Monday, December 22, 2008

Aiding the Real Estate boom.

The global economic situation maybe facing a slowdown but the same cannot be said for Indian Real Estate. I don't know the demand statistics or the sales estimates these builders have made but I do know that every week there is a new apartment complex added to the burgeoning real estate layout of a suburb/city like Gurgaon. Here too provides the ideal picture for the future home of hundreds of aspiring, young Indian families. on a bestseller!

Monica Pradhan has probably had it up to her neck with comparisons to Amy Tan but that just can't be helped. The underlying emotions, the mothers and their daughters, the cooking and the culture within is all so Tan-esque. The Hindi Bindi Club is being touted as the Indian version of Amy Tan's wonderfully descriptive books about her, her mother, their Chinese heritage and the land of dreams, the US. Catch on the cover of Monica Pradhan's new offering, The Hindi Bindi Club, that name is almost perfect for images!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Winter magic with

Cozy up with warm images of beautiful people. stocks images to suit every season, be it the hot, hot Delhi summer or the cool environs of the mountains, we have it all. What is interesting is that clothing and lifestyle brands now want an expression, a face, a real person to convey their message rather than a group of mannequin like models dressed in their designs. In an ideal advertising situation, it is better to not showcase designs and patterns as buyers are known to abstain from buying garments displayed in advertisements. Though it is very much the ad that brings the crowds in, it isn't always for the apparel they saw in the ad, it is more for how the model in the ad looks and how he or she makes the buyer feel. Ultimately, you want to feel exactly like the model in those pictures.

Monday, November 17, 2008

We said it for HSBC


As always offers the perfect image for your to tell your story. Whether it's a service or a product, we offer images that can convey your thoughts as a marketeer into a vision that your consumers can identify with.

Thursday, November 6, 2008 says it for Convergys is making a niche in imagery that is socially very relevant. Our images have their own agenda too, to promote India and Indians as a nation of achievers. on Yahoo!

That's an image produced in Goa, it says everything wants to convey and thats the beauty of stock images, since there are tens of thousands to choose from, you are sure to find the exact image that relays your brand's message.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

PhotosIndia launches Rights Managed Collection launches their new Rights Managed Collection. The collection proudly showcases highly cultured images of Indian travel, heritage and lifestyle.

Monday, November 3, 2008 helps educate too!

Sometimes its all about pretty faces, simple concepts and an image that has a clear cut message!

Say it with the perfect image from

We have been producing Indian imagery for over 3 years, there is nothing that we haven't covered and its always a pleasant surprise when one of our images is selected as the face of a brand. Makes us feel 'bang on'!

Friday, October 17, 2008

BigTV launches Diwali Promotion with PhotosIndia Image

Big TV DTH service of Reliance Communications launched their Diwali Dhamaka Offer with PhotosIndia Image.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Winds of Change for this Diwali

This Diwali lets pray for peace. Coming from me that is a prophetic statement because like a lot of us I really look forward to the sweets and gifts that pour in at this time of the year. Many times I have wondered if this kind of commercial, wanton greed is healthy but since I share it with so many charged- up-Diwali-loving Indians, my guilt is reduced. So this year the quandary is “to shop or not to shop”, well, shop we all will have to, after all tradition, relationships and ego massaging is very much called for in the urban work and life culture. So the quandary shifts to “what to buy?” I have done a little homework in that area and I would sincerely encourage readers to try and opt for one of these products as their Diwali gift for the year. Budgets aside, a lot lies in the thought, purpose and objective of the gift, if you are a discerning gift giver, you would spend some time on your choices just to be sure the right gifts reach the right recipient.

The main idea of this exercise is to not only compliment the friends and family in our lives but also to extend positive vibes through our actions. There is no one thing you can do to solve the problems your loved ones face but you can participate in the alleviation of that problem. Kind words are just the beginning; incorporate a small prayer of peace at home, at work, for friends, for family, in your country and let the message manifest through your gifts.

1. Potted plants
Lucky Bamboos are truly passé, I mean they work and they look good but most of us either have them or have had them. Check out for really unique plant gifts. Especially the landscapes, which work very well outdoors and since plants obtain nourishment differently, a landscape miniature garden is actually very easy to maintain. A Jade bonsai on the other hand is said to bring luck and happiness, so that would be thoughtful too. If you want to be really hands on, go get a beautiful ceramic pot and ask your local nursery to suggest a pretty perennial plant and that’s your customized Diwali gift.

2. Artwork
Look for that quaint artwork shop in your local market; check up with friends to find an artist in the group or simply Google it. Once you have a theme and budget in mind, it’s a matter of identifying the right source and you could well do a range of Buddha portraits as your Diwali gift. I have decided to commission three such pieces for very dear friends simply because I want my gift to be accompanied with blessings too.

