Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The parallel universe

For a moment, forget the different theories that we've heard, relating to the discoveries in quantum physics and cosmology which say there is a possible parallel universe (probably hidden) and the theories which contradict the idea... also, there has been a lot movies and TV series on this.

Let's assume that there is a parallel universe!!! (the exact opposite of our universe - all the good is bad and vice versa :-)) - watch South Park episode "spooky fish" for more clarifications. This post is a tribute to South Park (and NOT 'Fringe'), the greatest TV show of all time!

To start with, the parallel universe has humans, aliens etc, just like our universe... and men are men and women are women! no change in that! There is a milky way galaxy look-alike but it's called "Soupy way" and the Earth is just called "Earth", but it has only 30% of it's surface covered with water, and similarly changes in all the other gay meteorological/scientific stuff which i don't wanna waste your time with!

In this parallel universe:
  • Charlie sheen is a Priest
  • Caterpillar is a company manufacturing cotton candy and Komatsu is a vendor supplying sugar to CAT.
  • Hugh Hefner runs a vegetarian family restaurant!
  • Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, Lakshmi Mittal, Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, The Ambanis, all of them live on the welfare money provided by their respective governments!
  • a certain b-school is actually the number one b-school in India but they do not give free laptops.
  • Poonam Pandey doesn't like publicity.
  • Michel Bay is the best Director in Hollywood,
  • Harry Potter kills Ron and rapes Hermoine and there are only 4 volumes in the series!
  • People tell lies on twitter and the truth on facebook.
  • McDonald's India serves 'The Big Mac' (with beef). And India features in the big mac index.
  • Made in China goods are freakishly expensive
  • Angry birds is not at all addictive. In fact you get only one chance per level in every one hour!
  • Reality shows are all about the contestants coming and performing. The judges do not overact just because a camera is pointing at them!
  • The 3rd Thursday of every month, from 2pm to 3pm in the afternoon, it rains petrol, everywhere (except in the middle east)!
  • Infomercials are all boring, but the products are really useful and interesting.
  • Tourists visit Amsterdam, Bangkok etc for the religious shrines!
  • Russel peters works as an office assistant under people like Jessie Jackson, The late Mr Harvey Milk etc.
  • Movies release on every Monday and only 1 out of every 10 movies is stupid!
  • Girls don't use make-up
  • 'The Simpsons' was cancelled after the 2nd season.
  • Indian Politicians are allowed to contest in elections only upon the submission of their MBA degree and  the proof of their stay for a year in one of the slums in the country. and they should have served the Indian army for a year at least!
  • You can actually find out if it's coke or pepsi in a blind test!
  • Wardrobe malfunctions happen without the knowledge of the actress.
  • PETA is actually a restaurant which serves the best Bacon-cheese burgers and exotic meat platters in the world and Pamela Anderson is a fully dressed cocktail waitress there!
  • Paris Hilton attends Harward and becomes successful and rich by actually working hard!
  • A Raja & Kalmadi are fasting and asking the Government to arrest Anna Hazare for his involvement in a corruption case.
  • David Beckham is completely bald and he maintains that one hairstyle throughout his life!
  • Every inch of the world in CCTVed. hence zero crime!
Assume many more such dissimilarities in the parallel universe, as you wish.

Now lets say, there's a facility, more like a teleporting device. which could transport people/objects from one universe to another, But only on exchange/swap basis (of the equivalent). :) :)

This raises a very important question. Who from that universe would you like to bring to ours and vice versa? :) 
Remember! In that universe, there is an opposite version of you.!!!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The brand, that is 'Rajinikanth'...!!!

They often say that there is only one iconic brand in Tamil Nadu... the brand that is 'Rajnikanth'!

This is a brand which was born in the early 70s, saw a steady growth for nearly a decade, then it was re positioned into 'something', (with no idea at that time, about what it's value's gonna be in the future), then in the mid 90s it reached a saturation point (or at least what people thought was the saturation point), now after 35 years, it still remains a brand with more loyalty than any other brand. A brand which doesn't require any publicity or marketing or promotion. a brand which carries itself. the brand that is called Rajnikanth!

Every single actor in the country wants to be a Rajinikanth. They still wonder how he pulls this magic on screen. Even he doesn't know how he pulls this 'magic'... What made him into what he is now? (if you think he's not all that great, please wait for a while - separate discussion coming up!).

