Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Is Bisleri making other brands lose identity?

Last few weeks I have been buying mineral water bottles to save myself from drinking tap water. Why? Firstly, my water purifier's filter got expired and then one of my roommates left the house and took the purifier with her. Right now there is no water purifier in the house and till the time one gets installed I have to depend on buying mineral water bottles from the shop to save myself from getting any water-related disease.

Daily I buy almost 2-3 litres of water bottles. Whenever I visit the shop and see a Bailley or Kinley or Aquafina I ask for it using it's name directly. Most of the time there is a blank look on the face. Today the shopkeeper told, "Madam bolo na ki Bisleri chahiye (Madam tell na that you want Bisleri)." And he handed over a bottle of Bailley. I didn't argue and left the shop.

What I realised is that Bisleri, which I believe has been in the market more than any other brand, have left all other brands lose their identity. Shopkeepers keep other brands. However, they are least bothered about familiarising himself with the brand name.

Identity crisis?

It has been an observation that seldom when people go to buy a bottle of mineral water, majority of them say - Give me a bottle of Bisleri. The shopkeeper either says he doesn't have Bisleri or gives another brand without saying much.

Bailley has been in the market for a long time now. Still, very few has got the name branded in their heads.

Kinely and Aquafina and many other have marketed their products pretty well, when they were launched. Yet the name Bisleri rules over others.

A popular brand like Rail Neer is sold at the stations like no other brand. Yet whenever my family member goes to the shop at a station to buy it, the word that comes out of their mouths is - Ek Bisleri dena (Give me one Bisleri).

“I Google myself to find out who I am as a person.”

I have few queries!

  • Are other brands aware of it? 
  • If they are, are they more interested in selling the product and not the brand name?
  • Wouldn't an identity crisis make them suffer in the long run if they want to be a part of a major campaign?
  • And what should companies do to make sure their brand name is imprinted in the minds of the people?

I have no issues or angst against any of the brands or even sympathies. Yet it I am curious, why this branding of all mineral water companies as Bisleri. If I had a company which would produce mineral water bottles, I would make sure that my product is one of the major in the market and I would surely fight this battle. I don't know about others. Sales matters to me but so does branding.

Well all said, in the words of Bryant McGill - Materialism is an identity crisis.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Is India's Fast-Track Court concept a Myth?

This morning I decided that I will keep myself updated on the recent Mumbai gang-rape case till the case gets solved. While brushing through the newspaper, I came across a very good topic — Case fast-tracked, but no guarantee of quick verdict. Inside that feature, there was a mini related story - No Time Limit For Such Cases, Say Experts and I was taken aback after reading it. The article discusses about whether the case will get a quick verdict or not. And after reading the whole report, I was angry, disgusted, frustrated (etc). I felt the government in the name of fast-track court has been conning the people. Why? Here it goes...

What are fast-track courts?

According to Times of India, the union government started the scheme in 2001 in a bid to prevent important/shocking cases from ending up at the end of the huge case queue & to cut pendency of cases. Once a case is sent to a fast-track court, it is expected to be heard on a day-to-day basis.

I did a Google search. One of the results I got was - Effectiveness of India's 'Fast-Track' Courts Questioned.

The Press Information Bureau website defines fast-track as (please read the link) —

How effective are fast-track courts?

While the intention behind the institution of fast-track court was noble, the results have been disappointing. Some of the famous fast-track court cases in India are – 26/11 Mumbai Terror Attack, Amboli double-murder case, Pallavi Purkayastha case, Shiney Ahuja case, etc. (As mentioned by TOI)  Among these four cases, the only case whose judgement has been passed is the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack. Ajmal Kasab, the lone Pakistani terrorist caught alive, was sentenced to death after 17 months of the crime. Was justice served to the fullest? I guess not. The mastermind, whose plot it was, is yet to be caught. Kasab and his nine other accomplices were just acting on orders.

The Amboli double-murder case is still pending. Keenan Santos (24) and Reuben Fernandez (29) were stabbed to death for protesting the harassment of a woman on October 20, 2011. The case is still on in special women’s court as it nears three years of the anniversary.

A year back, Pallavi Purkayastha was murdered by security guard Sajjad Mughal. The case initially was fast-tracked but it is in a special women’s court now.

These are just few of the famous cases. The Amboli case had created a lot of outrage. So did the Purkayashtha’s case. Yet, judgement is yet to be passed in these cases.

How many fast-track courts are there in Mumbai?

