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Survived: July '15

India is a crazy-busy state. Lalit Modi is not tweeting (maybe he has grown a Tennis Elbow!) and we still have to survive. Let’s see how I’m coping with his absence.


Maggi and the heavy metal> It’s no longer a bread-earner for Indian media. It’s remarkably reduced in size, proportion and frequency of occurrence.

  • There was an order from the HC to allow Maggi manufactured in India to be exported. FSSAI has urged Mumbai HC to recall that order. Maggi was earlier declared safe to consume in UK and Canada.
  •  Nestlé India replaced its MD. The newly appointed MD is the first Indian to head the India business after 16Y.
  • Nestlé India has reported Rs 64Cr loss in this quarter – its first loss in 17Y. What an impact! 
I find this entire Maggi row brazenly below the belt. In India we don’t expect to die if a few packets of noodles contain some lead [MSG is not declared as a killer anywhere]. An inconclusive test report and hurried actions against a reputed brand is not 'food safety', but a stunt. We have no notion of food safety – starting from cheap street joints to the upmarket organic produces. It’s horrendous to penalize one brand for reports as vague as these. If the government wants to drive towards food safety, please don't discriminate. You'll run out of prisons, of 5Y terms and of breath; believe me! 
The only positive takeaway might be the instillment of a sense of fear in the minds of a few others. A few shaky suppliers and their celebrity endorsers would be cautious as they hate public humiliation and making a comeback takes significant time, patience and loss of potential income.

A toothpaste commercial on TV> A toothpaste brand has made innovations - not in their product but in the marketing department. Mothers of smart kids (kids who are born with smart phones!) are relieved, finally. With an advanced technology (the easiest thing on earth) their paste can resist any germs that have ever graced the planet of dentistry. Thus released from pain, these moms can now let their kids gorge on anything that appears like a food item. No need to check the kids’ diet against junk food anymore - they sing "Keep on rockin' in the free world" (Neil Young).

Divided in bids, united in distress> TCS, Infosys and Wipro together has lost 1L employees in last 4 quarters. The attrition is alarmingly high (19-20%) and these exits are mainly due to the anticipated focus on automation, productivity and advent of new technologies. I guess their business was already showing steady stagnation (the optimistic business leaders hate the word 'slump') over the last few years. Now they're coming to terms with reality and started acknowledging truth. Last year TCS allegedly tried a few direct actions to adjust the pyramid structure. This led to furor over media and might have reached the parliament. This year, Mr. Ravana has all his 10 heads united under one umbrella and they are moving towards a common solution. No one knows if their leadership is capable of the new orientation of the technology world ('clouds' etc), aligned to the new expectations of the customers (who now expect 'partners' and not 'order-takers' in their suppliers), happy with the demanding new generation of engineers working for them. On the face of it, the stress on productivity improvement and automation appears to be the remedy to their core issues. Critics may smell these as techniques to shake up the root of a tree so that loosely attached fruits, leaves, flowers or even branches fall off voluntarily. The expected outcome of this rhetorical initiatives may be to create an atmosphere of uneasiness within, which the reported attrition figures are already indicating. The parliament, court avenues will not be retraced; though the purpose may just be achieved. It's not clear yet who the winner is and time, as always, has the answer.

3 Khans, knocking on 50's door> The fab 3 of Bollywood are getting along too well nowadays. They have turned friends season 50. So close are SRK and Salman that their much anticipated clash on Eid '16 may not turn a reality. That'd be a disappointment to trade pundits and media. It's heard that Salman Khan may postpone his Sultan's release to Diwali and give Eid away to SRK's Raees. However hard to believe, Salman Khan leaving his famous and ever-rewarding Eid slot to his foe-turned-friend SRK will remain a landmark event in their careers. Such is the insecurity this evil named 'age' brings in a man's life! It lets superstars forget their big egos and join hands.

Yakub Memon hanged till death> A bomb blast that killed 250+ in Mumbai 22Y ago fetched its memory back in headlines. Yakub Memon was convicted and hanged after quite a few twists and turns. The biggest debate this month was whether the Supreme Court did justice or not. The media raked in decent TRP with every possible past, present and probable future aspect of this story till the last second. I find any sentence to anyone, whether truly guilty or not, after 22Y of a crime dull. In either case, it's not justice and not worth writing about.

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