Monday, September 24, 2012


Rule #9: You Probably Don't Know Anything.

...or even half of anything. Yet.

If you’ve read enough, you probably know that this is extremely true, and you'll give me a high-five for my title, say you love my blog, and be done with it.
If you don't, and just lurk on the internet like all of us, and don't believe me, you might have to read on for my maybe-insignificant little life-experience to understand why I'm saying this.
Okay, either that, or attempt to read up on the Higgs Boson.
Good luck, either way.
As for myself, I feel like a "Universal Idiot" - someone who's a "big picture" person, knows about the extent of the universe and our insignificance, but may never gain even 0.1% of its entire knowledge.

You see, every time I stumble across something new, or even just explore the history behind each Google Doodle, I find something I thought I knew but really didn’t, 
something that I actually just didn’t know at all. 
For the same knowledge-gaining reasons, I also follow all the fact-/event-sharing handles on Twitter (like @UberFacts, @OMGFacts, @LaughingSquid and so on).
I’ve even taken the trouble to write a post somewhere on this blog about how science just amazes me and we can never really know the entirety of this universe or even a fraction of it for that matter.
The pictures from the Mars Curiosity rover should help put this in perspective!

What just recently blew my mind and moved me enough to write this was the Social@Ogilvy Training Workshop on the 20th and 21st September, 2012. i.e. last Thursday and Friday, that I attended.

Because I’m now part of the Social@Ogilvy team in Mumbai, and possibly the first in India.

As a writer.

To do great things on social platforms.

So much WIN.

So much I-should-stop-now-before-I-sound-like-an-over-enthusiastic-squirrel.

Okay, back to the workshop –
Up until Thursday morning, I believed that if there was anything I was good at and understood well enough to say I can offer beneficial services to, it was the world of Social Media Marketing and “the stuff” that goes into managing or portraying brand presence on a Social network. I won’t get into it because I’m sure you know, or kind of know, what that entails. This also means you think you know, but probably don’t. 
Yeah, that thought blew my mind too.

It took the introductory speech, the first 20 minutes of talk, from the eye-openingly intelligent and knowledgeable Social@Ogilvy Training team of three to make me realize that I knew absolutely nothing about what I have been doing for the last 2 years. The stupendous training team: Hastie Afkhami, Jenna Boller and Scott McBride.

Social media is not just something that allows you to have a facebook page or twitter account, or both. It’s not just something that “takes your brand to millions of people”. It’s MORE than that. Yes, the ICanHazCheezburger MOOOAAAR kind of MORE.

Imagine the life of every mother on the planet, her love for her baby, her need to make sure the baby gets the right kind of care and the right kind of love. Then imagine connecting an insight like that to a social network. No, putting up a post saying “Hit the random buttons below to show how much you LOVE a mother’s LOVE for their BABIES!” with a picture of a baby, which really just doesn’t cut it, even though it’s the first thing you want to do on mother’s day. And no, adding a cat in there is not a solution.
Here’s what cuts it:
A campaign for Huggies Hong Kong that became a facebook success story in July 2011:

This was just one of the many case studies we were taken through, and this was just a small taste of what one can do on Social Media. I’m beginning to see this as a whole new frontier, where the already-infinite possibilities are more limitless than before.

It’s not just about giving people the importance or the power that they crave to have, but giving them a whole new experience in their lives that they could never have before. Who wouldn't love something that makes you happy?

Burberry just did something that changes the way I look at advertising – 
You’re not just taking an experience to an audience.
You’re not just taking the audience to the experience.
But you’re understanding both, you’re understanding what they’ve already seen and you’re giving them a new way of doing everything they want to do.
That's in caps because I've noticed it's something people don't seem to care about anymore, and that randomness is so careless.

By this point you’re probably asking yourself why I don’t summarise the campaigns, in my own words, since I'm a writer, instead of pasting links for you. Let me answer that, in my own words: I’d rather have you see and read for yourself, instead of listening to my very overwhelmed nonsense. I’ll be honest: I’m so much in awe of the world/the universe that the simplest thing could amaze, appall or surprise me. Why? Because I didn’t know it three seconds ago. And you didn’t know this about me five seconds ago.
Isn’t all this knowledge just awesome?
Well, you still probably don’t know anything.
And neither do I.

