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Sambhar Mafia - Cooked To Kill!

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Power of a Testimonial / Customer Reference

This firm boasts a customer list that includes the likes of Pavarotti, Bill Clinton, Prince Charles, Ronald Reagan, Tony Blair, Boris Becker and Kylie Minogue. The firm belongs to the fashion industry (I chose this for want of a better word). Yet most of you might have heard not about it. It is not some hotshot fashion house in Paris. Last week, there was a travel show on TV and the episode featured Hong Kong. The host said that your trip to Hong Kong is not complete without a visit to this place. Which company are we talking about?

Sam’s Tailor

This travel show was not the first time I’m hearing about Sam’s Tailor. Sam’s Tailor is an Indian tailoring outfit, which has been in existence for more than 50 years. They are experts in suits and they are also known for the 24-hour suit. Their shop is listed in all the HK travel guides. There are many such Indian tailors in HK but none of them are as famous as Sam’s Tailor. Their shop prominently displays the photos of their celebrity customers. These promotions might be working well for Sam’s Tailor.

Chennai’s Fortune Tellers

Back home, I’m reminded of the fortunetellers who adorn the pavements of Panagal Park and Pondy Bazaar in Chennai. They usually have a parrot and have lots of celebrity photos (mainly politicians & film stars) just to prove that these celebrities are their customers. I doubt whether these celebrities are really part of their clientele. This must some creative Photoshop work by one of the photo studios.

IIFA awards in colour

Itly Pongal Vadai Sambar blog has some pictures of the recently concluded IIFA Awards.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Campus Abroad

US, UK, Singapore, Australia & NZ have been the usual places where Indians went for graduate studies. English is the medium of instruction in these countries and this would have been one of the reasons why Indian students opted for the above list of countries. Some students also went to Russia to study medicine. Last year, a distant cousin of mine decided to go to China to pursue MBBS. I don’t recollect the name of the university. He couldn’t get thru the merit category in Indian medical colleges (the usual 98 – 99% cut-off) and his parents weren’t willing to fork out the capitation fee (usually in the range of Rs. 25 lakhs for a medical seat). I understand that the classes will be taught in English and the cost is a fraction of what they would have paid in India (had they opted for the payment seat).

This is probably the first time I came across somebody who opted to pursue a degree in China. Is this a sign of things to come?

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Puddlefrog starts blogging

Please join me in welcoming Puddlefrog to the Blogosphere. Puddlefrog is new to Chennai and he tries to share some of his experiences through his blog. His latest post on rental advertisements is quite hilarious. I have reproduced the same below. Puddlefrog somehow managed to find a suitable house and hence please refrain from helping him out in this regard :-)
Vegetarian houses

Spotted this down at my office building cafeteria:

House for rent available (Vegetarian)
2 bedroom, 2 balcony, spacious, airy house available for rent - adyar area. Only vegetarian small families may apply (!!). Girls sharing (upto 6) permitted. No bachelors allowed. Only decent people may apply. Please contact (7-9 pm) at ....
Now, me being an indecent looking North Indian of the wrong sex, and a bachelor at that, obviously didn’t even think towards 'applying' for this house. But I was certainly surprised at the house's diet preferences. This is not an isolated example, btw. Anyone who's searched for a place to rent in Chennai would swear what a nerve-wracking experience it can be. Thankfully, with the IT boom in the city - many a landlords' apprehensions seem to be going down. But like the post above tells, they're far from completely gone. The Chennai property classifieds of major newspapers could compete with the paper's matrimonial section just for the entertainment value.

Dharma & not Greg (please bear with my PJ’s)

One of my batchmate had come down from Mumbai and some of us decided to meet up with him on Saturday evening. We decided to go to a place called Dharma’s (Boat Quay) for dinner. I was going there for the first time and the place didn’t disappoint me. Although I was prepared for the worst, the veg options weren't all that bad.

I used this opportunity to promote my blog as well. Given that SambharMafia is a familiar name, they wouldn’t have had difficulty remembering my URL. Hope my desperate attempts to woo them to my blog didn’t sound as bad as the MLM pitches.

Some of the questions which came up:-

What is a Blog?

Which is the best Indian blog?

What is Wikipedia?

Soon the talk drifted to what other batchmates were upto. Some of my batchmates have shifted 3 / 4 jobs within 3 years. We also caught up on all the latest gossip about weddings, breakups etc.

Three of them who made it to the dinner on Saturday were part of the cast of the campus play Shabbo Ko Try Kiya Kya? (SKTKK). Shabbo as it is popularly called became a runaway success and it was re-enacted many times. It was actually a play staged in IIT Delhi and some of my batchmates, who happened to be from IITD decided to stage a similar play in IIMB as well. I came to know that the recent Hindi movie Kya Kool Hain Hum (yet another KKHH?) is somewhat on the lines of SKTKK. I need to see KKHH to find out the similarities.

