Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

Indiatimes. At its best.

Irresponsible? Or plain callous? homepage at approx 6pm (Dec 11, 2006)


The above headline implies that the Sensex fell to below 500 points. While the fact is that it fell BY about 500 points. And the story is correct. This is some editor messing up on the prepositions. Or a brain!

Story page image: [Link to story]



I’m going to Blogcamp

I’m going to Blogcamp. What’s that, you say? Know more about it here. And watch out for more updates as they happen.


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Get your bin Laden fix

The US fixation with Osama Bin Laden continues and CNN now has a dedicated area for His Terrorness. Check it out here.

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On the backdrop of the Mumbai blasts a week ago, the Indian Govt. has decided to blackout blogspot hosted blogs. Good thing I moved to WP! But more seriously, this is insane. If they could not track it before and block the abuse, how will having some IPs (which would mostly be dynamic) tracked and all help?

Well, that’s the way Indian bureaucracy and politicia (like militia!) works. Reactive rather than proactive.

More details about the blackout at The Great Indian Mutiny.

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Ouch! Another CET

This, the last bastion of easy jobs. Has been. Breached. What next? Would the IT industry also pay taxes some day? Alas…

Mumbai Mirror

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Heard this morning on CNN-IBN at around 8 am in a report about the Petrol price hike.

The reporter from Mumbai has reported how the diesel price hike would affect the fishing community and all and how commodity prices would go up. And then we are in Kolkata. Unfortunately, I have forgotten the reporter's name… he is standing at a petrol station and goes on to report: "If you look behind me, there are cars here that are still taking in their fill despite the price hike. So there is not much reaction against the hike".

I mean, of course, you moron! People still have to drive to work, right? How did you get there? Flying? What idiotic reports are these? For all you know, he was not even in Kolkata. what?

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(Warning: Long and rambling sorts. Could be termed funny!) 

Earlier, I had written about a really ghastly Radio ad. Now I draw my sword on some pathetic TV spots. Both the ones I shall comment upon have superstars (lots of 'em) but no substance… so here goes:

Pepsi TV
Starring: Shahrukh Khan, Priyanka Chopra, Kareena (same as Kareina) Kapoor and two 1.5l bottles of Pepsi. Support cast unknown.
There was a promo by Frooti about 2 years or so ago about a fictitous character Digen Verma. And it created a helluva lot of hype. Because the ad simply asked "Who is Digen Verma?". The answer was "You". In a strange correlation of sorts, Pepsi TV was also built up similarly with Shahrukh Khan trying to tune his TV to receive "Pepsi TV". Hm. One was compelled to think whether Pepsi has indeed come up with their own channel… but then, the second part of the ad came and completely killed what seemed like an interesting concept.

"Pepsi peete peete jab aap TV dekhte hai, to usse Pepsi TV kehte hai". 

Please. Someone save me. And why did one need Kareena (or is it Kareina) Kapoor (KKappoorr, whatever) and Priyanka Chopra to say this inane line? Logically (nowhere in the picture yet, hence I introduce it!), this would apply to all things. So if you are eating chana and drinking Pepsi while watching TV, it's "Pepsi Chana TV". Pepsi + Rum would make it "Pepsi Rum TV" and so on. You get the drift, right?

And this would also apply to watching TV when say, having tea or scratching yourself or you know, getting cosy with someone. The first two are ok and gross respectively, but the I&B Ministry would never allow the third. For it would be known as "Cosy TV" or "Necking TV" or "Make Out TV" depending on the level of activity you are indulging in.

Now lets bring in a touch of science into this. Hopefully everyone is aware of the law of transitivity (for the non-scientifically-inclined, it says if a = b and b = c, then a = c). Now putting the logic and science to use (they work together so brilliantly, I tell you) we can infer that since Pepsi TV is what you see when drinking Pepsi and watching TV, and Make Out TV is well, you know what, and since that cannot be allowed, Pepsi TV also cannot exist. I wish. I would have been spared the insipid ads at least!

Lux Soap
Starring: Aishwarya Rai (cartoon also her) and three dumb-ass guys. 

