Thursday, February 03, 2011

Indian Government's so-called Rescue Plan - Cairo 2011

The situation in Egypt was beyond anyone's expectation and control. Given the circumstances, countries around the world - US, China, Turkey or Libya came forward and evacuated their citizens in record time. The US sent military planes to get people to closer places like Istanbul and Athens (with reimbursement for their current tickets/itineraries), Turkey sent 3 planes to evacuate people, so did other countries. China, Germany and France sent officers to all terminals to get citizens together and out on time. The key fact here is that all of these were done for FREE. Along with this, Governments across the world sent consulate officers to pressurise the state carrier of Egypt, Egypt Air, to make sure they were sending passengers with valid tickets within a limited time period.

The Indian Embassy played its role by setting up a control centre - the only difference being that it was primarily manned by the Indian Citizens group in Egypt, rather than government officials. The Govt of India did not bother pushing Egypt Air to send at least a few flights to India, as a small part of their schedule. Quoting an Egypt Air official at Cairo on Monday, 31 Jan 2011, "If your own government is not interested in talking to us, why should we push ourselves".
The Embassy and Indian citizen base in Egypt pushed the Indian Govt to send planes to help Indians get out, but not without direct pressure from Tata Steel, because of a conference in Egypt with over 150 people from Tata Steel stuck in the crisis.

The worst was still to come - the Indian Government charged INR 45000 to each Indian passenger to provide the so-called "rescue" to reach back home. This was 4 times the standard one way fare from Cairo to Mumbai, and in a crisis situation like this, an unacceptable one. The way it was projected to the media and people across the country made it sound like a humanitarian act, but was, unfortunately, the exact opposite.

The government took sheer advantage of Indians, making them pay through their nose. When a certain channel raised this issue, our dear MEA, Mr S M Krishna, pointed out that none of the countries took the citizens out for free - a blatant lie. Moreover, he started comparing it with the rates available through travel sites on various airlines, through dynamic pricing. Probably he forgot that it was with Indian public money that the Indian state carrier was bailed out with (refer: for their otherwise inefficiency and political privileges.

Is this what we can expect as ordinary Indian citizens, who pay honest taxes and still get situations like this in return? And to remind us, there are still some Indians who remain stuck in Cairo, as on date, because they cannot afford a USD 1000 ticket to their way home in a crisis, and because their government does not believe in helping them, with their own tax money.

Jai Hind, is it??

Monday, February 08, 2010

Out of (Caller) Tune?

3 idiots, Paa, Ishqiya.... some of the popular movie tracks you tend to hear when calling people in the recent past. The caller tune concept has caught up pretty well with the Indian audience, contributing more than 55% of the Indian VAS market (which was pegged at USD 1.5 bn in 2008 and growing real fast).

Offlate, you would have observed this stupidly recorded voice talking out "Is gaane ko apni caller tune banane ke liye..." (i.e. copy this tune by pressing a certain key. charges are x&y and terms and conditions apply).

I have heard this on Reliance but not sure if it plays on other networks as well. (Probably Airtel -

Hard to believe someone could come up with such a flawed model and have it implemented too.

It is phenomenally screwed up on two major grounds -

One - you ruin the entire fun of having a good caller tune because all you hear is the same irritating message whenever you call a number. So 'user experience' which is suppose to be the basis of VAS (because I pay a premium over the basic services) goes for a complete toss.

Two - IT DOES NOT HELP YOUR REVENUES, because most of the times the person you call picks up the phone before the goddamn message ends and the caller song starts... which in normal case, is the duration of about 2-3 rings or the first couple of lines of a normal caller tune.

Hence, despite being irritated, I do not know what song is being played so HOW on earth will I replicate it and contribute to your topline?

Get it Mr Amazing-Marketing-Genius-who-designed-this-concept?

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Live from Door Darshan, yeh hai Aajtak

The Divergence and Convergence of Indian Television?

Just think about the nostalgic childhood TV time most of us 'average' Indian homes had. DD was the only channel around. DD Metro caught up sometime later.

Who can forget Humlog, Stone Boy, Giant Robot, Chayageet, Nukkad, Surabhi, Buniyaad and ofcourse our good old News from Delhi (lets keep the discussion around government control for later :) )... phenomenal entertainment value driven by a basket of content.

Basically, one channel showing us
- News
- Soaps
- Events (Live / Deferred)
- Kids Shows
- Music

Past the liberalization of '91 and fast forward to the today's television.

A plethora of genres and a bombardment of options in each genre. Indian viewers have access to over 400 channels (please excuse me for the lack of actual data). A classic case of divergence!

So whats new?

The era of breaking news..... the new improved one stop shop for your daily dose of entertainment!

From religion...

to nature

bollywood ...

bollywood newswire...

celeb talk shows...

reality shows...

informative news... (dont miss this one)

game shows...

live events...

and soaps!

They have got it all!

So for you nostalgic people who want a one stop solution to your tv entertainment needs... switch to Breaking News on indian television!

.... on a slightly serious note, this is what Indian audience has come to and demands for; and hence the supply and an excellent business model around it.

Dekhte rahiye... ye hai... beep beep!

Images courtesy -,,, rediff, google,,

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Perceptions about relations!

A certain movie I saw today had a dialogue - "the current world is getting too complex and to deal with it, we need to build equally complex relations".

How does one really differentiate between relations which were otherwise supposed to be the usual ones? Is it more of a break-up of the existing framework or an entirely new platform?

The first person perspective, I guess, is divided into three aspects - social, professional and personal. Colleagues and friends, traditionally an overlapping set, seem to drift towards two mutually exclusive sets, barring a few exceptions. To complicate it further, situations demand the same person to be in both the sets as two instances, existing independent of each other. Can this itself be considered as an "instance" of the statement earlier?

I dunno a jackshit about philosophy or human behaviour, but a little thinking opens to a lot more...
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