A blast of freshness

A blast of freshness

Friday, July 24, 2009

There s a devil waiting outside your doors!!


“Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need.” ~From the movie Fight Club, based on the novel by Chuck Palahniuk. These lines, delivered by Brad Pitt are legendary !!

Contemplating a little , one clearly understands the extent to which marketers hold the world at ransom. The Devil of Indulgence , they exort the savings from the poor man who toils day in and day out ,sweating it out so that he can afford the new designer suit from Armani , his son gets the Nike he craves for and his daughter can show off the latest killer jeans , while his wife can boast of her new Louis vuitton hand bag to her friends while gulping down Coke and KFC’s finger licking good munchies.. Man o Man – Feels like Brands have totally taken over !

Ah, so the devil in me will show his face through my profession, wow what a sense of fulfillment! .. feels like having gulped down a keg of German beer at October fest for free!!

The more I think about Demand side economics ,the perverse Keynes model, the more satisfaction I feel about being into marketing .A strange kind of divine feeling ,a feeling that somewhere in the midst of all these economists, who make monetary policies, fight about inflation and unemployment – I am their God.. Oops Devil!!.!! Yeah , I m not exaggerating –alright maybe a little exaggeration – after all I m into marketing! Coming to think of it , the single most important thing that has been sustaining India’s growth at almost 8% in the recent times is CONSUMPTION. About 60% of the GDP is contributed to by Consumption. The economic reasoning is that consumption creates Aggregate demand which in turn causes the invisible hand to work towards generating more output – i.e ,more investments or in Solow’s terms ,more growth. The responsibility of luring people into consumption ,in being the Satan in luring people into indulgence – yeah that’s my job , the devil in me is actually responsible for the recent growths that India has witnessed ,Not that I want to snatch the credits out of RBI ,the numerous economists struggling between Monetary and Fiscal policies, but hey no one can underplay my role.

Not that I want to undermine the blessings bestowed by the 100 million Gods in India , but for now , as they say .. Let us give the devil his due- Credit for propelling the growth.

The Money supply in India has risen dramatically. With more M1 comes more spending power according to the theory that the aggregate demand for money remains constant over time.More spending for consumption means ,that more services to cater to and more needs to serve- It is me who recognizes avenues where you can spend the excess M1 that the growth of output and the central bank keeps showering on us from time to time .It is me who tempts you into reducing the real demand to hold money L(I,Y) , by lowering interest rates citing competition !! (Price lowering strategy!).

Yeah, I channelize money that could otherwise be wasted as savings, into consumption, thus propping up output and hence incomes. I make you put a higher value on the present value of money- and enhance your choices in spending it.

But hey – hold on I m the devil!! Just as I lured poor Adam into eating the apple ,so I lure you into corrupt financial practices as some desperate finance specialists argue-But amazing how much power I wield ,even in terms of accumulating investments for Capital production , that I advertise ,compete and offer lucrative loans at sharp interest rates .Now little did people realize that high returns means high risks. And lo! While I projected growth in the banks business in terms of market shares and profit margins(after all that is what creates sales revenues),and as I kept employing more salesmen to bug you to buy innovative products and showered more credit all over you to get you to indulge into consumption.. the bank kept accumulating toxic loans ,which would soon go bust and take the whole economy with it , gulping the poor finance professionals with it , while I stand tall and argued that advertising spends need to increase now ,because what the economy needs again is higher consumption !!! The devil rules!!

Yeah , maybe I do not possess the power to enrich your souls , But I can certainly lure you into indulgence and materialism and lead to economic growth.

