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Saturday, November 30, 2013

Chp 481. November Rain at Ghetto’s Pub


Ok I’m quickly updating this before the month of November ends, lolz. Just got back from Ghetto’s, back in Town.

We hardly party in town, but tonight, my friends insisted we all go partying together on a Saturday Night since we haven’t done that in a long time.

“But but but, Arsenal’s match is coming up!” I protested.

“Yeah yeah, you’re playing against Cardiff dude, I already checked. You’re gonna win anyway,” said J, a hardcore Chelsea fan. There was no point arguing with him because he was the only one in our group who knew about the Premier League as much as I did.

And so, reluctantly, I put on my party wear…

What I actually hated about partying with my friends tonight was not the fact that I was going to miss the Arsenal match. It was the fact that there were seven of us, six of them all couples, me being the lone single guy.

Yeahhh… that’s the stigma we mid 30’s singles face. Everybody concerned about us, everybody trying to “fix us up”…

When you’re in your mid 30’s, you’d know that a relationship isn’t just about looks or impressions anymore… It’s more about how intellectually compatible the two of you are, how much you can share and talk with each other for hours, the similarities and experiences you’ve shared together, the chances of spending the rest of your lifetime with that person... such things people don’t come across easily in this dog-eat-dog maddening corporate world.

So anyway, we left for Ghetto’s around 8, a bunch of Suburbians out to paint the Town red, lolz. I kept checking my phone for the latest Arsenal score. 1-0. Yessss.

One thing you should know about Ghetto’s is that the entire place is lit up by just UV lights… so women accidentally happening to wear black top with white bra inside is just… unfortunate and kinda hilarious, in a mean way. We all avoided white so as not to attract attention because this is how prominent you’ll be if you wear white…


As my friend S rightly said, “Ghetto’s is the Toto’s of town”, the music was great, and so was the crowd. It’s a place where mid 30’s people hangout, haha. Music not too loud, mainly classic rock, no dance floor, just a good place to chill and talk and laugh, and cost of alcohol cheaper than most other watering-holes.

The UV lights too really set the mood. Our glasses, with the stirrers…


And then suddenly, in walked this girl who probably was coming to Ghetto’s for the first time and she froze immediately, lolz… Talk about trying to minimize white, this girl definitely didn’t get the memo, hahaa…


I am not one of those creepos/weirdos who take voyeur photos of random strangers, but her face doesn’t show anyway, so hope that’s alright putting it here. Poor girl, her friends were teasing and hovering around her trying to make her comfortable the entire time while I’m sure she was pressing them that she wanted to leave :)

Meanwhile, at our table, my couple friends kept insisting that I hit on somebody, for who knew, I might meet the future Mrs. Kima that night, though my idea of a future missus was not exactly somebody I picked up at Ghetto’s, lolz.

And so the ladies dragged me to the bar counter where there was this cute girl sitting alone, and then coyly left me there with her.

The cute girl smiled at me. I smiled back.

“Sup”, I said.

“Sup”, she replied...

“Urrrmm… do you know Arsenal just scored three goals tonight?”

She walked away faster than Wilshere’s goal against Marseille last week.

Dayyymmm…

And so, back at my table, lonely me occupied myself with the interesting work of “writing” my name using the stirrers, hoping somebody might see it and be impressed. An ice-breaker prop.


Unfortunately, turned out, I was the only one impressed with my handiwork.

We ended the night by singing to November Rain played by the DJ. Come tomorrow, it’s December and Christmas fever’s gonna start kicking in! Looking forward to it.

Cheers :)


Monday, November 25, 2013

Chp 480. Chilling at Hawaiian Shack


To be honest, I really don’t like partying at Hawaiian Shack that much. And just so I don’t stir up a hornet’s nest (I don’t have the time and energy for a debate on race and morality), let’s leave my reasons at that -> just a person opinion.

