Monday, May 29, 2006

Update from Pondicherry! - The much awaited post!

So, what do you want to know?!

Am I alive?!
Where am I?!
What does my job here entail?!
So, what exactly am I doing now?!
Who are Kate and Scott
The office and people in the office
My time till now here in Pondi.
Photos from Pondicherry.
1.The beach
2.Sunday Market
3.Random Shots

Yes, I am alive.

I am in Pondicherry. People generally refer to it as 'Pondi'. Now don't start having ideas

What does my job here entail?!

I'm dealing with the Media and Publicity aspect of PlanetRead and
BookBox . PlanetRead and BookBox are now growing and the organizations need regular correspondence and dialogue with media. So, this Computer Engineer is more like the person who'd be taking care of that aspect. So, if you hear about PlanetRead and BookBox and know what they are working on, I'm doing my job well. That's in the long term. You obviously won't see PlanetRead and BookBox hogging headlines in the next few days or weeks. Well, they already have in the past though. Be it at the Google blog or
The Stanford Daily and at The NewYork Times(the link to which doesn't exist anymore) So, my job here basically deals with taking care of the fact that PlanetRead and BookBox are projected well in the media and that their brand value and recognition increase and get better by the day!

To make this happen I understand that there's lot of ground to be covered initially and lot of learning to do, both in terms of understanding of how things work in the organization and how best one can present it employing the most suitable media. There's also lot of learning on being adept in dealing with people cutting across different sections. You can't deal the same way with the kids on the street who you're scared will harm your camera, and the Regional Director of
This is where I believe devoting most of my time working with SPIC-MACAY in college, will keep me in good stead. Interestingly, the case is mostly the same at work here. But yes, a lot more serious finds it amazing as to how I manage to be comfortable dealing with different people! Who is Scott?! Read on. But then Scott already knows what SPIC MACAY is!

So, what exactly am I doing now?!

Right now, it's more of learning than working probably is the best learning I've had, both in terms of learning on how to go about things and the people that I'm spending my time with. I spend most of my day working, dining, arguing?!, discussing, wondering, contemplating, hypothezing, debating, shopping with Kate and Scott. Who are Scott and Kate?! Read here!

Scott and Kate bring with them a host of skills and ideas and my time involves picking it up from them and offer to them what I've to offer. Together, we intend to leave PlanetRead and BookBox with lots of assets, human or otherwise by the end of this summer when they leave for the US. Then, my job here involves leveraging on these assets to promote PlanetRead and BookBox all over the world! Yes!

PlanetRead is expanding into other countries, through its Global Outreach programme. Very exciting times ahead indeed!

Over the next two and a half months, we'll be traveling to all the South Indian states, Mumbai and Ahmedabad as well to meet and interview the people who matter in the IT,tech and the media industries. There are famous names. But I wouldn't want to reveal them now. Watch out for the final piece we come up with. Then you'll know. I'd be working with Scott on the field research, the camera and the editing work. With Kate my work would involve working on the communication aspect in terms of making and maintaining the blog and reaching out to a wider audience. My job also involves working with them keeping the long term requirements of PlanetRead and BookBox and how best we can utilize their work and stay for out purposes.

Who are Kate and Scott?!

I could simply say Kate and Scott are interns from the US who are working with me here at PlanetRead. To make things more interesting, I'd say they are students of Brown University which is part of the Ivy League. They took the class of social entrepreneurship under Dr.Brij Kothari and now, they are in India! That's how powerful Brij's interaction with them was! Brij's coming to India in the near future and I cannot wait to meet him! To spice up things a little more, Kate is very good-looking and I get to carry around her on the bike for our culinary needs or otherwise. Poor Scott has to bicycle around while I get to ride Kate around! [I'm eagerly awaiting for her reaction as and when she reads this!:)]

Kate works more on the design, visual appeal and communication aspects of presenting PlanetRead and BookBox's work to a much larger audience from a world perspective. She chronicles personal her experiences and those of people here, in this blog. Kate and I are also working on creating an official blog for PlanetRead and BookBox. Those will give you, the audience a better idea of what exactly happens here and present a human face to its activities. Now, do I write that episode, Kate?! Not now, will do sometime soon. Maybe when I'm articulate?! All this said, Kate has a power of keen observation which I believe is a great asset for a person dealing with the design aspect of an organization, or for that matter anything!

To define Scott, I'll use the same word he uses to describe everything in India- intense. This guy is awesome and amazing. Now, these are again two words which he uses the most to describe everyting here! The energy he brings into everything he does is mind-blowing. Be it when it comes to planning the schedules for the village trips, or in learning more about India and its people, or even it's simply talking about general things.

For sure you'll hear more about Kate and Scott in the coming months, as I'll be spending most of my time with them. All I can say now is that this is a huge learning opportunity for the three of us. Needless to mention, we'll also have lot of fun dong this!

