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Sambhar Mafia - Cooked To Kill!

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Singapore Indian Bloggers’ Meet (Update)

Just thought of providing an update about the bloggers who are going to turn up at the meet this Sunday. Blogworld’s Grand mom and Grand dads have confirmed their presence.

The Bloggers’ Meet will also be graced by the following Bloggers :-

In all, we have 10 confirmations so far. Apart from the above list there are few others who are in the likely / not sure category. Let’s make it happen.

Taj Hotels – New Print Campaign

I came across this ad in one of the Business Magazines. Taj Hotels (part of Indian Hotels Ltd. – Tata Group) have been pioneers in hospitality advertising in India. Their recent ad resembles the format used for English movie posters. This ad is quite innovative.

Taj Holidays AdPosted by Hello

Pic Courtesy: BusinessWorld

After seeing this I was also reminded of a series of campaigns which Taj Hotels had done few years ago. The ads went by the tag line “She’s the Taj”. In the earlier campaign they tried to say that a woman stands for warmth & hospitality and those are the same values which Taj Hotels is also known for.

Anniyan – The heat is on

Looks like the much awaited Anniyan will hit the theatres on 10th June. Director Shankar could have capitalized on the School / College holiday season if he had planned the release in May.

Recent trends in Funding of Movies

I was surprised to read that IDBI had funded INR 8.50 Crores (35% of the total budget) towards the making of Anniyan. IDBI is one of the weaker Financial Institution’s and it’s strange to note that they chose such a big budget movie to revive their fortunes. Although the government gave the nod to Financial Institutions to fund movies sometime ago, we haven’t seen many Tamil movies being funded this way. Filmmakers continue to be at the mercy of the film financiers, who are notorious for charging sky-high interest rates (also known as Kandhu Vatti in industry parlance). Film funding by big Financial Institutions has become more of an established trend in Bollywood. Even Business Houses like Tata’s and Birla’s have entered the fray recently. Tata Group produced Aetbaar and the Birla Group’s Entertainment arm (Applause Entertainment) produced Amitabh starrers like Dev and Black. These days, we don’t hear much about underworld financing of Bollywood movies. Looks like it is a thing of the past.

Anniyan made news in the Insurance industry as well as they had insured the movie at an astronomical sum.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Financial Advertisements – Read at your own RISK

Print Ads

Many of you would have come across IPO application forms in India. The printers have to be commended for printing large volume of data (statutory disclosure of information) in one sheet of paper. Most of the stuff mentioned in the IPO Offer Document relate to mandatory information stipulated by SEBI. These are meant to be risk factors. But the font size is so small that you will be putting your eyes at risk by attempting to read the Risk Factors. The disturbing fact is that not many people read the fine print before investing in these IPO’s. Most of these IPO forms used to make their way to groundnut stores and provision stores so that the shopkeepers can use them to wrap the products. However, because of the proliferation of plastic bags it is difficult to find these forms in our neighbourhood shops. The way out is to request the IPO issuer to publish the Offer Document in a readable font. But by doing so, the flotation costs of the Public Issue might shoot up. Hence we have to live with the current system.

TV Ads

In recent times, we come across many TV & Radio ads for IPO’s, Mutual Funds and Insurance. All these ads end with the Risk Factor. You might have observed that they talk in crystal clear English at the time of the main ad. Towards the end of the ad they just rattle of the Risk Factor in jet speed. Since prospective investors can’t really understand sentences delivered at a breakneck speed, SEBI can actually do away with such statutory disclosures in TV and Radio Ads. The only people making money are the TV / Radio firms, Ad agency and the guy who gives the voice to the ad.

I hate my Post Box


The only (snail) mails that get delivered these days are the Credit Card Bills, Telephone Bills, Utility Bills, ISP Bills & Cable TV Bills. Opening the post box and paying these bills on time is one of the most boring tasks. The easier way to do it might be to ask your bank to automate the payment. But by doing so, you often lose track of what is being debited to your bank account.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

New Indian Express on Chandramukhi’s roaring success

Lakalakalaka Magic

Baradwaj Rangan says that Chandramukhi is bound for a big innings (read 100 days). He also speaks to a few industry folks to get their feedback on the collections. The Director of Chennai’s Sathyam Cineplex says that Chandramukhi is among the Top 10 grossers of all time.

Bloggers' Review Bunty Aur Babli

Bloggers Rashmi Bansal, Sudhish Kamath and Aye Kay have put up their reviews. All three are of the view that although the movie is not out-of-the-world it is definitely worth a watch. Main Stream Media reviews are becoming “one-size-fits-all” reviews and hence I have started to rely more on Blogger reviews.

Some other stuff that I read on a rainy Sunday afternoon

IANS interview with Aishwarya Rai (via New Indian Express)

Srivatsan Murali on the Dumbing Down of Indian Society

Rediff on Corporate Music Bands that are rocking Bangalore

Friday, May 27, 2005

The Great Escape

Usually I don’t visit the local tourist attractions as they are quite boring (especially if you have seen it once). My friend’s mom had come from India and I decided to accompany her to the Night Safari.

After we finished the customary Tram ride and the walking trails we went to the “Creatures of the Night Show”. Although I have been to the Night Safari once before, I had not been to this show earlier. Since we went early we managed to get a seat in the third row. The show began with a piece by A R Rahman (Theme music from the film Bombay). Mid-way thru the show a guy stood up and complained that he has lost Maggi. When probed further he said that Maggi is his pet and it measures 10 feet. It was quite evident that all this was staged. Then they started searching for Maggi. They zeroed in on my spot and asked me to get up. Only my friend’s mom can explain the reaction on my face (we didn’t capture this on camera). There was an opening in the floor below and they managed to pull out a 10 foot long python. Can’t believe that I was sitting on top of this for 30 minutes. I’m still recovering from this shock. Please don’t play pranks with weak-hearted people. Otherwise I need to call the Mafia.

