11 Nov 2014

A Stupid Trait in Human Beings

I’d like to tell you about a low phase in my life. I had friend (or so I thought) who was never happy. Nitpicking, finding fault and blaming others for her messes were part of her daily routine. To the extent that she once even blamed a McDonalds waiter for not telling her to order a meal other than the one she ordered because she would change her mind later.

Was I spared? No sir! My wardrobe, personality, sense of humor, preference of books over movies… everything I believed in was ridiculed by her. I kept trying to change myself to fit her mould (as I said, not a phase I’m proud of). The more I tried, the more I hated myself. And the louder her criticism became. I kept going deeper into a shell, bordering on depression. Until one day I had enough and walked out on the “friendship”. No amount of pleading or coercion has convinced me to reverse the stand.

You see, I let her govern my life. Why was I so stupid? Well, that is what I want to talk about.

Man, by nature, is a social animal. And part his social nature includes the desire to please people. That’s okay. We all need to please people so that we can live with them. Think about it. You have kept the people who can please you close to you, isn’t it?

But when we take this to the next level, the trouble begins. What do I mean by the next level? Well, the desire to please people who are never satisfied.

Please dump negative people

Don’t mistake this post as one blaming women. I have seen middle aged men being repeatedly vehement and scathing in their remarks about everyone else. Some have chosen to ignore, bust most others have tried to toe in line. The latter, especially youngsters, have gone out of their way to please the unhappy bastards, only to be ridiculed further. Repeated dialogues of “Shame on you”, “How can you even think you can…” have made people try harder to please the self-proclaimed perfectionists, only to be demeaned further. Those perfectionists, ironically, are people who only worsen something when they stick their noses into it. And yet, the vast majority spends all its energy in trying to please them. This happens everywhere… corporate, friends, blogging, get-togethers, seminars, home… everywhere.

Too many times we anchor our happiness on endorsement from others. However, remember that people who keep finding fault with others draw their happiness from such lowly acts. Trying to please these emotional vampires is impossible. You only make yourself unhappy in the process because you keep going against what you stand for and don’t even see positive results.

Confident people tide over such pessimists. This confidence stems from belief. Belief that they are worth something, that they don’t need someone an opinion on how they are living their lives. Believe me, you are better off without pessimists however much they claim to offer “constructive criticism for your own good.” Remember, every person is a product of the 5 people she spends most time with. If you are spend time with people who are forever bickering and criticizing, do you have any idea how much you will hurt your mind and soul?

It’s time to move on. Leave the wrong people behind. Life functioned before them, and it will after them too. And believe me, once you do so, you will be happier.

Do you agree? Or disagree? Drop a comment.

image courtesy: Google Images

24 Oct 2014

Which Will Be the Fastest Growing Country in the Coming Decade?

“The old forecasting rule was to make as many forecasts as possible and publicize the ones you got right. The new rule is to forecast so far into the future that no one will know if you got it wrong.” - Ruchir Sharma.

Which is the world’s fastest growing economy currently? Without doubt, it’s China. But will China continue on the path of 9-10% growth for the next few years? Most economists think it will, but China is slowing down due to multiple reasons. It may soon witness a recession, which won’t be anywhere close to what the rest of the world encountered in 2008. China’s recession is more like a slowdown to 6% growth.

So which country will bag the gold medal for growth in the coming decade? Ruchir Sharma attempts to answer this question through his masterpiece ‘Breakout Nations’. He has analyzed the history, political scenario and sentiment of a lot of emerging markets and correlated them to the countries’ economic conditions. In this book, renowned economist Ruchir Sharma meticulously dissects countries like India, Russia, Brazil, China, South Africa, South Korea, Mexico, Turkey and others. He offers valid insights, backed up with sound stats, into the strengths, weaknesses and areas of opportunities for these emerging nations.  

'Breakout Nations' - Ruchir Sharma

Every nation has its fair share of obstacles. Whether it’s infrastructure, government overspending, policy paralysis, the refusal of political figures to give up power, stagnation or something else, each country is battling problems which have occurred due to decades of following the same patterns. Some countries like Russia, Brazil, Nigeria and South Korea have used difficult times to revamp the way they functioned, and have been rewarded handsomely. Others have chosen to stick to tried and tested (and purely functional) models which have restricted their opportunities for growth.

