FADS in the communication industry

By FADS I mean Fake Ads, or advertising that boost up the superficial aura of a product or brand under the pretense of excellence. Hello Apple!!

The need to fake it

When any upstart tries to make it in their business they have to muster all they could to make it. But, as they grow as an organisation, investors pile in their money to make more. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but the board members who come along with the financiers are not so keen on innovating or change per se.

And, the need to fake it bestows amongst themselves and they don’t bat an eye. To boost up their stock price, the once good innovators (iPod) come up with tech (touch bar) that’s almost obsolete.

Keeping the fight up

Apple will never admit that they have failed to make something new. The story of how they make their own old tech slow is evident enough that they have lost all their credibility.

Thinking back, I’d appreciate the efforts of Samsung in apologizing for their Note 7 fiasco. Cheil India did a great job with ‘Service’ ad and ‘Tech School’ ad in helping Samsung regain the deserved credibility.

Some plus points

OnePlus is a company that has been surprising their customers with cost effective tech to the power users. But, they don’t come off well with their superficial offers.

A Star Wars limited edition that’s exactly the same as other ‘5Ts’, but with a back design that could be obtained via custom skin?

If, only if the pricing were the same one could sit back and appreciate their efforts in doing the bit more to satisfy their customers. But, they opted to release a ‘Lava Red’ version as well.

End note: Fads don’t last

Fake advertising that’s brilliantly planned and executed will for sure backfire (not a pun Samsung). If the product is surely innovative, it’s not hard to sell it. And, good salesmen find the true USP of the product to sell it, to the right people in the right market.

It is hard to make a product so freaking perfect that it sells itself (iPhone), but no matter how much shillings are shelled over a bad product (Fire Phone) it wouldn’t make a difference in the long run.

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Chennai and I

I’ve made a post already on how I learned to love Chennai. This is a continuation and further explanation. I rarely feel all warm and cuddly, maybe it’s the oxytocin; maybe I’m in love with someone or something.

The people

People of Chennai hail from a variety of places and make the city their own home. Which is true for most metropolitan cities, but unlike bengaluru this one’s filled to the brim with Tamil people.

I must say that I feel completely in awe and that’s because the people of Chennai have accepted me as their own.

What has changed?

When I was in college I had to commute to and fro atleast a 10 kms in the rush hour with the pollution and heat.

The heat, yes. Chennai is known for its heat. And my change of perception could be attributed to the tolerable climate that we have now. Also, unlike other Decembers this one’s a bit sane without any natural or artificial calamities.

Times a factor

Since I’ve roamed cluelessly among the streets of Chennai, right from Adyar, Velachery and Saidapet. The magnitude of the landscape and it’s luxuries were overwhelming and a bit frightening at first. But, I have finally accepted the city’s pace and most probably it has accepted me.

The police

I had to deal withVthe cops of the city on the most rarest of occasions. Once to get back my iPhone, and the other was to make a complaint on a fraudulent corporate. At those instances it was hard to talk to them, as they had the upper hand. I had to bribe and get of their premises.

The other instances were smooth. I was shocked to see an honest cop in the city who sent me off with a warning. I had my papers, but refused to take the long and damaged road to get around the overpass.

The conclusion

Chennai is a place where you can be left alone if you want. If you need help people will be more than happy to help you. But, if you’re at the wrong place at the wrong time – you could be taken for a fool.

Chennai has its fair share of pubs and beaches. Movie watching experience isn’t that great I agree, IMAX is the only exception.

Commuting is a breeze if you know the routes and timings to whizzpast the poor crowd.

A short cut

I take this opportunity to share a short cut, which was imparted to me by a clever girl in a scooter.

If you find yourself stuck in the sterling road signal from Loyola, trying to reach Kilpauk – this will be useful.

Right around the third gate at your left there will be a ‘in gate’ sign. Take that left and strroom in and out to escape a bit of traffic.

There’s a similar route to evade the Velachery signal, if you’re coming from the railway station.

Take a left before the signal, make a right and strroom out of the traffic and ahead the signal.

There you go, make Chennai your home by learning little shortcuts and timings to ease up your commute and more.

Aruvi: an analysis, after a conversation with Arun the auteur

Disclaimer: Please watch the movie before reading this post. There are limited spoilers

Reality is stranger than fiction

Can a filmmaker be this humble? This reminds me of an inspiring quote:

A director needs humility, do you have humility?

(This post is more from an emotional side of me. So, please forgive me if it shows my ADHD.)

It is easy to understand and appreciate the movie (more) if you know the nature and way Arun has molded his aesthetics towards film language. Balu Mahendra’s tutelage is apparent, which the audience get to know through the little anecdotes and approach Arun reveals in the discussion.

