Sunday, September 28, 2014

Retarded instances from my life, part 2

There are stupid things you say and then stupid but awesome things you do.

I'm thinking about this time,
Dad was based at Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
And i once touched a devil fish bigger than myself in 2 feet water on the beach.
I might have been only 4 feet in height myself back then, but once i realized there are 'actual' fish in the sea, i didn't ever walk into the deep like we all used to. I was petrified of sharks.
Or eels in the water.
All along i used to thing Jaws was made up.
In short i never believed in 'sharks' existing at all.
And by that time i had already done scuba diving, deep water diving, even tried my hand at surfing with the locals!
Gosh, i used to think the happy creature's from 'Little Mermaid' were all that existed under water.

When we shifted to Vizag, i learned the art of making clay utensils. Like literal clay utensils. Thanks to the abundance of clay mud in our backyard, i would dig it out, mold it and let it dry to perfection in the sun.
What more, I'd make small fires and pretend to cook in them even!
I had all kinds on utensils from mugs, pot's, pans, spoons.
You name it.
Once cooked rice in them!
Of course i hadn't ever thought of washing them so when i tasted my experiment, i tasted a whole lot of texture of mud.
This one time i found few of moms creams and cooked them as well.
I might have tried eating them as well, had i not opened the bottle of Fem bleach and cooked it's chemicals.
I distinctly remember seeing florescent fumes with this toxic smell coming from them when it began to cook!
And i think, that day was the death of my kitchen cooking madness.
Never again.

So far in my life I've only crushed on people twice.
The first time i crushed on someone, i slapped the boy in public.
And he was 3 years my senior.
It was a dare from his best friend and i swear i could tell he was interested.
Shit.
But thanks to first time love, I discovered i could write 'ok' sort of poems.
My first one i think i remember by heart.
It went something like this:

"What does it take to convince you,
That I'm really in love,
In liking of you somehow,
That I cannot shove.

And when i look at you,
The feeling i cannot explain,
I get rid of all my sorrows,
Sadness, guilt and pain........ .... "

Err..  Ok there was one more parra on dancing. But I don't quite remember it.
Come to think of it, it was thanks to him i started keeping a diary in the first place!
It was a love journal of sorts..
As lame and retarded as it may sound,
I still have it.
I have all my journals.
Stacked away secretly..

We had a golden retriever in our Himachal home (Rana Villa), and i swear it was the coolest and nicest dog I'd ever seen.
His name was 'Hero'.
And it loved eating green apples which came in crates and the sour grapes that my grandfather grew in the backyard.
And every summer when my parents would leave me there,
He was my best friend.
If it hadn't been for that dog, I'd have loved no dogs.
..
I used to tie a red Cape to its neck which would often fall to one side.
But when it had that on,
I would be fearless.
And even go wandering into the jungle on my own.
(i realize now, how lucky both Hero and i had been, there were actual wolves and panthers/leopards in those jungles... Which i found out about years later)

A thing or two about acceptance and acknowledgement

We're not perfect.
And we aren't supposed to be.
We're all entitled to feel happy just like we deserve to sometimes feel bad.
Yea, i said 'deserve' and not entitled.
After all we're responsible for our own right to happiness. And that sometimes doesn't mean being logical, or practical, but just momentary and doing things or being with people who make us happy.
Or 'not being with' or 'not putting up with' certain things, people and situations.

Which can mean often overlooking general humanity and wellbeing and thinking about our own selves. (After all, I'm not Bono anyhow)
Yea being greedy about it.

Tut-tut as much as you like but it sort of takes special powered to acknowledge your own greed and even accept it.

Gosh, I've been an unreasonable person over the years... Often blind sighted by things like 'love' or 'jealousy' or 'hate'.

I've had my phase of non understanding repercussions of my actions and gone behind people's backs and gossiped!
I've tattled!
I've been inconsiderate to others feelings even.
Kept my wants above others.
Considered my suffering, pain and justifications above others.
Thrown whims even!
(Hahahahahahaa.. Ooohhh f**k... )

And as much as I'd like to justify or explain those situations, I'm going to leave that at that. Just like that.

But that's where i drawn my empathy and ability to give people the margin for human errors... (drawing from outcomes I've suffered)

There. I've acknowledged a flaw, dealt with it and accepted myself back.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Web 0.3 Getting ahead of the curve

"Everyone is on the same journey, the challenge is who decides to up the stakes and who gets there first!"

Like the TV, Print and Radio space, web too is evolving into a mainstream medium where Brands will begin owing content space, rather than just owing inventory on them!
Its like saying, rather than just posing with the top notch car on the track if a brand were a looking to pose as a top notch sports driver, overtime it would eventually own the car rather than just posing with it.

Its about taking up the challenge, making that investment and starting out in that direction.