Ruchir Sharma isn’t just shooting from the hip like many so-called economists do.  He has toured each country extensively. He brings out astonishing details of day-to-day functioning the emerging nations. For instance, the strategy being adopted by companies in China to woo workers back from their villages after Christmas vacations. Or corporate head honchos in Brazil using helicopters to travel from one office to another within the city because of excessive traffic. Or that Russia is heavily dependent on oil prices to secure its future. Each problem (and more) has stemmed from conditions which have been building over long, and continue develop. Since this book was written in 2011, scenarios have changed a little. But most of his predictions seem on track for the coming decade.

This book is a pleasant and entertaining read for anyone who is remotely interested in economics. The language is simple yet elegant. Facts are made interesting with the help of short stories and anecdotes. It reminds me so much of Gurcharan Das’ ‘India Unbound’, another gem. Of course, after having spent years interacting with the world’s most powerful politicians and writing umpteen research papers, nothing less is expected of Ruchir Sharma. I couldn’t find a single shortcoming in the book. Partly because of my love for macro economics and also because I don’t have even 0.1% of the knowledge which the author has. Read the book to find out which are the ‘Breakout Nations’ according to the author. You will be surprised to know that they’re from among the usual suspects.

19 Oct 2014

Honda Amaze Aims to Set A New Record for The Longest Drive

As I write this post, Honda has almost set the record of driving the Amaze for a grueling 23,000 kilometers. The car has completed 15,000 kilometers with 21 days to go to set the record and being driven by Bunny Punia, Shantonil Nag and team.

I had driven the Honda Amaze from Navi Mumbai to Aamby Valley and back (read the blog post here) and had an amazing time. The lavish space in the car, refinement of the engine & gearbox and drive quality had impressed me. So when the team which is aiming to achieve this record was in Mumbai, I had to pay them a visit.

The event was held at International The Lalit and started early. I got a chance to catch up with a few people whom I had met at the previous event. After breakfast (lovely chicken sandwiches, coffee and cookies), we settled down to hear from the marketing team about the engineering innovations which the Amaze boasts of. Some include offering loads of space in a car which is about 4 meters in length, a windshield which keeps the car 6 degrees cooler than competition and an engine with a good boost while being fuel efficient at the same time.

Bunny Punia walked up to the podium next, showcasing a lovely video and a series of photos narrating his experience with the Amaze since he had started driving it. We then went out for a photograph with the car, which is when I got to speak to him.

Manufacturers will always speak about their car in glowing terms. But when an independent ex-auto journalist, whom you have been following since about 10 years, praises the car, you know you have a winner. Bunny said that the car was quite comfortable and they had done more than 12,000 kilometers in it without a glitch. He said that he wasn’t carrying any tools except an emergency tire inflator. He hadn’t felt the need for any. The car was reliable on rough patches as it was on the highway and was munching miles with ease.

I then got the opportunity to speak to Shakeel san, the marketing head of Honda Cars India (at Honda India, they term each other ‘san’ like in Japan, as a mark of respect). We had a long discussion where he informed me about the Mobilio doing very well in sales and that they were soon setting up a manufacturing plant in Gujarat (both these news were later reported in newspapers). It was quite an enlightening decision, where I got to leant more about Honda’s marketing and product development strategies. Add to that a delicious lunch (I ate so much that I skipped dinner) and you can be assured that it was a memorable event.

I have spoken to some Honda Amaze owners since the ‘Hang Out with Honda’ event. I wanted to know whether the car continues to impress over a period of time. And most of them have echoed the sentiments of Bunny. They say the car is reliable and doesn’t need maintenance. The car lives up to the Honda brand’s reputation by offering reliability, refinement and a ‘feel-good’ factor to drivers. For anyone who is looking to own a comfortable sedan in the sub 10 lakh price range, the Honda Amaze is definitely recommended.

30 Sept 2014

Social Media Week 2014 Offered Answers to Most Questions Related to the Online World

How to create engaging content? What are the biggest challenges in faced in content marketing today? How are companies using the online space to design products specific to target audiences? How to brand yourself using social media? Answers to these questions and more were offered in the Social Media Week held in Mumbai.

