Millionaire a Kerala perspective

“Millionaire” By Hisham Kabir

Believe on one self, from all the talks and the observation that I have made by studying millionaires across the nation is that, they believe they are, they believed they will, and this is the fundamental for making of a millionaire.

Making your first million is the most difficult task, once you are in this club, and then look no further your associates would keep you afloat.

Yes, you got to be talented, you may need to have god gifted talent and a kind of bravery where your fortune works, the challenge is where you have to find this hidden talent inside you.

I have not heard, read or come across any millionaire who is not multi talented, guess they have a great smelling sense, they can smell success, much ahead of many of us, they can see the big picture that any average cannot think off.

They are sharp at their decisions, no decisions of there’s goes wrong, if ever it does, it is steps for the right decision.

They are truly DARING. I would quote an example here, way back in late 90’s when Mr Kochouspeh the chairman of Vguard industries was planning to venture into theme parks and that too in a place far away from Kakanad, many of them said he would flop, and now its for the nation to see what he as attained. Or Mr Mohammed Ali, who built the le meridian hotel way too far away from city and made it the most successful hotel projects in the state. Or Mr Babu Moopen of the Nippon Toyota who made a hill into Toyota’s largest showrooms in the world.

They are good at calculations, when I say calculations I did not mean math, here I mean, judgment, mind reading, business calculations, seeing big picture etc.

They know where to draw the line, for which i would quote a famous hindi movie dialogue, “Hum jahan khade hote hai line wahi se shuru hoti hai”. the power of command, the power of will and extremity in self confidence is what makes one say this.

Most of them have one person who is called the kingpin, or right hand, no decision goes without his consent.

Hardworking, disciplined early raisers, reaches office every day much before the sweeper arrives, the only time most of us would have arrived before time would have been when there is a particular work, or when we might have had an over night stay at our office.

Master of Delegation

They are well delegated, I know the owner of a very large transport logistics company who said, “every day he gets to know his vehicle has some accident or some labour issues” and while he said this i realised it was a Monday and on a wedding, this shows how well he is delegated his work, that one side when his vehicle is having a damage control act, he is laughing with his friends at a wedding, that is the level of delegation he has managed.

They are time bound, they believe if it cannot be attained in x no: of days it’s just not worth it.

The world best sales man,who believed he can convince any deal, may not win in front of them, or their logical calculations, and the CEO end up saying this famous hindi movie dialogue to the sales person ” jis school me thum ye sab pade ho, uska headmaster abhi bhi mujse tution letha hai”

They have one man whom you can call as right hand, without him no decisions happen, the CEO asks one word with him always, he also know the CEO’s likes dislikes and attitudes better than the CEO wife.

They are sharp in judgment.

They are not MBA’s I guess ignorance is bliss however they can teach you what they don’t teach at Harvard business school.

 

They command power, be it the way the arrive, the way they present them selves, times are changing from rich man simple man humble man is thing of the past, this modest millionaire would have a phantom in his fleet.

 

They are good at calculations they are sharp enough to asses your turnover after talking business with you for 3 minutes. I have heard from a close relative of mine, who is doing business worth several millions on a conversation with Mr. M.K.Yusuf Ali, the chairman of Lulu Group Dubai that Mr Ali asked him, so your company would be having a total turnover of X crores of rupees, and it was perfect calculation. This is the kind of judgement that they possess.

 

They make good use of sense organs the way god wanted it to be used, they see more, listen more and talk less.

 

They are very hard working.

 

They are master of delegation.

 

When a person does all the above mentioned points religiously and he turns his organization to success, many call him to be a LUCKY GUY.

 

“Millionaire” By Hisham Kabir

 

IS MBA WORTH THE MONEY YOU SPEND

I present to KMA my vision of Management and Management Education in India.

Since it all starts with education I shall also start from there.

Management Education System In India.

India has produced among the finest franchisees of management education in the form of the IIM, a brand well recognized all over the world. The speed, accuracy and the analytical ability of average IIM student would be the best in the world.

After the IIM there are top 20 or so management institutes in the country who started their management programmes some 20 years back, much before management education made business sense.

Then there is other, who are over 20 year old, but did not catch up to the brand positioning and have faded over the years.

Then there are new breeds like the IIPM’s and Amity and similar to name a few. However there has been several cases where students of these institutes are complaining of poor placements and poor quality of Education they got for the money they paid.

Then there are MBA offered by engineering colleges, where they decide to utilize the 10 cents of land that was lying vacant for MBA programme.

The quality of MBA Students, has deteriorated beyond acceptable norms.

Most MBA’s of our country join MBA because
1. Its lighter to study
2. 2 yrs of fun and time pass
3. Extend your wedding
4. Easiest entry and the lowest cost
5. Being a under grad is not respected in the society and for improving your prospects of wedding.

So where should this change start from
The faculty

Being a faculty is not an attractive job, will any student who are studying now would ever say that they want to become a faculty. The answer is NO.

Most of the faculty is there because either they have some personal commitment at home, or some other reason best know to them, but surely it will not be because they want to be a great faculty.
So as a RULE 1

Remuneration of those who intend to be a faculty should be so attractive and comparable to the banking and the software that prospective people start to think of shifting towards teaching as a profession and makes a huge business sense.

There is a serious need to correct the body language of the faculty members.

KMA’s Programme PGDTRM (Post Graduate Diploma in Teaching and Research in Management) is a great beginning, however attending the inaugural session and seeing those who have taken up the course made me sad, they all had a very poor and negative body language, therefore I believe the first lesson that should be taught should be body language and posture that reflect positivity in the faculty only then we can make great managers and entrepreneurs of the future.

Dr Raman Nair of SCMS who have attended the faculty training programme at IMDI Switzerland would give KMA more insight into this.

Education business is like any other business in India, the students, since they are 18+ are considered should be considered as a consumers or customers therefore regarded as customers first students later, so can we have a customer satisfaction index.

Management education should be a 3 Year Programme.

