Author Archives: changeurideas

2012 can bring the Best for You

Communicating with you through my 1st blog of 2012, let me start by asking what would you like New Year to bring you?

  • Would like to enjoy your life more than ever before?
  • Would you like your life to be full of pleasure; but, without problem?
  • You would like your boss to be nice to you at least in Twenty Twelve
  • Do you wish your spouse to be kind to you?
  • Should sun be always shining on you and you would always like to feel relaxed?

How many of above wishes you want 2012 to fulfill for you? May be all of above or most of these.

Let us assume, you want to take it all. Why miss any, when there is an opportunity?

Here is what you need to do:

  1. You obviously know, how you have enjoyed your life before. Your present desire shows that it was not good enough. So, why remember what was not up to the mark? Just forget it – the past.
    This would be a sure shot to enjoy more Now!
  2. It is clear you had problems before. You do not want them anymore; rather hate them, as those have impacted your pleasure.
    Are those still around?
    1. No; then why worry? In any case, you do not like them. Start to worry or think of those, whom you like or love. Why to be a nerd by bothering about what you dislike?
    2. If yes, then tell me of your problems. As a friend, I would be happy to help.
  3. Are you a boss and nice to your team?
    No; then you are stupid. Hang on, I am not saying this. I read it in a management guru’s book.
    If such is the case, why grumble; Behavior of your boss is commensurate with what you are.
    If yes, you have a case. Do simple things – go to the boss and tell him or her what kind of boss you are and ask politely, what you should do, so that he or she becomes nice to you – be more humble or fumble, work smarter or be less smart, be a yes man/woman or say no to indiscretions? I am sure; your boss would be nice to you….thereafter.
  4. If spouse is She, take her on an enjoyable holiday package.
    If spouse is He, give him a break and good food.
    So, you get what you give.
  5. Sun always shines; albeit you may not be seeing it. Surely, there are clouds, which are preventing sun to shine on you.
    Make efforts to remove these clouds and if required, seek some help.
    Once you are shining under the sun or sun is shining on you, your relaxation or comfort is guaranteed.

So, it is not that difficult to get the best out of 2012. Right?

You are, now, set to get what you want (though 15 days late in Twenty Twelve)!

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An interesting campaign for anti-corruption and support for Lokpal in my Housing Society

When Anna Hazare’s movement was at peak few months back, one fine evening, I saw a notice on my Society’s board requesting residents to join “candle march” coming Saturday. When that Saturday evening I heard loudest possible slogans “Mee Anna Hazare”, “Annaji, go forward, we are behind you” and so on, I could not hold back my curiosity and went down to see the march.

It was a group about 30 male and female residents in middle to old age group (out of 500 families, who live in our Society) holding candles and some wearing white cap painted with slogan “Mee Anna”. I saw that highest pitch among participants was that of an ex-government official, who seems to be having assets disproportionate to the position he had held. There were few sober residents, who normally like to follow others. There were few sober residents, who normally like to follow others. Then, there were some, who have known liking to hear their own voice, paying little attention to what they actually speak. Others were those, who like to create obstacles in good work, our Society would propose.

I felt pity on an old lady, who was not able to walk properly and raise her voice. I could not resist asking her why she is troubling herself. Brightness came into her eyes and she explained enthusiastically “I want to teach lesson to our society’s security supervisor, because he is corrupt and takes money from contract labor working in society’s premises. That is what I have heard from other residents; but managing committee is not doing anything about it. When Annaji would be successful, I would drag this fellow to Lokpal”! Next day, one of my friends told me that his driver wants to take leave and go to New Delhi to strengthen hands of Anna and his team to get billions of dollars of black money from foreign accounts back in India. He believes that when such money comes in, he would get some being backward class and would lead richer life.

I felt this candle march with its participants is a true image (at micro level) of anti-corruption movement at large! It left me wondering can Gandhinian ways of protest be applied to solve an issue, which is so deeply ingrained in our system and enact legislation with threats?

It is tempting for some to raise public frenzy and fury through brinkmanship. But then, expectations of people are also raised sky high and if these are not managed properly, such movement or strategy is destined to fizzle out! This is what seems to have dawned recently in Mumbai and enthusiasts of candle march in my society now!

Corruption in all walks of life needs to be tackled with strong will and for that, realism and foresight should descend on our leaders. Corruption is an ailment, which not only requires treatment through well thought out laws and honest practices; but it would also need preventive measures like teaching Ethics in every school, college, institution and enterprise and implanting same in the minds of people like a Faith.

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If India has poor image, it is largely to do with our poor attitude and approach

On 31-December-2001, my wife asked our maid how she and her family were going to celebrate New Year. She said in despair they have debt but not money, so what is there to celebrate?

Exactly 10 years later, our same maid came to work on 1st Jan morning, mumbling song of movie Body Guard and started narrating to my wife how she celebrated New Year eve. She and entire family went to McDonald restaurant, ate burger and fries, watched midnight TV screen program, before getting back home at 2 a.m. My wife could now understand hangover of Body Guard.

Our neighbor told us that her maid was praising her stars on the midnight of New Year, as her husband fondly surprised by getting a pizza and coke for her (and of course country liquor for himself).

