Saturday, December 26, 2009
This is a simple story about a young graduate who enters the cutthroat sales and marketing industry of personal computers. He soon finds out that it's not a perfect life out there where you go in the morning, do your job honestly, get your paycheck, come home, watch TV, have dinner and go to sleep. Clearly, honesty has little prominence here where sales means more about pushing the product and less about service. Forget after-sales service. A chance encounter with a corrupt customer who insists on a cut for procuring a large computer order for his company forces our young Rocket (Ranbir Kapoor) to look inwards and embark on a tough, yet spirited journey to lay his ground rules and play the game his way. Go and watch if he succeeds in his mission.
Rocket Singh is a terrific film that tells us a practical story. In a country like India, where the sales person- and never the customer- is the King, you'll identify with Rocket if you're a customer, you'll also identify with him if you're into marketing or sales of a corporate. Extra smart (and mighty arrogant SOBs) bosses that shower their staff with the choicest of abuses- not just in private but shamelessly in front of the entire department- and push them to the wall, unachievable sales targets, crook managers that demand a cut of the cheque of which he is responsible to procure the best quality products for the firm that pays him salary (legally) to struggles and sometimes humiliation that honest people have to face in a competitive dog-eat-dog world, Rocket Singh has it all.
The film is not preachy. It's fast paced and crisp and there are no songs to interrupt the narrative. The background score is ideal and the story unfolds in a way its believable. I didn't quite like the climax; I kinda felt it was stretched and a little too idealistic, but it never ceases to be an inspiration, so these are minor quirks in an otherwise good script. Supporting performances, especially from D. Santosh- the porn-surfing, computer maintenance guy- to Gauhar Khan- the fiery receptionist- are great. Ranbir Kapoor has clearly emerged as one of Indian commercial cinema's finest actors. He plays his part sincerely and turns in one of 2009's finest, yet subdued, performance. From showing his angst to his grandfather who breaks his own provident fund to buy him a scooter he detests, to being shocked and awed when his boss turns the tables on him despite having done nothing wrong, to going about his own business, Kapoor brings dollops of dignity and lends a soul to make Harpreet Singh Bedi (the character he portrays) a likable sardar and never ones makes it a caricature like some of his industry counterparts have done over the years. You could say this performance is a slap on the face of all those sardar jokes that have been internet favourites.
You should go and watch Rocket Singh.
K-Rate: * * * * *
Sunday, December 13, 2009
The carols were sung mostly in English but had an occasional Hindi and Malayalam carol in it. Some choirs even had tablas also in them, especially the Hindi and Malayalam. I do not understand head or tail of Malayalam; it's Greek and Latin for me. But I have always believed; it doesn't matter which language the song is sung, if you can touch you, if you feel music in your heart, the job's done.
One of the best places to listen to carols is in a church early morning when it's almost empty and this choir group is practicing near the alter. The church is empty with an occasional soul moving here or there, it's serene and peaceful and you take your place quietly, close your eyes and listen to kids, boys and girls humming beautiful somethings that may not make much sense if you aren't musically- or rather carol musically- inclined, but they sound soulful. You sit, spend time, don't talk, be quiet, say your prayers and then leave.
But a church is far off for me; NCPA is fine if i get to hear something like yesterday's.
Sunday, December 6, 2009
As against in a typical 5-star hotel banquet room, this one was held in an auditorium. There were many visitors, but hardly any journalists. Or so it seemed. So many guests There was a large stage where the dais was there and as typical as a government way of working, the dais was quite large; around 6 odd people were slated to address the PC. In a private-company organised PC- much like their lean style of working- you'd find only about 2-3 people on the dais.
The guests arrive, most do with their entourage. But they don't go to the dais straightaway. The emcee takes the stage, welcomes the guests and then one by one starts calling out the names of the people who are slated to sit on the dais. People applaud as if catching a glimpse of Sachin Tendulkar. The room is full with people; sarkaari PCs seldom run empty. I am told that's probably because most of the seats are occupied by company employees. Ah well, that could explain why so many people were in suits and boots.