According to TOI report, there are five fast-track courts in Sewri, out of which three are functioning from the city civil and sessions court building in Kala Ghoda as the Sewri premises are hosting Mazgaon metropolitan courts since July. The report further mentions the state had recently constituted special fast-track courts with women judges and all-female staff for crimes against women. Since the Sewri fast-track court did not have any women judges, about 26 such cases were piled on special court in the city civil and sessions court. Among those are the 2011 Amboli double-murder case and Pallavi Purkayastha case.

According to a report in India Spend earlier this year, there are about 1,200 fast-track courts in India but 6,00,000 cases are still pending. Here is the link -

Fast-track courts doesn’t do justice to the cases

While going through the Google searches, in many of the articles I found that the fast-track courts don’t do full justice to the cases. According to a report in Voice of America, Colin Gonsalves, a senior advocate of the Supreme Court of India and the director of the New Delhi-based Human Rights Law Network, said he does not think the fast-track courts are an effective way to fix the problem.

He is quoted as saying, “People who have worked in the fast-track courts are generally very upset by the declining standards of these courts and have defined it as 'fast-track injustice.' These courts are given unrealistic targets of cases to finish. They have been told they ought not get involved in too much technicality, and that broadly if they get a feeling that a person is guilty, then declare him guilty and if he is innocent, then declare him innocent. But that's not how the criminal justice system works. It requires care and attention. Decisions are not made on the basis of hunches and guess work, which is what the fast-track courts turned out to be. Judges (were) cutting down on evidence, not allowing full cross-examinations, proceeding in the absence of lawyers in many cases. It was in many respects not a very satisfactory system for delivering justice.”

Here is a report by BBC, which questions the effectiveness and injustice involved in fast-track courts -

Even Reuters discusses the effectiveness of fast-track courts -

What are the fates of these cases?

What are the solutions?

A fast-trial means a lot of money is involved and need of enough judges to solve the cases. With almost six lakhs cases pending, Government of India either needs to buckle up and reassess their plans or just drop the term fast-track.

Firstly, Colin Gonsalves says India, a developing country needs 60 judges per million. Currently we have 12 judges per million. (Here is the report -

Secondly, you need plenty of funds to tackle the problem. The government recently allocated 80 crores for the appointment of judges. Another 2,800 crore has been set aside for setting up of court infrastructures that can be used to open fast tract courts (According to TOI).


Having mentioned all these from a layman’s POV, it is in the hands of the judicial department and experts to come up with effective solutions to tackle the problem. Fast-track cases in India haven’t really been fast-tracked. There is huge gap between idea and implementation. Nobody wants to wait for 11 years to get justice (It took 11 years to release the verdict in the Jessica Lal murder case, that too after much media pressure).

I spoke to one of my lawyer friends (though he is a cricket journalist now). He said one of the main reasons for judicial system failing is that just like our lazy system, our lawyers tend to delay the process. Also, they have an intention of delaying the case and getting their pockets filled to the fullest. Plus the problems of fewer judges and less fund are there. And lastly, he remembered a quote by Ram Jethmalini — Justice hurried is justice buried.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Mumbai – The rough city that lets you breathe

One year and four months. I have been to this city a numerous times. A city, I used to come only to visit during my summer or winter vacations, turned into my home almost a year back. More than a year back. I always wanted to live here, the city used to reach out to me without any reason. It became a magnet and I was the metal in this journey. Almost a year back, I didn’t have any friends. The few people I knew were from the social media circuit. Not that there were friends, but yes I used to know. School, college friends were too far engrossed in their lives and I was too much in my dream world to be in touch with them. Life became hectic for me to take notice of what is happening around.

I came to Bombay (no harm to anyone’s feelings but I prefer calling Mumbai as Bombay) because I wanted to be a journalist. Out of nowhere, I found a godfather, who saw something in me and recruited me in his office. Life got busy, I got engrossed in work. And I forgot why of all the cities I came to Bombay.

It was always in the back of my mind that if ever there was a place in this world where I wanted to be it is Bombay. I loved the city, the rains, the small hills and I fell in love with the sea – the lifeline of the city (not really the trains). Met some quite intriguing people, started loving the front seat and forgot my moments dreaming seating in the back seat. Every day when I used to return home, my favourite part used to be sitting in the balcony, staring at the hills far away, listening to the mad sound created by the uncomplaining, unending cars passing by, the aimless focused people on the road. And I was happy. I started saying, if Bombay was a guy I would have married him. But the question was would Bombay have married me?

What is it about the city that made me fall in love with it? The traffic? The people? The history? The sea? The hills? Or was it my mind? May be it is the crazy rains, or maybe it is the city, which lets you be what you want to be. Bombay is one such city that takes you in his arms and gives you unconditional love. It is rough, trust me. There are days when you just feel like running away from the mad crowd of Bombay. But what happens next is that you burst out loud and Bombay listens to you, makes you believe you are not alone. Life is crazy but what is life without a little bit of drama.

