Trust isn’t won hands down

Just the other day I happened to see a little girl waiting to be picked by her dad to seat her on his bike’s fuel tank – just in front of him. She had her arms raised signaling she was ready for the ride, while he was strapping his helmet. It was a sight to behold, as, little hands all of goodies to take home, her tender and innocent eyes scanned the surroundings, more particularly the store she just walked out from. Was she also wondering if she got the best deal? Or were there anything else better that she could have impressed her dad upon for? The moment showed her trust in him, as she couldn’t do it on her own – for her age and size – hop on to the seat that was the fuel tank, a little warm then, perhaps, what with a similarly tender winter Sun having readied the place for the princess. She had had her dad to do that.

Of diverse cases, today, most tasks – be it even a sport of solitary player like tennis or golf – need props – be it in any form – the player is aided by his support team or an individual, like a coach or a caddie, for that matter. Even at a practice session, he has to have somebody to play with, to prepare to play alone against an opponent. Even while solving a crossword puzzle, the player has to trust the puzzle is correctly composed, lest it will end up as a game of scrabble!

Even in a team sport or in an army, when the skipper delegates work, in the group the expert of a particular task may put his hands up to be counted. Converse to the first episode, trust flowing in either direction – to and from the sought.

Similarly, in an election an individual or party may have an upper hand due to varied factors, which may lead that one to victory. And the victor deserves to raise arms clenching fists, as the finish line is crossed by the push of the electorate’s trust.

To preempt any counterattack, a cop also asks a thug to put his hands up. Trust flows in both directions here, too – the cop hopes the thug does put his hands up, and the thug trusts his raised arms would save him from being shot.

The students in a classroom also put their hands up to signal willingness or wish to answer a question, or that they have a query. A feel-good factor arises – the student will be elated if his answer is correct or if his query is adequately responded to – why – even an opportunity to be heard elates one; and the teacher to know his training is well received . . . Or at least, the pupils are willing to share their understanding with him!

Waving a raised arm on seeing a known person, trusting to be seen and identified or recognised. Or for a taxi . . . Trusting it would stop seeing the raised arm . . .

Trust resonates while high-fiving . . . Nothing can match the spirit . . . The joy of being part of the team. Togetherness. Camaraderie . . .

And, the worst may be the exercise the Orthopedist suggests for spondylitis! Trust the doc . . . It helps, actually!

Trust signifies a bond between two individuals or entities that is expressed in varied ways, flowing either way. But, it costs a bit. At least an effort to raise one’s hand. Just one, if not both.

It cannot be won hands down.

And, the most important of it all . . . Trusting oneself . . . It is called confidence.

 

 

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Demonisation of Demonetisation

Tuesday 08 November 2016 saw two major events unfolding, specially in this part of the globe – as, through the day, the country was waiting to know who we have to deal with in the US come January next, Indian PM Modi “unleashed a demon” on the nation – demonetisation of two large currencies – of denomination of Rupees 500 and 1000 with immediate effect. This came late that evening, leaving none a fair chance to have whatever of either of those bills they might have had to be changed to valid bills! Other than that the best they could do was to escape by government transport – buses or rail, get treated in government hospitals for the shock, tank up in government-owned fuel stations, pay penalties to the cops or courts, and such similar payouts – the last being to pay taxes! That is, if they had money in those denominations – Rupees 500 and/or 1000.

For a common man, with little money, or with some huge earnings yet all accounted for, the move seemed a wrap on the knuckles of those who just flaunt money but don’t account for! The immediate effect had all of them worry about the ensuing moments – for different reasons, though! The former had to scramble for valid bills for expenses, if they had not had any or many; the latter to find ways to change the colour of their money – from black to pink or the new green or blue! That’s the colour of the new bills that is out and soon-to-be released bills of the old denomination of Rupees 500.

It cannot be any whiter than their paled lives!

Only, Trump paled into the background.

And most took a bow for what Modi did before flying to Tokyo.

The stiff-necked ones had myriad reasons to blame. Some just for the heck of it – P Chidambaram, former Finance Minister, who had to call the move a farce to appease his higher-ups, for example. Some to hide their shock at the incredibly intelligent move, which they couldn’t openly acknowledge – Rahul Gandhi, for one, who joined the crowd thronging the ATMs and banks to change their bills.

And there was the inimitable Arvind Kejriwal who shouted from the rooftop about his discovery – that Modi’s party colleagues had already changed bills just before the “official” announcement!