The game starts. The emcee begins by thanking (so profusely you'd think the world goes around thanks only to the people on the dais) one and all that 'matters'. No sooner that the people get settled on the dais than they are unsettled once again. The lighting of the lamp. Very Indian governorship. A big stand with many lamps is placed either at the edge of the dais or just below it. The chief guest lights the lamp amidst traditional Indian classical music being played in the background. Massive photo opportunity. I remember my childhood days when newspapers used to carry pictures of such lamp lighting moments of many events, every second day. The chief guest takes time to smile at the camera at the same time he lights all the lamps; and there are plenty lamps to be lighted, so more photo opportunities. Cameramen scramble to get a glimpse of this historic event.
The game continues. 'Respected and honourable members of the dais' are back in their seats, adjusting their suits, buttoning or unbuttoning (as the case may be) in a very dignified way after an accomplished task, as they settle down. Now, comes the token of appreciation. Flower bouquets are presented. One by one, pretty ladies come and present the bouquets to the 'respected and honourable members of the dais'. Mind you, this is a sarkaari PC- grounded with traditions- so the ladies are clad in sarees. This is not a Kingfisher Airlines PC or anything! More applause. As each 'respected and honourable member of the dais' gets presented with a flower bouquet, there's a huge round of applause.
The PC now starts and one by one, each member gets to come on the podium and gets about 5 minutes to speak. They speak, thank people before they begin their speech, thank people after ending their speech, talk to journalists, answer their queries, give one-on-one interviews to TV channels and then they go away. We return back to our offices with quotes and start writing our stories for next day's edition.
Saturday, December 5, 2009
Of course, Berry Pulav or for that matter even Dhansakh, is not something you can eat amost everyday, you know. These are heavy delicacies and I don't know about others, but I can't work much after devouring a plate of either of those. I need my afternoon siesta after that. But the place is worth visiting I tell you.
I prefer to sit on the upper deck. This used to be a special thing with almost all Irani restaurants. There is a ground level seating as you enter and then there is the upper deck. This is either for large groups of for love birds who want to enjoy their meals in privacy. But I feel it's a great place to get a bird's eye view of the whole restaurant, watch who's coming in, who's going out, who's eating what and so on. Ofcourse if the food is great- which in most of these place it is- then you'd soon turn your focus on your plate, but oh well what's the use of being a Parsi if you don't do a little pozuli?
Britannia has an upper deck too. I usually prefer sitting up there, though the last time I went, the area was fully occupied. Notice, when you sit on Britannia's upper deck, you could actually feel the ceiling fan under you revolving. It gives you that funny tingy feeling. That's the thing at Britannia. For whatever reason, the place needs some serious sprucing up. Don't expect any fancy interiors in here; you'll see the paints peeling off the walls. None of which matters much though, because once the food is on the table, you forget everything else. Though how you secretly wish the place is better maintained. But the food's quite exquisite. Everybody knows that their Berry Pulav is awesome and so is their Dhansakh and Sali Boti and Sali Chicken. The red-coloured berrys that are generously sprinkled all over the berry pulav are specially imported from Iran. Try their boi fish and round up the meal with the world's best caramel custard. I am a sucker for desserts, so I almost always bring back home an extra caramel custard.
Do remember, if you are going in large numbers or you feel you might land up there a little after, say, 2 then make sure you call them up (2261 5264) and book your Berry Pulav in advance. The food here tends to get over fast and they don't make many extra servings.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Anyways, the wedding and the reception was quite good. And very well-attended. Practically every face that i can recognise at my Yoga institute was there. To be honest, I did not expect many of my colleagues to be there. After all, people have jobs on weekdays, you'd think they might want to spend the Sunday with their families. It took me just seconds after I entered to be proved absolutely wrong. I saw many familiar faces; Pravinbhai- our institutes resident stock broker who seems to eat, breathe, drink, live and sleep stock markets (or bajaar as he says) was there since the morning. And Patilsaheb was also there, on the stage manning the presents and gifts, Sir and his daughter got. They were looking like extended family.
