Thursday, 18 October 2012

'Aam' Chors (The Mango Thieves - a satirical play)


Monu's Gang

Gadu's Gang

Big Man at meeting
6-7 elderly men
3-4 kids

A brief introduction: This play is about 3 different groups of kids staying together in a colony called Bharat Nagar, located somewhere in Delhi. Two of these groups are bitter rivals, each headed by their leaders – Monu and Gadu. There has never been an instance when these two groups have met and they have not fought tooth and claw. Monu’s closest friends include Sonu (a cute little girl who has spent the first 7 years of her life abroad), Diggy (he loves digging his fingers in his nose quite often) and Sallu (he has been in class 6 since the past 2 years), while Gadu also has his own group of ‘yes’ men Prasu (son of a politician) and Jaitlu (son of a criminal lawyer) and his little sister Sushy (a girl of just 6 years with a husky voice). The third group is a neutral group, headed by Keju, liked by most of the elders in the colony because of their good behaviour. There is one more kid who stays in the colony – a loner and a snob – whom not many kids like to spend time with because of her very irritating nature of complaining, screaming and eccentric behaviour. Her name is Mammo, daughter of a scrap merchant.

Scene I
The play starts with Monu and Gadu having a fight on the street in the presence of their respective group of loyalists, all cheering their own bosses.
Gadu: Monu, I dare you… do not cross your limits and try to poke your long nose in our business.
Monu: Chal haat! Who are you to decide what I want to do. And no one dares to stop me in doing whatever I want…
Sonu: (Cheering for Monu and pumping her fist in the air) Monu, wah wah, wah wah…
Sushy: (Jeering at Sonu) Oye, you better keep away, when two men take the pitch!
Prasu & Jaitlu: Right, right!!
Godu: You stay away Sonu! You anyways do not have any right to interfere… you illegal migrant!
Monu: How dare you tell her illegal migrant?? She is as legal a citizen as you and me…
Diggy & Sallu: Very right… she is more legally here, than you and us!
Sushy: Ha, ha!! I never knew there would be so much fan following for our dear little Sonu. (Sushy makes faces at Sonu, while Prasu & Jaitlu boos her).
(From the background comes the scream of a girl, who shouts out in Bangla – Cholbe na, cholbe na. Everyone turns around in surprise to find a small little girl with a pony and a tattered white frock entering the scene with some twigs and grass blades in her hands. Enters Mammo. Everyone looks for cover with a frown on their faces).
Mammo: Cholbe na, cholbe na… (she playfully throws the twigs and the grass blades on the gathering around)
Sonu: What the hell Mammo!
Diggy: Why do you throw these on us?
Jaitlu: Are you out of your senses?
Mammo: Cholbe na, cholbe na…
Sushy: What ‘cholbe na’? Kuch to bata bhai!
Mammo: (Pointing a finger at both Monu and Gadu, Mammo cries out) Both of you are fools to befriend me… cholbe na, cholbe na!
Monu: Arre Mammo, who says so? You are still our friend.
Gadu: Yes, yes, you are still my friend.
Mammo: Cholbe na, Cholbe na… (and she runs out of stage, in the same frantic way, the way she had entered)
Everyone looks at each other. By now, their fight and anger has stopped. The light dims.

Scene II
Keju’s house. Scene of a sitting room with sofas, chairs and a coffee table in the centre. A carom is kept on the coffee table. Keju is playing carom with 3 other friends of his. Keju’s mother walks in with 2 platefuls of peeled ripe mango. The friends dig in and relish the taste.
Keju: Wah Aam!! Itna mitha rasila aam… (he thinks for a few seconds and says) Every Indian should have aam and only aam. This aam will be the binding force for one and all in this country of diverse caste, culture and religions…
Keju’s loyalists clap and speak out in one tone – Wah, wah!!
Keju: These aam are the fodder for my brain. I have got some great ideas! I have been planning for quite some time to keep both Monu and Gadu in their skins. They have become too notorious lately, plucking out all the raw mangoes in the mango orchards, leaving the people with no option but to switch to bananas or pears. I have a plan, come here, let me share it with you…
(all huddle around Keju and Keju speaks something in a low voice, while the light dims)

