Amrita Chowdhury

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Vada Pav On Steel Plates And Peacock Handbags: Kitsch Or Culture?

Artist Atul Dodiya recently remarked -- quite tongue in cheek -- that what is kitsch in Mumbai is culture in Banaras. After all, <em>rani</em> pink is curious and splashy at a luncheon party overlooking the Back Bay at a sea-view pad in Malabar Hill, and an everyday colour while setting sail a leaf bowl filled with flowers and candles from the steps of Assi Ghat. What a revelatory comment!
22/05/2016 9:12 AM IST
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Brand Stories Are Co-Created, Not Just Told

Consumers today don't just receive the story being written and disseminated by the custodians of a brand. Despite the clutter of established and emerging brands in every sub-segment, consumers are able to identify what a brand stands for. Not what a marketer communicates, but the sum total of what the consumers understand and experience, how they endorse or communicate about a brand. Consequently, consumers are happy to script their own stories of what a brand means...
06/05/2016 8:27 AM IST

The Micro-Moments That Matter To Marketers

Micro-moments are what every marketer is talking about today--those moments of intent in the lives of consumers, where they want to know, go or buy immediately and without any delay. Economic success is determined by the ability of intelligent platforms to curate these interactions and the ability of marketers to capitalize on and convert a multitude of such moments, every moment.
28/04/2016 8:10 AM IST
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The Future Of Words

Purists can roll their eyeballs as much as they may like. But clearly a new future is at our doorstep. Yes, even in India. The word, the original written word, is definitely not dead or irrelevant. But it is certainly stepping with the times, learning to interact and collaborate, shorten or lengthen, become singular or multi-format. It is creating new experiences for a new generation of readers, news consumers and online learners.
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The Freedom To Make Mistakes

Mahatma Gandhi had remarked once that freedom is not worth having if we do not have the freedom to make mistakes. That indeed is a freedom we need to grant ourselves, our children, our families, our employees, indeed our firms.
19/04/2016 8:12 AM IST
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Why We Need A Read India Campaign To Write A Better Future For India

Only a small fraction of our population can be called readers. Even when compared with the number of Google users -- an indication of digital social content users -- the percentage remains tiny. However, reading might be essential for the future workforce of the nation. In the coming decades, we need more entrepreneurs and self-employed citizens to keep pace with the aspirations and needs of the population. Hence, it is even more critical that students learn to read beyond short form content, social media and gossip sites.
26/01/2016 8:14 AM IST

How Saas-Bahu Serials, Bigg Boss Could Build Swachh Bharat, Digital India Brands

General entertainment shows could reflect the messages of social impact missions like Make in India, Digital India and Swachh Bharat through very subtle in-programming. What if Taarak Mehta and his family were shown picking up rubbish in a scene? What if a Bigg Boss contestant got nominated for eviction for lack of hygiene? Such messaging could seep in slowly and unconsciously highlight positive behaviours and discredit negative behaviours. Over time, new beliefs could shape new societal habits.
23/10/2015 7:51 AM IST
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Solving Crimes, Desi Style

When we find a bag of bones, do we immediately seal it in a vacuum chamber for the duration of the investigation? No, no, we promptly bury it again, possibly calling a priest to chant the <em>antim sanskar mantras</em>. We debate the ethics of it and possibly, and morbidly, retain a small pouch of crushed calcified minerals and collagen fibres, in case we ultimately do a test.
05/10/2015 8:01 AM IST
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Bringing Up The Next-Gen Baby

No, I am not about to take a stance on whether or not women can have it all. We can all <em>lean in</em> or bend back or sway like the reeds on the banks of the Limpopo in the face of migrating hordes. But, in the meantime, I am totally marvelling over how we are raising the next-gen <em>baby</em>, as opposed to the next-gen<em> baba</em>, if you get my drift, and what it means for our economy.
07/09/2015 8:15 AM IST
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Why Sociopaths Succeed

It would appear that many organizations in India and elsewhere actually celebrate sociopathic behaviour in leaders. Some psychologists have even suggested that there may be a sweet spot, an ideal level of sociopathic trait. It helps leaders keep teams in line, and feel no empathy or remorse at cutting costs or firing employees.
13/08/2015 8:14 AM IST
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The Art Of Science

On a rain drenched afternoon in Mumbai, I traversed the length of the city to visit two different centres for scientific research - one a laboratory at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, stac...
08/07/2015 11:54 AM IST
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Net Neutrality: Why Some Ideas Go Viral And Some Don't

Why would someone create an infographic on Net Neutrality, and why not one on RBI rate cuts. Possibly because the deduction in few basis points, while elemental to the economy, remains too complicated for the homemaker to care about. But she certainly does care about her WhatsApp groups and her Facebook profile.
01/05/2015 8:19 AM IST
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The Many Faces Of An Indian Hacker

Cybercrime is on the rise in India and we are one of the top 10 worst-hit countries in the world. Some of these crimes are orchestrated from outside India's borders, but local hackers are doing damage as well. Where, then, are the stories and images of these homegrown cyber criminals?
13/03/2015 8:27 AM IST
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What Makes a Hacker A Hero

As I sat in beautiful Goa a couple weeks ago, attending Nullcon, one of the largest congregations of ethical hackers and cyber geeks from around the world, I could see young Indian techies, executives and wannabe hackers milling about on the sea-facing lawns. I could not help but wonder what makes the hacker - and yes, even those with debatable online antics - transform into a compelling hero of our times.
02/03/2015 8:04 AM IST

Is Non-Fiction Creeping Into Fiction?

Ultimately, a novel is about telling a story. In a way that engages our emotions, fires our imagination and makes the page and the people within it come alive in our minds.
13/01/2015 2:54 PM IST