The Surge Battle


There was a time a while back, when stability and forming a habit was a good thing. Being predictable in our behaviour was the norm. There would be people who would say that a clock can be set to perfect time by their routine.

Not anymore.

I am writing this post while I wait for the surge to end on #uber fares. The fare that should be under 350 (a year back it was closer to 300) is right now 483. #uber app says fares higher due to demand. Well some of it might be true but I think they have figured out my pattern. They know what time I usually book a cab for work. So here I am. Waiting out the surge period and hoping I beat Uber pricing today. So much for being routine oriented and predictable.

But this doesn’t just end with Uber. Take airlines and travel apps for instance. You check out pricing for a certain sector a few times and watch the fares go up. Surge pricing? Hell yeah! Our constant looking at fares has triggered some code somewhere to let the app know that there is an interest in a certain sector and fare algorithm must kick in. I knew back in old days, if something was popular and lot of people were buying it, prices would come down to get more people to buy.

Now, you hope that there aren’t many people interested in the same thing you are else the prices will go up.

By the way, an update… fare is up by a rupee on Uber πŸ™‚

So someone help me understand. I think it has to do with economics and I was terrible at that.

When surge pricing is happening, or airline fares are going up, is there a calculation by the companies which tells them that beyond a certain price point, the consumer may not use the service. Or they now know that irrespective of the pricing, the need far outweighs the price?

Think about it. All tickets sold out at a reasonable price would have been a far better proposition than to wonder that if we jack up the price real high, ticket might not be sold. But obviously morons out there are ready to buy at whatever price.

What if we as consumers decided not to use the service because “fares are slightly higher due to increased demand” (that slightly bit is a sick joke!). We boycott all those who indulge in such practices. I know I know it is all about business demand and supply but still. It’s alright to make profit but more than 50%?? Or in case of airlines, 3 times?!!

There is a fallacy in the logic somewhere and at some point of time, it is going to bite them in their ass.

And I still wait because the far now is up to 490.

If this continues, the government and the auto makers won’t have to blame Uber and Ola. People will start buying cars and using them. The economy will be back on track!

Everybody hurts


So for a long while now I have been travelling to work and back in an Uber. Take that Gen Y!

My usual tendency is to doze off as soon as I am in the cab. But when I don’t do that, I observe. People commuting in their cars or the cabs. Watching them, this song by REM comes to my mind.

People don’t look happy. They don’t look stress free. They don’t look optimistic. They don’t smile. Even if there is more than one person in the car, the conversations don’t seem to be happy conversations. The ones who are not driving, they are glued to their screens. This is across all kinds of cars. From small car to SUV to luxury sedans.

I know driving in Delhi can be very stressful (why do you think I don’t drive anymore!) but this look on people’s faces is not about stressful driving.

We don’t seem to be happy. We don’t seem to be content. We look angry. We look agitated. We look lost. We look disenchanted. Why is it so?

Is it because we have far too many expectations from life? Is it because we have set goals too high for ourselves? What is lacking in our lives that is causing this? Is this only while commuting (when we think we are all alone) or is it all the time? Or when we are with people, we tend to put up a facade.

I had watched the video for this song “Everybody hurts” long back. But this morning I watched it again. Realised that we could very well put images of people on the road in Delhi into the video and it will fit in.

Come on people. I am as stressed as you are but I don’t let it pull me down! Ok so I don’t smile much (been told often enough) but it doesn’t mean am not optimistic about future. Doesn’t mean I am not content. So go ahead. Get that happy look.

Watch the video (courtesy YouTube) and see what I mean.

Sub titles


First there was canned laughter. It prompted us to laugh at appropriate time during a sitcom. So much so that if there was no canned laughter, we didn’t find the prog or the movie funny enough.

Then came the sub titles. All programs have them now. Even the movies on screen at times.

The intention was noble for sure. The accents might be difficult to understand and hence the sub titles. Also it helped popularise English programming. But like canned laughter, there is a fall out.

How many of us, even though we understand the accent completely, also focus on reading the sub titles? My guess would be everybody! If on Netflix or on Prime or any other platform, if there are no sub titles, we switch them on.

The impact of canned laughter and sub titles, to my mind, is huge. We have been dumbed down. We have lost our capacity to think on our own. Everything is a prompt. We can’t function unless we are prompted to do so. We don’t get the joke or the nuances of what is said unless prompted. We expect someone to tell us the sub text of what is happening. We don’t get it on our own.