So, is India as poor as perceived or we feel shy to project our improving image to the world? We do not seem to take pride in how India and large section of its population have progressed. May be it is because we tend to rue and cry a lot over problems; blame everybody else from our stars to fore-fathers, genes to God for what we do not have. If nothing else, we find the Prime Minister of India as the best scapegoat to take out our frustration. Most of us would expect someone else to come to our rescue. Hence, some would believe that astrologers or horoscope readers can do that.

Such attitude does not encourage you to take pride and hold your head in high esteem for what you are and becoming. Shun above attitude, put faith in yourselves, make efforts to address your needs and shape your own destiny, then you would be on top of your world (1).

There is yet another aspect typically present in most of us. If we face a problem or crisis, we tend to distance ourselves, especially when we believe we have no or little role to play and instead, we like to point fingers. Until some weeks back, we had a problem at national level of food inflation raging high. Common perception was this is a problem of only government. All that every other person at home or street would do is to unleash acrimony in private or public or through internet, TV and print media. In the whole chain of producing food items to reaching end consumers, there are several players or agencies, which have some role to influence pricing. Rather than showing a responsible behavior, they were mostly spectator or crying foul. Now that inflation has nearly become zero, no one has remorse for what was said.

Problems are solved easily and efficiently by helping, if you can or at least not hurting by your actions or expressions (2).

So, India’s image is on the roll and by changing our attitude and approach – refer (1) and (2), we can not only accelerate our own growth; but also help that for nation.

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FDI in retail offers something to all

I was amazed at the ruckus created after the Union Cabinet decided to allow 51 percent foreign direct investment (FDI) in the retail sector. An objective, non-ideological and apolitical view will surely show how hollow the arguments of the opposing parties are. Everyone talks of front-end or kirana outlets in the entire chain of retail business. How about the back-end operations? We are poorly organised in procurement, storage and supply chain. Inventories pile up but distribution does not happen on time and thousands of tonnes of food grains and other eatables rot because of ill-equipped storage facilities, especially those run by the government. We do not have enough capital or technology in these areas. That is a fact. Small to medium farmers are generally squeezed in price by middlemen. There is no drive for quality of the produce. FDI can not only bring capital but also the knowhow and processes to address these issues.

A bogey is being raised by many that FDI would damage or kill millions of small and medium traders. Similar noise was heard when business houses were allowed to enter the retail segment. The reality is that the traders continue to thrive. They have also grown in numbers. A big retail store in Pune was recently selling a kg potato, tomato and onion at just Rs24! This was happening at a time when food inflation was still running high. The kirana shops will always survive and thrive. This is because of our habit of buying smaller quantities, albeit more frequently. We believe that anything we buy now is fresher than what we would store in our home refrigerators.

Also, we have a big population in the small income group. These families will always go to the small traders in the neighbourhood, as the owner give them a credit up to 30 days, although by charging a higher price and making additional margin from such credits. FDI in retail will trigger a fall in food prices. That will not only benefit consumers but also kirana stores.

About a decade back, nobody wanted to buy a house in the fringe areas like Hinjewadi. Now, such areas are hot destinations. New companies and educational institutions have come up in these areas. But what has made these a happening place is the presence of big retail stores and malls. Thus the FDI will also help in the development of peripheral or suburban areas of cities and rural areas.

Originally printed in (December 22, 2011)

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Airlines in trouble

When Vijay Mallya took over Air Deccan, he had not seen the writing on the wall. We tend to do what we are. However, this may not work well in managing businesses efficiently. Yet, many are not able to resist such temptation. The operation and management of Kingfisher Airlines have borne the imprints of Vijay Mallya’s style — flashy and frills. Its in-flight services are on par with some of the top international airlines. Most passengers give it a high rating; but that does not guarantee sustainable economics and survival.

Airline industry has shown exponential growth in recent years. This is likely to continue. Many airlines have exploited the opportunities. Kingfisher went wrong with its understanding of market dynamics and consumer behaviour. The percentage of people willing to pay for the luxury provided by such airlines, is small, maybe not 8 percent to 10 percent of passengers. Airline business growth is being fuelled by lower medium class and emerging upper medium class. They like luxuries and frills, but at no extra cost. That is where Indigo Airlines has done a good job.

High aviation fuel cost and taxes have had adverse effect on Kingfisher. But it is a reality for its peers too. Toe more factors have added to the woes of Kingfisher. Most consumers have not yet matured enough to recognise the true value of quality and services. There is obvious reluctance to pay for them. The only option for low-cost airlines is to provide the basic level of quality and services but no frills. Kingfisher, known to have a good degree of sensitiveness for customers, must continue the policy, it does not cost money but increases loyalty.

Another damaging factor is the reckless price war unleashed on Air India. They do not mind pushing peer industry in red, even if that worsens their own position. The consumer has the last laugh in such a price war. But only in the short run. In the longer run, when non-viable organisations start falling apart, flights are cancelled, safety gets compromised and so on. One does not know who has the last laugh. There is a strong need for representatives of airliners and the government to sit together and bring an element of sobriety in the policies governing pricing, minimum service and safety standards. Competition must always be there. But it must be healthy. This is true for other sectors like telecom too, where public interest is involved. Failing this, we can hurt both, consumers and industrial growth.

Originally printed in (December 08, 2011)

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