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The New Stuff

New Year Wishes!

This is my last post for 2008! 2008 was an year of :-) :-( :-) :-( for me, with some of my biggest achievements and some of my biggest losses experienced this year. And out of all the things lost, I really miss one of my closest friends whom I lost in an accident in May’08. Don’t know why but can’t stop myself from remembering him continuously since last 3-4 days esp. when I am thinking of how 2008 was for me! Hope 2009 is all :-) :-) :-) :-) for me.

Wish all my friends and blog readers a very happy and prosperous new year!

Here’s to the outgoing year, 2008:
May the good times live on in our memories,
and may we learn lessons from the troubling times
that will make us stronger and better than ever.

Here’s to 2009:
For each and every one of you,
may it be filled with significant steps
toward the fulfillment of your fondest wishes.
- By Joanna Fuchs

Kingfisher Communication

I’m sure like me all of you would also have got your inboxes flooded with new year wishes. More than personal messages, it’s in fact all sorts of marketing campaigns from different services wishing new year and announcing some or other new year offer. Ah speak of that over-abuse of email marketing channel in India!!! Read More At Marketing Chit-Chat...

Ghajini Marketing Contd…

I had earlier written about some interesting Ghajini marketing strategies and a spoof on Ghajini, but got to notice some other interesting stuffs about Ghajini on digital medium in last one week and from whatever I have observed, one thing is clear that their marketing agency has definitely tried quite some different online marketing strategies for promoting this movie. Read More At Marketing Chit-Chat...

Gajodhar: New viral campaign

Got a mailer from Makemytrip with subject - Worldwide premier of Gajodhar…before time! The first look itself gave a very clear impression that it is some spoof on much-awaited movie Ghajini. Watched the film and found it to be funny! Read More At Marketing Chit-Chat...

The importance of being Earnest!

When we got this insert in landmark about a play of Oscar Wilde in Bangalore, we got damn excited as both me and N enjoy watching plays and we used to watch lots of them when we were in Mumbai but somehow we never got much chance to watch good plays in Bangalore. Either we were not aware of exact schedules of plays or even when we came to know about some, we were not quite sure of the booking procedures and all. This time however the insert explained it all and most importantly it was a very famous comedy of Wilde titled “The importance of being Earnest” and tickets were easily available online. There was only one small hitch, we were not aware of this place known as Chowdiah Memorial Hall in Malleshwaram where this play was being performed. Well, that’s a very famous place in Bangalore but neither me nor N is very familiar with that part of the town. But after some basic google map surfing and with some help from one of our friends, we finally reached the place. Though the area was quite ok but reaching that hall was not an easy task as one needs to cross through many small curvy lanes, in fact at one point of time we were wondering what kind of place is this which is in so interior! But I’m happy that we were wrong, it’s actually a very beautiful hall with a violin shape exterior.

This play was being organized by Evam group and yesterday being Christmas, they had made the overall venue also look quite festive. Some interesting stalls and one small game corner! And after roaming out here and there for a while finally we settled for the show at 7:30…the banner of the show read, “A serious comedy for serious people” :-) and oh how much right that sentence was! The play was really hilarious. Set in an old Brit setting, this play is about a gentleman named Jack and the whole fiasco about his name being / not being Earnest! Oh what a wonderful performance by all the actors and what a script! We kept on laughing throughout those 2 hours. We enjoyed it totally and we would recommend this play to everybody who are interested in theater and some light moments. I must say I was quite impressed with Evam team, though I do have very small suggestion for them, after ending the play it would have been good if they would have introduced us to the cast on stage. The whole cast did appear in the end but viewers like us who were watching Evam performance for the first time were not knowing the name of individual actors. But overall it was a time very well spent and reminded us of our courtship days when we used to go to Prithvi in Juhu :-). Now I’ll be surely looking forward to their next performance in Bangalore.

IDEA - for the people, by the people!

Well, personally I have always liked the advertisements of idea esp. the television commercials. Though the ideas shown in the commercials are not always practical or implementable one but then too those commercials leave a sweet smile on your face with a thought, “oh how wonderful it would have been if this idea was implementable”. For e.g., that school kids of village learning through phone or the village kid giving the road direction to a gentleman in a very fluent English. Yes, some of the commercials show those ideas which if possible to implement could have really changed lives. So, considering my liking for Idea ads, it was quite natural for me to click this very prominent online Idea ad and to my pleasant surprise ... Read More At Marketing Chit-Chat

Fresh Look!

Well, changing my blog look was on my agenda since long but after losing my personal template code last week, now I a neither have the time nor the enthu to write another template code for myself. It’s hell lot of work and needs some dedicated time which I don’t have as of now! Even weekends are damn busy these days and hence I decided to go ahead with this standard extra column template. Though I have done bit of customizations in terms of images and columns but most of it is from the standard layout. I personally like 2 sidebar designs just like my wordpress blog and so went ahead with changing the old blogger template to this. It needs some more work but will do those customizations as and when I will get time, till then at least there is a fresh look on my blog :-)

Ghajini Marketing: Employees go bald!

While I was anyways impressed with these interesting collaterals of Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi in multiplexes, I get to hear of this another very different kind of promotion campaign of Aamir Khan’s upcoming movie Ghajini. Read More At Marketing Chit-Chat...

Remembering Murphy’s Law

Ah as if all the recent incidents were not enough that this had to happen! Can anything be worse than office laptop getting crashed as soon as you are back from an official tour and you are supposed to finish off whole lot of pending stuffs??? Yes, suddenly my laptop decided to take a rest and very conveniently it displayed the message “ hard disk error, attribute code : 05” and after this you do anything its just not re-booting. Well, looks like luck is favoring me toooooooo much for past few weeks :-(.
I rushed to my admin guy and he again very conveniently replied, “don’t worry since it’s a new one it’s still under warranty and they will replace the hard disc”. “REPLACE! But about my data?” Another frustrating reply, “we will try to retrieve D drive but C is gone”!!!!!
Now I really don’t know how to react? This was a new laptop with high-end configuration given to me only few weeks back and since I had recently migrated all my stuffs to this new laptop so I have not even kept any back-up of the files anywhere. Considering the brand and configuration I never expected this to happen so soon! How will I manage my work without any file??????? Apart from all my office data of past 2 years, my favorite songs and some snaps recently downloaded from my camera, it also had some of my very important personal stuffs like snaps of my paintings which are hard to get back as I have given away most of my paintings to my friends and acquaintances :-(….So, all of those are gone! This realization is too upsetting and disturbing. I am feeling damn irritated and hopelessly thinking of Mr. Murphy who one fine day said, “when things have to go wrong, they will”. Were they actually having me in mind while devising laws like – “Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong” or “Whatever can go wrong will go wrong, and at the worst possible time, in the worst possible way”!!!

Update: Well got the news from admin guy who was working on recovering files…I lost all my C drive, parts of D drive and but obviously all my desktop files and I had this bad habit of storing all my recent files which I need for immediate reference on my desktop :-(. And no it was not some virus attack, it was manufacturer’s defect because of which it happened. And losing desktop files also mean losing the new template code which I had managed to write with my novice html skills…I got this great idea of not using some ready template and having a totally customized template for my blog as my current template does give some problem in mozilla and so I had taken the pain of coding down a new template on my own! And I am not a techie, so you can imagine the pain and effort which I would have taken to write a code on my own! I was waiting for one free weekend when I could manage time to implement that code and here we go…that code is gone! Now I can think of why the hell I didn’t store that template code file in my D drive but no right now I can only think of MURPHY’s LAW!!! Somehow this law seems to close to my heart now :-(

Recession and Consumer Spending Behavior

A lot is discussed now-a-days about India being geared up for economic downturn and consumer spending not observing any major shift as compared to its earlier pattern. Well, to some extent it’s true and being a marketer myself I understand that one needs to be optimistic about the market and consumer purchasing power but when I think of myself as a consumer I do feel that my spending behavior has undergone some major changes in last 3-4 months. Call it the effect of this phrase “onset of downturn” or the effect of phrase “save cash for those bad times” I have definitely changed my behavior towards lots of purchase decision which were not thought through earlier by me or my husband. In fact some of these were never so called purchase decisions rather they used to be just one of those impromptu expenses. Read More at Marketing Chit-Chat...

