Saturday, November 21, 2009

My learning from my first fling with acting!

Just 10 weeks back I had no clue I’d be standing on stage playing second lead in an hour-and-a-half long play. I was forced to audition by my director and best friend Vashisht so I landed up there. God-only-knows how I was called back for the next round and God-only-knows how I was zeroed in on for the role of Ramesh. From then on there has been no looking back. I have loved every single moment of being involved in this brilliant production.

Acting has taught me a lot. In the very very recent past I couldn’t have imagined myself being so expressive but now I don’t feel constrained at all while impersonating Scarlett Johansson, in a completely female voice, in front of 200-odd people. I have learnt that it is not me on stage but it is my character. It is my character Ramesh performing all these actions, not Saksham Karwal. I have to let myself free, there is no room to be shy. Whether I am more comfortable believing that there is an audience watching me or that I am alone in a room is all up to me, I have to choose which environment would spur me to give my best. There is a scene where my boss Arun, played by my friend Akhil, slaps me and it was hard for both of us to play this out. I had to mentally prepare that it was Ramesh being slapped not me; I had to force myself not to put my hand in a defensive position as a reflex action knowing that I am going to be slapped. It was hard, but then you gotta do what you gotta do. I have learnt that teamwork exists even outside my cricket team. Acting is a team effort, you rub off off your co-actors' energies. I have learnt that criticism is not a bad thing; you have to take it well. I had no clue how to act (don't know if I have any now either!) so I kept my mind receptive to all the advice and points coming from Vashisht and Manasi (the Assistant Director). Every single line in the play can be interpreted in a million different ways and your view may not match with someone else's, but you have to listen. No one is wrong, it’s just a matter of picking between two rights. I have learnt that patience is key. There will be days when someone is off, you have to let those days be, you can't let them upset you because there are always days when you will be off as well.

For making the last two-and-a-half months of my life an unforgettable experience, withdrawal will be hard and long :( I am a changed person, for the better of course. The word shy doesn't exist in my life anymore. The world is my stage. For everything that has come my way I'd like to thank every single member of the production, right from lights (Bhakti & Anshul) to sounds (Yash K. & Vandit) to costumes (Gehna & Natasha B.) to the stage manager (Juveca), to the set designer (Colin), to props (Aisha & Riah), to the graphics designer (Karan), to the super efficient set crew (Aditya & Ayesha), to the one and only director mentor (Vidyut), the Naatak board (Vidushi, Shashwat, Vashisht, Abhijay, Shreyans, Natasha S.) and most importantly my director, the AD and my fellow cast members. Thanks Vashisht for making me an actor (c'mon I am one!!). Thanks Manasi for always uplifting everyone's mood. Thanks Akhil for always silently being the most supportive (and for the million slaps). Thanks Karishmma for just being such a perfect Rashmi for Ramesh. Thanks Sneha for bringing all the positive energy you brought (and the note along with the gift). Thanks Shiv for always going on and on and never letting there be any silent moments, you fit in perfectly. Thanks Varun for giving such a great performance, you are irreplaceable. Thanks Ashley for the 'Jesus wouldn't like that.' Thanks Pheobe for believing you were really talking to Scarlett Johansson. Thanks Subodh for letting me take out all my frustrations on you. Thanks Steve, Yash M. and Natasha S. for being so sporting. Thanks Gandharv and Shubhi for making us perform in front of a full theater with people even on the floor and on the aisle. How can I forget my family and friends for being so supportive throughout? Thanks Sugyan for being so encouraging (I am gonna see you a lot more from tomorrow). Thanks Kirti for having the craziest talks with me. Thanks Harsh for always being up for everything, yes everything! Before I forget, I’m sorry to anyone I may not have behaved properly with, I owe an apology. Finally and once again, thank you so much, I love you guys.

Now, its time to go up on stage and give it my best one last time. So off I go from here straight on to stage... wait I'm always on stage now!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

PenNaatak presents 1-888-DIAL-INDIA

This weekend I will be making my acting debut in the play 1-888-DIAL-INDIA written by Anuvab Pal. The play is being performed at the University of Pennsylvania by PenNaatak and is directed by Vashisht Garg. The posters of the play are attached for you to view!

I will soon post on my fling with acting, my learnings, the pressure, the work, the bonding but most of all the fun I had!

Yes that is me on the bottom poster playing the part of Ramesh, a call center employee. Enjoy, because I definitely did!!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Movies and real life

Should real life match the life in movies or should the life in movies match real life?

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Pitching for funds or wooing a girl? One and the same!

I recently attended a session of the Economic Times Power of Ideas in Delhi in June and while listening to all of the entrepreneurs, whether young or old, there was one thing that continuously struck me. This was that pitching to VC’s for funding is very similar to wooing a girl. I shall elaborate further.