Largely, the move has affected numerous cross-sections of the country – the common man, the rich ones hiding wealth, the ones that manage all of their money – accounted or otherwise, the bankers, the agencies replenishing ATMs and those guarding them, their families. And that of yours faithfully, too.

The seemingly monstrous logistical exercise passed, too – what with it is four days past now. While the social media and the jokes it carried about the move and its affects had most of the country in splits, a few cross-sections went overboard, too! It seemed funny that suddenly everyone became an expert economist!

The hurry to understand the information published via different media had an adverse effect – it was largely misunderstood or partly understood. There was enough time for all the exercise to be executed, but none had time to wait. And there were stories abound of good Samaritans – and bad, too! – that found a worthy place amidst all the hubbub.

Any guesses who had the last laugh after all the brouhaha?

 

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Driving Dollars Down The Drain

 

 

Over the last few years, there have been a number of instances where the brand images of large corporate entities worldwide have taken a hit, either for genuine technical reasons, due to market-driven forces, or just imprudent management decisions. Those circumstances wiped off brand images built laboriously over time, driving dollars down the drain.

A company is primarily built on three pillars – investors (owners), clients or customers, and employees (ICE). Any company can decently sustain if the three pillars are firmly grounded. Other factors make businesses easier – like suppliers or vendors and market agents at the two ends, besides smaller, yet often critical, ones in between. But the bottom line is drawn by the three primary pillars, whose prudence drives business, or mars it.

Of late, though, there has been a large dependency on third-party associates that makes life easy running businesses, and more often cutting costs. Even, employees – deemed an important pillar – are owned by third-party associates, bringing in the inevitable danger of lax approach towards delivering quality products or services. The element of employer-loyalty has been gradually fading away.

Not that big names have not reared – GM rose like a phoenix after it almost went bust at the onset of the millennium. All that happened with sensible, prudent business decisions that paved way for a smooth, longer drive ahead. And how GM is cruising how! There haven’t been headlines about how much it spent to reinvent itself, even not what those sensible, prudent business decisions were!

Negative branding has worked often in the past, but Volkswagen must be wondering if it had to tread this path of lying of the emission standards! From the world’s biggest carmaker, it tumbled down heavily. And not just in America, but elsewhere, too. There even was a joke doing rounds – mechanical and automotive engineers toiled to make a great product, the software engineers foiled the plan! And then VW shepherded a slew of German automakers – Mercedes Benz, Audi, Porsche. Not to be left behind, the Japanese joined the diesel war, with even bigger names like Mitsubishi, Honda, Mazda joining the herd.

These were poor, imprudent management decisions that brought down the legendary names. Only, their crimes will be soon forgotten, as the growing market needs them, too, besides the honest ones.

And emission and mileage are not just the ones that fuelled the crisis – air bags, seatbelts, etc. – which are largely supplied by third-party manufacturers – also contributed to the vehicle recalls.

Only, German BMW and the Japanese Toyota are yet to be red-signalled.

Naming of the product also has been comical at times, with India’s Tata Motors naming one of its new models Zica (now Tiago), which was later withdrawn after the outbreak and fast-spreading of the virus Zika! It was sheer improvidence. Now, which got its name first is a point to debate!

And that’s not all . . . There are other products that took a beating and putting the consumer into hazard. Nestle India’s Maggi is one, for example. Whether it was politically driven or a genuine case of misinformation, the packets disappeared from the shelves, just like birds from nests. Soon entered Patanjali, apparently with nature and hygiene stuffed in. The breeze wouldn’t turn to wind, though; and the birds can rebuild the nests. And that isn’t a lot of wind! Patanjali is famous from the hairy Ramdev, yet, and not by the products. And, who else better than him to blow the wind! And the jury is still out about Maggi. The air is yet to be cleared . . .

The brands have been hit by their ambassadors as well. Snapdeal by Amir Khan, for example. Only, Tata Motors survived what was written about Messi in the Panama Papers! Nonetheless, it had, for its India-centric customer-base, the IPL bandwagon, which made it its brand-wagon. Also hopped in was Maruti Suzuki with its Brezza, only to survive being hit by the sixers that rained at the venues where the car was put on display. The King Khan hitherto promoted Nokia, and his cook put out quite a spread for Tim – a sign that Kolkata Knight Riders might soon flaunt Apples on their jersey chests!

