Thursday, April 30, 2015

So You've Been Publicly Shamed - Review

So You've Been Publicly Shamed

by Jon Ronson (@jonronson)
Buying info:
US: PaperbackHardcoverKindle
India: FlipkartFlipkart e-bookAmazon PaperbackAmazon Kindle

Also published on,, Flipkart, and Goodreads.

Like Having Your ** Electrocuted

"You ought to be ashamed of yourself! What you did was shameful! I am ashamed of you. You have shamed the entire family!"

"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me" - never has a more false proverb been more convincingly uttered. The power of words has been underestimated; severely, grossly, terribly, massively underestimated. If you don't believe me, ask James Gilligan, described as "about the world's best chronicler of what a shaming can do to our inner lives." In the 1970s, he was a "young psychiatrist at the Harvard Medical School", and was "invited to lead" a group of a "team of investigative psychiatrists" ordered by a "US District Court judge" to "make sense of the chaos" that were Massachusetts prisons and mental hospitals. What was the scene like?
"Inmates were swallowing razor blades and blinding and castrating themselves and each other. ... Prisoners were getting killed, officers were getting killed, visitors were getting killed."

Monday, April 27, 2015

The Case of the Secretive Sister - Review

My review of Nilanjan Choudhary's latest book, "The Case of the Secretive Sister", was published in DNA India on December 1, 2014. I would whole-heartedly recommend the book!

What happens when Mr. Chatterjee, a retired widower, decides to put his ample spare time and girth towards starting a private detective agency, unimaginatively and unsurprisingly christened the "Chatterjee Institute of Detection"? The only worthwhile case he gets is that from Mrs. Pammi Chaddha, a loud Punjabi - but I repeat myself - who wishes desperately for her daughter, named Aisharadhya (no surprises there either, because any other name would sound too down-market), to get into the toniest of schools in town, the Holy Angels Convent School. Mr. Chatterjee finds himself taking the case on, despite his protestations. A substantial retainer helps ease any misgivings he has. Mr Chatterjee's inventiveness does not find a willing partner in his luck, and a hare-brained scheme to convince the convent's headmistress, a stern Ms. D'Souza, to grant admission to Pinky (the home name of Aisharadhya) sees our budding detective losing his shirt - literally, and on the run from a determined Inspector Gowda. Does he get his shirt back, does Pinky get admission, and does Inspector Gowda get the satisfaction of laying his hands on Mr Chatterjee's throat and more? What secret does Sister D'Souza have that could come to Mr Chatterjee's rescue? Could he blackmail her? Or will Inspector Gowda get his sweet revenge before Mr Chatterjee his shirt?

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Is Flipkart Losing Focus - 1

This is the first of a series of articles I wrote for DNA in April on why I believed Flipkart was at losing focus, at the wrong time, when faced with its most serious competition to date.

"Why Flipkart seems to be losing focus", appeared in DNA on Sunday, April 12, 2015.

Part I
Among all start-ups that have emerged from India in recent and not-so recent times, Flipkart is likely to be at the top of most people’s minds. The list is admittedly weighted heavily in favour of newer companies, given that the Indian start-up ecosystem has only in the last decade or so started to pick up steam. But that is changing, and the list is getting longer and diverse, with such names as Urban Ladder, Zomato, Reel, Druva Software, WebEngage, etc…[1] in just the online segment. But today, in 2015, Flipkart is the big daddy of them; with total equity funding of US $2.5 billion and a valuation of a whopping US$11 billion as of April 2015, it was ranked the seventh most valuable start-up in the world[2] (though that was still a far cry from the $178 billion market cap enjoyed by US online retailer Amazon[3] and $220 billion market cap of Chinese online retailer Alibaba[4]).

Yet Flipkart seems to be in trouble.