Scene III
A street scene. Monu, Sonu, Diggy and Sallu have gathered around a corner chatting. Suddenly two small kids come running from nowhere and hurl some mangoes at the group and run away, equally fast.
Monu: Huh! What was that?
Sallu: (Pointing a finger to the direction where the kids disappeared) Those kids threw mangoes at us!
Diggy: I know them very well, they are not aam kids - are a part of the Keju gang. I am sure Gadu’s group has asked them to do so… those morons, always looking for opportunities to dirty us with their dirty antics.
Sonu: Hmmm… Monu bhaiya, we should report this to the elders.
Monu: As you say!
(Mammo’s voice is heard in the background - Cholbe na, Cholbe na. All kids scamper for cover)
Mammo: Arrey, where did they disappear? Why is it that no one plays with me? Cholbe na, cholbe na… (Mammo exits and the light dims)

Scene IV
A street scene. Gadu and his group - Sushy, Jaitlu and Prasu are hanging around a lamp-post, having a laugh at something. Diggy passes them from a distance. Gadu looks at him and attempts to chase him, but Diggy runs away. The group laughs out at Diggy and mimics his running.
Gadu: Ha, ha, ha… that Diggy is a real mess. He cant even run straight and wants to take panga with us!!
Sushy: Arre Gadu, one day we will catch hold of him separately and give him a knock of his lifetime… he calls himself Diggy Raja!! Ha, ha, ha…
Before Sushy could have finished, two kids came from the background carrying a plastic bag and hurled some 3-4 ripe mangoes at the group and vanish.
Prasu: Arre, what was that?
Jaitlu: I thought bombs…
Sushy: It must be Diggy only, he must have heard us laugh on him.
Gadu: But I know those kids… they are not aam kids, they are a part of Keju’s gang. Ah, so Monu and his team must have used them against us.
Sushy: Gadu, we should report this to the elders.
(Suddenly from the background, there is the typical hoarse voice of Mammo, Cholbe na, Cholbe na. Hearing Mammo approaching them, the group looks for cover and runs out of the scene. Mammo enters)
Mammo: Arre, these guys have also abandoned me? Cholbe na, cholbe na…

