Why are Indian brands going ga-ga over Dubsmash!


Dubsmash used to be the new cool kid on the block. Not anymore. While most of us were finding it difficult to raise our gazes from the constant, pestering whatsapp notifications on our devices, Dubsmash was busy becoming the darling of Indian marketers. 

So what happened? We'll get there. First a couple of cases in point:

1. #Shopeepaah - Gaurav Gera doing ads for Titli, Shandaar, Pepsi, Pyar ka panchnaama 2, hike messenger, Big Magic Channel and basically everything that can be sold. He's serious about the selling business. He's a 'shopkeeper', after all. 


Long live Kalam

What I will be remembered for.. my memory of the last day with the great Kalam sir...
(From the pen of Dr Kalam's close aide Srijan Pal Singh)

It has been eight hours since we last talked – sleep eludes me and memories keep flushing down, sometimes as tears. Our day, 27th July, began at 12 noon, when we took our seats in the flight to Guhawati. Dr. Kalam was 1A and I was IC. He was wearing a dark colored “Kalam suit”, and I started off complimenting, “Nice color!” Little did I know this was going to be the last color I will see on him.

Long, 2.5 hours of flying in the monsoon weather. I hate turbulence, and he had mastered over them. Whenever he would see me go cold in shaking plane, he would just pull down the window pane and saw, “Now you don’t see any fear!”.

That was followed by another 2.5 hours of car drive to IIM Shillong. For these two legged trip of five hours we talked, discussed and debated. These were amongsthundreds of the long flights and longer drives we have been together over the last six years. 

As each of them, this was as special too. Three incidents/discussions in particular will be “lasting memories of our last trip”. 

First, Dr. Kalam was absolutely worried about the attacks in Punjab. The loss of innocent lives left him filledwith sorrow. The topic of lecture at IIM Shillong was Creating a Livable Planet Earth. He related the incident to the topic and said, “it seems the man made forces are as big a threat to the livability of earth as pollution”. We discussed on how, if this trend of violence, pollution and reckless human action continues we will forced to leave earth. “Thirty years, at this rate, maybe”, he said. “You guys must do something about it… it is going to be your future world”

Our second discussion was more national. For the past two days, Dr. Kalam was worried that time and again Parliament, the supreme institution of democracy, was dysfunctional. He said, “I have seen two different governments in my tenure. I have seen more after that. This disruption just keeps happening. It is not right. I really need to find out a way to ensure that the parliament works on developmental politics.” He then asked me to prepare a surprise assignment question for the students at IIM Shillong, which he would give them only at the end of the lecture. 

He wanted to them to suggest three innovative ways to make the Parliament more productive and vibrant. Then, after a while he returned on it. “But how can ask them to give solutions if I don’t have any myself”. For the next one hour, we thwarted options after options, who come up with his recommendation over the issue. We wanted to include this discussion in our upcoming book, Advantage India. 

Third, was an experience from the beauty of his humility. We were in a convoy of 6-7 cars. Dr. Kalam and I were in the second car. Ahead us was an open gypsy with three soldiers in it. Two of them were sitting on either side and one lean guy was standing atop, holding his gun. One hour into the road journey, Dr. Kalam said, “Why is he standing? He will get tired. This is like punishment. Can you ask a wireless message to given that he may sit?” I had to convince him, he has been probably instructed to keep standing for better security. He did not relent. We tried radio messaging, that did not work. 

For the next 1.5 hours of the journey, he reminded me thrice to see if I can hand signal him to sit down. Finally, realizing there is little we can do – he told me, “I want to meet him and thank him”. Later, when we landed in IIM Shillong, I went inquiring through security people and got hold of the standing guy. I took him inside and Dr. Kalam greeted him. He shook his hand, said thank you buddy. “Are you tired? Would you like something to eat? I am sorry you had to stand so long because of me”. The young lean guard, draped in black cloth, was surprised at the treatment. He lost words, just said, “Sir, aapke liye to 6 ghante bhi khade rahenge”. 

After this, we went to the lecture hall. He did not want to be late for the lecture. “Students should never be made to wait”, he always said. I quickly set up his mike, briefed on final lecture and took position on the computers. As I pinned his mike, he smiled and said, “Funny guy! Are you doing well?” ‘Funny guy’, when said by Kalam could mean a variety of things, depending on the tone and your own assessment. It could mean, you have done well, you have messed up something, you should listen to him or just that you have been plain na├»ve or he was just being jovial. Over six years I had learnt to interpret Funny Guy like the back of my palm. This time it was the last case. 

“Funny guy! Are you doing well?” he said. I smiled back, “Yes”. Those were the last words he said. Two minutes into the speech, sitting behind him, I heard a long pause after completing one sentence. I looked at him, he fell down. 

We picked him up. As the doctor rushed, we tried whatever we could. I will never forget the look in his three-quarter closed eyes and I held his head with one hand and tried reviving with whatever I could. His hands clenched, curled onto my finger. There was stillness on his face and those wise eyes were motionlessly radiating wisdom. He never said a word. He did not show pain, only purpose was visible. 

In five minutes we were in the nearest hospital. In another few minutes the they indicated the missile man had flown away, forever. I touched his feet, one last time. Adieu old friend! Grand mentor! See you in my thoughts and meet in the next birth. 

As turned back, a closet of thoughts opened. 

Often he would ask me, “You are young, decide what will like to be remembered for?” I kept thinking of new impressive answers, till one day I gave up and resorted to tit-for-tat. I asked him back, “First you tell me, what will you like to be remembered for? President, Scientist, Writer, Missile man, India 2020, Target 3 billion…. What?” I thought I had made the question easier by giving options, but he sprang on me a surprise. “Teacher”, he said. 