The NDP preparations were in full swing on Saturday and I managed to catch a glimpse of it.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Linkin Park

Baradwaj Rangan talks about his sister’s phone calls during Mother’s Day and Father’s Day

A must read for Parents (and future parents)

NRI – Nuptially Reluctant Indian? (via Outlook)

Tirupati experience to become more comfortable (you need to wait for few more years for this).

IHT on the IIT dream

An employee referral program of a different variety

Family business and their impact on economy

Bangalore & Chennai among least expensive cities

How trains get their names?

Time Magazine comes out with its list of 50 coolest websites

Why do Indians always ask about other’s salary?

Bharath says that Indians are among a rare breed who are curious to know about a fellow Indian’s salary. After reading this article each of us can relate to some similar incidents, which we might have come across in our life.

Gold King in the making (We have to bear the making charges:-))

Not many Indian businesses (particularly retailers) have such a wide presence in the Middle East. However this Gold retailer is quite ambitious.

Few more linkin parks which are well worth a read

Friday, June 24, 2005

Why do fictional characters have rhyming names?

Let’s sample a few

Chennai FM ads - Loan Loganathan promoting some consumer finance company

B’lore Radio City FM – Kannada teacher Lingo Leela (one of my favourites)

Business Today fitness column – Muscles Mani

Channel [V] Ads of yesteryear – Quick Gun Murugan

Any more that you can think of?



When you put two posts on the same day why is it that the post at the top attracts more comments than the one below? Is the reader’s attention span so small or is it that the reader is too lazy to scroll down? Have you encountered such situations?

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Blogs making noise in Asia

Chinese Government Blocks AsiaPundit
Goverments have finally woken up to the power of blogs. The Chinese government has reportedly blocked AsiaPundit, an Asian Meta Blog. There is a suspicion that some more blogs might have also been blocked. Blogs, which talk about Politics, Foreign Affairs and Economics, are likely to be hit by such bans. Let’s hope that such jolts serve as wake-up calls to the Blogosphere to unite under a common umbrella and fight against such censorship. AsiaPundit throws some light on the tech heavyweights who are helping out the Chinese government in this censorship.

Mr. Miyagi starts a weekly column
Some more recognition for the Blogosphere as S’pore blogger Mr. Miyagi starts writing a weekly column for Singapore’s TODAY newspaper. As Bloggers carve distinct identities through their blogs, it makes lot of sense for Main Stream Media to employ them as columnists. Let’s see when this bug catches on in India.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Placements galore!

If reports from some of the bloggers are anything to go by, engineering college students might be in for a bumper placement this year. I got wind of this after Govar and Visher put up posts on the same. Even Business Line had mentioned that engineers from premier institutes never had it so good.

While all this is good for the economy and for the students, the recruiters lobby is now beginning to show its might. Since most of these IT companies recruit in large numbers (often called as “truck companies” in campuses) they will find it difficult to absorb all of them in one go. Since these companies have a constraint in terms of the training capacity, they try to schedule the intake in such a manner that a particular number of people join them each week / month. For an engineering graduate who has secured a job with one of these IT majors, this wait can often be in the range of 3 to 12 months. This wait can often be quite agonizing as well.

The industry lobby is now pushing the engineering colleges to adopt a system whereby two batches of students graduate every year (with a gap of 6 months between each batch). If this system is implemented, the IT companies feel that the waiting time for new joinees can come down drastically. Not sure whether this system will create a 6 month gap between the Class 12 (+2) exams and the joining date at the engineering colleges. Some of the IT companies might have very similar training programs and if some industry body is set-up, they can impart part of this training during the final year of engineering. By doing so, they can cut down the training period little bit.

This might be a good move in the short term as it is beneficial to the employers and the potential employees. If the IT boom subsides, the governing body of these colleges needs to revisit the utility of such a campus calendar. There has been no reaction yet from the colleges. It would be good to see some progress in this area.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Soaring Property Prices

If there is something hotter than the Chennai weather, then it has to be Chennai’s property market. Property developer Ceebros recently came out with an announcement for their new project. The price quoted for this project is a whopping Rs. 4000 per sq ft. Ceebros is one of the premium residential developers in Chennai. The cost of this 1800 sq ft apartment will be Rs. 72 lacs. If you add other miscellaneous stuff like stamp duty/registration charges etc…the price might easily cross Rs. 80 lacs. Established players like Ceebros used to charge Rs. 2500 – 3000 per sq ft for properties in the city area. Some of the smaller ones used to charge Rs. 2000 – 2500 per sq ft. But this price of Rs. 4000 is significantly higher than the prevailing market prices. The IT/ BPO and Retail boom in Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Pune has resulted in an unprecedented property boom in the Southern metros. If prices continue to increase at this pace, people working in traditional industries might find it difficult to buy their dream home.

