Sunday, April 13, 2008

entertainment and other new age businesses

These days, everything is getting professional - and a for-profit business.
including what were traditionally considered as pure diversion or art forms.
time was - even now, to a large extent - when artists were considered very special in their status in society, but hardly rewarded per contemporary standards.
the recent 'commercialization' of cricket teams in India is a clear example of how sports can be converted to entertainment, packaged and popularized as such.
while it is too early to say anything about the success of this approach, many of the concepts are based on proven approaches adopted in the west.
i have remarked earlier on the packaged selling of new movies in India. it feels sometimes that the entire media is part of the bigger game plan to ensure that the mind share of the public is complete to the extent of making one feel guilty for missing a movie!
of course, the professionalism has also reflected in some very good productions.
in the recent past, i can recollect: Taare Zameen Par and Five Point Someone - as two examples of taking simple concepts and converting them to a good product; one on screen and another on the theatre stage.
at the same time, a great disappointment has been 'mungaru male' - a move that was such a hit and got rave reviews. i felt that the most of the aspects - the cast, the acting, the storyline, the script etc were all very average to below average.
one more area that i have seen become more professional is in organizing outbound, adventure camps for children.
as far back as 12-14 years ago, when our daughter went for a trip to munnar, this existed, but to a small extent.
nowadays, you find many such agencies and they cater to different budgets and preferences of both parents and children.
one more area where i would like to see similar advances, though it might mean higher costs for the consumers:
- education, particularly primary education
this should help in better quality education being made available to more [if these businesses target the bottom of the pyramid] and delivered in a more consistent manner.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Parallel Societies

I remember buying palmyrah fruits from this person over thas last few years.
he was a familiar figure on the walking track along the mini forest.
a few days ago, in order to save time, we had 'pre-ordered' and told him that we would collect the fruits when we get back from the walk, as he invariably used to make us wait.
that day, after serving the previous customer, who had also pre-ordered, before us, he cut his thumb, while chopping.
i went looking for a medical shop to get some band aid, but no shop was open that early.
the next day, he was back at his post, and i engaged him in a conversation.
he was a regular farmer, with both palmyrah and watermelon. his investment in watermelon was close to one lakh rupees..
he went on to say that he comes to bangalore along with a few other fellow villagers for a few weeks, in the palmyrah season.
some person [middle man] organizes their stay in minimalistic rooms and also takes care of some other incidental expenses.
after this conversation, i began to observe how these 'nomads by design' lived.
i could spot a whole parallel society - providing accommodation, serving tiny cups of coffee and tea while they are at work, roadside food courts to cater to simple, affordable food - from breakfast to dinner..
are these the micro economies that thrive in parallel realms?
the urban elite is a very very small portion of this larger society.