Seen, Observed, Experienced & now Shared!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

The story of suicide: From the end to the start.

The coming of age novel The Story of A Suicide by Sriram Ayer speaks about the sensitive time that is youth. the story revolves around four key characters Hari,Sam,Mani and Charu. The story-line is enthralling which keeps you hooked. I devoured this book in one sitting. I liked the clever idea of the author to start the opening chapter with a suicide letter. It has an instant impact and stuns the reader immediately. The theme is relevant. The characters are neatly sketched and are very relatable. The parallelism of the four character's journey results in a curious page turning read. 

In the chapter 'I am gay' we are introduced to the first character Hari. Hari is gay but hasn't come out of the closet yet. we see that Hari lives in a  close knit happy family. Hari kept his visit to the national seminar on rights of sexual minorities a secret from his family. his hurried and nervous exit from the seminar throws a light  on the state of homosexuals in our society. Being insecure about our true self and try to hide it from the society especially from our family in order not to upset them or be ridiculed for not being 'normal' is a cruel reality we need to confront as a society. In the chapter 'I love you' Hari's traumatic past experience is revealed. 

In the chapter 'Do you even care' we meet Sam. Sam is a rich and handsome tech geek who is obsessed with posting every little updates of his life on twitter. His relationships often suffer because of his carefree attitude. His complicated relationship with charu and how he deals with rejection, jealousy is perfectly depicted in the story. his pot smoking sessions and manipulation by Aditya brings new twist in the tale.  

In the chapter 'Take care of my son' we get familiar with Mani's backstory. Mani's character bears a striking resemblance to Raju Rastogi (sharman joshi's character) from 3 idiots. He comes from a poor family who used to be a child laborer. He was raised by his mother alone. His academic excellence attracted attention of authorities who funded his education. so clearly a lot of hopes and expectations were riding on his shoulders. eventually he is disappointed by his failure in academics and can't cope up with pressure anymore. he tries to commit suicide but fortunately is saved by Alex and others in nick of time.

In the same chapter we are introduced to Charu, a character who is feminist, headstrong woman with enchanting beauty who won't bow before anyone and fights back when tough times befalls her. When her privacy is violated as her illicit pictures are taken without her knowledge and she is blackmailed, her emotional break down and trauma feels so real that makes you want to give her a hug and tell her 'everything is gonna be alright'. you think Charu is over but she quickly comes to senses and gets a hold of reality. 

The real gem of this book, however, are the secondary characters: 
Hari's Father Mr. Narendar Hegde who is proud of his son's achievements but just can't accept the fact that his son is gay. 
Anjali, The extremely supportive elder sister of Hari and 'Monica' of the Hegde family. she is caring and totally a  'I'll be there for you' type friend to Hari. 
Alex, a professor at KIT Madras who has a unique and interesting style of teaching. He proves himself a savior by saving Mani's life and then lending helping hand to Charu. He is one of those people who do as they preach.
Aditya is a extremely manipulative boy and a drug addict. He is the 'friend' who our parents warn us to stay away from.

 The novel is not just another finding hope story and seeing the sliver lining. The novel touches subjects that are sensitive and not often talked about like depression, sexuality, bullying, abuse,peer pressure etc but nevertheless demands attention. while books around these topics can tend to get indulgent or preachy, Sriram Ayer handles the sensitive subjects with poignancy and grace. It can be a challenging read for some but a must.   
 Sriram Ayer has put in efforts to make every exchange between characters authentic. they use urban lingos which teens nowadays use. the raw honesty with which the characters interact and speak their mind makes it a refreshing read. All the characters are going through some kind of insecurities and deal with it differently which makes the readers get a well-rounded sense of their motivations. The novel has enough heart to make you sincerely care about the characters. It delivers constant punches of unpredictable twists and intrigue.
for example, when charu saw her photo in the phone and broke down. call me pessimistic or what, I thought 'oh no, she's going to commit suicide' but I was pleasantly surprised when she did not and instead sought help from Alex.   
At its heart the story is about catastrophe, survival and self discovery. It is extremely important that all teenagers and adults read this book. All in all, The Story of A Suicide is thought-provoking, troubling and captivating.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

TopperLearning Launches CBSE Class 11 Commerce

 Ever since its inception in 2007, TopperLearning has guided countless students to achieve their goal of excelling academically by providing top-notch education products. TopperLearning’s aim is to pave the way to help students climb the ladder of success.
Committed to innovating and creating relevant education products, TopperLearning has now launched Commerce for CBSE Class 11. At the click of a button, students pursuing Commerce will have access to a bank of exhaustive information, including the syllabus, study resources, tests, expert advice and more.

