Posts tagged ‘City News’

Routine ramblings blog: Luminous day flying and landing nowhere artsy!

day of the glimmering dawn

day of the glimmering dawn

 

On an early luminous morning, I rose with the gleaming clouds radiant with the globe of sun lit in the sky.

I got geared up to backpack for my tour to the city of Nawab’s (Hyderabad).

Well I was returning the same evening, so there was nothing to backpack really, but just thought it might add to my reader’s interest of something exciting that might be coming. Ahem!

As I completed with my calorie burning session for the day and drove to the Mumbai Airport I was already waiting for the day to end. Why, ‘coz I felt it was going to be a routine day assignment with zilch added to the learning kitty, so I thought.

Yet, the day went off smooth, with even few new learning’s added to the food for thought pool for the day.

I had ample time still left, so I wandered around the streets. As usual landed where I first start off or end up in most of the cities, at the Art museum.

I was close to Hyderabad Birla Museum center (Art center) and shockingly experienced the utterly un-courteous poorly maintained, staffed with sad and dark minded traditional non art valuing staff and suffocating, hot and humid interiors with no ventilation (No A/c  or fans were switched on even after asking / requesting).  It was undoubtedly the most awfully maintained Art Museum I have ever visited in my entire life.

Left the sad area, not so soon though and later landed in the nearby cool, calm and beautiful Birla garden and saw idols, and sculptures of Gods (Shiva / Nandi) and many others.

SHIVA Nandi

SHIVA Nandi

Finally I got my Meru and landed back at Hyderabad Airport and realized I was ONLY 3 ½ hours early than my reporting schedule.  Hmmmm, hungry, famished and extremely glad with the royal treatment received at the Birla Art museum (still could not get it out of my system especially since it was at an Art museum).

Anyways, I went to airport coffee shop and ordered myself a ‘cut the carb and fat down’ Italian Salad Sandwich with a Big Mug of Coffee. Had a relishing meal and got on board. I usually dislike flight food unless it’s Jet.

Luckily the Meru experience was comfortable throughout as I landed back home with few good learning and some bad experiences with a decent meal coupled with my very favourite Coffee.

The day was over as I rolled back under my Mickey Mouse sheet for a sound sleep unruffled and dozed off into the sweet arms of nidra.

 hey, needed to ramble something off my routine at least once in this blog… come on! What say?

Cheers

Long live Art and artists

June 25, 2009 at 10:31 pm Leave a comment

Influences in life.

 

Ananth’s blogon influences set me thinking on how the persons around us impact our thinking and behaviour. His blog was on the conscious impact of few persons around him. I felt that the impact on the sub conscious mind by our environment is worth thinking of.

Last year I attended a marriage in Chennai. My aunt (father’s younger sister) exclaimed that “you look like my brother in your present attire” or something to that effect. Instinctively, I felt flattered. Why should I feel so? My father, from the time I remember, looked his age and some more. He was severely short sighted, though tall, was stooping, had very less teeth, dark complexioned, with a furious temper and highly rigid opinion on several aspects of life. His was a hard act to follow.  But still, some of his achievements and decisions make us still look up to him and any resemblance-genetic or otherwise- gives us a sense of inner glow. This however comes with some of the turns and twists life takes and compels us look into the mirror and admit reality at least to ourselves.

In Indian context, the first influence is our parents. The first English alphabets and nursery rhyme was taught to me by my mother whose formal education stopped at primary school. Forty six years back, we had come to Mumbai from a small village in Kerala. We had to adjust to a metro life in a hurry. Learning a foreign language and rhyme (twinkle twinkle little star…) was the first step. I have a sentimental belief that since this was the only subject my mother taught me, I was always good at it.

How did our parents express their love to us or to each other? How many of us remember our parents smiling with a shy love or laughing wickedly over an adult joke said privately to each other? Did they hold each other in their arms and dance the way we saw in the movies of 60s? May be so. Did they do it in our presence? Never.  How did this lack of physical or public expression of love (an Indian trait) impact us? Well, most of us – at least in South India- are uncomfortable with a physical expression of love- even of the platonic variety- in public and may be even in private.

What is the situation today? Very difficult to say.  My belief is that today’s youth are caught between the example set by their parents and the peer pressure. What is the right thing to do? I feel that some amount of display of positive emotions strengthens relationships and establishes some bonding.