I think somewhere today I saw the love and respect that we all have for Sir. I joined Yoga in February 2003 amidst a lot of skepticism. But I was quickly hooked onto it. I think- in a way- yoga grew in me. Thanks to Sir- who took me into his fold (I must have been extremely blessed to be assigned to his tutelage)- I soon took to Yoga as a habit. One without which I felt my day was incomplete if I couldn't go to my classes. The good part of the place where I go to is that there aren't any fixed classes or fixed times. Men are supposed to go anytime between 4 and 8.30 pm. Instructors lurk around, take rounds, keep tabs on students and supervise all of us. Sir is the most senior of all. I find him to be very dedicated. And he is the best part. I have always felt that no matter what the subject is, it can always be made the most interesting if the instructor is good.
At 56, his memory can put any of ours to shame. He must be having atleast 30 people- at any given point in time apart from the occassional dropouts here and there- but he would remember all of us by our first and last names. Since there are no fixed classes, each of us has our own cusotmised itenery. One that escalates with every passing month as we graduate to the next level. Sir would know each of our iteneries at the back of his palm. This, despite staring his day at 4.00 early morning when he wakes up, does his morning ablutions and catches the 6.15 am morning local to Churchgate. He stays at Virar, Mumbai's farthest suburban station the western railway. It's not easy to travel by second class from Churchgate to Virar, at this age. But he's got such will power and stamina thanks to his many years of disciplined living and yogic lifestyle, that at this age he sleeps for only about 5 hours every day and still is fresh at all times.
Today, on this happy occasion, his loved ones and students- such as I- were there to bless him. In a way, to thank him too for the all his wonderful teachings, to wish him luck and join in his happiness. People who bring happiness in other people's lives get happiness in return. Babu Narude is an exemplary instance of this thought.
The movie, though a taut thriller compared to Bollywood standards- takes a very potboiler, cliche Bollywood route to reach its goals. For instance, I cannot fanthom that a girl who has lived in the US (only to briefly migrate to India to look after her ailing father) does not dial the US emergency number 911 when she stumbles upon the terror plot. Saif Ali Khan gets a job at the university so easily. He also passes through the airport security checks so easily despite being on the US watchlist. Anyone who has been to the US post 9-11 would know that US is a totally different country and how seriously it takes its own security. Vivek Oberoi plays the supporting cast as the boyfriend who loses his girlfriend to terrorism. He decides to not to inform the police even after he gets a credible lead, but instead- and this sounds very Bollywoodish- decides to join the gang to get to the crooks himself. You'd probably expect a home grown character to behave like this, but this sort of approach is a little hard to digest for someone who is shown to have lived in the US and worked within the parameters of the US machinery. He also gets admission in the terror cell without so much as a background check done on him by the members. Also, the plot line of Kareena Kapoor seducing her husband in bed to get hold of the terror plot details sounds- if not exactly far-fetched- very amateurish. And do we really need such close-ups of how a person removes a bullet and also stitches up the skin?
Despite being in the same genre of New York (also produced by Karan Johar) and his upcoming My Name is Khan, Kurbaan is an edge-of-the-seat thriller and keeps you hooked on. The movie scores on good cinematography and screenplay. Unfortunately, there is no chemistry between the lead pair despite good performances.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
For a moment though I would like to ponder on the irony as to why such trouble-makers have always thought that such violence would get them to the top. The worst part is that they have been right and proved right time and again. Massive communal riots in1992-93 in Bombay and later in Gujarat in 2002 (both targeted Muslims) catapulted right-wing leaders to the pinnacle of the state machineries. The Gujarat riots were documented as probably one of the worst genocide the history of Indian democracy. Lives were uprooted, innocent civilians lost their lives, and the fabric of society changed forever. Still, people who openly and brazenly encouraged such violence, got voted and came to power.
Which begs the question: Why does the electorate vote for such people who encourage violence? Why does anyone think that these very people who perpetuate violence, are the ones who can offer a better life, a bettre government? Isn't violence the opposite of governance? Hatred is the core of any riot; it smacks of violence and complete break-down of law and order. Aren't there enough members of the civilised or the thinking society to get up and vote to keep the thugs and goons out of the Parliament? Or it's just that there are enough voters who have the power in the fingers but that they just do not care.
