New Columns – Economic Times and Mumbai Mirror – November 2014

Planet of the Apps
27 Nov, 2014, 06.16AM IST
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By Anuvab Pal
I heard a reasonably odd economic story recently. A young person had lost her phone – as they all seem to very casually and very often nowadays – before luckily recovering it. That a phone now costs the same as a twobedroom flat did in 1985 and someone from my generation would probably have a peripatetic seizure if they lost something that valuable (as opposed to the youthful reaction, ‘meh’) is another story for another day.

Read more at:

What time is the right time?
Mumbai Mirror | Nov 19, 2014, 12.00 AM IST

By Anuvab Pal

The times we live in are unsure of the values of the times we live in. There is inevitable chaos.

She’s definitely into some inappropriate things and all – and with that declarative grammatically incorrect statement, which was part character assassination, part incompetent analysis, a young single foreign woman who lived in a building near mine, was described and summed up at an ad-hoc meeting of her building elders. A serious looking lady chimed in, “Probably prostitution. Maybe even – who knows – I’ve seen her with odd things” – almost not able to articulate the more heinous nature of things involved, which made me think, “Did she mean murderer?”

November 13, 2014, 6:41 am IST Economic Times in ET Commentary | Edit Page | ET

The 100-Year Notice Period: There is no reason to linger after you’ve quit
Our workplaces have some of the longest notice periods in the world. A few weeks is average generally across the world. A caveman from the Neolithic era who’d given notice to his boss that he was unhappy throwing spears at gazelles in 4,000 BC, just got around to starting his new job at this week.

Fundamentally, the notice period is a sensible, gracious thing from a time when a human had knowledge of things. I’ll explain. There was a time when Rajiv in a shipping company was a fountain of knowledge of how that particular shipping company worked. Rajiv leaving suddenly meant ships that company built would lose direction, run into the shipyard, run over employees or erratically swing about to-and-fro mid-sea.

Having Rajiv explain in detail how to make the ship go straight and into the water was why he couldn’t just pack his things and have the next guy take over. Rajiv’s head — his memories, his knowledge, his way of doing things — was the asset. The rest was mindless machines operating on his whim. The notice period (in theory) meant Rajiv would handhold his successor and share all that he knew.


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