Auto Driver Chandra

Please try it yourself!

Try looking for ‘Bangalore auto driver complaints’ on google, well I did, out of curiosity and google threw up 7,79,000 results! Some of them read:

Harassed by auto drivers? Now you can do something…

Auto Complaint Bangalore – Android Apps on Google Play

How to Complain Against Meter Tampering by Auto …

And so on and so forth! Yes if you have had the misfortune of travelling in an auto, driven by a particularly nasty driver, you will understand what it means.

Recently, on my way back from work, I tried to get an auto to go home which is a distance of about 5 or 6 kilometres.  As usual one auto driver asked for Rs. 20 extra (above the meter fare) while another asked a round figure of Rs. 100.

Over the last couple of years I’ve learnt that if I just keep asking enough autos, without loosing my patience, I will eventually find one who agrees for the meter rate. As I turned down the third greedy driver, another auto who was patiently waiting came up to me and asked me ‘Madam, where do you want to go?’. I stated my destination and the man quietly turned the meter indicating he willing to take me. Happy that I got an auto within the 4th try, I got in.

As the driver swung onto the 80 feet road coming dangerously close to a lumbering BMTC bus, I involuntarily gasped. The very observant driver, Chandra told me reassuringly ‘Don’t worry madam, I have been driving an auto for nearly 27 years now and have not had any untoward incidents or accidents so far”.

Noticing that he was speaking in a dialect of Kannada which was from Uttara (North) Kannada, I started a conversation with him and I was happy I did that. Below is the gist of our chat:

Chandra owns the auto he was driving, he considers himself an entrepreneur and is proud to be one. He has worked for nearly 27 years and he never refuses a passenger nor does he charge them extra. He waits till the passenger has asked all the autos in the vicinity before he approaches them so as not to irritate the other drivers. He confidently told me that he earned quite well! He said he had invested well for his retired life…

Unable to contain my curiosity I probed to learn that Chandra was the owner of a 19 acre areca plantation! Chandra told me that he had saved judiciously and purchased land for 60 lakhs in the year 2006 in his native Honnavar. He said that his 3 sons Ravi, Vishwa & Kiran were settled there with their wives and were cultivating the property.

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He proudly said ‘Madam  the property that I bought in the year 2006 for Rs. 60 lakhs is now valued at around Rs. 2 crores. My family works on the land (plantation) and it is enough to sustain us’.

He went on to tell me, ‘Madam, in a couple of years when I retire, my wife Kalyani and I intend to live in Honnavara, life there is so peaceful’. The pride in his voice was unmistakable.

By then we had reached my destination. I requested him for a photograph because I wanted to write about a ‘cool’ auto driver who is also a land owner by his perseverance and hard work…

New Guinness World Record in Bangalore!

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Bengaluru witnessed a new Guinness World Record, as more than 900 students from the Mount Carmel college simultaneously opened most drink cans of TWISS – a canned sparkling fruit juice, at their premier Cul-Ah 2016 fest on January 22, 2016.

With this, they broke the existing record of ‘Most Drink Cans Opened Simultaneously,  ‘ set by Ltd CidoGrupa (Latvia) in Ligatne, Latvia, on 2 August 2014, involving 689 people.

Commodore Indru Wadhwani, President of Mallya Hospital, Dr. Jaykar Shetty and  Chartered Accountant Rajesh Narayanan, representatives of Guinness World Records, were present on the occasion. They will validate the record and officially the certificate will be issued in a week’s time.

TWISS is the first ever multi-flavoured sparkling fruit juice to be introduced in India by TWISS Drinks India Pvt. Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of TWISS UK.

Speaking about the record, Mr. Nitin S Menon, Managing Director, TWISS Drinks India  Pvt. Ltd., remarked, “We are excited to be here in India to offer this unique beverage. We are even more excited to set this new Guinness World Record with the active participation of energetic youths. It is unleashing the women power, as this is for the first time ever that women are participating in such large numbers in India for a world record.”

TWISS is available in four flavours – Mango with a twist of Lime; Passion Fruit with a  twist of Orange; Lemon with a twist of Mint; and Apple with a twist of Blackcurrant.

TWISS supports the ‘Make in India’ initiative, as their beverages are canned at a special unit in Pune, Maharashtra.

kindle at CCD

Today I was at the Koramangala CCD (short for Cafe Coffee Day) to meet a friend and was pleasantly surprised to see a placard detailing kindle paperwhite loaded with some popular titles like – I am Malala, The Election that changed India by Rajdeep Sardesai and a couple others.

kindle CCD 2Kindle in CCD

Responding to my query regarding the promotion, the store in-charge explained to me that there were 5 or more Kindles in the cafe and they encouraged the patrons to explore the product. She was of the opinion most people already had a kindle of their own, as was my case! She clicked a couple of my photos after taking my permission…

Pleasurable experience while waiting for a friend.

