Wednesday, July 08, 2015

The Giant Killers

When I talk to people in business, they always dream of becoming number one but there are very few who had not only dreamt about it but made it happen against all odds and against the giant established companies. Way to the top is never easy but it always feels good to be there. Business is always like a game with various players and various situations, interlinked with each other. The best part is you are free to decide the rules of the game and it depends on you how you want to play the game. Here are few products which I feel have truly stumped the industry giants in their fields:

Maruti 800
When Maruti 800 was launched in India, Indian market was dominated by the likes of Ambassador and Padmini. It was not only a small car in proportions but also an economical package for the customers. Over a period of time, it not only became number one but almost entirely wiped out the competition. Today it may not be selling in its original avatar but it is still the most popular car ever released in the Indian market. This product has given Maruti such an edge that even today the company sells nearly four times more vehicles than its nearest rival Hyundai.

Ghari Detergent
Even I was surprised when I came to know that on standalone basis, Ghari Detergent is the largest selling washing powder in India with Wheel at number two position. Being a metropolitan guy, I always used to think Surf or Nirma or Ariel may be the leaders but this product Kanpur based RSPL is way ahead in the race. Also the most interesting part is that most of the sales come from North India and I heard that the company is now looking to seriously foray into other markets as well. Well if you look at the numbers, according to me it is going to be in this position for long and even Sallu Bhai cannot propel Wheel past this giant killer.

Fogg Deodorant
When every deodorant in the market was claiming to be the magnet a boy requires to attract a girl, Fogg silently entered in the market with its no gas philosophy. When every other deo brand was busy in launching various fragrances in order to make things work for them, Fogg kept on hammering its philosophy and decent fragrances with more and more dedication. Once people realized that Fogg's philosophy is really true and other brands are showing a hoax dream, customers started to shift towards it. Today with almost 12.5% market share, Fogg is number one deo brand in India and continues to be in strong position with various new launches. So this brand has turned Axe Effect into Axed Effect (LOL).

Indigo Airlines
When people used to talk about Jet, Kingfisher and Indian Airlines, this player started its operations in Aviation industry. When Deccan and Sahara, proved that low cost airlines cannot survive, this low cost airlines changed the rules of the game. Their sole motto was punctuality and gosh they really managed it above all. Where giants failed to meet ends, Indigo managed to keep its costs really low and turned profitable which itself was a marvel in an industry where everyone else is bleeding. According to me Indigo will be there at the top till somebody else got the guts to change the rules of the game once again.

There may be hundred other such stories and I will try my level best to bring them forward but whenever I listen to them, I feel nothing is impossible in this world, the only thing is you should know to play the game and that is what my heart whispers to me................

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Legendary Brands of Indian Market

Whenever I compare products today with products 10 years back or 30 years back, I always wonder how much things have changed. From customers' needs to perception, from products dimensions to functions, from companies' attitude to altitude, everything is different. But there are products and brands which had actually changed the market scenario in India. These legends have succeeded against all odds and continued their dominance over a lifetime.

Let us have a look at few of them:

Maruti:
In 1983, when Maruti introduced its first car Maruti 800, nobody would have thought that this brand will become a legend in India. But slowly customers moved towards it because they felt its products were easy to drive, easy to maintain, light on pocket and moreover a different style which many can afford. This brand is ruling the Indian automobile sector and all customer surveys for a whopping 25 years. Maruti has found the pulse of Indian customers and seems like they have a knack of creating legendary products. Now after Maruti 800, Swift and Wagon R have already become iconic brands and creating history again and again.

Amul:
Amul is one brand which actually ended era of the milkman. The white revolution (or some call it operation flood) which started in 1973 has today reached each and every corner of India. Amul today has over one million, over 10000 distributors and over 7200 excusive Parlours. The success of Amul brand can be easily dedicated to Late Mr. Verghese Kurian who mobilized thousands of small dairy farmers and created this legend called Amul for life.

Parle G:
From over 70 years, Parle-G is the largest selling biscuit brand in India and from last 40 years largest selling biscuit brand worldwide. For some it is a little treat and for some it is a one time meal. Many flavours, many variants of other biscuits had come and gone but this brand has never moved an inch from its leadership position. According to me this is one legendary product which had played and will play one of the longest innings in Indian market.

Colgate:
Launched in 1937, Coalgate revolutionized dental care in India. Those days people used to clean their teeth with neem or babool twig but Colgate changed it all. For over 70 years this Colgate dental cream ruled Indian dental care space and in recent past only it has started facing some heat from the likes of Close-up, Pepsodent, Dabur and Oral-B. But all said and done, this product has been immortalized in Indian history as one of the biggest successes of all times.

SBI:
State Bank of India can be easily termed as bank for the common man. Roots of this banking giant can be traced back to 1806 when it started its journey as Bank of Calcutta. From then in 1921 it turned into Imperial Bank of India and in 1955 it became today's State Bank of India. With over USD 400 billion assets, deposits of over USD 300 billion and over 20000 branches, this banking legend is going to stay on top for long. Even though 25 years back it was first choice of every Indian and in recent decade new entrants like ICICI, HDFC have taken a big share of urban customers, SBI is still first choice of every common man.

Bata:
Many companies have come and gone but Bata has remained undisputed king of organized Indian footwear industry from last 70 years. With currently sales of over 50 million pairs of footwear per year in India, Bata has reached where nobody can even think of reaching at present. In fact, rubber slippers launched by Bata under the name 'Hawai' is so famous that every rubber slipper is now called as hawai chappal in India. After seeing history of Bata you can say that in products, 'legends are not born they are created'.

Prestige:
Launched in 1950, Prestige changed the way food was cooked. Its famous tagline for Prestige pressure cooker, "Jo biwi se kare pyaar, vo prestige se kaise kare inkaar", is a household slogan in itself. In last 64 years, this brand has reached to such a height that now on an average every 7 seconds a prestige product is sold in India. This feet can be achieved only by a legendary brand and it seems this is one product which is set to play not out innings at leadership position.

Titan:
If you want to buy a watch of Indian Brand, I am sure Titan will be the first to consider. With over 60% Indians opting for this brand and a market leadership spanning nearly 20 years, this legendary brand is here to stay for long. Started in 1984, when HMT and Allwyn were at their peak, slowly and steadily this brand kept on winning consumers hearts and today it sells over 15 million watches every year.

Parachute:
The blue bottle of Parachute has become a brand of trust in hair oil segment. When it was launched in 1987, market was dominated by unbranded hair oils but Parachute changed the tide. Today over 18 million households use Parachute and it enjoys over 50% market share in branded hair oil category. This is one brand which has withstood competition from various products and brands but never moved from its leadership position till date.

Thums Up:
Whenever you want to quench your thirst with a Cola, 40% of Indians opt for Thums Up. Launched in 1977 by Parle, it became part of Coca-Cola in 1993. Though Coca-Cola wanted to phase it out but this legendary product was so strong that they had to think otherwise. In last 40 years this product has seen many ups and downs, fierce competition from likes of Pepsi and Coke but remained on top due to strong fan following. Like its logo, my vote goes for it as legend in aerated drinks segment.

Vaseline:
Vaseline in my mind will always remain synonym to petroleum jelly. I still remember from my early childhood days when it used to come in tin box. For over 130 years, this legend has ruled the skin care segment and keeping in mind the customer needs, kept on launching new products at regular intervals. Now I see so many products under Vaseline brand that original petroleum jelly seems lost but no other product can take its place as legend for sure.

Maggi:
'Bas 2 Minute' noodles is favourite among kids today and slogan for instant noodles in India. Introduced in 1982, this brand has its share of tough competition, ups and downs in its history. Today it enjoys 60% market share in instant noodles category with a big range of products. Even though my favourite will always be Top Ramen Curry Noodles, brand Maggi will remain a legend in Indian market since it was the first to challenge local snacks like samosas, pakoras etc successfully.