Nancy Gandhi of Under the firestar was also approached by such property developers recently. High-end apartments costing Rs. 80 – 100 lacs are becoming pretty common these days. These projects also get sold in no time.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Podcast Blogger Meet organized by Kiruba

Skype users could not join the Podcast Blogger Meet, which Kiruba organized yesterday. However Kiruba didn’t disappoint us. After the Blogger meet was over, he organized a Skype conference so that people living outside Chennai could participate. I had a nice time speaking to Kiruba, Ganesh, Reflex and Magnus Astrum Anand via the Skype Conference. Kiruba should be putting up a note on this shortly.

We realized that Skype allows only 4 users (plus the host) in a Conference. Next time we plan such a thing, we need to look for some other way by which more participants can be accomodated.

Linking Park on Monday

Gowri has a nice write-up on the things one learns as a new housewife

Jayan reveals the five secrets of the perfect relationship

What makes a good blog? (via Journalism Dept, NYU)

New Indian Express on the Hot jobs of today and tomorrow

Shion Sosei came across an honest resignation letter at his work place. His quest for ideal resignation letters led him to a website dedicated for resignation letters. This might come in handy at a future date :-)

Fair and Handsome cream

It is common knowledge that lot of men use “Fair and Lovely” cream. To target this segment, marketers have launched a men’s cream, which has an identical name. This one would be called Fair and Handsome cream. (via Navin Sigamany)

IIFA Awards

Srivatsan Murali feels that the IIFA awards should cover more Indian languages so that they can truly represent Indian cinema.

Anniyan Reviews

As expected, the Blogosphere has been quite quick is coming out with its reviews of the latest Tamil flick Anniyan. Dreamstores Ram, Praveen, Jupiee, Balaji and Lakalaka Venkat have put up their reviews.

After readings these reviews I’m sure you’ll agree with me that lot of effort has gone into these reviews. These reviews will help us in keeping a check on the Mainstream Media.

What next?

Now that the Ambani feud is over, the Business press should think of some other thing to fill up their pages. Let’s see what they come up with.

Finally, I would like to share some news with you

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Communicasia 2005

I had been to Communicasia 2005 earlier this week. Communicasia is the largest trade gathering of its kind for the Communication Industry in Asia. I was told that there were more than 60,000 visitors for the show. Handset manufacturers like Sony Ericsson wanted to cash in on the Star Wars craze and hence used models clad in Star Wars outfits to woo the crowd. IP Phones and IP television are touted as the next big thing. Singapore government might grant licenses for IP phones pretty soon.

Handset makers used hot models to promote their latest models. This might have been a reason for the high footfalls. Nokia was conspicuous by its absence. Came to know that Nokia doesn’t prefer the clutter at this show and hence hosts an exclusive show to showcase its range of offerings.

Asia’s growing power in the technology industry was reaffirmed when Siemens decided to sell its handset business to BenQ, a Taiwanese electronics firm. BenQ used to do contract manufacturing for Motorola and this business has suddenly dried up. BenQ hopes that this acquisition will help in boosting its handset business. BTW BenQ stands for Bringing Enjoyment and Quality to Life.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Time for Another Tag

It’s the personal Tag now. Comedy Time Kay has tagged me.



Complan (Don’t ask me the origins of this name)

Google / Database (I'm not kidding!)


My mush

The mole on my nose (Somebody told me that it’s very lucky)

The perpetual smile on my face


My teeth - I broke one of them while playing tennis last year. Somehow managed to fix it up. My game has actually improved after this incident.

My hair – Have a tough time combing them everyday

My smile - people think I'm a crack pot


West Mambalam, Chennai

Some dry place in the interior part of Tamilnadu

Incredible India


Dogs (one of them bit me while I was in school)

Snakes & Python (regular readers of my blog would know about it)

Exams (good that I’m past that stage)

Vijayakanth films (didn’t realize that I have exceeded the limit of 3)


My MP3 Player

My Mobile Phone

My Laptop & Internet connection






Very difficult to spell it out.....

TWO TRUTHS AND A LIE (in no particular order)

I’m an excellent cook

I’m an intellectual

My Google Adsense earnings has reached double digits


Why restrict only to 3? I need more time to work on this.
How about this for the time being?

