Saturday, April 29, 2006

Weird Days

"I'm bumping you up", Bossman told me in his usual ruthlessly efficient manner. "Thanks, I guess", I replied. I was kicked more about the salary increase this entailed - and I celebrated by buying a couple of T-shirts from Threadless.
Not bad, two bumps in two years and considering I was getting paid below slavery wages at 18-20 KG Marg only three years ago. Not bad at all, and life has been good of late. The health parameters are better, the seafood has been good and I've been living off a lot of free electronics. Not that I mind living of free stuff that is. And I'm off to K-Ral early tomorrow morning. Yup, life is good.
But after a conversation with my father yesterday over some exquisite Crab Gassi at Trishna last night, I'm not so sure everything is as hunky-dory in my life I think it is. Now, I don't want to get into the details of my convoluted and extremely bizzare relationship I have with my father, but he does have a habit of making me jerk up on the chair and say 'Whaa....?'
Anyway, things aren't changing tomorrow but given that the synapses in my brain have a tendency to make weird connections, so I'm pretty sure I'll be thinking on four-five-six different parallel planes while driving down NH-17. And knowing me, each plane will lead to a different decision, making my life even more confusing then it really needs to be - which is weird because the only time I usually mess up is with relationships, here its a bit more than that.
Anyway, this is the last post from Bombay for a bit, I should be online in pathches throughout the trip and will post both here and at the other blog. Take care folks and wish me luck!

Friday, April 28, 2006

The heat, the heat.

Here are your choices - Hot and Humid or Hot and Dusty. That is the call you have to take in India every summer, and frankly I have honestly wondered why our forefathers occupied this oppressive land. When I was a kid and school carried on till the second week of May in Delhi, the heat was so intense it was not funny. I travelled to Pune on Wednesday and realised why I don't miss the oppressively dry heat of Delhi summers anymore. Imagine taking a hot Iron and holding it 6-8 inches above your skin - it is that bad. And when you add 'The Loo', every Delhi-ites favourite metereological phenomenon, plus a healthy dose of crushed Aravali rock and Thar sand, the amazing and fascinating Delhi summer is complete.
Not that Bombay is any better. But here it is the humidity that kills you. Whereas Delhi has a humidity level somewhere near 0.00001, in Bombay it seems all the water magically entered the atmosphere and then found its way to the back, front and sides of your shirt. Ten minutes after you walk out of your house, after showering. By the time I reach office I am a physical marvel, because my body has shed a couple of tens of litres of water.
And now I have decided, in complete sanity (or insanity) to travel down the Konkan and Malabar coast for a holiday. Why I am doing this is beyond me, but I am, I think it has something to do with my parents and my screwed-up upbringing or maybe even the those 23 chromosomes didn't all match up correctly (and I've found two crazy compatriots to come along with me). Sensible people go to Switzerland, even Shimla. I'm going to Kerela. I don't think all my friends and family are still aware of my gloriously mad intentions, but they soon will be.
This will have one side effect though, posts will become highly irregular and I will not be touch with the world. So wish me luck.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Notes on the blog.

I'm terribly busy, and when your livlihood and your vacation depend on creating 5000 words in 48 hours - blogging isn't a priority, but I do have some notes on the blog.
Not by any fault of my own, but this blog recieved a whopping 12,800 visitors this month and counting. A couple of reasons behind the massive jump have been some fortuiously links, which pushed daily visitor numbers beyond 1500 for three days in a row. However, on a positive note, daily visitors have stabilised around the 300 mark, which is a great thing. What is even more heartening is that many of these visitors are not coming from random keyword searches which befuddle me - like these - One, Two, Three, Four, Five and Six. This is just a sampling. Makes you wonder about the pagerank system that Google uses.
That said, many of the visitors come 'directly' to the site - without being redirected from one of several bloggers who link to me - thanks Rashmi and Jai in particular. But these direct visitors are far more than the number of people who actually comment on the blog. The same IP ranges keep on coming back post after post, but rarely leave comments. So you guys obviously like the blog and what I write but leave zero feedback. OK, so some of you lurkers mail me and assume I'm someone else altogether.
Either you folks agree with everything I'm saying, which is a frightening thought really, or there is another reason. Please tell me what it is. I'm not going to write of escapades or show various bodily orifices on the blog - don't expect that. But the mismatch between visitor numbers and feedback is quite weird. Anyway, I really have to get home now, so see'ya folks and keep coming back.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Delhi rocks!

