About INgene blog : First ever Indian Youth trend Insights blog

About INgene : First ever Indian Youth trend Insights blog:
This blog explores the detailed characteristics of Young-India and explains the finer & crucial differences they have with their global peers. The blog also establishes the theory of “adopted differentiation” (Copyright Kaustav SG,2007) and how the Indian & Inglodian youth are using this as a tool to differentiate themselves from the “aam aadmi” (mass population of India) to establish their new found identity.

The term youth refers to persons who are no longer children and not yet adults. Used colloquially, however the term generally refers to a broader, more ambiguous field of reference- from the physically adolescent to those in their late twenties.
Though superficially the youth all over the world exhibits similar [degree of] attitude, [traits of] interests & [deliverance of] opinion but a detailed observation reveals the finer differential characteristics which are crucial and often ignored while targeting this group as a valued consumer base. India is one of the youngest countries in the world with 60% of its population less then 24 years of age and is charted as the most prospective destination for the retail investment in the A. T. Kearney’s Global Retail Opportunity Report, 2007. With the first ever non-socialistic generation’s thriving aspiration & new found money power combined with steadily growing GDP, bubbling IT industry and increasing list of confident young entrepreneurs, the scenario appears very lucrative for the global and local retailers to target the “Youngisthan” (young-India). But, the secret remains in the understanding of the finer AIOs of this generation. The Indian youth segment roughly estimates close to 250million (between the ages of fifteen and twenty-five) and can be broadly divided (socio-psychologically) into three categories: the Bharatiyas, the Indians & the Inglodians (copyright Kaustav SG 2008). The Bharatiyas estimating 67% of the young population lives in the rural (R1, R2 to R4 SEC) areas with least influence of globalization, high traditional values. They are least economically privileged, most family oriented Bollywood influenced generation. The Indians constitute 31.5% (A, B,C, D & E SEC) and have moderate global influence. They are well aware of the global trends but rooted to the Indian family values, customs and ethos. The Inglodians are basically the creamy layers (A1,A SEC) and marginal (1.5% or roughly three million) in number though they are strongly growing (70% growth rate). Inglodians are affluent and consume most of the trendy & luxury items. They are internet savvy & the believers of global-village (a place where there is no difference between east & west, developing & developed countries etc.), highly influenced by the western music, food, fashion & culture yet Indian at heart.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Becoded Beehive : the encrypted semiotics among youth

"Forever & ever & ever till cherries grow on an apple tree on the 31st of February”. 

Can you guess the meaning? Well, what Rohan (18) meant is ‘the height of impossibility’ (there’s no 31st of Feb, neither the cherries grow in apple tree)! Now, guess this conversation that was in the facebook wall post of Dimpi (19 years): Dimpi ‘yesterday, ghost came in my bedroom’, Rimi ‘oh ya? Your aunty was there?’, Dimpi ‘yess, and in front of her, I sat with the ghost… for hours’, Rimi ‘cool! Aunty must be clueless… Lol’. Between Dimpi and Rimi, ‘ghost’ is a code language to denote sms or text from Dimpi’s ‘date’, which Dimpi received in her mobile phone and chatted with him for hours in front of her mom. But why this discussion is over the facebook wall? Why not through a personal message in inbox? Why not over phone? Ask Dimpi, and she will explain the fun of encrypted conversation in public places with best friend/s, the thrill of discussing it openly when nobody understands the meaning (especially when the topic is a social taboo). Also, it exhibits the depth of friendship between two (between dimpi and rimi) which others are not allowed to invade, even if they listen or read the thread. This trait of coded conversation is spreading across the globe (specially, in the developing nations, where social/ political/ family norms are stringent). In Morocco, the coded language is spreading very quickly and making sociologists assert that the whole subject is intended to rebel against the social situation prevailing in the state, where using the vocabulary appear in the Arabic language for the first time to express the words ( such as " Ttiyah " or " Bukus " and " Tlah " no go , and " splendor " in the sense as Thanks), and extended it to include changing the names of cars and spare parts as a completely different meaning. In developed nation, the youth are communicating among peers using encryption through various apps. Currently, there are hundreds of encryption apps available in market. The iPhone app iCrypter enables users to send free encrypted private text messages through sms, WhatsApp and email.  TextSecure, (the free smartphone app that offered open-source end-to-end encryption for text messages) was first launched by Moxie Marlinspike in the year 2010. Last year, Forbes magazine reported that this anti-surveillance software added about ten million users, more than ten times as many as it accumulated in the past three and a half years and far more than any other encryption app of its kind! Last year, TextSecure was integrated by default into the text messaging function of CyanogenMod, the most popular independent rewrite of Android. Any time a CyanogenMod user sends a text message to another user of that operating system or to an Android or iPhone user with the app installed, the message is  invisibly encrypted with a key that’s only stored on the phone itself, not accessible to any surveillance-friendly phone carrier. Because TextSecure uses the phone’s data connection, it also avoids revealing the recipient of a message to carriers, making it much harder for eavesdroppers to determine not only the contents of a conversation but even who is communicating. The investors are investing more money in the security start ups. Since 2009 investors have spent at least $2.9 billion on security technologies, according to data from CrunchBase. Investors are also valuing these companies more highly now. In the first quarter of 2013 investors made 44 investments with roughly the same amount of capital, the CrunchBase data shows. The need for new security technology is also driving up company valuations at the earliest stages of their development, the CrunchBase data shows. In the first quarter of 2013, 16 seed stage companies raised $4.9 million. For 2014, less than half the number of companies raised roughly the same amount.
Back home, in India, the youth are using various DIY techniques to send encrypted texts. For example, the sender will use the ‘alt’ key in Blackberry and ‘SYM’ option in Samsung to encrypt the whole conversation using punctuations and exclamations (:;!?/’” etc) or numerical (1=w, 2=e, 3=r etc). Then he or she will post it in social media, WhatsApp or send it as sms. Those, who are in the close circle of sender will read the encryption by decoding the same using their phone keys and will revert back accordingly. In India, the shortening of words initiated during the social media boom (2004) with most popular codes such as LOL, BRB, ROFL etc. and with time, grew stronger with the micro blogging sites. Due to extended generational gap, millennial mindset and need for secure communication the encrypted conversation became a natural extension to previous trait.

