60 days, 60 posts

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When I think about the death of this blog, it deeply saddens me. Makes me feel like I gave up on something I really enjoyed: writing for myself.

The voices in my head have turned what used to be a simple joy into a conundrum driven by excuses: I don’t have time. I need a new angle for my blog. Let me launch a new blog and start all over. But what will I write about. When will I study. When will I finish all those books that are half read on my bedside table. Between dancing, yoga, running, work, a masters programme, and learning Arabic, I really don’t have time. I need to give up something. But I don’t want to give up anything!  I need to be going out more I don’t have time to blog. I’m turning into a nerd I need to go out more. No one is going to read my blog anyway. I’ve lost my blogger mojo.

Underneath it all is a nagging subconscious that says just WRITE goddammit.

So here I am making time to redeem the pleasure I used to get from writing. And, I’m happy to realize and admit – I don’t need to write earth-shattering posts. As long as I enjoy writing them, it really doesn’t matter.

Starting today, I will write 60 posts in 60 days with hope to repossess my blogging prowess, and discover a new angle for this blog in the process.

I don’t know what I am going to write about. But I will write everyday. I hope some readers I used to have come back! If not, I’ll just be happy to be writing again.

#Day 1, post 1

(Photo via http://www.gimmemojo.com/)

Ode to my little brother

ImageI’ve changed his nappies. I’ve made him cry. He has made me slam doors and scream my lungs out.

He has made me happy. He has made me proud. He has made me feel like the best human being on the planet.

He has shared secrets with me. I have given him good advice. I have given him bad advice. He has protected me. He has supported me unconditionally.

He drank his first beer with me. He hated it! Now he loves it. So if he ever becomes an alcoholic it will be my fault.

My brother is one of the most sincere, positive, generous, and open hearted people I know. He is also one of the most creative people I know –- except for when he designs his own tattoo. Thanks to me, he now has the coolest tattoo ever. His thoughts, my advice = great result. You are welcome, Anish.

He has a precocious mind. He knew what he wanted to major in, in the eighth grade. His first short story was published when he was in grade 10. He started his own business with his friends when he was 15. He is a football fanatic and I know he will work and excel in that industry one day.

He has numerous unique, multi-dimensional skills:  Intelligence (he passed his CFA the first time round, after studying only for a week!). A diligent and responsible work ethic. Can dance hip hop, rap and bhangra equally well to the same song. Can sing without embarrassing anyone. Superb design and video-editing skills. Taught himself to play the guitar. Can cook Indian food (!). Can do the tough-mudder.

He is amazingly patriotic, even though he hasn’t really lived in India. That feeling along with his talent, could make him a game changer for our country. I hope India doesn’t disillusion him irrevocably.

He has taught me to believe in who I am by always looking up to me. I feel a responsibility towards him as a big sister; it helps me make decisions sometimes. He is the most mature 24 year old I know. I won’t make big decisions without his opinion. He inspires me in many ways.

I hurt when he is hurting, and also when he acts stupid. I want to protect him, but still be the cool big sister. A tough balance to keep.

I worry who he will marry, only because in my mind no one will be good enough for him. But I do hope he finds genuine true love and is able to keep it for life.

He was born on my request when I was 9; I was a lonely child. He is the best gift my parents could ever give me. I am blessed to have him as my brother, and really wish he didn’t live 13,334 kilometres away.

Happy Raksha Bandhan, my dearest brother. I miss you.

Tantalizing India

So I haven’t written in almost 4 months. Disgraceful, I know. No good excuse really. Anyway, I was sent something recently that did make me want to take the effort to write; perhaps posting this information nugget will spur the desire to shake awake this blog again…I dunno. Anyhoo.

3 Indian boys have decided to take some time off to travel every state of India: 16,000 km in 18 days; according to the Limca Book of Records, this has been done in 19 days, 23 hours — the guys plan to beat this.