Important subjects such as Accountancy, Economics, Business Studies, Maths and Hindi Grammar, which are part of the Class 11 Commerce syllabus, have been covered in detail by our experts through the resources designed by them. Every chapter in all the subjects has been carefully considered in order to provide the most pertinent information. There is also a wide range of informative articles on everything related to Class 11 Commerce.
Talking about the new launch, Dipanjan Das, CEO, Greycells18, says, “In the current context of India, it is imperative that we write the last mile of our demographic dividend well. A binocular view of the situation also suggests that it is a story of too many chasing too few. Access to quality content and delivery becomes a fundamental right. Thus, at TopperLearning, our endeavor is to provide access to quality education, create opportunities, empower minds and be a partner in a student’s journey towards a career. Our decoding of the ‘E’ of e-learning is ‘Everything, Everyone, Engaging and Easy’.”

With the newly launched product, students will be able to study Commerce meticulously through MCQs, SAQs, Topic Notes, Sample Papers and Textbook Solutions. This product is an end-to-end learning solution for Commerce students in Class 11. It is designed keeping in mind the best interests of students.

What makes TopperLearning Commerce even more appealing is the kind of expertise and the easy-to-access wide range of quality content. Dipanjan adds, “Our Commerce programme for Class 11 students brings a 360-degree dimension to a child’s preparation through cutting-edge content in the form of texts and videos. We also have a plethora of tests and virtual tutoring which enable a performance-driven, personalized feedback process and live classes by subject experts. Our subject experts are postgraduates and doctorates bringing in decades of experience in teaching.”

TopperLearning Commerce will slowly build and enhance the confidence of students, thus helping them not only acquire knowledge but also a profound understanding of what they learn. Giving our tests and seeking advice from our experts will allow students to enhance their knowledge in a practical yet stress-free way.
To know more, check out www.topperlearning.com

About TopperLearning.com

TopperLearning (www.topperlearning.com), an initiative of the media conglomerate Network18, is India’s premier study destination for K-12 education. We recognize that each student is unique and design feedback and study plans customized to each student. In today’s competitive landscape, students have to constantly strive to outdo themselves; hence, access to tools which will fillip them to the next level must be available 24x7. At TopperLearning, you will find the perfect mix of the latest technology and the best content, which we believe  is the nitro for students to race their way through studies and reach their academic goals.

About Topper TV

Topper TV is India’s only curriculum-led education channel on Indian television for Class 1−12 students with a viewership of over 2.5 lakh. Based on the planks of enhancing the engagement of children, programmes on Topper TV accentuate understanding of concepts and the ability to apply for life through experiential learning. Content has been specifically created by academic experts for television and covers Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Maths. The episodes have been designed in a way to ignite minds and enhance the learning experience. High-quality videos have been produced in-house using Live Action, In-Show Graphics and Animation. They are presented by alumni of IIT, IIM and Ivy League colleges. Topper TV is available on Tata Sky (Channel # 590), Airtel Digital TV (Channel # 295), Reliance Digital TV (Channel # 580) and Videocon d2h (Channel # 160).

www.topperlearning.com and Topper TV provide new-age learning resources such as videos, sample papers, revision notes, textbook solutions and exhaustive question banks to make learning enjoyable and simple for students. Boards covered include CBSE, ICSE, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Goa and Karnataka.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Capstona - Forays into Decorative and Bold Multi-Purpose Tiles

Capstona – Udaipur based natural stone products manufacturer and supplier – announced on Monday, 13th June 2016 its entry into Multi-Purpose Natural Stone tiles.

Natural stone products such as natural stone wash basins, natural stones for decor purpose, natural stone borders, etc. are on a boom in the country. All thanks to the paradigm shift from stereotypical decor pieces to something that is elegant and robust.
Capstona recently announced its foray in multi-purpose tiles that could be used as either elevation tiles for home, tiles for exterior wall cladding or simply as wall tiles. These tiles by Capstona are incredibly designed and meticulously crafted out of natural stones, thereby preserving the premium quality of the same.
Be it elevation tiles for home, exterior wall cladding tiles or wall tiles, they are available in different patterns, colors, and design. With their elegance, gloss, and charm, they are sure to cater to the unique taste of the people for decor. A perfect alternative to wallpapers and wall paints, the wall tiles offer a complete makeover to the abodes and captivate onlookers with their appeal.

The multi-purpose tiles are manufactured keeping in mind the factor of durability. Thus, the elevation tiles, exterior wall cladding tiles, etc. are made to stand the test of time and toughness.

