Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Calling Budding Entrepreneurs

I have been asked to post about iAccelerator, a programme that helps internet and mobile startups in India. Are there any entrepreneurs/would-be entrepreneurs reading my blog?

Here's what the email says:
We’re looking for brilliant individuals and teams who want to make a dent in the universe and do so profitably. Our incubation programme runs from June 1st to August 1st this year. The deadline for our 2010 edition is April 10th.
The programme provides mentoring, funding, and helps the entrepreneur find her first set of customers:
It's fairly simple. You send us an application for funding saying that you want a startup that does xyz. We read every single application that comes in. If we like your application, we'll get in touch with you via email and then meet you if the email conversation goes well.

We're funding companies in Delhi, Hyderabad, Bombay, Bangalore & Mumbai. We offer living and working space in each of these cities if the startup needs them.

Once you get selected, you spend 10 days at IIM to sort things like your business plan, get your company incorporated, etc... After that, you spend 3 months building the first version of your product. We'll have weekly meetings with mentors & inspiring speakers in your cities + free dinner !

After 3 months, we help you get your first set of customers so you can see if your product is actually viable. We'll take it from there after that... if you need funding and your customers are happy, we'd be happy to fund you ourselves or introduce you to other investors too.
The programme is supported by IIM-A. Also, Karam Lakshman from the programme who wrote to me says:
The best thing I can say however is that we've got zero in the way of red-tape even though we're technically a government organization. That and we read every single application that comes in.

Sounds like a great programme. If you know anyone who might be interested, spread the word. More details here.

Also, the programme has already been run three times, so do you know anyone who has been in it? I'd love to know what the experience was like...

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Rude Responses to Rude Comments OR, I wish I had the presence of mind to say that at the right time

A friend and I were discussing rude comments and how to respond to them. Here are a few ideas.

Rude Person: You should try these breast-enhancing oils. (Actual comment to my friend from her masseur)

Option 1: Actually, I don't need breasts. I'm a man.

Option 2: Sure! And I know of some brain-enhancing pills you could try.

RP: You don't look like you're from Assam . (Happens to me all the time)

Option 1 (if you know where RP is from): Well, I'm only glad I don't look like I'm from [insert RP's home state].

Option 2 (to be applied with a sweet smile): Yeah, I don't look like a real freak from the outside, do I?

Variation on the above: You look like you're from [insert random region, often the RP's homeplace].

Option 1 (to be applied with a look of horror): What? Oh no!

Option 2: Oh dear, there must have been a glitch in the software!

Warning: both of these work better if the RP names the region he's from.

RP: You should have babies soon. (Or some variation of the same)

Option 1 (said absent-mindedly): Thanks, but I prefer eggs for breakfast. (Warning: this might not work if the RP words her comment differently.)

Option 2 (insert look of surprise): You know what, you’re right, I should! In fact, I’m going to go get started right now! Now, where’s the Guy…?

What rude comments have you got lately? Put them down and we’ll think of ways to respond, shall we?

Monday, March 15, 2010

After Finally Watching 'Ishqiya'...

I finally watched Ishqiya - which I've lusted for since I saw the first promo on YouTube - on TataSky Showcase. I liked it, but yet, it was vaguely disappointing. For a movie that went so far, it didn't go far enough.

What I liked most, of course, was the strong female lead. Vidya Balan's character Krishna is the driving force - which is especially delicious given that one of the major male characters is the great Naseeruddin Shah himself. But instead of talking about what I liked - and don't get me wrong, there was much to like - I want to talk about what I didn't.

The one major thing that fell short for me was that Krishna starts off being enigmatic and manipulative - but then turns out to be the typical movie heroine, quite innocent and insipid after all. I would have loved it if she had continued to flirt magnificently with Khallu jaan while sleeping with Babban - but as soon as she sleeps with Babban, bang, the romantic triangle is resolved and she seems to be irrevocably with him now. The movie also does not attempt to subvert the old Bollywood dictum that if the heroine sleeps with (or even kisses) a man, she has to marry him in the end - or die. True, we don't know what happens after the movie ends and the trio walk off into the sunset... but I'd have liked a hint of a not-so-happy ending for the somewhat simple Babban and a much more sensible one for the forceful, intelligent Krishna.

The other stereotype the movie played into was that of the beauty parlour woman being the 'other woman', the 'loose' woman - even though it treated her more sympathetically than otherwise.

Also, her lover creeps out of the temple by a back door so that he can visit her unobserved and then his car is miraculously parked outside the house when he's done?
However, I did enjoy it. I wish I could have watched it on the big screen. Especially considering the last movie I watched on the big screen was Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief.

To the Guy...

who turns 28 today.

To the pre-teen boy who argued with parents and priests and god-men against religion.

To the driven young man who got a job and a degree while other people his age were comfortably bunking classes, and who went on to complete two post-grad courses, almost simultaneously.

To the rational young lover who argued against a romantic relationship being a bond; who argued for either party being able to walk out of the relationship at any time.

To the clueless boyfriend who doesn't bother to give me birthday surprises and who taught me that that isn't really important; who demonstrates how much more wonderful it is to be nice by default, to be nice every day, to not wait for a 'special' day to show he loves me.

To the friend who helps me become a calmer, saner person.

To the man who makes me laugh.

To the man who always challenges me, who doesn't let a lazy argument get through.

To the boy I knew who is all grown up now, and into an even nicer and smarter person than I always knew he was.

May the next 28 years be exciting and funny.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Lost Freedom

So yeah, I am working again.

I had forgotten how inefficient this job thing can be. For the last couple of days, I've spent much of my time just siting and waiting - waiting for people to have time to talk to me, waiting for the next thing I'm supposed to do, waiting for my computer to be readied.. and that's apart from the two and a half hours per day on commuting. To think I used to guilt myself for the time I spent playing games in the last few months... At least that was fun.

Other things I shall miss:
  • Sitting in my shorts and old t-shirt all day long
  • Eating whenever I'm hungry, including Maggi nearly every day (anyone surprised I've put on weight?)
  • Watching TV. I actually enjoyed TV after years, looking forward to the couple of shows a day I watched regularly (Bones, How I Met Your Mother, Ugly Betty and sometimes Desperate Housewives or The New Adventures of Old Christine, including old episodes of Friends that I still sometimes compulsively watch - and oh, Rishta.com).
  • Not showering till evening if I didn't have to go out: sometimes not at all.
  • Not stepping out of the house at all for days, and even then often just to go to a weeknight party or dinner out with friends.
  • Instigating weeknight parties and then grinning smugly when the others complained of having to go to work with a hangover and a few hours' sleep. Given my weird working hours now, I can't even make it to any Friday night parties.
  • Being so relaxed. No deadlines. Nothing to do except what I want to. Mindless hours of games. Long hours of lazing on the sofa and reading. Watching movies in the afternoon. Taking naps whenever I was sleepy. Nothing to worry about (except for money).
I had nearly forgotten how it feels like to go to work every day. To come home tired and brain-dead. To be in office till evening and then look at my watch and realise I have six more hours to go (as happened yesterday). To deal with the differences in temperature. I roast in the car in the afternoon heat, and am frozen in the air-conditioned office. (I am beginning to feel like one of the meals the Guy and I cook, carefully keeping leftovers away in the fridge.) How does one dress for summer and for cool temperatures and appropriately for the office at the same time?