Why Your Dream Client Refuses Your Request for a Meeting

first_imgWasted Time: Your dream clients refuses to give you their time because they suspect that you will waste it. They have experience that suggests that this is true. Salespeople visit with no plan, no real idea as to what they want, and no plan to create value. So, they refuse you–and every other salesperson possible. Promise not waste their time.Not Different Enough: Face it; you aren’t the only one calling your dream client in an attempt to gain their time and attention. Your request sounds a lot like the thirteen other calls they received this week. The offer is easy to refuse. Share what makes you different and why it matters.Too Much Work: It’s hard to change the tires on an automobile that’s moving fast–and being urged to go even faster. Stopping to meet with salespeople takes time away from the never-ending urgencies piling up around your dream client (with no need in site). Your dream client has too much work to do to meet with members of their own team, let alone a salesperson. Offer to meet them at the time that works for them. Offer a working lunch.No Hint of Value: Your message does’t even hint as to what’s in it for your dream client. Sure, you get to try to do a needs analysis and dredge up some pain that you can use to create an opportunity. But what does your dream client get our of letting you in? If there is no value proposition that they can easily discern, you can look forward to hearing “no.” Tell them what they get out of meeting with you–even if they never buy from you.You Might Bring Real Change: What you say to gain an appointment may be compelling. But real change is scary. Your dream client is perfectly comfortable with the devil that they know; you’re a whole new devil. Even if you have the ability to improve things, what’s the cost of doing so? Build trust and nurture relationships over time.last_img read more

On Snake Oil and Medicine

first_img Essential Reading! Get my first book: The Only Sale Guide You’ll Ever Need “The USA Today bestseller by the star sales speaker and author of The Sales Blog that reveals how all salespeople can attain huge sales success through strategies backed by extensive research and experience.” Buy Now The people who sell snake oil stand on boxes and shout about it’s great value, how it has changed lives, how you will never be the same. They promise fast, effective, easy answers to serious problems. They’re great at their pitch. These hucksters want you to believe that the snake oil is going to cure what ails you, just like it has cured all the other people who have tried it.The snake oil itself often comes in a pretty package. Not only do the words sound good; the packaging is amazing. There are excellent graphics, inspiring images, and tons of facts and figures that the snake oil salespeople point to in order to prove that what they sell can and will help you. It’s a compelling picture.And, the snake oil tastes good, too. It’s a happy, bubbly, sugary substance. It’s high octane, and you can almost feel it working at first sip. You try it, and you want more.It’s easy to believe that there are easy answers. But for difficult, important, and serious issues, there isn’t.The medicine that heals you is different. Most of the time, your health is greatly improved by doing things that aren’t nearly as attractive as the snake oil. There is nothing sexy or magical about eating right, exercising regularly, eating well, drinking more water than you want to, and not drinking too much alcohol. There isn’t anything particularly sexy about making your calls, either.When you do need real medicine, it doesn’t come in a pretty package, and it doesn’t taste good. If you wait too long to take your medicine, you can miss the opportunity and suffer worse outcomes from failing to deal with a little discomfort when you had the chance.One of the reasons snake oil is so attractive is that the real medicine you need to take is so unattractive. But the snake oil will cost you time, money, and the overall results you really want.When you haven’t been doing what you should have been doing, you need to take your medicine. You’ve never heard anyone say, “You need to take your snake oil.”last_img read more

Why Johnny Can’t Sell

first_img Get the Free eBook! Learn how to sell without a sales manager. Download my free eBook! You need to make sales. You need help now. We’ve got you covered. This eBook will help you Seize Your Sales Destiny, with or without a manager. Download Now Johnny never worked in a bull pen. He was never surrounded by other salespeople, so he never heard their conversations with prospects, and he never heard their conversations with clients. Johnny never listened to how his peers dealt with the friction that is part of business. He also never heard the collaborative conversations that are necessary to winning deals.Johnny works from home. He has to figure out for himself what he is supposed to do, how much he is supposed to do, and how to do it. Johnny is smart, and he is resourceful. But he doesn’t have a very good model of what his days and weeks should look like, so he lives in reactive mode, waiting for things to do to show up in his inbox, and responding as best he can.Johnny’s manager never worked in a bullpen either. In fact, his manager never spent much time in the field with prospective clients at all. He was hired for his experience as a manager, and most of his background is in marketing. Johnny’s manager wants to help him, but a lot of what he does is really about serving the organization, not the salespeople themselves.Johnny makes his face-to-face sales calls by himself. His manager has never been in Johnny’s territory, and he has never been on a ride-a-long. He feels like he does a good job in front of his prospective clients, but he doesn’t really have a frame of reference. He has no ideas what other people are doing differently, and he has no idea where his blind spots are.Johnny spends four hours a week on internal meetings. Well, not meetings, but web meetings. He’s learned to use his iPad to browse the web, so that the meeting software shows him as attentive when he is logged in on his laptop. Most of these meetings are a waste of time, and his long sales cycle doesn’t really require a forecast update twice a week.Johnny wants to do well. But Johnny can’t sell.last_img read more