Conversations with a Cabbie

On my way back home I picked up a conversation with a Cabbie. The cabbie (a Chinese guy) seemed to know a bit a Tamil and asked me whether I was from Nagapattinam. He went on to say that he has a friend who is from Nagapattinam. He knew a few common phrases in Tamil and tried to use the same during the chat with me. He could say Vanakkam, Sowkiyama, Saapteengala, Enge Poorenge etc. He was eager to learn more Tamil phrases so that he could use the same to speak to his Tamil customers. He asked me the Tamil equivalents of “Take Right”, “Take Left” & “Go Straight”. When I told him the equivalents in Tanglish (Right-le po, Left-le po & Straight-a po) he wanted to know whether we had Tamil words for Right, Left and Straight. I explained to him that although we have Tamil words for Right and Left we seldom use them in daily life. I think this is the case with most other Indian languages. Wonder what he would have thought about our language(s)?

Singapore Bloggers Meet - 5th June

Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai have had their versions of the Bloggers Meet. S’pore can’t be left far behind. Mark you calendars, diaries, PDA’s etc etc. The details of the meet are given below: -

Date – 5th June (Sunday)
Venue – Starbucks @ Plaza Singapura
Time – 4 pm
Code of Conduct – No Singlish!

I don’t think anybody would need directions to reach the venue. We are expecting a turnout of about 10 bloggers. If somebody wants to join, please do so by using the comments box.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Financial Express article on Indian Blogosphere

Financial Express Article on Indian Blogosphere

Today’s Financial Express says that more than 100,000 blogs are focused on India. Not sure how they measure these. FE says that niche blogs on Technology and Movies have enormous business potential as they can be a medium for advertisers. There are quite a few niche blogs in the area of Cooking and Literature and these could also have some business potential. FE also says that celebrities like actor Madhavan, singer Chinmayi and tech entrepreneur Rajesh Jain have their own blogs. I didn’t know that Madhavan had a blog. A quick search on the net did not reveal any results. If any of you know the URL please pass it on to me.

Old Lady of Boribunder postpones Chennai launch

ToI has postponed its Chennai launch by a year. This should come as a relief to The Hindu as they seem to be surprised by the inroads Deccan Chronicle is making in the Chennai market. Looks like ToI is focusing all its energies on defending their home ground (Mumbai) against the onslaught of DNA (from the Zee , Dainik Bhaskar Group). You might wish to read Rashmi Bansal’s take on the DNA launch campaign in Mumbai.

(via Adlova)

What goes on inside a Men’s Loo?

I enjoyed reading Sriram’s observations inside a Men’s loo. Wonder how much time he spent in the loo to write this one.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Have you done your Marketing?

Few days ago, I had a conversation with a colleague during lunchtime. I asked him as to what he does in the evenings. He said that he does Marketing. I thought he must be into some Amway, Herbalife kind of MLM and wanted to find out more about the same. (I thought this might be a way to make some money!!). I started probing further and he said that by Marketing he was referring to shopping in a Supermarket. I didn’t know what to say. This is not the first time I have heard people getting confused between Marketing and Shopping.

My uncle used to work in a PSU in Bangalore and since their quarters was located outside the city their company arranged “Marketing Trips” to Jayanagar so that people can go and shop.

Is Philip Kotler listening?

How weird can it get?

Note: The idea of this post is not to poke fun at anybody in particular.

How often have to come across a weird spelling for the word WEIRD? Weird should go down as one of the most mis-spelt word’s in the Blogosphere & also in the English language. On an average one out of every three such words have been mis-spelt. Some of these could be typos. If it continues at this pace, I might forget the real spelling and use “WIERD” instead.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Linkin Park

Rajat Gupta feels that IIT’s need to be branded on the lines of Harvard, Stanford and MIT (via Rediff)

Freakonomics book review (via Financial Express)

Lateral thinking guru Edward de Bono keen to help out Indian cricket team

Kingfisher, Wills ad spared from surrogate ad ban. IMO given the controversial nature of these brands they should have not been allowed to start new products under the mother brand. Now that these products have become independent revenue generators ITC and UB Group have managed to convince the government that they should be allowed to use the name for products other than liquor and cigarettes.

Of Child! Single and lonely in China

Indian version of “Terminal”

No more goondas for collecting Credit Card dues

Indian guy enter Guinness books for sending highest number of SMS in a month

Singapore the new hub for Indian students

Colin Todhunter on his experiences in Chennai (via New Indian Express)

Chennai film-maker S Krishnaswamy wins US award (you might have heard his voice in radio ads).

Business Line says that IT & BPO sector continues to drive the property market in Chennai

Blogs as a medium to promote Brands & Brand launches

Indians away from our motherland

Bibs on how Asians are viewed in Germany

Europe is the top destination for Indian tourists (via Financial Express)

Higher FDI cap for S’pore in the Indian Telecom Sector

Japanese ad for Automatic Toilet (via Boing Boing)

Bill Gates working on new book. Given the noise Google is making, I don’t think Bill Gates should spend too much time concentrating on his new book.


I started reading Outlook magazine sometime in the mid 90’s. At that time it was a refreshing change from the dominant India Today. During those days Outlook had a breath of fresh air as they were trying to establish a foothold in the market. The fact that they gave attractive gifts for subscription plans was one of the reasons why I subscribed to Outlook. Somewhere down the line they started drifting away and these days have started dishing out utter crap. Outlook (part of the Rajan Raheja Group) have been pioneers in their own way as they entered new segments like Personal Finance (Outlook Money, used to be called Intelligent Investor earlier) and Travel & Leisure (Outlook Traveller) which never existed earlier.

