Transition of Thoughts

Weaving thoughts into words

Month: June 2010

Dominos – 30 minutes delivery time, but what about the customers who prefer the in – shop experience?

Dominos is one of the most popular fast food chains across the world with outlets in more than 60 International markets and 50 US States. It is famous for the 30 minute guarantee. That is why we see it synonymous with ads like “Hungry Kya” and “Agar 30 minutes mein delivery nahi hui toh pizza free”. So at some level initially they concentrated a lot on delivery. But with time, the in house dining experience also started being given great importance.

Without wasting any time, I would like to talk about an incident which has made me write this blog. I am not a very frequent visitor of Dominos. I neither like dominos nor hate it. Over the last 5 years I have been to it just about 8-10 times only in Bangalore and Coimbatore. On 25th June 2010 (8:05pm), Friday I went to the Dominos outlet at the Senapati Bapat Road, Pune. The reason I went there was that it was close to the place I had to catch a bus for Lavale. This outlet is relatively smaller than other ones and looks to concentrate more on seating in open air.

But the biggest shock awaited me inside. At the ordering counter, there were three Dominos staff. But shockingly all of them were on phone taking the menus for delivery. Yes Guys! I waited there for 20 minutes but no one (YES NO ONE) bothered to ask me what I wanted. There was one lady in the center and two men on the side. The men didnt leave the phone at all while the lady did keep the phone. But each time she kept, it rang after a minute again to the disappointment of two men who were ahead of me for ordering. Those poor guys had a big order and even after 20 minutes they hadnt managed to finish the order because of the phone calls. In the end they could just say “Because of your phone calls, we forgot our own order”. Seeing all this, I just walked out in a huff.

I am sure the staff must have seen me leaving. Dominos would surely not lose much from one customer. But my basic point is how can you stand at the ordering desk and talk on phone? Dont they have a call center to take the deliveries? I am sure any Burger King, Mcdonalds, Hamburger Nation etc across the world have a call center. Not bothering about a customer for 20 long minutes even when you have seen that he is sure of buying is the worst possible mistake any organization can commit.

From this blog post, I would just like to make others aware that one cannot just run a business by concentrating on delivery alone. The in – shop experience also should be as good if not better. Hope Dominos make a note of this post!

What are we getting from so much cricket?

Cricket is a game which was “invented” if you may call it by the English. But today more than the English playing it, it has become a game of Asians, by Asians and for Asians. India has become the center of this game not because of the way the Indians play, but because of the financial muscle they have. If one were to believe the “romantic” view of the International Cricket Council (ICC), Cricket as a sport is played in more than 100 countries including Germany, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea. It has three sets of recognition affliate, associate and full member. Only 12 nations are full members. That speaks of where we stand today in terms of numbers. To top it all, at least 50% of the players in the associate and affliate nations are of Asian origin? So is cricket really as popular as we think?

India is by far the most watched team in the world today. They play more than 50 One Day Internationals (ODI) every year. Over that add about 10-15 test matches and not to forget around 10 T20 games. Over that there is a 50 over World Cup every four years, a T20 World Cup every two years and also a Champions Trophy (50 overs) very frequently. Then add the Ranji trophy games, Champions League and the biggest of them all – The Indian Premier League (IPL). IPL is by far the biggest cricket tournament in the world attracting hundreds of players from different countries just because of one thing – MONEY! Does one really watch so much cricket? Isnt so much cricket crazy? Ok as an Indian yes probably. But to be truthful other than the so called purists, most of us including me are bored of the 50 over game as well as tests. Whether it spoils the game or players no one cares. Everyone today wants to watch just T20.

How many people watched the recent Asia Cup, Micromax Cup (featuring Lanka, India and Zimbabwe) or are watching South Africa play against West Indies? I am sure the number will be in just about hundred or so other than probably the finals or the India vs Pakistan match. The crux of the problem is too much cricket. The people who run the game havent played the game at all. They think if the public loves one game, give it more and more to them. That’s a really sad philospohy to live on.

But the silver lining is the Eng vs Aussie ODI series being held currently. So the problem is not exactly too much cricket. The problem is actually having meaningless matches just to get TV audiences and sponsors and in turn more and more money.

There have been many solutions suggested about using coloured balls in Tests, having two innings of 25 overs or such. Unless something is done fast, the number of people keen in cricket will go down more and more. Probably not us Indians, but surely others.

