Truth in Advertising

I drove past a billboard yesterday that featured a woman trying hard to look proud but really only looking standoffish, or defiant, you know? Like somebody who was about to challenge me to a duel? And next to her was the tag line - "It's harder to get into IIMB than it is to get into Wharton." Or something to that effect, followed by "Bangalore is in my DNA" or some such.

I almost threw up.

And No. Not because I went to Wharton, but because it is a line that is neither true nor false, and it is calculatingly used to misguide people into thinking that IIMB is better than Wharton. And guess what. I've never heard this tag line used by IIMB, It's always by some namby pamby ass to generate a hollow sense of pride in a city and it's institutions, in the hope that the emotion will translate to higher sales of something or the other

Lets look at that statement - IIMB is harder to get into that Wharton.
I've got a few questions.
Q1). For who?
For middle managers with 10 years of management experience and a track record of acadmic excellence sa well as executing in the real world? Sure. For sharp cocky quick wits who have a knack for multiple choice tests, but have never really been tested out in the corporate jungle? Not really. They would get into an IIM much easier than a Wharton.
Q2). Says who?
Comparing acceptance rates (number of applicants admitted divided by number of applicants) is not valid unless the populations that apply are similar. I'm not asking for rigorous proof here, but come on. We all know that the type of people that apply to a Wharton are very different from the type that apply to an IIM. The comparison of resulting acceptance rates is just not valid. It's like saying that a Suzuki Swift is better than a Benz because the wait on a Swift is longer.
Q3). Does it really matter?
All MBA schools are about 30% education, 30% network, and 40% opportunity to find a new job at a higher pay. So what is really important is, how good are the education, the network you build and the brand value of the IIMs, as compared to the US schools.

So the statement is totally meaningless comparison designed to take a statistic and turn it into newspaper sales. This is what all advertising is about though, isn't it? Getting an emotional reaction out of the viewer and hoping that the emotion will drive sales.

There's other examples too. Some coaching classes were saying on the radio that you should join that coaching class because 50% of the students admitted to IIM had enrolled. What kind of shit-for brains thinks that statement makes sense. If it's you, let me just tell you that if a percentage were to make sense, it would be what percentage of XYZ students made it into IIM. If you buy the logic of the original statement, even with the coaching classes, all you're going to do is pad the IIM acceptance rates even more.

But kind of statistical misdirection works. Suckers get taken in by some numbers, and then they feel a surge of misplaced, unnecessary and false nationalism or civic pride. Get desperate for a better city or a better life, and run to the store to buy some product which will give them only more stress and a lighter wallet. Or they go out and hold rallies and burn public property because of that fucking civic pride.

And I think that's just a little bit sad.

I saw another one, this time with a dude, who was asking "If Sepang can host an F1 race, why can't Bangalore?"
To that dude, I would like to say -
"Are you out of your fucking mind?"
"Can we just finish the fucking NICE road first?"
"Are you from IIMB?"

Maybe Bangalore is just not in my* DNA.

*thanks anon - I hate making these errors, but I guess I'm not yet competent enough to find and nuke 'em all

Rickshaw Bandhan

This whole Rakhee holiday isn't really my favorite holiday, and not just because it reminds me alternately of an unnecessarily large woman that was hoisted upon us unsuspecting cinema goers back in the fucking day, or a freewheeling three wheeler propelled by a leering uncooperative toad.
So I am going to steer clear of the damned holiday but not before I mention how I just remember that some valiant Rajput (or Mughal) king was fooled into protecting a Mughal (or Rajput) queen because she sent him an curiously rounded erstwhile Bollywood actress in an envelope. So this Rajput (or Mughal) king rides over to protect the queen from marauding rapists or whoever it was that threatened her honor.
I've always suspected that this story was a lie, 'coz in the days of horseback traveling, neither the enveloped rasagolla looking actress' journey to the king nor his subsequent gallop to save his now sister, would have been completed fast enough to prevent a determined pillager from making away with the sister's dignity. But my teachers brushed away my questions by banging a stiff ruler repeatedly against my knuckles, and ensured that I took away the correct moral from the story, which is,
If a male receives a horse, he must ride Rakhee till his evil sister goes to town with some fiends.
Or maybe it was
If a male receives a Rakhee, he must ride a horse to the town of his sister and rid it of the evil fiends.

It was tough to assimilate knowledge about so many bloody rulers while simultaneously being battered with a fucking ruler.

What I really wanted to get off my chest was the god damned Rickshaw drivers.
What is wrong with these people?