Scene V
A meeting in progress. There are elders attending a meeting of the residents’ welfare association. Enters Monu’s group from one side and Gadu’s group from another side.
Sushy: I am sorry to barge in like this, but I have to state something.
Diggy: Nehi, we need to speak first.
Gadu: How dare you!! (Turning back at the audience, he speaks out in a complaining tone) They have been throwing all sorts of aam-s at us.
Sonu: That’s a complete lie. In fact they have been doing that. They have used Keju’s boys to target us and dirty us in broad day light on open streets!! (She starts sobbing, Monu embraces her and tries to pacify her)
Jaitlu: I have evidence to prove that it is their act of misdeed and they have used Keju’s guys. In fact Keju’s group is the B-team of these loafers here.
Sallu: Huh! Just listen to their lies… haven’t you guys been targeting us and picking up a fight with us? You are a lot of incorrigible bandits.
Diggy: Yes, they are the ones to have engaged Keju’s guys, not us.
Prasu: Liar, liar… (all kids now speak out) – liar, liar.
A person with a big torso stands up and tries to separate the kids, who by now have almost got into a fight. Another person with a deep voice barks out…
Big Man: Shut up! You bunch of rascals, always fighting among yourselves. In fact today we had convened this meeting to resolve on how to stop your stupid pranks once and for all. You guys are a big shame for us and your parents… (he looks up over the head of others and motions someone to come towards him. Enters Keju in a white kurta-payjama and with a big smile on his face!)
Keju: Namaste!
Big Man: Keju, thank you for getting these ruffians up over here. Had you not been there, then we would not have got to know that they have all been stealing mangoes from the orchard. We will take strict actions against them…
Keju: Uncleji, this is not the only thing that they do… they have also been removing the bulbs from the street lamps, beating the street dogs away, scaring off the old people out for their evening or morning walks… and I have all the evidence with me. (He reaches out deep in his side bag and takes out a handful of papers). See, I have also collected statements from people who have complaints against them and have also clicked pictures of their misdeeds. They are the ones, who had attached the gardeners Bholu-bhaiya and the house-maid, Kanta bai and have abused the dhobi, Laluram.
Big Man: These are a lot too many accusations on you all. You all need to pay for it. (Turning to the other elderly people sitting in audience). So, I put it upto the house to decide what punishment to be given to these kids. (There was a loud murmur, some shouted – they should be punished, while some shouted – their parents should send them to boarding school, away from here, while some favored the kids – they are just kids!!)
Big Man: I think, we have all discussed among ourselves what to be done with them. The accusations against them are quite significant and cannot be ignored. So how many of you are in favor of punishing them? (Majority raises their hands) So we reach a consensus that punishment is what they all deserve. Anyone having any objection can speak now…
Even before he has finished speaking, Mammo’s voice was heard from the background – Cholbe na, cholbe na… Mammo enters.
Mammo: Cholbe na, Cholbe na…
Keju: Hello Mammo, what happened?
Mammo: Cholbe na, cholbe na… they cannot be punished.
Keju: But why?
Mammo: Because, because… Cholbe na, cholbe na…
Keju: That’s your problem, you know. You have no answer to anything and the only thing you say is Cholbe na, cholbe na. No one can make anything out of that.
Mammo: Well, I want to reveal something. Actually, I have also been a party to their pranks. Whenever they used to steal the mangoes from the orchard, I used to steal some from their kitty as well. And they never got to know about it!!
Prasu: You… I always knew you are not to be trusted.
Sonu: We used to wonder where did our mangoes disappear. And I used to think it was Sushy’s work – that little brat!
Big Man: Will you guys hold on! Listen to your punishments now. Sonu and Sushy, you guys would be helping the slum kids with their studies for the next 2 months, every evening. Diggy and Jaitlu, you are going to help all the senior citizens with their errands from the market for the next 6 months. Sallu and Prasu, you are going to supervise a cleanliness drive in the colony over the next 6 months. Finally, Monu and Gadu, you two would be guarding the mango orchard for 4 hours everyday, once you are back from school, for the next 6 months.
Everyone in the audience cheers. The kids put up a frown. They turned around with their heads down and started to move out of stage. The Big Man asks them to stop and turns around towards Keju and addresses him.
Big Man: Keju, since you have been a great help for all of us here, there is a reward from all of us. You will be entrusted to lead this entire pack. They have to report to you and you need to certify their performance at the end of the 6 months. And yes, if they are found good performers, they would certainly be rewarded.
All the kids now got back their smile.
All kids together: Yeah!! We will certainly work hard!
All the elders stand up to cheer the kids and the light dims.

End of play

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Kejriwal is not just another aam admi!!

RK Laxman's
'The Common Man'
The setting is apt for the rise of the Great Indian Common Man (in our very own RK Laxman ishtyle... or should I say like Naseeruddin Shah's - phata poster, nikla hero!!). Jokes apart, there have been many a 'shool-veers' who had tried to question the incorrigible Indian political system in their own ways, but a very few have actually walked that extra mile the way Arvind Kejriwal, former IRS officer, anti-coruption activist turned politician and leader of India Against Corruption (IAC), have treaded in his short innings so far. He could have continued playing second fiddle (although he was the chief strategist) to his more popular mentor Anna Hazare in mobilising all the hunger strikes till eternity without any assurance of results and that's when he decided otherwise - to become the pied piper himself - quite a daunting and uphill challenge for this 5ft. 5 inch 'short' aam-admi.

His courage, conviction, determination and game-plan, need to be given due credit, if not for anything else but for the character he showed to move out of the shadow of Anna - a Gandhian in true spirit, practitioner of ahimsa and satyagraha and a staunch believer of staying apolitical - and declaring his plunge into active politics. He did realise that to be in Rome, one needs to do the way the Romans do (and in Indian politics, to check mate the king, you need to do that in the garb of a politician only!).