The latest issue of Outlook has a cover story on the last 10 years of Indian cinema. Hindi cinema in particular has been experimenting with a wide variety of themes (skinny flicks, serious ones like Black & My Brother Nikhil, crossover movies etc). I decided to read the section on Tamil cinema. S Anand of Outlook’s Chennai Bureau had received lot of flak from the Blogosphere for his recent article, which talked about older heroes holding sway in Tamil cinema.

In his latest article titled “Politics Tamil Cinema Eshtyle” S Anand has gone one step further and done some stupid analysis on the casteist basis on which Tamil movies are made. I’m sure Anand is writing such controversial stuff just to help Outlook achieve higher sales. I never expected somebody to dissect a hit movie like Kadhal in this manner. I guess Balaji Shaktivel (director of Kadhal) deserves to be treated in a better manner. Majority of the movies will be based on “rich girl meets poor boy” theme and if Anand is asked to comment on this he can write reams about the backgrounds of the hero and heroine. After reading this article I came to know that Manirathnam’s Roja had an anti-Muslim bias.

Anand’s verbal diarrhea doesn’t stop here. He goes on to say that Manirathnam movies run only in A centres and they don’t have much substance. Although this could be true, doesn’t he know that A centres have more number of urban / educated people and hence they are likely to support movies with substance. Anand says that Alaipayudhey couple (Madhavan & Shalini) move into an unfinished building decked with Fab India furnishings. Why is he giving free publicity to Fab India? Looks like Anand wanted to settle some scores with Manirathnam and hence used this as a forum to do that.

The only place where Anand scores is with his reference to Vijay’s limited acting abilities. Anand winds up by saying that “Tamil cinema remains an embarrassment confined to Tamilnadu”. If this is the ground reality why did Anand write 3 pages about Tamil cinema?

Request to Outlook - Chennai is home to lot of good journalists. I hope you can pick somebody from this bunch. Even some bloggers might be interested in the job.

PS: I continue to read Outlook because their online edition is free :-)

Friday, May 20, 2005

Signs that lead to misunderstanding

Signs that lead to misunderstanding

(Via Mr. Brown)

1. In a restroom:


2. In a Laundromat:


3. In a London department store:


4. In an office:


5. In another office:


6. Outside a second-hand shop:


7. Notice in health food shop window:


8. Spotted in a safari park:


9. Seen during a conference:


10. Notice in a farmer's field:


11. Message on a leaflet:


12. On a repair shop door:


My favourites are 1, 6 & 12. What about you?

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Blogging Tips from Rajesh Jain

Blogging Tips from Rajesh Jain

Today’s Business Standard has an article by Rajesh Jain (of Emergic.org) on the ABC’s of Blogging


On a related note, if you are an avid blog reader, I strongly urge you to use a Blog aggregator like Bloglines as it is much more convenient to read blogs this way. If you are already using an aggregator, then please spread the word around so that more people are aware of this.

Global Voices Wikipedia

Have you added your blog to Global Voices Wikipedia? If not you can do so by clicking here.

(via Patrix)

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Adhu Oru Kanaa Kaalam – Audio Review

Hot on the heels of the Mumbai Xpress debacle comes the Audio of Adhu Oru Kanaa Kaalam. Ilayaraja loyalist Balu Mahendra prefers to stick to his old friend irrespective of the nature of the movie. For a Dhanush starrer it would have been more apt if directors chose somebody from the young brigade (maybe Yuvan Shankar Raja).

In recent times, Ilayaraja has been very selective in the kind of films he signs up. He has been obliging the requests of friends like Kamal, Balu Mahendra, Bala etc.

Antha Naal Nyabagam by Vijay Yesudas and Shreya Ghosal
A very nice melody, where the accompaniments are kept to the bare minimum. In terms of the track itself the mood and the tempo can be compared to that of Ilankaatru Veesuthey (Pithamagan). Shreya Ghosal is simply outstanding.

Ennada Ninaicha by Vijay Yesudas and Ranjith
Dappankuthu song to go with Dhanush’s image. Deva might have done a better job. Pretty average number.

Kaattu Vazhi Nadaiyya by Ilayaraja
Typical Ilayaraja sad song like the ones we have heard in Nayagan. Nothing great about it (except for IR’s voice).

Killi Thattu Killi by Bhavatharini and Jyothi
The pallavi of this song resembles “Aanenna Pennenna” from Dharmadurai. Bhavatharini’s voice is good. Unlikely to make any impact.

Unnalae Thookkam by Ranjith, Malathi
Malathi is becoming a permanent fixture in all the recent movies. This item number is sure to delight the audience. After listening to this I was reminded of “Ithu Saathu” from Sethupathi IPS. Malathi has delivered what was expected of her.

Dhanush has 3 ducks in his bag and he badly needs a hit this time. The songs are not “out of the world”, to give Dhanush an early lead in this race. Ilayaraja impresses with his selection of singers. It is a pleasure to listen to Shreya Ghosal, Vijay Yesudas, Bhavatharini in the same album.

Wedding Invitation in a "Comic Strip" format

Received this forward today. I came to know that this a real invitation. Since the font size is quite small request you to click on the image and view it in the maximum size in Flickr.

To view the larger version of the above picture, click here

To view the larger version of the above picture, click here

To view the larger version of the above picture, click here

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Buying a Scullers outfit can help you win an Aircraft

Scullers from Indigo Nation stable is currently running a promotion whereby one lucky winner will get to win a micro light aircraft. I have never heard of such promotions before. The micro light aircraft looks very cool.

