Rohit Mishra

Thoughts which don’t fit in 140 characters.

Vacation, Ranchi and Accident

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Like every other holiday, a lot was planned in the winter vacation (that was just 12 days anyway. I had been merrily postponing a lot of things to this period after the semesters finished in December 1st week. The journey to home was fun with Rahul, [Samridhi]( and Richa couldn’t get a link to u Richa!!to company. I being the fool I am sat in the sleeper class coach where we had to shift in the morning in a T-Shirt. Sami and Richa told me to get a jacket, but I thought who would bother with opening up a packed up bag!

Home food showed its effect the following day and my stomach gave me a hard time for the next couple of days. My mausaji, mausimas and cousins came up to Ranchi, but my stomach gave way to fever which took another 2-3 days. All the time, I kept setting records in watching Star Movies and HBO.Sami and Richa have a huge clan of relatives in Ranchi and the cruel ladies spared no time for this poor friend-less chap. Animesh my friend from DPS Patnacame in and I had a welcome break. That night I went on as a comedian in my home making fun of everyone present there and especially some archaic words of my mother-tongue Maithili till people dropped off to sleep. I didn’t know I had such good comic talent too :)

But despite my hartal they left on 28th leaving me with not much to do. The new year was quite dull as first Mom and then Dad got ill. Dad had sustained stomach-ache on January 1 which kept us quite worried.

On 2nd morning, I went for a ride on Dad’s Unicorn. I hadn’t got a chance to explore the area near my house so I went looking for a famous spot called “Tagore Hill”. I crossed it and missed it but didn’t know at that time and kept moving ahead. I was riding at a steady speed of 40 kmph when something went wrong and the bike skidded. My hands and leg was isbadly scratched and bruised. The bike had heavy damage with the visor cracking up. Some electric connection went wrong which prevented the bike from getting started. Dad says that looking at the damage to the bike, I am lucky to have escaped with less injury. Maybe!! But my hands won’t agree.

I had to leave the next day on 3rd and there was constant talk on whether I should cancel the trip or not. But, I didn’t want one wrong thing to create another – attendance issue over here in VIT. So I made the journey. The pain is there and spikes up sometimes. Hopefully it will get checked soon.

Maybe I didn’t get enough new year wishes this time!

Dorai Thodla in VIT

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On Monday, Dorai Thodla – the founder of IMorph Inc. came to VIT. (I have wondered how VIT manages to get some good people here considering their bureaucratic working style!! As a part of E-Cell, (its a club to promote entrepreneurship here I am actively involved in the club and so played a part in organizing the meet. I googled Dorai and found out about him, IMorph and InfoMinder. I was a bit skeptical about how useful his flagship product InfoMinder will be, which is basically a tool to track changes throughout your chosen pages on the web. I thought that RSS feeds serve basically the same purpose. In the first session, Dorai talked about his life for our “Life as an Entrepreneur” lecture series. The man had already impressed me because of his accounts on Twitter, Friendfeed etc. – as he seemed to be in touch with the latest trends. As he spoke about his urge to constantly remain on top of all the technology news, I could easily identify with him. Dorai understood how boring abig moral talk can get and kept it simple, easy and interactive. The way successful people talk easily about their failures easily. Dorai told us about a presentation that he had to abruptly step into at the last moment unprepared and how his shaking hands sent the old-style presentation into a spin.
I was happy to find equal angst and support from him about the lack of consumer software work taken by the Indian IT biggies. He encouraged people to take risks and start making useful apps – and I was silently feeling proud about my life goals of being an entrepreneur and about the mobile “noticeboard” software that I am working on.
Dorai had another session post-lunch (not for me though. IEEE, ECell, poor mess have made me miss lunch repeatedly The second session was more technical, and I loved the importance on trends that he spoke of. As he took names like Digg, StumbleUpon, semantic web… I felt whether this would inspire people to wake up from their movie downloads and explore the wider web. But, I am not very positive.

I wanted to discuss with Dorai my idea about the mobile “noticeboard” project that I call DNS and get his views on the idea. But he was going to Bangalore for the TiE Entrepreneurial Summit. I wanted to be there desperately. A lot of my work would be derived from this person now for sure.