Is Mr. Vadra looking a bit
angry, tensed and perplexed?
And what a better way to start his political campaign, than to reach out to the public at large (this strategy of his needs to be applauded and appreciated - it has been a complete turnaround from his previous satyagraha mode, wherein the target group was pulled towards him; his currently employed push strategy helping him reach out farther) and increasing his connect with the aam-admi. He announced his arrival at the political scene by dropping a huge bomb - more like the US airforce's daisy cutter used in the Afghan war - and created a huge crater full of intimidating political bickering and debate on the nexus between Robert Vadra, DLF and the congress ruled government of Haryana. Whether it was a master-stroke or not, would be left to be seen in the coming days, but undoubtedly, what he has done is that he has opened a Pandora's box which many never dared to (Robert Vadra's ascent financially or otherwise has been seen quite suspiciously by many - opposition, media, aam admi, but no one dared to raise a voice ever, given his political clout). Along with the heavy artillery, he decided to employ light infantry attacks from the flanks, by taking up the cause of the aam admi against the inflated power and water bills in Delhi. He was also seen climbing up the electricity poles to restore power connections, disconnected by discoms after consumers defaulted on the payments (although it's yet another story about how and why the bills got inflated!!) 

His actions in the past couple of weeks have given him a lot of visibility and the much required goodwill among his target votebank for sure, but what needs to be seen in the coming days, months and years are - whether he can create an equal impact pan India or not, whether he can stir up the conscience of people across the length and breadth of the country or not, whether he really wants to achieve utilitarian goals or ride on mere populist agenda like just another aam-admi turned politico and whether he can translate his political mandate into achievable and measurable results. The coming days would be very crucial for Kejriwal, as his every move would be followed closely by political outfits of every shade (red, green, blue, saffron, etc) and by millions of aam admi. He would eat up a lot of air-time and newsprint space for sure, which we can only pray, should not go in vain.

A leader needs to don
different 'thinking hats'!
He should not end up becoming just another archaeologist who digs out prized memorabilia only for the sake of winning recognition for his competence, rather he should act like a good sales man to sell his find to the highest bidder - the aam admi - and then ensure that it has added a value chain for one and all. He should necessarily be as much ruthless as possible to people proved corrupt and should also ensure choosing his friends and colleagues with a lot of caution. Many may start comparing him with the Krishna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra, fighting for the cause of dharma, but a Krishna (an avatar of Lord Vishnu, immortal in all the three worlds) was also mortified by many around and was killed by a diminutive, harmless looking arrow shot from the bow of an equally unimportant character, who is introduced in the last chapter of Mahabharata. The bugle has been blown and the arrows have started flying all around hitting targets - newer targets have been promised by Kejriwal (today's newspaper also had Salman Khurshid targeted - ToI, 11th Oct 2012) and many more would be hit by the time you have finished reading this article.
Are we?

I am not very sure of how strong a vote-bank Kejriwal promises to create or whether he can actually uphold himself as an alternative. But a political party cannot be just another one-man show. It has to be democratic to the extent that any decision taken needs to be debated and deliberated among a central committee. We have seen many such politicians who have run a one man political regime (how can we forget the current Mamata government in Bengal or the former Maya regime of UP) and the group of sycophants around them. We, as aam admis can only hope for the best alternatives to govern us, lead us and take care of us, without diluting national interests while framing foreign affairs and defence policies. We probably would not reach the European standard of living in the next 20 years (it may take 2 more generations before it happens), but at least we can aspire for a cleaner, more transparent and intent-driven governance within the next 10-15 years.

Kejriwal tum aagey baaro, aam admi tuhmahe saath hain!! Jain Hind.

Monday, 8 October 2012

The MBA bubble had to burst, it’s too late though!!

Now admission is open round the year -
but where are the students?

Circa 1982: If anything that an Indian graduate in science, commerce or economics would have dreamt of to finish his/her academic qualification in style, it would have been surely a master’s degree in business management. It had been a dream nurtured since his senior school days even before he had written his secondary examinations, in some cases, fumed by the likes of his uncle or one of his cousins, who made it big after completing his business studies. Wow, the dream of fat pay checks, glamour, luxury, social status – it was a fairytale career waiting for those who could walk through the competition seamlessly keeping their head and nerve still.