Many digital enthusiasts were looking forward to this event. Held from 22nd to 26th September, this event would feature renowned speakers and influencers focusing on the online world is evolving and how we can adapt to it. Since I had stepped into this world recently, it wouldn’t be wise to give SMWMumbai a miss. Some friends had attended the event held in 2013 and were impressed.

The event flagged off with a ride on Sunday 21st September. Many riders (including yours truly) had assembled at Fountain Hotel and rode from there to Talasari. While I didn’t go for the ride, I heard it was fun.

Thanks to Blogadda, I got a pass to attend the event on 23rd and 24th September. Unfortunately, I could only attend on 23rd. Thanks to April broadcast, however, a lot of people (including me) got to view the event even if we couldn’t make it to the venue.

Ah! The venue. Novotel Hotel in Juhu. Step out in the hotel’s open spaces and you were greeted with the sound of the ocean. And the view of the ocean over the swimming pool and the verandah outside the seminar halls was a sight to behold.

The volunteers at the event were helpful and spontaneous. When I told them I had come through Blogadda and didn’t have a physical pass, they promptly made one and handed it over. No questions asked. They also informed me of the events being held in specific seminar halls at that time.

The seminar for engaging content was conducted by Payal Karwa and Varun Duggirala. They spent an hour providing us with insights on creating engaging content. They elaborated on aspects like story telling, creating an emotional bond and understanding the brand’s USP and designing content accordingly. Varun further kept us engaged by asking the audience to describe the brand as if it were a person and then simulate how it would behave on each platform. He did this by making the audience interact online and offline. It was interesting, unconventional. The ‘engaging content creation’ seminar kept us engaged right till the end.

Lunch was great, albeit somewhat spicy. The chicken pomegranate chaat was delicious. Plus I got to meet Manish Pandey and Amit Panchal. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again - those guys work like they’re on Red Bull all the time!

The next seminar was conducted by Navneet Kaushal of PageTraffic. It was on content marketing and the challenges faced. He rightly pointed out that the biggest challenge for social media marketers today is content distribution, not creation. It’s no use creating great content which just sits around waiting to be discovered. You have to be proactive and innovative in your attempts to reach out to people. He educated us on content curation tools to write articles which people want to read. Further emphasis was placed on sticking to a content calendar, stock images (some of them cost just $1) and being versatile. Posting the link to a 1,500 word article on SEO on a Sunday doesn’t make sense. Photos of happy puppies do, which make people celebrate the Sunday. And to an extent, you need FB ads to promote your content and increase page likes and website hits.

What Navneet Kaushal talked about are strategies followed by many online influencers like Neil Patel, Sean Ellis and others. It made complete sense. Navneet has been blogging for SEJournal and ClickZee since long now. Audience asked him how it helps in conversion, and he said that it doesn’t directly help. Instead, it helps build the brand PageTraffic and establishes them as an authority. And authority breeds trust, which then helps in conversion. Words of wisdom which should be heeded and adopted by us all. For me, Navneet Kaushal’s session was the highlight of the day.

I then walked into IBM’s session of how the digital space is helping brands profile potential customers and create products catered to their needs. Since I walked in while the session was almost over, there isn’t much to share. But it reminds one of the algorithms used by Target, the supermarket, to profile shoppers and send them e-mails of products which customers will find relevant. It’s amazing how much the digital world is advancing. A few people voiced their concerns over brands able to peek into our personal lives, but it was rightly countered with the view that brands can only access information which we have posted online. The less we share about ourselves, the less brands will know. Hence, the onus lies on us.

The final session was the one I was looking forward to most. I was intrigued about how people can use social media to brand themselves online. But it turned out to be quite generic. Tanvi Bhatt made it a typical personality development session with just the last 15 minutes spent on how to use social media. Plus her tips were for novices; those who haven’t used Twitter or LinkedIn or don’t blog. It may have been useful for a lot of people there, but I feel it could’ve been more specific and detailed.

