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Diwali – The sound of success and the light of happiness October 22, 2011

Posted by aglakadam in Jara hut ke, National Issues.
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The sound of success and the light of happiness

The best part of our country India is that it is a land of celebrations and festivals. Celebrations are the most effective de-stressing events. Festivals are events where friends and relatives mingle with one another. These joyful moments add love and commitment to relationships. Children get introduced to the traditions and subsequently the  rituals get rolled over to subsequent generations.

 

A scene which I detest during festival days is that of the heaps of trash lying unaddressed on the streets. Meeta (assumed name of a homemaker) was very enthusiastic about Deepawali celebrations. She had loads of work to do before the festival. Not just the preparation of sweets and purchase of new cloths, major portion of her routine schedule was allocated towards cleanliness & housekeeping. A dirt free home is the wish of almost every family.  Even Meeta had arranged to sterilize her house. While her house was being cleaned all the garbage was getting abandoned into the nearby street. Litter generated inside house got dumped on the road side. This speaks about shortsightedness, “My house should be clean inside it does not matter if there is garbage outside”. Such individuals who demonstrate absolute lack of social responsibility should be condemned.  

Come deepawali and multifarious kind of crackers can be found creating noise pollution round the clock. The fireworks have become an almost integral part of this auspicious festival. It’s no more only the kids who have fun out of fireworks, it’s the grownups who play it more. Not many are aware that as per law it is banned to fire crackers with more than 125 decibel at four meter distance. Further there is a time limit beyond which one is not allowed to fire sound creating crackers. Insensitive and unlawful people do not bother about these rules. One can always expect ear deafening mid night blasts on the festival days. Their enjoyment seems to be more in breaking these rules and less in enjoying the festival.

I really get disquiet thinking how dreaded the new born babies would be in the birth centers or maternities on the day of sound and fireworks. Sometimes there are chances that this cacophony can even hurt a fetus in the womb. As a responsible citizen of this society we should be sensitive to these situations. If there is a hospital around or sick people in the neighborhood we should restrain from using high decibel crackers. The high level of noise generated by the crackers cause immense suffering not just human beings but also to birds and animals. Excessive noise can sometimes even cause hearing loss, high blood pressure or heart attack!

There is one sad angle to these crackers, few of us would know that the firecrackers which we use are mostly made by very young children in the factories. These child labours work under extreme unhygienic conditions and a continuous life threat. Since the substances being handled are extremely toxic many of these children get sick. The repercussions are absolutely fetal for these teenagers.

The fun and joy of watching the firecrackers is temporary. Permanent is the air pollution derived out of these crackers. Before bursting crackers for Diwali think twice and enlighten yourself towards the hazards that boisterous celebrations poses to our environment.  The toxic substances used in the firecrackers releases noxious gases which are harmful to the health of all living beings.  The heavy smoke is particularly harmful for eye, asthma & heart patients. Careless use of crackers in the vicinity of combustible and inflammatory things can cause serious fire accidents.  

It’s worth quoting an illustrious example which I observed last year at the time of holi festival. There was a death in the neighborhood and the families around in the colony decided not to have grand celebrations but limit to a modest event. Only children played with colours in the nearby garden while the senior members of the society gathered at the bereaved family’s house and exhibited their commitment to stand by them even in times of sorrow.

Finally a question to ponder over: what happens on the next day of firing millions of crackers? The streets get clattered with non degradable waste of cracker remains which further harms the environment. Recycling of this waste does not happen for ages. Diwali should be celebrated as a festival of light and not just sound. If at al there has to be a sound it should be the sound of success – a message conveying the victory of good over evil. There should be the theme of purity in the heart and not just cleanliness on the floor. Message here is to celebrate diwali and have as much fun as possible but with equal consideration for everyone and everything around. May the light of hope and happiness spread around this Diwali.

LESSONS FOR EXCELLENCE :

  • Plan to enjoy festival but do respect the well being rights of other people in the society.
  • Cleanliness at home is not enough, one should be clean at hear too.
  • Diwali is the festival of light, not the festival of sound.
  • In the event of fire, extinguish the flame by pouring water. Remember, every major fire is small when it starts.
  • Celebrate Diwali with the sound of success and the light of happiness.

Feedback : Ajit Varwandkar

Email : md@fsindia.in

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You and I can beat recession August 18, 2011

Posted by aglakadam in International Issues, National Issues.
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Mrs. Geeta Khurana, an architect, used to work for a leading construction company. Her husband was a practicing Chartered Accountant.  Both had an exceptionally peaceful family life full of love and understanding. It was daily chore for them to have breakfast and dinner together at home along with their children. One particular day Mr. Pravin Khurana did not reach home at the time he generally used to report back every day. Natural reaction was to contact him on his cell, which eventually was not responding.

After three hours when the CA reached home he saw a lot of mayhem inside. The house was full of people, the police, the neighbor’s and a few media people. While he was shocked to see the audience at home, all others were relieved to see him safe. Since Pravin did not reach home and also since he was not responding on cell, Mrs. Khurana got panicked and called up the police station to inform that her husband was missing.  What actually happened is this – on his way back from office Pravin witnessed one accident and rushed to help the injured. He had to go to the nearby hospital and as such he got delayed. In the process someone stole his cell phone and he could not update his status at home.