Brands unlike people or bloggers are the rich guys in digital space. So they don't have to bother with lack of investments or building from scratch. They have an offline presence and are recognized by people and various demographic audiences they choose to cater them selves to.

So far the trend has been seen in offline space where Brands have begun buying out year long sponsorship's of popular TV shows and serials. Begun becoming title sponsors and co-sponsors of on ground events and begun associating them selves with certain artists, activities, and associations. This apart from buying the regular plain Jane share of voice in ad placement across channels and mediums. 

In digital space however, not many brands and companies have been too forth coming to make such long term deals, or really integrating their product with popular content the audiences go online to consume.

This has given a rise to a lot of positives and negatives.

We often hear brands say 'Oh, digital is a risky medium, negative WOM and bad publicity lives on in Digital forever', should that really mean we stir clear of them? What about the integrations and brand initiatives that on the contrary have worked? 

Sure Brands can make the processes of getting their audience to consume a brand asset can be synthetically induced, but why is that being seem as a negative rather than a positive? Especially if owns and agrees to own a content space other public forums and web sites alresdy have built or owned? 

I feek this sentiment is more of a threat identification rather than a problem identification from the point of view of web publishers, but its also the matter of user retention and continously engaging with audiences that brands may be able to better fund than editors be able to better manage if it's why a user prefers to consume one platform over the other in a sea of platforms to begin with? 

(TBC, this weekend) 

The 'You're an Idiot' theory

The dictionary meaning of the word 'idiot' goes something like this;

idiot

ˈɪdɪət/

noun

informal

noun: idiot; plural noun: idiots

Meaning 'a stupid person'.

synonyms:foolasshalfwitnincompoop,blockheadduncedoltignoramus,cretinimbeciledullardmoron,simpletonclod; More

antonyms:genius

archaic:

a person of low intelligence.

But in modern day this word means so much more. We use it to connote not just the obvious but also the opposite.

For example:

Ask a girl you're seeing if she loves you and if she laughs, nods her head and says 'You're an Idiot', you're the luckiest guy on the planet.

But if you're in a argument with someone and you firmly put your point of view forward and after justifying it profuriously, you ask that person what they think and they reply with 'You're an Idiot', they're either stunned and are left speechless.

Or

Its time to get dead serious, you've probably missed the very point in the entire scheme of things. I.e.: you're prospective is not wide enough. You're rash and ignorant.

But at the same time, an idiot can refer to a person who's picked up on something, an insight or an development only visible to you and you explain to to someone and they respond with 'You're an Idiot', you're probably doing or have done something right.

And to the audience of such conversation, you're probably crazy enough pull off the said things or to prove the said theory. And in that case its a taunt. A cautious taunt. But mostly it's positive and said as an encouragement in this case.

When U2 stated in their song 'Every girl must go out with an idiot' it probably meant one of two things;

1. To know whats better, one needs to know what's worse first. You have to have dated a ignorant moron first, to know what truly being cherished and paid attention to feels like.

Or.

2. Life is made to take risks, fall in love foolishly with someone who's willing to do crazy and melodramatic things for you and for the sake of the relationship, someone who can go out of their way to make you smile. Every girl needs to feel what that feels like.

Go make the wrong choices, do what doesn't feel half right, maybe it's going to be a crazy journey you'll miss if you don't take that risk now.

But 'You're an Idiot'  to me feels more like when someone points it out or imposes it on another being. In the state of ones own aloofness.

So my second favorite dialogue which pretty much means the same but in more of a self initiated spirit sort of way is 'Be stupid.'

stupid

ˈstjuːpɪd/

adjective

1.

lacking intelligence or common sense.

"I was stupid enough to think she was perfect"

synonyms:unintelligentignorantdense,brainlessmindlessfoolishdull-witteddullslow-wittedwitless,slow, dunce-like, simple-minded,empty-headedvacuousvapidhalf-wittedidioticmoronic, imbecilic,imbecileobtusedoltish; More

noun

informal

1.

a stupid person (often used as a term of address).

"you're not a coward, stupid!"

As shallow and as idiotic the words or sentence may sound. It means go ahead and be who you are. Its actually quite deep.

You have one life after all. If our destinies are pre-written, then irrespective of doing or thinking about good or bad we'll arrive where we need to, get what we have to, feel what we have to anyhow.

In which case we might as well have or should have half the decency to truly live like we want to, unafraid of circumstances, situations, social norms, stigmas or bothering about what 'other people may think'.

After all, to know what's greatness, we must experience what trivial or being trivial really feels like.

Friends, family, lovers will understand and only be left to say 'You're an idiot'. But the crucial point and words being 'don't bother about what others may think'.

They're idiots! ;)

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Valuable lessons from a loved one, for a loved one.

Never disregard a woman's instinct.
Never.

