A “Fast”er democracy

The Anna Hazare movement has been a great awakening for the middle class. People came out in large numbers to support the “Gandhian” and make their voice count. This has also had a great impact on the political class, with them realising the potential of protests and more importantly fasts, it is in this that Mr. Bakasur see his next great opportunity. I had the pleasure of meeting him and he detailed his plans for his new venture. His plans of starting fasting centres all over the India has business gurus calling it India’s greatest business plan after the Nano.

Me: Hello Sir, thank you for taking time out to speak to me. Can you tell me little bit of your background?

Bak: Thank you for having me. I come from a family of restauranteurs, we have over 20 restaurants all over India.

Me: Can you tell me a little bit about your new venture?

Bak: Everyone says that this is the season of fasts .. I don’t think so I think they are here to stay. In line with this, we are starting a chain of restaurants catering to fasts. There is going to be no more worrying about venues for fasts, we will be starting a 24×7 fasting centre for all people with all sorts of motives.

Me: Thats a delicious idea. What is the scope for this idea?

Bak: Reports have been positive and our initial market research has given us positive feedback.  Experts are suggesting a 20% increase in fasts over the next 5 years and that’s CAGR. We are very upbeat and are hoping we will be able to satiate the market. It is a recipe for success!

Me: Can you give some details about the business model?

Bak: It’s very simple as pie. You book in advance and let us know how long the fast is going to go on for and what is the expected turnout. We will make all arrangements for the fast – from decorations, appropriate banners, posters, we will make up slogans for you, we will get in touch with media channels for continuous coverage and also our team will manage your social media. Apart from this, we will also arrange for children on the last day of your fasts who will feed you the juice to break your fast – we could arrange any kind of kid based on your taste and pocket  [laughs out loud]. We also arrange for off-field entertainment for your supporters during leaner hours – ferry wheels for kids, food stalls. We also will build merchandise around your fast (the profits of which will be shared) to monetize the event as much as possible.

We have few categories of fasts based on initial market feelers –

– 1 day fasts – Fast fast food

– 2-7 day fasts – Anna Sambar fasts

– 8-15 day fast – Gourmet fasts

Me: That’s fascinating. Have you got any orders in the bag?

Bak: We have been talking to a few people. You see, it is very critical for us to talk to everyone, all political parties, we have to remain as apolitical as possible, to keep our customer base intact. We will be going live soon but with the number of scams and general pathetic state of the country we can expect continuous protests and thus, business.

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Happy Days

The other extreme to my previous post is the abuse of the word “happy”.

Happy is prefixed to any non-event – Happy weekend, happy friendship day, happy  lou day. What is this suppose to mean?

For example, what does Happy Independence Day mean? How am I suppose to have a happy independence day? What does having a happy independence day entail? Happy weekend to some extent makes sense. I know what I need to do to make my weekend a nice one. What about a republic day. Is watching the army parade supposed to make me happy or watching a sleepy prime minister’s speech suppose to transcend me in to another state of being. And if you “celebrate” on of those greeting-card-invented “occasions” like friendship’s day, mother’s day – it just makes me feel bad for you, very bad.

May be we should generalise these and make them “a sad excuse to wish you day”, “I can send you spam day”, “sad excuse for a holiday day”.

 

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Happiness, what is it good for?

In one of the NPR podcasts, I heard an African musician Seun Kuti (son of legendary Nigerian musician Fela Kuti) saying that happiness is a western concept and rejects it. It really gets you wondering.

To an extent I agree with him, at least as far as your professional life is concerned. The previous generations did not know anything about  do what you love. Farmers just farmed, cooks just cooked, etc. Hell, we had an entire complex society based on your profession and to a certain point of time it was considered a rather forward and evolved practice.

So, why do we need to love what we do? My feeling is it has to do with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and secondly, I think we have a lot more time that our predecessors to think of happiness and suchlike.

I explored a lot of this when I was in between jobs. When I quit I was told that this is was the best time to start something in the area that would make me happy/ that I loved. The problem was a) I loved a lot of things b) I was not necessarily good at these things c) I don’t want to work in those fields for various reasons (e.g., music, cricket). A lot of introspection and googling (a solution to most problems nowadays) led me to this very good article by Penolope Trunk.

One of the worst pieces of career advice that I bet each of you has not only gotten but given is to “do what you love…

We are each multifaceted, multilayered, complicated people, and if you are reading this blog, you probably devote a large part of your life to learning about yourself and you know it’s a process. None us loves just one thing.

hmmm…

So is “happiness” a western concept? I don’t think so. The Gita talks about happiness through Bhakti, which I completely agree with, just that the Gita and me differ on our views about god.

All this trashing happiness is lovely in hindsight. I remember struggling with these questions when I was going through tougher times? What should I do? What would make me happy?

Did I answer these questions? No.

I have just come to realise that the statement “doing what you love” makes me look very one dimensional and that only what I do as a profession and “career” will bring me happiness. At the same time, I also realise that happiness, like love, success, etc are never ending quests. I think you need true bhakti – dedication and devotion over a long period of time to really understand and love what you do (a 10,000 hours kind of scenario).

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Snap it!

The first camera I remember owning was one of those “photography for dummies” models from Kodak. Focus was non-existent; you aim, click and then turn the wheel to move the film for your next shot.  Each photo was measured and calculated; arranging all the parties for a group photo could take days at length (that’s why class photo days were so much fun).

