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ASK VIR All your questions answered by Vir Sanghvi

Question

Dear Vir - the recent ban on Uber - I wonder if this is the solution to the problem at hand. in the absence of any safe and reliable public transport in the country, how else does one commute (if not by owned vehicle)? i would request your views, maybe a piece on this issue?

Posted By: haresh  |  Posted On: 13 Dec 2014  |  City: mumbai

Answer

 Yes, it's a good idea. Let the dust settle and then maybe people will bother to read a thoughtful piece.

Question

Arent you fed up writing about religion..
Anyone with a half of brain will know that all its ever done in history is divide people and cause bloodshed.. Sure it has its merits, but the bad outweighs the good for sure
Your thoughts?

Posted By: Ashvin Gidwani   |  Posted On: 12 Dec 2014  |  City: Sydney

Answer

 Well, by your definition, people who still believe in the power of religion have less than half a brain. As this category includes most of the world's population, I would be wary of generalising. 
 

Question

Hi Vir. As someone who as visited and eaten at world's best restaurant, I hope you could solve my dilemma about tips at restaurant. I am always confused. Should I tip? How much should one tip (Is it usually 20%)? Should one tip even when the restaurant has included a heavy service charge in my bill? I really hope you could answer some of those.

Posted By: sanjeet  |  Posted On: 12 Dec 2014  |  City: Mumbai

Answer

 No global rules. But, some general principles. If a service charge is included, you do not need to tip unless service has been exceptional. In Asia, around 12 per cent is acceptable. In America, 18 per cent is the norm in big cities. If you want to take the easy way out in New York, then just double the tax component of the bill. It's not particularly generous but it is convenient.

Question

Vir - why is Indian media so obsessed with comparing our leaders with some other leaders? Every other day a new comparison is published for Modi. We have been told he is like Thatcher, Indira Gandhi, Deng, Putin, Erdogan etc. Why can't a leader be like himself? Very rarely do I see Barak Obama being compared with some other political leader in American media. Media does talk about what kind of legacy he will have - carter like or nixon like. But there is no talk about whether Obama is like either of those.

Posted By: Munir  |  Posted On: 08 Dec 2014  |  City: Milwaukee

Answer

 You are completely right. I can't understand why we are so obsessed with these comparisons either.

Question

"Lata cut him dead", "Asha threw a fit" I hear this a lot with Indian artists, even from the south. MGR, I heard was notorious for making sure no one else grew. Is it the same in the west? or are we just insecure? By the way, have you heard Hozier? I highly recommend!

Posted By: Patrick Kumar  |  Posted On: 06 Dec 2014  |  City: Washington, DC

Answer

 I think it is happening less and less in India. But when an industry is small it is easy to call the shots. As our industry grows, we become more Western in our approach and oligopolies are harder to sustain.

Question

Vir Nice article of about Mangeshkar sisters - another voice which I felt improved with time like aging wine was Jagjit Singh may be had to do with type of music he presented, but he sounded so much better with age this is just an observation

Posted By: Manish  |  Posted On: 04 Dec 2014  |  City: Mumbai

Answer

 I agree entirely. Amazing voice.

Question

Is it true the motto of Mayo was United we Lie?

Posted By: Arijit Chauhan  |  Posted On: 04 Dec 2014  |  City: Delhi

Question

hi, there was an interesting article in the newyorker about foodcritics and how the restaurant reviews differed in the UK and the US (do read it if you can)
Needless to say the UK ones were uninhibited, their language French, and howlarious
So here's the question - why is it this way in the UK
And has this influenced the Indian critics?

Posted By: Teestha Sen  |  Posted On: 30 Nov 2014  |  City: Bangalore

Answer

 Not really. Most of us aim for the deadpan style of the Americans.

Question

Hi Vir,
Why do we make such a song and dance of our so called 'freedom struggle.' Actually the Brits had made an exit plan long before any of the Indian leaders were born and were acting on that with various administrative reforms. The Brits freed not only India but all their colonies all over the world and none needed Gandhis and Nehrus and Congress. Possibly without the Congress, freedom would have come in the normal course, and maybe with much less bloodshed.

Posted By: Vivek L Dev  |  Posted On: 25 Nov 2014  |  City: Mumbai

Answer

 This is a complete misreading of history. Where do you get your facts from?

Question

Vir - it seems official now. In the latest series of Homeland there is so much of a hate-hate relationship between Pakistan and the US - wonder how bad it is in real life.
And of course the ISI is shown to be slime personified.
So the question really is why cant the US just confront reality...

Posted By: Sanjay Tripathi  |  Posted On: 25 Nov 2014  |  City: Mumbai

Answer

 There is always a distinction between the views of educated Americans and the policy of the administration. For example, in 1971, educated Americans opposed the genocide in East Pakistan. But Nixon and Kissinger backed the Pakistan army anyway.
 
 
What you need to remember is that the vast majority of American voters are ignorant about the rest of the world and not interested in foreign policy. So, public opinion does not really come into play until American lives are lost. And even then, voters are ignorant. For instance, a majority of Americans believed that Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11.

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