Zandu Balm:
For new generation, this may be a surprise inclusion but this iconic product is market leader in pain relief segment for over 100 years now. Zandu Balm has become synonymous to all balms and in India it is a part of over 50 million households. It may be feeling heat from new products like Volini or Moov or to some extent Tiger Balm, but this legendary product still has more leadership years left in it.

Dabur Chyawanprash:
Again this may be a surprise inclusion but this product is market leader in its segment from last 70 years. Nowadays people may rely more on health drinks for vigor and vitality but chyawanprash is known to be best natural ayurvedic resource for youthfulness. In our childhood I still remember everybody in most of the families taking Dabur Chyawanprash daily and this habit has not changed for many families till date.

There are many more legendary brands in Indian market but I guess space will be always less to mention them all. Indian market is filled with legends, stories of triumph where tides have been turned but it is some who had created history and that is what my heart whispers to me...........

Monday, November 10, 2014

E-Wars

Indians seems to be on an e-commerce spree now-a-days. With revenues of e-commerce companies swelling like our pot bellies, I always wonder what will happen when this euphoria is over and sensibility will start settling in. Right now mudslinging is happening in the top rung and down the line new start-ups are fighting in that mud for survival. Every other new venture is in e-commerce and now from onions to diamonds everything is available at just click of a button. Will this golden era keep on going for ever or will this threaten to disrupt the equilibrium of the society in near future, this is a debateable question which I don't want to put forth as of now but one thing is sure that consolidation will happen soon enough in this segment. 

Let us see according to me where top contenders stand in this race as of now:

Flipkart: The Prime Mover
Flipkart is the first company which can be truly credited with e-commerce revolution in India thanks to its founders Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal. With revenues touching almost US$ 5 billion, it is far ahead of other players as of now. Excellent customer interface, huge product portfolio across categories and exclusive deals such as Xiomi products are some of its major advantages. There may be some hiccups recently such as 'Billion Dollar Day', which earned huge revenue but huge criticism as well; you cannot count Bansals out of the race anytime sooner. Profitability may not be a concern at present but it will be sooner or later in future so they should keep a check on the same. Takeover of Myntra.com will also help them in securing a large pie of fashion space which can prove to be a very big advantage in future. I guess if they can keep on maintaining creative deals and innovative services in the loop, they can remain prime mover of Indian e-commerce industry for long.

Amazon: The Challenger
Amazon is a known name in e-commerce jungle worldwide and with extra deep pockets plus army of technical and creative minds at helm; it can be true challenger for numero uno position. With already revenues topping US$ 1 billion within a year, you can expect some solid ground work from them and then serious ground breaking in near future. Since they have everything to gain and nothing to lose, Flipkart will have tough time to save its territory and its customers from this e-commerce giant. Strategically, with sites such as Junglee.com in their kitty, you can expect some heavy fine tuning by Amazon in terms of deals and offers. Nevertheless they are also facing same constraints as our prime mover and it will be great to see who finds the key to everlasting success among them.

Snapdeal: The Innovator
I had always liked their philosophy of doing business and Snapdeal can be credited with start of innovative deals in e-commerce segment in India. Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal started on the right track but could not overtake Flipkart since stiff challenge was at their doorstep sooner than expected. But now Snapdeal has also thrown its hat into the ring and seems to be fully prepared to take the blows as well as inflict damage to the competition. However, customer interface and product range across portfolios need to be improvised in order to stake claim for the numero uno position.

Indiatimes Shopping, Homeshop18 and Ebay: The Invisibles
Roots of both Indiatimes Shopping and Ebay in India can be found even prior to Flipkart and Snapdeal. Started as market places for online selling, these sites had great potential but I guess lacked the hunger to conquer. They have every asset at their disposal to make it big in Indian market space but god only knows when they will start firing on all cylinders. Homeshop18 even have their own 24 hours channel to promote products but they still have to find the right combination of television and internet selling to make it to the top.

Quikr and Olx: The Resellers
So customer base is large, following is large, product range is infinite (since mostly people sell their all sorts of old used items) which means the scope for them is also quite promising. You can also see few people selling brand new items on these sites as well but mostly individuals and not organised retailers. However, any of them can be a big player in e-commerce space if they choose to enter the big arena of branded new items through retailers as scalability will not be a big issue with them.

Others: The Niche Segmenters
Jabong.com, Yepme.com, Yebhi.com, Pepperfry.com, Zovi.com, Naaptol.com, Tradus.in, Lenskart.com, Caratlane.com, Bluestone.com, Infibeam.com, fabfurnish.com, futurebazar.com, babyoye.com, localbanya.com, inkfruit.com, bigbasket.com, and so on, the list is never ending. Everybody has got the funding, everybody has got the advertisements and everybody has got a niche segment or may be niche customer base. However, most of these players will look for consolidation with big players at some point like what Myntra did with Flipkart until and unless they are happy with their limited reach or they have guts and resources to fight the big guns.

Whatever is going to happen in future that does not matter since as of now the customer is the king and we can reap as much benefit as possible till funding is coming to these companies. But let us beware that this will happen only till a certain point where equilibrium or ecosystem of business is not in danger so enjoy till then and that is what my heart whispers to me...........

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Giants of Indian Car Industry - Battle for Supremacy or Survival

Prior to the year 2000, Indian car market used to be a sellers' market and was majorly dominated by few players such as Maruti Suzuki but since then things have been continuously hotting up in this auto segment. As on date, customer is the king with plenty of various options in each category and a battle of supremacy or survival is being fought at the centre stage. Let us look at few of the giants who had played a major role in the past and every one of those who are bound to be a key player in the future.

Maruti Suzuki: The Numero Uno
With almost over 45% market share, Maruti is the undisputed NumeroUno of Indian car industry and there is nobody in sight who can challenge its might in near future. Maruti can boast of the best after sales service and one of the most economic vehicle line-up in their armory. With blockbuster products such as 'Swift', 'Dzire', 'Alto' and 'WagonR', Maruti not only rules the entry level car segment but hatchbacks and entry level sedans as well where currently most of the big numbers are. But luxury sedan and SUV are the two segments where Maruti has faced not only stiff competition but they have failed to even register their presence significantly with all the models from 'Baleno' to 'SX4' and 'Grand Vitara' to 'Kizashi' proving to be duds. With models such as 'Ciaz' and 'XA Alpha' in pipeline, I hope that auto major will be able to stir upper segments as well but as of now it seems customers relate the brand with more of economy type of vehicles rather than the luxury type of vehicles and changing this perception will be a major task for our NumeroUno. Still the way market is changing with every new launch, Maruti needs to be on their toes in order to safeguard its position and further cement it in the market.

Hyundai: The Successor
When Hyundai launched 'Santro' in September 1998, nobody thought this company will be a major force in India but since then this Korean major has never looked back. Hyundai has always been holding its number two position and with stylish products as well as excellent service network, they have maintained this position in Indian market for long. With product range such as 'i10 and i20 Family' as well as recently launched 'Xcent' and stylish 'Verna', there is less doubt that they will have any threat to their number two position but with Honda hot on their heels who knows they may be in for a surprise in future. I feel Hyundai needs to address the growing demand in entry level SUV and MPV segment soon or their number two position can be in jeopardy in future since I can see that their fan following is not as loyal as people may think. But all said and done, as of now they are true successor to Maruti Suzuki and currently sitting pretty firmly on their runner-up position.