Also, here's one final link I want to share with you just because it's so much fun:
Old Spice Muscle Music:
Don't leave that page till you've pushed every button!

So the point here is (as cliché as it sounds): The more you know, the less you realize you actually know.

Try it. Start reading about music, history, science… you’ll find about a 100 things on every page that you had no idea existed. Hastie, Jenna and Scott took us through an intense and vast amount of things in just two days. I don’t know how they did it, but they did it so well. From planning, to strategies, to that extra boost social media can give a brand – they showed us so many paths in the maze of Social@Ogilvy and what we can achieve through the magnitude of Social Media (and trust me, ‘magnitude’ is just not magnitudinous enough). Everyone who attended has left with about ten times more information, education and sense than what they walked in with. Not to mention smiles, and very handy guidebooks!
Me? I’m still just appreciating how much more I know, and how much is left to still learn and do!

A statistic I read about a few years ago said that three species go extinct every hour on Planet Earth. Yes, I can see all your faces going :O and WTF, right?!
Here's some tweets from @UberFacts:
  1.  If the entire population of China walked past you in single file, the line would take close to 100 years to pass you.
  2.  Most men immediately exhibit a decline in mental performance when interacting with women - Women do not have this problem.
  3. There are about 1,400 species of bacteria living in your belly button.

…and so on. Yeah, this is the kind of interesting-to-weird stuff that keeps my mental clock ticking.

Another go-to site for me for all things tech, mobile app and entertainment related is @mashable. And you've probably guessed that the one social networking site I’m on the most is Twitter.
Twitter is the next best place for knowledge hungry people like me (the best being Wikipedia of course). Its constant scroll of information, packed into 140 characters or less, is the perfect amount of “controlled” bombardment (since you can follow who you like) on my cognitive self. Now THAT'S what I signed up to the internet for!
A few other sites that work the same way, or can be just as knowledge- and awesomeness-friendly:
  1. Pinterest
  2. StumbleUpon
  3. Flipboard – for all you app-happy, iphone/ipad/android owning buggers like me

I think I’ve said enough, and honestly, this rule is more for you to figure out than for me to extrapolate, or even pretend to explain really. There's so many more effective and interactive uses of social platforms, great ideas, videos and live events that I've seen and love to share, but I think this should do for now.

Here’s a list of sites that started me off on this "Education My Universal Idiot" trip. I hope these help you too!
  1. Nikon’s Universcale
  2. NatGeo and LonelyPlanet
  3. NASA
  4. Mashable
  5. StumbleUpon
  7. AdsOfTheWorld (you need to filter the ads here well, otherwise you’ll also end up seeing pretty crappy ads!)
  8. IMDb top 250 movies (Movies, TV shows and a few documentaries have been very big eye-openers)
  9. Afaqs
  10. The Economist (more the magazines and ipad app than the site)
  11. and Grooveshark
  12. deviantArt

There you go. Don’t hesitate to take one word out of somewhere and paste it in a wiki search. You may never come out of that wormhole of learning and education that it gives you, but that’s the point of this.

Enjoy, and I hope I’ve made at least a quark-sized amount of sense today!

*Thanks to everyone at the Mumbai SOCIAl@OGILVY TRAINING on 20th and 21st September, 2012. This post is for the super people at OgilvyOne Worldwide, in Mumbai and everywhere else, and for the awesome people who took us through it all!*

Mumbai Social@Ogilvy Training Workshop

Sunday, March 11, 2012


Rule #72: You don't have to be right to write.

I was shuffling through all my college assignments and paper submissions, essays, et cetera, and stumbled upon my Popular Culture essay "The World of Weblogs". The point of my essay was that the Internet has given such power to people that the decision of what counts as literature, or what is published, is no longer in the hands of some patron and his printing-press, or any self-proclaimed editing guru. It doesn't belong to any governing power except your own mind and those buttons on your keyboard or phone.
So what's stopping you?