President arrives to inaugurate Namami Brahmaputra, PM tweets

first_imgPranab Mukherjee has arrived here to inaugurate the five-day ‘Namami Brahmaputra’ festival which is being attended also by Bhutan President Tsering Tobgay.The festival, tagged as ‘India’s largest river festival’ to pay obesiance to Brahmaputra, has been organised across 21 districts of the state and will showcase trade, tourism and cultural possibilities of along Brahmaputra river.Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday conveyed his wishes for the festival in a series of tweets.“It is a matter of great pride that the Namami Brahmaputra festival is being launched by the Assam Government. Best wishes for the festival,” the Prime Minister tweeted.Brahmaputra river is the lifeline of Assam and the Northeast and is the source of livelihood for people in the region, he said.Rivers occupy a central role in India’s history and culture.“Let us keep working together to ensure clean rivers for India’s growth,” he added.The PMO released six photographs of Brahmaputra river which Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal shared.Internationally acclaimed actress Priyanka Chopra, who is the brand ambassador of Assam Tourism, tweeted congratulating Chief Minister Sonowal.Congratulating Mr. Sonowal and the entire team for organisisng the festival together, she said “I wish that it’s a roaring success.” Nobel Laureate and Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama, yoga guru Baba Ramdev, Union Ministers Nitin Gadkari and Mahesh Sharma along with tourists from across the globe were expected to attend the meeting.last_img read more

Maharashtra may soon get inter-caste marriage law

first_imgThe Maharashtra government is planning to introduce an inter-caste marriage legislation to prevent heinous crimes like ‘honour killings’, State Minister for Social Justice Rajkumar Badole said here on Sunday.“Many couples and families have had to endure trauma and a litany of atrocities for having challenged regressive social norms, despite the government providing financial incentives to encourage inter-caste marriages. This law is to ensure their security and to protect their children,” Mr. Badole said during a lecture at the Balgandharva Rangmandir. The talk was organised as part of the ongoing celebrations of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar’s 126th birth anniversary. The plan to introduce the law was mooted in March, with Mr. Badole chairing a nine-member committee constituted to frame the legislation. The law will give inter-caste couples priority during employment, apart from financial aid from the government.“Dr. Ambedkar desired a Maharashtra free of social inequality and caste divide. Despite him giving us the Constitution, the country has never given him his due. The Hindu Code Bill, for which he fought tenaciously, was dropped by the Indian Parliament of the 1950s, and words like freedom, equality and fraternity continue to remain tokenisms,” Mr. Badole said.The legislation is planned along the lines of the revolutionary law enacted by Shahu Maharaj, the reformer and ruler Kolhapur, in 1919.last_img read more

Girl’s death sparks protests in Agartala

first_imgStreet protests over mysterious death of a 16-year-old female tech student continues in the city with activists of students wing of opposition Trinamool Congress staging noisy stir outside Chief Minister’s residence on Thursday. Senior police officers rushed to scene after members of Trinamool Chatra Parishad made surprising appearance in the high security zone and ordered their arrests.Earlier on Wednesday, students from different technical institutes blocked a busy road in the capital to demand the arrest of culprits and swift investigation into the ‘murder’ of Anwara Choudhury, a first year student of Women’s Polytechnic, a state government run institution. The girl died almost a month ago after her relatives admitted her with severe abdomen pain.Anwara was pursuing her education while staying at her maternal uncle’s house in Pratapgarh. Fellow students of Women’s Polytechnic who had spearheaded agitation, alleged she was either poisoned or assaulted to face a tragic death.The cycle of protests resurfaced after investigation made no headway into sensational death the. Two reports – one submitted by a committee that inquired into ‘gross negligence of treatment’ of Anwara Choudhury at the G.B.P Hospital and the other of post-mortem conducted after exhuming her body – were not revealed.The issue has assumed political overtones with protests from various parties including NSUI, ABVP and others.Students affiliated to the Trinamool Chatra Parishad gave staged a demonstration near the residence of Chief Minister Manik Sarkar who also holds home portfolio. “The culprits are protected by the ruling CPI(M) and police are prevented from making progress in the investigation”, Vicky Prasad, state president of Trinamool Chatra Parisahd Parishad, alleged.Security has been beefed up across the city in view of the protests.last_img read more

Rahul promises waiver of farm debt

first_imgCongress vice-president Rahul Gandhi said here on Wednesday that the entire debts of farmers in Gujarat would be waived if the Congress formed the next government in the State.He was addressing farmers near Chotila town, where he climbed a hillock to offer prayers at a temple.“The difference between the Modi government and the Congress government is this: the Congress party will protect farmers, labour and small businessmen and traders, while the Modi government is only concerned about a few top industrial groups,” Mr. Gandhi said.He asked the farmers about their main issues. Their [farmers] debts would be waived within 10 days of the Congress forming the government, he said.In distress“Farmers in Gujarat are in distress, but the entire focus of the BJP government is on helping a select few industrial groups. This is the reason small and medium enterprises, which provide employment to the masses, are in a bad shape. They have no support system.” Mr. Gandhi said the original Gujarat model during the Congress government was promoting small people from the grassroots level.On the last leg of his three-day yatra in the Saurashtra region, Mr. Gandhi toured Surendranagar and Rajkot districts, halting at a dozen places for brief interactions with party workers, youth and women. He visited Khodaldham at Kagvad, a prominent religious shrine of the Patidars and reiterated his party’s support to the community in Gujarat.last_img read more

