Raizada Heritage Fund and Trip to Woodlands
So I return to the sofa tales. Vartika knew I had make her do with those mattresses. You know how dumb I am, relentlessly pointless. Unfortunately I ran into an Ariean, and that too my Mom. She looked at me and the mattresses and then again at me, and I went ballistic. From the sensibility of an accountant, to the eruditeness of an economist (Defintely not Manmohan), to the bania of the corner store to the nincompoop of what her son can be, I explained and ranted about wisdom of not owning a sofa. The free space, Making of a couch potato, unstructured environments stimulating creativity, sharing the same fate as millions of my fellow brethren who own a TV and a cable connection but no sofa. None of these worked and she just steamrolled everything in her wake.
So we had to get a Sofa. Now this is not a simple process with me. I am still in the process of owning the right Bose speakers for the last six years. I am still contemplating the right “audio system” for my car. I am still thinking of a right time to start thinking about getting the watch of my dreams. Include the submarine that I had been vouching for as a perfect startup, making do with a worthless iPhone while my Blackberry begs to be restored, and I could always go on and on. “Plans interrupted while Plans were being made”. So we made measurements, we did focussed group discussions, we did snoop on neighbours, friends, TV serials, movies, talk shows, what not, and we bitched, ranted, ooh-aahed, sofas, people bought, kept, used. We made matrices of people owning sofas, how their personalities were reflected in sofas they kept and vice versa, the dogs, cows, cats and stars were all subjected to numerous statistical tests. Taxonomic, Structural, Economic, Perception – all parameters were identified in classification of Sofas.
Porter cried when I used his five forces, for classifying firms that have entered into furnishing industry. Why we should have Ikea, what garage sales means for Ikea and effect of those on GDP, Would Ikea work in rural Indian landscape, what should be the ideal entry strategy for such firms, Would Nilkamal do well in such an onslaught. I mean we were in the zone. The launch was ready, we were ready to foray into the markets, get our feet dirty and tired, We had done the market survey, we had done the homework. We were on our way to becoming the owner of a Sofa. Vartika, meanwhile had started answering my rants with monosyllables, I think thats what she did. I think Office Work exhausts her.
So I divided the Bombay we live in, into catchment areas, classifying them by the segment which resides in them, kind of shops they purchase their stuff in, how they say Pepsi and whether they eat Goa 1000 or Pukar or Aashiqui. I went online with a vengeance, scoured the blogs, read and reread on advice to buy furnishings in Bombay, indexed and reindexed them for efficiency (discovered Supermemo and its amazing discoverer in the process) and neatly outlined the “Go-to-market” strategy to my partner in crime. Vartika is a professional at this, so I just asked her to affix her stamp whilst making very slight suggestions on an already winner strategy. She as I always thought she would, wholeheartedly agreed with me. I could not sleep the night before D-Day. I wondered if Allies were so giddy with excitement before Normandy happened. But I was sleepless in Bombay.
And off we went. Mall after mall, I made copious notes on how we were attended to, how were the sofas stacked, could there be a better strategy to use the space, the lighting, the arc-lighting, how often should the attendants clean the sofa (so that it appears clean and brand new and still it does not wear it (frequent jeans wearing does that to jeans.. they get torn)... and keep it brand new). I twisted the limericks, the jingles and how they could be made better, what caught my attention and what did not. I scouted for the shop managers and I gave them the gist of my observations (they seemed nonplussed... if they had been observant in first place, they would have observed it before me and thus I would not have noticed it. QED).
Then I took to the Local markets, Chembur ones, Bandra ones, Crawford markets, Oshiwara new furniture market, oshiwara old furniture market, Malad furniture market in from of Hypercity, Malad furniture market behind Hypercity. Like the Egyptians, Tunisians and now Libyans, I was on my own crusade. To classify and photograph and record like Dewey did with books, everything about Sofas. Ohh and I went abroad too. I ate my sisters head and made her visit a few furniture markets there. And I sent her my notes and checklists to be compiled (research should not suffer just because the observer was not that detailed).
And variety did I see and observe and record and note and classify. It was breathtaking. From the shady rubberwood ones to the classy Osians, from the rustic hoyasalas to carved shekawatis, from the colourful and painted jodhpuris to the stoic standard Indian Sofa. I saw the Victorians restored, saw the marbled ones, the rosewood ones with inlaid patterns. I identified rosewoods, teaks, sheesham, Sagaun and into new teak and old seasoned teak.The buy versus build decision debate on the phone with my dad was a classic. So much did I learn there. I was an adventurer, a scientist carefully noting the properties of belted sofas and spring loaded ones.
Vartika brought in the dimensions that were not that important. The color (who cares) (like it should match with the Dining Table we have. Well if I bought a Rolls Royce, Should its color be decided by the color of garage door or vice versa), The ease of keeping a modern sofa versus a pain of maintaining a traditional one (again a classic blunder by novices who are just trying to talk sense. If given a choice between a red blood hound and a Poodle, which one would you choose?) But yes we discussed her contributions to the discussion, but they were like a specific solution to the P=NP debate when I was trying to get a universal solution to the complexity debate. Once and for all. In one fell swoop. And so on.
And we are so hopeful that we would be able to own the sofa of our dreams in near future. The battle is being won, just like Gaddafi in Libya. The truth shall prevail, the preparation will lead to inspiration. Soon.
The corner waits with a tempered silence.
Ohh and by the way. The blog has withered. I have been meaning to write so often with so much determination. The crucial issues on my mind have been Manmohan Singh, Niira Radia (she is a heroine), A Raja, Karunanidhi and his three official wives and official kids, Supermemo, Algorithmic Complexity, Cpp Coding, Interns, Non-performing Assets, Navier Stokes, P=NP, Standard of Education imparted in IITs, Standard of Doctors in India, GST, Chitrangda Singh, Udai Singh Pawar and his excursions, Booming Babies, Its raining babies, beaches, beaches at moonlight, is universe encoded with a string of the size of a transcendental number like pi or e, so even we start decoding the world and its mysteries, we never end. May be that is God
One key thought I had on a high note with udai on the beach at 2 in the night was “imagine there are seven emotions. To create an amazing story, one just needs to project the story in such a dimension such as to eliminate that emotion. So lets say we eliminate greed and now none of the characters in the story has greed or just the main character does not have the “concept” of greed. How different his life would be or how life would be different for him as a result.” I guess Shakespeare had such a thought and thus all novellas and emotions can be traced back to his “original” works. Maybe I am late on this idea, but a beautiful one nonetheless. So much could have been written but its the sofas that afflict me. Its a disease. Same as Sherlock Holmes turning to bee-keeping. We all need a hobby, because work is too serious.