मेघदूत: "नीचैर्गच्छत्युपरि च दशा चक्रनेमिक्रमेण"

समर्थ शिष्या अक्का : "स्वामीच्या कृपाप्रसादे हे सर्व नश्वर आहे असे समजले. पण या नश्वरात तमाशा बहुत आहे."

G C Lichtenberg: “It is as if our languages were confounded: when we want a thought, they bring us a word; when we ask for a word, they give us a dash; and when we expect a dash, there comes a piece of bawdy.”

Friedrich Nietzsche: “Everybody wants the same, everybody is the same: whoever feels different goes voluntarily into a madhouse.”

Martin Amis: “Gogol is funny, Tolstoy in his merciless clarity is funny, and Dostoyevsky, funnily enough, is very funny indeed; moreover, the final generation of Russian literature, before it was destroyed by Lenin and Stalin, remained emphatically comic — Bunin, Bely, Bulgakov, Zamyatin. The novel is comic because life is comic (until the inevitable tragedy of the fifth act);...”

सदानंद रेगे:
"... पण तुकारामाची गाथा ज्या धुंदीनं आजपर्यंत वाचली जात होती ती धुंदी माझ्याकडे नाहीय. ती मला येऊच शकत नाही याचं कारण स्वभावतःच मी नास्तिक आहे."
".. त्यामुळं आपण त्या दारिद्र्याच्या अनुभवापलीकडे जाऊच शकत नाही. तुम्ही जर अलीकडची सगळी पुस्तके पाहिलीत...तर त्यांच्यामध्ये त्याच्याखेरीज दुसरं काही नाहीच आहे. म्हणजे माणसांच्या नात्यानात्यांतील जी सूक्ष्मता आहे ती क्वचित चितारलेली तुम्हाला दिसेल. कारण हा जो अनुभव आहे... आपले जे अनुभव आहेत ते ढोबळ प्रकारचे आहेत....."

John Gray: "Unlike Schopenhauer, who lamented the human lot, Leopardi believed that the best response to life is laughter. What fascinated Schopenhauer, along with many later writers, was Leopardi’s insistence that illusion is necessary to human happiness."

Justin E.H. Smith: “One should of course take seriously serious efforts to improve society. But when these efforts fail, in whole or in part, it is only humor that offers redemption. So far, human expectations have always been strained, and have always come, give or take a bit, to nothing. In this respect reality itself has the form of a joke, and humor the force of truth.”

विलास सारंग: "… . . 1000 नंतर ज्या प्रकारची संस्कृती रुढ झाली , त्यामध्ये साधारणत्व विश्वात्मकता हे गुण प्राय: लुप्त झाले...आपली संस्कृती अकाली विश्वात्मक साधारणतेला मुकली आहे."

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Corporates beware! Consumers are fighting back

My irritation with our service providers is increasing by the day.

During last several months of 2006-07, I have been pissed off by ICICI Bank, Books Today (India Today group), Reliance Communications, Standard Chartered Bank, DSK Developers, Birla Mutual Fund, HDFC Mutual Fund, local cable guy and so on.

Mind you issues involved are not minor irritants.

It has become so bad that I have come around to think that perhaps government in India is less irritating than the private sector.

But companies perhaps think I am their best customer because I continue to do business with them!

ELEANOR RANDOLPH writes in NYT March 11, 2007 "A Time and Place for Grousing":

"In today’s global economy, however, there is a totally different culture for complaints. Artful bellyaching has become a survival skill. And, the harder it becomes to complain (“You’re talking to me from Tajikistan?”) and the longer it takes to get satisfaction, the angrier customers become in return. American consumers are so angry that companies are assessing the new level of customer rage. A study by Arizona State University found that 70 per cent of customers who had problems were either extremely or very teed-off as a result of their complaints. Scott Broetzmann, president of Customer Care Measurement and Consulting, which helped with the university analysis, said, “You have to go back more than 40 years (i.e., Ralph Nader’s heyday) to find the acrimony you now have between consumers and businesses.” Although there are many companies that care deeply about customer service, too many consider the consumer complaints desk to be a cost center worthy of cutting. So, consumers are fighting back. Mr. Broetzmann, who helps businesses deal with consumer outrage, says that customers become angrier with every hour spent trying to get relief. (Four hours is the average.) But he also says that many consumers say they would be satisfied with respect or an apology rather than, for example, a replacement iPod."