Mehbooba asks all to join talks

first_imgAs Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said on Monday that the arrival of the Centre’s special representative Dineshwar Sharma “rekindled hope,” the top-rung separatists maintained silence. However, the lower-rung separatists called for a “tripartite dialogue and inclusion of Pakistan [in it].”In her reaction to Mr. Sharma’s maiden visit to the State, Ms. Mufti tweeted: “I am optimistic that parties and organisations in J&K will not miss this opportunity to be a part of peace parleys. The hope of resolution via dialogue has been rekindled in J&K.”But the mood on the ground, especially among the separatists, did not match Ms. Mufti’s enthusiasm. “Mr. Sharma’s mission should be made clear. On what issues he is going to start a dialogue,” asked Muzaffar Shah, senior vice-president of the Awami National Conference, a mainstream political party.‘Shun rigidity’National Conference president Farooq Abdullah said: “The elected representatives in the State made their stand clear when they passed the autonomy resolution in 2000 with a thumping majority.” “Therefore, the Centre must shun rigidity and take it up in the upcoming session of Parliament,” he said at a rally. He asked both India and Pakistan to take “concrete” steps to resolve the “vexed” Kashmir issue.Pradesh Congress Committee president G.A. Mir said the BJP government’s decision to open talks with all in the State amounted to a U-turn on its Kashmir policy. “If the Centre is open to talks with all, it should come out with a road map.”Though there was a muted response from Hurriyat chairmen Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and JKLF chief Yasin Malik, the lower-rung separatists rejected “bilateralism.” “Any bilateral dialogue between India and the Kashmiri leadership will be an exercise in futility. The appointment will not help as history shows India has never been serious about finding a solution [to the Kashmir issue],” Hurriyat Conference State convener Shabir Ahmed Dar said.Speaking after a protest in Srinagar, Muslim Khwateen Markaz chairperson Yasmeen Raja said the interlocutor had come “to rub salt into our wounds.”last_img read more

After 22 years, wedding bells ring in Dholpur village of Rajasthan

first_imgWhen 23-year-old Pawan Kumar brought his bride from Madhya Pradesh to the nondescript Rajghat village in Rajasthan’s Dholpur district earlier this week, the poor villagers had much to rejoice. The wedding bells had tolled in the village after 22 long years because no parent was willing to marry their daughter off to anyone in the village.For over two decades, the pathetic state of Rajghat, situated 5 km away from Dholpur town, ruled out the possibility of its eligible bachelors getting any marriage proposals. The last marriage took place in the village in 1996.Situated on the banks of Chambal river, the small and dusty village – with a population of only 350 – has no roads, electricity supply, water pipelines or basic medical facilities. The lone government primary school has only a few students. When the sun sets, the village is covered in total darkness. Till recently, the villagers living in the vicinity of the river had no access to clean drinking water. Change in the airMuch has changed in the village thanks to Ashwani Parashar, a final year MBBS student in Sawai Man Singh Government Medical College in Jaipur and a native of Dholpur, who moved a public interest litigation in the Rajasthan High Court on the conditions in Rajghat last year and wrote letters to the Prime Minister’s Office. He also launched a social media campaign with hashtag #SaveRajghat.last_img read more

New dress code for madrasa students in U.P.

first_imgAfter introducing modern education in madrasas, the Yogi Adityanath government has mooted a new dress code for madrasa students to end their “demarcation” from other school pupils.The State government is yet to disclose the new dress code for madrasa students, but said it might also fund it.“The aim of the U.P. government is to bring madrasas on a par with other educational institutions in every sense. Till now, students in madrasas have been wearing ‘kurta-pyjamas’ but now this dress code will make it more formal… We might also try to meet the expenses,” said State Minister for Muslim Waqf and Haj Mohsin Raza here on Tuesday.Stressing that it is only the BJP-led governments which have doing justice with the minorities, the Minister said the other political parties have been considering them as only a vote bank.Mr. Raza said the current dressing style of madrasa students reflects a clear demarcation between them and the students of other schools which will come to an end now. The State government has already introduced NCERT books in the madrasas of Uttar Pradesh in a bid to bring their students on a par with their counterparts in other schools and to modernise the education in madrasas affiliated to the State Madrasa Board. “Till now, students in madrasas wear white kurta-pyjama, which reflects a particular faith. We will very soon propose a new dress code for them,” the Minister said. He refused to elaborate on the new dress code. “Our intentions are clear as we work with transparency and believe in ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas’,” he said.last_img read more

Uddhav returns; CM says temple issue not political

first_imgAs Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray returned to the city from his two-day tour of Ayodhya as a part of his mission to construct the Ram temple, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said that the temple issue is not political. Mr. Fadnavis, who was in Karad to pay tribute at the memorial of the State’s first Chief Minister Y.B. Chavan, said, “Shri Ram is a deity for the entire country, he (Mr. Thackeray) will get his blessings too,” he said.Mr. Thackeray, who offered prayers at the Ram Lalla temple in Ayodhya on Sunday, said the BJP government at the Centre “may not last” if the temple is not constructed and demanded an ordinance for it. The Sena chief returned to the city on Sunday afternoon where he was welcomed by a large number of party workers and leaders amidst loud sloganeering and victory chants. At home, Mr. Thackeray and other Sena leaders offered prayers before a photo of party founder late Bal Thackeray. Prior to leaving Ayodhya, in a press conference there, Mr. Thackeray questioned why the BJP had made promises in its manifesto if everything was going to be as per the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, State BJP president Raosaheb Danve said the Sena’s stand on the Ram temple is similar to that of his party’s. “The Sena has not backed the BJP recently, but we have been together for decades. To avoid division of votes, the Sena is going to be our partner for the general and Assembly elections next year,” he said. However, the Sena had earlier said that it will fight all the upcoming elections solo.The Opposition criticised the Sena over its Ayodhya visit. “This is a political stunt targeted at polarising Hindu-Muslim voters. Had this government fulfilled its election promises, they would not need to do this,” said State Congress president Ashok Chavan. Leader of Opposition in State Assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil asked if the Sena immersed its letters of resignations from the State government in the Sarayu river while offering prayers. “At a time when Maharashtra is battling drought, such events are like rubbing salt on the wounds of the people,” he said.last_img read more

NSA invoked against three men accused of cow slaughter in M.P.