Ray Ozzie’s Microsoft

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Microsoft for the better part of the last decade has been everyone’s favourite whipping boy. While Google came to symbolise everything quick and efficient, and Apple got famous for its sleek IPods and IPhones, Microsoft only got mocked with the debacle called Windows Vista. Tech-analysts were quick to say that MS has gone past its peak and will soon wither out. But, it hasn’t gone so. People irritated with the radically new Office interface gradually realized how simpler it was and MS used its financial muscles to put Vista on almost all new computers. The Redmond-based giant is known for its ability to rise from adversity. It has destroyed Borland, Real and Netscape after trailing them for a long distance where everyone predicted its fall.
But times have changed. After a 25 month long transition period, Bill Gates has quitted from day-to-day responsibilities and moved on. Gates has passed on his role of Chief Software Architect to Ray Ozzie while Steve Ballmer keeps looking after the business side of MS as CEO and Craig Mundie handles the role of Chief Research and Strategy Officer. Ozzie came to MS in 2005 and took on the role of CSA the next year.
Once hailed by Gates as one of the 5 best programmers of the century, the media shy Ozzie has a very impressive record. He is the maker of Symphony and Lotus Notes – very dominant software for collaborative work in businesses. Ozzie has a very clear idea about Microsoft’s future. He wants to transform Microsoft from the traditional model – making a software, packaging it and selling it and then coming out with another version after a couple of years to the cloud-computing based software-plus-services model where the company and the customers are always in direct contact.
Cloud computing is the buzz nowadays and Ozzie is determined that he is not left following the tail-lights of others as has happened in search with Google. Microsoft has been traditionally wary of the cloud concept because it encroaches on its heavily dominated desktop market share. So turning the 90,000 employees strong software behemoth with an annual revenue of $60 billion into an internet company is not going to be an easy task. Ozzie is pushing for a hybrid-model of Cloud computing, where most of the work gets done on the cloud but the desktop is important for offline processing and data storage. His plan is more like Apple ITunes where the desktop application controls music on the disk while the internet based application earns revenue by selling songs on the music store.

Ozzie is taking Microsoft into cloud territory with 3 products:

Windows Azure: Microsoft Windows’ version for the cloud. The software developed under the code name “Red Dog” will take on Google’s App Engine and Amazon’s EC2 when it launches early next year. Considering Microsoft’s deep pockets and huge existing network servers, even Google CEO Eric Schimdt admits that MS will inevitably be a major player in the space.
Live Mesh: Ozzie’s favourite project Live Mesh looks to synchronise all your files across different devices – PC, laptop, Mac, cell phones, digital cameras etc. at different places. As people start demanding more and more of their data at any time they wish, this sphere will see hectic activity. Already rivals Apple have launched MobileMe platform, but MobileMe failed to handle the vast array of device and file support that is expected from it. Ozzie is looking to lose all fancy bell and whistles and just make Live Mesh work.
Office Online: The next version of Office might not be installed on our system. At Microsoft’s developers conference – TechReady 2008 , Ozzie showed how he could use and collaborate directly on a MS Excel sheet. One thing Ozzie is particularly keen about is to raise the level of reliability and make all cloud MS products hassfle-free.
Ray Ozzie has gone about transforming the work-culture at Microsoft too. Rather than working in huge groups, Ozzie has hand-picked small teams of 150 who work on a particular project and then they are scaled up to the levels that Microsoft needs. During Gates’ time, the emphasis was that every new product must fit-in with the larger MS family. But Ozzie realized that it was stifling competition, and did away with the system.
The offices at Redmond no longer look like a bunch of isolated cabins, Ozzie got it redesigned so that people have eye-contact and can easily talk. Snack rooms and whiteboards have been liberally allocated to foster discussion. As the year comes to an end, Ozzie’s plans have gradually started taking shape. Microsoft has announced that applications like Windows Movie Maker, Paint etc. – the none-core part of an Operating System will ship together under a Live Products name. 2009 will be a critical year for both Ozzie and his products, no matter who finally wins the race.

I Am in a Rich College

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Anyone who has been following me here or on twitter (@movingahead) will know the fact that Wifi is coming to VIT. Unlike other colleges, even the most minuscule ones VIT till now thought internet access to be a taboo, so the only way to access net was to use a proxy in the labs or use a low speed, high cost . access like the one I am using now – the Plug2surf types.