Smile (like Sneha)

Eyes (like Meena)

Enthu (like Trisha)


Go for a jog

Grab some lunch

Get back to work


Become a financial journalist with a Financial Daily / Magazine

Become a newscaster with a English /Tamil news channel (I can speak better Tamil than what they speak in SUN TV)

Become a HR Manager

Become a Politician (and then become a Health Minister / Communication & IT Minister)

Become an Academician


Win the Brand Equity Quiz (By the time I win it they will be giving out Mercedes cars as the prize)

Compose music for a Tamil movie (doesn’t matter if the movie is not released. I can atleast call myself a Music Director). Worst come worst, I wanna compose music atleast for a Mega Serial. Yaraavadhu Chance Kudungappa

Play Table Tennis at a professional level

Dial Ungal Choice and Speak to “Pepsi” Uma. Tell her that I have been trying for more than 50 years and I managed to get the line only now. Tell her that she is the most beautiful grandma in the world and everybody at home/work talks about the sarees she wears for the show. Also tell her that she is putting on 1 Kg weight after every show.


New Zealand

France & Italy

Seychelles (somebody told me that it doesn’t exist on the world map…I wanna prove them wrong)


I have a soft corner for names beginning with K….


Kathir (my nephew)


Singapore's Straits Times newspaper (It's daily edition is more than 200 pages). I read this book everyday. If they go at this rate, only retired people would be able to read this paper.


Telephone Directory


100 - 200


Winning by Jack Welch


Ram C (tit for tat)
Magnus Astrum
ME (The Imsai man)

Two tags finished….i have only two more to go.

I’m outtie! (Kay – please excuse me for using your signature sign-off phrase).

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Book tagged

The Book tag (which has been doing the rounds in the Blogosphere) has finally reached me. Thanks to Cogito for tagging me. Wonder whether this has been initiated by some book shop like Landmark, Crossword to boost their sales. Maybe Landmark and Crossword should start giving discounts to all bloggers.

Small note on my reading habits

I am a magazine / newspaper buff and on an average read 6 – 8 newspapers a day (online + offline), 15 – 20 magazines a week and 400 – 500 blogs on a weekly basis. With such a packed schedule I find it difficult to allocate time for some serious reading. I prefer reading Non-fiction, Self-help & Business / Management books. I do read fiction occasionally.

Number of books that I own: 100 – 200 (Most of them are gathering dust at my home in Chennai)

Last few books that I bought

Five Point Someone, What not to do at IIT by Chetan Bhagat

A Piece of Cake by Swati Kaushal (I bought this one after reading Rashmi Bansal's article in BusinessWorld)

Chennai Latte by Ranjitha Ashok and Biswajit Balasubramanian

Last Book that I was gifted

Not many people seem to be gifting books to me. The last gift I received was 5 years ago. My sister gifted me Snapshots from Hell by Peter Robinson when I was about to join B School.

Last few Books that I read

Rules of Work by Richard Templar – A book which outlines what it takes to succeed at the workplace.

Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown

New Singapore Dream by Moh Hon Meng – A book with lot of Business Ideas for those who want to strike out on their own (in S'pore).

Currently reading

Angels & Demons by Dan Brown

Five Books that mean a lot to me

Who Moved my Cheese by Spencer Johnson and Ken Blanchard – What an excellent way to drive home the story of reacting to change. I think this book inspired many authors and lot of the recent books (like Fish Tales) have started following the same presentation style.

The Mind of the Strategist by Kenichi Ohmae – Written by a former McKinsey Japan partner this book outlines the basics of strategic thinking. Probably the first strategy book that I ever read.

Straight from the Gut by Jack Welch – A good insight into the systems, processes and strategies which propelled GE into the mighty corporation that it is today.

Lee Iacocca An Autobiography by Lee Iacocca and William Novak – An inspirational book which chronicles the life and times of Lee Iacocca during his stints at Ford and Chrysler.

Made in Japan by Akio Morita – A nice book to understand how Sony conquered the world of Consumer Electronics. If you want to know more about Sony’s dominance in the walkman wars and the interesting story behind the naming of Sony, then this book is a must read

Books that I plan to read soon

Donald Trump An Autobiography (Somehow I need to figure out how to get rich)
Blink and Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
Winning by Jack Welch

Tamil books

I don’t get much time to read Tamil books. I bought Idhu Rajapattai Alla by Actor Sivakumar (it was an impulse buy) at the Chennai Book Fair in Jan this year. I haven’t started reading it.

The tag passes to the following people

Thuglak (although he is not a blogger he will put it up in the comments section)

Amit Varma of India Uncut is collecting all the book tags in one post. So if you have completed the book tag please pass on the Permalink to him so that he can compile the same.

