Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Up in the Air

You know about how when you need to get somewhere real far in a hurry..dear reader, the Indian Railways, that epitome of punctuality just doesn't do it for you. So, in this country, we usually take a flight, which means we can stare at pretty airhostesses, get some free food, and get to look at the Earth at impossible angles from the horizontal. Flying is a thrill, no matter which airlines you choose, primarily because you're so used to the railways, getting anywhere in under 4 hours without cockroaches crawling out of your seat seems luxurious. And flying, apparently is also a very very bad business decision, judging by the airlines in our country.

Which begs the question: Why do so many businessmen invest so much into airlines. I mean, all those shiny new jets cost money, don't they. GoAir, owned by Jehangir Wadia, who incidentally also owns a biscuit company many of you may have heard of, Britannia, has placed an order worth $.7.2 billion for new aircraft, and a few biscuits on the side. This is not a small amount of money to invest in anything, and when all else is considered, money could generate much better returns if invested in something else, or maybe given to Ivan Boesky. The point is, why, if airlines are dropping left, right and center out of the sky, do businessmen still insist on starting new ones, at tremendous losses to their pocket and their image. Are the problems faced by most airlines congenital? or are they the victim of some massive government lapse in policy?

Well, the reason, dear reader, why you can still catch a flight to Aizawl(not that you would want to, of course), is because you want to, and can afford to. It's as simple as that. You see, Indian flyers have a threshold value, set ticket prices higher, and no one will fly. Set ticket prices at the threshold level though, and all of a sudden you have waay too many fliers. It is the flirtation with fares that has proved most dangerous to the airlines. Sure, they may blame rising fuel prices, a weaker rupee, lack of government support..and little green men. The only reason that most airlines got into this industry was because they thought they could hit that threshold value of fares, and thus see a mindboggling volume of customers, which would, in turn compensate for the extremely low fares that they would be charging.

A threshold is a dangerous thing though. If you put fares any lower than they need to be, the impact on the bottom line would be catastrophic. And especially if you do it in the middle of a customer slump, and rising competition. Yes, the government of India isn't very supportive either, in fact, it has its hands full with a certain Air India, which makes losses of Rs 5500 crore a year, or about a lakh rupees a minute(yes..that fucking much!!), which of course, wouldn't have got into this whole mess if it would just close down and pay its employees off for the remaining of the year(it would lose only Rs 3000 crore then). And well, maybe it shouldn't have ordered $9 billion of aircraft either, that might have saved it some Rs 45000 crore. But, hey, let not point fingers here.

As long as India has a population, and as long as businessmen have startup capital, airplanes will continue to fly in this country. There is nothing as seductive as the dream of seating a billion butts in flights, nor anything as lucrative. Thank God for airhostesses...


Thursday, 8 December 2011

The Righteous and the Wicked

"Remember that howsoever you are played or by whom, your soul is in your keeping alone, even though those who presume to play you be kings or men of power. When you stand before God, you cannot say, "But I was told by others to do thus," or that virtue was not convenient at the time. This will not suffice." --King Baldwin IV

Now lots of good people in politics , must ignore their soul, because if they have been suspected to have one, they would be eaten alive by their party, their constituency, or even the media. We have a moral responsibility, all of us, and that includes politicians, to do good, for what good is a life that does not benefit your fellow man. However, that moral responsibility is rather difficult to get a hold of when you have material responsibilities on a plate that also includes one of the most powerful jobs in the country. Make no mistake, even a lowly State Minister wields more power than you or I will get to experience in a lifetime. In their own little worlds of mala fide hubris they are their own gods. They hold absolute power over the people of their constituency, of their state, and in some especially egregious cases, the whole bloody country. And what they fail to realise, that they're not gods... but SERVANTS. Yes, politicians, your friendly local MLA, and your even friendlier Chief Minister are, were, never supposed to be gods ruling over the earth.

No, they were supposed to be our servants. Listen to our commands, do our bidding, et cetera.

Except that in this country we have a really bad habit of turning powerful people into gods, instead of cutting them down to size. A look at any southron actor will tell you this much, hell even northerner movie stars have temples erected in their name. These people are just as good, or just as bad as the normal people you deal with in daily life. It doesn't make any sense to think that actors will make good politicians, or that politicians would make good rulers, or any other damn thing for that matter. In fact, here's a rather short list, describing common sense practices to be followed, in order to bring the people who run our country, down to actually running it.

1. Cut the number of seats in the Lok Sabha/Rajya Sabha/State Assemblies to half. The logic here is that it is much better to have one man doing(or not doing) the work of two men rather than vice versa.

2. Reduce the amount of money made available to politicians. Be it block development fund or constituency fund or whatever, it really doesn't get spent anyway. Set all funds into an independently audited central bank, and make all payments for projects loans from that bank to individual organisations, payable with interest.

3. Remove minister's emoluments, monetary or otherwise. Come on..would you really appreciate it if your servant came to work every day in a cavalcade of Scorpios? Politicians are our servants..not our rulers. Once you reduce the money, dishonest people and the mafia won't view politics as attractive, and therefore won't enter politics

4. Forget Anna Hazare. Yes the man has rock solid ideals, and a brilliant Lokpal bill to pass..but after him, what?? Do you seriously expect that the Lokpal will be as effective an organisation 20 years from now?

5. Conduct a screening system for issuing voter id cards. This would feature a questionnaire on basic facts and current info and news. I would suggest that Prometric conduct the screening, what with us fast becoming an IT-age country, UID and all.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

ANTI-Social

SO Kapil Sibal is at it again. This is not a surprise, give that the man who does not know when an Indian flag is placed upside down is at it for the greater part of a year. What his election campaign strategy seems to be is to be as annoying a prick as possible, in order to gain the maximum amount of public interest as possible, so that when he goes to the polls, indeed when the whole country goes to the polls people vote for him, because they have no fucking idea who the other guy is.

This strategy, however, has one drawback. Irritate people enough, and they will vote for ANYONE other than the guy in question. Which makes you wonder if most politicians could actually come up with a decent enough strategy to win them the elections, or do they just depend on the fucked up election systems in this country to win it for them. Because you see, most issues that are brought up in front of the public are a scam, FDI in retail is a scan, it wont hurt most farmers, neither will it cause most small shop owners to go out of business. But everyone who is anyone needs to kick up some sort of a row in order to get some sort of attention, and garner some eyeballs, because no one gives a flying fuck if you are just sitting at your desk and efficiently doing your job.

So the question is, has Kapil Sibal got it figured out? Has this flying douchebag of a minister finally placed his finger on the pulse of the nation and discovered that the way to gain instant popularity is not by action, but by stirring up an issue after making some controversial comments once in a while. Because a person who gets it wrong soo many times cannot be accused of simple carelessness. And for all the media space the newspapers give him, he must be sniggering away delightfully at his government quarters, muching his government samosas and drinking his government chai.

So, the best way to deal with the man who single handedly destroyed our education system is simple. Ignore him. Just pretend he doesn't exist. Forget what the fuck he's talking about, and use the biggest weapon available to you. The I Dont Give A Fuck weapon. Because, for god's sake, if there is any sort of sense in the Indian public, we need to get this guy to shut up. And quickly.