Nov 3, 2007

Boring is Normal….

A couple of weeks ago, in response to a call from a friend who asked me how I am doing…my reply was ‘I am just so bored’. That would have been a normal response had I been doing nothing for days preceding that conversation though in fact things were quite the contrary. My hands were more than full with work…work that I most often enjoy doing…except at that time it did not seem terribly interesting. Her response…

Do you think we are all a little too bored…too often these days? Whenever I talk to any of my friends, boredom somehow crops up in every conversation

We spoke at length about boredom that day…

When I was in my teens 7 up had a TVC on air featuring Fido Dido (with his spiked hair and triangular head ) stood for all that was ‘cool’ when he proclaimed…’normal is boring’…a value that kids identified with those days. Not that the teens today would find normal any less boring - though the converse of this statement has become so true of their lives too.

Is ‘being bored’ reflective of times we live in. There was relatively less restlessness and more contentment amongst people of an older generation. Are we as a generation constantly craving excitement, thrill, adventure or all the rush that comes up with new experiences? My feeling is the more we expose ourselves to exciting stimuli …the shorter is the span of excitement…the quicker the onset of boredom.

So, if ‘engaging in a new activity’ kept me interested for a few months in the past…today it may keep my interest sustained for a few weeks. Perhaps it stems from too much stimuli we are exposed to….a feeling of wanting to do too much…in too little time. My friend labeled it the ‘super human syndrome’ – and talked about how even professionally – we are not content with focusing on one narrow area of work…the more we read about related / peripheral areas the greater is the restlessness to learn and excel at those. One fights to reach the top…and when one has, instead of thinking about & enjoying that feeling of achievement, we fix our attention to the next peak…and the next peak…

If this is a latent feeling amongst people today…then brands / products that keep reinventing themselves will continue to remain exciting.

Rashmi Bansal (editor of JAM – a popular youth magazine in India) cites Mobile phones as an example of a category that has done just that

The mobile phone, has no problem invading ‘other’ territory and annexing it. Going by conventional wisdom, phone companies should have stopped at improving voice clarity and enhancing looks. But they never thought of themselves as merely a phone. Instead of waiting for someone to express the desire for a service called SMS or a camera embedded into a phone, someone just went ahead and invented it. Part of the reason the mobile maintains its cool is the scorching pace the industry has set in terms of innovation….The term ‘mobile’ happens to be associated with a technological device, but ‘mobility’ lies at the core of what it means to be young.

Nov 2, 2007

On bathrooms and babycare rooms...Bathroom blogfest 2007

I'm a little late in joining the ladies in the loo this year. The bathroom blog fest which Susan and Stephanie initiated last year, has been on this week. Its about a group of women bloggers around the world writing about how customer experiences can be improved around restrooms.

Last year, since there was not too much i could recall about positive restroom experiences in India, I had written about the restrooms at the Taj Mahal Hotel in Bombay and how those were one of the very few restrooms i had visited where one would not feel like pinching one's nose and running out at the earliest. We have come a long way from those days. For starters as a woman I can actually 'think' of finding a decent restroom in a public place - Malls have made life easier on that front. Airports are being revamped and so are the loos. Its a not unusual anymore to come across restrooms that are not only clean, but also adequate in their

Of all the restrooms I've visited in the recent past - there has been one that stands out as the best I have seen here. I found it at a mall in Bombay that has is known for its design that matches international standards. What stood out there was - the wash basin designed for kids. Though this is becoming common in restrooms abroad - it is not something one would spot easily here and certainly reflective of the fact that people have started paying more attention to designing restrooms !

The other thing i came across at this mall - was a bright cheerful place -called the baby care room ! Most places have a small section of the women's restroom dedicated for this purpose though I have often wondered how uncomfortable it would be for women who sit in a busy restroom and attend to their babies. Besides comfortable seating, a baby changing table - this room had toys that older kids could play with and the cushions on the couch were adorable. This space felt like something that was in between what we have seen and know of a typical baby changing areas and the kids play area that one often finds at supermarkets.

On a related note...(though not specific to the Indian context) - I came across a news letter that talked about emerging consumer of which they labeled 'denim dads' and described this creature as

The modern stay-at-home dad is admired for seeking work-life balance. He spends a good chunk of his day online, gleaning parenting tips off and posting his own. He shares musical tastes with his kids, and appreciates the changing tables in the men’s room at Home Depot. many businesses would even think of having a baby changing area in the men's tell me.

For more visit the bathroomblogfest blog

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