1st Year learning basic management covering all aspects of management.
2nd year work in a company for a minimum remuneration.
3rd year back to college complete the course and be ready for placements, if you have made a great impact in the company that you have worked as a trainee, then be rest assured you can dictate your salary terms and not the company.

KMA Should Promote Simple & Large Organization in Kerala.

Management, the term seems only applicable to the corporate world, we talk about top level companies in India but if we need to learn the real management, we have true examples right here in Kerala, there are several companies in Kerala who are not very media savvy but have more than 500 employees, and have policies and practices that can put many of the so called professionally managed corporate companies in our country to shame.

For an eg many of these companies do a lot for the community and the society but they don’t term this act as Corporate Social Responsibility.

Kerala being a state with such vigorous militant labor acts how does these companies survive and where employee management is a serious concern and how do they become successful.

The efforts of all the office bearers of KMA in conducting the recently held KMA meet is truly praise worthy, the theme Emerging Kerala, was truly a great subject.

However bearing the fact that the efforts of KMA’s activities got sufficient intended media coverage what is the step to change, that has happened.

We need efforts like Jassica Lal Case with the help of media to bring change in Kerala and to Kochi.

Kerala being a tourism potential state, what is the progress that has been made in these efforts.

We need roads that are well laid, like the present kaloor kadavanthara road, the authorities who made this happened should be given awards by KMA, such kind of recognition will make the people behind the scene feel pride in what they have done and encourage them to do such sincere work in the future as well.

Entrepreneurship Cell.

In India we need to create more jobs, so i would recommend that all colleges should have a Entrepreneur Cell to promote entrepreneurship culture among the youth in the country.

Most common thing that we hear about very successful business entrepreneurs are “he was my neighbor, he use to travel in a bicycle, if he had not got the funds, he have done enough fraud etc etc.

But from many of the super powerful businessman that I have met, studied and done research on, I have concluded that they have few traits that many of them do not know,

They are great visionaries,
They are very positive in approach,
They have a sharp business sense

But I would quote, they are what they are because they are multi talented, multi dimensional, “wowsome” personalities and they work very hard for it, very very hard.

Show me one super powerful business man who does not have any of the above mentioned qualities.

The problem is, unlike in US they do not write any books on how they made it (just kidding)

The objective being

To develop budding entrepreneurs specifically to promote investments in Kerala and generate more employment.

Assign sector heads for each industry type.

Eg. ITES, Food Processing, Coir Development, Organic Farming etc.

If anyone wants any information or help they can approach KMA and Kma shall direct to the sector head who shall do the needful further.

Compulsory student membership for all management students with a nominal fee. “larger the member, Stronger the association”

Membership development should also be a key focus of the key KMA members.
“More members, wider the network”

Every management college should contribute to KMA journal there shall be an award for the best informative and strong message delivering contribution.

There are Possible, Marketable, and profitable tourism promotion plans that I can suggest to KMA which in turn should be handed over to the tourism minister.

Jai Hind.

New Year Resolution

Health:                                                                    
1.    Drink plenty of water.                                               
2.    Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a beggar.                                                                    
3.    Eat more foods that grow on trees & plants and eat less food that is manufactured in plants.                                                 
4.    Live with the 3 E’s — Energy, Enthusiasm, and Empathy.              
5.    Make time for prayer.                                                
6.    Play more games.                                                     
7.    Read more books than you did in 2009.                                
8.    Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day.                     
9.    Sleep for 7 hours.                                                   
10.  Take a 10-30 minutes’ walk every day. And while you walk, smile.      
                                                                           
Personality:                                                               
11.  Don’t compare your life to others’. You have no idea what their journey is all about.                                                      
12.  Don’t have negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.        
13.  Don’t overdo. Keep your limits.                                       
14.  Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.                   
15.  Don’t waste your precious energy on gossip.                           
16.  Dream more while you are awake.                                       
17.  Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.               
18.  Forget issues of the past. Don’t remind your partner with his/her mistakes of the past. That will ruin your present happiness.               
19.  Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. Don’t hate others.     
20.  Make peace with your past so it won’t spoil the present.              
21.  No one is in charge of your happiness except you.                     
22.  Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn. Problems are simply part of the 
         curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.                            
23.  Smile and laugh more.                                                 
24.  You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.              
                                                                           
Society:                                                                   
25.  Call your family & friends often.                                               
26.  Each day give something good to others.                               
27.  Forgive everyone for everything.                                      
28.  Spend time with people over the age of 70 & under the age of 6.       
29.  Try to make at least three people smile each day.                     
30.  What other people think of you is none of your business.              
31.  Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your family and friends will. Stay in touch.                                               
                                                                           
Life:                                                                      
32.  Do the right thing!                                                   
33.  Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.           
34.  GOD heals everything.                                                 
35.  However good or bad a situation is, it will change.                  
36.  No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.                 
37.  The best is yet to come.                                              
38.  When you awake alive in the morning, thank GOD for it.                
39.  Your Inner most is always happy. So, be happy.                        
                               

Culture of Corruption in India.

Corruption In India, a cultural aspect.

Sad but true. Read on.

Hobbesian.(culture of self interest)

Corruption in India is a cultural aspect.
Indians seem to think nothing peculiar about corruption .
It is everywhere.

Indians tolerate corrupt individuals rather than correct them.

No race can be congenitally corrupt.
But can a race be corrupted by its culture?

To know why Indians are corrupt ,
look at their patterns and practices .

First:

Religion is transactional in India.
Indians give God cash and anticipate an out-of-turn reward.
Such a plea acknowledges that favours are needed for the undeserving.

In the world outside the temple walls,
such a transaction is named- “bribe”.

A wealthy Indian gives not cash to temples,
but gold crowns and such baubles.

His gifts can not feed the poor. His pay-off is for God.
He thinks it will be wasted if it goes to a needy man.

In June 2009, The Hindu published a report of Karnataka minister
G. Janardhan Reddy gifting a crown of gold and diamonds worth
Rs 45 crore to Tirupati.