After the event, I got to meet Apeksha Harihar, Meera Rai and Hitesh Rajwani from Social Samosa and Sachin Uppal. Had a lengthy discussion about the online space with them which was just as good as the seminar itself. I missed the rest of the days - was looking forward to hearing Kunal Jeswani and Jeff Bullas… maybe next time…

The event was a great experience. It was wonderful to see people share insights and bond like they’ve known each other for long. Passionate discussions, networking and information exchange made the event fun. And the venue was the icing on the cake.

Thanks Blogadda for letting me attend the event. I had missed it last year and wasn’t prepared to give it a miss this time. The event is recommended to everyone who is in the digital space - whether you’re pursuing a career in the field or not. 

26 Sept 2014

Do You & I Have a Role to Play in Modi’s FDI?

While launching the ‘Make in India’ campaign, Narendra Modi provided 2 definitions of FDI. One is for Indians to ‘First Develop India’ and the second is to encourage Foreign Direct Investment. He exhorted Indian organizations to invest in India and develop it so that foreign MNCs see our country as an attractive location to invest in. Modi targeted 25 sectors where, according to him, India can be leaders in manufacturing, which include railways, pharmaceuticals and airlines.

There is clamor that what Modi said is nothing new, that these points were already brought up by the UPA and that the latter was trying to implement these albeit on a small scale.

The Bhagavad Gita says that ‘Actions speak louder than words’. Never before had India been so bullish about improving sanitary conditions. Nor has a PM come out with a proposal to build on what he said in such a short time (the ‘Make In India’ program was launched within 45 days of Modi’s Independence Day speech). The man’s mission was clear the day he pressed his forehead to the stairs of the Parliament. Plus we haven’t seen even 1 senior member of the current government trying to take credit for the Mangalyaan success. No political battles, no trying to hog the limelight… Modi and team just gave it to whom it was due.

These go to show that (at least for now) we can assume that Modi’s intentions are noble. He wants to recover some of India’s lost glory, and is putting in effort for it too. The latest of his efforts is ‘Make In India’ where he has portrayed FDI in 2 different ways.

Do we have a role to play in Modi’s first definition of FDI i.e. First Develop India? By we, I mean anyone who doesn’t own a large business capable of heavily investing in India’s infrastructural development. You and I. Well, we do.

Make In India - Modi's Latest Program

If you are reading this article, you are fortunate enough to have been endowed with good education; education which many Indians don’t get. How is India going to grow when most of our employment is still in the unorganized sector? How is it going to grow when the biggest complaint of the corporate sector today is the lack of skilled manpower?

The onus lies on you and me to educate the coming generations. By education, I don’t mean teaching what’s in the curriculum (although if you can, it will be amazing). Education here means improving the skill levels of the population which is about to enter the workforce. The chasm between academics and corporate is glaring. Many employees (freshers & experienced) are unable to communicate properly, think of ways to grow business and reduce costs, use basic tools to even make data look presentable, let alone look at it from different angles. They’re unprepared for leadership.

What can you and I do? Well, we can find time outside our busy schedules to spend with these youngsters who need our help; youngsters who are the future of our country. One day of working less than 11 hours or skipping 1 party a week will not hurt. On the contrary, the time you spend educating students and young professionals will give you an immense sense of satisfaction. Plus, if you make a difference to even 1 person’s life (directly or indirectly), you will have contributed to the development of your country.

Here are 3 things you can focus on teaching students/youth:

  1. Soft Skills - Skills which improve the EQ (Emotional Quotient) of youth. These include time and people management, the ability to write and speak fluently and other factors which positively impact their careers. These skills in employees will increase the output of organizations tremendously, which will in turn help in the growth of the country. These organizations can then FDI.
  2. Lateral Thinking - One of the key factors missing today in people is the ability to think laterally. Parents and teachers want students to stand out in a crowd by doing the same things which the crowd is doing. Is it possible? Teach students to think laterally, to expose themselves to varied situations, to read about successes/failures outside their domains, and these students will develop risk taking capabilities. They will start thinking unconventionally and challenge the status quo, which, ultimately, will help the business which they’re working in.
  3. Mindfulness - A common term used in the corporate world today, mindfulness is a mix of techniques to calm the mind. Through yoga, meditation, focus and other exercises, people start think clearly. This saves them from acting impulsively and unethically. Youth will learn the importance of respect, introspection and integrity. It also helps to steer the youth from distractions like smartphones, Big Boss and lets them use their time for better purposes.