Aishwarya Rai just did the rather well-done ad for Coca-Cola (she is doing a better job of it in ads than the movies, eh? Perhaps a return to roots or sorts, what?) and then she agrees to do this: become a nymphomaniacal-looking cartoon superheroine. Who flies around throwing frisbees.

Let's look at it positively, though. As a superheroine, what special powers does she possess? Frisbee throwing is one we know. The other is the ability to bathe (d-uh, this is for a soap) and the third would have to be switch between real and cartoon life at the drop of a soap, oops hat.

Nothing much to write about in the ad and the bottom line is that this is soap she is selling. So it's lavender in colour and makes Aishwarya look thinner and better 'filled up' in all the right areas (controlled environment, you see, in the drawing room). That apart, forget it. I prefer Dettol and Hamam. They are orange and green respectively. Also smell decent and have disinfectants for sure.

They do, right? 

For once, there seems to be some sense about this business in China. A court has ordered Carrefour to pay LVMH damages for use of their logo on fake goods.
Wonder whether the same ruling would have happened if the offending company was a Chinese local one and not a multinational.

One wonders…
Full Story here.

Bad Ad?

Following is the transcript of a radio ad for Kaya Skin Clinic:

Wife: Darling, how do I look?
Husband: Ummm… nice
W: Just nice?
H: Lovely
W: Only Lovely?
H: You look beautiful.
W: You know, that’s what I like about you. It’s 5 in the morning and you think I look beautiful.
H: You know, I mean it.
VO: Kaya Skin Clinic. For those who know beauty begins with skin and not make-up.

Just a few points:

  1. Why in god’s name is the poor husband being tested at 5 am?
  2. Of course this is a trick question and there is no right answer.
  3. Doesn’t it sound like the wife is coercing the answer she wants (i.e. beautiful) out of him?
  4. After getting two wrong answers (listen, if “nice” and “lovely” were correct, he would have gone back to sleep), he had to say the b-word.
  5. Doesn’t she sound rather conceited? Why would you want to know how you look when you are just waking up? It’s another thing if someone volunteers a compliment. But this is like extortion.
  6. Are the women of the world approving of this ad? Doesn’t it show them in poor light?

Just some things I thought I should ask. Any answers?

I am an avid listener of GO 92.5FM, a radio station in Mumbai. Every day, through the day, they have news updates… One of these is the morning 9 am one “Sports Talk with Annie”. This is the newsreader profile and this morning, I swear I heard her read this out:
The abandonment of the Chennai match thanks to rain, after a strong South African win in the first one-dayer, and India’s emphatic response in the second, has only served to keep this series on an even keel longer, setting up the fourth ODI at Kolkata deliciously. Whoever wins here knows they are guaranteed not to lose the series, and that brings its own pressure on both teams not to lose.
The talk in the series has been tough to read from both camps, as no clear trend has emerged, no team has seized the initiative, as was the case when India drove down Sri Lanka into submission. Graeme Smith has relentlessly talked his team up, and occasionally taken a dig at the Indians. Smith didn’t reveal much about the composition of his side for the match and said that South Africa “have 15 to choose from for the game”. Rahul Dravid has been understated as ever, and any statements from the Indian camp will come through bat, ball, or result in the Kolkata match.
Nothing wrong in the content or anything else, just that this is the same content available in the preview by Anand Vasu on
The reason I remember this at all is the use of the following: Abandonment, Submission and “no clear trend has emerged…”
Ideally, I would like to hear from both parties as to who was the original author. If this indeed was a newswire story, why has attributed it to Anand Vasu? If this is his original story, why is Go92.5FM reading out stuff verbatim?
One way or another, there is something fishy… unless we don’t know of a content-sharing agreement.
Can anyone answer?
Update: I have e-mailed Go 92.5 FM to an e-mail ID on their site (the producer) and to the Feedback section but no reply. Ditto for
Cross-posted on We, The Media

The blogging handbook is finally here!
Reporters Sans Frontieres (RSF) has launched ” Handbook for bloggers and cyber-dissidents“.
RSF, it seems has “produced this handbook to help them [reporters in countries where the mainstream media is censored], with handy tips and technical advice on how to to remain anonymous and to get round censorship, by choosing the most suitable method for each situation. It also explains how to set up and make the most of a blog, to publicise it (getting it picked up efficiently by search-engines) and to establish its credibility through observing basic ethical and journalistic principles.
Noble attempt. I have just downloaded this and will attempt to know if I am indeed one of ‘them’ and if the book is of any use to me. The PDF can be downloaded.
Also on TECH

Free Ads For Celebs?