Obviously, the many parents are scared of non-transparency which can keep the youth out of their radar. Though, youth in India has a different take on it. Neel (21) says “Why should the parents, family members and their friends will hover over us? We also need our space which should not be invaded or interrupted”. The ethos are similar to what Marlinspikes stated earlier “The upshot is that a whole bunch of people are able to get transparent, secure messaging”. The dopamine rush that occurs during discussion of a social taboo with ‘best friend’ (in presence of parents) makes the encryption thrilling. Most of them supported the coded communication with an argument that it at least protects the youth from being harassed online (on social media) for commenting on controversial issues yet allows him or her to express freely. I can’t disagree after the social media surveillance last year that led to arrest of two girls in Maharashtra for expressing their views over facebook wall.

Whether it is through new semiotics, numeric, code or encryption among youth in India the coded communication is building walled beehives with closely knitted peer circles.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Nano's downfall continues - further discussion

I really don't want this blog to become a nano-basher but could not avoid the issue as I predicted the reason in 2009 when nano was launched. Recently, this article was also resonating in the same vibe that I have written in earlier articles. 

Car, being an 'asset' in India should not be coined as 'cheap' like any other consumable product. Unless, the category is shifted to consumable goods (like mobile phone, which was once asset too), the 'affordability' should be a subdued undertone. In 2013 also the sales of Nano was down (much worse, actually). This article (http://www.team-bhp.com/news/tatas-nano-sales-free-fall-down-948-units-april)  stated that one of the reason was 'image of the “cheapest car” in the world! it adds "Let's reflect on when the Maruti 800 was launched; it was hardly pitched as a cheap car. Instead, Maruti chose to focus on the strengths of the product, which were only amplified by word-of-mouth recommendations based on owner experiences. Car ownership in India is greatly driven by aspirational value, and owning the “cheapest car in India / the world” is not something one aspires to. Simply put, the Nano lacks the all-too-crucial status that first time car owners are looking for. "

In another article at Wall Street Journal (http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304520704579125312679104596)  the writer indicated 'Now, Nano is trying remake the "people's car," into the "cool people's car." It has given the car itself a face-lift, adding a stereo, hubcaps and chrome trim, raised the price and started a new marketing campaign to give it more cachet.' this is exactly I have mentioned in 2009, that Tata should try to portray it as cool 'disposable' car for youth rather than cheapest car for poor.

 Want to know more about Nano's downfall and my insight? read my previous posts.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Selfie : the power of neo-independence

Though the word Selfie is derived from “self” (a reason why selfies are linked with narcissism) but to me it also has a significant connection with “See Life”, a way to express one’s life, lifestyle and moments of living via social media. In past, had we never being obsessed with the new found beauty among ourselves, especially during adolescence? Had we never stood in front of mirror for hours? Even the step mom of Snow-white was ‘self obsessed”! Well, ‘we’ grew in an era where technology was not accessible to all (especially electronics and gadgets); otherwise, the witch-mom would have used photoshop (or access cosmetic surgery) to ‘makeover’ her image rather than hunting for her step daughter.  Moreover, there was no way to show off self (virtually, without the help of others) and anyway ‘showing off’ was considered as ‘bad manners’ (that’s why the step mom in snow white and seven dwarfs story was portrayed as a ‘vamp’) ! Imagine what a freedom it is to boost the self confidence by capturing yourself (independently) and being appreciated for appearing ‘really confident’. I don’t buy the argument that selfie is an expression of growing narcissism among youth. The selfies are instant , personal, and authentic (not made up). Selfies are fun and participatory. It captures a moment in ‘real’ and brings in an opportunity where the viewer can be part of a story, instantly. Selfies are meant to be shared. Selfies are playful. Selfies challenge social restrictions, inhibitions, gender biasness, norms about portraiture and many more.  Though Selfies are categorized based on their appeal and significance but most of the selfies are taken to ‘capture a significant moment’. Whether it’s a moment of love (‘love selfie’), a visit to dream destination, self expression (breaking the self barrier like the mustache selfie by ‘Teena’, 13years, who was otherwise socially introvert revived her self confidence when she received 150 likes in Facebook from friends and family members), boosting the friendship and exhibiting togetherness (‘dosti selfies’), remembering moments from past (‘memory lane selfies’) and supporting a cause (ie. kissing same gender friends to support LGBT movement and protest the imposition of Sec.377). other selfies are ‘post workout selfie’ (who doesn’t love their muscles?), ‘groupie selfie’ (during the shows and concerts), ‘duck face selfie’ or ‘silly selfie’(with ‘kiss the screen’ expression), ‘acquiring the newest selfie’ (after buying the newest phone, bike or car), “celeb selfie’ (to capture the accidental meet with a celebrity), ‘changing room selfie’ (well, I don’t want to buy it, but what’s wrong in taking a photo!), ‘brat selfies’ (doing things that I am not supposed to do!) et cetera.

According to a new analysis by SelfieCity  who has studied more than 3,000 self-portraits, the self-directed photos can actually reveal cultural stereotypes, and behavioural preferences in different cities around the world. Some of the discoveries include the fact that women take more selfies than men, and those in São Paulo hold the camera much higher than other women around the world. Younger people are more likely to take selfies than adults, while men in Moscow are also less likely to smile than anywhere else on the planet.

                                                     Photo source: Debanjali Haldar

Dr. Pamela B. Rutledge is in opinion that selfies are a great tool for instant visual storytelling which keeps one connected with his/ her social circle. She added ‘Selfies are self-centered. That’s the point. Otherwise we wouldn’t call them selfies. Selfies let you experience being both the photographer and the subject. You are mugging for yourself; you are celebrating yourself; you are experiencing yourself… You are in control of both sides. That’s pretty significant and quite new… Humans have long demonstrated an interest in self-exploration.  From early Greeks to present day, people have used self-study and self-observation to explore identity and sense of self.  Some view these (the selfie) self-created self-portraits as proof of cultural—or at least generational— narcissism and moral decline.  I, on the other hand, view them as a by-product of technology-enabled self-exploration… It is not new phenomenon.The selfies started appearing on the photo-sharing site Flickr and on MySpace back in 2004, but camera phones, especially those with front and back lens action, have made taking selfies faster and easier than ever”.