Honda Cars: The True Challenger
From starting itself Honda has been a very strong brand in Indian market and has been considered synonym to superior quality. It had legendary products such as 'Accord' and 'Civic' as well as all time heart throb 'City' in its stable but till last year with all petrol line-up they were never able to churn the required sales volumes. But with launch of models such as 'Amaze', 'Mobilio' and 'City' diesel, it seems their worry days are over. They have now almost perfect vehicle line-up (entry level SUV is still missing though), superb brand value and excellent after sales service to back their grand Indian dream. Honda is the one I believe every other manufacturer is currently worried about. It has already surpassed likes of Mahindra, TATA Motors and Toyota in less than one year and must be eyeing number two position in near future but I am sure the competition will not be sitting idle and Honda's journey to stardom will definitely be no cake walk. Another challenge which I believe with Honda is that their products are not only competing with other manufacturers' products but somehow they compete with their own products as well. Like for example one reason for sales volume of 'Amaze' going down is that of increasing sales volume of 'City' and I am sure 'Mobilio' will somewhere dent their numbers as well. When a customer goes to their showroom they go to purchase a Honda car and with easy financing available they tend to opt for a vehicle they like most even if that means stretching the budget a bit. So it clearly means that they still have to create a market pool of individual models like Maruti or Hyundai has and this may prove to be the winning stroke for them in the longer run.

Mahindra: The Niche Leader
Mahindra has always been known for their SUVs and Utility vehicles and is undisputed leader of this segment from quite long. Whether it is iconic 'Scorpio' (which definitely marked a new era for the company) or it is ultra-reliable 'Bolero' or uber cool 'XUV500' they had mastered the art of SUVs. Here by art of SUVs I not only mean making but selling as well but as you can see I also used 'had'. There are few reasons for my scepticism and primary reason being not a great response to 'Xylo' family vehicles whereas it should have been another success story for the home grown major. Secondly, with introduction of many new models in SUV segment and some like 'Duster' and 'Ecosport' which are still going strong, somehow Mahindra had left enough space in the segment for them to flourish. I believe they have yet to master the mind of urban clientele where expectations are high and lot of other factors such as excellent customer service do matter. I feel it is time for another revolution and lot of introspection like they did during introduction of 'Scorpio'. Another pain point for Mahindra has been entry to lower segments such as sedans. Whether it is 'Logan' or rechristened 'Verito', sales registers are not ringing and this is another proof that they are not urban customer ready yet. All said and done I do not see the niche leader as sleeping giant and with slew of upcoming launches and few strategic changes, leadership dream can be round the corner for our home grown SUV leader.

Toyota: The Consistent Performer
When you talk about Toyota in India, one can easily see consistency in performance. In terms of sales volumes, Toyota is neither in the top rung nor in the bottom and has consistently maintained its 4th or 5th position. Toyota products are always termed as reliable no-nonsense machines and customer service is nothing less than excellent. I am somehow always surprised why this global leader never seemed to be aiming for leadership in India. As per them, whether they are not able to find right fit mass products for Indian market or it has something to do with deep rooted appeal and approach of Maruti and Hyundai, with full packed armoury at Toyota's disposal I strongly believe Toyota has not reached where it should have been. Somehow it seems focus is always on MPV segment and no doubt 'Innova' is still the market leader in its class but with so many new models in the pond this strategy seems risky in the longer run. Anyways Toyota is always known for that as they had taken everybody with surprise in the past when they suddenly stopped selling their best model 'Qualis' in 2005. I still believe they shouldn't have stopped 'Qualis' as till date Toyota has not been able to launch anything in SUV segment and this segment is definitely churning good numbers in India at present. Nevertheless everything happens for a good reason and I feel Toyota is happy with the current going. Since both 'Fortuner', 'Innova' are front-runners in their segments and 'Etios' family, 'Altis' are not doing bad either, Toyota has plenty to gain and nothing to lose. With right strategy and approach, this global leader can be a serious threat to the current leaders as I feel its path is clear cut and well defined provided Toyota realises this itself.

TATA Motors: The Defender
With almost a drop of 40% in domestic sales volumes within last two years, this home grown major is somehow defending its turf mainly because of its saviour JLR (Jaguar Land Rover). Even with plenty of weapons in its armoury, everything either fails to fire at the right time or misfires altogether. I contribute this mainly to some wrong decisions as well as lack of creative approach and strategy. 'Nano' was positioned so badly in its initial phase that what could have been People's car today is now reduced to Poor Man's car. I am sure that the current sales volume of 'Nano' would not be more than 10% of what TATA would have anticipated when this dream car idea was formulated (I had predicted this in my earlier blog "TATA Nano: Has the dream gone wrong?" written on 10th July 2009 just after two months of its launch). I still hope that TATA Motors will find a way to get this dream car back on track soon and will not let it go down in history as a failure. Another model which could have done better was 'Aria' but the decision of launching it in 4x4 variant only and that is with highest price tag in its category was a very long shot and definitely it has missed its mark. Moreover, even though 'Indica' and 'Indigo' are good vehicles they failed to generate and garner consistent good response from the customers and mostly after sales service needs to be blamed for that. Now comes curious case of 'Safari', it is one very good vehicle with excellent reviews but unfortunately sales numbers are not so promising. This model was always overshadowed by models like 'Scorpio' and TATA never did anything out of the way to come out of it. This is probably true in case of all their models as one fails to see any innovative or creative branding and marketing campaigns. But you cannot count them out yet as with new models such as 'Zest' and 'Bolt' in launch phase as well as many others in pipeline, revival may be round the corner for our this home grown major and I firmly believe that this is one company which always had and will always have the best shot for the leadership position in Indian market provided they play their cards perfectly.

Chevrolet: The Bystander
Chevrolet is another manufacturer which has all the fire power in its arsenal but they refuse to use it. Sales volumes are dropping consistently but they seem to be acting just like bystanders and doing nothing about it. All the models 'Spark', 'Beat', 'Sail', 'Cruze', 'Enjoy', 'Captiva' and 'Tavera' have good reviews but somehow there is no push from the company to revive the sales or even network for that matter. This is one more company which I believe can do much better than what they are doing currently. There are certainly few gaps in the offering such as entry level SUV and entry level luxury sedan (space created because of discontinuation of 'Optra' model) but I guess that they will be taking care of it soon with models like 'Trax' and 'Trailblazer'. According to me this will not be sufficient if Chevrolet really want to be in the top rung and they need to focus more on 'Tavera', 'Enjoy', 'Sail' and 'Beat' where currently sales volume are in the market.

Ford: The Veteran
Ford is no new to Indian market and its roots can be traced back to as long as 1907 which makes it literally the first auto player in India but that innings lasted only till 1954 and Ford re-entered Indian market in 1995. Since then it's a satisfactory journey for them but it cannot be termed as outstanding since even with calibre Ford was never able to break into top three rankings. After a long time Ford launched 'Ecosport' which has proved to be its most successful launch till date but with so many players eyeing this segment journey can be tough in future. Apart from this we had already seen three avatars of 'Fiesta' and barring the first one sales volumes have been sluggish since then. Again 'Figo' was a success in initial phase but it is now content with sales of around 3000 nos per month but I feel it has the potential to do lot more. 'Endeavour' is a good vehicle but sadly there are hardly any numbers worth mentioning. 'Classic' again is slow in terms of sales but it has survived rough weather and will continue to do the same until there is a drastic strategy change from Ford. I have observed that customers perceive Ford as a costly maintenance vehicle which may not be true and company needs to change this belief as soon as possible. With 'Ka' and 'Figo Sedan' in pipeline, Ford still have some aces up its sleeve but these models will succeed only if ground work is done perfectly.

Renault / Nissan / Datsun: The Musketeers
Whenever I think about them I can only recall siblings, 'Duster' and 'Terrano', 'Micra' and 'Pulse', 'Sunny' and 'Scala'. One may always feel that what is the point of same models with cosmetic changes fighting with each other in the same space but it depends on the strategy of the companies and I feel reason behind it is to increase shelf life of a particular product. Among all the products launched, 'Duster' was the only noticeable success whereas most of the others have fizzled out after initial phases. Though products are good somehow they do not linger for long in customers' mind. Even 'Datsun Go', 'Evalia' and 'Fluence' have failed to garner sufficient numbers and hence probably it is time for company to think of some new strategies or major shift is required in the approach. All said and done, one thing is very clear that this trio is not here to go out meekly and bounce back may be on the cards anytime soon but something needs to be done or losses will keep on mounting at dealers' end.