Even I want this! Just because she has two flats of about 1300 sq ft each allows DNA to place an ad for her on their front page? they may as well have labelled it ‘For Sale: Aishwarya Rai’s flats‘.

This is just getting out of hand!

How Journos Use Blogs

Wall Street Journal tech reporter Nick Wingfield tells Bulldog Reporter how journalists use blogs in their jobs.
Interesting and well-researched article that I think, is quite apt.

Read full story here.
So, now you know!

A Weekend On The Town

After a very long time, it was an idyllic weekend. A friend dropped in on Saturday evening and the three of us (that’s Tosha, him and me) chatted up late into the night. Sunday was equally relaxed and after lunch at a relative’s place, Tosha and I decided to go shopping. For household necessities, that is.
This, over the last 10 months or so (since we got married), has become one of our favourite activities. Walking up and down the aisles and looking for things we need but buying everything we don’t is perhaps the way we let our hair down. Yesterday, being in Byculla, we decided to go over to Crossroads (Haji Ali) and eventually ended up spending a good three hours there.
Continue Reading »

How Journos use blogs

Wall Street Journal tech reporter Nick Wingfield tells Bulldog Reporter how journalists use blogs in their jobs.
Interesting and well-researched article that I think, is quite apt.

Read full story here.
So, now you know!

Maybe not, and it's probably just my perverted mind at work. But is this picture something it should not be?
This was what I received as a mailer. It was from Toon Disney announcing their Hindi service starting Sept 1. Whatever.
To me, it looks like Minnie is trying to suck the face off Mickey. Making quite a mickey out of him, eh?
This has been an unproductive day!!

Competition is supposed to bring out the from you. But apparently, newspapers seem to be above all this.
Today's (Aug 19) edition of DNA has a story on page 5 about the recovery of Ngakuimi, the survivor from the August 13 Gateway of India murder.
Titled "Fernandes, Manipur Minister visit Ngakuimi", the story goes on to talk about why Fernandes visited the hospital: "To show my solidarity with the people of Manipur" (he is the NDA's in-charge for Manipur); what her friends and relatives have to say: "Don't discharge her so soon" and how the hospital will bear all the cost of her treatment. Not bad, eh?

The kicker is in the box with the story that is titled "In High Places". It elaborates on other high profile people at Bombay hospital.

Here's the box:
Governor SM Krishna visited Kannada actor Rajkumar
Former CM and Andhra Pradesh Governor Sushilkumar Shinde had a private consultation with Dr BK Goyal
Actress Shilpa Shetty underwent a personal check-up

Wow. That's reportage. Guys, you missed out on who scratched their bums and when… And all this after slamming the TOI and their standards and blaming them of turning the whole paper into a page 3 tabloid.

Hypocrisy. It's in their DNA.

Here's a report from on how the media royally goofed up on reporting about the murder.
This is a Mid-Day report on the mental state of the attacker.

Pic: Raleng recuperating in the hospital. Courtesy & (c) Mumbai Mirror

A three-way train crash in Pakistan last night killed over 300 people. TOI has a pic on the front page with a report on page 25 as does Mumbai Mirror but without any mention on P1. It first features on page 18.
I guess the country (Pakistan, that is) is not as glamorous as the UK and Pakistan could afford to lose 300+. But London's 37 are more important. London, btw, continues to be in newspapers all over.
Can't figure this one out. IE reported it on their site at about 00:56 am. So I guess there was time for others to include it better. At least on their sites, if not in print.