Peer pressure or friends or lack of it is the next strongest influence in any life. How would lack of peer pressure or friends influence a person? Like many shy persons, I found it difficult to create an easy going friendship with the group in which I was studying or working (hai-bye relationship). I did exactly what I felt like doing. Some of it succeeded due to several factors- some within and some beyond my control.  But the difficulty in creating an easy going “life of the party” kind of relationship remains.

Peer pressure come most obviously in the “science or commerce” kind of decisions post schooling. Most of such decisions are based not on what the boy or girl wants to do in life post education and how attractive that avenue is. Some years back I had asked my cousin (who is a medical doctor (MBBS)) why is there a craze for medical admission when the returns are not commensurate with the efforts- at least in India. He said that it was due to lack of real understanding of the profession and its pressures. Last week’s news article said that the application for medical admission has fallen significantly while demand for engineering admission has surged.  One classic example is the number of engineers who joined for IT related courses even when it was apparent that many of the industry leaders are from different streams of engineering and such streams offered good long term prospects.

There is a big board I see on the way to office every day. It says “To the world you might be one person; to one person you might be the entire world. So drive carefully.” I feel this poignantly states our relationship with those we love very much- spouse, children, parents, siblings etc. Whenever we wear a new dress, after examining the image on the mirror, we go to our spouse and ask hesitantly ‘do I look handsome?’ A small smile of appreciation, a tart comment makes our day. I say to myself- I certainly look handsome in this shirt. I sometimes think that even Manmohan Singh or Sonia Gandhi must be asking their family members about their appearance before stepping into public gaze. This is only a small example how our spouse and/or family members appreciation matters to each person.  Family support is a great strength of Indian way of life and gives an anchor for our life.

Do parents listen to their children?  Yes, they do; especially when children start growing up and express their opinions.  The external environment has changed and is changing so rapidly that only highly self opinionated parents will disregard the views emanating from their children. If we have to keep communication lines open with them, we have to listen, but not necessarily agree with them and provide an adult feedback. Does this influence us? Yes it does. How does it influence us? Not easy to say. But their love and appreciation of our achievements and forgiveness of our failings matters a lot to us- at least to me.

Lastly religion, religious beliefs, practices, rituals and the whole baggage that comes with it. These are so intensely personal that they are hard to pin down or express in a logical or coherent manner. It matters to us hugely. Even lack of belief in all these things matters hugely.  Here again the dominating influence is our parents. We observe them and then decide consciously or unconsciously as to what we should do.

I have not touched up on the influence of our life in service as that deserves another blog.

So who influenced you? Why don’t you look at your parent and start wondering how they have influenced you?

June 15, 2009 at 12:03 pm 1 comment

Bringing up children

Bringing up children: Part 1: The Journey Begins:
 

Bringing Up Children

Bringing Up Children

 

 

Every union should produce results. Progeny is one of the results of marriage- at least an expected result. Every newly married couple face overt or covert questions about their “plans”. Any delay beyond 3 years causes great consternation to the families of the couple first and then finally to the couple. All this creates a psychological need to have a child or children.

 

The initial clarity during the mating period of waiting for few years, settling in respective careers, purchase of dwelling etc. may have been achieved or could be in process. But now the need for a child becomes supreme. The conception takes place. I have a vague impression that women do have hesitation or some apprehensions about the entire pregnancy and delivery process. Most males disregard these apprehensions and the emotional and psychological coercion is enough for the women to cross this hurdle. The child arrives. Respective in laws troop in with broad smiles and a realisation of being grand parents.

 

Those who become grand parents before reaching the age of 60, mentally tell themselves that “we are like students who pass CA or IIT Entrance in first attempt while others who still troop to school with their children or run around for admissions to colleges are slow starters. But we are young grandparents. Old age associated with the status of being grandparents is not applicable to us”. Mothers are conferred an almost divine status in India.

 

One story I heard in justification of this status is something like this. One young student questioned placing mother first in the statement “Mata, pita, guru, deivam.”

 

The guru who was smart delayed the reply. After a few days, the guru asked the student to take a brick, tie it around his waist and go to the well and fetch water several times. The well was obviously at some distance. After the student got exhausted, the guru informed the student that a pregnant mother carries the child similarly for nine months and hence they get this status.