                                              Photo source : Facebook / Oyindrila Ghosh Roy

For youth in India, selfies are an excellent tool to virtually deal with the paradox of family bondage and self-expression. Rohith (18 years) stated it rightly, ‘why the hell posting selfie is considered as narcissism? Selfie is my self expression, independence, wickedness and an instant connectivity that allows my friends to be part of my ‘momentary fun’ without depending on others.  Yes, I want to be independent and obviously like to see me in different avatars, without affecting my parent’s social stature.” Debanjali (20 years) added “Selfies are definitely a tool of self expression, u decide how u want to express yourself through the pic and you handle the device at your own will.... Makes u feel more in control of the way u depict yourself…”. Mayadhara Das is in opinion that Selfies also represent one's alter-ego and self realization.

As Ted Polhemus has mentioned “We are the only species which consciously, deliberately alters its appearance. This has been true throughout human history and will always be so because bodily expression can communicate things which words never can”, let selfies be a tool to express such ‘visual consciousness of being human’ independently and a continuous celebration of remaining ‘real’ in this age of ‘made ups’.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

satanism and vampire worshipping :among youth in India

Craigslist List Bangalore's advertisement (post id: 4316759593)  reads as this:

fantasize meeting vampire? - m4w - 31

age : 31
About you: You are a vampire buff who has seen all the twilight movies, true blood and read tons of romantic books on vampires. You crave to submit to a real life vampire but don't know how or where.

about me: I am real life sanguinarian vampire who craves on fresh blood. I am looking for a donor who could feed me with his/her fresh blood (completely safe)

Process: I will prick your arm/finger (prefer arm) using a sterilized blade and feed on it. Will not drink directly from the wound but an inch away (for medical safety reasons). Once the blood stops flowing, I will nicely dress your wound and repay your kindness through hearing all your vampire fantasies, questions and facts. 

I will not harm you, and will do it perfectly safely without any risk of contamination or germ transmission. Also we could do it in a semi-public place if you feel uncomfortable.

The above advertisement in Craigslist bangalore is bit chilling, but this exhibits the growing trend of Satanism and vampirism among the urban youth of this country.... I have discussed about the wide spreading Satanism in my post already. scroll down and read the post or click in this link: http://ingene.blogspot.in/2013/11/satanism-is-growing-like-wildfire-among.html


Saturday, February 8, 2014

the basic searching pattern in India : google trend

Was trying to understand the basic searching pattern in India and interesting found that we search for our carnal need more than god, online! and, who says god and cricket doesn;t sound similer? :) check how we have searched both.  

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Contemporary youth trends : the expression of freedom, among girls in India

Reading : What the young girls are reading in SEC2 cities  

50% of the erotic novel (ie. 50 Shades of Gray) readers in India are teenage girls. 75% of Satanism (read the previous report) followers in India are girls! The divorce rates are phenomenally increasing, mostly among young independent couples staying in cities like Bangalore and Mumbai. Being a divorcee and trying for second marriage, is de-stigmatized today and no more a social curse. The match-making sites like Second Shadi (second marriage) are in vogue. More so, a relationship status change (in social network like Facebook) from ‘engaged or married to’ to ‘independent’ indeed becomes a reason for celebration!  ‘you know, it’s like being a free bird, one can play around, one can establish her identity, without depending on somebody’ stated Rima Chanda( 21 years), a college student from Delhi University who recently discarded her long term ex boyfriend (‘he was not compassionate enough’ she argues) and dating many to select the most suitable one. ‘Well, they all are my good friends! And dating need not necessarily lead to bed (even if so, what’s wrong in it if both agrees… ) watching a movie together or driving down to Goa might also be called as dating, no? in fact, sometime, we all go out together!’ she adds. Her ‘best man’ is her school mate who she insists is not her ‘date’ but a good friend to be with and feel protected. This reminds me a super-hit Bollywood movie starring Ranveer Kapoor and Deepika Padukone.                 

In a country where the girls are still suppressed, abused, teased and traumatized, a section is practicing their new found freedom by various means.  The article in Time of India elaborates the surge of erotic book reading “What used to be a romantic sojourn through Mills & Boon novels has now been taken over by descriptive erotica. Though the such novels were were earlier available too, they were generally off the limits for the youngsters, who used to take help of their older friends or even photostat the whole book from someone instead of buying a new copy. Post 50 Shades of Grey, the things have changed completely. With all the hype created by the media blitz, '50 Shades' has been able to break through that taboo, so much so that it became a talking point, ranging from workplaces to college canteens… "When a friend of mine, who studies in Delhi, told me about the novel, I was very apprehensive about going to a shop and buying a copy myself. Hence, I had to ask her to courier me a copy from Delhi," says Sucheta Mitra, 23, who is pursuing her PG. "However, since then, the scenario has changed completely and now the girls are more open to going to the stores and asking for particular novels themselves, which was not the case earlier," she adds…. Concurring with the trend, Munna Toppo, a salesperson with a prominent book store in the city says, "Earlier the girls used to ask only for soft romantic novels like Mills and Boon series and other similar works. Rarely one used to ask for the novels of erotic genre but after '50 Shades', things have changed completely. More than 60% for our customers for such novels are girls, mostly college students. While some prefer to look at the shelves and scout for books themselves, those in a hurry simply mention the name of the book and pay the bill and leave."… Even the youngsters have no qualms accepting their choices and prefer calling it a result of the overall openness, a result of overall societal changes. "I don't understand why people should have any issue with what I'm reading or not. It should be totally my call and thankfully, the things are finally changing. Youngsters have always been very liberal in discussing sexual matters so why should people expect us to continue reading flowery stuff when everything is about more graphic and descriptive these days?," says Namrata Johri, 24 and an MBA student.

worshipping: The growing satan worshipping in North East, Kerala, Pondicherry, Goa…

Another report states that Satan worshipping is growing in North Eastarn India, mostly among girls. The Morung Express mentioned that in Nagaland ‘Among the people possessed by Satan and his evil spirits, girls consist of 75 per cent, women-5 per cent and men-20 per cent’ . Ingene correspondents investigated the socio psychology and understood that the concept of ‘Satan’s Bride’ which bestows perceived black magic power to express self and protest against social obligations (Churches and their strict norms) is attracting girls in NE India.