I am happy that this tag is over. There are 3 more tags pending. The personal tag by Kay, the Movie tag by Munimma and the TFM tag by Ram C. I plan to finish them on a FIFO basis.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Blogs and Shopping Malls

I read some blogs which contain lot of interesting comments. Irrespective of the quality of content in these blogs, the comments section seem to be providing more entertainment because lot of the readers seem to be pulling the leg of the Blogger. This trend is catching on and more and more blogs are becoming popular because of this reason. My visit to such blogs can be partly attributed to the kind of people who visit these blogs. Such blogs are somewhat similar to Shopping Malls. It maybe cool to hangout in Spencer's Plaza in Chennai or Forum Mall in Bangalore. Most of us visit these malls partly for the shops (Blog content) and also partly for the crowd (Blog readers) at these malls (Blogs).

Has this happened to you?

BTW I'm in the process of building a Shopping Mall with ample parking space :-)

Dayanidhi Maran and his high PH

If there is an award for the most media savvy Union Minister it would probably go to Dayanidhi Maran. Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss would come a close second. Both these guys seem to be coming out with some gimmicks or the other so that they can hog the limelight week after week.

The latest news which is doing the rounds is Maran's meeting with the Intel management and Intel's decision to set up a plant in India. A technology leader like Intel will have to go through a variety of approvals before zeroing in on a country for setting up a new plant. Just because Dayanidhi Maran is making a trip to the US, Intel is unlikely to accept such demands across the table.

The following are the two scenarios that I can think of:-

A) Intel had already decided about setting up a plant in India and Maran's visit was just an eyewash to give an indication that Intel decided in favour of India only because of Maran's trip to the US.

B) Intel was contemplating between India, China and Vietnam and Maran went to the US to convince the Intel management that India is the right option. In such a case Maran would have to be in a Negotiating Mode and offer lot of sops to Intel so that they can make a favourable decision. However such sops can't be decided just by Maran. It has to be backed by the Finance Ministry and the Union Cabinet. This scenario looks highly unlikely.

If Intel has made a decision, in normal course they should either issue a separate press release or a joint press release (along with the Indian government). In this case Dayanidhi Maran is the one who has broken the news to the media. Under the US securities regulations I guess Intel would also need to inform the US regulators about their decision to set up a plant in India. Did Intel really give a commitment to Maran or is our dear minister trying to pull a fast one on Intel?

Choice of location
If Intel has actually made a decision, they would announce with the choice of their location (Bangalore / Chennai / Noida). Intel would be foolish enough to say that we are going to enter India but we are not sure of where to set up our plant. For eg: If British Airways says we'll start flying to India, it has to be accompanied with a statement saying that we'll be flying to the following destinations. Such CapEx / Financial decisions are likely to be evaluated with respect to the location. Maran issued a statement to SUN TV saying that he has requested Intel to set up the plant in Chennai. Was this statement issued only to SUN TV or was this released to the whole media?

Although he is from Chennai, as a minister representing India I guess Maran should be indifferent between the 3 cities shortlisted by Intel. If each Union Minister is going to champion the cause of his state / city, what will happen to the states which don't have enough representation in the Union Cabinet?

Maran's learnings from the Nokia story
In the case of Nokia's decision to start a plant in Chennai, there was a bitter dispute between Jayalalitha and Maran as to who should take credit for it. By travelling all the way to the US, Maran has ensured that nobody else can take credit for the Intel decision. This is a very smart move.

Are you still wondering what PH is? It's what we call Publicity Hunger.

Do read Teakada's take on the same issue.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005


Energetic self-starter: You'll be working on commission.

Entry level position: We will pay you the lowest wages allowed by law.

Experience required: We don't know jack about anything.

Fast learner: You will get no training from us.

Flexible work hours: You will frequently work long overtime hours.

Good organizational skills: You'll be handling the filing.

Make an investment in you future: This is a franchise or a pyramid scheme.

Management training position: You'll be everybody's flunkie.

Much client contact: You'll handle the phone or make "cold calls" on clients.

Must have reliable transportation: You will be required to break speed limits.

Opportunity of a lifetime: You will not find a lower salary for so much work.

Planning and coordination: You will be in charge of the bosses' travel arrangements.

Quick problem solver: You will be put on on projects that are months behind schedule.

Strong communication skills: You will write tons of documentation and letters.

(via Adlova)

An Indian Meta Blog in the making

Singapore has Tomorrow, Malaysia has Petaling Street, what does India have? A new Indian Meta Blog is currently in its Beta version. The layout and the content are not so appealing to bookmark it right away. This project may gain ground if more Indian bloggers pledge their support to this venture. I don’t know much about who is backing this venture. If any of you know more about it, please share it with me. Let’s hope it showcases the best that the Indian Blogosphere can offer.

Monday, June 13, 2005


It is common to see the "Baby on Board" sign in Cars. How about this sign?

