January 11, 2008

Jumbo & Nano!

Literally, two contradictory words... but two words that epitomizes Brand India in the world today at the current juncture.

Anil Jumbo Kumble has personified the grace of a true captain over the last one week when Team India is amidst controversies down under. To the contrary, Ricky Punter Ponting is under severe criticism from all nooks and corners. What a paradox, thankfully favoring India.

Kumble has been a superb team player for almost one and half decades serving the country selflessly. His grit and determination has earned him a lot of accolades and fans, one of them being myself. There would not have been a single soul in this country who would have felt negative/bad about Kumble being elevated as the test captain of the country couple of months back. And this, in a country where every pappu, bablu and chotu has an opinion on cricket. It simply underlines the fact that Kumble has been one of cleanest and most respected player in the game... passion, hard work and dedication all rolled into one.

In retrospect, I cannot stop wondering whether Dhoni would have been able to handle this situation with as much grace and appropriateness that Kumble has demonstrated. I don’t have an answer, but many a times experience is a more useful trait than talent and flamboyancy.

On the other side, Ponting has reiterated that his side is rude, arrogant and indifferent. It is not just this incident that is attracting a lot of flak from every cricket observer, outside and more importantly within Australia. Over the years, the arrogance of Australian team has been increasing in direct proportion to their success. Generally, the former follows latter... but they choose to believe that their ‘attitude’ is a precursor to their victory.

I will not be surprised if Ponting is sacked after this series if he does not make necessary amends immediately. Surely, he will be under the lens during the rest of the series.

Now to the other part of my title – Nano...Tata Nano! Unlikely that anyone would have missed reading/hearing about it. The news is all over the place. Amidst all oppositions and cynics, Tata has achieved to deliver on what it had dreamed and promised – car for the common man. Indeed, priced at something little above Rs.100,000(approx. USD2500), Nano is aam aadmi’s car. Though the commercial feasibility check is pending, this launch is a mega success in the history of the global auto industry. Hats off to Ratan Tata and the Tata Motors team for delivering on this. This is clearly going to revolutionize the Indian auto space… similar to Reliance changing the demographics of the Indian telecom industry.

What struck me the most is that over the last 4 years, from the date this idea was conceptualized, the input costs have gone up steeply, some of them easily by about 50% during the period! Despite this, to deliver on the price of 1lac is marvelous. Of course, critics will be quick to retort that if even at current prices the manufacturers are earning a margin, then the original margin would have been steep and hence treacherous. However, let’s not even look at these critics now. This day belongs to Tata group and Ratan Tata.

As Ratan Tata put it, a promise is a promise... This will surely be a historic red lettered bold line when anyone looks at Indian corporate history even decades down the line from now. The image of India Inc. has received an undeniable boost in the global canvas….

Long live Jumbo and Nano!

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