Beef. With. Beef.

To make up for the absence of the traditional November post, here is a fabricated one.

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Hearing about revolts against a state chief by someone reportedly planning to hop party lines to join another state chief who enjoys food as long as it is oily, spicy and meat with lashings of beverage to wash it down with. Even when fasting for good causes. The catch is that the issue in question is beef. The trouble is that beef as in cow slaughtered for purpose of eating or making belts and wallets out of is legally permitted only in a few states out of the many in the country. This makes the entire furore over beef eating as an offense in states with strict laws and highly regulated animal slaughter industries somewhat self defeating if not clearly fabricated, from the perspectives of religion as well as animal rights. And we haven’t started talking about carbon yet. Or the plaque in our collective arteries. But then, sitting in the city of pearls and politesse, where kebab, biryani, roti and a tala hua are the order of the day, beef with beef gets beefy sometimes.

I wholeheartedly support the movement against beef. If we all can take this brave step of ridding our selves of complaints and grievances, we will be creating a truly wonderful world. What way better to do this than by making having beef (or being the cause for someone else to have beef) punishable? This will be executed by a futuristic, Minority-Reportish thought police. I’m guessing.

Social media flotsam. (Don't know who took this picture but will be glad to credit if you let me know. )


So you wake up in the morning, realize it is Monday, and woosh! Charged under section so and so for having beef, first with the boss, then with all of commerce, and then with his own wife in the early hours of... Or you look at your tax calculations, and excuse me, that was like an admission to a few decades of beef. Off we go. To that which is and that which may yet be.

Other than beef with beef as something not befitting a nonviolent compassionate way of life, I have big beef with a whole other lot of things. Other than beef with beef that is. And carbon and grilled food. Resistance to low-rise urban expansion for example. Apathy that government after government display towards basic welfare of the people. Intrusion of commerce into your dinnertime television and your morning dump.

Paris 13/11



Days when all a poet can do is not enough
Dreams, leaves and blame best left to hawks
Bells toll you haven’t done what you meant to do
What you were meant to do. All a poet.

You and I our dawn-staggered lives
You and I unname ungodly names
You and I our million things to hide
And a million commercial breaks.

Pointless censure, pointless remorse
Pointless parade of muddied souls
Condemned condemning themselves
An important hurtful circus. All a poet.


(A tribute to all the world leaders who so eloquently responded to the 13/11 Paris Terror Attack)

New, Improved, Same Old Art

Sunday mornings, up with the lark, photographing my latest crop of paintings, drinking mystic tea, and waiting for Dev to wake up and take over everything. My third set is ready to set sail. Do let me know what you think of them.

Devil King of the Sixth Heaven 2015, 8" x 10" Oil on Canvas, unmounted



Mara has been called the devil king of the sixth heaven in the teachings of Shakyamuni and the writings of Nichiren Daishonin. The sixth heaven is the ultimate selfish manifestation of desire, or the Heaven of Freely Enjoying Things Conjured by Others, and its ruler delights in manipulating others to submit to his will. In my pursuit of art, it also pertains to the resistance to paint or draw or write for that matter. In Buddhism, devils indicate those functions that block or hinder people’s efforts to complete their Buddhist practice, including propagating the teachings.


Man, Child and Door 2015, 8" x 11" Oil on Canvas, unmounted

The last two years have been the most wonderful time of our lives, with each other and with the coming of Dev. It has been a time of doors - opening, closing, as our inner landscapes evolve. We have been fortunate to be able to spend all our time together over this time, and many a times, the canvas and the brush would decide that is what it wanted to become.

Self Portrait 2015, 8" x 10" Oil on Canvas, unmounted

Studying art marketing with my agent has been fun, fun, fun. It turns out Buddha faces are the easiest to sell. But then, I don't have a clue what Buddha looked like beyond the one I see every morning in the mirror.


View of Tirumala Hills 2015, 10" x 8" Oil on Canvas, board-mounted

I am an out and out Tirupati obsessive, I love the place, the energy and the healing nature all around. This time, I quickly made notes of what I was seeing and tried to paint it.