  1. Choose the right VC/ Girl
    Choose a VC who is interested in investing in a sphere that you are operating in. Know what kinds of companies have been funded by this VC. Pick a girl who is compatible with you and you actually stand a chance with! Try to know what kind of guys the girl has previously dated or fallen for. For both, the VC and/or the girl thorough research is required.
  2. Business Plan/ Life Plan
    Be prepared with a compact, concise and clear business plan. A VC will glance through it very quick and your plan must immediately impress him. You must have your life ahead mapped out. Women should sense that you know what you are doing and where you are going.
  3. Presentation style
    You have to be able to sell your business to the person across the chair. You have to be passionate, enthusiastic and full of self conviction so as to make the VC believe in your plan. You have to market yourself in such a way that the girl begins to believe that you are the one stop shop for all her needs.
  4. Build Credibility/ Win trust
    Show the results of your organization and make the VC believe that you can continue to perform. Be chivalrous, be polite, be a complete gentleman and be there for her. She needs to know that you are more than eligible for her and can trust her life in your hands.
  5. Competitors/ Other suitors
    Never mention to a VC that there are other organizations which are bigger than or capable of quickly overtaking you. Make a girl believe that you are the only one she should be interested her and she shouldn’t waste her time elsewhere. At times, this could involve painting a false picture!

So choose the best fit for yourself, arrange for timely meetings/dates, use appropriate terminology/pick up lines, leave a remarkable first impression, be passionate, sound convinced, behave confident, continue to do what you believe in and you will automatically build yourself an astronomical valuation. And the rest as they say will be history!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Imagine 2020

Why can’t a search engine be developed which offers a much more holistic service to net users than what Google, Yahoo or Bing currently offer. As of now, we type in search terms, sentences or phrases into the search bar and get a few hundred thousand results in less than a second. Great. But why not go a few notches higher? Why
just stick to typing search terms and getting innumerable articles? Here is the plan for “Imagine 2020.

All of us have those times when we just can’t place someone. We know we’ve seen them around, met them a few times but just can’t pinpoint who they are. Definitely embarrassing. Its even more embarrassing when the other person is a well known personality and you don’t recognize them. On
Imagine 2020 you will be able to upload a photo of a person on the search bar and instantly know who they are and what they do or have done. Imagine will start with a database of famous persons, move on to semi-famous persons and slowly but surely have a world wide database. And not just people, it could be the image of any kind of animal r creature or object, and you could get split-second details about it.

On the same lines why can’t we upload a sound clip and get a gazillion results in a microsecond? For example, if there is a bird chirping around me, I should be able to record its chirping with my phone and upload it to
Imagine and know exactly which bird species it is, what are the specifics of the sound it makes (wavelength, pitch etc.), whether the bird is a male or a female, the age of the bird and whatever more details you want. Imagine will be on top of this service.

This is definitely the future of search engines. To make us more aware of the universe we live in. To make our lives even easier and faster. To make the world an even smaller and more connected place. Just

Thursday, July 2, 2009

India's dismal performance in the T20 World Cup

Just like any Indian, Bollywood and cricket are an integral part of my life. Unfortunately in the past month both have been a major letdown for the entire country. In this post I will concentrate on cricket though.

Being cricket crazy, since I was a small kid I would do anything to watch all the India games with great passion. I remember when I was 7 I stayed up till 4 am to watch India get dominated by the West Indies. But I still stayed up night after night. That’s because I knew we were trying. Each and every player had their moments of brilliance on the tour.

A little more than twelve years later nothing has changed for me. About three weeks back I was watching India play England in the T20 World Cup and was absolutely disgusted with the way we played. It just seemed that most of the Indian players didn’t want to win the game. They just wanted to end the tournament for themselves right there and get rid of all the pressure on themselves once and for all.

On the second last ball of the match it was Ryan Sidebottom bowling to Yusuf Pathan with India needing 9 more runs to win or 8 more to tie and go into the super over. Basically to remain in the game or rather the tournament India needed a minimum of 2 runs off this delivery, assuming that Sidebottom would not concede any extras in the balls to go. Pathan slapped the ball straight down the ground and immediately shot off to run. Mahendra Singh Dhoni who was at the non-strikers end also began running, though he should have been at least half way through at that point considering he would be running towards the danger end in case India took 2 runs. In a very shocking turn of events, Dhoni reached the striker’s end and didn’t even turn around to attempt a second run. He didn’t even look back to see if the fielder had cleanly caught the ball or not, whether he had already thrown it, whether Pathan was on for a second run, nothing seemed to bother him. Even a schoolboy would know that not attempting a second run was suicidal. All that Dhoni had to risk for the entire tournament was his wicket which it seems was more precious to him than his own team staying alive to defend their world cup trophy. It was as if Dhoni had come in to the centre knowing from before that he had to concede the game but at the same time make it look close enough so that fingers wouldn’t be raised later on. There are a lot of smaller incidents that simply refuse to let me believe that India was out there to win.

So I have concluded that a lot has changed for me after this T20 world cup. I have lost that passion with which I used to watch the gentleman’s game. That thrill is no more there for a person who actually appreciates the finer intricacies of the sport. Now, it all seems like a beautifully written script for an engrossing tv series with enough drama and mirch masala to keep the ordinary person interested.