(I didn't have my camera handy. Otherwise I would have captured this)

Have you come across such funny signs?

Linkin Park

No More “Chal Meri Luna”. Business Standard says that moped sales in India have been dropping consistently.

Some observations on Behaviour of desis (via Sagnik Nandy)

Married people like to hangout only with married people (via Sagnik Nandy)

A study on Indian coffee chains has revealed that the food consumption as a percentage of overall sales is quite high.

Baradwaj Rangan on Chennai / TN's obsession with centum (This article appeared in Madras Plus, Economic Times dated 9th June)

A Best-seller in the making? (I’m not putting the author’s name here as lot of people might reaching my blog by searching for the word).

Have you tuned to Shyam Online Radio ? It is the latest Tamil Online Radio to enter the fray (via Navin Sigamany)

Prince Roy narrates his experiences at a Wedding reception in Chennai. For want of a name he has compared Badhusha with a Donut.

The Week analyses the political situation in TN in the light of the byelection verdict

Ramya Kannan’s much awaited article on Blogger Meets is finally out

The Hindu ups the ante, increases Metro Plus Coverage

Etihad Airways (Middle Eastern Airline) is eyeing Chennai and other Southern metros

Why do Indian kids excel in Spelling Bee competitions?

It seems some people are not aware of where BITS Pilani is located. I thought everything about BITS Pilani was famous. They even chose to promote their Pincode (333031) by splashing it prominently in their T-shirts.

IHT on the commercialization of Indian spirituality industry

Aloha! One Indian company took all its employees on a pleasure trip to Hawaii

Sushila Ravindranath’s Malaysia musings (via New Indian Express)

Suchitra Pillai’s guide to getting married

An ex-CEO takes up a job as Headmaster of a School in Ooty. Read more.

Did you know that 25% of the world’s laptop are made by a Company called Quanta? WSJ has more on the laptop trail.

Do you know that there is a day called “Leave the Office Earlier Day”? This NYT article goes on to say that Smart guys don’t stay late in office.

Strange Coincidence
Wi Fi, Wi Max, Wiki……most of latest buzz seems to associated with words which start with Wi. When Wikipedia had just begun, this is what an Encyclopedia Britannica executive had to say: - “Wikipedia is like a Public toilet seat because you don’t know who used it last” (via Time dated 6th June)

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Kaps & his Keyboard

As I looked at my Yamaha Keyboard today I could hear it say the following thing to me: -


I may not comment in your blog, but that doesn’t mean that you should be ignoring me. If you continue to neglect me, I might stop working or I might try and find a new owner.

Hence I decided to dedicate this post to my sweet keyboard. I have also decided to patch up with my keyboard. I intend to spend quite a lot of time on it over this weekend. In addition to this I have also decided to upload 2 pieces which I played recently (Don’t ever imagine that it's my composition…the first one is popular Western Classical tune which became an ad and the second one is a film song). You can download it by clicking here or here (I hope it works). If the problem still persists shoot me an email so that I can email it to you.

I’m still an amateur. Hence please pardon me for the scale / tempo mistakes that I make. If this experiment works out well I plan to upload more pieces during the following weekends. Please direct you PayPal donations / rotten eggs / tomatoes to sambhar [dot] mafia [at] gmail [dot] com

One recent song that has made a huge impact on me is Kadavul Thantha from the Movie Mayavi. Althought Devi Sri Prasad has been subject to a lot of criticism, I think he deserves to be commended for this number. My day is simply not complete without this song. The flute interludes and SPB Charan’s pleasing voice definitely add value to this mellifluous number. I will be trying out the above song this weekend.

Friday, June 10, 2005

DUTY FREE WORLD Posted by Hello

Click on above image to see a bigger picture

(via Pichuva)

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Global Voices Online mentions about the recent Blogger Meet

Global Voices Online Blog has mentioned about the recent S’pore Indian Bloggers' Meet. You can read the article here. Please refer to the section titled South East Asia.

Skype the Parents!

That’s what I have been doing during the last few days. My parents are fast adopters of technology and they have been proving it time and again. Based on my repeated requests they have decided to get hooked to Skype. They are even considering signing up for SkypeOut. Even thought my parents are on a Dial-up plan, the voice quality was quite good.

Circa 1997: VSNL had this concept called a student account and they were offering a 1-year plan for Rs. 500. This plan was open only for school students and I somehow managed to pile on with another friend to access the Net thru this package. The email ID’s allotted by VSNL used to be something like xyz@giasmda.vsnl.net.in . The email account was a text only account.