Windows Vista 2015, 8" x 11" Pencil and Ink on Paper, unmounted
My homage to the information highway, online holiday planning, the Hyderabad metro rail, and to all 50 million plus displaced people (not counting the pigeons of course) on this planet who wonder what their next step should be.

My First Virtual Flash Art Exhibition And Sale

"Then you have an artist who says he doesn't want to paint at all." ~ Mark Knopfler, In The Gallery

I have a tea business and a digital marketing business. And while I have tea and worry about how to keep my digital marketing business afloat, I write and draw. I first shared my artwork on this blog when writing about Hindi poetry bloggers, and since I didn't get any adverse comments, I thought I would put some more out. As a digital marketeer I will do what I can to sell my work using social media. Once the groundwork is over, I will carry on with my life, only to come back in 24 hours to shut shop. (Update: The exhibition was ultimately kept open for 36 hours in order to include 12 hours of Monday - from Sunday early morning to Monday evening.)

These are from the last 10 years of my journey as an art student and aspiring artist and as a social entity living in the most challenging of times. Like my writing, my painting tends to be aimed at dissecting ideas rather than achieving anything of substance. As an amateur (one who is in love with what he does as opposed to professional), I feel totally within my rights. However, I accede to my times the right to not know WTF I am talking about.

This is a flash sale. Prices do not include shipping, framing, or digital reproduction rights. Most of these works are available online for lower priced reproductions. Prices of originals apply only to this experimental sale. I will do my best to update in real time, and I promise to put out more work if and as I clear my inventory. Commission undertaken subject to availability. (Update: I sold six paintings in the 36 hours out of the 9 that I exhibited. Two of these were by family members so they don't count. One was not for sale. That makes 4 out of 8, house-half-full. Pleased and grateful.) 

More than anything else, I would like this exhibition to be the beginning of a new conversation, a new dialog, one without a discriminatory or judging tone, to discuss where art goes from where it has been over the last few very exciting decades. I invite art students, scholars and lovers to jump in. Let us find, nurture and cherish the art that should define our time.

For everyone who happened upon this post, enjoy!!

"Family" 2015, Oil on Canvas, 11" x 14" Mounted, 10,000 SOLD

"Ascetic" 2015 Oil on canvas board, 8" x 11" 40,000 SOLD

"Study for Three Treasures" 2015 Oil on canvas board 12" x 15" 10,000 SOLD

"Study for Ascetic" 2015 Oil on canvas board, 8" x 11" 5000

"Study for Queen of Arts" 1985, Ink on Paper, 8" x 11", Not for Sale

"Forest" 2011 Mixed media on cardboard, 8" x 11", unmounted, 5000 SOLD

"The raised hand/A double edged sword," 2007, Watercolor on paper, 8" x 11" unmounted, 2000

"Study for Forest" 2011 Mixed media on card, 8" x 11" unmounted, 2000 SOLD
"Self Portrait" 2011, Pencil on paper, 8" x 11", unmounted, 10,000 SOLD

An Artist's Date With Good

Every single day, for the last week, I pause at the top of the page. No, not time yet. I am referring to the things that I do outside this blog, and some of what is shaping up is really, really gratifying. Not only am I more than halfway into my 2015 targets on most fronts, I am also on my way to fulfilling a few dreams that are more than a decade old on the drawing board. But, wait, I can drop broad hints. Creative arts. Tea. Music. At a studio. Someplace nice. Soon. Out of my page now.

The fun thing about spontaneous writing is that what is most pressing tends to pop right out, whether you want it to or not, and right now – top of my mind – it is to continue exploring the question of reading, judgment, and the social responsibility of the artist. God. That is going to take a while. That is also going to be a whole lot of crib. Tea is ready. All rise.