The discussion took place in a crowded place, where the usual crowd of film enthusiasts and wannabe directors were amassed by the regular audience. There were people of varying ages, especially an annoying old man who kept interrupting and disturbing the crowd.

The discussion

The introductory speech was rather short and Arun dived right into the discussion. There were conversations going on, a sort of man to man instead of a defending artist or filmmaker trying to make his case. He even accepted that some of the scenes could be taken wrongly by certain people.

I had my share of conversation and even met him through an old connection. But, the interesting side of things was to see the minute observation of the film by the crowd members, I must admit that I was a little hurt that I couldn’t notice the visual metaphors the filmmaker has employed.

Q1: Why not a deeper conversation?

Popping out with terms like Nihilism and Narcissism, I wanted to know why he didn’t delve any deeper. The answer was more than convincing, and a bit more revealing on the subject matter of the film.

The film doesn’t speak about feminism or decline of a protagonist’s physical or mental health. Rather it is a conversation starter on the decline of humanity, especially in the media circle.

The auteur uses his opportunity to create lovable characters and puts them through a brief & rough ordeal. He proclaims it was rather free flowing when it comes to the narrative. But, backs it up with a contradictory comment, everything was scripted – right from the catchphrase ‘Rolling sir!!’ to the high ending climax.

Q2: People need hope

He believes it is not an intelligent movie, he’s being humble again. And, says that though Tragedy has a great effect – people need hope in their life. Given the circumstances of politics and cinema in Tamil Nadu, he feels indebted to make a movie with hope and love. Such a humanist, you can be affected by his positive and calm demeanor.

Q3: Plot or fiction

On being asked, what was conceived first – the female protagonist or the TV show bottleneck, he took some time to answer. Debating with himself and finally revealing that it was the TV show plot, he explained that he wanted to show the inhumane state channels are treating their employees & participants.

The female protagonist also was a conscious choice, as is most of the script. As the Aruvi team had to wait for 7-8 months the right one until Aditi Balan showed up. I’m sure the team would have batted the script from all fat and came out with a neat and detailed script that we see translated to film.

Q4: Inception

Just like Roja and Poo, Aruvi is also developed from a newspaper article, which we disregard as a tale. But, the filmmaker took to it as a promising plot and added fine elements from soothing music, brilliant performances and a tightly packed story that rarely goes dull.

Q5: Awry narrative

I just like the way ‘Awry’ sounds, which could be traced back to Arri Gold. Well getting back to the point, the narrative structure of the film is new. A stark turn in the second act, when you are keen on learning or predicting the way it’s going to turn – he ones up on you with an unexpected twist.

Conclusion

I wait until the end of the blog, as I make it up as I go – to let it reveal its structure to me. This has invariably turned out to be a vague analysis of the movie and a somewhat detailed reportage of the discussion. I’m happy with what I’ve jotted out, please comment if you have any suggestions.

EndNote:

I have mentioned this before, and I reiterate – good movies are hard to be critiqued or analyzed from a single watch. Go watch the movie and experience it yourself.

 

 

 

 

Amiable getaway or how I quit smooth

Prologue:

As I started out Amiablethoughts, the most recurrent question I had to face was:

That’s not amiable at all!

But, things change and I gathered much courage and started writing on a variety of topics. Very recently the blog has gained newer readership, and I’m glad that – the little ideas and fast written words on my blog is being read and enjoyed by the people in far reaches.

Chapter One: Wishy-washy entry to TTL

I had recently decided to not pay much attention to the boring job, which had no direction or help whatsoever. So, I forced their hands on letting me go; after which, I needed a breather from all the soul-sucking that happened, and the ridiculous social dance of getting to know each other. Soon after – I mean in a matter of days I was approached by an HR of a TTL company. I was glad to have a way to pay my bills, and it was one single word that peeked my attention – Quirky!

I got in quite smoothly and had a ball of a time fighting, apologising and getting to know the people.

Chapter Two: You never know who they really are

We humans are pattern making machines, who use analogy to basically live a life; that’s the reason why we judge quite fast. I was judged, labelled, made fun of and harassed like every new employee, college student and ape. In the acceptance of a new member, we are still in the category of apes.

But, who’s the silverback?

There was this guy, an anal retentive person with strict rules on what’s right and what’s wrong. I tried to enlighten him with the wonderful perspective of the shades of grey. But, he was strict on…wait…wait. I just remembered my interview, one aspect of it very clearly.

MUTHALVAN
It was a good interview.

He was mentioning that we’re going to have a long chat about my comment:

The purpose of language is to communicate.

Which has played out until the last day, I wrote out of the official group – ‘thanks for making me feel home’. He was insistent that ‘feel at home’ is right. You can never win with THIS people.

nazi

So, I recant my previous statement; you can know these people. And, a word of advice – just nod and move along. You can’t be productive, much less creative under a Nazi regime!