Friends you and I are no different. Think about it – what comes first to our thoughts when a near & dear one does not reach home at the expected hour? Would one think that the person might have hit a jack pot on the way and would be counting the amount! Nope. Invariably one would worry of some accident on the way. It’s very natural for human brain to readily accept the possibility of a negative consequence. That’s the treatment it gets right from its birth. It requires conscious efforts for an individual to anticipate and accept a positive outcome out of uncertain situations.

Something similar happened to the world last week when credit rating firm Standard & Poor’s stunned the whole world by downgrading the U.S. government’s debt rating to AA+ from AAA. This was the first time in history that America lost its top-rung rating.  Although this downgraded of US by S&P was not the end of the world, it gave birth to a tsunami of panic driven speculations across the world. The newspapers started talking of the second consecutive recession. The world became a theater of sentiments where the drama of downfall was being staged. 

A national TV channel interviewed me the same day and wanted to have my views on the likely job market scenario if there was a double-dip recession. Though I am not an economist I refuted the possibilities of job losses and bad times. They were not convinced and started interrogating me in a manner in which police would question a suspect. I stood strong on my stand and tried to convince them. S&P’s US downgrade did not mean companies in India will start throwing out their manpower from the window. It was just one indicator. Even billionaire Warren Buffett has expressed that US economy will avoid its likely recession in three years.

Every recession has a distinct point of ignition. 1995 recession was different, 2008 was due to the fallout of subprime lending. Even the who’s who in India were caught unaware in the last recession.  On the eve of Lehman debacle, Tata’s had signed up the takeover of Corus steel in a multibillion dollar deal. As such the impact of recession was also unexpectedly harsh. But today India is not unaware; inventory and manpower levels are well within manageable limits in the core segment. There would however be certain sectors which may face the heat. Even if economy gets into a continuous phase of de-growth I thing we can be sure of is that there won’t be episodes of mass unemployment this time.  

Actually the scars of 2008 recession are still live and it does not allow our naïve brain to stop extrapolating the negative. Relax: It is most unlikely that the world would plunge into a ‘once more’ recession. While the news of likely recession was on fire, there were some positives which happened simultaneously but did not get the public sentiments. There are signs of modest improvement which should quiet the slowdown worries. Here is a list of these encouraging news sentiments: Reputed rating agencies (other than S&P) like Moody’s and Fitch have not downgraded US. In July’2011 US added 117000 jobs, better than the previous two months. Hiring picked up and the unemployment rate dipped to 9.1 percent. Goldman Sachs on Monday upgraded India to ‘market weight’ from ‘underweight’. With the macro cycle oil prices were likely to roll down and a newspaper report said petrol could come down by Rs. 10/- a liter!

Life differs in each ones perspective. A deaf child says : “For all of you I am deaf, but for me all of you are dumb.” I am sure the US downgrade doesn’t warrant too much of panic like it did in 2008. Need of the hour is to refrain from being a negative thinker. Since we may not know the details of the macro economic developments across the globe let’s not succumb to a recessionary thought process. Worries of negative expectations lead to ignorant negative speculations on a mass scale. Businesses across the nation would adopt the ‘wait and watch’ strategy and this may subsequently trigger recession. Hence it is better to be wishfully optimistic than to be hopelessly pessimistic.  Positive thoughts will encourage & help build up sentiments leading to overall growth. Let’s together cultivate an optimistic belief about the future and spread the positive word around. 

LESSONS FOR EXCELLENCE :

  1. 1.       Let’s train our thoughts to dwell more on “hope for the best” and less on “be prepared for the worst”.
  2. 2.       No poison can kill a positive thinker and no medicine can heal a negative mind! Be it life or business; teach yourself to be positive in the world of expectations.
  3. 3.       “Words are under your control until you speak them, but you come under their control once you have spoken them!”
  4. 4.       Tongue is the biggest tool of mass destruction as well as mass construction. Let’s use it constructively.
  5. 5.       Collectively all of us can defeat recession by endorsing the right sentiments.

 

Ajit Varwandkar

Email : info@fsindia.in

How much homework is enough for students? August 7, 2011

Posted by aglakadam in Children n Students, National Issues.
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What is your homework policy?

I happened to be discussing about school education and child upbringing with one senior bureaucrat recently. The officer’s son was studying in one of the most prestigious ( & costly too!) school in the town, however he was still seemingly unhappy about his child’s performance at school and at home. He said, “Ajit Ji, readymade Maggy ko pani mein ubal ke agar gharwali khana parosegi to usne khana banaya bolenge kya?” ( If the housewife buys a ready to eat food, just boil’s it and arranges it for you to eat, will she be given the credit of preparing a good food?). I said, Not really. That’s what is happening to our children today. His complaint was that for every home work assignment which his son gets, he prefers to surf the internet, download the data, do a bit of copy-paste-reformat and finish the homework. I am afraid tomorrow he may upload his homework on face book and update the status!

