The Aero India Show – Definitely Male

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The Aero India Exhibition

Men have traditionally taken pioneering role in technology and innovation. The results have been astounding. In the field of air defence too men have created astounding result and that is prominent in the exhibition.

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The display of power on air

When it  comes to display of art and showing daredevil stunts with chances of death at every moment the show brought enormous display of such male dominating activities that are not regarded appropriately today.

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My experience at Sheroes, Bangalore summit

What will you feel when you are the only guy surrounded by around 70 or so immensely gorgeous and stunningly beautiful ladies all of whom are achievers in their respective areas. Well let me confess I was bit intimidated being the only male attendee barring two other male speakers in the Sheroes Bangalore summit this year. All other men who were present on the occasion were either technicians or cameramen.

Sheroes Summit, 2014

Sheroes Summit, 2014

It was not a surprise to me that everyone was surprised to see me in my carefree casual attire attending the conference and vigorously taking notes. Questions were many, especially after my genre of blog was made public. Eyebrows were raised but I was able to explain that empowered women could play important roles in achieving gender equality and thus my invitation to this summit was marked as a significant step towards men’s causes I write for.

Sairee Cahal at Sheroes

Sairee Cahal at Sheroes

If someone asks me to summarise the conference in one sentence, I will say it was the no nonsense summit that I have ever attended. Well to put it in correct perspective, let me confess that there were only two occasions that had made me uncomfortable but those were relatively insignificant incidents. At the outset, let me confess that I was expecting a lot of feminist myths to float around and was truly surprised to see only business being discussed there, apart from some real women issues that the industry needs to address in any case.

But before I delve into the positives, let me talk about two negative incidents that kind of showed Indian men in bad lights and both came from the two male speakers in the conference, first, from Anurakt Jain, Director, New Initiatives, Inmobi when he started his conversation by mentioning about crime against women. It was completely not needed and out of place. When he did that I felt that he wanted to gain some brownie points from the gorgeous women present around. Every time a man does that I feel that he doesn’t have anything positive to show and hence he is demeaning himself in order to get noticed.

The second incident happened from another male speaker Manav Subodh, Global Manager of Corporate Affairs group at Intel, when he mentioned about recent news of rape of a girl student in a Bangalore school and asked the attendees to create a business around that social cause (well, we understand that post trauma care is needed for victims) but what surprised me was that he spoke only about girl victims of rape. Surely, he tried to touch upon a subject that he didn’t completely know. He had surely not seen news like this where boys are raped by their female teachers –

Boy rape

Boy rape

He also didn’t know that a 2007 WCD ministry survey on abuse of children found that it was the boys who were sexually abused more compared to girls and that survey was repeated afterwards.

Sexual abuse of Indian Boys

Sexual abuse of Indian Boys, Abuse of Children, WCD ministry 2007

Men like Manav creating hype around a topic they don’t know, made me think if he too wanted to earn some brownie points from the ladies present there, but then he revealed his secret. He told that he was working in UN projects related to women empowerment. I understood that probably he was only the messenger of UN that wanted to create business around women related crimes in India.

It was shocking to note that in a business conference when women were talking about new technologies, innovations and business strategies and discussing some complex business issues, the only two male speakers of the conference unnecessarily brought women safety issues and one of them gave an idea of doing business out of it. Immediately I remembered women NGOs like Shakti Bahini that encouraged women to file false rape cases and charged money for their suggestions. A great business model indeed, propagated by men like Manav and affected by thousands of common men who lose everything on simple accusation.

Two other names came to my mind, 1. Tarun Tejpal and 2. Khurshid Anwar.

Thankfully this was not elaborated further and people present in the conference didn’t take this note as seriously as I have seen in any other conferences. Probably the audience knew the reality or they thought it was irrelevant. In any case this kind of slow poisoning our minds only create deep rooted gender discrimination against men and boys who are denied justice today.

Other than these two small incidents of spreading misandry by the only two male speakers present, the conference only meant business, even when women issues were discussed.

Attendees at Sheroes

Women dignitaries at the Sheroes summit

For example, Facebook India MD, Kirthiga Reddy discussed gender discrimination. But she actually discussed gender stereotyping that happens in our mind. She gave examples of her children understanding gender stereotyping and reacting to that. It was never about workplace gender discrimination. In fact when she answered a question on gender discrimination she clearly stated that she had never faced that issue in her working life.

