Future Moves of Low Cost Airlines?

People who regularly travel by air are well aware of the strategies adopted by low-cost airlines (we shall refer to these airlines as ‘CheapAir’ in this article). Some things that they already do, allegedly to compensate for their cheap base tickets are:

  • Charging for food/ drinks in the flight
  • Express check-in queues where you pay extra for faster check-in (last time I managed to complete the check-in faster than those who paid the extra amount – I smirked a ‘bye, take your time’ to the folks in the express queue 😉 ).
  • Special, variable charges for many of the seats – seats in front, aisle seats, window seats, emergency row, etc.
  • Lowering the limits of free baggage and being strict about charging for excess baggage
  • Reducing the weight carried by the aircraft to reduce the fuel consumption by:
    • Getting rid of ovens from the aircraft (no warm meals)
    • Making seats lighter (and making them thinner to accommodate 1-2 rows more)
    • Hiring crew with small build (I have also noticed on one of the CheapAirs in India that all cabin crew members are always of one gender – I am not sure whether this is discrimination)

More than a strategy to recover some money, I think it is a strategy to project themselves as really cheap (low-cost or budget), so that the travelers do not critically look at the ticket prices (which are sometimes higher than the ticket prices on ‘full-service’ airlines).

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Book: Making Ideas Happen by Scott Belsky

Making Ideas Happen - CoverGenerating new ideas is easy, it’s executing that is hard. Whether you are an individual or an organization, perseverance and perspiration are a must to transform vision into reality.

In Making Ideas Happen, the author, Scott Belsky uses his observations and insights behind successful teams at Disney, IDEO, and Google — as well as highly productive and respected individuals like John Maeda, Seth Godin, and Chris Anderson — to present essential principles and a structured set of methods for converting any idea into reality.

Title Making Ideas Happen – Overcoming the Obstacles Between Vision and Reality
Author(s) Scott Belsky
Initially Published In 2010
Publisher Penguin
Formats Available Hardcover, Paperback, Kindle, Audio
Available At Amazon.comAmazon.in.


“A Swiss army knife for Ideas”

Ji Lee, Director at Google Creative Lab 


Ideas for new businesses, improving productivity or capabilities and solutions to the world’s problems  are common. So are ideas for artistic breakthroughs. However, great execution is rare. Ideas don’t happen by accident or because they are unique or great. Ideas are taken to fruition with passion, focus, and hard work.

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Movie: Johnny Gaddaar (2007, Hindi, India)

Review of the classic 2007 Indian thriller movie – Johnny Gaddaar by Sriram Raghavan. Starring Dramendra, Neil Nitin Mukesh and Vinay Pathak.

Johnny Gaddaar (2007 Movie) - DVD Cover ImageJohnny Gaddaar, based in Mumbai and placed in 2000s, is a tightly-crafted, crime-based, suspense-thriller that turned out to be a surprise hit in 2007. The movie was later remade in the South India in other languages.

Johnny Gaddaar has a James Hadley Chase feel to it. The title has some connection to Vijay Anand’s Johnny Mera Naam of the 70s.

Johnny Gaddaar is loosely adapted from Stanley Kubrick’s black classic The Killing.

Directed by Sriram Raghavan
Released in 2007
Genre Crime, Thriller
  • Dharmendra as Sheshadri ‘Seshu’
  • Neil Nitin Mukesh as Vikram
  • Zakir Hussain as Shardul
  • Vinay Pathak as Prakash ‘Pakya’
  • Dayanand Shetty as Shiva
  • Govind Namdeo as Inspector Kalyan
  • Ashwini Kalsekar as Varsha (Prakash’s wife)
  • Rimi Sen as Mini (Vikram’s Girlfriend and Shardul’s Wife)
Music by Shankar Ehsaan Loy
Produced by Adlabs Films Ltd.
Written by Sriram Raghavan
Language Hindi
Length 2 hours

The Plot

Seshadri/ Seshu (played by Dharmendra) is an ageing criminal in Mumbai, who gets an opportunity to do a big drug deal. He ropes in Prakash (played by Vinay Pathak), Shardul (played by Zakir Hussain), Shiva (played by Dayanand Shetty), and Vikram (played by Neil Nitin Mukesh).

The deal is to deliver 2.5 crore rupees to a cop – Inspector Kalyan, pick a drug consignment from him, transport it from Bangalore to Mumbai and sell it for double the money in Mumbai.
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Book: Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut

Breakfast of Champions - CoverThis must be the fourth or fifth time I have read Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut Jr– I had first read it in the late 1970s, and have always considered it as a ‘classic’ that needs to be read again and again.

It is difficult to categorize this book, but here are the categories that it may fit in: fiction, biting satire, black humor, science fiction/ fantasy, and serious literature. The fact that the book has alternate titles may provide a hint on the unpredictability, and difficulty at slotting the book.

Title Breakfast of Champions or
Goodbye Blue Monday
Author(s) Kurt Vonnegut
Initially Published In 1973
Publisher Random House
Formats Available Hardcover, Paperback, Kindle

“Marvelous . . . [Vonnegut] wheels out all the complaints about America and makes them seem fresh, funny, outrageous, hateful and lovable.”

The New York Times 

The Plot

It is the story of “two lonesome, skinny, fairly old white men on a planet which was dying fast.”

Dwayne Hoover, is a charming, rich man – he runs a Pontiac dealership, owns land and is franchisee for many chains (like the Holiday Inn) in and around Midland City. Dwayne’s mind is disintegrating because of bad chemicals that his body is producing. However, no one appears to recognize the signs of his mental disturbances.

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Movie: Kalyug (1981, Hindi, India)

Review of the classic 1981 Indian movie – Kalyug by Shyam Benegal. Starring Shashi Kapoor, Rekha, Ananth Nag and Victor Banerjee.