first_imgAuthorities in Madhya Pradesh’s Khargone district have invoked the stringent National Security Act against three persons accused of killing a cow near Kharkhali village four days ago. The incident took place three days after the newly elected Congress government decided to open 1,000 gaushalas for stray cattle in the State over the next four months. “We received information about the slaughtering of a cow near Kharkhali village four days ago. When the police reached the spot, the accused fled. But the police team found the cow carcass,” Khandwa SP Siddharth Bahuguna said. Giving details, Moghat police station in-charge Mohan Singore said a police team reached the spot on Friday evening following a tip-off. However, taking advantage of the darkness, the accused fled leaving the carcass behind, he said. In the meantime, the police informed the district administration about the incident, which asked it to slap NSA against the accused. On Monday, the police arrested Nadeem alias Raja and Shakeel from Pardesipura while the third accused, Azam, was arrested from Kharkhali. The three were produced before a local court on Monday, which sentenced them to jail under NSA and other relevant sections of IPC.last_img read more

BJP Dalit MP resigns, hands over letter to chowkidar

first_imgAnnoyed at being denied a ticket for the upcoming Lok Sabha election, Bharatiya Janata Party MP from Hardoi Anshul Verma on Wednesday quit the party and joined the Samajwadi Party.The episode, however, stood out for the manner of the resignation. Mr. Verma handed over his letter to the chowkidar (watchman) at the BJP State headquarters in Lucknow.The Dalit MP — Hardoi is a reserved constituency — also handed over a day’s wage to the chowkidar, as he taunted the BJP over its chowkidar campaign led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.Addressing the media, Mr. Verma said the BJP may also have penalised him for not writing chowkidar on his social media wall.“Vikas kiya hai vikas karenge, chowkidar nahi Anshul hi bane rahenge (I have done development and will continue to do so. I will remain Anshul and not become a chowkidar),” said Mr. Verma.In 2014, Mr. Verma won the Hardoi seat in central U.P. after securing 3.60 lakh votes against 2.79 lakh by the BSP. However, in the first list of candidates released by the BJP last week, he found himself among the six sitting MPs who have been replaced, apparently for not performing up to the mark.Linking it to their caste identity, as four of the six MPs replaced were Dalits, Mr. Verma asked: “Are only MPs from the Dalit society niskriya (sluggish)?”The BJP has field Jai Prakash Rawat from Hardoi this time. Mr. Rawat, a Pasi like Mr. Verma, is a former four-time MP from Hardoi and Mohanlalganj.Explaining reasons for quitting the BJP, Mr. Verma said he was hurt after being denied a ticket and no responsible leader saw it fit to talk to him or give him an appointment. He said he was disappointed after the party did not act on his complaint on distribution of liquor to people who attended a Pasi Sammelan organised at a temple in Hardoi in January by BJP leader Naresh Agarwal and his son Nitin.last_img read more

UCSF Chancellor to Assume Helm at Gates Foundation

first_imgSusan Desmond-Hellmann, the chancellor of the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), will be the next CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The oncologist and former Genentech executive will take the reins of the huge philanthropy from retiring CEO Jeff Raikes on 1 May 2014, overseeing the foundation’s activities in global public health, poverty, and education.Before assuming the post as UCSF chancellor in 2009, Desmond-Hellmann was president of product development at pre-Roche Genentech “during some of the biotech’s most fruitful years,” according to FierceBiotech, leading the introduction of the targeted cancer drugs Avastin and Herceptin. Desmond-Hellmann was one of the few oncologists on staff at Genentech, says The New York Times, and was in charge of all clinical trials.“Sue’s background in public health policy, research and development, and higher education, make her an exceptional fit for this role,” said Bill Gates, co-chair of the foundation, in a statement.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)last_img read more

SoftBank Bets a Bundle on Indian And US Delivery Startups

first_imgSoftBank Group has poured funds into Indian and American delivery-on-demand startups as part of the Japanese technology conglomerate’s larger data-driven growth strategy.E-grocer Grofers India raised about $60 million in a recent funding round spearheaded by SoftBank. This followed another SoftBank-led round in 2015 that drew $120 million.Read it at Asian Nikkie Related Itemslast_img

Indians Feel That US is No Longer Immigrant-friendly

first_imgIndians now feel that the US is no longer an immigrant-friendly country, a top Indian-American Congressman has said, amidst a series of controversial immigration policies by the Trump administration.President Donald Trump has been pushing for the merit-based immigration system to reduce overall immigration to the US and serve the country’s national interest.A merit-based immigration system, the Trump administration feels would admit the best and the brightest around the world while making it harder for people to come to the country illegally.Read it at New Indian Express Related Itemslast_img read more

Gurus in trouble: Charges Against Some of India’s Self-styled Godmen

first_imgAsaram was sentenced to life imprisonment till death for raping a teenage girl + studying at his ashram in August 2013. The disgraced “godman” was arrested in Indore on September 1, 2013 and has been lodged at the Jodhpur Central Jail ever since. While reading out the judgement, the judge said “In my humble opinion, Asaram not only broke the faith of the complainant but also spoiled the image of saints among common men.”Read it at Times of India Related Itemslast_img