Why is it that in developed countries, any political party that perpetuates violence to gain publicity and power, gets shooed away, does not get elected at all, and infact goes behind bars? Why does it happen in India that the notorious political parties think that such massive tod-phod and strong-arm street tactics would get the voters to vote for them? Why is there such a belief? Is there something wrong with them or with us who vote for them? Perhaps the low voter turnout could throw some light. The anger and agitation that came out in Mumbai post 26-11- largely seen amongst the thinking citizens- fizzled out soon; poor turnouts during the Assembly elections and central government elections.
I wish I could say the cliche: the time has come to stop them and bring the culprits to book, time has come to disown them and time has come to act. Unfortunately, that time came and went away long ago. What do we do now?
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Sunday, October 11, 2009
But first things first. I boarded the double-decker bus from Nariman Point and went to VT station. There are many pleasures to be had in Mumbai but few that match the adrenalin pump we get by sitting on the top deck of the double decker bus. That too, when it is empty or almost empty. Empty spaces, either on roads or in public trasnport is a rarity these days in Mumbai so one savours every bit of it when one finds one. And even a 10-minute ride for as small a distance as Nariman Point to Mumbai makes it a joy ride. You pass by three sprawling grounds- of the very few open spaces left in Mumbai- marvel at the magnificent British architecture and heritage precincts of Fountain, pass by the Bhikha Behram well and the neighbouring Fashion Street and land up in the narrow bylane that leads up to VT station. They say double-decker buses are not as profitable as the single decker buses and that is mainly why the fleet of such double-decker buses have been reduced; that's quite sad. There was a time when one of the items on a Mumbai tourist's map was to take a ride on the top deck of a double-decker bus on route#123 from Tardeo to RC Church and back, enjoying the cool breeze and soothing ocean sights along Marine Drive and queen's necklace. I took this route for 3-4 years in high school as my school was on Marine Drive and the ride of pure joy. The double-decker buses are gone, except for a few token routes such as the shuttles between VT and Nariman Point and a few other routes in Mumbai. I wish these icons would be somehow brought back on Mumbai roads.
Anyways, I was soon at the press club. Before there wasn't a board of the press club outside the press club so for a person who had never been there- such as me- it was difficult to make out the entrance. Now there is a board, so it wasn't difficult for me to spot it. But Prashant had already joined me by then so I couldn't have missed it. There is a small press conference room for smaller firms and establishments to brief the media, as soon as we enter the facility. The main club area is quite impressive and very spacious and airy. The restaurant doesn't look like anything what I had imagined; it's quite clean, neat and plush. The bar is well laid out and looks very professional. Expectedly though, there were other ET / TOI journalists around. We chose to have the buffet. The food was well-cooked and I took two helpings. You get a good view of the Azad maidan from the restaurant, so I guess it looks very good in the evenings and also in winter or in rains. I am told you could also sit outside in the open arena and order your food and drinks and enjoy fresh air. Very nice!
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
“I never expected this kind of behaviour, but then things work like this only in our country and that is the reason we are far behind the rest of the world”, she said.
This aptly describes the state of affairs in Indian sports. Read here if you need more proof of the apathy towards Indian sports and sportsmen. It is no surprise that while nations like China, US, Australia create world-class sportperson across various fields, we Indians get satisfied by a once-in-a-lifetime medal in international competitions or even the Commonwealth Games. But then of course, international athletes are given the infrastructure to hone their skills. As regards us, we seem to be content with being a nation obsessed with cricket. Chak De- a brilliant movie revolving around Hockey and one that ought to have woken up our authorities and sports ministry to the presence of sports other than cricket, could sadly do nothing. Instead, the theme title song Chak De (which literally means Go For It) was later used on several occasions as a victory tune for Indian cricket team! How ironic.
Saturday, October 3, 2009
Alas, we humans are never satisfied. When its summer, we say enough of the heat; we want rains. When it rains, it's too wet we say. When will the rains go, we begin to wonder. We long for summer. Then, when summer is upon us, we get fed-up and wait for the winter to arrive. When winter comes, we shiver and long for the sun to come out. And when the sun finally comes out with gusto, we come back to square one and look up in the sky praying and hoping to get a sight of the monsoon clouds. Such are we. Such is life.