In case any of you did not know of this, here's some links:

Indian sites/papers
Triple train crash in Pak (Mumbai Mirror)
150 killed in Pakistan train collision (Hindustan
Three Pak trains crash, 128 dead (The Indian Express),, do not feature this on the homepage. HT also had this about a screen-and-a-half down.

Scores killed in Pakistan train crash (Al-Jazeera)
Pakistan collision deadly (Globe and Mail)
Three-way train crash kills score in Pakistan (ABC News Online)
Misinterpreted signal causes crash (Guardian unlimited)

Slightly older
Pakistani train crash toll rises to 128 (NineMSN)
104 dead in Pakistan trains disaster (Sydney Morning Herald;
Pakistan train crash kills more than 100 (
Pakistan train carnage kills 128 (China Daily)

Photos of the crash are on the BBC site.
Pic from and AFP

Joseph Duncan is a kidnapper, paedophile and murderer. He is currently in jail. But, as has been the case with many other things, the Internet could well be the place where his crimes may be proven. With armchair Internet detectives getting into action and more and more pieces of his life after 18 years in jail being pieced together, who knows where that could lead.
For some background, Duncan was convicted at 16 for raping a 14-year-old at gunpoint. Since he got oout of jail, he had taken to computer programming and other activities but then, the beast in him returned, as it were.
Duncan, 42, was arrested early last Saturday after turning up in a 24-hour diner with 8-year-old Shasta Groene just a few miles from where the bodies of Shasta's mother, her mother's boyfriend and an older brother were found bound and bludgeoned at their home near Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.
But, that's not all. Duncan maintained a weblog of all his activities and this become a forum for abusing him and his activities since his arrest.
The chilling account is easily found at Blogging The Fifth Nail and this is another more detailed story.

Radio Ga-Ga

I have become a regular listener of the Radio since my car came along (and since my return to Mumbai where the choice is wider). But I feel unsatisfied. The listening experience much to be desired.
There are various aspects to this. Audio quality, which can be described as fuzzy at best, is one. And no, this is not a result of my music player. The quality varies as you change locations and depending on whether your antenna is out or not.
Next are the RJs (Radio Jockeys). There are a few good ones like Jaggu and Tarana (Good Morning Mumbai, Go 92.5FM), Roshan Abbas (Radio City 91.0FM) but not many other. Malini (Horn OK, Please; Go 92.5FM) is all right but makes far too many mistakes to take her seriously. Red FM 93.5 is also worth a listen if purely Hindi stuff (and mostly old) is what you prefer.
The problem with some (actually most, but I'll be polite!) of the other RJs is that they are too full of themselves. Most insist on laughing at their own jokes and have given themselves ridiculous nicknames like "Natkhat Neeta" or "Chulbuli Chhaya" (Chaya and Neeta are both from 93.9FM, Radio Mirchi, Pune). The trend is the same in Mumbai as well.
Another problem with Radio is the over abundance of countdown shows. I mean how many number one songs can a city have? Apparently, five!
Lack of research on what they talk about and sounding obnoxious are the least of all problems. I think the guy's name is Abbas (Go 92.5FM) and he is so irritating, that i HAVE to switch channels the moment he's on (even in ads).
Coming to ads, the less said the better. There have been some good 'uns but mostly, they're crap. My favourite, though, are the mutual fund and insurance ones where they say "Insurance is the subject matter of solicitation. Please read offer document carefully before investing" in about 0.6 seconds. It's incomprehensible yet funny! Another all-time worst ad is the "One hour champi"! Yes, champi! Parachute coconut hair oil is the culprit. Believe it, I took about 2 months to figure out that the voice said "…doosri ko runner-up bhi nahi diya". Anyways, that's what I think they are saying. Still not sure!
The good of Radio are the traffic updates. I have saved myself from traffic jams on at least two occasions till date when I heard an update and changed my route.
Radio is a vibrant medium and a lot of fun with the right RJs. But currently, we are stuck with the not-so-great ones and it's not such fun. What's worse is the repetition of songs.
Kajra Re (Bunty and Babli), I'm so lonely (Akon), Kaal Dhamaal (Kaal), B-n-B (Bunty and Babli) are just some of the songs I hear on my to office and on my way back home. They grow on you after a while, but soon thereafter, you grow out of them.
Why is this the case? Why are the playlists so limited? Are the songs so costly? But then again, isn't that what's gonna catch the listener? Hope someone responsible hears us!

