Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Voices in My Head - 24

Raghav Calls with More News

When I got up on Monday morning, my thoughts were still in a tangle. Thankfully, I was too busy all day to have much time to think. The last couple of months, I had got used to working on my narrow part of the project: now that I was working with and leading a team, I had to deal with frequent discussions and constantly being on my toes, often literally, as I flitted about from desk to desk… I loved the excitement, but the effort left me exhausted by the end of the day.
It was only when I was in the cab that was taking me home that Miki and Mandakini piped up again.
“Good thing you haven’t had time to think all day,” observed Miki. “It’s not going to be pleasant thinking about last night.”
“Oh, god,” said Mandakini. “What am I going to do?”

Thursday, November 25, 2010

An Interview with Tapas from Flipkart

Regular readers know reading is one of my favorite things to do, so it's no surprise that I'm a big fan of Flipkart, who have made buying books cheaper and easier than it's ever been. Tapas Rudrapatna was kind enough to answer some questions I had about Flipkart. Here we go.

Your CNBC Young Turks segment says you expect a turnover of Rs 100 crore by 2011. Now that a few months have passed since that projection: how likely do you think you are to meet that target?

I don't know the numbers, but we may be ahead of schedule!

You're the leading online bookstore in India with a 50% market share (same source as above). Who is the competition? Anything you admire about any of them, or anything they do better than you?

Landmark and Crossword, of course. They've been in the business longer than we have and hence probably have some understanding that we don't. You also have Indiaplaza, Rediff, Infibeam ... but all of them tackle a variety of verticals or are marketplaces. I personally think it's very commendable to be able to manage logistics across categories, from flowers to phones to perishables like cakes and mangoes!

Most of these have been around longer than we have, so probably have sufficient "trust" branding. We're getting there, no doubt ... but more people will question Flipkart's credibility than that of an established physical bookstore. That being said, the major book suppliers and distributors have told us that we are a bigger buyer than any of them are, so guess we're doing a few things but doing them right. If Twitter's any indication, many seem to have switched from the big names to us as well. All very heartening.

One book per minute. That's a lot of books. How many have you sold so far?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Voices in My Head - 23

Another Weekend, Another Date

Saturday dawned bright and early. The last few days had been bleak and foggy, and when I awoke and felt the warmth that had seeped into my room, I got up and pushed the curtain aside to let the sun in.

It was my first entire weekend in my new house, and I was glad I had plans and wouldn’t spend all the two days alone in my tiny room.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Voices in My Head - 22

A New Year

I was back in Gurgaon on the 3rd of January. It was a new year, and I had never been lonelier.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Voices in My Head - 21

I talk to Ma – and to Raghav

And then Raghav called. Early the next afternoon, when Ma and I were cooking lunch together. I answered and told him I would call back after lunch. It wasn’t exactly the best timing: after our initial hesitation Ma and I had begun talking as we used to when I was living at home. And doing something together, like cooking or cleaning the windows (which we had done the previous morning), helped us talk more comfortably.
I had been telling Ma about my work. It was the first time we had talked about it in some length and she seemed interested. We talked of my career plans.

Friday, November 12, 2010


Just came on to point those of you who haven't read it yet to Sue's awesome post on contraception. It's an important topic, and something we don't talk about often enough. The Guy and I fumbled around it too, not helped by ignorant and judgemental doctors, and we've only (I hope!) recently found our way.  

But Sue covers everything (probably) you need to know. Go read.

Also read this, which contains at least one gem:
Your sexual health is absolutely your responsibility – and a partner who does not respect that, is not someone who deserves the privilege of sharing your bed.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

What We Did on Diwali

I'm continuing with being lazy and not writing here, but momofrs has a lovely account of our meeting at G's last week. Do read, if only for the lovely things she says about me. I shall go around beaming beatifically at everyone today - too bad I'm working from home and there isn't anyone to beam beatifically at, except my plants. 

Friday, November 05, 2010

The Voices in My Head - 20

I Meet an Old Friend

I contemplated looking up old friends. Quite a few of them had, like me, moved out. One or two were in Delhi, but we had never connected after the first couple of phone calls. A few, I knew, were in Guwahati. But there were a few still in town. Some of them had got married. One or two had babies.
I went to visit Deepika. She had been a year senior in school, but we had become friends because she lived not far from my house and we had taken to sharing an auto to and from school. She was tall and slender, with a complexion that was the envy of the school: milky white, with cheeks and lips so pink you would have thought someone had just pinched them hard. She had shiny straight hair that fell below her waist. Yet she was no vain beauty: she was modest and shy, and an extremely loyal friend.
I had often invited her home. When I was in my last year of school and she had joined college, she often popped in to meet me after classes. I had also visited her house a few times. She lived in a house shaped like a box with one side missing: each side was just one room wide and opened towards the front yard. The roof was thatched, and the walls were made of mud. For furniture, there were string cots, and wooden chairs and tables. Yet the people who lived there were very kind and hospitable: I was never allowed to leave without tea brought in in a tall steel tumbler, even though Deepika sometimes apologized for the tea being black because there was no milk in the house.
“Oh, I prefer black tea,” I would lie, hoping that even on days when there was milk, they wouldn’t give me some that was meant for her younger siblings.