Over the last few years, we have been actively seeking out and associating with creative communities, mostly writers, artists, filmmakers, poets. The purpose of this is to build up a network of people who will contribute to putting art back where it belongs, among the people. In the process, I am encountering various kinds of artists. Some of my encounters are extremely heartening. Some are downright shocking. Yet through it all, they are instructional. They help me understand the criticality of non-judgement, and help me accept the truth that all of us have a right to coexist meaningfully. Since I write more than draw or dance or sing, I can reflect on how I relate this with the need to judge when writing (or reading, knitting, whatever).

The world of contemporary creative writing, especially in India, is a divided one. On one hand you have the writers whose works need a footnote for every sentence. On the other, you have writers who write about irrelevant inanities and keep pinging you on the social networks to “like” their marketing pages. In between these two extremes, you have a silent majority who put out their work in journals, blogs, and self published books, much of which stands out for their mastery of the craft.

An Artist's Date With Reading

I continue to be pleased with the last two pieces (on writing and on tea), and at the same time, a little disappointed as I read them back to myself today. They did not hold up as cohesive pieces either by themselves or as a part of this series. It set out in one direction and ended up quite somewhere else. But one of the decisions I took when I started this series was to allow each work to assume its own life, to let it decide for itself what ingredients would go into its making, how long to simmer and when it was done.

What still pleases me was the fact that they got me to write about two “paradoxical” things about my life as a writer. Strangely, neither of them have anything to do with tea. I am referring to my poor publishing frequency and my absence of reading. Over the last several years, I have recommitted myself to writing, and we have slowly been blessed with a network of fellow writers. This blessing has resulted in the recognition of a few contrasts. Some of my fellow writers are terribly committed to what they believe in, much more than I am. I am happy shirking the call of writing much of the time. Most of them are extremely well read; I on the other hand have scant familiarity with contemporary writing, and it would not be entirely wrong to say that I tend to avoid it. I read what those who I trust recommend, and yes, I am often not disappointed.


Most of the writers I know frequent the company of fellow writers at conventions and literary gatherings. I, on the other hand, feel extremely out of place at such dos. I find them pretentious and self defeating. There goes any hope of being praised by my peers. The purpose of writing to me is to bring wholeness to the reader and to help him or her find the resources needed to take the leap, to make the change. This is a very personal belief, born out of how I felt reading Kafka or Dostoevsky, Celan or Brodsky and this is the belief that makes me give myself to writing.

An Artist's Date With Tea

I was among the ones gloating as day 5, 6, 7 and 8 of the Artist's Date series rolled past. I knew I wouldn't make it. I was writing every day, but elsewhere, breathlessly, desperately, pointlessly. I thought about this blog every morning as the flavors and smells of my tea mingled with the wind and brass, bass and drum of my staple fare. How I wait for winter, when listening to music becomes a pristine activity, especially early mornings and late nights. So as I determine to spend more time (if not every day) here, I feel like writing about tea, music, technology, anything, anything but writing. These are the things that really turn me on, writing is more like work on most days. Chore. So, without any further ado, here's what every asdfasd thinaking adtiv ofa dasdl tea drinking creative artist needs to know about tea - and for all who have been with me so far, a three, a four, a five, six, seven, eight.

*****

Tea is classified typically into white, green and black teas. The same, with a few variations, applies to e-stores like Blend Of Tea that home deliver premium tea. More than 90% of the world’s tea production is used to make black tea. At home, we drink black tea on an everyday basis, several cups of it every day. Even though we receive and stock the finest green teas, they are usually relegated to the occasional use shelves. What makes black tea such a hot favorite, pipping its allegedly more salubrious cousin, green tea to become the most widely consumed type of tea?


The secret lies in what tea does to you – stimulating and relaxing you as you need at that point in time. Black tea is significantly more stimulating than green tea, and several times more stimulating than white tea.It compels your mind to recognize its forays into the tea gardens, the misty mountain mornings, the sunny hillsides, and come back to the brew at hand and the ugly city soundscapes. The repeated straying and returning is a kind of mental push-up, strengthening that faculty of ours which defines, interprets and judges everything. This is one of the fundamental practices of mindfulness.