A typical Indian story which justifies the age old statement. Western civilisation has not placed such exalted status on parents. Probably they are seen as the medium thru which the life is created on the earth and the medium is like a vessel we use for cooking. The food is more important than the vessel. The mother now gets to see the life which was floating around in her belly. She is initially wonder struck. Then the awareness sinks in about her primary responsibility. Feeding a child at 12.30 am or 4 am is not something any human being can get excited about for weeks and months. The excitement of working as an executive in an air conditioned office is more palpable than cleaning a baby who will learn sanitary habits after some years. She wonders “God, why does any one say all this is exciting?”. The situation of Indians who have emigrated to middle east or USA etc. is even more difficult. These countries have strict laws for child care. Some countries insist on full time attendant till one year of age (this is what I understand).

The role of father at this stage is crucial. Few have any prior experience. They are forced to learn by trial and error. Many families erroneously do not educate their sons to be aware of basic domestic chores. So they land up in family life without any knowledge of the drudgery involved in maintaining a house in a nuclear family. I believe that it is at this stage the next foundation of family life is laid. Couple who work together (whether both are employed or only one is employed) and share responsibilities build a stronger edifice of their marriage.

The children watch and instinctively understand how their family lives and adapt accordingly. If the responsibilities get shifted to outside family members like in-laws or servants, then the pattern changes. We see distorted behaviour from the children.  Excessive tantrums, need to seek attention of one or both the parents whenever they are present, inability to mix or be comfortable in a large group are some of the visible external symptoms. I cannot claim any memory of my two children’s early years. It all seems to be a blur now. When I watch my grandson grow, I feel a twinge of regret at not noticing and storing these memories at least in the brain. Cameras were expensive then and so there are few photos of those times.

Now Picasa contains a few hundred or thousand photos of various antics of my grand son. Most mothers would tell you that the first three years of the child are difficult but rewarding. Creation of life and its growth is still one of the greatest wonder in this world. The efforts we put in these early years yield visible results.

The exuberance of the child, its curiosity in exploring the world around it, lack of any fear or knowledge of danger gives the greatest pleasure. One of the memorable photos of my grandson (when he was less than a year) is his smile when he turns around to look at me before trying to pluck the AC plug from the socket. Today’s world does not give any educated person the time or privilege to think on such things.

Success brings its own material rewards and satisfaction. It requires great courage to step aside from such a path to enjoy such pleasures. Children demand lot of emotional attention. Our city life drains out our quota of Emotional Quotient leaving little for our family. This is where the distance with children/family starts building up.

 

                                          

Bringing up Children – Part 2: When do children grow up?

Perhaps when they start asking questions about the life we lead. Children consciously or unconsciously imitate parents in the early stages. At some point they question us- do we have to pray everyday? Do we have to write homework at 7.30 every day?

Cant’ we have the toy or something else his or her friend has? Slowly we have to set the boundaries within which we have to live. How does a parent explain that they cannot afford a particular expense as it is beyond them? I remember such a situation when my daughter asked for legitimate expense and I could not afford it at that time. I do not think I gave a correct answer. There is always a debate between quality time and quantity time devoted to children. In a traditional family, the father went to office to make a living and mother looked after the hearth. So father’s time was quality time. Children’s bondage with father was perhaps limited due to the then prevailing environment. This is evident from some of the movies we see of the 60s and 70s in any Indian language.

Today, with both parents employed in many cases, the distance or closeness could be the same. My belief is that children react well to a relationship where the parents are capable of receiving the confidences of their children. They should trust their parents sufficiently enough to exchange their innermost fears and receive emotional and physical support.

This is more easily said than done. This requires a long period of communication at a seemingly equal level without losing the basic authority as parents. Today’s parents do assist in homework, projects, exams and other burdens of today’s schooling process. Do they gain their children’s confidence in this process is a moot point. I saw one TV Debate program on parent’s involvement in their children post school education- Science or commerce, engineering or medicine and so on.

The program had parents and children on opposite sides of the debate. The vehemence of the children on the negative influence of parents on compelling choice of the education stream was quite an eye opener. The education expert – a college principal- said that we should trust over children with the choice they make and not second guess them. They generally know what they want and we should guide them only when they start expressing their doubts or seek help.

