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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Chp 524. A different Independence Day

While people went to flag hoisting ceremonies or participated in Mizo Fresher’s function on Independence Day last week, I on the other hand spent the entire day alone in my room, indulging in a “24: Live Another Day” TV Show marathon.

I am a hardcore fan of Jack Bauer, and was devastated when the legendary show ended four years ago (season 8 / Day 8). For those of you unfamiliar with 24 or Jack Bauer, let me give you a peek at the immensity of his fan following - When Osama Bin Laden was killed in 2011, the top trending hashtag on Twitter was #jackbauer as many of us speculated it was the Counter-Terrorist Unit action Hero who personally went to Abbottabad and completed the job :)

Season 9 / Day 9 took place *SPOILER ALERT* 4 years later and it followed the usual format of 1 hour per episode, except this series ran only for 12 episodes. The last episode had a “12 hours later” feature in the end. Apart from Jack Bauer, other characters like Chloe O’Brian, Audrey and James Heller returned. They also talked about how other main characters died during the 4 years hiatus.

The best part of the new season was the introduction of new characters played by veteran actors. There was Stephen Fry who played the role of the British PM, Benjamin Bratt (Detective Rey Curtis from Law & Order) who played London CIA Station chief Steve Navarro, Tate Donovan as Chief of Staff Mark Boudreau, the beautiful Yvonne Strahovski, well known for her role as the ass-kicking hot CIA agent Sarah Walker in the TV show “Chuck”, who played, urrmm, once again, a CIA agent in this latest 24 season.

And not to forget, one of the main villains this time was Margot Al-Hazari, played by Michelle Fairley, aka Lady Catelyn Stark from Game of Thrones.

I really enjoyed the marathon, watching from episode 1 to 12 in one straight shot. The action was heavy, the plotlines were intensifying, and I sat on the edge of my bed right from the beginning till the end. The entire season took place in London so that was a refreshing change. Everything was fast paced and there were the usual twists in the plot and characters that any 24 fan is used to. I really recommend this show to all of you.

The reason why I spent Independence Day that way was because of three reasons

1. Because the TV show was awesome
2. I could not take part at a Flag hoisting ceremony
3. I did not participate in our Mizo Association Freshers' function

Last year, members of different Northeastern communities living in Mumbai were invited as special guests to take part in the Flag hoisting ceremonies held at three Police Stations – Malabar PS, Chembur PS and Bandra Kurla Complex PS. I took part in the Malabar Police Station. This was an initiative by the Mumbai Police and the Ministry of Home Affairs to reassure Northeasterners that the police force had not abandoned us.

This year, Northeastern members were once again invited to take part in the Flag hoisting ceremony held at two Police Stations – Vakola PS and Vashi PS. Unfortunately, I couldn’t participate because, as I mentioned in my previous post, we’ve just launched our latest Android game on Google Play, and we’re behind schedule. We’ve been staying in office till 2 in the morning almost every day, and there is tremendous pressure from our investors to meet our deadline and target.

That morning, after taking care of crucial bugs and resolving many issues, we uploaded our latest update on Google Play and went home at 4 in the morning, extremely tired and dazed. There was no way I could have made it for the Flag hoisting ceremony to be held at 6:00 in the morning, barely two hours later.

However, many of my friends from the North East Helplin - Mumbai participated, and here are some of their photos –

I on the other hand slept like a Princess when all the above was going on.

I woke up in the afternoon, completely refreshed. Caught a replay of PM Modi’s Independence Day speech at Red Fort and was impressed.

And then there was our Mumbai Mizo Association Freshers’ Socials later in the evening. It is an annual function where Mizos all across Mumbai get together and have a great time entertaining each other and also welcoming the fresh batch of Mizos who came to Mumbai.

This is where the introvert in me kicks in. Even though I may be quite active in the online world, in the real world, I am one of the most introverted persons you’ll ever come across. I can’t do crowds. I am socially awkward and shy if I’m in a room filled with people.

I’ve even written a blog post called Being an Introvert in our Mizo Society some time back, explaining how there are introverts within our society as well, but because we live in such a close-knitted society and a large majority of us are extremely open with each other, a person who is shy (who doesn’t respond well to conversations in public or is being by himself/herself at social gatherings) is often misinterpreted as somebody who is “induh” or “inchhuang” (proud, conceited, snooty, vain, arrogant). That is a wrong notion prevalent within our society.