India’s temples collect so much that
they don’t know what to do with it.
Billions are gathering dust in temple vaults.

When Europeans came to India they built schools.
When Indians go to Europe & USA, they build temples.

Indians believe that if God accepts money for his favours,
then nothing is wrong in doing the same thing.
This is why Indians are so easily corruptible.

Indian culture accommodates such transactions morally.
There is no real stigma. An utterly corrupt Jaya Lalita can
make a comeback, just unthinkable in the West.

Second –

Indian moral ambiguity towards corruption is visible in its history.
Indian history tells of the capture of cities and kingdoms after guards
were paid off to open the gates, and commanders paid off to surrender.

This is unique to India.

Indians’ corrupt nature has meant limited warfare on the subcontinent.
It is striking how little Indians have actually fought compared to
ancient Greece and modern Europe.

The Turks’ battles with Nadir Shah were vicious and fought to the finish.

In India fighting wasn’t needed, bribing was enough to see off armies.

Any invader willing to spend cash could brush aside India’s kings,
no matter how many tens of thousands soldiers were in their infantry.

Little resistance was given by the Indians at the “Battle” of Plassey.
Clive paid off Mir Jaffar and all of Bengal folded to an army of 3,000.

There was always a financial exchange to taking Indian forts.
Golconda was captured in 1687 after the secret back door was left open.

Mughals vanquished Marathas and Rajputs with nothing but bribes.

The Raja of Srinagar gave up Dara Shikoh’s son Sulaiman to
Aurangzeb after receiving a bribe.

There are many cases where Indians participated
on a large scale in treason due to bribery.

Question is: Why Indians have a transactional culture while
other ‘civilized’ nations don’t?

Third –

Indians do not believe in the theory that they all can rise
if each of them behaves morally, because that is not
the message of their faith.

Their caste system separates them.
They don’t believe that all men are equal.
This resulted in their division and migration to other religions .

Many Hindus started their own faith like Sikh, Jain, Buddha
and many converted to Christianity and Islam.

The result is that Indians don’t trust one another .

There are no Indians in India ,there are
Hindus ,Christians, Muslims and what not.

Indians forget that 1500 years ago they all belonged to one faith.

This division evolved an unhealthy culture.
The inequality has resulted in a corrupt society,

In India every one is thus against everyone else,
except God ¬ and even he must be bribed.

5 star enegy efficient Does it really matter?

Energy star rating: what you need to know?
When you intend to purchase an AC for your home do you need a 5 star rated ac or a 3 star rated? Is paying nearly 15% premium over the 3 star rated one justifiable?
So I went on a research and found out, unless you plan to use an ac for the entire day or for more than 8hours in a day then buying a 5 star makes a huge sense else you can be happy with a 3 star rated one.
A fan, a refrigerator and similar products which are used for longer hours of a day would require a 5 star EEf rated appliances as it would reduce your power bills by a considerable margin.
Hisham

nokia or blackberry which is a better business phone

i am very impressed by the latest iphone4. a friend of mine using this made me more interested in this product, of apple. i asked him what’s the best feature of this phone, and he says picture clarity is just awesome, you can watch movies, there is a GPS which guides your way and brilliant music system and audio.

Wow!

But have ever realized other than accessing basic internet and texting and messaging do you actually make use of the applications in this phone? They try to say what they did, but without knowing they are doing it with a lot of pain just to ensure they make use of it, not because its comfortable.

Answer my questions; can you type the same speed as you type in a laptop or notebook?

Can you edit quotation while you are travelling and ensure that every points are well mentioned, is it as comfortable as what you would have done on a laptop.

According to me a business phone should have
1) Phone book with multiple access and unlimited entries.
2) a great battery life.
3) Universal charger.
4) A good speaker phone.
5) A good audio and video player
6) A good camera if you would require taking a priceless moment.
7) And of course fast internet connectivity with wireless lan etc.
Besides this all other applications are just a gimmick,

A blackberry would do the stuff for you, no looking back, and or a Nokia E series phone are equally good, another advantage of Nokia over blackberry is its connectivity to wifi and bluetooth network is a lot easier compare to highly complicated and time consuming blackberry.

Considering that a phone will not last more than an year, spending more than Rs 20,000 on a phone does not make any business sense for business phone users.

Hisham Kabir

Competition

By Y. L. R. MOORTHI
[Management Views from IIMB is an exclusive column written by faculty members of the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore]

Who sells the largest number of cameras in India?

Your guess is likely to be Sony, Canon or Nikon. Answer is none of the above. The winner is Nokia whose main line of business in India is not cameras but cell phones.

Reason being cameras bundled with cellphones are outselling stand alone cameras. Now, what prevents the cellphone from replacing the camera outright? Nothing at all. One can only hope the Sonys and Canons are taking note.

Try this. Who is the biggest in music business in India? You think it is HMV Sa-Re-Ga-Ma? Sorry. The answer is Airtel. By selling caller tunes (that play for 30 seconds) Airtel makes more than what music companies make by selling music albums (that run for hours).

Incidentally Airtel is not in music business. It is the mobile service provider with the largest subscriber base in India. That sort of competitor is difficult to detect, even more difficult to beat (by the time you have identified him he has already gone past you). But if you imagine that Nokia and Bharti (Airtel’s parent) are breathing easy you can’t be farther from truth.

Nokia confessed that they all but missed the smartphone bus. They admit that Apple’s Iphone and Google’s Android can make life difficult in future. But you never thought Google was a mobile company, did you? If these illustrations mean anything, there is a bigger game unfolding. It is not so much about mobile or music or camera or emails?

The “Mahabharat” (the great Indian epic battle) is about “what is tomorrow’s personal digital device”? Will it be a souped up mobile or a palmtop with a telephone? All these are little wars that add up to that big battle. Hiding behind all these wars is a gem of a question “who is my competitor?”

