Things are not as simple as they seem

This morning, I heard a child from the neighbor’s recite a nursery rhyme which most of us have grown up with …

Chubby cheeks, dimple chin 
Rosy lips, teeth within, 
Curly hair, very fair, 
Eyes are blue, lovely too, 
Teacher’s pet, is that you?? 
Yes, Yes, Yes

Not only have I recited it myself during my childhood, to my nephews and nieces when I grew up, I’ve even heard it umpteen times…

Not once did the thought that came to me today crossed my mind before.

Is the rhyme hinting that a teacher’s pet ought to be someone with chubby cheeks, dimple chin, rosy lips, blue lovely eyes and one who is very fair ?

Concerns –

First, why is this perception of fairness, loveliness and so on created  in a nursery rhyme meant for small kids

Two, why does there a need arise to talk about a teacher’s pet.

I have always been against this whole hype and obsession over fairness. Products and hence Ads of products such as fair and lovely/fair and handsome have always angered me…..

Recently, a campaign has been launched – Dark is Beautiful of which Nandita Das is the ambassador. It’s a noble cause for sure, where they are trying to break the stereotype that dark is not nice ….

Then I think, why do we have associations such as “Fair and Lovely” or “Dark is Beautiful”

Why can’t beauty be something that pleases your mind? Warmness. Gentleness. Pleasantness – where are these emotions?

And coming back to the rhyme, though this whole adult talk over fairness and what is lovely/beautiful/handsome is making me angry, I am actually saddened by the rhyme…

I wonder what children must be thinking when they understand and recite it…. Do they already form a perception of what is nice and what is not… and does it start there, right there to become someone’s pet and grow up to believe that the secret in pleasing people rests in looks?

Some may feel I am perhaps over-thinking. Hmm, I don’t believe so, in fact I am just surprised I observed this only today…..What do you think?


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Posted by on October 26, 2013 in Emotional


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Veena Stores – Wow Wow Wow

My last two posts I realize were pretty negative. I am glad my motivation to write this time is extremely positive.

Malleswaram is a haven for south indian food lovers. Though I’ve had lunches at Maiya’s and yummy breakfasts at Central Tiffin Room aka Shree Sagar, my visit to Veena Stores prompted a blog post for sure.

To realize the impact of Veena stores, come to Malleswaram on Sunday and reach the intersection of Margosa Road and 17th cross and you will see an almost-unending line of people. Eager expressions on their faces. They can’t wait to reach the counter which serves yummy food. It’s been great to be part of this crowd of people for the last two Sundays….. There is so much excitement, its difficult not to get restless to reach the counter. Families and friends waiting in line, lots of others eating food out there on the street – you can tell they have been served by Veena Stores.The Veena Stores is quick, almost an assembly line inside a (I guess) small space. At least some eight men at work serving food to an endless crowd!  Food is yummy (they serve the best vadas, idlis, pongal, upmas, tamarind rice, coffee etc). (No dosas or any item that cannot be dished out quickly. But the limited spread is more than enough to satisfy the watering mouths and hungry stomachs.) But what I liked the most is the smiles on the faces of those inside and outside of Veena Stores. It’s a happy place! It’s an experience! It’s super 🙂

Also, they use plastic and foil only for take-out, else they use sustainable packing for eating right there. I am hoping to capture some pictures the next time I visit. Can’t wait! Join me!


Posted by on August 19, 2013 in Bangalore Diaries, Service Experiences


Is everything a joke?

I’ve been thinking about how so many serious issues are made light of….And no I am not a boring person – I appreciate jokes, humor, laughter, coz what is life without all that… but there is a limit.

Recently, a prank (prank is too cute a word to use here, wish I could use another word) was doing the rounds on whatsapp. So on group chats, one person would say – MD (A famous actor) is dead. This is to cause alarm and everyone on the group is aghast…. And then the same person would post an image of an obituary cut-out from a paper, announcing the death of some person who happens to share her name with this actor. As if her death is not sad enough, this prank is supposed to bring laughter. Really, have we grown so sick as a society that we need such horrid pranks to make us laugh! It is very sad. May her soul rest in peace.

I’ve always had a problem with how people with mental illnesses are first all classified as retards and they are made fun of in Bollywood movies. Now another disease has been added to this list – HIV. So many movies make light of such a grave disease. So many lives are lost, so many are still struggling to cope with such a life-threatening disease. There are so many other ways of bringing out humor and giggles – is it so difficult to stick to those? Take a moment, think – film makers. You are doing amazing work, do you really want to depend on such sad ways of making your audience laugh?

Thought I’ll list down such horrible jokes –

1) Saw one today on Set Max – It’s the Max ad. A young man asks his mother, papa ki maut kaise hui? And she says heart attack. To which he expresses disappointment – “ab main kiske khoon ka badla loonga” something like that. Ridiculous

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Posted by on August 14, 2013 in eMarketing


Wish I could say – Bas ho gaya, Bangalore buses

I’ve experienced some really funny moments in Bangalore buses. Some not-so-funny and some not-at-all funny moments.