First of all, they never want to go anywhere you have to? What are they waiting for? A fare to fucking Nepal? Listen to me VeerabloodyAppan HallifuckingGowda. You gotta go where you are asked to go, especially if your meter proudly displays the upright "For Hire" sign. It's upright for a reason. Even if you're not.
Second, if they don't want to go where you want to, they can't just say no or drive off. They make this nasty scowl and shake their heads looking down as if to say the place you named is a pestilence ridden crime infested open sewage drain, and not a respectable address. I just want to let a tight one from the back of my hand ricochet off their mangy cheeks when I see them do that. And I would, if I wasn't afraid that all the surrounding rickshaw drivers would take a few minutes off from refusing to ferry passengers and gang up on me.
Thirdly, and I would be more than happy if anybody could explain this to me, these idiots will refuse any fare that is a short distance. Seems to me like short fares, lower than half the minimum fare distance would be something these guys would kill for because they would make more margins in those. But no. I had to lug a fucking 40kilo bag and a mattress over a kilometer because every god damned Rickshaw dude didn't want to make a short fare trip.
Finally every once in a while, I will have a rickshaw guy ask me for "Meter maylay 20" or Meter maylay 10". But I have a a great retort for this. I say "Muh maylay, phir meter maylay" and triumphantly stride away into the sunset leaving confused rickshaw driver scratching his nuts.

I'm just starting to think that half the Rickshaw drivers in this city just don't want to drive. I think they just like sitting in hideous sheet metal furniture with three wheels in ugly brown uniforms and leering at anything that passes and looks somewhat non-male till May 1st or whatever day it is that they hoist giant red and yellow flags and drive around town displaying nationalism.
They're just a horde of pests that have invaded our city and are slowly eating our peace away from the inside out. We need to put a stop to this.

I implore you, if you're female, to dispatch a curiously rounded bollywood starlet to Deve Cowdung, and please have him rid us of these damned rickshaw driving fiends.

Top Ten People Who Should Retire Right Now, But Wont

  1. Deve Cowdung - from looking for election partners to deceive
  2. Leander Piss and his Bhu-patni - from their incessant dick waving
  3. Sachin Tendul-kuch-kar-nahin-raha - from painfully dragging his career
  4. Ms Dhoni - from his inflated social standing
  5. "Saliva" or is that "Thaliva" Rajani Saar - from throwing chewing gum into his eyes and sunglasses into his mouth or vice versa
  6. "Megastar" Konidela Siva Shankara Vara Prasad - from polictics
  7. Amitabh Bunch-o-crap-an - from hawking everything from Chavanprash to Cut-pieces
  8. Salmonella Khan't Dance Sala - from movies
  9. Shah Rukh Khan't Act - from anywhere my eyes land, AND FINALLY
  10. Mr. Narayan "I'm so simple" Murthy - from public life,

Initiate an Initiative

Pop Quiz: What's the name of the guy from Bangalore that won the Lead India campaign and then had his opinions on various topics of the day gratuitously forced upon us via the Times?

I'm not being disingenuous, I've really forgotten his name, and I have no idea what - if anything - he did with the prize money from the sms contest he won. That is probably because the ToI has itself tired of him and has stopped asking him for sound bites.
I expected that from the Tabloid of India.
First they started the DO initiative, which didn't DO anything but put Amitabh on screen at some half finished sea bridge in Bombay talking about how India was rising. (I'm still trying to find out what India is rising FROM, exactly, but that's just me being an ass). I'd like to know from somebody if the bridge is done or - a la airport bridge flyover - it's still waiting for some politician or the other to put his thumbprint on a past due payment or for some overloaded judge to rule on some asinine objections.

Next was the Lead India initiative, which started off same as the doo-doo initiative and then morphed into a TV show that encouraged the sms slaves to send in scores of rupees to the ToI-Telecom company nexus.

And I don't know if you have noticed, but there is now a TEACH INDIA initiative. Where we are all supposed to get together and teach people about something or the other. (I'm not really clear on what it is we have to teach them, exactly. Probably how to send sms-es).

I think I've figured out why the ToI needs all these initiatives for India: Money.

See they were supposed to print the news. That didn't make them enough money, so they started printing pictures of women who paid too much for their clothes and men who paid too much for their women, drinking it up at various parties throughout the week. That got the ToI some eyeballs for some time, but there were only so many people attending these DO's - which is why if you notice - THEY'RE ALWAYS THE SAME PEOPLE ON PAGE THREE.
So they decided they have to DO something and hence was born "DO India - A ToI initiative" (to make money). Of course the didn't print the parenthetical part of the title.
Eyeballs must have poured in, and there may have been some impact on circulation, so they decided to take it to the next level and came up with "Lead India - A ToI initiative" (to make even more money). Same as the Do India thing really, but with SMS-es. More eyeballs. More money.
What next? "Teach India - A ToI initiative" (to see how many times we can do this shit to make money).
I wont be surprised if there is an SMS contest to elect the best teacher from amongst the unsuspecting innocent well-intentioned hordes that will surely join in on this Initiative

Meanwhile I'm going to come up with my own initiative. "Screw ToI Initiatives - A Screw ToI Initiatives Initiative". It's simple. All you have to do is switch to a newspaper instead of the ToI (which is not a newspaper, when you get right down to it), and then - of course - SMS me at 56789 with "The Screw ToI Initiatives Initiative" .

