About Me

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The meek shall inherit the earth after i'm done with it! I was a bored Brahmin bschooler who ended up marrying another one :) and now here we are enjoying the natural progressions of life....traffic, inlaws, bosses, kid, electricians, plumbers and money matters.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

All for the eye-pie!


If you walk in your regular grocery shop, chances are that you’d be picking up your pack of chips from a spacecraft like Bingo stand or your toothpaste from a rocket sized Pepsodent gondola. If you plan to open a retail store, I suggest don’t buy the furniture as the stands, racks etc will soon follow, don’t waste money on painting the walls, the wallpapers and vinyls will be there soon.

Older home-grown brands like AVT are leaving their diffidence behind to fight with international majors like Nestle in display and shelf space. Innovation is at its oomphy best. A brand like Appy, which desperately wants to be called a cool drink in its TV ads,throws a sex appeal when it comes to its champagne like stylish display.

The kind of dough companies were spending five years back on display was nothing compared to what they are doing today. The amount of merchandising done inside a normal kirana store shouts for the ‘buy moi’ pull brands are creating for themselves. A few years back one could see (in a few high- throughput shops) max-to-max a Cadbury dispenser and a Coke refrigerator as ‘company ka maal’. These days you have Boost vinyls, Lays stands, Hutch sign boards, Kissan Jam racks, Airtel counters, Sunfeast gates, Bytes hangars, Maggie bags, Munch cut outs, Vicks dispensers, Red bull refrigerators, Cadbury visi-coolers, Red Label swinging insignias, Surf washing-machine-resembling boxes, Mentos trays and what not. Everyone wants to rule the category nobody is ready to be a anybody!

Fight for shelf-space is far worse when it comes to organized retail. Companies want branding on walls, flooring, ceiling, staff uniforms, bla blah….and then there are nitty gritties like extra margin, display charges etc.

Nowadays when I walk in a shop, more than the product, I appreciate the efforts put in by brand managers to catch my attention as a customer!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The day before yesterday

The day before yesterday

Bug 23 bit me so badly last night that I suddenly felt like going back to all my School days- College days- AIESEC days-SIBM days once again. To add to my misery, a few sadistic friends (Pai, Pathak & MJ) called me in the middle of their reunion in Pune.

Damn!

I brainlessly went through some 5 GB of old pics and videos and felt sad. I listened to ‘Wonderwall’ and ‘High’ and felt sadder :(

Two things that made me believe that I am just 7 years from the officially dreaded ‘not-to-be-mentioned’ number:

· I went home for a nap after lunch, before going out in the evening

· I have the ‘tanha tanha..’ song from Rangeela as my phone ringtone

I spent 90% of my day talking to people over the phone and the rest 10% to cutting birthday cakes(s)। Thanks to Nik and D, Pritam, Dinesh and of course mum-dad!!


Yesterday


I realized it was Monday again and along with my usual distributor-market visits, I had to go the bank to re-apply for my ATM cards.

I entered the North Ernakulam branch of HDFC Bank through their ATM door at 9.45 am. The gifted heavily lip-sticked help-desk woman stared at me like I’d entered her bedroom at the wrong time.

She: “Entu?” (What?)

Me: “Chechi, enikku malayalam arrayill” (Sister, I don’t know Malayalam)

She: “Tamil?” (Do you know tamil?)

Me: “Illa(No). I lost my ATM cards two days back. I need to re-apply”

She: “Irrukku” (Sit)

She gave me a form. I guess it was part of her job to offer everyone a Gold card. With her 10% english and 90% malayalam muddle and vociferous gesticulations she tried to explain the benefits and yearly charges to me. I was getting late for work but somewhere identified with her incompetent sales pitch to a customer who doesn’t understand her language, so sat and tried to decipher the details.

Those ten minutes were full of unhappy ugly realizations. It was like staring at the mirror.

She did a miserable job. It reminded me of those dozens of hopeless efforts I’d put in my last few days to convince those uncompromising contradictory retailers. I’d spoken softly (and sometimes not so softly), smiled at their smirks, cleaned their ant-ridden display counters, put posters on their cluttered dirty walls and even shook hands (I hate doing that with random men!!) but just didn’t work sometimes:(

Pitying her, I silently filled the Gold card form.

