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) — http://bit.ly/14YrohU


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 - http://bit.ly/1dlZJR8

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 - http://bbc.in/12H4QV1

Even Reuters discusses the effectiveness of fast-track courts - http://reut.rs/1dL4KQZ

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 - http://bit.ly/1dlZOEw)

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).


Conclusion

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.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Why she left?


The Black Rose Gal tried to go to sleep but a thought was bothering her, why ___ went without saying goodbye. The Black Rose Gal could only come up with the following conclusion.

She was never meant to leave. She was a nomad. He knew. And that is why he loved her. For what she was and has always been. But out of the blue, even though promising to meet once again, without meeting for the one last final time, she went away, far away. He knows she will come back but what he doesn’t know is whether he will be the same person still then. Waiting was his favourite hobby, waiting for her when he knew she will return but this time the wait seems a long one and his patience has ran out. He doesn’t want to wait. 

He needs an answer. Why? Why she left? Was she always like this or is this what she had planned, to leave. Why didn’t she share? Did he do anything? Then why she didn’t say? Did he went too far ahead this time? Ideally, he was never possessive but he was possessive about her being around. Why? Because she made him feel loved and pampered. And she was the only one who made him feel loved. He left home very early in life and she made his wandering life a home. She came in as an angel. He promised that he won’t get attached so much to her but he couldn’t help. Her love was just too addictive. But she left. With all her stuff. The bag, her music and diaries, things which make her life full.

May be she found what she was looking for here, with him. And now she went away to find something else. May be she had got what she needed from him and went to search something else somewhere else. But did she think before leaving him? Whether he was okay without her or will he be? He didn’t like people going away without saying goodbye. He didn’t like incomplete sentences. Since she left, he has been looking for reasons and now she stays away from him, comfortably (he thinks) without letting his impatient mind know the reason for leaving him alone, stranded on the road, just when he felt everything is perfect. May be life is like that for him, may be this is what destiny has planned for him. But he still waits and will always till she returns to know why she left. He is damn fond of her aura, but this time she just went away cutting him off and he is restless.

Why she left? Will she answer any soon? Before he changes and he moves away because honestly he doesn’t want to move away without completing the sentence and to wait for the sentence to get completed, he needs her. However, this time she has gone far away, only to keep him hoping that someday she will return to the native.

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 :)

Saturday, 19 January 2013

The Perfect Meeting

Air India flight 773 – Landed 8:15 PM, delayed by 20 minutes.

She was desperate to break through the aircraft doors and reach her destination as soon as she could. However, things didn’t seem to go her way. Moreover, the constant getting up and going to the washroom had made her co-passengers complain about her to the air hostess. Although nothing happened. As the flight landed at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, her inside started making more noises. It isn’t that this is the first time she came back home, her home, from the city that gave her no joy. But this time it was special. She was looking forward to join back work and start new projects that she had been planning. But the delay had burned down already. She felt as if all her coming plans will be delayed due to this one delay. She had enough. She got up, excused herself, and got her luggage down from the hold and run. She came and stood in front of the door as queue formed behind. She felt good. She told herself, “am leading the way.”

The walk to the conveyor belt and getting luggage took another 30 minutes of her time and she lost patience. By the time she reached the taxi stand, all she wanted to do was sit in the cab, light a cigarette and run for her life. However, nothing happens smoothly when it comes to her. The taxi drivers got into a fight, refusing to drive her far to her destination. Almost when she decided to call the police and make a complaint using her powers, a taxi driver agreed.

The drive lasted 40 minutes. Her house empty, with signs of the place haven’t been occupied by anyone since she left, as she was the only occupant. Her mind started floating. “Let's go out, the city looks a pearl’s necklace tonight, am bored, I need some entertainment.”

She kept her bags and without changing or getting fresh, she got out. White shirt and blue jeans. Perfect. Black converse, even better.

She decided to walk to the nearest pub as her car was blocked from all four sides by cars of different shapes. Certainly others had no idea she would be landing back tonight. After giving the security instructions that she doesn’t want her parking area to be blocked by egoistic cars, she started walking.

Mumbai never seemed so beautiful as it looked tonight. Bright lights, all running towards her on the road, loud noises, trying to wake her up from the sleepwalk and staring eyes, making her feel wanted. Mumbai, she was back in her city of dreams.

Nearing Blue eyes (name changed), she saw few familiar faces. But she wasn’t in a mood to socialise. She needed her space and time to think, to dive in her thoughts and decide and plan, “what next from tomorrow morning.”  As she entered familiar faces started increasing. She thought, “Did I do the right thing to spend my time in the noisiest of all places in the neighbourhood?” But since childhood since did what she decided, instantly. Her father taught her; always go with the first thought. The second thought is a sign of not being sure. She didn’t want be proved wrong. She entered and when her eyes met one of her regular entertainers, she was directed to her regular and favourite place. But today was different. She wanted her space. She set her eyes on one of the high chairs and straightaway made her to the counter.

“Regular but without water. And no ice. It is cold inside.” And the bartender winked.

