Friday, February 18, 2011

Ab inn ke khilaf bagaawat kaun karein, Bhagat Singh Paaji?

Dear Bhagat Singh Paaji,

Sat sri akaal
. Sorry for greeting you so, inspite of knowing that you were an Atheist. Sat Sri Akal roughly translates to "God is the ultimate truth". I am no expert in Punjabi. Of course, I know a few Punjabi words and terms - Chak de phatte, oye paapey, teri meri ik jind, soniye, hiriye, paaji, balle balle - all thanks to Bollywood. I know the meanings of a few trademark and hardcore Punjabi slogans too - Waahe Guruji ka Khalsa, Waahe Guruji ki Fateh; Jo Bole So Nihaal, Sat Sri Akal - all thanks to Wiki here.

, Wiki is not yet another Viceroy exported to India by the Atlees and Churchills after 1931 when you were hanged for the first time (Hanged for the first time? Yes Paaji, there is a reason for this, you will know it shortly) It is simply an internet page. Wikipedia. A storehouse of information. Recently, a lot of MBA students donated generously to keep that page up and running which also meant their academic projects will now sail through smoothly. However, it is also something which can be easily fiddled with. One doesn't need an act of bravado like the Kakori train robbery which you and your comrades showcased during the freedom movement.

Anyways Paaji, to cut the crap, Wiki was once again fiddled with. Like I mentioned before, without much bravado. The page that read about your glory was the victim. On 13th or 14th February, a few anti-Valentine groups/individuals found it heroic to alter your death day on Wiki and spread false rumours. The page read that Bhagat Singh was hanged on 14th February. Soon after, false SMSs were launched which stated that though 14th February was the day when Bhagat Singh was hanged by the British, but Indian youth only celebrate it as Valentines Day. Facebook, Twitter were abuzz with similar messages. Rumours spread faster than truth and forest-fire. This was a classic case which proved that statement right. Bhagat Singh was hanged on 14th February. For once, most of us forgot that the ICC World Cup is just round the corner. For once, most of us forgot that there were scams going on around us. For once, most of us forgot that it's time to file annual I-T returns. For once, most of us forgot that in a week or so, we ourselves will forget Bhagat Singh and get back to our normal routine. But on 14th February, emotions were charged and charged high. An altered Wiki page, provided the source of energy. A few educated but mindless Tweeples and Facebookers - like they say - kept the tempo going. The only mantra that seemed to run in the nervous system of charged up youth was Bhagat Singh was hanged on 14th February.

Paaji, the problem is not groups or people opposing Valentines Day. Not they wooing the youth as well. The problem is with these groups or people using cheap tactics such as 'Online Vandalism' to promote their ideas. The problem is also the educated youth believing these cooked up stories and without any cross-verification, posting the same on their Facebook walls proudly. But how would they cross-verify in this case, Paaji? The Wiki page which they refer to itself was altered! The British hanged you once on 23rd March 1931. You were hanged numerous times on 13th and 14th February 2011. But Paaji, some blame has to be shared by you too. You see, you were of the types who would desh ke liye ek baar kya hazaar baar phaansi chadenge. And lo, modern India has fulfilled that wish of yours which you as well as the British could not. What an irony! On one hand, these 'Internet Revolutionaries' strengthen their claim of being staunch Indians and on the other, misuse the Internet and disrespect the bygone Indian heroes for their sleazy benefits. Wow! India Shining! Jai Ho! Jai Vigyaan! But what about the Agyaan which our youth displayed by believing the 'Internet Revolutionaries'?

Paaji, this was just one instance of 'Online Vandalism' and something which I thought went overboard. Hence I thought of penning the same to you. There are a few others as well, Paaji. UNESCO declaring the Indian National Anthem as the best National Anthem in the world and ISKCON wins a case against a nun at Poland who abused Lord Krishna to name a few. While we don't need any certificate about our National Anthem being the best or worst, I am yet to receive a reply from ISKCON confirming or rubbishing such a case in Poland.

