If you observed the Google search bar a few days ago, you probably noticed how you could become a virtual pani puri vendor after clicking on Google’s latest pani puri doodle. But if you missed it, Google rolled out a fun doodle-based game celebrating this zesty chaat on Wednesday. You had to quickly fulfil customers’ pani puri orders as a vendor in the game.
But if you’re wondering why Google decided to celebrate pani puri out of the blue, here’s a fun fact. On 12th July 2015, Dainik Bhaskar (a Hindi language daily) and an Indore-based restaurant Indori Zayka jointly set the world record for serving the highest number of pani puri flavours. It had 51 varieties on its menu crafted by Chef Neha Shah.
Now, pani puri has different nicknames across India. You’d know it as pani puri only if you live in Maharashtra or most southern states. But that changes to golgappa when you move to Delhi, Punjab or Jammu & Kashmir. And fuchka in Bihar, Jharkhand or West Bengal.
But the love for this mouth watering delicacy remains the same irrespective of which part of India you live in. And that makes it a ₹6,000 crore market nationwide. No kidding!
Here’s a soundtrack to put you in the mood 🎵
Kaafi Zyada by Udbhav
Thanks for this underrated recommendation, Sujay!
Get weaving, shall we?
A couple of things caught our eye this week 👀
How not to stress Delhi’s car owners
Car owners in Delhi are stressed out with the latest ‘Overage Vehicle Scrappage Policy’. The government wants them to voluntarily send over their vehicles for impounding if they own diesel vehicles >10 years old. Or petrol vehicles >15 years old. If not, it seizes them as they’re End of Life Vehicles (ELVs). Which basically means that the government thinks the vehicles have reached their expiry date.
Now, this policy came about in March to comply with a 2014 National Green Tribunal order and a 2018 Supreme Court order that barred overaged vehicles from plying on the roads or being parked on Delhi’s streets.
You see, overaged vehicles cause 10-12 times more pollution than new ones. Besides, the older a vehicle gets, the less fuel efficient it becomes. And that means adding to the already huge oil import bill. So, implementing the SC and NGT orders strictly would only benefit Delhi and its deteriorating air quality index.
But obviously, vehicle owners aren’t happy. You wouldn’t be either if your car was towed from your home’s parking space without your knowledge, no? Apparently, that’s what’s happening. Folks who own such vehicles are finding surprise memos in place of their parked cars only to realise that it’s now sitting in a scrapyard.
They then have to get in touch with the transport department to give their consent for impounding their car. And the funny part is if the owner doesn’t agree even after 3 months, the scrapping happens anyway. With the scrap proceeds going directly to the vehicle owner. They’d probably get up to ₹20,000 for a small car and up to ₹70,000 for a luxury one.
And the primary problem is quite clear. Owners who’re unaware are being intimidated in the name of policy. That way they’re also missing out on a chance to get their vehicles retrofitted with batteries and convert it into an EV. Some folks might even want to retain their vehicle as a vintage or a collectable. And the policy is tight lipped on how to go about these things. It could also be encouraging the capital's scrap mafia who scrap vehicles for cheap, while recycling parts for better prices.
So, until the policy answers these questions, it’ll continue to rile Delhi’s vehicle owners.
Another solution that came a couple of days ago, from a citizens' group protesting outside the Delhi Secretariat was strict fitness tests for overaged vehicles. Vehicles failing it should be scrapped they believe.
Can the government untangle the knots in its ELV policy and destress vehicle owners? Only time will tell.
Thickening India’s anime soup
Anime fans will agree that the genre is an emotion. For the uninitiated, anime is a form of Japanese entertainment wherein hand-drawn characters are animated in a story. And a lot of Indian millennials may have grown up watching it in the form of Pokemon, Beyblade, Sinchan or even Doraemon later on despite anime not having a big marketing push from the entertainment industry.
Now Crunchyroll wants to change that. Crunchyroll is an entertainment company and a joint venture between Sony Pictures Entertainment in the US and Aniplex in Japan. And it intends to strengthen its roots in the Indian entertainment space. Recently it onboarded celebrity Tiger Shroff to promote the anime brand here simply because it sees an opportunity among the growing young anime community or Otakus (a Japanese word used to describe people interested in anime and manga).
You see, anime appeals to both teenagers and adults. According to a JetSynthesys survey, 83% of Indians prefer anime over other animated content options. And that could be because viewers connect with strong narratives that anime builds around themes like friendship, racism and even loss. Besides, it also helps them understand Japanese food and culture better.
And there’s more proof of India’s growing anime interest. In 2019, anime fans petitioned to bring the anime movie culture to India via the Indian Anime Movement. They succeeded and ‘Weathering With You’ was released in India raking in an opening box office collection of ₹66 lakhs ― the biggest ever for a non-English foreign language film. The movie ran at an overall occupancy rate upwards of 90%.
Merchandise like figurines and apparel too are witnessing great growth numbers. For instance, Wizplex an online figurine store even saw a near 100% YoY growth between 2020 and 2022 for its Banpresto line of anime figurines produced by Bandai Namco, Japan.
And this is the space that Crunchyroll wants a piece of too.
What do you think about the anime culture in India? Let us know.
P. S.: Just don’t call it ‘cartoon’.
Money tips 💰
Dealing with financial stress
A cash crunch or a job loss can be anyone’s guest, uninvited. And dealing with it can be a traumatic experience. But it’s not the end of the world, although it could seem a lot like it.
India doesn’t have too many options when it comes to unemployment insurance outside of government security schemes which most of us may not fit into.
So, what do you do when you unexpectedly run into financial stress?
See, the first obvious thing, to begin with, is knowing how much you have in your emergency fund. Because that’s what you’re going to bank on for the next couple of days. Now, it’s always ideal to have 6 months' worth of your regular expenses stacked up in an emergency fund.
But don’t panic if you don’t have that mileage. If you’re dealing with a job loss then you could apply for a withdrawal from your Provident Fund if you stay unemployed for over 2 months. If that takes time, don’t hesitate to seek temporary help. You may think of reaching out to the people in your life that can lend you money in these tough times. But let that be something you do as a last resort.
And don’t forget to look after your mental health. You might want to laugh at this advice because therapy doesn’t come cheap. So how do you afford it if you’re broke?
Well, you could look for organisations that offer free therapy sessions. And maybe contribute to them when things get better for you financially.
Financial stress can be a hard phase to pass through. But staying on the bright side of things never fails. It’s easier said than done for sure, but losing hope can mean losing the fight. So stay put.
Readers Recommend 🗒️
Chip War: The Fight for the World's Most Critical Technology by Chris Miller
In our recommendation section today, we have a book that recounts the history of the semiconductor industry and the current global chip war. Thanks for this Drumil Shah! We couldn’t ask for a more relevant recommendation.
Finshots Weekly Quiz 🧩
It’s time to announce the winner of our previous Weekly Quiz. And the winner is… 🥁
Saswata Roy! Congratulations. Keep an eye on your inbox and we’ll get in touch with you soon to send over your Finshots merch.
And for the rest of you, here’s your next chance to grab the winner’s crown. Click on this 👉🏽 link, answer all the questions correctly and tune in next week to check if you got lucky.
Until then, don’t forget to tell us what you thought of today’s newsletter. And send us your book, music, business movies, documentaries or podcast recommendations. We’ll feature them in the newsletter! Just hit reply to this email (or if you’re reading this on the web, drop us a message: firstname.lastname@example.org).