3. Organic Produce
I love and recommend, based in New Delhi; this organic store is online but very reliable and efficient. Try the honey from lychee flowers, add an exotic Rhododendron Jam (yes the plant!!!), mix that up with blood purifying fruits like Pomegranates and I think that makes a pretty healthy basket. Do a little research; most metros have awesome organic stores to choose from.

4. Music
I have developed a special liking for the ‘Best of Soundscapes’ CD collection available from Music Today, apart from that contemporary music can be as uplifting. After all the idea is bring a new dimension into your friends/family’s lives, introduce them to a new experience, a rejuvenating, happy experience. In western music, Sade has beautifully positive vibes, so try one of her albums. The Buddha Lounge collections are easy listening and good for urban chill time. Again you want to go very personal, then develop a collection of your own and burn it for your friends, take a quick Photoshop tutorial and make your own CD cover too.

5. Literature
Here I’d like to recommend the ‘Calm Sutra’, apart from the catchy name, the contents of the book are awe inspiring too. Published by Times of India, it promises simple truths to beat stress. The ‘Festivals of the World’ series of coffee table books are very eclectic and informative too. My personal favorite for this year is however “A Thousand Splendid Suns’ which is definitely going to two of my girlfriends.

The mood of the world is generally dismal, global slowdowns, recessions, security threats and political instability. Not a lot to look forward to unless you vow to make everyday worthwhile, for yourselves and the people around you. Add a touch of calm, a feeling of serenity and spread joy, for everyday is worth it.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Festivals and Shopping

We are on the threshold of shopping season and I hope everyone is geared up for it. I know two wonderful women that start putting away just 2500 rupees from May onwards and by the time they hit October, they have an awesome booty of Rs. 12,500 from practically nowhere. That tuck is kept for Durga Puja, Dussehra and little bit of winter wasting! Diwali sees it own extravagance and that can be discussed later but the deals that are springing up now are a treat in itself. Brands and products start the wooing process earlier every year, ever since we saw the advent of globalization, 365 days of the year didn’t seem enough for shopping. Markets and stores were flooded with foods, apparel, kitchenware and everything else that’s worth buying, seasonal specials didn’t happen in December like the west, they happened all the way from September till November. For a nation in perpetual inflation, we certainly had a penchant for waste. Maybe that’s not entirely fair; some of us keep genuine requirements for this time of the year. But I do know of one soul that has already ordered a suspicious 1 GB MP3 player, which I keep calling IPod, but then at $20, I know I am absolutely wrong! Followed by a home décor set which comprised of mismatched block print bed linen that I wouldn’t even use in a $10 bed and breakfast. These trends make me think that this time of the year actually causes a kind of ‘shopping’ fever that few can control. Every morning the newspaper greets you with endless offers, sales and steals, they all seem over the top and that’s when I wonder, if the damn thing is priced this cheap then why did we pay all a premium the whole year through?

All this ranting is in lieu of the first day of ‘Navratri’ which is today, the 30th of September 2008. Today start the nine holy days that Hindu’s observe twice a year. Personally, it is the latter halves Navratri days that I prefer the most, they lead up to the opulence of Diwali, the sensation of complete health, wealth and well being. The weather too starts changing, leaves fall and fresh ones erupt, the sun sets earlier than usual and there is a certain nip in the air, that is so very welcome after months of sweltering Indian heat. These days bring on a sense of oneness with God and nature, it is no wonder that shoppers step out in throngs.

This is the time to redecorate the house if you have been meaning to do it; this Dussehra and Diwali month dedicate your space to color and light. As a budget option, pick corners of your house that need perking up and work on those areas only. After you have decided on the nook you want to change, think of the colors that you associate with this season, for me it’s always red and gold, a nice matte bronze like gold. Now set a budget, keep in mind the fact the season lasts almost 2 months and is followed by another month of partying, Christmas and New Years, so your theme corner will stay symbolic for longer than you think. Now to the fun part – scrapbooking. Making scrapbooks is not just for kids, it can be amazing grown up fun. Take a thick cover sketch book, glue stick, markers, sketch pens and your imagination. Now think of all the lovely knick knacks you saw in last month’s magazine or that perfect table arrangement showcased in ‘Cosmo’ or even the table cloth you know Westside has. Wherever you find inspiration try and take a piece of that, a digital picture (my friend still uses her Polaroid), a magazine cutting, a newspaper article and add it to you scrapbook cuttings. I usually divide my scrapbook into sections like bedroom, kid’s room, living room, kitchen etc. so I know exactly where each cutting belongs and once I am on my shopping sojourns I can spot what I want immediately. I use family pictures, cloth swatches, movie stubs, chocolate wrappers in my scrapbook too, so it’s more of a memoir and chronicle than a personal shopping wishlist. The latest corner I made was near my fish tank, I used 3 votive candles (raspberry red), a red glass lantern with a flower and vine pattern painted on it, a beautiful piece of white stone, an incense holder and a tall metal vase in matte red, in which I keep gold painted reeds. That is my festive corner and I hope I have inspired you to make one too. Do this for all seasons, it refreshes the house and it feels good to have something brand new set up for celebration. Watch this space for Holi ideas next!