What a pity

Quite a violent week, this. First Ayodhya and then London. But it seems London has gained prominence over the blasts in Ayodhya. And why not? Blasts and terror attacks are a way of life for us here in India. We have learned to live with them. Shame on us, but who cares?
London had just won the bid to host the Olympics in 2012 and within 24 hours, these blasts happen. Yes, the damage and the impact of the blasts has been greater there but how many of us have taken time to at least condemn the attacks in Ayodhya? Motives for both blasts might be different, but the end result is the same: Terror, damage and loss. One life or 1,000… the impact remains.
I am all for writing about the blasts in London and how it has affected our "pals" there but what about our brothers in Army fatigues in Ayodhya and Kashmir over the last 15 years or more? Ever stop to think about them?
Or is it just fashionable to write about the blasts in a foreign land? July 7, 2005 would probably be a date etched in memory much like 9/11 but how many of us remember 12/26 or 4/13?
Let's be a little more objective and fair, I say. Let's not make it a way of life for ourselves. Let's not be so hardened that nothing of any magnitude affects us anymore. Let's introspect first.
Thankfully the Ayodhya blasts didn't kill any civilians (not sure about the injured lady) but it could have been worse and the effects of a larger casualty rate could have been felt across the country… as they were in parts with the VHP bandh.
Let's not fall into the trap of being the 'Indians who only ape the west'. Annie, I think that answers why not many Indians have gone to jail in the recent past for just doing their job.
Hate me if you like after this… you could also block me out, but the fact is, C**S**F has been very unfair in its opinions about the two terror attacks this week.
Hope we can bear to read that.

Is this true?

Mumbai Mirror to shut shop? More top-level resignations at ToI? What's up?
Read more on C**S**F.

Yes there is a media war on in Mumbai. The grand old lady of Boribunder is under threat and this is as exciting a time as any if you are a journo or in any way connected to the print media.
As one would expect, therefore, there is a major war being waged for eyeball space in the city and the number of hoardings related to newspaper ads are beating the shampoos and the soaps and the cars hollow!
One particular campaign that has caught the fancy of the city (and the media world) is the 'Speak Up' campaign by Zee-Dainik Bhaskar's soon-to-be-launched daily, DNA. Yes, they were ambushed and not just once, but twice (by BCCL and the Indian Express Group) but my point is the hypocritical and the blasphemous nature of their ads.

Here are some of the ads and tag lines:
a) "Maybe women should wear armour to protect themselves" (Sarcastic or are you serious?)
b) "Maybe I could educate the education system" (What have you been doing so far?)
c) "There should be a rate card for bribes" (And maybe a bulk discount?)
d) "Why should I care who's wearing what at Cannes?" (Stop ogling at the TV, then!)
e) "Mr Chidambaram, I am sorry I am succesful" (So am I, but pay your taxes, anyway)
f) "I work in Mumbai but my taxes work for Delhi" (Get out!)
g) "I am a Mumbaikar from Meghalaya, any problems?" (Yes. read on to find out!)
h) "What's the BMC digging for? Gold? Oil? Fun?" (That's 'coz your taxes work for Delhi)
i) "Sourav should play at No. 12" (Okay by me… but is it that important?)
j) "Duh" (You said it?)
k) "Borders have no meaning" (Yash Chopra… and we don't need celebs to endorse, because…)
l) "Mumbai should come out of New York's shadow" (Dolly Thakore of the 'Page 3 sucks' fame)

Attractive as these may have been, I have some fundamental questions:
1. They are questioning everything in the system. So what exactly do they stand for?
2. Are they encouraging the kind of immigration that the guys in ads (f) and (g) say? Why?
3. Are they justifying the immigration and lack of committment or interest in the city's welfare from immigrants?
4. Who are they to say this?
5. Why are they roping in celebs if that's the very thing they say they don't want?
6. What of the people that have joined to work for them? These are mainly from TOI and if changing all they say they want to, aren't they being hypocritical? Aren't these the guys that made these 'ideas' click?
7.So, now why do they think these 'ideas' they introduced are wrong?

