Monday, May 29, 2017

Grading Modi

Vasu Reddy from Chicago

It is summer in India and it is also the time when students receive their grades.  In India, the toppers in school and colleges get a lot of very good coverage (outside of opportunities).  It is also about 3 years into BJP controlled government in India under Modi’s leadership.  It is an opportune time to grade him.

BJP under Modi’s leadership has renewed nationalism and has displayed better ability to deal with internal and external issues.  It has been a clear observation of the press that Modi is not interested in money or personal benefits.  He has no one to leave it to.  Modi’s family has always stayed far away from his political life and personal life (if he has any personal life?).  Outside of his minimum visits with his very elderly mother, Modi really doesn’t have family around him, nor any personal obligations.

Modi has never shown interest in any personal benefits from his office.  While little is kept secret about Modi and his political life either while he was the CM of Gujarat and now as the PM of India.  His actions and his history are obvious and predictable.

Modi has examples of office bearers before him in Shastri, Rao and Vajpayee.  Men who did not belong to the Nehru/Gandhi family.  All men of extraordinary intellect and great devotion to the nation and its people.  They served India with great distinction, character and wisdom.  Although Modi is in a different era, as with these great men the stigma of scandal and graft has stayed away from him as it did with the great men who occupied the same office.  Modi doesn’t need money (it is a fact that he has very little to his name and needs very little), and he doesn’t have a large coterie of hanger’s on and family that invariably ends up doing something to squander the political power.

India with its 1.3 billion people today is very different when Shastri, Rao or Vajpayee were in power.  Modi is in the internet and mobile and instant connectivity world.  Modi is personally aware of the power of the connected world and is also very well versed in using the digital and social media.  His regular program Man Ki Baat reaches out to hundreds of millions of people.

Indian politicians used “Garibi Hataoo” since before the independence from the British in 1947, and today it still is a rallying cry.  Modi is a master in catering to the underprivileged of India, and he has an excellent outreach to the poor as his upbringing as a child identifies with the poor.  His initiatives on cleanliness, toilets in every home, educating the girl child, women empowerment, small business and farmers loans and banking, communications, and the ever-popular eradication of black money are all pushed hard by Modi himself and his party’s volunteers across the nation.  All these initiatives are of importance to the Indians and are a path for nation’s introspection.  They are needed and everyone benefits from them, and they can be done.  Modi started off as a man with public persona of a superman internationally, but his agenda has always remained India first.  At the end of three years, Modi has not deviated from his party’s agenda.  To do everything that caters to everyone in a nation of 1.3 billion people is a super human task, but Modi does focus on a path to national development which is all inclusive and aligns with his party.  Modi does this well.

It is fascinating to see Modi in public both as BJP worker and a nation’s leader.    He is a master in working on his party’s and the nations initiatives.  With constant public and media scrutiny he has not displayed anything different with both his public and private persona.  It remains the same.

India, its people, and the world has had enough time to access Modi as India’s leader and his governance.  One might not agree with his politics but there should be no disagreement with his intentions.  In a nation that has a massive and growing young population, and its geographic diversity, Modi has done well in 3 years.  He keeps driving his initiatives and keeps a brisk schedule in attending to the nation’s needs, and above all he is scam free.

You must give him a distinction.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Other People’s Power

Vasu Reddy from Chicago

Billions of dollars are spent on US presidential elections.  This is just for the president, and untold amounts are spent on congressional and senate elections.  Politics itself is a massive industry (in every election cycle) as advertisers, promotions, travel, hotels, people, industrial and human resources, cars, busses, oil and gas, and everything else in the country is mobilized and paid for by the campaigns.  Although the money is raised by the candidates, it mostly flows back into the economy.  It is well accounted for and well spread out into the nation’s economic system.  Candidates raising money and spending it on bashing each other, is in one way adding to the economic activity.  Although we don’t hear the coverage on economic impact of raising campaign money and spending it.  With each election cycle the campaign spending keeps growing (just like our national debt).

Political action committees and various loop holes in the system allows for raising huge campaign contributions and spending by small group of individuals.  They also yield massive power in directing the economic and political direction of the nation.  Both the democrats and the republicans, as simply politicians, who get elected with the help of massive contributions.  That’s the lead for power, with other people’s money or it really is other people’s power.

Why are people making massive political contributions?  No one gives political contribution just for the love of politics, they do it to influence an economic and political agenda.  The billions spent on political campaigns can be spent on education, health, urban development or any other people related programs, but the political contributions are limitless outweighing the philanthropic or humanitarian causes.  My comments no way ignore the huge contributions made to humanitarian causes, it is just politics command power that comes with winning elections, and money has a major part in winning elections.

In the 2016 USA presidential election Trump did not need anyone’s money.  He started out campaigning that he was going to self-fund himself, which ended up not being the case.  But it was very appealing to have someone run with own money.  The idea was he would not be indebted to other people’s money.  Trump ended up taking in more money than anyone else, and continues to take OPM.  Although we are only in the first few months of Trump’s presidency, he has already started raising money for 2020.