An Artist's Date With Writing

Less than a week into my determination to write a post a day that will meet your and my approval, I am blessed with an excuse to not write. Discomfort. Not sure it has anything to do with anything, but from yesterday, I have developed a not-nice physical sensation made worse by sitting at the computer. When it struck me last night, I experienced a secret moment of relief, that I can take today off from my writing challenge without any sense of having let me down. I happily occupied myself otherwise, helping Hyderabad poetry lovers to get to listen to Neal Hall and Rochelle Potkar read their political poetry on June 21, and it wasn’t till now, early in my afternoon (it is just past 10 a.m. IST), that I sat to take a look at my schedule for the day and what’s left of the week. I almost crossed out my artists’ date item, when it struck me I was actually pleased I didn’t have to write. So I sit, Dev in arm.

A few years back, we made the acquaintance of a talented poet whose obsession with the art rapidly made us friends. Expressive and vocal, able to draw us quickly into deep and meaningful conversation, not an easy task, it made for a fun friendship. At one point, this poet was traveling on work, and after a couple of days silence, there was an update on social media. It was something to the effect of “I feel like dying.” Of course, poets say it very differently. Knowing obsessive nature and the depth of this person's struggle with expression, we were naturally concerned. There was a storm of “whys?” and “what happeneds?” from friends. When the poet finally did respond after several agonizing hours, the explanation was not having written anything in over three days. Come on, now!! I don't get to play my organ every day, ever heard me complain?


Like most good Bengali boys, I read and wrote poetry as an adolescent. Almost every day, or more accurately – all the time. In Bengali and in English, more English, but wrote many years in both. I was fortunate to have a mentor in my father, who guided me to the masters, and by the time I was a teenager, I had read a lot of what I wanted my writing to measure up against. I struggled till my early 20s, and by the time I was in my late 20s, I gave up. I gave up writing altogether because I realized I would never be able to write what I wanted to, the way I wanted to, that it was beyond my abilities, especially so in my mother tongue. I resigned myself to the fact that I was not the guy I wanted to believe I was - in Bengali, English, Dakhni or Esperanto. Additionally, I discovered material success could buy you purpose and meaning faster than poetry could. Or so it seemed then.

I did not write anything of consequence for the next 15 years. I felt awkward whenever friends and family would ask me if and what I was writing. I would write the cursory one or two poems a year, on birthdays or when great change took place in my world, more habitual wordplay than true poetry perhaps. The important thing here is in all those years, I never felt the urge to write, or experienced any distress about the fact I was not writing. So when I read my young poet friend’s social media SOS, I realized how differently the call to write affects different people. Anyway, let’s return to what we were looking at.

An Artist's Date With Great Good

The two great wars of the last century resulted in unimaginable loss of human potential. Apart from the loss of lives, there was global damage to economies, infrastructure, works of art, and budgetary allocations to human welfare. However, it also led to the most unprecedented era of human development in many of the areas we suffered the greatest losses in. It led to the acknowledgment of the vital role of women in modern society. It led to the evolution of global entities like the UN and its various little ones. It led to the awareness that war was not worth it. The fact that war is in the interest of most, if not all, governments and corporations is another matter. The point worth keeping in mind is that the great evil of war led to the emergence of the great good in many areas of human endeavor. This fills me with hope.

Contemporary Indian rock album art. Among the finest bands, this.

There is no denying we are living in times of great moral darkness. Globally and nationally, human welfare has been reduced to just another item on election manifestos, and ethical living is popularly considered to be the refuge of the incompetent. Popular art and culture has almost entirely been hijacked by commercialism, sometimes even in the garb of conscious capitalism. Education has been institutionalized into an industry. The news media is no longer the watchdog of the citizens but panders primarily to the needs of those who garnish their salads. The good news is this widespread degeneration of civilization can only mean one thing – great good is on its way.

