Delivering Un-happiness!

Last year, a friend of mine recommended me a book – “Delivering Happiness” by Tony Hsieh. Entrepreneurs who run an eCommerce business would have read it at least once, if not more. But I know of some, who I guess, haven’t.

I want to order a copy each for those who run Zoomin and FloraIndia!

In the last 4 years, eCommerce stores have mushroomed in India at a never before pace, supposedly making our lives easier. Personally, I love this shift and believe that it’s a solution to multiple problems (We can talk about them, some other time).

From the time when using credit cards on the Internet was a nasty affair, to having Cash On Delivery as a payment option, today – we have come a long way. However, the eCommerce companies that are making this a bumpy ride for customers are the sorts I just mentioned. (Oh, I am REALLY serious about getting their postal addresses, for a hard-cover!)

Last week, it was a birthday of someone in the family and I ordered a photo frame from Zoomin and some flowers from Flora India. Little did I know (as if!) these two will conspire together to give an unpleasant experience and hence, make me rant about them! … 


Moribund languages


The question under consideration today is whether English as a language is so very inevitable today? In most cases the answer would be yes. English language is one of the most important languages as far as global communication is concerned. The rise in the use of internet and globalization has raised its bar to an unprecedented level. But the United Nations educational, scientific and cultural organization (UNESCO) has registered about 6000 languages. English is one of them, what about the rest?

According to UNESCO the world is at the verge of losing more than 3000 languages if the language heritage and its culture are not conserved. About more than half of the languages are now endangered. In the Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger of Disappearing, about 50 European languages are under the threat. France alone has 14 of them. Even Siberia has around 40 languages in danger.

However, the condition is much better in Asia and the pacific. Thanks to our multilingual governments. Papua New Guinea, the country of 800 languages, the most diverse in the world, has only 88 endangered dialects. But the rise of globalization in the region is now becoming a threat to these multilingual states. India tops in chart by 196 endangered languages. Second is US close to 192. In the past 3 generations almost 200+ languages have become extinct and about 178 languages have its speaker count in between 10 to 150. UNESCO has rated 538 languages as critically endangered, 502 severely endangered, 632 definitely endangered and 607 unsafe.

According to experts a language is rated endangered when 30% of its children stop learning it. It then passes on to the next generation and hence reaches on the verge of extinction. There are many factors which result in a language to become endangered. The rise of globalization and the use of internet especially in the developing countries is a major factor. Now days even the educational factor plays a big role in a language to be in danger. To study we all need a common platform of language. The same happens at work. A student going abroad is almost ready to make his mother tongue a secondary language for him.

In India, from the very beginning a child is asked (at times forced!) by his parents to converse in English. I know they have a reason for it that may be valid. The new syllabus of many educational boards, have a choice between Sanskrit and French and an elective.

To learn French is absolutely fine but at the cost of indigenous languages of India like Sanskrit must be prevented. In many disputed regions military and government policies also play a major role in disappearance of a language.

The Enduring Voices Project by national geographic channel and HRELP are some of the initiatives to save these endangered languages. The deputy chief of UNESCO said “we should feel proud to speak our own languages “ and we really must do so.

Data Source: UNESCO Annual reports; Image Credit: Shawn Econo


The status of women


Photo Credit: John Mueller

The status of women over the world has been an issue for long time and still tries to find its way.

Be it India or the Middle East, the status of women is still very exemplary. A country like Dubai which is blessed by oil fields, sheikhs, world’s greatest construction fields has got its first women judge only on 27th march 2009. This depicts the respect of women in the world or any other country.


In the race of disrespecting women India is also not much behind. States like Delhi and Mumbai where women are presumed to become financially self independent, the recent Mangalore pub incident tells a different story. There are incalculable goddesses in India people worship, but the problem lies in our thought process or what is often termed in this part of the world a “mentality”. Ironically, in a country like India where people devote time and high respect to different goddesses, donate millions in temples, the respect for the women in their day-to-day life remains absent. People still consider a girl as a burden on the family and in some states the act of child infanticide has deep roots. The sex ratio census is a sheer evidence especially for some states like Delhi, Haryana and Rajasthan.

Women not only suffer in gaining a status and respect in society, they suffer in all spheres of life.

In the so called “unsafe” cities like Delhi and Mumbai, eve teasing and incestuous behavior have been hitting the dailies. The section 375 of IPC which defines rapes made some amendments in it and introduces sexual assault against any women in any custody (like police custody) or cases of sexual assault in hospital to be considered as rape offence. But they just missed to introduce parents and relative to put away the cases of incest.

Based on my findings, Sweden is the only country in Europe which allows marriage between siblings who share one parent. France and Belgium also don’t treat incest as crime for more than 200 yrs ago. Also in other parts of the world the case is treated accordingly as in Germany has some serious violating penalties in incest cases.


This is the actual status of women in our modern societies and so called “developing countries”. Still we fight for their equal rights, we deliver rhetoric speeches in their favor at the time of elections or to show the whole world how much concerned actually we are.

The fight shall still prevail because the women we worship is still different in our eyes than what we see in person. Of course, there are reasons to it which I might talk about sometime again.

This is a guest post by Pranay Kumar, a friend of mine.