Travel Theme: Through

ghatkopar For those people who know Bombay, there is a suburban place known as Ghatkopar therein. It literally means an elevated area and the prominent feature is the houses stacked closely together all over the hill. This picture has been taken though the open area of a local school situated atop one such hillock.

Theme inspiration is from Alisia’s theme: http://wheresmybackpack.com/2013/09/20/travel-theme-through/

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The frenzy called Ganpati Visarjan Procession. In Bombay.

Today was the final day of the Immersion of the Ganpati which arrived in the neighborhood ten days back. While I probably didn’t document the entire mandal, today was hard to miss. The music for one. It almost resembled a punjabi wedding, which I’m more familiar with. So this is how it happens. All the Ganpatis of the various mandals are today lifted and with a lot of fan fare, music ( to the taste of thier devotees) and lights and are carried along thier specific routes for immersion into the sea. In Mumbai, the Girgaon chow-patty and Juhu chow patty are famous for this. Lakhs of devotees gather with the Ganpatis for the immersion. I was strongly dissuaded from a visit, given the frenzied crowd, but as it turned out, I was able to get a glimpse of the procession which is hard not to share.

The new Apple IPhone and India?

Apple’s new iphone. Will it make a difference in India compared to other competing brands? The colours seem fresh and new; but for Apple. Fashion history has seen that bright colours like neon are generally short lived trends which last for a couple of years in the classic “fad” phenomena. They peak during their popularity period and then rapidly decline. Remember acid tones, which gained popularity a decade back? Once the fad reached the streets, it quickly exited along with bell sleeves and platform heels. While acid tones have a neutral association, apart from the fact that they look hideous on the majority colour complexions in India, neons don’t have plenty of good associations either. To the typical Indian mind, they are generally associated with bars and night clubs, which is not a very classy association for a premium product. While a niche audience may be willing to experiment with the new phone, the masses may not be comfortable with the phone especially given the estimated price tag of around Rs. 40,000. For a fashion colour. And that too for a plastic body phone. I feel Apple is somewhat lost in It’s positioning with a style and price mismatch for the Indian audience. A new colour is hardly a wow factor, neither is the price alluring. Add to that an operating system that the Indian market is still in learning stage. I don’t see this going much ahead.

Ganpati Arrives

ganesh The Ganpati festival spanning 10 days has begun in Maharashtra. On this day “Ganesha” , the elephant-headed God is said to descend on earth. Amidst fireworks and resounding drumbeats, a neighborhood Ganpati is marching towards its “Pandal”, a temporary worship place created by the community for the days of Puja (worship), atop a colourful truck here.

My first Interaction with Nokia Research

The news of the Microsoft and Nokia deal has been all over since yesterday amid skepticism and perhaps even criticism. Odds seem heavily stacked against the prospect.  Nokia which had been the market leader in cellphones in India for many years, had recently been replaced by Samsung on the top spot. But inspite of that, Nokia still has one of the best brand recall in the country upto the interiors of India.

Some years back, when Nokia was still placed as the global leader in cellphone space, I had the good fortune of meeting researchers from their labs. As I was then heading the Accessories department in Delhi NIFT, my immediate thought was to get our students learning fashion accessories to be involved  a short project that NOKIA labs was then conducting in India. So while the rest of NIFT was on summer vacation, a group of our students and some faculty got the opportunity to be part of the process of understanding the Indian market as part of a larger “Future Urban Project”.

It was then we were sensitized to the various in-depth research methods that mobile phone companies employ and amazed by the future oriented outlook that NOKIA had. While Android has undoubtedly taken over due to its ease of use, the understanding that NOKIA has about local markets such as India, gained from systematically studying the ethnic intricacies and their needs is something which may give it competitive advantage in its new story, especially in the emerging markets.

Microsoft too is a household name in India, so this deal might be one to watch out for in the long run.