Singapore Bloggers Meet

After looking at the reports of Blogger meets in Bangalore and Chennai, I have decided to organize something similar in Singapore. Although I’m not too sure of the form & shape of the meet, I have got in touch with few more desi bloggers to get things going. So far I have been able to touch base with Cogito, Ram and AyeKay. Their enthusiastic response has prompted me to make a post on the same so that more bloggers can be roped in.

Date & Time: June 5 / June 12 (preferably in the evening)
Venue: Yet to be decided

If you are a Singapore blogger and would like to be part of the proposed Bloggers Meet do drop me a line at sambhar [dot] mafia [at] gmail [dot] com

Monday, May 16, 2005

Blogs – Now being used to announce new arrivals!

One of my friends became a father recently. He decided to use Blog as the medium to announce the new arrival to the world. Do check out the Just Born’s Blog. I’m sure more people will follow suit.

Pan-IIM brand to take off

The IIT’s have been able to project a unified image (especially in the US) and now it’s the turn of the IIM’s to replicate the same. The IIT’s have far more number of alumni who occupy the upper echelons of the Corporate World. In contrast, IIM alumni have started the ascent only recently. The IIT brand has been hailed as India’s greatest export to the world. Of late, I have been getting some mails regarding the pan-IIM initiative, which is taking place in various places.

Pan-IIM initiative in Singapore

The various IIM alumni chapters in Singapore plan to hold a joint meet in August and this event will be called “Access India”. They are planning to bring out a directory of Singapore based IIM Alumni as well. They intend to rope in a Singapore Minister to address the gathering. The keynote speaker is likely to be a hotshot IIM Alumnus.

Pan-IIM initiative in Bay Area, US

Looks like Bay Area folks have taken the lead in creating the global brand identity for the IIM’s. They have managed to pull in Vivek Paul to address the IIM Alumni in the meet they propose to have on 11th June @ Santa Clara.

IIMB Alumni meet in Singapore

I had been to the IIMB Alumni Meet, which was held on 14th May. Although there are more than 120 alumni here, only 60 of them turned up. Quite predictably, there was a huge turnout from the recent (last 5) batches. The talks ranged from receding hairlines (not mine!) to bulging waistlines. It was also good to catch up on the latest gossips (job shifts, marriages etc).

One of the juniors told me that 18 people from the current batch (out of a total batch strength of 180) are going to take up jobs in Singapore. This figure of 10% is quite astounding. Local firms like DBS Bank, NKF and Temasek have become aggressive and have been making a beeline to Indian B-Schools in the last few years.

More Women joining MBA Courses

The Financial Express says that more women are climbing the corporate ladder. FE also says that more number of women are enrolling for MBA courses.

MBA Institutes or Placement Factories?

The Hindu has an article on whether the MBA’s Institutes are turning out to be Placement Factories

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Devadhaiyai Kandaen…is it a quiet win?

Devadhaiyai Kandaen - Hit or Miss? Posted by Hello

The Hindu claims that Dhanush starrer Devadhaiyai Kandaen is a quiet win. I don’t know the basis on which Hindu had come up with this report. The trade press had mentioned that this movie is not a success. How can The Hindu publish such a report out of the blue? If there is some truth in this news, then producers should be queuing up in front of Dhanush’s house. At present it looks as if only Selvaraghavan is ready to do it.
Gossip Time

Chennai Print Wars & Update on FoodWorld shake-up

Deccan Chronicle Vs The Hindu

The verdict is out

Deccan Chronicle has notched up an initial circulation of 150,000 copies. This is not bad at all considering the fact that it had to fight with the mighty Hindu. Out of 150,000 copies, 20,000 have come from the joint promotion they did with ICICI Bank Credit Cards (Annual Subscription of Rs. 99 only). The Hindu's redesign has helped the national newspaper in striking a chord with the younger crowd (no surprise that all the older folks are cribbing that the new font is a strain on their eyes). The Hindu has been able to hold on to its existing circulation. In effect, the Chennai market looks like it has expanded after the launch of Deccan Chronicle. There is no update about the circulation figures of also-ran New Indian Express.
[via BusinessWorld]

Tata Group buying RPG stake in FoodWorld

The Tata Group is likely to pick the 51% stake of the RPG Group in the FoodWorld. I had talked about the negotiations between RPG and Dairy Farm International (DFI) in my earlier postings. DFI will take charge of all the Health & Glow stores as well.RPG Group will retain ownership of their flagship stores in Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Pune. These will be run in the name of Spencers. Tata Group might chose to continue the JV by joining with DFI Group.
[via BusinessWorld]

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Thank You!

Sambhar Mafia Achieves 10,000 Hits

Although this is good in one way, it puts enormous pressure on me to keep up the initial momentum. Thanx for your patronage.

Friday, May 13, 2005

A R Rahman World Tour – US & UK

Heard on A R Rahman Fans Yahoogroup

A R Rahman’s world tour is slated to happen in the months of June, July and August. Although the dates have not been firmed up as yet, ARR is likely to have his concerts in UK (London and Birmingham) sometime in June / July and US (6 cities – names not known as yet) sometime in July / August. Personally, I was quite disappointed to see that South East Asia doesn’t figure anywhere in the list. Just hoping that Ilayaraja decides to include South East Asia as part of this forthcoming world tour. For those of us who are not able to catch any of these concerts live, we need to wait till the DVD is out or till our "Indhiya Tholaikaatchigalil Mudhal Muraiyaga" (ITMM) Cable channels decided to telecast these programs.