The Death Of Distance (revisited)

Circa 1999: International Calls to the US (from India) used to cost upwards of Rs. 55 and there used to be differential pricing during peak and off-peak hours. I guess they have done away with the differential pricing now. Given that international calls would burn a hole in their pocket, people had to wait for their overseas friend / relative to make a call to India. With the arrival of VoIP services like Sify calls to US / UK / Singapore cost not more than Rs. 4 / 5 per minute. Neighbourhood STD / ISD booth operators have started offering VoIP services thru which you can call US / UK / S’pore for as low as Rs. 3 (that too from the comfort of your home). The demarcation between a local call, STD call and an ISD call are slowly starting to fade away.

One fallout of cheaper rates is that you can no longer cite expensive rates as a reason for not calling your long lost friend! You need to cook up some other reason.

Consumer mindset

It is often said that consumers allocate a percentage of their earnings towards telephone expenses and if the telecom rates fall, consumers will speak more to utilize their budget. In other words, consumers don’t cut their telephone expenses drastically, even if there is a fall in the rates. However no budgets might apply for people in post-engagement / pre-marriage mode :-)

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

pariWARS & New Job Opportunities

Return of the pariWARS

The latest WARS to strike Corporate India are the pariWARS. Just when the Ambani family feud shows signs of abatement there is a new split that is looming large. It is none other than the mighty Sahara India Pariwar. The latest buzz is that the patriach Subroto Roy has taken ill and is also elusive. Subroto Roy prefers to call himself the Managing Worker (what a funny name?) and Chairman of Sahara India Pariwar. The media is speculating that a split between the two sons of Subroto Roy is imminent. The group’s interests spans fields such as Media, Entertainment, Aviation, Parabanking, Premium Residential Developments etc. Outlook magazine (often viewed as pro-Congress) has run a cover story on the same. Subroto Roy is part of the Amar Singh camp and shares a special relationship with Amitabh Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai and Anil Ambani. The Sahara group also sponsors the Indian Cricket Team. Nobody (including the media) knows much about what goes on inside this mysterious group. The impact of any crisis in the Sahara Group will be much bigger than the Reliance feud because of the huge deposits held by the Sahara Group. According to Outlook, 1 out of every 17 Indians has invested in the Sahara group and all their money will be at stake if some collapse happens.

Sahara’s Corporate website has lot of gyaan on Cultural & Sporting activities and also about Corporate Social Responsibility. Don’t know whether they count lavish weddings, extravagant parties and Mrs. World pageants as part of Cultural & Sporting activities. It will be an understatement if I say that Bollywood dances to Sahara’s tune. It is public knowledge that Bollywood shut shop for a few days so that all the stars can attend the wedding of Sushanto and Seemanto Roy (son’s of Subroto Roy).

Sahara Pariwar - Wonder what brings these folks together?

In the late 90’s one could see full page ads (like the one above) by Sahara group in all the major newspapers. The ads used to have photos of celebrities like Amitabh Bachchan, Kapil Dev, Aishwarya Rai, Saurav Ganguly, T N Seshan, Russi Mody and Raj Babbar. Not sure how so many people got into the trap? After seeing those ads I used to wonder about the business of the company. Shouldn’t a wise company be advertising its products / services rather than advertising its management team? Looks like conning people has never been so easy.

New Job Opportunities

India Inc. was also witness to recent family battles like the ones in the Bajaj family. However the Bajaj settlement was quite well managed internally and the media never got whiff of what was going on inside. Indian Express columnist S Gurumurthy is said to have brokered peace between the members of the Bajaj family.

ICICI’s K V Kamath and J M Morgan Stanley’s Nimesh Kampani are said to be the key people who have helped the Ambani brothers in arriving at a settlement.

Being a truce maker and settling family disputes / partitions is one of the hottest job opportunities which people can cash in on. Needless to say that you need to be a hot shot corporate leader / politician with an illustrious track record to be considered for this role.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Magazine Covers – Easily Predictable

There is a Top 10 for anything and everything

During my weekly visit to the newsstands I saw that India Today and Business Today have come out with the list of Top 10 Colleges and Top Business Schools respectively. June is peak period for College Admissions and the India Today Group knows how to cash in on the craze. Anxious parents and students would be lapping up these magazines. Topics like Education are big money spinners in India. The type of ads that are featured in these special issues are quite different from the usual ads that you see week after week. If a magazine runs a cover story on Top Colleges and Business Schools, you can’t miss the plethora of ads by the not so famous colleges and Business schools. All these colleges wax eloquent about the world-class labs, infrastructure & library facilities that they possess. But most of us might not have even heard of the names of these institutions.