Finally heeding to popular demand, Wifi is being introduced. So, I am happy. I should be, right!! The only problem is that I hadn’t thought that I will have to pay Rs. 900 per month for this happiness. The Wifi is a paid one bandwidth from Reliance, device from Motorola and services by Vellore Online Systems. Hey!!! But what from VIT??

The plans offered start from Rs. 500 for a 256 Kbps 2 GB download limit connection. Another one is at Rs. 700 per month which is same speed but 3.5 GB limit. Now that much bandwidth is very less for a net addict like me – No I don’t waste my time on porn!! There can be other more productive uses. The only plan that suits me is an unlimited plan for 900 at 384 Kbps. I think it would have been better if I also had a few oil wells in Kuwait to finance this education.

I am taking the 900 plan because Dad as always knows how much I am dependent on net for my updates. Proud to have such a father. But, still something lingers in my mind. A fear that I don’t misuse this facility and an anguish that couldn’t my university provide this wifi at subsidised rates.

When I came to VIT, it was famous for being one of the cheapest private engineering college in India. The truth is that colleges like Manipal and Jaypee rob you once. VIT with its media-savvy people robs you slowly in installments.

If this is the way private education will work in this country, wonder whether my posts on allowing international institutes in India were really correct!

Can You Fight Others by Breaking Yourself Up?

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This is the question I will like to ask Mr. Balbir Punj – BJP MP and journalist. As all of you, I too have been deeply shocked by the simple manner in which our most beloved city, our favourite icon and a lot of common men have become the victim of terror. Almost every country has faced terror at one time or another. But none can match the regularity and scale of attacks in India. Having said that these attacks on Mumbai have been different, because terrorists didn’t strike and left but they stayed there and killed people for three continuous days.

Much of the blame of what is happening in this country goes to the politicians because they are our leaders. Even in corporate sector when the company makes some mistake, the CEO takes the blame and most often goes. Unfortunately our politics is one big scoop of power without any responsibility. Today as I was seeing people encouraging others in Delhi to go and vote, I wondered if I was in Delhi who would have I voted for?

The problem is that our multi-party system fed by caste and regional concerns is too fragmented to ever produce an inspiring leadership. I respect former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee and have even greater respect for the current PM Dr. Manmohan Singh, who by his economic reforms made India the power that it is today. But both of them failed to protect India. Vajpayee meekly surrendered to the IC 814 hijacking and released prisoners who attacked Indian parliament and killed American journalist Daniel Pearl among their other achievements. Dr. Singh on the other hand has goofed up by having a man like Shivraj Patil (who had enough time to keep changing his dress while terrorists were blasting up Delhi) and making empty promises.

In his speech after the Mumbai attack, Dr. Singh talked about “innocent people”, “external elements”, “tough actions”, “no compromise”, “toughen laws”, “set up federal investigative agency”…….. when the hell will you do it? On the last day of your tenure. If the PM of the country can’t implement his words on a matter as important as terrorism, we are doomed. I imagine terrorists laughing at us seeing our PM make such empty claims. You have let us all down Dr. Singh.
And then there is the BJP. The right-wing party supposedly tough on terror. Shame on hypocrites like them. Do I need to present a spreadsheet to show that they were equally worse (or even more for releasing terrorists)? Though they showed uncharacteristic restraint by not attacking the government straight away, but I read the first of it yesterday afternoon in Deccan Chronicle by BJP MP and journalist Balbir K. Punj. I believe that the way some people try to isolate the complete Muslim community as responsible for these attacks start a circle which creates suspicion among other Hindus, separates Muslims, very few of whom go on and support the terror activities and the cycle goes on.

So I took on him (he had given his e-mail id) and wrote him this mail. I hope that you read this and tell me if I am wrong at some point. If I am correct, then support me and send your own mail to Balbir Punj at ( I am not able to find his article on the web at the point, but will upload it as soon as I am able to get it.