Volkswagen / Skoda: The Global Giant
This global leader would be thinking that how come best products always fail to sell in India but that is the peculiarity which makes Indian market stand apart. From the beginning itself Volkswagen always tried to do something different, whether it is innovative marketing or creative approach they did all. I still remember opening newspaper on one fine morning and music coming out of it from Volkswagen creative ad. It is not that they have not tasted success in India but they were not able to keep the momentum going. I strongly believe that there were some basics which went wrong during the journey and company is trying its best to reverse its effect but the major point here is whether their understanding of Indian market is still right or not. Japanese and Korean companies have found that pulse as of now but as we know life changes every moment provided you have it in you to change it. Technically speaking all the products from their stable, 'Polo', 'Vento', 'Jetta', 'Passat' are superb except for few nook and corners or dwindling sales numbers. Even Skoda have fantastic products in terms of 'Rapid', 'Octavia' and 'Superb' though not much focus has been given to 'Fabia' and 'Yeti' but sales numbers are not as it used to be. So probably it is time for a rethink over strategy and a change in approach so that they can challenge the current market leaders and if Volkswagen fails to do so then I will be highly disappointed. With models like 'Up' and 'Taigun' in the pipeline, I hope things will change for this global leader.

Fiat: The Supplier
Fiat vehicles are always synonym to reliability but only with 'Punto' and 'Linea' in offering it has been a tough ride for the auto major. I am always surprised that a company which supplies diesel engines to many of its Indian counterparts is till now happy and content with its market position as vehicle OEM. I believe Fiat is maintaining its slow and steady approach and with introduction of its urban SUV 'Avventura', things will start rolling in its favour but it will be some time before Fiat will taste some major success in Indian market. One observation though that 'Avventura' as I can see is in its sporty edition and there should be an executive edition of the same as well or Fiat will be restricting its pond size to some extent.

Audi  / BMW / Mercedes: The Big Guns
These three players had launched more models / upgraded versions of their vehicles than even some of the full range players in Indian market which clearly demonstrate the upswing in ultra-luxury car segment. With 30000 odd vehicle sales among them, this segment is expected to grow in healthy double digits and these three may be able to literally affect course of Indian Automobile industry few years down the line. Moreover they are themselves launching vehicles in lower price range so that they can cater to bigger clientele and share a bigger pie. I am keeping a tab on them and waiting for the right time to bring their battle royale on paper.

In the end I can only see that none of the above players are at any disadvantage and only few have edge over others, so Indian auto sector is bound to have lot of action in near future. Players will move up and down, loyalties will change, models will come and go and a simple Indian family will be spoilt for choices. So it will be very interesting to see how these auto giants react to situations and what cards they play and at what time and how. This is going to be hell of a roller coaster ride of supremacy and survival so fasten your seat belt to enjoy and that is what my heart whispers to me.....

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Battle for the Power - Elections 2014

Battle for the power at centre is heating up and most of the political parties are in full throttle to reach the magic number. Coalitions, accusations, denials are in full form and statements have already crossed from limits of political arena to personal arena. Who is going to win that only time will tell but let us have a look what went wrong or what went right for the major parties in this epic battle and predict where they are most likely to finish this epic battle.

Congress led UPA: Race to Survive
From the start a strong anti-incumbency wave is clear against the current ruling Congress led UPA government and people are raising doubts about their performance in last 10 years. Rising prices, corruption, lack of basic amenities and employment opportunities are weighing heavily over there performance. The effect is such that they even failed to announce any likely PM candidate and only projected Mr. Rahul Gandhi as flag bearer of the UPA. Yes I agree that they could have done much better while in Power but it seems like Mr. Rahul Gandhi is not getting support from all quarters in the Congress party itself specially the senior leaders. Nevertheless we should not forget that during UPA tenure the country has survived two waves of recession and global economic slowdown without drowning or hitting the bottom. But yes at the same time they failed to check corruption and rising prices which may result in their worst performance ever in 2014 Lok Sabha elections. According to me Congress led UPA shall win anywhere between 125 to 140 seats.

BJP led NDA: The Front Runner
People may deny it but yes there is Modi wave in many large pockets of the country as many people are heard saying that they had voted for Modi as PM. Coupled with anti-incumbency wave against UPA government BJP led NDA may be able to put forth its best tally ever but I doubt that they will be able to reach the magic number of 272 without any external support. BJP led NDA is expected to do well in UP, Bihar, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan whereas South, East and small states like Punjab, Haryana, Chattisgarh, Goa, Himachal, Uttarakhand, Seemandhra may easily push their tally way beyond 200. With change of guard, people are hoping for reforms, business friendly atmosphere and stable economic conditions (more like Gujarat model) and this can be a deciding factor for NDA tally. According to me BJP led NDA shall win anywhere between 240 to 260 seats.

Third Front and Others: The Dreamers and The Opportunists
As such there is no official formation of The Third Front this time but there are strong signals that this may come to fore if regional parties are able to do well in the elections. Why there is no Third Front this time, reason is simple, unlike UPA where nobody wants to be the PM, here everybody wants to be the PM. From Mulayam Singh Yadav to Mayawati, Mamata Banarjee to Jayalalitha, Deve Gowda to Nitish Kumar, so many names have been cropped up for the PM post that they themselves are confused on how to form an official front with consensus. However they may together win anywhere between 120 to 130 seats and some of them may be able to bargain for good portfolios post elections by supporting the formation of the government at the centre.

AAP: The Lost Cause
What started as a good cause is now suddenly turning into a lost cause with each passing day for Aam Aadmi Party. Their claim of winning over 100 seats seems to be quite far-fetched and their chances are thinning ever since they had thrown away their government in Delhi. People are not very impressed with their way of functioning and now there are questions being raised about their integrity as well. Decision of fighting over 500 seats for a new party itself was way beyond their reach and they had already stretched themselves too much which may further harm their prospects and may bring more pain than the glory. According to me they should have contested only on 70 to 80 high profile seats with a healthy winning percentage and next election could have been totally different for them. Still it cannot be ruled out that they may play major spoilers in many key constituencies and will surely give sleepless nights to both UPA and NDA. Two months back I would have predicted 50 seats for AAP but by going with the current trend they may end up with anywhere between 10 to 20 seats only.

What will happen exactly and which way voters will swing their ballot, that only 16th May will tell but Elections 2014 will surely be one of the most keenly contested battles for power which may see many big names biting dust and many newcomers taking the centre stage. Whoever comes to power I feel it should be mandate to only one party as then only they will be truly able to work for the progress of the country and that is what my heart whispers to me...........

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Election 2014: Battle of Nerves

The upcoming Lok Sabha election in 2014 can prove to be real battle of nerves with most of the areas witnessing triangular contest between UPA, NDA and Third Front/Regional Parties. Whereas Congress is still struggling to go with a solid strategy in the elections and fumbling to take some solid ground, BJP on the other hand under NaMo wave is sweeping so fast that there is a chance that it may fizzle out by the time real battle starts. The Third Front which has yet to take any formal shape may not become a reality but one thing is clear, some of its major constituents like SP, BSP, Trinamool, BJD, JD(U), CPI, AIADMK will be in advantageous position to support the formation of  government at the centre and grab lucrative portfolios in the cabinet.

Now, the question is what the Aam Aadmi will decide, whether it will show anger on the way things are managed in the country today or it will go with the promises of a better tomorrow or as usual surrender to its helplessness in taking decisions. Even though the Lok Sabha elections must be fought on national issues, they are still very much dominated by the local or regional issues which later on result in policy paralysis at the centre. Whatever any of us decide, we should keep in mind that there should be a stable government at the centre which is not dependent on smaller fractions to survive or our condition as a nation will remain same or may even become worse. So take informative and calculative decision on whom to choose and that is what my heart whispers to me..........

