Saturday, July 30, 2016

I saw ‘Placebo’ & can’t get it out of my head

The film ended. The credits rolled. The audience applauded. I sat there silent, blank, wondering What did I just see?

The story began in March 2013 when my friend showed us the crowd-funding teaser for Placebo and said that the filmmakers want to make a pitch at our film festival. The teaser was a true teaser. We wanted to know ‘What is Placebo?’ and what is this ‘feature length film’ going to show. It had captivated our senses. We were on and that was when I first met and spoke to Abhay Kumar, the director of the film.

Months rolled by and after a lot of struggle (that I could make out from Abhay’s facebook timeline) the film finally saw a release last year. It has gone around the world and received innumerable standing ovations.

For some reason or the other I kept missing the screenings of the film that happened here in Mumbai in the last few months. When I got to know about the Peepshow screening at antisocial Khar last Tuesday, the timing being convenient, I finally was going to get some answers.

The only thing I was worried about was- Since we have so high expectations from this film and that for so long, what if we are disappointed?

Well, after watching the film, was I disappointed? No.

Was I highly impressed? No.

What happened then?

Sunday, July 17, 2016

I didn’t go for the Wimbledon- Who is to be blamed?

#UPDATE: On Tuesday, 19th, after two days of posting this entry, I got a call from Media Moments, the PR company, requesting me to take the blog post down and asking what I was expecting from them or Allen Solly. I said my only concern was that any time in the future if I apply for a VISA, this rejection would be accounted for. And since it was the mistake of the brand (by giving me a wrong sponsorship letter), they should get it rectified. They said the brand would get my VISA work done but I would have to take care of all the other expenses including flights, stay etc. 

I said I would get back to them. I consulted some top travel blogger friends for what should be done in this situation and after understanding the entire situation and being certain that the brand is definitely at fault in this situation, they all suggested I should demand for compensation.

For the next two days I kept superbly busy with work and couldn't get back to Media Moments people even though they were constantly calling me to check if I was okay with their proposal. On 21st morning I spoke to them and clearly told them that I would like them to gratify everything apart from the 'watching Wimbledon' part, as mentioned in the T&Cs and contract. They said "It's a long process of approvals and paper work for a big company like Madura Fashions and the brand won't do it." 

The lady went on to tell me how keeping this blog post online would harm my future as a travel blogger and how it is in the best of my personal interest to take it down. 

I suggested they compensate me the entire amount equivalent to what I was promised as a contest winner. She denied that as well "The brand won't give any monetary compensation."

I clearly told them that they mustn't expect me to take the blog down if they were unwilling to do anything.

"Fine," she said. And that was the end of the discussion.

What was the point of contacting me then? Should a brand like Allen Solly (or Aditya Birla or Madura Fashions) be allowed to let go of a situation like this so easily? Or does the brand know nothing about all this and the PR company is trying to save its face in front of the brand? (This is what everyone is suggesting now)


At the end of May, I won a blogging contest to go and watch the Wimbledon at the Centre Court in London this year. It was an epic moment. Three weeks later, with just 4 days to go for my flight from Mumbai to take off, my UK VISA was denied for no mistake of mine. I was devastated.

What went wrong and who is to be blamed?

For all those who have asked me to narrate the story over the last few weeks, either out of curiosity or concern over my ‘heart-breaking post’ on facebook, here’s the complete story. Help me out if you can:

Participation in the contest:

In mid-April, I received an email from a PR company Media Moments (Bengaluru) about a blogging contest being conducted by Allen Solly with the ultimate prize of winning a trip to watch the Wimbledon in the Centre Court in London this year. I had initially ignored the mail, wondering how genuine it was.

Two days before the contest deadline, I got a call from Media Moments asking if I was participating. I gave it an impulsive thought and said I was. I had to make a timelapse video of packing my bag for Wimbledon and post it on the blog along with the reason of carrying the things I had shown in the video. All went well. (The first post: My Travel Bag for Wimbledon 2016)

A few days later I got a call from Media Moments saying I had qualified for the final round of the contest and the details for the same were shared. They also sent me an amazing Wimbledon SollySport gift hamper and a gift voucher worth Rs.2000/- appreciating the efforts of the first round.

The final round required a lot of thinking and over the next week I did everything that was required and posted the blog before the deadline. (The second & final post: Preparing for the Wimbledon)

Friday, July 01, 2016

Book Review: Six Degrees – Game of Blogs

Title: Six Degrees
Authors: Bloggers across India
Published by:
Publisher: Leadstart Publishing
Pages: 422
Genre: Varied

What is ‘six degrees’ and why is it a must-read?

In September-October 2014, 300 bloggers from across India came together to participate in the ‘Game of Blogs’. 30 teams of 10 members each were given a uniform set of 5 characters- Shekhar, Tara, Roohi, Cyrus and Jennifer- along with a little character description of each. Each team, with random team members, had to work together and create a story over 3 rounds using the characters. What happened over that one month period was a collaboration never seen before. There were eliminations after each round and the top 3 stories made it to ‘six degrees’- a published book of the collaborative blogging effort.  

This solely becomes a reason to read the book without even going into the details of how good or bad the 3 stories in the book are. The same set of characters but completely different paths and genres of stories- it’s an achievement in itself!

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