This post was written yesterday, but thanks to Blogspot acting up, I'm posting it today, the 25th. I haven't changed the timestamp though.
I love Delhi, I'm sick and tired of people putting the Indian capital down all the time. It is the easy thing to do. But the capital along with being India's only showcase metropolitan area as well as being India's most historical city plus not having the overgrown small-town feel of so many other places in India and other than parts of East Delhi, it doesn't stink. The anger towards Delhi is driven by a kind of perverse jealousy - people feel angry when they see the nice access roads from the airport, the wide boulevards of South and Cental Delhi, the parks in every colony, homes with front and back lawns, the food and the utter modernity of it all. It also has the country's best educational institutions, and I'm proud of having attended two of them. Anyway, needless to say I will now pillory Outlook even more on this blog - but for the time being I yield to this absolutely magnificent post on Delhi by a Delhi-ite who doesn't forget her rtoots even though she is 8000 miles away. Take it away, Swati.
And there is always Anand's blog here where he kinda captures Delhi in all its glory (or lack of, sometimes). Its sad that a bunch of illiterate journalists and bytemongers do this.
Not that its all good - the part about educational institutions - well, Delhi also is the headquarters of the Ponytail and I as a Delhi-ite sincerely apologise for that.
PS : I really don't know what to make of this blog - the attacks are often a bit too personal - but then again that makes it fun, lots of focus on the Bombay papers and the laziness of Bombay reporters. Tell me what you folks feel.

Friday, April 21, 2006


I wasn't planning to post anything today and then I saw the latest issue of India Today. I don't think there are enough adjectives in the dictionary to quite describe my horror at this once-venerable magazine. I really don't know whwther the 30-year old publication is going through a major mid-life crisis - but for god's sake, why did they subject us to this tripe. A colleague said, oh gadgets and cars (in Spice, a shitty supplement that a billboard off the Santacruz flyover informs me that I get 'Free' with the magazine like those even crappier 'Simply' shit) you must be happy. But nothing prepared me for the crap that I was about to endure.
Just how clueless is IT? Last week, India Today subjected us to yet another 'Womens Issue' which said just about nothing. And Sallu's fun time in jail - which ToI, EchTee and DNA had decided should occupy 500,000 column centimeters every day for five days (OK, so I'm exaggerating, sue me!) was according just a narrow single column. Then there was that Jessica Lall thing, again, even in Bombay, the papers were going nuts, NDTV seemed to have become a single-issue channel and helped Airtel and Hutch make a lot of money, but IT? Nope, the papers would have dealt with it, so, lets just bury our heads in the sand and pretend nothing happened at Qutub Collanade.
But the current cover story takes the cake. First off, careful readers will observe a startling similarity in the cover shoot to a Man's World issue back in July 2005. But, even better the gadgets and 'Hot and Cool' products they advise you to buy seem to be lifted from a variety of magazines - from three-six months earlier. But, seriously tell me - the PSP as a "movie watching device", whiskey tango foxtrot foxtrot foxtrot! Now if you really wanted to give a guide to buyers - don't make yourselves look like a brochure for Jumbo Electronics. Plus, the iPod, the Moto RAZR V3i, the N91/92 - whats new about these gadgets - most of them have been on the market for upwards of six months. Do the Moto PEBL, do some of new products or upcoming products - and try them out.
Sigh! The sad part is as Rashmi pointed out in a comment to the previous post - ITG has the most screwed-up online strategy which is no strategy at all - which kinda makes anything they write about 'hot' and 'cool' stuff look silly. But then again, to be fair, they did leap out of the blocks early on with The Newspaper Today. But even then, nobody would pay for content.
This is sad, because very occasionally there are a couple of decent stories in IT, none of them by S Prassarajan however, if anybody on the face of the planet can understand what the hell is going on with what he saying. Aren't we all taught to go easy on the language for our readers - in an age where SMS-ese is taking this man makes people endure things like this ...
"...Whose sin was the nation paying for that day in Ayodhya? Was the eruptions of raw emitions that swept away the barricades of reason? Was it an unholy alliance between the profanity of faith and the pathology of politics? Was it anyway a justification for the civilisational hurt of the political Hindu? The vandal and the victim have dominated the moral conscience of the nation for so long and Ayodhya still hasn't declared its redunancy as a slogan that mobilises as well as divides..."
If I wrote like that, I bloody well pray that I was a very senior editor, otherwise I would lose my job - no not quite, I assume my Executive Editor would have me impaled for writing this. It was painful typing that because the article can't be accessed by me online. Maybe thats a good thing, really!
What is even sadder is that IT can be so much better - look at the competition. Outlook which despite claiming that their offices are at Safdarjung Enclave should admit that they're based out of 10 Janpath. Then there is Tehelka - which many would consider no competition at all given that they are activist left and after the NDA lost power they have nothing to be activist about. And then there are the two southern publications - Frontline, the latest issue of which I read and had palpitations afterwards - this is seriously loony left-wing stuff. It is as if Sunita Narain and Prakash Karat had a love child. Brrrr.... And then there is The Week, which is living two years behind the rest of India. So India could really do with a nice middle of the road magazine - add a few good technology people (there are none in the market however), add some better lifestyle bits and better movie and music reviews - IT already has a nice Books section - and the magazine could be much better. Like of of the other publications under its banner - some of which are very good and very well packaged. Unfortunately, its been quite a while since Times shut the Illustrated Weekly of India and the ABP Group shut Sunday, both of which were very solid products - but that was all pre-liberalisation (well, not Sunday, but that was a one-man show) so it would be unfair to comment on how well or not well such products would do today. One reason IT manages to do well is because the competition is so sucky. I don't think I thank god enough for the internet.
However, IT's topline grew at a Times-esque 20 percent last year (even though a few years ago its economic prospects weren't so good) and this has led their marketing team to believe that they can shove anything down the throats of their readers. And sadly, much like how editorial teams at the Times were subjugated to the over-riding interests of marketing a few years ago, IT is getting bamboozled by their marketing folks right now. And while the money is good, the product is getting hammered. Eventually, that will show in declining readership and subscriber numbers - in fact it already is. That said, the IRS has lost it - DNA has a readership of 400,000 in Bombay - of course if they plaster the town with advertising there will be recall and if the IRS conducts their surveys in such haphazard manners no wonder you get such weird numbers - if these numbers are true DNA has a larger multiplier than most magazines (a multiplier is the number of people who read each copy of your magazine calculated by dividing readership by circulation and as I said here, Net Paid numbers for DNA are still quite below their expectations). So no-one in the magazine will have a clue when the bomb hits them, because advertisiers are on the ball and they'll be the first to jump ship.
Seriously, if you guys thought the Times was bad, waste 20 bucks and see IT. At least if you spend 20 bucks on the Times (five weekdays in Bombay) you get a few kilos of raddi. With IT you get jackshit. Seriously, if you're a guy and you want to read a general interest magazine, plonk down 60 bucks for a copy of Man's World. And no, I don't work there.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Hoo Boy!