Aren’t we obsessed with dieting?

Yesterday I chanced to dine with one of my associates along with her young daughter. While we were ordering the meal, this young girl was absolutely not willing to eat anything. When her mother insisted a lot, she ordered some sandwich and that too she left it half eaten saying she is done. I asked smilingly if she has already eaten her meals or she did not like the sandwich of that place. Her mother replied, “no yaar, she is again on diet”! “Diet!!! But why and what’s her age???”, she looked perfectly alright to me, in fact I found her to be slimmer than average teen age girls of her age. I think she was hardly 14-15 years old. The gal who was on her fancy mobile by now gave a glance to her mother and walked away and then that lady heaved an exasperated sigh saying her daughter and her friend circle is crazily obsessed with slim figure, size zero, dieting and what nots! Even if some of the gals are perfectly alright including her daughter but still they are perpetually on diet. Their success parameter is to get fitted into tops and t-shirts from kid’s section of apparel stores and if someday they can’t fit and if they have to end up buying clothes from the section meant for their age then it’s nothing less than a disaster! Those days get followed by weeks of dieting and survival on juices and soups. Her daughter hardly eats one meal a day as she is always afraid that she will put on weight!!!

I was sort of shocked. Not that I am not aware of craziness for hourglass figure and picture perfect look amongst youngsters but dieting at that age and for no good reason left me amazed! If you ask me, that gal really needed to put on some weight and here she was surviving on juices and soups. One quick flash back at what I was doing at her age and all I could think of was board exams and my braided look! In our times, in fact our mothers used to force us with all nutritious and home cooked food so that we can have good health and concentrate more on studies. Size Zero and hourglass figure were unheard kind of terms. Well, I know time has changed a lot but so much? It’s not that I am myself not conscious about my weight or dieting etc but then I don’t think I have ever been obsessed about the same. To me a healthy body is more important than a thin body, a fit figure is more important than a slim figure and it’s ok to sometimes have those few extra kgs for the sake of ice-cream or chocolates :-). After all I don’t need to walk the ramp tomorrow and I know that those can be shed if I put in some healthy effort like exercise and walk. Who doesn’t want to have a model like figure but starving oneself to achieve that or dieting in an unhealthy way is nothing less than madness. There are many ways to maintain that “oh so perfect body” but guess most of us esp. teenage girls are just not willing to put in those effort. And this gal is just another example of soooo many people around me who speak nothing but DIETING and WEIGHT LOSS! Aren’t we obsessed with these two terms now? Probably Fashion ka hai yeh Jalwa... :-)

“Let’s pool in”: Car pooling campaign in Bangalore

I have sort of become a very regular listener of Radio One because of it being the only Bollywood fm channel in Bangalore as of now and of late I have been hearing this “Let’s pool in’ campaign quite a lot on this channel. It’s a public service initiative launched by Radio One in association with Commute Easy and Bangalore Traffic Police to address the traffic woes of the city. Read More At Marketing Chit-Chat...

Yet Again??? Mumbai terrorized...

Well, it’s no less than a movie! Like some real-life Hollywood thriller or some Bollywood action flick. But very unfortunately this time it’s not fiction or reel, rather it is TRUE & REAL. And I always thought pirates coming down through sea by hijacking some ship or boat and then entering a city, running like crazy in the mid of main markets and streets with guns up in their hand and shoulder bag full of explosives, open gun firing, capturing the main buildings on gun point, hostages caught inside those buildings day and night, police fighting with goondas, firing, continuous rattling of AK 47, sudden blasts of granades, heavy smoke and fire in the air, good cops dying in such battles and masses losing their lives like that can happen only in either Johny Depp / Sunny Deol movies or in those pirates stories which we used to read as kids! The realization that it can happen in real life and somewhere so close to us in Mumbai and that its going on for more than 26 hours now is heart wrenching, terrifying and so shocking!!! It’s frightening to realize that these pics are not of any Bollywood set rather these are true stills of our very famous Taj hotel in Mumbai:

Thank god that my brother down there in Mumbai finally reached home safely last night and thank God that my mom who was going to my brother’s place in Mumbai boarded off that train today. What if she would have started one day before and reached CST last night??? Oh God, when such thoughts are so scary then how would those have felt who would have faced an open gun fire at CST? How are those feeling who are still trapped inside Oberoi for more than 26 hours now? And how must be the families of those feeling who lost their family members in this horrific attack? I can’t move myself away from television since last night, it is so depressing to see all this but then I’m just observing it on screen…out there are hundreds like us who are facing it in real life…I pray and can only pray for them!

Oh Award for my blog!!!

Thanks Sindhu for giving me this award…:-) In fact this is the 1st award for my this blogspot blog, so all the more special for me. And yeah getting a blog award just like that is definitely a very sweet and pleasant surprise. Now I need to follow these rules if I have to accept them!

Put the logo on your blog
Link the person who awarded it to you
Link the bloggers you are about to honor

Hmmm if I would have got this from someone else I would have definitely passed it on to Sindhu as her blog is really the coolest and my favorite one :-). And next in my list would have been Nautankey. But it’s through these two chains only that I got this award. So, let me pass this on to some of other blogs which I think are really cool:
So, here I pass on this award to:
Rhett: For those lovely and soulful poems!
Abhishek: For his cool blog where I hang out often
Chhavi: For those lovely pics and such a cool photoblog!
Clap Clap Clap for the new recipients. May I request all three of you to accept this award please?

SMS Marketing or Bombarding?

Yesterday I attended a session on “Mobile Marketing and its immense concealed potential in India”. While I agree to some of the points and as a marketer I am absolutely aware of the potential and different channels of mobile marketing in India but when it comes to execution I can’t help myself from heaving a frustrated sigh on this term known as “Mobile Marketing”. I will not go into deeper details of why and what, I will just cite few examples of my recent experiences with one of the most basic tools of Mobile Marketing which is SMS based promotions. Read More At Marketing Chit-Chat...

Aaj Ka Arjun:

This film titled “Aaj Ka Arjun” is showing today’s generation Arjun who is hassled but manages to get everything done at one click of arrow. Till end they don’t show the source where his arrows are targeted and from where he is managing to get everything done. The film ends with Arjun and his whole family targeting the same source and the source is Sulkeha. Quite a catchy way of showing everything happening at a click :-). Read More At Marketing Chit-Chat...

DOSTANA: A Laughter Riot!

With this new product launch on my head, weekend was again a working one :-( (God, when will it get launched completely!!!) and but obvious choice to unwind for us was MOVIES. Watched two movies over the weekend – Closer on a DVD on Saturday night followed by Dostana on Sunday in theater. So, shall I start with Closer as I watched that first? No, I think let me start with Dostana…well I know not many people have liked the movie (few of my colleagues in fact HATED it) but honestly speaking I liked it! Yeah I can see some frowns raising but I seriously think it’s at least a one-time watch. First half of the movie in fact was hilarious; we just couldn’t stop participating in the laugh riot in theater. The story is of two guys Abhishek and John who say that they are a gay couple in order to stay as tenants in Priyanka’s apartment which otherwise would not have been possible to get as Priyanka has got an aunty who wants her baby (Priyanka) to stay with only babies and not babas :-)…Rest I will not reveal as that’s for you to go and watch in theater :-).