Today

It was my third consecutive visit to the police station to get the ‘certificate of complaint’ so that I could apply for a duplicate copy of my PAN card and Driving License. No matter what the general perception is, I think it’s a rather friendly place. Atleast people were trying to understand your problem or atleast they acknowledged that there was a problem(expecting that they’d do something about it is asking for too much).

I made pretty good friends with a lady constable who’d just sit and feel bad for you and go back to her newspaper (she used ‘aii-aiiyyo’ some 100 times as if it were the biggest robbery she’d ever witnessed) and the sub-inspector’s typist who tried hard to speak english.

“Molu..Bombay?”

“For work Molu?”

“Entinannu..come?”

I didn’t much understand of what all he said but in today's one hour, I had tea with him and asked about his children and family. He told me what would be the best time to see Mr. Sub Inspector which means I’ll see him tomorrow again:)

On the way back I noticed two things which made me feel a bit closer to my homeland.

First at ‘Franch Express’ courier services. Reminded me of the ‘Sandwhich’ – ‘Berger’ snack counter we had near my bus stop in school:

Second, on a movie billboard. Made me miss those half-hindi half english name plates in Jaipur eg. Retd. Lt. Colonel R . S. राजावत, Dr. D. S. मीना :

Saturday, July 14, 2007

J’ai 23 ans!

Aiyyo!

I’m gonna be 23 in a couple of hours and I have lots to whine about.

  1. No family and friends to celebrate with (not that I’m crazy about cutting cakes but now that I’ve nothing else to do, might as well whine)
  2. I’m factually penniless (my wallet’s destiny was similar to my mp3 player’s and Nikhil’s phone’s – all got stolen)
  3. No plans for tomorrow (thanks to the never-ending downpour– viral fever is in vogue and I joined the club today!)
  4. My cumulative sales achievement in the last two weeks is 88.5 % (I don’t need help from people to get completely f***** if I don’t do something about it)
  5. I’m in Kerala for 42 more days! Everything about me is becoming Malayali by the day. I go to ‘affice’ in ‘odos’ and ‘besses’. My name is ‘Pervel Serme’ and my real name is ‘Parvathy’. And I sell ch‘o’colates (‘o’ pronounced as ‘oa’ in Boat).
  6. Damn it, I’m single!! :( :( (I shouldn’t be expecting any flowers, gifts, cards…boohoo I’m such a loser in life)
  7. From tomorrow, my parents will suddenly start their ‘groom-finding’ exercise with full force, which I had requested to put on hold till I’m 23.
  8. The word 'base' doesn't hold any hidden connotation anymore. (I'm in BASE business:))
  9. I cannot find many people online to whom I can crib. Hence, this post.
  10. I’m so bored I can’t find a 10th reason!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Adsense ??

Since childhood, Outlook has been one of my favorite weekly news magazine. I laud them for their articles and reports, style of writing, consideration to detail, gripping headlines, attention-grabbing graphics and most importantly their technique of making bland news interesting.

What goes missing sometimes is the synchrony between the marketing and the editorial teams. I admire Vinod Mehta (Editor –In-Chief, Outlook) for his quality of journalism and principled writing but the latest issue of Outlook magazine demonstrated low business sense on his part. Not knowing whom to hold responsible, I blame him for silly placement of ads.

Take for instance page 27 of the 16th July issue:

West Bengal CM Buddhadeb Bhattacharya looks rather uncomfortable sharing the same page with a Jockey model in her undergarments!

Dear Vinod,

My first suggestion: Recruit more MBAs like me who have learnt nothing else but 4Ps in their 2 years of B-schooling. (‘Placement’ happens to be one of the 4Ps) It might just help!

My second suggestion: If you have too many MBAs in your team, sack a few. It might help even more!!

For The Irony of Adsense read Nikhil's blog - http://nikmuse.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Mundu Mafia!!

One of the most noticeable and interesting things about Kerala is the mundu men wear and the way they wear it. It is supposed to be graceful and all but frankly, it looks like some shady lecher’s wrap around esp. when they fold it up to their knees and ride bike or sit stiff on a platform with their legs apart....!!!

Worst is when they start scratching their crotch or they lift it up to wipe their faces.

Here is a picture I clicked when I was ‘doing’ the market.



And they thought they were leching!!