Sunday, November 26, 2006

Perform for Paycheck

Indian cricket has been going through a metamorphosis of sorts – good, in terms of rookies getting flavor of international cricket; bad, in terms of on-field performance; and innovative, in terms of the way players’ pay packet is being decided.

More than a year ago, the players were categorized into A, B & C – criteria being their current performance & seniority. And the match fees that each player would earn became a function of the category that they are part of. And now comes another proposal that would tighten the purse strings of BCCI – Performance Based Pay (PBP) system – whereby every player would earn the check basis his individual performance in a particular match.

There has been a sense that’s increasingly voting in favor of this system. Why? Quite simple. There is so much investment that’s taking place in this sport by followers- in terms of time & energy and by corporates – in terms of sponsorships, that a sub-standard performance, like the one in Durban, should call for some kind of penal action.

Thus PBP system would ensure that batters score well and at a decent speed as well. Bowlers would strive to take wickets without being frivolous and fielders & wicketkeepers dive to save runs and take catches.

Apparently it seems little difficult to capture all above on a numerical parameter, but believe me, it’s not too difficult to reward
  • Batters who score above the average score scored in that particular match
  • Batters who have scored at strike rate above that of average strike rate in that match
  • Bowlers whose economy rate is lower than that of the average of that match

So on and so forth, and vice versa penal action for sub-standard performers.

There would certainly be some sections of the society that may not like the very idea of PBP system for cricketers – for they may think that after all it’s a sport. But as every faculty in life gets professional, it needs to get fair & just to all stakeholders. Businessmen work hard for getting that extra percentage of profit & may incur losses for sub-standard product. A salaried person earns his annual bonus basis his year-long performance. So conceptually there seems nothing wrong in weighing cricketers as well by a similar scale.


Thursday, November 16, 2006

Churchgate station does an airport !

Maharashtra State Government recently happened to stumble upon this brilliant idea – That of frisking all passengers entering into Churchgate railway station. A full scale dry run was done on last Sunday and it got wonderful results with 100% of entrants being frisked and baggage screened.

The real test was to be on Monday – a working day. It was an evening as usual for passengers till they hit the station. There were welcome by security mechanism to ‘clear’ the passengers. And what followed thereafter can be described in just one word – Chaos.

In the peak time of evening, as many as 100 trains leave the station in just 3 hours. In that span of time 200,000 passengers hit Churchgate station. Well, what it means is that there are 1000 passengers landing on Churchgate station every minute.

Yes, you’ve read it right. 1000 people entering the station in just a minute. I think the best of the airports are unable to bear this kind of load. No wonder, the mechanism of hundred-odd security staff and handful of screening machines got choked in 12 minutes flat.

No wonder, passengers were frustrated because of having missed their regular 6.14 and 6.31, etc. Let me tell you train-goers in Mumbai are so very particular about not only the train they take but also sit in that train they occupy that any deviation therein is just unacceptable. I was told by many that to avoid this madness at Churchgate, they took a cab to Marine Lines to ensure that they avoid the security drill and catch their daily train!


Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Indian, I am…

"The Church speaks out: We’ll leave no stone unturned to ensure that the culprits in the Bandra case will not go scot-free..."

…goes the headline of today’s Mumbai Mirror.

My immediate reaction was why church should be involved in this altogether. The boys causing the accident being Christian was just incidental to the case. Why should that be a pre-cursor to make church play safe & ‘secular’? I rather find it communal. For it necessarily pastes Christian identity on the accused, as against that of ‘reckless rich youngsters’. Why do we need to make accused wear mask of Christianity and make people say “oh boy, they are Christians”. And may be make people start putting colors to the community.

How different is this from political parties that seek votes basis caste, creed & religion. Those parties play communal card to project themselves as evangelists and the church, in this case, is donning similar role. As a matter of fact, I would expect the accused to be treated equally irrespective of what religion they belonged to, and am sure that’s how the matter would be dealt with.

This over defensive attitude of the church was absolutely uncalled for.

Similar is the case with class X exams that are conducted by the State Government. When the results are announced, we have 1st amongst scheduled castes and 1st amongst scheduled tribes, etc. Why do we need all these classifications? By making these distinctions, the students are actually made aware of their communal backgrounds and unnecessarily sensitized about them.