I think this has to be Abhishek’s one of the best attempts at comedy, some of the scenes like that Venice scene or the one with Boman Irani was too funny! Priyanka looked cool and John looked hot. This year definitely is of Priyanka Chopra with not one – two rather 6 releases in last 6 months! First 4 doomed at box office but I’m sure Fashion and Dostana are going to be hits of the year. Now whatever be the fate of her movies but the lady definitely looks glam and absolutely gorgeous these days! Second half of the movie was bit boring and some of the scenes looked dragging but still it was bearable except for that gay kissing scene…Ummm that was bit too much and the rationale behind the scene was not at all justified. Though I do have a major complaint about one of the aspects of the movie – the movie plays with child psychology which influences the most important decisions of central protagonists but at the end they don’t show anything about the issue at all. John and Abhishek manipulate Veer’s (Bobby’s son) innocent mind to influence Bobby’s decision of marrying Priyanka and they actually succeed in their manipulations but at the end they didn’t show anything about that important issue and about that kid at all! Rest of the actors like Kirron Kher, Sushmita Mukherjee are as usual good. Music of the movie is ok and hummable with my favorites being “Jaane Kyun…” and “Maula…”. And I agree to Karan Johar's statement which says it’s a HAPPY & GAY movie, yeah there is this gay angle to the movie but its shown in a very different way. Over all the movie was enjoyable and I would recommend it to anybody who is willing for a light flick with some insane and real crazy moments.

Other Details of the movie:

  • Duration of the movie: 3 hour +
  • Best to watch it with: Spouse / Partner or Friends. DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT watch it with Kids or Parents at all. No kids as they won’t understand it and it has quite some adult talks and no parents as they can’t understand it and it has quite some adult talks :-)
  • Cast: Priyanka Chopra, Abhishek Bachchan, John Abraham, Bobby Deol, Kirron Kher, Boman Irani, Sushmita Mukherjee
  • Director: Tarun Mansukhani
  • My Rating: 3/5 (good)

I think I will end with Dostana and will leave Closer for my next post later.

Don’t know why?

I was talking to this colleague friend of mine who said "why am I so silent these days? Is it introspection or is it sadness?" And my answer was, “silent? Nahi toh”. He again asked, “you don’t seem to be in your lively mood for past few days and I simply shook my head, “pata nahi yaar.” He smiled and replied “if you are introspecting, it’s ok. Maybe another great idea is going to come out of your mind and if you’re sad then too it’s ok as one cannot be deeply responsive to the world without being saddened very often, so it’s good to be sad sometimes”. This quote from Erich Fromm was like a soother for me today.

Hmmm I think it’s one of those phases when nothing seems to be right in life, when optimism looks like a theoretical word, when your rational brain goes for a toss, when despite good things happening to you at work you don’t feel like working, when you find all this race of career, life and money worthless, when even small things upset you a lot, when despite your immense patience level you don’t feel like tolerating certain people and certain circumstances, when hope seems to be a far cry, when everything around you looks just so irritable, when even if you try you can’t find the reason of your sadness…ah my “when” list seems to be a never ending one, so better I should put a stop here. Well, I think it’s just another bad day when certain things have triggered me into my gloomy and contemplative mood and all I want to do is just be silent! Wondering if I’m tired or is it just my one of those cancerian mood swings? Whatever it is, I hope something good happens and this phase ends soon…

Political Advertising: Advaniji on web!

Just last week itself, I wrote about Political Advertising in India for 2009 elections and here comes another surprise of the same. Now after celebrities it’s the turn of Politicians looking up to the mighty web world. Joining the league is none other than L.K. Advani whose website got launched on his 81st birthday on 8th Nov’08. BJP launched this website for their Prime Minister candidate Advani with an objective to reach out to the young and first time voters in India. Read More At Marketing Chit-Chat...

In-film advertising is FASHIONable

Watched Madhur Bhandarkar’s Fashion yesterday, I liked the movie…really liked it, though I think the name of the movie should have been “Kimaya’s Fashion” or “Fashion from Kimaya” J. Another interesting case of in-film advertising with not one or two brands rather many. Read More at Marketing Chit-Chat...

Fashion is interesting

Watched Madhur Bhandarkar’s Fashion last night and in one word I can say that it was CAPTIVATING! Right from start to end I was totally hooked onto the movie. Not that the story was unpredictable or plot was not known…of course it was a Madhur Bhanadarkar’s movie on Fashion world and so I had expected it to be like this but still there was something about the movie which kept me totally engaged. It looked realistic and different.
To start with, I think Kangana was outstanding and Priyanka was awesome! This has to be Priyanka’s best performance till date. The story is of Meghna Mathur (Priyanka Chopra) from Chandigarh who comes to Mumbai with a dream of becoming a supermodel. In all the glitter and glamour of fashion world she encounters the ruthless realities of life. The movie revolves around her journey and her struggle to make it big, how she meets and deals with Shonali (Kangana) who is a very successful showstopper and her competitor, her relationship with Janet (Mugdha Godse) who is also a struggling model with very clear priorities but settles for something quite weird in life, Manav (Arzan) who is also a new-comer and shares a strong bond with Meghna and Sarin (Arbaz Khan) who is the owner of Panache the most sought after brand for super models. No further details of the story in the interest of those who want to see the movie J. Each and every actor has delivered such a strong performance but Kittu Gidwani definitely deserves a special mention. She was too good and yeah she looked as ravishing as ever. Madhur Bhandarkar has done a great job in some of the scenes like the wardrobe malfunctioning one and the fiasco after that, Priyanka’s self-realization in front of mirror after she comes back from that shady hotel or Kangana’s reaction in rehab center. Songs were average but some of the background scores were very good. Madhur Bhandarkar has once again proved it that he knows what he is delivering. To me as I said the movie looked real, absolutely real.
Overall, I loved the movie and I would recommend it to everybody who would like to watch something different. Though the theme is serious but it’s not a heavy movie, it has its masala scenes and light moments as well. From my side it’s thumbs up to this yet another powerful presentation by Bhandarkar.

Other Details of the movie:

  • Duration of the movie: 3 hour +
  • Best to watch it with: Spouse / Partner or Friends. It’s a strict NO for kids becoz – 1. It’s a serious stuff, 2. It has some adult sequences as well
  • Cast: Priyanka Chopra, Kangana Ranaut, Mugdha Godse, Arbaaz Khan, Arjan Bajwa, Kitu Gidwani, Raj Babbar, Kiran Juneja
  • Director: Madhur Bhandarkar
  • My Rating: 3.5/5


Political Advertising

In this season of advertising and mass media budget cuts, it definitely rings a bell if you suddenly listen about any campaign having a budget as high as 150 crores! Yeah, such budgets are still there and that too in India for advertising campaigns of just 2-3 months duration. Read More At Marketing Chit-Chat

I’m back

I’m back to Bangalore and back to blogging :-). Ah, I was off from blogging for more than two weeks now…well LOADS of work at office, new marketing initiatives and alliances to deal with, coupled with frequent travelling! To add to that maid on unplanned leave for more than ten days now :-(. Life was frenzied and yeah it was one of those periods when you feel – oh hell, work life is so damn demanding in a start-up! But why start-ups, I think these days work life is full of pressure and demands for most of us in this downturn period. Everybody is speaking of lay-offs, pink slips, leave without pay and salary cuts! Everyone is trying hard to put in his or her best to survive the giant known as layoff! In fact wherever you go the common topic of discussion remains the same. I met this interesting elderly gentleman on my flight back to Bangalore last night, he is having his own company in Seattle and he shared some interesting statistics regarding layoffs. Whatever I can remember, I am sharing those here:

  • Massive layoffs in current times leading to increasing unemployment is one of the worst which job market could have ever faced.
  • Jobless rate has reached approx 8% now which is the highest in last 25 years, it was 6.1% in 2003 and 7.8% in 1992.
  • There are lots of companies which are resorting to mindless layoffs in a panic situation. Not every company needs to go for such huge scraping.
  • Wages are once again going to be monopolized now by the employers as there are many job seekers for lesser number of vacancies.
  • These dramatic layoffs will only lead to further worse economy. More credit in the market as people are unable to pay their EMIs, reduced expense which is leading to less sales for most of the consumer oriented companies.

It was a good insightful discussion but well it was scary, really scary. Nobody knows exactly when this situation will improve…everybody is just predicting and praying!

Britney 2.0!