Job Application Goof Ups

Received on the forward today

Cover letter: "I would be prepared to meet with you at your earliest convenience to discuss what I can do to your company."

That's what we're afraid of.
Weaknesses: "Suffer from prickly heat in summer."

Sounds uncomfortable.
Cover letter: "Enclosed is my resume for your viewing pleasure."

We can hardly wait.
Cover letter: "You are privileged to receive my resume."

We'll try not to let it go to our heads.
Objective: "To mature in the field of human behavior."

Good luck with that.
Experience: "10 years of experience in financail budgiting and transactions rigistering."

But limited experience with the spell-check function.
Cover letter: "Please overlook my resume."

If you insist.
Cover letter: "I'm submitting the attached copy of my resume for your consumption."

Skills: "Grate communication skills."

Yes, but can you talk and chop at the same time?
Experience: "Responsibilities included recruiting, screening, interviewing and executing final candidates."

Seems kind of harsh
Cover letter: "Salary demanded - $65,000."

Would you like that in small, unmarked bills?
Strengths: "Ability to meet deadlines while maintaining composer."

Would that be Mozart or Beethoven?
Education: "B.A. in Loberal Arts."

Did you minor in ear piercing?
Cover letter: "I've updated my resume so it's more appalling to employers."

We're pretty shocked already ...
Cover letter: "Seek challenges that test my mind and body, since the two are usually inseparable."

Glad to hear it.
Cover letter: "My intensity and focus are at inordinately high levels, and my ability to complete projects on time is unspeakable."

At these extremes, some things are best left unsaid.
Cover letter: "Experienced in all faucets of accounting."

That should help with the flow of information.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

A familiar voice starts blogging

The voice that brought us the following hit songs is the latest to enter the Blogosphere -

Oru Dheivam Thantha (Kannathil Muthumittal)
Pudhu Kadhal (Pudukottai Saravanan)
Please Sir (Boys)
Oru Thadavai (Vaseegara)
Sandhippoma, Oru Nanban Irunthal (E20 U18)
Kadhalikkum Aasai (Chellame)

For those of you who feel that you haven't heard her voice in recent movies, I suggest you listen to Noothana from the latest movie Karka Kasadara

Let's wish her the very best
If u have still not cracked it, click here

via (Prabz)

Taking stock of Chennai’s problems

In one of my earlier posts regarding Chennai, I received an anonymous comment from a person who has recently relocated to Chennai. I though of highlighting the same as Chennai / TN is attracting lot of new investments and more people are expected to move to Chennai in the near future. These issues need to be addressed so that Chennai can position itself as an ideal place for people to come and settle down

Water Problem – Politicians talk about this whenever there is an election. Nothing much happens after that.

Commuting (Autowallahs) – Yes, the auto drivers do cheat and for people coming from Bangalore this can be a rude shock. The auto drivers may not be able to speak Hindi or English. If you are an outsider, it is highly likely that you'll be fleeced. However not much can be done about this in the short run (unless the govt. steps in and brings in stringent measures to ensure that the Auto drivers ply by the meter).

Night Life & Pub Culture – Although Chennai can’t emulate Bangalore, Chennai does have it’s (minority) share of nightspots (some of them have sprung up in the recent past).

Renting a house – Landlords normally prefer to rent their houses to families. Hence most of the bachelors might find it difficult to find a place. This was the situation a few years back. I don’t know how this has changed in the recent past.

Climate – Radio Mirchi’s tagline says it all: Sema Hot Machi!

Ma Foi Report on Job Opportunities

Ma Foi Consultants recently published a report which said that Chennai leads the pack as far as the growth rate for job opportunities is concerned. The report also stated that people hesitate to move to Chennai because of the lifestyle and the climate.

Business Today report on the investment climate in TN

Business Today (dated 8th May) looks at the investment climate in TN. According to this BT report Infosys is building its biggest ever campus at Mahindra City, which is coming up at the outskirts of Chennai. MNC’s like St. Gobain and Hyundai, which have put in huge investments in TN are on expansion mode and they are pumping in more money to augment their capacity. Patni Computer Systems is also building a campus in Chennai.

Some of the positives outlined in this article are locational benefits (such as sea port, air port etc), availability of skilled manpower, limited interference from trade unions, lower cost of living and lower attrition rate

Let’s now look at the problems that Business Today has outlined–
  • Water scarcity
  • Threat of auto ancillary firms moving to the North
  • States like West Bengal wooing IT firms
  • Laid back work culture; not enterprising
  • Corruption is rife in the system

Although we can’t negate the first 3 problems, I beg to differ to on the last 2 problems. The corruption factor is not unique to TN and hence the state can’t be singled out on this front. I don’t quite understand what made the author decide that TN has a laid-back work culture.

If we don’t make adequate changes to make Chennai a conducive place for newcomers to come and settle down, we might just lose out on some of the opportunities that come our way.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005


Hema Ravichander quits Infy

Hema Ravichander, the high-profile HR head of Software major Infosys has decided to quit her job. She was behind many HR initiatives, which later became industry standards in the IT sector. She has been the driving force behind Infy’s consistent performance in the Best Employer Polls conducted jointly by Hewitt Associates and the various Business magazines.

Hema is an alumnus of IIMA and used to work with Mico Bosch in the past. Her husband Ravichander runs a firm called Feedback Marketing but he is known more for his involvement in the Bangalore Action Task Force (BATF).

Rumours come true – Raghu Pillai quits RPG, likely to join Pantaloon

Old economy feels the pinch

The BPO and IT boom has given way to a new kind of disparity. Old economy firms are finding it difficult to attract professionals. Old economy firms are not able to match the pay scales doled by the Tech sector.