Once I attended a sales training workshop. the trainer gave us a weird scenario, a very different example to explain a situation. Two companies - lets say company X an company Y, have 2 similar products, lets say mobile phones. Both the products are absolutely identical in every aspect/feature/specification/design etc. (assuming there are no patent issues :)). Lets also assume both the companies have equal reputation/brand image/market share blah blah blah. Now company X chooses a well know yesteryear bollywood actor who's the biggest and one of the most celebrated stars in the country, and company Y chooses Rajinikanth to endorse it's product... which product will sell? which product will become a hit? which product will have a better appeal?
The trainer said, without any doubt, the product endorsed by Rajinikanth, company Y's product is gonna sell more (much more) than that of company X...!!!

The simple reason being, the actor endorsing company X's product, has endorsed a couple of dozens of brands at least! right from airlines to sanitary napkins!!! these days, almost all actors are like this. we've heard about stories of popular cricketers earning as much as 80 crores per annum from endorsements alone!!! Have you ever seen Rajinikanth in any advertisement? anything at all? Why doesn't he? And what if he decides to endorse any brand or product? I think it's the 'Gandhari effect' (what she did to Duriyodhana). someone who hasn't been into endorsing ever, if he decides to endorse a product, it is bound to become a success!

The current trend in the entertainment industry is that, before the release of their movies, actors do all kinds stunts to promote themselves and their upcoming movies. Right from attending reality shows on TV, giving interviews on all kinds of media, some even start controversies wantedly... Rajinikanth never did any of that, even if the production company decides to do stuff like that, it wouldn't make any difference. they might as well restrain from spending unnecessarily. Still his movies get released with a big bang and mint money like crazy. A fmcg company spends almost 50-60% of it's total expenditure on promotion/marketing/advertising. Just imagine if Coke or P&G decides not to advertise at all. will they continue to be number one? Highly unlikely... they know very well that in no time, Pepsi or Unilever will overtake them! and yes - in this highly competitive market, all products are more or less equal in quality and pricing (applies to actors/films too).

Where else in the world, does a movie premieres at 4AM in the morning! His fame spreads far beyond India. with fan clubs in Russia, Canada, Japan, Germany, South Africa and so many other places. Sometimes these things make even a hardcore fan wonder.

One of my German friends, an exchange student, eagerly waited for 2 months for the release of 'Shivaji'. And he said he was completely satisfied with the movie and it's worth all the hype.

When it comes to Rajinikanth, even an imitation will sell.! That's the power of Rajini brand. Even a small mention about the actor on screen, makes the audience go gaga, irrespective of what they are what they're watching (at least this is the case in Tamil Nadu). Like in the case of a Vijay's movie where there's a one line mention of Rajinikanth in one of the songs, which received more cheering than any other instance of the movie. Likewise in the case of an upcoming Ajith's movie, where one of the songs end with the laugh track of Rajini (his unique laugh). Since the super star himself wont endorse, people find unique ways to capitalize on the Rajini phenomenon! Even the ad world believes anything with the superstar's tag will work out!

On screen and off screen, attitude plays a main role in celebrity's success. No matter how big you are, you got to mind your attitude. Sometimes maintaining a low profile, off screen, like Rajini or Jackie Chan, only makes your fame grow.

The only brand Rajinikanth has ever endorsed...

------------------------------------ x ------------------------------------

Rajini Jokes:

This is a growing market. recently became really popular, definitely not in Tamil Nadu, but the the rest of the country (mainly north and west). Like I said earlier, anything with the superstar's tag works out. People do capitalize on the Rajini phenomenon. But from my experience, at least 70-80% of 'Rajini Jokes' fans, are wannabes. They just laugh at these jokes because their friends are doing so. Or probably they're in a circle where people think it is cool to make fun of someone like Rajini (we always pick on people who are humble, nice, who wants to stay as far as possible from any issues/controversies). A 90% of Rajinikanth jokes are based on some kind of a supernatural stunt or act, which Rajinikanth apparently can do or perform. Sure he has done some weird stunts in his old movies, times when computer graphics had not really picked up. But who hasn't? telugu, kannada, Hindi, even in Hollywood there are actors who have done stuff like this. Too bad they don't care about what kind of logical person you are, who looks out for a RTB (reason to believe) everything that you see and too bad they care about many different kind of audience like children, uneducated, people who earn less than 100rs per day, who are not big fans of art films and films with full logic and no weird stunts!

I don't know about the other actors but Rajinikant does have a huge checklist while making any movie. this is to ensure he caters the need of all of his audience (there has to be something for everyone) here everyone = toooooo many.

But the Rajini jokes thing has gone too far now. no other actor can replace him in this. yet another feat he has achieved. Although these jokes mock him as a person, it doesn't have even the tiniest impact on the brand that is Rajini...