That could be an overstatement, what if it is. Here’s a fun fact to end this chapter with a distraction:

I quit while reading Scott Adams’ The Joy of Work: Dilbert’s Guide to Finding Happiness at the Expense of Your Co-Workers.

Dilbert
Must read for every pretending professionals

Chapter Three: The unrequited love for beer & more

The great USP of the organisation is a welcoming bar setup, where we usually smoke and drink – often enough both at once. I’m really going to miss it (the amiable part is coming up don’t worry).

Here’s what’s more – I tried to help out a friend. I was under the impression that there was serious harassment happening to her, but turns out it ain’t that bad. A colleague confided in me that she could’ve avoided it long ago, but … getting a bit uncomfortable here, speaking of the idiotic stuff that may or may not have happened – why should this part of the story had to be grey instead of gay?

End of chapter three.

Chapter Four: But, do you really know people?

I had a very patient boss who was friendly enough to not fire me after a couple of faux pas. But, the very same boss brought up a stupid stuff that was blown way out of proportions. All I asked of the femme fatale was to get a couple of Old Monks, which has quadrupled into a huge harassment story. And what about all that actual harassment, which I had to witness firsthand? Which could be continuing still, all merrily. Come on, this was the most pissy situation in that organisation. Higherups all ways think they are untouchables, what a load of BS.

Chapter Five: The amiable getaway

All the drama, all the fun and down the line it gets a bit sentimental. Almost all the colleagues got slightly emotional and bode farewell. I always appreciated the way of ending it nice, so I make extra efforts to not piss off anyone completely. That understanding hasn’t come recently on the realisation of how small the world/industry is; rather it’s nice to have differences but it’s nicer to be nice.

Or to put it succinctly:

You don’t have to be an asshole.

This time around the Old Monk that I grabbed from the Bangalore trip was handy for the send-off party. Many employees joined and I made a bad speech about how I’m going to miss the place. The goodbyes aren’t hard for me, because I know that it’s impossible to really miss people as we really aren’t exposed to their true sides. Wait, I’m getting Nihilistic again, wanted to make this one as amiable as I could.

So, yeah it was an amiable getaway. I was lucky to be a part of the gang, to be accepted and let grow as a person. Career-wise it was unproductive, but personally, I got to be a better person – thanks to the friendly colleagues.

Epilogue:

“Why, then, ’tis none to you, for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”
~ William Shakespeare

Retro worlds collide, Stranger Things vs 11.22.63

The two shows are set roughly in the same time period. But, there are stark differences in the narrative, subject matter and the reward that comes after watching. If you’re asking my opinion, or taste for that matter – Stephen King’s tale outdoes the Duffer Brothers’ concoction of retro coming of age & SciFi mystery.

Getting to know the world

11.22.63

You’re swiftly introduced to the rules of the fictional world. Intrigue helps one learn faster and retain the details better. Here the story of a young writer and his chance to make a difference inpires to be an intense and positive setting. In this way the narrative gets personal, by asking you directly ‘what would you do if you can change one thing from the past?’

The characters are through and you get to know their darkest secrets and all of their gray areas. A trusted protege turning against his friend for the sake of lust, a Black woman who can sympathise for the new Teacher besides his difference in the way of things in the 60s; plenty more colorful characters to make it a fun watch.

The story has some inexplicable elements, especially regarding the rules of time travel and how it affects one’s mental and physical health.

But, overall you’d be interested to step into the fictional world and take a vicarious ride through the most exciting period of American history.

Stranger Things

This tale unwinds rather slowly and it spreads wide and deep with varying characters and an interesting plot.

The audience are asked to take a ride back to their childhood memories and relive the retro and simple times with a major roadblock of SciFi and post-apocalyptic setting.

Characters here are rather simple and act in honesty, where-in they don’t hide much to the others or us – making it a rather dull. There are no twists and turns with most of the characters’ nature, we don’t see a huge difference as the story progresses. Maybe the tale is revealing at a more relaxed pace.

Payoff

Or what one calls the takeaway from a story.

11.22.63

If you haven’t got the time to read a well written novel, the show does full justice to the genius of Stephen King.

Beyond historical accuracies with retro cars and names of everyone involved with the JFK story – this one holds meaningful and layered characters.

By watching the tale unfold, we see the novel coming to life and experience the times through the characters.

With a brilliant narrative that independently moves back and forth, you get to understand what’s on Jake’s mind crystal clear.

As we get to witness most of the story from Jake’s perspective, we have a clearer picture and a fulfilling experience of the story almost first hand.

I’ve always believed that ‘a single story well told overpowers a cluttered multiplot narrative’.

Stranger Things

Needless to say, this show has way too many characters and has less room for detailed character transformation.