Find on Every Nook and Corner has come a long way in three years, it has circled the globe and adorned innumerable billboards, magazines and brands. Each time an image is sold the scope of stock imagery expands. The profile of users is constantly changing and its dynamism is very encouraging. Stock images have come a long way, from random collection of travel and lifestyle pictures, it is now a well researched and organized industry with exceptionally talented photographers and state of the art technology. The Photographs available now are exactly what the market needs, its amazing how easy developing creative's has become. That is probably the reason our image was spotted at a bookstore in Pakistan. The variety, quantity and quality allows buyers to choose from thousands of beautiful pictures and they are bound to find the perfect one for their project.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

There is always time to renew, relive, rejoice!

I don’t know if it’s all these networking sites or the fact that we (30 + crowd) are at an age where we feel the need to reconnect with our youth. But suddenly I am in touch with over a 100, yes over a 100 of my friends from before I was 20 years old. We have all become different people, followed paths we never imagined for ourselves or each other and most of all, most of us are now parents. Monumental changes have taken place and no matter who tries to convince me that we are who we are by the time we are 18 is talking bunkum. We develop way into our 30’s at the most. I just have to look around and notice the nerds who are now millionaires, the bimbos that are brand managers and the intelligentsia that’s gone to hell. As we have found each other, we have gone on to renew friendships and regroup in the cliques of yore. I look at my mailbox and I have been messaging the same 6 girls I was closest to 15 years ago, strange! Yet the surprise has manifested in other ways, the most unexpected acquaintances have more in common with me now than they did over a decade ago. Some of them are in the same profession as me, which is lucrative in its own way and some are doing fantastic things like reform work in Afghanistan and live reportage from the Beijing Olympics.

This landslide of friends has gotten more than my share of reunion invites and though I was apprehensive for the longest time, I have to admit, I attended one and it was fine. I would have loved to handpick the crowd but then I didn’t have that choice 10 years ago, why would I now? So it was a healthy mix of the wackos, the sweeties, the sexies and the rest. I walked in late not because I like to make an appearance (only sometimes!) but because I wanted to make sure I didn’t have to wait for the interesting lot. I stayed for an hour which was another good choice, that way you get just the right dose of nostalgia. I made small talk with everyone, even the ones I didn’t make small talk with before. That’s the strange thing about serious adulthood (30+), you feel obliged to be way more polite than you were in your teens. It’s not cool to ignore after a certain age. In my experience you are likely to need each and every person you ignored for extremely crucial things like passport work, business deals and school admissions. All in all it was a wholesome experience. I felt good for the lot of us.

Friendship is a funny thing, it can be deep but you don’t even have to be in the same country and it can be faint living next door to a friend. However relationships work, everyone needs them. I think the pendulum of social interaction sways from family (as kids) to friends (in your teens) and back to family after 30-35 years. It was nice to remake friend’s, it was easier than meeting new people. I highly recommend a reunion to anyone contemplating hosting or attending one. Some people are actually so much better as grown-ups you are bound to be pleasantly surprised. No doubt old friends are gold but new ones have a lot of glitter. So get off the networking sites, the chats and the sms’s and go out there and meet them. Celebrate your accomplishments with the people that walked part of the path with you. Add a couple of drinks, good food and neutral music and you have the makings of an unforgettable evening. Let me know how it went!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Tell your Tale

I sometimes wonder how hard it must be for designers and advertisers to find the right image. First you conceptualize an advertisement and then what? Well, there are several ways to scale this mountain, you can spend a LOT of money and go shoot whats in your head (hey I don't mean literally shoot yourself in desperation), I mean engage a studio, a photographer, an art director and a whole bunch of people beyond that, just to produce that one image that will tell your brand's story. The second option is cheaper, faster, dynamic and very very easily available - Stock Photos.

We at in particular take pride in the fact that our images have told some big stories. We have been associated with domestic and international brands and our images have been lauded for having that touch of class not easily found with other Indian stockists. We personally believe our stronger point is making 'stock' buying and using easy for buyers. We research for you, we customize for you and most of all we think for you. With over 25,000 images now in circulation, we are sure we will have that one idea you want to see as an image.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Incredible Spa feeling

Spa’s seem to be the longest standing fad since boot cut jeans. Maybe there is more to spa treatments than meets the skin! I have always had a very practical approach to holistic treatments, apply only what can’t be consumed, for instance, why waste a whole papaya on your face, when you can eat half of it and create a benefit for your eyes and digestion. In fact fruit facials seemed almost absurd to me unless the fruit is too rancid to be eaten or generally tastes lousy.

