Stand-up Comedy at Canvas Laugh Factory

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Friday evening was spent at the Canvas Laugh Factory. A first for me and I’ve come back impressed. A good set of artists and some hilarious scripting.

It was fun to see Rohan Joshi (@mojorojo). I’ve followed him & Kunal Rao on twitter for a bit now and wanted to see them on-stage. Unfortunately Kunal wasn’t performing that evening -so I’ll have to go back some day. The joke subjects were the predictable set – Indian customs, traditions, religion, food habits, Bollywood and of course the government. And then how could we forget married life – Wife and I got picked on this by the host of the evening – Bru Bhakta. We were left off easy unlike some of the other members of the audience who got some really good round of grilling by the artists. The interaction with the audience is fun and if they find an easy target, they make him/her the subject of many jokes through the evening. If you are the shy sorts, AVOID the first few rows and find yourself a safe back seat.

canvas laugh factoryI admire how the artist or their script writers spend good amount of time observing the simple daily activities of us humans and turn them into hilarious scenarios. Some of the jokes can be cruel and you need a good sense of humour to walk out without having felt offended.

If you are in Mumbai and haven’t seen this yet, I strongly suggest you skip the next Bollywood masala flick and instead go watch this entertainment. I am surely going back soon.

Monday Mumble: Book a local train ticket with your phone

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You can book airline tickets online. You can book railway tickets (long-distance). But you can’t buy a local train ticket online. Can you?

Vashi Station, Mumbai

Here is the idea: Using your mobile phone you could buy a Western / Central Railway local ticket. SMS / USSD will definitely be the most accessible option. You will need to send in keywords to make the booking:

<ORIGIN STATION> <DESTINATION STATION> <SINGLE/DOUBLE>

For easy payment Railways can partner with mobile operators and ensure the ticket charge is debited to the mobile number [Pre-Paid & Post-Paid]. Once confirmed and required amount adjusted, the final ticket can be sent via SMS to the commuter. If the commuter uses a Mobile App to book tickets, they could even keep a complete log of their trips.

This would be so useful to skip the long queues. You could buy the ticket before reaching the station and jumping straight into your favourite local. Or you can actually just rush into the train and even buy the ticket once settled into your seat.

Of course there will be some aspects which will need to be ironed out for the final execution:

  • Commuters may get the spelling wrong when sending the SMS (Can there be some intelligence in the system?)
  • Who will bear the SMS cost? Toll Free or charged at local rate to the commuter?
  • The possibility of somebody fudging the system and generating fake SMS which could misguide the Ticket Checker.

With IRCTC opening up the opportunities for partnerships, I think its a matter of time before somebody can approach the railways and get them into a dialogue with the mobile operators.

What do you think – possible? Complicated? Not worth the money? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

What is Monday Mumble? 
Often, there are thoughts, ideas or just sparks which are not fool-proof. Monday Mumble is an attempt to share such bizarre but probably exciting ideas out loud here and collect an opinion. 

The Other People at blue FROG

The Other Band at blue FROG
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Thanks to a dear friend’s birthday celebrations, last week I had the opportunity to visit blue FROG and witness my first LIVE music performance.

The band that Saturday night was The Other People. They were celebrating 9 years since their first LIVE gig and after the performance I wasn’t surprised on what’s kept them there for so long. They were really good.

The Other Band at blue FROG

The Other Band at blue FROG

Click here to see an Instagram Video I shot at the performance.

They ended the night on what seemed to be the most popular of their playlist. ALWAYS by Bon Jovi.

I would really like to go back again and see another of their performance.

Air Conditioned Cabs – how will they differentiate

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Luxury services spoil you. Last month I made multiple trips to the suburbs and preferred to use the Air Conditioned cab services over the local trains. And anybody who has booked an AC cab in Mumbai will tell you the good times and bad times when you can get a cab easily.Thankfully, there are about 4 operators in Mumbai currently so you’ve got a sufficiently large fleet to choose from. Of which 3 have an uniform pricing, pretty much the same service levels [unless its an exceptionally super smiling super efficient driver].

As a consumer, I think we aren’t yet getting brand loyal when it comes to booking an AC cab. You just dial, and take the first can available to take you from A to B. Open and shut case. But how does the operator start getting customers to dial only their services during non-peak hours.

So I did some thinking and thought of a few things which might make an operator the preferred choice of AC cab.

Loyalty Club.

Book an x number of trips in the month and you could get a gift voucher or an exclusive discount coupon on your next trip. I am sure quite a few brands will want to sponsor it.

Priority Customer.

You get priority over the non-members during peak hour bookings. You get a 30 min free wait. And some more freebies can be bundled.

Make the drive an experience.

I’ve seen in-cab magazines. How about offering a bottle of water [make it paid]. Mouth fresheners etc. Can a new snack brand offer a free sample pack for the try.

Cab quality.

Ensure the AC cab is not going the ‘kaali-peeli’ way. It should be clean, smell nice and please no cockroaches under the seat, please. And yeah that AC better work at the best level.

Drivers, please suit up.

Ensure a quality check on the drivers. Do they smell like straight from a no-bath zone. Are they chewing too much of that masala making the cab smell like a paan factory.

Make a noise.

I don’t see the cab companies advertising. I didn’t know there was Easy Cabs and Star Taxi in Mumbai until I happen to see them on the road and had to make a quick note of their numbers. What’s keeping them away from advertising or building a brand name. At least the multi-city ones will be able to spread the ad costs across a larger fleet.

What’s your experience with AC cabs been like? What are the features you think would make you loyal to a brand?

Khatron Ke Khiladi – Ambient at Churchgate Station

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This morning I saw the ambient work done for the new series of Khatron Ke Khiladi on Colors hosted by Priyanka Chopra. Surprisingly it doesn’t have a mention of the channel’s name but instead a logo of Garnier Men.

I really feel the message could have been done much better than this.

It reminded me of the work I had seen for Reliance Life Insurance. By placing the words correctly on the yellow line, the message did more than just the branding.

Have always been a fan for good ambient work. Have you seen anything similar which remains in your memory?