S U N DAY H I N D U STA N T I M E S , M U M B A I
MARCH 28, 2010 | 13
think! STORIES FROM A CHANGING INDIA
HOW 140 CHARACTERS CAN HELPING
CHANGE YOUR LIFE
contacts, find jobs
and even meet
their soulmates ANSHUMAN POYREKAR/HT
HT PHOTOS: SAMBIT SAHA
here’s so much you can do with
140 characters,” says Rohan
Joshi (27), stand-up comedi-
an, host of a TV car show, blog-
ger and compulsive Tweeter.
He ought to know.
His 140-characters tweets are help-
ing him land plum work assignments,
and even found him a girlfriend.
Twitter, the social networking and
micro-blogging website that is fast defin-
ing the way the Net-savvy world com-
municates, is also changing the lives of
young professionals in Mumbai.
“Twitter is part of a broad media ecol-
ogy of social networking interfaces that
have radically transformed the nature
of work, sexuality and time,” says Dr
Amit S. Rai, an associate professor of
English at the Florida State University.
“Not only are these networks 24/7, their
content and services are also readily ■ (Clockwise from above right) Stand-up comedian Rohan Joshi is getting gigs via Twitter, and even found his girlfriend through the micro-blogging site; Mukta Lad was noticed through her tweets and is now headed
accessible through the mobile phone.” to Bangalore for a job as a copywriter with a major ad agency; last week, Twitter friends met at a Bandra cafe for the city’s third Twestival.
Joshi, who signed up in June last year,
was sceptical at first. n’t know are retweeting my links to net- Mukta Lad, on the other hand, had fessional rather than personal. “I share everything about myself on
“I didn’t see the point in writing a works, expanding the circle of people I no idea that she was being keenly ‘fol- For others, like 30-year-old event I didn’t see the point in writing Twitter. It’s changed my life,” says Tiwari.
bunch of Facebook status messages,” he know personally and professionally,” lowed’ by the head of Euro RSCG - a management executive Harish Tiwari, a bunch of status messages. But Dr Rai believes that when the 140-
says. But he soon realised that Twitter says Joshi. major advertising agency. The 23-year- Twitter is his “family away from fami- character messages are networked
was “the most fantastic online CV”. Priyal Sanghavi, who recently relo- old, who was working with an adver- ly.” A survivor of sexual abuse as a child, soon I realised that Twitter was through to other databases, search
After posting links to his blog, writ- cated to the UK for a journalism course, tising magazine, is now preparing to Tiwari says he has found his closest the most fantastic online CV. engines and visual and media ecologies,
ing samples and YouTube videos of his owes her first international internship leave for Bangalore in a few weeks — friends on Twitter, including a woman R O H A N J O S H I , stand-up comedian they may well change people’s lives.
stand-up acts on his Twitter page, Joshi to Twitter. “Being a 22-year-old Indian in time for her new job as a copywriter in Austria who is his ‘Tweet sister’. For yuppies like Joshi, Twitter can
got writing assignments for television journalist in a new country, Twitter gave with the agency. Tiwari also uses Twitter to “spread me directions to his home nearby so I also play Cupid. Joshi met his girlfriend
shows and an international travel por- me access to extremely important peo- “This is big. I’m going to a new city, random acts of kindness”. could collect the money from him.” of eight months through the site, pro-
tal as well stand-up gigs at this year’s ple in my profession,” she says. Now, with a new job. Had it not been for “I once tweeted that I didn’t have any Through Twitter, he also managed to gressing from tweeting to meeting and
Sula Wine Fest. she is building a network of contacts in Twitter, they would have never seen my money to treat an injured dog I had raise nearly half of the Rs 1 lakh he col- eventually dating.
“Twitter gave me the confidence to the UK and India. “People who matter writing, let alone known I existed,” says found on the street,” he says. “Within lected by running for sexual abuse sur- “Most importantly,” he says, “Twitter
share more of my material. People I did- know me because of Twitter,” she says. Lad, who ensures her tweets are pro- minutes, someone tweeted back giving vivors at the Mumbai marathon this year. lets me be me.”
Leaving Home: The Indian Ocean story ‘I always wanted to spend
INDIA’S FIRST EVER
PHOTOS COURTESY: INDIAN OCEAN
HOW THE BAND WAS BORN my life with the piano’
MUSIC DOCU, which ■ Indian Ocean was founded by
Susmit Sen and Asheem Chakravarty.
PIANO PRODIGY Mishka Rushdie Momen will have
hits theatres on April 2, They met at a 1984 concert by Bengali
band Niharika, for whom Asheem was
her first solo performance in Mumbai on April 2
is an in-depth look at playing tabla at the time. Aarefa Johari
PHOTO COURTESY: MISHKA RUSHDIE MOMEN
■ Impressed by Susmit’s guitar-play-
the country’s best kept ing and his vision to evolve a new
sound, Asheem began to jam with him. he was just five when Mishka
cultural secret, says They had their debut concert at Rushdie Momen announced to her
Roorkee — but they still had no name. mother that she intended to be a
director Jaideep Varma ■ In 1990, Susmit’s father suggested professional pianist.
they call their band Indian Ocean. That Now 18, and still a student at London’s
Bhairavi Jhaveri same year, Susmit sold his electric Guildhall School of Music & Drama, her
■ firstname.lastname@example.org guitar to raise money for a demo career has already taken off.