Cities, too, have seen change in their names – Gurgaon becoming to be known as Gurugram! The dispensations wipe off history! And, now, there has been some debate to name Airports, Bus and Rail stations by the names of the cities, rather than as memorials of forgotten personalities. Now that makes sense.

Know Amul? It has just been milking the imagination of the nation just by its cartoon, largely. What does that brand Amul?

Prudent?

 

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Sarkaar Ne Aake, Mera Haal Jo Poocchaa . . .

It is that time of the tenure in the five states of Assam, Kerala, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal, that the polity is curdled, and out come the goodies – material and otherwise – to woo the electorate. This is that time of the tenure when the common man is made to feel like King! And Queen!! The time when, actually, the King comes to your doorstep to enquire if all’s well . . .

Each state has its own way of wooing the voters, just like how it has its own, unique set of problems or issues. The colour of the parties, too, varies from left to right of the whole spectrum – not as extreme as one would imagine, though – as does the ideology of each them. But, yes, each has to deal with some kind of extremism, and then some. Both internal and external.

vote-indiaAFP

And, talking of ideology, it does not necessarily differ from just party to party, but like chameleons, it changes from time to time with each party, too. If one fought the right the last time around, it fights the left this time. Ultimately, it is the voting citizen who gets punched from all sides.

Much like the issues. Newer ones, or the same ones like the last time around, but with a twist. Some rival-inflicted, some by the nature. Each issue is seen as something that has been pounded upon with vengeance. Be it by a rogue-rival or by the nature. Or just laxity.

Then there are many mini-games within the big one. One such is the blame-game. None is spared. Even God! Cyclones, floods, etc., can be deemed as act of God. But flyover? Floods in Chennai? Poor God . . .

If an economy can be measured by the issues that hound the rivals, then India would be at the top –many pop up around this season – the poll season, that is – when issues are made out of non-issues, and the real ones forgotten conveniently. Only, corruption is common across the regions and parties.

There are floods, refugees and migrants (not political!), prohibition of liquor, et al that make noise during the rallies. All die a silent death soon after the polls. The parties dole out goodies with the party emblems etched on them, that may not even live till the next election. Migrant natives make it a point to head home to get the goodies – vote or not.

There have been democracies – big and small – worldwide that try to emulate the election story of India – a success story at that. Through a few decades since, the Election Commission of India (ECI) – the body that oversees the whole process – has been consistently getting the thumbs up each time the electorate gets its finger marked. And providing it with the logistical support has been the security forces of the country, which invariably puts its hands up to be counted, whose sleepless nights extend much after the day the counting of votes happen. And many of which don’t get to vote!

Come 19 May 2016, India might have a different colour on its corners!

 

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Petals of a lotus

I am not a great fan of any of the three – for their professional exploits, that is, largely – but, as famous personalities, each may have carved a niché in the psyche of the public.

Fables galore about Rajani’s off-screen persona – that he being down-to-earth, humble and simple, benevolent at times, so on and so forth. Indeed, he has given superlative performances on screen – different from the moolah his films rake in thanks to the oceanic spread of his fans – like in Pathinaru Vayathinile (1977, Tamil), that I remember to have watched as a child (the film also has another legend Kamal Haasan, besides Sridevi). Over the years, he has grown bigger than his off-screen – at times, even on-screen – persona amongst his fans, and has developed into an affable human being amongst them and the rest.

The Quntico girl also has seen great success, adding to her Miss India (World) and Miss World titles, besides exploring success in overseas waters as an antagonist in Baywatch. She has displayed enormous, present-day professionalism in developing her career over recent years, seemingly emphasising on quality than on quantity.

The khaatoon from Hyderabad also is a deserving recipient of the Award, what with so many other medals and disks that she has won worldwide over the past few years, notwithstanding her feats were with Martina Hingis. She has brought laurels to the nation, after all.

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(Picture from http://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/rajinikanth-sania-priyanka-chopra-honoured-with-padma-awards/article8466539.ece on Wednesday 13 April 2016)

But, I have just become the fan of this picture! The Superstar may not give a damn to the present-day professionalism, as he seems beyond that, and, perhaps, years ahead already. Neither would he need a partner to shoulder the huge expectation his each venture generates. Why? It is learnt that he even makes good the loss if his work turns out to be bad.

But the frame captures his simplicity to the hilt, à la The Common Man of R K Laxman. And, yes! You Said It! Here, he looks like him, indeed!!