When parent’s meet what they most of the time discuss and speak is about their children. A variety of ideas and information gets churned out in such discussions. One lady who shifted her son to a new school, feels it’s a very good school only because back home she had never seen her son so immoderately busy with his homework. In her words, “Now a day’s my son ‘studies’ a lot!” Actually her son is most of the times busy completing his homework.  On the contrary here is one senior banker who curses his son’s school like anything. What they tell the child to do at home is only to copy down the matter from textbook to homework copy. Worst is this that most of the time his son is on a multitasking mode. He does all his topo job (copy work) simultaneously while he is watching those film fare awards or other reality shows on the idiot box ( television). When cross questioned his son has a logical explanation “ Dad, till date not even a single such assignment has been checked by our teacher. She will only put a red colour mark to fulfill her statutory responsibility. Even if I write down the story of DON 2 in between the notes still I can get the “red colour OK mark and signature” from my teacher on the home work submission!”

Friends won’t you agree that doing such homework is just like eating a heavy dose of junk food which has no nourishment but only satisfies the sense of having eaten something!” If there is zero importance to homework given to children, it will only kill the students productive time and make him dull. I recall my school days when if I were to prepare for a debate on any topic first I used to use all my available information in the memory bank to scribble the preliminary framework. Then discuss it with parents and friends to make it more relevant ( obviously we did not have search engines those days!). Finally our teacher used to do the final cut and approve or disapprove the content. On the contrary in today’s era  if a student has to prepare for a debate, I can bet, 95 out of 100 students will log on to google.com and download the content (rest 5 might not have the  “right to internet” at home!)

In the current schooling system I have observed a gross disconnect between school homework and its expected output. Students from various schools share that they get homework from various subject teachers in different periods. Sometimes the summation of homework given by all the subject teachers in a particular day grossly surpasses the students capacity to accommodate. Students from lower classes are sometimes given assignments and projects which are very difficult for them to execute. In one school a class II student got an assignment to make a model of Roads and Buildings. This child has not been prepared to take on such an assignment on his own and as such the project gets outsourced to the kids parents or brother-sisters. This is a typical case of a fruitless home work. In the process the child learns to daringly fake in front of the world when she proclaims that she has done that project on her own! 

Be it an essay contest preparation or any kind of a project work submission there are off line and online companies which offer a readymade solution. This should not sound like news that there are various homework vendors available in big markets who offer to do your child’s homework in exchange of a few rupees! Home work is a booming business in a few metro’s now a days, specially the ‘bulk home work’s’ like summer home work or the winter homework!

Homework is defined as out-of-class tasks assigned to students as an extension or elaboration of classroom lessons. In effect I think, there could be three main purposes of  homework:

  1. Make the student practice at home what has been taught in school.
  2. Make her to prepare for the examinations.
  3. As an extended learning ( skill development and extra curriculum)

A lot of research has been done on the need and relevance of home work given to school children and its relevance in the current context. It has been found that homework is a largely effective in enhancing the student’s performance but only when it is executed by the student in the intended manner. According to a Duke professor of psychology Mr. Harris Cooper, there is a positive correlation between home work and student performance specially for secondary school students. Too much or too little home work, both work against the students learning aptitude. The research suggests assigning of 10 minutes of homework per day per grade-level. Accordingly class I students should get 10 minutes worth of homework while 9th graders can accommodate 90 minutes of homework.

Assigning homework should have educational value and should serve to enhance the learning. It should not attempt to supplement the time constraint in school in order to cover up the full course curriculum.  Homework is a tool which should be effectively and intelligently used by the school administration to leverage intellectual discipline and establishes desirable study habits. It should reinforce the lessons studied in school. As a by-product home work should bring the home and the school as well as the teacher and the parent close to each other.

LESSONS FOR EXCELLENCE :

  • Every school should have a well discussed and properly designed homework policy.
  • Before going for the internet resources, students should be educated and encouraged to at least attempt the first level of assignment with the available resource with him in his mind.
  • Feedback improves the effectiveness of homework, especially when the homework submission is genuinely reviewed and feedback given in a timely manner.
  • Attempt should be made to limit after school activities so that student has enough time to manage various other activities like sports, social networking, relationships etc.
  • Homework should entice the parents to monitor the child’s work at home, but it should not compel them to get into “on the job” execution support at home.

 

Ajit Varwandkar

Email : info@fsindia.in

Why do people kill people? July 30, 2011

Posted by aglakadam in National Issues, parenting, Social Casue.
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PRELUDE :  Recently there was a robbery in the town. The  lone housewife at home was murdered ruthlessly by the robbers when she tried to resist. The thoughts in this write-up originate from this incident.

 

The whole city is sad. The news of a gruesome murder of an innocent house wife has sent shivers down the spine. The bone marrow has curled up and down. It’s not only unfortunate but also unbearable. How can one be so ruthless and so cruel to stab a lone woman at home? How daringly brutal it is. Has humanity touched its lowest ebbs? Are we all not safe and secure anymore?  What about our future generation, will they face more of such instances in their life? Of all why do such accidents happen at all? Is it only a law and order issue? Has this to do with police and administration or humanity and parenting? Many questions pass through the gray area and keep shaking the spirit.

It is important for us to understand the reasons which prompt an individual to indulge into such unscrupulous acts of crime. 