Thursday, April 25, 2013

A Society Losing its Morality

When we hear or read about brutal acts of rape around us in our so called society, we always wonder how people committing such heinous acts can go to such low levels of morality which no religion, no caste and no education approve of. Is being a female or a girl child a curse in itself? How a society advocating equality between the genders even has appetite to let such acts of brutality happen? Why females like Nirbhaya have to succumb to their fate or live in constant fear throughout their life? Why even a 5 year old is not safe in her childhood? Why instead of shame and anger we feel more of helpless? Why we are unable to punish the guilty who are well connected and why people are still playing the passing buck game? Questions are plenty and answer none. Moreover nobody actually wants to answer, neither police department which is meant to protect the citizens nor the politicians who are responsible for the law and order. Instead they pass comments which only add salt to the injury.

It is true that such crimes happen everywhere from ancient times and thanks to media come out in open more often now than in past but the main question remains that whether this is helping the cause and whether we as a society able to find a solution to this menace. We have yet to understand that whether these acts are committed just for pleasure or for the elated feeling of power over the weaker gender or both. On one hand our law makers are struggling with question of whether prostitution must be made legal or not on account of morality of the society and on the other hand by displaying such horrible acts of rape the society has already lost all its levels of morality and further going down with each passing day. Where people are demanding death penalty for such crimes without any concrete law still in force, such cases are piling up with alarming rates and law makers are still struggling to decide how heinous such crimes are.

With a society losing its morality at such pace and lawmakers entangled in their own red tapes, parents like us only feel and pray to god that does not give us a female child as we will always be scared for her safety and well-being. These thoughts may not be doing justice to the already unjust society and its pole bearers but that is what my heart whispers to me................

Thursday, March 07, 2013

The GODS of HOLLYWOOD

Movies have always been great source of entertainment, inspiration and way of living for most of the viewers over their entire life cycle. More gossip is enjoyed over them between friends than any other subject and it has always been who sees it first race among the followers. I am myself a great follower of Hollywood movies and my viewing averages 12 to 15 of them per month and I have always wondered about the people who had made it happen. I would like to mention and credit the work of twelve Hollywood directors/producers who according to me are true GODS of HOLLYWOOD.

Steven Spielberg: He has always been experimenting with various ideas on science fiction, war stories and special effects including aliens or monster creatures. He is best known for his Jurassic Park series, Schindler's List, Jaws, E.T., Minority Report, Indiana Jones Series, Transformer series, Men in Black series (as executive producer) as well as war stories such as Saving Private Ryan, War Horse, Black Hawk Down and Enemy at the Gates. Some of his work on the lighter side which can be counted as commercial success include Catch me if you Can, Adventures of Tintin and The Terminal. His other movies which won him critical acclaim are Munich, A.I. and Amistad. Truly one of the most gifted personality in current Hollywood fraternity who had truly added the word great ahead of Hollywood films.
James Cameron: His every outing is as grand as celebration of life. His canvas of movies stretches beyond imagination and he always taken viewers on a journey of fantasy and visual treats. He is best known for his Terminator series, Alien, The Abyss, Titanic and Avatar. Even though he has always been in his own different league, Titanic and Avatar (creation of whole new planet) had immortalised him in the world of Hollywood.
Clint Eastwood: He is one personality who had successfully donned the hat of Actor, Director and Producer in many Hollywood masterpieces and can easily be termed as one of the most versatile personality of the motion pictures. He will be always known for his work in Unforgiven, Million Dollar Baby, Mystic River, Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima. Some of the other critically acclaimed work by him worth mentioning is Changeling, J. Edgar, Invictus and Gran Torino. He clearly displays the true never dying spirit of Hollywood.
Christopher Nolan: According to me he is the master of intelligence. The Dark Knight Trilogy, Inception, Memento and The Prestige are shear brilliant works of intelligence. All these have garnered standing ovation from the movie buffs like me and I have always believed that somehow this gifted personality missed on his due credit from the world of Hollywood even after changing the game of how motion pictures are created.
Quentin Tarantino: He is master of blood and gore. He is best known for his work in Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill series, Inglorious Bastards and Django Unchained. Even though his creations are coming after long durations yet his crafty work cannot be ignored easily. He has given true meaning to the world of raw action but with a heart filled sorrow.
Ang Lee: With his recent success at OSCARS with Life of Pi, he has been termed as one of the most promising creator of movies with a heart. His truly amazing works include Brokeback Mountain, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Life of Pi and Hulk. Leaving apart his great work in the past, much more heart filled work at grand canvas is expected of him the coming years.
Tim Burton: He is the master of horror tales and thankfully most of them had happy endings LOL so there is always a heart-warming twist for good. His creative works in the formidable league are Batman series, Sleepy Hollow, Alice in Wonderland, Planet of the Apes, Big Fish, Mars Attacks, Corpse Bride, Sweeny Todd, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Pee-wee's Big Adventure, Dark Shadows, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and Frankenweenie. Johnny Depp has lately featured in many of his horror adventures and essayed the grey roles quite easily. According to me he can be easily termed as the one who has given meaning to the world of dark movies.
Peter Jackson: How can we forget the adventure of The Lord of the Rings which he had given to the world of movie buffs. Every instalment is a masterpiece in itself and I am sure it will continue with the on-going prequel series of The Hobbits. King Kong, Tintin, Heavenly Creatures, The Lovely bones and District 9 are some of the other brilliant work from him. Dreams and world of fantasy will always have name of this personality written in golden words in their hall of fame.
Martin Scorsese: The moment you hear his name associated with any movie, you are sure you are in for a helluva ride. Shutter Island, Gangs of New York, The Departed, Hugo, The Aviator, Raging Bull, Casino, Cape Fear, Goodfellas and The Age of Innocence are some of his masterpiece works over decades. His movies always manage to keep you at the edge of your seat with story folding at its own pace. You can just sit and watch the marvels he has created. His liking for Leonardo DiCaprio is quite visible in his recent works and the gifted actor has also never let him down in any of the outings.
Ridley Scott: Although till date he has only done selected work but he has always been able to churn out heart felt stories or science fiction treats. Best known for his work in Alien, Gladiator, Black Hawk Down, Prometheus, Robin Hood, Kingdom of Heavens, American Gangster, Matchstick Men and Blade Runner. He has always shown his affinity with the history and science and we can expect many more heart-warming stories from him in the future.
David Fincher: He has always been a balanced story teller and created some of the fine works of art. His noticeable pieces of works are Zodiac, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Social Network, Seven, Alien 3, Fight Club, The Game, Panic Room and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. He has always knitted intelligence and suspense brilliantly in many of his works and his contemporary way of storytelling has won him many followers over the years.
Steven Soderbergh: He has always been known for his controversial subjects and treatment of tales from the neighbourhood. Some of his famous works as director include Traffic, Ocean's Eleven series, Contagion, Haywire, Erin Brockovich, The Informant and Out of Sight. As producer also he has developed masterpieces such as Insomnia, Syriana, Michael Clayton, Solitary Man, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, Criminal and The Jacket. I am sure he will continue to give us more thought provoking movies in the coming years but as of now according to me he is one of the most prominent members of Hollywood hall of fame.

These 12 personalities have given much more to the viewers than they had given to Hollywood itself. These intelligence minds have created worlds of their own and truly can be termed as GODS of HOLLYWOOD. Sometimes they are inspiration, sometimes they entertain, sometimes they make you think and sometimes they give you pain. Whatever it is, you live a whole new life during their movies and forget about your problems just to live in the moment and that is what my heart whispers to me.....

Sunday, March 03, 2013

New Entrepreneur: Fire, Steel and Ice

Any new entrepreneur (like me LOL) always arrive at the business arena on wings of hope and with raging fire in the belly to do something great in the world and make lot of name as well as money. But as the time passes by he/she understands that it is not as simple as living a dream instead for successful ones it turns out to be great saga of three elements Fire, Steel and Ice whereas the unsuccessful ones loses themselves in the world of despair. Before we dwell further I would first like to congratulate the successful ones for achieving the great feat which very few can actually dream of and second I would also like to congratulate the unsuccessful ones because in this world very few have guts to do what they had done.