Competent is the Enemy of the Brilliant

first_imgIt is said real life happens to you while you are busy making plans. The only thing Anupam Kher planned was to be different. No mean feat for a small town boy, from a non affluent, joint family.A mediocre student, cruising aimlessly through the first 19 years of life, Anupam Kher began a journey, on Rs 100, stolen from his mother’s temple, that took him to the prestigious National School of Drama, discovering the most enduring passion of his life, acting. That passion netted him the gold medal at NSD, and fueled dreams of becoming an outstanding actor.Today with 300 films, 8 Filmfare awards, a Padmashri in 2004 and many theatre and television laurels under his belt, Kher who was in the country to showcase his autobiographical play Kuch Bhi Ho Sakta Hai (Anything can happen), talks exclusively to Little India about his failures, the fantasy world of the silver screen, which came crashing down around him when his emotional capacity fell far short of dealing with his stupendous fame, and why in spite of all that he has achieved or survived, this is only the intermission of his life.You come from a non filmi middle class Kashmiri family from Simla. What are the early memories of growing up?In a small town, and even more so in a hill station, the pace of life is very slow and since nothing much happens, everything gets registered in the mind of a child growing up there. I have very powerful visual memories of my family, and the people of Simla. It was a town full of distinct characters, the typical pan wala, the typical sweetmeat seller, the typical barber. My grandfather was an intellectual genius but his sons weren’t. But what they lacked in terms of intellectual and material achievements was more than compensated by their generosity, kindness and ability to love. My father would always be losing something in the morning. Being not so wealthy and living in a joint family he would painstakingly hide the Rs. 5 or Rs. 10 note he had at the end of the day and promptly forget where he had kept it. So in the morning he would jump over sleeping bodies and scurry around looking for it.Once he got into his head that the bread seller was very lucky for him, that he got a promotion because he set his eyes on him. So for weeks, he would get out of bed with eyes shut, stumble over sleeping relatives till he made his way out and would open his eyes only when the bread seller came by and asked “Where are you headed?” Of course the moment the bread seller found out why my father was outside every day, the price of bread was hiked up considerably!Then I had an uncle who would always start his first sentence with “doosri baat kya hai na..”(and the second thing is) and as kids we would always wonder what was the first thing he had said. He married a village girl much younger than him. My uncle’s eyes used to shut when he got angry and when he would yell at my aunt for something, she would disappear just to tease him. He would open his eyes, and on not finding her there, would look for her and then start all over again, meticulously yelling with the same intensity with eyes shut. The transition from opening his eyes looking for her, shutting them again and yelling again was hilarious.I had another uncle who wanted to be different from his bunch of mediocre relatives and would ritualistically read the newspaper and would take himself so seriously that he became even more comical. He got some book akin to the ones that claim to teach you English in five weeks and as soon as he came across a seemingly impressive English word he would use it extensively. He learnt the word “torrential” one day and said “the rain in this country always falls in the town in torrential types.” Our teachers were very funny, but they taught us more about life than anything else and of course in a small town romances progressed at a snail’s pace: it took six months even to get a glance from your love interest. I loved films and had to see them on the first day of release. I was crazy about Dev Anand and would roll up my hair in the front just like him, and rattle off his dialogue from the famous film Guide. Those are memories I cherish to this day.  So did your parents have the usual expectations do well academically and find a good job?Never. My parents never cribbed about my failures but rejoiced at every little milestone I achieved. I still remember an incident that stands out on my mind and really formed my character. Once every six months my father would take my brother and me to the only five star hotel in Simla and treat us to mutton patties. That was all he could afford. There was a weird system in high school in my days. You would be automatically promoted to 11th grade and your 10th grade results came out two months into 11th grade. If you failed, you were sent back to 10th grade and it was pretty humiliating. One day my father came over in the afternoon, checked me out early from school and treated me to a very sumptuous lunch at the same five star hotel. After lunch I asked him what is the good news. Did you get a raise? He said No, you failed your tenth grade exam. I said then why did you bring me here and treat me to this grand lunch? He replied, “Because I never want you to be afraid of failure. Since then, I have gone through a lot in life but I remain optimistic and I never give up.”Did you ever think of being an actor from an early age?Well I was a ham, but that was more to attract attention and stand out than having any lofty dreams of being a star. I started acting in plays in elementary school and started a drama club as early as in 6th grade, calling it Anupam Kala Sangam, and promptly forgetting about it soon after. After finishing school, I joined the government college in Simla, and in between focusing on the “important” topic of how to walk behind the best looking girl around campus to be noticed, I did a play called “Balidan” in an inter college competition and was so sure I would win the Best Actor award that when I didn’t I hrefused the runner up prize and fainted in a restroom. I think I fainted for some other reason, but it created great dramatic effect! So no at that point, it was just to attract attention.I decided to do my masters in economics when a friend of mine showed me an ad showcasing the department of Indian theater at Punjab university. I got in after acting as the famous courtesan Vatsayana, a role played later by the lovely actress Rekha in the film Utsav. I think the faculty was more impressed by my adventurous spirit and audacity than my celestial beauty in that performance! From there I went to the prestigious National school of Drama and found my true calling. I didn’t know there were so many books on acting and on cinema and when I saw the library I was thrilled. There was so much to read, about distinguished actors, the theory of acting, about cinema. I must have spent at least 10 hours in the library every day, sometimes sleeping only two hours each day and graduated with the gold medal.Then I went to Lucknow and taught for some time, but I think my friends and I knew we were all headed for Bollywood eventually.So how was the journey to filmdom?I am glad I was an optimist. It ran the gamut of all the lows one could think of. At one point, I was in Delhi when Dolly Thakore, the media and TV personality, told me Richard Attenborough was auditioning for the film Gandhi. I said promptly, “Oh I will do Gandhi’s role.” She said no they have already taken Ben Kingsley for that role and I said well then I will make a super Nehru and so I got a long coat and a rose and rehearsed Nehru’s speech on Gandhi’s death over and over again.In my optimistic mind I had already won the Oscar for that role!. A tall skinny man escorted the casting director and us up the elevator to the room where Richard Attenborough was staying. As I entered I heard him saying on the phone “Thanks Roshan I am so glad you have accepted Nehru’s role. You will be perfect in it.” I saw red and started arguing with Richard-“How can you give the role away without out auditioning me?” Finally he said, “Okay go ahead, audition,” and I completely blanked out. Then I said sheepishly “Fine, I will play Abdul Ghaffar Khan.” The casting director said sorry I have already hired the tall elevator man to play that role! I vowed never to see Gandhi. Some time later I was struggling to make ends meet and received a phone call telling me there is one single line to be dubbed in Hindi in the film Gandhi, they will pay you a thousand bucks…that was my Oscar winning contribution to the film!I decided to