…………………..  Complete write-up in my forthcoming book…. for announcement on the book title and launch, pl keep visiting www.aglakadam.com  ……………………………………… 

 

Ajit Varwandkar

Email : info@fsindia.in

4,90,000 parent’s failed in IIT ! May 28, 2011

Posted by aglakadam in career guidance and counselling, Children n Students, National Issues, parenting.
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4,90,000 parent’s failed in IIT !

“Sir, my son is average in studies, he is not an extra ordinary student. Can you please help us suggest him the right career?” Working as a career counselor we come across such statements from accompanying parent’s more often than less. It is really heartening to see parents de-motivating their ward when it is their responsibility to be the source of inspiration for them. Most of the times this happens unintentionally but it surely devaluates the self esteem of the child.

IIT Jee results are out. Almost five lac students participated in this engineering race and less than ten thousand students qualified to get admission into India’s best engineering institutes. As per statistics out of every 200 student only 1 got to enter the prestigious institutes! By all means this is a very tough competition. I read in newspaper that son of a vegetable vendor qualified for IIT Jee in Chhattisgarh. In Bangalore a student who works part time as a bartender in a wine shop got through in the examination. These are those special cases where the hard work and preparation got an opportunity to meet success.

Almost every school in India had a list of few students qualifying in the tests. For the school authorities and management the success of their students in similar examinations becomes a matter of pride and fuel for their growth & prosperity in future. Appreciation goes only to those who get the winning certificate. Students who qualify in the entrance examination get a lot of accolades. It’s like a festival of congratulations where the whole world wants to hug the winners. The school teachers, the coaching institutes, parents, friends and seniors – all clamor around the winners to claim their share of the credit in making the student a success. Banners, Posters and Media play a prominent role in glamorizing the success of these successful students. 

I sit back to think about the state of mind of the majority.  When the demand supply is lopsided & there is a rush to get the best, majority never wins. In any such competitive examination the majority lies with those who could not cross the barrier. What about the balance nine lakh ninety thousand students? Are they good for nothing? Are they not worth making a great career for themselves? Had there been 1000 more seats available in the education system, may be those borderline thousand students would also have got an opportunity to celebrate success.  Tragedy happens when many parent’s forget that these examinations are just a means of eliminating applicants in order to offer admission to selected students in their institutes. Parent’s forget the fact that these examinations are not to identify how dumb or how intelligent their ward is.

Father of a meritorious student informed me that his daughter did not qualify for JEE. This was a rude shock for the school, the teacher & for the friends. While the father was demonstrating absolute cool de-mean-our I could see dejection on the face of the kid. Sometimes there are no answers to questions in life. May be the child did not fill up the answer sheet properly, may be the answer sheet got mixed up, maybe she did not write the roll number correctly or maybe she did not understand the negative marking pattern of the examinations. Something surely went wrong somewhere.  It was time for the family and friends to accept the result and move ahead. What the father further said was heart stimulating “There is nothing to be shocked about failures in life. I do not take this as a heart break. My daughter has many other options for success and we are going party today!”  I recalled the proverb “Failure is nothing but a delayed success!”

Not all children are lucky to have so considerate & thoughtful parent.  It is the responsibility of biological parents to evolve into matured parent. Examinations like IIT JEE or any other engineering / medical examinations actually put the parent of contesting students to test. It is their natural anxiety to ensure that they want their ward to get the best. Many parent sacrifice their happiness and wealth to ensure that the child gets the best academic infrastructure.  I know of a father who sold of his only property to get his son educated at one of the best coaching institute in Rajasthan last season. In spite of his inputs his son did not qualify. As a result the whole family got mentally derailed and went into psychological disorder.  There are many such examples in the country. Out of the 4,90,000 families of students who did not qualify for IIT JEE this year, I am sure majority won’t be prepared to take the negative results. Dejections in life should as well be taken with dignity. Rejection does not mean the end of life, it only means there is an area of improvement.

Recently in a leading national daily there was a news item which said that a few students from IIM Ahemdabad and Bangalore were asked to tell what part of their childhood they would like to change given they had such an opportunity. A few students cried and said they wanted to become something else in their career and definitely not a management graduate! Their parent’s coerced them into the management education! One family came to us for guidance & psychometric career assessment. They were taken aback & broken down when we informed that their child has an aptitude into fine arts. Engineering or medical might not be the most apt career for the kid. The father was a senior PSU officer and desperately wanted to father an engineering student. Reason being he missed the engineering race in his career trajectory. In most of the family’s parent inflict their children with their unfulfilled career desires. A father – mother combine can become the best counselor for the child. They should properly access the strength areas of the child and direct the child into similar directions.

My dear parent’s, it’s not your children alone who face the examinations, it is you who have to actually pass or fail. It’s time to take responsibility and show reasonable upbringing ability at home.  It is vital for today’s parent to create the right atmosphere at home. It is their responsibility to prepare children to take on the challenges & examinations in life. Majority of the parent’s will have to learn to hold their anxiety and control their emotions. Do not just scold your child for his / her not performing upto expectations. Show them the varied options for the future and appraise them on the opportunities for improvement. If you feel you are not really competent to do this, hire professional services but please do not mess up with the mindset of your child. Believe me your kid takes your words very seriously. Your words can make him / her a leader or a laggard. In private or in public, always use positive adjectives for your children. You may not see immediate results of positive affirmations but negative words will surely kill the motivation instantly.