So Paaji, how did you feel getting hanged after 80 years? And not once or twice or thrice but each time when the concocted story decorated Twitter and Facebook and SMSs.

Vichar karo Paaji. Inquilaab Zindabad!!

Aap ki sewa mein,
Common Man.

Image courtesy


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

"................ aur Raja ko praja kabhi dhoka nahin de sakti"

However, the other way round of this dialogue - from the Hindi movie 'Kya Yehi Pyar Hai' - is true. For the time being, the Raja is in news for deceiving the Praja. Not that the Raja was in news for all the right reasons in the past, the Praja too knows it. But the magnitude of these dhokas of the Raja can even put a natural disaster like Tsunami or a man-made structure like The Great Wall of China or simply a man like The Great Khali...... (I am running out of comparisons now... sob sob)..... to shame. The series of these dhokas can any day beat the number of waves I saw at the beach. And trust me, these dhokas are doing nothing but erasing the identity of the Nation, just like those waves at the beach erased my/my friends'/my girl friends'/my cousins'/all & sundry & miscellaneous names which I wrote as a kid and as a youth.

They say, "If Cricket is my religion, Sachin is my God". Likewise, with the number of scams that have unfolded in the recent past (and folded back conveniently in the same pace), ardent henchmen of a party can swear by the scam and scamsters. How would this new statement sound? "If Politics is my religion, Congress is my caste and Suresh Kalmadi is my God and CWG Scam is my Holy Book". Or even "If Politics is my religion, BJP is my caste and Reddy Bros. are my Ram & Lakshman & Bharath and Mining Scam is my Holy Book". We are in an political era, where valuing the scams in thousands of rupees might make you look like someone from the sets of Sholay (Gabbar: "Arrey oh Saamba... kitna inaam rakhe hai re sarkaar hum pe?" Saamba: ".......Poorey pachaas hazaar") Talking in lakhs (Are you kidding buddy?!!) of rupees might make you look someone from medieval era. It's the era of crores and not one or two but three but as much as Rs. 1.76 lakhs crore (and more). I have tried 17 times to figure out the number of zeroes with no success. For once, imagine. Someone who is handed over the task of cleaning this mess. He might have to write to Casio/Citizen/Orpat to have a claculator specially manufactured which can accomodate some 20 digits (What? Not enough?) or may be even 40 digits (if one keeps future in mind). Hey, even that is not necessary, if this Rs. 1.76 lakhs crore also contains a reserve to fill the pockets of the investigating agenices. What is surprising is, the stand-by Minister who replaces the tainted Minister claims that such a loss of revenue to the Nation doesn't exsist at all. Bole toh, if I have to put in his typical Nayee Dilli style, all he said was "Desh ko nuksaan hua hi nahin hai. CAGwaale maa chudaaye apni" (Apologies for the expletives). That is what you meant right, Mr. Kapil Sibal? How neatly cooked up! No wonder he was also considered as an 'excellent chef' during his tenure at the Harward Law School!