So beware ,cause “ There s a devil waiting outside your door..”- Metallica

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


Some days, it just does not happen right !! or might I say , everything works out so perfectly wrong! ,yesterday was one such day .. I had gone to my cousin ‘s house at Nerul, some three stations away in a zest to watch the Champions league Final. Not that I am an avid football freak , but of late ,I had been developing some interest in the sport , the effect of FIFA 2009 Game fiasco I reckon. The Night’s game was not very refreshing though – ManU, the team I supported lost 2-0 to Bacelona!! And staying awake till 2.00 in the morning and watching E’to and Messi hammer Sir Alex Ferguson’s hopes was not at all helping my spirits and worse, I had to go to work the next day , which meant that I had to be up by 6:30 at least to leisurely get to the station by 7.30 . So the next morning after struggling hard to keep my mobile alarm silent ,I woke up and rushed through the daily chores and made it to the station to experience the most vivid and vibrant part of my stay at mumbai “the Mumbai Locals” – as Will Smith would have said – This part of my life is called surviving the journey!!
So, summoning all the Supernatural powers in the Universe, I made let’s say the first mistake of my life –eh ! well not as dramatic as Mr. Five Point someone’s Chatan Sharma would put it , it was a small mis judgment which cost me heavy – ha ha absolutely dramatic I am making it.
I reached the station at 7:30 ,perfect! I had stayed in Mumbai and traveled by the local train for a month now, I was no novice, in fact my ego got the better of me , For a split moment I started considering myself a pro in the business..
This traveling by train business here has a well defined set of rules , or so I thought , all the players in this game adhered to two theories- Von Neumann’s “ Game Theory” where they played a Zero Sum game and tried to increase their utility function ,always having a dominant strategy to play- Experience I must confess..OR they would play by the simple game that Darwin proposed several generations ago- “Survival of the fittest..” The Book Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins would make more sense than ever if you ever got to travel by a Mumbai local!!lol
Anyway I decided to follow the Mumbai game rule- “Go Back and run ahead”.. ha ha not an easy concept to follow , but that s how travel in Mumbai Works “If you want to go to panvel from CST , then even though the train starts from CST , One needs to take the train to the next station and travel backwards in order to get a comfortable seat to panvel”- a crisp and clean logic and amazingly simple way it seems to travel ! But hey, the catch here is Asymmetry of Information , not every one knows which train that comes back goes to their destination – Kenneth Arrow would not have thought of this impossibility frontier when he proposed the arrow-debreu markets model.. Anyway , so as I was in a state of illusion and pride ,I decided that I had grown into a mumbaikar , and so I decided to go from my station back three stations and board a straight train from there to CST – Greed .. the devil got the better of me .

I reached the station from where the straight train starts – triumph I thought as I had made it just before time , wasting about 15 minutes in the process. I merrily decided to stand and wait for the train in the usual place ,but man- o-man ,the devil in me was invoked again , this time in the form of temptation.. There was this huge Fan ,in front of the stairs where the crowd was gallantly braving the sweat. I decided to take a plunge into this sacred place ,blessed with breeze from a huge ,roaring ,old, faithful fan.Just as I stood there thinking of how gloriously I had assumed the status of a Mumbaikar, completely blending in , I could see the train – My 1 and a half hour ride to my workplace arriving at the distance. My face lit up with pride and accomplishment . . But alas , it doesn’t take much time for the situation to completely change. Just when the train screeched past me to a halt , I realised my folly , the place I was happily enjoying the breeze was in front of the compartment reserved for the ladies!!I looked around to see what the other men were going to do and surprise!! There were only women around who comfortably made it to their compartment- It seems that the men –true mumbaikars had silently and deftly slithered away to the general compartment on seeing the train arrive while I was in a different world living my ostentious glory!
The rest of the journey is a sad story- standing on the foot board , getting pushed to one corner , sweating it out with the rest of the junta and finally getting pushed out at Kurla (half and hour before my destination) and then barely managing to cling on and finally reaching my destiny!! Poof –So much trouble for so small a mistake – I surely can label it as one of the mistakes of my life when I write my three mistakes of my life – lOl Kidding.

But coming to think of it – Have you ll heard of the butterfly effect? The chaos theory?? It talks about how a small flutter of the butterfly in the atlantic can cause a storm, damaging millions of life in the Pacific!
This is how I felt – If I had not gone to watch the silly match where MANU was crushed to defeat , I would have got into my usual train and made a usual journey- but No! I had to make the stupid decision of playing a pro , standing at the wrong place in the train and facing all the trauma.. and all because of a silly game of FIFA!!which got me interested in the first place-everything follows a sequence adding up to the effect - Go Chaos –GO!!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Friday, January 30, 2009

A mere geographica expression ?!!


When one thinks about India , there is no more the image of the snake charmers or the Mystic sages , The India of today is a super Power in it s own terms, a nation of over a hundred billion people,growing at the rate of 1.6 percent , adding an Australia to it s booty annually! A nation which by 2030 will have 18% of the world s population –pooh . Now that s some number to reckon with, But are we only about sheer size and magnitude? Or do we possess something innate that makes us stand out and shout our identity in the shrinking world?

India is a unique land, very unique –right from it s make up in terms of the hundereds of accents spoken here to the plethora of God s we worship,everything about us is unique and trademarked as Indian! Be it the sudden high paced Hindu growth rate or launch of the world s most economical moon project-we are a class apart .We are most unpredictable and as they say-IT HAPPENS ONLY IN INDIA!! .