Once in a while, to intrigue my students I toss a question at them. It says “What Apple did to Sony, Sony did to Kodak, explain?” The smart ones get the answer almost immediately. Sony defined its market as audio (music from the walkman). They never expected an IT company like Apple to encroach into their audio domain. Come to think of it, is it really surprising? Apple as a computer maker has both audio and video capabilities. So what made Sony think he won’t compete on pure audio? “Elementary Watson”. So also Kodak defined its business as film cameras, Sony defines its businesses as “digital.”

In digital camera the two markets perfectly meshed. Kodak was torn between going digital and sacrificing money on camera film or staying with films and getting left behind in digital technology. Left undecided it lost in both. It had to. It did not ask the question “who is my competitor for tomorrow?” The same was true for IBM whose mainframe revenue prevented it from seeing the PC. The same was true of Bill Gates who declared “internet is a fad!” and then turned around to bundle the browser with windows to bury Netscape. The point is not who is today’s competitor. Today’s competitor is obvious. Tomorrow’s is not.

In 2008, who was the toughest competitor to British Airways in India? Singapore airlines? Better still, Indian airlines? Maybe, but there are better answers. There are competitors that can hurt all these airlines and others not mentioned. The answer is videoconferencing and telepresence services of HP and Cisco. Travel dropped due to recession. Senior IT executives in India and abroad were compelled by their head quarters to use videoconferencing to shrink travel budget. So much so, that the mad scramble for American visas from Indian techies was nowhere in sight in 2008. (India has a quota of something like 65,000 visas to the U.S. They were going a-begging. Blame it on recession!). So far so good. But to think that the airlines will be back in business post recession is something I would not bet on. In short term yes. In long term a resounding no. Remember, if there is one place where Newton’s law of gravity is applicable besides physics it is in electronic hardware. Between 1977 and 1991 the prices of the now dead VCR (parent of Blue-Ray disc player) crashed to one-third of its original level in India. PC’s price dropped from hundreds of thousands of rupees to tens of thousands. If this trend repeats then telepresence prices will also crash. Imagine the fate of airlines then. As it is not many are making money. Then it will surely be RIP!

India has two passions. Films and cricket. The two markets were distinctly different. So were the icons. The cricket gods were Sachin and Sehwag. The filmi gods were the Khans (Aamir Khan, Shah Rukh Khan and the other Khans who followed suit). That was, when cricket was fundamentally test cricket or at best 50 over cricket. Then came IPL and the two markets collapsed into one. IPL brought cricket down to 20 overs. Suddenly an IPL match was reduced to the length of a 3 hour movie. Cricket became film’s competitor. On the eve of IPL matches movie halls ran empty. Desperate multiplex owners requisitioned the rights for screening IPL matches at movie halls to hang on to the audience. If IPL were to become the mainstay of cricket, as it is likely to be, films have to sequence their releases so as not clash with IPL matches. As far as the audience is concerned both are what in India are called 3 hour “tamasha” (entertainment) . Cricket season might push films out of the market.

Look at the products that vanished from India in the last 20 years. When did you last see a black and white movie? When did you last use a fountain pen? When did you last type on a typewriter? The answer for all the above is “I don’t remember!” For some time there was a mild substitute for the typewriter called electronic typewriter that had limited memory. Then came the computer and mowed them all. Today most technologically challenged guys like me use the computer as an upgraded typewriter. Typewriters per se are nowhere to be seen.

One last illustration. 20 years back what were Indians using to wake them up in the morning? The answer is “alarm clock.” The alarm clock was a monster made of mechanical springs. It had to be physically keyed every day to keep it running. It made so much noise by way of alarm, that it woke you up and the rest of the colony. Then came quartz clocks which were sleeker. They were much more gentle though still quaintly called “alarms.” What do we use today for waking up in the morning? Cellphone! An entire industry of clocks disappeared without warning thanks to cell phones. Big watch companies like Titan were the losers. You never know in which bush your competitor is hiding!

On a lighter vein, who are the competitors for authors? Joke spewing machines? (Steve Wozniak, the co-founder of Apple, himself a Pole, tagged a Polish joke telling machine to a telephone much to the mirth of Silicon Valley). Or will the competition be story telling robots? Future is scary! The boss of an IT company once said something interesting about the animal called competition. He said “Have breakfast &or&. be breakfast”! That sums it up rather neatly.

Dr. Y. L. R. Moorthi is a Professor at the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore. He is an M.Tech from Indian Institute of Technology, Madras and a post graduate in management from IIM, Bangalore.

Humble Doctors needs to be awarded by the government.

There are doctors who charge exorbitantly for few minutes of talk that they do with you, and then there are doctors who charge very minimal amounts from poor people.

I happen to hear about several doctors who have been treating poor people with no financial motive in mind. They have several patients too, i even have heard about doctors who attend 50 to 60 patients a day.

Since these doctors who spend their half of life in treating the poor and the needy, should be identified by the government and should be rewarded, this should be a big motivation for them, and other doctors as well.

One plan to promote doctors who are very well know and is known more for the service they do and the number of poor people that has they have helped. Forgetting about the money that they could have made if they were working in a bigger city or if they have persuaded a career abroad.

The government of each state should identify these medical practitioners and give them a state award every year for one doctor for the notable service that they do for the poor people.

By doing so other doctors also shall get motivated and do more work for poor people and less for money.

Just Biryani the tastiest biriyani in Kochi, Kerala.

if you are looking for biryani in basmati rice, then its just biryani from ideal caterers that you should visit, its a small place adjacent to padma junction on m.g.road, kochi.

They serve mutton chicken egg and veg every day.

For catering orders one needs to book with ideal caterers, at least 3 days in advance. Usually Catering Biryanis are much better than retail biryanis from ideal caterers.