If there was enough tadka and teekha in what transpired and conspired in New Delhi, South India too had it's share of saambar, especially in Karnataka (I am keeping it to a simple 'Karnataka', I am bored of seeing people write karNATAKA). There has been tearing off the kurta (fortunate not to see tearing off the pajaamas too) in the assembly, there has been a walkathon from Bangalore to Bellary which resulted only in the walkers losing weight and nothing substantial (The Reddy Bros. lost face in the Panchayath elections, if at all it is of some consequence) and of late, there has been a Test Match between the Governor and the Chief Minister. If the CM's current is tainted, the Governor's past and his associations (To put it in a saas-bahu serial style, it is as simple as "Tumhara ateet hi mera vartamaan bana hai") When the opposition is showing impeccable respect to the Governor (which they didn't to the citizens while ruling), the ruling party - not surprisingly - has termed the Governor 'Congress agent' or 'Sonia agent'. The State is in a miserable situation. Your today's blunder is justified by my yesterday's folly. My yesterday's folly has to be forgotten because it is not as big as your today's blunder. There is a CM in Gujarat, who appears before the SIT, gets himself grilled for X hours and comes out clean (as per the leaked SIT report) and here we have a CM, who promised a 'Gujarat model Governance' but has been spending time visiting His Holiness (i.e. the Swamijis and temples in all South Indian States), His Excellency (i.e the Governor) and His Highness (i.e the party top brass in New Delhi). He even goes to an extent of saying to 'reveal' the names of 'all those who are corrupt' within his own party at New Delhi. It is like those Hindi movie dialogues "Aainda agar tuney meri behen ki taraf aankh uThaa ke bhi dekh liya, toh main tere poorey khaandaan ki aankhein noch loonga". There the hero utters it to the villain. Here the hero utters it to his own god-fathers! And lo, because the His Excellency permits to prosecute the CM, he even goes on a rampage, calls for a Bandh the next day but declares it late in the evening, blocks roads, burns tyres and costs the State's exchequer Rs. 2000 crore in a day (What the heck, just 2 more scams and we will recover it)

When such has been the extent of loot, when such is the attitude of the elected leaders towards the citizens and governance, when there are Adarsh and CWG scams being unearthed day in and day out, it is only time for the people to keep political allegiance aside for once. The talks of the party ideology which is used as a weapon to lure the common man at the grass root, is diluted to the core as it creeps upwards. Looting of money, public wealth, land, nepotism, frauds become the common ideology of all parties. Why should a State observe a bandh if a tainted CM is permitted to prosecute by the law? What does justifying one's past scandals because the other's present scams are huge in nature bring to my table? Perhaps the hero worship culture of political figures - committing suicide on their death and threatening immolation of self on they not being inducted in some random Ministry - have given them an assurance that the supporters will stand solidly behind even after all the blood has been sucked. It is time we stop taking sides and speak in the same tone, whoever usurps land for his son or whoever gives today's product at yesterday's price. Else,

Republic Day wishes to all my friends. Nothing really to be proud of when on the eve of R Day, a Govt. Official on his way out to expose corruption is burnt alive.

- Common Man.

Image courtesy -


Friday, November 26, 2010

Even Dhritarashtra and Bhishma were silent during Draupadi vastraharan: Manish Tiwari

Blogging after a long time due to some commitments. Of all the things I thought of penning down, this one is something in news continuously these days (or even months) - SCAMS. With scams and scamsters ruling the nation, here is a spoof on the same. Hope you guys will enjoy it.
Even Dhritarashtra and Bhishma were silent during Draupadi vastraharan: Manish Tiwari

Reacting sharply to BJP's comments that the Prime Minister is blind to a series of scams running right under his nose, Congress spokesperson Manish Tiwari said that even Dhritarashtra did not act when Draupadi was stripped in an open court in Hastinapura. "The BJP swears by the Hindutva. How can they forget the Hindu mythic scripture Mahabharata where Dhritarashtra did nothing to save Draupadi from being stripped? Even the scholarly Bhishma did nothing. So does it mean Bhishma is a corrupt character? Everybody revers him today. The BJP should read the Hindu scriptures thoroughly before they
preach Hindutva and pass such absolutely absurd comments " said Tiwari on Thursday en route 10 Janpath after receiving a missed call from UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi.

BJP had accused the Congress of providing a breeding ground for corruption after the Apex Court questioned the inaction of the Prime Minister in the 2G Spectrum allocation scandal. Taking a leaf out of this remark of the Supreme Court, senior BJP leader Venkaiah Naidu had said that the Prime Minister might be a man of unquestionable integrity but his ability to question the integrity of tainted ministers was highly questionable. Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray slammed the Prime Minister in his usual satire style. "He should have known a lot about the 2G. Isn't he always singing praises and eulogy of the 2Gs which is SoniaG and RahulG?" wrote Thackeray in his editorial in Saamana, a Marathi daily.