This article says that some Old economy firms are finding it difficult in recruiting CA’s. The ICAI continues to keep a watch on the CA pass rate (Given that India is growing fast, the CA pass % can’t remain at the “Hindu rate of growth” anymore). The CA course seems to have lost its charm and this has resulted in a sudden fall in the number of people enrolling for the course. Marketing professionals and scientists are also in demand.

Living Life KINGFISHER Size

Launch of India’s second (BIG?) Budget Airline

India’s Richard Branson, Vijay Mallya has launched the country’s second budget airline on his son’s birthday. Vijay Mallya is a person who likes to live life “Kingfisher” size. He has dabbled in politics, business, aviation. He was one of the very few Indian corporate honchos to own a private jet (Gulfstream). Going by what is on offer at Kingfisher Airlines, I don’t feel that it can be classified as a budget airline. He plans to provide in-flight entertainment in every seat. He plans to employ former models as flight stewardess. He even plans to get celebrities like Yana Gupta on air to give an out of the world experience to his customers. Only the prices conform to the norms of the Budget Airlines. Most of his plans seem to be outlandish and I don’t know how he can keep costs low inspite of all these frills. Going by what he says this might not just be a launch gimmick, it is more of a permanent feature. Let’s hope they don’t go the way of Modiluft and NEPC Airlines.

Monday, May 09, 2005

My Musical Journey

Warning – A lengthy post with a bit of flashback thrown in

Early Days

During my school days I was crazy about Drums. The drummers were the cynosure of all eyes during most of the School / College Culturals. I was looking for some place (in Chennai) to learn Drums. Through some contacts, we managed to reach out to a guy who is a close friend of music director Deva. This guy told us if I want to learn drums, I might have to accompany their troupe in some of their performances. He also told my mom that most of these musicians booze a lot and that might have an adverse impact on a studious chap like Kaps!! Since Drums was ruled out, I decided to learn keyboard (not from professional musicians but from a music school).

First Keyboard

In May 1995, I bought my first keyboard (Yamaha PSS 290). Like most people in Chennai I bought this from Burma Bazaar for a price of Rs. 4500. Life changed for the better ever since I started playing the keyboard. I enrolled myself in a music school in KK Nagar. I started taking lessons for First Grade of Trinity College, London. Although I tried to learn it formally my mind was not receptive to reading all those musical notes. As most of you know, the notes are written in a book, which resembles the print of a Kinder Garden notebook. Since I was about to enter college, I decided to discontinue the Piano lessons half way through. By that time I had learnt only 50% of the First Grade lessons. I didn’t get a grasp of the sharps, flats, minors and majors in music. Since I learnt to fiddle with the keyboard I started playing on my own. Since I practiced regularly, I managed to play all the popular film songs with ease.

My First Keyboard - Yamaha PSS 290 Posted by Hello

Show Time

Once I entered Loyola (Evening) College, I hooked up with guys in the Commerce Department and we won the Intra College Culturals (Kolahal) for two consecutive years.Playing Oruvan Oruvan Mudhalali (Muthu) in front of a packed audience at Bertram Hall was a great experience. We played this song in Nov 95 (I think Muthu had just released around that time). During the Loyola days I also got an opportunity to perform some light music for a Doordarshan program. My musical journey continued in IIMB as well. Yours truly performed during all the major events @ B-School (Aarambh – Freshers welcome party, Anth – Farewell party to the outgoing batch, Sambhar Mafia Nite – Cultural Event of the South Indian group, UNMAAD – Inter-college culturals, insti events like Independence Day, Republic Day).

The much needed upgrade

In May 2001, I upgraded my keyboard. I bought a Yamaha PSR 550, which I own till today. The Burma Bazaar folks agreed to buy my 6-year-old keyboard for Rs. 3000. I didn’t believe that I could sell my old keyboard for such a high price. Not sure what they do with the old ones. After mid 2002, life’s priorities changed and keyboard took a back seat. I have made a sincere attempt to spend more time on my keyboard since the beginning of this year. The results have been favourable.

What next?

I always wanted to learn more musical instruments. One of them is a string instrument (preferably guitar) and the other one is a wind instrument (sax, flute etc). The fact that I need to know how to read the “notes” is a big deterrent for me. When one of my friends called me recently and asked whether I would be interested in taking Sax lessons, I was more than happy to say yes. This friend is a good flautist and has an amazing collection of wind instruments, which he has collected from countries across Asia. He has managed to pool in few more like-minded guys and we intend to have a brainstorming session this weekend. Although I don’t know how an Alto sax is different from a Tenor sax and a Soprano sax, I intend to learn more about these as I go along. I also want to find out about the kind of physical effort that a sax player is required to put in. If any of you have any idea about the same, please let me know. My friend has informed me that buying a sax would set me back by SGD 1000 (INR 25K). Hence I don’t think I’ll invest in the sax as yet. For the time being, I plan to borrow it from some of the guys who own the instrument. Based on what happens during the brainstorming session, I’ll make a decision about taking up the Sax classes.

Music as a career

If I had been good enough, maybe I would have pursued music as a career. But the question is, how many of our parents are willing to allow their kid to pursue a career of their choice (that too in the arts field)? How many of us are confident of convincing our parents of a career in Arts, Sports or Literature? We seem to be more comfortable treading established paths, as the social acceptance factor for these career paths is quite high.