But at the same time, despite predicting what to expect.
Don't try to hurry up fate.
You can't hurry up the processes of turning a caterpillar into a butterfly after all.
One has to live through the excruciating pain to become a beautiful soul.

All things take time.
Especially the good things.
Healing takes time.
Some wounds take longer than the other to heal.

Wounds eventually heal and we're only left with those beautiful memories.
And once they do,
Each one of us has their moment of clarity.
We know what to do.

There's a time to forgive.
And there is a time to forget.

It's import to forgive others.
One can't just grieve and keep justifying ourselves and our actions by speaking ill of someone, by remembering and re running what went wrong in our heads.
We need to focus, look at the rout cause, identity the problem, the gap.

If we miss something about someone,
Or can't, despite best efforts forget cherished memories,
We need to go back and rewrite those pages and correct them.

If you're meant to be with someone,
Nothing can change that.
If you aren't , you just aren't.

Our generation has mostly forgotten common courtesy.
Thank you, please and sorry are almost extinct.
We say them superficially yes, but not really from our hearts.

We can say we've stopped using our hearts somewhere altogether.
We let ego and anger overtake ourselves sometimes but we need to snap out of it.
Its an illusion that sometimes gets the best of us and then the moment is gone.

Because as simple as it seems,
You'll never get over some people.
Some memories,
Some feelings.
Never.
They'll continue to coexist with your present situation if they aren't addressed correctly.
We need to stir clear of letting them turn into negativity.
Because we can't escape it.
We can't escape them.

But sometimes you have to just let things fall into their own place.
Start from scratch and be patient with change.
Sometimes we need to grow and evolve and find out a bit more about our own selves and our own heart before the right moment shows itself.

It takes courage after that.
To once again bear our own souls to another being.
To stop playing mind games and really risk everything in that moment.
After all, luck too is a event when preparation meets opportunity.

We just have to prepare ourselves to be open to certainties.
To fate.
To patience.
To the truth.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

What really is this feminism we're all screaming from the top of buildings about?

I've denied being a feminist. To friends, strangers, lovers, et all. 

But through my own journey I've begun to question, think, map what might have given rise or even brought about the thoughts on the matter for people who declare or credit them selves as 'feminists'.. But that perspective needs a much more deeper understanding.

Let me begin to first explain how difficult and at times how convenient it is to dodge any responsibility. I can be rebellious and fight for equality in this 'mans world', forever more misunderstood than ever appreciated or i can simply choose to be submissive and leave it to others to be taken care of.

I'm not allowed to be rude or aggressive or hold my stand on issues and viewpoints and more often than not its taken for granted that i will eventually give up. 

That weakness is in built. 

That strength is a connotation of only physical endurance in opposition to being to my better understanding - empathetic, unbiased, understanding, vigilant, sensitive and forgiving nature which in a mans world are often traits marked by or connoted to great leaders.

I'm expected to know how to cook, clean, take care of the house, willing to bear children, maintain friendly relations and balance family dynamics before i express my needs and dreams as an individual in this world.

My persistence is usually labeled as a tantrum and my behavior classified as incompetent and unacceptable by people. I'm labelled psychotic, crazy, demented, slut and easy by those who refuse to peer deeper into my ambitions, what i want to stand for and values from the safety of their own environment and values they have been brought up with.

I have to battle being declared the 'weaker sex', eve teased, passed comments at, shown the glass ceiling at work, shown my place at home and even by those i chose to open up out of love...shown my place eventually if not gradually.

First appearances, looks, poise, manners even vocal pitch are put way before my achievements and personal strengths, character traits and individuality. Heck i should mention i have hooted right back on two occasions and once caught a guy by his collar for passing comments and making kissing noises at me. Only i can say how terrified i was inside to have tried something of that sorts in India and alone - where the onlookers do nothing more that stare back or look through depending on convenience.  

I admit, I've even told my should have been husbands mother once of his misconduct and been severely shot down for doing so. A woman cant even confide in another woman without her taking personal offense. Shouldn't she have simply scolded her son and empathized? I am not incompetent, I wouldn't dare ever question anyone's rearing abilities, but couldn't it have been considered that what the said boy was doing was so wrong that it drove me to complaint or reach out? Rather let me also tell you the outcome, i was accused for being disgraceful and burning the bridges. Even when i take into account that initial rage to my complaint might have caused a stir but a mother understands eventually, which also i assume is true. Or so i would like to believe. 

Human values do go for a toss really, i mean - would an 'ill-wisher' muster the courage to retaliate? 

Our actions are forever seen in different light. If i flirt easily or mix well with a large crowd I'm automatically declared 'border-line loose charactered' and then gossiped about or kept a keen eye on for any chances to reinforce the title with mistakes or events or instances. A boy or man in my position on the other hand might be called jovial or outgoing. If i pursue a love interest relentlessly i am called materialistic or greedy or delusional or crazy. If a boy does the same he always deserves a chance, because he is always suppose to be seen as going out of his way? 