Subject: Do you have the guts to answer this?
I just read your column “Islamic terror is not new” in ‘Deccan Chronicle’ (November 28, 2008). I and you share one common idea – we both don’t what a repetition of what happened in Mumbai. But, unfortunately I think your words are utterly divisive and are responsible for these acts at a level.
• You say that USA crushed terrorism without caring for human rights and suggest India to do the same. I don’t think that what actually worked in USA – increased security, centralised body (Department of Homeland Security), more extensive ID checks and taking the attack to the opposition in USA involve breaching human rights. On the other hand, among the first steps of President-elect Obama will be to shut down Guantanamo Bay – the theatre of human rights violation.

• You use the word “secularists” in quotes and have portrayed them as minority-appeasing, anti-majority and unmindful of national interests. I want to remind you that its only your community – politicians – who need to appease others. Rest of us are true secularists who love their own religion but equally respect the other’s right to respect his.

• You claim that the “secularists” media always tries to justify these acts. No media- print, electronic or web has mentioned the phrases – “Babri Masjid”, “persecution of Muslims”. In the last 48 hours. Your column is the first place where I am reading this.

• Media portrays security forces as villains!! Which media do you subscribe to?? We including our media love our forces. People of your gentry have some special imaginary media delivered to your homes.

• You highlight the release of “Abdul Naseer Madni” – the alleged plotter of the plan to assassinate Mr. Advani. This action is completely deplorable and should be revoked immediately if it is motivated by political concerns. I wonder why you/your party challenged it in law courts??

• According to you, POTA is the solution to every terrorist issue in this country. The NDA regime had applied it, didn’t it? Please enlighten us that how POTA itself was able to prevent terrorist actions? Instead of shirking responsibility by overusing this word, why don’t all of you sit and discuss its provisions detailing how all of them will help. This is a real problem Sir. Not one of your ally jumping the boat that you will fight it with words. Show us what are the actual plans you have.

• Sir where you in a state of hibernation before 2005? You claim that terrorist attacks since 2005, always. Vajpayee ji was a noble statesman. But, irrespective of my respect towards him, I will have to say that the most severe terrorist activities – IC 814 hijacking and the attack on Parliament happened during NDA tenure. The last government also didn’t take any concrete steps to boost up intelligence or make superior anti-terror forces.

• Why do you raise so much hue and cry about Hindu terror? If it exists, it can become a serious issue. Why don’t you people let the ATS do its job? Why have you people created such a situation where even anti-terrorism operations have a political colour. Instead of praising the bravery of officers like Hemant Karkare – who died for the country, you are only reminded of their role in the Malegaon case. Aren’t you ashamed of yourself? Even your party-men have praised their bravery. What is that you have done for this country that enables you to talk about such martyrs in this manner?

• And yet again Sir, why are you so shallow so as to raise an event of 8th century in a time like this. If all of us start keeping grudges for 13 centuries, then this human race will not see tomorrow’s daylight. The India that matters is the one of today. We have to think about how to strengthen it, develop it, and make people feel blessed to be Indians, not fragment India with statements like that of yours. I find your words to be very close to those used by British during their “Divide-and-Rule” policy to govern India.

I will also be extremely glad and proud if we had intelligence agencies and anti-terror forces of the standard that the West has. But by continuously trying to isolate the whole Muslim community as partners in terror, you create an environment of distrust due to which some of them start collaborating with external terrorists. Blaming the whole Muslim community for terrorism is akin to blaming the entire Hindu community for the Gujarat riots.

I really wish that you take the time to share your views with me. If I am wrong, please correct me. But, if I am correct, please reform yourself. Don’t believe in your views so much that you cease to have the ability to have a fresh view.

My Opera Usage Notes

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Unconvinced by the indecisive reviews of browsers in Chip as well as Digit, I want to do it myself now. First on the block is Opera. A very fast browser with die-hard fan base but usage lower than even Safari. Used it for 2 nights and here are the notes:
Opera Usage Notes

• Didn’t allow other browsers any share in bandwith. Safari, IE showed server not responding while I ran Google Reader on it.
• No spell check in Blogger. Firefox had it by default.
• My blog wasn’t showing up properly i.e. with correct dimensions.
• Worked faster I think with Twitter.
• Needed flash plugin. Can’t it be preloaded or use the IE/Firefox plugin. How many times am I going to install it!!
• Interface is better and cleaner. Inspired to clean and improve my firefox now.
• opera wants that all feeds should be linked to its inbuilt reader. no i use google reader. bad!
• Very peculiar lag while shifting between tabs sometimes like 4-5 secs!!
• Got phreaked out typing in facebook
• Had to digg. Missed shareaholic on firefox
• Labnol had a link - searching flickr, site was not able to work on opera! Old problem
• Even MS Mesh - the cloud computing next-gen site hung up with Opera. Really not a browser to be used in isolation.