Then we also wouldnt get the opportunity of saying that Cricket is the world’s 2nd most watched sport. 😛

Book review – Connect the Dots

“Connect the Dots” is a book written by Rashmi Bansal (entrepreneur, writer, blogger all rolled into one). It tells the stories of courage, determination and inspiration of 20 people from different backgrounds who chose to become entrepreneurs without doing an MBA. This is her 2nd book. Her 1st book “Stay Hungry Stay Foolish” was a similar story of famous entrepreneurs. But the difference was that all of them had done their MBAs from Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.

When you pick up the book, you cant help but notice the cover page. The title is written inverted and even both her book titles were famous quotes of none other than Steve Jobs. Rashmi does seem to have a lot of admiration for him. I feel the reason for the inverted title is to show how these people who rose to success connected the dots in their lives which many times seemed upside down or confusing. Her style of writing the stories of each of the entrepreneurs is exactly identical to her first book. Few pages on what they did, how they did and the difficulties they faced finally ending up with a small advice given by each of the entrepreneurs. The interesting part of the book is the three sections – Junoon (Those who are driven by ideas well ahead of their times), Jugaad (Those who dont have any formal training in business) and Zubaan (The creative minds!).

The book is really one of the most inspiring books I have read in recent times. Reading different stories of how people have come from nowhere to do something for mankind made me really wonder as to what have I done in life despite being provided with so much on a platter. Be it Prem Ganapathy of Dosa Plaza who rose from being a dishwasher to head a 150 odd employee company with 26 outlets in India and 3 in New Zealand or Kalyan Varma who left his high fly job in Yahoo to become a wildlife photographer or Suresh Kamath who started Laser Soft Infosystems which is an IT company with a difference, each of the stories are amazingly inspirational.

Two of my greatest learnings from the book are –
1. It isnt necessary to do an MBA to become an entrepreneur because academic qualifications shouldnt decide a person’s future and career.
2. The entrepreneurs today are in hurry to make as much money as possible as fast as they can. In any new project the first few years are really challenging and one should be ready for that.

Many people would criticise Rashmi Bansal or the book because she has just interviewed some people and put the facts in both her books rather than add something new. But I would like to say that she has at least given us something inspirational to read other than the usual books on Ambanis, Tatas, Birlas and others.

All in all, this book is highly recommended for anyone and everyone who wants to know how can success be achieved against all odds in this country.

Rating – 4/5

Bhopal Gas Tragedy – Do we really care about it?

On 2nd December 1984, the worst industrial disaster in the world took place in Bhopal when tons and tons of deadly methyl isocyanate gas (MIC) leaked from the Union Carbide Plant. It was a disaster which killed thousands directly and millions were and are affected indirectly causing limb damage, poor nervous system disorders, blood related disorders even to this day etc. It destroyed the entire ecoystem, water table and every single thing around it. There were many counter claims and charges over the various problems which caused it. It included poor management practices, no safety practices involved, giving money to pass their papers and what not! But in the end as usual people suffer and they had to in face of an incompetent government who never bothered about them.

In India, what our ministers care about the most is the money. Be it the power plants, the nuclear technology or anything else, if money is filling up the coffers, lets seal the deal – thats the attitude. This is one reason why the people in this country are scared about the installation about nuclear power plants. Be it, the Kudankulam power plant being built in Tamil Nadu, the cobalt 60 radioactive isotope found in Delhi, wastes deposited in the nearby rivers, ponds and lakes – one thing is common to all. They have all become a big example of polluting our natural ecosystem which we do need now more than ever. Finally what we see is just the fact that these companies are trying to improve their standing by talking about their so called CSR initiatives.

In the case of Union Carbide there were many warnings since a couple of years about the problems and lack of safety practices being followed at the Bhopal plant. But instead that person called Warren Anderson (the head of Union Carbide) thought that Indians are bloody fools and why to spend much on safety unecessarily. Even if a few Indians die it wont be a big deal. He knew that the Indians sucked up to the feet of the Westerners and they do even to this day. So even if something were to happen at the plant, Warren knew that he would be able to escape very easily. And thats what happened.

He was sent out of the country by then chief minister Arjun Singh who facilitated his early escape. Amazing isnt it? Our ministers sucking up to the feet of the Westerners so much that they didnt care of the people who were affected by this tragedy.

