Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Oh dear, this is one messed up world!

We all live in a governed world. There are no exceptions. Even the most uncivilized tribes in the world have rules and customs, and a patriarch or matriarch to follow. Modern man, obviously, is even more encumbered. By standards, expectations, administrations, customs, conventions, dictates, traditions, and all the other nouns that stand for the very antonym of a free society. In other words, simply stated, Man today is not free. He lives in a world filled with rules, regulations, norms; self-imposed at times but to most part imposed by others in the name of governance. Of course, the logic is “Government is necessary to the existence of civilized society.” And that exactly, my dear, that exactly is my peeve. What’s wrong with primitiveness? What’s harmful in being uncivilized? Why are these two immediately tagged as harmful and dangerous? Can’t an uncivilized world manage to live on its own? This world must be messed up in the head to think otherwise.

Let’s park that line of thought for a moment and move to another flea that is biting my head. I was in this conference the other day when someone asked me what I do. Instead of sticking to plain old truth, I decided to test future waters and slickly replied, “I am an independent consultant.” What do you think was the reaction? Mad cow disease. Yes, I am not exaggerating! The person who asked me that question suddenly seemed to have contracted an illness that has so far only been associated with a mad being, or perhaps someone who mistakenly inhaled nitrous oxide. He laughed like an idiot. And so did the others who were surrounding us, listening in shamelessly on what was supposed to be a private conversation. “You mean you are unemployed? Ha, ha, ha, am I clever or am I clever? Ha, ha, ha, that is what people who got laid off recently call themselves! So tell me what you actually do?” was the reply after entertaining me with three long minutes of non-stop mouth noises. Now you know why I called him an idiot. He simply could not comprehend the fact that someone could actually work for themselves, that some people do no mind being outside the walls of a corporate organization, that some people can be self-employed.

That got me thinking. One thing led to another, and soon I was ranting inside my own mind, not too dissimilar to that idiot (that illness must have been contagious or something). Do I like the rules you need to follow inside a corporate structure? Do I like the donkey (ahem!) licking patrons of bosses and super bosses? Do I like the false cheerfulness and dishonest opinions? Do I like the self-propagation by getting subordinates to do your work? Do I like living someone else’s dream? No sir, no. If there was a quiz on what is your second primary motivation to become an entrepreneur, I would definitely select option D. The option D being “being your own boss”. Being self-employed. Being Self-governed. Ya, sad quiz that will be giving three choices under one option but hey I am the kind to create such quizzes.

So, when one gets disenchanted with the magic world of being employed by somebody else, much less being employed in a huge conglomerate where the dream of the founder himself is no more, one can easily disengage. Despite the mass prevalence of idiots infected with mad cow disease, there is still hope for self-employment, still hope for entrepreneurs. All that I would need to do is convince the ruling lords that I don’t need them anymore for my survival and march out of the campus. As easy as that. Of course, you shouldn’t forget to return the dog tag, considered most sacred, also called employee identity card.

If only it was as easy to walk out of the modern civilized society. (Lost? Scroll up to the first paragraph. Sigh! short memory span is not so good…)

So if I want to be self-governed, don’t care for an elected representative, don’t care for a chief of tribe, don’t care for the head of the family, and don’t even care for a dominant mate, where the heck can I go in this world? Is there a place like that in this Earth where I can just be? I don’t need your protection, I don’t need your violence, and I don’t need you civilization, period.

I am so devastated to realize that there is absolutely, absolutely, not a single place on this Earth where I can be a self-governed being living in a place filled only with self-governed beings.

This world is indeed messed up big time.

And they are talking about privatizing the jungles. I wish my karmic cycle of birth and rebirth ends before civilization becomes even more civilized.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Lightning speed update

Sorry, I have been away longer than I intended. It’s just that some things have been keeping me away from mainstream life and it seems like am just floating around in this huge soap bubble reflecting multi-colored lights all around. Before I drown in any more words, a lightning quick summary of what I wanted to say.

The roundup of the Lightning Pitches session that I helped organize this July Startup Saturday is up over here. Read and let me know how you like it.

Meanwhile, I found Rang De, and I must say I just love the idea/concept. Will soon become a social investor myself.

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

High Fashion Therapy in Chennai

Whenever I go to the good old city, a visit to its fashion hub is the most important item on my agenda. The good old city that I mention here is the very traditional, very snobbish, very cultured, very mammi-ish, very dear, very beautiful Chennai. And the fashion hub is none other than the affordable (now that's an oxymoron, affordable high fashion!) line up of vendors at Pondy Bazaar in the center of the city, T Nagar. Especially hub for the latest and greatest in accessories, the kinds that you deck up your plain little (or big) ears with, and decorate your swan-like neck (or double chins) with, and embellish your sleek (or Schwarzenegger-ish) arms with, and for many more such innovative furnishings for your body.

I contracted the love for accessories from my sister, once known as a high fashionista throughout her college. The ailment once it catches you never leaves you, forever spoiling you for other lower afflictions such as the usual ones for gold and real diamonds. After all, how can dull bombs compete with the bright and artificial, not to mention affordable, stones of Pondy Bazaar? So thus began the long courtship, all its keepsakes treasured carefully in velvet boxes, Tupperwares, and laundry bags. Every six months, I take them out, sort them into neat little bundles, tag them appropriately, and put them back in the folders they belong, messed up as they are by busy hands on busier mornings. The process is very therapeutic, giving almost the exact same pleasure one gets while visiting the high street.

On my last visit to this sacred center, I decided to pay a little more attention to details and not just get drunk into a religious stupor of earrings, earrings, and more earrings. I wanted to see if I could use all that I was forced to learn during my MBA. For instance, in this street where every second vendor sells the same stuff, how do they differentiate themselves? Does it matter who you buy from? Is there any difference in quality at all from one seller to another? Do these guys love their job selling earrings, necklaces, bindis, tattoos, and clips? What kind of profits do they take home? Does their girlfriends, wives, and moms buy from them or go to their competitors elsewhere? Do they allow pretty maidens to have their way and shoplift a few items, with a good long view at their bosoms payment enough? I wanted to talk to a few vendors and find these out and more.

But all I managed to do was take some photos. I couldn't overcome my compelling and addictive habits. But it was very therapeutic though. Very.
Here are some of those photos, to give you a sneak view to High Fashion in Chennai.