But last night, after enjoying a good match of City thrashing Spurs (lolz), I got a call from my friend Bee whom I haven’t seen in a really long time. They were in Hawaiian Shack, and told me to come over. So I said, what the heck, and quickly put down my dumbbells and put on my party jeans :P

And how could one refuse an invitation from Bee when he was all decked up with a fedora last night! Lolz, here is Bee, dancing with his gurl :)


Met a lot of new people – Jenny, another Jenny, Amy, Sally (saizikpuii) etc :D What I really liked about last night’s party was that most of these guys and girls don’t drink… They’re one of those who can go to a club and dance their brains out without taking a sip of even beer. I know, it’s a loss for the establishment, lolz, but they prove that one doesn't need alcohol to have a good time.

Bee later removed his fedora, changed his tee shirt and joined us at the table.




Had a great time on the dance floor above too, where we all formed a circle and showcased our respective dance moves (y’know, the usual thing Mizos do when we go clubbing together, lolz)



Really great to have fun like that after a long time.

In fact we had so much fun that we decided to take the party home at closing time, going in a convoy of five autos (yeah it just occurred to me only after inviting everybody back to my place that there were a lot of us, lolz). At home we watched a few Mizo music videos, danced some more, laughed even more, until they all left around 4 in the morning. Saddam had a ball, running from one person to the other wagging his tail excitedly and getting pampered by everyone with all the attention.




And here’s the thing about me. I am really bad with names and faces. Sometimes I don’t remember the names of people I've just met, especially when I’m under the influence. And later when I meet them a second time (on a more sober occasion) and I don’t recollect their names or remember who they are, people brand me as “inchhuang” or “induh” or “intithei”, which are Mizo words for somebody who is proud, vain, self conceited etc.

Last night I made sure that would never happen as I took a video of all my guests, asking them to introduce themselves, lolz. And I will go through the video over and over again so I will not forget their names the next time I meet any of them, haha.

Damn you short term memory :)



Why am I blogging about this, you may ask. Well because it was a really unique experience for me. Apart from me and two other guys, none of the others in our group drank alcohol. Maybe I should start becoming more like them – party hard and yet live longer :)

Cheers!



Friday, November 22, 2013

Chp 479. Boomarang at Hard Rock Café


Way back in 2009, I blogged about “Stellar”, an awesome song by a Mizo band Boomarang, promoting the song on my blog for my readers in India and overseas. People who came across that song for the first time, absolutely loved it.

However I was disappointed that such an awesome song never made much headlines in the Indian music industry …

But justice was finally served. VH1 recently aired “Stellar” and just last week, this song was in the Top 10 of VH1 Countdown!

This also means that it is currently the only song by an Indian band to be in that prestigious list!

November VH1 Top 10  Countdown list:

1. Lorde – Royals
2. Eminem – Berzerk
3. Drake feat. Majid Jordan – Hold on we’re going home
4. Avicii – You make me
5. Kate Perry – Roar
6. Britney Spears – Work bitch
7. John Newman – Cheating
8. Lana Del Rey – Summertime sadness
9. Capital Cities – Safe and sound
10. Boomarang – Stellar

So yeah, I was definitely not going to miss their show at Hard Rock Café, Worli.

Many of my friends were already there when I reached the venue last night. Boomarang performed awesome as always, rocking the entire crowd. Some of their own numbers were really good too. They even launched their new album, entitled “Home”, which is an amazing song as well.

We really had an awesome time.


After their gig, I was one of the few privileged people to be invited up to the VIP stand where we had a one-on-one session with the band members. They were so uber cool and amazing, we ended up taking a lot of photos as well :D





The “board” that you can see in many of the photos above, is actual a giant replica of the album cover of their new album “Home”. After a few group pics, we were just hanging out with them, talking about music, common friends, upcoming gigs etc. Since it was the VIP area, I think alcohol was free, but since I don’t drink, I’m not very sure about that… :)

More pics we took… :)






Maruata was equally impressed with a display of pants that Elvis once wore, and insisted on taking a pic with it :)


For me, I had a great time not just because I got to meet the band, I also came across many friends I haven’t seen in quite a long time. I also completely forgot my dear friend Lucy works at Hard Rock Café, and she was everywhere last night, making sure all the VIP guests and VIP wannabes like us had a great time.  Here she is, sweet and charming as ever.


What a night it had been. Went home around 3 in the morning. Boomarang will be coming back to perform in Mumbai on 11th December, this time at Hard Rock Café, Andheri. I plan on attending that as well.