Technology in Music

Till the late 80’s violins were used extensively by music directors like Ilayaraja and MSV. They even had a huge contingent of violinists as part of their troupes. The advent of digital / computerized music has eliminated the need for using violinists in music compositions. The use of rhythm pads for drums is slowly eliminating the need for the traditional drum kit. In the earlier era, they had to do many retakes for a song so that the co-ordination is perfect (even a slight mistake made by a musician or a singer would result in the song being recorded all over again). But in today’s age, we very often hear that Yesudas sings a song sitting in the US and this is then integrated into the original sound track by the music directors. Singers Hariharan and Shankar Mahadevan fly down from Mumbai for one night and they don’t even see the faces of fellow musicians. They will get to see the final product only when they listen to the CD. Stage performance was a breeze for the maestros of the yesteryears as they were anyway putting in the co-ordinated effort during the recording sessions. They didn’t have to go that extra mile to ensure that the live performances met audience expectations. Take current day composers, they struggle a bit when it comes to live shows. The simple reason being that these composers are not doing this as part of their daily routine.

Learning keyboard the fun way

Learning keyboard can be a lot of fun. Creative Technologies has simplified this a lot. Creative Technologies CEO Sim Wong Hoo is a music buff. His company has a musical keyboard, which is integrated with the computer keyboard. To know more about this click here.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Dairy Farm 1 – RPG Group 0

They built a great brand and then gave it away. I’m referring to the “Food World” brand, which was built by the RPG Group. Business Standard reports that RPG Group and their JV partner Dairy Farm Group of Hong Kong are parting ways. Dairy Farm group has a presence in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and they run a range of stores (Cold Storage, Guardian Pharmacy, Seven Eleven to name a few) in the region.

RPG Group has been the pioneer in organized retail in South India. They run stores like Spencers, Food World, Music World and Health & Glow.Food World was designed on the lines of Cold Storage. Health & Glow concept is based on Guardian pharmacy. The Food World chain is going to be split almost equally between RPG & Dairy Farm. Dairy Farm group will have the right to retain the Food World brand whereas RPG Group is going to run their stores under the name of “Spencers Supermarkets”. I guess this is a big loss for the RPG Group as the Food World brand was deeply entrenched in the minds of the customers. I guess RPG Group needs to work overtime to build the brand all over again.



via Business 2.0 Blog

Intel Inside India? Plus an Inside Look at TN Politics

Ever since I started this blog, I had steered away from talking about politics.

Intel Inside India?

This could soon become a reality if Dayanidhi Maran can reach out to the top brass at Intel. Given the reports in the press Intel is toying with the idea of setting up a plant in India / China. Maran wants to hog the limelight if Intel zeroes in on India. Maran intends to travel to the US to meet the top management of Intel Inc.

Mudslinging – the centre point of TN politics

The DMK and the ADMK have been trying to take credit for some of the recent developments – Nokia’s decision to set up a plant in Chennai, new Chennai airport for which approval was received recently. All these are desperate attempts to capture the attention of the voters in the run up to the Assembly elections next year. Similar situations have happened in the past as well. Both the Dravidian parties tried to take credit for the Ford & Hyundai plants that came up in Chennai. Given the nature of these projects, it so happens that one party is in power at the time of approval of the project and the other party is in power at the time of the kick-off (Bhoomi Pooja) of the plant. This problem gets complicated if the opposition party is part of the Coalition in the Centre (bcoz of the bitter Centre – State relations). Given the long-term nature of these projects both parties want to have a share of the pie.

Swapping Coalition Partners – An Event which happens once before each election

Swapping the coalition partners is like a ritual which happens once every 5 years (or earlier if the elections are scheduled before that). For the national parties like the Congress and BJP, the local outfits have no say in the coalition formation. They have to follow the diktat of the Central Command.

Recent trends indicate that ADMK might go solo for the next election. Given the anti-incumbency factor, I’m not too sure whether ADMK can come back to power. But if the opposition is divided (which might result in votes getting split) then it might work out to ADMK’s favour.

The DMK, which has now perfected the art of pulling along a truckload of coalition parties might continue with the current set-up. EVKS Elangovan had gone public recently about his party’s intentions to go it alone and target a Congress government in the state. This didn’t go down well with the DMK and hence EVKS was asked to tone down. At best, this coalition can drag on till the time DMK supremo MK is able to hold strong. He has already projected his son Stalin and grandson Dayanidhi Maran as the torch bearers for politicking at the State and the Centre. This has not gone down well with the party cadres (atleast the older ones). Stalin who is more than 50 years old continues to be the Head of the youth wing. How long can parties like the PMK, MDMK play second fiddle to DMK? I’m sure they might also be nursing ambitions to rule the state at some future date. With MK at the fag end of his political career, it is just a matter of time before he hands over the baton to Stalin. At this juncture, the coalition is bound to collapse as their ego will not permit them to be part of an alliance, which is headed by Stalin. Even if the DMK coalition comes back to power in the ensuing State elections, the million dollar question is whether MK is physically fit to run the government. Outlook had reported few months ago that although MK was advised to undergo a surgery, Dayanidhi and Kalanidhi Maran had decided against the surgery for MK atleast till the next elections.

The Shankaracharya issue has caused a rift between ADMK & BJP and hence both have decided to part ways. Captain Vijayakanth is likely to join hands with the BJP in the forthcoming elections as he is opposed to the main Dravidian parties.

Please note that these are still early days. Lot of things can change between now and the elections. It remains to be seen as to which side Superstar wants to take. PMK has already toned down its rhetoric against the Superstar.

How to pronounce MARAN?

Given a chance I would like to take tuition for newsreaders of English and Hindi news channels and educate them about how to pronounce the word MARAN. You can hear the word MARAAAAAAAAAAAAN quite often. Thank God they didn’t say MORON.

