Category Archives: Uncategorized

Is Justice delayed, justice denied ?

90% of the time when there is an accident on the road involving 2 vehicles, the affected party jumps out of the vehicle oftentimes in the middle of the road to pick up an argument or negotiate with the other party. All this, while traffic comes to a standstill behind them, until the public finds a way around the incident.

What does this behavior reflect ? Is it the urge to get instant justice ? Is it the insecurity that the perpetrator would flee if the argument is taken to the side of the road ? Or is it the my problem is bigger than your problem syndrome?

Have you got into a similar situation ? Or seen one ? What do you think was going on in the minds of the parties involved ? Would you have done the same thing ?

#onlyonindianroads
#instantjustice
#roadsafety

ഒരു വെടിക്ക് രണ്ടു പക്ഷി

There is a phrase in Malayalam – ഒരു വെടിക്ക് രണ്ടു പക്ഷി meaning taking out two birds with one shot.

Hats of to Mr. K. Senguttuvan, owner of this petrol station and the brain behind this idea, I feel he has shot more than two birds with this single idea.

For starters:

1. Spread awareness about Thirukkular & his petrol station.
2. Capitalizing on the freebie culture.
3. Capitalizing on the rise in fuel prices which he offers as the prize.
4. Gamification of memorizing couplets.

If you have read the article ( https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/recite-thirukkural-to-get-a-litre-of-petrol-free-at-this-fuel-station/article33821714.ece )

Please let me know if you found any unique marketing lessons in the execution of this simple idea.

#marketing
#socialawareness
#brandambassdor
#lifelessons

Anxiety

Anxiety is a feeling that I have been carrying around for a long time. I don’t know when or how I was introduced to this feeling. I see a lot of babies and young kids around me who I am sure do not even know what that feeling is.

Is anxiety triggered one fine day? or is it a function of your cognitive development that once you start thinking more, it automatically comes ? or further, is it an insecurity that develops once you realise that there are many things not under your control?

I have noticed by anxiety grow with age. Im sure as a kid my anxiety was limited to my exam marks, the outcome of my parents argument or whether there will be enough kids to play the evening cricket match.

As I grew into a teenager, my anxiety took shape as well. From the acne on my skin, physical structure, future studies and of getting caught while doing something mischievous.

After college, anxiety has taken new turns with the hot topics being future, money, health, parents, existence and all. I am spending more and more time these days observing my anxieties and trying to calm them. God help me ! 🙂

50 shades of cool

We have all grown up with this concept of cool things. Cool was something which fascinated us, something which we desired, and something which we thought on possessing would make us more ‘likeable’ or ‘complete’.

As a child, for me the idea of cool started with tazos coming out of lays packets which quickly went on to GI Joes and hot wheels -quite expensive , but with high cool quotient. Then it changed to other things – Nintendo, cricket kit, kick cycles and play stations.

As teenage hit, there came a whole new set of cool things. Brylcream gels for the spiky hair, axe deodrants for the alpha male, mp3 players for the latest english tracks and the ultimate brand fever – Nike shoes , Puma bags , Adidas t-shirts and jockey underwears.

With early adulthood, the game changed to an all new level with coolness also starting to take the form of experiences. Modified scooters and bikes for the ride to college, touchscreen cell phones for chatting and facebook, the idea of smoking , drinking and escape to an alternate reality, picking up random fights, and being a rebel without a cause.

From simple joys as a child to immoderate indulgences as an adult, the urge to appear cool was ever compelling. Growing substantially over the years with a more connected world of Whatsapp and Instagram. As many cool seasons went by, so did many seasons of cool.

Sitting at home during this lockdown has made me reminiscence on my very own cool factors over the years. I now realise that cool for me was almost always materialistic. It was mostly about things and not people. It was mostly about experiences which made me look like someone I saw on TV or the internet rather than about who I really was.

As I revisit and redefine coolness this time round , I am adding some more to the list – the coolness of a true friend, the coolness of a kind heart, the coolness of our parents for making us look cool all this while, the coolness of a world with infinite possibilities, the coolness of good health and relationships, the coolness of a peaceful mind and a good nights sleep and the ultimate coolness of the gift of life!

