Posted in Human Series

Expectation vs Reality

Hello Readers,

First of all a very happy new year to all of you. 2018 was a roller coaster ride for me. I started a podcast for the first time and did a couple of podcasts successfully. In 2019, I will try my best to complete the halted A-Z Actors series, Human series and apart from that I promise you some interesting articles along with many more podcasts.

This year’s movie race started with an interesting race for Pongal. After a very long time, Super Star Rajnikanth’s movie is released along with another big star. Ajith – Siva combo’s fourth collaboration Viswasam competes with Rajnikanth – Karthik Subburaj’s Petta. More than the movies the reviews of the movie brought in a lot of buzzes. Many of the reviewers I respected gave good reviews for Viswasam more than for Petta. This created a lot of rift among the movie watchers and as usual, the fans started fighting and taking the fandom to a new level.

This incident was quite interesting to me than the movie itself. So what makes the case scenario here is our expectations from the product and what we get in return. The case with Viswasam was most of the reviewers must have had a very low expectation after their previous outing Vivegam. One must have felt that this can’t go low beyond that, and what they expected from the teaser, trailer, and music is just a plain star vehicle with tonnes and tonnes of build up. In a way, it had these elements but along with it, the movie had a pleasant surprise in terms of characterization and acting. No mansplaining, no misogyny, and tonnes and tonnes of tearjerkers made it work. Although the movie follows the usual commercial track, it was made interesting with performances and investing the audience emotionally. Kadaikutty Singam in a way did it perfectly last year. This made the reviewers rate the movie higher. On the other hand, we have Petta written and directed by Karthik Subburaj. This movie marketed with the tag Get Rajnified created a lot of buzzes to showcase the 90s Rajni. And the first half indeed satisfied the Rajni Pangs. But in the second half where the story begins people kind of expected a Karthik Subburaj movie was kind of dissatisfied with the end product. This didn’t satisfy the fans of Karthik Subburaj in a way. But the fan wars starting comparing the two movies and the discussion of how can you give more stars to Viswasam than Petta.

I took this curious case and applying to another situation called Food. We go to a roadside shop where all they offer is Idly and Dosai. These shops may not have variety and all they give is a consistent, simple dishes worth for your bucks. You go away from the shop with greater satisfaction. At the same time, you might go to a coffee shop and order a delicate dish which is made by the chef with a lot of passion and artistry. With the hype and the money involved you have had a huge amount of expectations for the dish and somehow the dish is not meeting your expectations and you give them a poor review and go away dissatisfied. Now, would it make sense to compare the two shops? A chef can’t come and say my dish involves a lot of artistry and passion, whereas the other one is just a regular dish and it has nothing great about it. This won’t make any sense right? This is exactly the scenario now. On one hand, we have a product released with least expectations and it delighted the customers with a greater value proposition. On the other hand, we had a product which promised much more and in no way it is not a bad product but due to rocketed expectations, the reviews came out differently.

This again brings us a beautiful question about human emotions and a strategy for marketers. Keep the expectations low for the consumer and delight them with a product of higher value. This definitely gives you an edge over your competitor. In this case, I want to talk about two other films which in a way did the same in terms of value proposition and delighting the customer. Kanaa and Seethakkathi are the two movies which did the same. Kanaa on one hand was not marketed as a Siva Karthikeyan movie, but his extended cameo served the movie well and was well received by the audience. On the other hand, Seethakkathi, which had extended cameo by Vijay Sethupathi was marketed as a Vijay Sethupathi movie but he had only an extended cameo and the value proposition was not leveled. This again resulted in diverse reviews.

As you might have seen that I have suggested that keep the expectations low and delight the customers. Once the customers are delighted due to positive word of mouth the sales/revenue will increase and the product will get its reach. But, will it work when the stakes are higher? will it work the same way if enough buzz is not created for a product which involves huge money? Will a product so big can wait for the word of mouth or the cushion period to reach for a larger crowd? This is the question that the marketing person has to take. How are you going to position the product? what basis will the product become successful?

Apart from a product isn’t it also the same with life? Relationships falter due to expectations. In every scenario, we measure on a relative scale and not on an absolute scale. We create a relative scale for people, situations and actions. We measure them based on our perception and weight given to their actions and then react for the same. If a friend does something, we take it casually, but if a partner does the same thing we see it differently. This weighted ratio of priorities and perceptions makes human perception unique.


Posted in Auto fiction, biopost, Human Series

The Dosai Phenomenon

Hola Readers !!