India Today report on Union Ministers

SUN TV carried a news report last week, which was about India Today’s report of Best ministers in the Union Cabinet. They went on to say that 3 out of the 5 mentioned in the article are from TN. I don’t know how many of you managed to read the original article in India Today. The report just said that ministers in key economic and financial portfolios are quite savvy and hence are making a difference. It didn’t mention anywhere that they are the best ministers around. The ministries considered were Petroleum (Mani Shankar Ayyar), Finance (P Chidambaram), Aviation (Praful Patel), Communication & IT (Dayanidhi Maran), Commerce & Industry (Kamal Nath). How can SUN TV tweak this report and present their own version of this.

The very same India Today had done an exhaustive survey of Union Ministers some time ago. Some of the TN Ministers (mainly DMK & PMK) were rated poorly. Where was SUN TV when that report came out?

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Dumbo Jet Part II

To read Dumbo Jet Part I please click here

Jet Airways continues the sloppy advertising to promote its new Singapore – Mumbai service. In the ad below Jet says it is “Efficient, Punctual & Dependable”. I have not seen airlines advertising under the plank of Punctuality. IMHO Punctuality is a pre-requisite for an airline and they can’t harp on this to attract customers. This is not the domestic market to compare with Indian Airlines and Air Sahara and drive home the point that Jet is punctual. It is high time that Jet changes its ad agency before its all-important services to UK and US are launched.

DUMBO JET PART II Posted by Hello

Will Disney LAND in India?

Will Disney LAND in India?

My local news channel reported today that there are strong rumours that Walt Disney Co. might set up DisneyLand in India. Top execs of Walt Disney were in India few weeks ago and they have met with government officials to explore the possibility of setting up their Theme park in India. It seems they have discussed about getting vast areas of land at a concessional price.

Just a couple of days ago, BusinessWeek reported that Disney has denied reports of setting up a theme park in India. Let’s hope that Disney sets up a theme park in India. This will give a huge boost to tourism and will also attract tourists from across the region.


Bloggers Blocked

Nitin Pai refused entry by a member of the GCC

Blogger Nitin Pai of the Acorn was refused entry by one of the member nations of the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC).

SimonWorld Blog blocked in China

Hong Kong blogger Simon’s blog has been blocked in some parts of China.

Brands in a different setting (via Worth1000.com) Posted by Hello

Brands in a different setting (via Worth1000.com) Posted by Hello

How long can they say that everything associated with Chennai is conservative?

Conservatism is Passe, Chic & Trendy is in!

This Outlook article talks about the print & TV wars in some of the metros. There is a mention about the recent developments in the print media in Chennai. ToI is branded as street smart (did ToI coin the term themselves?) and The Hindu is branded as conservative. Well, it may be rhyming to say “Conservative Chennai”, but so does “Cosmopolitan Chennai”. How does it bother them if Conservatism sells? Some of these authors might have not even visited Chennai in the recent past and hence they may not have witnessed the plethora of changes that have happened in the City. If they don’t change their mindset they will continue to brand us as conservative even after 10 years from now.

Deccan Chronicle Ad

BTW, I happened to see the Deccan Chronicle ad in SUN TV. The ad depicts an average educated youth getting enlightened after reading Deccan Chronicle. They are trying to position Deccan Chronicle as a bit more intellectual than the others. The ad fails to strike a chord with the viewer. If Deccan Chronicle is going to continue with the predatory price of Re 1, they are going to bleed pretty soon. My sympathies to the people who invested in the Deccan Chronicle IPO.

Wanna disinfect ToI website? (via India Uncut)

Nice Recruitment Ad

I came across this recruitment ad in Adlova's Blog


Wanted confident, cosmopolitan, educated, eligible writers & designers for an independent minded, well-placed, well-networked Chennai-based Internet concern without any encumberances. Caste no bar. Colour no bar. Divorcees, widowers, smokers and drinkers may also apply. Contact Prashanth at 28584400 or 28585051 for fixing an auspicious time for a chit-chat.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005


I pity the Indian business leaders & policy makers who have to read this newspaper everyday. How do such newspapers climb to the top slot? Posted by Hello

When Botany and Symphony Collide

After reading the Sunday newspaper, I came to know that the Singapore Symphony Orchestra would be performing at the Botanical Gardens (SBG) on Sunday evening (May 1st). Although I have stayed here for more than 2 years I never really felt like visiting the SBG. The only thing, which I have read is that flowers were named after Shah Rukh Khan and Amitabh Bachchan during their visits to S’pore.
S'pore Symphony Orchestra Live in Concert @ Botanical Gardens Posted by Hello

A new Stage had been constructed on the lake inside the Botanical Garden. This stage resembled a petal. This performance was to coincide with the inauguration of the new stage. It was a rainy Sunday afternoon and when I left my house I had an impression that it may not be crowded (as it was drizzling). To my surprise I found that the lawns were packed with family crowd. It was a carnival like atmosphere. Inspite of the rain, people used umbrellas to stay glued to the excellent music belted out by the Symphony Orchestra. Since they plan to have more of such concerts in the Open arena, I’m thinking of visiting the Botanical Garden more often.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Religious TV – The next Gold rush

Spirituality Sells!

Indian Cable TV is entering a new phase. A slew of religious channels are going to be launched shortly. Such spirituality channels can give the mega-serials a run for their money as they normal cater to the same audience - the Indian home-maker and the senior citizens.

  • Tirumala Tirupathi Devasthanam (TTD) plans to launch Balaji TV
  • Mata Amritanandamayi plans to launch Amrita TV in Malayalam
  • Bennett Coleman & Company Ltd (BCCL is the publisher of ToI and ET) also plans to start a Spirituality Channel

Linkin Park

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Innovative FedEx Outdoor Ad @ Raffles Place, S'pore Posted by Hello