Outlook Business hit the stands today, and many of us were waiting with bated breath. What will they be like? I had figured that they'ld just be another entrant to the game, good competition maybe. Lets do some critical analysis shall we?
Editor Alam Srinivas opens with how the rest of the genre doesn't know anything and that Outlook Business will be the Bees Knees, yada, yada, yada. Basically, he says that the other three business magazines out there don't understand numbers. So I take great pride in bursting his bubble. Readers, if you are stupid enough to waste fifteen bucks on this product - please go to page 79. According to the 'great' number crunching here - Nandan Nilekani is worth Rs 80,500 crore. Um, thats um, a few percentage points of the country's GDP. It gets better - according to the same article each Infosys share is worth Rs 29.9 crore (look at the NR Narayana Murthy bit). I know the market is rocking, but seriously...
And that is just in the cover article, imagine the rest of the insightful analysis in this magazine which looks at numbers with an all-new perspective (what was that about intelligent design?). You can argue that I'm being nit-picky, but I'm sorry to say that they won't even register as competition on the radar. Guys at Outlook, this was your chance people were expecting stuff and you blew it by producing what to me looks like an awfully edited product, you just blew it. Big time!
It's a weird sense of satisfaction I have right now. I love it!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Headline here...

You know what I hate most about press conferences - its not the lamentable food or the inane marketing speil that one has to endure sometimes - but TV crews. This isn't the usual "Us vs Them" fight that you occasionally have with the telly journos - what I find irritating is the fact that telly journos will aks the same question over and over to the same guy, the only thing is that because they're different channels they all want an 'exclusive'. Its not that I resent this a huge amount but even if I was the guy being interviewed I'ld soon blow my top, as I believe Rakesh Mohan did the other day when three telly channels asked him the same "But why have you not touched interest rates?" question in rapid succession one after the other (No, I wasn't there, but the guy who told me this was in splits).
Us print guys have adjusted well to being background noise, we get the guys later and ask them far more meaningful questions over a cup of coffee usually. But I don't get the reason people don't pool resources. Get your cameras together, ask the guy ten different questions instead of the same one, it saves time setting up, the PR person won't go mad doing TV channel political hijinx which usually is who first NDTV or TV18 (Sorry but Headlines Today and Times Now don't cut it). Even though I won't mind a cat fight between some of the said channel correspondents though. Unforrtunately, I only get fat guys throwing fisticuffs (with Sunil Mittal in between - as happened last year - quite funny though). But seriously, I know quite a few PR people come to this blog (I know your IP addresses) please try and explain to people that pooling may not be such a bad idea - or just make the announcement have a Q&A and finish it.
Seriously, Pressers in India need a much, much higher level of professionalism.
The truth is that there are a lot more (unwatchable) TV News Channels (why City Cable channels come for an RBI Presser is still a 'why' issue) and a lot more (unreadable - usually) newspapers and magazines. Not that the older newspapers and magazines are very readable either. Listen they do this in the west - its called 'Pooling' - say that 'P-O-O-L-I-N-G' - which is not playing Pool or having a frolic with semi-naked women in the swimming pool but 'pooling' resources. Some Delhi based corporates have tried this, even though TV cameracrews (from some very 'reputable' channels didn't think twice about shoving the seputugenarian Osamu Suzuki around at a recent press briefing. I don't go to too many Pressers for a very good reason, but if you guys discover this term, let me know. And if you are a corporate executive - don't give adverts to channels who have uncouth cameracrews. Seriously, think about it. If they don't have manners they don't deserve your money, don't worry about the coverage (or the lack of it) it will happen no matter what.
And please for gods sake, stop serving alcohol in press conferences - because that makes the guys from the shady newspapers and magazines go mad as well. As I said, there is a reason I don't work in a daily or a TV channel. I don't have to attend pressers to earn my daily bread. I genuinely pity my peers and friends who have to work in the national news agencies. Poor, poor guys.
On another media note - almost a year after the Mumbai media wars started - it seems we have a winner. Its called the Mumbai Mirror. According to some internal reports emanating from all over the place - the Times' marketing baby has emerged to have a life of its own. Net Paid Circulation (NPC) of the Mirror (and that is not including the 450000 copies that go out with the TOI everyday) is over the 100000 mark - in fact, recent numbers suggest that the paper is closer to 150000 (but those do seem a bit too optimistic), whatever the numbers this means that Mirror by virtue of being free with the Times and its own impressive numbers (ousting the Times' other paper from #3 in NPC) is the city's most popular paper. It seems that DNA and EchTee are just not able to cut it here - even though that said I'm gravitating towards EchTee (not not for any old loyalties, because there are none) because its different - DNA somehow (other than its impressive, somewhat, business coverage) reads like Times redux. The reason I like the Mirror a lot, and I've said it over and over, is because it is totally irreverent (and has a brilliant leisure page) and unlike Mid-Day (which it is giving a good run for its money) the paper is a lot easier to manage - not too many complicated sections popping out of here, there and everywhere.
Another reason I like the Mirror is that they have a couple of the better sports writers around. I discovered the other day, that I'm not the only person who thinks that sports writers, especially cricket writers have lost it. But this brings me to sports, a touchy topic despite the fact I don't play any sports other than on the PS2. Just take a look, Cricket, given that that is the only sport that politicians despite the bestest efforts haven't managed to cripple - Sharad Pawar could take tips on "How to totally ruin a sport and make India a laughing stock" (117th in soccer, we shouldn't even watch the sport - oh, did you watch how Ronny helped Barca run rings around AC last night? Magic) from his cabinet colleague Priyaranjan Das Munshi or now that good ol' Mani is handling the Sports Ministry he could ask him instead (will this mean that the journalists Mani used to plant stories on his 'successes' while he was Oil Minister now start reporting on his 'successes' in Sports). But then again, maybe Mani's commusnist ideals might help our next Olympic cause, when hopefully we won't hear of massuers attacking young girls but maybe India winning a Gold medal. I was not even two when India won its last Gold in the Olympics - and almost a quarter of India's population hadn't been born. Heck, over a fifth of India's population was born after we fluked the 1983 World Cup (Listen, I'm not saying that we didn't deserve it, but c'mon the Windies were 'it' in cricket those days). Thats quite a lot of Indians who haven't enjoyed too much sporting success. If this were another country, some of those guys ruining our sports would be lucky not to be sent to some state-run prison somewhere.
Anway, these were just some random thoughts this Wednesday, so leave your comments and enjoy the rest of the week while I work my way up through purgatory.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


Two doyens of the probashi Bong blogosphere - Arnab and Swati have me in splits today afternoon. My colleagues seriously thing I'm insane. But here is why I'm still rolling on the floor laughing and barely able to write this post. Here are two of the best blog posts I have read in a long while.
Arnab blogs on the death of Imran Kissme, sometime in the future when hopefully we would all be very dead.
And Swati blogs on the enduring efforts of her aunt to find her a suitable Bangla Boy!
A great way to bring up the Bong New Year - Shubho Nabo Borsho, I should have greeted you people earlier. Well, while the rest of the world marches into the 21st century, us Bongs move relentlessly onwards into 1413. But what to do, we are smarter than the rest! Have a great year folks.
EDIT : Who said Octogenarian (Or is it Nonogerian) Mallu politicians don't have a sense of humour!
(OK, I know its old - but with the elections around the corner in Malluland, and with this peach of a line - DICK is pushing for an official entry into the Left Democratic Front led by CPIM - I just had to link this)