come to Bombay in 1981 and dragged my brother with me. I told him to work in a factory to support us while I started doing the rounds of producers’ offices. It was tough but when you are from a less than affluent family and earn Rs. 10 then at the most, you dream of making Rs. 15. That seems like a huge jump! When I was struggling to get into films, one thing I avoided was becoming part of a clique. I struggled on my own, and while it was a tough and lonely journey, it taught me to be self reliant. I shifted in with one of my students and our land lady was a dhoban (washer woman). Ironically my address was Anupam Kher, Kherwadi, Khernagar, Kher Road, Bandra East. I took it as a sign that I was meant to stay. I was hardly hero material, my hair was falling out from different directions.I was not even symmetrically bald as I am today and I was so thin, I used to apply this Russian phrase to myself, “I’m so thin that I can see through a key hole with both my eyes..”There were days when I felt humiliated, dejected, unappreciated, both as an actor and as a human being and once wrote to my grandfather saying I want to give up, I’m so tired of facing constant rejection. Maybe I should go back to teaching and he said “Bheega hua admi baarish se nahin darta” (a drenched man does not fear the rain). You have worked so hard, come this far, you are almost there, why do you want to leave midway? I realized then that if I didn’t fight failure I will ensure it.And then Saraansh happened and catapulted you to stardom.Yes. One day in 1983 I called director Mahesh Bhatt and he said where have you been? I am directing a film for Rajshri Production and you are doing the lead role in it. It was the role of a 65 year old man.I said God, here I am dreaming of becoming the next Sunny Deol, Mithun Chakravarty and at 27 Mahesh Bhatt gives me the role of a 65 year old man. But when he narrated the role of B.B. Pradhan a retired elderly school principal whose only son has died in the USA, the dilemma that faces an elderly couple suddenly rendered childless, overwhelmed with hopelessness as they struggle to retrieve the ashes of their child, hrefusing to bribe a corrupt system, I knew this was the role of a lifetime. I was like a man possessed.I would wake up early in the morning at the crack of dawn, go to Shivaji Park and watch the children play for hours. I would then take out the picture of my imaginary dead son, wipe it with the edge of my shirt look at it longingly and put it back in my pocket.This went on for 6 months and then one of my friends showed up at my place and said “I just heard the role is being given to Sanjiv Kumar.” I called Mahesh Bhatt and he said, “Uh well I am sorry Anupam, Rajshri Productions decided they didn’t want to risk their money on a new comer and would prefer a star.. Anyway you can have the second lead, an equally good role of the other old man.” I packed all my meager belongings, took a cab and climbed all the way to the 6th floor where Mahesh Bhatt lived since even the elevators decided to give up on me. As I entered his apartment he said “Hello Anupam. I am glad you are taking it so sportingly. Sanjiv Kumar is a star and both of you have theater backgrounds, you will create magic together.”I said “Stop it. I am leaving because you are a fraud and a cheat. You sit here giving me lectures on integrity, and for the past six months you have promised this role to me. Now you have the audacity to say I should do the other so called ‘equally good role,’ because you don’t have the guts to tell Rajshri productions only Anupam will do this role. And let me tell you something, even Sanjiv Kumar cannot do this role better than me.” I paused dramatically, and then said, “I’m leaving this town for good, but I’m cursing you, the curse of a Brahmin!” And as I stormed down with theatrical gusto, he yelled from the top, “Come back you duffer, you will play the lead.” Mahesh Bhatt means the world to me. He taught me to be myself, because in a world of hypocrisy, he is truly a man who has the courage to take home truths in his stride. I never looked back after that. That film netted me the best actor award from Filmfare along with several others. Sanjiv Kumar saw that film and with tears in his eyes said “I couldn’t have done this role better, Anupam”.Did it go to your head?Yes it did. Suddenly I was the happening star, signing film after film, shooting hour after hour. It became a running joke that you cannot make a film without two things these day, raw stock and Anupam Kher. Once I was shooting for a film down south and arrived fashionably late at 10 a.m. when shooting was to start at 9, to find that the air conditioning in my make up room wasn’t working. I threw a starry tantrum and hrefused to work until that was fixed. I was told the hero had been waiting in full make-up for me for an hour and I asked “Who is the hero?.” “Amitabh Bachchan” was the answer.I went out to find the legendary super star seated on a chair, wearing a wig, a beard, and a blanket wrapped around him reading a book. Sheepishly and totally in awe, I approached him, introduced myself and said “Sir, aren’t you feeling hot? The air-conditioning isn’t working”. He looked up from his book and said “Anupam when I think about heat I feel hot, if I don’t, then I don’t.”The other humbling experience came when the National Awards were announced. They are the Indian Oscars. You win one and it means you are the best of the best. I was extremely confident I would get it for Saraansh and had even invited Mr. Bachchan to join me for a celebratory dinner after the announcements. I lay in my room, a glass of Johnny Walker black label whisky, raised in the air to toast my triumph, the news reader smiled her dimpled smile and said “This year’s national award goes to…” I said thank you darling, and she went on ” Naseeruddin Shah for Paar. The raised celebratory glass took 20 minutes to come down!How easy was it to do roles like Saraansh at 27 when you were not an old man, the role of Daddy where you played Pooja Bhatt’s alcoholic father when you didn’t have a child? Was it tough starting at the top with such an amazing role like Saaransh and then working your way through so many movies that were not of that level.Well, to answer the first part of the question, I guess it’s the job of an actor to deliver. I haven’t raped anyone in real life but I have done rape scenes in films. You either have an emotional treasure box of memories that you delve into or you have to have a rich imagination and astute skills of observation. I have both, plus I read a lot. Unless I have to portray a historical character or act as an alien, I really don’t have to do a lot of homework for my roles. This is a façade a lot of actors put up saying, oh I am working so hard to get my teeth into the role, the emotional graph of my character and it requires so much homework. But in truth, my job is no different from anyone else.Just like there are good bad or mediocre carpenters, there are good bad or mediocre actors. As for not finding roles like Saaransh, for a long time, I felt the process of work was more important than the end result. I was never so presumptuous to think that I was going to be that one man to change the face of the Indian cinema and I never took myself seriously. I was happy to be working, and didn’t bemoan the fact that oh out of the 300 films I have done so far 250 films were rubbish.I can spend my life wishing I was born in Bill Gates’ house or that I wish I was Jack Nicholson. Instead I think God has been very kind to me. How many people from all over the world come to Bollywood to make it in films and survive for over 20 years as I have done and I’m still here! But I have to admit that Daddy came to me at a time when I was beginning to feel a sense of degradation as an actor. The intial euphoria of making it, doing so many films, being wanted by all the producers and directors, working with all those big stars was dying, and I started evaluating my work and myself as an actor, feeling rather miserable at the poor quality of work I was doing. When Mahesh narrated the story of Daddy I was working almost round the clock, doing 25-30 films at the same time, but the need to do this film and reaffirm my faith in myself as an actor of substance was overwhelming. I told Bhatt sahib, I will give you two hours during every shooting. The film was made under ridiculous circumstances, but turned out so well because Bhatt sahib had my complete concentration for those two hours.Not too many people know that you had a breakdown a few years later and suffered facial