Sehwag – Stuff dreams are made of

March 28, 2008

It would be the dream of every boy who has played cricket with a tennis ball, to reach a century with a six or at least a four. Ask Sachin Tendulkar’s son.

Sehwag almost did that thrice in a day. Boundaries and sixers flowed from his bat in his 90s, 190s and 290s. He has got out in Australia trying to hit a six in his 190s. But nothing deters him. This guy knows how to dream and moreover is capable of living out his dreams.

The only paradox about Sehwag is that he is a test specialist who has a 20-20 strike rate but cannot perform in the shorter version. Probably because, you need time to dream and plan.

Dirty Sales tricks

March 17, 2008

I have no intention of converting this into a consumerist blog or to launch a tirade against Citibank. But still, here is a second post on Citibank in the last one month.

I received a call from a Citibank (or its DSA) executive. She started off innocuosly saying it was confirmation call from customer service division. Then came the shocker :

“Did you receive a credit card, which we had sent to you?”

I – “No, I haven’t applied for one”.

Citi- ” Sir, this is a lifetime free card, which is sent to all Suvidha account customers. It is not activated and will be activated only if you ask for it”.

I – “How can you send such a card, when I have not asked for it. I have enough credit cards and I dont need one more. Please make sure it is not sent to me.”

Citi – “Sir, but this is a lifetime free card. Why are you saying no?”

I – “I have my own reasons. I dont need a credit card. Please dont send it to me”

Citi – “Ok sir. I will check and let you know”.

I have been in Sales (credit card sales, to be precise) but never could I resort to such cheap tricks, which is probably why I moved out of it at the earliest opportunity. I have seen a few tricks during my days in the bank but this reeks of utter disregard for all RBI regulations, either ways.

First case – banks are not supposed to send any credit card (activated or not) to a customer without an explicit request from the customer. If Citi is doing that, then they are in clear violation of this rule and have to be pulled up severely.

Second case – my guess is that some smart Sales Manager at Citibank must have come up with this brilliant idea to bluff the customer by saying the card has already been sent. Chances are less that there will be snobs like me who will return the card and insist on the card not being sent. Citibank employs some of the brightest management talent in the country and it is sad that such talent is being put to use for third rate dirty sales tricks.

I will put my bet on the second case being closer to truth. It is unlikely that Citibank will violate the RBI regulation so openly. It is easier and less expensive to pull a bluff on the customer.  

Budget aftermath: Farmers versus corporates

March 4, 2008

Why is Chidambaram being accused by the corporate world of bowing down to the pressures of politics in announcing the waiver of loans to farmers? Yes, it is a political move. But how different is it from giving tax holidays to the industry. By not taxing sections of the industry but still investing in infrastructure, does the Government not dole out freebies to the industry also? The industry, which,  continously clamours for less taxes or no taxes, now cannot digest a similar gesture being made to the farmers. This reeks of collective selfishness.

The very foundation of democracy lies in the fact the politicians need to worry about winning elections and therefore bring about policies which will benefit a larger mass of people. This somewhat counterbalances the capitalist tilt towards merciless meritocracy. Capitalism is about survival (and prosperity) of the fittest. A capitalist democracy not only ensures survival of the fittest but also facilitates expanding the base of the fitness pyramid.

Loan waiver is indeed a short term measure but is a small step in the right direction towards a more inclusive growth.

Do Whites hate money when its colour is brown?

March 4, 2008

First came the Indian software and BPO industry. People in the west started getting worried about the work and money that was flowing into India. But more than these industries, the Whites are getting nervous about a challenge from an unexpected quarter – Cricket. Browsing through many articles by English and Australian writers, it is obvious that they are worried that the colour of money is turning brown.  A cursory glance will throw out headings like ‘Silly Money’, ‘I dont need IPL money’, which miserably fail to mask the contempt for the money earned by Indian cricketers.

There was a time when Indian cricketers yearned for county contracts. Now the English board and the Australian board are struggling to keep their players from moving to Indian shores due to the lure of money.

I hate the BCCI for its complete incompetence in managing the sport in the country. But they must be appreciated for unlocking the financial value of the game in India and storming the White bastion like nobody else before. They can even be forgiven for acting no different from Whites, when it comes to misuing the power bestowed upon them by money. Let India make the most of it, as long as it lasts and make it last as long as it can. White capitalists can continue to whine like Indian socialists on why so few are earning so much.

IPL is not the end. And this phenomenon is not going to be restricted to cricket. The colour of money is changing.