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Friday, 12 May 2017

Chokkalingam 2 - Not The Conclusion

It has been sometime since I have been here to carry out my promise that I had made the last time around. Since I am sure you need a refresher on the said promise, I oblige you! I will be lying if I didn’t think these are ripe times for sequels as I look at Baahubali 2 for inspiring Part II of this tale!

To take up from where I left, continue to clear certain misconceptions that my ‘family’ continues to harbor about me. It all started, and continued to happen whenever we had a guest. After the initial pleasantries were over, I was presented to the visitors as ‘my’ or ‘our’ Puppy as though I was an exhibit in a zoo or a prized trophy in the drawing room. (There are no trophies in the said drawing room, neither won nor killed and stuffed I must inform my readers. The use of the phrase is to gently break the readers into the atmosphere of the story and a mere figure of speech. Welcome!) The entire exercise was pretty upsetting for me to say the least. I agree people are often introduced to strangers with the widely acceptable ‘My’ Son or ‘Our’ Daughter etc., but the tone of the speech accompanied by the body language suggested a patronising relationship of a Master-Owner to a Pet-Slave! Totally unacceptable to say the least. Once the proverbial last straw was loaded into the screenplay, I decided it was high time I took things in my paws and showed these folks who the boss was! It was time I put my legs, all four of them, down!

It all started when the family planned that much overdue holiday. Places decided, dates fixed, tickets booked, reservations done, spots located and shopping done. All this while blissfully unaware of the spoke in the wheel, ME (hehe!) It was around D Day when it was decided that I will be sent to a boarding at my Vet’s clinic while the family enjoyed. Boarding! The most hoi polloi word discovered to camouflage what was essentially a jail term. To cut the story short, I was ‘checked-in’ a day before the family was to leave for the celebrations to help me acclimatise with my temporary surroundings. Acclimatise! Another great word! As though I was the Indian Cricket Team on a tour of England! It was then I set my revenge in motion. I decided to do what Kejriwal & Co often do at Jantar Mantar. I decided to go on a bhook hartal! I refused myself even a morsel of the special ‘VetPro Skin & Coat’ I am fed. I abstained from even a drop of water. And in a departure from what Kejriwal & Co usually do at Jantar Mantar, I howled! I just howled, barked and yelled nonstop! Till the inevitable happened! The Vet refused to host me for a minute more. “He is missing you all very very much. He might fall sick if left here for a minute more!” he sugar coated. Tickets, bookings, reservations, dates, spots were cancelled even as I swung around from one arm to another, licked one ugly face and another merrily swinging my tail to give the family the impression that I missed them so much! Holiday Cancelled. And none planned ever ever ever after!

The other thing I have imposed on these unsuspecting dudes is my time. No! The Credit Card Dude cannot sleep till eternity, so what if it is weekend! If he doesn’t wake up on time for my morning walk, all I do is jump onto his bed, lick him (yuck!) supposedly lovingly till he is up. If this fails, a few well-rehearsed words delivered at decibels loud enough to wake up the neighbourhood ensure complete compliance! He even tried to trick me by bolting me out of his bedroom once. The result, the entire neighbourhood was indeed woken up. The door needed a new coat of paint to boot. Never ever ever again was any door in the house bolted. They are quick learners, my family!

Then there is this favourite place of mine. Once the entire household is woken up, ensured I am served my daily dose of nourishment on time, I hit the sack for my siesta. The problem is that these folks expect me to follow their norms like sleep on the bed, in my kennel! Imagine sleeping in a kennel or a bed? That is soooo human thing to do! I insist I will sleep where I want. Under the sofa if I feel like it. On the sofa if I so desire. And what if the same is occupied? Well look below……….!

A few hot breaths on his face and he vacates the place!

Things have moved on well for me since the time we last met. I now even decide who will visit us. That neighbourhood akka is most welcome. I hereby endorse the brand of perfume she wears. Also the aunty who visits us with her cute little baby. These variety get the mandatory welcome, lil soft bow-wows and vigorous wagging of tail. The types represented by that uncle who keeps ruffling me even as I snooze and despite my protests continues at it are a strict no. A steady stream of expletives delivered in Gabbar Singh style has ensured that his visits are now infrequent and are often terminated post the exchange of information with the family members at the door itself. Never does he dare to cross the LoC and step into my territory!

Even as this goes into print, realisation I think is fast dawning on the family. They have given up on the pretense. They know. They are reconciled to it. It is no longer as they thought. They don’t. I own them!


