Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Whatsapp Groups! : Blog #298

Whatsapp Groups! 

Apart from climate change, imminent nuclear war and changing leadership patterns across the world, one of the significant agonies of the modern world is Whatsapp groups! If you are part of some specific groups, you have already understood what is being talked about and is wiping a tear away.
Whatsapp, Whatsapp Groups, Groups, Social Media, Technology, Life

To begin with, there are the Big fat Indian family groups. Yes, the ones where we wake up to 127 good morning messages (with flowers and quotes in place) followed by devotional messages and fun forwards that are presented as latest which were, in fact, doing the rounds on the internet a good 10 years back. God save you if there is anyone’s birthday. 127 birthday wishes will follow with divine pictures and messages intact. Please note that all the social rules apply in this group too. The 2nd uncle who fights with the 4th uncle will not ping/talk about him in the group. Same goes with the aunties from Delhi & Mumbai. Adding to the flavor are the in-law dynamics.

Now comes the school friends’ group. There will be some friends who aren’t working. But why should they care about those who have a 9-5 job. They begin their day with pictures of their babies, food that is prepared, parenting tips, TV serial reviews and calls it a day with their baby wishing Goodnight! And dare you forget to reply/respond, you are labeled as heartless/pretentious corporate sell out.

The most vibrant are the college groups. They play by the rules. No divine/good morning/birthday forwards. But, there will be unabashed self-promotion – requests for endorsements on FB/Twitter/Instagram of their spectacular persona. It can be in the form of pictures, blogs, short films, songs and so on. If it is a B-school group, then there are the incessant surveys that are pushed your way. The interesting thing here are the subgroups. If there are 50 people in a group, there will be 50! subgroups. People who talk to each other, people who don’t talk to each other, friends, enemies, frenemies, crushes, lovers, brothers, sisters, batch mates, project mates, lab mates, we love/hate Ms./Mr. Lecturer and on and on and on.  

To name a few other groups, there are society/flat groups, PTA (Parents groups – One can no longer lie about the results not being out), College alumni groups, bikers, theater enthusiasts, pretentious intellectuals, tech gurus that exist too.

One that is worthy of mention are the work groups. It is a microcosm of the office itself. There are bosses who send the most boring jokes and there are boss’ favorites who give 5 laughter–with-tears- smiley to those jokes. There are those who maintain dead silence. Even if their life depended on pinging on this group, they will choose martyrdom instead. There are those who send inappropriate forwards. There are those who delegate work and more importantly talk about work at 11:36 PM. There are false praises, there are smart reactions (smiley with shades on) and there are forced applauses too.

THANK GOD for the mute option on WhatsApp groups. Taking that away will be the most unkindest cut of all. That will be nothing less than an act of Terror against Humanity!

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Was the Snapchat CEO wrong?: Blog # 297

Was the Snapchat CEO wrong?

India is the largest democracy there is. It is the seventh largest country in the world with 29 states and 7 Union territories, each with strong cultural identities. Some of our states are so big that they are larger than some of the European nations. India is one of the fastest growing economies of the world with a GDP of more than 2 Trillion US Dollars. Our population is more than 1.3 Billion, home to the world’s largest young population and an average age of just about 29. We produce more than a million engineers every year.


India is also home to largest number of people living below the World Bank’s international poverty line. One-third of our children under the age of 5 are underweight. More than 1/10th of our population is undernourished. We also have the largest number of child laborers under the age of 14.

We have made considerable progress in the last 70 years and there is much to be proud of. But there is a lot more than needs to be done. A significant population of our country still needs support and help. People who read this blog have access to all the basic needs of life and most of the ‘wants’ too. But that does not mean all is well with our country.

Snapchat, Snap, Nature, Ocean, LifeRather than getting offended by some CEO of an app that looks like a Notodoris minor, maybe we should do some soul searching.  All of us glued to our smartphones and laptops are turning a blind eye to the dual realities of India. We must take cognizance of the great divide that exists in this great nation of ours. Just because we don’t venture out of the comforts of our offices and gated community apartments, we don’t see poverty in its rawness.

Also, is poverty something to be ashamed of? Should it be brushed under the carpet? Why do we get so offended by the word ‘poor’? Had he described us as a ‘rich country’, will we all be very proud?

If we all took as much time to talk to our maid/security guard/driver/newspaper boy and found out how we could help them in as minuscule a way possible than mindlessly herding towards down rating the app, our country will be a much better place. 

Friday, 7 April 2017

Amul Cartoons: Blog #296

Amul Cartoons

Who doesn’t love Amul Cartoons and the polka dotted- blue haired girl? In 2017, this adorable girl is turning 50! All of us agree that the creativity behind these cartoons is beyond excellence. To keep a cartoon alive with the creativity and more importantly, the nation’s love for it intact is nothing short of  brilliance.

These cartoons; for most of us, is a brisk walk through childhood. For many from the yesteryears, these pictures will be a memoir of their youth.  For those who identify themselves as X and Y, it can be an enriching lesson in history.

The creators of this cartoon are much revered Sylvester da Cunha & Eustace Fernandez.  The enviably gifted, artistic minds who keep it alive and thriving are Rahul daCunhaManish Jhaveri and Jayant Rane.

I was doing some research around these cartoons. Apart from the obvious creative abundance, what surprised me was the fact that how we haven’t changed much as a society and as a country. Most of the popular cartoons were about corruption, sexism and communal tensions. They were true 50 years before and they continue to be so.

The cartoons must be lauded for the candour and bravery about them. There have been, are and will be - brands much larger and popular than Amul. But none of them ever takes a side on public issues. One of the brand consultants once said “Brands are like olden days Hindi film heroes/heroines. They do not see, hear or speak any evil.” Brands are pristine and more diplomatic than the weakest diplomat in the world when it comes to reacting to social issues. But Amul is a pleasant change. They have and continue to express a strong opinion. At the same time, not even an ounce of dignity is lost. It is indeed an art to put across one’s point of view without being brash and that’s something these cartoons have perfected.

Almost mirroring the nation, the cartoons can be divided into 3 popular segments – Movies, Cricket & World Affairs. There are issues other than these 3 which the cartoons have indeed addressed. But these 3 are a recurring theme. Here are some selected cartoons from over the years - a walk down the memory lane. 

World Affairs:



Saturday, 1 April 2017

Be!: Blog #295


Poem, Be, Live , Literature, Story
Be Lost than Stranded
Be Concerned than Worried
Be Rebellious than Stubborn
Be Mysterious than Secretive
Be Expressive than Animated
Be Curious than Inquisitive
Be Responsive than Reactive
Be Alone than Lonely
Be Eloquent than Verbose
Be Willful than Adamant
Be an Explorer than a Wanderer
Be a Human than a Being
Be,than Was!
                                                                                                               Arun Babu