Artist : James Stevenson The New Yorker 23 Jan 1960

Indian Growth Story is Consumption driven

Local stock market pundits often talk about this. Indian growth story is based on local consumption and not based as much on export as say China.

I was brought up in an era of shortages. Shortages of all kinds. Cement, Kerosene, Rice, Sugar, Tires, what-have-you. We were taught frugality. Conspicuous consumption was crime. Leaving food on plate was crime. Eating in restaurant was crime. Too many clothes. And so on........

Now, there is a new spin on all this.

Consume more to help the economy. Consume more to generate jobs.

Therefore, every time anything is robbed in front of us, our only hope is: Not that criminals will be brought to the justice but loot will be spent locally!

Artist : Richard Decker The New Yorker 2 May 1959

If you can't beat them.......

There is this famous Americanism: If you can’t beat them, join them.

We practise it many times. Once we become insiders, we change our colours.

But you may be exasperated if you can do neither.

Artist : Richard Decker The New Yorker 21 December 1957

Crummy Childhood

Graham Greene:

“Everything that can happen to a person, I think, is determined in the first sixteen years of his life”

Therefore, she is right. He got to write about what he knows best. His first sixteen years- crummy childhood!

Artist : Richard Decker The New Yorker

Feeling a draft

Happiness is elusive.

"Happiness eludes the rendezvous we fix, arrives when we least expect it, disappears when we think we have it in hand. In other words, those people who are unhappy about not being happy forget that happiness has a knack for indirection, coming in the middle of the most ordinary day or disappearing at the height of one’s career. It is a matter of luck, almost of grace, a visitor who enters the house unexpectedly and vanishes on tiptoe." ("Another Last Chance to Change Your Life" By PASCAL BRUCKNER, NYT Jan 1 2007)

Poet Jacques Prévert says: "I recognize happiness by the sound it makes when it leaves".

My wife's aunt, a wealthy doctor in US, says what she misses most in US is the draft dry lands of India get on a summer evening. Whenever I have lived outside western Maharashtra- Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Doom Dooma (Assam), Calcutta- I too have missed it dearly.

Coming in the middle of the most ordinary day, bringing along happiness and .............

Artist : Richard Decker Publication: The New Yorker 22 November 1958

The crowd loves a good loser. Does it?

India may or may not progress any further in the world cup after losing to Sri Lanka.

However, frenzy among Indian cricket followers and media before, during and after India's matches is quite scary. All in the name of the nation. Thank our luck there is no actual war being fought with Pakistan or Bangladesh or Sri Lanka.

I am increasingly thinking that rise of nationalism may be the biggest problem of this century on Indian subcontinent. Ahead of poverty.

I wonder if we can ever solve problems of river water sharing among Indian states in such a charged atmosphere.
Artist: Richard Decker The New Yorker 26 Feb 1955

shouting from the left and the right as if this were real news and real information

I think media is getting a bigger problem by the day. Electronic media is the worst. Print media is close second.

Much celebrated hero-reporter of "Watergate" scandal Carl Bernstein (played by DUSTIN HOFFMAN in "All the President's Men" ) has this to say (Feb 2006) :

"But I think the really important trends in journalism in the last 25 years are basically the dumbing down of media what I called in a cover piece for The New Republic in 1990 the triumph of idiot culture, manufactured controversy, sensationalism, shouting from the left and the right as if this were real news and real information.In this cacophony truth, the best obtainable version of the truth, which is really what reporting is that snapshot at a given moment of where an event and the facts stand when reporting is good that's getting lost in this noise and, as Bob says, in this rush to get stuff out. Who the hell knows what's right and what's right and what's fact and what's context and what's not? And if you -- it's particularly egregious on television with all due respect and on the Internet."
Artist : Garrett Price The New Yorker 15 Dec 1945