Lessons for Excellence :

  1. Results of any academic examination should never be treated as the ultimate result. The menu card in the restaurant of Life will have much more to offer beyond these results!
  2. Children should always have fallback options in place. If career plan A does not work, Plan B might! In-fact one should have a career plan C also in place.   
  3. Parent’s please note: your words and actions are being watched by your children. Please demonstrate absolute maturity when addressing the child’s performance ( or non performance ) in public or at home.
  4. Parent’s – never push your unfulfilled career aspirations down the throat of your child. Let her personality evolve in tune with her strengths.
  5. Finally, if the child fails in any examination   – he/she should not be blamed alone for it. Parent, School & society should take the collective responsibility.

 

Ajit Varwandkar

Email : info@fsindia.in

MAY of BENGAL May 13, 2011

Posted by aglakadam in National Issues, Social Casue.
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I am not an expert to speak or write on politics but still am inspired to scribble a few thoughts originating out of the recent state election results in India. As they say “bhagwan ke ghar deer hai andher nahi” i.e God’s mill grinds, may be a bit late; like wise in India Democracy brings in change, though it may take some time n some cases.

The message I wish to drive in is that we still have the power to change our government. Not everything can be purchased or sold in today’s world. As they say people get the government they deserve likewise political parties get the public treatment they deserve! The ballot can be hijacked but you can not steal public opinion for long.

Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee says , “This is a victory of people. I am dedicating this victory to people. We will establish democracy. We will bring back the lost glory of Bengal.”  I sincerely hope the glory of Bengal is restored. Hopefully the environment is made favourable for big industrial investments in the state. Hopefully the railway gets out of the no night running blemish, hopefully the people of Bengal and India get to see the change they have longed for.

Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. When you get absolute power where corruption has already made deep inroads into the system, it would be all the more challenging to keep up balance between growth and austerity. It might not be an easy road ahead for the new government to deliver what they have committed to the people. The lesson learnt is that when you do not confirm to your words, you get  thrown out of power. Hopefully this lesson is learned not just by the out thrown czars but also the just in Kings & Queens!

Hopefully the Didi will travel this new path with alacrity and business sence.  Not just new deeds to be done, a lot of weed need to be undone! Need of the hour for the NEW GOVERNMENT is  to be careful. May this “May of Bengal” be recorded as a real historic landmark of growth and prosperity. Best Wishes to  Ma, Mati & Manush (mother, land and man) of Bengal.

Ajit Varwandkar

Email : info@fsindia.in

Promotion wise and Product foolish! April 2, 2011

Posted by aglakadam in Life and all, Management, National Issues.
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With the World cup final on cards, the cricket heat is on its peak. The semi final between India & Pakistan was seen as a mega event by most of the Indians. Cricket stadium of Mohali were overcrowded. The stand tickets were sold at an astronomically high price tag, just imagine Rs. 1500000/- for a ticket worth Rs. 15000/- only! Nothing ‘black’ about it; the sale was all open and widely available! A few tickets were sold with a commitment that they would get the seat from where Amir Khan would be easily seen enjoying the match! What a wonderful selling point!

The world cup cricket actually has been a mega market for a variety of products in the country. The semi final and the final matches are avenues for stock clearance for these marketers. From beer to chocklet’s, from posters to t-shirts, everything consumable found a huge market on the day India & Pakistan played the world cup semi final match. I am told there was a tea vendor who earned a revenue of approximately Rs. 200,000 in one single day! This amount is more than what he actually earned over a business period of six months! He was smart enough to cash the opportunity and had operational 5 tea stalls around the stadium!

Make no mistake about it, cricket rules Indian masses & markets! Whenever cricket is played, India has a large congregation of eyeballs. With so much of prospective customer density per unit cricketing hour India has the ability to brand and sell almost anything under the sun which may include the wada pao to car, ice cream to pickles, mobiles to cars & from dreams to hope! There were sellers who could sell vehicle parking space with pseudo safety. In Mumbai there is a child care center which earned huge revenues, because parent’s wanted to handover their kids in safe hands when they were actually enjoying the cricket match!

There is a flood of TV commercials & news paper advertisements while cricket is being played these days. Almost every consumer product was seen attracting a buyer. Offers were plenty. Almost all celebrities on the media got an opportunity to endorse a brand or two! Social networking sites saw their revenues shooting up beyond the roof! Off the ground retired players like Anil Kumble was selling Wipro’ Santoor brand or performing as a specialist anchor on a television sop and in the stadium hundreds of brands were being promoted by the playing cricketers themselves! Even the grass on the ground near the pitch was painted with brands!

Not just in the stands and on the media, a lot of sales happened on the internet aswell. ICC had so much to auction while the cricket tournament! From the coin used for the toss in the match to a cricket bat signed by the players, everything was on auction! I understand that there were thousands of bidders for everything that was on sale. A 200 rupee ball with which the match was played has been bid for almost 10 Lac rupees!

Many online sales sites made huge bucks out of the cricketing fever. Live score on SMS was sold like a hot cake which converted into revenue in millions! There is a famous story about a small girl in US who found two interesting shape stones while coming home from school. She thought of selling it and put the photographs of these stones on the online trading site ebay.com. She was surprised to have a few bidders for these stones, that too for 3-4 dollars! Direct cash out of raw stones!