"These scams have become a daily affair. It seems to be running like the IPL. There is a scam from Bangalore, a scam from Mumbai and just like the IPL, politicians and corporate houses seem to be taking active and equal participation in them. Everytime a scam of such gigantic proportion crops up, our belief in a pro-poor, pro-farmer, pro-labour and a pro-common man economy and political agenda becomes firm and stronger" said Brinda Karat of the CPI(M) who was at a Govt. Hospital in Hooghly distributing fruits to patients to commemorate the release of Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

The Congress and the BJP meanwhile would hold a brainstorming session soon to arrive at various statements to justify their scams. Sources close to both the parties revealed that with new faces like Varun and Rahul trying to attain centre-stage, it was necessary to come out with new justification statements. "Yes, gone are the days when opposition demanded dissolution of the Parliament or Assembly or even resignations at every scam or sex scandal of a Minister. This resignation cry is now for regional leaders like Kumaraswamy and Paswan to play with. Naya Hindustan, Naya Pehchaan is the mantra and hence the public expects Kuch Naya Bayaan (new statement)" said BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar. When questioned about Karnataka CM's land scam, he brushed it aside saying that the wave of Congress led scam is so strong that the BJP had no other option but to go with the flow.

With the Congress and BJP passing the ball of corruption to each others' court, ace Tennis player Mahesh Bhupathi tweeted "Sick! Never played such a long rally in Tennis too".

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Lekin insaaf nahin mila hai Me Lord... insaaf nahin mila. Mili hai toh sirf yeh taareeq!

This melodramatic dialogue of Sunny Deol playing the role of an honest lawyer in the movie 'Damini' pretty much sums up the general public opinion on the postponement of Ayodhya verdict by another few days, to September 28th.

The verdict to be pronounced before September 30th is crucial (whether beams and ceilings in CWG stadiums are fixed or not) as one of the judges retire on that date and should something such occur which makes it inevitable for the judgement NOT to come out before that date, then the entire trial will have to be held once again, which means, another 4-5 General Elections can be fought on the Ayodhya dispute which is perhaps the last thing an Indian wants. Postponing the judgement by 4 days with an expectation of out-of-court settlement from the parties to title suit is too much an ask from them. It is more like the 3-day Agra Summit where we were made to believe that at the end of the 3rd Day, Kashmir dispute will be solved and all we got was a long list of savouries served to Musharraf & Co, how he exclaimed the Taj Mahal and a couple of "We will" and "We shall" assurances. If something could not be solved in 60+ years, will 60 odd hours bring a solution? Will an out-of-court settlement mean there won't be any violence? The parties to title suit don't have any control over the rioters in various parts of the country, do they? Which is that party to title suit after having fought for so long willing to go back home empty handed while the winner celebrates with champagnes and self-congratulates his own 'charisma'?

Should there be no more pleas to postpone the verdict and should the verdict be delivered on September 28th, there is still no guarantee that violence and riots will be an absolute zero. On the other hand, the entire effort by the Central Govt. to ensure peace, even though the Commonwealth Games preparation is at 'piece-piece', becomes meaningless now. Remember, quite a sizeable number of security forces are dispatched to Uttar Pradesh, from where the judgement would be pronounced, various States were on a high-alert, forces were deployed in sensitive areas and many such measures were also taken to ensure peace and civility. So now imagine, these forces have to relocate back to their pavilion or stay back until next week? What do we do with the steps taken like Sec . 144 enforcement, liquor ban, bulk SMSs ban etc.?

One more matter of concern is 28th of September falls very close to 3rd October which is the opening day of Commonwealth Games (assuming that it goes as per schedule). Athletes from different nations would be landing here next week. If security forces are deployed at sensitive and vulnerable areas (and by the grace of God, we have such areas in plenty) who will provide security to these athletes? Will we tell them that we can't provide security to you because we are deciding whether to build a temple or a mosque at some place where more than half the Indians have never visited?