The latest trend is veering towards even weirder products being applied all over the body, no matter how tempting chocolate is, it belongs in the mouth and nowhere else, unless you are considering it for intimate purposes, then that’s entirely a personal choice. But chocolate as a body pack just doesn’t seem right. The cocoa bean has numerous qualities, it has vitamins (A, B1, C, D & E), calcium and potassium, it even has endorphins, the chemicals that make a person happy. The main reason chocolate has won as a spa treatment is the anti oxidant properties it contains. Anti oxidants fight free radicals and free radicals are bad boys, they harm blood vessels, skin elasticity, the heart and worst of all, they are attributed to causing clusters of cancer cells. I guess that’s good enough reason for people to go find the closest Chocolate Spa treatment in their area. Chocolate is the only food substance I would suggest as an application, after all applying it would save you the calories but then again, is it worth the sacrifice? If chocolates have anti oxidants and all the other good stuff, then I would rather pop a piece in my mouth and rejoice.

The spa treatments that I completely agree with are of an entirely different nature. They have a science attached to them that is a little more gratifying and convincing than just “it’s good for you”. Massages for example, just regular massages can be the ultimate spa experience if done correctly. Use natural oils like coconut, olive or mustard (smoke it on a fire so the overpowering fragrance is reduced) or even a mild product like baby oil is great. Make sure the masseuse is either qualified, experienced or comes with great references, because he or she can hurt you.

Dim the lights, burn incense, lay out some flowers petals if you like flowers and just close your eyes. Let the stress slip out the soles of your feet and let strength seep into your neck and shoulders. There is a process for de-stressing during a massage, concentrate on every single part of your body, start with your toes. Relax your toes, let them be flaccid, move on to your ankles, the shin, the knees and so on. By the time you reach your forehead, you would have turned your body into a limp mass of person that requires an hour of kneading. Be the dough! Good massages can assist in digestion, weight loss, muscle strengthening, de-stressing and a general sense of well being. Massages can be had at home, at a spa or even your garden. In India, massages are a norm from the time a person is born. Infants as young as a few weeks old are gently massaged to help develop their dexterity, coordination and muscle strength. Almost all Indian children have been brought up on massages. Beyond the physical benefits, it is also a good way to bond with your baby.

Several holistic treatments that are age old remedies in Indian medicine (Ayurveda) are being adopted by Spa’s. Some of which are easy to replicate at home. The idea is to devote 2 hours a week to your body, that is sufficient time to take care of your hair, skin, teeth, nails and mind. Get a massage once a week, that’s 45 minutes and the rest of the time can be used for simple home treatments that are way more organic than anything in a bottle. If someone bottles consumables as body treatments there has to be a preservative involved, so when you use that product, you actually use the preservative too. There are a few simple recipes below that can give you a budget spa feeling within hours in your own home.

1 egg white (never use the yolk, that’s where the foul smell comes from)
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp olive or coconut oil
1 tbsp yoghurt

Mix all the ingredients and apply to the scalp and hair for 15 minutes or till the egg white dries and makes your hair crispy. Wash with tepid water and don’t apply shampoo till the end of the day.

2 tbsp chickpea flour
1/s tsp lemon juice (natural bleach but very potent so be stingy)
1 tbsp fresh cream (it’s better to take it off the top of boiled milk but in a lot of countries milk is tetra packed so the next not so best thing is packaged dairy cream)
1/s tsp sugar

Mix all the ingredients, to make a paste you can use a teaspoon of milk if the liquids in the recipe are not sufficient to make a paste the consistency of putty. Apply on the face for 15 minutes, when it is drying, gently rub it off. The dry face pack will take off fine hairs on the face and the sugar will help exfoliate.


2 tbsp glycerin
1 tsp lemon juice

Dip your fingers in this mix for 10 minutes a week and watch your nails sparkle white and stay healthy and chip free.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

'Rakhi' means Love, Affection, Sweets & presents!

According to - “Raksha Bandhan’ or the ‘Rakhi’ festival is a sacred thread embellished with sister's love and affection for her brother. On the day of ‘Raksha Bandhan’ sisters tie a ‘Rakhi’ on their brother's wrist and express their love for him. By accepting a ‘Rakhi’ from a sister a brother gladly takes on the responsibility of protecting her sister. In Indian tradition the frail thread of Rakhi is considered stronger than iron chains as it binds brothers and sisters in an inseparable bond of love and trust. Rakhi holds immense significance in Indian cultural ethos. The custom of celebrating Rakhi started in Vedic times and even today brothers and sisters consider it must to celebrate the occasion in traditional manner. When brothers are away sisters send Rakhi to them and express their love. Accepting the Rakhi with grace brothers send Return gifts to their sister. This loving gesture goes a long way in strengthening brother sister relationship and building stronger family ties. The importance of Raksha Bandhan is same as Diwali festival in India.”

