Robin Hood and CSR

Across the ages, there have always been supporters to the very concept of Robin Hood i.e. it is OK to rob the evil. Also In today’s civilized world, one cannot expect that much bodily harm for being unpopular, yet one is not surprised if the people being closed minded and biased against Bad Guys. This is something which is terrible for business and hence companies have to walk an extra mile to develop a favorable public opinion.
Although there is no denying fact that many companies, out of altruism, work towards making the world a better place. However for a majority of the companies CSR is part of their PR activities.


Goodwill in Business

Today I was going across the credit growth numbers of Indian Banks and was surprised to find out that between 16th Jan 2009 to 15th Jan 2010:
Foreign banks lost 9.7% of their business. (credit offtake)
Private Banks grew by mere 9.8%
While Public sector banks which almost constitutes 75% of the total credit offtake grow by an amazing 16.8%
Private and foreign banks tend to have leaner operation cost and more convinient services resulting in lower rates and ease in obtaining credit. Now there can be 2 reasons why the public sector banks are growing at the cost of Private/foreign banks:
1. They are working extra hard to make themselves accessible to their customers while charging them competitive prices.
2. Over the past couple of years the story of private banks man-handling and threatening their defaulting customers have scared even the good customers away.
Tradition demands that the loan shark be shrewd and cold blodded in order to be able to recover his outstanding. However looks like the Public and the foreign banks in India have taken these saying a bit too seriously because now their customers are scared of them.
Note: This theory is unsubstantiated. I really need to organize myself to find out time to dig deep into it before I can confirm what I have written here.


Mini Cooper Boxes

These days advertizers are leaving no stone unturned in order to find a spot to promote their products.
This innovative campaign of mini cooper uses the garbage spots to reinforce the point that the Cooper is small enough to come in boxes. More in this link


rape and death penalty

I was always against the demand for death penalty for rapists. My reasons were:
1. I believe that society is a lot to blame when they sometimes assume that the victim did something wrong.
2. Death Penalty is taken quite seriously by law. Hence it means almost infinite appeals, re-opening the case at the smallest pretext and getting involved in a lengthy and costly legal battle. If someone believes in delayed justice being equivalent to justice denied, then this change in law will only increase the victim’s agony.
3. Usual crap against the very idea of death penalty esp. does state or anybody have a right to take someone else’s life.
However this Wall Street Journal & Mint’s article presents an economist’s view against harsh punishment. If you get time do read it because I like their treatment to the subject.


Lessons of Life

1. When it comes to Chocolate, resistance is futile
2. Your job won’t take care of you when you are ill, but your family and friends will.
Stay in touch.
3. No one is incharge of your hapiness but you.
4. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
5. The best is yet to come.


We will think about it

There is always a difference between what a person intends to say, what he says and what those words means. Since the society expects us to be polite and diplomatic, often what we say and what we meant to say are totally opposite. However all that counts is what the recipient interprets those words and a test of smartness is how well the person can pick the clues and his interpretation is close to the true intention of the person.

For example words like “We will think about it” might suggest giving some hope to the audience, but in reality it is a way to procrastinate things indefinitely.

Similarly any social meeting/date requires all the parties to agree on 3 things.
1. The idea of spending time with the person
2. A mutually convenient time
3. A venue that is socially apt and is comfortable.

Often to cut short a conversation with an acquaintance, we say words like “This was good, we should do it sometime again”. However if neither party makes any attempt from the either side to fix the time or venue, it just means the end of the entire conversation. It’s just that they want to end it on a happy note so that next time fate brings them together, then could build on this pleasant foundation.

Often people confuse between being polite and being friendly. If they are lucky, they don’t have to learn from these mistakes the hard way. However I wonder if there is a place where one can get a crash course on social skills.


Islamic Financing Techniques

Here are few of the commonly used investment techniques of leading Islamic banks.
1. Mudaraba: It is a partnership agreement where one partner provides the funds while the other manages it.
2. Musharaka: It is similar to the previous technique with the only difference being that the managing partner also provides with a part of the capital required. Hence there is a greater incentive to investing wisely.
3. Murabaha: Here the bank buys out the inventory/goods/assets and then later on resells it back to the firm at a pre-defined mark-up. Although the mark-up is very similar to the interest rate payable to conventional instruments, the bank bears the risk of obsolesce of the goods/services.
4. Ijara: This is a leasing agreement where the bank buys the assets and leases it back to its clients.
5. Salam: It is a forward buying agreement used for agricultural produce.
6. Istisna: It is used to finance construction or commission manufacturing projects. Here one party buys the goods and other party undertakes to manufacture them.


Crotch frisking

A Nigerian Terrorist Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab boarded an airline with explosives in his crotch. From the pictures of his charred underpants, I might not be surprised if he had figured out a way to use his hanging organs as a fuse. Seriously who lights his underpants on fire in an aircraft.

My problem is that now whenever I am going through a security check the security guard will not only rub his hands all over my body but now he has an extra reason to frisk my crotch too. The authorities claim to be perfectly normal and routine, yet the person ahead of me is rarely subjected to same level of molestation.

A year ago PVR had ensured that all the patrons were hand frisked by security guards before entering the show of Dostana. (a bollywood movie about a gay couple) Considering that every one of customer to the theatre had passed the security check at the entrance of the mall, I am wondering if this measure was to satisfy one of the CEO’s private fantasies.

During my stay in France, my European friends always used to wonder why I was so reluctant in sharing my residence address with the authorities or carrying any identity papers. Now if I start inquiring them about the security screening at the venue every time we make any plans for an outing, am I going to send out a wrong message? Guys help me! How can I enjoy a normal social life and yet keep another man’s hand off my crotch?