The girls seem to just pretend posing for the picture, while posing questions to themselves how fame can be prudently handled. They are no less in any way, in their own right, but the senior pro has a lot to be looked up to. They’ve spread fame beyond borders alright, but remaining firmly grounded is how they can reach for the sky. And that’s when fans see them as Superstars!

It’s for anyone’s wonderment how the two may be feeling to flank the man! They’d surely adore the moment as much as the adornment on their chests! They’d also feel like twinkling stars!

And the Prez would be thanking PeeCee for arriving in that beautiful saree – it is learnt she flew from LA shooting for Baywatch!

Isn’t it time to congratulate all of them who won? And isn’t it time, also, to hope for more from them, and others out there, too?

Best wishes, folks!

 

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Demise of the art

The pictures, match moments and after moments, of the Brazil versus Germany football semi-final match of the 2014 World Cup, showed how crazy a nation could be of a game. It felt like the fans were mourning. Or was it actually the demise of the so-called artistry in football, done in by precision football the Germans played? Or, is there any place for artistry, at all, in games like football?

Neymar was just another player, who was not there to be counted, after all. It seemed like the 22-year-old took the nation’s, and fans’, hearts rather than the field. Luiz’s absence for the match only added to the equation. But did it, really?

By the way, Luiz was cross-checked from the Internet, as his name is not familiar. Klose and Muller (or is it Mueller?) are the only two scorers for Germany, whose names may be remembered. Klose is “close” to remember, and Muller (or Mueller) is identical to Max Mueller Bhavan in Bangalore! Ronaldo is the namesake of a former Brazilian footballer, Messi is popular, and both of them appear is ads aplenty, specially during the WC Finals. Rooney for all the reasons not football. Suarez for you-know-what. And ad, too. But Sachin? Luminous battery ads don’t appear on American TV channels, neither Russian. And cricket is not popularly played in either of those countries. Then how could Maria Sharapova know or remember the chap’s name. Yes; tennis is not popularly played in India, but when was tennis the reason to know Sharapova? We all know why we know Maria Sharapova. Doesn’t she play some kind of ball?

The opposition had given sleepless nights, and days, to Rahul Gandhi, and he is catching up with some sleep now in Parliament. But these media hawks don’t let him do that. All kudos to the ruling, and his own, party for allowing him to go adrift his seat. And dream. May be.

The same hawks – the media, that is – are blowing out-of-proportion Merkel putting football over Modi (not literally). Why not? Her boys are just a step short of being on top of the world. And why are we so much behind Merkel? It’s football, stupid. Not tennis.

And India is called a cricket-crazy nation! We don’t put cricket before our guests. We watch matches together.

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Demise of the art

The pictures, match moments and after moments, of the Brazil versus Germany football semi-final match of the 2014 World Cup, showed how crazy a nation could be of a game. It felt like the fans were mourning. Or was it actually the demise of the so-called artistry in football, done in by precision football the Germans played? Or, is there any place for artistry, at all, in games like football?

Neymar was just another player, who was not there to be counted, after all. It seemed like the 22-year-old took the nation’s, and fans’, hearts rather than the field. Luiz’s absence for the match only added to the equation. But did it, really?

By the way, Luiz was cross-checked from the Internet, as his name is not familiar. Klose and Muller (or is it Mueller?) are the only two scorers for Germany, whose names may be remembered. Klose is “close” to remember, and Muller (or Mueller) is identical to Max Mueller Bhavan in Bangalore! Ronaldo is the namesake of a former Brazilian footballer, Messi is popular, and both of them appear is ads aplenty, specially during the WC Finals. Rooney for all the reasons not football. Suarez for you-know-what. And ad, too. But Sachin? Luminous battery ads don’t appear on American TV channels, neither Russian. And cricket is not popularly played in either of those countries. Then how could Maria Sharapova know or remember the chap’s name. Yes; tennis is not popularly played in India, but when was tennis the reason to know Sharapova? We all know why we know Maria Sharapova. Doesn’t she play some kind of ball?

The opposition had given sleepless nights, and days, to Rahul Gandhi, and he is catching up with some sleep now in Parliament. But these media hawks don’t let him do that. All kudos to the ruling, and his own, party for allowing him to go adrift his seat. And dream. May be.

The same hawks – the media, that is – are blowing out-of-proportion Merkel putting football over Modi (not literally). Why not? Her boys are just a step short of being on top of the world. And why are we so much behind Merkel? It’s football, stupid. Not tennis.

And India is called a cricket-crazy nation! We don’t put cricket before our guests. We watch matches together.

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