I like monsoon. I like rains. I like getting wet, though not drenched completely. But give me my balcony, a good monsoon shower and iPod and I am on board. Apart from the fact that a good rainfall in catchment areas around Mumbai is good for the city to save us from all those yearly dreaded water cuts, monsoon adds colour to Mumbai. It adds a lot of character and vibrancy to this city. It also inspires Bollywood to make either those underworld movies where dreaded gangsters chase one another through the narrow gullies of Mumbai underbelly under heavy showers or the mushy love stories where the boy mollycoddles with his girl dancing to a rain sequence. But most importantly, it gives a character to Mumbai. No wonder they say, come rain or shine, Mumbai never sleeps.
Here's what I will miss about Mumbai's monsoon...
- That first shower in June to beat the cruel Mumbai heat. It is such a welcome sight. The temperatures almost instantly goes down a few notches and how we wish it remains there..
- This used to be a major factor when I was in school and college when heavy rains in the morning lead to the closure of schools and colleges. Now that I am working, it doesn't matter much, but a day here or there off due to heavy rains can be a welcome sight. Especially if your boss sits in Delhi :)
- If you want to see Mumbai, go to Marine Drive. If you want to see rains in Mumbai, go to Marine Drive. You think the sea is angry as it tosses and turns and throws water at us with gusto. But to the discerning observer, it sure sounds the sea is glad to have us on the other side and play some fun games with us. The waves splash on the promenade and glides all over the wide pavement, all the way to the main road, drenching everyone who dare come in the way. But no one is complaining. It's the ultimate pleasure and the best way to celebrate the Mumbai monsoon. It's very tempting to get off from your BEST bus or car or taxi if it's raining at Marine Drive and just to sit on the promenade and spend some time in solitude with only the sea and waves for company. Other sea promenades such as Worli are also there for your pleasure, but none clicks like Marine Drive.
- Waiting at the railway station when it is pouring outside. As the train enters the station, you couldn't help but notice that the otherwise perennially open doors are closed- something of a rare sight in Indian Railways- and as you try to enter the compartment in a tearing hurry, can't help but get wet from the rain falling over us from the train's roof.
- Greenery and Mumbai apparently don't go well with each other, sadly. But whatever little greenery that's left, it sure gets lush and rampant.
- There are few soothing sounds than than sound of rain falling.
- The sea of umbrellas on the streets. Especially near Churchgate station. Umbrellas of all colours, designs, shapes and sizes.
- That smell of earth just after a shower. We don't get this smell much in Mumbai, but at some places we still do.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Now the only thing we have to see is how well it is implemented. I think if fines for such common nuisance such a spitting are increased manifold to justify the seriousness of its intent- the way they ought to- I think the government can easily find enough resources to fund their many welfare programs. All they need to do is position the cleaning squads on railway platforms. People keep spitting whilst waiting for the train, sometimes with such ridiculous regularity that it seems they are merely passing time by spitting.
We keep blaming the government for every little shortcoming but I think as responsible citizens we too should own it up. I mean just imagine how impossible a task it is to regulate a billion people and to inculcate basic civic sense. I have seen my own colleague from my MBA college days (an educated youth, therefore) peeing on the road when our college facility was merely a few feet away! If educated people behave like this, what can we expect from the BPL familes? For them atleast, we could say that the lack of adequate sanitation is one of the biggest problems. One block of, say, 6-7 toilets to be used by a whole colony of hutments and lack of public WCs elsewhere too builds up the problem. I think the cleaning squads though are doing a great job. I have seen them nabbing people and bringing them to book. So this latest rule shouldn't be very hard to implement. Next step: Increase the spitting fine to Rs 5,000.