This "filterlessness" (as I like to call it) results in two things:
1. People who have great talent gone unnoticed are finally allowed to showcase their work or at least create an online portfolio of it. This can be shared amongst readers who like the genre in which they write, or for professional purposes. Beneficial? Very much!
2. A whole bunch of completely unreadable junk is now all over the Internet. Why unreadable? Because everything is written in SMS language, filled with a whole bunch of unrecognisable colloquial terms, an O.D. of slang, and I'm not even going to bother telling you what I think of the punctuation.
Let me rephrase: bcoz evrythng iz writtn lyk dis 4 all da ppls 2 reed if dey like small wrds n talk abt sum shit LOLZZZZ!!!111

From the point of view of a Literature student, to me even this overwhelming swarm of incomprehensible text is ground-breaking. This is today's de-canonisation of Literature, where all the norms and purposes of the establishment of the Literary Canon is completely broken. Now, Matthew Arnold, T.S. Eliot and the other elites are definitely rolling in their graves, but I highly doubt anyone outside the world of Literary Academics knows that or cares anymore! If you want to delve more into the canon, here you go: Western Canon.

I'm writing this because I know that I'm a part and product of this process, or rather this lack-of-process when it comes to publishing and publicising my work. Also, as an extension to my paper on weblogs and the deconstruction of everything the Canon stood for, the next part is the horde of social networking sites that are a big part of our lives. If blogs challenge language as we know it, then Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Pinterest, and all other networking sites challenge every a priori form of human communication.

I think this advancement and freedom is a gift. Of course, with freedom comes a flood of stupidity, but we all learnt that in college and should be quite accustomed to it by now, right?
So write.
And read.
And share.
And feel free from constraint of expression.
The choice is yours, and so is a big part of the Internet!

To add fuel to any fire I might have sparked, here's a list of catalysts and enablers I've found in my time of creativity:
1. Blog hosting websites: Blogger, Wordpress, Posterous - highest rated in my books

2. The Rag: They have seasonal issues and will publish your work in their digests and issues. They're very approachable and always ready to have a read.

3. NaNoWriMo: National Novel Writing Month: Even though it's November, you can sign up any time, write a novel and clock your progress on the site. They hold live chats and online seminars that you can attend where writers and novelists from all over the world are ready to help you with your work.

4. It's got nothing to do with writing really, but if you're on a lot of social networking sites, you have a lot of blogs and online portfolios, it allows you to create a page with a simple URL that makes it easy to recommend and even looks very professional and personal when shared. If you catch their running offer, they send home a free bunch of Moo visiting cards with your name and contact details. If you're outside the UK, you might have to pay for shipping, but that's about it. How cool is that?!

5. Some blogs that caught my eye, and that I now follow:         These two belong to my mother, and she's one of the best.    A personal favourite because of the craftiness of it all        An open-eyed eye-opener on sports, women, and women in sport         Food and a good read about making it = heaven       Le blog a la mode, with real fashion from a real person

I've chosen to write about writing because that's my biggest passion. I also paint, photograph, sing and play football, and there's so much more out there to give impetus to all that we can do. So I wish I could list other sites and spaces I've discovered, but in all honesty, I CAN'T!

Friday, February 03, 2012


Rule #7/8: Musicians Can Have Anything.

A bored 20 minutes ago, I was going through a bunch of the world's worst pick-up lines just to have a laugh and find something terrible and interesting to share, when I stumbled across a blog that shares 33 pick-up lines for Musicians.
I got through reading three when I realised that musicians don't need pick-up lines. They need just two things: 1. The ability to speak, and 2. The G chord

Here's how the situation works:
Musician: Hi I'm a musician
Unsuspecting Male/Female Recipient: Really?! Cool. Can you play something?
Musician: Sure. *Plays G chord, slowly, and then again, and then maybe strums for another 2 seconds*

Some musicians don't even need that. They just need to carry their guitar/ guitar case (yes, even an empty case works) or a pair of drumsticks.
Here's how situation #2 works:
Suspecting Mediocre Male/Female/Person: Oh, so you're a musician?
Musician: Yeah.