Friday, April 14, 2006


First with reference to my last post, small piece of advice to General Motors India. Next time you make a car, please put in a regular gearbox (preferably Japanese or German) instead of the cement mixer I'm having to churn right now. The Aveo is a nice car as I've said but it is ruined by the worst cogs in its class, they're worse than the gears in the Hyundai Accent (not surprising given that both the Accent and the Aveo are Korean) because not only are they difficult to change it also couples with the sudden declutching guarantee a bone-shaking change every time. And somehow inside the city, unless you're speeding down marine Drive or Reclamation at night, you always find yourself in the wrong gear. However, the sound system does make the Harold and Kumar OST sound awesome, which kinda forgives the bad driving experience.
Anyway, there really isn't that much to add to this post - oh, office is shifting back to where we were earlier now that a 'refurbished' swanky office has been made for us. Which is a good thing because I was dying in the temporary office that was made for us. Other than that, I don't really have anything really special or dramatic lined up for the weekend. But, since it is a weekend and it is Bombay, you never know.
Lately, I've been having quite a few Subway sandwiches from their outlet on Waterfield Road. These guys are not as miserly as the Subway joint at Def Col or Saket. But I was reading about a sandwich which costs 85 pounds. That is a lot of money like almost Rs 7000. For a sandwich! Who cares if it has rare Wagyu beef, the finest pure duck foie gras, its still seven grand! I can have a decent lunch at Wasabi for that much! Heck, this would buy me lunch for the next two months even if I splurge once in a while. There is way too much money doing the rounds.
I'm also getting addicted to Gatorade. Since I've been told to lay off the sugar - i.e: No Coke or Pepsi (and thankfully no Pepsi Cafechino - hey even those girls say "Its bad, but its cool", trust me its BAD, it tastes like cough syrup gone nasty) Gatorade is a good replacement. But now I just discovered the Gatorade conspiracy and it really makes me wonder. Hmmm.. Someone has too much time on their hands.
And the latest Sugasm is out (EDIT : Sorry 'bout that), nice stuff to read! Other than that not much. Rather pointless week its been, but maybe I needed a bit of chill time. And now we must return to the Western suburbs. And by the way, whats with the Digas, I always thought they were the most sober Southie community. It seems that they lost it, and how. For a man who died of natural causes. Scary!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

K's Honest Cars.... (Reviews)

Its surprising, but I've never been a petrolhead in the sense that I want to go out and take part in a race or want to fiddle around with a car too much. Even though I do play around a little bit - I've never really had the money to seriously play about with a car - new filters, turbos etc. One of the reasons I do envy Americans is because of the ease of playing about with motor vehicles. I mean only the Americans would put a jet engine in a bike - and then have a celeb buy it. And I think Chip Foose who does amazing things to cars - see Overhauin' on Discovery T&L (also see Miami Ink on that channel, amazing show)
I've never been one for dramatically altering the exterior looks of a car because I think most cars look far worse when you emblazon them with tens of ugly stickers, than they do when they leave the factory. Even though that really can't be said for the Orange Chevy Aveo I'm driving right now. Its BRIGHT ORANGE for gods sake. Well, it isn't as bad as the Parrot Green, no not quite Parrot Green, almost Floroscent Green Opel Corsa Sail that GM gave me, which was embarassing to say the least. I mean even in a city notoriously colour-blind (please visit GK-I M-Block or any of the Gurgaon Malls to understand what I'm talking about) I was being stared at almost everywhere, even in West Delhi. It was scary, kinda like advertising yourself having an seriously alternative lifestyle, which I don't.
