Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Statutory Warning – Reading TOI can be injurious to your Brain!!!!

The Times of India or the Old Lady of Boribunder as the sobriquet goes is one of the oldest newspapers in India and the largest selling English broadsheet in the world. But over the past decade this erstwhile newspaper of reasonably good quality has degenerated into a 3rd class rotten tabloid format newspaper.

All serious news and content is trivialized by giving it a Page 3 look and feel. With headlines which talk abt the popular NRI names to Britney to wed Mr someone or the other being given more importance than a blast in Kashmir its no wonder that this downhill movement in the quality of this broadsheet is gathering more and more momentum.TOI has become more and more of a glam mag than a newspaper. If u ever needed to get the latest dough on Amisha Patel and Priety Zinta or Boris Becker’s girlfriend then TOI is a must read for you.Messrs Jain and co , please get out of the impression that everyone of ur readers is into the habit of reading only whets the latest lipstick color in vogue or where the Bollywood princesses had their hair cut.

Do u know whats the worst thing of all this is? People are actually getting addicted to reading this crap. The huge increase in sales for TOI just goes to prove my point. Are we going so brain dead that we are not able to differentiate between quality news coverage which is the responsibility of any newspaper and the despicable pieces the TOI hands down to us.

Im sure all of u remember the NASA exam topping student of India whom the President congratulated on TOI. The journalist didn’t even have the sense to check with NASA first if the there was any such exam in the first place. I must congratulate that kid,instant celebrity overnight. Way to go dude!!!

Im all for marketing, heck thats gonna be my chosen profession but selling editorials and headlines to the highest bidders is pushing on the limits of extreme marketing. Why don’t u just make an Ad mag instead then. At least have the guts to call a spade and spade.

A decent newspaper should also allow for critical feedback from its readers. But does TOI do that? No Sir they don’t. Not only do they not take the critical evaluation in their stride but they actually go to the extent of slapping their readers with libel suits to shut their gobs. The most recent point in case being the blog mediaah by one Pradyuman Maheshwari. These incidents will insinuate readers all the more. People from all walks of life have come out in support of Pradyuman ,as is clearly evident from the signing of petition for his cause and hundreds of blogs coming out to support him.

I guess what Vir Sanghvi said in his article in the Brand Reporter is true, the Newspaper wars between TOI,HT,DNA etc have just concentrated on increasing readership at all costs for the sake of attracting more and more advertising. For this purpose they had to make the newspapers so general in its appeal that the masses buy it in large numbers. And sadly those general features are fashion, movies and page 3 parties.

The day when the newspapers stop fighting for just readership numbers and concentrate on quality of articles and these advertisers start supporting them will being upon us the News revolution. All newspapers can co-exist on the basis of quality of their articles and the analysis they provide. Maybe then and only then will the heads of our youth be cleared of this entire Page 3 ruckus which is stagnating their highly capable minds.

Let hope the TOI can still be saved and prevent it from becoming the The Whore of Boribunder!!!

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Indian Strechable Time and other things....

Have u noticed that whenever a meeting is convened it is taken for granted in our country that it will start 30 min to an hour later and the people start trickling in only after 15 min of the scheduled start of the meeting. Some how I feel this is a uniquely Indian thing and hence the apt name.

Even the people who convene the meeting keep this in mind and hence call the meeting an hour before they actually need to start, making leeway for this Indian Stretchable Time. The most common dialogue is “array yaar u call them at 6 then only will we start by 7”. There seems to be some excellent dark humor in there to me. Or as something marketing people would say “backward integration”..... Instead of looking to find a solution for the punctuality you are actually working backwards to make leeway for that unpunctual nature.

I think this topic is worthy of a research study. Why Indians en masse take unpunctuality as granted? Has it been in our genes for all these generations or is it a more recent trend we find. If it has been in our genes for generations then we seriously need to look into ways of getting rid of this nature in us especially in a time when we are integrating with the global economy in such a big way. All other people rate punctuality very high in their scheme of things for doing business. Some of them might even tolerate incompetence for punctuality.Time is so important for them.