I would like to know details and  effectiveness of the campaign 🙂

Let go, move on & grow!

“The reason many people in our society are miserable, sick, and highly stressed is because of an unhealthy attachment to things they have no control over.”
― Dr. Steve Maraboli,

I had a chat with an entrepreneur friend recently and learnt a profound truth; that the only way to move forward in life is to severe attachments which are harmful and move forward.

This gentleman runs a very specialized ERP solutions company but has not been able to make a sale for the last year and a half.

When he set up his business 5 years ago, the opportunity size of the Indian market of about 2,500 entities had looked big enough. Today he has exhausted this market already. The issue is unique, while the very large players opt for the more established MNC ERPs, the smaller players are not mature enough to either implement or afford his software. So that leaves our entrepreneur only the mid-sized companies, whom he has already sold to, while the AMC revenue has been trickling in, the prospects of selling any more licenses of the software within the country looks bleak. He has liquidated almost all his assets to pay the salaries of his dwindling staff. And he is in a stage where he is wondering ‘what next?’

On my way back from the meeting, I caught myself wondering how – most often we ‘hold on to something’, a job, a relationship, a floundering business just because we’re afraid to let go. The spontaneity and enthusiasm would have dried up. We would have stopped enjoying the very thing we fell in love with, believed in ardently and cherished.

It is a paradox! Holding on to the business is only sapping him of his energy and resources. Yet the power to ‘let go’ eludes him! Even to his tired senses, it is clear that there is no merit in holding on! Fear of society – and the inability to deal with the vacuum that will stare at him, once he winds up the business has kept him from taking the decision to throw in the towel. I wonder, how long can he hold on?

Is he grappling with a sense of responsibility to his existing customers or is it the worry of abandoning the employees who have stuck to him through thick & thin? Is the industry responsible for pushing the vendor against the wall, till he succumbs? If players like him decide to pull out, what are the options they (the industry) are left with? Can they manage without segment specific software?

These will be interesting questions to deal with, for which I do not have ready answers. I am sure each one of us at some point in our lives are left grappling with similar questions. My dear entrepreneur friend, you better find the answers and deal with them, before it is too late. All the best to you!

Domination by chance!

In the USA, the Nail industry is of the size of 7.5 Billion USD. The number of Nail salons & ownership according to the statistics published by the nail magazine in 2013-2014 across USA states that 51% of them are owned by Vietnamese. In California the percentage is even higher at 80%.

How did this happen? Well it is rather an amazing story, how one person influenced this phenomenon!

In 1975 at the end of the Vietnam War, the fall of Saigon led to the U.S.-sponsored evacuation of approximately 125,000 Vietnamese refugees. This group consisted mainly of urban, educated professionals who were teachers, medical technicians, and business owners in their own country. However that training did not provide them any employment in the USA.

Tippi Hedren, who starred in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1963 classic The Birds, was a volunteer with a humanitarian group that worked with these Vietnamese refugees in Sacramento, Hope Village.

Tippi Hedren
Tippi Hedren

Tippi meets with a set of 20 women who lived in this tent city and was drawn to their plight. She starts visiting them regularly and despite the language barrier is enchanted by the stories of their homeland. The women fall in love with Tipp’s well-manicured, long, beautiful coral nails and she was struck by the idea of getting them to learn ‘making nails’!

So Hedren flew in her manicurist once a week to teach the women how to trim cuticles, remove calluses and perform silk (nail ) wraps, a technique that creates long, natural-looking artificial nails. The women learnt all that was taught to them eagerly, without any clarity on how it will help them. Tippi then gets a nearby beauty school to teach the women and later persuaded them to help the women find jobs.

Thuan Le, a high school teacher in Vietnam, passed her nail licensing exam in four short months after coming to Hope Village. Hedren helped Le find a job at a salon in Santa Monica. It wasn’t easy work. Le did not have clients, manicures were not yet in vogue, and the tools of the trade were hard to find. She combed hardware stores for very fine sandpaper to use in place of a buffer.

Thuan Le, Tippi Hedren, and Kieu Chinh in   traditional Vietnamese dresses, to the  ceremony honoring Hedren.
Thuan Le, Tippi Hedren, and Kieu Chinh in traditional Vietnamese dresses, to the ceremony honoring Hedren.