Anyway, back to the point of this post. I've covered the Indian automotive industry for the last few years and I've always believed that a good automotive reporter should drive the vehicles made by the manufacturers - I have therefore driven motorcycles, scooters, mopeds, cars and even a truck (once). Of course, this is a very facile argument - one person told me that a good liquor correspondent should therefore be a drunkard, to which I replied yes, but you get the point. Cars are different, and honestly I like driving and if you drive around in a vehicle a bit you will get an idea if it will sell or not, because at the end of the day a car has to give you basic levels of performance and comfort. The problem is because this is a purchase decision you make carefully, you want much more from your vehicle. The reason I'm writing this post is because everyday I get asked what is the best or the worst car to buy for XXX lakhs. I really don't think I can ever give someone an honest answer, because the car I wouyld want to buy might be totally different from the car you should buy.
But, I do get asked a lot nowadays by people who have between Rs 7-8 lakhs to spend on what car they should buy. Essentially you have three choices - the Honda City, the Ford Fiesta and the Chevrolet Aveo. I would buy the Honda City EXi ZX. Why? Because, to quote Jeremy Clarkson here "Johnny Jap knows how to screw together a car." Also, inside the city the car has fantastic milage and it because of its mad space-age looks, it not only feels futuristic but has more interior and luggae space than either of its two competitors. However, because I don't have another lakh to spend I cannot go in for the VTEC engined City, but the 77 horses that the New City churns out is fairly sufficient for the City and it is a very comfortable car to drive.
But, if I just want fun and I have a company taking care of the petrol, I'ld buy a Ford Fusion. Not the Fiesta, but the Fusion, because weirdly enough, I feel the Fusion handles better. That said, the Feista also has tremendous handling, this car likes being thrown around. Well, not the diesel model because it never has the power to be trashed about, but heck, you shouldn't complain when you get fuel ten bucks cheaper. Which is why I feel if you do buy a Fiesta, buy the Diesel with ABS. If you want a petrol-engined Ford and don't mind the petrol bills (Really it is not as grim, it gives around 10-11, the Fiesta gives a kilometre per litre more), the Fusion is a great car, but it is a lot smaller inside than it looks. I enjoyed the Fiesta when I drove it, but as I said, the only compelling reason to buy the car is the Diesel engine.
Now, we come to the third of the lot - the Chevy Aveo. Well, actually it is a Daewoo. It is actually a Daewoo Nubira. And it did pathetically in a recent EuroNCAP crash test. Of course, no Indian automotive magazine will write about that little fact. However, while driving around Bombay yesterday, I liked some things about the car other than the fact it was bright orange, not that it made much difference under Sodium lights. The 1.6 engine is peppy, but is coupled to a very irritating gearbox, optimised more for open road driving than the city - this made my 30-minute drive through Peddar Road in the evening pure hell, as I kept on stalling until I got a hang of it, and I'm not a bad driver if I say so myself (the car is very 'jerky' between gear changes because it tends to declutch a bit faster than you expect). On first gear, the car likes to be revved, which can not be terribly great for milage. As for the 'Mindblasting' performance that Rani Mukherji promises us, well, if I had to buy a car for performance I'll still buy the Fusion. The car moves decently fast but because of its 'tallish' feel, it doesn't exactly handle like a pocket rocket - which the it replaces, the Opel Corsa did.
But, since you spend most of your time inside rather than outside the car, the insides do matter. The Honda City has the most space, but the Fiesta has the best driving position in my view. The Aveo has the best toys (and the fake wood fascia) which includes a great sound system - which should never be a reason to buy a car but, it is really good. The Aveo also has ABS and airbags, so you really can't complain about fitment and it is priced very aggressively.
Yet, there is another reason I'ld buy the Jap car. Its called depreciation. Ask any Ford or GM owner in India about depreciation and they would tell you a tale that would bring even a strong man to tears. A story that a friends father told me about his four-year old Rs 9.5 lakh Opel Astra Club being sold for just over a lakh, makes you cringe. But ask any Honda owner about how well those cars hold value and they will tell you that the cars are good. No auto magazine in India writes about depreciation, but they should, because more and more buyers I know nowadays are factoring in that crucial factor. Ford and GM have worked a lot on the vehicles they've brought in to India, and they've made them great value propositions, but they really have their job cut out on the depreciation front.
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Tuesday, April 11, 2006