Meanwhile, if more dialogues from the same sequence of 'Damini' are to be believed, then, "Do tareeqon ke beech adaalat ke baahar kaanoon ke dallaal insaaf ka dhandha karte hai.. dhandha, jahaa pe gawaahon ko khareedey jaatey hai aur beche jaatey hai.."

- Common Man

Image courtesy -

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Harry ha Hussain? Sach sach bataa... kaun hai tu?

"Tell us... Whom do you pray Mr. President?"

Even the Khaps weren't interested to know if the Indian President's Gotra is the same or different than that of her husband's. So why this unnecessary fuss and get nosy into Obama's religion? The US, which was proud of having elected a 'Black President' (some considered this term too as derogatory) and boasted about a 'free society' now finds itself in the row of religion, something which was and is dear to India and Indians. Matter relating to the places of worship and religion always stirs emotion and passion. India gives us handful of such cases which are in public memory even today, if religiously celebrating it's 'anniversary' is a yardstick to measure. It can invite death if one tries the arm-twisting tactics and also catapult to power if the 'card' is 'played' at the right time. And, it can also be a hen that lays the golden egg. No wonder the 'hen' is alive and our (abhi)netas aren't in a mood to make a tandoor out of it.

So it all starts with the proposal to build a mosque on Ground Zero, where the World Trade Center stood earlier and was destroyed in the 9/11 attacks. The row as expected due to obvious reasons spread like wildfire and reached to a point where the US Prez. too intervenes. His attempt to reshape the dented image of Uncle Sam in the eyes of 'I' nations and 'M' population worldwide became further more evident with his 'No Objection Certificate' to build a mosque on Ground Zero. His nod attracted worldwide attention and soon, the research reports which media houses conducted by way of polls perhaps were out. The finding was that 1 out of 5 Americans felt Obama is a Muslim. Those who showed that they are 'colour blind' an year and a half ago had now worn the glasses of religion. The White House was quick to clarify that -

"President Obama is a committed Christian, and his faith is an important part of his daily life"

"He prays every day, he seeks a small circle of Christian pastors to give him spiritual advice and counseling, he even receives a daily devotional that he uses each morning. The President's Christian faith is a part of who he is, but not a part of what the public or the media is focused on everyday" [Source -] So, *Obama is a 'committed' Christian* is a news bigger than "Vishwanathan Anand is still an Indian" to Indian babus.

Now, what's the big deal if he were to be a Muslim? Won't Harry from Buffalo support Obama's war against outsourcing if he is a Muslim? If he is a Muslim, will Hussain in Baghdad prefer Pepsi and KFC over Shawarma? And whether he is a Hussain or a Harry, Harish in ITPL Bangalore will be kept busy (and have no much qualms about it) as long as India's tech giants get their share of bread & butter. Religion doesn't opiate Harish in this case you see!

On the contrary, India, a country where most times one is identified by his surname than by his achievements did better by not dragging the religion card when Kalam became the President (or even when he mentioned that he has read the Gita and the Bible too) or when Bismillah Khan was chosen over Bhimsen Joshi for the nation's highest civilian honour. The Sikhs hardly objected when Dr. Manmohan Singh was elevated to the post of the PM by the party which is infamous for the 1984 riots and several Muslim organizations assured their support to the first ever full-fledged BJP Namma Karnataka for all developmental activities though the latter is not so unpopular when it comes to fishing in troubled waters.

It was the development card - revival of economy, enhancement of the lost pride and image - which the Prez had to offer during his pre-election campaigns and that was overwhelmingly accepted. But to dig out the religious history of the Prez over a single statement is contradictory and that The White House's affirmation that "Obama is a devout Christian" is least expected. Couldn't it have been a simple "The President's religion is his personal affair" rather than big-mouthing how he solicits advises from the clergy and how he doesn't pray in a particular way or to a particular God.