Luck by chance

We all have grown up hearing, talking and experiencing the concept of an invisible luck factor. Be it the odd black cat crossing our path deemed as bad luck. Getting green lights in all signals straight on our way back home, or escaping from the phone not falling directly onto our face while lying on our back and texting.

Some people have luck personify in bigger ways – Bodies not gaining weight irrespective of what or how much they eat. Promotions and dream jobs landed in no time. Having the time and money to travel the world and put cringe worthy pictures on Instagram. For them, their luck seems to have no limits.

But often times, life plays a googly and we run out of this so called luck by chance. Some run out quite early in life while some seem to have it all along. For people running out of the luck factor, should we be worried ? Or should we be thankful that we realised it was all just luck till now and now its time to make our own luck ? Was luck in some way making us lazy ? Wouldn’t we have learnt a better lesson or lived a better life if we had run out of luck even earlier ?

Some call it luck, some call it grace, some call it destiny – but isn’t all of it better earned and experienced than gifted and burnt ? So what is it that is shaping your life – is it just a streak of some invisible luck or do you have control over making your own luck ? If you have been lucky all along, would you notice it if it ever runs out ? Will you drown in past glory or rise above it holy moly !

The fun they had..

The 1st of June here at Kerala is the day schools reopen after the long summer vacations. The kids are almost always welcomed by a spell of rain as they get ready for their return back to their new classes – excited with their new uniform, shoes and popy umbrellas. But, this June 1st of 2020 was kind of different.

Instead of reaching out for their umbrellas , they were reaching out for their WiFis, instead of a classroom, they had a microsoft team and instead of their teacher welcoming them to their subjects, they had received a calendar invite for their online classes. As class begins, they are greeted with novel visuals. Their growing classmates ( 2 months of home quarantine has its effect on kids as well )can’t seem to be fitting inside the screen box. They have a whiteboard instead of a blackboard and their teachers are shouting students please mute, please mute instead of students silence please. Even their attendance is being taken by Bill gates uncle and knowingly or unknowingly all their movements are tracked.

My mother, with only a few more months before her retirement is finding all this a bit overwhelming. As she preps the students of class 9 on MS teams for their first online English class , I tune in. The lesson is ” The fun they had” by Issac Asimov who talks about the conversation between two kids in the year 2157 who discover a “real” book with yellow pages which crumble and letters which do not change even if the page is turned. They go on to discuss about the concept of a classroom , with a real human teacher and a common place called school where students used to go to learn and do a lot more. They are amused and amazed to know of such a reality , very different from the computers, e-books and robot teachers they are accustomed with.

But here, the 9th class of 2020 was back in the future, with the lesson laid out in the year 2157 seem more relatable to them than the protagonists of the story. Lot has changed for them as well as the teachers , especially in India where a physical school – the temple of learning is quite irreplaceable with its personal connections – benchmates, classmates & teachers, morning assemblies, scribbled desks, lunch breaks and endless fun.

As my mum comes out of her second session for the day, she looks puzzled. On asking, she tells me that the kids were muting her all through the call. I heave a sigh of relief – kids will be kids – online or offline.

Et tu Brute, Bezos

It is quite a common sight these days, to see delivery boys wearing coloured T-shirts mirroring their company brand colours waiting at door-fronts , apartment gates and chilling out under tree shades. We have the Amazon boys with the smile logo, the Zomato boys playing red killers on the road, the omnipresent Swiggy boys and the new kids on the block, the Dunzo boys.

But much before all these boys , during the millennia year 2000, there was the GCDA apartment boys. With a boring summer vacation in front of them fueled by a burning desire to do something different at least this time around, they set about a new mission. After the first meeting under the mango tree, it was decided to start a new business venture.

Identified gap – Apartment aunties running out of groceries in the kitchen find it difficult to go to the market immediately.

Investment required – Manpower ( GCDA boys ) & their cycles.

Revenue generation model – Tips for executed errands

With great zeal and motivation the GCDA boys started their home delivery venture. Marking their base under the mango tree, marketing to apartment aunties, backed by the association uncles and with the dreams of a future with infinite possibilities.