No one takes into account that woman first focus on the smaller things, gestures, small adjustments, ritual's. We're far more practical even when romantically involved, somewhere adjusting and keeping our wishes second. But when and if a situation so arrises when we need support and it takes time to normalize   things, men are allowed to move on, give up, blame us for it all, not taking into account the smaller acts of love or kindness. 

Heck i say, if all the woman in the world took a week of from their PR jobs, the world would go to war. Social dynamics, eye for details, emotional intelligence are clearly not one of mans best virtues. 

And who says woman gossip the most? At least we do it in positive light or even just to close set of friend we would trust with our lives. We don't give away more intimate details till of course its something hilarious or something we don't have answers to. 

But men? Having experienced first hand, men will share everything from love life, money spent, sex life, even to the extend of showcasing how far a woman is ready to go, or fall or sacrifice without really understanding the underlying message - she's in love. She trusts you, ready to believe in you, she might have had a late realization even about how much. 

Of course that's unlike men, if they make mistakes they must be forgive immediately. Or a verdict must be passed with due consideration. When we make mistakes? The verdict and titles come immediately. (Ok, or maybe on the last 3 parra's I'm an Indian. And a mildly conservative one, but very sensitive to words and gestures and follow up actions.) 

I am a 'daughter' before i am an actress. A 'mother' before i am a CEO. And these titles don't just implicate the celebration of what i have simultaneously achieved, rather they have every now and then been used to show me my final position and role in society.

I have no personal choice when it comes to loving someone, be it our ethical tradition of arrange marriages where men chose their wives, or modern day love stories where the men feel so utterly flattered about being perused-ed that they will find all sort of ways and means to talk dirty about you, bring you up in conversation, keep you away, show anger, disgusts in acknowledged that its unacceptable. Alas, if i stand for a person i love and i'm shot down, how do i stand for things i love and still be accepted...?

If things go right in a marriage or relationships its his achievement, if something goes wrong its her fault. If a woman cries its a mood swing or drama, even manipulation! But if a man sheds tears its because he's been deeply hurt, done wrong to or been cut deep to his soul. If he did something wrong he was confused, if a woman did something wrong it was 'planned'. 

I am strong, i refuse to hurt myself to prove a point. To inflict self injury or pain. I refuse to sulk in sadness. Because i believe its not why someone fell in love with me, its not the woman who later in life would be able to bear the brunts of life along side her man, over bigger issues in life if she fails now. But more often than not - its easier to classify us as fast, heartless, emotionless than appreciate how we chose to project our internal struggles. 

Human values go for a toss when gauging our spirit in more humanitarian terms over issues closer to home. A mans feelings and efforts are kept way above a woman's. A taste of our struggles and feelings can send them running for the hills. Even when we constantly fight for equal rights for all, better living standards for all, equal treatment for all, in sense of greater issues and masses. This mindset starts at home, nurtured in everyday relationships, and far before they become dirty words and cause political up stir in a country. 

A minister might beat his wife everynight, or a boss sexually harass his secretary in the confined space of his office, a ex boyfriend might be relentless, even bringing down his entire wrath on to his ex-girl friend while proving an entirely different point or trying to project his greatness to his current love interest or larger audience. All becuase he moved on? And what a great struggle that must have been? (personally men who say things like 'my ex was psychotic, how much have they grown over years? Who is fueling their chuvanistic outlook? Its us, us woman, men and society at a much more basic level.) 

I am a woman, over history i have been labeled the cause of all problems somehow, somewhere, in someway or the other. We've made greater leaders, raised worriers, supported the ambitions of husbands and lovers, been the all knowing, all bearing wives of presidents, extra working hands on field's of landless farmers, supported entire famille in the absence of husbands serving in the military for decades at war. Silently, responsibly, but its overlooked. 

Acknowledgement often comes in much more shallow forms 'celebrating womanhood' through beauty pageants, ribbon cutting ceremonies, involvement with smaller matters of state, sidelined to the stands or magazine covers or used as hangers even.

What really is our stand? Where exactly do we stand? Where do we draw the line? 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Defining wisdom, experience and my inner journey

बुरा जो देखण मैं चला, बुरा ना मिलया कोए 
जो मन खोजा अपना, तो मुझसे बुरा ना कोए 
― Kabir

Don't fight to grow up, for now find someone you can skip rope with, play carom with, grunt while you laugh, or fight like five year old's with. Those will be the memories you'll cherish when you grow older. Why the hurry to grow up and be mature?  