Now, you're probably wondering what happens if the musician is a singer/ songwriter/ composer/ producer/ mic boy. Well, that's simple.
Here's how situation Don't-Got-No-Instruments works:
Musician: Hi I'm a musician.
Insignificant Other: What? Where's your equipment?
Musician: Oh I'm a singer/composer/producer/assistant music producer (mic boys usually use [see how I did that] the last one)

So if you were wondering why the life of a Rockstar is all "Sex, Drugs and Rock n Roll", it's because no one's ever said no to a musician (except his mother, of course, and maybe a few loan officers).
Hence proved.
(Not really, but you get what I mean.)

Finally, to conclude all this, I'd just like to say MUSICIANS ARE AWESOME.
Ok. Goodbye.

#1 band-song-video on my list.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Rule #15: It is NOT a small world.

Remember, at that party last week you met this one person who knew your friend's friend really well and you found out that two other friends are actually related? Remember reacting to all this information by saying "Wow, what a small world!" and then thinking about the other time this happened? Well, I'm sorry to break your bubble, but the world isn't small at all. It's humongous, with a thousand billion things you still have never seen before, homosapiens included!

The world's largest jellyfish is longer than the tallest man alive, and the tallest sunflower gives it close competition. I read about it today, and thought that if a specie of jellyfish can be so large, and a specie of ants or a kind of amoeba can be so small, where the hell does everything else stand?! Then I remembered a beautiful site I discovered created by the guys at Nikon - The Universcale.

Nikon basically said, "Here you go. We took the universe (and all the universes that could possibly be there), we took everything inside this universe, this galaxy, this solar system and this world, and we put it on a scale. We put it all behind a lens - we either minimised so you could see it, or we maximised so YOU can SEE it!"
Then I said, "WOW" and didn't stop saying it for 2 weeks. Yes, my face definitely hurt.
On one single scale in one single interactive page, they charted everything measurable in lightyears to everything measurable in femtometres, i.e. literally everything from the universe to a single proton.
Sometimes, the loud booming voice in my head still says "WOW".

Ruled and over-run by people, people without which we would never have known that half of these things existed, important people and impoverished people, all living on this same planet - that's our world.
An entire planet, a massive "terra-sphere"if I may call it one, with a surface area of 510,072,000 square kilometres and a million times that number (this might be slightly inaccurate) of living things upon it - that's The Earth.

It's not the best place for all of us, and I'm not glorifying it (at least I know I'm not trying to). I'm not even saying "Oh we're nothing in the 'big picture' but it's so cool and bourgeois to talk about it like this." All I'm saying is that it's FUCKING MASSIVE (sorry Mom), and unfathomably so. I'm sure, somewhere in his grave, Christopher Columbus is giving me a "hellyeah".

I live in Mumbai. On a good day (which I have most of the time), I refuse to travel from my humble abode to any place more than an hour away, unless I'm going on a road-trip, or it's 2am and there's barely anyone on the streets, or both. My city itself is big enough (Wikitravel agrees - see first line of the article). There's parts of it I have never even been to in my meagre 21 years of breathing. As I sit and watch the sunset turn into the night sky - this tiny, insignificant, little me that wanders aimlessly on this speck of a planet in the universe - I'm overwhelmed by the breadth of the world and the kilometres of it I still have not crossed, and may not ever cross. I'm not going to thank anyone for this world, or for this revelation/epiphany/life. It is here, I am grateful, I have written about it and it will always stay with me.

I have no advice for you today. I have nothing else to say. I'm not high.

The Sunset I'm Seeing.

Other Interesting Links:
1. Blue Sea Snail
2. The World's Highest Peaks

Saturday, January 14, 2012


Rule #143: If you're in love and you know it, let music set it free.