Circa 2002: If anything that an Indian graduate in science, commerce or economics would dream of to finish his/her academic qualification in style, it could be a master’s degree in business management. “They say it’s too easy to get through an MBA these days and I may consider finishing my master’s in commerce first and work for a couple of years before trying to get into a good executive MBA later. Pay-checks, glamour, social status?? Yeh, they are there no doubt, but then there is no differentiation. It seems everyone wants to do an MBA these days!!”

This bubble burst can hurt a lot more
than the dotcom burst!

Circa 2012: If anything that an Indian graduate in science, commerce or economics would not dream of to finish his/her academic qualification in style with, it would surely be a master’s degree in business management. “How would I know which is a better institute, with everyone claiming themselves to be the best, everyone providing a laptop, sending students for a foreign tour, getting professors from abroad, etc etc…?” With every institute in the market, aiming to be a me-too, trying to ape one another, there are just a few serious players left out there, who still guarantee serious academic pursuit. A few ‘good’ institutes mean a shortage in supply and (strangely still!) a sizeable demand for admission. 

Going out of business - it's just
the tip of the iceberg, more to follow soon
When The Times of India reported (on Monday 8th October, 2012) the news about 225 B-Schools and over 50 other technical institutes which have shut shop in the past 2 years, the news never came to me as a rude shock. With the mushrooming of B-Schools across every nook and corner of the country, catering to every possible tiers (Tier A, B, C and god knows how many more!), cutting through every SECs (the MR firms can only interpret that), MBA was no more restricted to a select few – academically brilliant, financially sound, intellectually outstanding. Although, there was no merit in making a professional, higher education system accessible to a select few based on academic or financial background (which was truly condemnable as it made higher education more elitist and cartelized) – as the need of the hour for a resurgent Indian economy was and is a large pool of well-trained and well-groomed executives with sharp entrepreneurial/business acumen – but unfortunately, many later players who entered the MBA ‘industry’ soon commoditised this form of education and made it ‘just another’ business venture.

These non-committed edupreneurs (an entrepreneurial venture in education started by an individual who dreams of making it big like a Gates or a Jobs in IT), neither had any hindsight nor any foresight. Till the time, the market was ready to gulp down anything that was thrown to them, they were all ready to pump in the required investment and settle for a strong bottom-line. Mind it, it was just another business transaction for them. So, there were the creamy layered farmers (from the green belts of India), the pot-bellied and once-upon-a-time warlord-turned-politicians and various corporate houses (why not take advantage of the tax benefits) who made a ‘frog-line’ to water and nurture the ‘mushrooms’, that would make MBA education ‘open to all!’

Made in india MBAs are a
hot commodity in the U$ markets
There was a belief, once upon a time, which echoed the feeling that if you restrict access to higher education (read: MBA) to a select few, then the institutes, which do so would be deemed the best in the business. So, institutes of ‘national importance’, with an aim to stamp their superiority, were soon formed and they started to create the sharpest of business executives to drive the Indian growth story, although most of the students from these institutes preferred to show their commitment to the cause of American growth, once they all graduated. Thus the outflow of ‘Made-in-India’ talents went on uninterrupted to fuel the American Dream, leaving the political pundits back home to debate on why India is still growing miserly (during the mid 80s)? Then came in the first of the several influxes of B-Schools. Many wanted to ape the already existing ‘institutes of national importance’ and framed a curriculum very similar to theirs. But the results were more or less the same - the growth of B-School seats failed to match the growth of applications for MBA programmes. The end result: more ‘Made-in-India’ MBAs were manufactured to oil foreign economic machineries leaving behind a few back here in India.