She started the ritual of thinking, “What next?”
“Nope not now, let’s not think about the list, so what I can follow it tomorrow again. Am getting distracted. May be I should have got the diary...”

As she was going and running through her random thoughts, little did she realise the empty seat next to her was no emptier and someone was staring at her busy yet silent face.

“You have any problem there with your thoughts?”

No reply.

“Hello.” The guy waved. She saw.

“You are one busy lady in a big city.”

“Excuse me?”

“I said you having problem thinking.”

“Who said?”

“Your face.”

“Sorry do I know?”

“No but yes now you do.”

“Very mesmerizing but am not mesmerized.” And she got up to find another empty seat. But the man caught hold of her hands. And left. She stopped.

“Is there any problem? Or are drunk?”

“I didn’t even have my first drink of the week.”

“But sorry I have no intention of buying you one.”

“Let me buy you one and myself one then.”

“Flattered. But no thanks. I earn enough to drink.”

“But not enough to converse I guess.”

“I guess you forgot this is India. You can try those stunts elsewhere out of India.”

“Young lady it is what you think what matters not the society. So stop thinking so much and stop hampering your mind. Give him some rest.”

She decided to sit but her random thoughts refused to stop irritating her.

“So what do you do?”

“Presently am thinking why I decided to visit this place today.”

“I think you need some pen and paper.” He took a tissue from the counter and offered her pen. “Go ahead, pen it down.”

She kept on staring at him. Fair, somewhere around 6 feet, swims a lot, drinks scotch, and loves his shorts and watches. Davidoff Cool Water fan. May be plays an instrument. Banker or may be a management kid. “You are quite distracting.”

“Honoured but you are nothing less.”

“Enlighten me.”

“You were reading me.”

“I was observing you.”

“You a writer?”

“Am a painter.”

“What do you paint?”

“Thoughts.”

“So you are a writer.”

“No.”

“Ok, let us not play riddles anymore. I love poetry but not the Samuel Taylor Coleridge style.”

“Who is your favourite then?”

“You.”

“Thank gosh you didn’t say Shakespeare.”

“But didn’t I surprise you.”

“No, I half-expected your answer.”

“So what do you do?”

“I write.”

“What?”

“Emotions.”

“You are drunk.”

“Quite an understatement.”

“Are we gonna go like this the whole night?”

“I intend to think and plan, you are distracting me.”

“I am trying to help you.”

“How?”

“By freeing you from your thoughts?”

“Why?”

“As it is imprisoning you.”

She remained quiet for a while, staring down in the table at her empty glass. She desperately wanted to think and set things right, pen down goals. She told herself, “Not happening. Am getting distracted. Help me.”

He replied, “I can help you.”

“Did I speak so loud?”

“You didn’t speak at all.”

“Who are you?”

“A stranger.”

“Don’t you know what mom’s say?”

“Don’t talk to unknown people.”

“Right.”

“So why am I talking to you?”

“Coz your heart wants to but your mind right now overpowers your heart.”

“So what should I do?”

“Dance with me.”

“I don’t dance.”

“I mean dance with words.”

“Pretty appealing.”

“Write it down.”

“What?”

“What you are thinking.”

“Am thinking time.”

“You are thinking what you want to think.”

“How do you know?”

“Coz...” And he stopped. Smiled.

“What?”

“Let me buy you one drink.”

“No thanks. I had my last.”

“But that was your first.”

“Once bitten, twice shy.”

He smiled.

“So what next?”

He replied, “The heart says stay and converse. The mind says bug off and think and plan.”

“Are you reading me?”

“No am observing you.”

She remained silent.

“What are you thinking?”

“What next?”

“It’s a Sunday. Enjoy it.”

“No what next?”

He smiled and now he kept quite.

She got up, paid her bill and turned to him, “Thanks. It was quite lovely talking to you.”

“Pleasure is all mine’s.”

And she walked out of the road. A thought kept her irritating. “What next?” But she was too messed up with her thoughts to answer. He had messed it even more.

She walked towards a taxi and got in. It started. She started thinking, “I should have spent a few more days in Cal. My thinking would have been in controls.”

But suddenly she felt like going back to the pub and sitting and conversing with the unknown. She instructed the driver to turn. She reached, entered passing those familiar faces again. But he wasn’t there anymore. She turned back to return, when the bartender stopped.

“Ma’am, the sir sitting with you left this note for you.”

She was surprised. She took the note and read it. She read it again. Thrice.       

She didn’t know whether to follow her heart or just act practical. But she decided to go with her first thought. She left and started walking. And while she read the words of the note again, this time loudly, too loudly for the beggars sleeping on the road to hear – “Write it down, blog it, for one day I might stumble upon you, like today and the next time you would not make the same mistake like today. May be next time you will converse more. But for now, write your heart out and post it. For I might find the girl in this big city, thought-free.”

The post is a continuation of Part I - Perfect…, Part II - She is not so Perfect but..., Part III - Perfectly ending up at the wrong place, Part IV - Perfectly estranged, Part V - The imperfect perfect abiding and Dear Jim.