Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Are all politicians crooks

We hate profiling or typecasting. We all do. We cry our lungs out when a Muslim is singled out for 'questioning' at an air-port or denied a rental flat in a building. We despise stereotyping women or South-Indians or anything that involves the Aam Aadmi. Then why are we so eager to pick up brooms to hit any politician?
When you are in public life (and for long), stones will be thrown at you - by people, opponents and media alike. Sometimes these allegations may not be true and may not even stand a chance in the courts. But if someone's name is thrown up enough number of times for the wrong reasons, his 'public image' is bound to take a beating. I am sure there are hoards of politicians who are as clean as you and me, but have fallen prey to the game called politics. Whether it is allegations of corruption, criminal conduct or anything else, common man does not have the means and patience to verify them. Hence, the 'image' plays a vital role in how we perceive all the politicians. And the image may not even be close to reality!
Another argument that needs pondering is - most political parties (or rather political start-ups) that have grown organically have a clean and idealistic image in the beginning. But a party needs people to grow. The essence of a political party in a democratic system is inclusiveness. And as more and more people join (as you want them to), it becomes difficult to keep the image of the party clean. Because the party is held responsible for the behaviour of it's members. This is where we start hearing statements like 'that is his personal opinion and not the party stand' , ' the allegations are yet to be proven' and  the most commonly used ' no comments'.
So in toto, having a clean image is not merely a function of your character but also depends on how long you have been in politics!

Monday, December 09, 2013

Shortening the postal address

Today, I was writing the address on an envelope to be sent to the Income Tax PAN services in Pune. The address runs into 6 lines and has more characters than twitter or SMS allows. I am sure this address must be receiving thousands of letters everyday. Why can't the Indian Post think of a way of shortening such popular addresses - something like tinyurl of the postal address?
This will save a lot of time for individuals, reduce errors and lead to customer delight! The post box service is one way of looking at it. But it is limited by resources (space available for post boxes) and also latency on part of the addressee. However, a service that shortens the postal address can be driven by an alpha numeric code and is virtually unlimited. 
This can be monetised by charging either the sender or the receiver. The receiver may be issued this code at an annual fee or the sender may be asked to paste a premium postage stamp (marginal premium of Re.1) for a shortened address letter.
If tinyurl can do it to the web address, I am sure there is a way to do it for the postal address as well.