Saturday, August 1, 2009

Random Thoughts:

Saturday, August 1, 2009: Is MJ really dead?

I woke up in the morning and switched on the radio and what do I hear, Micheal Jackson’s song, Billie Jean. MJ died in June end and ever since then each day his songs are played at least 10 times on the radio channels. All RJs and hosts describe him as the greatest music icon ever etc etc. I wish to ask these RJs if he really was great why his songs were not played to this extent earlier on when he was alive. I wonder if for listeners he has really died. His songs will keep playing on and on. He will be alive for us forever. So for whom has he really died? For the marketers; for the event managers; for his close family and friends who knew him as MJ, the person.

I have enjoyed MJ music and have grown up with it. My first music cassette was a MJ thriller and I was very sad at the tragic end he met. However this overdose of his songs and his appreciation is getting a bit too much to handle.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009: 3 hours of Rain bring the city to standstill.

As I came out in the balcony with my cup of tea and took a look at the morning paper, the headline said “69mm of rain brings the city to standstill”. The news all over told about people’s horror stories of the night gone by. I sat down and wondered I was so happy on Monday evening when it rained and so were many others. So many people had been cribbing about the heat and humidity and rain had brought cheer to all of us. However I realized that all those who were stuck in hour long jams, a night before would rather handle the heat than the rains. Neglect of the administration deprived these people from enjoying the beautiful rainy season. At least these people will not wish that it rains again. The capital city of a “to be powerful nation”, can’t sustain 3 hours of rain. So many people have written about it. The news channels and their anchors have on air gone and bashed all officials; people are talking about the preparedness for common wealth games et al. I have a slightly different view or maybe another view. In December 2008, Sheila dixit won the elections with a sweeping majority because it was perceived that she and her administration is working for the people and its city. I need to ask Ms Dixit, what we will do of the flyovers, if you can’t give us stable roads? If the roads can’t hold on to 2 hours of rain, if the drains are all blocked and the city floods, if the construction work never seems to be concluded in a fair amount of time, what good will the flyovers, expressways and BRT corridors be for the people who live here. The officials were all passing the buck but I feel as the person responsible for the city, Ms. Dixit should stand up and take the responsibility for this debacle. We deserve a better city.

We want to be able to walk on the streets and enjoy the rains and not be stuck in a jam for 5 hours..

Tuesday, July 21, 2009:
Landmark Forum- Shameless Selling

I had a chance to attend a 3 hour session of Landmark Forum on
Tuesday, 21st July, 2009. What an evening it was. It left me so angry and exhausted that, I could have actually done something to someone there.

To give a background Landmark is an organization which trains and works towards imparting positive strokes to the lives of people. Very noble thought and much needed in these times of stress, competition, heart burn etc. Through this session their idea was to introduce people to landmark’s way of imparting the training, the thought process and a taste of impact it had on people who went through it. Again a very noble idea, for why would anyone register for their course till they know what it has for them.

So now you would wonder what went wrong. Well what Landmark did was, 45 mins into the programme, the trainer actually started selling the programme to the guests that were sitting and forgot about the participants who had come for their concluding session. Not only that, 10-12 people came in front and set up desks, for registration. Credit card machines were there and all arrangements were done to just take the initial money from you. They thought that 45 mins of gyan and some stories (which to my mind were planted) would be enough for people to come over and give them the registration money. Those who did not leap forward to register then became the focus of the volunteers. These volunteers went to various groups of people and subtly asked them if they were registering. If the answer was no, they would stick to them to tell them how it was necessary and what one is missing out by not registering. That was not all, when the session resumed, it was not for some more gyan, but to be further divided into groups on the basis of whether one has registered or not. We were taken to a class room and there were as many volunteers in a room as there were guests. The speaker again a volunteer, spoke about how landmark helped him and what landmark focuses on. Ironically, though Landmark proposed that everything is all about listening and communicating but the speaker himself refused to listen to anyone who appeared not convinced about landmark. At the end each volunteer was sent to each guest, so that registration would be facilitated. They were sure that now people would register. To their surprise there still were few who didn’t and what do the great Landmark volunteers do… They play on the psychology of the person, the person is induced with guilt that he is doing wrong by not registering, that this is an opportunity lost etc etc. The whole experience was so suffocating. I could have got an asthma attack if I had been forced to sit there for 10 more mins.

I have never seen more shameless attempt at marketing and selling of a behavioral training programme. They had the cheek to work on two different planes. On one hand they were helping people know what they don’t know and thus enabling them to transform their lives and on the other hand they themselves were not listening, breathing down the person’s neck to register, throwing guilt and other such emotions on the person and in all not giving any space to the person to decide. Organizational greed can make you do anything. I was aghast at all that happened that evening. I was more surprised that so many people fell for their tactics.

For me I was happy I stood my ground and I did not allow my mind to cave into their pressure tricks.

Shubhra, August 1, 2009