Closing note: It will take another 50 years for someone to reach the place where Sachin Tendulkar is right now. Likewise it's going to take at least 35-40 years for anyone to reach where Rajikanth is right now. (I thought it is only appropriate to compare Rajikanth to a person like Sachin and not any other actor. It is not apples to oranges, it is like comparing Durian to Frankenberry. Both are equally rare and special!)

There is no declining for this brand!

Thursday, June 09, 2011

My Bucket list!

not too long, before i'm gonna kick the bucket.... here's the list of things which i intend to do before the 'D' day! or maybe the 'A' day (admission into the hospital day) or 'T' day (turning into a vegetable day)!
  • I want to see my own wikipedia page on my own computer (of course, created and maintained by someone else and it should be all active and visited by millions everyday - hope u understand where i'm getting at)
  • At least for once, i want to run on the beach, wearing just shorts, with a super hot chiseled body. I should look like David hasselhoff. (If I do that now, trust me, there wont be anybody in the 5 km radius of that beach)
  • I want to rent a room in the top most floor of Burj Al Arab hotel, Dubai, sit in the balcony (facing the sea) and taste the most expensive caviar along with the most expensive wine.
  • I want to drive a speed boat (with tank full of fuel), all by myself, and I should take it deep inside the sea (at least 50 kms inside), without supervision.
  • Something similar to the above wish - I want to ride a horse (not any ordinary lame horse - an Italian stallion) :)... really fast and furious, with me wearing all kinds of Armour wear (troy style). (I hope there are some carnivals in some parts of the world which has such arrangements)
  • I want 'Mutton biriyani' from Dawat, adyar, 'Raan' from copper chimney, 'Tava kalamaari' and 'red snapper fry (shankara) from moon rakers, mahabalipuram, 'chicken wings medium spicy' from eatalica, R A puram, 'death by chocolate' from Tangarine, alwarpet ------ all at once, in the same place, at one go I should have them all! (normally there's at least a week gap between having any 2 of the mentioned)
  • I want to meet johny depp, in person. it will be Captain jack sparrow meeting his biggest fan!
  • I want to win big in the stock market, at least once. and the best part is, my friends, broker and everyone should strongly suggest me to not do a certain thing, but I would go ahead do it anyways and that will probably pay me off really well. nothing will make you feel more happier I say!
  • I want to sit in the cockpit along with the captain of an Airplane! (probably with a couple of stewardess too)
  • I want to see my name in someone else's presentation, made in front of atleast a 100 people. And it should be a proud moment for me. :)
  • I want to go to Texas and take that 72oz steak challenge (refer previous post)
  • Soon after my retirement, on the 1st Monday, I want to get up really early in the morning, and knowing that I don't have to go to work, I should fall flat on the bed with full satisfaction/laziness and no guilt!
  • I want to see snow (yes, I live in Chennai)
  • Name one of my kids Achilles.
Now the 'cliche' items from the list:

  • I want to set foot in all the continents.
  • I want to eat Durian fruit.
  • I want to address a gathering with more than 1000 people.
  • I want to slap an Aussie (seriously)
  • I want to do sky diving.
  • I want to visit Taj Mahal
  • I want to honeymoon in Jamaica
  • I want to see '1000 hits per month' in my blog stats
  • I want to see '1500 hits per month' in my blog stats 
  • I want to see '3000 hits per month' in my blog stats
  • I want 'Indiblog' rank 85
  • I want to drink have 15 drinks and still be conscious
  • Drive a BMW M6 (just drive!)
  • I want to slap a really hot girl and have no regrets about it.
  • Appear on TV
  • I want to go on a minimum 5 day cruise (no land - just water). 
  • I want to swim for atleast 100 m without a life jacket.
  • I want to sit and do a 'Lord of the Rings' Marathon (with no breaks - not even for 10 mins)
  • I want to go Scuba diving
  • I want to go snorkeling
  • I want to buy a really expensive and awesome personal camera
  • I want to visit Amsterdam
  • I want to pat a Lion (and come back home alive)
  • I want to own a house with a indoor swimming pool
  • I want to get my ear pierced (the non gay ear)
  • I want to eat King Crab

I will continuously update this. As and when I complete current items and come across new ones.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Man vs Food.

The two kinds of people in the world... the ones who work really very hard to even have 1 square meal a day, and the ones who work extremely hard to reduce that extra 5kgs of body fat. Both of them sweat, sizzle everyday and are not happy with their current state. This post is for the latter type! 
but this is neither about inequality, nor about weight reduction/health etc... 