My wife has an interesting view on how teenagers and young adults fall in love. She says that when the children lack emotional support or live in an emotional vacuum in the house, they seek an alternative outside the house. This is how love develops. In many cases, this seems to be true. I have seen children whose parents live in a different era and perhaps are not able to relate to their children’s emotional demands. Parents live in an orthodox yesterday era- where passbooks are reconciled on monthly basis, eating out should be out sheer necessity, new dresses are purchased for birthday,  Deepavali and school re-opening.

Marriage anniversary means visit to the nearby temple and then going to office. For children, Mcdonald is a fashion statement to be made, Coffee Day is THE PLACE to be seen wearing a jeans and latest tops with members of opposite sex. Spending a few hundred rupees on such an outing is normal. Would we have spent the equivalent of Rs 450 for our birthday party (what is party by the way?) say 35 years or 25 years back? I am told this is quite normal today. Cafe Coffee Day is the place for a small birth day party- the Cappucino costs not less than Rs. 30 or Rs. 35 per cup.

It is in such environment that love blossoms. If not love, at least rebellion against the ESTABLISHMENT. Long hair, awful looking half pants or three quarter pants, odd upper garments, skin hugging dresses which give quite the opposite message of the person’s character ( an otherwise timid person may look like today’s starlet in some youth oriented movie).  Is falling in love wrong ? (QSQT with Aamir Khan and Juhi Chawla or Jane tu with Imran Khan to quote a more modern example).

No, love is a beautiful emotion without which life is not worth living. But falling in love at the age of 18 or 21 seems premature- especially in Indian context. Everything is a struggle here- unlike abroad. Choice of educational stream, admissions, quality of teaching, post graduate education, employment, choice of city or town or metro for employment, accommodation, transport- basic things in life which are taken for granted abroad, pose insurmountable problems for most young adults. Love seems to be a needless distraction in such an environment.

Take admission for engineering, Medicine or any other such professional courses as an example. Each State has got its own peculiarity. Every year there is some litigation to arrest or mar the admission process at the penultimate stage. There is some Government subsidy for such education, but there is something called private college also. In such an environment, the parent struggles to meet their children’s expectations, their own economic strength or lack of it and matching their children’s marks with that of the demands of the educational institution. In such a situation, when a parent hears about a love affair (of anyone else) then there is genuine astonishment on how does anyone get time or energy to get involved in such activities at such an young age.

Lastly, do children who have become full fledged adults (crossed the age of 25 in my belief) need or expect our influence or emotional help. I think yes. But this line is thin. We cannot aggressively intrude into their emotional territory (“don’t be pakao”), nor can we be in an indifferent stranger’s domain. We need to understand the turmoil going through their brain and heart and respond sensitively. We have ourselves passed thru this stage -perhaps without much parental support. So it is easier to assess their needs and probe gently –like a doctor examining an open or an internal wound. It is not easy as now they are a closed book written in a foreign language (or like prayers we recite in Sanskrit- we understand the meaning in a limited manner).

For eg. what do we tell a married son or daughter about the difficulties we face in a marriage? What do we tell about the screaming babies (see my earlier blog) and feeding them at 2 am in night and the support they can expect from their spouse? I often wonder about this. My feeling is that mothers are more forthright in these things and put the matter in a manner which would put their backs up. There would be grudging acceptance later.

I think it is a lifelong relationship. Children remain children for parents whatever be the age. When I used to come home late from office, my father, who was well into his 80s, would remain awake and pester my wife about when I would come. When I reached home, he would confirm that I have reached and then go to sleep. I could not then understand his anxiety. Today I understand it and want to tell him that I understand the deep love and affection that lay behind his non expressive demeanour. But for that I have to go to another world. Do you agree or disagree? Either way, do respond.

 

Image Courtesy: AnanthV

May 3, 2009 at 8:21 pm 3 comments

OSCAR – Jai Ho!

Jai Ho, Jai Ho!

 

Come Home to the Oscars…. Or should I say… Oscars came home….

 

o

 

Finally, Danny Boyle and A R Rahman bring the most coveted Oscars back into the streets of Mumbai.

 

This is the third win for an Indian at the Oscars. The first being, Bhanu Athaiya who won  for costume design in Richard Attenborough’s “Gandhi” made in 1983 and the second being, the legendary filmmaker Satyajit Ray who was awarded a lifetime achievement Oscar in 1992.