Any new entrepreneur always pass through these three phases of the entrepreneurship saga (until and unless you have a back-up of loads of your parents money to ride on because then failures do not come with a price dear to you). So all the budding entrepreneurs and my fellow businessmen, it's time for the show to begin.

Fire: At first every new entrepreneur's mind buzzes with new ideas and innovations. The idea of name and fame, dreams of luxury and loads of money, almost certainly convince him/her to go for the new business as the raging fire in the belly and fog from its smoke clouds their judgement of what can go wrong and why. They fail to interpret that there will be plenty of people during their journey which will affect the outcome of their plans. But do not worry guys this itself is a big accomplishment that you have at least decided to live your dream (because now a days most of the people have restricted their dream to a good job with handsome pay-out) and this requires helluva lot of guts to give up an easy life for your entrepreneurship ambition. Trust me this element 'Fire' is very essential for your future success and you will go as far as you keep that fire raging in your belly and your dreams hunger for more.

Steel: During the journey of being a successful entrepreneur, you always realise that it is actually much more than just your ambition of money and fame. Not only yours but so many other families (of your employees / suppliers / associates) depend upon you and your decisions. There are times when you will come across rejection, desperation (for business, for money and most likely for peace of mind) and frustration. It is very difficult to accept failures and move ahead but you have to understand that what else you can expect on the path to success and that is why the path has been created otherwise it will not be required at all. Those who move ahead know the importance of our second element 'Steel' and those who want to move ahead must always remember that most of the stories end with sadness and desperation without this element. Now by this element steel I do not want you to make yourself steel physically (so after reading this blog please do not go and hit your gym ..LOL..) but make yourself steel mentally. Face the failures bravely (since nobody else is going to come to help you without any of their hidden agendas), try to find a way out of it or around it or whatever but hang on with the thread of hope and do not give up. Keep on moving ahead because if you will stop now, you will not be able to make a move at a later stage since that will hardly come as this cruel world of business does not give many chances. Avoid too much of desperation or frustration since either people known / unknown to you will try to take advantage of you or mostly your near ones will tell you push you to change the track. Do not worry guys about any of them as it is very easy to preach and give suggestions whereas it is very difficult to be in your shoes and live your dream and your life. People suggest or advice freely but do not help so ignore them but be careful about the people who want to take your advantage. So make yourself steel to face all these challenges and always remember anybody who have helped you in these difficult times so that you can show your gratitude later when you have reached your goal.

Ice: Now if you are able to pass the two phases of entrepreneurship, it's time to taste some success in your endeavour. However be careful, it is time to make yourself like our third element 'Ice'. Always remember do not melt away with the initial success as the key is sustainability of this success. We come across many stories where people go to top very fast but go down even faster. Now is the time not to enjoy but to first remove all your liabilities as soon as possible and reach to a stable ground in order to build strongly further. Do not spend to live in the present but save for the future contingencies. I know it is very difficult since you have suffered a lot but trust me if you do not want to suffer again in the future be ice to all these things. Enjoy but do not be an extravagant and most importantly be careful about the bee like false friends who will come along with your success as they are there only till you are on top.

If you are able to manage all these three elements in your business life, trust me nobody can stop you from achieving success. I am also going through the second phase now and hanging with the thread of hope and doing my level best to achieve success which I am sure will definitely come as that is what my heart whispers to me............

Saturday, March 02, 2013

3 Laws of Wealth

Recently while revisiting Newton's laws of motion; somewhere back of my mind I was also bickering over the current economic condition in the country as well as in the world. Both the stream of thoughts got merged (god only knows when) and I was surprised by the similarities between the motion and the wealth of an entity. Unable to contain the growing desperation, I thought it will be wise to pen down the 3 Laws of Wealth which my mind created but with strong references from our great Newton's laws of motion (so please do not charge me with plagiarism):

First Law: If there is no net effort (mental / physical / social / political) behind an entity or an individual, then its wealth will remain constant. The entity or individual is either enjoying its inherited money (LOL) or its income is increasing at a rate (meagre salary increments) getting negated by the inflation and rising costs.

Second Law: The increase in wealth 'I' of an entity or an individual is parallel and directly proportional to the net effort 'E' (mental / physical / social / political) generated by the entity or the individual, is in the direction of the efforts, and is inversely proportional to its expenditures and borrowings collectively called as liabilities 'L'. E = LI

Third Law: When an entity or an individual creates a wealth W1 in the economy, somewhere in the environment a second entity or an individual loses a wealth W2 = -W1. This means that W1 and W2 are equal in magnitude and opposite in direction.

These 3 laws of wealth holds true considering that at a given point of time, the overall wealth available and that can be generated in the entire world remains constant. Just see the simple application of the above laws: If you purchase something, manufacturers, dealers, government (LOL through taxes) earn that money which is spent by you. If you will not put any extra efforts, you will not be able to earn extra money. The more liabilities you have, more efforts you have to put in to generate that extra money. I am not sure what will be your take on these laws but they are fully applicable to me and that is what my heart whispers to me..........

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

OSCARS: Time to Re-invent Magic

Hmm.... so the grand OSCARS this is year went as expected and most of the winners were almost quite easy to guess. Best movie 'Argo', Best Director 'Ang Lee' for 'Life of Pi', Best Actor 'Daniel Day-Lewis' for 'Lincoln', Best Actress 'Jennifer Lawrence' for 'Silver Linings Playbook' (though I would have voted for 'Jessica Chastain' for 'Zero Dark Thirty'), Best Animation movie 'Brave', Best Visual effects 'Life of Pi', Best supporting actor 'Christoph Waltz' for 'Django Unchained', Best supporting actress 'Anne Hathaway' for 'Les Misérables' and so on.

Now here is the surprise, the most popular and successful movies last year 'Avengers' and 'The Dark Knight Rises' failed to get any OSCAR and top of it they were able to earn only one nomination. 'Zero Dark Thirty' even after so much acclaim and its controversial plot failed to create any ripples. No new debutante stars ever felicitated for their performances. No life time achievement award was given to anyone. So may be its time for OSCARS to re-invent magic and plug such voids because awards are not for few distinguished ones but for the gifted ones. It should propagate feeling of triumph rather than the feeling of loss. 

A nine year old kid like 'Quvenzhané Wallis' (for her superb and heart moving performance in 'Beasts of the Southern Wild') would have gone home triumph if there would have been a category for best child artist. 'Avengers' would have at least got most popular movie award if there was such a category in the OSCARS. While watching a movie, we live a life with it and just imagine how many people would have lived that life how many times while making it. So according to me OSCARS should be celebration of that life which means it can be more grand on scale in which people can believe and not only dream and this is what my heart whispers to me................

Friday, February 08, 2013

The MOBILE WARS

With new age mobile phones or so called the smartphones literally doing job of a phone, a computer and a companion (by keeping you informed and entertained), it was but natural that there is bound to be a horse race between world's top manufacturers to dominate this segment. But in recent times in India, because of this segment gaining huge popularity among the helpless population succumbing to these handheld attractions, this race has turned into a war among the top players (with host of models or in our case ammunitions) which I think is the biggest after 'The STAR WARS'...LOL...So that's why I thought I will cherish few facts and fiction on this on-going saga of 'The MOBILE WARS'.


In this epic battle (raging within the Indian market), main characters are obviously Samsung, Apple, Nokia, Micromax, HTC, LG, Sony, Motorola, Xiomi, Karbonn, Gionee, and Blackberry.


Apple: The Inventor
Apple has all its current and outdated models in its current ammunition namely 'iPhone' - 3, 3S, 4, 4S, 5 and soon there will be 5S for sure. So you can see the barrel is same but bullets keep on changing...LOL...SIM is getting smaller while budget is getting bigger. Pride of ownership remains but otherwise it is very hard for a normal user (until and unless you spend more time with your phone than your regular work) to actually experience the change. Screen size has just got bigger but still feels less than the Samsung canons. Nevertheless it still has best and trouble free application store as well as the user interface. Even with all its hits and misses, Apple will always be Numero-Uno of the game because it has actually invented the world of smartphones.