Whether Modi is able to bring about the change he wants is not the point now. The point is that he has given the country a much needed shot in the arm after half a decade of poor governance by the UPA. It is our responsibility to support a PM whom we have elected by contributing in any way we can. And no way is too small in relation to what transpires in the cosmos. So stand up. Give your country what you can. Here’s your chance to contribute to its progress. Don’t let this moment pass you by. For all you know, you may find your life’s true calling.

You may agree or disagree with me. That’s fair. Do let me know your thoughts in the comments.

18 Sept 2014

The Chinese PM Visits India - Interesting Psychological Lessons

One of the most talked about news in India currently is the arrival of Chinese Prime Minister Xi Jinping, and the promises which he brings along. This post will not focus on what Modi should’ve done, or analyze the economic and political outcomes of the meet. Many articles and discussions will cover those. Instead, I’ll talk about small psychological factors which are evident in the events as they unfold. How those aspects have the potential to change the way we think, how some of them are being used for better results… 

A report in Economic Times read “Deals worth $100 billion are said to be in the works, compared with a mere $35 billion from Japan.” So the Japanese investment news, which until now was being hyped by the Indian media is now being termed ‘mere $35 billion’. Why? Because, according to them, the amount China proposes to invest in India dwarfs the amount which Japan. By no means is $35 billion a nominal amount. But in comparison to $100 billion… well, you get the picture. This just goes to show how comparison clouds our perception. How when we compare 2 things, the smaller one may start appearing insignificant (so to speak) while it may actually be so.

2 critical concerns between India and China are not being discussed in this meeting. The Arunachal Pradesh border conflict and streamlining of processes for faster visa approvals. Many people (especially the Congress) are disappointed that these issues are not being raised. These are sensitive issues and should be addressed as soon as possible, right? Not quite. Being the shrewd tactician that Modi is, he seems to be deploying what is known as the foot-in-door technique. You make the person in front comfortable and then gradually start discussing sensitive points. Then you raise bigger concerns and can expect the person in front to be more receptive, thereby dramatically increasing chances of a positive outcome in your favor.
How Modi is extending the red carpet to China

Day 1 for Xi Jinping was spent experiencing flavors of Ahmedabad - visiting Sabarmati Ashram, savoring a full-course Gujarati thali, witnessing the infrastructure and growth of the city. Modi ensured that he displayed excellent hospitality to a politician of a country which we’re hostile towards. By doing so, he made the Chinese PM comfortable and reduced instances of the proverbial ‘cold air’. Plus, by showcasing Ahmedabad, he focused on an area which he knew as well as the back of his palm. Thus he eliminated all chances to be pointed out instances or asked questions which embarrass him. Modi was in control of every situation all the time.

So you see, however celebrated the profiles of people may be, small aspects which shape our perceptions come into play everyday. These aspects can make or break a relationship or a business deal. Keep in mind that when whether you are implementing a process, attending a meeting or doing mundane chores with your spouse, you are essentially interacting with people. Pay attention to psychological factors because they play a major role in how the person in front responds to you. Mind you, these are not to manipulate anyone; they are simply to ensure everyone walks away satisfied emotionally; no one feels like they lost out.

Are there any tips which you have to share with other readers and me? Of course you do. Share them in the comments section.

2 Sept 2014

5 Free Twitter Tools Which will Make You A Pro

Most celebrities are on Twitter. Some like Amitabh Bachchan, Riteish Deshmukh and SRK are avid users, while others like Sachin Tendulkar, MS Dhoni and Amir Khan use it sparingly. But they are all present there.

Then why is only about 15% of India’s remaining internet population present on it? And why do brands (read their agencies) fail to capitalize on this awesome tool to establish their online reputation?

Well, for one, many brand managers don’t understand how Twitter functions. They simply bombard the platform with self promotional tweets and expect a hoard of followers. Even now, most people consider their Twitter success to be directly related to the number of followers. Secondly, because of the vast amount of content being shared on Twitter, users can feel all at sea. Making sense of things on Twitter can be quite a task.