All said and done, now that Obama has given a "Yes we can" for the mosque on Ground Zero, proceedings from here on will be interesting to observe. Magar dost, ek baat yaad rakho. Jo kabhi jaati nahin hai, usse ko JAATI kehte hai.

Common Man.

Haan aur ek baat... the Khaps are yet to question the Indian President and her husband on their Gotra.

Image courtesy -

Monday, August 9, 2010

A 'Chop Shop' doesn't get listed on NASDAQ : Murthy

Tens and thousands of employees of Infosys Technologies Ltd. today submitted their resignation on learning that their company was not in the field of Software services but is a Chop Shop. Monday morning witnessed the mail servers of many HR Executives jammed as employees, who had their dreams shattered of making it to the US, sent lengthy resignation mails to their respective HR Executives. "Yes, we have received 21,345 resignations so far within 4 hours of work today. Since most of them are not yet able to believe that they are 'choppers' and not 'Techhies', most resignations, as much as 15,789 of them were emailed which were sent through Blackberry and HTC Android", said Mr. Manav Sansadhan, Sr. HR Manager who initially did not want to be named, but later agreed to, as he too had decided to resign. Further, he added "These figures are expected to reach close to 33,000 by end of tomorrow as those working in UK and US shifts are yet to reach office"

Lashing at this comment in a rather uncharacteristic manner, Infosys Chief Mentor, Mr. N R Narayana Murthy said "If we are a 'Chop Shop', how did USA list us in their NASDAQ Stock Exchange and permit us to issue ADRs? Are norms in USA so liberal that any junk and sundry firm can be listed in their Stock Exchange? This is a frivolous argument which has only made me and my buddy Premji more stronger to fight protectionism!!". Mr. T V Mohandas Pai, the Director of Human Resources who was also present nodded his head while speculations are ripe that he might switch back to his CFO role, unable to cope with mass-resignation.

When a leading Bank who figures in the Top 10 clientele of Infosys was contacted, it's Sr. Vice President - Administration said "We are aware of the developments. However, the top brass has assured us that things will go on smoothly and the Bank's operations will not be hampered. Already, Infosys has issued orders to march towards the PC to 35,000 employees who are on bench sipping coffee and playing TT and that is a sigh of relief for us. Our Credit Card customers will still have seamless access to the Call Centres". Taking cue from this statement, education segment expert from a consultancy firm, Mr. Vidya Saraswathi projected that Infosys could hire anything between 25000-30000 fresh graduates and laterals since a huge chunk of resource was getting vacant from Bench and Wipro was catching up big time in terms of employee headcount.

"The US has gone bonkers you see.. They would rather do well to close down the 'Chop Shop' that they have opened in Iraq and Afghanistan. Or worse is look into Mark Hurd's trapped in sexual her-ass-meant case", said 22 year old Phatichar Screwvala who was quick to correct himself and re-pronounce it as 'harassment'. Phatichar who had successfully completed his induction programme on Friday evening reiterated that Infosys was known for it's integrity and values and unlike in the US, it had never involved in sexual harassment scandals, unaware of the Phaneesh Murthy episode which rocked India Inc. during his high-school days. Phatichar is based out of Mysore DC. However, the farmers of Mysore said that those comments did not have any base and he was only repeating the talking points of his masters. Mr. Ketanlal Vishnudas Patel, a veteran businessman of Indian origin in USA whose short poems are the most sought after declined to comment and simply sent a one liner email saying "Time is very precious in this part of the world" when contacted.

