Giving it up

The weekend afforded the luxury of thinking over a few ‘apparently’ complex issues and grappling with possible solutions. I add apparently more as a dose of sarcasm infusion rather than anything else. Once the thought process was clear, giving things up wasn’t too difficult. In fact, given that I had given up on that specific misadventure a while back, giving it up altogether left me with all the fond memories rather than the disappointments.

Lessons learnt. And, checked for reuse.

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The luxury of age

One of the surest signs of growing old is the tendency to cherry pick issues for righteous indignation. Youth has the luxury of living in a permanent state of fight the world of injustice and emerge gloriously victorious. Age on the other hand has the freedom and, I add, sense to select issues and debates which make sense. It may or may not be a bad thing in general but it does provide for an interesting way to sharpen one’s feelings and emotions for close-to-heart subjects.

Sic transit gloria mundi

Sometimes you get what you want but not in the form,shape or state you desire. And, then, sometimes you tell yourself – this too shall pass ! Thanks to tagoreweb.in

 

এবার বুঝি ভোলার বেলা হল–
ক্ষতি কী তাহে যদি বা তুমি ভোলো॥
যাবার রাতি ভরিল গানে 
সেই কথাটি রহিল প্রাণে,
ক্ষণেক-তরে আমার পানে 
করুণ আঁখি তোলো॥
সন্ধ্যাতারা এমনি ভরা সাঁঝে
উঠিবে দূরে বিরহাকাশমাঝে।
এই-যে সুর বাজে বীণাতে
যেখানে যাব রহিবে সাথে, 
আজিকে তবে আপন হাতে 
বিদায়দ্বার খোলো॥

Finding Great Photographs in Your Own Backyard

Last evening I was flipping through Close To Home – Finding Great Photographs in Your Own Backyard by Stuart Sipahigil. It is well produced and lovely read. Especially because it emphasizes on attempting to understand what is perceived as mundane and finding beauty. The photographs are good to look at and although I’d have perhaps preferred a little backstory with each photo, the accompanying text gives shape to what we all know but sometimes end up ignoring when beginning our journeys with photography. 

Recommended reading and re-reading at occasional intervals 🙂

Reviews, Brands and legal actions – why the hassle ?

In the morning I noticed a tweet talking about this blog post. As it explains this is about

Someone this person knows wrote a negative review about a brand, based on a first-hand experience; the brand has challenged the claim, alleging malicious intent, and has threatened legal action

It got me thinking about ‘reviews’ and of course the nature of reviews. In one broad sweep, the reviews could be of the following kind:

  • someone, who as part of their profession, is tasked with reviewing products and services. In this case the product/service under review aren’t the one paying for the review to get done
  • someone, who as part of their profession, is engaged by a product/service to review and provide public/private feedback about the same
  • someone, who as an interested participant, having first hand experience decides to experience and then write about the experience of a product/service

The last bunch is an interesting group. Commonly clubbed under the “crowd-sourcing” term, they end up being the continuous content provider for various channels. For example, burrp.com is something that comes to mind. Now it isn’t beyond the realms of the obvious possibility that individuals who constitute the third group have their own bias and prejudices and they consciously go out to experience something they are (or, they think that they are) not comfortable with and end up reviewing. Such situations generally end up with binary reviews – surprise and awe at the real nature of the beast under review or, disgust and dismay at the experience.

The blog doesn’t provide too much details about this specific case. But I would probably put forth a conjecture that the managers of the brand are being myopic. And, instead of taking legal recourse or, attempting to provide malicious intent, it would probably do them good to focus their positive energy on moving forward and being the best at what they do. The nature of the internet and the instant gratification medium it provides allows everyone and anyone to comment about disappointments. Micro-blogs run amok with the hashtag of #fail associated with a brand or, a service. Going that unnecessary extra mile to try and protect something that can be enhanced with good work isn’t something that brands should be doing.

And yet, brands end up doing that. Perhaps there is a requirement for petty posturing at the expense of being excellent.