Relationship: Live in relationship and breakups

Time of India reported that the live in relationships in Bangalore are in raise and most of the live in relationships rotate around convenience rather than love! Hence an unwanted break-up is inevitable. Most live-in couples are in the 25-35 age group. To get accommodation, they declare themselves a married couple. Counsellors say such relationships are for financial and social security.

To get a house on rent, live-in couples tell landlords they are married. "They live like husband and wife, but their relationship has no legal sanction. When there is a break-up, we refer it to police as a case of cheating," says Aparna Poonesh, a counsellor at the Sahaya Vani. "It's for social and financial security. Nearly 60% of the cases referred to us revolve around sex," says Shetty. Most cases brought to the Sahaya Vani are from the corporate world. "They get to know each other mostly through social media, and share the same language and culture. With their peer groups away, they have individual choices and freedom," she adds.  In bangalore, Most live-in couples are from outside Karnataka. They find it convenient to live with someone from their own place. Things fall apart when the boy refuses to marry the girl. This technology hub is witnessing a sharp rise in cases of discord in live-in relationships. Most cases reported are those of people working in the software and BPO industries. "The number of cases of break-up in live-in relationships was 30 during 2011-12. This rose to 42 between April 2012 and March 2013. With an average of six cases reported every month, the number is expected to double this year," says Rani Shetty, chief coordinator with Mahila Sahaya Vani, a family counselling centre attached to city police.

The divorce cases are also increasing sharply (20% increase in Bangalore). Recently, Government started 3 more family courts to resolve the pending divorce cases. In a TOI report relationship expert Dr Shyam Bhat, "Earlier too, there were people trapped in unhappy marriages, but divorce was a dirty word back then, and there was social stigma attached to it. Nowadays, divorces are commonplace and there's no social stigma around it, especially in urban centres. Gender roles have evolved tremendously and rapidly, and both the man and the woman increasingly want to inhabit a more egalitarian society. The joint family system of the past afforded more time to a husband and wife to iron out their issues and differences. The child was unaffected because he had others in the family to fall back on." Dr Bhat adds, "Nowadays, we live in nuclear set-ups, where, more often than not, both the wife and husband are stressed out. Their lifestyles entail high stress. Divorce is the result of social change, not the cause of it. So, while, yes, more family courts might encourage some to end their marriages without giving it a chance, but, conversely, it might also help many who are trapped in miserable marriages to get out of them faster." PS Dinesh Kumar, civil lawyer and mediator, says, "Today, since most couples are working, their timings don't match, there is a lack of interpersonal communication. Most couples file for divorce with 'incompatibility' as their problem." Should, then, incompatibility be seen as a one-way street from where things invariably go downhill? Actor and businessman, Vishal Hegde, who got hitched recently, doesn't seem to think so.




Titan Watches survey: who gives the best gift

Recently, being the panelist of Titan Paradox panel I shared my insights on the socio psychology of gifting among the youth in India, here's the report:

Saturday, November 30, 2013

A wrong association to become 'cool' among youth in India: Hero Moto Corp. collaborates with Sun Burn fest

The world’s largest manufacturer of two wheeler who’s vision is a mobile and an empowered India suddenly wants to become cool by associating itself with a fest which attracts sponsorships from major alco-beverage brands (Absolute, Tuborg etc.) and perceived as a place to drink, dance, be merry with bikini clad girls! Sounds strange? Yes, that’s the story of Hero Moto Corp. The perceived “Desh Ki Dhadkan” (heart beat of India) brand which was primarily targeting the upward mobile middle class segment (check their web page, the man in helmet and white shirt as the icon in the strategy segment denotes an office going man in late 20s, indeed mass India) is now targeting ‘youth’ by stereotyping the definition ‘coolness’.

 Unfortunately, in India, among 'Indians' and 'Bharatiyas' the ‘cool’ doesn’t mean dancing at sunburn but being an entrepreneur, proving one’s worth and earning a ‘lot of money’ at an young age, just like Sachin Tendulkar.

  The brand perception for Hero will always remain ‘user friendly and reliable’ rather than cool.

 Check this advertisement of Hero Moto Corp. in the year 2012:

Here is another latest ad campaign by Hero Moto Corp. with a tagline "hum hae Hero" (We are the heros) that depicts mass Indians as the heros in their life and struggle : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yc0CVEuUvRs

the print ads of hero Moto Corp still insists on its durability and extended warranties :

And, below are the photos of Sunburn (to exhibit AIOs of the participants):


It’s a wrong move to climb over Hero’s emotional root and try to build a newer association. “coolness” can’t be acquired but expressed with right product segment and defining the perception.

A report in Economic Times suggests that ‘Hero MotoCorp, which exited all cricket sponsorships including the Indian Premier League earlier this year, is now betting on music to connect with the youth. The top two-wheeler maker will be presenting sponsor for Sunburn, Asia's biggest music festival, this year. Media buyers say Hero has coughed up Rs 7-10 crore for the seventh season of the music festival promoted by entertainment and talent management firm Percept. This is the highest sponsorship deal for Sunburn so far.” Interestingly, the cricket and sunburn never fits in the same bracket! Sunburn is a fest popular among the In’glo’dians and ‘cricket’ is for ‘Indians’ and ‘Bharatiyas’! In’glo’dians neither watch Cricket (they hates it actually, since it’s too mass) nor the other segment visits Sunburn (Bharatiyas hate it with a perception of ‘low cultural values’, read Adapted differentiation theory to understand it better). With newer brand association, there is a chance that Hero might even loose it’s substantial market share. In India a bike is still purchased by parents and gifted to youth (during pre-university phase, mostly as a ‘gift’ to study well or exhibit parent’s status). A father will never like the association of his son’s bike with alcohol, trance dance and bikini clad girls. Similarly, a young aspiring executive will not take risk of giving impression that he is not ‘serious’ but ‘cool’, at office. In India, the coolness of a bike is still judged by it’s performance, masculinity, speed, accessories and durability. The In’glo’dians will never aspire for Hero but Hurley Davidson, imported bikes or Royal Enfield.