Posted this on Marketing Chit-Chat almost two weeks back...
Celebrities using web 2.0 platforms is no new phenomenon now…we have seen lots of examples of Bollywood as well as Hollywood ones. From having their own websites, to blogging, to official presence on networking sites like Facebook and Orkut, celebs are doing it all to reach their audience and establish a direct connect with them. And as if these were not enough, now they are having their fan following on twitter as well. Yeah, celebs are actually on twitter now! And following this trend is none other than Britney Spears who has re-launched her website as well as an official page on twitter. Read full story at Marketing Chit-Chat

Hello: Movie Review

Last weekend was a working weekend and hence quite tiresome. Sunday evening we thought of unwinding by watching any movie and since not much choice was available, we decided to go for “HELLO”. I had read the novel “One Night At Call Center” by Chetan Bhagat and so there was definitely this curiosity to watch the cinematic avtaar of the book despite all the bad reviews and critical comments about the movie all across the media.

Well to start with, I think critics have been too critical of this movie unnecessarily; it’s not that bad and I found it to be an average watchable, at least better than some of the real disasters which I watched recently like “Bachna Ae Haseeno” or “Ugly Aur Pagli”. Let me tell you one very important thing about this movie – in case you are like me who just can’t stand the sight of Salman Khan even for few minutes and have avoided this movie as all promos of the movie were full of “Bang Bang” song and other garish dance movements of Mr. Khan then I have a happy news for you…this movie is hardly having Salman anywhere. Salman and Katrina play the role of preface part of the book i.e., Salman the part of Chetan Bhagat and Katrina the part of that mysterious girl whom Chetan meets in a train, only difference being that instead of train the whole plot is shifted to a helipad waiting area. The story is of 6 call center employees - their professional struggles in life, their personal relationships, their frustration and that one call from God which changes their life forever. Yes, a call from God! Won’t write the story in detail in the interest of those who want to watch this movie but overall it’s an exact adaption of the book. In fact while I was reading that book, then only I had found the story to be bit bollywoodish. Overall the movie was not that terrible but yes, the movie definitely went weak in two important areas – 1. Star Cast, 2. Climax. Not that one needs big names to make a movie hit but the very fact that all actors had given a very mediocre performance including Gul makes the overall impact quite weak. Infact I like Gul a lot and after watching movies like Dor and Manorama six feet under, one definitely expects a lot more from an actor of Gul’s caliber. And as far as climax is concerned, I think the movie really went wrong in that. I was definitely prepared for an unrealistic presence of God as I had read the book but somehow the way it was shown was not that impressive. I think they showed it too fast without much emotion or depth! It fails to cast that impact of some life-changing moment. Music of the film was not of my taste though I think the songs are doing good in the market. On the whole I would say it’s a one-time watchable movie if you are not looking for some very quality stuff or some movie with depth.

Though I must say one thing, I don’t agree with all the media bashing of Chetan Bhagat, infact I really appreciated the effort of Chetan Bhagat after watching this movie. I think he has done his job well atleast as far as the dialogue part is concerned. Also considering this was his first effort in Bollywood, I think he did an ok job. At least the man is having the guts to try out different things and the effort is not as awful as it is being criticized in media esp. when this year we have enough examples of duds coming out from some of the biggest names of the industry. From my side it’s a thumbs up for Chetan Bhagat’s effort and an average rating of 2.5 in 5 for the movie with a hope that Chetan will come out with a better book (I had loved Five Point Someone, hope he writes something as interesting as that again) and maybe a better movie next time.

Britney 2.0!

Well, looks like the lady who has always been in news of late for wrong reasons and who is trying to make a comeback with her album “Womanizer” has taken up her image building exercise quite seriously now. One can see Britney all over internet, she is trying to make her presence felt across different platforms – be it Britney TV Channel on Youtube or her revamped official website or her blog or her updates on Twitter. Read More At Marketing Chit-Chat...

MySpace advances with Indian Entertainment Content

I posted this on Saturday on Marketing Chit-Chat

"Joining the league of hosting official online communities for Indian movies / reality shows is now MySpace India. Social networking site MySpace will be hosting the official community of Star Plus dance reality Show, Nach Baliye – 4. Read More..."

Vertical to Horizontal: Web18

Well, quite a lot of development at! We saw lots of online as well as television advertisement followed by some noticeable alliances with entertainment programs and now this movement of their vertical portals like Buzz18 and Storeguru to So, is web18 group moving from vertical portals to a horizontal one? Read More At Marketing Chit-Chat

Small gestures do make a big difference!

In this mad-mad world there are days which are really crazy but then there are those sweet li’ll gestures which make your day worthwhile despite its all craziness and chaos. I think today was one such day for me :-)

With an online campaign getting live tomorrow, a key alliance finalization and planning of the new web product launch, it was quite frenetic for me today in office. Day was busy in calls and meetings but suddenly when I reach my desk I see a sweet card and a cute gift box waiting for me. Bewildered I asked my one of the team mates what’s the occasion and suddenly all of them gathered around my desk and wished in chorus, “Wish you a very HAPPY BOSS DAY”. Oh, I wasn’t even knowing it was a Boss’s Day today! The card was having interesting wishes handwritten by each of my team members and I found it to be so cute that I couldn’t stop myself from clicking this picture from my mobile and pasting it here. The gift was also very sweet but sweeter was their gesture and effort which just made my day! I’m so touched, thanks team!

Mom called me in the evening and I was sort of hassled because of work and was upset over one spineless character…in all this, I spoke to her with bit low spirit and told her that I will call her back once I reach home. For last two-three days I’ve not been able to talk to her properly and hence mom was worried for me. After this, the moment I open my personal mail, I get a mail from my Mom with subject “Beta hum apna pehla email tumko kar rahe hai” and the mail text was one of her own poems which she had written for me when I was a child, the first two lines of that poem are, “Gar vash chalta mera toh har leti tera krandan…”. Mom is trying to learn internet these days and this was her first email from her new email account. Oh I wonder what life would have been without mothers! With a smile on my face I immediately called her back and talked at length.

While coming back from office, it was raining. I generally have to walk for some distance to reach that vehicle stand and in rains Bangalore auto drivers are ready with more tantrums to irritate and spoil your mood. Annoyed I started walking in rain, but suddenly saw hubby standing in front of me with an umbrella! Oh wow, he had come to pick me up. Smilingly he took my bag, since he knew that I was not carrying any umbrella so he came all the way to pick me up. Smile on my face, just a silent smile :-)…

Thank god for those smiling moments and those delightful gestures which made my day lovely today. These small gestures do make a big difference in life.

At least do your bit to eradicate Poverty!

I had been planning to post this since morning but somehow didn’t get the time to do it but finally I’m able to complete it now. This is for “Blog Action Day 2008” on Poverty

Last week while coming back from office, I was waiting at one of the auto stands when I observed this little child trying to study in a very dim light placed near the ironing stall. His father irons clothes on that stall and since it is just adjacent to that auto stand, so I get to notice it quite often. While I was waiting I overheard the conversation of the child with his father where he was asking for money to buy 5 notebooks and his father was saying why can’t he write everything in one notebook only and why 5? That little guy kept on insisting that he needs 5 as his teacher has asked him to use different notebooks for different subjects and also his old notebook is almost over but his father very irritatingly told that he doesn’t have spare money to support the tantrums of his school. With so much of difficulty he is able to manage the fees of his school and now these rules and regulations! I wasn’t able to decipher much as they were speaking in mixed language (Hyderabadi Hindi) but all I could see was the disappointed face of that child at the end of their conversation. Unable to hold myself any further, I asked that boy, “how much money do you need”? The boy got conscious and replied in good English “no thanks madam, I don’t need it”. I insisted again but the child didn’t agree, finally I said, “ok don’t take money, let me buy the notebooks for you from this nearby shop”…initially he hesitated but then he agreed! We went to this small stationery shop where I asked the shopkeeper to give 5 notebooks, I asked the boy if he needs anything else, he very politely said no. I asked the shopkeeper to include a pen also in the list and the bill came to Rs.90. Well, 90 bucks is hardly anything for most us considering our day to day expenses but the gleam in his eyes and the gratitude with which he thanked me is something which I can’t explain in words. Honestly speaking I felt good and the small child made me feel as if I’ve done something important in life.