It’s been a while since I spoke to all of you through my blog. The last post was made on August and I have been constantly ranting about writing few blogs a week. People who know me very well know that I’m in a relationship with procrastination for a long time. My relationship with procrastination is like every other relationship. It is filled with love for each other and let go is never an option. And of course as people say true love always has this let go part so that it comes back strong. I just thought of letting it go by writing a lame blog post. As you might think if my other blog posts are sane, that’s a different story though. So as I started typing I just forgot what I wanted to convey through the blog post but then thanks to the title which again brought me back to the topic.

As many of you might have known that now a days I’m active only at Instagram in my handle Vada Master. Food being my eternal love with whom I often cheat, gives me life lessons more than anything else. I travel to my home at Chennai from Karur every weekend. And on Friday I avoid cooking at home to avoid doing dishes. I always want the Friday to be free of these works. I buy my dinner at Karur railway station. They make hot dosai at 7.30pm. My train will be at 8.00pm. if I go earlier I had to wait till 7.40pm to get the hot dosao or I have to buy some other dish. I usually plan my time according to that. Usually I like to be at the station at least an hour before relaxedly. But this made me wait and seasoned me the utilise time perfectly. This is so unlike me, yet I enjoyed the process. Then came the days where they didn’t make dosai at all. So I had to go with some other dish. I longed for dosai. I was waiting the time to get it back. It in a way became my obsession to root for dosai at Friday nights. I will be excited to savour that dosai at Fridays. When it stopped it shooked me. That was the moment of truth for me. It hit me hard and showed me my focus. The locus of my focus was staggeringly scary. The whole day dosai took away my concentration and failure of attaining it made me sad. But that repeated unavailability made me see the picture clean and clear. Then I started having some other food, probably home made and packed sometimes. After a long long time today I bought food from the usual railway station canteen and they had masala dosai tonight. It was first time I am hearing this in this 2.5 years of travel. Oh boy !! It tasted better but what it did apart from making me happy is making me calm. I am calmer than before. This dosai tasted something more. It satiated beyond tastebuds. The life lesson here is until you are attached and rooting for your dosai you won’t understand the real taste of it. Let it go, when it comes back it tastes better than ever.

P.S: The cover image is just for representation. The Dosai looked ask tasted different.

Posted in Auto fiction, Human Series, Uncategorized

The abuse of technology

Technological abuse has been talked widely. How we are abusing technology is spoken by the world in order to optimise the usage. Here today, I wish to talk about the abuse in the name of communication.

The golden age of texting started with unlimited messages pack. You can send upto 4k messages per month for some 28 – 49 rupees. These message packs brought the culture of forward messages and saving precious messages from special ones. Those days each and every mobile user preserved each of their texts. With just 160 characters for each message it was seen as a skill to convey a message within that constraint. That was the age where the inbox had limited storage, so the waste are dumped in the bin. This helped in keeping up with the culture despite introduction of Unlimited message packs.

The issue started with the introduction of WhatsApp and other messengers which gave all of us unlimited messages to communicate. Also the increase in storage space gave the opportunity to forget about space. All of a sudden the need to count the words stopped. Not only we stopped accounting our words but we also stopped from being accountable to it too. We started abusing it. We wanted the communication to happen then and there. We wanted immediate response to everything. It stopped us from thinking.

When a friend yells at you via sms and you are drafting a text message in return. It takes time. It gives you time to think. But it’s not the case with instant messaging applications, they let you be your unabridged self. They caught your reflexes perfectly and broke few bridges while burning many of them. This has made the rift between heart and brain bigger. Now we don’t cherish the messages but rather we have taken it for granted. We are keen on the time taken and the time spent by the person rather than the content.

When was the last time you had a heartful conversation when you thought a lot about it and it all happened fast? If you have had such conversations then my well wishes, if not then think where these conversations went?

Remember our parents sending letters to the relatives and it was cherished for its care, richness and language? When was the last time we had such conversations? Let’s leave them, just think which was the last time you spent great deal of time while texting a friend? When was the last time you remembered the conversation rather than grudge?

These are just few points to ponder.

Posted in biopost, My Experience, Personalities, Scribblings

Happy Women’s day

Every day is women’s day, we don’t need a special day to celebrate women. You might come across this line today in your social feed or the usual women are so and so and the deity-ification of women posts. It is quite inevitable to avoid the extremes on days like these. On this day I am joining the masses and wishing all the women a happy women’s day. Just like the rest of the world I too wanted to say every day is a woman’s day and I was just wondering when was the last time I shared my gratitude in any of the platforms? Although I can come up with numerous occasions for the same, I felt why not use this occasion to convey your gratitude for all the women in your life. That’s precisely my post is all about.

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First of all, I would like to thank the woman who shattered all the stereotypes even before I got exposed to it. She is the strongest woman I have ever known. She also made me break the thought that strong is not devoid of compassion. She taught me not to give up so easily with lots and lots of demo. She instilled hope even before Andy Dufresne did.