Food Facts Of India

http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?263519

http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?223131

 

n June 2001 I was on a flight along with a few dozen Afghan refugees headed for America. Clutching their identical document folders they were migrating to a new land with an uncertain future. Their looks of excitement mingled with apprehension underlined the biting irony of America magnanimously providing refuge to a few from an endless war on a benighted land and its people – a war that America had no small hand in creating and nurturing. And I couldn’t help but imagine them clutching their pots and pans and heading out to open restaurants, just as Vietnamese migrants of an earlier generation did, sprinkling suburban America with family-run restaurants called Pho something-or-the-other. The one near my University served a wonderful noodle soup that gladdened the heart on dull, overcast winter afternoons. The soup was usually accompanied by lovely rolls stuffed with slivers of carrots and sprigs of cilantro whose bright colours made an exquisitely shocking colour contrast inside the translucent whiteness of the moist roll.

But then such direct culinary transplantations impelled by the imperial thrust are a modern rarity. For most of history, ideas and ingredients in food have been slowly transmitted, such exchanges meandering their way through the grand concourses of trade, historical intercourse and, significantly, colonialism. The new ingredients and cooking techniques were adapted and transformed by local needs and availability and finally assimilated into a region’s cuisine. But as with everything else, the diffusion of gastronomic ideas has quickened over the centuries, primarily fueled by European colonisation of diverse lands. Consequently, many current practices are relatively modern and rarely entirely indigenous. The chillies that are now most closely identified with Indian cooking came from the so-called New World, along with a whole lot of other wonderful fruits and vegetables brought to us by not-so wonderful colonisers. But, for me, the two most striking examples of such influences are the samosa and coffee.

The samosa probably originated in Persia, at any rate we got the idea of a pyramidal deep-fried dough jacket from the Mughals. But while the Iranian variety is even today stuffed with ground meat, it took a particular form of culinary genius to substitute it with a South American tuber called the potato and make it into the quintessential Indian snack! So the next time you eat a samosa, remember that it’s the result of many conquests. But I hope such an understanding will not offend those who harken to a pristine Indian tradition so much as to put them off thesamosa for the rest of their lives – for there’s nothing to beat asamosa with piping hot chai as a mood-enhancer, especially during a good monsoon squall. Chai is itself another instance of adaptation where milk, sugar and spices gives the tea a silken feel and richer flavour than the weaker, tepid variety drunk elsewhere with a great exhibition of ritualised formality. Incidentally, the drink is also a linguistic gift from our northern neighbours, for the synonyms chai and tea both derive from variants of Cantonese and Mandarin words that took different geographical pathways through linguistic history.

But while our samosa formed itself in the frying pan of Indian history over a leisurely span of some centuries, the assimilation of the other favourite beverage is much more dramatic. Brought into this country by Englishmen, coffee – a drink eminently suited for the cold European climes – has been taken up with gusto by the people of India’s southern peninsula where winters are but mild summers. And compounding this delightful oddity is the fact that for ultra-orthodox Mylapore mamis, a frothy, steaming tumbler of morning kapi has become de riguer. Coffee is now so intimately woven into the fabric of Tamil life that it creates its own forms of traditions, sometimes bordering on a harmless form of chauvinism. And while on the theme, the foreign origins of coffee is bad enough but one can really ruin a Tamilian’s breakfast by quoting the very convincing conjecture of food historian K T Achaya that the steamed idli is also an imported idea, this time from Indonesia!

As in all cultures, India has an enduring love affair with food. The amount of time and energy spent on preparing food (unfortunately almost wholly by women) and its sheer diversity is breath-taking. Perhaps the complexity and variety of food in the sub-continent is not to be matched elsewhere. While the staple diets of wheat and rice broadly separate the North and the South respectively, the local traditions point to the intimate nexus between geography and eating habits, exemplified in the preponderance of coconut in the food made along the lush, sultry coastal strip sandwiched between the Arabian Sea and the Western Ghats. Although the traditional theory alludes to categorisation of foods based on their effects — satvic, rajasicand tamsic — a more empirical view shows that dietary norms have evolved with some very sound rationale. In a hot, tropical land the body’s ability to fight disease is predicated on an appropriate diet, hence the preponderance of spices and condiments like ginger, turmeric, pepper and the assimilation of chillies into our cooking habits. Thus curd rice is most appropriate to end a South Indian meal as it helps one wind-down after the high drama of a fiery, main dish.

Eating is an elaborate ritual in India, one that addresses itself to the need for bodily nourishment and the pleasure of all senses. Aroma, colour, texture, temperature and taste are all important in a gastronomic experience. The traditional setting also affords a rich, visual display used to stunning effect by food photographers. In a typical meal one encounters a multitude of colours — the various shades of white (a heap of rice, pinch of salt and a scoop of dahi), the bright reds of pickles and chutnies and the many shades of yellows and browns of dals andsambhars, all set-off with spectacular effect against a green banana leaf. However the problem with browsing through such cookbooks is that the delightful images make one hungry and crave for what’s on display.

In a society where food is so central to a people’s cultural identity, pride in one’s own cuisine is inevitable. A certain amiable competitiveness sets in that sometimes becomes insular. In India, the most acute form of this malady manifests as, what I call, ‘mango chauvinism’ — where justifiable pride in the local variety transmutes into aggressive claims of its unchallenged supremacy. Such feelings are fueled by the bounty that this land is blessed with — more than two thousand varieties of the mango in all conceivable combinations of shape, flavour, aroma, and texture. My earliest memories of my grandmother’s house in the Godavari delta, are those of the storeroom full of mangoes, where we learnt the meaning of the word satiation. Eating a mango is a serious affair and deserves an independent exposition in the manner of M Krishnan the naturalist, who in a delightful essay does the favour for the humble jamun. But one certainly cannot be said to have done justice to one’s mangoes until small rivulets of juice run down the arms and the chin, at least when consuming “mangoes capable of squirting in all directions”, in the vivid imagery of a letter written to the biologist JBS Haldane.

But such pleasures are increasingly hard to come by. Today many indifferent, artificially-ripened varieties flood urban markets with lots of cash and no discerning taste. The past summer was an exception with good, succulent and juicy mangoes being sold dirt cheap, at least in Visakhapatnam. My conjecture is that this had to do with an exceptionally good crop coupled with the unavailability of the Arab export market due to the American invasion of Iraq, once again reinforcing the intimate if ugly connection of food with geo-politics. But to return to our theme, mangoes have obviously played an important role in Indian life and culture. To take one theme, we encounter a generous sprinkling of mango connections throughout our cultural history — from the association of the mango bower weighed down with fruit with the fertility of women as in the wholesome carvings of Sanchi, to the evocative colour and density of mango trees in Pahari, Kangra and other styles of miniature.