paralysis.It was almost 10 years into being in films. I had made 200 films by then and was working at a break neck speed. One night while I was having dinner at Anil Kapoor’s house, his wife said “Anupam you are not blinking from one eye.” I went to the hospital and was told I had facial paralysis and needed life saving drugs and it would take months to recover. I was shooting for Hum Apke Hain Kaun. That day as I was returning from the hospital, people looking at my face, laughed thinking I was perhaps making that face in preparation for a role. It took several months of electric currents therapy to get back to normal. In spite of being so optimistic, I was not happy. I was beginning to feel I was rusting as an actor and a human being, but then in India you are not a happening actor if you don’t have movies. That episode made me realize, there is much more to life than cinema and acting. I started teaching at Dilkhush School, an institution for mentally challenged kids every Wednesday and traveled from all over the world to be there each week for one year. and I have been working now with down trodden children for the last 7-8 years.Your first directorial venture Om Jai Jagdish flopped.I honestly feel I did a good job, but I didn’t have a fully bound script in my hands when we started and so we shot as we went along and that is obvious when you view it. The producer Vashu Bhagnani was in a hurry to start the film because we had managed to get the dates of all the stars, which is hard to come by these days. Also all the three heroes, Anil Kapoor, Abhishek Bachchan and Fardeen Khan had had major flops just before the film started, plus that year nobody went to see films in theatres. People liked it tremendously when they saw it on television. But on the flip side, I am very excited about the fact that the film Bariwali which I produced and which netted my wife Kiran her second national award as Best Actress, has received so much national and international acclaim. It was made under great financial constraints. I’m also directing my next film, which took me one year to write. It’s in English and called The Return. It is to be shot in New York and is a story about a father and son.How has the film industry changed in the past two decades that you have been there?I think this is the most exciting phase of Indian film industry because the audience is so educated today. With the onslaught of satellite channels and globalization people know that you don’t have to make films only for a lower middle class audience. In the last two years 90 percent films flopped because it’s a transition period.The advent of the multiplexes has also been a boon.Exactly. It allows film makers to make small budget films with original themes and reach the kind of audience that enjoys these kind of films and Art House cinema is now a reality. Also I think it gives work and creative satisfaction to a certain kind of actor. Not everyone who does parallel cinema can act in commercial masala movies. The camera does not lie and exposes you easily. For any actor to portray things he or she doesn’t believe in is a much greater challenge than doing cinema you can empathize with. Amitabh Bachchan and Shahrukh Khan are superstars, because they make the unrealistic look realistic. When you talk to either of them, you know their personal sensibilities are so different than what they portray on bollywood screens, but they make it all so believable. I always tell the drama students that graduate from NSD, if you wish to do well in commercial cinema please leave your intellectual sensibilities at home. You may have lived in the world of Tennessee William and Arthur Miller, but in Bollywood you will have to speak lines like array ja kuttey, kameeney, main tere jaise hazaron ko dekh loonga (go you cur, I have seen and handled thousands of scumbags like you) lines you have not learnt anywhere. Your own knowledge will then become a burden on you. So it’s great that today these people too, can carve a niche in parallel cinema if they need to.Also in the last 20 years, if I was lucky, I got a fully bound script for may be five films. In the last two years I have got fully bound scripts for 300 films and while these may not be awesome films, at least people are understanding and appreciating the discipline of cinema and the fact that you cannot write dialogues on a piece of paper or an empty packet of cigarette and say here these are the dialogues for the next scene. So many times, I have ended up writing the dialogues for many of my roles.You said that when you did Bend it Like Beckham it was like being in an acting workshop.Bend it Like Beckham began the second phase of my life as an actor. I decided I must wipe the slate clean and start from scratch and do only meaningful films that give me creative satisfaction. For that I must unload my baggage of being Anupam Kher. Today whichever film I am acting in, whether it’s Chess or Bride and Prejudice I approach it as a new comer. It adds freshness to my work. Being competent is your biggest enemy. If you are competent you cannot be brilliant. If you tell yourself, I know nothing then you give yourself the potential to excel.Life has come a full circle now that you have been appointed the Chairman of the National School of Drama. What have been the changes there and in theater since you were a student?I think to be a student at this amazing institution and then to finally return many years later as the chairman, has been my greatest achievement. I personally feel a little disillusioned at what I see today at NSD. I don’t think we have teachers of the same caliber or the same enthusiasm among students. We need the gurukul system here. You cannot say we are serious committed students of drama but we must have time to play football also. I hope I can change that before my term gets over. Unfortunately there are no writers in Hindi theater which is rather sad. That is why this play Kuch Bhi Ho Sakta Hai is an original play. After Mohan Rakesh and Surinder Verma, there has been a huge void because all the writers are writing for cinema as it is more lucrative and that will remain a struggle. I think nationally both English and Hindi theater can be in a much better situation than it is. Regional theater on the other hand is very rich..Well looks like you have created some waves after being appointed Chairman of the Indian Censor Board. People didn’t like your insistence that only movies with a G certificate be shown on television.My major problem has been with the music videos which have been very explicit and also the double standards where Doordarshan, the government run television channel cannot show R-rated movies, but privately owned satellite channels can show anything. Anyone going to the cinema theater knows what he will be watching since the films carry a certificate but a child of 10 or 11 can surf any TV channel he wants. India does not consist of just the big metropolitan cities. Ninety percent of India lives in the interiors and the women are subjected to a lot of humiliating experiences when the men see explicit stuff on television. Pardon my bluntness, but opinions are like an a..hole, everybody has one! I owe responsibility to the common man more than I do to the intellectuals. I would presume since they think they are well informed they would know right from wrong. As chairman, I believe I have to see the large picture. I’m not worried about getting popularity votes from the media and the so called critics. I have to do what I feel is morally right for the three years that I’m at the helm. I believe there is nothing like self censorship.So what is in the works now?Well I’m excited about directing my next film and I think the kind of work I am doing is very interesting. I have my autobiography called Anything Can Happen – A Life coming out in the fall. Gurinder Chaddha’s magnum opus Bride and Prejudice based on Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is ready for release, and I will be returning next year with two plays, Kuch Bhi Ho Sakta Hai, my autobiographical journey and Saalgirah where I play husband to my wife Kiron. Both have had very successful runs in the U.S. and we are bringing them back on popular demand. Both deal with failures in life and how to overcome them. I think failure teaches you far more than success does. When I talked about mine, to cheers and empathy, I felt I was the tallest guy in the world. People try to frighten you by saying they might expose your shortcomings or your failures…but now what will they frighten me with?   Related Itemslast_img read more

