Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Book Review: One Night @ The Call Center

This is a book that starts off with a great promise, even the few lines summary in the back cover page interests you. But it fails to deliver completely.

It is a story about the lives of few individuals working in a Call Center. This story is apparently told to the writer by a girl whom he meets in the train. It starts off fairly well, but loses track very soon, and goes on and on about their relationships with one another. It is almost as if, the writer wanted to write some sort of a relationship book. More than 50% of the book deals with that - something u were not expecting from a book with this title !!
The last few chapters of the book are unbelievably bad. Almost as if the writer was in tremendous hurry to finish it. After reading this, there is no interest left to read an earlier book by this same author: Five Point Someone.


  • The book is correctly priced only at Rs 95.
  • Not a very big book, easy to read (large fonts).
  • Storyline, not very good. Too much focus on discussing relationships of all sorts. You start wondering - whats going on !
  • The end is bad, and not well-thought out. Rushed finish.

Can anyone write anything and be called an author? By these standards some of the bloggers i know are Shakespear in the making :)

Not a new book.. this one - so you will find more reviews of the book elsewhere, and not all of them agreeing with this review!! Whats your take?

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Google was not founded in India

Why not?

So - why has India consistently failed to come up with a notable innovation or idea in the field of Software - a field in which india is supposed to be pretty good.

Well - India may have failed - Indians have not. THAT is a difference thats important to understand. Indians seem to perform quite well in foreign climates, and seem to be ordinay when it comes to innovations and idea's in India.

This in my opinion is a direct result of 'Climate'. There is no dearth of ideas even within India, but when it comes to spinning these ideas into successful commercial products or companies, there is miserable failure. The climate referred here is the entire system - required to support and grow a innovative company or for that any company! The problems that indian entrepreneurs face have been documented well by many people, and referred to in the past on this blog too.. so will leave out that.

But - lets see what caused a hypothetical Google's early demise when it was being founded in India :
  • The company registration clerk got smart - and kept delaying registration.
  • The ordinary office space had no reliable supply of electricity, unless they moved to a posh location.
  • Working out of garage or such low cost means was not permitted because of govt. regulations.
  • When the search engine gained some popularity - someone used it to search porn. A lawyer sitting in small town filed a series of PILs against the company accusing it of providing a platform for searching porn. The CEO was summoned by the legal system.
  • Inspite of explaining that google (remember bazee?) was just a search engine and people could use it for any purpose. Just as govt. cannot be held accountable for someone using the road to break traffic laws - just because it happened to build that road, google cannot be held accountable for someone using it for searching porn.
  • But the difference was lost in special legal clauses, and CEO was to directed attend hearings for next few years regularly without fail. (If i am not mistaken the fine for filing a frivolous PIL is something in tune of a few thousand Rupees. Oh well...)

    Google was shut down, and 100 other companies with crazy ideas, shut shop immediately. Most moved abroad.

Would Lakshmi Mittal be the same man today - if he had chosen to do his entrepreneurial stuff in India? Almost all his successful ventures when he was growing really fast - are stories from abroad. Perhaps things are changing.. but is this pace of change good enough?

p.s: Anyone seen Guru?

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Strange Noises from I & B Ministry

Unbelievable ... is the word that came to mind when two of the following news reports came out - each courtesy our very esteemed I & B Ministry:

  • AXN Channel has been axed (taken off air) by I&B Ministry because it showed a program titled 'Worlds Sexiest Ads'.
  • Nimbus has been asked to share its Live Cricket Match feed with Prasar Bharti (DD) by I&B Ministry in the name of patriotism!

Now what is going on here?

Well, the program in question shown by AXN was indeed shown after 11PM. And I&B ministry completely forgot that it itself is in the process of making a law that will allow such programs to be shown after 11 PM. Is it for I&B Ministry to decide what people will watch and what they won't? Or is there a deeper malaise of arrogance, publicity or something even worse in play here?

And whats so patriotic about watching a Cricket Match? Its just a game. Why was I&B Ministry sleeping all along, when BCCI was selling rights to the telecast to Nimbus. And Nimbus paid upwards of 600 million dollars to get the rights, which Doordarshan wants just like that?

Mr Priya Ranjan Das Munshi (I&B Minister) - you threatened on television to resign if you don't have your way (ofcourse wrapped in the garb of patriotism) by getting the feed for free. You would do a great service to this nation by actually resigning, or honouring contractual agreements.

If Ministers think nothing of Contractual Agreements, Commercial Rights - who will? Nobody will be surprised if the I&B Minister will work towards changing the rules of the game midway (by bringing in a ordinace or a new law) to suit him.

And when Nimbus offered a encrypted feed - so that adjoining nations do not get the feed for free too, you thundered on televsion: encrypted feed will black out my television and network! Strange, really strange. An I&B Minister has not been advised well about what a encrypted feed is ???

Dear Mr Priyaranjan, you have headed and ruined Indian Footbal Association for many many years now. Do you feel unpatriotic about it? Or that is ok. You never talked about showing us Asian Games events live from Doha with the same gutso, and what about the Premier Hockey League matches? Nobody seems to care about that.

Its such a shame that a Ministry and a Minister - misleads people into believing that watching cricket match is something about Patriotism, and Contractual Agreements can go to hell.

Monday, January 22, 2007

After PAN, its MIN now.

So, our esteemed and very intelligent bureaucrats under the able leadership of a celebrated Finance Minister has come up with a Gem. Those having Mutual Funds must apply for a yet another Identification Number called : Mutual Fund Itentification Number (MIN).

Now the question is: Why wasn't PAN good enough as identification? How many more such identification numbers are the sleepy Babu's going to come up with - just because one govt. department cannot integrate well with another one?

So - whenever this question comes up: What after all is merit? The answer is always the same: Merit is ability to come up with simple, practical, useful solutions to problems. The above move smacks of inefficiency, wastage of tax payers money and sheer foolhardiness. We have no respect for bureaucrats who take their citizens for granted - as if by virtue of their positions they can keep coming up with any crap they want. Sorry - pls show us efficiency - not arrogance.

Recently - a Politician was sprouting his wisdom on television such: We are elected representatives of people therefore we are entitled to bring about laws that we deem fit for people. By opposing our legislative actions - you are going against the will of the people. Wow ! Now this is what is called: Mish mashing words to suit the rhetoric and hidden agenda. The man ofcourse did not admit - that legislative is elected to carry out good work - not to turn to legal terrorism and mischief - in the name of greater good.

Monday, January 15, 2007


Will be back in a while...