So from the consumer s perspective ,we are a huge force –a tremendously massive body of aspiring people –with aspirations come desires and with desires sometimes rise a sinister motive – A motive of survival is the name of the game and people go to any extent to climb the wrungs of the ladder as the man booker price winner –Arvind Adiga has very succinctly put forth in his book. This instinct of survival in itself is a strong fabric of our nation, this ardent urge to raise above the rest ,to prove a point to the world is what drives and motivates the 300 million people living in abject poverty to fight the challenges of life and create something that leaves behind a legacy.One more thing about us Indians is that we are among the most optimistic race on earth –so optimistic that even when we have a population of three times the size of Nigeria living at BPL conditions, Even when we are ranked poorly in corruption ratings, although we still have just a small fraction of the world s GDP(1.2%) we are still proud of the fact that we are a miracle generation- a coutry with over 40% of the population below 21 years of age, who will steer the ship to glory a country with a well established Silicon valley.

We are believers , we are thrivers . The delicate fabric of our nation is entrusted upon and revolves around one word- Truth – “SATYAMEVA JAYATHE” , but this could be so misleading in India ,as India as Winston Churchill once said :

India is but a mere geographical entity , it is only as unified as the equator!”There is no single truth in India – One person s truth may be another s fantacy and yet another s dream or Nightmare. India is a country of as many truths as there are people, to each Indian exists a different India –One India is that of an elite club of people who play golf and dine with wine.. Yet another India watches Cricket and shares a beer – Another India has to fill it s hungry stomach with tap water and play gullidanda on the puddle streets.

Not only are we unique , we are also CRAZY – yes we are crazy because , what may be the observed pattern in the rest of the world may be just impossible here,and what may be a head breaker elsewhere happens with damn obviousness here!!

I was awestruck when I came across an article which said that India has more color TV s than Toilets and more cell phones than bank accounts –Man we truly are a crazy race.

It s only here in India that a day after a bomb blast in one of the most crowded rail junctions , life again gets back to normalcy. It is only here in India that inspite of Mac Donalds and Pizza huts the local hawker gets his share to survive and flourish.

We sure are eccentric.

SATYAM- Jayatey ?

The Paradox called Truth

“SATYAMEVA JAYATHEY”- two words on which the whole of our constitution, our Economy , our Social fabric proudly rests– These two words are more than mere expressions of our strong faith in truth ,in it s manifestations and in it’s deapth.As a nation we truly believe that truth triumphs , and yes it does, be it the Mahabharatha or a Bollywood Movie, the Dharma always reins over the Adharma!!. I have no qualms in our faith in the Universal triumph of the truth , But Ironically and Paradoxically, in a country such as India, where we have over 260 million Gods to show us the path to the true salvation, A place where each language speaks a different truth the very word truth has a million meanings and a ten million manifestations.

What is truth to one India makes no sense to another part of it . As Winston Churchill once put it , “India is a mere geographical expression , it is no more united than the equator”. What is “Satyam” to many may be a scoundrel company fudging the balance sheets and bribing world bank !

Picture this:

A business tycoon who has invested crores in the liquor sees the golden liquid as his dreams to possess a Porsche Carrera, elsewhere in youthful exhuberance, a rich man’s son finds in it the truth to satisfy his carnal desires. The same liquid magically seems to let a tired accountant relieve his nerves after a hard day of work while a group of college students hang out and in the liquid find the means to celebrations..but in one of the dark corners of India , the same liquor turs a night mare to a family of street dwellers whose only 12 year old son is run down by a drunk rich guy in the prosche cayenne and yet elsewhere there is the same liquor which makes a violent monster to erupt out of a otherwise loving husband who insults and beats his wife in the modest hutment..

What is one man’s pleasure is another’s woe.

Truth is anything but absolute- Nothing is perhaps, and Einstein is the actual representation of the world when he talks about the relativity.

Truth is relative- It is Relative to the situation,relative to the place, relative to the person and most of all relative to wealth possessed which is so widely spread in India.

So whom are we fooling when we say that miragical two words which seems to be teaching us to lead our lives??

So what is the truth ? Is sincerity the virtue , or is being truthful itself the virtue?

What happens when a father of two starving children , from a family where most of the times the dinner is plain water that the mother fetches from a nearby almost drying pond finds a 50 Rupee note left behind by a potbellied tax evading ,cunning business man?

What should he do with it > return it thinking that truthfulness will feed his family of Karma will tae care of itself or buy his starving poor sons who are on the verge of collapsing,who have not smelled food in three days some food?where does he haver a strnger bound of duty – towards saving two beautiful lives that he brought into the world or in “Satyameva Jayathey”-this is how relative truth actually is- feeding his children is the ultimate truth in his life- the truth is that if he does not compromise by taking the money, he would be responsible for the death of two innocent lives. If he returns the money to the fat moron who trades in black ,he will be solely accountable for strangling his kids to death.

So Truth in India is very relative- It is a paradox.

We live in a nation where there are more color TVs than toilets and more cell phones than Bank accounts! What the rest of the world finds as indispensable, we forgo them with considerable ease.