It’s not often that you read about Indians taking time off to undertake traveling feats. When I was sent a message by the boys themselves, it was such a refreshing read that it got me quite excited for them. I’m a slow traveler, so am not envious of them traveling through 28 states in 18 days (they’re not going to see anything!) — but hey, it sounds like a fun time-challenge that will certainly test their limits in numerous ways. They will learn a tremendous lot about themselves as well as about the roads in our Bharat mahan, and they may even become new record holders.

You can read more about their trip here on their blog that will be updated regularly from their journey that begins on June 16; you can also follow them on Facebook.

They also seem to have done some cool stuff in the past. Ummm…not quite sure what, but they have some awesome pics from whatever they’ve done that you can look at here.

Good luck, guys!

On a separate though relevant note,  a site worth checking out if you want to backpack around India: oktatabyebye.

Bachchan struck at Dubai Film Fest

Working on the Dubai International Film Festival is as exhilarating as it is exhausting. My main role has been to manage real-time updates from the festival, i.e. live-tweet /Facebook from the event as much as possible. Fun, eh? Anyhoo, with a million things happening at the same time, my responsibilities extended into doing anything needed on site in relation to PR, and helping handle the red carpet.

Honestly, I am not at all star-struck, never have been. But, when I saw Amitabh Bachchan get onto the carpet I was like a little child overwhelmed and excited by the tangible presence of one of the most saught after stars on this planet. At 67, he looks great and sounds even greater.

I was right up the front of the celebrity carpet where I was put to take a picture of every talent and upload to Twitter instantly. Amitabh Bachchan was the first celeb to arrive and the next thing I hear is “Abha, please walk Mr. Bachchan down the red carpet.”

WHAT!? ME? OKkkk! Omg. So awesome.

I stood next to him on the red carpet for atleast 15-minutes. Neither did he look at me, nor did he acknowledge my presence. I did give him the occassional poke when his publicist was pushing me to get him to move quicker through the media (very uncool), but those pokes were conveniently ignored. Obviously. I’m lucky he didn’t growl. Anyway, it was still awesome. I’ve grown up admiring Amitabh Bachchan; being physically next to him was surreal and just simply cool.

I have no proof or tangible evidence of this little event other than this ridiculous picture of the back of our heads.

I frantically searched online to see if SOMETHING was there that put me in the same frame has AB, only to find a video of him at the red carpet with, again, the back of my head. Argh.

It’s ok. It’s all in my head.

The second best highlight for me at the festival was being able to watch the world premiere of the first Emarati feature film on Dubai – “City of Life”. Excellent film about many realities of this city that are not often talked about. I will surely review it soon.

The Dubai Film Festival is on till December 16, so if you haven’t checked it out yet, do give it a look — some really cool films are playing.

Blogging and dinner

In my mental quest to get this blog active again, work has overruled and left me drained of any ounce of intelligence or wit to share. But, after a long day where I went up the Burj Dubai (yes, lucky me — privileges of working for who I work for!), did a PR proposal, and spent the evening in a briefing session for DIFF, I did manage to whip up a half-decent meal: fresh meat beef steak well-cooked with garlic, oven-baked potato rosti’s (frozen, I must admit), fresh avocado with pepper, boiled sprouts and original Bisto gravy (not in pic) generously poured on top. Time to prepare meal: 15-minutes. Not bad, eh!? (Ok, real cooks are not allowed to comment).

Just when I was thinking of giving up meat and becoming a fishitarian (for no real reason but experiment), this simple meal told me that was out of the question.

Anyway, not much else really. The next two weeks are quite busy at work with DIFF and the Dubai Motor Show (so much for holiday season!), but I do want to push myself to write some substance on here, I miss writing. I feel a little restricted writing openly here for silly reasons such as urrrr.. it’s Dubai, it’s small, I don’t want people I work with and for to read my personal noise, and other rubbish like that that I need to get over. I’m also suffering from the subconscious resistance to turning 30 soon (HOLY F***), but more on that later. In the meantime, please bear with the odd beef post.

