Live blogging a musical evening with Pankaj Udhas at Music Academy

A prolonged Eid treat that i was so eagerly waiting for was to see, hear and experience one of my favorite ghazal singers, Padmashree Pankaj Udhaas. Headed out of office as early as 6:15 for this event looking forward to soulful renditions from the maestro himself only to realize that the show was sold out. This is my fifth concert listening to him rightfully qualifying as a rasika. I was initiated to listening to ghazals by my dad since my school days and took an instant liking to his music. Much later in college started listening to another maestro that i was equally passionate about : Jagjit Singh.The creative work of both these icons has been pathbreaking transcending to illiterate and rustic souls like me.The concert started with lighting of the lamp by Pandit PB Srinivas
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He starts the musical journey with ” Dil dhadkne ka sahab yaad aayaa..” . After that, digging deep and pulling the heartstrings with ” Deewaron se milkar rhoona aacha lagta hai.. ” absolute nirvana listening to the 80 classic ! ” Aur aahista keejiyee baatein ….” from the late 90’s . Then there was this nazm by zafar gorakhpuri ” Dukh sukh ka ek …. ” just took us on a time travel. ” Sabko maalum hai mai sharaabi nahin phir bhi koi peelayaen to my kya kaaroon…” Followed by gem of rendition of “Chandi jaise rang hai tera..”

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The evening was a classic chicken soup to a ghazal starved soul.

Contemperory racy music of likes of Linkin park, Rihanna, Adele, Jason mraz or shakira top charts faster yet the seem so superficial lacking the melancholy of artists of this genre.

It is so invigorating to hear artist of such calibre have chennai in their annual iternary. Altogether it was a memorable evening to cherish and remember. May god bless him to carry his work to younger generations.

A small initiative that has blossomed into a beautiful trend !

Sometime back in early 2010 I alongwith Arvind, Narain and Ram were discussing on a city based community initiative to identify accident hotspots on ECR and curb traffic regulation. What evolved was a presentation of the possibilities to an audience at Ideacamp.

This caught the attention of Sanobar, a RJ by profession and then a newbie to TKF events. She put us on a Chat with the ACP Traffic Ms Sonel Mishra and me and Ram started the initiative of Capacity building CCTP (Chennai City Traffic Police) on Social Media.

The engagement involved creating awareness of the power of Social media to the Stakeholder group and discussing strategies of the rollout with the team. We powered the entire team on Facebook and twitter and primed for an official Launch on August 15, 2010 . Then we had to face the challenges of end user resistance to technology adoption and thereby a protracted delay in the rollout.

On one end both me and Ram had aggressively campaigned about this online and the media was eager to see this take off. Slowly we started facing queries from the community on credibility of the group and all such outburst. We interfered once to post on the search on Tamanna . Other than that we maintained the integrity of the site all along. Slowly the Knowledge Transfer happened in the month of May 2011 and today the wall is buzz with activity .

Today the Chennai City Traffic Police Facebook wall is nearing 8000 users online and daily action taken reports happening. We have transferred all knowledge artifacts to the Government and I take this opportunity to acknowledge the efforts of Ram and rest of the Team at The Knowledge Foundation on a job well done ! Thanx Team and we have made a difference !

That’s a Fiver

Come this April we complete 5 years of the birth of an Idea called The Knowledge Foundation. April 5 way back in 2006 we had completed our First Barcamp Chennai (India’s Second Barcamp) and that evening a few of us understood the power of what is possible within a group of highly motivated individuals working towards a common cause. Ever since that day we have journeyed together through memorable events and newer formats .

Most of us have forayed in different directions but took a lot of learning that we had into building / evolving better communities, workshops, codesprints, photowalks, online and offline clubs. Some of us have shaped careers from this experience, most of us have used this as a excellent platform to hone our presentation skills and all of us have used this platform to voice our take on anything discussed under the roof.

Whatever said and done there are a few things that we are proud to have accomplished at a very high level.
1. We totally redefined the way knowledge can be shared either free or near free in chennai. We redefined the way business networking landscape happened in Chennai.
2. India is always about volumes . And what best place than here to put “ Crowdsourcing “ to best use. 80% of our events have been successfully modeled on Wisdom of crowds.
3. We totally deconstructed and shared the dynamics on how to organize knowledge based events to varying degrees of perfection.
4. We have inspired a genre of social thinkers , domain leaders on the art of building communities both online as well as offline. A lot of patrons who have been a part of TKF or attended TKF events have gone forth and build communities of their own.