 

‘Slumdog Millionaire’ swept EIGHT OSCARS at the 81 st Academy Awards including Best Adapted Screenplay, Cinematography, Sound Mixing, Film Editing, Original Score, Original Song, Direction and Motion Picture.

 

slumdogmillionaire_bestpicture

 

Rahman mesmerized the audience with ‘O Saya’ and ‘Jai Ho…’ the nominated songs from ‘Slumdog…’, as the nominees for Best Original Song were being announced. He came, he performed and he swept everyone away….

 

As the British director Danny Boyle walked in with his cast of Slumdog Millionaire family down the red carpet, all the nine cast members, who played the three main characters in the rags-to-riches magical fable, seemed to further race the hearts of millions of Indians watching all over. There were superstars Anil Kapoor and Irfan Khan also beaming with pride and joy.

 

Most importantly there were the two young cast members, who still live in Mumbai’s slums, making it very special for each and everyone at home in Mumbai.

 

The movie fetched Danny Boyle the Best Director award, Simon Beaufoy best Adapted Screenplay and Anthony Dod Mantle the best Cinematography award. The film was also awarded for Best Editing.

 

Rahman in his acceptance speech after bagging the Original Score Oscar, made LA sound like Mumbai with the legendary dialogue, ‘Mere pass Ma hai’ which means even if I have got nothing I have my mother here. I want to thank her for coming all the way to support me,”

 

The Gulzar and Rahman composed Lyrics “Jai Ho” won the Best Song.

 

Resul Pookutty, received the award for Best Sound Mixing with co-recordists Ian Tapp and Richard Pryke.

 

Also to further glorify this magical night, ‘Smile Pinki’, the tale of a Uttar Pradesh girl and her fight against the social stigma of a cleft-lip, won the Oscar award for Best Documentary (Short).  This film was Directed by the Emmy-award winning Megan Mylan.

 

_45502156_pinkiadd226

 

Let the glory continue……………..

 

 

Oscar Winners List: OSCAR Winners

 

Image Courtesy:

 

Oscar Logo Image: OSCARS

Slumdog: OSCARS

Smile Pinki: BBC

 

February 23, 2009 at 9:33 pm Leave a comment

Kala Ghoda Arts Festival 2009

Kala Ghoda Arts Festival The 2009 Kala Ghoda Arts Festival will be on from 7th February to 15th February.

Gallery and pavement shows, exhibitions, literary events, film screenings, music concerts, dance performances, theatre shows, workshops, heritage walks, a food fiesta, and a buzzing street festival bring in audiences and participants from all over the city.

 The Schedule Of Kala Ghoda Arts Festival 2009 is as follows:

7th February, 2009

8th February, 2009

9th February, 2009

10th February, 2009

11th February, 2009

12th February, 2009

13th February, 2009

14th February, 2009

15th February, 2009

 

URL: http://www.kalaghodaassociation.com

February 9, 2009 at 8:35 am Leave a comment

Mumbai Routine: The wait was finally over….

 

Snarling all around with a face that could not look dimmer than what seemed to be. As I walked into the client’s office, he was staring at the horrible sounds that seemed to be echoing through his office with my entrance.

 

But I guess, the meeting was important enough to entertain my orchestra of heavy cough and cold in his conference room.

 

I finished my appointments and meetings one after the other and rushed to find a cab back home. Desperately with my weary self I carried the exhaustion my body was trying to bear all around the crowded street of Andheri.

 

As the misery of my last 3 days fever and cold seemed to catch up on my body strength, I caved in and started hunting for a rick that could take me home in it’s own topsy-turvy way.  I finally found one in the horribly crowded and filled with heavy horns and brakes road of Saki Naka. I entered in and re-checked with the Pilot of the ‘Rick’ of my destination. He nodded and took off in his horribly rash way that he drives. He drove like he owned the road, but the only issue was, with his speed, he seemed to also own my life for that hour or so. Anyways, I was too tired to move and in those twenty minutes or so he just all of a sudden stopped.

 

“Gas nahi hai sir rickshaw mein” he said and eyed for me to get off the vehicle.

 

No gas in the rick, Wow, fabulous. I was at the Hira Nandani area of Powai at 7 pm where I would never ever get another rick in less than half hour.