I have specific grudges against two ads: (f) and (g).
You are a Mumbaikar from Meghalaya and I have no problem with it so long as you are ready to live here as a Mumbaikar and not as an immigrant who cares two hoots about the city. This city has been ravaged enough and we don't need more people to do that. Mumbai has been prostitutionalised to the extent that anyone who wants to make money comes here, does that and goes away. What did the city get? Nada.
And sir, if you are proud of the fact that you work in Mumbai but your taxes work for Delhi, I take strong objection to that. Why should I, as a taxpayer, pay for your roads and water when you are paying for someone elses? You are yourself at a loss, but my loss is bigger. I will be here forever… you will not.
Are these the thoughts the paper is propogating? Is this 'Mumbai's own newspaper'? I think not.
Given this campaign, I would also like to risk speculating the nature of the paper… If Zee News is anything to go by, and given this campaign, the editorial policies could well be along the same lines—of investigative journalism and sensalitionism.
Yes, TOI is is fence-sitter but do we need undercover journalists? Maybe in some cases… if your policy is to be against everything, how can I survive being with you? I have to live in this system whether you like it or not.
Hindustan Times is on another tangent altogether and are as yet not disclosing any edit policies… TOI is busy telling the world thier paper is full colour now (which it is not) and MId-Day is too tied up promoting some damn quiz. Does IE still have a Mumbai edition? I wonder.
Blasphemy from the media houses. Insipid advertising that is also irresponsible and entirely hypocritical, if you ask me.
God save us—the reader.

Also published here on C***S***F.

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Diana Hayden-Anchor? No Way.She might have been a beauty queen but she ain't no TV host(ess). For one her accent is incomprehensible. Where did she get it? Chembur? Moreover, isn't she from Hyderabad? So why the accent?

Anyway, the TOI is so deeply rooted in her psyche (!)—thanks to Ms India—that she can't control herself! Sample this:
Wednesday (I think), Biography featuring the Nehru-Gandhi family:
"Sonia Gandhi wore a pink saree for her wedding…." do you wanna hear the rest? Never mind. Thank god she didn't dig out the shoe and jewellery designer. Aren't there any better people who might do a better job of this. I think this is a documentary show and there is NO NEED to glamourise it thus.
Ok, so don't keep it drab like someone died but this is downright flaky. Moreover, she has no connection with the actual show and her bits are at best cut-and-pasted into the show. Why, oh why, have they ruined a perfectly good show?
I'm even ready to start a petition on this, but PLEASE TAKE HER OFF AIR.

Action time

This post would probably appeal to no one. But I had to put it down because these are thoughts I might turn back on and do just what I am saying I deplore…

There's plenty of action going on in Mumbai in the media industry. It's not across India, but only in Mumbai where three new newspapers are to be launched in the coming 4 months. Big deal? Yes. The last time something half as big happened was about 12 years ago and the next time could well be another 12 years ago.
The direct result of this is that anyone I know in any publication (marketing or editorial) is in the process of moving to another (not necessarily the new) publication or has already moved. Every evening when I get back home, I hear of another aquaintance having switched loyalties. Yes it's an opportunity but will such mass exodus (esp from the TOI) help any of these guys? Shouldn't you be a little more selective and sceptical? What makes you think you have nowhere to go in your existing job? (To be honest, I thought that in my previous job).
Looking at it pragmatically, if your bosses and top management is moving out (and they are moving faster than you can say where they are going!), there is going to be a vacuum.
Unless you are a fresher, there is a huge opportunity if you stick around.
First there's the brownie points for having stuck around and then, thanks to that, there's the chance to move up. Seriously. How else will the top positions be filled up? The media industry is not like any other where the bottom line is just sales. There is a certain amount of experience and background required if you want to be at the top (or the mid- to top-level).

I realise this post sounds pointless, but I just had to get this off my chest. As of this moment, I am not moving to any of the 'greener' pastures. I like this pasture better…