When Indian and Pakistani cricketers were playing on the ground there was a fortune teller who was selling future to the audience! Local news from Mohali tells that even God was on sale! Two cricket enthusiast ladies were tricked by some vagabonds outside the cricketing event. The ladies were told that if they close their eyes for ten minutes and chant a particular mantra, God will help India win the match! While the docile ladies closed their eyes the guys made themselves rich with cash from the ladies purse!

Smart marketers these days have ventured to defy the fundamental principles of marketing. Philip Kotlar identified “need” as the core origin of all sales but this is not true now. Today we see products being pumped into the households for no need absolutely! Take a trip to a mall or a multi brand retail outlet and see people shopping purely out of “impulse” instinct! The attractive displays and the exciting offers compel an individual to own a product which he/she my actually not need it. Only back home one realizes that the purchase could have been very well avoided or lived without! On such occasions like cricket tournaments products are sold more by managing & manipulating the impulse and less by way of satisfying the need!

The lesson learnt is that everything under the sun sells! Infact you can sell nothing and still earn money! You are just required to have a proper mix of product packaging, branding and placement! Be there at the right place at the right time and sell whatever you want to, even your used slippers!

Such mega events like cricket tournaments in India attract a lot of good and bad sellers in the market place. It is not just possible to stop people from selling incorrect or inferior products / services. Such sales eventually results in the erosion of general trust but who cares! The seller as well enters the short term market with a short term agenda. Fast buck is all that is looked out for.

“Market’s tragedy is that we get sold too soon and wise too late.” If you intend to make money don’t let this opportunity go away. The only need is to have the saleable idea behind the product. Never will you find such a place where anything & everything sells! Go and get your booty now. On the other hand if you are a customer, better to be a good buyer & identify the right product. Never get carried away by the place, price & promotion of the product. Don’t be promotion wise and product foolish.

Ajit Varwandkar
Email : info@fsindia.in

Hang On, Look Inside March 21, 2011

Posted by aglakadam in Life and all, National Issues.
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I am sharing one real life story of a car driver. This is what I observed once on the city main road. A high value car was moving at a very fast pace. While passing by a temple it marginally managed not to run over a flower vendor. Looked like the car driver was not in his proper senses. Coincidentally I and that car were both moving on the same route. A few yards ahead the car wrongly undertook a moving van and made a rash left turn on the road which would take us to the city hospital. I could make it that there was an emergency and may be the car driver was in a hurry to take the patient to the doctor. When it comes to saving life, a bit of rule breaking here and there can be overlooked. I sympathized with the sick person inside.

However what I saw ahead was an eye opener for me. That car did not move inside the hospital but whizzed ahead with full speed making brash horn noise daringly in front of the “No Horn” Hospital zone. There was no regard for the traffic signal’s mourning on the road side. The car was now running on the road to the city airport. Further ahead I saw this car suddenly dropping down its speed and moving very slowly over a large size speed breaker. A double standard behavior was demonstrated by this care driver; while he was driving so carelessly within the city he was extremely careful not to drive fast over the speed breaker!

The individual driving that car was not at all bothered about the safety of the people on & off the road. Neither there was any emergency nor he was drunk. In fact he had no respect for the traffic rules & no empathy for the patients struggling for health in the hospitals. He was though extremely careful not to speed the car over the speed breaker lest the car suspension system might get damaged and it would incur him inconvenience! He seemed to be extremely selfish and socially irresponsible. I thought it was a high value car driven by a value less creature inside!

Many times I had cursed those frequent large sized speed breakers on roads in many Indian cities. But I now realized that simply putting a go slow traffic sign post is not sufficient to inspire an individual to honor the safety & security rights of the people on the road. I have seen it many times; people driving a vehicle prefer not to respect the traffic sign when no one is watching them. With the ever dipping human sensitivity the height of the speed breaker on the road was proportionately increasing day by day. People who are extremely selfish, will stop or slow down only when it would threaten to impact them directly and not when others might get the blow.

Such horrible exposures on roads are not uncommon today. The hopeless person driving that car is not just one example of human insensitivity. One comes across many such incidents at various other occasions in multiple formats. It is said that man is a social animal but the fact is now changing for some people for whom I can say “man is less social and more animal”! (saying this might as well be a disrespect for most of the animals!).

I would like to quote one more road side behavior of unsocial people – ‘peeing on the roadside’. Invariably we find men using the road side for urinal even in daylight. This is so unhygienic and unfortunate. I consider this as a gross disrespect for the ladies and the society. Once upon a time a person used to look for a hide, deep inside somewhere, but now-a-days anyplace on the road side is not a problem. This is not because of the lack of hygiene infrastructure facilities, I have seen people from well to do families shamelessly defecating on the roads even in residential places crowded with families around. For such people the only criterion to release themselves in public area is to ensure that the place is far off from their home. As long as their near and dear ones are not aware of such a public demonstration, it is ok for them to convert anyplace into a urinal!
I have one observation here : with ever increasing insensitivity of such human beings, the majority of good people in the society is getting desensitized. Whatever may be the reason but the tolerance quotient of decent and sensible human beings is ever increasing now a days. Common man on the road prefers to close eyes and move ahead when unsocial people are found creating non sense on the road.