First some facts about Bangalore buses that really impressed me-

  • The Bangalore airport is very far from the city. The city provides very comfortable green colored AC buses that ply to the airport from the city
  • There are lots of tourist places around Bangalore and correspondingly lots of buses that ply you to these interesting destinations. When we went to Coorg, I was impressed with how I got the bus number and timings over the KSRTC helpline
  • Within the city, buses connect almost every place to the other (through two buses if not via one). Bangalore doesn’t have trains like Mumbai, so buses to banta hai na!
  • Lot of women conductors (maybe drivers too – haven’t seen one yet) Respect! Go Women!

In Mumbai, you enter through the door at the middle of the bus and exit through the front. For long I would do that here in Bangalore as well. I think I was too much in my own world to notice that women use the front door and the men the other. After many months of travel, a fellow passenger told me about this. Lesson learnt!

A funny incident – Here most of the buses have the destination name written in Kannada, so the only way I know I am taking the right bus is by asking someone. One day I took a bus to Shivaji Park from my place. I had no idea when I would reach Shivaji Park. The bus halted at a stop and the the conductor shouted ‘Shivaji Park, Shivaji Park, Shivaji Park’ and I hurriedly stuffed the book I was reading into my bag and alighted. It was some random stop and the conductor happened to be announcing to the people at the bus stop that the bus will ply till Shivaji Park. Wish I knew!

I am very alert in Bangalore public transport.

Bangalore bus-drivers are very ambitious. I’ll tell you why. You enter the bus through the front door and notice that the driver is holding tickets in one hand (no conductors) and the steering wheel in the other. And then notice something even more alarming – he is over-taking another bus in front of him. Any normal person’s heart will skip several beats. Bus drivers here are very rash! Over-take and drive like as if they wish to compete with every other vehicle on the road. What’s the rush, it really doesn’t go with the otherwise chillax personality of Bangalore!

Now to come to the most annoying practice here – So, I take a bus to Malleswaram market area once or twice a week. More often than not, the conductors refuse to give me a ticket, sometimes render more change than needed and do not hand me a ticket too. When I refuse to take extra and demand a ticket, they don’t budge. Try to refuse a ticket at least twice before they give in to my vehement refusal. In Mumbai, the conductor or even the rickshaw driver returns even the last 10 paise to the passenger. Maybe that’s why I lose my cool when I don’t get a ticket. KSRTC, BMTC hope you are listening……

One thing common to Mumbai , common to every city – buses are very crowded and when you have rash drivers, you are sure to end up with neck or back or both pain.

Sorry to be a cynic. I totally believe in the ideology that public transport is the most sustainable mode of travel. But when you experience not-so-fun times in the buses, you wanna quit and rather ride or drive. Ramya hurry, learn to drive!

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Posted by on August 13, 2013 in Bangalore Diaries


Ad Review: Idea ad – Mom and son telephone exchange

Have you seen this ad, one of the latest ads from Idea

The ad begins with a son in a hurry to leave for work, in conversation with his mom – his mom is telling him ‘even if you don’t visit us here in pune, you could at least give us a call every day’ to which the son responds that ‘he has absolutely no time and is swamped with work’ and storms out. Meanwhile in the background the father quietly exchanges their mobiles.

The son’s phone is constantly ringing throughout the day and the emotional-cum-nostalgic mom (like every mom!) wonders ‘my poor son, gets so many calls, he is so busy…’ While the son wonders why he hasn’t received any calls, when he realizes he has his mom’s phone, he thinks to himself ‘poor mom, nobody calls her’ That instant, the phone rings. His mom is on the other end, tells him ‘ you get so many phone calls’ . The son says ‘from tomorrow I’ll call you every day’. Mom: ‘Even if you calls once in 3-4 days, its fine’….. Its a very emotional ad.

Moms really feel great when we call/meet them. I call my moms (amma & aae) . do you. Make a call right now.

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Posted by on May 29, 2013 in Emotional, Marketing


Having the capacity, having the will, having the choice

In today’s (Bangalore Mirror) crossword, 20-Down having the capacity (4). Oh yes, the word is able. As soon as I filled in that word, I was reminded of a beautiful phrase – ‘Enabled differently’ which is the tagline/slogan of Vindhya E-Infomedia Pvt Ltd, a Bangalore based data processing and document management company. 100% quality assurance. Most amazing number – 90% of their work force is as they put is ‘enabled differently’. I read about Vindhya’s founder – Pavithra and went on to read about Vindhya on their website. I was left very inspired and there was this feeling ‘the world is not all that bad, in fact, its beautiful’ engulfing me!

One morning, I decided to go to their office (on their website, there is an invitation for coffee) Not a big fan of coffee, but for sure a fan of goodness and openness. I was at the Vindhya office for a good thirty minutes and looked around; high-spirited team members, hustle and bustle, laughter and fun, just like any other organization. Yes they were differently enabled, but it didn’t seem to me that there was anything different. And why should it be?