Did I do it for charity? My answer will be clear cut no. Did I do it thinking he was a poor man in need of money? My answer will be again no. Well, then why did I do it? Simply because the child was in need of money for something as important as education! And I have much respect for that child whom I have often noticed to concentrate on his studies even in such adverse conditions and who has got this spark to learn and do something. The first thought which came to my mind was if his father would have been educated enough then may be his life would not have been the same. And tomorrow if this child will not be educated maybe his son will also end up in the same rut like his. Yes, EDUCATION which is the first step towards eradication of poverty. I generally don’t support begging habits & it was not the question of money here and but the fact that the child was trying to get educated. I know my one day of such small contribution can’t guarantee that the child will get to continue his education in future as well but at least for that day his education needs were fulfilled. Quite a few of us do not do even our little bit, thinking what can such small contributions do or how can such small amount help in larger issues! But well even though it’s a clichéd statement still it’s true that little drops make a large ocean. Here are some of the steps which I think most of us can take in our normal day to day life to fight with something as serious as poverty.

  • Support education and educational needs of genuinely needy people. You don’t need to go to any NGO or social organization to do it. Just look around, you might find your maid’s son or your driver’s daughter in need of education. Help him/her get literate.
  • Try to sponsor the education of one girl child every year, it’s hardly anything for most of us. And if you can’t sponsor the complete yearly fees, at least do it for a month. It is said if a woman is educated, she definitely tries to get her child educated as well.
  • Even simpler, you can just buy some stationery like notebooks, pencil, pens etc and distribute it amongst the genuinely needy people. I’m sure most of the corporates these days have listings of NGOs who can provide you the right avenues for such donations.
  • Ok, without money as well you can do lots. If you have free time on weekends, how about contributing your time in teaching voluntarily to needy people. You can join some NGO or movements like TOI Teach India etc. If you search you will get enough opportunities to utilize your time more effectively.
  • Don’t waste food, think of that small girl with a naked baby in her hand who keeps running to clean your car glass on every traffic signal and how she begs for food / money.

On this “Blog Action Day” when I stand for the cause of Poverty, I urge all my readers to at least do their bit. One of the biggest reasons for poverty is illiteracy, so scan your environment and support the needy to get educated! Education will definitely help in eradicating poverty to a large extent and remember “no contribution is a small contribution”.


Aftereffects of downturn – 1. LAY-OFFS

I somehow knew that this is going to come the moment I saw Jet-KF alliance news on Monday late night. Though both the spokespersons kept on insisting that this alliance would be in the benefit of consumers and industry but the first thing which came to my mind was – alliance and that too joint operation deal, well looks like they are definitely now gonna trim down their team size. And here we go, my apprehension turned out to be true when I read today’s TOI with headline “Jet Air lays off 850 flight attendants”! As per TOI dated 15th Oct’08 - The tremors brought about by the worst downturn yet in the airline industry were felt on Tuesday itself, hours before the first Jet Airways flight of the day took off. Said a crew member, "About three and a half hours before a flight, the office transport reaches your home to pick you up. In the wee hours of Tuesday morning, hundreds of cabin crew members in Mumbai who were rostered for early morning flights waited in their uniforms to be picked up." When the worried flight attendants called up the airline dispatch office, they were told they had been de-rostered till further notice.

If TOI is to be believed then what a sudden and scary layoff!!! It’s quite frightening to read the newspaper headlines these days, either there are news of terrorist attacks or there are news of bankruptcy and lay-offs. What started few weeks back as a small economic recession has now become a global downturn of all times. As per analysts, this downturn is far worse than dot com doom and infact first of its kind in last 80 years. Lay-offs started with IT and financial sector but is now engulfing every other industry – be it aviation, retail or hospitality. So, many people have lost their jobs and god knows how many of them would be having car loan, house loan, personal loan or this-that kind of loan with monthly EMIs hanging like a sword over their head and in this tough time of recession it’s really unpredictable if they will get any other job immediately! The worse is that most of us in today’s fast generation never believed in the power of saving and deposits. In the generation of high disposable income almost all the money have been disposed! It scares you when you listen to the experience of lay-off from somebody close to you, it scares you when you listen that some of your very well-settled friends with quality degrees and high paying jobs in US based MNCs have been asked to leave for India over night. It scares you to realize that he is left with no cash to support his needs and it scares you to realize that many of them are depressed to the extent that they intend to give in to the pressure of life. Well to be honest, my intention is not to scare anyone rather express my realistic feelings regarding this issue. And it’s not too late for all of us to be cautious and take some basic steps to deal with this bad time (of course to whatever extent it is possible…). Here are some of my thoughts which I think we can take in person to be prepared for the bad days:

  • Please remember “Cash is King” atleast for a downturn period like this. So, please try to not go for mindless investment and deposits. Ask those who are bleeding under the stock-market blood-bath or ask those who have lost money because of bankruptcy.
  • You think you are getting underpaid, well think again - atleast you are getting paid. Ask those who have lost their job overnight without any backup.
  • Not having job satisfaction? You think you deserve a better opportunity? Well you definitely can get a better opportunity, but think again before quitting your already established job…atleast you are settled in one job and don’t forget that whenever there is trim down movement in any company, the first lot to be effected is the new joinees or the probation ones.
  • So, planning to start a new business, why not afterall entrepreneurship is the “in” thing in India? Well, I am not trying to de-motivate you and I have immense respect for those who have the guts to take the unconventional path and start something on their own but all I would like to say is think again if you are starting some web based or social media company. Gone are the days of easy VC funding and heavy buy-outs! Atleast for next few months for sure.
  • Thinking to upgrade to a new car or a bigger house? Trust me it can wait for some more time…atleast you have a vehicle or a shelter on your head. Its really not the time to increase the burden of your EMIs.
  • Revisit your day to day expense and remember our parents and their good old habit of saving money. With my own experience I can tell you that there are enough expenses which we make just like that. For e.g., in a city like Bangalore, a meal for two in any normal restaurant can cause you an expense of easily Rs. 800-1000 and well for foodies like me and my husband these random eating out used to happen just any day or any moment. Trust me eating more at home on regular days is helpful both ways – it keeps a check on the weighing scale pointer as well as on our wallets :-). And for those occasional cravings definitely you can party out once in a while. Even small one on one savings like these can lead to a noticeable amount at the end of an year.

I know the situation in India is not that bad as of now as compared to US but no one knows if it can happen in India as well. It really hits you hard when you realize that such lay-offs have happened with your close friends and god forbid, it can happen to you too. So, be cautious, work hard to be in top list in your company and save smart for those darker days.

Aside: This is my first post in the series of “after-effects of downturn”, I have some other observations as well as concerns which I will post in my subsequent series. I was speaking to one of my ex-colleagues who and her husband have been laid off from very reputed companies in US. Talking to her really disturbed me a lot! They are coming back to India next week and I pray that they get a job in India soon as even they have a family and those intimidating EMIs to cater to!

Airtel Digital TV Ad

Well, if I have to describe this ad in one word, I will say it’s BIG, it gives the impression of being big, being colossal. What an irony, isn’t it? BigTV kept on insisting “Ho toh BIG ho” through different creatives and through different properties…but the imagery of being big got very subtly and beautifully established by Airtel with just one television commercial featuring 10 popular celebrities! And the interesting noticeable point was that the celebrities are not used as endorsers rather they are shown as representative of different properties of the product. Read More...

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See you at home… Airtel or BigTV?

So, my confusion was genuine enough and I was not puzzled unnecessarily … I was observing this ad on television showcasing a big Red Sofa and “See you at home” with small fonts mentioning “coming to your home on 9th Oct” but looks like they revealed their product on 8th itself as suddenly on 8th I saw the same Red Sofa with “See you at home with 32 cinema halls” or “See you at home with digital picture and sound” kind of promotion from BigTV. First reaction – ah another one from BigTV but then immediately one thought crossed my mind – why are they doing teaser campaigns again when they have already launched the product with that hopeless “Ho toh BIG ho campaign”! Read More...