Twitter is not a self promotion platform. If you’re self promoting without adding value, you’re doing Twitter all wrong. Twitter is about being there, listening to conversations, making sense of them, providing your inputs and using posts which you read to come up with content marketing ideas. And fear not, it is really easy to do once you get the hang of it.
Free Twitter Tools as good as Paid Ones

Here are 5 free tools which enable you to become an effective Twitter user:

Bufferapp: This is one of the most popular free tools for posting on social media (especially Twitter). Renowned as a post and tweet scheduling tool, Bufferapp also lets you tweet instantly in case you are unable to access Twitter. Links tweeted are converted to bitly links by default, though you can choose to revert to the original URL. The analytics tool is handy for tracking the performance of each tweet sent from Buffer. So if you see that a post has done well in the past and are short of ideas, you can re-share it after a month or 2. Alternately, you can make use of Bufferapp’s suggestions if you’re looking for content to tweet. Plus you can tweet an article via Buffer right from your browser. Simply install the extension and click on the icon if you want to share an article. Also, if you select a specific quote from the article and click on the Bufferapp icon, the app intelligently tweets your link with the selected text as the headline. Cool huh? People also use this tool for scheduling posts on Facebook, but the Facebook’s inbuilt scheduler feature is more useful and effective for their platform. You also cannot view real time Twitter updates. For that, you have the option below.
Hootsuite: I can’t stop raving about this tool. Apart from scheduling tweets, Hootsuite also makes it convenient for you to track feeds related to your subject on Twitter and Facebook. Simply enter the keyword(s) in Hootsuite’s search box and click ‘Add Stream’ on the tab where the results show up. These streams can also be of lists formulated by you (more on lists in point 5). Your feed is updated real time, ensuring you stay well informed on everything happening in your field. Respond to questions of people, which establishes you as an expert in your field. You can also generate ideas for content marketing material by reading people’s conversations. Plus, you can not only RT a tweet, but also manually RT after adding your comments in it, just like the mobile Twitter app.
Pullquote: Ever read a quote online and liked it so much that you want to tweet it? Well, Pullquote lets you do it beautifully. Simply install the extension in your browser and use it when you want to tweet a quote from a page. The tool converts the quote into a picture and share it. You also can crop a photo and share it, adding your comments in the tweet. Pullquote is a great tool to awesome content on Twitter pictorially. The only drawback, however, is that you cannot tweet a link. For sharing a link along with the image/quote, you can take help of the tool mentioned below.
Bitly sidebar: bit.ly links, when shared, look way cooler than the conventional abc.com/xyz…. But you already know that, right? Additionally, bit.ly links can be used to track how many times your link has been clicked on. Once you’ve tweeted a link, simply compare the number of times people have clicked on the link versus the number of impressions. While it may not be an accurate figure, it may give you a rough idea of how effective what you typed while sharing the link was. More clicks (even if it hasn’t got RTs) means your ‘copywriting’ idea worked, and you can try replicating that for other tweets too. Bitly links are not accepted on some popular social bookmarking sites like StumbleUpon, Blogadda, etc. For those, you can use the article’s original URL.
Twitter: What good would a social platform do if it cannot have some inbuilt features which make it awesome? 2 features which we must make use of in Twitter are Search and Lists. The Twitter Search is as good as Hootsuite in providing you with tweets which are related to your subject of interest. Also, if you want to know how a specific article is being discussed on Twitter, merely paste the article’s URL in the Search box. For instance, if you want to know what people on Twitter think about this article, simply copy the link and paste it in Twitter’s search box. Also, Lists is a kickass feature to get feeds from people from a specific field. So if you want to stalk the competition, you can create a list of them, keep it private and keep a tab of their tweets. On the other hand, if you want to share insightful tweets of influencers in a field related to yours, create a public list and add them to it. Let others also refer to your list and know how awesome you are.


A common mistake which many of us make is not tracking our Twitter platform’s performance (read effectiveness). We pepper the platform with promotional tweets and Twitter contests for our clients, most of which result in negligible conversions. Twitter is a far more effective digital message spreading platform than any other - Facebook, LinkedIn or Google Plus. It can help portray our brand as a thought leader in its field and convert viewers to followers, then buyers, and ultimately into loyalists. Using the tools above, you can listen to conversations on Twitter, create and promote terrific content and track your engagement levels. Effective use of Twitter will also give a content writer a whole bunch of ideas for the next corporate blog post.

