Sunday, February 24, 2008


The other night a colleague of mine was stranded in a local train which had run someone over, resulting in the journey being suspended for an undefined period and further resulting in her deciding to cross the railway tracks and get home sooner.
And an oncoming train hit her.
And she’s in a coma, and all of us who know her are hoping she bounces back to the cheerful girl that she is.
And when this incident took place, I learnt that, on an average, ten people are killed every day in Mumbai crossing railway tracks.
That’s a ridiculous waste of lives.
And this is a city that harbours ambitions of being called world-class.
A city where every single day is worse than the previous one for commuters. Commuters in cars, in taxis, in buses, in planes, on the trains.
As far as pedestrians go, they have to manage on a foot and a prayer.
And if you pause for a second, and consider that Mumbai is much better off than most of the towns and cities in the country, where in hell are we headed?

We have the media paying lip service to the problems that we face.
And we have politicians and bureaucrats paying lip service to the lip serving media.

And we judge the media and the politicians by this lip service, giving them their TRPs and their votes.

And I’m despondent.

I hope she makes it.

Cabbages and Kings

It’s the job.
No, it’s not, it’s just laziness.
The trouble is that most of my personal interests overlap with my professional one, and that makes it hard to blog on a site that, by my own definition, will focus on the same area.
So I’ll blog here on things that have no connect to advertising, media and marketing. Or, at the very least, are not in conflict to what I write elsewhere. Cabbages and kings, and stuff like that.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

I’m gruntled after reading this one

In one of my favourite reads of all time, PG Wodehouse wrote, “I could see that, if not actually disgruntled, he was far from being gruntled.”
To me, then, it was a bizarre experience of a non-word bringing out the richness in meaning of a real word.
And it’s happened again. Jerry and Joe Long, writing on George W Bush’s post-presidential plans, talk about how he plans to “replenish the coffers.” Except, they can’t remember when he plenished them in the first place.
Great read. Go there!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Winsome loses some, wins lots

A model claims that she's been the victim of online fraud to the tune of Rs. 21,568.
That's not a lot of money to merit long articles in The Times of India and DNA (two newspapers I saw reports in).
The article is propped up by a photo of the model, Ankeeta Mukherjee. Obviously one from her portfolio. Does her a world of good.
And I spoke to a media planner friend, Poojary at TBWA, and asked him how much the space would have cost Ankeeta had she bought it.
If it appeared only in The Times of India's Mumbai edition, Ankeeta's gain is Rs. 2,97,840. If the story has been carried by all editions, she's gained Rs. 6,12,000.
And that's only The Times of India.
Not a bad loss, the twenty odd thousand. And Ankeeta's PR consultant has earned his beer.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Why India is out of the Big Mac Index: Where's the beef?

Still on Looked at the Big Mac Index. Couldn't find India.

Clicked on link offering explanation.
Found this:

Burgernomics is based on the theory of purchasing-power parity, the notion that a dollar should buy the same amount in all countries. Thus in the long run, the exchange rate between two countries should move towards the rate that equalises the prices of an identical basket of goods and services in each country. Our "basket" is a McDonald's Big Mac, which is produced in about 120 countries. The Big Mac PPP is the exchange rate that would mean hamburgers cost the same in America as abroad. Comparing actual exchange rates with PPPs indicates whether a currency is under- or overvalued.

And since McDonald's in India doesn't serve beef, we aren't considered for the index. It wouldn't be an apple to apple comparison.
I have no beef now on India being excluded.

India cleans up corruption act

Was on Looking for sports articles under articles by subject. “Corruption” caught my eye. Clicked link.
Here’s what I found:

EUROPE: Albania's government
No power, no glory
A tale of corruption and power cuts
UNITED STATES: Political corruption
Investigating Alaska
State and federal officials are facing a pile of indictments and inquiries. The common thread: oil
EUROPE: Political scandals in Italy
Courting trouble
Now magistrates take on the centre-left
As you were
Peace, and now elections. But not much else to brag about
Fight in the favelas
Rio cracks down on crime. But the police are at least half the problem
BUSINESS: Business in China
Dirty dealing
Despite a clampdown, corruption remains a formidable problem
LEADERS: Nigeria
Mission impossible, nearly
After fraudulent elections a new and tainted president faces a mountain of problems

Look, ma, there's no mention of India!
And why am I surprised? Just a few days ago, a friend and I were trying to recollect the last time either of us had paid a bribe to anyone. Couldn't remember...

And I think to myself, what a wonderful world!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

When is a story a story?

When a Telugu filmstar turns 52, as CNN IBN feels?
Is it ever a story when someone turns 52?
In case the channel runs out of stories, here’s some help.
Bill Gates turns 52 this year as well. As does Indra Nooyi.
As do a few million other people.
And if you’re really in a fix, try people who turn 53. Or 51.

Or, for chrissakes, just pick a number!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Good news is no news

That’s all one can infer from two unrelated incidents of the past month.

Piyush Pandey completed 25 years at O&M. None of the MSM products saw fit to write about it.
Yashpal Khanna completed 15 years at STAR TV. None of the MSM products saw fit to write about it.

Let a mid level manager resign from O&M or STAR TV and it will be breaking news in the media focused dotcoms and will form part of a larger story in the advertising and media pages of newspapers.

Attrition is a story, retention or loyalty is not.

Of people to have a drink with

I can’t remember the precise exchange, but it went something like this:

“I’d walk a mile for a PG Wodehouse”, was Rex Stout, on PG Wodehouse.
“I have walked a mile for a Nero Wolfe,” was PG Wodehouse, on Rex Stout.

And a friend of mine starts a blog (, where one is promised stupid answers to snappy questions) and has my blog as a link under “Glad to buy a drink anytime for…”

I’m always delighted to have a drink with you, Shirty. As I have been delighted to do for the past 25 years!

Of Orkut, of Big Adda and of ego

When I first came across Big Adda, I said to myself, hey, I've heard about this earlier...

Then I remembered, hey, I've written about this earlier...

And here's a part of a post written in October 2006 likening Orkut to addas.

I am on no Orkut group. I once got onto a Ryze group, but did nothing with it other than post a rudimentary profile.Orkut means nothing to me.

But it means a lot to my daughter.She’s part of a number of groups on Orkut, including one that discusses Osho chappals. I swear that’s true.

And she Orkuts (no reason why it shouldn’t be a capitalized verb, if one can be Bangalored) for an hour or so each evening.What she’s doing on the Internet is what another generation did outside of it. She’s catching up with like-minded people – not all of them anonymous and unknown. As time goes on, the group shrinks into grouplings and grouplets, tighter and tighter as the Orkuters find more and more common ground.

Objectors to Orkut should take a look at the Orkuts that we have had for years in the real world. Like the adda in Kolkata. Like the kitty parties anywhere in India. Like the Lion’s Club, like the Rotary, like chess clubs and carom clubs. Like the Laughter Clubs, like jazz societies and poetry readings and drama groups.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Depends on what "only" means to you

I always knew that Nokia was big. I always knew that they sold lots of phones.
But it took their battery recall for me to understand just how big they are.

As Nokia says in their "recall" ad (part of which is reproduced above), there are "only" 46 million batteries affected.

I love seeing a word like "only" next to a number like "46 million".
Especially since 46 million = the populations of Mumbai + New Delhi + Kolkata + Chennai + Bangalore.

That's a lot of batteries.