Saturday, August 8, 2009

I am an Indian

Ideally, there is a first mover's advantage, which, unfortunately India has seldom had. If that wasn't enough, we don't even inculcate learning-from-the-first-mover's-mistakes advantage. So what have you ? Most of the newly born and toddler book retail chain stores in India not learning from their grandpa like stores in the West. They seem to be repeating the same mistakes, if not actually inventing graver ones. Book buyers looking at what gives them better profit on paper rather than understanding what a book has to offer is certainly a doomsday call in book-selling. And then you have salespersons in book-cum-music-cum-gift stores who don't know their Erich Seagal from their Enrique or their Jagjit Singh from Khushwant Singh. Singh is King after all, same difference !

A great lesson for them could be Foyles Bookstore at Charing Cross Road, London. An amazing bookshop where the salesperson is also the book buyer. In one stroke, they seem to have eliminated most of the recent day problems in book retailing and seem to be doing
wonderfully well.

This is nothing madamji ( pardon me sirji, i prefer concentrating on what deserves concentration), look at what we have managed to do with the deadly-but-let's-not-call-it-so Swine Flu...err H1N1 virus... lest the pigs take offense. We knew the whole world was getting it; we knew we have cities with some of the highest density of population in the world; we knew we have the maximum number of young people in the world, yet what did we do ? I can give you a first hand account. A brave me with my wife and our two young angels (did you hear devils, that was my wife, sorry) arrived at I.G.I.A, New Delhi straight from New Jersey, USA in the middle of the H1N1 scare. The anxious masked young girls sitting behind the desk looked at us with an expression that said don't-be-angry-but-even-we-don't-know-what-we-are-doing-here and quickly parroted what they had been trained to say — " Do any of you have fever ? Or a cold ? Or a cough? If you get any of these symptoms, do call me dearies, for now, please leave." This, in a country where confirmed patients run away from hospitals and ministers have to personally ensure that they are fetched back.

I don't know why i am sounding so skeptical. I am an Indian. Upar wala sab theeek karega. He will take care of all of us. After all, He is the one who also created the pigs.