There are days when you get scared in Bombay but you love the city so much that you just don’t want to leave it and go away. It is like Hotel California – You can check out any time you like but you can never leave.

Photo Courtesy - Arundhati Chatterjee.

Just go out, take a bike ride, travel all over the city and you will realize all of a sudden that you are smiling. A silent smile. Bombay is like a guy who will stare straight in your eyes and will know that you are smiling silently but won’t do anything about it. Because Bombay lets you be what you are and Bombay loves you exactly the way you are.

It is harsh. It will push you to a corner. It will make you cry till you say – Why me? But you know why Bombay makes you do all that? Because it is those moments which brings the best out of you and Bombay wants you to be the best. It is the dream city. It lets you dream big and if you follow the unknown path that Bombay has designed for you, you will achieve it.

I was a complaining, lost, tired and given up soul. Then suddenly Bombay calmed me down. I met some really nice people. Someone taught me to stop complaining, some taught me stop saying “I don’t” and some taught me to live my life.
It is the people you meet in Bombay, which makes your life full. Where I used to live before, I had everything with me yet I was alone. And here I don’t have anything; I am craving to have more, yet am satisfied. Bombay gives you a wonderful satisfaction. Bombay presents you things that you love, which you desired of but somewhere it also teaches you that you don’t really want those things to live happily ever after. All you want from Bombay is to let those things be the way they are, no more no less.

For some, they might say it is the same with every city. But that is not the case. It is only in Bombay that you can sit all alone, silently at any hour of the day and people will just not bother you. Am sure if in any other city, you stopped breathing, you will runaway and go and stay in some other place where you can breathe. But people don’t stop breathing even if Bombay creates a vacuum around you; you just simply learn to live in that vacuum, only to find the beauty in staying in that vacuum. But honestly Bombay loves its people so much that it never leaves you void.

I love Bombay because it is the only place in the world where I wait patiently for monsoon, monsoons which really tests your patience. For in Bombay only you will get to meet strangers in the train, fight with them and make them your friends. For in Bombay’s mad traffic only you learn to dream and live big. For Bombay is the place which gave me Norah Jones, Sachin Tendulkar and some amazing friends. Bombay makes you live life freely and independent.

Monday, 4 March 2013

Norah Jones – Mumbai gave me you

Dear Norah, as I write this open letter to you, I am filled with peace and tranquility which I find occasionally. Your visit to Mumbai for ‘A Summer’s Day’ concert has given my soul a serene calmness and has enriched my mind creatively. Your fragile yet strong posture inspires many a soul. You are one of a kind and that is why I chose you over many.

On my way to the concert, I was greeted by many, some unknown, some quietly and some at the concert with full love and happiness. What your songs express is nothing but our daily activities in a very fascinating way. I found meaning of inhuman objects in your songs and some humane.

Is it the buildings of Mumbai that I love? Is it the never ending traffic? Or is what it gives to us, what it lets us be. Whatever it may be Mumbai gives what you wanted and want. And it gave me you. It gave me your songs and symbolized them with objects around me. When you sing Chasing Pirates, I find banal things in mysterious ways. When you sing Come Away With Me, I feel Mumbai is asking me walk with it. When you sing Don’t Know Why, it makes me think about all those times when I waited till the break of day to see hope through new lenses. You and Mumbai have given life to my old yet young soul.

Your songs teach the mind how to make give music to mundane life and enlighten the wary soul. However far you might have been from me when you were performing (even though I was just in front of the stage), you were with me. And we did sink soon.

I was never fond of the sea until I came to Bombay and found alive. I never knew how to say I like this and refrained myself from saying I don’t like this, until it gave me you.

What is with your composed smile, calmness, delicate look? Is it a fa├žade or is it your way of defining life? Concealing the reality or is it protecting being secure.

You sing as if you aren’t hurt, as if you are making a point – am hurt but am not shattered, am broken but I won’t go down. Whatever it may be, however harsh it may be, it calmed my soul, a tired one.

And then you walked away, as if leaving the soul filled with anticipation and left it empty yet hopeful that I will see more of you and will be filled with uncovered mysteries of life, living in Utopia.

And your ending number had enough reasons and meaning to make me walk with you and your songs till the end of my time, realizing only after you were gone, Mumbai gave me you and you gave me love – for an unknown wish.

Photo Courtesy - Sunil Bhandari. Thanks Sunil :)