Those are the facts about ‘Rakhi’ but if you speak to regular people, each one will have a special anecdote, a special feeling and a special brother to talk about. India is a largely family oriented country and brothers are valued as much for their participation in family as they are for the sex they belong to. An Indian family is not considered complete without a son who is a brother for the daughter and an heir for the family name. Sadly this results in many socially and ethically untoward practices but this is not a forum to discuss those issues. This is a forum to talk about a lovely festival called ‘Rakhi’. For me it is especially exciting because I have a wonderful brother and 16 male first cousins. Rakhi as a day has been the same all my life, each and every ritual is carefully planned and executed, even now, when my aunts are way into their 70’s.

The festival celebrations are held in one of the home of the four sons my paternal grandfather had. We all gather there at noon and some of us meet only on these occasions. We would love to meet more often but life’s constraints don’t always make it easy. My father’s sisters abstain from eating till they have tied a ‘Rakhi’ on their brother’s wrists. The kids (us) on the other hand aren’t all that conscious, there are way too many sweets and snacks going around to keep this kind of familial discipline. Our 86 year old family cook (fondly called ‘Maharaj’) is still engaged to cook for this day. The fare is vegetarian but the variety is exceptional. Maharaj claims a cup of ‘ghee’ (clarified butter) gives him the strength to cook for over 40 people. In fact we have a dessert served every year called ‘Moong Dal Halva’. It's made of soaked and ground ‘Mung’ lentils, roasted in clarified butter and finally finished with sugar syrup. This needs to be constantly stirred for almost an hour and Maharaj can sit on his haunches and do this with 2-3 kilos of ground lentils. Thats one reason I spend a lot of time in the kitchen during such occasions; it’s the best place to learn nuances not available in cook books.

The ceremony lasts a while because we are so many of us. Beautiful, colorful threads are tied on our brother’s arms, the younger ones look adorable with their wrists full of garish sequin and paisley designs. The ‘Rakhi’ is tied, a vermillion ‘tika’ is applied to the forward with a touch of rice grains for auspicious reasons and a wide array of sweets are offered, all in return for a promise of TLC from our brothers and of course, a gift. When we were kids the gifts would range from books to shoes and gorgeous Indian salwar kameez’s picked by my aunts. Now that we are older, it’s even better, it’s cash! Fortunately for me, my brothers are successful, generous souls and the novelty in gift money is always there. Over the years I have stopped planning for this loot; it’s for me to waste. So this year I am off to malls right after lunch, I need to splurge and I believe Guess and Body Shop are on sale. Yippee!!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Sporty Kids

The Euro Cup just got over and the lull is almost painful. Since I don’t believe in football clubs, my only real salvation is the World Cup and the UEFA championship or the occasional Olympics Football matches. I am not too partial with the Olympics, they seem to be cursed for the Brazilians and if the Brazilians aint winnin’, I aint watchin’. Every 2 years there seems to be a higher purpose in life, something beyond work, home and family. Not necessarily undermining the important things in life but taking precedent for the time being. That ‘higher purpose’ for me is ‘football’, I like calling it soccer though, people still think ‘American football’ actually deserves to be called ‘football’ at all! Soccer is the epitome of what I think people ought to be – forward, tough, pushy, relentless, passionate, focused, patriotic, charged, co-dependent and all those wonderful things only seen in a game of football. The exact moment to notice all these feelings is when a goal is scored. Players embrace each other like blood brothers, they cry without shame, they kiss the earth and imagine their motherlands, and it is all so raw and so pure.

Soccer and I started a romance as early as the age of 6, way back in ’82, when televisions were still black and white and stood on ornate wrought iron stands; I remember that some even had wooden shutters. It was summer outside and my dad had decided that I would actually remain awake to watch the matches with him, much to my mother’s disdain. I was already a hyper and mildly violent child; she didn’t need for me to see more hysteria. It was held in Spain that year, a Spanish fruit was the mascot and Netherlands didn’t qualify, those were the two memories that never left me. 25 years on, I am not half as hyper or even slightly violent, I guess that’s one place my mother was wrong, what I am is – persevering, disciplined, ambitious, passionate, patriotic and very proud! Most of that has come from soccer. These days my dearest friend’s son plays football, he is all of 10 but the wisdom that boy exudes has to come from an innate confidence that not all children have. Anant plays for ‘Shimla Youngs’, how I love that name! How wonderful it must be to certify your youth. I have seen this boy blossom in front of my eyes. There is heaviness in his voice that doesn’t come from testosterone, there is a spring in his gait that doesn’t come from nonchalance and most of all there is a ‘nose up in the air’ pride that seems so becoming of ambitious young boys. All these traits are developed from Soccer, I am sure of it. This can be seen in children all over our city but not all kids have such noble reasons for being uppity. Let this be a lesson for us. If the kids must walk proud, the pride ought to come from personal achievements and not the car their father drives. If the kids must talk heavy, it ought to be because they know what they are saying and not because their cantankerous mothers are standing behind them.