P.S: Strawberries and ice-cream for dessert.

Superfreakonomics winners and urrr sorry

Apologies for disappearing. Went to India last minute which threw everything offboard as I prepared to go. Went to Aurangabad, a small but rapidly growing town known for the Ajanta Ellora Caves , it’s where I went to school. Anyway, more on that later, this post is to announce the winners of the Superfreakonomics competition.

I received 11 comments and 3 emails. It’s always interesting to see how people respond to such open ended competition questions; you often find that responses are not what you expected – but that’s what makes it interesting I suppose. Anyway, my two winners are:

1) Sean McLachlan: Because he wrote a simple and funny limerick as a response. Certainly one of the most unique answers.

2) Kedar: Because he put enough effort to come up with a freaky question, logic of which was so freakishly random that only he can make sense of — which is pretty much like all the questions the Freakonomics guys pose.

So voila! Congrats Sean and Kedar. Please email me your postal addresses so I can get the publishers to mail the books over to you.  As for the rest, thanks for participating anyway!

Traveling!

After 8 months of working pretty hard, I’m now officially on holiday! It seems like ages since I had any time off and am thrilled to have 3 weeks of it.

I have a plane to catch in an hour; off to Goa for a family reunion. About 35 Malpani’s are getting together in Baga. Great grandmothers to great grand-daughters, and the whole age spectrum in between. It’s going to be a riot!

Then I fly to NYC for a weekend to hang with my cousin and hopefully catch up with a few friends. I’ve never been to NY, but I feel like I’ll find it familiar, thanks to all the TV programmes I watch.

Then I fly to Ecuador for 10 days. Not quite sure what I’m doing there yet! If I can crack my visa to Peru, I will hop over to do the Inca Trail. Anyhoo, let’s see what happens.

Will definitely try to blog while I’m there. Traveling in unknown territories inspires me to write, so hopefully this blog will come alive again.

That’s all really. Happy summer!

Blogging Hiatus

My blogging hiatus for the last month or so has been the result of long office hours, and extreme repulsion to my laptop when I get home.

When I was a blogger I wrote about 70 posts a month, so perhaps I’m also a bit blogged-out.

Today I woke up with an ardent need get back into the blogosphere actively.

So while I attempt to make that happen, I will leave you with an article of mine that appeared in this weeks issue of  Campaign ME.

Unsurprisingly, it’s on Social Media; it’s more of a personal take than anything else. Comments are welcome!

“Authenticity is key” — Abha Malpani on brands and Social Media (as re-published on Campaign’s blog).

Happy Wednesday!

Ryan Air Boo Boo

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Those of you who missed the recent Ryan Air social media engagement blunder can read about it here.

Basically, a web developer called Jason Roe found a flaw in Ryan Air’s website which allowed customers to book a flight for £ zero. He blogged about it and Ryan Air lost the plot in their reply, called him a liar and an idiot, and lots more things.

Now, I found the story and Tweeted it. A friend replied to it by Tweeting the story on Ryan Air wanting to charge £1 to use the bathroom on flight. To which I replied saying “yeah, Ryan Air has gone bananas.”

Ryan Air Twitter hawkers found that Tweet and replied: (not exact words): “The bananas are as bruised as your mothers. Your conversations regarding Ryan Air are as amusing as they are boring.”

Now, they are not the exact exact words because I can’t find that reponse on my Twitter replies anymore because the Ryan Air Online Twitter account has been suspended.

I did get the chance to call them morons on Twitter though. Morons.

Now my questions: Although Ryan Air has its issues, it is one of the most successful budget airlines in Europe. How could anyone in their right mind working in marketing write what they did on Jason’s blog? And also, how can you check whether a brand’s Twitter account is authentic? (Without tracing the IP address, because you know, I don’t know how to do that.)