Yet another experience comes when people play colours on the road. Festival of holi is a wonderful way to celebrate & welcome a season change. It teaches us to accept various colours of life in totality and keep smiling. Unfortunately on the day of holi we get to see the weak side of human character. On the day when people play with colours, you will find many people making noise and yelling abuses on the roads! Is this what a festival is meant for? No, but it happens and the only reason why it happens is because people doing such notorious acts feel they have hidden themselves behind the mask of holi colours and as such no one will recognize them! They tend to reveal their true unsocial self!

Friends its time for all of us to Hang On & Look Inside. Generally we do not attempt to even admonish that rash car driver or the person using road side as a urinal or the one abusing on a festive day. Do we? Something within us is changing very rapidly. We have subconsciously started accepting unsocial behaviors as a part of life. We now subscribe to the philosophy that it’s better to be prepared & proactive than to react and raise voice against unworthy elements. This is what we teach our children today. We educate them more on self defense & self restraint.

My understanding is that we still have more than 80% of socially decent & sensitive human beings around us but the balance 20% is a potential threat for the progeny. It’s time we start inculcating social responsibility in our children so that the future generation reaps the fruits of socially sensitive environment. Only teaching vices will not work, we elders have the utmost responsibility to collectively execute “responsible behavior”! Austerity begins at home. We can start teaching social responsibility first by way of demonstrating the desired behavior at home. We will have to make everyone understand that “Character is what we do when no one is watching us”. It is my vehement appeal to our schools, societies and parents to take an initiative in their own capacities to address this issue. A journey of thousand miles starts with the very first step, please do take one step in this direction. This write-up is my first step, I invite all of you to join here and convert this attempt into a social movement.

Ajit Varwandkar
Contact : info@fsindia.in

UNEDUCATED BUT PROFESSIONAL January 29, 2011

Posted by aglakadam in Management, National Issues.
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Recently I had been to South Bastar, in Chhattisgarh, for a week long career guidance mission. I conducted career guidance camps for students from the tribal region schools at various locations. While the tour I stayed in a government rest house at one location.

As soon as I entered the rest house early morning, I was welcomed by a young boy who was dressed-up in typical tribal outfit. He was wearing a very peculiar smile to make his get-up all the more impressive. He came forward to help me with my luggage and made me comfortable in the room. He rushed to the kitchen and prepared a cup of tea for me.
I could bet he was a good host. His name was Ayatu.

I got ready and went out of the rest house to take a look around & familiarize with the place. Out there, up on a very high tree, I saw a wood cutter on job. He was cutting the tree branches with alacrity and collecting wood for fire. I was really astonished to see how swiftly this woodcutter boy climbed up & came down the very long tree. On close observation I found that this woodcutter was none other than the same young boy Ayatu, who had welcomed me to the rest house in the morning. Ayatu had many more skills to his credit, he was the single person managing the kitchen. He prepared delicious breakfast & dinner for me that day. He used to manage the laundry and housekeeping also. Though the rest house had only three rooms, it was really amazing to see this boy perform with so much of perfection on all fronts. The final blow came when the boy informed me that he was a school drop out and was planning to appear for class IXth examination this year as a private student! From reception to kitchen, from grocery to laundry, from worker to student…. this young boy was a real
multi skilled personality. I thought Ayatu was a real hero, an inspiration for many. Even after being located at such a remote place in Bastar he demonstrated versatile management capabilities.

Now here is another real life story. This is the story of a highly qualified professional working with a multinational company in a metro. He would be probably earning salary in lacs of rupees & sitting in an air-conditioned environment. I guess he would be wearing a tie and a well ironed dress. He is designated as assistant manager working with the “Human Resource” (HR) function. This HR manager had a MBA degree to decorate his academic portfolio.

While I was on my Bastar tour, I was expecting a payment from this MNC. As a matter of fact, for certain reasons, this check was very important for me at that time. It was promised to me by the HR professionals that the check would be couriered in a days time for sure. However when I returned to office after completing my tour, I found that the desired courier had not yet reached. I immediately called up the HR “professional” to query about the check. Here is what he had to reply : “Sir, your check is ready, but the dispatch clerk has been absent since last three days. As such I could not get the check tugged into a courier and send it to you. Now that this clerk is back today, you will surely get the check tomorrow, I am sorry for the inordinate delay!”

Both the above real life stories demonstrate a contrast in individuals behavior and work nature. While the real professional from remote tribal village scored hundred out of hundred in all aspects of execution in management, our highly qualified MBA from the MNC working in a fast running metro could not even stick one envelop!

I realized that professional literacy should not be defined just by a degree or a certificate. I also strongly felt that management should not be taught only in class rooms. In our professional life we come across many individuals who demonstrate extreme apathy to work. I see many of the highly qualified and (so called) professionals reach office only to spend more time on networking and less time on the work assigned to them. At best, they get so much restricted into working in the quantified zone of welldefined “key result area’s” that they miss out on many vital management aspects. They
not only fall short of customer expectations but also become a customer insulated professional. They lack initiative & are not at all sensitive in their inter personal behavior also.