100% placement - a reality or
just a chimera!
India Inc, by the mid 90s, enthused by the post liberalization growth prospects, started to demand for trained manpower to drive their bottom-line, which obviously India had a shortage of by then. Like yet another Ice Age of yore, came another influx of B-Schools in the Great Indian MBA market, opening the floodgates to hundreds of thousands of applicants and making MBA education more accessible. Everything looked perfect till this point of time. The market had a large demand for MBAs, the supply side was also more or less balanced, young graduates beaming with confidence in their black suits were walking out of campuses to secure a job – things could not have been better for the MBA market. But the honeymoon did not last long. Soon a report published by FICCI lead everyone to sit up and take a note of the fact that although the market was strewn with MBAs, but most of them lacked the knowledge, the skills, the attitude and the temperament to push India’s growth story to the next level. The bubble had started to burst. More MBA seats meant more students to apply, quality standards in academic delivery was horrendously compromised due to shortage of faculty, easy loans gave people from every section of the economic strata the freedom to dream for an MBA career (don’t forget the facts that people went to the extent of mortgaging their land, properties and gold to avail such loans), companies of all sizes realized that only a handful of the end-products from these MBA schools were worth the salary paid, while the rest were of minimal value – thereby forcing them to stay away from campus, leading to negative demand in the job market and rising number of unplaced B-School graduates. Students securing placements were either getting them off campus through references or in jobs at the salary of a general graduate.

The bottom line:
In the next 12 months, there is a high likelihood of many more of the small, medium and even large B-Schools to shut their operations. Student volume has depleted considerably because of alternate training and skill enhancement opportunities that graduates (BCom, BSc, etc) are availing at a fifth of the price paid for a full time MBA programme. Employers prefer visiting college campuses to pick up these graduates, train them in their processes and absorb them at a cheaper rate compared to low quality PGs with a self-flaunting MBA tag.
In the coming years, two things are going to shape the market for MBA programmes:
1) Larger educational groups will consolidate their positions by acquiring smaller/medium players, thereby getting access to their facilities and infrastructure and reaching out to a larger market under a common brand name, and
2) Fringe players will concentrate on niche markets by offering specialized MBA curriculum to cater to specific market needs, instead of producing MBA in marketing, HR and finance in hordes and ending up piling some more bad assets!

Government’s Role:
The government should work selflessly, without worrying about vote-bank politics or political alliances, in redrafting a policy framework to reform higher education in general and professional studies (MBA/MCA, etc) in particular. A higher education regulator like SEBI or TRAI needs to be formed to register every institute working in the domain of professional higher education and lay down measurable guidelines for institutes to offer professional programmes. This regulator should not be manned by bureaucrats, but instead by academicians and corporate representatives and should function like a professional body, independent of interference from the HRD or the state technical education department. Such a committee should also offer advisory services to institutes in meeting operational efficiency, faculty training, student-skill development, and placement, among others. Accreditation bodies like AICTE, NAAC or NAB need to be abolished as a process of accreditation is the most corrupt means to asphyxiate growth, while the guidelines formulated by the regulatory body should not be based on size of campus or numbers of common rooms, but should be more inclined towards intellect development, pedagogical improvement and development of faculty quality.

Need for educational Think Tanks:
Let's think big, for a change!
Almost every other sector – defence, foreign policy, economic development, commerce, etc. has its own sets of think tanks, which work parallel to the government machinery, often providing key inputs, lobbying for some specific causes and actively generating public awareness. Educational Think Tanks, if any, have till date failed to generated the much required momentum in addressing the government apathy to education as a whole (which is reflected from its miserly allocations at the Union Budgets, year after year and more so from its wretched attitude in bringing about large scale reforms).
This article is not intended to enrich the readers with the facts plaguing the MBA scenario in India, much information is available in various forms online and offline. This article intends to generate the much required buzz among like minded professionals from the academic world to join hands and offer new insights to the government and the general public with a view to strengthen the MBA infrastructure in India - there is of course no denying the fact that the programme, if delivered with the right intent, in the right manner, with the right content, would make the right candidates ready for the right placement opportunities.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Entrepreneucide: 3 ways to kill your own business!!

When the economy starts behaving awkwardly, when job cuts and salary delays become a norm, when your work seems to get monotonous and unexciting and when the fire within to prove your worth gets tough to quell, then my dear friend, the time is just perfect for you to head the entrepreneurial way. It is never late to be an entrepreneur and neither is it too early to start your enterprise. You just need to have the hunger within and the passion and conviction for whatever you want to start your business in. 