While American restaurants have often been called out for their sometimes gluttonous serving sizes, some are proud of their over sized portions. so proud, in fact, that a few food purveyors have made them into official eating challenges. Thats this TV series is all about. Sometimes it makes you wonder why the Americans have this much of luxury, while the rest of the world does not!

The host Adam Richman, a witty and cheerful guy, goes from place to place all over America in search for exotic food challenges, attempts to win them. Makes you wonder "what a life this guy has got". All he has to do is to go around and eat awesome stuff and somebody pays him to do that...!

If you haven't watched this show yet, please start watching. let me give a little motivation: The different food stuff that they show in this programme look so delicious that your mouth starts drooling, like immediately. And by the end of the episode, you mouth would've generated at least 1 liter of saliva. And if you ever make the mistake of running a marathon (5 plus episodes in a row), then god save you. You get so tempted, you'll eat anything edible that you find (once I drank plain tomato ketchup :))

Every episode, The host Richman, explores the major food points of the particular city before attempting the main challenge. That means more visual treats for the viewer. 

Here 'challenge' means either finishing huge quantities or handling extremely spicy stuff! Being Indians, the spicy hot food stuff may not look really challenging, but the ridiculously huge quantities involved in some of the other challenges do make your head rotate! The one episode where he attempts and successfully finishes a 72oz steak, which looks like a pillow, in 1 hour (which a cheetah would normally finish in 2 days), makes you think if this guy is from mars or some other planet far far away!

On the other hand this show acts as an excellent platform for promoting the restaurants. Probably the restaurant owner sponsors the particular episode, inviting the crew to their city/state. For all we know, they may even create a new challenge just to feature in the show (although it's claimed that the challenges are traditional etc).

72oz steak, 6 pound sandwich, 8 pound ice cream (8 scoops of different flavors with all possible toppings), mammoth burger weighing 10 pounds, fiery hot chicken wings,  42 inch pizza etc are some of the challenges.

Before eating these things, Adam goes into the kitchen and takes us through the making of each recipe.

It's like take a of bun, put a 2 pound patty in it, load it with 4 slices of cheese, add 5 strips of bacon,  add another 2 slices of cheese, eat the burger and finally call the cardiologist!!!

On the whole this show is really awesome and is definitely recommended (not for vegetarians though. Watch the show then you'll know why:))

Any TV series producer reading this blog, if you are planning to make an Indian version of Man vs Food, please consider me for hosting the show. I look good, I am funny and I have a raging appetite for food. I promise I'll be as good as Adam Richman, if not better!!!

How would it be? an Indian version of Man vs Food:

  • 30 idlis in 35 mins (winner gets his name on the wall of fame near the cash counter)
  • 2 kgs of curd rice with only mango pickle - 2 sachets on the side in 1 hour (winner gets named curd king)
  • Andra meals unlimited with Gongura pickle etc - keep eating continuous for 2 hours (even Adam Richman will hit the wall in 30 mins)
  • Tandoori chicken - 2 full plates with 2 plates of rashmi kebab, 1 plate hariyali kabab and 2 glasses of lassi - in 1 hr (winner gets free tandoori in that restaurant for 3 months)
  • 1 liter of payasam/kheer in 5 mins (loser has to pour the remaining stuff on his head)
  • 10 plates of Chilly bajjis in marina beach - in 40mins (this one sounds quite achievable!!!)

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Road to Chennai...

100s of traffic police , 1000s of citizens. It's actually very simple maths.

How to cover (read it as harass) the entire population? 'was' the question. They used simple territory wise distribution.
No no! there's no human rights violation or any other problem in Chennai. it's one of the most peaceful cities in the country. It's just day time burglary... that's all.! more like mugging. only difference is the muggers don't run after they mug you. you will run from them!!!

It's the same everywhere. every city in the country has these wonderful policemen who will let you go, even if you are caught driving drunk, without DL/registration/insurance/tax documents/helmet (special section on this item follows), provided you pay for their next meal (literally)!
But Chennai is where they undergo their training. They're the 'masters of the game'.

This is the image of a typical traffic policeman. Now carefully notice the area below his chest and above his waist! It's called a POT BELLY or sometimes POLICE BELLY (naming courtesy - frustrated youth of Chennai). For every 1 cm cube of the belly which is grown/developed with the help of the salary they receive every month from the government, there are 9 cm cubes which are developed from the bribe money. 1 : 9...

