Monday, August 23, 2010

The rise and rise of the shower curtain industry

The rest of the world has suffered from recession, job cuts and all sorts of miseries, but there is one industry that has quietly gone from strength to strength. The shower curtain industry. Whoever talks about their Return on Equity or Asset Turnover? Do we see their ads on TV? Do they feature in the S&P 500 index? No, no and no. Yet, this industry is booming thanks to strategic alliances, partnerships and ignorant buyers like me.

Here's how it happens. You buy a shower curtain because it looks good and because the leasing office made a surprise visit to your apartment a day after you moved in and reprimanded you for not having a shower curtain. Now, you fear another suprise visit, so you end up buying a really expensive shower curtain. Then a friend of yours tells you that you should buy a liner to protect your expensive shower curtain. You go ahead and buy that too. Observe what happens after 2 years.....

Strategic Partnership A:
In a fit of sudden philanthropy, the leasing office offers to upgrade your apartment. You get a brand new bathtub, which shines so much that you can literally see your face. You do not realize that the bathtub has been polished and so now, it is super slippery. Soon, the inevitable happens. You slip and fall while taking a bath, taking the shower curtain along with you. It is ripped apart. You need to buy a new shower curtain. The bathtub industry gets a cut from the shower curtain industry's profits.

Strategic Alliance B:
You have not been analyzing the price changes in the shower curtain industry, so you realize to your dismay that the price of your old shower curtain has now doubled. So, you buy an inexpensive shower curtain to defray your losses. Now, every time you take a bath, you look at an inferior curtain and sulk. Then a second time, you fall deliberately in your bathtub, taking the shower curtain with you. You end up buying the old (read expensive) shower curtain by paying through your nose. The shower curtain company makes 2 sales instead of one.
Then one day, a friend who has been hearing about your habit of crashing into the bathtub regularly, offers a suggestion. Buy a bathtub mat. That would save you from falling. You buy a mat. It has to match with the shower curtain color. The bathtub mat industry gives a cut of its profit to the bath tub industry and to the shower curtain industry.

And so the industry booms. And we try to learn from our mistakes....

Thursday, August 19, 2010

How often has it happened to you that you are in a group of people who are so much more smarter than you are that you feel stupid? That you feel lost and are overcome with hopelessness?

Don't ever be overwhelmed by anyone. If somebody knows a few things that you don't, chances are that you know a few things which they may not know. Like making the perfect spanakopita or singing a raga perfectly or even helping strangers in the middle of the night.

The trick is to absorb the positive energy that smart people emanate. To use that energy to strive for improvement. After all, being with the best makes me better"

Sunday, August 08, 2010

So long and thanks for all the fish

Good-bye sweetheart. It was nice while it lasted but all good things must come to an end. I have now found someone else.

I cannot say exactly when we first met; because I have heard my friends talk about you since time immemorial. We were those young, reckless, carefree souls in college that adored you. I never imagined that of all of my friends, you would choose me. I was very shy in those days and although I knew so much about you, I did not venture to reach out to you myself. Then one day, a friend pushed me into doing it. I simply walked into your life and asked for friendship. You took a while but offered me much more than that.

We’ve been in this love-hate relationship for six years, so it feels difficult to leave. But I have to go – its better that way for both of us. I loved you when you introduced me to new friends, your work and your life. You gave me the recognition that I had been yearning for. I felt secure because I was with you. I felt proud to be associated with you.

Sometimes we fought; over misunderstandings, over how you treated me and how you cheated on me. I felt I deserved more and you did not always think so. I used to feel stifled and you insisted that it was the best thing for me. Sometimes, you were rude to my friends, you walked out on them – it was me that was hurt.

But there were times when you showered me with gifts, took me places and let me a live a life that I had never imagined. At every step, you cared for me, ensured that I was looked after. To me, you were a parent, a friend, a lover. To me, you were my identity.

Good-bye TCS – my first job. Because of you, I have made friends for life. From being a shy insecure young girl, I am a confident professional. I loved being with you and I am sorry to leave. But life does not wait for anyone – I have moved on to greater challenges. In the coming years, I shall try to be a better person, resilient and worthy of you. Perhaps one day, you’ll find me so attractive, that you’ll want to court me back into your life. Until then, I will wait….