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Changing with times: Amar Chitra Katha

Recently while doing some grocery shopping in one of the retail stores, I glanced on TINKLE digest which was kept on the billing counter itself…and well, as usual I couldn’t refrain myself from buying it (Pssst…Shhh with a hidden face I am accepting that though I’m in my late 20s but I still can’t resist comics like Archies, Tintin, Tinkle etc… :P). Anyways, the comic was as interesting as ever but something which caught my immediate attention was the back cover page of the book. The page was heavily promoting online shopping of Tinkle comics as well as e-comics and contest on their website . Hmmm, looks like they have also revamped their website now and that’s why aggressively promoting their e-content. Read More...

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I Yearn For…

Ah, it’s that time of year again when I’m in complete love with the air around! I love this celebration spirit, this cheerful mood, this vibrant environment, this liveliness, this…ummm I can keep on writing about these THISs, well to sum it up I just loooooove this FESTIVE ATMOSPEHERE all around me. Its Dusshera today – Wish You All A Very Happy Dusshera!

Well, I’m sure many of you love this Oct-Dec season of the year, so many festivals and hence so much merriment – Navratri, Eid, Dusshera, Karwa Chauth, Diwali, Bhai Dooj, Chat, Guru Purnima, Christmas and New Year! Each of these festivals have got unique tradition and unique reason to celebrate. I remember as a child how excited I used to be for festivals, the eagerness with which we used to wait for new clothes or the enthusiasm with which we used to clean and decorate our homes or the gleam in our eyes with which we used to sit on the kitchen slab when Mummy used to prepare those festival special dishes – Kheer, Mithais, Puris, Curries and what not! Sometimes I wonder where those good old days have gone? Now we have all the money to buy any kind of cloth but still that excitement of getting new clothes is missing, now any kind of food is affordable and infact there is plethora of options of festival special cuisines in every other restaurant but still that taste of mom made food is missing, lots of glamorous options of celebrating festivals are there like Dandiya Nights, Garba specials, Glittering Diwali and New Year rock parties with celebs and DJs but still that enthusiasm of childhood days is missing. While I love this period with festivity all around me but at the same time this period makes me really nostalgic. I suddenly yearn for my carefree and sweet childhood days when even in such limited means there was unlimited amount of happiness, I yearn for my home in that small little town, my mummy, her home cooked food, my brothers, my cousins, my gharonda on diwali, my colorful pencils which I used to get as gifts on Bhai Dooj and my childhood friends with whom festivals used to have a different meaning all together. I yearn to be the same li’ll girl again, I really & really yearn for……well!

Yercaud: A Passage To Tranquility

After some 40 days of planning and some 80 mail exchanges, finally the trip to Yercaud happened :) … Considering it was a group of six professionals with varied work life, planning definitely took some time as arranging day offs on the same weekend was sort of a Herculean task, but at last we did it! And what a trip it was… absolutely enchanting, delightful and a complete break from the regular hustle-bustle of the city life. If I have to describe the trip in just one phrase, I would say it was simply a passage to tranquility.
Just came back from a three day trip to Yercaud yesterday. As decided we left for Yercaud on 2nd Oct’08 morning, though we had all the intentions to start early morning by 5:30 am but call it our laziness or the last night get-together aftereffects which went on till 2 am, we managed to leave Bangalore only by 7:30 am :). We took the Hosur Krishnagiri road and stopped for a quick breakfast at a small road side dhaba after Krishnagiri. Though the distance is hardly 230 Kms from Bangalore but since we drove leisurely and took lots of breaks in between, we managed to reach there in approx 7 hours, however normally I guess one can easily manage to reach there in 5.5 hours.

The drive was awesome esp. the ghat route after Salem which was full of greenery and natural beauty and to add to that the vehicle used was an SUV one which made the driving experience all the more wonderful (thanks to this couple friend of ours for using their own Dicor :-)). Uphill driving was relatively easier as compared to places like Ooty and there are 20 hairpins to be crossed to reach Yercaud. It was quite easy to locate our hotel “Star Holidays” (that’s the only place wherein we could manage to book our rooms because of long weekend rush) which was on the main M.G. Road itself (oh yes, there was a M.G. Road there as well which was hardly like a small lane :-)). First impression of the hotel looked impressive, small cottages with cute li’ll balconies. We decided to check-in, get freshened and then leave for lunch as well as some sightseeing. Hmmm, now came the most difficult part i.e., finding a god hotel to eat. Almost every place was damn crowded with little food options left as lunch time was almost over. After some deliberations, we decided to settle for Shevroys. Food was ok but better than what was on offer at Star Holidays. Once our pet-pooja was done, we decided to roam around in the town and the first thing which one could notice was the Emerald Lake which was just in the center of Yercaud. We went for self-pedaling boats and it was quite a pleasant experience to just boat around on your own in the placid water. Rest of the evening we decided to spend in our hotel balconies itself, well overall it was a great evening except for the dinner served by Star Holidays Restaurant which was really bad.

Warned by last night’s food and service experience, next day we decided to venture out for breakfast to nearby areas and oh we landed up in Club Mahindra’s property which was hardly a kilometer away from our hotel. What a lovely place it was! Adorned with French architecture, the property boasts of amazing landscapes and décor. Breakfast was awesome and service guys were really hospitable. After a good cup of tea and sandwiches we left with an intention to come back again for buffet dinner. Next targets were Pagoda Point, Lady’s Seat, Gent’s Seat and Children’s Seat. These places were good but not well maintained, lots of dirt and litter here and there :-( and because of hot climate, we decided to quickly move to our next destination - The Servarayan Temple which is situated on top of Servarayan hill. Temple is inside a small cave and the surrounding areas were fabulous with a very pleasant climate – Don’t miss this place at all and try to go there in the evening to enjoy the sunset and lovely weather. The day ended with a scenic drive back to hotel and some fun n frolic in our same old cottage balconies. Next day, it was time to return back to Bangalore – but no our holiday was not over yet as we had decided for a stop over at Hogenakkal Falls which was enroute to Bangalore.

The drive downhill was lovelier as the ghats were full of fog – wow, it was truly beautiful. After almost 3 hours of easy driving we reached Hogenakkal, now Hogenakkal experience definitely deserves a separate post as it was really a marvelous experience. So, I will post the details of Hogenakkal later on. And with loads of enjoyment, full jollity, hila ke rakh dene wale PJs (trust me, some of our group members can win world level prizes if there was ever any PJ competition) and lovely songs by some of the good singers in groups, the trip ended on a beautiful note. We all reached back safely to Bangalore last night with lovely memories, exquisite reminiscences and only one sad thought – Why do Holidays end so soon :-(?

Quick Facts:
My Recommendations:
  • In case you are looking for a vacation spot with lots of tourist attraction and places to see, then Yercaud is not the right place for you. But if you want to have a serene and peaceful trip and if you love the silent retreat with nature then definitely visit Yercaud.
  • In case you are willing to shell out 3k-5k and if you can manage to get the booking, try out Sky Roca or Club Mahindra for stay, otherwise the place is full of economic options like Star Holiday or Shevroys. Though Star Holidays was having a beautiful property but the service was hopeless and food quality pathetic. Try to have food at other places, we tried out Hotel Silver breakfast (a small dhaba just near to Star Holidays on M.G. Road) and tea as well as Dosas were amazing. Other places like Indieco hotel (Club Mahindra property) also serve you good lunch and dinner buffet at Rs. 175/- person and breakfast buffet at Rs. 120/- per person.
  • Incase you are not an expert driver for hairpins and uphill route, drive bit carefully. Though its not as difficult as Ooty but its not as cakewalk as Yelagiri too.