Read more:


Nano's downfall : Tata agrees to what Ingene worte in 2009!

Finally, Ratan Tata states that calling Nano a cheap car was a mistake.

An artile which I have written in 2011 insisted that 'automobile' is not a consumable product yet, in India and the reason of downfall @Tata Nano (the dream car of Tata group, which expected a huge sale in India but failed to match the expectation) was due to the product perception and wrong product positioning.
Here's the article: http://ingene.blogspot.in/2011/03/tata-nano-story-downfall-saga.html

Yesterday Mr. Ratan Tata, the chairman emeritus of the Tata group has said that marketing Nano as the 'cheapest car' was a mistake. "It became termed as a cheapest car by the public and, I am sorry to say, by ourselves, not by me, but the company when it was marketing it. I think that is unfortunate," Mr Tata told a news channel about the group's subsidiary Tata Motors' small car.

The Nano has failed to live up to the expectations after being touted as the cheapest car to hit the roads.Its sales have been dwindling despite the company's attempts to reposition it. In the April-October period, its sales fell 71.7 per cent to 12,322 units from 43,627 units in the year ago period.
Here's the report: http://profit.ndtv.com/news/industries/article-ratan-tata-says-calling-nano-the-cheapest-car-was-a-mistake-373603?ndtv_profit_rhs

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Satanism is growing like 'wildfire' among the youth in India

If the reports are to be believed, there is a steady raise of Satanism / Satan worshipping among the youth of India. At certain states, the situations are worst and beyond control. Specially in the states where Christians are in majority (Nagaland, Mizoram, Kerala etc.) the youth are turning towards satanic practices.

Recently the churches were attacked by alleged Satan worshippers in Mijoram and Kerala. Last year, at least three incidents occurred in Mizoram where miscreants draw a star surrounded by a circle - a well-known Satanic symbol - in front of the altar and set Bibles on fire inside it.

In 1st October 2013 there was an incident of attempted theft at St Antony’s CMI Monastery Church, Aluva, Kerala.  Following reports that Black Mass is gaining momentum in the state, Alappuzha Bishop Stephen Athipozhiyil Cochi had issued a pastoral letter asking laity to be vigilant about the activities of such groups. However, the Aluva police maintain that the incident at St Antony’s Chapel was just another case of attempted theft. “We could not trace any link that leads to Black Mass.” Black Mass is believed to be celebrated during the Witches’ Sabbath and the sacred host is profaned through bizarre sexual rituals.

 In April 16, 2013 The Telegraph newspaper from Kohima, Nagaland wrote “Christian leaders will hold a “transformation crusade” from April 24 to 30 in a bid to stop teenagers and youths from allegedly practising Satan worship. The news paper also added “Church leaders of Nagaland claimed that in Kohima alone, 3,000 people, who are mostly teenagers and youths, have taken up such practices… Rev. Zotuo Kiewhuo, senior pastor of Koinonia Baptist Church said the cult was practiced by youths in schools and colleges and added it has been going on for the past four to five years. The Baptist clergyman said youngsters have imbibed the culture through social networking websites like Facebook and Twitter. “There is an identity crisis among our youths and thus being led to such practices.” Rev. Shan Kikon, senior pastor and founder of Faith Harvest Church, said he was not sure about the number of Satan worshippers here but claimed to have come across such persons recently. Kikon said such practices begin with curiosity and obsession. “I have come across even a Class VI student practicing Satan worship,” Rev. Kiewhuo said. He said teenagers and youths were easily influenced by the alien culture through social websites and friends. He said several parents have come to him to rescue their children from such practices…” 75% of them are girls. The Indian Express, dated October 6th 2013 reported “In God’s own state the Devil seems to be in demand. The buzz among Catholics who constitute over 20 per cent of the population is that a large number of believers have turned towards Satan and are practicing Black Mass or Satan Worship, according to priests.”

Interestingly, The non Christian dominated cities like Bangalore and Pune are also getting into the grip of satanic practices. In Pondicherry and Goa, Ingene correspondents reported various satanic groups and activities. In Calcutta / Kolkata the existence of an underground Satanism inspired group “Order of 9 Angles” is noted. The individuals mostly refer/ follow satanic churches and satanic bible. The satanic church even has online presence: http://www.churchofsatan.com/ with various discussion forums as this : http://www.satannet.com/forum/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=488124

The satanic church website states that it is “dedicated to the acceptance of Man’s true nature—that of a carnal beast, living in a cosmos that is indifferent to our existence. To us, Satan is the symbol that best suits the nature of we who are carnal by birth—people who feel no battles raging between our thoughts and feelings, we who do not embrace the concept of a soul imprisoned in a body. He represents pride, liberty, and individualism—qualities often defined as Evil by those who worship external deities, who feel there is a war between their minds and emotions.”

2 psychographic key trends observed are: Satanism is ‘cool’ and it’s for them who dares to be ‘intellectuals’ (yet introvert in their social existence). It’s also becoming popular due to the lack of fear on god and easily accessible social media references. The news like this spreads virally among youth: http://screen.yahoo.com/10-terrifying-cases-demonic-possession-163018587.html

The history of black magic in India is evident from time immortal. In Assam, there’s a place called Mayong which was the ‘capital of black magic’ in India during medieval period. Situated at 40 km from Guwahati and once considered the cradle of black magic in the country, Mayong is today a place of tourist attraction because of its history. But, in contemporary India, there was never such a surge of Satanism among the youth, as today.

here's a map of places where Satanism are spreading faster:

The page in Facebook has more than 1000 likes and very active:

further reading:




Saturday, November 2, 2013

Why Sprite (a fizzy drink) is thriving in Indian market : an insider's perspective

In India, the non-alcoholic Beverages market is $5 million which might not beat the health drink market ($300 million) but pretty decent to deep in. As revealed in the survey, the beverages consumption is steadily raising.
Recently, was reading an article at Open magazine which claims that the success of Sprite, a non alcoholic fizzy drink (which has beaten home grown Thumbs Up and mega brands like Coke) is due to its ‘cool and straight forward non fizzy advertisements’! the article states “All said, Sprite’s success bears an edge of differentiation that’s reckless no less than competitive”.