 

Bingo, I was right! I got the rick for my way home at 7:25 pm. I was half crashing down when I reached home.

 

I ate something light to keep me ticking and rushed to the doctor to get some meds of this stretched weariness. Luckily, there were only 2 other miserable looking individuals at the doctors waiting room. I took my number and just laid back in the seat waiting to get my dose of medicine. It was 9:30 pm. In the next 30 minutes or so, there were apparently 6 others who went directly in saying they needed to just show their reports who apparently the doc’s helper felt was fine to let them in. By the time the whole lot went in and out and me with the other one more waiting to get in could explain and get things right, (which I did not get into as it seemed like a fight when the others were doing it, so I just laid back in the seat) the time was 10:20 pm.

 

Finally, it was my turn and I could not believe my luck. The doc had an emergency call and she left.

 

Finally, I got my dose of meds and left at 11pm. Glad… My wait was finally over and apparently when I took my meds back at home… so was the day!

 

Happy healing!

December 19, 2008 at 8:43 pm Leave a comment

Mumbai Attack: Why {‘Me’mbai} … will never be my question!

Mumbai -TREE Grace -Strength!

Mumbai -TREE Grace -Strength!

 

Why {‘Me’mbai} … will never be my question!

 

The first breath of air that I ever took till the current letters that I am keying in…. Every minuscule moment screams of the word MUMBAI.

 

I grew up proudly in this beauty of a land which we term, as the city of dreams. The energy and drive that Mumbai can bring for anyone is, in human terms, unreal and eccentric. Growing up here, all I ever worried about was nothing other than ‘just the fear of growing too slow’.

 

For I knew, that my quick paced city was safe and would keep me safe.

 

Life was driven by the ambition of achievement and passion, nothing more.

 

Life was socially or otherwise, always strictly business for every Mumbaikar. 

 

Mumbai never had Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs or any other community. Mumbai in its most awful state of affairs always seemed to come to a consensus on the basis of an understanding but has stood strong and has returned hitting harder.

 

We are a cash rich city by means of real estate, human resource and the dream builders of the world. At the end of the day, everyone knows… There is only one Hope on the face of this planet… that can withstand any trial, wherein so many cultures and dreams have been built from and with nothingness, Our Mumbai.

 

But this week, Mumbai met with an attempt which has made things very personal.

 

In the name of community and insane inhumanness innocent lives were driven into havoc. We were attacked by those who had nothing in their minds, but a canvas of painting the city red. Of giving a message to all: Stay away from this city …..

 

As of date, we have earned over decades the bloody audacity to shout at the top of our voice that we are going to welcome the world more than ever and by God, will the world too take this city with more respect than ever before.

 

We will and have already bounced back to grow, party and capitalize harder than anyone could ever dream of.

 

No one is scared…… bloody not even close…. Now the city is going to have more guests, more visitors and tourists than ever before. All will have the hot and crispy groundnuts outside the Taj Mahal Hotel once again and hang out. Drive around the Marine Drive and catch a movie at Metro this week.

 

Why, because, WHY MUMBAI, will never be my question. You wanted to hit the best… Thanks for reminding the billions all over, that the city of dreams is actually a city that never sleeps. It is actually built with people that love this land and she gets her energy from the blood running through each of our veins. The city has never slept and will never sleep. We will grow beyond what anyone can fathom and will welcome billions more to this land to grow along with us everyday.

 

We are dreams… We are hope… We are strength…… The commandos, the NSG and every brave staff at the hotels, the amazing heart of every civilian, The Trident, Nariman House, Taj, Colaba, CST and all over … gave us more hope than ever before. A heartflet sincere Thanks to each of the heroes. We will always bounce back and hit harder than one can ever EVER in their bloody sense of the term even think of.

 

I will never ask why M{e}mbai.. I know… ‘coz people always go after what’s the best….. It’s sad… for the rest… ‘coz they will never get even an ounce of it…. It’s not for cowards, it’s not for Losers…. It’s for the mighty strong who face Life… not from behind a bush…but Face to face!

 

M{e}mbai!

 

Look at us – We are ready to rock the world again!

Image Source: http://ananthvclickswordpress.com

 

November 30, 2008 at 12:06 pm 5 comments

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