While announcing the multi-purpose tiles, one of the executives of Capstona mentioned, “Like our other collection, our wall tiles, exterior wall cladding tiles and, elevation tiles for the home are handmade and carved out of top-notch quality natural stone. We don't compromise on quality and therefore, every precautionary measure has been taken right from their design to carving. Our new offerings are sure to escalate the elegance of your abode and/or office space with their magnificent looks.”

CAPSTONA - Blue Bird Minerals is the established brand in the field of natural stone products. The artistry of its master artisans tuned with modern technology makes their collection one of the finest available in the market.

CAPSTONA symbolizes beauty and art in the market of natural stone. Its intricate colorful patterns and images reflected in the austerity and solidity of stone are marvelous and appealing.

For more information on the Multi-Purpose Tiles, visit: www.capstona.com

Friday, June 10, 2016

India’s Largest Facebook Fashion Community SHOPWATI Raises Seed Round from Sanjiv Rai of SRKK Advisors

 Prachalit Infomedia Pvt Ltd, which founded Shopwati, an Online Fashion Community has raised an undisclosed amount in a seed round from Sanjiv Rai of SRKK Advisors.
The bootstrapped startup will use this round to fund the next phase of technology development and reach out to customers and vendors in cities outside Delhi.
Shopwati is India’s First Fashion “E-Commerce in Reverse” Portal, creating a unique platform for women shoppers and vendors to explore fashion.
Built around conversations, the Shopwati community helps its users find products, take a poll on what to buy and discover fashion.

Ankit Bajaj, Co-Founder and CEO, expresses his vision for Shopwati: “We aim to build a strong community which helps each other make better fashion choices. Unlike every other Fashion Discovery App, Shopwati is not just about finding fashion inspiration, it aims to help people who want to act on it”
What started as a group of close friends and family, grew into a huge community, from discussing fashion finds across Delhi to getting suggestions on what to wear and where to buy it from.
Today, Shopwati is a 50,000+ member strong community, which comprises of Stylists, Bloggers, Private Labels, Designers, Brands and 1000s of other users talking about fashion. They also recently launched the preview of their Android App with 1000 invites that were exhausted in 2 hours of the launch.
Mehak Suri Co-Founder and COO believes  “Most of the women know what they will wear for that wedding/event 2 months later, what they don’t know is where to buy it from, and we see that as a huge opportunity. On Shopwati 1000s of vendors respond back to queries of users looking for clothes, makeup, accessories, footwear or gift ideas”
Shopwati today addresses over 300 queries everyday and with a GMV of over Rs. 1.5 crore in less than 6 months, they are doing more business than some of the biggest names in the fashion discovery space. They claim that more than 95% queries get answered in 24 hours and the conversion rate is over 35%”
To be on the platform, vendors have to pay an Annual Subscription Fee since most of the transactions happen offline and Shopwati takes no commission on the sales.
Akriti Garg, Chief Content Officer adds “Our Shopwatis are women who are 23 and above. These women are settled, opinionated and have a lot going on in their lives – marriage, social events, professional events, etc. These women have little to no time and there was a gap in the market wherein no one was catering to their styling and fashion needs. This is where Shopwati steps in, we and the community give these women honest opinions and our designers cater to their style and requirements at their convenience without having to spend hours in a market.”

About Shopwati:

What’s it about? 

Fashion Discovery app Shopwati helps its users find clothes and accessories that they are looking for with the help of a strong community which includes Vendors, Bloggers, Stylists and Other Users.

Why is it different?

 Shopwati looks to leverage the power of lots of fashion-interested people in helping individuals find the stylish clothes & accessories they are looking for. Users can simply post what they are looking for and vendors, users and bloggers help in finding the best deal.

Who’s it for?

It’s for fashion-loving users who want to seek suggestions and in turn give advice to and from the community.

Who’s Working on It?

Ankit Bajaj, has worked with several organizations in various strategy roles in Delhi and London before Co-Founding India’s first SMS based search engine Ask Birbal. Shopwati is his second inning in the Startup World. He is a Graduate from the Brookes University, Oxford.

