Thursday, May 19, 2011

the time is now.....

"The time is now...." This is the title of a thin brochure like magazine we used to read as children. The local church would give free copies and the best thing was they used to come home and give it. The magazine used to talk about how we can adopt good habits and think positive thoughts as we are growing up. It taught us the famous "why put off until tomorrow when you can do it today". It also told us "time and tide wait for no man". Then it said, "where there is a will, there is a way..."

One of my witty friends made a poster which said, "why put off until tomorrow what you can avoid altogether." It was considered smart to misquote with due apologies, and make people laugh. OK, so we laughed. And another one which read, "where there is a will, there's relatives. Funny? eh?

"To err is human, to forgive, divine" that we read from the magazine was plastered on the wall as "to err is human, but isnt it divine!" Well, we laughed.

We laughed when maybe four decades ago, (or prolly five), and usually, our country came back with hardly a medal at the Olympics. We laughed out loud when we joined the Nuclear Club in mid seventies. I remember a prominent magazine, stating very proudly the headlines which read, "Poor India joins the Nuclear Club". I was in primary school and I remember people around me laughing and thinking it was a good joke. It was perhaps meant to be a joke, not a moment of national pride and faith in our R & D, you see.

Was it?

The ability to laugh at oneself is touted as one of the highest levels of humour, but I do so want to add, only till such time as it does not hurt us.

I notice we laugh at ourselves in international fora. I realize we are always deprecatingly conscious about how we could be better but are not. What malady do we suffer from? Deficiency in self esteem? What would it take to restore that? Doc, please suggest.

The recently held Commonwealth Games are one sad example about how in our democratic mission to expose the organizing committee we invited so much of destructive criticism internationally. Its not funny. Pictures floated around about all that had gone wrong; but the pictures which showed what had gone right were an afterthought by some good soul who tried to say- "its not so bad as you make it out to be! Despite the scam we have covered some ground. Had there been no scam, we would have done good!" I, currently an expat, just sat and winced in my parqueted study at my writing desk- impotent anger, we call it. The world class inaugural event "surprised" many. Is this the faith we have after almost 65 years? I think we should be surprising ourselves when things go wrong; things going right is the way it should be.

A bribe is a bribe because someone gives it, not just because someone accepts it. If I dont give, how will you take that bribe?

On a different line, which has more to do with forward planning and development, one instance that has stuck in my mind is the Singur case wherein a prominent motor company in India was denied permission to set up a factory there. I was in Kolkata then so slightly more involved than someone who lived in Delhi or Chennai. Refused entry, the same company was welcomed warmly by Gujarat, a shining example of recognition of the development potential and the need for an open approach.

Of course you know that Brand Management is a science- and a coveted one at that. there are product brands and there are organizational brands and there are generic brands and there are people brands- and what do we do for them as Brand Managers? We build their images with reinforcement of positive attributes and correction of the negatives through market research and product development.

How about a Country Brand? How about treating our country as a Brand? And build it like we want it? Not with weak, constricted, ideal situations but with practical progressive solutions. By revamping the product so that it has the brand attributes we want and can be proud of. Not with adverse publicity, but with constructive criticism.

I am sure that if we have the intelligence to criticize whats going wrong, then surely we know what is right and how to create that Brand called India?

What if we decide not to 1) make and then 2) open cans of worms but actually ensure that there are fewer or no worms in the future cans? We expect worms in the can, so we get them. Suppose we ignore the cans which already have the worms and move on to making cans with lesser or no worms? Lets redefine our working style and make it more focussed, more urgent, more responsible. There has to be a cut off, which will historically be called "watershed", and there on, a new beginning.

It is up to us to just take a personal pledge to replace our doubts with positive reinforcement. It is entirely in our hands to season every action with belief and trust. If each one of us does our bit in our own sphere of activity, then Brand India can come out tops. the time is now...........

these are entirely my views.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

social networking

Social networking sites are not games- they are a way of staying connected. An occasional squeal of joy, a hello ji, or even a wink or a poke keeps us in touch. Why do we often say- " when we started, we were hooked on to facebook, or orkut or whatever, but now it has gotten boring!"

What boring? Staying connected is boring? Sad! where are we headed for? And all this while I thought that if I hear from anyone its because they think of me and we are friends.....

Status updates are not what its all about- its about reaching out to people you havent met in years. If you dont want to reach out to them, then why are they on your book? Just trash them.... or block them.

Guys, we hardly write letters. e mail forwards too are a one sided way of keeping in touch because etiquette says a forwarded message does not require a response. What is not required really does not happen, really. A lot of my friends discourage forwards supporting causes because they think its all humbug. So be it. Maybe they have had a bad experience- but not everything is bad. A little bit of faith and a little bit of "let it be" prolly......

I think that all those of us who say social networking is boring, actually visit their networking accounts everyday just to check what the others are doing. But do not want to share. of course, its a free world- can do whatever I think is right.

Its like you are sitting across and we are talking and only me is doing the talking- you are just listening. then you get up and walk away without a word. And I should not feel bad.

That people misuse so we are scared; I understand. I also understand that we have no time. But do take time off to smile sometimes, however inane the joke may be! At least someone is trying to make you smile....