I’ve been living in Mumbai for almost 8 years now, but I’ve been to a Freshers’ Socials only once. That was my first and last time. Interacting with new people and socializing is something I’m really bad at, not to mentioning all the singing and dancing too. That is fun to most people, but to me, sometimes fun is just being locked up in my room the whole day with a movie or TV Show marathon. To each his own, I guess.

But yes, those who went to the Freshers’ Socials had a lot of fun, as is evident from the photos below. It makes me happy just looking at them enjoying the moment.

I on the other hand completed my “24: Live Another Day” marathon by 11 PM that night, and it was back to office the next two days even though it was the weekend, testing and resolving new found errors and bugs on our latest game.

So I guess even though I didn’t spend Independence Day with my community and was disappointed I couldn’t make it for the Flag hoisting ceremony, it wasn’t such a bad day, having spent the entire day with Jack Bauer and his gang of misfits.

Hopefully next year on August 15th, let’s hope I’ll either have the time to attend a Flag hoisting ceremony or the courage to take part in our Freshers’ Socials. Until then, cheers.


Ps. Since this is not a very interesting blog post, in order to get more hits on this post, I am experimenting with "click-bait" headline technique that most of these high traffic sites like Upworthy, Buzzfeed, ViralNova, Storypick and even my friend's very own Scoopwhoop are doing - that is making the headline extremely intriguing and usually on a cliff-hanger ("you'll never guess what this blah blah did, it will break your heart") and also add a prominent typo in the headline like getting the name of a person or city wrong (in this case, the date of our Independence Day) to get more activity in the comment section and lemme see if my visits/hits increase because of that. :)

Friday, August 08, 2014

Chp 523. Giving you what you want

[warning: slightly NSFW’ish image below]

I think we can all agree that sometimes we don’t usually see or get what we want because of misleading subtexts or captions.

This can either be because of false advertising or we were intentionally driven down that wrong path. For example, there is the age-old fast food advertisement technique where we know we NEVER get any of the stuff that we see on their ads.

And yet, we still buy them. And relish them.

Then there are the captions that correctly describe an image to an extent but… you know there is an ulterior motive embedded somewhere…

For example, I’m sure some of us have that one Facebook friend who frequently uploads selfies, saying stuff like…

That is like me saying…

Yeah. I love Laphroaig single malt sausages! Yummm…

That is the world we live in. Even when it comes to gaming, we usually download a game with high expectations, only to realize it was not what we expected. I am not talking about bugs or crashes, I’m talking about the way the game is advertised, or at least the way most of us thought the game would be.

Let’s take a look at Teen Patti. Teen Patti is a popular card game, also known as Flash or Flush, and is extremely popular in India and South East Asia. In this game, players are handed three cards, and every round, you place a bet and in the end, whoever has the highest card wins the entire bet amount. What makes this game interesting is the ability to intimidate opponents and bluff your way through with weak cards, making them think you have high cards and hence forcing them to pack.

In the mobile gaming industry, we’ve been doing a research and study on Teen Patti games for more than a year now. We know all the big players and the features their games have. The potential for Teen Patti games to succeed in the Indian market is huge. Just last month, Sequoia Capital invested $15 million in Octro, who currently owns the leading Teen Patti game on Android.

Apart from Octro Inc., many other game studios like Mango Games, 10C, Tida Games, Moonfrog, Gamesofa Global, Junglee Games, MyWavia Studios, Nazara Technologies, Anshar Labs, etc have all released their versions of Teen Patti on Android. Most of them are very good and are going to be really tough to compete with.

But one thing we’ve noticed is that while some of these games advertise as “a game where you can connect with other online players and make it seem like you’re sitting on the same table with them”, it is not so. Most of these games (other than Junglee Teen Patti) still follow the mouse-click PC game play format, where the game was first developed...

To make it really feel as if you’re playing with strangers on the same table, we need to utilize the many advantages mobile games have over other game genre. Apart from flexibility and ease of connectivity, there is a very important factor called “mobile first” feature, where gamers have a much better experience and enhanced gameplay xp (example: cleaning an animal with one’s finger, pulling back a catapult cord with your finger, “slicing” vegetables and fruits with your fingers etc) which will not give you the same experience when that game is ported to PC or other devices.

Hence, after months of planning and preparation, we have just released our latest Android game on Google Play, a Teen Patti game with POV view!

Everybody loves First Person View *naughty grin*, and in this game, you will actually get that effect of playing with different people as you do in real life.