PS: Unlike Baahubali, this is not the conclusion. I will come back like the oft quoted dud penny!   

Glossary :

Bhook Hartal - Hunger Strike
Akka - Elder Sister

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

The Disruptor!

“Why repair something which is working fine?” is an oft repeated question in the marketing war rooms of brands. As you rightly decipher, the question is mostly asked in war rooms of market leaders. The word chanted most by the new entrants and wanna be leaders is ‘Disruption’. The former are the status quoists for obvious reasons, maintaining their grip over their leadership position. The latter of course are the ones who muddy the water and annihilate the existing order. (Status Quo often leads to setting in of ‘fatigue’ but we will leave that for another day, Welcome!)

The market leader would love the new entrants to play by the existing rules of business while the new kid on the block would try its best to break the existing terms of engagement to firstly hit the leader’s market shares and then aim to dislodge the leader.

Disruption is essentially sought to be brought about by a combination of a big idea and then the execution/implementation of the big idea. Disruption could take multiple forms. It could be a price warrior like what Nirma was to Surf or the lesser known Videocon Budgetline TVs vs the then well entrenched BPL/Onida. It could be a packaging innovation like Chik Shampoo which was the first brand to introduce sachet packets to encourage sampling or facilitate entry of customers to a segment which was till then restricted to high end users because of larger/costlier SKUs. It could also be a technologically superior product, electronic photo copers which sent cyclostyling machine packing to obsolence and oblivion. It could also be in the form of doing away with traditional forms of distribution – Company-Stockist-Wholesalers-Retailers-Consumer – and sell directly to consumers like online retailers or offline like Tupperware/Amway. A caution note here is mandatory.

Disruption should not be confused for doing things differently just for either the heck of it or for doing something differently that does not add value to the consumer. A white detergent when the world is used to blue for example. It would be a differentiation at best and not a disruptor unless the white detergent also comes with superior benefits when compared to the blue ones.
In most of the above instances, the success hinged on the seamless and fast implementation of a good/great/different idea. As the markets have often demonstrated a great idea without the distribution or vice versa have led to destruction and death of many a brand.

The Disruptor!

In the backdrop of the above, let us possibly analyze the existing scenario of the denotification of the Rs.500.00 and Rs.1000.00 notes. Assume that the above initiative were a new entrant out to capture market share or its stated objectives. The touted brand promise of this initiative has been to:

1. Unearth black money.
2. Curb corruption.
3. Curb fake currency racket.
4. Stop terrorism by way of point no 3.

As an idea, this exercise falls short on many fronts. As has been pointed out by most, black money unlike in Bollywood movies are not parked in cash form except by the small fry or just to the extent of immediate liquidity requirements. Corruption is a function of you being in a position to encash your authority by extending favours to the chosen one. Transparency can reduce corruption not smaller or larger or newer currency notes. The jury is out on the fake currency racket and its offshoot, terrorism. Time will tell us what results it can deliver. 

As regards the implementation, the less said the better. While the need for secrecy to execute such an initiative is paramount is accepted, what seems to be falling short of expectation is managing the after effects of its announcement. Was the govt caught napping on what would ensue? Did the govt misjudge the magnitude of the aftershocks? Or was the post announcement turbulence expected by the powers that be and the Govt decided to brazen out the bitter pill in the hope that like in Hindi films “end main sab theek ho jata hain”?  

Running all the way to bank? Or Bankrupt?

Within my family and friends circles and a slightly extended one of colleagues and associates, the current mood is one of hope. Hope that the Govt is sincere and some good will come out of this initiative which will benefit the country in the long run. This despite the difficulties being faced by most, Yours Truly including. How long this mood of subdued optimism will continue or will it give way to anger if the chaos in the banks and ATMs continue for longer will be known sooner rather than later.

New note in old wallets?

In Bollywoodspeak again, one hopes this initiative is a trailer, the voluntary disclosure scheme before this being the teaser and Picture abhi baaki hain mere dost kind of more substantial steps are in the offing to achieve the Govt’s objectives stated earlier in the note. If yes, the disruptor will be in a position to encash the goodwill in the Votebank come 2019. On the other hand if this is a case of disruption for disruption’s sake, it could well be the end. Or as Rajnikanth would say, Ghatam!Ghatam!!


end main sab theek ho jata hain : All is well that ends well

Picture abhi baaki hain mere dost   : It is not the end yet
Ghatam!Ghatam : It is all over!