The office/People in the office
The office is a bungalow with a small but beautiful garden and a terrace having a breath-taking view of the Bay of Bengal. Our workplace looks something like this

The best things about people in the office is that they tolerate me. Be it making The Bored Board, or putting up with my poor jokes! The bestest thing is that they understand my PJs and are able to appreciate my puns.! appreciate will be too much of self-appreciation, but yes, people here are definitely the ones I can relate to more than most people I've spent my time with. Ananya is my English teacher here. I get free English lessons everyday. Today's lesson was that using 'having to' is not right! Parthibhan is a 'hand'some cricket player with a safe pair of hands. We soon plan to start a PlanetRead cricket club with him as the President and the watchman and I being the Secretary cum peon. Mital finds me very cute and she's said that some 97 times in these ten days. Needless to say, she is equally sweet! Pappu is one person whom I'm glad to have met. He's one of the enthusiastic persons I've ever met in my life. He reminds me so much of Prabhakar from Shantaram. Everything about him is special, be it his contacts and his ability to get things done, his smile and even his body structure!Say this to him and he'll laugh. The laugh so funny that it'll cheer up your day! We have Maaran Sir, who is like a father figure to all of us here at PlanetRead and BookBox. Vinod's the co-ordinator and takes care that everything runs smoothly. Bobby is our in-house philosopher and poet! Francis and Amma make sure we do our work efficiently by giving us regular doses of coffee, buttermilk and snacks!

Nirav is now in Mumbai as we now have ten programmes with SLS from the earlier six programmes. Vikram, Vinay, Rajesh are in Mumbai. I had a great time with them in Mumbai. Looking forward to spending time with them when we visit Mumbai in some time from now.

My time in Pondicherry till now

It's been almost 10 days since I landed in Pondicherry.Landed?!Well not exactly. I arrived in Pondicherry in an ECR bus in which I was treated to almost a dozen Rajanikant songs and a proper, masala Tamizh movie with just the right amount of violence, songs, item song exposure and perhaps not enough comedy. It was interesting enough to have me look at the TV whenever I was woken up by the person next to me falling on me and trying to become my laptop.

So, I arrived in Pondicherry and not all at sea, though there was the huge expanse of the Bay of Bengal by my side. The office, where I stay as well, is just a road across the beach and I had no problems reaching here. Nirav's instructions were just perfect.No doubt, he's the Chief Operating Officer!:)

I've settled down comfortably here and I really do not find it surprising that it appears to me that I've known people for a long time now. There's a way I connect with people and I guess the connection's just right here! There's a nut who joins us for coffee in the evening, after dinner. Let's she how she reacts to being called a nut! Guess I'll have to buy a Nut and Almonds chocolate to make up for it!


Oliver is Scott's very good friend. They've been friends for a very long time now. It was quite amazing that they were meeting in Pondicherry after not having met for the last four months or so. That evening I spent with Oliver and Scott walking through the streets of Pondicherry, visiting the church, going through the meat and the vegetable market will rank as one of the best evenings I've spent with anyone. The discussions ranged from music to markets, politics to culture, religion to education and it was one of the most intellectually stimulating discussions I've ever had.

Oliver has seen more of not just the world, but even more of India than I have, having spent lot of time at Varanasi at the Little Stars School as a part of Where Be The Dragons. He's also been to Bhutan and Sikkim. It was his sixth visit to India and one could get the feeling that he exactly new what it was like to be in India and experience it. The very fact that he was checking out of a very luxurious and swank hotel to move into an Indian hotel is a testimony to this. He outsources animation work to Chennai and that is how he comes to India often. We hope to catch him when he comes to Varanasi in July. But what's most striking is that he's of my age and has done so much more. I'm sure the world will hear lot about him in the coming days, and not just from me!

Photos from Pondicherry.

1.The beach

3.Random Shots


Jiju said...

Yes much awaited!Dragged me to browse today to hear your exploits! And did you get through some contact in Kerala? Give me your number man....

junglebellows said...

1. finally.... i've been asking u to update me for such a long time ... and everytime its the same reply on Y! .. "Oye Fellow... ive got to go.." X-(

2. wherebethedragons not opening

3. lucky bastard... 'riding' kate around...

4. so u finally found an alternative to jayanth's laptop huh... heheh///

5. did i get u correctly or did u mention that u were leaving to the U .S of amreeka a few months from now??

6. say hi to 'prabhakar' from me :-D


Anonymous said...

readin the blog was pretty interestin...i guess ita a lovely place to b in...with one an absolutely excitin job...hav fun..

Sunayana said...


Ellie said...

Hey! Where's Nikhil??

Who are you?? :-p

Jayanth Madhav Barki said...

You are going to amrikka?! WOW!! :)

Anyway....good to know youre having fun there...and dont believe what Mital says...even if she says it 97 times a day!

Nikhil said...

Whoever whenever said I was going to the US?! But then one never knows where life takes us. Till sometime back I did not know I would be in Pondicherry. So, you don't know. Even I!

Contact contacted!

Will get back to you and him soon.
Thanks. [ I know it doesn't sound like Nikhil, but still]


Yes, will update soon.
No, you got it all wrong on America. Everything's happening here. Why go there?!


Still Anastasia?!


Say something more, or atleast close your mouth!

This is still the same idiot. Whom are you searching for?!


I think the America question is now answered and we put the matter to rest. I have lots to do here i India.

Sudipta Chatterjee said...

Wow! After a long time and so many goodies! All the best for your future!

vandana said...

hellllo good no stop shaking your head first or ill really slap yu.... i am a nut?? hun?? how dare you..yes i am coffee with you ...ever again........................:))

but yu are cute and mital was right:)