Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Green Apples make me happy

Yeah, so I'm going to Canada representing my college as a debater in the World Univ. Debating Championships. My term is not going disastrously. My posts and emails from now on will have flawless spelling because Firefox 2 is sweet enough to have inbuilt spell check. I have, after procrastinating for ages decided upon my first major on the basis of one class in Financial Options Trading with my megalomaniac Finance Professor. I even got over a long bugbear, and have been particularly thankful for the same. However, none of this makes me quite as happy as biting into a nice sour Granny Smith. Green Ones. From Cold Storage.

I had an interesting conversation with Joey today. Well, I found it interesting, I'm sure it bored the hell out of him. It was late, and he entered the college 7-11 which by the way should damn well be open 24-7 but was shut at 10:30. The shutters weren't down yet, and the teller was still there and one was generally lambasting the fact that you couldn't make a last minute sale. I mean, it seems so stupid. We're ready to GIVE you money and buy things, more sales for you if you just spend 1 minute more, but you don't and pack off. Why? Well, things are a lil' bit different for these franchisee outlets, and the people who own the franchises aren't necessarily the people behind the counter. This means that they're getting a fixed salary, and have no incentive to stay for that extra sale. Contrast this with Mama-Papa or Kinara convenience stores in Singapore and India, and you'll find them open at odd hours and ready and willing to make the sale, cos they've got a stake. Take not, Messrs Reliance ADAG with the launch of India's most ambitious retail network, the Reliance Stores. Innocuously, the first Reliance Fresh outlet opened in Hyderabad a few days back. The interesting part about Reliance is, although they may not be the best in the segments they enter, their scope and breadth of capital that they pump into any new venture forces the best to come out and be competitive. Take for example, Indian Mobile industry, which only became the incredibly large force that it is today post Reliance Infocomm. I mean, if anyone has used Reliance Infocomm, you'll know that its a crap service, but its price points made the rest sit up and pay attention. I'm interested in seeing how Reliance will work in its "I wanna be Wal-Mart" incarnation. I'm interested in seeing if they're going to run my Kinara store out of business one day, because its something that happened very quickly in the United States and Singapore, but has faced amazing opposition in Hong Kong and China. I'm interested even more in seeing how much in 5 years time Reliance is going to do to solve a lot of rural problems, that of guaranteed crop prices at market rates, that of crop insurance and contract farming for the same. I'm interested in seeing how Reliance sells things to a rural market, because you're only really rich if you can buy things, and making farmers rich is quite pointless unless you also give them things to buy, so that they can make other people rich too. I'm interested, because once again there's a solution in my country to a problem the government is incapable of solving, making people rich.
But most of all, I'm interested because in Singapore, there are no apples. They get them from somewhere else. And they're fresh, and given the cost of living here, very affordable. And they taste great, and the quality is good and standardized. I buy them quite conveniently from Cold Storage. I'm interested because Delhi also has no apples. We get them from somewhere else, and sadly they're not fresh and frequently don't taste very good. I want to go back and buy them one day from Reliance Fresh, or their best competitor. I want quality stuff to reach me at a good price. I want my juicy sour Granny Smith's, goddammit.
Because Green Apples make me happy.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Its Complicated

Eid Mubarak, Shubh Diwali and Happy New Year, as may be your persuasion.
I live in a strange world. It's getting tougher and tougher to keep things simple, and I'm pretty fond of keeping things simple. But lest I start rambling on about nothing at all, let me make some sense of things.
Gender roles are getting increasingly muddled these days. Feminism has redefined the landscape for women, and as a strong proponent of human rights (I am a libertarian after all), this is a wonderful thing. Sadly, it didn't come with a refresher course for guys on how to deal with it. Now, I'm lucky. I've grown up in an environment of equality, at my house and school. It doesn't surprise or shock me, as it does many members of my gender. Pelt me if you like, but you've got to feel for a lot of guys out there who're just clueless about how to deal with this brave new world. I don't think they can. So they join orkut and ask for "fraandship".
Hell, its not even easy for me, or my demographic. There are very hazy and undefined lines between being chivalrous and being condescending; between smothering and caring; between joking around and being unacceptable. Sadly, there's only one real way to find these lines. Fortunately, I'm used to the school of hard knocks.
I live in a complicated political world. It used to be quite simple, things used to make people happy or sad. Somewhere along the line, things changed. In school, I loved to be oblivious to all the power plays and politics because...it just didn't suit me. Then one day, it hit me and I felt very dissapointed with the world. This year, in college I'm having to learn all over again. That there exists a tough but very important job of balancing egos, responsibilities, the present, the future and your own godforsaken ambitions.
I used to do this juggling act by writing out about things that I liked, things that were important, things I hated. You need an outlet to get you through your head, after all. Especially if your brain like mine is always set on hyperactive overdrive. I guess that's why many bloggers have mild neurotic disorders. At least their writing points to the same.
Somewhere along the line, I stopped writing. But this is my outlet, my way out. Lest I forget that, let me start writing again.