Samsung: The Reigning King
There are so many models or ammunition with them in entire price band spectrum that one will actually lose count of all the types. Samsung Galaxy Y, Y Duos, S2, S3, S4, S5, Note, Note 2, Note 3, Note 4, S Advance, S Grand, Ace, Ace Duos and god only knows what else. Largest screen to host of functions, to best brand image in affordable pricing or you can say any band of pricing has made it click for Samsung literally. Moreover Android application store is not much behind the inventor and almost all the necessary or commonly used applications are already available in it. So if nothing drastic is done by any other contender, Samsung is bound to be on top for a long-long time.


Nokia: The Fallen Legacy
Even though Nokia is trying to break its jinx in this smartphone market but it is still considered as a poor man's device and such a brand image is hurting it in positioning as well as in matters of pride of ownership. With Nokia Lumia 510, 610, 710, 800, 820, 900, 920, 1120 (God only knows on what basis they keep name of the phones) and Nokia Asha series, it is still far from the top of the range. Even though user interface is good, lack of functions and applications is further hurting their chances to reach on top of the branding matrix. Something drastic and more innovative approach is required to penetrate the mind of the users as well to create good old times.


Micromax: The Challanger
Micromax started on a good note by providing smartphones to the general public at the most economical prices and suddenly there are plenty of new models from its stable in the market. From the begining itself Micromax was the real contender for Nokia's place in the Indian market, and now it is challenging even the big daddies. Recently there were some really good surprise launches suddenly and with its A90, A110, A116, Knight, Turbo and so on things are falling in place for the ingenious manufacturer provided there is enough availability of its models to sell.


HTC: The On-Off Contender
Even though people knew about its smart range before they knew about Samsung or Apple, the manufacturer has been in on-off mode in Indian market. Suddenly there were no new models and recently there are many in the market. Suddenly there was lot of marketing and suddenly there was none. Even though the products are good and reliable, the brand image fails to appeal to the masses as of now and something dramatic has to happen if they really want to create a mass appeal. Product range is fairly balanced and covers lot of price band, so there is a very good chance if they take Indian market seriously, they can play a major role in the on-going mobile war.

Blackberry: The Lost Cause
Blackberry even though was one of the most preferred model of businessmen and professionals (due to their BBM service) lost the initial plot in smartphone game. The earlier launched models in a hurry, failed to steam up the market and upgraded versions took too much of time to make an appearance and still not in sight soon. So the only advantage with which Blackberry would have survived and flourished in the Indian market would have been its BBM service only and nothing else but with BBM services now available for IOS, Android and Windows users as well, I don't think Blackberry will be able to cash on it any further. Moreover, they will surely be hoping that applications like WhatsApp, LINE and WeChat must not take this advantage away from them any further otherwise it will be an impossible task to crack the tough nut called Indian market once again.

 Sony, Motorola and LG: The Pursuers
With Sony Xperia series, Motorola X / G series and LG Optimus series, these companies have waged battle against all others and surely making their strong presence felt in the Indian market. Their smartphones are loaded with features and boast of excellent quality. With competitive pricing against peers, these can be true pursuers to Samsung and Apple models. In fact the smallest smart phone by Motorola E series is quite a big hit among budget buyers. What all path breaking models and innovative strategy these giants are going to introduce that only time will tell but they are bound to make competition tough in the on-going war in the mobile market.


Gionee and Xiomi: The Carnivores
Xiomi has become synonym for flash sale in Indian mobile market with thousands of pieces selling into minutes on Flipkart. Its models are not only packed with top most hardware and software, their prices are almost 50% of the competitors models. Gionee on the other hand can also boast of power packed mobile range at amazing prices including world's slimmest phone in Elife S5.5. In future once their infrastructure set-up is complete, like carnivores these two companies can eat lot of market share which right now belongs companies like Samsung, Nokia and Micromax.

Anyways the consumer is always in a dizzy while current 'MOBILE WAR' is going on. You set your heart on a model and next day there is another one better than that in the market. You purchase a tiny wonder and tomorrow it is available at a cheaper rate somewhere else. Since you cannot own each and every great wonder available in the market today and tomorrow as well as cannot upgrade your device every month, it is better to be content with what is available with you today and wait and watch for the right time, right device to upgrade and that is what my heart whispers to me...........

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Petrol and Onions in today's time....


Petrol prices are up again, in some time it will not be available on petrol pumps instead it will be sold in 300ml bottles at general stores.

Onion is no more a vegetable, with such high prices it should be classified as a fruit. Sensex will soon have an onion index like gold index.

Poor people used to eat Rotis with onions, with onions so costly they will have the luxury to eat Rotis with potato bhaji. Think positive.

Now petrol and onions are at the same rate, think what will happen to those who used to burn petrol to shop for onions, double whammy.

Petrol prices are going up every now and then, soon it will be cheaper for individuals to export it from Arab countries in 10 litre cans.

Petrol is costly, walk to your office; onions are costly, no more fried stuff; government wants to make us healthy & themselves wealthy.

For petrol and onions, this is what my heart whispers to me.....

Monday, November 28, 2011

WikiLeaks: A Non-official Political Whistle Blower

It takes guts to reveal your own secrets but to reveal secrets of people in power requires something even more than the guts. WikiLeaks has continuously achieved this by showing unending resilience and they have survived the toughest of situations as observed by most of us. Today WikiLeaks have become the biggest non-official political whistle blower our history has ever witnessed and I am sure they will continue till there is no political secret left to share.

Here is the big question; why people in political power corridors are afraid of WikiLeaks? Why they are trying to destroy this website at any cost? Such things happen only when there is something to hide. I am not saying that actions taken by various governments are wrong but probably they were not presented in the right way to the people and now when WikiLeaks is bringing it in front of the people, they are afraid. I am only afraid when I had done something wrong and I will do whatever I will to hide it from my wife. Hence, if politicians are trying to prevent WikiLeaks from publishing their secrets then it is no rocket science to understand that there is something fishy in the old dockets.

I do not understand why people try to do more mistakes in order to bury their past mistakes. We all are human beings and mistakes happen and everybody understands this fact. The best way is to except them and clear the name forever but our politicians always choose the longer way and want to silence everybody forgetting that truth will uncover itself at some point of time. Anyways let us see what happens in the future but as of now I am relishing the secrets brought forth by this brave website and waiting for the time when my heart will whisper to me.........

Monday, November 14, 2011

Honey, I Shrunk the Budget

Turbulence in economy never ever fails to bring the turbulence inside your own home. Increase in prices will always turn up in your home as increase in tensions. For most of the earning individuals (barring those who have silver spoon glued to their mouths from birth), pay packages keep on becoming lighter where as bills keep on becoming heavier in such times. Cutting costs at every juncture becomes everyday mantra for every poor soul struggling for survival with dignity.

Since we all are accustomed to adjustments cutting costs is not a major issue, the major issue is how to convey this to your wife without hurting her as well as without compromising on your own status at home. Our irony is that, some people sitting somewhere in the power corridors are making some mindless decisions and causing economic slowdown which in turn is ruining your life and unfortunately you have no control over it. For example, to rein in increasing prices and inflation, our government is increasing interest rates so that demand can be reduced than supply but in turn fails to understand that this way both demand and supply are reduced but increase in interest rates have still caused increase in prices and inflation even in short supply (both put together actually create the scary term 'Recession'). They fail to realise that short supply is still a favourable situation rather than reduced demand since supply can be increased but demand is reduced solely because of household budget cuts which a person will do only in desperate situation.

As helpless as in any other grave situation, as a common man I also decided to convince my wife rather than the government since once wife can listen to you but governments never listen. With heavy heart and all my courage, one day I went home and announced to my wife that dear since our government has decided to inflate interest rates and in turn inflate the prices, honey, I shrunk the budget since we have no choice but to do this in order to stay afloat in these turbulent times. Seeing her worried face and tears in her eyes, I was just able to tell myself that good times will come soon when government will start taking wise decisions and that is what my heart whispered to me......

