Sunday, 19 June 2016

So much for Digital India

I live in the suburb of Bandra, home to many who are exploring new journeys in life. In the city of Mumbai, which is considered to be a city of dreams and of opportunities.
At most times our Vodafone phone connections (we have two 15 year plus accounts) don't work and nor do the internet connections on them. The Airtel 4G device too is used primarily as a fly swatter now as the internet is barely functional. The MTNL wifi keeps disconnecting. The Tata Photon often naps, specially during the afternoon. I tried You Broadband for a while and disconnected it as it was forever under maintenance.

'Digital India' is a smart tagline indeed and our spin doctors have many such lines. But as I sit at my writing desk desperately seeking some internet connection, it sounds like hot air to me.
I can but dream of a time when we will look back at these angst ridden moments and laugh like we do today at the world of Trunk Calls and of going to the neighbour's house to make phone calls which would be besotted by cross connections.
Till then I have to find a cafe with good wifi to conduct a video conference with a client on Tuesday who has been kind enough to offer one so that I don't have to go to the other of the city
Amen

Sunday, 27 March 2016

It's time to talk


There’s no justification to killing men. There’s no justification to killing women. There's no justification to killing grown ups. There can never be any justification to killing children. There's no justification to killing in the first world. Or in the third world. Death knows no religion.

 

Terrorists won't read Facebook statuses. Nor will politicians or army generals.

 

But we can make a start to ending this madness by talking. Get to know those who are different from you. Make an effort. Find a common ground. For me it could be food. It could be cinema for you. Dialogue is the only way to break discord, to abandon hate and to embrace happiness.

 

Sounds philosophical. Is very practical.

 

Thursday, 24 September 2015

A life with many hats

I am rarely on Linkedin.

The other day I was on the site to answer a mail and decided to update my profile while there. Which is when I realised that you can only put one job as your 'current job'.

This seems a bit archaic and doesn't take into account the realities of today's unstructured world in my opinion.

I remember Roshan Abbas taking on his twitter trolls in a Facebook status update the other day. He rebutted those who call him 'jobless' by saying he holds three jobs, if I remember right. That sounded familiar.

I didn't know what to put in my profile. 

I consult with Karvy Insights, a market research firm. I am an editor at large for the India Food Network. The lead Mumbai critic for EazyDiner. I've joined the NDTV Food as a columnist. I write for publications like MW, Mumbai Mirror and Femina. I work with brands on promotional campaigns. I have my YouTube channel, The Finely Chopped. And it all started with my blog, Finely Chopped.

I would like to believe that I am symptomatic of the change happening in my generation.

We don't want to be boxed up. We want to try out different things. We have varied interests. We want to chase them all. Make something out of them.

It's time Linkedin recognises that.

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Office compound boorishness in Mumbai

Have you noticed how most of the new office complexes in Mumbai don't allow auto rickshaws inside?. Black and yellow taxis too.
 
If you are using these then you have to get off at the gate and make the long trek in. No such problems if you are in a private car or in air-conditioned cab. Those are allowed in. Though parking is a pain.
 
Most of these office complexes are not pedestrian friendly and you have to walk in quite a bit to reach your destination. There is no shade or shelter on the walkway. Which means that you are left at the mercy of the blazing sun these days. And it will be much worse when it rains.
 
Contrast this with Fort, the old CBD of Mumbai. The plethora of lofty trees there and building awnings means that you can always walk in the shade. Even if it rains. Nor does that area get flooded.
 
Bliss compared to the new office complexes in Saki Naka, BKC, Goregaon and Powai.
 
And don't even get me started on the lack of good and inexpensive eating options for office goers here.
 
Guess we were once a more humane city.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Sometimes change is good

If you had told me that sunny afternoon in the early 90s when I had dashed off in a cycle rickshaw  after school to pick up a gas cylinder at a godown in Kolkata, which we had booked months back, that today I would just dial the IVR on my cell, punch buttons, and half an later receive a call from a gas cylinder delivery guy to coordinate when to deliver the cylinder at our place in Mumbai I would have said, 'yeah right, next you will say we will all have telephones and can carry them with us!'

Incidentally it was Bharat Gas in both cases. 

Different centuries. Different cities.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

The blurring lines between mass and social media

Yesterday I shot with the host of a TV food show for an episode of her show.

The episode is going to centre around a couple of food bloggers. The idea of the show apparently came up when the host realised that she was increasingly using blog posts to decide on where to eat rather than mass media reviews.

This evening in The News Hour on Times Now Arnab Goswami suddenly looked at the camera and exhorted the audience to go viral and protest against police performing odd jobs for politicians or something like that. 'Go to Facebook and twitter and register your protest' said Goswami.

Incidentally while Times Now has a twitter handle, Goswami doesn't.

A bit later I was watching Barkha Dutt chat with Salman Rushdie and Deepa Mehta and their conversation suddenly turned to twitter.

Rushdie pointed out that for him twitter is the fastest way of finding out what's happening around him.

Barkha herself is on twitter and unlike other big TV journalists on Twitter, such as Rajdeep Sardesai, actually engages with folks on twitter.

The issue of mass media versus social media is becoming increasingly irrelevant if you ask me. Lines are blurring. The empire is striking back with mass media coopting social media rather than trying to ignore it, fight it or try to bludgeon it.

The lines definitely are blurring. Blurring a lot faster possibly in the world of news media than in brand marketing. Marketing efforts on TV, press, radio and social often seem to be discrete.

Every brand is 'doing' social media these days.

What they need to realise is that social media marketing can't be 'performed' or 'executed'.

It should flow naturally.



The broadcasters of news have got that. Question is when will the custodians of brands get this too.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

When will Mumbai's Housing Societies feature on The News hour?

A colleague of mine who is getting married this month was pretty happy after they identified a flat in Andheri W that they planned to rent after they got back. Then I heard that the rent deal fell through. The housing society insists that they need a wedding certificate. Their parents met the society and yet the society didn't agree. And they can't even take the house when they get married as the certificate needs 2,3 weeks. That they are planning the wedding in some coastal spot in Kerala with loads of folks coming in doesn't count.

The landlady is helpless and loses a tenant.

There are many mafias in Mumbai and the housing societies sit pretty much at the top