Let’s cut the crap! Sprite is selling faster than any other brands due to it’s quality of being a great mixer for Vodka. This alcoholic beverage is growing in India at the rate of 25% every year! Vodka is particularly popular among the youth and ladies as it doesn’t smell (like whisky) or gives a tummy (as Beers do). Also, vodka never gives a kick as any other brown drinks (hence, it’s difficult for the parents to guess what happened in a ‘house party’). DIvansh Burman, a consultant in the Indian retail liqueur industry stated in my opinion, gender flexibility has a lot to do with this increased consumption. Studies show more women prefer vodka over men and with Indian women getting a voice over booming economy, the raise in vodka sales seems real”.  While interviewing few peer leaders the INgene team found that Vodka mixing itself is a 'cool' way to attract peers. Akash (21) jovially said "oh ya, mix gets me fix!"... later, we found that 'fix' means dates.

The transparent sweet fizzy Sprite is the best companion for transparent Vidka. In every office party, college fest, all girl’s meet, this mix works fabulous. It’s competitor Mountain dew has much less rack presence throughout the country. This mix also allows to experiment with the drink as DIY (Chilli vodka, Lime mix, Mint vodka and so on).

Hence, though the ad/ media agencies are trying hard to prove their worth through advertisement, the reality is the powerful ‘blending capability’ and rack presence of this otherwise non benevolent drink that’s making it fly high in Indian subcontinent.
Rest is bakwas, anyway.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

The assault on women: IYF (It’s Your Fault) a satirical anti abuse take: youth socio psychology in contemporary India

At a time, when the youth of Indian subcontinent are irritated with the comments and criticism by the political leaders and religious gurus (on women and their dresses which they claims to be the main cause of growing abuse!) a satirical anti abuse take is spreading the voice of youth. A video starring actress Kalki Koechlin which takes a dig at some controversial comments made by public figures on gang rapes has gone viral online. The video 'It's Your Fault', which also stars VJ Juhi Pandey, has been viewed more than 1.5 million times and received more than 6,000 comments since it was published on YouTube on September 19. The parody video from "All India Bakchod" features Bollywood actresses gleefully (and sarcastically) explaining to women that rape is "their fault." The joke here isn't the act of rape itself, but the excuses used to perpetrate it. As they state on their Youtube page: "Every sexual assault case in India inspires a string of stupid and hateful remarks against women. This is our response to those remarks".

At the start of the video, which runs for almost four minutes, Koechlin says that scientific studies suggest that women who wear skirts are the leading cause of rape. Do you know why? Because men have eyes. Koechlin goes on to show examples of provocative clothing, including a woman covered in a black burqa and a spacesuit complete with a helmet.

In reaction to the gang-rape last December, politicians and a number of leading gurus had made a series of comments blaming everything from mobile phones to short skirts and noodles for violence against women. All India Bakchod's video joins other efforts in the country dedicated to chipping away at outmoded ideas about women and their rights in general, but specifically their right to bodily autonomy.

The recent and controversial "Save Our Sisters" campaign featured Hindu goddesses, edited to look beaten and bloodied, to drive a home a point about domestic abuse.


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Preferences in Life 2013 : Indian Youth insight report by Ingene

In the year 2007 (when the world was not over-excited about the ‘population dividend’ of India and no self-proclaimed ‘youth expert’ was in the vicinity of this subcontinent neither any ‘think tank’ from west tried to superimpose their west-oriented insights) , Ingene did the first survey among the youth of India to find their priorities of life.  The report was iconic, because it blew below the belt and many multi-national brands changed their promotional strategies, business approaches and high headed conventional stand (oh India is a dump yard, stack anything ‘foreign’ and it will sell) to be oriented towards the ‘Desi way’ of living life.  We have observed, the beverage giants like Coke changed their ‘cool’ approach to become ‘family drink’ and holiday makers started offering ‘family pack’ rather than ‘couple pack’.  Even McDonald bent down to leave their (‘oh so proud’) worldwide one recipe in India offering “Mc. Maharaja Burger” and specially spiced up dishes. In short, they became Desi.

Surprisingly, after 6 years of economic whirlwind (IT boom, bubble blast, recession, post-recession, re recession, recovery) the priorities of life hasn’t changed much! This year, we did a prolonged study (formal qualitative survey, group discussion, informal interviews, and ethnographic deep dive) among the 1200 youth of 32 cities (Metros, SEC1 and SEC2) across the country covering East, West, North and South zone to have a holistic feedback about the priorities of Youth. The age group was 18 to 28 years. 57.3 percent of respondents were female and 42.7 percent male. Most of the respondents were either students or have joined in their first Job. Ingene team followed their lifestyle and mapped their social behavior to understand whether the results are constructive, real and cohesive to the survey. Further the Founder, Prof. Kaustav has concluded with his insights about the ‘consistency’ in priorities of life @ Young Indians.

Here’s a sneak peek of the result:

the relevant reports published in 2007:

other relevant surveys :


Saturday, August 17, 2013

what independence means to Young Indians?

In the eve of Independence day, Ingene had a discussion with young Indians about the true meaning of independence. Here's what they think:

Unfortunately, in past 67 years, none of above being achieved. India has a long path to travel. The statements mentioned here, resonates with the aspiration of every Indian, across the world.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

the mutating lingo- 'cuteness' is hot! - Indian youth trend

‘Hey he is so cute yaar’! Well, I don’t understand how a well grown man can be ‘cute’!  a gang of girls seating behind me keeps discussing how cute Ranveer Kapoor is in the movie  Yeh Jawani hae Deewaani . Interestingly, the cuteness becomes universal when they spell the same for the heroine too!