I haven’t added many tools like Seesmic, TweetDeck, etc. to the list. I’ve found the above mentioned 5 to be most effective. Do you know of any other tools which have been missed? Do leave a note about them in the comments section. Also do share this article with others so that awareness about how Twitter works continues to spread.

21 Aug 2014

5 #AccheDin News Which Narendra Modi has Brought in 90 Days

Narendra Modi working for a brighter India
It’s almost 100 days since Narendra Modi was sworn in as Prime Minister. This was a historic defining moment in India’s history; democracy in the true meaning. The Congress and AAP were mauled by the BJP because all of India believes in one man – Narendra Modi.

Modi’s time spent at the Centre has not been devoid of controversy and protests. The appointment of Nirpendra Misra, rising inflation, increase (and subsequent rollback) in railway fares... what irks a lot of people is his silence on all this.

It’s not that nothing good has come out in these 100 days. His Independence Day speech took the country and the world by storm. He spoke on topics which are otherwise considered taboo by politicians. Plus his words have galvanized many people, including the corporate, to work towards the upliftment of India.

Here are 5 good things which have occurred since Narendra Modi has taken the oath as PM:

1.      Ministers have become efficient: Reports say that productivity of ministers has increased 130% over the UPA’s time since the BJP has taken centre stage. Saturday holidays have been cancelled. Gyms are empty by 9 and work output has substantially. However, Modi says this is nothing to be proud of. This is hygiene and should be the norm. India’s PM has egged his ministers and government workers to work harder. He says “If you work 12 hours a day, I will work 13. If you work 14 hours a day, I’ll work 15.” What a motivator!

2.      GST talks are moving forward: In the UPA’s regime, talks about implementing GST were stalled since the government could not convince the state governments. Talks are now underway and many obstacles have been overcome. State governments have been promised compensation for revenue which will be lost and the policy may go through soon. This will bring down prices of goods since excise duty, custom duty, service tax, VAT, octroi, etc. will be replaced by a singular GST. It will also increase speed of delivery since many bottlenecks will be eliminated.

3.      Basic sanitation is being addressed: “Build more toilets than temples”, says Modi. And he’s right! Girls in rural areas stop attending school since they don’t have toilets, which is a huge inconvenience. Women have to wait till dark to step out to defecate, which lead to health issues. Following Modi’s Independence Day speech, 2 corporate giants TCS and Aditya Birla group have come forward to build 10,000+ toilets for girls and rural areas. Basic sanitation and hygiene will improve, which will have a positive cascading effect on many other things like health, education and mortality rate.

4.      Infrastructure development is proposed: Nitin Gadkari has claimed that once the project is implemented, the government will build 30 kilometers of road everyday across India. That’s quite an audacious ask, but if anyone can, it is the Modi government. The man is driven by common sense and an urge to implement things quickly, something which was visible in Sardar Patel. Infrastructure development will improve logistics which will speed up transportation, improve warehousing and bring down prices due to less delay in transit.

5.      The world has faith in India’s economy: Donald Trump has publically stated that India’s outlook is positive since Narendra Modi has become Prime Minister. The world sees India as a country which will be able to tap into its potential and become a force to reckon with. IIP has improved and the stock exchange is in a good mood. Major leaders of foreign countries are extending the olive branch to India and queuing up to meet Modi. He, instead, is spending time ensuring that corporate India and its neighbours are made happy first.

Someone who knows Narendra Modi has said that he is a shrewd man; that he is keeping quiet for some time now and will open up to the media once some substantial result-oriented work is visible. If Modi decides to stay mum over media and the Congress party’s (I refuse to call them ‘Leader of Opposition’) allegations, we BJP supporters should do so too. I am a firm believer in #acchedin because I voted Modi into power. I will keep desist from commenting on anti-Modi posts on social media and will pray to God that He gives our PM strength to achieve his novel goals. What will you do? Shout? Or support?

6 Aug 2014

Newspapers Are the Cause for Rise in Crime

Gangrapes, child molestations, extortion and blackmail, accidents, deaths, divorces... newspapers are filled with these reports. And they should be. We should be aware of the latest happenings around us. And it’s the duty of newspapers to report these incidents, right?