Like many things Indian, our food is also highly assimilative where an unobtrusive place is found for an ingredient or an idea in the larger dietary patterns. Assimilation itself has different forms — some are adopted in a straightforward manner (coffee), or transformed to suit local needs and availability of newer ingredients (the potato in the samosa substituting for meat) or with a mere trick of renaming with a strong, local resonance. Thesitaphal might evoke associations with the consort of Ram but knowledge that the custard apple was brought into India by the Portugese from South America should put pay to any such assumptions!

It’s a similar story with the import mentioned earlier, chillies. Now that they have so deeply insinuated themselves into our psyche, it is baffling to many that throughout most of history Indians had to make do without the fire of chillies. This coupled with the fact that tomatoes, potatoes, cauliflower etc. are also non-indigenous makes it quite hard to imagine what an Indian meal might have been even a few centuries ago. The other trope of Indian cuisine is the nuanced blending of spices that go towards endowing dishes with a distinct flavour. Most dishes have a single key ingredient (like mustard in certain Bengali preparations of fish) whose presence is heightened by a milder medley of a few other spices that act as a backdrop. All of this is of course lost in the mindless blends churned out today under the broad category ofgaram masalas where the individual notes of spices are drowned in a cacophony of muchness.

And as with many things in our confused, modern existence, changes in food culture are driven by both mindless imitation (the mushrooming of pizzerias, for example) or the simple expedient of convenience. Quality is lost in the process and spices are not the only casualty. For me, one of the most satisfying Epicurean experiences was the Bengali wedding feast — a lavish affair where everything served between the appetiser and the dessert delights the palate and all harmonise into a mouth-watering meal. This certainly points to a refined sensibility handed down by tradition and is quite demanding on both the skills of the pundit who usually supervised the cooking and the bank balance of the host.

But the richness of the experience and the authentic Bengali touch has now given way to ‘catered’ banquets that serve over-spiced and greasy fare that is vaguely pan-Indian in form and very un-Indian in taste. Thus the traditional starter of begun bhaja(fleshy slices of deep-fried egg-plant made piquant by the wonderfully pungent aroma of mustard oil) is expended with and replaced by an insipid lump of mishmash called the ‘bhejitebil chop’. Surely such abominations are not worthy of the innovative skills that have been part of Bengali tradition. For, lest one forgets, while today no Bengali is worth his name without hismaach and mishti (fish and sweets), it is also true thatrosogollas and chamchams emerged only in recent history. Bengali sweets developed around chhana (cottage-cheese) that was introduced to the region – depending on which story you believe – by the Portugese or certain Scotsmen in colonial Calcutta.

In the past millenium Indian life has been shaped in fundamental ways by the twin invasions of the Mughals and the British. The impact of these historical encounters has been well studied and their essential differences are increasingly better characterised. Coming after a series of raiders looking for loot, the Mughals finally settled down in India as its rulers. Their integration into Indian society was perhaps uneven and gradual but led to a definite synthesis of ideas, some of which were particularly profitable. I’m thinking of music and food here.

The encounter with Persians and Arabs infused a new vitality into Indian music, resulting in the sublime form of khayal. Food was similarly enriched and while the first emperor Babur pined for the pears and musk-melons of Central Asia, by the time of Akbar and Jehangir the Mughals had integrated into this land and in turn changed our food habits. Think of the myriad kababs, pulavs andbiryanis fashioned out of a marriage of Mughal ideas and Indian ingredients.

The history of the British on the other hand is carved with an entirely different kitchen knife, as it were, and points to their ultimate immiscibility with Indian society. In the early days of the East India Company, the gora sahebs adopted Indian ways — in imitation of the ‘nabobs’ — which meant taking Indian wives, wearing Indian dresses and partaking of local fare. But all of this changed with the arrival of the idea of Empire and the opening of the Suez Canal. The resultant flood of imported English brides and assorted husband-hunters changed the nature of domestic life of the British in India.

With the arrival of the mem, Englishmen withdrew from social intercourse with Indians, resulting in a hardening of imperial culture. With the new need to increase their social distance, the representatives of the Empire could no longer be eating native food, and horror of horrors, with their hands! Cutlery appeared on the table and so did the most ridiculous spectacle of a formal dinner, propah-ly dressed Englishmen living out their Victorian lives in a tropical hot-house, as hilariously recounted by David Burton in The Raj At The Table.

Such absurd pretensions to ‘high culture’ is still to be seen with anglicized Indians clumsily wielding a knife and fork to attack a crisp dosa! But every British household had a khansama who learnt to fashion, out of local ingredients, the porridges, pies and pastries that were now required. This was also the beginning of a diffusion of English ideas into Indian diet. With the collapse of the Empire, a different sort of migration has emerged with many from the subcontinent now living in England. And in a curious manner, the favour has been returned. Today chicken tikka masala is said to be the most popular dish in ye olde England.

However, while I can certainly appreciate such exchange of wonderful goodies, it is still a mystery to me as to how so many bakeries in India turn out consistently delightful cakes and pastries using fairly primitive ovens.

No account of invention and innovation in the culture of food is complete without reference to our street-food and restaurants. Street-food has a culture of its own and comes with many local variations. Most street-food, like the chats of the North or themirchi bajji of the South are of the sort seldom made at home and bring with them a certain tart-and-tanginess that hints at forbidden pleasures. And what street-food lacks in refinement, it certainly makes up in boldness of flavour, the savour and spice of it answering our occasional craving for over-indulgence. A recent phenomenon however is its increasing gentrification, with push-cart sellers being replaced by swank kiosks and cafes. But such a sanitised experience never measures up to the fun of standing next to a golgappa-wallah who plies half-a-dozen customers with his fare faster than they can gulp it down. The key to this mystery lies in an observation made by an astute journalist who after recounting his unsuccessful attempts to replicate the taste at home mused that “perhaps dirt is the missing ingredient”.

