About the Blog

This is my diary....what I make sense of, around me. You'll find short prose on contemporary topics that interest me. What can you expect - Best adjectives? …. hmm occasionally, tossed around flowery verbs ?…. Nope, haiku-like super-brevity? … I try to. Thanks for dropping by & hope to see you again

February 28, 2010

G'oops! ....all the wrong Buzz

A buzz can be interesting or annoying at the same time, it depends on how it occurs. Take for instance a Buzz in the office about a possible pay hike or Bonus. Everybody’s is tuned to it and excited about it but on the other hand you are taking a peaceful noon siesta and a hyperactive fly creates a buzz around your ears, it certainly is annoying. The latter is just intruding your privacy and is a unwelcome guest.

I echoed similar feelings about Google when it launched its new social networking application the ‘Buzz’ recently. Like a fly buzzing around the ear it just intruded into my mailbox application without taking my application or consent. Little did i realize that signing up for Gmail unwittingly made me a user of a social networking service at a later date.

It may have made perfect business sense to Google by integrating Buzz directly into Gmail, it would give them a jump start over Twitter or Facebook by leveraging its large pool of Gmail users. But did it spare a thought to privacy & consent of its customers? 

Not too long ago, Google followed a policy of membership to Gmail by invitation only. And then one had to necessarily go through a riot act kind of declaration & acceptance to opt for the mail service. 

By simply thrusting this application onto its users Google simply made a mockery of such rules earlier. Worse was to follow, Google simply assumed that all my mail contacts are my buddies and that we should be mutually following each other. So I was automatically following a herd and vice-versa. It simply drove me crazy to see that i am following or being ‘auto’ followed by my mail box contacts who are simply business or casual contacts and who aren’t friends I dint want to follow.

This whole issue was neatly framed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation in US , "is that your e-mail and chat contacts are not necessarily people you want to advertise as friends via a public social network.". But this is what Google unwittingly thrust upon its members!!

The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) has filed a complaint with the US Federal Trade Commission about Google Buzz and a late realization has made its product manager Todd Jackson apologize "We quickly realized that we didn't get everything quite right”.

Atleast not this time Messers Sergey Brin and Larry Page.

February 20, 2010


From Feb10

The broken ramparts of a 15th century fort
ironically mirrors new edifices in the horizon
What was supposed to be a view for advancing armies
Is now a perspective of advanced times
Time has carved its presence on the walls
Yet it stands still , in its remains
still defying the winds of change.
Like the last warrior standing
against the sandstorm of time...

February 13, 2010

The Big Wave & its aftermath

It was a serene night setting on the 10 floor of a hotel in central Chennai recently. The roof top setting had a variety of seating arrangements each giving a section view of the panoramic night lit view of the city. The weather was surprisingly pleasant, the summer onslaught would begin little later. With a light blanket of smog engulfing the city, the city lights appeared with a halo down below. Amid this setting were 2 old ex-collaegues of mine, the 3rd one expecting us to join any time , and involved in some light banter. One among them had just left a Sr.Mgt role in a multinational bank of recent history to set up his own fledgling firm. The other one also had followed suit. Some of our talk would hanker back to the days we had spent in a high profile bank earlier. For we had seen the good days of this bank that rode the big wave in the consumer market between 2000-2006 and a lot of exciting things had occurred then.

But some time last year this bank went into a so called ‘tactical retreat’, which essentially meant that it had abandoned its pure unadulterated high growth strategy . So it scaled down from disbursing roughly 1200 Cr of Car loans each month in 2006 to less than Rs 100 Crore a month in 2009. Other large volume products like Two wheeler , Small ticket Personal Loans (STPL)were not so lucky, they were abandoned altogether. The collateral damage of this demolition exercise was felt on the careers of innumerable people both within the bank structure & those outside like DSAs (or direct sales agents). The latter had a veritable army of their own who had thrived on the generous dole out of sales linked incentives . And like Narayana Murthy’s orderlies they were famed for being millionaires overnight. People within the bank structure i.e, on its rolls who until then were the darlings & free masons of the retail market , and accustomed to fast track growth & hefty bonuses and incentives were suddenly left in the lurch. They became a part of the so called ‘Common Pool’ a term ingeniously devised by a shrewd HR to either find less honorable avenues within the Bank or put on undeclared notice.

The bank had suddenly shed its skin & was chanting the new 4C mantra - Capital conservation, Credit Quality, CASA & Cost Optimization. In practice it meant
  • The bank became extremely choosy of whom it lent to i.e, select prime instead of prime & subprime customers. These customers had to walk into the bank branches instead of being hounded in the open market
  • Employees who were hawking loan products & those underwriting them were shifted to recovering delinquent loans. Few others were moved from the truncated retail lending business to branches to chase current & saving accounts or HNI individuals

As we were discussing the aftermath the third one who epitomized this change joined us, from being a Commercial & Personal equipment loan champion in the bank he lamented his current role of a Collection Manager whose daily routine now was to be the 4th in queue of bank executives standing in front of the dreadful defaulted customer. Life had come a full circle for him like many others.

All this in the new lingo of the bank’s fiendish HR head, who incidentally bears his name to a Hindu GOD is , ‘ Collections are now a part of Customer Service’. Many of the bank customers who bore the brunt of its goons earlier couldn’t have scoffed less.

February 6, 2010

Kangaroo Sausage Vs Vada Pav

After Shiv Sena threatened violence against Australian cricketers in India , the Australian PM Kevin Rudd (KR) who was fed up with all the Indian media hype & hoopla and the headache it had created decided to do some back room diplomacy. So he called Shiv Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray (UT) to discuss the matter , here it goes...

KR: Hey Mate, howdya doin?

UT: (in Marathi) Me bindaas aahe, ani tu ( I am OK you?)

KR: Hey maan I don’t understand you, can you speak English?

KR: In Maharashtra only Marathi, understand?

KR: But hey...I am calling you from Canberra Australia....and its important?

UT: Asa Kaay... Okay ...saang...i mean speak.

KR: why are you folks threatening our cricketers? They haven’t done anything to Indians over here.

UT: All you Australians the same....you people are thrashing Indians day in & out and we can’t keep quite

KR: Dont sell me that bloke, if I were to point, you guys are doing a similar thing with your own countrymen, I mean North Indians in Mumbai

UT: But we don’t trash them black & blue like you guys, we only slap them for not speaking Marathi & occasionally beat them up when they come to write our railway exams. But you guys do it because you are white...

KR: (interrupts irritatedly) Let me get to the duck’s gut on this one mate, we’ve some dingos out here in the back alleys out to flog the dags , if it turns out be some iffy Indian students that doesn’t mean all Australians are racist.

UT: Your cricketers are no better than your thugs; they behave like one on the field. You remember the last 2 series ?

KR: Hey we like our bangers on the field too.... even if it happens to be joey’s like Harbhajan & Sreesanth , if you guys got the donk have a go at us maan , fair & square on the field.

UT: Teechayla....arrre aamchi Marathi manoos Sachin does that regularly with your guys but we do it our style , we dig up pitches. ....ani haanh i forgot to tell you, next time you come to Mumbai better learn Marathi otherwise no cab driver will take you for a ride.

Kevin was exasperated & banged the phone down, Uddhav was exalted that he had stolen the thunder from down under; otherwise Raj Thackeray would have outdone him to that too.

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