It is a fact that political agenda will follow the money, and put someone in power.  The more money, the more opportunity for power.  There are distinct differences between the priorities of political parties and their ideology, and just about half of the population determines the priorities every four years.  Money that powers the presidency drives the next four-year agenda.  Nothing drives the national agenda other than the very large amounts of money.

Monday, May 15, 2017

The Dalmatian Man

Vasu Reddy from Chicago

In my early days of international travel without the mobile, internet and still on road maps and local telephones, I travelled to the old Yugoslavia several times.  When I last visited the Yugoslavia, it was still under Milosevic rule.  I worked the markets in business development for telecommunications, and a beeper was a fancy gadget at that time.  In my many trips to Eastern Europe and travels to lands where I spoke none of the language and many times crisscrossed the world, all I found was support and help to work effortlessly.  Those were the days documenting anything was not as it is today, so only memories of the many wonderful local partners (friends) that remain with me, and their friendship.

I did spend a reasonable amount of time working on Yugoslavia (never got to see a license).  From staying on the Danube in an old fort overlooking Novi Sad, to cross country trip in a Volkswagen from Belgrade to Zagreb, and many wonderful places and people, who remain fresh in my memory.

My travels allowed little time for sightseeing.  Only time to look around was when the local partner made the time to drive around to see the attractions quickly.  In those days, I could not venture out on my own, simply did not have the ability to google as we do today.  You were 100% dependent on the local partners.

One of my trips included a visit to Dalmatian Sea, via Zagreb (now Croatia).  I have purposefully left the names out of the local partners.  The government contact who I was supposed to meet and work with was available only in a weekend.  I was already in Europe and I agreed to spend the weekend, with them working.  I travelled to Zagreb, check into my hotel, and then leave my stuff behind to go to the weekend cottage on the Adriatic Sea.  We briefly spoke of what I was trying to accomplish and working on the deregulation of telecommunications, and then got on a little (single) motorized boat.  Although apprehensive on getting on the ocean on such a small boat, they four of them let me put on a life jacket, and we set off with food for the weekend, and me into unknown.

Luckily for me, the sea was calm.  The four-other people on the boat had never seen or met an Indian person, so they kept me fully occupied with questions, and me responding to each of them.

Check the information on Dalmatian Sea

You could look thru the ocean, may be 100 to 200 feet or more and see the ocean floor, white rocks in the blue of the water.  If I am guessing you could see the ocean so clear, it was amazing.  I even saw some dolphins checking the boat out.  If I was brave I could probably reach out and touch them.  I thought they were either tracking us, or showing us the way to the island where we were heading out.  Our destination was an island rock, which simply showed up in the middle of nowhere, and it was steep up hill.  I had no idea on how we navigated to the right island, as there were many that looked similar, and later when we needed some supplies we headed out on the boat to the general store on another little island, and we got back without getting lost.  All the islands were similar.  White rocky islands popping out of the Adriatic, and you can consider the blue ocean as deep as it could get.  Blue and white rocks.

I was happy to have made the trip.  The family was fantastic after they got over their initial Indian curiosity.  They all spoke English so we shared good vibes, and only minutes into getting to know each other, got to like each other.  It was trip I did not plan, but was glad to have made it.

Going back to my main look at the Dalmatian Man.  While we were going into our weekend place on the island, I was observing guys with fishing poles on just about everywhere, and when we went out to get the groceries from the nearby island’s general store, same thing again.  Guys happily sitting and fishing.  I asked my host, what’s going on and why the men happily fishing?

The answer was they simply fished for making lunch or dinner, and they came back again when they needed.  No pressure of work, no pressure of travel or no worries about anything in general.  Probably looking at my face which displayed wondering about the Dalmatian Man, the question to me was why are you doing what you do; work all the time, travel all the time, worry about the world and what’s happening, and everything that I did to live my life.  My answer was simple so that I could work hard and provide for my family, and relax.

With a grin my host asked, what do you think these guys are doing?

Many years after this experience in the Dalmatian Sea, and the wonderful Croatian Family and their hospitality, the whole life revolves around feeding a little stomach and having a roof.  There was very little effort on the happy people of the Dalmatian Sea, who were happy just to be where they were, and there I was running around and chasing the work that did not even exist.  I have often wondered, and I continue to wonder why?

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Commitment and Results

Vasu Reddy from Chicago

For more than 10 years I have been blogging with time off when I really got sick.  Much of my weekly columns revolve around AP, India and the USA.  Some politics, some personal stories but I try not to get promotional.  I used to write movie reviews when the south Indian movie watching was still in its infancy, and getting a few hundred people to the theater was a big undertaking.  There was no email internet and programmed advertising was not existent.  Sticking posters, flyers and calling with some email was the only way to reach out to the audiences.  We did write reviews right after the first show, and was never sure if the reviews were very effective, but clocking into 2017 the movies are promoted in every medium, reaching to every possible regional language.  They are also shown in 100 of screens and in all markers where the target audience is.  Digital copies are delivered on time (rather than massive 16 reels) and location doesn’t matter as digital copies can be delivered in all locations.  The movie making is expensive, advertising and promotions also very expensive, and cost of distribution is only for the elite and rich.  I don’t think I could be a distributor in this market, but I know the scale of the business 10 years later is massive.  This is true for every Indian language movies.