Feelings don't need to become words 
when they can become music.
So open your eyes, your heart, your soul

You don't have to celebrate love only on Valentine's Day, or your anniversary.
I like to celebrate it every day.

Here's a list of songs that celebrate with me.

1. I Follow Rivers - Lykke Li

2. Turn and Turn Again - All Thieves

3. You Are Mine - Mute Math
Other songs by MuteMath that fit this list: Picture, Noticed, Control, Plan B, Goodbye, Electrify

4. Stellar - Incubus
Other Incubus songs that fit: Echo, Here In My Room, I Miss You, Dig

5. Your Loving Arms - Karen Overton
There's a sweet ISOS remix by Tiesto too.

6. Somewhere Only We Know - Keane

7. Falling In Love Again (OST The Spirit) - Christina Aguilera
I only love this because of the movie, and it's the one based on the comic.
Not the one about the horses.

8. Cinema (Skrillex Remix) - Benny Benassi ft. Gary Go
Also check out his mix of iSquare's Hey Sexy Lady. This guy is brilliant!

Please, feel free to comment and add your own.

Stay healthy, and stay in love.
I know I will.

(Posted in dedication to someone who truly deserves more than this.)

Thursday, January 05, 2012


Rule # 43: Seek and You Shall Find.

*WARNING: I wrote this two years ago, in January 2010, so please excuse the bits of melodrama. I think I was going through a phase. Thank you.

What you’re looking for could manifest in the form of absolutely anything. A kind of person you’d like to be with, an event you want to be part of, or just a simple piece of solid matter you would like to acquire. It tends to be unique, different, something that interests us, something unconventional.

We have a picture of it in our minds and might know where to look for it, but the moment we set our goals and make our plans, a billion obstacles suddenly emerge in your path and your precious goal dips and disappears into the horizon.

On the train one day in August 2009, while I was on my way for football practice, I met another sportswoman. She sailed for India and said I should come join them as a guest for a sailing lesson. Absolutely random and just what I needed at the time – something new to learn. We exchanged numbers and schedules, and decided to meet the following weekend for some sailing. I cancelled all my plans for this buoyant event, and then, yes right then, (well, not really right then in the train, but two days later) I fell ill.
Plasmoduim Vivax if you please.
2 weeks recovery, right? Okay. Tolerable, I thought.
So I called, cancelled, did the dance, and scheduled it for the weekend after my recovery period was over.
The Friday before the aforementioned weekend, life decided to knock me off my feet again, this time with bad shoes and water. I slipped on the stairs outside my house and sprained my right ankle. So this means... NO SAILING FOR ANOTHER WEEK. I emotionally imploded.
Eventually, it took me a good 3 months to find a day where I could fix up a lesson. Ridiculous, I say, but we managed, and I now I know the fundamental basics of sailing!
I’m sure you’ve gone through a whole bunch of obstacles to get where you are today, or where you want to be in the future. We all have, right?

Indian Independence, anti-racism/anti-corruption movements, the fight for gender equality – these are battles countered with either ferocity or complete negligence from people with social and political power. Everyone that struggled must have felt at some point that the more they tried, the harder it became to reach their goals. The key is to stay strong, to stay focussed, to stay in the game.
This is where Rule # 21 comes in: TRY AND TRY UNTIL YOU DIE. For those agonising months, I really, desperately wanted to sail even though I knew I couldn’t. But I persisted, made calls, skipped classes and did end up going. It’s a small, trivial example to give you for such a hard-bound rule, but an experience I’ll never forget, and seemed larger than life after the wait.

So what would life be without the chase? What would life be without that passionate yearning or the will to fight for what you believe?
If you could have everything you wanted at the snap of a finger, how long would you want it for and how much would you value it?
Life always has a flipside, an up for every down. There will always be many reasons as to why these rules unanimously exist. True, not all of them apply to all situations. Sometimes, by pure fluke/good luck/chance, you’re served what you want on a silver platter (never happened to me, but I hear it’s possible).
So don’t give up yet. There’s so much more to know. You just need the will to look!

*Happy new year and have a brilliant 2012*