I believe that this hidden communalization of society is much more dangerous than anything else. When we are pledging that we all are equal Indians, the matter ends there. While it is perfectly valid to be religious and be proud about one's community, there is no need to create these artificial facades for ourselves. We are much better off without them.


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Boston Tea Party

Some trivia to start off…

How many partners Boston Consulting Group (BCG) has?
How many rooms Taj Palace, Delhi has?
When was last a November BCG Partner Conference had taken place outside Boston?

Cut to Hans Paul Burkner, CEO, BCG. This is what he has to say:
“Indian courts may take a long time to deliver the justice, but at least there are courts – the Chinese system is hardly as well developed.”

And mind you, these are not the bytes given out by him at Big Apple to appease Indian media. Nor are these quotes made by him during his flying visit to India.

Had you ever imagined Executive Committee Meeting of a global giant taking place in India? If not, then reality has already overtaken your imagination.

As Indian companies go global and manage to get every piece of processes done out of India, this is one of its sorts. BCG has all its partners, 426 to be precise, from 36 countries in Delhi for BCG’s Annual Partner Conference at Taj Palace. If this is not enough, the take this – For the first time ever , that the Partner Conference in the month of November is taking place at venue other Boston and it’s in India – BCG has a May Partner Conference that typically moves from country to country.

By the way, Taj Palace, Delhi has 420 (no pun intended) rooms.


Saturday, November 04, 2006

And the police force gets innovative!

Still reeling under the trauma of 7/11, Maharashtra Police with Mumbai Railway Police announced a very very innovative initiative to involve the masses to create awareness and alertness amongst them. Also to make them responsible for their own well-being.

In first of its kind initiative, the joint police force has decided to "plant" one-rupee coins at various stations in Mumbai - on the platforms, staircases, over bridges, near food stalls - and even within the railway compartments. Sure enough, lots of commuters would spot them and a lot would pick them up as well.

As soon as the commuter picks up the coin and flips it over, he will find a message pasted on the other side of the coin, which would read as:
"If you are as alert to unattended baggage, lives can be saved."

Quite innovative, ain't it?

Now comes a twist in the tale.

Even before this idea has been executed, RBI has cracked down saying "it shows disrespect to national currency and writing or pasting messages on currency is a practice discouraged by RBI".

Well, I just hope that the police authorities find a quick work-around and the awareness campaign sees the light of the day.


Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Hum Hindi Aise Likhate Hain !

“Dakshin Africa ke daure ke liye Bharatiya cricket team ka chayan kiya gaya hai Kumble or Zaheer ne phir se apne liye team mein jagah bana li hai Jaffer ke roop mein ab team ke paas salami ke liye ek paryaay uplabdha hua hai Bharatiya team 12 taarikh ko Dakshin Africa ke liye ravanaa hogi ”

If you could read the above paragraph with reasonable ease then you truly represent India’s new youth that is more comfortable in reading the regional languages in English script than the native one.

Actually I stumbled upon this phenomenon when I read about one actor having demanded the dialogues in English script, instead of Hindi script which was already given to him. I found it very weird at that point in time. But then as I delved deeper into it, I found that the milieu is actually moving towards this.

1. We have our actors that earn their bread on Hindi serials / movies, but invariably break into English when they are being interviewed.
2. I have so many friends of mine who speak their mother tongue – Gujarati, Malayalam, Punjabi – whatever it is, but are too lost when it comes to reading or writing the same.
3. To a greater extent, numbers in regional language have been disappeared from the public domain.

So, what next? Where would this anglicization of our languages take us to?

It’s anybody’s guess.

I’m sure many of us do send SMS / e-mails in English script but primarily written in regional language. And to an extent, we are quite comfortable with it. Let’s take this argument a little forward.

We may have our regional newspaper in English script. A Maharashtra Times headline may read as “Bharatacha Pakistan var Vijay” in this very manner instead of Marathi script. Thus our entire newspaper could be in English script but the language would actually be regional.

Move over to the modern means of communication – website. We could have Anand Bazaar Patrika’s website in English script, but very much Bengali at heart.

Many regional language collateral / billboards have already started being scripted in English. “Jeete India, Jeete Aap” is the Reliance Telecom ad that gets flashed during ongoing Champions Trophy. And I haven’t seen these words in Hindi yet.
So what sounds far-fetched may actually be right at our door steps. It’s just a matter of time before it bakaayda enters our house.