"Experience might not necessarily come from traveling the world but sometimes found within a person who's just standing still."
— Rumi

It takes a lot to own up to your true thoughts and project exactly the same to the world. 
If takes even more to lose your ego and remain humble when all is in your favor. 
When you expose your vulnerability continuously, you conquer it. 

Your insecurities only tell you what you fear, your fear only indicate to your mind what your heart already knows. 
And a heart knows a lot sometimes, but it’s easier to play along or look away.
But for how long? 

"Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it” – Kabir

It’s easy to grow dependent on others, for emotional support when really you need to sometimes be on your own. 
Sometime you need to find the courage to walk away from things and people who no longer benefit you. 

I've come to realize that purest form of love is forgiveness. (And I've not learned this one spiritually. Humans are also capable of such forgiveness, every day.) 
We can be the meanest to the ones we subconsciously feel the closest to, even when there is a layer of hatred, envy, anger, ego that act as your reasons. 
We're kinder to strangers than we are to those we love. 
But that it’s OK to take people we love for granted at times. They understand.
 
I've learned that all things need work. What differentiates the ordinary from the great is patience and hard work we put into it. 
The actions you take when no one's watching are the kind of things you think about, they expose your guilt, hurt, fears even when no words are spoken.
Look closely at what people do. 

Time is an illusion.
Sometimes it’s too late to pursue what's lost. Sometimes it’s too early. 
Sometime there is no perfect or stolen time altogether.
 
Silence can really be defending, sometimes it exposes open wounds. 
If you really look closely it gives away ones insecurities. 
What I've learned is what's important is worth fighting for. 
It's useless to fill time and space with meaningless relationships. If something isn't working it simply isn't working. 
If something didn't work out while it could, question it. 
Actually question everything in life. Don't delude yourself by leaving it as a mystery, in the unknown. It'll come back and haunt you for years and years later, years later. 

You might be able to consciously monitor and control the actions you take but it’s what and who you speak about that really gives your thoughts away. 

Vain are the beliefs and teachings that make man miserable, and false is the goodness that leads him into sorrow and despair, for it is man's purpose to be happy on this earth and lead the way to felicity and preach its gospel wherever he goes. He who does not see the kingdom of heaven in this life will never see it in the coming life. We came not into this life by exile, but we came as innocent creatures of God, to learn how to the holy and eternal spirit and seek the hidden secrets within ourselves from the beauty of life.” - Gibran

Alas,
“Listen, my friend. He who loves understands.” – Kabir


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Retarded instances from my life, part 1

I'm thinking bout something
Which is very stupid.
When i was young, you wouldn't believe the stupid things I'd do or I'd say.

I'd say.
"When i get angry or tense,
I start mumbling in French."
And I'd mumble some mumbo jumbo French-sounding shit.
In front of people!!
Actual people!
You know
As if talking in distress.
Can you believe i actually did that in public?
I think my parents dropped me a couple of times too many
On my head
As a baby.
Cant blame them,
I must have been really wobbly and impatient.
The point is, i said i knew French
While i don't.
I didn't.
But i said i did.
And i had the audacity to mumble shit in public.

Ok, i can't stop laughing
Want to read another one?

So i had this very peculiar biology teacher, who also happen to be my class teacher.
And she disliked me enough to make sure i always sat in the front row for her class.
Even the free periods she substituted.
So you know those small mint boxes?
izon mint?
In that small gray box?
izone
or izon?
No no mints,
Not medicine.
Small white tablets of mint?
Ozon! That's it!
These were pretty new back then.
Like only 10% people knew bout them.
So,
Every time I'd catch her peculiarly noticing what I'm doing in class,
So firstly if you put a hyper active kid in front of the class while everyone gossiped in the back,
I would start pretending I'm a drug addict. (Or whatever my version of a drug addict was in my head.)
And that I'm looking for something in my backpack and desk that i might have lost. Like suddenly beginning to panic!
And I'd pretend to grow out of breath.
And then with trembling hands,
Open the pack i had concealed in the
Palm of my hand.
Take two tablets (mints)
Pop them into my mouth
Making extra sure the teacher saw the funny white pills
And pretend to down them with water
And then pretend they calmed my nerves down.
And eventually stop huffing and puffing.

Cool huh?
Want to know another one, or are you done?

So i loved the school library.
But i had a very bad habit of scribbling in books.
And every time I'd read a really old book,
Like a classic,
I'd leave random love notes pre-dated
To the 1800
As if the book existed even back then.
Even if it was a new book.
And I'd write long fucking love notes.
Like as if the book was gifted,
And that was a personalized message
For the original recipient.
One time i killed a large mosquito,
And after a chapter wrote a
Love oath
Claiming signing it in real blood.

He-he
This isn't creativity,
I think this is what you call retardedness!
I think i mostly lived in my own head.
Guess that hasn't changed so much.
I'm still anti social on the inside,
And this is what i did to pass time.