About Yercaud: Yercaud is a small hill station situated amidst the Shervaoyan Hills in the Eastern Ghats, close to the town of Salem in Tamil Nadu. It is at an altitude of 1,500 metres from mean sea level. Yercaud has been named so because of the lake located at its center - in Tamil "Yeri" means "lake" and "Kaadu" means "forest".
Distance from Bangalore: Approx 230 Kms (we started from HSR Layout)
Driving Route: Bangalore - Electronic City - Hosur - Krishnagiri - Dharmagiri - Salem – Yercaud
Road Condition: Very good as on Oct’08
Climate: Pleasant with bit cold esp. in the morning
Ideal duration of trip: Not more than 2 days

Movie Marketing: Drona

While everybody is trying to do some or other promotions but there are some who start a trend by trying out something hat ke. Joining the bandwagon of bit hat ke promotion now is the upcoming movie Drona. Read More...

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Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves!

I sometimes wonder what would my reading world have been without P. G. Wodehouse :-)? I somehow can’t seem to be ever bored of his marvelous pieces. Just finished off “Stiff Upper Lips, Jeeves” by Wodehouse yesterday and I think its one of the best of Wodehouse which I would have read ever. Infact I read a Wodehouse after a long time and as usual it was full of brit style humor and a very-very interesting read. Throughout the book, not even once you get turned off and instead of feeling monotonous about Wodehouse, the book just leaves you wanting more and more of him :-), so much so that I’ve already decided to buy another one of him during my next book shopping :-)

The story is also of Bertman Wooster (as is the case with most of the Wodehouse’s) who hates his Uncle Watsyn but somehow lands at his place Totleigh Towers to sort out certain nuances of his life. And in his noble effort to play the raisonneur, how he ends up messing his own life. It’s a funny read to go through the complications and impediments of Bertie and his interactions with Jeeves. As earlier I won’t like to divulge the exact details of the story in the benefit of those who want to read this book, but I can tell you very confidently that if you like reading good humor, you will surely love this book. And this is a very short read as in it’s hardly a 200 page book, so you can quickly finish it even between your tight schedule and work life. To summarize, "Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves" is an example of Wodehouse at his best! It’s a definite must for all Wodehouse fans and for those who have not read any Wodehouse till now I think it’s a must must & must as humor like Wodehouse is very rare to find these days.

BTW, I also read some other very good books mainly Indian Fiction and Business Books reecently, but guess will leave my comments about those for some other day. Well, daily traveling in Bangalore traffic and out of city tours have atleast one advantage – you get time to read more :-). So, more traffic jams mean more books and more tours also mean more books. I’m now off to this new book which I bought from Mumbai airport other day– an Indian Story written by an American author. Hope this turns out to be good too!

Image Makeover: Indian Postal Service

Like many other Govt. organization, even Indian Post was badly in need of an image makeover. Definitely it looks like a new journey for Indian Post. But is it really a new journey? Read More...

Social Networking Sites more popular than Porn Sites???

Prima facie it looks like a good news, isn’t it? Atleast parents of growing kids and admin guys in corporates can heave a sigh of relief to read this…Read More

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Balika Vadhu : Finally there is something to watch on TV

Ah, after a long time managed to reach home today early at sharp 8 pm, not bad considering that it was Monday today :-) and the first thing which I did was switch on Colors Channel on television. Now TV and me! Quite unlikely, but yeah I did so happily and was glad that finally I would get to catch on “Balika Vadhu” on its normal time today otherwise either I will have to catch it in late night show or on Saturdays when they repeat the whole week story at one stretch. Isn’t it sounding strange that I am talking of catching up on some television soap? Well its definitely sounding strange to me atleast!!!!!!

I have been planning to express my thoughts about this particular television soap since long, but somehow never managed to do so. I think after a loooong time there is some program on television which has got me hooked on to TV again, its Balika Vadhu which airs on Colors channel from Mon-Fri at 8 pm. Well, I hardly get to see it at its normal time but this serial is so damn addictive that I wait to catch up on its late night repeat telecast. This soap is about a very different but real life theme, its about child-marriage and this issue has been portrayed in such a sensitive way that it just leaves you spell-bound as a viewer. The main protagonist Anandi is an eight year old girl who has been married to almost equal aged Jagdish and the soap shows Anandi’s transition from a child to a bahu in such a poignant way that it just stirs and shakes you from deep within. The innocence of Anandi just makes you wonder how these child marriages must be affecting lives of so many girls like Anandi. All the characters have done a wonderful job and they all look so real, be it the role of Anandi played by Avika Gaur or the role of Dadisa played by Surekha Sikri, honestly speaking Surekha Sikri has done an amazingly authentic role so much so that sometimes you feel like hitting the screen after seeing her. Infact today when I was watching the serial I get this SMS from one of my friends who was also watching today’s episode saying she feels like smashing dadisa right now :-). See, I'm not the only one who feels like this :-)

So, its not only me rather many of my friends and colleagues as well who have got hooked onto this serial and trust me this list includes some guys as well :-). This serial has definitely converted lots on non-TV watchers into TV watchers again! Well, you need to watch it to agree to my this strong statement. No wonder this serial has managed to score such a high TRP of 4.22 in just 3 months only leaving lots of nonsensical saas bahu operas behind. I only hope it remains as engaging and gripping as it is now and not turn into yet another television trash in times to come.

Weekend with “The Last Lear” and “50 first dates”

Why do weekends end so soooon :-(??? Well, another weekend just went by but nonetheless it was a relaxed and lazy weekend for me, something which I was desperately longing for since last so many days. Just spent time reading book, watching movies and ah cooking some of mine and hubby’s favorite dishes – mint chicken curry and baked fish. The kind of foodie we both are, weekends are generally spent with some good food. Watched two very good movies as well – “The Last Lear” and “50 First Dates” and I just loved both these movies. Here is my take on these movies and I’m sure these will strike a cord with all those who like watching good movies

The Last Lear: I think this is one of the best movies of Amitabh Bachchan I would have ever seen and Preity has never acted better than this. Again as I say I wont go into details of the story much as I want all of you to watch this movie J. In short, Amitabh plays the role of reclusive yet passionate theater artist whose life is all about Shakespeare and his plays but because of some reasons he backed out of his dream role of King Lear and never went back to stage again. Arjun Rampal who is a young generation director decides to make a film on fading talent and he offers this magnificent role of a joker to Amitabh Bachchan. Amitabh in his endeavor to give his best takes a very emotional decision and ends up risking his life into a paralytic situation. I just loved the ending scene of the movie where Amitabh even his memory is lost, is able to recall those very captive words of his master, Shakespeare! Though Rituparno Ghosh has given some wonderful masterpieces to Indian Cinema but I think this is one of his best directorial works ever. Every actor in this movie has outshone his / her previous performances, be it Shefali Shah, Divya Dutta or Arjun Rampal. One may find the pace of the movie bit slow but I think that is very much required by the story. I can summarize this whole movie experience in just two words – INTENSE & BRILLIANT and a must watch for all those who are open towards some serious cinema viewing, but in case you are looking for a light hearted movie then I don’t think this would suit your taste, rather watch movie like 50 first dates of a DVD at home :-)

50 First Dates: Well, this movie got released in 2004 only but somehow never got the chance to watch the same, watched it today on a DVD and found it to be a very sweet movie. “50 first dates” is a romantic comedy having Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore as the lead actors. It’s a story of a guy who never gets hooked on to one guy and finally when he falls in love truly with this girl, then he realizes that the girl suffers from a brain injury and hence has a short term memory problem. Determined that he is for his love, he finally he manages to convince the girl and after a series of incidences finally they get settled happily in married life. A very very sweet romantic movie which touches your heart at the end J. In case you have also missed out on this movie like me, please do watch it, I’m sure most of the people are gonna like this movie for sure :-).

Hmmm time to log off and hit the sack now, afterall its Monday morning tomorrow and another hectic week ahead :-(! Interesting Example of Viral Marketing

One of my friends forwarded me the link which is a campaign for helping Bihar Flood Victims. Its an initiative started by and the conceptualization and design is done by Quasar – an interactive online agency. This site asks you to fill answer for some simple questions and for each correct answer sponsors would donate Torches, Candles, Milk powder, Match Boxes, Chlorine Tablets, Nylon Ropes, Tarpaulin Sheets and Biscuits to Bihar Flood Victims. Sponsors name and logo is mentioned in the right hand side of each question and some of the sponsors observed by me were Godrej, Chevrolet and Cadence. For each correct answer you get to know what you have donated to help the Bihar Flood Victims. The more people answer the questions, the more donations go to flood victims.