We get a chance to witness the tale as if it’s a comic or a motion picture. But, we’re well aware that this tale is strictly for entertainment.

One couldn’t possibly take any life advice or moral lesson from this Duffer Brothers’ show; maybe the intention wasn’t that. Nevertheless it’s quite an entertaining show which has some splendid cliffhanger moments that make you binge watch the episodes all at once.

Please share your comments after watching the shows. Let’s have a go in the comments section if you felt any difference in my opinion.

Switching gears – process vs result oriented approaches

Rarely we get to a point where we stop and question our way of life. That nagging question no matter how hard you try – seeks an answer. The tough thing is, you may not be able to answer it then and there and mostly you cannot figure it out like a coin toss or a high stakes poker game.

Heisenberg & Schrödinger’s cat

For the very reason you are part of the equation, it’s kinda hard to figure out the solution. This could be a hindrance if you have made a life decision to stick to a certain position.

But, enough ambiguous ascertains to philosophy and mediocre career advice. What are we here to discuss?

Process-oriented personality

If you have one, you will enjoy a task and love to see it completed successfully before you move on to another. In rarity you would stop a certain task and move onto the another, only to focus on the new project or lose track of the old one in the process.

What are the perks of such approach?

Well, first off if you are a person who is salaried and go about your day to day life with much instructions from your superiors and peers – this is a well-suited approach.

On the contrary, if you are an entrepreneur looking to retire early and bask in the shades of a windy resort, this approach isn’t going to help you. You might want to shift gears to the result-oriented approach if you don’t want to procrastinate your life by living a vicarious one.

“People love chopping wood. In this activity one immediately sees results.”
~ Albert Einstein

Result-oriented personality

In such a personality type, life is split into sections bearing categorized goals. What special with such type is that the goals are achievable and in the vein challenging goals set with a restricted deadline.

One must observe the achievements of such personalities, starting from great artists like Leonardo Da Vinci, William Shakespeare to the recent list of entrepreneurs – Steve Jobs, Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg.

To quote Jobs, ‘it’s hard to connect the dots forward’. But, we are tasked with the arduousness of planning it out, setting up goals with achievable & challenging deadlines.

How We Spend Our Days Is How We Spend Our Lives.
~ Annie Dillard

How to start shifting gears?

Everything is hard until it isn’t. You can start shifting your personality type by making up your bed in the morning. Make little changes to your daily routine, clean up your room. Breaking big tasks into smaller ones helps in easing up your anxiety on the size of your task. Give yourself a reward for completing a task and turn it around by completing more. If you could constantly have a clear idea of the bigger picture of things – it would be easier and more meaningful to complete the individual tasks. This is of a prime importance in overcoming procrastination, as we often tend to hide away in the name of process-oriented personality.

Conclusion

We are what we do, more than the job & profession, what we do with our life ends up defining us. We can opt here to modify what and how we do, instead of simmering down to defend the accusations of smaller minds. As we are aware – great minds discuss ideas and not people. Let’s redefine the idea of us – by evolving into a much more humane and productive person.

“So when Yudhishthira tells Draupadi that eventually human acts do bear fruit, even though the fruit is invisible,56 one might interpret ‘fruit’ to mean the building of character through repeated actions. Yudhishthira was certainly aware that repeated actions had a way of changing one’s inclinations to act in a certain way. That inclination is character.”
~ Gurcharan Das, DIFFICULTY OF BEING GOOD

How to be an upstander to sexual harassment

You can turn a blind eye, walk away ignoring instead of intervening. That’s being a bystander to a common crime, in that certain scenario you can opt to be an upstander and have a real impact in your workplace or the scene in question.

It’s not about being the hero

Sexual harassment is a serious issue, potential allegations could affect both the harasser and the one being harassed. Rumours and back talks are apparent even in the modern age of communication, people find tentative ways to cure their boredom over life.

In case you decide to point out or make a difference in a situation about the harassment, you need to know the below details…

Identify the harassment

Any slight comment or a sporadic joke isn’t a harassment. So, you must take things serious in observing and identifying of the harassment is real before you highlight this to anyone.

Speak to them

Have a talk with the one being harassed before taking this up. The act has more to do with the person being harassed, as she/he can decide to make it a big issue if they want. Discuss in detail and identifying if they are truly disturbed by the act, then highlight it to the HR department.

In the limelight

Only after the case with Harvey Weinstein are we aware of the ongoing dogma in Hollywood right from Charlie Chaplin to Kevin Spacey. And, to speak about certain things in India, and southern parts of it – is considered a taboo still.

Why do we not speak about women’s menstrual cycle and the usage of contraceptives?

Well, we could stand by and see the world pass us. Or, we could take a stand for the right things and speak up for the deserving causes.

Speak it out with your colleagues, friends and family regarding sexual harassment and help out as many as you can!!