Zombies all of us. Lost of capacity to think and appreciate πŸ™‚

Interactive Show


Maybe I am getting old. Maybe people are going overboard because they don’t want to be seen as dumbasses who can’t grapple with the next big thing in watching serials but the new Netflix experiment with left me rather irritated.

For me, binge watching (that’s what I end up doing most of the time now), is about starting the serial and throwing the remote away. Get immersed.

But this holding on to the remote because you have to make choices, sucks! People may call it next level of immersion but hell, I thoroughly disapprove.

When not watching tv, our lives are all about making choices. Spare me the act of making choices even when am watching!! Let me calm my mind with some mindless stuff rather than this!

And surprisingly, IMDb rating is 7.7. So obviously it’s not that quite mind blowing as it is made out to be. For me, to watch anything, the rating has to be over 8.

So yeah bring on the hate for me. I did not like the show and couldn’t go beyond first episode one. The first choice itself of sugar pops or Frosties was laughable!!

What have you done for me?


That’s how the world works.

We always look for an exchange. A transaction. Not just in professional life but even in personal life.

“Do me a favour” has an unsaid that the favour will be returned.

Nobody does nothing without an end game in mind.

It’s not just about money or moving up in life. It’s about everything. “I made the coffee yesterday”

And the worst part, we are teaching our kids too. We call it reward but actually we are teaching them how life is transactional.

When did we stop being selfless? And no it is not about charity or a social cause. That is not being selfless. There is a transaction there too.

We all like to believe it’s not true and can peddle arguments about our selfless acts. But hang on… the fact that you can actually list down those acts, suggests that you are banking them for some future gain.

And no, am not holier than thou to think am selfless. It’s just that I seem to have done lot more favours than got them so hell yeah! Am miffed πŸ™‚

Inspiration


The dictionary meaning is – the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.

And yet, this is one of the most abused terms today.

People look to get inspired by anything and everything. Religion, leaders, history, events, people, acts, quotes. Put the word “inspiration” in google search and watch the search explode.

Obviously we all seek inspiration. But to do what?? We want to get inspired in our careers. In our relationships. In sports. Etc etc.

But usually it doesn’t go anywhere. This inspiration. A very small moment where we are all set to go forth but it goes poof as soon as we have scrolled up the page (or down. Never quite got which way).

In the digital world, especially on social networks, inspiration has been replaced by influence. People have followers. People have influence. Then they go ahead and write absolute tripe which is found “inspiring” by their followers.

Put up a video (rigged most of the time) and call it inspirational.

Talk about a homeless man or a vendor or a cleaner. Tell a story and there you go! Just inspired a million.

I think we have become so bereft of ideas brought on by absolute laziness that we do not seek inspiration. We look for cookie cutter inspiration. Something that we can latch on to and then tell the world how we are inspired.

There are authors who make millions by writing books that are supposed to be inspirational. Paulo Coelho, Robin Sharma.. anyone?

Get over it people. Look within yourself. You have spent a certain amount of time on this earth. You have a bank of experiences. To do something creative, the world around you is just an ocean. But it is you who has to swim on your own. Get inspired by what you have done with your life.

You are your greatest inspiration.

Now was that inspirational? πŸ™‚

A New beginning


So let’s get this over with. New Year Day. Full of hope and optimism and looking forward to new beginning and excitement of what lies ahead. Love the whole feeling!

But hang on… didn’t we feel the same on first day of 2018? Or 2017 or 2016 or…?

How many new beginnings are we gonna have? πŸ™‚

This whole thing feels so much like the game Temple Run. Keep moving through the levels or running endlessly. Getting happy about a gem, a chest, meters run, power ups etc etc. it’s endless. Game is endless but life isn’t.

So for us, every new year day starts at high energy and as the days go by, it starts dipping. Small energy spikes when something good happens (not too often) and all the disappointments that sap the energy out and we look at the New Year Day as the recharge.

It’s funny though that we keep looking for “days” as the rallying points in our lives. Endless list created for consumption by Hallmark and Archie’s of the world πŸ™‚

For me, hell yeah! Another new beginning. And am hoping that this truly is one. I don’t think I can stand yet another beginning on the first day of 2020!