Initially I had some doubt on the authenticity of this campaign and hence I directly asked it from one of my business associates who works for Quasar and he confirmed that this is very much a real campaign and the donations are being given by the sponsors to Bihar Flood Victims. The site has this message displayed on top – “The more people play this game, the more help goes to flood victims. So
click here to invite your friends. My first reaction as a user after submitting the answers was to send this to all my friends and acquaintances. Me and many of my friends have donated money and clothes to victims as per our means and resources but when I sent this link to them not only did they answer the questions themselves but most of them have forwarded this link to all in their contact list. When I put this link in my status message in all chat engines, almost 50% of my contacts in my list pinged me and asked, “what is this link all about”. A very very effective viral marketing example I must say! This definitely has the power to encourage individuals to pass on this message to others and hence has the potential for exponential growth and influence. And the best part is that it immediately connects to you and sending it to others is very spontaneous and intuitive. I liked this concept a lot and I think Quasar has done a wonderful job as far as conceptualization is concerned. Its really good to see such innovative viral campaigns not only for product promotions but for serious social causes like helping flood victims etc.

BigB’s blog statistics - Bigadda or BigBadda?

I had written earlier about BigB blogging on and initially I had read some of his posts as well but then in due course of time I stopped visiting his blog. But today I dropped into his blog again mainly because of some noise in media about his recent posts and oh the look and feel has changed completely from what it used to be during its initial days but nevertheless this new look is quite impressive! And the first quote by Harivansh Rai Bachchan is as always soooo good! But what caught my attention was the fact the current post is of day 151 and almost everyday there is atleast one post posted on that blog. Wow, this is really regular and good! As I said in my earlier post if it is BigB genuinely writing these posts then it is praiseworthy. Even if he is narrating and some content writer from BigAdda is writing it on his behalf then too I think its commendable, though because of so much of personal touch I am forced to think that its BigB who is writing all these posts. What caught my next attention was the post of day 140 which mentions the traffic of his blog since April’08, here is a snapshot of some of the important figures available on his blog:

  • Unique visitors since April08 - 1,05,0,520
  • Unique visitor for Sept 08 - 37,509
  • Average number of visits per day - 16,000 +
  • Total number of visits since April08 - 2,37,0,000
  • Total page views since April - 1,14,00,000
  • Average page views per day - 100,000

For once I think Bigadda has not hyped up this figure much. Considering the number of comments which any post is receiving on this blog (on an average each post receives somewhere between 700-1000 comments), I am sure 16000+ daily visitors is sort of a real figure. And 11.4 million pageviews is a very striking figure considering its hardly a six month old blog. Not many websites also achieve this kind of figures in such a short span. Good for Bigadda, atleast they have one differentiator now which can bring more traffic to their website. Otherwise there was hardly anything on their website (apart from those “lets catch up” ads on which they wasted few crores to get some one time visitors, LOL :)) which can make anyone visit their site again. With a 16,000+ daily visitor count, I am sure BigB’s blog is contributing to a major % of their daily traffic. Infact recently bigadda has changed their UI, considering the % contribution and the fact that this is Bigadda’s only strong point, I am wondering if apart from UI, Bigadda should be have gone for a re-branding exercise as well and changed it to BigBadda :)
Overall very remarkable statistics considering its just a blog, but afterall its BigB’s blog.

Aamir in Tata Sky Ad

I had written earlier in July about Jhingala’s counter strategy and now that Aamir’s ad is out, I have a mixed reaction. Not that I didn’t like the same but at the same time it’s not something which made me say wow! The ad as we have seen features Aamir Khan in a half man half woman (ardhnarishwar) role. Here is a short description of the ad & the video from youtube:
Aamir plays the role of a Punjabi bride AND groom who are fighting over which satellite connection to have? Bride says if he will not get the SKY connection for her, she will go back to her house in London. They fight over TATA or SKY and then dramatically groom says, its India where Tata and Sky are already married to each other and hence by having TATA SKY the consumer not only gets the world class technology from SKY but also reliability and best service from TATA.

Well, as a consumer I think it has definitely caught my attention but I think it has its plus and minuses.

Message: I think the message is clear and emphasizes the strength of brand very clearly. I’m sure not many people were aware that TATA SKY is a 80:20 joint venture between Tata Sons and BSkyB, a Rupert Murdoch company and this ad very subtly conveys this message thereby accentuating the tech supremacy of the product.

Creative Idea: Hmmm, for this I do have a mixed reaction…Am wondering if there could have been any better creative idea for this campaign. Well, starting was sort of ok but I didn’t like the cheesy bollywoodish style ending of the same and the ending line which sounded something like “jo family dekhe Tata Sky saath who rahe hamesha saath saath”! Ummm knowing the excellent creative ideas which Rediffusion DY&R comes up with, I think it could have been bettered up.

Execution elements: I think this was brilliant! Whatever the creative idea was Aamir has lived upto it beautifully. Once again you can’t resist from praising Aamir’s acting and performance in this half man half woman role. BTW I think he is looking quite cute as Punjabi bride, LOL :D. The ad definitely has got a recall value because of its execution and presentation style.

The ad is making noise all across, now its time to wait and watch if this brand campaign boosts up the figures of Tata Sky as against DishTV whose last campaign (SRK announcing Set Top Box Free!) was pure n pure sales promo campaign.

Again - Now its Delhi serial blasts!

Being a Saturday today, I was just sitting lazily with my evening cup of tea and planning to watch this new DVD which I got yesterday. Suddenly my phone rang and it was my mom on other side speaking in an absolutely panicked voice, “beta did you see news, serial blasts in Delhi and that too one in Barakhamba road and I can’t get through Kishu’s phone, have you checked if Kishu and Pintoo are fine?” The only reaction I could give that moment was “Oh again, let me switch the television right-away”. And worried as I switched on television I got further psyched to see one of the venues being shown on the television which was just opposite my brother’s (Kishu) office and even my brother in law’s (Pintoo) office was also hardly few hundred meters away from that building. I started frantically dialing their numbers but as expected they had jammed the phone lines! Finally got through Pintoo’s number after almost 30 mins who informed that both of them are safe though one of them was just few meters away from the venue where one of the blasts took place! I immediately informed my mom and in-laws and thanked god for keeping them safe. But then when they were showing the Barakhamba Road venue, suddenly shivers ran down through my spine after seeing the images of injured and dead bodies being carried by Police, one single thought flashed across my mind – Oh god, it could have been Kishu or Pintoo!

5 blasts have rocked the capital today and as usual these bombs were planted in very prime areas like Connaught Place, Barakhambha Road, Karolbagh, GK. Not only this, more bombs have been defused at some other key places like Regal Cinema and India Gate. Seeing these dead bodies and bloodbath once again in India, I feel so disturbed and terrified like any other normal citizen. I am feeling helpless and insecured and like any other Indian citizen, even I am thinking the same, “Am I safe and when will this all end?” “Varanasi, Lucknow, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Delhi, next what?”

Since I was not able to contact my brother and brother in law over phone, I had opened my laptop to see if they are online so that I can get to know of their well-being but as I am watching the news channel I couldn’t resist myself from expressing my feelings and distress. While I am writing NDTV is switched on in front of me where Barkha Dutt is doing a live coverage and the latest count as of now is 20 dead and 92 injured! So, it has become 92 from 6 and 20 from 0 which they said at 7 pm. Hope this count ends here only and hope our leaders do anything else apart from CONDEMNIG THE BLAST! As I am surfing, I get this picture of Barakhamba Road, I can even see the building of my brother’s office and the same thought again flashes across my mind – Oh god, what if instead of these two poor fellows it would have been Kishu or Pintoo! Thank god for keeping them safe and god please give courage and will-power to these two guys to cope up with such disaster!

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