Based on my observation I have outlined some of the themes Magazines use for their Cover Stories

  • Best Colleges and Business Schools
  • Best Schools
  • Best Hospitals
  • Best Restaurants
  • Best States in India
  • Best Cities to Live / Work
  • Best Companies to Work for
  • Best Chief Ministers
  • Best Union Ministers
  • Best Fashion Designers
  • Most influential people in the country
  • Top earners
  • Hot careers / sectors for employment
  • What Men Like about Women
  • What Women Like about Men

This is just an indicative list and more such topics can be added to this. My guess is that whenever the magazine doesn’t have any meat for a cover story then they use such topics. All three weekly magazines (Outlook, India Today and The Week) seem to be using these themes quite regularly. Between the 3 magazines you can be assured that all the above topics will be covered atleast once during each calendar year.

My mind has been programmed in such a way that I end up reading the last 2 pages of these magazines (For e.g.: Glitterati section of Outlook) before I read the Cover Story and the other main articles. This is not something new as some of us have the habit of seeing the Sports Column / Entertainment Section of the newspaper before reading the front page.

Indian News Feeds

I have started reading Indian News thru RSS feeds. I have subscribed to Indian Express group (Indian Express & Financial Express), Rediff and Outlook. ToI group doesn’t have RSS feeds as yet and even if they do have it, I’m unlikely to subscribe to them. Maybe ToI feels that the click rates on their ads will fall if they introduce RSS feeds. Are you aware of any other Indian news site that has RSS feeds?

ToI & ET site layout

Wouldn’t you feel irritated if a single news article is published in 8 different parts? This has been my experience with the online editions of ToI and ET.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

The Famous Four

Chennai’s Bloggers in the limelight

Chennai Bloggers’ Curses Harish, Praveen, Sandhya and Vinod have been featured in yesterday’s Hindu for their style of writing and also the subjects handled. Way to go guys!

Have you heard of Chess Boxing?

Discovery Travel and Living has started the new series of their travel show 6 Degrees. I was hoping that my favourite host Asha Gill would host the show. I was disappointed. The destination featured this week was Berlin. It seems people in Berlin play a game called Chess-Boxing. Does the name sound familiar? It is actually a combination of Chess and Boxing. The two players alternate between Chess and Boxing. How about punching the opponent at the Boxing Ring and then coming to the chess board and saying Check Mate?

Have you heard of half-brother?

The Indian press refers to Noel Tata as a half-brother of Ratan Tata. It is not every day that you come across this term. Google came to my rescue.

Friday, June 03, 2005

How to become a Company Director at the age of 18?

It's actually quite simple. If you aspire to become a Company Director at 18, you need to be born into one of those high profile business families. For most of us turning 18 will be associated with applying for a Driving license (4 wheeler), voter ID etc. However for some of the privileged few it is the age at which they become Company Directors. Eighteen is too early an age to assume such an important role. Vijay Mallya's son, Sidhartha Mallya has been roped into the UB Group recently. Sidhartha is just 18 years old. As you all know, Vijay Mallya also chose to launch Kingfisher Airlines on the occasion of his son's birthday.

Suggested Reading:-

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Ramanujam Sridhar has some advice for Indira Nooyi

Ramajuam Sridhar, a Bangalore based brand consultant analyses the fallout of Indira Nooyi’s speech at Columbia Business School. Sridhar also says Indian companies need to have their damage control mechanisms in place so that they can respond if any bloggers create havoc. What I didn’t like in the article was the following statement “at a flippant level a blog is something to keep you occupied when you are unemployed”. As a blogger don’t you feel offended by this?

Laptops – Comfort or Agony?

I’m addicted to my laptop. I spend close to 70 hours on it every week. This CNET article says that prolonged exposure to the laptop can actually be quite painful.

Ever tried Idly Manchurian?

Why do low priority mails get high priority?

Amit Varma's take on the latest smoking ban

Gautam Ghosh talks about Rashmi Bansal’s article on Corporate Blogging (published in the latest issue of BusinessWorld). This is the article in which Rashmi says that Kiruba makes about INR 1000 every month as revenue from Google Adsense. Do you still have hopes of making money thru Google Adsense?

Tracking past RBI Governors

I was tracking the career paths of former RBI Governors. Their careers have received a big boost after they retired from RBI. Take the case of three of the recent RBI Governors. Manmohan Singh became a Finance Minister and eventually ascended the PM throne. C Rangarajan has held the Governor post in 2 Southern States (Andhra Pradesh & Tamilnadu). Bimal Jalan is now a Rajya Sabha MP. It is just a matter of time before Bimal Jalan also gets into a much more prominent role. Is it a mere coincidence that these RBI Governors have become hot properties? I don’t think so. All three of them deserved every bit of it. So where is Y V Reddy headed?

I was fortunate enough to study under a great Economics Prof in B-School. There were rumours that he even turned down the post of RBI Governor so that he can continue his academic career.