Prologue: I often struggle to decide what I should write a few lines about. It is not that I suffer from a paucity of topics but rather the opposite i.e. plenty of topics. So given that, I think I will pen down some of these thoughts much more regularly in a column aptly titled “Four Stray Thoughts”.
1. CEO salaries: A CEO by definition is supposed to lead his company forward. Some of them are flamboyant while other CEO’s prefer a quieter approach to leadership. No matter what the style, they need to perform and lead their company. And it is no wonder that their salaries are among the highest. And I say why not if the stakeholders are ok and if the company is doing good, it is even justified. In the same vein, it has come as no surprise to me, that our political class terms the high salaries as ‘vulgar’ and ‘indecent’. High Corporate Governance standards, Openness, Corporate Social Responsibility, etc are the words which each corporation would like to be associated with. But please do not confuse or link it to CEO salaries. There is no relation whatsoever between them. It is perfectly normal to give a so called ‘obscene’ salary to a CEO as long as the company is meeting its goals and also addressing its responsibilities in our ecosystem. The goal of the government should be to regulate a bit in order to maintain higher standards of corporate governance. A Satyam like scenario is more of concern to me than a Mr. XYZ earning 100 crore per year and flaunting it. Let us not confuse corporate leaders with excesses that some of them may be indulging in. If the right regulations, policies, checks are in place vis-a-vis all stake holders, the vulgarity will take care of itself.
2. The Flood fury: It must be a nightmare for the people affected by the floods in AP, Karnataka and Maharashtra this past week. Incalculable damage has been done in terms of people’s livelihood, property,etc. However incalculable it may be, you can trust our political class to put a figure to that too. They have calculated with the speed of light, the amount in crores that are needed to address the issues caused by the floods. However intangible the losses may seem, they have the mathematical formulas in place to calculate the amount in crores that they need from the centre. Last that I knew and these are approximate figures, Karnataka and AP are demanding in the range of around 10,000 crores as flood relief. Natural calamities are something that we do not wish upon any, but for our ruling class, they must be singing the McDonald’s punch line “I’m loving it!” How I wish our political class was as fast in addressing problems as it is in calculating the amount of money it needs to address an incalculable loss.
3. Maharashtra State Elections: The state elections are due in a week’s time and the name calling is getting stronger. Each of our party leaders are indulging in name calling. As per a report, they are being called a “frog”, a “snake”, a “rat” and what not. Looks like we are living in a jungle or an Animal Kingdom. When I think a little more, it is indeed a jungle that we are living in, don’t you think so too? So the choice is yours. Please pick an animal that resembles you. But remember that frog, snake and rat are already taken. I think we can all be the ‘monkey’, who does not see, does not speak and does not hear about the jungle that we are actually residing in.
4. The SMS’ing politicians: It seems that every political leader wants to be looked upon as being technically savvy especially when it comes to mobile reach. Which sort of explains why we are being bombarded by several SMS’ asking us to vote for a particular XYZ. The SMS messages do look sincere (face value!) and each aspirant is trying his best to impress upon us why we should vote for them in about 140 characters. Not bad I say given that the world is going mad about Twitter. But the fact is that they are really looking silly. In fact I say very silly. For all their attempts to look technically savvy, they end up way below par. First, their credibility is so low that we are not going to be swayed by a SMS. Second, by using the same medium as the irritating SMS marketers who inform you about the great sale or that you have won a lottery, they have clubbed themselves together with the same folks whom we would gladly like to add to the DNCD (Do Not Call Directory). And finally, they do not understand the importance of location, which explains why I receive a SMS from a candidate in consituency A, when I am residing in constituency Z. The only real winners when the election results will be out will be the bulk SMS solution providers. Not the political aspirants and certainly not us. And my humble request to the winning candidate is to spare me and not send me another SMS informing me that he has won.