Here’s cheers to an awesome band, wishing them luck in all their future endeavors!


And do listen to Stellar if you haven’t yet.

Rock on \m/ (^_^) \m/


Monday, November 18, 2013

Chp 478. Game Conference at Marriott, Pune.


What a busy weekend this had been. We, as in FITH Media, took part in our first ever Game Developers Conference, and man was it exciting and awesome as hell!

Since none of us had been to such a conference before, we didn’t know what to expect. We’re not even a year old Gaming Company, unlike many of the popular gaming studios who were taking part in the conference… would we be sidelined, would be we just a shadow in a sea of experienced players?

But we’ve come a long way in this short span of just 10 months. Two of our games, “Nikal Padi” and “Where’s My Cat?” were nominated for “Best Indie Game of the Year” Award!!!

And so we booked our tickets for NASSCOM Game Developers Conference (NGDC) two weeks ago. Since our games were nominated for an award, we could even avail of a 1000 rupees discount on our NGDC passes too! :D

As the agenda for the 2-day NGDC event was released, we looked at the extremely packed schedule happening simultaneously…



So many good talks by prominent people in the gaming industry were taking place at the same time, ranging from fund raising techniques, In-App Purchases, Tech workshops, Design workshops, Legal consultation, Mentorships, Indie game practice etc etc., and so we planned our participations carefully …

“Sumeet is attending this and this, Satish will attend this because it is important for him while Abhilash will attend this, then Shrey will join him for this, I will attend this and this, and then Jordan will attend this with me and then we will all meet up to attend this together…” and so on….

OH HOW WRONG WE WERE! Lolz

Since we were one of the finalists for “Best Indie Game of the Year” award, we were given a “stall space” to showcase our game to the public. Even though our stall was right at the end, it was truly an honor to be given that space at such an important event. We decided to utilize that to promote our other games as well. We made posters of “Where’s My Cat?” and personalized cards of all our games, so that people could easily download our games directly using a QR Code reader.



FITH = Fire In The Hole


Initially we thought any of us who were not attending a seminar would man the stall. We’ve never been that mistaken, lolz! The amount of people who came to our stall was so overwhelming that all of us had to be present continuously the entire time! All of us spent at least 80% of our time showcasing our games and explaining who we were, how we started the company, the type of games we’re developing, our offices, our future plans etc etc instead of attending the seminars. Man, that was crazy! :) But it was sooooo worth it, having met so many people we could network with to enhance our growth and quality of upcoming games.

I know, I know. It was our first time. We didn’t expect that at all, and it was so much fun.

Another thing we didn’t expect at the NGDC was the CosPlay! I’m a CosPlay fan, but there is a difference between a “Game DEVELOPERS Conference” and a “GamiCon/CosPlay” event. The latter is where you’ll find the CosPlays, the former is where you’ll find all the nerds and geeks discussing about programming languages and game engines/platforms.

But lo and behold, there was this really cute CosPlay girl on Day 1.


At first I thought her friends must have played a mean prank on her by telling her this was a Game Cosplay event and not a Game Developers Conference. But again I saw her on Day 2, mingling with the people and CosPlaying as cute as ever.

Eventually I took a pic with her :)


Turned out, she’s a huge CosPlay fan, a professional CosPlay model, and she was hired by NASSCOM for the event! Man, such an awesome profession. She goes by the name Niha Novacaine professionally, and here are a few photos from her FB page (posted here with her permission of course).




Yeah she definitely did make the NGDC more glamorous. Do like her FB page! ^___^


So how did we end up here and how was our entire Game Developers Conference experience starting from the very beginning? Here’s how it went -

We left Mumbai on Thursday evening around 6 PM. We took turns driving the Grand Vitara, as the distance was more than 150 KM. Got stuck in traffic IN Mumbai, as the day happened to be Muharram Ashura, so there were traffic jams everywhere, and by the time we finally got out of Mumbai, it was almost 9 PM!


Stopped at a Mc Donald’s in Panvel for dinner, and came across a type of burger that didn’t exist back in Mumbai McDee outlets – a burger called “Smoked Chicken Supreme”, which had two chicken cutlets and two slices of salami, and the bread was very different too.

Our verdict – Too bland.