Friends I bet you will also agree that Ayatu was a better professional. Our HR manager was so much dependent on the desk clerk that he could not manage to get an envelop and dispatch a courier for three days while Ayatu would not rest even if he has no wood to prepare food in the kitchen! One had demonstrated a lot of initiative and customer consciousness while the other was absolutely deaf on customer needs! The school dropout had far more management skills while the MBA manager was an educated illiterate!

Ajit Varwandkar
Managing Director,
FS Management (I) Pvt. Ltd.

The author can be contacted on : info@fsindia.in

Corporate Social Dabawalas! November 10, 2010

Posted by aglakadam in Fun Reading, Jara hut ke, Life and all, National Issues, Social Casue.
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Dabbawala’s are very famous, not just in Mumbai & India but across the world. When I say Dabbawala, I am sure you immediately start thinking of the dabbawala’s of Mumbai who have an impeccable record of delivering more than 200000 lunch (tiffin) boxes to the respective users everyday within a time frame of 3 hours from 11.30 am till 1.30 pm. Day on day for the last few decades the dabbawala’s have been demonstrating zero error in their services to an extent that they have been recognized as Six Sigma Performance! For those who are still not aware about all this I encourage you to just Google dabbawala and see the 29400 results!

As per Wikipedia the definition of dabbawala goes like this : A dabewala, also spelled as dabbawalla or dabbawallah, literally meaning person with a box, is a person in the Indian subcontinent, most commonly found in the cities of Mumbai and Karachi, who is employed in a unique service industry whose primary business is collecting the freshly cooked food in lunch boxes from the residences of the office workers (mostly in the suburbs), delivering it to their respective workplaces and returning back the empty boxes by using various modes of transport.

Friends, here in this writeup, I am not intending to poke my nose in the business of the dabbawala’s who every day crisscross Mumbai by about 60 kms in the locals trains. I however refer to those dabbawala’s who haven’t yet found space in the treasury of Google though they are rife almost in every city in India! Yes I have discovered a new breed of dabbawala’s in the corporate world. A breed with a variety so unique and hi profile that it may take Google years to get an insight into these dabbas. I take this opportunity to share my observations on these dabbawala’s in this write-up. This is a post deepawali discovery.

These real dabbawala’s are actually found only in the festive season of deepawali. These are people with sweet boxes trying to reach and please their respective business beneficiaries prior to the festival day. This is a typical syndrome in the PP (public private) mode of “life – business – governance cycle of operations” in the corporate world in almost every city in India.

The nature and truth behind these dabbas (boxes) and the corporate dabbawals has though evolved over time. The journey of the dabbas started as a good will gesture when friends & relatives used to exchange sweets on the auspicious festive occasion. This was a well intended exchange of wishes and had nothing quid-pro-co hidden inside. Over ages now the tradition of dabbas on deepawali has evolved to deliver different motives.

You can find various kinds of contents floating in these dabbas today. I met one such gentle man who is a typical babu and a proud receiver of dabbas every deepawali. He received more than 35 Dabbas this deepawali. I was enlightened with academic information that these days not all the dabbas have sweets inside, in fact most of the dabba’s do not have sweets inside. Many other kind of items are also found in these sweet boxes like latest mobile handsets, video camera’s of small sizes, biscuits & coins (of course made of gold), diamond rings (to please madam), different variety of gift /travel vouchers etc. Stretch your imagination and you will still fall short of thereality… these sweet boxes have hi fi dimension products inside… They say that majority of the dabba’s in deepawali are used to guise the exchange of hard cash! As per one guesstimate the exchange of ‘green’ can accumulate to the tune of a few thousand crore rupees on a pan India basis. All these transactions just over a couple of days!

Once upon a time the burnt cracker debris in front of your house was an indication of how well you celebrated the festival. Today it is the count, variety & size of the used dabba’s thrown in the dustbin indicates how “wealthy” festival time had been for you. Hopefully now the IT sleuths will have a special drive from the upcoming festival season to take a count of the empty dabbas in front of houses in the streets.

Festival time dabbas are increasingly becoming an integral part of our corporate culture today. If a business unit does not indulge in dabba’s the happiness quotient in times to come is likely to come down, the payment lead time is likely to increase, the discounts or giveaways will be forced to be hiked and worst the future business prospects are at stake! Considering all this it makes sense for a business unit to distribute dabbas in advance of the festival. This is very much important the dabbas have to come in advance, if it is delayed the boss might not be pleased enough!

It was a surprise for me to know that most of the corporate’s in India spends at least two weeks time in advance to fulfill this corporate special responsibility! At times even an especially dedicated taskforce is set in action to work out the logistics and allocation of dabbas. The CSR administration machinery works round the clock to work out the dabba inventory. Which dabba to be handed over to which babu /
beneficiary and by whom at which place is a critical decision.

The best part is one cannot apparently identify these sweet boxes as bribes yet those hand’s who deliver the business checks gets greased. The giver and receiver of the dabba’s as well are much relieved from the pseudo sense of sin involved in the exchange of bribe. After all deepawali symbolizes the victory of good over evil and hence one need to be careful & safe!

Ajit Varwandkar
Managing Director
http://www.aglakadam.com