Then came digital cameras, the first one I remember was my dad’s Sony Mavica. It was a big as Bofors gun and could double up as a weapon as well.  It would cover my entire torso when hung from my neck. It was a floppy based; which meant you still didn’t have great freedom in terms of number of snaps that could be clicked. It also meant that, since hard disk sizes were not great in those days and floppies being based on a Mission Impossible-esque technology (will self destruct in 3 uses), you still had to choose your clicks carefully.

The real revolution came when the cameras had their own memory chips in them. It meant that you could just go shooting mindlessly like some trigger happy cop. The fun was when your friend came back from some trip and you would be very unwillingly be subjected to the 244 snaps he had collected over 3 days of the how beautiful the zebra crossings at Singapore were.

It’s all fine till here. The climax to our story is when our perpetrator meets his partners in crime – the social networking site and *sexism alert* the fairer sex . The idea of capturing any non-moment and sharing it with all the people you don’t really care in the world suddenly caught the imagination of the women.  There is a thumb rule here – Anytime 3 or more people get together the digicam has to be brought out and clicked at 40 snaps a minute – first I’ll lean my head on your right shoulder then on your left … ok now you lean your head on my right shoulder then on my left .. oh God my smile is not as big as Madhuri Dixit’s we need to do this again.  Aaarrggghhh!!!

I think I saw the worst of this in SP. Some of the girls would just pose while their designated photographers would go bonkers on the camera clicking every twist and pose the woman had to offer.  The day after parties orkut would almost crash with hoards of photos being uploaded from the suburbs of Mumbai. There would be a series of 20 snaps from one girl where the only difference in each of the snaps (or so I was told) would be the angle at which the subject’s head was tilted.

Once the snaps were uploaded on your favourite networking site, each photo would have the obligatory comments from other women in the class. “You look so nice”, “Such a sweet snap”, these snaps would later be discussed in the cafeteria – “Oh did you see her snap she looks like an orangutan’s armpit”.

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List of abused terms

LOL

Some techie once said that we produced more information in a year today than we did in all the years leading up to that one.

The fallacy in the statement is that if we were to remove the LOLs from Facebook, twitter, etc. this statistic would not hold good any more.

My problem is it is not appreciated when it happens in real life. I have been told a million times that my laugh is too loud and I should not, wait a minute, laugh out loud! Its been called the Ravana laugh. So much so, that I once laughed out loud only to reduce my friend’s cute 1 year old to tears!

And don’t lie to yourself, you’ve told people not to laugh that loud or stared condescendingly at people who did.

So, don’t laugh out loud or LOL or effing tweet like this. http://twitter.com/henrygayle/status/22858481608

ROFL/ROFLMAO

Honestly, who the fuck rolls on the floor while laughing. I once did it to impress a girl, she snubbed me then; only to marry me later. Ok! That’s not a good example.

I also laughed my ass off once; the sales of gas masks went up that week.

Bro

I am not your bro, you are not my bro. I don’t want to be your bro and I don’t want you to be my bro and I don’t want you to want me to be your bro.. you get the point!

This is the only bro I like because it was funny as hell. “Hey bro!” isn’t

Dedicated to

How can you dedicate someone else’s song to your friend, to be boyfriend or the neighbour’s bitch your dog sniffs ass all the time.

Authors dedicate books to their wives because they stuck with them; rappers dedicate songs to their mom because they kept the rappers off pedaling coke.

You can’t! It isn’t yours to dedicate. All you did was called the RJ and looked up the song on youtube and say “I dedicate it to all my countrymen”. Not done bro!

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Cricket relations and sitcom couples

Elaine Puddy – Eng Aus

They are together because they know no better. They strongly dislike each other but can’t do without each other. They fight over the silliest of reasons and make up because they are easy lays.

Chandler Janis – India Pak

They have a long history of not liking each other, cheating on each other, but still love each other (or so they think).

Monica Chandler – Ind SL

The steadiest and the most boring relationship. Ever.

Gunther Rachael – Ind Bang

Gunther can never get Rachael, but desperately wants her. She would be his final frontier. Gunther would do anything to get Rachael but Rachael couldn’t care less.

Ross Rachael – Ind Aus

They know they would make a great couple but for some reason they just can’t seem to hook up. And when they eventually do, the TRPs skyrocket.

Ross and the photocopier girl – Ind NZ

Mostly like one night stands. They can’t remember when was the last time they slept with each other but remember they once did and enjoyed it – somewhat.

Monica Richard – Ind WI

Richard was once younger and Monica looked up to him. When Monica grew up they hooked up but soon realized that Richard couldn’t keep up and deliver results.

Penny Leonard- Big bang theory – Aus NZ

We’re neighbours so might as well.

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Get back to where you once belonged

This happens to be my second attempt at blogging. The first one resides here in a rather morbid state. Hazaar attempts were made to resuscitate it but alas. So why did I bother again.

Its been a rough few months; things have gone topsy turvy and like the line in Ardha Satya goes

“Chakravyuh mein ghusne se pehle, kaun tha mein aur kaisa tha, yeh mujhe yaad hi na rahega.”

I am largely unrecognizable to myself today. The kiddo who stepped out of school a few years back and the person writing this blog seem frightfully different. So this blog or the experience of writing is an attempt at looking at things hopefully in a clearer way.  The ultimate aim is to understand myself better; what makes me tick, what pisses me off and what (probably and hopefully) makes me take the effort to pen stuff down. I am hoping the experience helps me explore myself and re-realize (if such a word exists) what I am.

So, here is wishing me and this blog a little more success than may be due and a little more luck than may be needed.

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