Let’s empower our kids. Give them voices with a cause, a purpose, a passion. So whether you have a son or a daughter, sports have to be a part of their lives. Just the way reading is promoted, I wish sports were too. The learning is so unique, no instrument or art can replace team sports. I encourage you to pick schools that promote a sports culture, I urge you to emphasize the need for ESPN over MTV, I beg you to move on from frivolous, urban trends and go back to the good old days of PT. We are all in the era of fast foods, fast friends and fast lives, slow your kids down, hand them a bat, a ball, a racket or just lead them to a swimming pool and let the natural sports person in your child break free!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Judges decision is FINAL!

The campaign was a roaring success; the cause seemed to be close to many hearts. It was encouraging to see the number of people that reacted to a debate that has been raging in India for decades. The steps to enter were simple, log on to or click on the link sent in the mailer and you will reach a landing page where details of the contest were given. Further on there was a simple registration form and that took the designer to the page were our images were available for downloading. The designer could select any one image that inspired them, then download it and start making a difference.

The registrations were in triple digits and the response was as good. By end of week 1 we had more entries than we had imagined, it brought a sense of peace to all of us. The contest ended in a fortnight and we were swamped with designs, one better than the other. The entries were scrubbed of all personal information about the entrant and submitted to our revered judge Mr. Namchu, who has recently joined Contract Advertising as ECD. He was kind enough to respond within days and then we had our 3 big winners. All of us unanimously agreed with his decision, we were happy to see path breaking visuals and ideas come out of a campaign open to all.

I had the pleasure of meeting our 1st prize winner Ms. Garima Arora the week after announcing the results; we wanted to personally hand over the prize. We had a nice chat over coffee and I was happy to learn that Garima was in the corporate sector and had no formal design training. She definitely fooled us because her creative was impactful and extremely easy to absorb. Garima came across as a proud, hard working, focused young woman, much like the women we hope all our daughters will grow up to be, provided we let them and support them. Having lost her father 5 years ago, I could see the pride and confidence he had imbibed in his daughter and I knew his presence was with her. I guess that is what propelled her to become the winner.

To be honest, the 2nd and 3 rd prize winners were no less creative, imaginative and opinionated; one ad just had to stand out. On that note we would like to congratulate Aanton from RK Swamy BBDO, the winner of the 2nd prize. Unfortunately I don’t know under what mindset Aanton created his visual piece because I would love to, his entry was so highly thought provoking and bang on. Apart from the endangered tag what got me in the gut was that women are truly another species, well maybe not scientifically but socially they are.

This entry was outstanding because it addressed the issue in the language that is understood by a large section of Indian society, the people responsible for causes like ‘save the girl child’ to be actually become a cause! Done by Pranav Harihar Sharma and Amol Dhanukar, this Ad had the sensibility to promote an acute design sense and power of local lingo, loved it! I also especially liked their choice of enterprising women, perfect balance of eras and professions.

We hope you liked the entries, we hope they spoke to you the way they spoke to us and I hope this message doesn't end with the campaign.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Power the flower

“Is there a way to quantify ‘progress’, when it comes to the female sex? In a country where men significantly outnumber women and in a world where businesses are still largely run by men, the scope of opportunity is bleak. Women across the globe have been conditioned into multi tasking and that’s a skill they tend to take with them to their married homes and their urban jobs. In 61 years of independence, a new stratum of female workers has emerged. This is a demographic that comprises of women of all ages that have one thing in common, circumstance. These women value enterprise, respect labor, crave financial freedom and ultimately desire to be ‘individuals’.
And yet we deny these women a place in the sun, even before they become people, we deny them the right to live. What we need to do is eliminate discrimination and not the ‘child’. In order address the issue of ‘elimination’ we must incorporate awareness as a solution and a tool.

Academic courses are now being offered at high school level, mainly to discourage young marriages and also to encourage a sense of enterprise. Indian girls fare better in school and given the opportunity, they are more likely to complete college. The main reasons women don’t work in India are high birth rates, discrimination and complete lack of support. Opportunity fortunately is not lacking any longer. Women are making their way into aviation, armed forces, politics and other male bastions but this is at a macro level. Look closer and you will see a new, young and innocent India. Between the grass roots are the future mothers of India’s business force,
India’s entrepreneurs, India’s young Turks!”

This was the introduction for a CSR campaign did in conjunction with last month. It was probably one of the most painful forewords to write because contextually it was hitting home in two ways, I am a woman and I have a daughter. Both of which I consider blessings. So it is hard to imagine a world that thinks otherwise. Please excuse my gullibility, I have seen the statistics and I know that majority of couples that abort a female child are urban couples in metro cities. So I guess it isn’t one ‘those’ things after all. It is a rampant, heartfelt, reacted upon evil we are construing as an issue that only old India dealt with. A sculptor I met in Nainital once told me that this ‘son’ fixation was all over the world. The typical all American father wanted nothing more than a son to toss a ball or two with and that Nordic fisherman would never dream of taking a daughter on board. I listened quietly and when he was done I asked if any of these fathers killed the daughters in the womb? He said ‘no’!

