Writing Experiment Lab

Category: Opinions (page 1 of 2)

Covidiot + Indiot = Covindiot

Many of you must have received this. A wordplay on Covid and Idiot.

Let me just add another word to your vocab:

Indiot noun

ind·i·ot

  1. A stupid person of Indian origin who does things only idiot Indians would do.
    Don’t burst crackers in your hand, you indiot!
  2. A stupid Indian person who doesn’t follow rules, meant for their own safety.
    ‘Helmets are not meant for elbows! Don’t be an indiot you fool…’

Here’s one more word for you:

Covindiot noun

co·vind·i·ot

  1. A super idiotic Indian person who has no regard for his or her own safety in times of Covid-19
    ‘What kind of covindiot are you? Don’t you understand social distancing? What were you doing playing kabbaddi with strangers on the main road on the day of Janta Curfew?’

I am not going to share any scientific gyaan but just few tweets in order to make my point.

https://twitter.com/Roflindian/status/1241698034586513408
https://twitter.com/Roflindian/status/1241702696412794885
https://twitter.com/Roflindian/status/1241705719444828160
Mumbai actually

The full thread above basically.

While I was super pumped to stand in the balcony, clap for our doctors, health workers and essential services personnel. I felt a sense of togetherness genuinely after 2011 World Cup Victory. But all my sense of gratitude turned into anger against the Covindiots.

The problem with Indians is that only 1% of us are such fools. But 1% of 1.3 Billion is 13000000 or more.

We cannot even facepalm now because there’s a chance of infection.

Front End

I was recently roped in as a volunteer to be in charge of a Registrations Desk at an event in which close to 700 people were expected to attend. Being in the organizing team since the very beginning, I was supposed to also take care of the help-desk part at registrations because we had anticipated some anomalies and grievances. To make it interesting, we had kept a goodie box in which there were a number of small items like a customized with name keychain, a small plastic bag, a phone popper, etc. I also had the same items as loose in case some of the attendees who hadn’t registered, showed up at last moment.

Majority of the folks had registered in advance and they got their registrations verification done easily. They received customized goodie boxes and moved on. But to make it more interesting, we also decided to hand over food & drinks coupons to everyone when they came for registrations. Now, somehow the number of coupons I had weren’t enough to cater to 700 folks. To make it furthermore interesting, the event was a 2-day affair and there were different kinds of food coupons: Day 1 Lunch, Day 1 Dinner, Day 1 Drinks (soft), Day 1 Drinks (Liquor), Day 2 Lunch, Day 2 Hi-Tea. And to top everything up, not all had registered for both the days and even the Day 1 dinner. I had to keep referring to an excel sheet and then hand over loose items/goodies which also got over soon. Then there were also some issues with wrong food coupons given to wrong folks. Later, some people came back as their customized goodies had names of someone else.

All in all, despite the event being a major success and nobody getting hurt, the task of handling so many registrations was a major challenge. I had the support of various other volunteers who didn’t break a sweat and we eventually got through but at times, the exercise became a headache for everyone. For some, it would have surely ruined the experience of the event because it was the first thing they encountered. Hopefully, they also realized that we had all just volunteered and nobody had any bad intentions but just the circumstances.

No soup for you
I didn’t have the liberty of becoming the Soup-Nazi to do crowd-control either.

I also recently attended a training called ‘Design Thinking’. The crux of the training is to develop a solution or a service by thinking about the end user in mind. This might sound very easy but it takes a painstaking number of hours to come up with possible permutations and combinations of what end-user will go through and get satisfaction.

Some learnings from all of the above:

Design Thinking is a great concept to have when you have to act in a public facing job. We all know and have faced the humiliation at Bank, Transport Offices, Post Offices and other places in which we have to line up and wait for our turn, sometimes in unbearable conditions, facing atrocious services. Only if, the person who is in charge of designing this can think of themselves as the end user, the process would improve. That is the reason great companies are great because they think of their products/services in the hands of the users and how they are going to perceive it.

Whenever you have to make something for someone, not only consider what you want to deliver, also think about how the user is going to take it. Front-End of every product and every service can make or break an experience.

Featured Photo by Michał Parzuchowski on Unsplash

Watch your Watch

Let’s start with my self. If I don’t reach somewhere I am needed or I want to be on time or at least 5 minutes before, my internal system go for a toss. Unless it is totally out of my control like a traffic jam happening 5 KMs ahead, I don’t get late. In fact, the trick is very simple: Start a bit early and respect the clock.

However, many people around me don’t think the way I do. I have tried in all possible ways to make them understand how one should respect other’s time, mostly in vain. So, time and again, I give up and provide them a bit of leeway and act leniently to let it be, only adding to my own grievances. I am still constantly looking for a way to convince others to watch the watch.