Beware of the symptoms leading to Entrepreneucide -
an act of killing your own venture mercilessly
In the past 5-6 years, you must have learned a lot from your mistakes; you have also felt as if you have reached the end of the world when your efforts (read: performances) were blown to pieces by your tormenting boss(es). But, my dear friend, there is always a learning in all these and nothing goes in vain.  You learnt how to work on a business proposal by staying awake for 2 nights, you learnt how to make that powerpoint presentation look more slick and fascinating after getting yourself tortured by your boss, you learnt how to stand your ground and negotiate hard with the client, when your job was all that you could have traded off for and you learnt a lot more in order to stay focussed and get the numbers moving. You have finally arrived - you are all set to take the plunge in the world of your own venture. 

But, entrepreneurs have their own setbacks, their own shortcomings, which if not taken care of, are bound to doom him and his venture - he may lead on to an Entrepreneucide (a new word: killing your own entrepreneurial venture). So, take a cautious step forward, as right now you are the one to drive your own destiny without any confirmed paycheck at the end of the month - you are all alone out there, with just your passion, commitment and conviction to stand by you.

So, what are the common mistakes committed by entrepreneurs? Let's take a close look at the top 3:
a) Being rigid and dictatorial: Examples are abundant of entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs who have been rigid and dictatorial in nature. While some are open to ideas from people around, there are many out there, who may trash them completely, stamping their authority when it comes to ideation and decision making. Now, that is suicidal. An entrepreneur, no doubt is highly passionate about whatever he is into and probably knows a lot more than many in his line of business, but there are other functionalities in a business, for which he need to depend on professionals who have worked it out in the domain for years. You can have a say in terms of how your product should be like or what should be your target base or what are the kinds of people you want to have in your firm, but there are other strategic decisions related to finance, HR, marketing, production, quality, etc, for which the right man at a senior level should be given the freedom to perform his duty for which he is being paid a fat paycheck. Unfortunately, there are many such duds, who decide to wrap their entrepreneurial venture, even before it has set off, simply because, he thought he was the best mind in every department.

b) Being profit focussed, not value-focussed: An entrepreneurial venture has to be value-focussed. It needs to create and add value for all stakeholders. The value creation need not be in terms of the market capitalisation (remember, all entrepreneurial ventures need not be listed) or the bottom line, but should encompass creation of more jobs, focussing on sustainable income generation for the internal customers (employees), touching the lives of its end consumers (by maintaining high quality standards of the product/service it delivers), creating positive rapport with the media (creating goodwill and positive image), etc. Entrepreneurs who fail to see beyond the commercial realm of business, fail to add value to their stakeholders. This does no good to the entrepreneur or his venture and soon he may decide to wrap up his trade. 

c) Being eccentric and not practical: To be an entrepreneur, one needs to be superlatively creative and eccentric. If someone tells you so, he would be a big fool and he understands nothing of entrepreneurship. Yes, thinking out of the box, or working on a blue ocean strategy, may lead you to start a business with a fantastic idea, but to really establish yourself in this huge world of millions of entrepreneurs - big and small - you need to be practical. Eccentricity, to an extent is fine, but if that's what becomes your mantra, then you end up like that idiot crow in Panchatantra, who wanted to look beautiful and hence decided to put on peacock feathers on its wings. Entrepreneurship is all about practicality. Start with a low profile, put in your heart in the venture, be the person you always used to be and win as many friends as possible. You try to become the crow with peacock feathers, you end up losing friends, you end up being called an eccentric hypocrite. There are many in this world, who, intoxicated with a false sense of deja vu, end up losing focus in their lines of business. You do that, and you are half dead!!

Although I do not claim to be an authority in the current subject, I am open to criticism, flak and 'death threats' from some of those entrepreneurs who would seethe in rage reading about some of the harsh realities that I have quoted here. From my experience as an academician in an institute (which specialises in entrepreneurship), I have been witness to many entrepreneurial ventures (by students and colleagues), which have lost steam due to various reasons - funds, market conditions, etc. But, successful ventures which have hit a rock bottom because of the entrepreneur's intent to commit hara kiri (or Entrepreneucide) have been equally numerous and astoundingly shocking.

I welcome my readers to comment generously in whatever they have found right or wrong in my article, but I am sure this article would be a lesson for many of my students who have set sail in their entrepreneurial journey.