Restaurant food, on the other hand, suffers from a strange paradox. While India has a multitude of food cultures, restaurants serve a limited spread under the rubric of Punjabi and Udipi food. This has historical reasons, to do with the fact that the earliest restaurants were set up by enterprising communities from these regions. Nonetheless it has imposed a stifling uniformity of food over most of urban India. And as in the blurring of distinctness of the performance styles of different gharanas

in Hindustani  music, increasingly one can get the same indistinct fare whether one is in Delhi, Panaji or Chennai. This is a certain loss that deprives us of the delights of local fare, unless one can afford the restaurants in the rarefied reaches, well beyond most budgets. A similar forbidding price-tag means that the wave of new cafes, pizzerias, Italian and Thai Restaurants sweeping through metropolitan India are beyond the reach of most Indians.

In her evocative collection of essays, The Cooking of Music,musician and raconteur Sheila Dhar discussed the churning of ideas in contemporary Indian music — a veritable grab-bag of much dross and a few gems. But since tradition is ever in flux and always being invented, she conjectured that we might enter a new phase of innovation. What holds for music is also true of food. With millions of households cooking everyday and perhaps thousands experimenting with new ideas, the next phase of exciting innovation using new ideas and ingredients is always around the corner. The great Indian love affair with food continues. Eat on.

Finest self driving routes in Kerala India – hisham kabir

As a part of my catering contract works I do visit most of the location and as I enjoy driving most of the times I am self driven.

And in past 5 years I have traveled through the length and breadth of kerala and I have found that the finest, safest and the most exiting driving route in kerala is the one from kochi to thekkady.

Why I say so is because

A)    well tarred roads

B)     through the rubber plantations

C)    excellent corners and full of high and low plains

D)    very low traffic

E)     can judge the road well ahead

F)       safest to drive

There are not many roads that is half as exiting to drive like this one. And a car with a 100+ bhp on, the fun just gets better.

The route is as follows

Ernakulam  take kottayam route but do not travel to kottayam

Ernakulam to vaikom to thalayolaparambu  to kadathuruthy

From kadathuruthy junction take a left to pala

Kadathuruthy is the most important junction to take a turn if you want to have fun driving

From pala to ponkunnam

From ponkunnam to kanjirapally

And kanjirapally to thekkady

organised used car business in India- illogical.

I recently visited the maruti true value store as well as the hyundai authorised used car showroom.

what i have understood is that buying a used car from these people are no big bargain as the prices difference between a new car and 4 yr old used car is just Rs20,000.

so i cannot understand what logic to apply here,

instead of paying twenty thousand less for a used car might as well buy a new car.

how illogical can this organised used business be in India.

Incredible India, please read this, please take care

I would have written a 2000 word article on the poor management of tourism development board, but I know even that may not be of any use, because no one really cares.

However, I want to let know all those who read this that we should take some action to bring more revenues in our country in the form of international tourist destination.

Rule one TAJ MAHAL, India’s biggest tourist attraction should be managed with lot more care and love than what’s been done today.

Taj Mahal is not maintained well and no one really care either.

There is a Rs 300 entry fee for foreigners, and Rs 10-30 for Indians it does not matter if you are from Africa or Malaysia, china etc as you can tell you are from Assam, which leaves with the fact that all whites are foreigners and shall take a Rs 300 ticket to see Taj Mahal. Sorry this is not racial discrimination.

The Taj Mahal is the biggest attraction of large number of foreigners but its very poorly maintained, un hygienic, un productive, dirty, and Taj Mahal is not cleaned either. (Who has the time?)

If government wants to promote tourism in these sectors all the resorts, hotels and places of lodging in tourism areas like hill station and other tourist attractions should have a 50% cut in tax. Here we have a 15% additional luxury tax in addition to the normal tax that we pay.

The taxi fares should be regularized so that no one is on losses, both the taxi driver as well as tourists.

The local police need to be more active and should have police patrolling day and night and catch hold of all the suspicious activities.

Lets save India and bring more revenues to our country.

Dear Tourism Minister and people at incredible India are you listening.

Need a Safe Small Car Reserch Report.

I visited the Hyundai Dealer workshop today, and i happen to see the cars that got damaged and that saved lives of many, my self being a crash survivor, I guess I have a huge loyalty to the brand Hyundai in India. Though I believe that crash survivor is a survivor because god wanted him to live more, having said that, I wanted to do research on the total number of accidents that happen in India and of the total number of survivors how far has the car saved them.

Auto magazines like autocar, autobild, and whatcar or similar should give its customers a report on the same.

Lets hope some auto journalist take this up and we get to see and detailed report on the same.

Hisham

Auto enthusiast.

Drawbacks of management education in India

90% of all the management students that I met claimed that they are doing a management course because they felt, a management degree can improve their career, no one said “i am joining, so as to learn business”

MBA has a word administration, which I feel neither students nor management institute gives much importance to.

The system of management education needs to be changed in our country.

I feel this is completely wrong approach to management education in our country; they develop manager donkeys.

My professor during my management programme use to quote “none of you donkeys will need to wear a suit, as the only thing that you would be doing is taking your bosses lap top and going where he asks you to go”

Our marketing classes do not give importance to number crunching, where as, numbers are the most important facts as far as marketing is concerned. Facts, figures, percentage, profit margin, debt equity ratio, net ROI, weights, graphs, compare evaluation, actual sales, etc. How many of you in marketing have actually thought you need to be through with these skills, and believe me that’s the reason why MBA in marketing is considered more on to a glorified sales man job, you cannot become a good marketer unless you can crack the number game.

Most students join marketing thinking that it’s the easiest to clear exams, however, this not true if you are in IIM and similar.

Similarly with HR, most of them think HR is a feminine subject in MBA and leaving few women who are extremely successful with HR, most of them are doing HR jobs to send birthday reminders to colleagues of their firm.

