Monthly Archives: December 2005

Give India, Entrepreneurship and Chamber Music

Saturday was interesting. I met Venkat Krishnan (IIMA – ‘95) of Give India along with a few friends. He had some wonderful insights on Entrepreneurship, a few of which I present below, both as a reminder to myself as well as for the consumption of the general reading public:

1. If you are passionate about something, consider doing it full time. Part time endeavors hardly give you the same kick.
2. Passion is like a little flame. The activities that we engage in each day throw sand on it. The idea is to keep the flame alive.
3. Venkat recommended that we try and use
IIMA’s WAC (written analysis and communication) format on ourselves to analyze our current position in life and where we want to be.
4. Goethe’s quote on the power of commitment, about how commitment from an individual towards something makes the universe bend to fulfill his ambition, really made an impact on me.

Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative ( and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.

The day ended with a visit to NCPA where the Sangat chamber music festival was on. I have always found it hard to appreciate Mozart or for that matter any of the classical masters. Somehow, I inevitably start to day dream after a couple of minutes into any piece. I think most of the audience also felt the same way. How else do you explain the fact that on three occasions, the audience started clapping in the middle of a piece thinking that it was over. The players looked quite embarrassed, but continued with their violins and cellos. Does anyone actually listen to this kind of music in India? Well, Tata Theater (quite a huge place as far as theaters go) was actually filled up. It may have helped that the passes were free. An interesting observation I made was about the type of people who attended – mostly Anglo-Indian-type-people (sorry for the generalization) over the age of 50. Clearly, there isn’t much of a young audience for this kind of music.

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The ‘Breaking News’ Phenomena

The more and more I watch Indian media (typified by Aaj Tak and the band of cowbelt news channels and to a lesser extent NDTV), I am convinced that as a country we have not dealt with economic and social changes (post liberalization) fast enough or even adequately. The Indian media, not unlike the country itself is seen to be mostly running ahead of itself in the quest for the elusive ‘breaking news’ story.

Indians have been feeding themselves with frenzy thanks to increasing wealth and disposable incomes. This same frenzy for the fastest and the latest seems to have permeated into the rest of our consciousness as well. We will not settle for a cricket match where our team doesnt knock a 300 plus score. We will not settle for a functional mobile phone – instead we will buy a GPRS enabled 5 megapixel camera phone that we will still use only for talking. We cannot yet afford that apartment, but we will buy it on instalments (heck, if they allow us to pay by credit card, we will gladly do so). And yes, we will not settle for anything less than the dramatic or the terryfyingly hyperbolic in our news channels. Sorry, not for us those human interest stories about starving people in rural India. We prefer murder mysteries and officials caught on camera tapes. Long live consumerism! Let supply-demand dynamics determine everything in our lives. We dont want the truth anymore, we only want the truth that has the highest demand.

And so I conclude, lets not blame the news channels for what we have become ourselves.

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