Seeing Le’s success, one of her high school friends from Vietnam decided to get into the business. Within a few years, this lady and her husband, had opened one of the first beauty salons run by Vietnamese Americans.

Diem Nguyen, a former South Vietnamese navy commander, enrolled in beauty school himself and encouraged friends to get into the nail business. By 1987, the Nguyens had opened Advance Beauty College in Little Saigon, translating classes into Vietnamese.

Such success stories spread to thousands of Vietnamese refugees who came to the United States, hoping to rebuild their lives. Today, Vietnamese entrepreneurs have found whopping success in the nail business, such as the Happy Nail chain that is a staple in malls across Southern California, with more than 40 stores.

Waves of immigrants from different regions flock to the United States, in search of the American dream. The fact the Vietnamese have been able to deal with all the odds and create a niche, is quite impressive. Working in the nail industry has enabled the Vietnamese to buy homes, earn handsome revenues and in effect realize their American dreams.

From small beginnings come great things

This was the theme of the Toastmasters demo meeting we’d planned couple of months back. I loved the proverb and since the demo was in a business school, I decided to talk about 2 businesses that I knew (which) started from humble beginnings.

Though I had the stories ready, even half an hour before my session, I did not have an interesting opening! Yathiraj a colleague, saw me lost in thought and came up for a chat, I explained to him that I was hunting for a good opening for my speech and was looking for a quote or a poem which encapsulated this concept.  Ever resourceful he recited this beautiful poem ‘Little drops of water’.

I gratefully used the first 4 lines of the poem to start my speech and continued the talk with details about KFC & the Pigmy Deposit Scheme, which to my mind were great examples of small beginnings growing into great things.

Below is the gist of what I spoke:

I’ll be surprised if you have not heard of KFC! Well it was started by a retired person – Colonel Harland Sanders.

More than a good cook, colonel Sanders was an instinctive businessman who saw the possibilities for franchising his chicken restaurants at a time in his life when most people just count days!  

As the eldest a child of a widowed mother growing up in Indiana, he had to cook for his younger siblings while his mother worked to support the family, and this is how he developed his excellent cooking skills.

After trying different jobs, Sanders started operating a service station in Kentucky while simultaneously running an eatery at the same premises, feeding his fried chicken to hungry travellers. As the popularity of his fried chicken grew, he relocated to a restaurant. At forty-five years Sanders was honoured by a Governor , calling him Kentucky Colonel, in recognition of his fabulous cooking skills.  

However, in the early 1950’s, due to losses he was forced to sell his restaurant. The entrepreneur in him and the meager social security check of $99 that he received from the government, did not allow him to retire. He approached restaurant owners across the USA with his chicken recipe and asked for a nickel for every chicken dish that was sold. He was rejected on more than 1000 occasions and ridiculed about his attire of starched white shirt and white pants. Sanders persevered, and after a little over 1,000 rejections, he finally met his first Franchise, Pete Harman of South Salt Lake, Utah, who accepted the concept.  

By the early 1960’s there were over 600 franchised locations in the U.S. and Canada selling the delectable chicken.  In the year 1964, at the age of 74, he sold his business to a group of investors for $2 Million. The franchise has been sold three other times since then and continues to be a well-known successful business.

How’s that for something that started small? Read more about it here.

 

Pigmy Deposit Scheme is a monetary deposit scheme introduced by Syndicate Bank, India in the year 1928 was the earliest innovative micro finance option for people with limited means.

Small sums of money could be deposited into an account on daily basis, most people could only afford as small as Rs. five per day. It was in effect a recurring deposit scheme, as the money is deposited almost daily. The unique characteristic of this scheme was that a bank agent collects the money daily, from the account holder’s doorstep.

The scheme was introduced to help daily wage earners, small traders and farmers to inculcate saving habits and also as a means to fund their bigger capital requirements, such as a wedding, home buying, vehicle purchase etc. The scheme which was withdrawn in late 90s was re-launched in the year 2007, with a force of 3200 collectors. This time the collectors are armed with a hand held device, which captures and transfers details of the customer. Can you gauge the targeted collection (of 2007)? Well it was Rs. 2000 crore!

Though the Interest rates paid on these deposits are lower than the rates on regular savings deposits on the grounds that collection costs are high and that there is no alternative use for such small sums anyway, other than their remaining idle.  

 Well now technology has made this easy click here to know more.

Interesting isn’t it?