We.E was launched by a group of college students keen on applying their engineering education in solving problems faced in rural areas. In conversation with co-founder, Mohammed Bilal….
Monthly Archives: May 2011
Some time back, Comic Con India had its first edition. And it promises to remain, for me, just like the Jaipur Lit Fest. I’ll come back to that in a while. Meanwhile, unlike the Jaipur Lit Fest, I wasn’t found living in a cave for this one. But that didn’t stop my participation from being limited to virtuality – a Comic Kaun tweet, (which someone thought was a genuine event resulting in a #facepalm moment for me), wordplay with Roshni resulting in #CommieKaun – finding revolutionaries, tweeting photos and using the new display of global solidarity – the Facebook Like.
So, the comparison to the Lit Fest. For the last two years, I have been making hazy plans to get there. Every time I see camels here in Bangalore, I also wonder whether they might consider shifting the venue, but I guess that’s unlikely. And especially after the controversies this year, I don’t think I’ll bother going again. Can’t stand places where you can’t say things in a lighter vein. So I will just sit here in Bangalore, and hope for some controversy so I can have some fun with it on Twitter.
The Comic Con event seemed quite popular this year. So I asked myself why I felt I wouldn’t drop in next year. There seemed to be something more than the omnipotent but generic laziness + shyness combo. Given my affection for superheroes and costume creation, Comic Con would probably be fun.
If I were still the boy on the left, I would probably have been there instead of writing a post. But somewhere in a couple of decades, I’ve forgotten how much fun it could be even when Spiderman was just a Rasna sponsored mask, Bajaj bulb covers and a piece of thread. Now there are other roles, and other audiences, and playing for an audience of one is just a distant hazy memory. When I can remember it better, maybe I’ll go.
until next time, cosplay time doesn’t last forever.
We wondered why the cab was picking us up at 8. The airport was less than an hour away and we only had to visit one place on the way. The flight was only just past noon and we only had to check in an hour in advance. We were told by the folks at Harvest House that Tiger Cave was not very far off, but it took a couple of hours to explore. We wondered why.
We ceased to wonder after the driver cheerfully informed us that Tiger Cave involved a climb. He was all smiles probably because his job ended at leaving us at the bottom of the hill. Of course, it would be a wonder if we didn’t have to climb, after the experiences so far. Meanwhile, there were a few other things to see before we started the climb. We saw a Ganesha idol here too.
And now for the climb, which I had been putting off. It involved not 100, not 200, but 1237 steps. I was sure that there was a better way to keep my head in the clouds, but we started out nevertheless. To be honest, the climb itself was quite tiring but manageable, though our legs hurt for days after. The problem was with the design at about 400 steps – they suddenly became steep and narrow, but more tragically, I could see on both sides the height we were at, and climbing, and that meant I became jittery. So yes, we stopped, which turned out to be a good thing, because D’s legs gave out when we were near the bottom!
That also meant that we got to the airport a bit in advance, but Air Asia welcomed us warmly and proved that missing the excess kgs in the earlier flight baggage was an anomaly. 500 bahts later, we were in the aircraft and just over an hour later, in Suvarnabhumi. With the aid of the airport map, we scouted the 3rd and 4th levels for lunch and despite the deluge of Japanese options, settled for a Thai lunch on the 3rd level. On hindsight, might not have been a bad idea to check in and lunch on the 4th Level. 2 hours flew past while we gawked at uber expensive brands spread across what seemed like a few kilometres (must have been the tired legs!) and underwent body scans. Finally, we heard the familiar Kingfisher call for Kolkata. We were assured of reaching there with only the pilot ahead of us as we drew 1A and 1B.
Reading a newspaper after a week was a strange experience, and it didn’t help that it was Kolkata Times! But the gossip in the flight rag distracted us even more! Swalpahaar was served, and we watched “Khelein hum jee jaan se” starring Shaky Bachchan and an earnest D-Pad. It was probably because I had drunk a Pepsi after a long time, but I started wondering whether Sid (Mallya kind) would ever wake up and ask D-Pad “Will UB my wife”. Bwahahaha. Ok, sorry.
We landed at Kolkata and immediately felt the brunt of Kolkata’s bureaucratic personnel. For some strange reason, the KF staff insisted that “all passengers proceeding to Bangalore via Hyderabad” had to stick together and move to the other terminal under guidance. Maybe the fuss was because the signs were only in English. Gah. I saw the Coffee Day we had sat in, during our Sikkim trip. We got back into the same flight, D discovered a peanut she had dropped earlier. All the airport waits meant that I finished reading one book and I distracted myself from starting a new book with old Sarabhai vs Sarabhai episodes.
After a brief halt in Hyderabad, where I earned the JetSetter badge on 4sq, and a KF staff invasion meant that there were more airport personnel than passengers, we finally reached Bangalore close to 11 pm and discovered a new phenomenon – waiting lines for cabs. :O And as the tee goes, ‘Aap Qatar main hain’ but thankfully, for a cab that would take us home.
More pics on Facebook
This week's top news has Angry Birds, Zynga's acquisitions and valuation, Twitter for Mac, Twitter mobile website, Lady Gaga, its deal with NTT DOCOMO, Android's security fix, Market Update, Samsung bringing Gingerbread to Galaxy, ViewSonic's Honeycomb tablet, Facebook's lawsuits, Places function
ality, non profits resource center, Bing's integration, Google's News Near You, expandable stories, Journalists Memorial Channel and the YouTube100.
P.S: That was also my 50th by-line in Bangalore Mirror
A few months back, I had written about the Balkanisation of the internet, in which I had asked how a brand could deal with the surge of not just new services, but new platforms too. A few days back, I thought of this from a (slightly oblique) user point of view and remembered incidents spread across years – a few years back, one morning, when I was thankful on seeing a CCD in Colva, Goa while I was hunting for breakfast options because I knew exactly what to expect in a CCD menu; last year, when I visited a mall in Cochin, and realised that I could more or less predict the brands that would be present there; on television, the increasing popularity of US TV shows and how channels seem to be working to sync a global audience in terms of seasons; (forget torrents for now) and how, a meme on Twitter or Facebook is many a time global in appeal and interesting apps on iPhone/Android platforms are discussion points across geographies and in general, an increasingly growing population is 'in touch' and having similar sensibilities.
The themes here from the real world experiences to virtual ones are homogeneity, and of a user's preference (in many cases) for familiarity. Which makes me turn back the question on balkanisation
lectronic Repair Information'>Electronic Repair Information
. Despite the balkanisation, do new platforms accelerate a homogeneity within a certain demographic? The rate of upward mobility notwithstanding, do you think, at some point, popular culture and preferences will become homogenous globally? eg. say Angry Birds, Dexter, Bieber hatred…
Meanwhile, since the time I switched to Android – a few months ago, I have noticed that services like Facebook, Twitter, 4sq and the Google range, are working hard to ensure that users can move seamlessly across different platforms – web, mobile web, apps, tablets. While that doesn't absolve the brands from having to understand the workings of different platforms, consumption patterns and how they could provide the user an interesting experience in these contexts, it does provide some relief.
Few brands have been known to get regional nuances right in communication. Now, along with location and location based marketing becoming center-stage, there is an added challenge. Not only do they have to get the nuances right in their communication, but they also have to provide consistency in the value offering (not the same as being static) in experiences across platforms. That is a long stretch from blasting messages across traditional media platforms.
until next time, brand-owned platforms?