Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Indian Social Networking Trends

Wednesday, February 25, 2009 2
Comscore, the Global Internet information provider recently released their report on the top social networking sites in India. 

The report throws some very interesting results. To kickoff, Facebook as expected has just stormed its way into the Indian audience with a growth rate of 150%. It had 4.044 million visitors this December. Orkut is still the leader with 12 million page views this December (an increase of 81% from last year) which suggests that though Facebook is edging up, Orkut still has the masses who will probably take time to adopt to Facebook. 

However it’s interesting to notice a slump in the page views of, which has been spending massive amounts on advertising and marketing this past year. The number of visitors on Ibibo dropped by 50% over the past year. Maybe the guys down at Mothership need to rethink into how to penetrate into their target audience better. They did come up with a number of contests and tie up with various college fests to gain a market share but it doesn’t seem to be working as well as they expected. Similar results are portrayed by Big Adda which has also had a decreased traffic rate of 25%.

Hi5 on the other hand has had the highest increase in traffic with an increase of 180% over the last year. 

Linkedin too has had a steady climb with more and more Indians visiting the professional networking website. Perhaps recession has played its part in directing traffic to this website. More and more people are creating a Linkedin account many of whom are still to leave college.

Gaurav says that he doesn't take these stats too seriously since it fails to recognise the traffic that comes from Internet kiosks and PDA, and rightly so. A huge amount of internet users in India don't own a computer and use it from internet cafes, so I suppose the are a lot more numbers that have to be added to this report which may present a different picture altogether.

A tool for future BITSians

Arvind, a friend of mine recently started his venture where he helps students all over India to prepare for BITSAT and answers all their queries.

As far as BITS is concerned at least, there doesn't seem to be a lot of information about it online. Ofcourse there is BITS 360, which according to me is one of the best sources available online for any doubts or queries related to BITS. I did try to write a couple of posts about admission to this prestigious institution, however Arvind has put in some serious effort into this site. He's got practice papers and answers queries, so in case you know someone who is giving the BITSAT soon, do head over to his site. It might be of great help to you.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Tribal concepts of assets and “forest dwellers”

Sunday, February 15, 2009 2
Though I can’t really hand pick the “best” moment from my trip, there are parts which stand out. And meeting Stan Thakaekara was surely one of them. (More about him Here).

We went to his office and just sat there while he went on and on, hopping from one issue to another. I didn’t blink once.
When you look at Tribals, the first things that come to your mind are that they are uncivilised, they live on trees, eat leaves, go around strutting, illiterate and so on.
-Stan Thakaekara

He further said that all these were highly negative ways of describing the community, leave alone stereotypical. Tribals are social groups with territorial affiliation yes, but their idea of property is very different from the conventional idea. To tribals, the concept of land ownership doesn’t exist, (s)he thinks of himself as an integral part of the ecosystem while using its resources in a minimalist way.

So how is this relevant?

Look back through history. So like we discussed there was no concept of land as an asset for the tribals. So what happens when people start treating it as an asset? The issue of inheritence comes up. This is the real problem. The inherited land is passed on mainly to the male member of the family and this is one of the fundamental causes of gender inequality. It’s only the man who is in possession of the assets where as the woman becomes a child bearing device.
When I had gone to Chembakuli I had seen that the men and women were both equally vociferous in their opinions. I suppose it all makes sense now.

Now for the interesting and tragic part. The tribals never sought to acquire the land or try to get documents to back up their claim on this land because they never felt the need to. As far as they could remember they’d always been here and the forest had always been nice to them, taking care of all their basic needs.

Coming back to the present:
When the government goes ahead and passes the laws such as the Forest Rights Act etc, they don’t expect the Scheduled Tribes of that particular area to show the documents but instead use wells, small check dams etc as a proof of their existence. That part is alright.
But when the migrants came to this region, they started claiming the land as their property (and the tribals were obviously not aware of this).

Now of these migrants, “forest dwellers” are defined as those who had claimed the land as long as 75 years ago, and they are on the safe side. The tricky part is relating to those migrants who claim to have owned the land for less han 75 years. They are the ones with vested interests and who want the policies to favour them. Obviously, opinions differ on this.
Some people feel that 75 years is too long a time. Imagine a person who has owned the land for only 73 years

Syndicated from the Grassroutes Blog.

To know more about what we did and what we're upto follow the HUNGRY FOOLS Blog

Won the Tata Crucible Jaipur Edition

Remember how I said its been a good run so far as far as the quizzes were concerned? Well, it just got better. 

A lot better.

We (that Sailesh Jha and myself) just won the Jaipur leg of the Tata Crucible campus edition Quiz. The quiz was pretty easy. The official report is here.

In the finals we messed up the directs given to us initially but the buzzer rounds were ours to own. Got two back to back right for +15's which sealed the game for us. But obviously there are areas where we lack. Commercials for example. So this means I gotta start watching TV now :)

So now we're going to be representing Rajasthan and obviously BITS Pilani, at the national semi-finals at Mumbai sometime next month.