Honestly I write this is not to brag about what we have done in the past 5 years but is a resounding call to all who have walked with us any given day in the last 5 years attending any one of our events and found that we made a difference to join us in celebrating 5 years of that journey. Sort of a Thanksgiving to the entire patronage of TKF.

Invariably i have mailed this to all who have walked with us immaterial of where we stand today to join in on celebrations. I leave it to the group to suggest how best we can do this celebrations .

Searchcamp gets a makeover and Social media included: India Search Summit

India Search Summit

India’s premier event on Search Engine Optimisation and Search Marketing called SearchCamp just got a total makeover and rechristened as India search Summit ( http://www.searchsummit.in ) . The event has been a not to miss networking opportunity among Search Professionals which just got bigger with inclusion of Social media tracks with this edition.

The two day event will be peppered with regular tracks on latest trends , techniques related to SEO and SEM . Off late India is proving to be a top outsourcing destination for Search related work and corporates across India are taking to Search in a big way.

Social Media has emerged as a major online branding tool for corporates to reach to existing customers as well as means to attract new customers. Companies like Vodafone with their ZooZoo campaign, Tata Docomo , Fastrack , Chings Secret, Amul, Cleartrip, Idea have been going all guns blazing on the Social Media. Then there are companies that scan all social media channels like Twitter , facebook to sense dissonance related to their brands and get in touch with such unsatisfied customers. Recruitment organizations have been prowling online at medium like Linkedin to get feedback from experts on their products as well as to acquire talent from the market.

The sessions would revolve around best practices in the industry followed by case studies and discussion on different tools used by professionals to pursue this religiously. This two day event has a lot of listed sessions but my experience has been at the innumerable unlisted discussion that emanate on the corridors while networking with such professionals. I am not a Search Professional but i will be there bcos i would like to hear and learn something new . How about you ?

Barcamp Chennai 4 at Cognizant Chennai on June 27, 2010

Bar camp-chennai from Aswin on Vimeo.

Reserve your weekend to spend some time with Geeks to catch up with Technology, Trends and Code ! Barcamp Chennai is back ! The event is to be held at Cognizant , Okkiyam , Karapakkam, Chennai. If you are a geek or a technology enthusiast who would love to keep update on technology go register yourself at http://barcampchennai.org/bcc4/

Barcamp Chennai

What’s Barcamp ?

BarCamp is an ad-hoc gathering born from the desire for people to share and learn in an open environment. It is an intense event with discussions, demos and interaction from participants. It’s about love and geekery and having a focal point for great ideas. It’s a typical unconference . A little history of Barcamp is that ….Barcamp made its presence in India by 2006 with the first event at Delhi. Barcamp Chennai was the second one to be held. This was followed by Barcamp Bangalore and other cities. Barcamp Chennai was held in Feb 11, 12 2006 . Since then we have come a long way having conducted 3 editions. This edition will have discussion on topics like “10 features to look for while buying a DSLR ” , ” How can you contribute to wikipedia “, ” Study on Accident hotspots by Ms Sonal Misra IPS” , “How to power an online shopping site in 2 hours” so on .

The event will be free to attend or very close to free. But there’s a catch! Participants are expected to contribute back to the conference by participating actively. “Active participation” might mean giving a presentation on any chosen topic, helping with a presentation, blogging or podcasting the event, or whatever other creative ways to contribute people can come up with. Some view Barcamp as an opportunity for great minds to come together to discuss on the latest issues and solutions available for them. The current edition of the event is sponsored by Cognizant. Cognizant had also been a serious patron on previous editions of Barcamp Chennai (Barcamp Chennai 2)

For getting updates on all the action happening around Barcamp Chennai join the community by following the twitter ” Barcampchennai ” or #bcc4 .
You can also follow updates at the Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=117224711655662

Incidentally the presentation that i had made at Ideacamp was further pursued as a theme of a program by leading FM Radio Channel ” Chennai Live ” last week wherein we had participation of Ms Sonal Mishra , Commissioner of Police (Traffic) . She is coming in for barcamp to express her willingness to lead and help us in this project . Once we are able to do this we can replicate the model for the entire Chennai city.