I was born long after India became independent, so my knowledge of how India came together as a people to claim independence is entirely from books and from hearing about it. And no, I don’t mean Rushdie and Guha, in case you are nodding your heads. I believe, as a people, we somehow connected to the fire within during those days. In the seven decades since, somehow we have lost that connection, and perhaps the fire itself. The richness of our culture, the depth of our philosophy and the respect for human life that is part of our spiritual identity as a nation, has also been dampened significantly along with that connection and the fire.

An Artist's Date With Laziness

Today is the second day of my self-prescribed challenge to publish a piece a day. My first thoughts on day two have to do with the just missed weekend. Should I permit myself a weekly day (or two) of rest? Does it necessarily have to be on the weekend? Or can I take it as I feel sufficiently exhausted or uninspired? The birds are calling from their cages on our neighboring terrace in the quiet morning, and the aroma from a steaming cup of tea plays hide and seek with me. Instead of being excited at the opportunity of writing this post, I am already wondering why I took this challenge on and where I should posit the exit routes.

Part of the reason that I embarked on this “post-it a day” is the fact that I am lazy. Not lazy as in don’t feel like doing anything. Lazy as in I seek out the most convenient way to find my way through life. In the case of writing, it is especially true. I have a million excuses, some of them extremely compelling, why I do not write what I feel I should. Some days, I tell myself that my writing is so important that it needs to undergo the test of time before anyone, myself included, realizes its worth. On other days, I tell myself that what I want to say is so difficult to put into words that it needs to condense, to crystallize and to ferment adequately before my limited mind can find ways to put it into words. Some days. Bull shits.


This exercise is to test whether I can consistently write something that will be interesting enough for you to read, and something I will find of sufficient value to publish. It is likely that in the course of the month, I will lose perspective and be willing to hit “publish” even when what I have written does not meet my expectations. I might consider something to be essential reading for you while you may find it worthless. I am aware of this, but am willing to take the risk just to take on my spiritual laziness. This laziness is not something that is unique to me. On the contrary, it is the emblem of our times. One look at what is considered popular culture and mass media, and you will see what I am talking about.
 

An Artist's Date With Self Doubt

Some mornings are grey because they blend the white of the empty page and the black of what you meant to write and look back at you with an insipidness that borders mockery. This is one of those mornings. A pile of unpaid bills and a rapidly depleting pantry hang like rain clouds from the roof of my mouth. The most common question that taunts the decision to live a principled life is whether honesty pays. Of course, it doesn’t – it was never meant to. Honesty grants you peace and meaning, but if you are looking at benefit beyond your needs, it is perhaps not the best way to get there. From where I stand, it seems an excellent way to get back to writing on this blog though. I have had the most wonderful year behind me and it just seems to get better each passing day. Last weekend, I was at a writers' workshop with Corinne Rodrigues. My time with her and Aarathi (an old familiar out here) led me to think deeper - more honestly perhaps - about contemplative writing, intuitive painting, and photography, and what I do out here.

I have been seriously challenged to make time or even feel like writing a post. Those who follow me know what I mean all too well. And as many of you are artists and writers yourselves, you know how it is to get your butt back to the writing desk. It is a cool morning after a while, and the tea smells awesome. So hey!

I am not trying free writing (writing without stopping to think or edit) but I am close, probably because I am short on time. The two overwhelming enemies that I have been able to identify in the last several weeks of working with my creativity mentors or catalysts or whatever are self doubt and sloth.


As a writer, I have a daily schedule of writing. However, on most days, I do not produce a single cohesive work. Some days I create an outline, or pick up a piece I had started earlier, and on other days, I edit something that I liked but was not to my satisfaction. However, the fact remains that I write everyday. Many of the writers I admire, like Corinne, create complete works in their day’s writing, and I have always found that amazing. Some of them take on prompts and turn out a new article every day based on random ideas. Others write poems or publish photographs, one incredible piece each day.

