available
6. Maximum number of tourist destinations/picnic spots around the city
7. Hyd has been just categorized as A-1 city (Higher HRA and CCA for govt employees in this city)
8. Legendary Biryani...

Cons:
1. //deleted
2. Food is too spicy, not liked by many
3. Land prices soaring due to IT boom.
4. Urdu influenced Hindi accent

5. Max number of bomb blasts (compared to other 2 cities)
6. Extra cess on petrol and cars planned.

Related: Durgam Cheruvu*Anantagiri Hills *Golconda Fort* Ramoji Film City *

Go to TOP

Also Read: Hyderabad Bangalore by Bus-Comparison of operators* Chennai Mysore self drive experience

International:Singapore  * Chile Posts Digest * Malaysian Posts Digest Srilanka Posts Digest*

Do we need unions in IT Cos?

Some political parties are desperately trying to push the concept of labor unions into IT and ITES companies.

Do we need these politically motivated unions in our offices? This post is an attempt to analyze.

Traditionally, unions came into existence to unite workers who were constantly exploited by their employers. The workers were paid very low wages, had to operate in poor operational environments and were denied several benefits they genuinely deserved. The concept of unions gave these workers a platform to raise their voice, demand justice (sometimes blackmail) and get better returns for their efforts. This was when the demand for manpower was much less than the supply.

But over the period of time, the primary purposes of the need for a union were sidelined and unions became politically motivated. So called union leaders started to use the strength of the union for their personal gains/political ambitions.

Currently, the exponential growth of IT industry has made few to think that there should be unions in these companies.

In my opinion, there’s no need for unions in IT companies as all the reasons why one may need an union are already taken care of, eliminating any need for a formal union.

Listing below all the advantages of having a union and how these advantages are already available with IT employees.

Getting more salary: IT employees are already paid highest compared to other industry. Having a union will not increase the salary, and salary will not go down if there’re no unions

A platform to address workers concerns: Due to huge manpower shortage, IT companies have a compulsion to address workers concerns. They have dedicated HR departments, employees have internal forums and external communities (say in orkut) where they can raise a concern, discuss with their colleagues and get a solution. Huge demand for talent ensures that an employee has a freedom to find a better opportunity elsewhere than say keep complaining about current employer. Having a formal union will only add another management layer and will not make things any better. Further companies have various escalation points and SLA governed mechanisms to get most of the work done.

Workspace conditions: In most of the IT and ITES companies infrastructure is at its best and there’re not too many things one may go on complaining about the facilities and conditions at their office

Work related benefits: Its true that IT employees are often asked to work late night and weekend, but that’s more of industry norm. Putting more people doesn’t ensure that a project will end soon. There’re time when employees spend on bench doing nothing but still get paid. So stretching sometimes is necessary to ensure customer satisfaction and business continuity. By and large employees get extra benefit for this in one form or another.

Its very much true that sometimes IT employees also become victim of management’s cost cutting strategies. But that’s understandable. To stay profitable operating costs have to be brought down. If someone is denied certain benefits, it would be better strategy to command these, instead of demanding or complaining.

Having a formal union will be an unnecessary overhead and induce an additional layer of management. Politically motivated agendas will eventually take over the general interest of company and its employees.

So I feel there’s no need for Unions in IT and ITES industries as long as talent supply is less than demand.

What do you think on all these? Please post your comments.


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