The spring of 2017 has really been an eye opener for even the well-versed moviegoer.  Baahubali 2 The Conclusion is just into its second week in the theaters.  It has amassed over 1,000 crores in about 9 days.  The first part Baahubali 1 The Beginning was a massive hit which made over 650 crores at the box office, but the conclusive version is massive.  A combination of both movies might tough 2,000 crores by the time the theatrical run is complete.  It could be higher.
No matter what you say about the movie, the audience acceptance and the box office reports of a regional language movie is unparalleled.  For 2,000 Crores, you could create a nice sized and very sophisticated town in India.

To go back to my earlier days in blogging and writing, I thought that the regional films and issues we given little importance in the national media.  Irrespective of the importance or success regional news got little press or somehow tied to someone in the north Indian market as a catalyst to the regional success.

Baahubali 1 and 2 had absolutely no contribution from anyone from Bollywood, except someone purchased both the movies at an excellent price and made huge profits on both.  Still, the national media will unabashedly attribute the success to the distributor.  Neither the media nor the guy who bought the movie/s can simply attribute sole success to the movie makers.
The real makers, director, actors and all people involved in the massive success of the movie/s have not just investment money but also 5 years of their life into the success of the enterprise.  Perhaps the movies did not need the help of the national media as the internet does the magic to get out the word on anything good.  The success of the Baahubali enterprise is not just unparalleled for a Telugu movie, but also in the entire Indian movie market.  Not just because of my native language and the treatment that is meted out to the regional enterprises and people, the success of Baahubali is only because of the commitment of the people who made it, and the results are obvious.

When we experienced the success of Baahubali the beginning, we knew the conclusive version of Baahubali will be as successful.  The result is astonishing.  The reception by the national media limiting the box office success and the people who made it happen is also not astonishing.  What is not astonishing is the magnitude of economic success to everyone involved in the franchise.  It will no longer make me wonder about the national coverage of regional success stories, even when they are earth shattering.  What makes me feel emphatic is that the grounded nature of the main characters of this massive business, marketing and profitable venture, which not just made money but also movie goers watch the movie/s in awe.


Monday, May 01, 2017

Showers and Flowers

Vasu Reddy from Chicago

The idiom “April showers bring May flowers”, although meaning that everything happens for a reason (circle of life).  “Good” reason in true sense with the circle of life.  The weather and its seasonality displays the utmost discipline to seasonal reasoning.  If you live around the Chicago area, you will experience the glory of all four seasons; summer, fall, winter and spring.  Year after year, the experience of each season, the dramatic changes to the landscape, people’s dress code. Different smells of each of the changing season every year, and the psychological impact on people in each season.

No one season makes everyone (anyone) happy.  People always have the adage of; too cold, too hot, too windy, too muggy, too much rain, too much snow, and too much of something or the other with the weather.  We seldom have the reference to a perfect day for everyone.  Children have perfect days when on holidays and adults when simply lazing around.  But the psychology of our reaction to weather is always changing, just like the weather itself.

The obvious observation of weather changes and clothing and the businesses and malls gearing for seasonal attractions to bring in the people back to buy again and again.  It is amazing how each family loads up on the same stuff every season, and kept interested in buying same stuff year after year.  The special references to the parts of the nation where the weather is seasonal, and the need to dress for the weather.  Not to forget the cars and automobiles that get winterized and sort of get reintroduced to the warm weather.  What would happen to the snow based business and back to summer, and keep the cycle going.

Seasonal Businesses are quite adept to their part of the year.  Each season and its support services, the quick adopting to the quick changes to the environment is as simple as the seasons themselves.

Simply experiencing the weather and watching the four seasons in full splendor itself is magical.  Although the experience of hot, cold, wind, rain or whatever is bestowed on us daily, it is what it is.  We can’t control the elements.

We have worshipped and memorialized the weather thru out human history.  Hindus worship every element on earth.  The appreciation and acceptance as the weather happens is probably simplest way to live, as there is not much that can be done about what the day brings.

While we enjoy, and experience the seasons, the appreciation can certainly be in form of respect for the nature and conditions around us.  Weather patterns don’t change in short term, they are long lasting and long running.  The trash we throw and the fuel we burn is only about a 100 year in breakneck speed.  We know the history of the world shows long cycles of nature’s behavior, and the last 100 years has been the poorest in the treatment of nature.  We can stop the abuse, and allow the nature to take its natural course.  While millions of species have become extinct because of humans, we can slowly reverse the destruction of nature, and keep the four seasons flourish and allow people to experience forever.

Past Perfect

Vasu Reddy from Chicago It has already happened. Past is already on the books, recorded, and can’t be changed.   It ...