Seth Godin wrote something brilliant about respecting time in his blog recently. That if one usually gets late and misses some opportunity, they tend to blame the punctual party. But if one misses a bus, or a train or things which usually start on time, they blame themselves.


You might notice that things that leave on time (commuter trains, airplanes, live TV shows etc) almost never have a crowd of people showing up five or ten minutes late cursing out the system. For those things, the things that are known to leave on time, they manage to show up. That’s because their good intentions are not welcome here.

Seth Godin

I will try to continue to be the things that start and end on time. I’ve got my conviction.

Featured Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Humbleness isn’t Hard

Millennials in India must be familiar with Roadies, the MTV Reality Show in which one has to go through a brutal and rigorous interview process to enter the contest. Needless to say, the show isn’t in sync with my point of view.

I recently came across a Twitter thread by someone who faced a brutal interview in which the interviewer hurled abuses and tried to pressurize the candidate just to test the ability of tolerance and keeping cool.

The candidate eventually got the offer but she declined it and stated her arguments via some tweets that to test someone is fine but to grill someone just to see how they perform is not the best way.

We often hear about the grueling interview processes in which the interviewer tries various techniques to confuse or intimidate or even abuse the interviewer, just to test them. Rarely, that is part of the job (like in Hospitality industry where the clients can really take all their life’s frustrations out on the bellboy who did a minor mistake). But most jobs don’t require that. Even the most popular public facing jobs which deal with people from all walks of life interacting with the employees (like banks or transport department) don’t necessitate regular humiliation.

We need to get rid of this misconception that the interviewee needs to be very strict or abusive. I was given a chance recently to Interview College Grads as well as people of experience of a decade. Although my job isn’t public facing, however, there can be pressures which can end your days badly. I feel that the way to judge a person’s ability to handle pressure cannot be tested in an hour’s interview and that can be seen only over a period of time. In fact, I can prepare myself to be humiliated during an interview and still feel alright. Although, I might not be able to deal with pressure situations for a longer duration of time, say a couple of months because everyone will have a breaking point.

We can still stay humble and welcoming while dealing with new people or those who are seeking something from us. It isn’t that hard.

Needless to say, same goes for my opinion about ragging in educational institutes. What are we trying to prove?

Does YouTube parent your kids too?

I have a nephew who is just a year old. He doesn’t speak more than baba-mama-gaga yet but what he can do with the prowess of an adult is swiping videos left and right, up and down on YouTube. He can watch hours of non-stop YouTube videos of animated characters if left unattended. I am sure, he will be easily adept at using Tinder too. I know of people whose young kids are easily pacified if given a mobile phone or laptop with YouTube already on. They also know how to ‘skip ad’ after 5 seconds on YouTube. A few years ago, the same thing used to happen with cartoons on TV but on a TV you can’t swipe up and down and click on a fancier video so that didn’t really catch up.

Do you also feel that YouTube works as a third-parent if you may, and works pretty well at it? There is no kid I have seen in recent time who is away from this culture. By kid I mean, children below 5 years of age. Of course, after that age, they are anyways uncontrollable and might also own mobile phones of their own, who knows!

It might come as only an opinion by an outside observer like me who don’t have kids of my own yet (what do I know of how to handle kids!?), but even I can guess that kids nowadays are to be kept busy and quiet when they are given a mobile phone easily, and not by telling stories, playing along, or reading books. (This also works on adults BTW.)

I saw a video (on YouTube of course), about the differences between 2 sets of kids. One set had been given a mobile phone to play with for more than 6 months. Another set had access only to physical games of building blocks and stuff. Then they were both given tasks like walk straight, make a building out of blocks, and some other hand-eye coordination games. The results were both expected and unexpected. Cynics and critics of kids with technology access would have guessed that kids using mobile phones would fare poorly when it came to physical tasks. However, both sets of kids were almost equally good. Surely, the kids who used to play with blocks were able to make a higher building with more blocks as compared to the tech-kids, the tech-kids had developed better hand-eye coordination to solve puzzles and finding things on a chart. Overall, it was inconclusive to say that tech-kids and normal kids were much different. But I would like to side with the cynics on this one. The tested group was very small and I believe that kids who will have such technology-driven pacifiers will be more difficult to please when these things are taken away from them. These kids would lack the power of imagination because they already have worlds they can touch, feel and see. They would have become addicted to them as they would have grown up more and there will be a time when they would find difficult to deal with the real world. Take our own example who have seen days of no Internet to the dial-up modem to broadband and now with smartphones with 4G. How much have we become dependent on technology ourselves that it was beyond fathomable a decade ago! And this change is so sudden that coming generations wouldn’t know how it was just 5-6 years before their birth.