Facebook India MD, Krithika Reddy

Facebook India MD, Krithika Reddy speaking at the Sheroes summit in Bangalore

In the discussion of gender discrimination at workplaces she also debunked the popular feminist theory of gender wage gap and stated that one’s pay is decided by how much negotiation one can do. From her experience, she found that women don’t negotiate much on their salary and hence they don’t get paid as much they could have got. On the contrary she said that a man would negotiate till the end and hence he would get a higher pay.

In any case, it was a well known fact to the CXOs present in the conference that in today’s knowledge economy where workforce is evolving continuously, corporate India can’t be biased to any gender. But this is what common people need to understand today.

Tea Break at Sheroes summit

A tea break is a great opportunity to network

Earlier the day, the conference started in a very positive note with Sairee Chahal from Sheroes.in setting the right context for the day. She mentioned that in today’s technology based knowledge economy the jobs are evolving and that is very important for women as they are in care giving roles. She mentioned that only 5% women are in CXO roles and only 17% women are employed in corporate sector.

Women achievers sharing their stories with media

Those small bytes, can be life changing for many

I remembered a recent TOI report that stated that urban women do not want to work after marriage. Urban Women don't want to work after marriage

Well, even though it is individual’s decision to work or not work, we as a society can’t put the blame of women not working on so called patriarchy and Indian men.

However, I will say this was one conference where such blame game was never attempted. These figures were taken at their face value and women were encouraged to come out and be successful entrepreneurs.

It was a pleasant surprise to me when Sairee told that “marriage and career are married to each other”, that in a way set the context of the conference that Sheroes wanted to find solution to problems within the framework of our social constraints and keeping marriage and care-giving role for women intact. Once again I felt good to be an Indian and privileged to attend a conference where women don’t just blame everything on men and pass the buck to the so called Patriarchy. This is the attitude I am fed up with when attending meetings of commoners and watching debates on TV. This positive attitude towards life told me that today’s feminists are probably thousands of miles away from real women and no wonder why feminism is turned down by majority of women today.

In fact, Sairee’s opening speech also gave us a clear picture of bringing men in the conversation of women empowerment and women to make the difference themselves. Her mention that “we are not going to be treated differently” showed me new ray of hope contrary to all popular feminist speeches where they feel proud to get alimony in-spite of being well educated and well paid and in spite of getting all benefits they end up blaming men.

Unfortunately we don’t find such empowered women appearing on TV debates and thus our idea of Indian women reduce only to portrayal of some greedy, unscrupulous women who wants to screw happiness of some men in order to get empowered. In fact, I felt that it is in the interest of all women such sheroes need to come out and regularly take part in all open discussions so that greedy women who hide under the masks of feminists can be exposed. I realized why Sairee mentioned that she intentionally avoids all women’s day speeches she gets invited to.

There was another good conversation that I would remember from this conference. One entrepreneur while presenting her business mentioned about a solution for the mothers. One of the female jury members who were also a mentor for start-ups corrected her saying – ‘say parents’. Well, the message was clear, today no one can segregate a mother and a father based on their role and hence the solutions need to cater to both. In modern knowledge economy, the gynocentric approach is no longer acceptable. That had forced me to think that feminists who appear on behalf of all women actually make fool of themselves and they are taking the generation further away from reality and unless real sheroes come up strongly in debunking such feminist theories Indian women will never be truly empowered.

Sheroes of Bangalore

Sheroes of Bangalore

The conference also had a business case presentation session by different start up entrepreneurs. It was an amazing experience to hear out stories of how those women became successful without blaming patriarchy or men around them.

In short, if I were not invited to attend this conference, I wouldn’t have known the real sheroes around us. They don’t appear in popular TV programs and so we think they don’t exist. The greedy women who represent women in all forums, in fact misrepresent women. It is a new challenge to these sheroes to show the world what women empowerment really means and how that can be achieved without blaming men. I feel privileged to hear and meet so many extraordinary women who I thought never existed in modern feminist world.

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Blogging to WIN: The Win ’14 conference by Blogadda

@Win 14

I felt myself very lucky to be invited by Blogadda to attend India’s first ever national bloggers meet and award ceremony. Even though it was in Mumbai and I had to bear the travel cost on my own and only registration cost of Rs. 1000 was waived I found that as an opportunity for me to be there, network with other bloggers and learn a LOT of things about blogging.