I would like to thank the woman who made me realise what kind of person I was. When acceptance is your biggest fear, acknowledging you as a bestie when none dared to do so makes one feel special, feel inclusive and instil confidence. When I was running away from my roots and she showed me the way to sit back and explore the roots. She also showed me the power of righteous anger and what trust can do to a person. A mere thanks would never suffice but it’s my way of saying that I’m indebted to you.

Playing the role of a mentor and mentee at the same time is always fun. You don’t have to share the same ideology to get help or help a friend, all you need is a good heart. It is not at all essential to share common ideology to be buddy cops. It is okay to have an opinion and you won’t be judged based on that neither should you judge a person based on her/his opinion is one of the most important lessons I learnt from a friend. Thank you for being that friend.

The thing with thinking is if you start a bit of thinking your mind starts assuming yourself as a genius and gives you a point that you are always right. The so-called intellectual superiority is one of the worst ever disease or prejudices a human can have. You need some hard-hitting blows to remove that superior being from your mind and when you think that something is your forte, a person comes and shatters it as if it’s just a child’s play. This is a person who comes and shatters all your prejudiced notions about yourself and helps you rediscover yourself. This might be a little hard to digest but it is necessary for everyone. This woman made that possible. Thank you for helping me to rediscover.

It’s said popularly that all women are god and the first thing that comes to insane mind like mine is why I can’t I converse with the god. Thanks to the one woman who made that possible. It’s not often that you have a grave problem and the person comes up with the solution although in a different context. You have a great thought and think of it as a breakthrough but then your friend comes and contradicts it as if it’s nothing. You are stubborn at something, she’s even more stubborn and you both discover something great at the end of it. You become more receptive towards new thoughts, you push yourself to a greater extent and you finally see a silver lining at the end of the tunnel that you might become a decent human being someday. Thanks to her for making the world a better place for everybody by making me a better human.

You can go on and explain every friend’s contribution in terms of growth and so on but just being a friend is much more valuable than anything else. Being a friend means you don’t expect anything in return, you are just present in the moment. It’s much more of a selfless and an agenda-less act which needs a great amount of grit and guts. Being a friend means you trust them with your life. You understand them wholeheartedly. You accept them for who they are. I am so glad that I have a few. While I share my humble gratitude to all the women above, I’m bowing down to that friend who has been there for me. The friend who never shied away from pointing out me when I am wrong, the friend who never doubted me, the friend who said it out loud when I am absurd, the friend who discussed a lot with me believing I know all of those topics, the friend who listened to all my stories, the friend who listened to the interpretation and explanation of Pi, Spirituality and so on, the friend who calmly listened to all my questions, the friend who made my travel call a ritual, the friend who said it aloud, the friend who listened to all my absurdities.

Thank you to the all the women who made not only my life but the lives around me far better and more sustainable. On this day I take some time to remember, acknowledge and bow down to all their efforts.

Posted in Reviews

The Great Indian Diet – A Beginners book on Indian Diet

The Great Indian Diet by Shilpa Shetty Kundra

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Great Indian Diet

The Great Indian Diet written by Shilpa Shetty Kundra and Luke Coutinho is a pretty good book. I was pretty apprehensive while buying the book as mostly the books by celebrities has its own way of deviating from the focus of communicating the idea to self-advertising vehicle. Thankfully this was not a complete one such book.

Luke is one important person I personally follow and was pretty much eager to know what has he brought to the table. The book starts with giving great inputs about certain indigenous foods and how to take it. Sometimes we do take foods in a wrong manner which defeats the purpose of the food on the first hand. The authors have slowly introduced the foods and methods to take those foods. This in a way gives you a good idea of living healthily with just Indian foods. In the age of westernisation books like these gives a glimmer of hope for local sustainability. On a holistic point of view, these books can help in striking a balance in food consumption.

Having said all that, I find this book to have a little slower pace and I am unable to agree with all the points mentioned in the book. The first thing that came to my mind when reading this book is the work of Rujuta Diwekar. Although many of the thoughts of both the nutritionists align they do differ at certain points drastically. Rujuta’s books on similar subjects can hold your interest with many real-life examples while this struggles a bit on that account. Secondly, few foods are said to be healthy while the facts about that a not elaborately explained. Also saying Fructose cause no harm or helps in diabetes is not making any sense. And also suggesting fruits as a dessert too is a bit harmful.