Meanwhile, a group of disgruntled employees who are yet to submit their resignation threatened to self-immolate during the wedding of N R Narayana Murthy's son later this year. "Since you have broken it, you rather fix it or I will self-immolate during your son's wedding" said Pune based 26 year old 'Agni'vesha (name changed as he fears being ditched by his girl-friend who works as a Brand Manager with AUTOMOBILE giant Hyundai) His friends lent their hankies/undies/Boxers/sock as he wept to an extent inconsolable. "The upcoming alliance between TVS and Infosys seems to be 'motivated by business interests'. Anything is possible in India and yet no one is accountable for it" said an aggressive Indian-American Mr. 'Nexus' D'Souza who currently works with a medical equipment manufacturing giant in USA and believes any sundry claims made by the USA despite several rebuttals by his Indian friends. He even cited an incident where an Infosys employee had given a 'Hot water bath' to his maid for which he was sacked. Mr. D'Souza also gave a call to all US Corporations to stop business with companies who have employees without sensitivity towards fellow human beings but declined to comment when asked about the wage cut some of the Pizza delivery boys get in US headquartered firms.

As our Bangalore correspondent started towards Infosys' Bannerghatta Road DC from Electronics City in BMTC Bus, following conversation in Kannada between two daily-wage earners was heard - "Adeno kaddiro car mattu bike maaraaTa maaDo jaaga anta Amreekadalli yaaro Ministru heLiddarantappa... Irbeku ansutte. BeLgaadre ee Imposis aapees oLgaDe Tata Sumo, Tata Starbussu, Toyota Qualissu, namma BMTC bhaDge bussu hogod noDidre avr heLirodu kharey irbeku" (Roughly translated as "Some Minister in US says Infosys is into selling stolen cars and bikes. When we see several vehicles plying into their campus from early morning, they might be right")

"I think the whole Brand needs a revamp now. We need to start with the punchline 'Powered by intellects, Driven by values'. Probably, the words 'Powered' and 'Driven' needs to be powerfully driven off as they mostly get the automobile feel in the minds of the consumers" opined a Bangalore based Brand and Advertisement Guru and suggested punchlines like 'Borrowed intellects with no values' and 'To fix before it breaks'. He also came up with an idea of organizing events in the Americas, Europe and APAC to control the damage done and estimated the cost of events to be $5000 MN but assured that his newly commencing Event Management Firm could make it at 70% of that".

Infosys employees who are normally spotted from tea-stalls to book-stores and from airports to restaurants wearing their most coveted ID cards seemed to have abstained from wearing the same as not many employees with Infosys ID cards were found today. Psychologists from NIMHANS, Bangalore were of the opinion that it is a common trend to disown our own when something really shameful happens. "We had queries from Satyam employees whether to wear their ID cards or not when the Ramalinga Raju scandal broke out. What we have observed is employees of foreign companies aren't affected much at times of crisis than their Indian counterparts though during the economic recession it is the the other way round" said Dr. Maanasik Swasthya, a Psychologist in NIMHANS, Bangalore. Enigma Pub and Yo! China confirmed that HP hasn't cancelled their advance bookings while Bangalore One reported numerous calls from Infosys employees enquiring about the Art of Living ashram address.

All Indian IT companies as a mark of condemnation of the preposterous statement have decided to replace all white PCs with black PCs. Indian companies like Wipro and HCL have proposed to buyback HP and Dell systems and replace with their Brands. However, none of the companies wanted to part with IBM Servers. The matter is now with NASSCOM and is believed to raise serious repercussions in the USA and support is garnered from several leading BFSIs of USA and is now believed to give a twist to Barack Obama's fight for ban on job exports.

Meanwhile in an unrelated incident, Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa considered himself to be in a similar situation as US President B H Obama. On the sidelines of a massive public rally organized at Hospet which is 60 Kms away from Bellary, he said when Obama was fighting a ban on job exports, he was fighting a ban on illegal mines export. The White House has released Obama's statement - "MINE has nothing to do with B S Yeddyurappa"

Image courtesy -
Friends, the above look-alike of a newspaper article is just an imaginary write-up and be considered at best, a spoof. The author has high regards towards all individual and institution names mentioned above. Apologies to those who are offended with the 'remarks'.

Infosys is a client to my company and Mr. Murthy has written some real kind words about us and our work which we proudly display on our homepage. In any case, I make it clear that the 'views' or the 'spoof' here is my own creation and my employer is in no way responsible or connected to this.