Over the years, I stopped using the school bus; students above eight standard weren't allowed to use the school bus anyway I think. So it was the BEST bus then and in those days we had the double-decker bus on Route No 123. The route is still there but eventually they phased out the iconic double-decker buses on this route. Now we only have single-decker buses. But if you wanted a ride on our historic double-decker buses, then route 123 was the one you had to take. The best place in the bus was the upper deck and the front rows. No use of the side windows; the front windows were more than enough. Girls were never found seated here because most of them care about their hair (or stroking it every 2 seconds) more than anything else. This was a guys-only place. A strong gush of wind would blow on your face that would make you squirm your eyes, it was the upper deck, the speed of the bus on Marine Drive and the sea wind. Absolute fun! The best part for waiting for the bus on the way back home was that although there were bus-stops, we never used to sit on the bus-stops. We used to sit on the parapets and watch the waves and count the countless crabs that crawl on the tetra pods.
Marine Drive is a stretch of around 4-5 kms that starts from Chowpatty at the north-end and goes all the way to Nariman Point / National Centre of Performing Arts (NCPA) / Oberoi Hotel. It's one of the widest roads, apart from the Eastern and Western Express Highways, in Mumbai. The beauty of this is that it was never widened in phases; it was this wide right from the time it was built. Or atleast since time immemorial. Taking a walk on Marine Drive is an absolute pleasure. The place was done up recently so the pavement looks all straightened up. Unlike Worli sea face where pavement bricks are in complete disarray. But that place is also being done up I am told, so hopefully in a year's time it should become nicer.
The best part of taking a walk on Marine Drive are the dogs. You mostly see Labradors, but occasionally you could also spot pugs, pomeranians, German shepherd, and so on. Some dogs like each other's company and seem to be very eager to 'get a feel' of the other, but some dogs seem to erupt in anger on seeing one another. But it's fun to see the camaraderie amongst dogs; they seem to communicate with one another in some of the most intriguing ways, you don't know what you are saying but you know they're definitely saying something! There is a yearning to go there every weekend. Today is a Saturday. Let me see if I can make it today...
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Looking back at the incident, I seriously have not yet been able to figure out why it was such a sacrilege to speak out. Why did Oberoi suddenly went on from being the fresh discovery and potential talent to a villian, overnight? I found him, atleast, honest and courageous enough to speak up and claim that many in the industry deserted him overnight and avoided him for the better part of his career because they didn't want to be seen with him. You could see from where he's coming from when he says there is more plastic in the industry than in a Tupperware factory. That cronysim and chamchagiri still rules Bollywood. So what the guy is a bit flamboyant and loud. You may have also found him a bit immature for taking a private matter to the press, but if the guy seriously got cornered / threatened as he claimed, why the hell did he get more brickbats than bouquets is something I'll never understand. This is a day and age where celebrities sell first pictures of their babies in million-dollar deals or see paparazzi climb walls of their private homes to click pictures; Oberoi's outburst was nothing. The kind of chamchagiri seen in Bollywood is nothing short of cheap tamasha. We're not impressed.
This is a story of two brothers who are living their own lives (one is a good guy, the other is a crooked one) and have no intention of crossing each other's paths. Until fate brings them face-to-face and their lives collide as one mess unravels before another, till it leads to a full-blown confrontation at the end.
I don't understand what the big deal of the movie is. I think it is quite hyped up and certainly did not receive all the gushing reviews it has received by our movie critics and on blogosphere. Okay I could make my peace with the story pace, the strong supporting roles that lend a character to the movie, the gangster / reality / Mumbai underbelly kinda treatment, but I think that is about it. One brother lisps, the other stammers, does it really matter?
I could also make my peace with the fact that the movie is as unconventional as it can get and as un-Bollywoody as a Bollywood movie can get; loved the way the director turns the quintessential Bollywood bhai-bhai movie ending on its head. Here particularly- and amongst other things- it questions the very definition of 'good' and 'bad'. But that's about it. The movie, otherwise, is a bit going here, there and everywhere and does not manage to hold your attention. As a viewer, I feel dark movies need to be handled not just artistically but the artisty should also translate into something meaningful. It should make a connection and here's where I felt disconnected. Dev D was also dark and sinister but you could feel the guy spiralling downwards. At a point it felt that we are going down with him too. You could feel the protaginist's agony and self-distructive nature to the point that you either hated him or felt very sorry for him. Dev D was not just cinematic excellence; it had a story. Kaminey may be cinematic excellence, but the darkness shown on screen was nothing more that just awesome acting. Watch-it-enjoy-it-forget-it-move-on types. Just by showing guys on a high followed by a heated exchange of histroinics is not great cinema; it's mere brilliant acting. I didn't find it an egde-of-the-seat thriller and I kinda found it very hard to keep up with the pace of the movie, dialogues initially sound mutterred that spoken and it took an effort out of me to keep up with it all. The intent is good but perhaps it got to be too intelligent for its own good.