But i pulled speaking French off in public! -_-
Maybe that'll be part of  a book i write.
Someday.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Parallel paradigm from paradise

A parallel paradigm from paradise: A view of the average life of a insignificant Indian

Setting up a project, this will require work in 4 phases,
1. interpretation, in works and pictures
2. experience, real time, vines, words and pictures.
3. concept of dream vs. reality
4. putting together the interpretation of life and actual experience undergone instead visually.

What is this project?

Media effects the perception of ourselves and of society for us in ways beyond our control. But the truth about who we are and what our society has shaped up to over the years is much different.

Our perception of an average Indian is typically set to 3 distinguishes categories;

1. The urban lower middle class family.
A nuclear family of four, living in the suburbs of a town or city. A working father, two school going children, a homely wife staying together in a small cramped rented house.
Husband earns just enough to pay the rent, feed the family and send the children to school, wears the same set of clothiers to work everyday, drinks on weekends after work and loves his kids.
The two children, with very little age gap are underexposed, aloof, innocent, dirty from playing in the streets with their plastic bat - balls and street dogs and always dreaming of proper toys and envy the convent and private kids who according to them undervalue their trinkets.
The mother is an urban scavenger - always trying to 'not' throw away things. Sewing in her free time if not cooking or gossiping with the neighbors wife or watching the TV which stays on almost through out the day, easily influenced, and gullible, sacrificing and secretly trying to save money.

2. The urban joint upper middle class family.
A four story family bungalow, shared by 3 brothers and their parents - all living with their own families on each floor. This family has not always has the little luxuries it now posses, it migrated together during early independence era as refugees and built life from scratch.
Today the family has at least two cars and three scooters, 5 bicycles mostly untouched or unused by the children of the house and at most used by the servants of the house to run daily errands.
The brother of the house run a small family business together - typically a auto garage or the local sweet shop, the finance of which is managed by the father of the brothers.
The mother doesn't typically get along with the wives of the brothers or her 'bahus' and they constantly quarrel among them selves, thought they look very loving and together at society kitty parties and events.
The house belongs to the father and has not yet been distributed or divided among the bothers and there is always at all times someone at home. The entire family is unable to go out together due to the poor health of the parents.
The children are smart, or various ages, all in public or private school and collages, all perusing various hobbies post school or sneaking away the cordless phone, the shared desktop computer or the scooters of the house to gossip or meet up with their friends.
The wives are modern, always tying to keep up with the neighbors, keeping a keen eye on them and leaving no opportunity to show off to them, in moderation and away from the notice or knowing of their mother in-law and husbands.

3. The rural landlord with a large family.
A family of 6 or 7, living in a mansion big enough to accommodate 15- 20 people.  

Product Idea 4: The FourSquare for Drunks, Foodies, Shopaholics and Blind daters

Hey, i really don't get the advantages of declaring ones arrival on a separate platform, but that's just me. I mean, we're very much in the technological age where a Facebook or a Twitter (or even a Google+) might just begin churning out profits from similar integration into its base apps - well du-hu;

1. Both have status updates and location Geo targeting available?
2. Both have made them selves critical for Big brands engaging with its audience in real time to own their own fan page.
3. After i update that I've 'Arrived' on Four Square - I do share it across Facebook, Twitter and at times Google+ as well.

Hence that makes its a;

1. Double Go for Facebook which tries to seek out user payment information and most likely to have users already have photos to tag along with updates as well.
2. Double go for Twitter since it literally mirrors Four Square but only people talk way more within the similar word limit updates about other things as well.
3. And a double go for Google+ which due to its Google Play app stores integration any how has a very large base of user payment details in its records.

So hey, if you want to give real time discounts, you might as well do them where people are engaging actively in conversation about their lives.

= WAIT, before i go any further, let me just clarify that i pick these platforms since they have already earned dominance in the market and brands are very dependent on them today despite heading down a more holistic and native engagement approach themselves to re-capture the audience that already eats, sleeps, breaths on these platforms. =

But what connects these four platforms in reality anyway (FourSquare included)? At least philosophically any how.
The re-assurance that you aren't the only one trolling the internet or streets alone at any given point or day and night or time. When we see a acquaintance also partying... or a fellow social media friend also updating a new post or status update while we are, we feel a sense of belonging. That being said, think to yourselves, do you actually know all your twitter followers personally? Or the people who begin following you on Four Square for that matter? You might relate to them because you might belog to the same city, or have the same content consumption interests, or even simply cause you both like beer. 

Yes, strange as it may seem its the truth for many. (and whats not to celebrate about liking beer anyhow?)