Friday, July 10, 2009

TATA Nano: Has the dream gone wrong?

It was a dream come true and TATA made us proud all over the world with this small technology wonder termed as people's car 'Nano'. It was just a dream come true but with its existing sales figures, has the dream gone wrong. 'TATA Nano' was much awaited product last year due to its price tag of only 1 Lakh rupees (which also has crossed 1.5 lakhs recently) and expected to jolt 2-wheeler market in India but unfortunately it has failed to do so. There can be many reasons for it which were pretty obvious from the starting itself but were overlooked by the TATA team. Some of the reasons which I feel contributed to its not so expected sales are as follows:

2-wheelers are preferred over 4-wheelers to avoid traffic snarls in congested cities which TATA Nano failed to provide to its users and ultimately failed to be an option for 2-wheelers.

Initial technology hick-ups and long waited delivery periods took the shine away from the product.

TATA Nano due to its smaller design and appearance failed to create ownership charm for its users to some extent. Positioning it as a cheap car is the biggest mistake as it will take away pride of ownership and most of the customers will not like it for sure. Lesser boot space also hinders prospect of long drives at regular intervals.

Today customers are moving towards better looking vehicles which can provide more comfort, safety, performance and status quo. This is the reason that hatchback and sedans' market is continuously growing in India whereas in recent times smaller cars has seen decline in sales.

I believe it is time for TATA team to device a new strategy for 'Nano' and pitch it in a different manner rather than pitching it as replacement for 2-wheelers. Product which has been the pride of the country should not go down in history as a failed one. I would like to see the success of this little technology marvel and that is what my heart whispers to me..........

Apple iphone: the journey begins..............

Like everybody else I was also pretty excited about the launch of Apple iphone in India and in the process became one of the first few who had purchased this device in initial days. Why I am saying first few is because by the time this product was launched already critics had labelled it as overpriced gadget in India and no doubt a price tag of Rs 36100/- can definitely stir a muscle in the mind. Because of such cost conscious reviews only, my wife also started jumping when I expressed my desire to buy the iphone. Her furious gestures and price tag of iphone somehow kept me away from Airtel Gallery (where iphone was available) on the first day. But old habits die hard and like a dog's tail which can never be straight, on next day while praying to god to keep my wife in good mood when I reach home, I purchased this engineering marvel.

I know how much I have to listen that day for it but trust me the moment I took iphone in my hands it is the beginning of a whole new journey. Even though almost one year has passed by I am still wondering how more is remaining to explore. With so many exciting applications added daily you will feel that entire world is at your doorstep. This iphone has not only become my personal assistant who can keep all the information handy whenever I need it but it has also become my personal entertainer. Now whether I want to know my flight status or a train schedule or hotels in a particular area, everything is available on iphone. What else, I can see movies, read books, play guitar, check email, listen to music, watch latest news, play scrabble and other interesting games on this little device. There are so many etceteras with this iphone one cannot really explain. All this has to be experienced in order to enjoy the endless fruits of this engineering marvel.

In the end I will just say that after iphone so many new models have been launched on same platform but iphone nevertheless has become legend in its category and definitely marks the beginning of a new journey. This is the first gadget which has become so close to me that sometimes I feel this iphone can listen to what my heart whispers to me........................because whenever I wish for an application it comes alive on this iphone.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

When dreams become ambitions..............

Almost three years have passed since I wrote my last blog, and I wouldn't have written today also if a tiny enthusiastic comment on one of my old posts wouldn't have stirred my emotions. Somehow the days became so busy and nights became so restless that I forgot completely who I am. Probably in the pursuit of achieving my dreams I was so engrossed that I failed to see dozens of other dreams flourishing around me. It is not that my heart has stopped whispering to me but somehow with time I had learnt how to suppress it. May be ultimately work had taken a toll on the writer in my soul. Today this is not my story alone but this a story of every professional whose dreams have turned into ambitions. Anyways I will try to give rebirth to the writer inside me who like to share thoughts with people and through my blog I will try my best to make you laugh and to make you think as once again I can hear what my heart whispers to me...............

Saturday, February 17, 2007

New Age Media - A Curse or a Cure ??????

24 hour News Channels (god knows how many are there, I counted till 18), 100 pages of Newspaper everyday (It takes atleast 1 hr. for scanning and all this in only Rs. 4), are we getting more then what is expected or required.

I was watching news on Saturday, 30th June'07 and I was amazed how minor water loggings are projected as small floods. It seems Milan Subway (always the 1st place in Mumbai to get water logged and whenever there is heavy rain you can spot 2-3 news channel vans here ready to capture the water logging), Turbhe Police Station (common photograph in newspaper everytime), Kalina, Kurla are favourites of our Media because they show recording and pictures of these places repeatedly but does that mean situation is completely out of control and it is flooding everywhere. I got atleast 10 calls from my parents, in-laws and relatives about our well being and I got tired of telling them that there is not even much of water logging in my street. I agree that in Mumbai there are few low lying areas where authorities had failed again and again to find some solution but can we generalise the whole situation for entire city.

Another episode I remember was that of Abhi-Ash wedding. My goodness, whichever channel you switch it is there continuously and this situation was there for many days. Many channels even started countdowns. What's all this fuss about? Aren't they human beings before a celebrity. It is their family affair and they do not want to publicise it, they want it as personal as possible perfect with people like me. But Media made it such a big issue that even people you were not bothered started feeling bad that why they are not invited. Most of the crime scenes or frauds and their investigations are covered in so detail that even guilty can take a cue and plan their escape accordingly.

In order to show something for 24 hrs, issues are created by Media out of nothing and minor issues are projected as complete disaster but at the same time it is also true that because of New Age Media, their alertness and hard-work lot of critical issues (such as female education, illegal abortions, organ trade, unauthorized practices, scams and scandals etc.) which are otherwise buried come into picture. I strongly feel that our media should focus more on such constructive news rather than just try to be a show stopper because they have such powerful tools which even the most powerful are afraid of. I had seen many stories, many incidents which have caught national attention just because they were raised by the media and somehow we feel secure since we believe that if something wrong happens to anybody, media will seek justice for it.

I can only request all the torchbearers of today's new age media that be something which we can be proud of and not something we should be ashamed of. It should be a cure more than a curse. We should feel secure with the empowered media and not feel that it is just a glamour doll playing in the hands of some powerful people. When Media is responsible enough, I will feel as powerful as anybody else in this world and that is what my heart wants and that is what it whispers to me........

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The Existence of God

Sometimes I think about it and argue myself whether there is God or its just an illusion in which most of us believe. I am sure most of us had asked this Question either from ourselves or from our elders, parents or somebody. Did you get your answer? I think not and same is in my case, but slowly and gradually I had formed an image, a belief about the very existence of God. I am no authority on this subject but also I believe there is no such person in this world because nobody understands actually what is God (including me).

From the very beginning we are taught that there is some immortal power, which take care of all and the power is in the form of various Gods. We always worship to keep the Gods happy so that we can be happy. There are so many Gods defined that we do not even remember all of them and each God has assigned few distinct characteristics. It is true for most of the religions and as Hindus we are the front runners. There are so many explanations and so many fables you can hear related to Gods filled with magic and supernatural powers that it makes an intelligent mind uncomfortable in believing such things. Still whenever you remember God (obviously in time of distress), you feel some unseen power giving you internal strength to fight back. This seems more appropriate since it is also said that, 'God lives within you'.

In the end I will only say that it does not matter whether God created mankind or mankind created God, what matters is that when we remember God, we feel empowered, and when we celebrate festivals poor man gets the joy which he cannot afford otherwise. God is real or not I do not know but there is some eternal power glows somewhere in our hearts and that is what my heart whispers to me..........