How can a Bollywood hero (I thought it’s only a domain of ‘hot’ and ‘macho’ men) becomes as cute as the heroine? Or is it that the language is mutating? The code lingo for hotness became ‘cute’? I roll back to an era where a song was banned just because it had the word ‘sexy’ and immediately being replaced with ‘baby’! Not that pedophilic, but yes at that time baby was synonymous to hotness (same as ‘Honey’, for the babyboomers). So, in Facebook era, when a ‘bad word’ can break a potential friendship (a buddy, which has the wider possibility of future ‘dating’) right at Facebook itself, ‘cute’ seems to be a safer word to pronounce. Hence, right from the pets (‘oh that’s a cute puppy) to the coolest chap in the campus gets a chance to be coined as ‘cute’.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Facebook ban in Indian educational institutes- an youth perspective

 Social media phobia is encroaching in every educational institute of India in an extent that the firewalls are blocking it from the shared network to the personal investigations as watch dogs by the authorities, administrations and teachers.   According to a Facebook's statement as on December 31, 2012, it has 1.06 billion monthly active users (MAUs) worldwide. Users in Brazil, India and Indonesia represented key sources of growth in fiscal 2012 relative to the prior year. Facebook has 71 million MAUs in India as of December 31, 2012, an increase of 54 percent compared to the same period in 2011. 63% of Facebook users in India are below 24 years old and 73% of them are male (2012 report). Interestingly, the Indian academia is extensively allergic to social media arguing that it is nothing but wastage of time. The argument is surprisingly supported with the voices of system-educated Indian gray hair administrators and CEOs who thinks social media indeed is wastage of productive time by their paid employees. The youth are taking looped path to break the firewall and access facebook. Here’s one such page with options: http://tricktactoe.com/tricks/tricks-to-open-facebook-when-it-is-blocked/

Recently I was discussing with a group of peer leaders to understand their take on whether social media is also a learning platform rather than wasting time and the reply was positive. Most of them believe Facebook is a platform to learn a lot that’s not usually taught in conventional school.  Even social media is a great platform to connect with ‘likeminded’ peers to share ideas, communicate freely (very good tool for the introverted youth to participate in discussion, voice opinion). 

Vishakha stated “at fb I have access to : 1) Amazing artworks throughout the world which I won’t be able to see otherwise as its more interesting to see them here, rather than on individual websites 2) Share my work and get criticism which helps me improve and I learned specially, How to Multi-task  I work hard throughout the day, but I access fb too all the time. It doesn't affect my work quality, it just gives my mind time to relax’. She added “ It has given me a confidence boost to share my thoughts openly, to realize what I really like. But be careful, if you are pro-fb like me, people will judge you, they will call you addicts. But in the end you should know what you are using it for - Sharing dumb troll pics, or discussing your thoughts, interests, artworks and music… Art is not just painting in your room, art is experienced within you, and unless and until you feel what you are doing, and connect with other people artistically and emotionally, you are not doing justice to yourself.’  Shakti malik mentioned  that FB is helping him to communicate, to know the new things etc, but he also agrees that it take its toll if one gets addicted.  Gulshan agreed that he is learning art and music from facebook.  The youth confirmed that the social media is much better than TV as it’s a two way communication with lot of scope to discuss, voice opinion, exhibit works and  communicate. 

Here’s a part screen grab of the online discussion after a casual group discussion, offline :

 The problem is perception of 'learning' and consecutive generation gap in understanding the core values of learning. Among the older generation of India, learning means reading books, listening to lectures in a class room, finishing homework and delivering the same 'accurately' at the exam to score high. It neither has any scope of interaction, beyond box wisdom or self learning. The over induced spoon feeding makes the learning scenario unattractive to  the youth. In the 'India Human Development Report 2011' prepared by Institute of Applied Manpower Research the main concern was the drop outs of school which can become significantly high if the schools appear ‘boring’ (which is a fact, actually).

Sunday, June 16, 2013

the perception of Social media, mobile phone and their use- Gen Next vs. Gen Old, in India

‘oh it’s so irritating to see my students are always at facebook!’ Mr. Reddy (46, teacher at a private school ) commented recently during a conversation over coffee.  A widening generation gap on the perception of social network (‘wastage of time’ vs. ‘great way to communicate’) and it’s super emphasized ‘ill effects’ are mushrooming the ban of social networks at the educational institutions across India.  

But, contradicting to what the ‘oldies’ think, here’s a survey report that was published at the time of India, June 16th 2013. The report states “about 75 per cent of India's youth prefers social media over phone calls to communicate, with more students using the Net for school-related tasks, says a TCS survey…. The findings, a part of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) Gen-Y survey 2012-13, reveal that today's youth are collaborating through social networking tools and building virtual communities aided by affordable bandwidth and smart devices.

Interestingly, the youth are also finding ways to divert the firewalls and access social networks! Rubani (21years) informed me that platforms like ‘hidemyass’ is increasingly used to access the banned contents. It’s also ‘cool’ to break the firewall and let everybody know! Recently in the confession page one girl expressed her ‘love and respect’ to a boy who is known to be a great ‘breaker’.

The TOI reported ‘India's post-millennial generation, those people born in 1996 and afterwards, seem set to overtake the preceding millennial generation, taking communication over social networks like Facebook and Twitter and instant messaging modes like Whatsapp to newer extremes… Nearly three out of four students cited "Research for School" as the main reason to access the Internet followed by social reasons like chatting and connecting with friends (62 per cent)… Seventy four per cent of those surveyed said they use Facebook the most to communicate while 54 per cent conceded to use SMS, both significantly higher than the number of students who said they use voice calls (44 per cent) for the same purpose… The survey said the urban post-millennial generation is increasingly turning to text and chat as alternatives to voice”.

To be noted most of the institutions even banned mobile phones! Large universities like Anna university (which controls 227 engineering colleges apart from many other universities) have banned mobile phone way back in 2006.

To TOI TCS Chief Executive N Chandrasekaran said “Urban school students today are gaining greater online access with more affordable bandwidth and smart devices on offer. They are an ultra-connected generation using the power of the Internet for education as well as collaborating through social networks and building virtual communities."

 The survey added that the preference for Facebook is equally high among respondents in both metros (92 per cent) and mini-metros (91 per cent).

Hence, there is a clear perception gap (regarding the usage of social media and mobile phone) among the Gen next and older generation. The older generation must understand that social networks are great platforms to learn, communicate, network and gain knowledge.