Beer remind me of one such event that is actively using this as an opportunity to really create an organic buzz out there. Kingfisher beer! Every heard of the KFC Beer Fests (secret events)? Random people from across the internet and geographies co-create the buzz and then meet up in person on the day of the event! And how do they engage or why do they enjoy these events?
- Because they love beer,
- They interact as their Twitter handle names and much less as real people,
- And because they all managed to get on the invitation list of this secret event with free beer, food and beer chugging competitions.

What does the brand do in turn?
1. Gets lots of meaty posts, videos, photos and usage of their handle name and brand name across internet through these events.
2. Great brand recall, greater brand recommendation and WOM.
But that's just the start.
More can be done. Much more.

Lets begin by identifying the key take always from KFC Beer Fests;
1. They manage to engage with their online audience offline.
2. They reward their online fans in real time.
3. They manage to connect and unite beer lovers of each city they carry out these events in.
4. They strengthen their audiences emotional connect with the brand.

I have a feeling i get over excited about concepts sometimes and talk too much about one subject or topic. Moving forward.

SoDelhi recently also organised a treasure hunt across Hauz Khas Village, New Delhi, India using Social Media. Another win.
In turn it managed to accumulate a large number of foodies and city dwellers from Delhi to follow their page.

But here, these brands are creating a burst of events that really gather audiences and not necessarily engage them in real time. A hit campaign sure but a hit app or platform?... 

The idea: imagine being able to connect with the drinking community of a city or multiple cities in real time. Maybe lets say digitaliz the concept of car-o-bar. If I'm alone and i want to drink, what if i could connect to my foursquare and ping my location and what I'm drinking to the world and get real time feeds of people in and around my city drinking the same thing at rhe same time? Yes yes legal hassles in setting up something like that for a new player, but what about the Carlsberg and Heineken's of the world? 

Will it really mean too much effort to integrate with any one such existing platform for lets say the winter season, when everyone is celebrating, no ones wants to be alone and everyone enjoys a party. 

How about letting people start it? 

What it will potentially take? 
On foursquare's part - a section division of arrivals to eatires, gyms, pubs, shopping centres to name a few as broad categorization. (feed viwing division is as it is down as per how close or nearby another person) 

On part of the brand - lets say Carlsberg; to own that section for specific key cities and rewarding their fans for every pint they buy from a pub. If more than lets keep a benchmark numner of 100 people are updating their drinks update in a specific city 'drinking or celebrating with a Carlsberg', maybe an instant party or invite-an-extra-friend along with yourself to a spontanious jam event can be organised? Rules: get your bill stating your drink, plus you get only Carlsberg drinks at the venu. 

Ok, lets take another example. Imagine all these young shopaholic girls updating their location to a mall of a city. If more than 50 people tweet their arrival to a certain mall, maybe the brands in that mall can own up too a flash sale. The details of which can be visible to the users of FourSquare on the (currently non existant but easily manageable) brand pages. 

And what's more. You actively get users to use your platform for real time rewards. You let users or the masses to create the need and brands to supply for these needs. Social likes and brand mentions go up, you spend less on paid publicity and you get better word of mouth. 

Lets say maybe this is phase one in such a direction. Maybe lets say you want to create a positive word of mouth (WOM) for a destination or product or maybe you want to increase sales of certain outlet or product on a certain weekend. What do you do then? 

User journey mapping can go something like  this - 

- Check into a location. 
- Brands send you ongoing contests for exclusive flash sales. 
- WOM camping - you put up your next update on why this is a great store for winter wear and share it across your FB, Twitter and Instagram pages using a certain hashtag. 
- Go to the store in real time. 
- Show this to the billing counter post shopping. 
- Cashier varifies and gives you a special additonal discount. 
- You get a personalised shout out from the brand pages across all mediums for visiting. (this also makes sure that those who dont know about the event, also find out) 

A happy and suprised customer always follows brand pages in 80% scenarios. You don't even need to force them or be suggestive. 

Maybe you raise your own bench mark next time by increasing the numner of check-ins required to generate these kinds of events. Over time gathering larger footfalls. 

For general do gooders - such platforms can be part of the safe drinking initiatives. (park to the side and inform fellow drinkers where the cops are located at night) hey? it can work, people try being heard on Twitter like this all the time. While wenting their frustration and also being allies to random city dwellers also on the same platform. Its a network that counts. 

Oh i almost forgot the blind-daters. Imagine drinking alone or wanting to go out on a safe party night. But having no one to do so. What do you do then? 
You update your status. You send an open invite a friendly mob for company. (A fellow drinker it always a friend, expecially post a few drinks.) You basically end up with a dinner with strangers night which is self generated by users rather than a community. All a brand needs to do is use the gender and location filters to validate and make certain a ratio of men and woman is in place and thay there are updates from more than 7-10 people at a time. Output: You meet new people, you make new friends and it remains safe. And its totally up to you to stay or leave post meeting the people who show up, :) win. 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Product idea 3: What next for Gaana.com

Without quoting numbers here, lets me being first by showcasing some observations.

