Friday, December 01, 2006

Criconomics 101

Of a weak dollar, of poor cricketing form and of Landmark Book Shop
Last night, the pound sterling had reached 1.95 to the US dollar, the strongest it has been in decades. What this translates into is that UK travelers will find shopping in the US an absolute delight. It also means that the US traveler will find a visit to the UK expensive. It also means relief for US exporters to the UK and worry for UK exporters to the US.
Such is economics. When someone gains, inevitably, someone else loses.
When the Indian cricket team does well, the gainers are the TV channel with the rights to telecast the matches, the sponsors of the tournament, the advertisers on the telecast, and the audiences that get entertained.
The losers are ALL other TV channels, the competitors of the sponsors and the advertisers, and the spouses and friends of the cricket fans.
And, of course, Landmark Book Shop.
And many other book shops, restaurants, malls, pubs, bars, multiplexes, roadside eateries and so on.
Last weekend was a great example: the third loss to South Africa.
South Africa is batting. India gets early wickets. Across India, cricket freaks are glued to the idiot box, thinking, this is the turning point of the South Africa Tour. India is going to bounce back!
The South African innings continues, in fits and starts. Kumble gets a couple of wickets, and the Indian fans are more optimistic than ever before. Cricket freaks are fevicolled to the sofas.
And Landmark Book Shop branches across the country remain empty. As do Shoppers Stop branches, Westside branches, and 112,785 malls across India.
India bats, and cricket owns all the eyeballs.
And India loses the fourth wicket ar 60 odd.
And I speak to my cousin Jayasankar in Chennai, whose wife Hemu is the genius who started Landmark and is the genius who runs Landmark. JS is a cricket freak, and I find him far from despondent.
“What do you think,” I ask him.
“Fantastic,” is his answer. “Millions of Indians are now leaving their houses and making a beeline for bookshops across India.”
And that, my friends, is a lesson in Criconomics 101.

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