It happens here too...

I have too many feeds coming into my Bloglines RSS reader (and here is a tip for people in places where they've banned Blogspot domains or can't other popular blogs - use Bloglines or Google Reader, I prefer the former because I've been using it longer - desktop RSS readers still access the site directly) and many posts just get a cursory read through - which means I see the headline - mentally mark the post as 'boring' and carry on. Now the ideal solution to this would be for me to clean up the number of feeds I get, but you discover weird things everyday on the unlikliest of blogs.
But, on that front I think banning your employees from reading blogs in office is very stupid. I mean internet penetration isn't that bad, and I can read all sorts of shit anyway. What makes trhis surprising is that a person many consider to be fairly level headed has done this - you can get why Times reacted the way it did - it has a 'we must control the flow of information' sort of attitude to things, which is why that group is doomed in the long run until someone with some brains enters management. I've made this point over and over and over, while the blog reading population in India is still limited blogs are quickly becoming an unique modicum for transmitting opinions and views.
On average, this blog gets over 300 visitors a day, 150 of whom have come here searching for some sort of information of the other. Anything negative that I write on this blog can potentially snowball into something bigger. Yeah sure, if Rajdeep TV or EchTee were to break something big it would snowball a lot faster, but blogs are growing, and retrogade steps like banning them will not work. Corporates, and that includes media houses will have to come out with clearly defined 'blogging' policies - firing people or banning blogs is not the key. And engaging blogs is always a better bet than 'attacking' them.
So, back to the point now that I have finished my soliloquy of sorts. Damn, I still get nightmares from the lines "Hath not a Jew eyes..." (long story that goes back to Class XI and First Year). Whats wrong with me? I'm getting distracted too fast nowadays. Now, finally back to the point. I was reading the Freakonomics Blog and discovered this post which I found very interesting. Now, why did I find it so interesting - because it happens in India all the time. I am not insinuating that ALL such columnists are so corrupt, but a gossip columnist or reporter with perfectly upright morals. Joke of the year. But, I do know that there were reporters who worked for the gossip pages who did live quite large - one particular reporter used to take clothes from boutiques in exchange for any coverage. And the other stories get even funnier - forget casting couches - photogs in some of the gossip pages took 'full advantage' of their position. And I've written for these supplements also and I've seen them at work. Boy, oh boy.
This isn't about just free meals, even though those are still consumed in great quantities (as was free wine and thus almost every food review was quite off the ball - and woefully written to boot). Of course, some media groups realised that they themselves could keep the money instead of their woefully underpaid reporters, making it easier for PR agencies to just pay the required amount and get the great story. But the fact of the matter is that many gossip columnists/reporters are on the ball, when it comes to their own pockets. Sometimes they're so busy keeping themselves up, that their products end up reading like... well, you seriously gotta be mental if you read that sort of stuff.
Anyways... One must work right now. I think my work is going to involve driving a German car very fast very soon. The money might suck (well compared to TV at least), but the job is fun and who can give up writing. Plus, I'm not a PYT.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Reader Advice

The shortest post I've made in a long, long time.
After several days of complaints over comments and email, I've decided to work around the template of the blog. But first, I thought I'ld change the look and feel of the other blog before I transported it here. So take a look and let me know if you like it or not, and any comments and/or technical advice on what templates I should use and any other tips to improve the look and feel of the blog - and I'm not removing adsense.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Arre Yaar...