Send in your browser feedback. Lets really sort out this browser war.

The Economic Crisis - Simplified

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The amount of media attention that the global economic crisis has generated is worthy of creating a newsprint crisis by itself. Surprisingly, very few of these reports have actually tried to simplify the whole picture so that a common person is able to comprehend the economic crisis. One of the major causes of the crisis has been the fact that financial instruments have become so complex that even CEOs don’t get a hang of it. Even as the crisis unfolds, the media has failed to adequately simplify maintainig its tradition of keeping things complex.

Maybe its not all the fault of media. Because the crisis itself is so complex that everyone has a theory but no one has a concrete one. So, I will present mine (basically an adapted version of Thomas Friedman’s

It started with 9/11. The incident caused a major downshift in comsumer demand. To fight this deflationary sentiment, the Bush administration encouraged people to spend and give a boost to the economy. The housing market was a part of this greater plan. EVERYONE was offered a loan for a house. Many articles claim that the only condition to get a house loan in this phase was a desire to express it regardless of your credit-worthiness. With credit being so easy to avail, everyone wanted a home and got it. The housing market boomed. But Bush forgot to tell Americans to take their legs off the pedal! How could he? He was busy accelerating in Iraq and Afghanistan. And a bubble got created. Prices went up like a rocket. Very soon, people started defaulting on payments. Banks realized but they had already offered too many bad loans which were now defaulting. We got the first buzzword of this saga – subprime crisis Subprime, as I have been able to infer are that group of people whose credit worthiness is below that of a regular income group. A huge number of people were now defaulting and banks were losing huge amount of money. But how, they must have some guarantee?

They had. The house they financed was their guarantee. They seized it. But what next? As the crisis erupted, the housing bubble bursted and prices crashed. So a house funded for say Rs 10 million was only worth Rs 5 million now. Banks lost out Rs. 5 million. And unlike here in India, they couldn’t go seizing the person’s other assets to recover their loan.

You would have seen and read a lot of people aggressively that stock markets are only a hang-out of speculators and nothing more. They don’t have any significant impact on the common man. Hopefully all that aggression has given way to some meditation about the current crisis. As the subprime crisis grew in size, the sentiment in share markets became negative. People thought that it is more prudent to sit on cash at a time when several major financial institutions (Merill Lynch, Lehmann Brothers, AIG) are cracking up. This caused the markets to enter into a freefall. Our own Indian BSE Sensex is down from its high of 21000 to 9500 levels now.

This equity crisis led to huge losses for a lot of people. The profits they had earned throughout their lives got wiped out within weeks and months. This made people cautious and caused the next monster – demand crisis. Everyone had lost big amount of money? How? Very few people invest in share markets. Yes!! But, where do they invest? They invested in mutual funds and unit-linked insurance plans which are themselves based on share markets.I have written a post related to it earlier.

Now corporations started feeling the heat. Already with banks finding it tough to stay afloat, credit was tough to find and new projects were slowed down. With the depressed consumer demand and cracking stock prices, companies had to cut down on projection and revise their revenue projections. This eventually caused the employment crisis.

Never after the Great Depression in USA (1929-32) have all these crisises - housing, equity, demand and employment - occured together at this scale. This is why you feel the anxiousness in the voices of even the prettiest of news anchors. (Case in point - Namrata Brar on NDTV Profit. I haven’t seen another better mix of beauty with some really sharp economic brain. Yes, I have a crush on her. Lets get back.)

Finally, the most common confusion! With all this mayhem starting in USA and Western Europe, why are we getting involved. I can’t give a lecture on how the world has globalised and flattened and become inter-connected. (Buy Thomas Friedman’s “The World is Flat” - preferably through the LibraryThing link on your right. We will and have been affected. But that affect has been mitigated some what due to some prudent and watchful. You don’t get a loan easily in India unless you drive a BMW. There are zillions of formalities. And if you default once, your name (using the PAN card) goes on the black-listed credit database that all banks share and you won’t get another loan unless your dues (even credit card bills) are cleared. Anyways even if we got easy loans at some time, Indian mentality is not too look for too big too early. However, we got involved at the next stage - equity as a major portion of the money flow in our share markets comes from foreign institutional investors(FIIs). Hopefully our domestic demand will see us through this phase. But to completely restore order, I hope global leaders like Barack Obama, Gordon Brown, Nicholas Sarkozy, Hu Zintao and our PM Dr. Singh make a coordinated plan.