Even when some of our exporters get business from abroad they quote the fastest delivery date to bag the orders whereas they expect to be late by some time with a million excuses later on. This brings a bad name to the entire nation. Our goods have been blacklisted due to lack of adherence to the L/C documents and other contractual agreements.

But this ain’t the funniest thing….These very Indian the moment they leave their shores for another country are the most punctual people of all….they reach their workplaces or meeting 10 minutes earlier. And this goes true not only in following the time but also following the rules and regulations laid down by the respective countries. Indians who spit all over the place in their own country will swallow the same thing in Singapore…the very govt employees of Kerala who go for strike for a couple of months bringing the state machinery to its knees take long leaves from their jobs and go to the Gulf and work 14 hours a day without overtime….these are just a few eg.Im sure ur getting the point by now.

We some how have to get this nature of not following acceptable social norms and etiquettes out of our collective system. Just take a drive any day of the week in any city of the country and you see with what gross impertinence the drivers break all traffic rules in the book. We always seem to blame the system. We say that we wouldn’t be breaking the rules if the traffic cops weren’t so corrupt to let us go with a small fine for their pockets. But that’s like a top down approach to do things. We all go and watch movies like RDB(that Rang De Basanti) and other patriotic movies and come our feeling all cleansed and thinking that we can make a huge difference to our country but the next thing we do is take our bikes and park it in a No Parking zone to have vada pav and a smoke. If we want to make big changes in our country we have to start with the small changes in our habits. Incorporate in us the need to follow the simple rules and regulations and then we can go and do bigger things like fighting the corrupt system. That more like a bottom up approach for me.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Crash - A view into the future of the world?

Just watched the movie Crash yday...For those who haven’t watched it, it describes the lives of all the communities in LA ,the boiling pot(instead of the melting pot it should have been) of all cultures and races of the world...It shows how we are scared and wary of people from other races and are prejudiced against them. The black are gangstas, the mexicans are rapists, the chinese are always looking to trick you, All arabs are terrorists etc etc etc...However hard we try to get these prejudices out we are not able to....This the basis of the movie, which is woven around a murder story and how each of the these communities interact with each other especially in tense situations....

Some how I feel this is how the world is going to be a couple of decades down the line. People are leaving their home countries to go and work in places which they presume are going to be their way to great richness and self sufficiency....but everyone has also made presumptions abt the people from different places through the huge exposure to the world happenings- Internet and Cable influence our opinions, No they MAKE our opinions....What will happen when we have to trust these other communities in the course of our lives as no one can live in isolation anymore in this "globalised world"? This is a question that needs to be addressed urgently...We can't have generalizations made for a particular kind of people....All are individuals and have their own identities...Forget the color of the skin and the slanting of the eyes and the incomprehensible accents and understand the person behind all this....Then and only then will we live in a truly globalised and a single world 50 years from now....Like they say, beware Geography is gonna be History!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Ramblings begin

Hey let me introduce myself first....I’m the unknown sell-inebriety and these are my ramblings.... My mission : To explore strange new worlds . . .To seek out new life and new civilizations . . .To boldly go where no man has gone before! wait wait wait....isn’t that the line from Star Trek. Well I believe in Sam Walton's philosophy...Steal shamelessly whatever good is there in others. How the heck do u think he built the biggest organization in the world?

I’m Vivek Menon ,currently pursuing my MBA from the Symbiosis Institute of International Business in Pune,Maharashtra, India....I hail from the city of Cochin,the Queen of the Arabian Sea....Been a vagabond almost all throughout my life, running from one city to the next....Basically a laid back guy who just loves having a good time as much the next joe...Im a student of marketing....having decided to jump into this still vastly unexplored,unexplained,uncharted space called Marketing, lets hope its not my undoing...Hehe...thats all abt me for now cos ill need to write abt myself when I have nothing else to write anyways...

These ramblings would mostly consist of my thoughts, my contradictions, my opinion about everything under the sun.....You are welcome to comment but here Im the King..Lol. Let the ramblings begin..........