After discussing several aspects of the media because of which some deluded souls think of me as a veritable expert in all things media - for the record I'm not an expert on anything nor do I pretend to be. I don't go around calling myself a 'Noted Economist' without ever having studied elementary economics - not that certain people really bother about miniscule detail of having to have done doctorate level economics to call themselves 'noted economists'. Anyway, back to the point, no wait, there is no point to this post. This is a completely pointless, meaningless post. Much like my life. Then again, my life isn't that boring that I sit at home and do things like this.
Anyway, I've been rather amused at the amount of column centimeters being consumed by a show of tits and ass. The Lakme Fashion Week was boring, like most fashion week shows usually are in India. I still wait for 'Midnight Hot' on FTV which is far more watchable and even has some things that you wouldn't mind someone else (if you had a 'someone else' who looked like Gisele - if you didn't maybe you could find one using this service) wearing. Of course, Greatbong is also shocked at the brazen display of Tn'A, yes, like all self-righteous individuals we should all be shocked that women have had the audacity to show us their unmentionables. And in front of the poor children too! But if you do want to see some not-so-obscene (like those tits, which were very obscene) pics of the Fashion Week, there are some nice shots on Flickr.
Anyways, life must move on. So Friendgirls must be freed and others caught, but it seems as age moves on the number of fish in the sea also seem to diminish. Damn!
So, I've decided that I will venture down NH17 all the way to Mallu-land, home of the Gelf-Ritarn - and only I could think up something as crazy as travelling 3500kms in 10 days on the subcontinent in May, but of course, I am crazy. But, fear not I am not going anywhere anytime soon. After all, the market will have to fall sooner or later and someone will have to write on the suicides being committed in Bombay. But should I be that cynical? Nah!
Don't you think English is strange sometimes? I mean really strange. But not as out there as this person - I mean this guy was freaking insane - it is a miracle that he is still alive. But then again, I'ld rather spend time reading this catalogue. Yes, and there is even more proof that despite the attractive women there - Japanese are twisted people and have been so for years. Now, mobile phones have changed the way we communicate and all that jazz. You know the story. But, other than the 'phallic' Snake you played on your very old Nokia, the games have been tepid. Well, not any more it seems - some of these games look interesting. Philip K Dick still lives? Well, a robotic version of his head does. Of course, if all this doesn't interest you, you can just read some of the posts over at Sugasm#28. Makes me seem even more boring.
Then again, boring is a state of mind or a movie. The last few 007 movies have been boring and pointless, I mean they make the crazy stories of the 60's and 70's look awfully good. And I'm a Bond fan, therefore I whole-heartedly agree with this piece. And it isn't just East Asians who screw up English - everybody does.
And this has been a through waste of time.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Psst - Wanna Blowjob?