I had the opportunity to meet Pavithra briefly (for sure an elaborate talk is pending! ). Among other recognitions, Pavithra has been the recipient of ‘Shell-Helen Keller’ award. Around 150 differently enabled people have found employment at Vindhya – isn’t that wonderful. I know I shouldn’t even be writing this blog as though something different is happening, (it should be a give-in that the are opportunities for everybody alike!) but somehow I know that differently-abled people are not treated rightly. Living so many years in our country, I can see that!  (Proof of this was also in the research that went into a Satyamev Jayate episode aired on Star in the year 2012)  I am glad that the scene is changing.

During my stay in Vancouver in 2009-2010, I noticed how there was a ramp at the door of the buses on which people on mobility scooters could come in or exit. I remember how, no matter how many minutes it took, the driver would patiently wait for the person on the scooter to enter and settle comfortably and only then start the bus. Of course, the law ensures the same. Universities, work places everywhere I went; I realized there is so much thought put into how differently-abled people can sustain and grow without any apprehension or trouble. I really hope we reach that level of infrastructure and design there soon! (Of course, empathy & patience is present or must be present if they aren’t, for any of this to fall into place)

Coming back to Vindhya, hats off to Pavithra and everyone else who has the choice and tries to make a difference! hats off to the Vindhya team (and every other differently-abled person), salute your will!

Were you left inspired recently? Please do share your experience


Posted by on March 24, 2013 in Bangalore Diaries, Inspired



The Startup Festival in the Startup Capital

March 7-10, Bangalore hosted an amazing festival, called the Startup Festival.

startup fest

The mission reads Mission: Bring Bangalore from #19 to top 10 startup hubs in the world”                                  (Source: Start-up Festival India Website)

There was an article about this festival in the TOI a couple of weeks before the event.

I was also recommended to like their page on Facebook (I’m sure based on other pages I like and articles I browse/like/share on FB). Their FB page was buzzing with posts about what to expect at the fest. The website was or rather is very neat too.

startup numbers

(Source: Startup Festival india Website)

Aren’t the numbers impressive. And this is nothing. The fest was designed to include so much more than what you would expect – talks, sessions etc.

part 1 startup part 2 start

I was part of the festival on March 8th (nice way of celebrating women’s day 🙂 & 10th. Unfortunately couldn’t be part of all events on the 8th. I first went to the central hub of activitiies – called the Powerhouse in the startup fesival lingo. Bought my tickets, they handed me a map-and-schedule. (Loved the colors on the map!) Yes I needed a map of Jayanagar. Each event was tagged with a number, the address in turn tagged to an address. I made up my mind to attend a few crawls on that day (crawl: visit to a startup to get inspired!) I decided to first go to Cloud9 hospital, where the founder Dr. Kishore was to talk about about ‘A new Vision for Health’. They have positioned the entire parenting/birthing process as a cloud9 experience. A few excerpts from their website

Cloudnine Hospitals, a venture of Kids Clinic and Scrips & Scrolls India Pvt. Ltd. heralds the beginning of a new era for all maternal and child care needs. It found its beginning in the CEO and senior neonatologist Dr. R. Kishore Kumar’s vision of bridging the ever- widening gap between Indian and international standard care for mothers and babies. For the two Cloudnine Hospitals renders full spectrum services efficiently through a team of obstetricians, neonatologists, paediatricians, gynaecologists of distinctive repute.

Since inception in 2007, innovation, integrity and quality has spanned the comprehensive portfolio of services offering complete women care including pregnancy care, fertility care, gynaecological care, well women care, neonatal and paediatric care.

With a diversified, well trained and motivated talent pool of work force, the hospital has achieved the vision that it envisaged and now is an accomplished fact. That is ZERO percent maternal mortality rate and 99.83% survival rates for the babies.”

My next stop was at the office – the founders Bala and his wife Aruna gave an inspiring talk of how take idea to action! Much needed talk. They spoke about how you should let your idea take flight and not keep waiting for the ultimate product/service, let it fly and then keep improving. Multi-tasking. Wearing different hats. Talk. Ask. Experiment. What I really admired was their honest and friendly demeanor – they really wanted to inspire & help.

My last stop was at Itshandmade. Shreya who founded this website where you can buy and sell handmade products spoke with a lot of passion about her venture. She not only left the audience inspired to start a venture, she also inspired them to create 🙂

On March 10th the last day, I went for the art fest, the finale event of the start up fest. Equally inspiring.

There was only one thing that was a little inconvenient. Hopping from one place to other. I mean it was fun in one way, but it was tiring till the end. And for someone who is new to the city (I am sure the fest attracted people from all over India and maybe even outside of India!) To my first stop, the Go green bikes team dropped me to my destination on electric vehicle- product experience and promotion! Cool! After that I was on my own walking, ricking etc. Maybe there could be buses that ply, chance to network too. You could ask attendees to choose one of say 3 routes and a bus arranged accordingly for each of the 3 routes. Just a thought.  And ya, towards the end I felt I was on a treasure hunt, maybe there could really have been a treasure hunt! Were you there at the start-up fest, do tell me about what you enjoyed the most!

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Posted by on March 16, 2013 in Bangalore Diaries