As June commences, I decided that I would give it a try too, but perhaps only till I have something to say. I have four year-end papers in June and a slew of other things that I need to get done. The days I cannot get a piece, I can always do a Worst of 2014 (since it looks like I didn't do that). I am filled with apprehension as I begin this series, since the only thought in my mind is that it will turn out to be nothing more than a dull journal. I do not have an outline for the series; I plan to take it one day at a time. I am also excited since it challenges my perception of myself as a writer. I hope that my fears and my hopes will result in a bearable marriage. I hope as I plod along, the outcome will not be a boring narrative but something that will be of use to all who read it. Like an accused unsure of his own innocence, I surrender to you.

What is Peak Performance?

I remembered this blog on receiving a guest post in response to an ancient request.  Not like the summer has dried juices or the pressures of work and home kept me away from keyboard. No, no, no. More like strategic procrastination as I figure out where this blog and its author are headed. Maybe this guest post was the trigger the author needed to commit to visit once in a while. Too. Enough already.

Personal productivity has been of interest to me for decades. When NVL Sateesh began walking me through peak performance a few years back, I watched my years of reading distil down to the principles of mindfulness and intentional living. Sateesh helped me identify and make changes to my frequently self-defeating and wasteful way of living and working, changes that improved the quality of my life significantly.  We are thrilled to have him join our small but growing community of mindfulness practitioners.
 
Peak Performance Coach, NVL Sateesh
Sateesh is a poet, blogger, psychologist, entrepreneur, and software consultant. His specializations includes school psychology and learning. He conducts life skills coaching workshops and corporate training. He is also a reiki healer and student of yoga. He blogs at To The Endless Return. He will be facilitating a one-day workshop on Cultivating Focus from his Peak Performance program at Hyderabad on June 13, 2015. Over to Sateesh. And hey, thanks. For everything.

*****

There is a widespread belief we use only 10% of our brain power and that we can learn to tap into the other 90% if we train the brain. This is scientifically incorrect. The brain is always performing at its 100% capacity. What this 10% usage perhaps refers to is the power used to work on the current task. Think of times when you were driving on a highway and many kilometers pass before you realize you were not even focusing on the road? Times when you are in a conversation and suddenly figured out you missed the last few minutes even though you were physically hearing? This is what the 10% is perhaps referring to - that only 10% of attention is present on the task at hand.

If you have not watched the movie Limitless starring Bradley Cooper, I would recommend it as a good movie. The movie narrates the story of a struggling writer, who accidentally gets a drug that enables him to access 100% of his brain abilities which turns him into a financial wizard (but brings other kinds of trouble). The drug does not actually enhance his brain capacity, but just makes all the information available in the brain accessible without lapses and fallacies. The concept is interesting to ponder upon. What if we could remember all the information we gather across years? What if we could connect the dots across years of experiences?

10 Tips On How To Be Mindful When You Are Busy



What better way to greet the wonderful weather right now in Hyderabad than with a business post. Business as in the -ness of being busy. Aarathi and I have been discussing and trying to improve how we live for many years. Aarathi Selvan  is a licensed psychotherapist and one of the first bloggers I began following. When she introduced me to contemplative photography, I realized this was what I had been trying to do all my life. She conducts Mindfulness and Creative Journaling Workshops in addition to her private practice. This weekend, April 17-19, 2015, she has put together a three-day workshop on Intentional Living at Country Club, Begumpet, Hyderabad. The facilitators include contemplative photographers, artists, body mind awareness experts, and peak performance coaches in addition to Aarathi herself. The course fee covers materials, lunch and refreshments for three days. Her guest post at this time has relevance at so many levels for each one of us. Over to Aarathi. Enjoy!

********

I know busy. I am busy. I believe that a busy life makes mindfulness mandatory. Here are ten tips based on  what I recommend, remind myself and practice:

1. Do what you are most passionate about. And if you are already doing it, then be mindful about those irksome aspects of your work and pour some love into those areas too. That's the way to be most alive at work and at home.

2. Stop thinking about what to do next. What are you doing right now? Just focus on that.

3. Stop feeling guilty about what you did or what you are not able to. Persistent, gnawing guilt is unnecessary, it only perpetuates more of itself. Instead, feel bad if you must and learn from the event in order to move on.