Read the TOI report here

Friday, May 31, 2013

a toy for all : The growing business of toys in India- Demographic surge

I was discussing with one of the Digital gurus (he is 33 years) and he proudly stated that his first month's salary was spent to buy an X Box! The 30+ generation is becoming more and more involed in things that they have missed in their childhood. They are also obsessed to provide all those things (and more) to their kids! the domestic market of toys are flourishing around. here's an article published in The Hindu Business Line :

Dinesh Sathiaraj is 15, but whenever he visits the mall near his home in Mumbai, he has to visit the Hamleys there and look for something new to buy. He is interested in radio- and remote-controlled toys and owns about three or four of them, all which cost his parents between Rs 3,000 and Rs 5,000 each. He is interested in radio-control Lego sets as well. 

When R. Jeswant, Vice-President, Funskool India, began working at the company about 13 years ago, toys that cost Rs 3,000 were difficult to sell. However, a Lego set of the Taj Mahal which cost Rs 33,000 not only attracted much attention when it was being set up and built but also managed to sell a few pieces last year. “They’re lapping it up,” he says, as he talks of higher prices and changing tastes.
Airfix, a brand of scale models of military aircraft, ships, tanks and cars that have to be assembled and painted, is one toy that represents this evolution. Earlier, there was no market at all for these kind of pursuits, he explains. At that time, toy makers and sellers were also worried about losing out to cheap alternatives from China, but that threat seems to have abated in recent years as they are unable to meet quality stipulations in India. 

Not only has Funskool brought in an array of such sophisticated toys, it has even been selling 3,000- and 5,000-piece jigsaw puzzles which can be finished only with the help of older enthusiasts. Its party games such as Taboo and Scattergories are meant for adults. Funskool, a joint venture between tyre major MRF and Hasbro, has tie-ups with several entities around the world which have licensed their toys and board games to it.

Scratching the surface

“In India, we’re still scratching the surface of the toy market,” says Jeswant. Worldwide, the toy market is estimated at $85 billion (Rs 450,000 crore) but in India it’s just Rs 2,200 crore. (There are no authorised industry estimates.) Worldwide, the industry is growing at a compounded annual growth rate of 1 per cent over the last five years, but at 12-15 per cent in India and will maintain that rate for the next 10 years, he says. Funskool has been growing at 23 per cent for the last five years. 

India and China are important for toy market companies for these reasons, there’s plenty to look forward to, he says. This is why the future of the traditional toys industry looks pretty good. And there are plenty of reasons why toy sellers can be optimistic. 

For one, there’s lots more money. People are flaunting their riches, a car, a smartphone … “that’s the first stage. Toys come in the next stage when there’s more awareness,” says Jeswant. 

It helps that today’s young parents are the first generation of Indian parents who have played with some sort of branded toys, he says. Funskool came into being in 1987, Mattel’s India operations a little earlier, so toys and games such as Barbie, GI Joe and Monopoly are not unfamiliar to them and will be perpetuated in the next generation too, says Jeswant. “Seventy per cent of India is under the age of 35, which is extremely good, a lot of young parents and kids around,” he adds. 

Krunal Mehta, Vice-President (Branding and Corporate Communication), Angel Broking, says parents’ demanding educational toys is another reason the toys and games market is witnessing robust growth. The emergence of modern trade has exposed people quite a bit to branded toys, he says, though he points out there are equal or more numbers when it comes to unbranded toys.
The expansion of organised retail is another reason for happiness. With exclusive toy stores such as Hamleys coming up, there is a much higher standard of merchandising. Impulse buys go up in such a situation, says Jeswant. 

But are people buying in a rather gloomy economic atmosphere? Toy sales don’t really go down, says Jeswant, explaining that people defer the big-ticket purchases such as homes so that they won’t have to pay monthly instalments. The average price of a toy is Rs 500-1,000. Toy sales in department stores are affected as fewer people shop there during a downturn, but that’s not the case with toys-only stores, he says.

Traditional rules

Neither is he worried about the Internet taking over children’s play times. “There’s a long time before we have to be worried about that,” he says, adding that there is a lot of scope for traditional toys, which include board games, puzzles and Play Doh. He is not seeing any drop in sales of infant and pre-school toys, and board games, played by older children, continue to be the highest-selling category at Funskool, raking in over 30 per cent of the sales. It speaks of good parental influence and family bonding, he says.
What are the new-generation toys for new-generation kids? Jeswant says animation movies drive toy sales. Beyblades merchandise has been a favourite for the last two-and-a-half years, and more will be launched when a new series launches in October this year. The last few weeks, it’s been Iron Man III merchandise that Funskool has been selling. 

Lego is another big trend – it is the fastest growing toy company in the world, and a big contrast to the stagnant global toy market. Funskool’s sales from Lego grew 70 per cent in 2012 and it expects similar growth this year. Funskool’s turnover has crossed Rs 100 crore and it spends about 5 per cent of its turnover on advertising and marketing. 

Over the years, Funskool has tied up with Tomy Takara of Japan, which has helped it bring in the Beyblades, Chuggington die-cast vehicles, Tomica and Lamaze brands, Ravensburger of Germany for jigsaw puzzles, radio-controlled vehicles from New Bright and Siku of Germany. Boys’ collectibles from Funskool are a big draw, claims Jeswant. Puzzles are big, not in rupee terms, but in numbers. 

And what do they have for girls? Handycrafts, all set to launch this year. It’s not going to be tie-ups all the way. Since last year, there is “a new thrust” at Funskool to develop its own brands. Last year, it launched Giggles for infants, which has doubled sales in a year. All its pre-school toys will be branded Giggles henceforth. This year, it’s Handycrafts, arts and crafts products that will include finger painting, leaf art and origami. 

A few years ago, Funskool tied up with IIT Bombay’s Industrial Design Centre to develop some board games. Chakra View, Mahawar, Gotcha, Triplets and a few others were born out of an elective called Board Game Design offered at IIT. 

Dinesh’s mother Nalina says that it is only of late that her sons’ interest in board games seems to have waned. “We used to buy every new board game that came on the market,” she says, “so that we could play as a family.” Definitely the Internet has cut into their toy time, though Dinesh says he wants an expensive Lego set as a wedding gift when he gets married!