Over the last few weeks since the judgement of just a 2 yrs prison term with a measly fine of US $2000 has been announced the people of this country have felt even more humiliated. What the hell does our government think that a 2yr prison term and such a fine without even holding Warren Anderson guilty would remove the scars of that day? After such a judgement one can only say that our own government treats us as just some piece of shit which can thrown into the dustbin (read DEATH) as and when they want.

One thing I have realised MONEY, STATUS AND POWER is the most important when you reach the doors of politics. Who cares if the general public dies or lives? Do we?

Monsoon at SIBM Pune Lavale Campus!

The clouds have come down the hills,

The wind is hustling the leaves and making one feel really cold,

The visibility has dropped to less than 100m,

The whole campus seems so beautifully misty and foggy,

The paths leading to the college campus are gleaming with pure (yes it feels so at least :)) water from the sky,

The window in the classroom never felt a better place to sit near than now,

The umbrellas and raincoats have come out in full force,

The beauty of small waterfalls formed on the hills nearby is not to be missed,

The area around never looked as green as now with each leaf of a plant gleaming with droplets of water,

Yes GUYS!!!!

This is the monsoon at SIBM Pune, Lavale Campus – Can surely give Lonavla, Mahabaleshwar or Khandala a run for their money!!!!

10 reasons why I still call Muscat home despite so many changes in the past few years!!!

Muscat has changed a lot in the past couple of years. Rents have shot up sharply, the cost of living has become crazzzzyyyyyy, salaries are not increasing proportionately, there is plethora of construction (read CONCRETISATION) going on, my residence visa will get over next year and I wont be able to renew it to a residence one unless I work or study there – Muscat is literally changing by the minute like most of the countries in the Middle East. Its been 5 years since I left Muscat to do my undergrad and postgrad education. With just a year left for me to finish, as I look back even today I can find reasons and more reasons to call the place I left 5 yrs back my home despite tremendous changes!

Following are 10 of the reasons why I still call Muscat home..There will surely be more of them but these are the ones I can remember at the moment

1. I was born at Khoula Hospital, Muscat on 1st Feb 1988 which indirectly made me an Omani 😛 and since then its been an amazing journey of falling in luv with this place. My parents have lived in this place for the past 34-35 yrs.

2. Indian School Muscat was where I spent the 15 yrs of my school life and it was an experience which I can surely never forget.

3. Looking at the barren hilly geography from the top through the airline window makes me feel as if I am back home.

4. The spik and span roads, man made greenery and picture perfect buildings and cleanliness bring old memories back.

5. The Rose Garden, Naseem Garden, Riyam Park, Kalbooh and other such places makes me remember the good old days at ISM when we used to go for picnics to these places and just enjoy like hell

6. The various supermarkets like Lulu, Carrefour and blah blah with all those amazing juices and other products from the Gulf remind you of such amazing stuff available here.

7. The food I get here in my house in particular be it the simple sabzis like cauliflower, brinjal etc seems so different and delicious than anywhere I get in India. Even the food outside with is cleanliness is no much for India at all.

8. Its the only city in the Gulf to have not one but two temples – that of Shiva and Krishna and maaaan the temples are soooo amazingly built with ACs…..:) 🙂 🙂

9. Despite the starting of the Southern Highway and couple of other roads to ease the traffic, the main highway from airport through Qurum and Ruwi to the Bustan Palace Hotel remains the heart of the city’s road network.

10. All in all each and every place from Corniche to the Airport just makes me feel that this country is my home land and here is where I feel a strong peace of mind and relaxation.

Tomorrow I may not end up working here as one never knows whats in store with life. But one thing is for sure, Muscat was, is and will be the closest to my heart always despite its many million changes and shortcomings…

The destruction that Cyclone Phet left behind across Oman! (Part – I)

Movie Review – Rajneeti

Rajneeti is one of the biggest movies of our times in terms of the number of stars (or so called stars ;)) it has. They cast includes Ajay Devgan, Manoj Bajpai, Ranbir Kapoor, Arjun Rampal, Nana Patekar, Nasseruddin Shah (in a blink and a miss role), Katrina Kaif and many others. It is directed by Prakash Jha of Apharan, Gangaajal fame. So you can be sure that this movie is gonna be up there in the list of hard hitting realistic movies!