Common Man.

Monday, July 19, 2010

"Dear Mr. Service Marketer... the boys aren't really playing well!"

Marketing services is quite a challenging task compared to marketing products, given the intangibility of the former. With the latter, a prospect can see it before hand, touch, feel or even use the product for some time before the actual decision to buy or not to buy is made. Service is something where the production as well consumption happens together, or in quick succession. For eg. - claiming medical bills from Insurance companies or withdrawing cash from a bank or an ATM. Hence, the role of Marketing gets even more rigorous and challenging when it comes to a service. All a service provider hence can do is to come out with attractive captions, logos, Brand Ambassadors, claims & other Brand Elements and display professionalism in their interaction with the prospects as well as their clients.

However, I came across a couple of instances where 2 of the best know Brands across the country have goofed up a bit when it comes to what they claim v/s what they deliver. One of them is HDFC Bank, other is Dominos Pizza. Dominos Pizza is not purely a service brand, but a product cum service brand, given their emphasis not only on Pizzas but also on 'free door delivery' and 'delivery within 30 minutes'.

Lets talk about HDFC Bank first. A brand which is synonymous with Mr. Deepak Parekh (India's unofficial man for crisis) though he is not at the helm. A brand with whom I am associated for the past 5 years and so far have nothing much to complain. Probably because I did not frequent the bank much and got my transactions done through the internet or ATMs. However, I have been visiting one of their branches every month since March. I observed a basic flaw which I never observed with any of the public sector banks. 5 times I have deposited a cheque and each time I have noticed that the person at the counter doesn't verify if the amount written on the cheque matches with the pay-n-slip. Again, there is no verification if the amount and other details mentioned in the bank's copy of pay-n-slip matches with the customer's copy. The teller simply bangs a seal and the whole transaction is over within half-a-minute. This is in stark contrast to what happens in a public sector bank, where the teller takes almost a minute before a seal is hit to the pay-n-slip. When some may shrug it off as a petty issue, I see it as a potential to create confusion later on which might require me to visit the branch quite a few number of times (without forgetting the calls to/from Customer Care and mail trails which it will accompany)
Let me take a dig at Dominos now. Though I have not been a big fan of Pizzas, something tempted me to go for it. And I ordered it online. In about 30 minutes, I got a 'missed call' from an unknown number. This was followed immediately by a message from the same number "Sir pizza delivery boy. Not able to find your house. Please call back". I promptly reverted - "Call me back or you and the pizza can go back". I got the call and guided him to my place. Owing to no change with me, I paid Rs. 200 for what cost Rs. 170. The delivery boy requested for some time to get the change. I asked for his name and asked what do I need to do if he doesn't turn up within the mentioned time. He simply uttered his name and said "Call up to the store and complain for your thirty rupees". I was taken aback but remained calm. I got the change, but, after 6-7 hours and after making a call and informing the Dominos store.

What is similar in both these cases?

The interface between the customer and the organization hasn't displayed credibility and professionalism. When those on top and in the Marketing role of organizations have always ensured to 'build a brand' by building credibility via various exercises, those at the grass-root and who often interact with the company's 'bread & butter' i.e. clients, have often failed to display it. This (dis)connect between what is claimed by the top management and what is being delivered by the grass-root can hamper the brand. At times, brands will not only lose that particular client but also several other clients by way of negative word-of-mouth communication about the brand by the disgruntled client. This very blog itself speaks negatively of Dominos and HDFC Bank, doesn't it? ;-)

Service marketers cannot afford to let their interface act with a lackluster attitude. No brand is bigger than a client's ego and his hard earned money. Absence of empathy, arrogance, disconcert by the client-organization interface will affect a brand much more than a goof up in a service. Afterall, products might be manufactured in factories, but brands are 'manufactured' in the minds of the consumers.

Regards... rather, re-guard (lots of brands need to take one)

Common Man

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