There is no dearth of media focus on this subject and yet it refuses to go away, we managed to curb AIDS numbers but we can’t get the natural balance in our population back! So in a series we want to simply call ‘SAVE’, this is the first installment – ‘Save the Girl child’.

This campaign was promoted extensively by Exchange4Media and we were honored to receive entries in triple digits, considering there were no prizes mentioned the mailer, this seemed like a purely 'social responsibility' kind of activity. The idea was simple yet driven by a deeper cause. We offered 3 images to the creative community to come up with a poster on 'Save the girl child'. We wanted an 'awareness poster' yet we were keen to avoid a typical preachy quality that awareness campaigns have and project a more emotional representation of the plight of Indian girls.

Watch this space for the winners. Due to immense popularity of this campaign we would like to make this contest available to the readers of our blog as well. Please wait for details on the next topic and the images you can use.

Friday, June 27, 2008 graces international magazine covers

On the topic of ‘right faces at the right places’, I must add that I am seriously considering proposing that tag line for our ‘people’ images. Whenever images appeared in advertisements we felt gratified by that presence, we felt validated for the kind of research and effort we put into image making and most of all we felt proud. Our images are used across American and European business and lifestyle magazines because of their multi cultural, urban feel. Whenever a product or feature is speaking to Asians, they look to us for inspiration. images were used on the cover of a trendy print production based out of Texas, USA. Diya’s Salaam Namaste magazine is targeted at Indian Americans and people doing business with them. From Lifestyle to Bollywood, Diya’s SN has got it all. The features in the magazine are typical of Indian culture and I am sure it makes hundreds of thousands of Indian’s feel more at home, feel more at sync with their country. There are recipes from back home, the fashion scene and best of all the gossip. The most endearing part is the fabulous balance of Eastern culture and Western living that is evident in every article.

With time the canvas is expanding, the usage of our imagery is changing manifold. Fortunately for us consumers are awakening to the potential cost and design benefits of royalty free stock photos. Considering that most creative people try to tell an entire story through one visual, the impact of an image is essential, it should hit home. images tug at the heart, lighten the moment and add class to a product. Producing for an unknown buyer is the real challenge in stock photography. With collections running into millions, there is still a demand for that elusive image we hope we can think up and produce. At that moment the right question to ask is, what does India look like today? Who is she in 2008? And then make images out of the answers. India is fresh, alive, vibrant, wholesome, unique and today India is brand new.

Our images are apt for such publications because they tell stories we have already captured in our images. The love of a family, the bonding of friends, the support system of a community, it is all so ‘India’! The featured images do complete justice to the concept of this magazine. The image complements the words and makes a delectable package for everyday reading.

Thursday, June 19, 2008 image showcase on is happy to announce their collaboration with yet another likeminded, youthful and spirited e-venture, They print pictures, we click them. They even put them on t-shirts, mugs and calendars and we would love for you to have some of our images on that kind of stuff. Makes complete sense! Watch this space for more of & product launches.
is a pioneer in Indian stock photography. Our extensive research and development is evident in our content. Our images are soulful, real and extremely relevant to the current market scenario. Not just in India but the entire world. images are much sought after because they are the perfect balance of east and west. As Indian lifestyle creeps closer to a more westernized landscape, so does the design of products and services, this in turn effects all the images associated with that product or service. Sometimes you need just the right faces at the just the right places, we guess that’s what found on We are always looking for services that complement our images and the plans with are definitely unfolding in that direction.

Whether it is digital imagery or old school analogue prints, photographs are the best way to preserve memories. As life gets busier it is good to have pictures on the go, on your laptop, on your phone and in your bag. For all the long hauls at airports, crawling traffic, endless business trips and tiresome relatives, print your pics now.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Vets for your pets

Veterinarians are not considered just animal doctors any longer. Whether they are engaged in the care of domesticated animals or have dedicated their lives to wilder species, they are a section of medical professionals that usually get involved in this profession for the love of animals over everything else. A good vet will first establish a relationship with the animal in his care and that is most prevalent in vets looking after pet dogs, birds and cats. Since domesticated pets are already humanized to a certain extent, it is important for a vet to develop a personal equation with the animal. Vets consider trust to be a vital component in their treatment technique. Apart from these emotional ties a vet is required to provide basic medical care which includes yearly vaccinations, monthly check ups along with nutrition and exercise advice, emergency care and support.