Smart phones are on the rise.
So is cloud computing.
Lower segment phones with comparatively lower in built memory but additional service to store data in a cloud account is the 'new in thing'.
Not only does a brand get to capture user data, it now helps services like Google, Hotmail or Yahoo really find out who you are, how active you are and what your interests are more  actively.

Hey, it doesn't end there, mobile operators also accumulate your data, are you a smart phone or a feature phone user? How much bandwidth you consume, where you consume it, fortunately enough; i cant really comment much on coordinated efforts between the mobile company, mobile operators and mobile platform builders. And thank god to that! Or thank god at least for now.

With players like e-commerce giant Flipkart launching its very own Mp3 buy and download app and Times Internet investing and creating its very own music streaming platform, one can safely assume that two things:

1. People are quickly adapting to 'technology on the go'.
2. We're consuming and growing more and more dependent on the internet services than our phone capabilities.

Which brings me to my subject of the next evolution of Gaana.com.

Hey, personally i love that app. A bit annoying at times when you are looking for certain songs and they haven't managed to procure the licenses for hosting and playing the same. But the buffering speed? Phenomenal. (yes i use a Nexus and I'd rather use my storage space to download something else, even if it means in app songs download to listen on the go. Cause du-hu. Stop defeating my purpose of using you in the first place.)

At this point thanks to non song availability i would like to talk about another app i am heavily dependent on; YouTube. Yes I don't mind the usage of data for buffering an entire video when its the song I'm really interested in. (i don't get why they cant just make that version of the existing app, i really really would like the segregation. Especially since its one of the largest co-created depositories for music as well.)

Now when it comes to good Internet connections, which we have plenty of today, with network reach and towers even in the remotest corners of the city, state and country, combine with my heavy mobile consumption habits, especially in regards to Music, it brings me to sincerely acknowledge one last type of app. Yes if you've guessed it by now, you've guessed correctly - SoundHound or Shazam's of the world. Ok frankly they are the only two i know. Hehe.

But arguably, my life depended on all three of these apps! What binds them is Internet usage. And mediums being available in app formats across all mobile platforms. All smart phone mobile platforms anyway.

But i don't get why, just why we aren't seeing a collaborative amongst a music streaming and music discovery platform. Or at least a realistically EASY one?

Sound hound pairs up with YouTube and Google particularly to throw back simultaneous search results for other versions of a song you find on the go as well as the the option of looking up the lyrics using the in app browser. (not even going to discuss its e-commerce platform integration at the moment which allows users to buy and download songs they like on the go)

Gaana and Youtube independently as apps on the other hand give you the ability to bookmark favorite tracks as well as sort them in various play lists. Preferably customized by longtail searches.. Ok well Gaana does an additional piece of creating playlists for its users of popular songs and genres of music to smoothen out the hassle of having to go to a platform and looking for what you want to listen to -- in turn reducing app consumption. And also at the same time building user habit of mindlessly just playing one of the playlists and slightly disfiguring ones own music preference.

But heck, its convenient.

While users may flirt constantly with the idea of downloading a Savan, Gaana, Hungama Music app or plain YouTube.

One thing they always keep on their phone and preferably on the first screen of their phone is either a Shazam or a SoundHound. (as per personal learning, Shazam is better for Hindi songs while SoundHound is better for English)

I firstly feel that - being on the first screen should be the new bench mark for apps. Being able to be as important to users, which in turn of course already means better recall and higher consumption. (which also means - why are people making so many bad apps to begin with? Those that don't only not make it to the last scroll of a users phone but hardly ever get downloaded at all either)

OK OK. to my final take already.

Gaana should look at capturing 'long tail' music searches, based on specific user interest, based searches by integrating or collaborating with a partner like Shazam or SoundHound.

Further to this as soon as a person has identified a song he/she likes (assumably on the go), they should have the option of adding it to their playlists (instantly). This gives Gaana an all rounded approach of actively engaging its users and aiming for the first screen placement on mobile phones.

Further to adding to designated play lists they should collaborate with a music streaming engine like YouTube if they cannot license all the songs to their banner. This solves the classic problem faced by SoundHound and Shazam at a certain level where users tend to use them as music finders ONLY. (and who the heck is purchasing songs off them anyway? Their financial model should solely be revolving around new innovation integration and thinking in the direction like they did for the end title track for the Superman movie earlier this year.. Or was it last?)

All in all, this should be an extension app to the classic Gaana app. Preferably a 'Mobile Only' version to being with. Since there are always music adopters and music evangelists. Same goes for people who are new technology adopters and evangelists. If this is not possible, the same should be integrated to the first screen and then on second scroll the playlists should appear. Hence pushing down the current layout by 1 screen for all scrolls.