Dostana – Its Good

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This post was written on Saturday but due to connection problems, I wasn’t able to publish it.

After the debacle called my Math Semester examination (more on it in the next post), I actually went out and saw a movie. Yeah, times have changed as Mom said “It looks like you are into an engineering college now. Going for the movie on Day 1 of your semesters.”

I have a strong dislike for movie analysts and experts. The basic criterion for the dislike is the fact that if you end up watching each and every movie that is made, how can you enjoy it!! And yeah, we do appreciate good plots and every other technicalities, but the point is that when you are in the theater, are you engrossed in the story or wondering about what this character or the plot could have shaped up? I had the plan of writing a review on Dostana and so when I was watching the movie, I was making some sort of mental notes on it. Its inescapable.

Ok. A hell lot of theory on movie reviews. Now lets move on to Dostana. The movie opens up with a Shilpa Shetty dance number. The song’s good. But, I have never been a big fan of hers. Though you have to say that she’s looking good. My friends were gasping from the first scene onwards. What is more attractive is John!! Man, his look wil put Troy’s Brad Pitt to shame. As the whole movie revolves around a gay love story, I can take the chance of calling him hot. John – a photographer and Abhishek – a nurse end up at Priyanka’s home looking for a room in Miami. (Thats a place to workThey end up making a gay love story because Priyanka’s masi won’t allow two baba log to live with baby. The story is very predictable. Both end up loving Priyanka and do their best to break her courtship with the boss at her fashion mag “Bobby Deol”. And as the movie ends, Priyanka goes to Bobby leaving John and Abhishek. Only in a movie!!

Now, Priyanka is looking deliriously hot, sexy, beautiful, put in the adjective of your choice. I am not competent to talk about acting in a forceful tone but, I will only say that she did great in all those happy moments. And thankfully, there weren’t that many sad moments in the movie to deal with. Priyanka, it felt good to see you back in your beautiful groove. (Haven’t watched Fashion till now, but friends say she’s better over here.

Abhishek surely looks the more authentic gay. His comic timing is impeccable. Although not the hunk like John, there is some mysterious sexiness inherent in him. His clothing, look, everything is great. He is in the character of the imperfect person, afraid of horror movies, slapped by his mother, ….. and does it well. John is first-of-all hot, but there’s nothing new for him in the movie. It was a kind-of-repeat of John in “Garam Masala”. But, yes he looks the part and is a very suitable cast for the role. Kirron Kher goes bonkers when she discovers that her son is uhoh gay. The song “Ma tera munda bigar gaya” is a comic mad. The whole theater went mad with laughter. Her dialogues like “Mere ko pata nahi ki tu meri bahu he ya damad ( I don’t know whether you are my son-in-law or my daughter-in-law) are comical epic stuff. Bobby as Priyanka’s boss looks as ordinary as he always does. We kept wondering why Karan didn’t use his Filmfare Most Powerful stuff and rope in some dude like Hrithik for the role. Basically, Bobby’s part is the movie’s not-so-glorious one.

Overall, its a must-watch movie, if you want to just have fun, There is no big story, but the movie does it. And yes, you won’t find a movie where two mainstream actors John & Abhishek are in a lip lock. It was aaaarghhhhhh. How could they? So much for reality depiction.

What, looking for a rating or what? This is no self important bloke talking. And I can’t rate a movie by watching it once.

Obama : USA Is Back

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As I was growing up,the perception that I had about USA was of a country that is at the best in most of the fields, where life is much better and the most innovative work happens. Then 9/11 happened. I still remember that Dad called from office telling about the twin towers crashing after planes hit them. And I - then a mere Std. 5 student was not shocked, more fascinated about what happened, how the best USA could be hit. I think I became a more passionate enemy of Osama than many of my age in USA would have been.