This was also my first crucible. Having heard so many different views over the past year about crucible, here is what I would like to say about this particular crucible.

For a city like Jaipur (which isn't really quizzically inclined), for over 100 teams to turn up on a day when you should be out there getting down, is a respectable achievement.

Since it was the first time the quiz was held in Jaipur, they decided to go easy on the questions, this meant no scope to miss sitters. Flattened field. Especially in the prelims. 

I have heard a lot of neative reviews about Giri, and this was my first Pickbrain quiz and if my opinion was to be based on this quiz alone, I'd have to confess that he was an excellent QM. 

And lastly, Tata don't give a SHIT about recession. Instead they go ahead and increase the prize money. And throw in some electronic gadets and what not.

This was the format for our quiz (though Giri hinted that it might be different at different center, dunno if he was kidding or not)

Prelims, 4 teams make it to finals directly, 2 through wild card round (for <100>

Finals has 4 rounds, first one is dry question round, where questions pass, +10, no negative. 
second round, identification of the photos, same questions passable, +10 no negatives

Next 2 are on the buzzer,
One round is a who am I round, which has 3 questions of three clues each. If you get the answer on the first clue, +15. +10,+5 on subsequent clues. -10 for all wrong answers. 

And then the connect round. +10, -5 marking.

I've tried to recollect as many questions as I could from the quiz:

Photo of Lalit Modi, identify

Photo of Deepak Parekh

Ad of Nokia (old man with duck)

Ad of sunfeast (Dhoni one)

Gave us the full form of IKEA and asked how we better knew this home furnishing giant

Bougette in French means "little bag", what word has this contributed to the world of finance?


"One World One Dream" was the tagline of which major mega event in 2008?

Beijing Olympics

Which company makes its product using the 7X formula


Gave us a pic of an ad-Revlon

Major Indian pharma giant formed by Khwaja Ahmed in 1935 (don't remember the framing of the question)


Expand HDFC

Housing & Development Finance Corp

Expand SIM

Subscriber Identity Module

What resulted when Ruth Handler saw her daughter Barbara playing with paper dolls?


Logo of Bank of Baroda, Identify

Old B&W pic of Taj Mahal Hotel

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

On the Road Again

Wednesday, February 11, 2009 1
It's been a nice month on the quizzing front for me. Some good money and some good mental floss. First off was the quiz at UIET, Chandigarh. We had earlier planned to go to Gnosiomania but seeing that UIET offered 10k as their prize money we decided to change our destination at the last moment and dashed our way to Chandigarh. Here's a post by the Thapar Guys on their Quiz Blog about the event. :)

Kutub Quizzers hosted that quiz, t'was good wonly. A lot of stuff was quite workoutable and we won rather comfortably though Saurya's team came second by a narrow margin, who were given stiff competition by a team from Thapar. 

So with a lot of cash in our kitty and some excellent food at my relatives place, we came back to Pilani with smiles.

Last week, there was the NSIT quiz fest(check out their quiz blog here). The online quiz had been giving us quite a scare (personally the only question I could answer effortlessly was Chamillionaire, I know my Hip Hop well).

The prelims to the college MELA quiz were pretty decent with a few "weird" ones, but it was us who managed to mess it u. Turned out we just made it, thanks to the starred questions. Vivek and me had teamed up, and Saurya was with some other bloke. Both our teams made it, Saurya's team cracked the elims.

In the finals, we had a dog chase battle with the team sitting next to us (I don't quite know from which college they were) but ultimately we succeeded to narrowly cling on to our lead. Great success. 

We got hammered in the finals coz we missed some sitters. The highlight was the Absolut Connect which no one got. Except me. But even that wasn't good enough to land us the 2nd place which we missed by a couple of questions. It was quite disappointing. But oh well, shit happens. This semester is going to be about conquering Delhi and Jaipur and Chandigarh and what not. Here's a post about the NSIT Quiz in which Ankur raises a valid point, shall address that in the coming posts for sure. And yes, Avinash Mudaliar does look like Baba Ramdev

Hopefully my fellow BITSian comrades will follow my lead. It's a pity that we're so bloody far from any city.

P.S: I fell while snoozing in the bus and now have a dirrrty black mark on my leg. Yes, you did not have to know that. 

But now you do.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Extra Innings at WAT

Friday, February 06, 2009 0
For the last 2 years I have been actively leading a virtual life, spending a lot of my time online, trivia crunching. A lot of the info has been feaces, but in between I also managed to gain insight into a few things here and there. I have taken a particular liking to Social Media and the Web and wanted to reach out to a larger audience and that is where WATBlog comes.

I shall be blogging about Social Media, Technology and the Internet over here. Do check it out if you're into that sorta stuff.  And visit this link to see all my posts at WAT
If not, well, Whatever Things will aways be basecamp. You can chill here. 
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