I'm just asking for trouble with this post... But, what the heck.
Outlook is launching a new business magazine on April 10. The magazine will be a fortnightly and likely be priced at Rs 10 (no suprises there EDIT - It appears it will be Rs 25 per issue). So, the bsuiness magazine space in India will now have four national newsmagazines - don't even argue that Ponytail's magazine is respectable - its like a petulant 14-year old who think of themselves as a 'wannabe slut'. Which is why no-one talks to them. Not that too many people talk to the three magazines that are around anyway. I'm sorry to say this, but the business media in India unfortunately are like prostitutes, no actually make that all the media in India are like prostitutes, usually no better than the ones you find on Kennedy Bridge. They're not as bad as the automotive media in India because those folks (all eight of them) go up to the guys they write about who are also their primary source of advertising (the car and bike companies) and say, "Listen we'll roll over spread out and you can take us up the ass. No, don't just do that, take us up the ass with a 18-inch dildo.. Rip our ass cheeks apart." (And the lifestyle and film media are equally bad) No, business media isn't that bad, they only give blowjobs.
But, are they the only ones.... No, the entire set-up of the desi media sometimes looks like a cheap whorehouse on GB Road.
Now, lets look at the set-up of the whore house that is the Indian media - there is the big madam, an 'Old Lady' - which doesn't do it with just anybody and if she does it, the price she charges is a pound of flesh, Shylock style, but she usually steers clear of cheap paying politicians. Now, the other parts of the media aren't as bad - and I'm not even stepping onto TV-toes here. But the other major newspapers also bend over, but they also have good taste, the problem is that many of them have diseases which they caught from their favourite customers - for example a large South Indian lady has "Communitis", a very dangerous disease, but nowadays because of a radical new treatment (power at the centre) it is more invigourated than ever. Many national news organisations (more than we can count - and it requires a lot of courage) suffer from "MadamAssLickitis"which has meant that they spent so much time up 10 Janpath's backside that they have lost all sense of objectivity. And of course there are news organisations that have lost all sense altogether having slept with so many people.
And then there is the other wing - where the ladies don't sit spread-eagled waiting for people to do them hard. No, this section, known as "Only BJ's" (Hey, everyone needs a trademark) is far more pleasurable - come on, a good BJ is better than bad sex. (By the way, there is also a sado-maschochistic section but thats where the automotive and lifestyle types sit). Now to give you a demonstration of how good the BJ's are once in a while, a business publication recently decided to suck off MDA, who cares if MDA didn't want to be sucked off, they gave him a proxy BJ. It also helps if by giving the BJ, the client also calls you for 'house calls' once in a while.
Of course, the ladies in the pink of health give the best blowjobs of the lot. If the client doesn't like it, they'll even give a refund, not just to the client but also to the person who holds up the clients tattas (the PR agency). Of course, sometimes things do tend to go a bit bad, the 'Old Lady' still curses her 'lil sister for biting one of her clients balls off, forcing that client into the arms of other ladies of the night. And sometimes, the roles get reversed, with the better ones a role-reversal happens more often than not nowadays, but sometimes they end up giving free blowjobs because a higher-up wants to please 'somebody'.
But still, while we talk of how energetic and free our media is, most of the Indian media is beholden to vested interests from one place or another. Its quite frustrating at times to work in such an environment, but you learn to accept it and live with it. Which is why I sometimes like the freedom that blogs afford me, so what if I bitch out people once in a while. I would like to clarify that I have no agendas on this blog nor am I playing political games of any sort, especially in organisations I have no connection to. I sometimes say things that I should be a bit more discreet about, but then again, those of you who know me know that I talk a lot.
Anyways... I wonder how Outlook's new product will look? Its always good to welcome a new girl to the whorehouse.
DISCLAIMER : Yes, I know this post sounds awfully sexist and chauvanistic. The analogies are meant to illustrate a point, and nothing more than that.
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Saturday, April 01, 2006


This is post number 361. This number has no particular significance in my life, but really I couldn't think up of a snappy headline just now. Anyway, its a nice pleasant Saturday, I'm sitting in office (I wish I was sitting on one of these though) after a rather un-hectic Friday, where after being dragged along by some fellow delivery-men I went to a friends place and watched The Hunt for Red October on AXN at a friends place. I've seen the movie before, but this is definately my favourite Jack Ryan film.. No random Friday night insanity, and for that I thank the man upstairs. Somehow, Harrison Ford in a non-George Lucas film just doesn't cut it for me.
Apple Computer is celebrating its 30th anniversary. Its quite hard to think how a company that is on the cutting-edge of electronic fadgizmory with things like the iPod (and all its lil' itsy-bitsy add-ons like a Barbie Doll) and one which has mastered the fine art of marketing (and thus also of hipocrisy) but honestly, they do have some absolutely cracker adverts (see the from 1984 featuring Billy G himself!). And they've made their goof-ups as well, and Wired has a lot more coverage on this rather unique birthday. That reminds me, I have to start saving for an iPod soon.
Don't you think that more people (at least men) would learn 'pro-pah' English (or least speak it at call centres) if you followed this Japanese example.
I saw the cricket match yesterday and must admit that Suresh Raina did a great job, we've got them Poms by their you know whats. But, the Haryana Police, renowned for its capacity to generally hit people when they don't like them, just had to get into the act. Back in July last year, some people had given some back to the Haryana Police and they had gotten even madder, but those were people looking for a fight. This time, they beat up women and children who had just gone to watch a match. Crowd control abilities of India's police forces are dismal at best and godawful at worst, this was an example of the darker side. The Home Ministry should really spend some money to train police forces across the country on basic crowd control.
OK, I have to head out for lunch now, so I'll come back and post #362. Hey, 361/362 are the flight numbers for one of Jet Airways' evening Delhi-Mumbai-Delhi services. I know because they use the 737-900 on the route. Silly things to know, but I love flying.
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50,000 anterjaal ke yatrigan kripya dhyaan de...

I put a Statcounter on this blog in the last week of June, and since then it has been logging (more or less, there have some instances of downtimes) the number of visitors to this blog. Sometime earlier today the number of visitors here shot past the 50,000 mark. Needless to say, that is quite an ego boost. Yes, I know many of them came here looking for all sorts of different things, but whatever it is, and despite the fact that I must have added 1,000 hits myself (so the real 50,000 mark is actually some way off) I like the number. But, of course that won't mean I'll slow down now, I'll continue to bore the bejesus out of you folks.
Thanks again!