Finally after a long drive (and two near-death experiences!) zig-zagging in and out of lanes at 140 kmph on the long Mumbai Pune Expressway, completely guided by Google Maps GPS, we finally reached Pune. Stayed at a friend’s house, where we were welcomed by Laphroaig and other really awesome single malts.




Slept peacefully by around 3 AM.


The next day, we made our way to the Conference venue: JW Marriott’s.

The place was packed! People everywhere, interacting, networking, socializing, setting up stalls etc etc.








We set up our stall too, by putting up a large banner Where’s My Cat and our FITH Media logo as well.





Jordan kept our visitors well entertained too, though he would only showcase our games to the fairer sex! If any important CEO or game producer of a reputed gaming company came to our stall asking for a demo and if that person happened to be male, then Jordan would quietly walk the opposite direction. Bastard :)


We measured our stall’s success with the number of new business cards we got. Jordan measured his with the number of new phone numbers he got. Kids…

Lunch and tea/coffee intervals were always packed. Well, with more than 1000 delegates not just from different parts of the country but from overseas as well taking part in the conference, this was not surprising.



At the Award ceremony, we didn’t win :( HUEBRIX by Noodlecake Studios deservingly won the Best Indie Game of the Year Award.




But we weren’t that disappointed, considering the number of people we met and exchanged cards with – Consultants, Co-founders, CEOs, Art directors, Tech heads, freelancers, students looking for internships, Publishers, Marketing managers, Business developers and Investors, including people from renowned companies like Disney, EA Sports, Reliance, Amazon, Microsoft and Ubisoft, not to forget all the Who’s Who of the Indian Gaming Industry.


On a personal basis I got to interact both online and offline with many people and even became Facebook friends with Founders/Co-Founders and other prominent people in the Indian gaming industry like Kinshuk Sunil, Yadu Rajiv, Manas Gajare, Anup Sarode, Swapnil Kadhav, Abhinav Sarangi, Jikku Benn, Asar Dhandala, Ravi Korukonda etc etc… including the ahemz... CosPlay model Niha Novacaine! :D

We ended that night with Beer, Biryani, and some random DJ :)

On Day 2, we skipped the awesome lunch served at the conference and saved our appetite for Burger King’s delicious beef burgers! We continued manning our stall, and attended 2-3 seminars individually.

Before leaving, we also tried out many of the new gadgets and game devices people brought to the venue. I didn’t take any photos of those as I was too engrossed in the games, but here’s one set Jordan took of me. This interactive game was really fun and cute, and it had this totally catchy beat too!




We left the Conference after that. Next year, we’ll be back :)

At Burger King, they were out of Beef Steak burgers when we got there, so we had the next best thing - their King Beef Burger Supreme burgers. Definitely the best beef burger joint in India! :) And the quantity was not only HUMONGOUS, it was really affordable too, at just 60 bucks a piece! Why aren’t they opening a chain in Mumbai, why why why????? :(




We left for Mumbai after that. We stopped on the Expressway to enjoy the beautiful idyllic sunset in the distant horizon…


More photos of the beautiful romantic sunset… *sigh*



Sumeet drove on the way back, and we were doing extremely good, hoping to reach Mumbai by 8PM.

And then the tragedy happened.

After passing the second Toll gate after Lonavala, our car broke down!!!!!


Turned out, we were out of engine oil, and so some of the guys walked back 2 KM to the nearest auto service shop, bought engine oil and hitched a ride in a delivery van back to our location.

But even after filling it up with 2 liters of engine oil, there was still something wrong with the car, making a loud TAK TAK TAK noise continuously. Some of us called up people we knew who were auto experts and finally it turned out that one of the pistons was broken because we were running without engine oil for quite a distance!

We had no other option but to call for a Tow Truck. It took more than an hour for the tow truck to reach us.




We travelled at 20-30 kmph after that, and this was what I was staring at for 5 straight hours. Arrgghhh so much torture.


The total cost of towing came to 5000 bucks. Finally reached home at 3 in the morning. Dayymmmm what an adventure it had been! :)

Other than the misfortune towards the end, I am really looking forward to doing this again, taking part in other Game Conferences and networking with others. What a weekend!

Cheers!