Days went by, awareness and business increased , their service was welcomed by the apartment and the coffers started filling in with 5 rupee coins and 10 rupee notes. Almost towards the end of the summer vacation, they pooled in all the money they had collected, went to the local market and bought couple of big soft drink bottles, snacks, biscuits and had a big fat party.

The boys were happy they could earn for themselves, had a rather interesting summer vacation but were too naive to reflect on the learnings or possibilities of such an idea. In another part of the world , a man named Bezos had slowly started building an empire with the very same idea which struck under the mango tree for the GCDA boys. The boys grew up pursuing  many  such ideas – all short lived, meanwhile Bezos went on to become the richest man in the world.

 

The games we played

Long before the corporate games and mind games. Much before game of thrones and hunger games. Even before video games and board games. Back in the days we used to play actual childhood games.

Be it the football fever especially during the FIFA world cups, or cricket fever until the ball hungry neighbour uncle completed his collection. On the days we were visited by our female counterparts, the games changed to hide and seek, cycle police and ko-ko. We moved from game to game pretty much like how we move from app to app these days.

The ultimate playground

As I stood in my apartment ground reminiscing over the games we used to play, I saw the kids arranging stones one on top of the other and looking at their phones parallely. On probing, they told that they are trying to figure out the game 7 stones or lagori as it is known. I stepped in and happily explained to them about the game reliving old memories, and even giving instructions to a bonus game we used to play outdoors called king , queen & minister.

Like how yesteryear fairy tales and proverbs are passed on to younger generations. Like age old wisdom and knowledge preserved in books, without getting lost. The neighbourhood boy in me felt secretly proud to have passed on the games that really mattered for being enjoyed for just a little longer before being forgotten.

Quarantine roulette

Going back in time to the week before Janata curfew. When corona was just some kind of freak disease spreading in far away China, with only some students who came back to Kerala from China diagnosed with it and eventually cured. When you literally touched everything, shook hands with everyone and used those fancy sanitisers only to hang around your bag. When it was business as usual for India, you and your life.

Little did we know that in those few days of pre-Janata curfew, corona was playing quarantine roulette with us. The thoughts that crossed our minds, the smallest of decisions and actions we made, have played a big part in landing us where we are and who we are with in this quarantine.

The roulette had various slots. Some have been rendered single – fending for themselves and hunting for food. Some have been lucky to be with their lovers/partners – spending more time with each other and actually getting to know each other. Some could get back home and spend long lost time with their parents in their childhood neighborhoods. Whereas some unfortunate people even got stranded on the way in airports, railway stations or even the roads.

Sure , corona did not give a choice whom we got quarantined with. But isn’t it up-to each one of us, to make the best of wherever we are, whoever we are with. Maybe years down the line, we will see God’s plan more clearly and we shouldn’t regret not making the best of our quarantine luck and if possible, create some meaningful and everlasting memories with the people and things you were chosen to be quarantined with in this hopefully once in a lifetime quarantine roulette.

 

When the world and the mind stood still

As I write this blog, India and the world is more than 2 months into something called as a lockdown. Quarantine , lockdown , isolation , social distancing are the most used words these past few months apart from the tracking of deaths and count of new infections across the globe.What has happened till now is unprecedented in human history and I sincerely hope the world comes out of it stronger than before.

Along with the world , something else which has come to a standstill is the mind. A human mind is so complex , yet we fail to notice it, just like the human body. A sea of emotions – sorrow, anxiety, worry , excitement, fear, selfishness, happiness – the list goes on. These emotions were mostly contained and compartmentalised when we were living our normal lives and was pushed and shaped according to our convenience.

This lock down has brought such stillness of mind , that how much ever you try to escape it, you just can’t. It has showed that true happiness definitely has to come from within. That the mind needs to accommodate, balance and embrace all feelings and make peace within. In a way it is good that it is happening now than maybe after 20 or 30 years during another lockdown.

This lockdown has definitely taken me back to the basic questions of Who am I ? What is my purpose ? What makes me happy ? Who makes me happy ? And how do I make others happy ? Even though the answers are still far away in the horizon. I am glad the questions have come back again stronger and hope this time, as the world limps back to the new normal, my mind is ready for finding new answers for these life defining age old questions.