Writing By The Window: Nivedita's First Volume of Verse

In 1860, almost a decade after Moby Dick was published, Melville writes to his brother during his efforts to position and publish himself as a poet – “of all human events, perhaps, the publication of a first volume of verse is the most insignificant; but though a matter of no moment to the world, it is still of some concern to the author.” These are words that will readily resonate with poets around the world. It takes courage and recklessness in equal doses, along with generous helpings of conviction in the value of one’s own work to cross that magic bridge. In the last few years, there have been very few things that I have waited for as eagerly as I am for Nivedita’s first volume of poems – Writing by the Window.

She launches it at 10 am, Sunday, Feb 15, 2015, where else but at our second home, Our Sacred Space, Secunderabad. For event details (which includes an open mic poetry reading session for poets of Hyderabad) and to RSVP, please visit our event page.

For those who might not know, Nivedita is a publisher, and getting her to agree to publish Writing by the Window took her friends a few years. Her publishing house, Nivasini, sources and publishes some of the finest writing from around the world, writing that is at par with the best in the world.


Nivasini also partners several initiatives that connect stakeholders in the creative change process. Nivedita and Nivasini (along with friends and wellwishers) are key contributors to the blogger community through the Hyderabad Bloggers’ Meet, the writing community through Writers’ Carnival and other literary activities, and the changemaker community through SoCh. She is also friend to many, and she is one of the very few people I have met who practice being present to you one hundred percent. When she gets time away from all of this, she is a daughter and a wife. When you meet her family, please do not talk about how valuable her work is. And did I tell you that she has a day job with a global publishing major? Bills really should pay themselves.

Is Wordpress Blogger Infidelity?

One discussion that never fails to pop up on the forums with the regularity of a waking bladder is that of whether it makes sense to switch to Wordpress, self-hosted or free, from any of the other platforms. Today, I was compelled to revisit this discussion, in a closed room, with no escape and no coffee or tea and neither time nor room to smoke. We ended up having a great time as we explored the broader dynamics of journalism in the digital social space. But hey, the coffee.


Those of you who would like to know more will have to click through with me.

As far as infiltrating digital borders and setting the music free, the day is not too far

Read More>>

Breakfast of Champions: January 18, 2015, Begumpet, Hyderabad

Eight Winds is three months old, just a couple of months behind Devank. And to add to our team of champions, we are conducting a five-day digital marketing training workshop that we forgot to tell you about. It might possibly be over by the time you read this. That is how things are in the realm of digital. Hair today, gone tomorrow. What we are doing is promoting an already existing brick-and-mortar event on social media through the learning we acquire in the workshop.


The event in question is on Sunday afternoon, just after Sankranti, the deadest time of the Indian year for businesses and social media alike. Our challenge is to create a campaign in the shortest time, at the most difficult time (Saturday night and Sunday morning), spend no money, resort to no gimmicks and work towards boosting attendance at the event. The final tasks include collecting data at the event itself, validating and analyzing that data, and then reviewing the outcome of the training and individual strengths and training needs. At the end of it, if you pass the final exam, you get a digital breadcrumb that means nothing and a hard copy of the same. The best acts will have equally pointless offers from Eight Winds waiting for them. 

The nature of the event we are promoting is another challenge. It is a guitar and tabla duo and the setting is a pub where patrons are used to music of another sort. Not exactly the stuff that you see in the city event listings and drool over. But our marketing wizards will find a way to get people to come to listen to this little-known duo on a weekend when most of Hyderabad is out on family or vacation time. Add to that the fact that the event is actually part of a web series, and the potential for viral outcome is immense.

I am excited about the season finale, as winter bids us goodbye. I just hope I have the energy to get back and blog about it before having to whisk myself off to the next workshop on my calendar, with editors of Mashable, TechCrunch, TimesNow, NDTV, and CNN-IBN among others. Talk about dropping names. Talk about people you want to work with. Or don't. Talk. Work. Whatever. 
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