All vets maintain medical records of the animals under their care. Since pets require yearly inoculations, it is advisable to encourage such record keeping. There are two core vaccinations for dogs, the most important being Rabies vaccine because rabies is a fatal disease that can be transmitted to humans and has no cure. The vaccine is given between 12 and 16 weeks of age, a booster shot is given after one year, subsequently additional boosters are given every three years. The second is the Distemper combination vaccine which includes Distemper virus, Parvovirus, Adenovirus, and Parinfluenza virus. This vaccine is given every 3-4 weeks, beginning at 6-8 weeks of age and continuing until at least 16 weeks of age. The Non Core Vaccines are those that battle diseases from exposure to other infected animals and environments. Their administration depends upon the evaluation of the pet. Bordetella (kennel cough) vaccine is recommended for pets that have exposure to others dogs in their living premises or play areas. This is an annual vaccine depending on the product used and the dog’s degree of risk.

The debate raging these days is whether to administer annual vaccinations to dogs at all. Vaccinations are now being suspected of creating vulnerability to diseases and chronic illnesses like, arthritis, seizures, allergies, gastrointestinal disorders, thyroid disorders, and even cancer. Veterinary experts recommend administering fewer vaccines to dogs now than the earlier norm of yearly vaccinations. How does a vet determine whether or not a dog really needs further vaccination? The answer at hand is called the ‘Titre Test'. The term “titter” refers to the concentration of a substance in a solution. When testing vaccine titres in dogs, a veterinarian takes a blood sample from a dog and has the blood tested for the presence and strength of the dog’s immunological response to a viral disease. If the dog demonstrates satisfactory levels of vaccine titres, the dog is considered sufficiently immune to the disease and not in need of further vaccination against the disease.

Apart from providing the basics of animal healthcare, vets also need to have an ‘emergency care’ unit prepared at all times. Animal emergencies can be more severe and have fewer diagnostics as compared to human emergencies. Vets provide this service by being available 24x7 and/or having the medical equipment and facilities to treat an animal in urgent need of medical care. Specialized emergency Veterinary care includes emergency surgical equipment, diagnostic equipment like x-ray, ultrasound, pathological testing laboratory and recuperation rooms. Enterprising vets have combined this setup with a boarding facility for not just sick pets but also for pets that need a home for a specific amount of time that their owners are away. Though people would love to take their pets everywhere with them it is not a realistically possible. The most basic function of a boarding kennel is to provide a happy and healthy environment for a pet to live in. The staff needs to be loving and patient to help the pet get acquainted to a new living arrangement. The living area should be clean and well ventilated. There should be plenty of open spaces for the animals to play, rest and interact. The feeding area should be hygienic and provide enough space for all the animals to eat peacefully. A vet owned boarding kennel has the obvious advantage of a professional at hand, but a kennel providing the above will surely suffice.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Yoga for all

My personal experience with ‘yoga’ can definitely qualify as a journey. It started way before the ‘fad’ did and the inconsistency of my efforts is apparent every time Madonna is mentioned in the same sentence as ‘Ashtanga Yoga’. Painful! India is the home of ‘yoga’, it ought to be part of every Indian’s lifestyle and though it is creeping into most Indian homes, there are a lot of potential converts left to target. Every colony and every locality boasts of a yoga center or yoga teacher, though I highly doubt the credentials of some, I am hopeful that after little of recce and user feedback, I may just find the right instructor or school for my hundredth stint with ‘yoga’. What swayed me was the history and theory attached to ‘yoga’ that made it seem so tedious. Now that it is developing as a new age ‘mantra’, I can relate to it better.

Old school preached ‘yoga’, new age instructors help you develop a taste for it, make you a connoisseur, so much more tempting, don’t you think? ‘Yoga’ can be your path to ‘nirvana’ without the ‘righteous’ tag. Take out an hour a day, wear loose, flowy, preferably light linen clothes. Find an engaging environment, it could be your favorite nook in your apartment, the landing of your building staircase, your balcony on the 9th floor or if you are lucky, your 10 acre backyard. If you haven’t picked any of the above, sit on the floor of your room and picture that ‘engaging environment’. Yup, that’s it. Now stretch … that’s my approach to ‘yoga’. Throw in an annual trip to the mountains and my experience is alive again.

References to ‘yoga’ are present in the ancient texts of the 'Upanishads' and 'Puranas' composed in the Vedic period. Patanjali, a Hindu ‘Vedanist’ wrote the 'Yoga Sutra', around two thousand Years ago. The book contains 195 aphorisms or ‘sutra’s’ that explain the principles of ‘yogic’ discipline and practice. ‘Ashtanga Yoga’, a fairly new entrant into the new-age realm was also based on ‘Patanjali’s’ writings. The best explanation I could find was on and it said “This method of Yoga involves synchronizing the breath with progressive series of postures—a process producing intense internal heat and a profuse, purifying sweat that detoxifies muscles and organs. The result is improved circulation, a light and strong body, and a calm mind.” Wow, that’s deep! Now I really want to try it!