What makes this book readable and likeable is bringing people back to their roots. Also, This is a good book for beginners to get an idea about the diet with Indian foods. The key points discussed in this book are cut out processed foods, eat locally grown foods and differentiate good and bad fats. Opt for local oils and use in moderation. Also above all keep your calorie intake in your mind. Despite the title being Great Indian Diet, the authors have included a few foreign names such as Stevia, Oats and so on into the diets along with the regular Indian staples.

A good read and you can know a bit more about the Indian Staple foods along with some recipes and a model diet chart.

View all my reviews

Posted in biopost, My Experience

Revisiting 2017 – A review of resolutions

2017 is a year which was a perfect sinusoidal wave. The ride took me to greater heights of happiness and equal depth of sadness and bitterness. 2017 is a special year for me because it taught me a lot. Yearly resolutions might sound so cliched yet it is one of the best ways to streamline and/or explore your wildest dreams.

In a way terming the year 2017 as the year of resolutions makes a lot of sense. The year of 2017 started off with three major resolutions of reading 14 books, writing 100 blogs and reducing 5 Kgs. As usual the over-enthusiastic January supported all the resolutions wholeheartedly but it’s the February which casts its black magic to stop the progress. Hitting a roadblock isn’t something uncommon when dealing with resolutions. The month of February waned away.

Then came March, so was the enlightening. All these years, I was repeating the same mistake of having a goal and working towards achieving it. This might look like a good deal, it actually is a bad deal. Keeping goal to tab the progress is fine but it also hinders you in several ways. Taking the cue from Chuck Palahniuk, “the first rule about resolutions is you don’t talk about resolutions.” Yes, I forgot about my resolutions or my goals. All I wanted to do was to change my lifestyle. I was once a reader, I lost my reading habit. I wanted to get back to reading. So the 14 books goals were just to keep me reading. So then I took the goal away and decided I would spend at least an hour of the day for reading a book. That is non-negotiable and not susceptible to circumstances.

This helped in focusing on enjoying the book and its contents rather than keeping tabs on the goal and see a way to finish the goal. Once the stress of goal completion is taken away, all I had was a great communication with the books. Some books got completed in a day or two while some books took its own time to seep in. On the whole, I lost track of the counts intentionally. I enjoyed reading the books. Another big advantage I had was having friends With whom I can discuss the books. I had to admit that it was a serious blessing to have people to talk about your daily reads and its interpretations. This accelerated my reading and it became a habit over a period of time.

The second big resolution was to post 100 blogs. Thanks to A-Z series and 28 Days of Love series, I was able to cross the 50 mark so easily. Just like books I forgot about the numbers as I felt it might hinder the process. Around November when I checked the number of blogs it came to 88 which is little shy of 100 and I had some good four weeks to complete my 100 post mark. So in order to finish the 100 post mark, I started experimenting with microblogs and voila, the birth of Unbaked Cookies happened. This gave me a scope to experiment with a new form of storytelling. Those character constraints made me push my limits. Within a span of 30 days, I was able to complete 26 of such posts. Although I, along with a couple of friends are not ready to count it as an individual post I had to accept my failure to finish the 100 posts mark in terms of blogging. I tried to write few blogs to complete my 100 post mark, but all the blog posts felt forced and didn’t live up to the usual standards of my blog. This once again proved that the quantitative constraints have its own demerits.

But to establish this point much clearer I take this opportunity to talk about my extreme failure resolution which was seen as a roaring success by many. This is one such instance where you don’t know what went right and how it went right. The third and most important resolution was to take care of my health and reduce a good amount of weight. From 85.2 Kg I came down to 78.4 Kg. This was seen as a success by many of my friends and it indeed looks like one.

When it came to weight loss, the goal took an annual lease in my mind. Being an unstable confusionist(yes I know there isn’t a word like this) I experimented with a lot of methods of weight loss without being loyal to one particular method. This in a way took a toll on my health and certain foods started giving problems while consuming. Then again I have to leave all those modern methods and start from the bare basics of Calories In and Calories Out and then nutritional values of the food intake. One book that helped me in partially achieving what I wanted to achieve is Warrior Diet book in Tamil by Osai Chella. The author shared his step by step transformational experience in the book which helped me in stabilising my health. I lost a decent amount of weight through this method and I am pretty happy about it. But I want to streamline my food habits and reduce a lot more this year. Maybe I can work on something soon and streamline the process rather than sticking to the goals. 

These three resolutions taught me exactly where I went wrong and where I went right. It was refreshing to see myself enjoying the journey rather than rushing towards the goal. How concentrating on the journey gave me better results and made me a happy person shows the need to follow that. At the end of the day if you are not happy with doing what you do, then you need to introspect your actions. From the lessons of 2017, I have sorted my priorities for the year of 2018. I may or may not stick to my goals but definitely be going to enjoy the process and the journey thoroughly.