Sunday, January 31, 2010

Experiential writer :)

I was out of the house today watching 'Ishqiya'. I watched the movie in a single screen theatre in Kachiguda, near Koti. It reminded me so much of my life around 4-5 years ago. 

It was an awesome 4-5 hours away from home. First of all, I liked the movie and loved the 'Dil to Bacha hain ji' song.  I was awe struck by the crowd at  good old Gokul chat in Koti and I relished the samosa chat that I ate after fighting my way through the rush. 

In the cinema hall, I saw how crazy some of the guys out here are to see a new release. On the way back home, I lost my way in the crazy traffic and the exhibition crowd. Uff... So many things to write about.

At times I feel this is how my whole life should be. Just like these 4 hours. I feel so shallow when I have to push myself to write about something. The writing should be natural and for me it happens when I experience different things. I wish I was doing a job where I was paid to experience things and write about them. 

I mean the kinds where the company sponsors your trip , asks you to experience different things and then write something on them. Experiential writer ! Any prospective employers here ?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Jaago Re!

It all started with the advertisement that was on TV around a year ago. A young man asks a politician about his qualification to contest for the elections. It was an interesting advertisement where a brand integrated a powerful social message into its campaign. 

The name itself ‘Jaago Re’ is quite apt- it works for the product ‘Tea’ as well for its social message of awakening people and making them socially conscious.

 Last year, the Jaago Re team came up with an amazing campaign asking people to vote. The campaign, launched in September last year, created a platform which facilitates citizens’ entry into the electoral process. The campaign was quite a hit with the website getting 28 lakh registrations, and 6 lakh first-time voters. Out of the 28 lakh registrations, one-fourth converted into final voting.

I happened to visit the website recently and found many such social initiatives. All these initiatives are under the ‘Jaago’ vertical. In case one wants to be a part of any social initiative then there is another vertical called ‘Jagaao’ (wake up others ) where one can find groups, NGOs, articles on the various social initiative.

There are around 6 social initiatives that one can take part in- corruption, education, global warming, voting, children rights, and women rights. 

Each of these has a flash animation that draws your attention to the issue explaining what the problem is all about. Then there are causes, effects and the more importantly the solutions, through which one can contribute and make a difference. 

Some of these have interesting advertisements. I never saw the anti corruption on TV but I instantly liked it when I saw the video. With young models being used in the advertisement, the idea is to send a strong message to the youth and make them conscious about prevalent corruption in our country.

The ‘Aaj Se Khilana Bandh, Pilana Shuru’ campaign urges people to stop giving bribes to get things done and thus stand  up against corruption. The idea in the campaign is that a bribe happens because there is someone ready to give the bribe. If you don’t give the bribe then there wouldn’t be any taking and thus the bribe will never happen.

I also thought the site was well researched with facts presented to draw a first timer’s attention to the problem. 

For example, the animation on the site that follows the ‘Aaj Se Khilana Bandh, Pilana Shuru’ video is full of facts that would inspire the reader to do something and be a part of the solution.

I wonder if these kind of social initiatives popularly known as CSR (Corporate Social responsibility) benefit the brands.  Do their sales grow because of their involvement in these activities that benefit the society? 

I believe more than the sales or any other kinds of numbers, CSR helps creating a feel good factor for the brand. Whenever I think of Tata Tea, I am reminded of all the Jaago re the social initiatives which create a very positive image of the brand in my mind.  And this I believe will help the brand in the long run.

Monday, January 4, 2010

The food funda !

Today, I met few of my friends for lunch at Ohris, 70 mm on Necklace Road. It was a buffet and I thought the food was bad. We ended up paying around Rs 350 for each of us. A year or 2 ago I would have been very ok with it (the ‘chalta hain’ attitude). But now I need to vent out my feelings through this post.

Let's forget about  the quality of food for a moment. Me and most of my friends are in the age group of 26-28. Most of us have been working for more than 5 years now. The kind of josh that we had for food say 4-5 years ago is not there at all. I think the way we used to look at buffets like today's as college going kids was quite different.

Staying in a college hostel where the food varies from the pathetic to the ok, we used to crave for good food.  Being away from home, we were all missing the ‘maa ka haath ka khana.’ A limited weekly pocket money and the fact you end up paying the mess  guy even for food that you don’t eat meant that we ate in the mess most of the times. (Or quite often in case of foodies like me)

I was one of the biggest foodies on campus and so I always looked for the slightest opportunity to eat out.  And when your batch mate landed with a job, it was a PARTY for his/her entire friend circle. So when we had the chance to eat unlimited food in a buffet, it was an all out ATTACK.