Rajasthan Budget lacks focus on health sector, say activists

first_imgThe Rajasthan Jan Swasthya Abhiyan (JSA), representing the State’s activists working in the health sector, has expressed surprise over the absence of any reference to legislation on right to health in the 2019-20 State Budget, presented by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot last week. Activists said the Budget was “full of rhetoric” and had very little to offer in real terms for the health sector.The Congress, which had promised to bring the Right to Health Bill in its 2018 Assembly election manifesto, has not made any progress on this front after the formation of the government. The JSA had submitted a draft Bill to the State government earlier this year, after which there were a couple of rounds of consultations without any subsequent action.The JSA, which functions as the State chapter of the People’s Health Movement, said the Budget had reduced allocations for health care and free medicines and diagnostics schemes, while there was no clarity about ‘Janata Clinics’, to be opened on the lines of Delhi’s ‘Mohalla Clinics’, for which no budgetary allocation had been made.‘Hike negligible’Chhaya Pachauli, senior programme coordinator of voluntary group Prayas, said here on July 16 that the increase of ₹875.19 crore in the allocation for medical, health and family welfare, from ₹12,163.41 crore in 2018-19 to ₹13,038.60 crore in 2019-20, was negligible and would not help in the increase in per capita expenditure on health or it share in the State’s gross domestic product.“What is really problematic and alarming is that while the last year’s allocation constituted 6.16% of the total Budget allocations, its share has gone down to 5.97% this year,” Ms. Pachauli said. This slash indicated a clear undermining of health as a priority and a denial of the need for intensifying health budget to strengthen the public health care system, she said.The reduction in the budget of the Bhamashah Swasthya Bima Yojana — the health insurance scheme initiated by the previous BJP regime in 2015 – from ₹1,491 crore last year to just ₹631 crore this year might be an indication of its merger with the Centre’s Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Bima Yojana. Health Minister Raghu Sharma had hinted of the merger recently, with the Centre and the State making contribution in 60:40 ratio.Ms. Pachauli said the allocations for free medicines and diagnostics schemes should have been increased generously this year in view of the announcement for increase in the number of medicines and diagnostic tests provided free by the State government. In the dearth of adequate funds, the schemes were not likely to revive from the neglect that took a toll on them in the last five years during the previous government’s tenure.The JSA said the State Budget, which lacked focus and commitment, had left public health sector starving for adequate resources. “There is little hope that the State health infrastructure and public health services would see any vital improvement in the near future,” it said.last_img read more