HR involves performance evaluation, number game, legalities, labor laws, crisis management, corporate communications, negotiation and strategy. HR form the most important function of management, however, in most management institutes HR is neither given nor getting the value that it should be getting, as a business man what I found is that HR, is the most important function of business and well as management, the game is all about managing your resources, the most important among them being human resource.

I being a business man have understood the importance and value of HR. and sad no one is actually very keen to take up HR as a serious career.

Finance, operations and others can actually be done by computers; it’s the marketing skills of yours that can come to help to have a great career in finance.

Do keep a track of all your alumni and what they do, it’s very important to shape your career.

Catch my next article on business networking.

Gods own mistake – kerala worst state administration

Mumbai, April 2004,

Just out of my business school, working with great brand called the Levers, and just dreaming to make it big in my life, and there comes the twist of my life and career, my father was not in good health, and I had to be back to Cochin Kerala for good, and there started my new career in Kerala.

It’s been 4 yrs since i have been in Kerala, what i have found out is Kerala is one god forsaken country, no doubts, there are politicians who make parties like the congress A group, B group, M group etc and god alone knows what for? and the best part is we the people of Kerala without realising the fact have heavy discussions on who is a better group and who is not.

No one have any intention of making this state a great place to live in, in comparison with other states, Kerala has the largest number of strikes, hartals,bandh and other forms of exercises where one can just stop working, initially, I use to wonder why are there so many strike and blame the politicians, thinking, how are they so successful? later i came to understand, that, the strikes are successful, thanks to attitude of Keralites, we are a set of lazy people who just want to have some small excuse to take a leave I still have no Clue.

The low income level, I thought that was the cause of this laziness, but the answer is NO, even those with high income is as lazy as the one who has low income, so salary is not the constraint, then what is it? God alone know. May be the communist attitude that runs in their blood.

Since 4 yrs there has been no well maintained metaled roads in Kerala, the government blame it on the rains, according to the chief minister Mr V S Acuthanathan, the roads are bad because people travel in it, so it’s bound to be bad, I just wish Kerala had good safe motor able roads. Another interesting point to note is when asked for poor condition of road they say its because of rains when asked about electric power cuts every day they say its because of low rain fall. How contradicting!

THE CORPORATION OF COCHIN, says there is no place to dump the garbage, so the corporation can take only food waste and no plastic waste, no paper waste, no garden waste, shall be taken, and one should find there own measures to dumb the waste, this shall make people defaulters and then the corporation can fine them. I cannot fight with the corporation because they shall fine me for the default that I have done, without which one cannot get their business going.

The corporation can probably get a world record for constructing a smallest possible bridge in the longest possible time, in marine drive which is close to 10 meters which took a cool 2 and half years to complete the same. to add it all, it was inaugurated by a minister.

The commercial capital of Kerala, Kochi, has more number of Red Killers (the Private Bus Operators) who kills innocent lives and is back to work next day. They drive in the city roads with as much ease as driving a motor cycle. The traffic police will always help the rash bus drivers, and they will hide in small by lanes so that they can fine the small motor cycle defaulters largely for defaults like Parking in a no parking area, and defaulting the one way, and so on, however they leave the Rash driving bus drivers free. Why is it like this?

The Chief Minister of the State, Mr V.S. Achuthananthan which his favorite automobile the JCB started demolishing every so called, illegal litigation of land that has happened. He damaged several buildings in the busiest road of the commercial capital of Kerala, The M.G.Road, and he stopped half way through. I wonder, why he had to do it? and what has he attained, however the best part of this demolition drive in M.G.Road was the people of Kerala who came to visit, this like a football match and was clapping when small portion of buildings which was part of litigation was demolished, and now almost an year down the lane, the remains look like few demolished sites of a war in Iraq. I still have not figured out why was this act done? And what have the government of Kerala attained out of it.

THE SMART CITY, similar to the one in Dubai, is always in signing process, for 4 yrs its still in signing stage, do the government of Kerala strongly believe that we the people of Kerala are such great fools, i guess they do, the road that leads to smart city is the size of a service lane of a six track highway which the entire state of Kerala have never seen. As soon as you land at Kochi International Airport, you see huge hoardings which sell apartments near smart city, not knowing the fact the smart city is on the process, not yet. An apartment in the surrounding areas of smart city would cost you an average of 40laks, for which you shall if lucky fetch you a monthly rental of nothing more than 8000 for a 3BHK, the real estate developers says it’s the finest investment one can make. Does it?

Let me not blame? Today I have two food outlets, in the city, one successful outdoor catering unit, and an advertising and brand management consultancy. It would not have happened if I was not in Kerala. It will need a great leader and a great visionary to make Kerala and good place to do business in.

I dream of a Kerala, which is clean, which has no strike, which has good tarred motor able roads and a lovely place to live.

Hisham Kabir

eatouts in kerala

This is a forum to discuss and opinions on various eat outs across Kerala, known as well as unknown.

let me start with my all time favorite outlet from my childhood, and that’s the hotel sieko, at mathrubhumi jn,kaloor,kochi, their best recommended dish is a set of paroota and beef fry, this is a must have.

the next best outlet where you can get great food is hotel frys near mymoon theatre, they serve all food, however the best is beef fry+puttu set, also try their new bombay meals it worth it. the lunch with fish curry is also very good.

Hotel sahiyon, the most home made food that you can get from Ernakulam, and by far the most crowded place for lunch.

the next would be punjabi hotel in Broadway, try their lassi and also try their aloo parata their taste would beat the ones you can get in delhi.

For biryanis i recomend “just biryani” outlet, though only works in the afternoon these guys serve biryanis the way it has to be. Perfectly dhum cooked, really yummy biryanis.

kayis at mattancherry and also one at the sany restaurant at north is also serve good biryanis.

Wait I still have more to add by then you are welcome to contribute.

brands, why we buy it, Influence marketing, behavioral economics, neuromarketing

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