They have
  • No Mercy
  • No dignity
  • No self respect
  • No respect for others
  • No values
  • No courtesy
Seasons come and go, but they don't change. For the people who do not live in Chennai or who do not drive, lemme paint you a picture. Say you are driving/riding on the road (whether you are in a hurry or relaxed, be it any situation), a 'trafifc police party' stops you - Normally one cop literally come in front of your vehicle, risking his life and your life, so that you will stop your vehicle - He asks you to step out of your vehicle - You do - Then you are routed to the sergeant (the big daddy - wears a white colored hat). He's standing with his bike, with one leg on the foot rest of the bike, with a book and a pen, wearing aviator shades (differentiating factor). he's a busy man (mean very less patience - perceived) - He asks for your documents (DL, Registration etc) - You produce all valid documents, means you have passed level 1 (if you fail level 1 then game over (there's no escape) - Then he asks why you're not wearing helmet etc (if you don't have those reasons to worry about, then level 2 crossed) - then he asks why you were traveling at 60 kmph when the speed limit is 59 kmph (this is a variable factor - whatever speed you travel at, the required speed limit will be '-1' kmph) - that means there's no escape - Now having been done with the technical discussion, the commercial discussion begins - He says, your violation legally costs 1500 + 1000 rs (say) - only 5% of the drivers are foolish enough to buy this and end up paying the money - Smart drivers negotiate, they say "sir, I didn't intend to break the rule, was in a hurry, please forgive, I don't have enough money, I have a train to catch/an exam to write/an operation to perform etc - So the considerate policeman reduces the fine - he says "OK I understand, don't repeat do this, just pay 500 rs and we'll call it square" - some people give up at this stage, others try hard - they show him a really sad face, silence for a short while - then the cop starts to lose patience (his opportunity cost of spending more time with this one guys starts to bother him) - he asks "how much have you got?" - 100 bucks - the deal is struck!!!

The strategy is, "Hit them where it pains", and "capitalize on one's fear" !!!

Just like a typical business scenario, both of them think that they are smart (win-win). the passenger, because he's paying 1/10th of the initial offer by the 'law' (law abiding citizen).

There are only two kinds of cops, The ones who are smart enough to skim and the ones who are foolish enough to settle/compromise.

I really pity the commercial vehicle drivers. They have to stop at every single signal to pay their 'fine'...
But what really surprises me is, lorry drivers pay much lesser (say 5-10 bucks) compared to the bikers (minimum 50 Rs)... :( - why not demand more from lorry drivers? ---B2B vs B2C--- (lorries are owned by firms/organizations and rich individuals)

Popular fishing spots:

  • Near Thiruvanmiyur railway station - under the flyover
  • Radhakrishnan Saalai (right opposite to Chola Sheraton Hotel and in front of Mcrennett bakery)
  • ECR (in front of the small Marry Brown outlet near pebble beach)
  • Foreshore estate (the signal near HUL building)
  • Teynampet signal (opp sun TV office)
  • Nandhanam Signal
  • Concorde motors (near Alexander square)
  • Amanjikarai signal
  • In front Spencer plaza (on both sides of the road)
the above list is just the tip of the huge iceberg - never ending list. Advice to fellow citizens - stay away from these spots. make them run for their money (literally) - don't fall into the trap!

One more humble request to the Chennai citizens - Please wear helmets. Not only saying this out of care for your safety, but its the most 'visible' reason they will catch you for...

A few years back, the Hyundai company (one of the biggest manufacturing companies in Chennai), decided to associate with the CCTP. Now when we think of Accent we can only think about the traffic police and their 'charm'. No one buys Accent these days! However the CCTP got a cool image like the NYPD or the LAPD!!!

The Future::
No matter how famous or notorious the CCTP is among the public, they have created a brand for themselves. They command respect (more than many departments). maybe in the year 2040 when Lamborghini puts up a plant in Chennai, they'll supply vehicles to CCTP and god know how things will be by then. But one thing is sure... the POT BELLY will not change!!!

Other side of the coin: No one is perfect. The drivers on the road i meant. they wanna get out of any situation as easily as possible. 75% of the times they propose the 'transaction'. these guys (normal citizens) are to be blamed. It's been an age old practice for us to compromise on certain things. take the short road.

You guys out there, do the following things: (not gonna say anything new - just the actual rules)
  • carry all valid documents at all times
  • do not drink and drive
  • do not violate rules on the road
  • carry enough cash to pay the actual fine, for worst case scenario (trust me, this is the best solution)
20 years from now, there's gonna be a different system altogether. there wont be any human representation of the law on roads. Advancements in technology will make everything automated. till then we have to deal with things wisely!