Kalyug, based in the late-1970s/ early-1980s, is a taut and powerful story of fierce rivalry between two business families (related to each other) in the days of the license-raj in India. The story has very direct parallels with the mythological epic Mahabharta.

Directed by Shyam Benegal, Kalyug has an array of stars – from the mainstream/ popular movies as well the arthouse/ parallel cinema. Kalyug, released in 1981, received critical acclaim and was a box-office success as well.

Kalyug (1981 Movie) - DVD Cover Image

Directed by Shyam Benegal
Released in 1981
Genre Drama, Thriller
  • Shashi Kapoor as Karan Singh
  • Rekha as Supriya
  • Anant Nag as Bharat Raj
  • Victor Banerjee as Dhan Raj
  • Raj Babbar as Dharam Raj
  • Kulbhushan Kharbanda as Bal Raj
  • Sushma Seth as Savitri
  • Om Puri as Bhavani Pandey
  • A K Hangal as Bhisham Chand
  • Supriya Pathak as Subhadra
  • Akash Khurana as Sandeep Raj

and many more known names like Amrish Puri and Vinod Doshi.

Music by Vanraj Bhatia
Produced by Shashi Kapoor
Written by Shyam Benegal, Girish Karnad, and Satyadev Dubey
Language Hindi
Length 2 hours 32 minutes

The Plot

Two business families (related to each other) run heavy engineering/ fabrication firms and often compete with each other. Orders from government bodies are coveted by both the business families.

The first family (Puranchand family) – let us call it the P-family, has three brothers in their 30s and 40s. The third brother, Bharat Raj (played by Anant Nag) is ambitious, sharp, and competitive and activily runs the business. The eldest brother, Dharam Raj (played by Raj Babbar) is more interested in his race horses. The second brother Bal Raj (played by Kulbhushan Kharbanda) is a cheerful person, still besotted by his wife.
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Movie: Fargo (1996, English, US)

Review of the classic 1996 Hollywood movie – Fargo

Fargo, a 1996 crime thriller with black humor, is based in Fargo (Minesotta, USA) and a nearby town – Brainerd. The events in the movie take place around 1987.

Here is a quote from the movie:

“So that was Mrs. Lundegaard on the floor in there. And I guess that was your accomplice in the wood chipper. And those three people in Brainerd. And for what? For a little bit of money. There’s more to life than a little money, you know. Don’t you know that? And here ya are, and it’s a beautiful day. Well, I just don’t understand it”.

– Police Chief Marge Gunderson, talking to a kidnapper, after apprehending him

Fargo Movie DVD Cover Image

Directed by Joel Coen
Released in 1996
Genre Crime, Black Humor
  • Frances McDormand as Marge Gunderson (the Police Chief)
  • William H. Macy as Jerry Lundegaard (the Car Dealership Manager)
  • Steve Buscemi as Carl Showalter (a kidnapper)
  • Peter Stormare as Gaear Grimsrud (another kidnapper)
  • Harve Presnell as Wade Gustafson (Jerry’s father-in-law)
  • Kristin Rudrüd as Jean Lundegaard (Jerry’s wife)
  • Tony Denman as Scotty Lundegaard (Jerry’s son)
Music by Carter Burwell
Produced by Ethan Coen
Language English
Length 1 hour 38 minutes

The Plot

Fargo, a crime thriller with black humor, is based in Fargo (Minesotta, USA) and a nearby town – Brainerd. The events are placed  somewhere around 1987.

Jerry Lundegaard (played by William Macy), is the manager of a car dealership belonging to his rich businessman father-in-law, Wade Gustafson. Jerry has low capability and high ambitions.

He is also in money trouble, and is desperate to get a large amount. Jerry plans out an harebrained,  criminal scheme to get some money out of his father-in-law. He hires two goons to kidnap his wife, so that he can extract the ransom money from his father-in-law. He promises to share the ransom with the thugs.
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Book: Finding Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Finding Flow - CoverOne of the books I read (re-read, actually) in the last two weeks was Finding Flow: The Psychology of Engagement with Everyday Life by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.

Finding Flow is part psychology study material and part self-help guide. It proposes to help us reclaim ownership of our lives. Based on research of over thousands of individuals, Finding Flow contends that we often walk through our days unaware and out of touch with our emotional lives. People are happiest when they are most absorbed in their actions, a state the author terms as ‘flow.’ We experience ‘flow’ when we work towards clear goals that provide a slight stretch to our existing skills. Constant feedback on our progress also enables flow. So, to be happy we need to constantly be absorbed in such situations.

Title Finding Flow: The Psychology of Engagement with Everyday Life
Author(s) Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Initially Published In 1997
Publisher Basic Books
Formats Available Hardcover, Paperback, Kindle

Csikszentmihalyi eloquently argues that living fully in the here and now requires that one heed the lessons of the past.

— The New York Times Book Review

Flow is defined as the sense of effortless action people feel in moments that stand out as the best in their lives.  Like athletes ‘in the zone’, or musicians in ‘aesthetic rapture’, or religious mystics in ‘ecstasy’.

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Cartoon: The ‘Missed-Call’ Mode of Communication

Missed-Call Cartoon

Increasingly, ‘missed-call’, or ‘miss-call’, or ‘miskol’ (Philippine lingo) is being used as a means of communication, not just by individuals, but also by organizations, who openly ask their customers to ‘give a missed-call.’

I did find it difficult to explain the concept of ‘missed-call’ to a friend from a Western country. His question was “How can I give you a missed call? If you don’t pick it up, you miss the call. The caller cannot control whether it is a missed call or not – only the receiver can make it a missed call or picked call.”

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