K-Rate: * * *
Saturday, September 12, 2009
It's easy to blame others, but what about us? 10 years back we could easily stay away from home for hours or even days and still be completely relaxed without a mobile. Today, we can't stay away and out of touch from our loved ones for a few minutes, thanks to our mobile phones. We have to call up our home to check on our kids, we have to send an SMS, and if nothing else is happening, we have to check out our phone atleast once in 15 minutes to double-check if we missed any calls or SMSs or if nothing else, check the time. I forget my mobile phone on an outing and feel lost.
The worst is caller tunes. Now, what I do not understand is why do people spend as much as Rs 15 to Rs 20 on caller tunes. These are tunes that we do not get to hear, but if we keep them on our mobile, the caller gets to hear them. It is purely for their pleasure. We do not derive any benefit out of it. Then, why waste the money? Is the caller calling to listen to our song or to talk to us? I have never understood this.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Saturday, August 8, 2009
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
FROM 1 August, when you go to buy a mutual fund (MF), you will not have to pay upfront commission, or entry loads, as they are called, typically, around 2.25 per cent. These loads are commissions that are presently coming from the amount that you invest with your fund and get passed to your agent. But market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) has mandated that your agent and you will now have to mutually decide upon an amount that you would like to pay him and he will also have to disclose his commission.
A sweeping impact...Understandably, agents are finding this tough to swallow. A senior manager of one of
He may be right, but comparing a financial product with a consumer durable is a stretch. It is true that as customers we do not, and are not qualified to, ask white goods salesmen pertinent questions about the products and swallow whatever sales pitch they throw. This, however, doesn’t mean that we have to be similarly unquestioning about our financial products as well.
Moreover, there is no doubt that commissions play a big role in any kind of sale. I hear that one of
MF distributors also claim that their income will drop significantly. That is true. Small-time agents will find the going tough, but only initially. In the new scenario, your agent will have to justify the fees he charges. By writing out two separate cheques, one for investment and one for the agent, investors will be aware of what they are paying for and, more importantly, how much. Discount brokers—those who merely give out forms with insignificant advice, will, and should, be wiped out.
With entry loads curbed, agent commissions could have been shifted to and clubbed with exit loads. But, as a pre-emptive tactic, Sebi has put a cap of 1 per cent on exit loads. This will prevent distributors from arm-twisting MFs into raising exit loads to compensate for the entry load losses, if any.
Value additions. What most agents and distributors fail to realise is that it is not as easy for an investor to make do without agents as it sounds. Picking and choosing the right fund from out of over a thousand available, filling multiple forms all by yourself, going to a Registrar & Transfer agent’s office before the cut-off time with as many forms and copies of PAN card and all the paraphernalia documents, isn’t easy at all. Even if one knows which fund to invest in, the paperwork and physically delivering the forms and supporting documents is itself a task. This last process may not be worth 2.25 per cent, but it sure is worth some charge.
What a discussion between investors and agents over commissions will do is that price discovery for various types of services, rather than a fl at fee for all, will now begin.
Saturday, July 25, 2009
On day #11, I took the ferry and came to Vancouver. Much of Vancouver is filled with Asians. The whole 36 km distance between Tsawwassen Fe...
As the country oldest mutual fund scheme, now US-64 Bonds, are set be redeemed, it’s tough to find an equally alternative investment. There ...
Tired of being ignored by ICICI Bank credit cards by being left out of their premium services despite being a loyal customer, I got myself a...
As a kid, the Mumbai-New Delhi Rajdhani Express used to be this legend that I dreamt often. Although train travel was an integral part of m...