Since then USA hasn’t been the same. It is known only for unnecessary aggression in Iraq, a place where amazing number of people fail in Math, drop out of college, get into drugs, its careless attitude towards climate change, its failing heritage brands like Ford and Motorola, and for the last year it is in news for causing the credit crisis. You see USA had become the big guy who has lost his mind, and after living greatly is falling out piece-by-piece. This belief was reinforced when I learnt that my USA college applications were unsuccessful because the country is cutting down on funds for outsiders and spending it on what?? Fighting senseless wars.

In midst of all this came the presidential elections. Now, I must speak the truth in my own blog. I was rooting for Hillary first because of the charisma of Bill Clinton and because I read that she would be more favorable for India. But, I often doubted my favor. Barack Obama was just such a magic. A self-made man, who studied in the best colleges, worked hard and had the slogan “Change we can believe in.” God, I love those words. I often went to sleep thinking how can I support Hillary over Barack. And by the time Hillary lost, I was happy.

I haven’t heard anything significant India specific from Obama apart from his tough comments on Pakistan. But still I am a fan of this man. I had done a project in Class 11 on Martin Luther King and had read a lot about how Blacks were discriminated in the States. So when Barack won and I read articles like the one Shobaa De wrote today in Deccan Chronicle describing how teary-eyed blacks listened to Obama’s victory speech, it touched me. I know Obama is the president of USA and his concerns will be primarily of his own country. But I am sure a leader like him will inspire the world and lead it into newer brighter areas. I say so because I admire Thomas Friedman’s “The World is Flat” and one thing that he focuses on in his book is the dismal health care system in USA and here is a leader who voices the same concerns. That is a real agenda.

USA is not out of the pits. It has leaders like Sarah Palin whose motto was “Drill Baby Drill”. I read a nice word for it by a Columbia professor – “anti intellectualism” – the rejection of everything sane and scientific. And I am still depressed that I wasn’t able to fulfill my dream – study in MIT among the world’s best and change the world. But with Obama, I am sure USA will become a better, friendlier and a smarter country.

Just looking for a buyable Obama T-Shirt now.

In Search of Better Brand Names

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I have fallen in love with watching television due to the brilliant quality that Tata Sky manages on our vintage decade old BPL television. See the picture and sound quality, and you will be convinced that you should also shift to DTH (Direct to home). This segment is very Big and Digital these days. By the way, that is also the name of the two new competitors that have launched in the DTH space. Surely, there is a big crisis of new brand names when people still launch products with the name “Digital” years after even our bikes engines became digital.

I was recently working on deciding a name for a project that I am doing with a couple of my friends and we also felt it unexplainably tough to come up with a proper name. But, I hope with an advertising budget of Rs. 1200 crore – a combined figure for all DTH operators, there could have been more effort. Now, Reliance ADA (Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group) has named all its entertainment sings – movie production, distribution, music label, FM radio etc. as Big. So, you have big music and big movies………….. I don’t know what you feel, but I find Big very odd. I didn’t know when using common names as your brand became the latest trend among brand managers.

If this surprised me, imagine what would have been my reaction the first time I saw the advertisement of Digital TV. I thought it is just another feature of their product until I realised that it was actually the name of the brand. Unlike Reliance’s Big, digital TV has no logo or stylised “digital” text also. Is the economic recession responsible for this too?

No, I don’t think so. This has become a trend – an unexplainable one. Why will someone name his work so shabbily? Earlier too, we have Big Bazaar and while roaming through the Main market area of Ranchi, one of the better shops was named Big Shop. Maybe, it is all about just how big you are!

If companies are doing it for the sake of easy recall among the lesser affluent class, they should have named it Airtel TV, or Reliance TV – that is way better.
I managed to visit both Reliance Mart as well as Reliance Fresh in this trip. The earlier is based in a large double-storey building while the latter is a much smaller version. Both are part of Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Retail. But I wonder if the same group has been behind designing the logo and look of both the companies, Mart looks very cheap and has a bad shade of Red. Someone really watched Om Shanti Om a lot of times before coming up with the staff dress. On the other hand, Fresh looks cool in green (also green n fresh – nice combination).

I have read many a times about the huge scarcity of movie and television scripts. Looks like the problem has spread to the advertising and branding mediums also.