This is a satire piece on “Old Brands, New Catchwords” that appeared in the Hindu Business Line today under my column titled Tweakonomics. You may want to read it at http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/opinion/columns/talking-business/article7802864.ece. Else, read it here directly. Enjoy!
Maggi is back! The Harvard MBA programme, which is always on the lookout for some Indian story of riches to rags and back to riches, is thrilled to bits. After all, it has been a while since the Railways managed to post profits and Laluji visited Harvard to talk about the “phinancial” ratio analysis of the Railways. Many claim the Phinance Phaculty has not been the same since.
The success of any MBA programme, amongst other things, depends on the discovery and usage of new phrases, which sound fancy and mostly don’t mean a dime. Harvard is now debating introducing a new catchword: To maggi (verb). Meaning: To be at the height of success after braving all odds (such as the maida content concern of the atta-savvy Indian mommies), to be suddenly pushed to the nadir by a flip coin-cidence and then to stage a slow but steady come back. Economic usage: The Chinese devaluation led to a sharp depreciation of the rupee but it maggied back bravely. Poetic usage: The trader married, the market maggied. Other uses: Even as the polls revealed a complete washout for the UPA, there remain innocent souls who are hoping to see an overall maggying of the party.
The other is “to volkswagen” (verb). Meaning: To cheat using past reputation as a shield. Economic usage: Earlier, a reduction in the repo used to translate into a cut in the lending rate, but there is increasing evidence of banks volkswagening the RBI directive. Poetic usage: Hell hath no fury like a hedge-fund volkswagened. Or: “Won’t you volkswagen it,” said Goldman Sachs to the sly. Other uses: Indian consumer courts increasingly find themselves saddled with cases of real estate players volkswagening customers.
Other phrases with etymological connections from the past are “to cadbury it” (verb). Meaning: To emerge unscathed even after wormy controversies. Economic usage: Much to the pride of the RBI, the Consumer Price Index continues to cadbury successfully by showing deflation numbers even though the pulse of the country is affected by the pulses of the country. Poetic usage: Man buries, God cadburies. Other uses: Many questions have been raised on the methodology used in the GDP series revision. However, even as the CSO cadburied the revision, the world started accepting that the growth rate of the Indian economy is indeed 7.5 per cent.
To coca (verb). Meaning: To be accepted. To cola (verb). Meaning: To have a feeling that something is wrong. To coca-cola (verb). Meaning: To accept something despite that niggling feeling that something could be wrong. Economic usage: Even as most countries have coca-colaed the low oil prices, how long these would persist depend heavily on the dynamics of West Asia. Poetic Usage: All the oils of Arabia cannot coca-cola this little hand. Other uses: The government needs to show some fast action on policies before the coca-colaing displayed by the public cools down suddenly.
Syllabus revisions at Harvard are under way even as the Indian brand issues unfold. Finance students will be taught the art of maggying stocks back into the game. Volkswagen it, only if you can cadbury it, is what the marketing students will be told. If you’ve coca-colaed a new employee, train him immediately, will be myntra carried in HR manuals. Students opting for operations management will be put under the Six “Stigma” certification course, with low tolerance margins for cocaing what is apparently to be colaed out. Harvard is flipping the kart! How Amazon!