Well, my theory is that newspapers are the reason these crimes are on the rise. Now that’s a paradox. Aren’t newspapers the reason these crimes are reported and can be controlled? Well, not really.

Man is a product of the 5 people he spends most time with, and what he reads. And today, man barely has time to read anything other than newspapers. Maybe a Chetan Bhagat novel here and there. What does he read in newspapers? Rampant incidents of rapes, child abuse, domestic violence, death, bribery, corruption and more. Since papers barely report the punishment meted out to such criminals, they appear to have gotten away with it. Maybe he can too. If he can’t the newspapers will carry his name, won’t they? They will glorify him. He will be a hero; brag to his friends; his colony will celebrate his name – doesn’t matter why. In short, these bloody newspapers indirectly encourage criminal minds. Why do they continue to report these cases? Because they’re paid by politicians and rich businessmen to keep actual news like ineffective policies, corruption and dying farmers under wraps. Don’t believe me? Look for the e-newspaper article of Ambani’s son crashing his car into 2 others one night. After all, why won’t we vote for politicians just because molestation cases are on the rise? We will protest a little (get our names and faces in the papers), turn apathetic in some time and go back to our depressing lives again.

Gurcharan Das had written in ‘India Grows At Night’ that during the internal war in Egypt, a leading Egyptian newspaper carried the photo and an article on an old man planting a nursery. This was a symbol of hope, of positivity. Numerous websites and posts on social networking sites carry stories of humanity, inspiration and love. Why can’t newspapers do the same? Well, it’s because they’re just trying to sell. And they know that this ‘inspiration, motivation and hope’ shit doesn’t sell for long. We humans crave for tragic stories; we yearn to feel subconsciously satisfied at the fact that other people are worse off than us.

I have stopped reading Times of India and Indian Express since some time now. I just breeze through it because I’m still a sucker for stories which offer hope. Unfortunately, I find none. Time for you to open your eyes and mind. Stop lapping up these crappy stories in newspapers and watch crime rates dwindle. Or maybe newspapers will start reporting the punishment dished out to these criminals too. Change will be slow, it will be gradual, but it will come.

7 Jun 2014

The Worst Kept Secrets about the Art of Writing

I love typing! I just do! The sound of keys being pressed and letters appearing as if by magic on the screen have a soothing effect. Suddenly everything seems okay. The mind is cleared of all clutter and the focus shifts to speed and accuracy.

A couple of typing tools are installed on my computer – Typing Master and Typing Test. They’re useful in improving accuracy and speed. While my accuracy hovers consistently around the 97% mark, my speed has shot up from 35 words per minute (wpm) to 71. This means I can type more than 1 word per second! Isn’t that awesome?

I love writing even more. Scribbling ideas on a notepad, striking out the irrelevant ones, making a final work out of everything compiled; it makes me feel like an artist. If only it wasn’t for the moral guilt of wasting paper.

Writing is one of the most gratifying feelings (I can already see writers nodding fervently) in the world. You create a piece of art and, if you love it, post it online for people to see. Then seeing the number of hits on your website increasing, readers commenting on your post and sharing it, satiate you. The ability to make readers consider your point of view, to make them ponder, get inspired or take action; they make you feel like a demigod! And if you’ve published a book, you’ve gone that 1 step further than most. The sheer sight of your book on stands in bookstores must be an unmatched feeling, probably only eclipsed by seeing someone buy it.

There are 3 secrets to writing well:
1.      Clarity of thought
2.      Lots of reading
3.      The ability to evoke an emotional response.

Clarity of thought comes by constant pondering and keeping an open mind. Reading broadens your perspective and allows you to achieve point number 1. The ability to evoke emotion comes with passion; a genuine liking for readers and wanting them to know something very important.

I lag way behind in each of these aspects. The strife to improve at them will never end. And it shouldn’t! Because the day you’re through with this struggle, you’re through. And the day you’re through writing, you have given up on your voice, on everything you stand for; you will have given up on life itself.

This is my attempt at musing. I had nothing better to do. This post is a result of 20 minutes of time and effort. What are your thoughts, dear reader, about writers and writing? Would love to hear from you in the comments section.

Your sincere wannabe writer,
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