Most of us used to eat so much that the restaurant team would feel sorry for having introduced the buffet there. I even remember one of the occasions when we got into a tiff with those guys when he denied us unlimited ice cream. ‘Unlimited boleto itna bhi Unlimited nahi hain!!!’, said the awestruck hotel manager then.

Things change once you start working. You have the money and have more such eat-outs. With the IT crowd, you keep going out at least once every week. And then, when we college mates used to meet on weekends, it was eating out again. So after around 1.5-2 years, the charm of eating out (however unlimited it might be) slowly fades away.  ‘Any place will do' would be the default expression for most of us.

Things change even more as years roll by. Some of your friends are no longer single and are very conscious about what they eat.  The singles are apprehensive about still being single and so consciously eat less. More importantly, most of them now booze and naturally drink more and eat less. In fact they don’t eat much even when there is no booze. Fat starts accumulating on your paunch and soon you release that you have a pot belly or a potential pot belly.  So all in all, the average appetite of your peer group drops drastically.

And in such circumstances, paying Rs 350 for the kind of meal we had today is bad. I know most of my friends earn a lot. Par phir bhi! You can’t just donate money to restaurants.

I seriously think there is a space for food outlets that also serve as hang out zones. The CCDs and the Baristas of the world do this to some extent but then you can’t have lunch or dinner there.

These food outlets should primarily be hang out zones which serve food because people like to meet over a lunch or dinner.

I would like to have interesting food varieties but in limited quantities.  In fact one can have a wide range of items on the menu but in served in quantities that would go with the appetite of the target audience (The 26 + ones like me) and priced accordingly. If healthier options can be included in the menu, then nothing like it.

I believe these hang out zones should have themes that are about friends meeting after some time.   I can’t exactly explain these themes right now… but you know themes centered around the things like your work, your status-single or committed or married, your recent hobbies. May be you could have rooms, sections for start up ideas and for bachelor parties.

Finally, one shouldn’t be paying more than Rs 150-200 per head for the food that is served in limited quantities. I believe people wouldn’t mind paying another Rs 150-200 for the ambiance or the themes. Isn’t MEETING friends the most important thing? So why eat more, waste on food and then feel unhealthy and guilty about the whole thing.

What say? I know it is just a random thought and has n number of flaws but I already feel like meeting some friend who can put up with this endless rant :P

Saturday, January 2, 2010

O Captain, My Captain!

I just saw 'Dead Poets Society' and I thought it was a lovely movie. I would  have loved it even more had I watched it a few years ago before I even dared to think of something else beyond my engineering graduate degree. Aamir khan is talking of chasing excellence in 2009, but this movie that deals with being a non conformist was released way back in 1989.

I found the last scene of the movie when all the members of the Dead Poets Society stand on their desks to bid adieu to their beloved professor John Keating  ( the O Captain, My Captain scene) very touching. Being a Bollywood fan, I found it a bit abrupt and  I would have liked if the movie ended with the prep school changing its teaching methods for the better. 

But probably these things ( happy -endings as SRK calls them ) don't happen  in reality and in Hollywood.  Well, as always I guess I have been late watching a  Hollywood master piece. But yeah, I am happy I have seen it.

I saw 3 Idiots last week and liked it. I thought it's a very good movie compared to the regular Bollywood fare that we get these days. But it was slightly disappointing considering that it was an Aamir Khan movie. I thought it was too much about him rather than about the 3 Idiots as a whole. Probably reading  '5 point someone' novel made me think that way. Aamir is the dude in the movie, tops the class and also has the gal- Kareena. 

The novel was better where Ryan plays the brilliant non-conformist who believes that exams are not everything ( and hence does an average job there and doesn't end being the topper unlike in the movie. Are you listening Mr. Aamir Khan? ). Ryan's friend Hari romances the girl in the novel which I thought was very natural compared to Aamir doing  everything in the movie.

Let me not even get into the tiff between Chetan Bhagat and the film makers of the movie at this point of time. It's quite sad!
Planning to watch 'Avatar' later today. Let's see if it inspires me to write something.  

Friday, January 1, 2010


I could go on placing a infinite dots after that Umm...Today on the 1st day of the New year, I have this feeling that I have achieved nothing in life. I saw a couple of photo streams on flickr of my engineering  batch mates and I was like Wow!!!! ( again an infinite number of exclamations!). Absolutely marvelous! I was stunned!

   And then for a moment ( such a looooong one) I thought of myself. What was I doing all these years? I was sunk by a huge feeling of under achievement.  I have started clicking pics of late but yeah after seeing my batch mates' pics, I feel so ashamed of myself. 

          So yeah another year has begun..2010!  Years keep passing by par Life mein kuch kar na hain yaar..! At least some good writing which is of the level of the photos that my batch mates click.