Mehak Suri, has managed sales at brands like Taj, Oberoi, Radisson and Le-Meridian. She is also a professional singer and has sung Bollywood songs with award winning music composer Ankit Tiwari. She is an MBA from Infinity Business School, Gurgaon

Where is it? It is headquartered in Gurgaon. For More Information visit www.shopwati.com

About Investors:

Sanjiv Rai
Started in April 2008 by Sanjiv Rai, SRKK is a boutique investment company that began with a motive of funding pre-revenue early stage companies. They currently have 5 companies in their portfolio and have aggressive plans to expand.
Mr. Sanjiv Rai is a former CEO and MD of Rapid MetroRail Gurgaon and ILand FS Rail, with the IL and FS Group and is credited with developing, financing and building the country's first fully privately financed and owned Rapid Metro project in Gurgaon.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

PressPlay TV increases penetration with the launch of the iPhone App and Desktop/Web Browser

 PressPlay TV, India’s largest and first ‘Online + Offline’ Independent OTT (Over the Top) platform today announced the launch of its iPhone App (http://appsto.re/in/PeHGbb.i) & for Desktop/Web browser version (http://www.pressplaytv.in/). Now millions of iPhone and PC/Laptop users in India can enjoyPressPlay TV’s offerings - Hindi movies, TV shows, trending internet videos, news, sports, fashion, comedy, and high quality curated content – spanning across more than 50 channels available to stream over the internet. 

Enhanced User base & engagement
“The iPhone app further consolidates PressPlay TV’s position in the smartphone segment and the Desktop Browser opens up a whole new audience to us – the PC & laptop users. This will have a two-fold impact viz. increase in users and at the same time significantly enhancing the average time spent per user on the platform. The wider reach, enhanced user engagement and captivity will also make PressPlay TV an even more attractive medium for content creators and advertisers,” says Anand Sinha, Co-founder & CEO, PressPlay TV.

Beyond Bollywood – Boon for upcoming original content producers
PressPlay TV is innovating not just in the way the content is being delivered but also in the kind of content being offered to users. While offering the regular fare of movies and TV shows, PressPlay TV is spreading its content footprint to ‘Beyond Bollywood’. With more than a million users per month and high time spent per user, it (PressPlay TV) is an ideal platform for upcoming unconventional/original content producers to showcase their videos. The PressPlay TV Hotspot network, already 3000 (going to be 10,000 soon) strong, is engaging users across mobile platforms. The company is already delivering highly localized content across geographies, keeping in view the audience preferences. With the launch of iPhone app the Apple (iPhone) users can continue enjoying their favorite videos after they de-board the train, bus or get out of the Hotspot range.

Increasing content depth
The company has already firmed up licensing arrangements with various leading and upcoming content innovators viz The Viral Fever, Raghu Dixit Project, LiveFame, Fame, PopXO, Byju’s, Shudh Desi Endings, Sportskeeda TV, Lybrate, NewsMeme, Quick Reaction Team, The Better India, Purani Dilli Talkies, Quint, Phonebunch, Catch News, Kanak’s Kitchen etc. Big names like Lehren TV, Sun Network, Sony India, NDTV Gadgets, Fever 104 FM, Autocar etc. are also featuring on the PressPlay TV platform. All in all users get a comprehensive package that includes videos ranging from 2 minutes snackable ones to the hours long TV shows, movies, trending internet videos, news, sports, fashion, comedy and content from all other popular genres, are just a click away.

Just ‘Click’ for your Favorite ‘Flick’:
IPhone Users CLICKhttp://appsto.re/in/PeHGbb.i
Desktop Browser CLICK: http://www.pressplaytv.in/
Android Users CLICK: https://goo.gl/jCenNw

About PressPlay TV (http://www.pressplaytv.in/)

PressPlay TV is a technology company redefining the way video content is consumed on smartphones/tablets in India. With a mission is to make high quality, curated and best-in-class video content easily accessible, anytime and anywhere, to consumers - across platform and devices, PressPlay offers free video content ‘on and off - line’ using a hybrid delivery model. Reflecting the true spirit of the ‘Make in India’ initiative, the well-traveled founders dug deep into their own hands-on experience and insights to customize and refine the PressPlay video delivery model especially for Indian conditions. Keeping in view that broadband speed is not consistent across various geographies, a mix of strategically placed PressPlay TV hot spots at malls, buses, railway platforms, coffee shops, trains and other high traffic areas along with online streaming over the internet (3G/4G) have been deployed to deliver uninterrupted high quality video content.

PressPlay TV's business model is advertising based. The company’s USP - viewer captivity and engagement offers very strong value for advertising other brands (other app companies, brands etc.). Another revenue stream for the company will be offering ‘Premium content’. Freemium (Free+Premium content) is the way to go ahead, this model is especially suited for content- based companies like PressPlay. The SVoD (Subscription Video on Demand) & TVoD (Transaction Video on Demand) models will also be introduced shortly.

The company is backed by Sequoia Capital and is one of the fastest growing startups in India. The company has already raised $2.2 Million as seed funding, one of the highest in India from Sequoia Capital.