Thursday, December 31, 2015

The smartphone state

UK government wants to become a smartphone state. What is a smartphone state? After reading the article, a smartphone state is where all the administrative tasks related to being governed can be accomplished using a smartphone. It is a novel idea. A few years back, we wanted to do the same over the Internet using browsers. The transition from the browsers to the smartphone is a sign of the progress made in the past few years.

In the past few years, I have lost three smartphones. So I am very skeptical about making the smartphone as an essential element in our life. The smartphone is already controlling our lives. It virtually dictates the way we live. But can we turn it into our identities? Forget about smartphone snatchers, a breed commonly found in the big cities. We are prone to lose it anywhere. How can we make such a device into our identity? You may argue a driving license and passport can also be easily stolen or lost. In real life, we do not display it outside so often as a smartphone.

Besides the above point, what about the price of a smartphone? It has been steadily climbing. It has come to the stage we have to save for a considerable period before buying one. You could always get tied to one of the telecom operators to get a phone with an affordable down payment. Eventually, the phone would have cost you more than what you have paid in full. When will the trend turn downwards?

Tags: Musings, Smartphone, UK

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Pappettan explains why the women dress the way do while clubbing

If you are wondering who Pappettan is, click on this link and find out.

Photo Courtesy: Jithu, Paris

I was driving around the city with Pappettan. We were looking for a place to park our car and find a decent place to sate our hunger. It wasn't late in the night, and a small crowd had formed in front of one of the popular discos in the city. The sight was a pleasing one with both the sexes putting on their best behavior and also attire. The crowd formed into a well-disciplined queue. I couldn't wonder about what would be the state of these partygoers in the next couple of hours. Would they look as fresh as they looked now? Will they be behaving in the socially acceptable manner?

While my mind grappled with these questions, I noticed another pattern. It wasn't winter. But the night was cold with the blowing winds bringing the temperature a couple of notches down. The women were underdressed. They had no overcoats. It was a night where overcoats would have helped to withstand the cold. This thought also fired up the latent prejudices.

Me: *with a smirk* Look at them. Look at what they are wearing.

Pappettan: *calmly* What is wrong with that?

Me: *explains* Shouldn't they cover up?

Pappettan: *laughs*

Me: *irritated* Why are you laughing?

Pappettan: *adopts an as-a-matter-of-fact tone* It is the economics.

Me: *mistakes Pappettan's calm for condescension* Economics! What are you now? Dubner and Levitt?

Pappettan: *with a smile* I don't have to be a Dubner or Levitt to figure it out. It is the economics of clubbing.

Me: *confused*

Pappettan: *like a teacher* What would they do with the overcoat once inside the club?

Me: *unsure* Cloakroom?

Pappettan: *still like a teacher* How much does the cloakroom cost you?

Me: *gives up* Not sure!

Pappettan: *hits the final nail in the coffin* Well, you can get another drink with what you are paying for the cloakroom in this part of the world.

Tags: Pappettan Says

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Dining and drinking with business partners

Christmas is in the air. The FM channels are playing Christmas songs. People are sporting red more often than any other time of the year. The shopping malls are crowded. There are numerous emails with special offers. I love Christmas. It falls conveniently at the end of the year not only to reflect what happened during the year but also to spread light in our souls during the period of shorter days. You only see happiness around. It is also the time of the year when they organize dinner parties at work.

When the topic is dinner parties, you may find an ocean of literature floating around the internet. These articles range from superficial to detailed. They tell you what you should do, and you shouldn't do. Most of these boils down to one thing. Common sense. But as you know, common sense is not so common. Moreover, the good food and copious amount of alcohol make the limited reservoir of common sense evaporate quickly. I will not try to hammer the etiquette into you for I am no expert. However, a friend of mine narrates an incident in his life that should give us a good lesson on what not to do in the event we are going out for dinner or the walk up to the nearest public house from work.

So my friend was invited by his partners. By partner, I refer to the term used in the new age lexicon. There are no suppliers anymore which is reminiscent of the old feudal system. Now, we are all equals. Partners. So here is my friend with the unspecified invitation by the partners. It could be the nearest public house that may be followed by dinner. There is nothing formal about it from the outside, yet there is a subtle smell of official business emanating from it. Being a good sport, my friend plays along. The team comprises of my friend and three partners. They end up in a pub. In the pub, the partners order soft drinks after my friend orders beer. You may ask why? The reason is simple. All three partners are teetotalers. Since I was not there, I could only repeat what my friend said. He sums it up this way. It could have been a fun night. But it wasn't.

I am pretty sure we all have our share of horror stories. Sometimes we inflict pain. At other times, we endure pain. In a business scenario, it is not customary that you take someone for a drink. You could always invite somebody for dinner sans the alcohol. This way, you are not embarrassing your guest if you are a teetotaller. The most important thing is to ensure you have something to talk during evening other than business. This simple measure makes the whole evening much more fun. In case, you do not like alcohol and do not have enough topics, make sure you invite a friend who has these skill sets. In case, you don't have a friend with such skills, why don't you put a comment here with time and the date (and also a flight ticket and a visa, as applicable)?

Merry Christmas in advance.


Tags: Musings, Christmas, Partner, Alcohol, Dinner

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