I still feel that books with pictures, physical toys and games, good old storytelling and letting the kids imagine, we can raise our kids much better than YouTube. Nobody has time nowadays to cater to their kids because we ourselves are engrossed in those screens. Again, I don’t have to handle kids personally so maybe YouTube is the way to raise kids. But I request young parents to watch the below video and make your own judgment.

Suggested reading/watching:

2018, the year Hindi Music Industry died or how selling nostalgia is easy

Since I travel to and fro from work to home on a 2-wheeler, I don’t often listen to music while driving. (Those who do put earphones while riding a 2-wheeler deserve a small-non-fatal pat on their back by a more-wheeler). So, nowadays I mostly listen to music on weekends (or while doing dishes). I am not the only one but it has been observed since last 1 to 2 years that top 10 Hindi music hits comprise of at least 5-6 songs which are a rehashed version of some 80s or 90s songs. And this trend has been on a rise more so in 2018.

If you notice top songs on this list https://www.saavn.com/s/featured/hindi/Weekly_Top_Songs/8MT-LQlP35c_ or even the 2017’s top numbers on this list https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/entertainment/hindi/bollywood/photo-features/best-hindi-songs-top-10-hindi-songs-of-2017/5-baarish/photostory/59470017.cms you will find the same stat.

Have we finished our quota of original music and lyrics in Hindi music industry? Or this fashion of remixing 90s hits as official songs of the movie has become such a thing that if some movie presents original songs, they are looked down upon?

Remixing has been there since forever. But when I was growing up, most of the remixes came out only as private pop albums. They had a very limited audience of monkey-wash-jeans-wearing teens and this genre deservedly died down in a couple of years. However, movie music is the very crux of Indian Cinema. More and more of old is being served to us and I feel our appetite is now being crushed. I don’t really remember listening to any song in last 2 years which has had a really long-lasting impact on me. Rarely any song from past couple of years has hit the right note and only a handful of songs have deserved repeated listening.

I would be wrong to say that only Hindi music industry has died, of course, it has stooped to a very low level. But Hollywood has been doing the same lately. The number of franchises which should have gone done and dusted is still continuing by putting out same content in a different wrapper year after year.

Check out this video by NerdWriter about Intertextuality in Hollywood:

I understand that it is easy to sell Nostalgia. All 90s kids will remember this and that. It is pretty easy to dole out stuff repeatedly to keep generations after generations harping on the same stuff. Star Wars released in the 1970s. Star Wars is still releasing in 2018s. The core audience is still the same. Also, our innate desire to tell our friends or spouses or offsprings about the life we live or lived or the pop culture we followed will keep fueling the fire.

I will cease to watch more Jurassic Park movies after this summer when I am done with next sequel. 🙂

Getting Viral is Good/Bad?

Don’t worry. I am not going to post the latest (as on date you read this) meme here which just went viral on social media. You might have already got fed up with it and 10000s of versions of it. It might have been done and dusted by now. Or you might not have encountered that yet. It will hit you soon then. With this Viral popularity, someone would get a huge exponential surge in their follower’s list. Some viral people would get economic benefits too. Some will try to be viral explicitly by sharing explicit content, or dead bodies in a Japanese forest, or just by playing with one eyebrow, they will get unexpected fame. Even my content had gone mildly viral once. I felt generally happy out of it for some time surely. But that also leaves me with a question.

Something else will get viral tomorrow and the older viral thing would be less viral. Once the hoopla goes down, once people are done with you, once your stardom has seen the end of the curve, how do you deal with it?

I have a concern about the younger people (as well as the older people) regarding this subject. If you don’t know about the most recent viral thing, have you missed out badly? FOMO and all. How does that work out on campuses nowadays? How are you treated if you are not on all the hip-social-media-sites? Or maybe if you are not on anything, maybe that’s hip. Such a difficult time to be a student nowadays.

Concern about older generation is that they were slightly late to jump on the bandwagon but they are finally everywhere. So, when some new viral thing comes, or a new tech comes, how do they deal with this? Is it just cynicism and general contempt about the new generation or do they also feel that they have missed the bus already so at least now they should feel updated?

A few days back I saw a tweet from Amitabh Bachchan worrying about his Twitter follower count.

Or maybe, when one gets older, they become more childish.

I am now neither old nor young and I have not even hit the mid-life crisis yet. And my viral days are already over. What do I do now to stay relevant? Heh.

Photo by Alice Donovan Rouse on Unsplash