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So I decided to travel there by bus. Unfortunately for me while travelling to Mumbai my bus met with an accident with a Karnataka politician’s car and that car was completely damaged. Even though it was the car driver’s fault as he rammed into our bus from behind and there was no casualty, there was huge problem with the car owner and it seemed that incidence would turn into a state vs state (Karnataka vs. Maharastra) debate. The politician was from Karnataka and most of the people in the bus from Maharastra. I was amazed to find how an accident can turn into a much larger state issue in minutes. Finally the matter was settled in local PS but in that process I have lost two valuable hours that I could better use for networking in the conference.

IMAG0123 IMAG0124But as always happens in all Indian events, the Blogadda event too didn’t start in time and by the time I arrived at the venue, got freshened up and went to the venue the program has just started.

Immediately after we reached the venue we were given a kit by the organizers. The kit contained a very well designed neck-liner bearing the name of the participant with WIN ’14 logo on one side and the details of the sessions on the other. There were some gift vouchers and a beautiful Blogadda badge. Both the badge and neck-liner is worth preserving as beautiful mementos of the event for future.                                                                                                                             

IMAG0111The first session was on Storytelling Vs Blogging where Anil P and Kavi Arasu set the tune of the conference right.

Anil P described storytelling through photography and showed how different aspects of photography can add personality to a storytelling technique. It was an amazing starter for the photo bloggers. It was definitely a great value add for a starter like me who wants to explore different genres of blogging.

Kavi Arasu – another seasoned blogger narrated his journey through a mind-blowing storytelling technique that has won everyone’s heart. The main takeaways from his session were –

  1. Valid statistics and Images are very important for blogs. Images need to be blogger’s own image. So it is important for bloggers to develop interest in photography. It was good news for bloggers who are already using a lot of stats in their blogs and can capture beautiful images through their lenses.
  2. He said that one need to seek stories around as he stated that the universe is made of stories.
  3. He won all hearts in the audience when he mentioned a quote – “In a child’s mind, there are no seven wonders, there are millions”. Well it came with a disclaimer that it was not his quote. He said that a blogger essentially need to look out for those wonders around him.

In short, Kavi Arasu was simply the best in his storytelling technique.

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Tea Break

After a short tea break a session on The Influence of Blogging started with Lakshmipathy Bhat, Anaggh Desai and Manu Prasad.

This session was mainly to elaborate on individual’s branding through blogging. Speakers mentioned that modern human beings say a lot of things differently but a blogger / writer need to understand the advantages and challenges of their medium well before they get into writing.

These are some of the advantages of blogging as elaborated in the session –

  1. Blogs cater to a very narrow, niche and involved audience.
  2. Blogging gives an individual a thought leadership stance
  3. Blogs are long found content that can be trusted upon hence bloggers too have responsibility of creating such awesome content.
  4. Blogs allow the audience to have meaningful discussion on a topic
  5. Brings out in-depth, multifaceted personality of an individual

And most importantly –

  1. “Once you pop, you can’t stop”- otherwise the blog dies.
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Blogger arriving at the venue

Some of the challenges of blogging that were discussed-

  1. Going to where the million is.
  2. Building blogger’s own niche segment
  3. Extreme hardwork needed

Manu Prasad spoke about blogging by business brands like Myntra, WorldSpace, MidDay, Bangalore Mirror. Main points were –

  1. To enhance their reach to people
  2. To enhance business outcome
  3. Top-of-the-mind customer reach
  4. Tell stories of different possibilities with your brand so that people can explore your brand
  5. It is important what a brand does and NOT what the brand says (consider your blog as your brand too).
  6. Blogging creates a dialogue with people, consumers. Creates more involved customers

He mentioned that bloggers need to have passion for blogging and authority on the subject and also mentioned 5 ‘P’s to measure effectiveness of a blogPurpose, Platform, Plan, Produce, Promote and Pitch.

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In the same session on influence of blogging Anaggh Desai discussed the social way of blogging. He mentioned that a blogger may think – “Blog is a social way / My way or highway” but ultimately people will read only what they want to read. The blogs that have no feed for a long time, eventually dies. He mentioned.

This was another awesome session that gave much needed insight into blogging. It created a purpose for new bloggers like me and the takeaways from this session will definitely motivate new bloggers to come up big way in blogging.

This was the last session before lunch and some of the winners were announced after this session. Lunch break gave us much needed opportunity to meet and discuss with other bloggers the main reason why I travelled to Mumbai from Bangalore.