The movie starts off with a fiery speech from a leftist leader, Nasserudin Shah against the govt where one of his lines aga goes like “Yeh Janta bhookh ki maari hai, inhe do wakt ki roti de do ya paise de do yeh kisi bhi party ka jhande utha lenge”. After hearing this in the first few minutes you realise that this movie is gonna be one hell of a ride. One mistake by him sends him on a self imposed exile which introduces rest of other characters of the cast. Partly inspired by Mahabharata and the Godfather, this movie grips you throughout those 3 hours.

Sleeping with a woman to give her an election ticket, buying seats in an election with money, giving people money to come to the rallies, rigging of electronic voting machines, populist politics you name it each of these issues and more is tackled in this drama.

Many people may find the movie intense, violent and too serious. But thats the nature of the subject and Prakash Jha deserves accolades for that. Even the songs More Piya and Bheegi Si have been reduced to few seconds. Assembling such a huge starcast is a mammoth achievement in itself but giving them equal author backed roles is the perfect icing on the cake.

Ranbir Kapoor, Manoj Bajpai and Arjun Rampal are the standout performers by a distance. I was really surprised by the way all these three potrayed their different roles in such an amazing manner. Katrina Kaif does a pretty decent job as a Sonia Gandhi lookalike though she doesnt have much of a role other than giving a very melodramatic speech in the end.

In the end the amazing performances and fantastic story with the constant twists and turns where each one is behind the other baying for his / her blood make this movie a must watch experience for every movie lover.

Rating – 4.5 / 5

Is Oman becoming a victim of global warming without being the one who caused it?

I would like to give some background on Oman before moving forward. Oman is a hilly land no doubt. It isnt exactly a desert as is thought of across the world. Yes, it is hot and humid. But having lived in this country for the past 22 yrs, I can safely say that it is the most beautiful place in terms of natural beauty in the GCC or for that matter the entire Middle East region with man made greenery and beautiful landscaped mountains, rocks and gorges. Recently even the Sultan has given an order to plant thousands of palm trees.

The weather here differs in different places. Up north in Muscat, Sohar, Nizwa (other cities in Oman) the climate is hot and humid in summers while cool in winters. While down south in Salalah, it is affected by the monsoon in the months from June to September. So its really interesting to see different kinds of vegetation across the length and breadth of this country. When it does rain here (which was uncommon in the past), the wadis overflow onto the roads and there are great chances of accidents. The water flow in the wadis sometimes gets very fast and dangerous. But even these occurences were rare in the past.

But over the past couple of years, things are changing thick and fast. Cyclone Gonu which tore through Muscat in 2007 killing hundreds in its path was the strongest cyclone packing winds of over 150 kmph in the Arabian Sea in over sixty years. It led to a damage of approximately 4 bn US$. At that time it was called a once in a 50 years event. But 3 yrs down the line, as Cyclone Phet approaches the shores of Muscat, can we still call it a once in a lifetime event?

Cyclone Phet was initially a category 5 storm packing winds of upto 250 kmph. But as it entered Oman through Sur and Masirah it dropped to Category 3 (180kmph) and then Category 1 (110kmph). Whether it still causes widespread damage or not is still to be seen. But the biggest question is whats going on around the shores of Oman to create 2 cyclones in 3 years?

The simple answer is GLOBAL WARMING! I know a lot of people would surely think that nowadays scientists do think this is an answer for every problem but seriously speaking in this case, this is a possibility. This year the Asian subcontinent is facing a severe heatwave which resulted in increasing the sea temperature by 2 degree celsius. This resulted in a high temperature difference between the Earth’s surface and the tropopause.

As someone gave an answer on –

A storm is powered by a layer of warm air underneath a layer of cold air. The cold air is denser, so it wants to sink, while the warm air wants to rise. This manifests itself as a vortex, with warm air rising up the center, and cold air sinking on the outer parts of the vortex.

Like any other heat engine, the power output is increased when the temperature difference is increased.

This is what must have happened with Cyclone Phet. I am sure a lot people would disagree saying this is a conspiracy theory and all that. But this is true and its happening.

Oman needs to prepare adequate infrastructure to protect itself in the coming years from such events. It is fast becoming an example of global warming caused due to the fault of other nations. (For your information Oman is one of the most cleanest countries in terms of environmental damage per capita in the world). In the next couple of years we can see more events of cyclones and storms occuring in the Arabian Sea.

That’s when the Omanis wont call it an unusual weather event, but a more than usual one!

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