Now to figure out how to get the telecom companies to share some of that moolah...

Being Cynical

One of the eight people that return to this blog on a regular basis is - bless her soul - my mother.
My mother is a saintly soul who shuns strong language, scathing sarcasm and bitter cynicism in totality. If you've read my posts, you will see, as I do, that all the cussing, sarcasm and cynicism that used to be part of my mother rolled up into a ball, festered in that uterus for 9 months and then popped ready to spew unnecessarily strong venom at the world.
My mom still reads through my bile once every week or so.

Yesterday, she called me.

Mom: Hi Son
Me: Hey ma.
Mom: You know, I was reading your blog, and I think you're really a good writer
(of course my mom thinks so. She thinks I was cute when I was born, when in actuality I looked like a sun dried tomato)
Me: Good to hear ma.
Mom: But why do you have to be so bitter?
Me: bitter?
Mom: You seem like you're complaining about the most minor annoyances. It's not necessary.
Me: Yeah it is
Mom: Why?
Me: See this woman and her son were walking down a beach when a giant wave came down and washed her son away. Immediately, she gets on her knees, folds her hands in prayer and says" If you return my son to me, I will visit the temple everyday and donate a coconut". Another giant wave comes down and the son is back, in perfect health. She looks up at the sky and says... "You know, he was wearing a hat when you first took him."
Mom: Hahahah
Me: See. She was complaining about the hat, and it was funny.
Mom: You don't HAVE to be bitter to be funny.
Me: Ma, I HAVE to. I'm not good enough to be otherwise.
Mom: Yes you are.

Only she believes that.
This is one of the reasons I can't stop loving her.

That and her cooking.

Debased Databases

How many databases does YOUR organization have?
I know that databases are supposed to be repositories of important information, but they've morphed into huge piles of fetid trash.
Most databases are vile collections of (mostly) useless information arranged within carefully constructed "schema". It's called "schema" because the villains known as database administrators are "scheming" to prevent you from getting to any relevant information that may have made it past their defenses.
(Of course these database admins are only the second line of defense. The first line is the IT department which will ensure that you don't have the software, the computing power, or the login information necessary to access the database, without first signing away your life and securing approval from your VP's mother's dogs left testicle, but more of that in another post, later)
The most irritating of all databases are those will their own "work flows". Of course, they're there not to make work flow, but rather to impede the already glacial pace of work. They're called "work flows" because the database administrators want to demonstrate that they have a good grasp over the concept of "irony". Maybe you are not familiar with the concept of "work flows" because your backward company does not have a database. Fear not, o deprived one, I will enlighten you. A work flow is a series of steps that relevant information must stop at, be nitpicked over, changed unnecessarily and sometimes clubbed with a mallet and roasted over an open flame, till it is saddled with enough unnecessary accouterments to hide it's actual purpose, and is delayed long enough to not be timely anymore. Maybe you're thinking that "work flows" are unnecessary, but that's only because you are a lowlife cretin who does not understand that if work flows did not exist, you would never be able to ensure that any information is shrouded in templates, hampered by standards and is approved by people more in touch with the devil than you.

Don't get me wrong. I see the value of databases. It's not those mute tables that drive me up a wall, but the idiots that build them, encase them in rules and render them useless. Every moron who reads up on SQL code on the net wants to develop his own database because corporate databases wont cut the ice for his own specific microscopically unique needs, and so he runs off, downloads MySQL or Access and creates his own specific database and front end. Soon every company ends up with a gazillion little database, each of which contain one facet of information about their products or processes or people and none of which can share that information with the other. So just in case you are actually looking for information that will help you solve a problem, you have to first figure out whether or not that information exists, then figure out which database in exists in, and finally lay prostrate before the owner begging him to understand that your need is indeed a genuine one, before you can actually get your hands on the information.

Beset by similar woes last week, I devised a deliciously brilliant solution.
I'm going to start a database of databases. Every database owner must register in my database - without which his database will be wiped off the company servers. There's just one snag. I must lay prostrate before the gods in the IT department and convince them that my need is indeed genuine.

And our IT VP's mother dog is a bitch.