The first session post-lunch was on blogging to publishing attended by Kiran Manrai and Ravi Subramanian.

The outcome of this session was also awesome. Bloggers present there got the much needed insight into publishing. The main takeaways from this session was –

  1. Book readership in India is decreasing. 95% authors in India do not make a living only by writing books.
  2. The mostly sold books are in the price range of Rs. 100-150, so publishers keep a maximum tab of word limit to 50,000 words per book for new authors. However seasoned authors whose books can be sold at higher price get the liberty to write bigger articles.
  3. However, it was also said that an author, whether new or seasoned need not restrict oneself in this word count if the story / article really demands the same. Publishers are also looking for new authors so one needs to write good stuff.
  4. Any book sold 10,000 to 15,00 copies is considered as success
  5. Books are dying because media houses are not interested in book launches. Popular daily news media do not have any column for book reviews.
  6. Bloggers / writers need to write a lot to improve their writing skills
  7. Video blogs becoming popular nowadays
  8. To be successful, one needs to be popular in India first and then look at the overseas market. Make your book published in India first and see the success.
  9. E-publishing or publishing of e-books really doesn’t work especially in India
  10. Any new author gets around 7% of the sold value as royalty, so it is hard to survive only on writing. Please have a steady career and earning if you want to be a successful writer.

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The next session on Travel, Life and Music was attended by Ekalavya Bhattacharya, Karl Gomes and Vasundhara Das. I had high hopes from this session as I write about travel and life a lot. However, this session turned out to be advertisement of MTV Roadies program and was a big turn off for many.

Next was an impromptu session from Shekhar Kapoor who just mesmerized the audience with his golden words. He spoke about mainstream Indian media, media biasness and changing face of media. Since I am associated with some human rights groups in India and we closely monitor media and media reports, I found that session most useful and eye opener for everyone. Read this article of mine to know more about this session.

Shekhar Kapoor

Shekhar Kapoor @ the conference

After the session by Shekhar Kapoor we had some seasoned bloggers telling us their success stories. Bloggers Anuradha Goyel, Amit Agarwal and Arjun Ravi took us through their stories that kept all of us engaged and added more reasons to continue blogging.

Amit told us how bloggers could help the society in times of natural disasters like tsunami, Uttarakhand disaster etc. He also spoke about how he makes money through his tech blogging (we came to know there is at least one blogger who earn enough only by blogging J).

Anuradha spoke about her journey from 2005 a journey that improved her travel and book review blogs and also her personal traits like observation power.

Arjun Ravi spoke about his music journalism and blog.

After this there was a stand up comedy act that was a pathetic show. Well I can’t be any modest than that. The comedian needs to know simply by sexualising anything and everything can’t give him success even though sex sells everywhere.

After the boring comedy act, the award winners were given prizes by the blogging luminaries present on the occasion and in the end we had two sessions. The first one was on Video Blogging and the second one was on Food Blogging. Each blogger had to choose one among the two and I have chosen the video blogging session by Jay HindTV.

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Session on video blogging

This session started again in a wrong note. Organizers introduced the speaker asking the audience – “Do you know how to make your video viral on the net?” Obviously none of us knew the answer he was expecting, so he answered – “Cats, Dogs and Boobs”….well no one present in the audience was thrilled by this, rather it was a very bad introduction to a topic. Not sure why some people want to sexualize everything unnecessarily.

However, the person from the JaiHind TV managed it well. He spoke a lot about new technologies, evolution of internet media and video blogging. Even though his content was little lengthier and the presentation format and font colors were painful to our eyes, he could hold our attention and convey the importance of video blogging to us. He too gave an insight with proper statistics how popular media channels fool us with TRP numbers and create opinions in their favour and take us away from the truth.

I could not attend this session till the end as I had to catch my flight back to Bangalore. Overall I felt that in-spite of some glitches the conference was a great success. It was even worth travelling to Mumbai to attend the same.

For a similar event next time, I would like to see the following included in such an event –

  1. One session on the SEO of blogs
  2. One session on the successful blogs that won prizes. These blogs need to be displayed and projected more in such conference
  3. A learner’s guide to blogging, different themes, widgets and minor technicalities

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Disclaimer – The first image of mine and the image of Shekhar Kapoor belongs to Blogadda

Related Article – Golden words from Shekhar Kapoor at #Blogadda #Win14