Then something he said two weeks back when we were discussing about his missile time friends. He said, “Children need to take care of their parents. It is sad that sometimes this is not happening”. He paused and said, “Two things. Elders must also do. Never leave wealth at your deathbed – that leaves a fighting family. Second, one is blessed is one can die working, standing tall without any long drawn ailing. Goodbyes should be short, really short”. 

Today, I look back – he took the final journey, teaching, what he always wanted to be remembered doing. And, till his final moment he was standing, working and lecturing. He left us, as a great teacher, standing tall. He leaves the world with nothing accumulated in his account but loads of wishes and love of people. He was a successful, even in his end. 

Will miss all the lunches and dinners we had together, will miss all the times you surprised me with your humility and startled me with your curiosity, will miss the lessons of life you taught in action and words, will miss our struggles to race to make into flights, our trips, our long debates. You gave me dreams, you showed me dreams need to be impossible, for anything else is a compromise to my own ability. The man is gone, the mission lives on. Long live Kalam.

Your indebted student,
Srijan Pal Singh

(The post has been taken from Srijan Pal Singh's Facebook wall)


Masaan - Poetry of 'bambooed' pyres.

A good friend of mine had once defined a made up word 'sonder' for me. 


n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness.
Masaan reminded me of this quaint word. Two stories, both of love, bereavement and acceptance run parallely, in the literal sense of the word. The open end is like the infinity where parallel lines intersect. Or not, for infinity is as abstract as life.

Personally, my optimism found Masaan to be a prequel of an endearing love story.

Piku and Margarita With A Straw: A collective review of sorts


"It reminded me of my relationship with my father" said our bachelorette Bengali professor for whom Piku, the movie was relatable at all levels. Creative people go berserk. It is the quintessential aspect that makes them creative. This subtle nuance is visible in Architect Piku's (Deepika Padukone) behaviour and her entire character sketch (her limits of patience, her fears and how they relate to her attitude) reveals itself gradually as the taxi progresses. It is almost like watching an artist make a figurine. You can stand there for hours and keep appreciating every stroke being smudged on the canvas.In that similar fashion, you keep appreciating Piku while it lasts, but it won't stay with you for long like the hangover Margarita With A Straw gives you.


aS Featured: The Lost Bride

One who reads, writes. As promised, We keep bringing to you 'aS featured' where we publish select ‘arbit speculations’ submitted by our readers to us. Ujjwal Raghuvanshi brings to you a heart wrenching piece of poem this poetry month. Do you think you might have some long lost poem kept somewhere that might be worth featuring? Send it in to arbitspecs@googlegroups.com. We're waiting, poets!

Door was ajar, waiting for the eonian night to end.                                  

Window was still, heralding the arrival of the moonlit breeze.
Still as the sun, she laid, her face trying hard to deceive the phantasms of her mind.

“Pas, laisse-moi” shot through the silence, she fell of the lair.
Once a pleasant face of a bride was now contorted with hapless fear.

Beads of sweat rolled down her marble skin; a shiver ran down her spine.
She knew her time was coming lest her conscience believed it.


Basics of basically

Sitting in the midst of my interim thesis viva presentation, I couldn't help but listen to the plethora of basicallies spewed into the air by everyone while speaking. Intrigued by this, and inspired by this fad of writing pretentious articles analyzing indicators of forever ensuing trends (even when you don't know shit about it) an arbitSpeculation had to arise out of the attic.

Follow this link if you're the kind of reader who does. http://bit.ly/Ak7Fle
If not, I won't basically define basically for you, but I will embed this oh-so-geeky graph of the usage of the word.

[insert random quote that sounds pretty impressive]
Orwell wrote: "If thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought."


In case you wondered, why the Yepme delivery box in #MaukaMauka ad 4!

So the #MaukaMauka series of advertisements goes on with the winning spree of the Indian team. While I'm totally loving the fact that India has had a hat-trick of impressive wins already, I was a bit disappointed with the fourth ad in the series, this time against West Indies.

The ad is surprisingly weak and apologetic in establishing any emotional connect unlike its predecessors, but what disappointed me the most was the almost random Brand placement of Yepme.com! A little googling (news) up and I found out the real reason why!


Mountain Dew's Realtime Snapchat story. Errr...What?

Okay, so marketing 101? Superbowl ads are awesome! Among the better ones this year that have spread far and wide, there is this oddball doing the rounds.
Mountain Dew released two new flavors Pineapple Orange Mango and Kiwi Strawberry during the Superbowl XLIX with an ad showing two dudes dancing eccentrically after sipping the same.

Well, wait... here comes the interesting stuff.

#SocialKiAankh ! - Pilot

The world is social today, like it never was. Socio-viral development.
Damn, that sounds heavy! And ridiculous! And heavy. :/

Anyways, till yesterday we were the novice kids playing with our childish gadgets, while the adults and grown up professionals minded their Business as Usual.

And suddenly every damn thing which has got anything to do with being cool is happening on social networking sites. And every business worth its salt is trying hard to cash on social media marketing.


The year in images: an arbit thought.

Consider this.
The Board of Governors (BoG) of the KVS headed by HRD Minister Smriti Irani decided that teaching of
German language as an option to Sanskrit will be discontinued herewith.
I will come back to this later, but I have to admit, the accompanying image did morph the first thoughts that would have come to my mind, rather, even aggrandize my negative vouch towards the decision.
Although the media's usage of a news image has been widely discussed and reiterating it would not add substance to the agreed upon notion, I would like to add that more than the authenticity or correct usage of an image, the selection also creates subtle biases in the reader's perceptions.