So please do download our latest game to give it a try. And also please do give us 5 stars rating on Google Play :)

Currently, we are still in “beta” phase making necessary changes every day, and I cannot disclose any of our upcoming features and plans for the obvious reason. But I guarantee you it's gonna blow your mind! :) Meanwhile, I would love to hear your feedback on this game. I really hope I have presented to you a Teen Patti game that you’ve been looking for, otherwise this post of mine is just going to be like the one of the photos posted above that is below your standard of expectation.

We have just started promoting this game, and below are some of our creatives. Hopefully, we’re planning to have more than 500 downloads by next week. Do wish us all the best, my friends.


Sunday, August 03, 2014

Chp 522. North East Helpline weekend meeting

After three weeks of continuous work and releasing our latest Android game on Google Play, I finally had a Saturday I could truly call a day of rest. My plan for yesterday was to watch movies or TV shows the entire day with a bucket of KFC fiery grilled chicken wearing nothing but my boxers…

And then my phone rang in the morning, waking me up from a dream where I was just about to find out if it was the chicken or the egg that came first…



“Oh shit, you’re still sleeping? Hahaha. Sorry man. Hey, today we have a very very important North East Helpline meeting at Vakola Police Station. Our agenda is blah blah blah…”

I drifted back to sleep now and then. All I could hear were the words “important” and “very important” a couple of times.

After the call, I groggily checked my phone to see the messages regarding the mentioned meeting. It was indeed an important meeting. Executive members were going to be appointed, along with the finalization of our recently framed NEH-M Constitution, so it was compulsory for every community representatives to be present.

First thought on my head was, “There goes my Saturday!”

So I got ready at 3 and reached the venue around 4 PM yesterday.

Manipur, Nagaland and Meghalaya representatives were already there. Arunachal Pradesh and Assam representatives could not make it due to last minute work but they were available the whole time on mobile phone. We just had a problem contacting the representatives from Tripura and Sikkim. Other than that, it was a very good attendance (not in terms of numbers but the presence of those who had been appointed to represent their states/communities). Apart from that, the Resident Commissioners of various North Eastern states were actively updated about the ongoing discussion, and I too kept updating members of our Mumbai Mizo Association on our WhatsApp group.

Since it was an official NEH-M meeting corroborated by the Vakola Police, the meeting had to be held somewhere within the vicinity of Vakola Police Station. DCP Namdeo Chavan (Zone 8) sent the required permission to Vakola Police Station senior PI Damodar, but the only good location we could get without being disturbed by others was their gym, so there we were, discussing inside the Vakola Police Station gymkhana, surrounded by dumbbells and treadmills :D

We first discussed among ourselves about the way we should take this meeting forward, and then we started the nomination for executive members. As we have all known each other quite well ever since we had our first NEH-M meeting way back in March 2014, it was easy picking out our candidates. In addition to that, Major Simon (Manipur) from the Indian Army who was also present at the meeting, gave us extremely valuable information and guidance on how to properly go about registering such an official association.

The main discussion we had about the candidates was not about how qualified or not that person was, but rather about how available he/she would be. In our situation, it is of utmost importance that whoever is going to hold an important position, must be somebody who is available all the time. And since all this is voluntary work with all of us having our respective occupations, sacrifices needed to be made.

I will not divulge on what exactly took place in the meeting and who were the candidates and elected personnel, as this is just my personal blog. We’ll update what took place at the meeting, the minutes, and the result, all at the NEHM Facebook group soon. But we all succeeded in electing our President, VP, Secretary, Treasurer, Media officers and State Representatives during the 5 hours long meeting.

And later we had a long one-on-one discussion with Inspectors Kharal and his colleagues about all the problems we North Easterners faced, especially those living in Vakola and Kalina areas. We discussed about steps and means to curb racial discriminations along with a lot of other issues like a well formulated plan to invite NE community members at various Police Stations on 15th August for the Flag hoisting ceremony etc , which again, will all be officially announced by our NEHM account.

After the meeting, we all went our separate ways. It was raining and there was a lot of traffic, so knowing it was going to be almost impossible to find an empty auto, Soso said let’s take the “Skywalk”, and I ended up walking with him for 2.5 KM on one of Mumbai’s longest skywalk routes, all the way from Vakola junction to SV Road.

[Pic source: Panoramio]

And that was not the end of it! Since it was still raining, autos were hard to find on SV Road, and so I ended up walking from SV Road till home!!!!! That’s another 3.5 KM according to my Google Map, that too amidst the rain and vehicles splashing water all over me. Yeah, next time Soso asks you to take a walk with him, do NOT trust him! :)

All in all, it was a great meeting, and looking forward to more positive changes in the future.