Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase.

Go forward in faith.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Less Oil

Anyone worried about the world's oil reserves should be invited to eat Indian food in Indian restaurants. They will glimpse the oil floating on the curries . Often one needs to dive past at least a quarter inch layer of oil before making contact with the curry.

Recent attempts at cooking had me thinking that there's a great opportunity for restaurants to pitch on ' great taste less oil ' type of food . Find fun ways to demonstrate that the food indeed has minimal oil / fat content. e.g Invite nutritionists to evaluate the cooking process and the food. This would be a huge draw in most places . Folks are spending considerable effort and money to reduce weight , and in dealing with weight / lifestyle related health problems. With the current quality of food the logical choice for consumers is to cut back on eating out.All things being (reasonably) equal restaurants offering great taste with minimal oil will develop a fiercely loyal customer base.

For the restaurant offering low oil/fat food will mean a reduction in ingredient cost while offering a benefit that would be valued by customers. Win win for all involved.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Strength and spirit

Pray for the Gods

Indian Gods are deaf . Or at least that is a key assumption made by millions in India. Is a prayer heard only when hooked up to a loud speaker ? Do Gods prefer movie soundtracks ?

I would have written more . The din in the neighborhood makes it impossible to do so . I'll pause for a silent prayer FOR the Gods.

An important man..

From this moment on, all the way through to Christmas, the most important man in an Indian woman’s life is not her red-hot sizzling lover; not her boyfriend who brings her bed tea and other goodies; not her daddy or sugar daddy who showers her with solitaires and antique armbands; nor her husband...The most important person in a woman’s life is the local tailor who will stitch her dreams out of brocade, silk and cotton. Oh so true .

In Indian clothing there inevitably comes a time ready made garments are simply unworkable in terms of fit and/or aesthetics. The availability of tailors who can provide styling inputs and a good fit will spur the sale of fabrics. Besides stores retailing fabrics there are several exhibitions where craftspeople from different parts of India showcase their handcrafted fabrics . Sarees , dupattas , stoles which are essentially finished products sell well. There is a regional angle to this. e.g in Delhi the culture of tailoring is much stronger than in Mumbai . The problem of not being able to get a good tailor is more true of Mumbai than possibly other parts of India.

Men have the luxury of a decent fit in ready made garments as well as brands offering 'made to measure' service. There's an opportunity for brands retailing Indian clothing for women to launch a 'made to measure' service marrying the benefits of good style , customized fit , service - creating a loyal customer base and a profitable business .

Friday, September 25, 2009

Daily Dump

Daily Dump. Brilliant , much needed initiative enabling composting of wet waste at home.
View the website in detail for the benefits of composting ranging from
- gardening
- reduced burden on public waste management system
- reduced usage of plastic (to throw wet waste)
- fuel savings
- employment generation
- cleaner cities

Daily Dump products can be purchased in various cities in India .

Next , composting of non-physical waste generated each day... unproductive thoughts , feelings , fears , stress, anger.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Nurture spaces

We have many strengths as Indians . Maintaining heritage structures is definitely not one of them. In fact , we have a penchant for bringing the past to the present . Beautiful , distinctive heritage structures are all made to look like characterless , dilapidated urban buildings . Ugly scaffolding , thoughtlessly placed lights , bill boards , graffiti to proclaim your latest infatuation. Hell , we can write a 'how to' book on this .

A beautifully created and nurtured space has a vital role for individuals and a collective. It can be a beacon that inspires joy and hope . Whether a mosque in the sea , a temple , college , neighborhood. Unless we awaken to this fact and preserve (or rather restore ) the beauty and sanctity of spaces we can soon find ourselves in a characterless , urban mass of concrete .

Augurs well for the outward bound tourism industry . Residents of Mumbai will need to get away more often to seek solace and rejuvenate.

Sea-side view

Marve beach , Mumbai . A place that evokes many wonderful , childhood memories of holidays and extended week ends . A serene , clean beach that was in effect a second home . My cousins and me pretty much retreated to the cottage only by late evening.

A few weeks ago went there on an impulse.

This isn't a new species of trees . It's trees assaulted by plastic bags callously thrown on the beach.

30 feet across the road from this picturesque view are expensive houses possibly purchased and built at a premium for the view . One that the residents don't seem to care about any more. Maybe there's money to be made in selling land / expensive villas near land fills.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Flipside

Inspiring book by Adam Jackson .

The stories in the book are amazing . Many people have the ability to perceive their bucket of woes as the vast Atlantic and stay submerged in it . The inspiring folks mentioned in the book have risen above seemingly insurmountable odds to create a life that made a positive and powerful difference.

...the secret to finding the flipside does not , in fact , lie in the event itself ; it lies in our response to the event. Every setback in life has two sides , but it takes a special type of person to find the flipside.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Listening to feedback from your stores

Recent visits to stores had me wondering on the quality of communication between retail outlets and the folks in the brand HQ (headquarters ).

A gift store had shabby gift wrapping paper as the complimentary version. Even the gift papers for purchase were mediocre or suitable for teenagers at best. On giving feedback to the store in-charge he requested me to write to the company because "if we tell them they think we are making it up" .

A clothing store which had elegant gift wrapping paper said the paper was out of stock . Since I was a regular client they offering to buy paper from another store in the mall (the gift store referred above ) and pack the gift . Knowing that the gift store did not have any worthwhile options I declined the offer. On enquiring why the paper was out of stock the explanation was that HQ team have advised that new paper is being printed . Therefore the old stock was withdrawn . Why would a company withdraw the existing gift wrapping paper before delivering the new stock to the stores ? In the discussion it emerged that the store staff did not feel confident about giving such feedback to the HQ team.

The retail stores can provide valuable inputs to the company . Inputs that can enable greater customer satisfaction , repeat business , market share and profitability. Being responsive to the feedback and translating it into action across stores can (in several cases) mean fixing something before it becomes a chronic problem. Instead of listening to what the stores (in effect customers ) have to say companies spend millions on market research agencies to get feedback or indulge in guesswork (A prime example of this is the 'world's local bank' - a case study of 'dis-service')

Truth is indeed stranger than fiction.