 

Where we talk about contest based shows

I’ve watched exactly one and a half episode of Masterchef India. And that was enough to tell me that I should avoid it. The target audience isn’t exactly the one I fall into and this is more than well exemplified by the anchors/judges of the show. Additionally, the over emphasis on ’emotion’ and the under-cooking of, well, cooking, also demonstrates that it would be best to give it a wide berth. Akshay Kumar did a reasonably good job in the Khatron Ke Khiladi series. So much so that the host of the recent edition, Priyanka Chopra, was mercilessly compared and dissected. She of course did her bit, with her manic giggling and awkwardly extempore conversations, the KKK3 wasn’t a real good watch. Anyway, at Masterchef the loud and overbearing Akshay doesn’t really do a good host. There are of course those who think otherwise 🙂

Which brings us to confession time. It is somewhat of a guilty pleasure that I try and catch an episode of Dadagiri. Hosted by Sourav Ganguly, the ‘Dada’, it brings out the engaging side of his personality as well as his quirky sense of humor. While a large part of the programme has to be scripted, the ad-libbing that he indulges in has, over the episodes become much more confident. The questions aren’t really spectacular and neither are the contestants. In fact, I have a sneaky feeling that if Sourav doesn’t really end up dishing out hints and nudging them towards the correct answers, the contestants would actually end up scoring nothing. While he is totally at ease with the general contestants, his handling of celebrities during an episode or even, cutting down anyone who indulges in nyakaami (sorry, there isn’t a word in English for this) is enjoyable to watch.

In both the shows the hosts go a bit out of their way to put the contestants at ease. But whereas in Masterchef India it is about tears and a bit of hyper emotional bits, Dadagiri is probably tied into the personality of the host himself. This time during the Pujas, on Dashami, the 80 strong crowd in front of his house (while the pandal was strikingly empty) hollering ‘Dada’ , ‘Dada’ because it appeared that he was going out is somewhat of a proof to the crowd pulling ability of Sourav. The young girl who sprinted after the car in which he had squeezed himself is also only possible since there is still a group of folks who identify with various facets of his personality.

Not so smart experience at smartshoppers.in

I seem to be magnet for disastrous online shopping experiences. I have plenty of anecdotes to share but here’s the recent one with Smartshoppers.in

I placed two orders with them – order no: SS06098505 (Order Recieved: 2010-10-19 15:10:41) and, order no: SS06098514 (Order Recieved: 2010-10-19 19:25:25). The payment transactions were through credit cards and were approved. Both the orders had a 3-6 business days delivery date, which means that I am/was supposed to receive the consignment by today.

On the 22-Oct-2010, I mailed the customer care address asking about how to know the status of the orders. I had logged in and noticed an anomaly. Generally, for any portal/cart, the order history that is available online shows the date of the order and, the status of it. In this specific case, the order date reflected the then-current date (in fact it always reflects the current date and time) and, the status was stuck at ‘Authorized’. This struck me as somewhat odd. The reply was even more odd –

This is with reference to your mail; kindly accept our sincere apologies for the inconveniences caused. We are extremely sorry for not being able to serve your request as committed. We certainly understand your concern, and are taking best of our efforts, to have the order delivered at the earliest. Kindly bear with us in the interim and extend your co-operation.

So, they don’t actually specify the status (I assumed that it was ‘In Progress/In Process’) and also do not provide an estimated time/date for receipt. Upon pointing this out, I receive a mail on 23-Oct-2010 that goes as follows:

With reference to your mail, please be informed that we will have the same delivered to you by next week. We will revert to you with the dispatch details at the earliest. Kindly bear with us in the interim.

Half of the above mentioned ‘next week’ is gone and I don’t have the details of the consignment. Nor do I really have a date.

And, I still wonder why is it so difficult for online retailers to be efficient. Has anyone had a pleasant experience of purchasing from these folks ? The only plus points I can give to them is that they responded to the queries even though it wasn’t precisely the response I was looking for. I hope that they can actually source the products and ship them over.