recording. With Shaleen Sharma on The youngest student ever to be
etallica had Some Kind of drums and Indrajit Dutta and Anirban admitted to London’s Purcell School of
Monster (2004); Bob Dylan had ■ A still from the making of Leaving Home. (Below, L-R) Amit Kilam, Susmit Sen, Roy on bass, Indian Ocean recorded Music — she was six at the time —
I’m Not There (2007). Rahul Ram and the late Asheem Chakravarty at a practice session in New Delhi. seven songs in a single day. Momen has performed at some of
Now, Indian Ocean has become the ■ HMV was impressed and offered
England’s most prestigious concert ven-
first desi band with a music documen- band in India with a consistent body ues, including the Royal Festival Hall,
tary to its name. I am a fan of their music and I of work.”
them an album deal. Though the
Britten Theatre and the Menuhin Hall.
album would only be released a year
In Leaving Home: The Life and Music have taken a chance on the project. But it’s not all testimonials and fan- later, but sold over 40,000 copies in She also represented the UK at the
of Indian Ocean, director Jaideep I am 43 and I love the band. I think fare. “The film also offers an in-depth the first year, making it, at the time, European Union Piano Competition in
Varma goes behind the scenes with the look the band’s story,” says Varma. the highest selling record ever by an Prague last year. “I think I always knew
20-year-old Indian fusion rock band. that shows their reach. It’s a story that Varma — a close Indian band. that I wanted to spend my life with the
“I believe they are India’s greatest A S H I S H S A K S E N A , COO, BIG Cinemas friend of Indian Ocean’s four band mem- piano,” says the prodigy, who practices ■ Mishka Rushdie Momen will perform at the
■ In 1991, Susmit’s former schoolmate
post-Independence cultural secret,” bers — is familiar with. How Susmit for up to six hours a day. Experimental Theatre, NCPA, on April 2. Tickets
says Varma. “I wanted to play a small the making of their music, peer inter- Sen and the late Asheem Chakravarty Rahul Ram joined the band, replacing Momen is now looking forward to her will be available at the venue from March 29.
part in letting that secret out.” views, stories told by their families and met at a concert in 1984, began to jam Anirban on bass. first solo concert in Mumbai, on April
The 118-minute film, which will hit bytes from famous fans like film direc- and, 10 years later, had the largest-sell- ■ In 1994, drummer Shaleen left the 2, organised by the Mehli Mehta Music author Salman Rushdie. “I am extreme-
theatres on April 2, is an amalgama- tor Anurag Kashyap, quoted in the film ing record of an Indian band ever, with band and Amit Kilam, barely out of his Foundation. “I feel a very strong con- ly proud of my uncle,” she says, before
tion of the Delhi-based band’s concerts, as saying: “Indian Ocean is the only 40,000 sales in the first year. teens and still taking his college nection to Mumbai because my moth- moving on to discussing the intricacies
The flavour of the film, says Indian exams, took his place. er grew up there,” she says, corre- of music.
Ocean drummer and percussionist sponding with the Hindustan Times via “The most important thing for a musi-
Amit Kilam (36), is similar to that of phone and e-mail from the UK. cian,” she says, “is to try and understand
the band’s music: Honest and devoid Shot over 50 days in 2006, the film Born and raised there, Momen says the intentions of the composer.”
of melodrama. includes footage of late co-founder and she is still emotionally very attached to But you also have to search inside
“We have always made music we band vocalist Asheem Chakravarty India. “At home I was always surrounded yourself and find your own individual
liked, never bothered to make music (tabla and vocals), who died of a heart by Indian things and my grandmother way of conveying very personal emo-
for the market,” he adds. “We figured, attack at age 52 last Christmas Eve. told me many stories about India.” tions to an audience, Mishka adds. “And
if we like what we make, there’ll be oth- “I had the option of editing it out, While there are no musicians in her you have to find a way to do this with-
ers out there who will like it too.” but the film is a celebration of the family, fame is not new to Momen, who out becoming self-indulgent.”
Die-hard fans have always been grate- band’s life and music, and I don’t think is the niece of Booker Prize-winning In honour of his 200th birth anniver-
ful for this non-commercial attitude. Asheem would have liked me do that,” sary, Momen will dedicate most of her
“We never say that we are the best says Varma. Mumbai recital to Polish master com-
bass guitarist or the best drummers in Band guitarist Susmit Sen (47)
I have watched Mishka develop poser Chopin. Her handpicked pro-
the world. We don’t have any false agrees. into a very fine young pianist. We gramme, however, also features music
notions of ourselves,” says Kilam. “But
the harmony among the four of us is
“We were very flattered when
Jaideep told us he wants to make a film
invited her to show Mumbai that, from different periods: The Classical
(Beethoven), Romantic (Chopin) and
what leads to the music we create. In on us,” he says. “But we never inter- given the right environment and Impressionistic (Debussy).
our band, every single member has a
say in the music being created, which
fered in how he wanted to portray us.
We’ve never actually cared much about
training, Indians can stand [at So what does Momen do when she’s
not playing the piano? “I loves to read,
is a rarity in music groups.” our public image.” par] with the rest of the world. watch films and spend time with
Varma says it is this harmony in their (Leaving Home: The Life and M E H R O O J E EJ E E B H OY, founder-trustee friends,” she says. “I also hope to make
music that he has tried to find and fol- Music of Indian Ocean releases in of the Mehli Mehta Music Foundation, which the time to understand Indian music in
low in Leaving Home. BIG Cinemas on April 2) seeks to promote Indian musical talent a meaningful way.”