Ideacamp, India Search Summit and Socialmaxx : Forthcoming initiatives at The Knowledge Foundation

How many times have you felt an awesome idea and wanted to validate it with a peer group ? How many times have you felt that you are found sitting at a great idea for so long that you find that competition has been capitalising on that ? And how many times have you reached out to your community to build something together ? The answer to all this  #Ideacamp .

Events like #barcamp , #ignite have ventured partly in this direction but with Ideacamp we just want to celebrate ideas (any domain) and understand  how collective brainstorming can take things to the next level. This platform will seek to validate ideas as well as gather support in building a team around the idea. The key component of Ideacamp would be the audience. The more diverse they are the greater will be the input to the event per se.. Already we have members from ISOC Chennai trying to connect the event with global thinkers. Due to be held in the third week of May 2010 Follow developments on twitter and facebook by tracking the tags #ideacamp

Search meets Social and Social meets search. A few weeks back twitter announced with twitter predictor it was able to predict box office success.Lately a lot of commercial organisations are listening to social media streams like twitter , facebook, linkedin to understand their customers, service levels as well as online branding. Naturally its imperative that we combine both streams without diluting content in each of these domains. Searchcamp has been renamed as India Search Summit Owing to the tremendous success of the previous two editions of Searchcamp , we wanted it to grow into a larger and serious initiative that can bring together more Search professionals so that we can take it to other cities in India on the long run.

The Knowledge Foundation has already done events in the past like Buzz140  ( #buzz140 ) on twitter (2009) , India’s first Facebook Garage in Proto.in Pune edition (2009) , its time that we elevate the bar to combine all into one focussed event on Social Media. This time we want to combine popular tools like LinkedIn also to the discussion . India Search Summit and Socialmaxx will be held on consecutive days at the third week of August 2010. We welcome volunteers and enthusiasts who can join us to help in these initiatives . To follow development updates on this event pls search for #socialmaxx

Barcamp Chennai – A Sneak Peek

BarCamp Chennai is running its third edition tomorrow ( April 11 , 2010 ) at SRM University . A Few initiatives where i have been closely involved since inception are trying to gain shout to volunteers for taking their initiatives to the next level.

First would be Proto.in which is looking forward to create a sort of online database for all its 100 + entrepreneur alumni as well as for the innumerable entrepreneurs who couldnt make the cut. We have a very ambitious plan on building this community to take forward all our linkages into a sort of an exchange where it becomes a platform for startups to complement / supplement one another as well as create communication channels that are independent. One of the common issue that we find during the evaluation of Startups for our edition is that most of the startups are either at early stage of development thereby not ready yet or sometimes missing a critical component that could make them go big. ” A la Crunchbase ” for Indian entrepreneurs will be a big plus from all points of view. And if we can keep it community moderated it will seek to help that larger group. We look for participation from web development firms to partner with us on this initiative as well as more ideators to fine tune this to create a maximise value for entrepreneurs, investors, and the business community.

IdeaCamp initiated by Nambirajan has been taking great shape. More details on what the “Idea camp ” is all about will be available tomorrow for all participants. Nambi says ”  if you came with an idea you should leave with the idea sharpened,better and with more possibilities for the future and if you didn’t come with an idea you go away with a lot of ideas..” This might get touted to be the next big ticket event in Chennai for us. Already ISOC Chennai has expressed its willingness to support as well as bring participation of Global ISOC Leaders into this discussion. Sivasubramanian Muthusamy, the president of ISOC Chennai is one of the key ideators who is working alongwith us to finetune the event format to a better shape.  There is also a call for volunteers in this space to take things forward.

RiseCamp initiated by Aditya Kaul is also being discussed on similar lines but with Social change as a key focus. The camp is planned to be a residential 2 day event bringing together social thinkers, governmental cause champions and entrepreneurs into one common platform to brainstorm about building solutions to tackle social problems in the Indian context. Risecamp essentially aims to use crowdsourcing to spark social innovation in social entreprenuership in India.

Elements5 is getting a boost to the next level joining hands with Y4C (Youth 4 Change), Tata Jagriti Yatra and similar organisations. E5 is sparking of a huge online initiative where social media and blogging will play and proactive role in knowledge dissemination on Eco and green issues. Announcements on E5 clubs in colleges is due to follow soon…

As a part of the Planning team of Scrum Day India, which is being planned for Aug 14 in association with Scrum alliance USA. The event will be held at Pune that will invite more agile enthusiasts as well as professionals from diverse backgrounds to create awareness on SCRUM as well as Agile methods. I will give you more details on a separate post soon….